What you’re about to hear really started for me a few years ago. I was just about to leave Los Angeles for our big family move out to the midwest. I was in the Los Angeles Public Library looking through some microfilm on Amelia Earhart when I stumbled back a little too far and found the contents of an 1862 Valentines’ note to Lucy Lambert Hale; a prominent Washington D.C. socialite. That’s right. Everything you’re about to hear, started with a Valentine.
The contents of the note read like something out of a period romance film but with just a pinch of darkness. The words jumped off the page. Here’s what it said.
“My dear Miss Hale, were it not for the License with a time-honored observance of this day allows, I had not written you this poor note. … You resemble in a most remarkable degree a lady, very dear to me, now dead and your close resemblance to her surprised me the first time I saw you. This must be my apology for any apparent rudeness noticeable. To see you has indeed afforded me a melancholy pleasure, if you can conceive of such, and should we never meet nor I see you again believe me, I shall always associate you in my memory, with her, who was very beautiful, and whose face, like your own I trust, was a faithful index of gentleness and amiability. With a Thousand kind wishes for your future happiness I am, to you, a stranger.
The, at the time anonymous letter captivated Miss Hale, and that captivation went from 0 - 60 when she learned that the note had been written by none other than John Wilkes Booth; the man that three years later would commit the most famous assassination in all of history.
As I sat there pondering what I’d just read one of the librarians came over to me and said “you found the Hale note”. I remember telling her how I’d always been fascinated by the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and by John Wilkes Booth in particular. And then she hit me with a question that I’ve been wondering about to this very day. “Did you know the FBI still holds an active investigation into the fate of John Wilkes Booth?” And that question has taken us to Oklahoma.
Since that day in Los Angeles in 2017 I’ve been piecing together a story that I’ve gone over and over and over in my head. A story that, as history has recorded it, contains love, betrayal, tyranny, rage, murder, secret burial plots, modern day trials, the birth of the FBI, mummy's, and a history altering conspiracy that the world isn’t ready to believe.
And that’s before we got to it.
Season 2 rolls on from Oklahoma, this is part one of Vanished: John Wilkes Booth.
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Smith & Vinson Law Firm Official Website
Jennifer Taylor Attorney Profile @ Smith & Vinson's Official Website
Smith & Vinson on Twitter
Music by Dane Gerous Schmidt
"Satisfied" performed by Amber Farndon
Album Art Illustration courtesy of Desdymona
Vanished is a ChrisEvan Films Production
Vanished is part of the Straight Up Strange Podcast Network
Vanished stars Jennifer Taylor and Chris Williamson with a special appearance by Montgomery Sutton as John Wilkes Booth
SHOW NOTES & FURTHER READING
"Into the Abyss: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln" by Kate Gillett
"Stalking John Wilkes Booth" @ American Battlefield Trust
"Lucy Lambert Gets a Valentine From John Wilkes Booth" @ New England Historical Society
Abraham Lincoln @ Wikipedia
Edwin Stanton @ Wikipedia
Andrew Johnson @ Wikipedia
William H. Seward @ Wikipedia
Ulysses S. Grant @ Wikipedia
Jefferson Davis @ Wikipedia
Robert E. Lee @ Wikipedia
THE BOOTH FAMILY
John Wilkes Booth @ Wikipedia
Edwin Booth @ Wikipedia
Asia Booth Clarke @ Wikipedia
Michael O'Laughlen @ Wikipedia