Entranced: St. Charles’ secret spiritualist history
The following is a fact-based account of St. Charles history written by Abby Sheaffer, a resident of St. Charles. In 1871, Mary Todd Lincoln registered at the Howard House Hotel on 123 S. 3rd St. in St. Charles under the alias of “Mrs. May.” It is said she grew close to Mrs. Caroline Howard, the proprietor’s wife. Records indicate that Mrs. Howard was blessed with the gift of clairvoyance. Because of this, Mary Todd frequently visited Mrs. Howard in hopes of contacting her late husband and sons. The following account is written in the style of creative nonfiction.
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She held séances in her parlor many evenings. The glow of her candle would beam from behind the heavy damask curtains that adorned her front window, such that children returning from a day of fishing on the river would stop and pause in wonder, afraid to get too close, while the bravest of the bunch would sneak across the emerald lawn and peek through the window before being shooed away.
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