A Finger in Lincoln’s Brain: What Modern Science Reveals about Lincoln, His Assassination, and Its Aftermath

This is Dr. E. Lawrence Abel giving an interesting presentation at the National Archives about what some scientific investigations into Lincoln’s assassination have revealed.

From the video’s description:  “E. Lawrence Abel sheds light on the details surrounding the death of Abraham Lincoln, including John Wilkes Booth’s illness, the alleged medical treatment the wounded President received, and the significance of his funeral for the American public.”


  1. Bob Nelson · · Reply

    Some really good stuff, particularly that the back of Lincoln’s head/hair was not burned — therefore Booth did not actually push the barrel into the back of AL’s head as I have written before in my “Today” posts. The shot came from further away. Details of the entry wound. That the entry wound was round and smooth. That Booth was suffering from syphilis, which may have accounted in some degree for his mental instability. That AL was autopsied. What happened to AL’s brain after the autopsy? That Booth had appeared in “Our American Cousin” at least a dozen times. That AL was killed by a “bad”/unlucky shot (that Booth was most likely aiming at Lincoln’s back). I really enjoy reading/hearing stuff that I did not know before. For example, that Booth knew Grant wouldn’t be there and that he was surprised seeing Rathbone in the box, which caused his timing to be off with the fatal shot (Booth thought the laughter would cover it up). And if I may put in a plug for one of my favorite “Lincoln” books, see Timothy Good’s “We Saw Lincoln Shot: One Hundred Eyewitness Accounts.”

    1. Don’t put too much stock in the syphilis effects. It normally takes many years for the effects to show up in behavior.

      1. Bob Nelson · · Reply

        Right. He was only 27 or 28.

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