Image of Shadow Lawn, the actual house, circa 1060.

Cover of The Haunting of The Presidents.

The Haunting of The Presidents
by Joel Martin and William J. Birnes

A Paranormal History of the US Presidency

The scandals of the White House have always commanded attention, but little has been acknowledged of the documented paranormal events that have shaken its stately porticos for more than a century. They are in fact, part of declassified, substantiated records dating back from George Washington through the Clinton administration. Now, complete with actual transcripts of channeling sessions and séances, the history of the paranormal presidency is revealed for the first time in a fascinating exploration of the country’s most famous portal to the unknown.

Featuring a comprehensive see-for-yourself tour guide to the Presidential Haunted Places.

From Chapter Ten: Richard Nixon and Lincoln's Ghost

Publicly, Richard Nixon professed no interest in the paranormal or supernatural. Privately, he had more contact with the subject than people ever realized. We said earlier that when Nixon was besieged by the Watergate scandal he roamed White House corridors at night talking to portraits of late Presidents, perhaps hoping for advice from their spirits.

Nixon, a man with an enigmatic and complex personality, had, since the 1950s, been in analysis with psychotherapist, Dr. Arnold Hutschnecker, a relationship that remained even during the Watergate crisis, although by then Nixon was no longer in therapy. Hutschnecker, who practiced in New York, embraced the psychic beliefs of Jeane Dixon, and Nixon was open to Dixon’s psychic and astrological prophecies, according to Anthony Summers in The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon.

If Nixon was aware of any of several predictions made about his political downfall, he ignored them, including the prognostications of British psychic Malcolm Bessent and astrologers Noel Tye and Joan Quigley. Still, he considered supernatural intervention a cause of his political demise. On his final day in the Oval Office, Nixon told Rabbi Baruch Korff that he felt he was being punished by God.

When Nixon was just nine years old, his Sunday school teacher in Yorba Linda made an unusual prediction. According to Anthony Summers, she said that someday he would be President. Following graduation from college, Nixon had his palm read. Summers quoted the palmist, a teenager named Dorothy Welch: “I got quite a shock. What I saw was a path of incredibly brilliant success … then the most terrible black cloud like a disaster or accident. … I told him what I read, but in a toned-down version … he was such a serious sort of guy … the full version would have made him distraught. He wouldn’t have known how to cope.”

Always a man of contradictions, as President he was badly frightened when a well-known astrologer predicted an assassination attempt. Yet, after John F. Kennedy was murdered in 1963, Nixon said, “I think it would not have happened to me.”

Shortly before his resignation, in the summer of 1974, Nixon’s son-in-law Edward Cox revealed the president’s state of mind in his final weeks in the White House. He’d been walking the halls … talking to pictures of former presidents [and] giving speeches. Did he turn to the spirits of presidents past for advice? Should he fight on or resign from office? An emotional meltdown, which Nixon certainly suffered, did not negate his psychic experiences. In other words, a fragile mental state does not imply that ones paranormal encounters are hallucinatory.

U.S. News & World Report called Nixon a strangely solitary man, and that secretive personality would never have allowed him to reveal something so open to disparagement as a psychic experience. However there is circumstantial evidence to connect Nixon with the ghost of Lincoln in the White House. Nixon had a strong affinity for Lincoln which dated back to age twelve when he was given a picture of the Great Emancipator which he placed above his bed.

Later in his life Nixon believed he was the contemporary Lincoln, according to Richard Nixon, a Psychobiography. One night in 1970, Nixon, besieged by a storm of anti-Vietnam War protests, couldn’t sleep. He wandered instead through the White House to Lincoln’s Sitting Room where he listened to classical music. When his valet inquired whether the President needed anything, Nixon asked if he’d ever visited the Lincoln Memorial after dark. When the man said no, Nixon asked the valet to accompany him to the magnificent monument. What motivated late night journeys to the Lincoln Memorial? Were they inspired by Nixon’s affinity for the Great Emancipator or contact he’d had with Lincoln’s ghost?

The Lincoln Sitting Room was often a refuge for Nixon during times of crisis. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy often reported sensing Lincoln’s presence in that same room. Did Nixon also sense Lincoln’s spirit there? During the Watergate crisis, Nixon prayed at the table upon which Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. He also instructed that when he died he was to lie in state beneath the dome of the Capitol, as had Presidents since Lincoln. Taken together, these and other incidents form a pattern that suggests Nixon, as had many White House predecessors, experienced some form of psychic communication with Lincoln.

Nixon had an aversion to admitting defeat and intensely disliked quitting in the face of adversity or disappointment, so he agonized about whether to fight on or resign the presidency. Only a short while after his conversations with the portraits of former Presidents, Nixon made the difficult and unprecedented decision to leave office on August 9, 1974. There are those who argue that Nixon’s resolution been arrived at through supernatural intervention, convincing him that for the good of the country and the sanctity of the Constitution it was time for him to go.

Lincoln’s ghost has long had a reputation for materializing during times of national difficulty or distress. What more appropriate time for the Great Emancipator to resolve the crisis caused by Watergate? When Nixon finally made his decision he said he was acting for the good of the nation. He had been advised by Lincoln’s spirit which psychically connected with him at that moment.

Paranormal research suggests that powerful emotion will often draw a spirit close in time of need. Lincoln would have strongly disapproved of Nixon’s behavior and dishonesty. Why then might his spirit help Nixon? Considering Honest Abes integrity, his goal would be to help the nation rather than the discredited and dishonored Richard Nixon. The evidence is circumstantial, but considering Nixon’s behavior and the history of Lincoln’s ghostly appearances in the White House, the scenario is plausible. Nixon may have been his own worst enemy, and responsible for his own ruin, but it appears his downfall was karmically predestined although moderated, to a degree, by the benevolent spirit of Abraham Lincoln who hovered over Nixon during Nixon’s days in the White House.

Contents of the Print Edition

☞ Product details and how to purchase:
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; First Printing edition (February 4, 2003)
  • Reprint Publisher: Konecky & Konecky; No Additional Printings Listed edition (February 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451208048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451208040
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 1.2 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces