Guests enjoy a haunted Trick or Treat with Abe at the Lincoln Heritage Museum

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[November 02, 2016]   LINCOLN - On Saturday afternoon, the Lincoln Heritage Museum hosted “Trick or Treat with Abe” with some spooky upstairs historical reenactments for children and adults. Children and parents gathered in groups in the downstairs gift shop area, then group by group were escorted upstairs by Mr. Lincoln, where they visited four stations hearing stories and of course, trick-or-treating for candy.

Trick or treat with Abe was held between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday and was free of charge to guests. Everyone gathered into their groups downstairs. A table was set up where kids could decorate their treat bags with markers and stickers. There was also an opportunity to visit the downstairs display area while they awaited the time to go upstairs.

At the first station, guests heard the story of the Curse of Ann Mitchell. Ann grew up in Sterling, Kentucky in the civil war era. Ann was sweet on a man named John Bell Hood, and he loved her as well. But her family was not accepting of Mr. Hood. Instead, they forced Ann to marry a man named “Mr. Anderson” by kidnapping her from an attempt to run away with Hood, and locking her in a room until she married the man of their choosing.

After the birth of her son, Ann spoke only one last time in her life. She spoke, delivering a curse on her family members who had stolen her away from the man she loved, and forced her to marry a man she did not.

On that very day, Ann and two members of her family who played a large role in her marital bondage died in a horrific storm. In a short time, others who were involved also died, some in terrible ways, such as suicide.

It is said that yet today, Ann Mitchell Anderson haunts the gardens of the Hood home in Kentucky. It is also said that her spirit is a gentle one, bringing no fear or harm to any except those who wronged her so seriously.

At the second station, guests heard from Duff Armstrong who was tried for murder and found innocent, thanks to his defense attorney Abraham Lincoln. Duff explained his plight, how he had gotten into a fight with a man, then a few days later than same man was murdered and Duff was accused.

Duff explained that because of the lack of judges, he spent six months in jail awaiting his trial, but when that time finally came, Lincoln defended him with the truth, putting witnesses on the spot and showing that their testimony was not valid. Duff was found innocent.

Duff also shared with guests that while in jail, he learned to read.

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Station three was hosted by Allan Pinkerton of the Pinkerton Agency. He explained that his company was assigned to protect the president after his election. He recounted a story about the newly elected president traveling by train in 1861. When approaching Baltimore, Maryland, Lincoln was taken off the train by Pinkerton men and driven through the town in secret in the back of a wagon to protect him from an assassination plot that reportedly was to be carried out at the train station.

At the final station on the trick-or-treat tour, Mary Lincoln’s sister, Miss Edwards, talked about the grieving widow and how that after Abraham Lincoln’s death, she lost her mind. Miss Edwards explained that Mary Lincoln finished her days on earth living in her sister’s attic. Mary lived in the attic to escape the bright light because she suffered from terrible headaches.

Miss Edwards said that area children were mean to Mary, knowing she was in the attic. They would throw rocks to hit the upstairs window and frighten her. Miss Edwards said many knew that Mary was not stable, and as a result, all of the neighbors and friends stopped coming to visit Miss Edwards, making her life as well very lonely.

She said that now that Mary was dead, she would like to have visitors, but still no one comes because they believe her home is now haunted by Mary. She then offered the children guests a bribe. If they promised to come visit her in her home, she would give them candy now.

All the children agreed and received the gift as promised.

Along the way of the tour, from time to time Mr. Lincoln would ask if the children were willing to share their candy. He explained that Mrs. Lincoln never allowed him to have candy, and he would surely enjoy sneaking a secret piece or two. Several of the children offered him his choice of pieces from their bags of treats.

[Nila Smith]

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