Why did Booth shoot Lincoln?

148 years ago tonight, Abraham Lincoln was fatally shot in the back of the head by John Wilkes Booth, but that’s just the beginning of the story, ‘Sic Semper Versipellis‘ which is now available as part of ZOMBIE JESUS AND OTHER TRUE STORIES at Amazon.com from Dark Moon Books:

ZOMBIE JESUS AND OTHER TRUE STORIES, now available at Amazon.com.

ZOMBIE JESUS AND OTHER TRUE STORIES, now available at Amazon.com.

“What did he say?” asked Clement, touching the tip of his pencil to his tongue and flipping his reporter’s notebook to a fresh page, his notes on the evening’s performance of “Our American Cousin” completely forgotten.

“That was John Wilkes Booth,” one man said, repeating it a few times to tamp down his own disbelief.

“John Wilkes Booth, the actor?”

“The same,” answered another.  

“What did he say?” Clement repeated.  He valued the byline ‘Clement Ambrose’ and wanted to make sure the details were absolutely solid before he wrote anything.

“‘The South is avenged,’” offered someone else.

“No, it was Latin,” suggested another anonymous voice in the now madly-chattering crowd.  The burnt smell of the spent gunpowder seemed to be waking them up from the shock.  “Something or other to the effect of ‘thus always to turncoats.’”

“It was the Virginia state motto,” insisted still someone more.  “Sic semper tyrannis.”

The man, Booth according to most, was gone, having leaped to the stage from the presidential box and off from there.  All that was left was a strip of bunting that had caught his spur, still tacked by one corner to the rail of Lincoln’s box as it trailed down to the floor in a twisted wreck, like the innards of a wounded soldier.

What if Booth had a good reason for killing Lincoln? One that had nothing to do with politics and war? We think we know what happened, based on the evidence provided by his co-conspirators and journals, but it’s possible, disturbingly so, that there was a far more sinister motive for the shooting at Ford’s Theater on April 14, 1865.

Asking that question begs the next: what else don’t we know? Read the secrets your high school history teacher didn’t want you to know in the following stories:

  • “Damned” by Cody Langille
  • “The Hunger Beneath the Sea” by T. Fox Dunham
  • “Saving Cloud-Girl” by Eric J. Hildeman
  • “Culture Sculptor” by Charlie Fish
  • “Partners” by Ian Welke
  • “The Hopeful Doctor” by E.F. Schraeder
  • Sic Semper Versipellis” by Christian A. Larsen
  • “Auction” by James Hoch
  • “The Darwin Line” by James Ciscell
  • “Victoria, Victoria” by K.M. Indovina
  • “Those That Knock” by Morgen Knight
  • “The Journal of USS Indianapolis Survivor: Stefanos “Stevie” Georgiou” by Kevin James Breaux
  • “Avoid Seeing a Mouse” by James Dorr
  • “The Golgotha Fight Song” by Barrie Darke
  • “Legends” by Kristopher Triana

ZOMBIE JESUS AND OTHER TRUE STORIES, edited by Max Booth III, 176 pp., Dark Moon Books, $14.95.

2 Responses to “Why did Booth shoot Lincoln?”

  1. aslan's frau Says:

    I never would have remembered that this was the anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination if you hadn’t posted this.

    • It’s not something people really celebrate. That said, I’ll be watching The Twilight Zone’s “Back There” tonight to mark the anniversary.

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