Tag Archive for: Abraham Lincoln


By AB Plum

Laughter, they say, is good for the soul. In The MisFits, my dark psychological thriller series, few characters laugh. The question remains open, does Michael Romanov, the main character, have a soul?

This deep philosophical question leads my writer’s mind to ask: Do politicians have souls?

Too many of them, like Michael, are self-serving. Easily corrupted. Filled with hubris. Convinced they know more than the rest of us. Lacking in empathy—though they can fake compassion if it serves them. The list could go on, but this is a blog—not a book series.

If the above description sounds cynical, maybe I’ve been at my keyboard writing about the dark side of human nature too long. But I think Michael Romanov could run for president—and maybe win because he’s charismatic, straight-talking, ignorant about his ignorance, and a master manipulator. Oh, and did I mention proud?

Woe unto anyone who dares laugh at Michael. In his view, jail time for such an offense would carry mandatory hard labor as part of the sentence. (Or since he’s a full-blown psychopath, he might choose murder to save face).

If I sound as if I’ve slipped off the cusp of reality, have you read about the woman arrested for laughing at a comment about AG Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing? 

Yes, the arrest happened. The judge threw out the jury’s guilty verdict but allowed a new date for another trial. So, what should we believe now?
  • ·        Laughter is the best medicine?
  • ·        Laughter is against the law?
  • ·        Laughter is good for the soul?
  • ·        Laughter can put you in jail?

Once we answer these questions, others pop up:
  • ·        Does a snicker carry the same possible penalty as a laugh?
  • ·        Where does a laugh end and a guffaw begin?
  • ·        Can we still use LOL in emails without fear?
  • ·        Should we ban giggles, chortles, chuckles, titters, and sniggers?
  • ·        Are cackles okay in the privacy of our own homes?
  • ·        Are babies exempt from arrest or must we teach them to stop smiling and laughing?

Perhaps to play it safe, we need to ignore Abraham Lincoln:  “With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh, I should die.”

When AB’s not writing about murder and families, she laughs a lot on daily hikes, aerobic dancing, and watching old Nick and Nora movies in Silicon Valley, just off the fast lane. She’s allowing herself a big smile every day through Friday, September 15. That’s the date when The In-Between Years, Book 3 in the MisFit Series will go live on Amazon.

A Missing Corpse?

When it comes to mysteries, few things are as bone-chilling as the thought of a missing corpse. After all, shouldn’t the dead be left alone? Not necessarily. Grave robbing can—and has—happened.

Michael Jackson’s family is said to have selected Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California for his burial, feeling that it was a more secure location for his body. They needn’t go back too far in history to find reason for concern. Elvis Presley’s remains were the target of an unsuccessful “body snatching” plot, and in 1978 Charlie Chaplin’s body was removed from his grave. His widow refused to pay a ransom, so poor Charlie was later discovered left in a cornfield by his frustrated abductors.

The idea of stealing a body for ransom goes back to the late 1800s. In 1876 a plan to take Lincoln’s body was foiled, but the body of Alexander T. Stewart, one of the wealthiest merchants of the Gilded Age, was successfully removed, and this crime set off a major fear among the well-to-do. Woodlawn Cemetery, the interment site of Jay Gould, established a security force after robber baron Jay Gould was placed in the family mausoleum there because there had been threats that his body would be taken.

Of course, grave robbing used to have a “practical” purpose—digging up bodies was one of the methods necessary to obtain bodies for dissection and medical study. Often the “procurer” made his living by obtaining bodies and/or organs for doctors or medical schools, but sometimes the medical students themselves had to get their own bodies. Documents left by the students indicate that the procurement of bodies was actually quite stressful. One fellow wrote, “No occurrences in the course of my life have given me more trouble and anxiety than the procuring of subjects for dissection.” With his friends at Harvard, this fellow, John Collins Warren Jr., created a secret anatomic society in 1771 called Spunkers, whose purpose was to conduct anatomic dissections.

Body snatching presented a terrible problem for the families of the deceased. They commonly set up watch over the body until burial, and later, relatives would take turns watching over the grave for a few days to be certain it was not dug up afterward.

Today fears of body snatching are primarily limited to those where there is enough ‘fame value” that the body parts would do well on eBay. In the meantime, most people today will be allowed to “rest in peace.”

Kate Kelly

Kate Kelly is a corporate speaker and successful author of more than 25 nonfiction titles. She is a veteran of both local and nationwide talk and news programs and has been quoted in publications such as Time and The Wall Street Journal. She has appeared on World News Tonight, Good Morning America, The View, The CBS Early Show, Fox and Friends, and on CNN, MSNBC and The Fox News Channel. For more interesting bits from American history, check out http://www.americacomesalive.com/blog