As he began to dream, Lincoln experienced “a death-like stillness about me.” Hearing the sounds of subdued sobs, he walked downstairs in search of the “mournful sounds of distress,” but encountered no living person until he entered the East Room, where he found “a sickening surprise”; a covered corpse resting on a catafalque, surrounded by soldiers, with mourners gazing at the body and weeping. “‘Who is dead in the White House?’ I demanded of one of the soldiers,” Lincoln related in Lamon’s account, continuing; “‘The President” was his answer; “He was killed by an assassin!'” Lincoln then stated that he awoke soon after in response to a “loud burst of grief from the crowd” did not sleep again that night due to the dream, and “have been strangely annoyed by it since.”
President Lincoln related many of his dreams to his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, and she took them seriously, and tried to interpret them. It’s easy for us to look back, and realize that except for one premonition, some of her interpretations (and his) were probably incorrect; deciding most as political-based dreams, instead of the dark truth…he was having premonitions of his own death.
Reportedly, Lincoln’s first premonition was seeing himself in two mirrors; in the first, he was alive, and healthy; a normal reflection. In the second, he saw an eerie, lifeless image of himself. After seeing the ‘dead’ image, Lincoln took a walk in an attempt to shake it off. When he told Mary of the dream, she interpreted it as a warning that he wouldn’t live through his second term as president of the Untied States.
Another dream Lincoln had seems simple, and easy to interpret, but for whatever reason, it was also pushed aside.
The president dreamed of being on a boat by himself; he was heading into fog, and he couldn’t navigate the boat as it sped up across the ocean. Interpreted, the boat was Lincoln; the water he sped across was his life, (shortness of time; soon) and the fog was the unknown (death). Mary Todd Lincoln’s interpretation that this dream was about her husband’s eagerness to push a political issue may have been a sign that it was the most prominent thing on her mind at the time, and not a true dream interpretation. Projecting your own mindset is something that you have to be aware of, and avoid in the study of dream interpretation.
Some reports incorrectly state that Lincoln didn’t believe in dream premonition, but his dreams fascinated him enough for him to tell his wife, and others about them, and to ask for help interpreting them. The president also took to the Bible for help interpreting his dreams, saying (correctly) that the book was filled with dream symbols & interpretations. He was also particularly disturbed by the ‘funeral dream’, and the essence of it stayed with him for several days afterwards.
The lesson is; if you dream of anything that gives you anxiety, bothers you, and you can’t seem to ‘shake off’, no matter if the dream is about you or someone else, take it as your sign that the message in that dream demands attention. If it catches you off guard the first time, be prepared to write your dreams down the following mornings, and when you look back at them – study them – you might be able to put together the symbolization, get the message, and save yourself or someone else a world of trouble.