Every soul-crushing catastrophe in history has exactly one good thing in common: the part where it's over. The survivors are safe, the heroes are celebrated, and the rest of humanity can focus on picking an appropriate filter for our Facebook profile photos.
But here's the rub: A whole lot of these disasters have insanely nightmarish aftermaths that, for reasons of general human sanity, nobody ever talks about. Except us, apparently. Uh, you're welcome?
Lincoln's Dead Body Was Paraded Around America
President Lincoln's assassination sent shockwaves through the populace, reducing housewives and battle-hardened veterans alike to masses of inconsolable weeping. Fortunately, Edwin Stanton, spymaster and Secretary of War, was on hand to raise everyone's spirits in the most tactful way he could think of: going on a gaudy-ass farewell tour.
Library of CongressHis attempts to pass off this train as a resurrected Lincoln didn't prosper.
His attempts to pass off this train as a resurrected Lincoln didn't prosper.
Lincoln's body was to be taken from Washington to his burial plot in Springfield, Illinois. Ordinarily, this would have been a swift train journey; however, Stanton arranged for the president to be paraded through the streets of Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois over the course of two weeks. Mary Todd Lincoln flipped her shit, but what could she do? She was only, um ... the widow.
The Lincolnollapalooza Farewell Tour departed on April 21, 1865, and things went well for the first few stops. It all started to turn south, however, after an extended open-air viewing in Manhattan. The body was exposed to the elements for 23 hours, and the papers began to remark that it "had very materially altered ... the lower jaw somewhat dropped, the lips slightly parted, and the teeth visible." One paper went so far as to declare this "not the genial, kindly face of Abraham Lincoln ... but a ghastly shadow." It's almost as if he'd died or something.