- Chief Tecumseh cursed William
Henry Harrison before he took presidential office. Does the curse still
- On February 7, a
former IRS agent was found just outside the fence on the southwestern side
of the White House, brandishing a handgun. It was reported that several
wild shots were fired before Secret Service officers disabled the man by
shooting him in the knee. The public was quickly reassured that although
President George W. Bush was in the White House at the time, his life was
never in danger.
- Or was it? Several
times during Bill Clinton's presidency, people scaled the fence protecting
the White House. One fired an automatic weapon, and a homeless man was
shot dead on the sidewalk in 1995, after brandishing a knife. Incidents
like this are not unusual. So what might give rise to added alarm about
this most recent event? It is because Bush was elected in the year 2000.
Every president elected from 1840 onward in the years ending in 0 either
has been shot or has died in office. Indeed, this odd coincidence seemingly
fulfills the folk myth of a remarkable Indian curse.
- Legend has it that,
after the battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, the Shawnee chief Tecumseh sent
Gen. William Henry Harrison a message. Delivered by released prisoners,
the chief's words are supposed to have been a prophecy that history has
labeled "Tecumseh's Curse": "Harrison will not win this
year to be the great chief. But he may win next year. If he does ... he
will not finish his term. He will die in office."
- "But Chief Tecumseh,
no president has ever died in office," one prisoner reportedly argued.
"Harrison will die, I tell you," Tecumseh is said to have insisted.
"And when he dies you will remember the deaths of my people. You think
that I have lost my powers: I who caused the sun to darken and red men
to give up firewater. But I tell you Harrison will die. And after him,
every great chief chosen every twenty years thereafter will die. And when
each one dies, let everyone remember the death of our people."
- In 1840, the sinister
presidential death cycle apparently foretold by Chief Tecumseh began. Subsequently,
every sitting president elected in a year ending in zero has died in office.
The lone exception was President Ronald Reagan who luckily survived, but
still endured, a serious assassination attempt. Some have claimed that
Reagan's escape broke the curse. Astrologers have even suggested that his
survival may be attributed to an auspicious correlation in the twenty-year
Jupiter-Saturn cycle in earth signs. The phenomenon occurred in an air
sign in 1980 but returns in 2000 to an earth sign.
- And what of the most
recent zero-year election? Could Tecumseh's curse be fulfilled once again?
Does danger lurk in wait for President Bush? Might Americans have to confront
another presidential tragedy before the year 2004?
- Legends of a presidential
- Tecumseh was distinguished
among his people for his prowess in battle (although he greatly opposed
the practice of torturing prisoners). He was a staunch believer in the
principle that all Native American land was the common possession of only
Native Americans. In his view, the land could not rightly be ceded by or
purchased from an individual tribe.
- When the United States
refused to recognize this principle, he set out to bind together the Native
Americans of the old Northwest, the South, and the eastern Mississippi
Valley as a military force to fight for Native American rights to the land.
His plan failed with the defeat of his brother Tenskwatawa, known as the
Prophet, at the battle of Tippecanoe.
- Although Tecumseh
was chief of the Shawnees, Tenskwatawa was not only a warrior but, perhaps
more important, the spiritual leader of the tribe. He had become known
as the Shawnee Prophet after receiving a revelation (supposedly from the
Native American "Master of Life") urging the renunciation of
white ways and a return to traditional customs. He gained further prestige
when he foretold an eclipse in 1806 and an earthquake in 1811.
- Tecumseh was away
recruiting when Gen. William Henry Harrison and his men approached the
Shawnee capital of Prophet's Town in 1811. In Tecumseh's absence, Tenskwatawa
led the dawn attack that started the battle of Tippecanoe on November 7.
Harrison's men drove the Indians back and retaliated by razing their settlement.
Ultimately the battle was considered a draw, since the U.S. forces finally
withdrew. Nevertheless, Tippecanoe broke the power of the Shawnees and
became known historically as marking the collapse of the Native American
military movement. When Tecumseh returned, he released the prisoners the
Shawnees had captured and sent them to Harrison with his message.
- A second version
of the legend has it that the curse was pronounced later, in 1836, and
by Tenskwatawa, not Tecumseh. (This legend is suspect because the Prophet
is variously reported to have died in 1834, '35, or '37.) Apparently the
Prophet was having his portrait done when the forthcoming and divisive
presidential election became a topic of conversation. Martin Van Buren,
a vice president emerging from the shadow of Andrew Jackson, a popular
two-term president, was being challenged by Harrison, the famous general
of Tippecanoe and former governor of Indiana Territory.
- Tenskwatawa is then
said to have uttered the famous prophecy: "Harrison will not win this
year to be the great chief. But he may win next time. If he does ... he
will not finish his term. He will die in office."
- "No president
has ever died in office," someone challenged him.
- "But Harrison
will die, I tell you," said the Prophet. "And when he dies you
will remember my brother Tecumseh's death. You think that I have lost my
powers: I who caused the sun to darken and red men to give up firewater.
But I tell you Harrison will die. And after him, every great chief chosen
every twenty years thereafter will die. And when each one dies, let everyone
remember the death of our people."
- A third and probably
more credible version of the curse legend has been presented by Edward
Milligan, retired professor of anthropology at North Dakota State University.
Before the battle, Tenskwatawa had argued with his brother that they had
no choice but to launch a predawn attack. Harrison's forces were within
striking distance of Prophet's Town and a preemptive surprise attack was
the only option, he reasoned. Tecumseh rejected his brother's arguments.
He thought it would be better to abandon the town while he continued to
build a Native American confederacy.
- After the defeat
of Tenskwatawa's forces, Tecumseh returned home to find his tribe's homes
burned and the people scattered. The Prophet's power and reputation had
been destroyed. He had not only led his warriors into battle against his
brother's instructions but had also told the people that his powers would
- After many days of
fasting and prayer, Tenskwatawa begged his brother for forgiveness. He
also prophesied that he would outlive Tecumseh. The chief was not angry
and went to his fate during the Battle of the Thames (1813) with a calm,
almost regal, bearing. Before he left, he gave away his prized possessions
and is said to have delivered the following prophecy to Tenskwatawa:
- "Brother, be
of good cheer. Before one winter shall pass, the chance will yet come to
build our nation and drive the Americans from our land. If this should
fail, then a curse shall be upon the great chief of the Americans, if they
shall ever pick Harrison to lead them.
- "His days in
power shall be cut short. And for every twenty winters following, the days
in power of the great chief which they shall select shall be cut short.
Our people shall not be the instrument to shorten their time. Either the
Great Spirit shall shorten their days or their own people shall shoot them.
- "This is not
all. Each contest to select their great chief shall be marked by sharp
divisions within their nation. Within seven winters of each contest, there
shall be a war among their people, either within their nation or with other
nations, I know not which. Our people shall prosper only if they can avoid
- Running under the
slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler too," Harrison was elected as the
ninth president in 1840. The election was contentious and Harrison won
with only a narrow margin of the popular vote, though he led comfortably
in the electoral college. Only a month after his inaugural, Harrison died
and his running mate, John Tyler, became the first vice president to fall
heir to the presidency.
- Fulfillment of the
- Tyler remained as
president through the remainder of the term, as has each of the vice presidents
who have succeeded to office in similar tragic circumstances. Harrison
has become known both as the first elected president to die in office and
as the first victim of a 120-year death cycle seemingly in fulfillment
of Tecumseh's curse. Also apparently conforming to the later version of
the legend, the Mexican War broke out in 1846.
- In 1860, Abraham
Lincoln was elected president with a small plurality but a big margin in
the electoral college. The country divided, and the War Between the States
broke out within months. Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865, and died a
- In 1880, James Garfield
was elected president with a margin of under 7,100 popular votes nationwide,
although a convincing margin in the electoral college.
- What lies in store
for new President George W. Bush? America was not involved in wars with
other nations, but the Battle of Little Bighorn only four years earlier
marked the beginning of the end of the Indian nations. Garfield was shot
on July 2, 1881, and died September 19, due to complications from his wounds.
- In 1900, William
McKinley was elected to a second term, less than two years after the end
of the Spanish-American War. Although McKinley managed to get 800,000 votes
more than William Jennings Bryan, the election was hard fought and marked
the merger of the Democratic and Populist Parties. McKinley was shot on
September 6, 1901, and died eight days later.
- In 1920, Warren Harding
was elected president. He won by a huge margin but only after a contentious
campaign, with the main issue being U.S. membership in the League of Nations
in the aftermath of World War I. He died in office on August 2, 1923.
- In 1940, Franklin
Roosevelt was urged not to break tradition and seek a third term. He did
anyway and was reelected convincingly despite dire warnings that the country
was on the verge of war. America entered World War II following the Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. It can be argued that FDR might
have broken the curse had he not run for a fourth term. But he did and
subsequently died of a stroke while in office on April 12, 1945.
- In 1960, John Kennedy
was elected president with one of the narrowest margins in modern history.
Though there were widespread reports of fraud, his opponent did not contest
the results. Kennedy was shot and killed November 22, 1963. The United
States was fully embroiled in the Vietnam War less than two years later.
- In 1980, five years
after the fall of Saigon ended the Vietnam War, America was once again
divided. A sour economy and the hostage crisis in Iran turned an election
deemed "too close to call" into a triumph for Ronald Reagan.
On March 30, 1981, Reagan was shot as he walked into his limousine. The
driver took him to a nearby private hospital rather than the designated
Bethesda Naval Hospital. This action quite possibly saved the president's
life, and he appeared to recover quickly.
- Did Reagan's survival
end Tecumseh's curse? Time alone will tell. In 2000 George W. Bush was
elected president following what may have been the closest presidential
election in U.S. history, losing the popular vote but ultimately clinching
the electoral college confirmation. Because of the closeness of the Florida
vote, the final decision was delayed for over a month, with lawsuits and
accusations flying everywhere. Some disgruntled Democrats still refer to
Bush as the selected (not elected) president because the final decision
on Florida came out of the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Curse or coincidence?
- Some people question
whether the curse was ever uttered. But the legend persists, and historical
events seem to suggest its fulfillment. Excluding the current incumbent,
seven of the eight presidents elected in a zero year have perished in office.
Four (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy) died as victims of assassination,
plus there was a major attempt on Reagan's life. Three others died of apparently
natural causes. Harrison, the original object of the curse, reportedly
died of pneumonia; Harding passed away following a bout of food poisoning;
and Roosevelt succumbed to a stroke (though mystery surrounds claims that
his medical records were missing).
- Only once in the
past 160 years did a president survive Tecumseh's curse: only once out
of eight opportunities. Moreover, if the correlated death statistics aren't
enough to give rise to serious concerns, when we probe deeper the data
become even more astonishing. One disquieting factor is a correlation to
assassination. Although other presidents suffered attempts on their lives,
only those elected in zero years have actually died.
- The first known assault
was against Andrew Jackson in 1835, after he was elected in 1832. Just
prior to his inauguration in 1933, FDR survived an attack, but the mayor
of Chicago, who was also present, wasn't as lucky. President Truman escaped
an attempt in 1950 that left a White House guard dead. In 1976, an unsuccessful
attempt was made on the life of Gerald Ford. John Tyler survived a shipboard
explosion in 1844 that killed the secretaries of state and the navy, though
it is unclear if this was a premeditated assault. That makes only four
additional attacks (that we know of) and Tyler's as a fifth possibility.
Reagan's survival of his assault makes six; however, his election in 1980
was a zero year.
- No assassination
attempt on a president elected in any other year resulted in death. Yet,
all but one attempt on those elected in zero years did!
- Increasing the odds
even more is the limited number of events leading to other types of vice-presidential
takeovers. In all other, non-zero, election years, only two resulted in
untimely events that promoted vice presidents. Millard Fillmore succeeded
Zachary Taylor after Taylor died of cholera in 1850. This, not incidentally,
has been the only death of a sitting president not elected in a zero year.
And Gerald Ford became president following Richard Nixon's resignation
over the Watergate scandal.
- On the other hand,
in every zero-year election since Tecumseh pronounced his curse, an elected
president was succeeded by his vice president. Seven out of a possible
eight vice presidents were fast-forwarded in tragic circumstances, and
George Bush was eventually elected Reagan's successor. Indeed, considering
all elections, including Washington's first but not the most recent, there
were 46 elections out of which nine vice presidents inadvertently inherited
the presidency--that's a 19.5 percent chance. Counting all inaugurations,
the odds are even less: out of a total of 51, only 9 produced promotions,
revealing a 17.7 percent chance. Yet, for zero years with 7 events out
of a possible 8, the chances of it happening again are a whopping 87.5
- Ridiculous though
the notion of a presidential curse might seem--and some argue that the
story is only a modern urban legend or hoax--the numbers suggest an extraordinary
level of coincidence. Perhaps the curse was finally broken by Ronald Reagan.
In any event, those entrusted with protecting the health and security of
our forty-third president should be particularly vigilant. Forewarned is,
after all, forearmed.
- William S. Connery is an editor in the Current Issues
section of The World & I.
- © Copyright 2003 THE WORLD & I. All rights reserved.
- The World & I is published monthly by News World
- Additional Reading:
- Articles on Web sites
offering information on the curse: Tecumseh's Curse: Legend or Fact?
- Tecumseh's Curse
www.everything2.com/index.pl?node=Tecumseh's%20curse Freaky Secrets of
the Presidency www.civil-liberties.com/factoids/july4--02.htm
- USAtrivia--The Twenty
Year Curse www.usatrivia.com/apm20yrc.html
- Native American Culture--The
November Election--Tecumseh's Curse www.about.com Ail to the Chief Urban
Legends Reference Pages Presidential Death Cycle www.manifestreality.com/4.5/president.html
- From John Victor Ramses
- Anomalous Reality .com
- The world news moves so rapidly these days one can hardly
keep up with events. By design I wonder?
- Anyway, I have long pondered the '20 year curse' of our
presidents. I would like to comment for curiosity on a recent article you
posted on this subject (The Zero Year Presidential Curse - Might Tragedy
- "Nine is not yet the full or complete, (as is) number
ten, but it does mark the ending. It is the last of the single digits,
in our decimal numbering system· Thus nine can particularly represent
the conclusion of mans works·The number nine represents finality
- Source: http://www.vic.australis.com.au/hazz/number009.html
- The first president to be afflicted by Chief Tecumseh's
curse was, of course, William Henry Harrison who was the Ninth President
of the United States.
- George W Bush would be the Ninth president to fall victim
to the curse.
- While the number '9' does not mark a full completion
of things as some may suggest, it does represent an ending.
- I have been involved with such esoteric research most
of my life and learned to watch synchronicities in symbols and occurrences
such as the ever enigmatic appearance of 11:11. On the Great seal of the
United States is Eagle (Phoenix) and the mysterious Îincompleteâ
pyramid with the All Seeing Eye above it completing the outline of the
Pyramid. I have concluded that there is 13 completed levels of this pyramid
forming the 'foundation'. Continuing upwards to the apex with the same
measurements of each of the completed levels there would be 18 total levels.
- The number 13 is made apparent throughout the seal symbolism
- 13 arrows, 13 stars, etc. Therefore I have concluded that the pyramid
on the seal was designed as a kind of master schedule or calendar for the
growth and evolution of the United States forming periods of 18 eras of
13 years each. Thus, from 1776 (our country's historical founding year)
through 18 eras of 13 years each (234 years) finds the apex at the year
2010. The number 234 also equals Î9â when added up.
- The symbology of the obverse side One Dollar note appears
to be a prophecy that may explain what the designers of the seal were hoping
to attain by 2010: Starting on the left side of the (obverse) note is found
a '1' over a '1'. Immediately to the right is a large circle containing
the pyramid portion of the seal. To the far right is found another circle
bearing the image of the Eagle (which was from itâs inception a Phoenix).
And again, on the right edge of the note is a '1' over a '1'.
- Holding the note out at arm's length the combined design
of the note looks to portray the mysterious symbol/number of 11:11. In
the center of it all is the large word 'ONE'.
- I have come to call this note the 'Prophecy Bill' declaring
the entire history and intention of the United States of America from 1776
to 2010. Naturally, at the apex of a pyramid, one can go no further, physically.
It is a point where all four sides come together for the first time as
One Unit. The message of the One Dollar note then is the announcement of
the plan to create a One World Order complete by the year 2010. This is
why there seems to be so much desperation towards that end among certain
groups like the Bush administrations (both father and son). It is a Timeline,
a grand plan plain, if not simple. And let's not forget the Latin statement
on the Great Seal around the pyramid: 'New (One) World Order'.
- What does this have to do with Bush junior and the twenty-year
curse? Let's see:
- The curse began in 1840 with the election of the 9th
president of the United States.
- George W. Bush is the 9th president to be elected in
a 'Zero year'.
- George W. Bush = 11 letters
- The numbers/symbols '9' and '11' in association with
the events of the attack on New York and the Pentagon are profoundly embedded
throughout the events and since.
- History will always associate Bush with 9/11
- From 2001 (the year of the attacks) there are nine years
left to 2010 (the apex of the pyramid and 'One').
- Since the meaning of the number '9' is 'Ending' it is
with Bush that the curse will end. But so does the United States, as it
has been known, shortly thereafter.
- There are many more 'coincidences' surrounding this current
president, his administration and the unprecedented chaos that seems to
have been ignited in the US and world since he took office. Much is on
the net. Regardless of whether this president becomes the Ninth and final
president to fall under Tecumseh's curse the world already seems to have
- By the way, as you know I have lived in Australia since
1999. A friend of my wife and I lost her son in the Bali bombing. The time
of death stated on his birth certificate was 11:11 PM 111 days after 9/11.
The bomb did not, therefore, go off at 'around' 9:15 as the news reported.
It went off at 11:11PM. It was 11:11 am in New York City at that moment.
The Bali bombing was, as so many quietly know, a symbolic hit - like the
Twin Towers - by the same gang who embeds this number in their handy work.
I have experienced the 11:11 in my life since age 16 and my web site dedicated
to it's understanding was second only to Solara's to discuss the enigma.
11:11 is a symbol of chaos and transcendence, not necessarily for the better.
- From Victor Fletcher
- As a long-time astrology researcher it should be pointed
out that the conjunction of planets Jupiter and Saturn twenty years that
is credited with being the correlation to the presidential assassinations
-- occurred in the case of Reagan in air sign Libra. Libra rules the lungs
-- the object fired into Reagan ended spinning around in the lungs (air).
Reagan survived this attack on the 'air' organ -- the lungs. The current
pending conjunction occurred in Taurus -- an earth sign -- capable of delivering
much more serious damage if Bush were to be attacked; subsequent conjunctions
will not occur in earth signs for perhaps over a hundred years.
- Reagan, by the way, did not make a quick recovery but
remained in hospital confinement for almost a year -- his 'recovery' was
long-term -- perhaps a year; he was not able to function properly and Nancy
ran a 'front' recovery until he was able to get onto his feet, notwithstanding
later bouts of Alzheimer's.