Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter & Other Things You Didn't Know

The President's Associations With the Supernatural and More

Was Abraham Lincoln really a vampire hunter?

Probably not. Or at least, if there was, there's no actual record of it.

But there are plenty of unusual stories about the 16th president of the United States that you probably didn't know—like the fact that he was the first president to sport a beard.

He was like the ZZ Top of presidents, except that although he's remembered for that beard, he didn't actually have facial hair most of his life.

Bearded presidents are still outliers; there were only four others: James Garfield, Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, and Rutherford B. Hayes, although several had mustaches—and who can forget the mutton chops of Chester A. Arthur?

Abraham Lincoln: Was His Mother Killed by Vampires?

Gettysburg Address
Library of Congress / Getty Images

In "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," the 16th president is out for revenge after witnessing his own mother get killed by bloodsuckers.

In reality, Lincoln did witness the death of his mother—but it wasn't vampires that killed her.

It was something called milk sickness.

Nancy Hanks Lincoln died when Abraham Lincoln was 9. She contracted the disease from drinking the milk of cows that ate the white snakeroot plant.

"Ordinary settlers and their doctors found it unpredictable, untreatable and highly fatal," Dr. Walter J. Daly, dean emeritus of the Indiana University School of Medicine, wrote in the Indiana Magazine of History. "Milk sickness killed many, frightened more and caused local economic crises. Villages and farms were abandoned; livestock died; entire families were killed. Migration to areas thought to be safer became common. And then the disease almost disappeared without any special preventive actions....Its disappearance would prove to be a consequence of the progress of Midwestern civilization and advances in agriculture."

Milk sickness was also called puking fever, sick stomach, slows, and the trembles, according to the National Park Service. Symptoms included loss of appetite, listlessness, weakness, vague pains, muscle stiffness, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, severe constipation, bad breath, and finally, coma, the agency said, followed by death in many cases, including this one.

Truth be told, that sounds a lot worse than vampires.

Lincoln's father remarried, and Honest Abe was raised by his stepmother.

Abraham Lincoln: Taller Than the Average Vampire

Abraham Lincoln Memorial
OGphoto / Getty Images

Most people know Abraham Lincoln was really, really tall. But they don't realize just how tall. At 6 feet, 4 inches, he was the tallest president ever (if a little short for the NBA). His great height meant that even when he was sitting down, he was as tall as the average person—or vampire—standing up.

Psychic President: Did Abraham Lincoln Foresee His Own Death?

Abraham Lincoln at Antietam During Civil War
Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

Just a week before he was shot and killed by John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln reportedly told a friend that he'd had a dream in which he walked through the White House and found everyone crying.

When he finally asked someone why they were all crying, he was told it was because the president had been killed, though the person laid out wasn't him. Fact or fiction? Historians doubt it, as some of the details don't mesh. In any case, Lincoln was apparently interested in deducing the meaning of dreams.

Was Abraham Lincoln the Victim of a Curse?

Abraham Lincoln and Charles Sumner Salute Union Troops
wynnter / Getty Images

Sure, Abraham Lincoln could likely handle a few vampires, but a curse is another story.

Lincoln was the second in a long line of presidents elected in a year ending with a zero to die in office, starting with William Henry Harrison in 1840 and ending with John F. Kennedy in 1960. Ronald Reagan came close but survived his assassination attempt—the bullet came within an inch of his heart.

It's commonly called "Tecumseh's Curse" because Harrison had defeated Tecumseh at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. The curse is probably not real, of course, but the incidents make for intriguing coincidences.

Abraham Lincoln and the Bearded Grudge

President and Cabinet
Archive Photos / Getty Images

Abraham Lincoln might have been famous for his beard (the first ever by a president), but there's another famous beard he helped to grow: the 12-foot, 6-inch-long beard grown by Valentine Tapley.

Tapley was a Democrat, and he hated the Republican Lincoln so much that he swore he'd never shave again if Lincoln was elected.

It was a promise he kept until his death in 1910.