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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter & Other Things You Didn't Know

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Abraham Lincoln: Was His Mother Killed by Vampires?
Honest Abe

Honest Abe

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In "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" the 16th president is out for revenge after witnessing his own mother get killed by bloodsuckers.

In reality, Lincoln did witness the death of his mother -- but it wasn't vampires that killed her.

It was something called milk sickness.

Nancy Hanks Lincoln died with Abraham Lincoln was 9 after getting the disease, which comes from drinking the milk of cows that ate the white snakeroot plant.

"Ordinary settlers and their doctors found it unpredictable, untreatable and highly fatal," Dr. Walter J. Daly, dean emeritus of the Indiana University School of Medicine, wrote in Indiana Magazine of History. "Milk sickness killed many, frightened more and caused local economic crises. Villages and farms were abandoned; livestock died; entire families were killed. Migration to areas thought to be safer became common. And then the disease almost disappeared without any special preventive actions... Its disappearance would prove to be a consequence of the progress of Midwestern civilization and advances in agriculture."

Milk sickness was also called puking fever, sick stomach, slows, and the trembles, according to the National Park Service. Symptoms include loss of appetite, listlessness, weakness, vague pains, muscle stiffness, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, severe constipation, bad breath, and finally, coma, the agency says. Followed by death in many cases, including this one.

Truth be told, that sounds a lot worse than vampires.

Lincoln's father remarried and Honest Abe was raised by his stepmother.

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