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The Sleestacks - Land of Lincoln

Here’s a music video we did for a song in our second rock opera, “In Search of Disco Sea Level” in 1992-ish. It was filmed over the course of a day in our favorite dive bar (which is now a parking lot). It was supposed to be a parody of beer commercials, but now it really feels more like a time capsule. 

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Why do the best fanfiction authors ever have to be so difficult?

Posting the most amazing fanfics ever written that you want to cry, deleting chapters, adding new ones, deleting the entire fics and throwing a fit when people ask to have them. And finally disappearing entirely from the internet :(

Well this is sad. I’m glad I could save some of her fics, but there are so much more and I miss this hilarious eloquence no one will ever come close to. Sigh.

You guys probably don’t even know what I’m talking about but good GOD!!! How can someone write like this?!

Please come baaaaaaack.

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On the morning of April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln called a Cabinet meeting. He sat at the table in the council chamber as the members filed in, but for some time seemed not to notice them. Lincoln’s face was buried in his hands. When he Finally found the strength to raise his head, the expression on his face was one of utter anguish.

“Gentlemen,” the President said, “before long you will have important news.” When the men pressed Lincoln for details, he told them of a recurring dream that he’d had for the third time the night before. “It is always the same,” he explained. “I am in a boat, alone on a boundless ocean. I have no oars, no rudder. I am helpless. I drift. Something extraordinary is going to happen, and very soon.”

They were prophetic words, for that evening, during a performance ofOur American Cousinat Ford’s Theater, Lincoln was assassinated by a Southern sympathizer name John Wilkes Booth.

Abraham Lincoln is remembered as one of the greatest and most beloved leaders in American history. Among those who are interested in supernatural phenomena, he also stands apart as one of the most psychic. While numerous White House families have been known occasionally to rely on “alternative” guidance – think of the Reagans’ use of astrologers, or Hillary Rodham Clinton’s famous chats with Eleanor Roosevelt – Lincoln’s faith in second sight and connection to the spirit world were no passing fancy. The President’s beliefs were deeply ingrained; his clairvoyance was an integral part of his way of life. Throughout his life he consulted psychics and attended seances. He paid close attention to premonitions and visions, and looked for meaning in his dreams. He took advice from those on the other side and felt guided, and even manipulated, by what he frequently referred to as “the hand of God.” Moreover, as early as five years prior to his death, he knew that he would never serve out his second term as President of the United States.

Hours after his election in 1860, while Lincoln was waiting in Springfield, Illinois for the last report on the vote, he had a strange experience. He had retired to his quarters for a much-needed rest, and was reclining on a settee when he was startled by his reflection in a large mirror, opposite him. Lincoln later described the baffling sight to a friend: “My face, I noticed, had two separate and distinct images. One of the faces was a little paler – about five shades – than the other.”

Lincoln stood up, and the image melted away. He lay down, and it returned. Every time he attempted to recreate the effect, (even days later) he was successful. Nevertheless, he was the only one who could see it. The President’s wife, Mary Todd Lincol, was disturbed by his account of the phenomenon. She believed that the corpse-like shadow her husband was projecting was an omen. According to her interpretation, the healthy, normal reflection represented Lincoln’s first term in office. The pler, less substantial image symbolized a second term, which he would begin, but never finish.

10 days before his fateful outing to the theater, Lincoln had a dream that required much less interpretation. In his journal, he described it:

I retired late. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a deathlike stillness about me. Then I heard the subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along.

It was light in all the rooms; every object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, some gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. “Who is dead in the White House?” I demanded of one of the soldiers. “The President,” was his answer. “He was killed by an assassin.”

Given the psychic warning – not to mention the fact that Lincoln had received a number of death threats – one has to wonder why the President still insisted upon his lightly guarded outing to the theater on April 14, 1865. Perhaps Lincoln refused to lead a life ruled by the fear that must have resulted from such premonitions. Perhaps his fatalistic view of the universe led him to believe that no matter what choices he made, he could not alter what was meant to be. He once wrote in a letter to a friend that he often felt contolled “by some other power than [his] own will.” And so it was. President Abraham Lincoln was warned, but not saved, by his psychic talents. He received a single gunshot to the back of his head, and expired within hours. The assassination would not be the end, however, for according to many reports, the late Lincoln was able to appear to the living as easily as the living man had communicated with the dead.

Lincoln’s body was transported home to Springfield by train. Upon arrival, it was placed in a special receiving vault, near the beautiful mausoleum that was being constructed. Within days, the first reported sightings of the late President’s ghost surfaced. He had been seen pacing the path between the temproary crypt and the mausoleum – a tall, thin, somber figure. If Lincoln’s spirit was overseeing the project, its competion brought him no peace: after his remains were moved into their final resing place, visitors to the tomb were often disturbed by the sounds of sobbing and footsteps coming from within.

Abraham Lincoln’s spirit seemed to be as tireless as was the man himself, and it soon became clear that he would not be limiting his ghostly visitations to Oak Ridge Cemetery. In death, Lincoln seemed anxious to haunt all the places that had been meaningful to him in life; his ghost became known as one of the most well-travled citizens of the afterlife. His familiar, lanky frame and awkward gait have been identified many times in the dark, shadowy shape that walks the streets surrounding the old courthouse in Springfield. It was there that Lincoln pleaded numerous cases as a young lawyer. It has also long been rumored that the historical Lincoln Home it Springfield is haunted by him. There, a tall, thin apparition is accompanied by the ghost of a young boy. The man is no doubt Lincoln; the boy, very likely his beloved son Willie, who predeceased the President by three years.

OVer the years, many well-documented sightings of Lincoln’s ghost have been outside of Illinois, in the place where he spent the most dramatic years of his life.

The list of those who have seen or sensed Lincoln’s presence in the White House is distinguished and long. Numerous presidents, including Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower, felt that the Great Emanicpator still occupied many of the historic rooms where they worked and lived. Calvin Coolidge’s wife, Grace, saw Lincoln’s distinctive silhouette standing at a window in the Oval Office, gazing out over the Potomac. Since then, many others – icluding the famous poet Carl Sandburg – have reported seeing or feeling Lincoln’s spirit in that same location.

Eleanor Roosevelt used Lincoln’s former bedroom as a study. Often, as she was writing late at night, she would have the overwhelming sense that she was not alone. Looking over her shoulder, she would find no one there. Eventually she simply assumed that Lincoln was keeping her company.

Visitors to the White House have also been known to encounter the ghost of the 16th president. Winston Churchill – who was known to be influenced by premonitory visions of his own – is said to have seen Lincoln’s ghost while on an official visit. During a visit to President Roosevelt, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was once awakened buy a knocking at her bedroom door. She rose from her bed to open the door, and a moment later fell to the floor in a dead faint. There, waiting to be admitted, was the semitransparent figure of Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln’s persistent spiritual presence in the White House has often been explained as a residual effect of the enormous energy he expended there during the traumatic years of the Civil War. That concentration of emotion was matched by the sorrow the nation felt when he died. The funeral train that bore his body from Washington to Springfield was met, along its route, by more than seven million grieving Americans. This outpouring of sorrow must have left its own psychic mark, for a phantom version of that train is said to retrace its passage every year, on the anniversary of the somber journey.

The legend tells of two spectral steamers. The first pulls several cars that are draped in black. In one car, shadowy instruments play mournful dirges, while a macabre audience of skeletons looks on. The second engine pulls only a single flatbed car, which is covered in black carpeting and bears the coffin containing Lincoln’s body.The Albany Evening Timesonce described the eerie change in atmospher that was said to accompany the strange event:

The air on the tracks becomes very keen and cutting. On either side of the tracks it is warm and still. Every watchman, when he feels the air, slips off the track and sits down to watch. If a real train were passing its noise would be hushed as if the phantom train rode over it. Clocks and watches always stop as the phantom train goes by and when looked at are five to eight minutes behind.

Strangely, the ghost train allegedly never reaches Springfield.

In Illinois – the state that calls itself the “Land of Lincoln” – Abraham Lincoln is still a formidable presence. His name graces coutless organizations, and his home and tomb are perennial tourist draws. Beyond these immortalizing honors, however, Lincoln seems to have truly remained among us in spirit. For more than 135 yeas, his ghost has defied the grave.

In Lincoln’s second inaugural address, given shortly before his assassination, he implored, “let us strive on, to finish the work we are in.” Within weeks, his natual life was cut short – yet one can’t help but wonder if Abraham Lincoln is not still walking among us, striving to finish that work.

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