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 Posted: Wed Oct 30th, 2013 08:55 pm
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Hellcat
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Comets. For centuries these heavenly bodies were viewed as the harbingers of death. Bringers of doom and destruction. In early 1861 there was at least on comet spotted in the skies over DC. Both Christopher Coleman in Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil War and Michael Sanders in Strange Tales of the Civil War tell the story of Oola an the War Comet.

Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil War says that Oola was an ancient black woman, the slave of the Woodward family. She was tall with wrinkled features and hawk-like eyes. The black community at large were afraid of her, claiming she the evil eye and was a conjurer of spells. She was also the teller of fortunes and the children of the neighborhood would have their fortunes told by Oola. One day she told the Taft children that the comet in the sky was a fiery sword with it's handle pointed to the North and the point pointed towards the South. It was predicting, according to Oola, a war between the North and the South in which the North would take this "sword" and cut out the heart of the South. But it was not without it's consequences for if Lincoln took the sword then he would perish by it.

The Tafts were playmates with Willie and Tad Lincoln and Julia Taft (later Julia Taft Bayne, author of Tad Lincoln's Father) told Tad Oola's prophecy. Now Ghost and Haunts of the Civil War says that Tad told his father about the prophecy and Lincoln laughed at it. But that he did take interest in it and could be spotted a few nights later staring up at the comet. Strange Tales of the Civil War takes the conversation between father and son a little differently. Here Tad tells both his parents about Oola's prophecy and that it was his mother who laughed at the prophecy but Lincoln was interested by it. When Tad asked if he thought that was what she had meant Lincoln supposedly said he hoped it wouldn't come to that.

This comet was supposedly seen in April 1861. Of course we all know what happened that month and in the years to come. And we know that the war ultimately cost Lincoln his life. Did Oola actually see Lincoln's death or was it just a coincidence?

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