Ghosts of Presidents’ Day

In honor of President’s Day, we remember our presidents who have gone before us into the great beyond. Although there are legion presidential ghost stories and many books that document them, nearly all such tales occur outside of Wisconsin. George Washington is said to roam various locales, while the ghost of Lincoln claims the White House. Lincoln’s funeral train, which passed through 7 states in 1865, still glides the rails, according to legend, but only gets as close as Illinois.

However, there is one paranormal presidential tale to which we can lay claim. Teddy Roosevelt visited Milwaukee in 1912. While Roosevelt was in route to an important speech, John Schrank, a former bartender, shot him in the chest with a .38 revolver.

Roosevelt was saved by the folded up speech and eyeglass case in his jacket pocket, which slowed down the bullet and caused it to miss vital vessels and organs. His intrepid style largely unchecked, Roosevelt still went on to deliver his speech, with the bullet lodged in his chest. This is arguably the most interesting part of the story, lest we forget the ghostly element.

The shooter didn’t claim the devil made him do it. He was a little more original, alleging it was the ghost of assassinated President McKinley. According to Schrank, the phantom president blamed Roosevelt for his death and urged he be taken out to avoid the reinstatement of monarchy in the United States. Schrank was quickly found insane, although he fought this label, and was incarcerated until his death in 1943.


Assailant Who Wounded ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt Dies
The Milwaukee Journal – September 16, 1943

Book Recalls Teddy’s Close Call
The Milwaukee Journal – January 18, 1979

Reagan Becomes Eighth President to Become Target of an Assassination Try
Williamson Daily News – March 31, 1981

Amazing but True: Assassination Attempt Similar to Another
The Evening Independent – April 3, 1981


~ by mkeghosts on February 20, 2011.

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