One of the strangest, most intriguing, and yet almost unknown episodes in American history unfolded in 1876, eleven years after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. A band of Chicago counterfeiters hatched a plot to steal the President's body from its tomb outside Springfield, Illinois, and hold it for a ransom of $200,000. A paid informant told the newly formed Secret Service. When both the police and the criminals showed up at the cemetery on the appointed night, the scheme was foiled.
This feature-length special from History explores the peculiar confluence of historical trends and cultural movements that prompted the crime: the birth of counterfeiting, the growth of embalming, and the influence of secret societies in American life, among others. But above all, the story shows how important this beloved President remained to a public so unprepared for his violent death in 1865.
Startling and informative, this is one of those tales you have to see to believe.