The Zero Year Presidential
Curse - Might Tragedy Strike?
By William S. Connery
(Published with special permission, may not be reproduced without
written permission of author and the World & I magazine)

     Chief Tecumseh cursed William Henry Harrison before he took presidential office. Does the curse still linger?
      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 curse
      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 protect them.
      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 these wars."
      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 curse
      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 day later.
      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 percent!
      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 Communications, Inc.
Additional Reading:
      Articles on Web sites offering information on the curse: Tecumseh's Curse: Legend or Fact?
      Tecumseh's Curse's%20curse Freaky Secrets of the Presidency
      USAtrivia--The Twenty Year Curse
      Native American Culture--The November Election--Tecumseh's Curse Ail to the Chief Urban Legends Reference Pages Presidential Death Cycle
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 Strike? 4-14-3).
"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 or judgment."
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 been afflicted.
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.




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