Lincoln’s Tomb

More From Illinois

Lincoln’s remains were moved and disturbed quite a
few times which may have contributed to his restlessness.

Because Mrs. Lincoln suffered devastating losses
while alive, she may still mourn as a spirit.



Lincoln’s Tomb is described as being “Immense”, with a one hundred and seventeen foot obelisk that sits proudly on the top of the Mausoleum Tomb. The obelisk stands for leadership. The visitor can’t miss it!

About a quarter acre of grass with oak trees lines the area just in front of Lincoln Plaza. A bronze bust of Abraham is in front of this plaza, a piece of art work done in his honor by the same artist, Borglum, who carved the faces of the presidents into the mountain at Mount Rushmore.

On top of the mausoleum is an elaborate granite area around the obelisk. Stairs on both sides of the granite memorial lead up to a terrace that goes all the way around the obelisk. On each of the four corners bronze statues on granite pedestals honor each branch of the Union forces that fought in the Civil War under Lincoln: Infantry, Navy, Artillery, and Cavalry.

In the center of and above the terrace there is a centered granite shelf where the visitor sees a life-sized, bronze statute of Lincoln, holding a copy of his famous Emancipation Proclamation.

Going down into the actual mausoleum through the south entrance brings visitors to a rotunda where all corridors lead to the family vault at the north end of the memorial. Corridors go all the way around in a square form. There is beautiful marble everywhere in all the rooms, trimmed in bronze. In fact, there are eleven types of marble, from all over the earth. Visitors pass bronze statues depicting Lincoln’s humanitarian and national contributions.

His days as a ranger in the Indian Wars are depicted by a very young Abe on a horse. Another statue, again showing him on a horse, depicts him as a traveling lawyer going from town to town to represent his clients. Another statue depicts him as a Legislative Representative. Finally, there is a statue of him as President, sitting in his chair, in the same pose as the statue in the Lincoln Memorial, though it was created a few years before.

Finally, the visitor arrives at the semi-circular Lincoln family burial chamber. In the middle of this vault, underneath the obelisk, sits a gigantic red marble stone sarcophagus with a simple inscription carved into its face: Abraham Lincoln: 1809-1865. Lincoln’s remains are ten feet below this red stone sarcophagus protected from grave robbers and ill-intentioned visitors.

The appropriate flags are arranged behind and beside it. One group of flags are from the states where Lincoln’s ancestors lived. A second group are from states where Lincoln himself lived. The Presidential flag can be found just right of the red stone. On the opposite wall are the crypts of Lincoln’s wife and three of his sons: Eddie, Willie and Tad.

Lincoln’s eldest, Robert was buried at Arlington Cemetery because his wife wanted him to be remembered for his own contributions. Robert’s son, Abraham, died in Europe from Sepsis at the age of 18. He was temporarily laid to rest in the Lincoln Tomb and stayed there until Robert Lincoln died at the age of 82. When Robert was buried at Arlington, his son’s body was moved to Arlington to be with his family plot with his father and later his mother.



President Lincoln and his wife Mary decided to go to Ford Theatre on the night of Good Friday, April 14, 1865, where the actor John Wilkes Booth assassinated the President. Lincoln’s body was embalmed, and lay in state in the East Room of the White House. After a funeral service there, his body went on display in Representative Hall for two days so more people could say their goodbyes.

His body, along with the caskets of sons Willie and Eddie, was loaded onto a funeral train together with family and security guards. They visited 10 cities in a 1,700 mile trip before heading to Springfield for burial in Oak Ridge Cemetery. The caskets were put in a temporary tomb while the Lincoln Memorial tomb complex was constructed. The tomb section was finished enough in 1871 to receive the family caskets.

However, it wasn’t any of these to be first to be laid to rest here. That distinction went to Lincolns’ son Tad, the first one to be laid to rest in this Lincoln Family tomb because he had died earlier that year from TB.

Lincoln’s wooden casket was falling apart, so his body was moved into an iron casket which was placed inside a lead box that was placed in the sarcophagus, located in a place of honor, in the middle of this room.

It was all finished and dedicated in 1874 and many people came to pay their respects. Others had more devious plans. Bad characters in a counterfeiting ring hatched a plan to steal Lincoln’s body and hold it for a $200,000 ransom, and demand the release from jail of their master engraver. Luckily, a brave Pinkerton detective had infiltrated this group and stopped them J.I.T.

Their plot greatly upset Robert Lincoln, who gave directions to the Lincoln National Monument Association to move his father’s casket to the passages below the tomb. There it stayed hidden under a wood pile for two years. A new secret grave was dug for Abraham Lincoln’s remains, and it stayed there until 1899, when the state of Illinois decided the memorial needed a facelift and repair.

Robert came up with secret plans. In 1901, the iron casket of Abraham Lincoln was put in a sarcophagus placed ten feet below the marble floor of the burial chamber, in an iron barred cage. The hole was filled with cement and covered with marble flooring, never to be disturbed again.

The second renovation of this beautiful Lincoln’s Tomb came in 1931, which involved a complete redesign of the interior of the tomb, which created “the inside corridors, installation of marble and bronze orientation and the adding of small statues.”

The handsome bronze bust of Lincoln by Borglum was proudly added outside in the front of the Lincoln Tomb. Soldiers during WW2 would rub the bust’s nose for good luck, which started this custom. It is no wonder Lincoln’s nose is so shiny!



People who die before they are able to finish vital tasks can be restless as spirits.

Washington D.C. Capitol Building (John Adams died just before he was to present an important argument before Congress. His spirit is still trying to present it.)

Oregon State Capitol, OR (A state representative is still working for the people despite being killed in a farm accident.)

Little Rock State Capitol, AR (A politician was murdered by a fellow politician who was a political foe.)

Lincoln’s Tomb, IL (Abraham Lincoln was murdered before he could oversee the reconstruction of the South. He wasn’t able to finish his Presidency, leaving the wrong people in charge, who wanted vengeance instead.)


Sometimes restless spirits try to find peace by staying or visiting in a place where they were happy, successful and had peace.

Kahler Grand Hotel, MN (The spirit of the murdered Hershey Heiress still loves to be at the Kahler Grand Hotel.)

Buffalo Bill’s Ranch State Park, NE (The spirit of Buffalo Bill likes to visit this favorite place of his, his ranch with all its memories, reconstructed buildings, and all his life mementos on display.)

Brumder Mansion, WI (Several spirits are working on accepting the tragic events which befell them here, leading up to their deaths.)

Lincoln’s Tomb, IL (The manifestations listed below suggest that the spirit of Lincoln finds some comfort in the surroundings of the tomb, because it is a lovely place. Also, he takes comfort in that he was loved and honored for what he accomplished in office with the grand tomb that was built for him and his family.)


Spirits can seek peace in particular places in this world, hoping to work out the issues for their restlessness. Grief is a powerful force that can keep them trapped here.

Chapel of the Cross, MS (The spirit of a young woman still grieves the death of her beloved.)

Deerfield Burial Grounds, MA (The spirit of a slaughtered servant still mourns the brutal death of her unborn child and the children in her care.)

Pittsburgh Theatre, PA (The spirit victim of a tragedy is still in mourning.)

Lincoln’s Tomb, IL (Lincoln died before his son Tad died of TB. He may be mourning Tad’s death, wondering if his own death also indirectly caused his son to get sick.)


When the remains of a spirit are moved, it is hard sometimes for that spirit to find peace. They may become restless.

Easton Library, PA (After loved ones moved the graves of their family to another cemetery, the graves that remained were either moved to the front area of the new library grounds and reinterred there or were buried in a mass grave.)

Colonel Michael Swope Townhouse, VA (After his family was forced to dig up his body to prove to the authorities that he didn’t die of disease, his spirit became active in Alexandria in his beloved townhouse.)

Waverley Plantation House, MS (The body of Private Beverly Daniel Young was buried in Cypress Hill Cemetery, Long Island n August 29th, 1863. His body was retrieved by influential family friends and reburied in the family plot at George Hampton Young Family Cemetery.)

Lincoln’s Tomb, IL (Lincoln’s remains were moved and disturbed quite a few times which may have contributed to his restlessness. Between 1865 and 1901, Lincoln’s coffin was moved 17 times and opened five times.)



The Spirit of Abraham Lincoln

Before the tomb was finished, a tall shadow assumed to be the spirit of Abraham was seen by witnesses walking around the area of where the tomb was being built.

After being placed in it, his spirit still walked around the inside, looking at the statues, his families crypts and his own huge marker.

After the second reconstruction of the tomb, he walked and continues to walk around the square path, seeing all the statues, his family’s resting places, and his own.

He probably walks around the outside as well, admiring the statues and work done on the outside when no one is there at night.

Grieving and Auditory Evidence

Sounds of someone crying can be heard inside.

It could be Lincoln grieving for all his losses, his own life, and for Tad.

It could also be his wife Mary who is crying.

Unexplained tapping can be heard inside as well.

Disembodied footfalls are heard inside and outside the tomb.


Security cameras may have picked up shadows and sounds of disembodied foot steps. Witnesses to the wanderings of Lincoln’s spirit could’ve been security guards, members of the public, and possibly docents.

No official hard evidence has been presented publicly, because the state of Illinois doesn’t want paranormal enthusiasts descending into the tomb, taking away from the purpose of honoring Lincoln, his accomplishments and this reverent place that holds the last remains of his family.



Probably so! Though there isn’t any hard evidence which has been shared with the public, and no employee is allowed to talk about the paranormal activity, the spirit of Abraham Lincoln isn’t ready to rest just yet. He seeks peace that he doesn’t have, and is still upset about his own death because it interrupted his important work. He remains grief-stricken about Tad’s death from TB as well.

To try to find some peace, his apparition likes to visit the White House when America is in turmoil. He also visits the Illinois State Capitol buildings where he achieved much for his constituents. It makes sense that he would try to reconcile his feelings at his own tomb memorial.



Oak Ridge Cemetery
1500 Monument Avenue
Springfield, IL 62702

Lincoln’s Tomb can be seen at the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield when the visitor comes inside the gate.



  • Lincoln Tomb WEBSITE
  • Ghosthunting Illinois, by John B. Kachuba, Clerisy Press, Cincinnati, OH, fourth printing 2011.

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