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Friday, January 23, 2009

Who's buried in Lincoln's tomb?

If you guessed Abraham Lincoln, you're right. Probably. Maybe. I think. Well, we'll find out for sure on February 16, 2009, at 8:00 p.m. ET, when the History Channel airs "Stealing Lincoln's Body:"

Before Lincoln finally came to rest in a steel-and-concrete-reinforced underground vault in Springfield, the Presidents body was repeatedly exhumed and moved, his coffin frequently opened. An astonishing and macabre series of events also included a diabolical bodysnatching-for-ransom scheme. This remarkable final chapter is the subject of the gripping two-hour special.
Bringing this astounding story to life like no other before it, the program features moving images of Abraham Lincoln, digitally created from actual historical photographs. For the first time, Lincoln walks and moves according to the historical record. The moving images and some of the stills showcase the first virtual photography of Lincoln and the only virtual motion pictures of him ever created. Using computer-generated imagery, it illustrates key sections of the story and brings them to life, often with startling effect.

The show's trailer is running the tagline, "The Lincoln story no one knows." As I've mentioned before, anyone who went on a school field trip to Oak Ridge Cemetery in the 60s probably knows the story of Lincoln's body being stolen, as it was a regular part of the lesson. When did they stop teaching this in schools?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing the show, as my teachers routinely left the gory details out of all the good stories back then.

There's also a book by Thomas J. Craughwell entitled, "Stealing Lincoln's Body." I'm not sure if the History Channel show is based on the book. But, I bet it gains some popularity over the show.

By the way, in reference to the title of this post, a Google search for "Who's buried in Lincoln's tomb?" (with quotes), turns up 11 results on this date. That's understandable. However, a Google search for "Who's buried in Grant's tomb?" (again, with quotes) has the ridiculously low number of 100 results. My dear people of the internet, what is wrong with you? I'm so disappointed. There should be lots more such results by now. You Bet Your Life there should. Or not.

Posted by Marie at January 23, 2009 1:03 AM


The Craughwell book, which I think first came out in 2007, is tremendous.

Posted by: The ALO at January 23, 2009 7:25 AM

I'm going out on a limb here that they already know that the President is there. I doubt they want a Geraldo moment on this.

Posted by: Rob Author Profile Page at January 23, 2009 11:08 AM

The Lincoln story no one knows? Let's see: That Mary Todd Lincoln had her husband's body replaced by a stand-in, kept the expired Abe in a cold cellar at their son Robert's place up in Vermont until she could have it spirited into a vault specially constructed in Chicago by her Italian cousin Al Capone. But sometime after Mary passed away, Robert and Al had a falling out over the body's need for upkeep and brought the now well-aged corpse down to Springfield via first-class coach on the Illinois Central (never before seen virtual footage will show Lincoln's cadaver as it is trundled down Michigan Avenue to the old Roosevelt Road station). Under cover of darkness and with the assistance of a hand-picked crew of Grand Army of the Republic volunteers, they stole into Oak Ridge Cemetery, broke into the Lincoln crypt and swapped bodies (the stand-in's corpse was dumped unceremoniously into the Sangamon River, whose magical restorative powers brought it back to life; it later had a rewarding career as tour guide at New Salem and, like the real Lincoln, won election to the state House of Representatives). After interring the long-wandering but thoroughly deceased 16th president, young Mr. Lincoln and Capone, his cousin-once-removed, hastily erected the monument we see today, complete with heroic statuary, before dawn broke. The rest, as we say, is history.

Posted by: Dan at January 23, 2009 11:38 AM

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