The Spirits in the White (Sepulchre) House
At a news conference in Chicago, President Elect Barack Obama said he had spoken with all the living presidents as he prepares to take office in January. Then he jovially quipped, “I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about doing any seances.”
It was a joke that did not go down well with the image managers of the Reagan Estate. President-Elect Obama later called Nancy Reagan to apologize for his “off hand remarks.”
What is all the furor about? It turns out that the 87-year-old former first lady had consulted with astrologers during her husband’s presidency. However, it is not quite clear whether she also held conversations with the dead.
Former White House chief of staff Donald T. Regan wrote that Nancy Reagan consulted an astrologer to help set her husband’s schedule. One can only imagine what other “other-worldly” instructions and opinions “the spirits” or the “stars” (whatever) might have insinuated into American polices via Ronald Regan through Nancy Reagan.
The revelation created a furor at that time and President Reagan even broke with his policy of not commenting on books by former White House staffers. “No policy or decision in my mind has ever been influenced by astrology,” Ronald Reagan declared.
A little while thereafter, this story vanished from the public sphere of discourse and consciousness.
Other past White House occupants have also been linked with conversation with the dead and spirits and stars. Obama’s top Democratic challenger for the presidency, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y for example might have participated in several types of “seance” sessions during her stay at that illustrous edifice.
Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, narrated in his book “The Choice,” how Clinton consulted with a spiritual adviser who led her through conversations with her personal hero, Eleanor Roosevelt (a former first lady and wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt). Even Newsweek magazine characterized the visits as “seances,” a term that White House officials quickly tried to squelch.
“These were people who were helping her laugh, helping her think,” said Neel Lattimore, Clinton’s spokeswoman. “These were not seances.”
A little while thereafter, this story vanished from the public consciousness.
Mazi Omeife Jideofo