In 1876, a gang of inept Chicago counterfeiters launched an absurd plot to steal the body of Abraham Lincoln and hold it for ransom. In today’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast, we’ll follow their comical attempts to carry out the bizarre scheme, and uncover the secret society that was formed afterward to protect Lincoln’s corpse.
We’ll also puzzle over an overlooked way to reduce the odds of dying of a heart attack.
Sources for our feature on Lincoln’s bodysnatchers:
Thomas J. Craughwell, Stealing Lincoln’s Body, 2007.
Bonnie Stahlman Speer, The Great Abraham Lincoln Hijack, 1997.
John Carroll Power, History of an Attempt to Steal the Body of Abraham Lincoln, 1890.
Thomas J. Craughwell, “A Plot to Steal Lincoln’s Body,” U.S. News, June 24, 2007.
David B. Williams, “The Odd Reburials of Abraham Lincoln,” Seattle Times, April 13, 2007.
Ray Bendici, “Thomas J. Craughwell Discusses the Odd Plot to Steal Lincoln’s Body,” Connecticut Magazine, Nov. 12, 2013.
Don Babwin, “Presidential Heist,” Associated Press, May 13, 2007.
This week’s lateral thinking puzzle is adapted from a puzzle in Edward J. Harshman’s 1996 book Fantastic Lateral Thinking Puzzles.
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Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.
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