Abraham Lincoln Hunted Vampires. Chester A. Arthur Chased Sasquatches.

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
June 22 2012 6:02 PM

The Secret Histories of Other U.S. Presidents

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Chester A. Arthur, the 21st U.S. president, brandishes his favorite Sasquatch hunting machete

As everyone knows, Abraham Lincoln was not only the 16th president of the United States, but also a vampire hunter. But his great feats in both lines of work have overshadowed the covert activities of other, less popular 19th-century American presidents.

Herewith, some of the more interesting and lesser known sidelines of just a few of these brave and accomplished men.

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Chester A. Arthur: Sasquatch Assassin

Chester A. Arthur, our 21st president, vigorously pursued civil service reform during his time in office. He also vigorously pursued the roving bands of Ape-Men that terrorized his home state of Vermont and claimed the lives of his parents in 1845.

Grover Cleveland: Time Warrior

What most people know about Grover Cleveland is that, alone among U.S. Presidents, he served two non-consecutive terms of office. Less widely known is the reason those terms were non-consecutive. After commandeering an experimental time travel device from a young Nikola Tesla in early 1889, Cleveland spent the better part of the next four years traveling through the past, righting historical injustices. Below he is pictured during his extended stay in the late Cretaceous period.

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Grover Cleveland, pictured on his visit to the cretaceous period, taken after serving the first of two non-consecutive terms in the White House

Andrew Jackson: Alien Slayer

“Old Hickory,” as America’s 7th President was known, has been rightly criticized for his brutal forced removal of American Indians during the 1820s and ’30s. But historians must balance this unfortunate legacy with his single-handed, bare-knuckled repeal of an alien invasion in 1836.

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Illustration from a contemporary newspaper account of Andrew Jackson's battle with alien invaders

William Henry Harrison: Zombie

William Henry Harrison has the shortest tenure of any U.S. President, holding office for just 32 days. He was also the only President to serve while dead, having been killed in a horse carriage accident in late 1840, only to be reanimated by a curse that he incurred while defiling a Native American burial ground during the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. Vice President John Tyler noticed the president’s state of decay shortly after taking office, and quietly executed the undead Commander in Chief, telling everyone it was “pneumonia.”

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William Henry Harrison, zombie

Chris Wade is a producer for Slate Video and occasional contributor to Brow Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

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