Time Capsule: The Spiritualist Movement
One morning in January, 1863, Mrs. Laurie desired me to go to the White House and inquire after Mrs. Lincoln’s health. Mrs. Laurie had visited Mrs. Lincoln the previous day, and found her prostrated by one of her severe headaches. It was about eleven o’clock when I called. Upon sending up my name and inquiry to Mrs. Lincoln, I was requested to walk upstairs to her rooms, where I found Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, a gentleman, and two ladies. I was cordially received by Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, and presented to the guests, whose names were not mentioned, and when I noticed their glances, I knew that they had been told I was a “medium.” After explaining my errand and being about to withdraw, Mrs. Lincoln asked whether I felt equal to the task of a séance. Noticing that all were expectant, I signified my willingness and reseated myself.
[After the séance], Mr. Lincoln rousing himself with an effort, saying: “I must go, and am afraid I have already stayed too long.” Shaking hands with his visitors, he turned in his kind way to me, and, while warmly shaking my hand, said: “I thank you, Miss Nettie, for obliging us; we have deeply enjoyed our little circles.” As he left the room, the others expressed the same sentiment.