Vanished: John Wilkes Booth "They Can Only Hang Me Once"

Season 2, Episode 7,   Jan 24, 2021, 01:59 AM

I’ve been investigating historical mysteries for a long time. And everything always begins with a story.

It’s hard to look at our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln as controversial. But he was. As much as he’s now revered the world over for his acts during his presidency, there were many people that stood in opposition of Lincoln and the Union. When we think of Lincoln, we often think about his end; the assassination that we’ll be covering so deeply during this series. But what you might not know is that the assassination that would be successfully carried out in 1865 wasn’t the first attempt on his life. Four years earlier, there was another attempt. And the story behind this one is something out of a summer blockbuster movie. But every bit of it is real. In order to get to the ending, and everything beyond, we need to start at the beginning.

Tonight, we lay out all the events that begin on April the 14th 1865 and end 12 days later in a tobacco farm in Virginia. Or do they?

As our split investigation continues on from Oklahoma and Austin, here’s the big question. If John Wilkes Booth did vanish that night in 1865, he must have had help. So, who helped him? Could it be that Booth was simply the tip of the spear that pierced the Union? Is it possible, maybe even probable that the figure calling the shots was in Lincoln's own cabinet? A man that would have the most to gain from the assassination of the president? And was his potential collusion influenced by the most famous assassin in all of history?

Welcome back to Vanished. This is part 2 of our series on John Wilkes Booth.


  • Dave Taylor's "John Wilkes Booth: In the Woods" Series Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7
  • The Podcast of Record 1865
  • Allan Pinkerton @ Wikipedia 
  • Kate Warne @ Wikipedia 
  • "The Unsuccessful Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln" @ Smithsonian 
  • "Abolitionist John Brown is Hanged" @ History
  • "The Web of Conspiracy" by Theodore Roscoe @ Amazon 
  • James William Boyd @ Wikipedia 
  • "A Conspiracy Theory to End All Conspiracy Theories: Did John Wilkes Booth Act Alone?" @ Rollingstone 
  • "John Wilkes Booth Killed Lincoln, but Who Killed John Wilkes Booth?" @ Vice 
  • "The Escape & Suicide of John Wilkes Booth" by Finis L. Bates @ Amazon 
  • "A Piece of Crutch" @ Lincoln Conspirators 
  • "Historical Vertebrae, a Sideshow Mummy and the Lingering Mystery of John Wilkes Booth" @ PBS