Did John Wilkes Booth shoot a dying man? That’s the controversial conclusion reached by physician and amateur historian Dr. John Sotos, who says that President Abraham Lincoln was suffering from a lethal genetic cancer syndrome when he was shot at Ford’s Theatre 143 years ago. “Lincoln was a rare man with a rare disease,” said Sotos. He has self-published a 300-page book and 400-page database to support his conclusion, based on an exhaustive analysis of Lincoln photographs and historical eyewitness descriptions of the president’s health. “This solves a puzzle.”While most Americans only reflect on dead presidents during long weekends in February, Sotos and other physician historians pore over ancient accounts of long-gone symptoms, studying aches and pains as if the patient had stepped out of the grave into the clinic. These hobbyists have crafted a collection of retrospective diagnoses: George Washington might have suffered dementia during his last years in office; James Madison suffered seizures; Calvin Coolidge grew depressed after the death of his son; after a lifetime of heavy drinking, Franklin Pierce died of cirrhosis of the liver.
Lincoln’s health has fascinated medical sleuths. In 1962, it was suggested that his great height and long limbs were linked to a genetic disorder called Marfan syndrome. Others have proposed alternate ailments – Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, perhaps, or Stickler syndrome. Some say he suffered from depression or exhaustion. The late president’s health had long puzzled Sotos. – unexplainedmysteries