Historical Events  People
Lincoln Memorial clenched fist

Was Abe's fist always clenched?

MMDE: Both hands resting over edge of chair arms

Current: Left hand is a clenched fist

The iconic Lincoln Memorial is instantly recognised the world over. Was Abe resting his left hand over the arm of his chair, or clenching his fist?

Some experiencing the Mass Memory Discrepancy Effect claim it was just like his right hand, resting over the end, and say a clenched fist this way doesn't fit with the feel for how a statue of Lincoln would have been designed.

This isn't the first time a statue has "changed" - see also Moses Horns and The Thinker.

Some references exist, such as drawings etc, which show both hands in the same pose. Then again, nothing in these things was done by accident, and he did abolish slavery...

Iconic site

The Lincoln Memorial was built between 1914 and 1922, and the statue of Lincoln created in 1920. It is the site of many famous speeches, including the 1963 Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. The Lincoln statue has been filmed and photographed for over a hundred years now, so any discrepancy in such as details as how his hands were placed should be well established and documented by now.

There's an urban legend about his hands - they spell his initials in sign language. This is denied by the authorities.

The statue is huge - it weights 175 tons and is 19ft tall. If Lincoln were standing, he'd actually be 28ft tall.

Those who remember both hands resting on the arms might have only seen it from one side, the side where his arm is actually resting normally, and not realised they both are different. In that case they "fill in the blanks" when remembering this details they never actually were aware of, and the assumption somehow becomes a firm memory.