Is This Wilson?

Spiritualism drew a lot of attention from Americans in the decades between the Civil War and the Great Depression. Scientists, celebrities, and presidents all debated communication with spirits and many of them, like everyone else, visited mediums. In elaborate seances, people got the chance to talk to the departed dead. Some of the messages could be heartrending. Others had advise from historical figures. And many of the voices of the dead were just spooky.

President Wilson was not known to be a great believer in ghost stories or spiritualism. However, this book from 1929 claims to have his messages from the afterlife.


Catherine Amy Dawson Scott (1865– 1934), an accomplished writer in England, came to believe that she could communicate with the dead. She began work on a novel, she claims, and instead her abilities summoned up the ghost of Woodrow Wilson to bring her knowledge from beyond. This included wisdom such as: “The spiritual side of human beings is more complicated than supposed.” Or: “The birds are wiser. They know a scarecrow for the dead thing that it is.”

So, as we begin October we have to ask: “Is This Wilson?”