Mary Todd Lincoln, President Lincoln’s wife, hosted as many as eight séances in the White House in hopes of contacting her two sons, Willie and Eddie, who had died in childhood. She reported being visited by both during these sessions. President Lincoln’s involvement with Spiritualism has been long debated. He did attend several seances with Mary Todd. But some historians believe he may have been there simply to lend support to his wife, as she was well-known to be emotionally unstable. Ward Hill Lamon, a close friend and biographer of Lincoln’s, stated that the President “was no dabbler in divination, astrology, horoscopy, prophecy, ghostly lore, or witcheries of any sort.” It’s not clear whether he actually participated in any seances. He did, however, take his turn at debunking. Lincoln asked Dr. Joseph Henry, a scientist and secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to investigate the claims of a medium named Charles J. Colchester who had performed seances in the White House. After Colchester gave a demonstration in Henry’s office of alleged spirit rappings, the scientist reported back to the President that the sounds came from Colchester himself and that he suspected trickery. The medium was later caught cheating and was warned not to return to the White House.