According to the Boston Gazette, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln held a friggin' seance in the White House. Abe, Mary Todd, two cabinet secretaries, a reporter, and a trance medium named Charles E. Shockle sat down in the White House (basement?) to contact the spirit world. There is no report of whether or not Lincoln's mother interrupted them with pizza rolls.
"Moooooooooom, get out!"
Shockle channeled a cadre of dead folk for the Great Emancipator, from restless Native Americans to Henry Knox -- the secretary of war for George Washington. For his part, Abe didn't seem to take it very seriously. He pitched softball political questions at the dead and joked about their answers. So there was Mary Todd Lincoln (taking this all very seriously), one stunned reporter, two uncomfortable politicians, and the president of the United States lounging around, casually mocking ghosts. As for Shockle, he was so stressed out that he straight up fainted -- twice. Guess he was a bit nervous to be pulling parlor tricks for a furious super-powered giant with command over an entire nation. Go figure.
The seance was likely a PR stunt -- judging by both Lincoln's jovial approach and the fact that he invited a reporter -- because spiritualism and table readings were a popular pastime in the Western World. It was the era's equivalent of going bowling, or "having a beer with a soldier." But regardless of Abe's opinion, Mary Todd Lincoln was balls deep in the netherworld. The supernatural was a lifelong interest for her, but after Abraham's death, she went full bore. Mary began attending table readings and seances all over the nation, hoping to contact her dead husband. The media obviously used this unseemly obsession to smear her reputation, so Mrs. Lincoln began using pseudonyms. It wasn't enough: Mary Todd's only surviving son, Robert, briefly had her thrown in a sanatorium for wasting her money on this spiritualistic nonsense, among other things.
"No, Mom, a Sega Dreamcast is not 'pretty much the same thing' as a PS3!"