When This Photo Of Lincoln’s Wife Was Developed, An Eerie Figure Could Be Seen Looming Behind Her

Mary Todd Lincoln doesn’t suspect a thing. She’s perfectly still in her seat, waiting to get her picture taken. But after the photographer develops his film, it’s clear that something very strange has happened. He spies a creepy shape hovering near the first lady – and it’s eerie enough to send a chill down your spine.

Long time coming

Photo portraits back then involved a lot of work and patience. You couldn’t just snap a picture on a whim and be done. But Mary certainly got more than she bargained for after holding her pose for the required 60 seconds. And all the while, she never felt that spectral presence.

Lincoln widow

According to The New Yorker, the photo was taken by William Mumler in 1870. And there’s something important you need to know. You may already have guessed if you’re up on your history! By that point, Mary was a widow. It had been five long years since the assassination of her husband Abraham Lincoln.

Wiry frame

Before President Lincoln’s untimely death, he’d cut a very noticeable figure. From his wiry frame to his choice in top hats, he was hard to miss – or misrecognize. He had a distinctive face, too – solemn and weary. You’d know Lincoln if you saw him, right?

Developing picture

And so when Mumler was developing Mary’s picture, he had no doubt. That chilling sight when the image became clearer? It seemed for all the world that Honest Abe was standing behind his wife.