Book says Hillary talks to dead

Hillary Clinton

First lady acknowledged
'imaginary' chats.

June 22, 1996
Web posted at: 11:55 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton held imaginary conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi as a therapeutic release, according to a new book written by Bob Woodward, says a report in Sunday's edition of The Chicago Sun-Times.

The first lady declined a personal adviser's suggestion that she address Jesus Christ, however, because it would be "too personal," according to Woodward's book, "The Choice."

The book, which is still to be published, takes a behind-the-scenes look at the Clintons, as well as Bob and Elizabeth Dole.

Woodward says the adviser was Jean Houston, co-director of the Foundation for Mind Research, which he describes as a group that studies the psychic experience and altered and expanded consciousness.

The book portrays Houston as an influential adviser who urged Mrs. Clinton to write her book, "It Takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us," and in the process "virtually moved into the White House" for days at a time to help with revisions, the Sun-Times reported.


Woodward suggests the White House hoped to keep Mrs. Clinton's relationship with Houston and her talks with the dead a secret.

"Most people in the White House did not know about Hillary's sessions with Houston. ... To some of the few who did, the meetings could trigger politically damaging comparisons to Nancy Reagan's use of astrology," Woodward wrote.

Mrs. Clinton's spokeswoman, Lisa Caputo, is quoted in the Sun-Times as saying the first lady's interest in Houston is no secret.

Woodward says anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson, daughter of famed anthropologist Margaret Mead, joined her in sessions of imaginary conversations.

Woodward is an assistant managing editor at The Washington Post. As a reporter, he helped break the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein.

Mrs. Clinton herself wrote about her imaginary conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt in her June 10 column. She said she talked to Roosevelt about the role of a first lady.

"She usually responds by telling me to buck up, or at least to grow skin as thick as a rhinoceros," Mrs. Clinton wrote.

In the column, she described Houston as an expert on philosophy and mythology. "(Houston) has shared her views with me on everything from the ancient Greeks to the lives of women and children on Bangladesh," she wrote.

Mrs. Clinton also acknowledged her relationship with Bateson.

"She and I have spent hours discussing the ways in which women in different societies attempt to fulfill their responsibilities to their families, jobs and communities," Mrs. Clinton wrote.

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