Bonus Ghostly Tale!

Sometimes it happens in publishing: you write your article or your book, but your the editors have to cut some of it for space. This happened with The Ghostly Tales of the Midwest, in my chapter on the haunted Vrooman Mansion in Bloomington, Illinois. The chapter in the book tells of the woman who lived there for 100 years, Julia Scott Vrooman. She still haunts the mansion today! But there’s another ghost people report at the mansion, a famous one…

A Presidential Haunting

Now, I mentioned a famous historical ghost that’s been seen near the Vrooman Mansion. You might think it would be Julia’s uncle, Adlai Stevenson, who served as vice president. Or maybe it’s one of the other notable people the Vroomans met during almost seventy years of marriage.

But you’d be wrong.

The other ghost sometimes appears in a grove of trees on the mansion lawn. He’s tall and slender, and he wears a distinct type of hat. A stovepipe hat. He also died violently, which might explain why his ghost wanders old haunts of his happier days.

That’s right, people claim to have seen Abraham Lincoln’s ghost outside Vrooman Mansion!

From the southeast corner of the house, you can see a park with a plaque reading “Lincoln Oak Memorial.” On that site stood an old oak tree where Abraham Lincoln gave several speeches between 1855 and 1860. Remember, Lincoln started out as a country lawyer. He appeared in county courts all throughout central Illinois, including the one in Bloomington. And he gave lots of public speeches when running for the U.S. Senate (he lost) and then the presidency (he won).

Lincoln’s opponent for the Senate, Stephen A. Douglas, also gave speeches by that oak tree. And when the two men debated each other, they drew huge crowds—the Lincoln-Douglas debates are some of the most influential in American history.

Now, there’s no proof that Lincoln and Douglas ever debated each other outside the Vrooman Mansion.

But there’s no proof that they didn’t, either.

So take a trip to the Vrooman Mansion in Bloomington. Maybe you’ll see the former president outside, walking the grounds near the Lincoln Oak.

But if not, try visiting the mansion. See how Julia Vrooman might have lived during her century at the house, and maybe she’ll greet you herself!