George Bush still has almost 2 years to live to become the first president to stay alive despite the Tecumseh's curse.
The story of the so-called Tecumseh's curse, although known in the world, is part of the American culture and is taught in schools in history classes. How else to explain the horrifying sequence of seven American presidents who did not live to see the end of their mandates in the strict periods of 20 years.
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," rense.com reports.
Since U.S. presidential elections take place every four years, every 20 years an election takes place on the year ending with a zero.
The general who beat Tecumseh, William Henry Harrison, won in the presidential race in 1840, although the majority did not support him as a favourite. His opponent was the then vice-president for whom many believed would take over the presidential seat. The day when Harrison was giving his inauguration speech it was cold and windy. The speech lasted for an hour and 40 minutes and the new president got a cold. A month later he died of pneumonia. The people became panic-stricken.
To confirm that this was not a fluke, 20 years had to go by and the election for a new president. It was Abraham Lincoln, elected for the first time in 1860. At the beginning of his first mandate he was killed by southern sympathiser John Wilkes Booth.
James Garfield was elected in 1880 and lived through only four months of his term. He was shot dead by the mentally unstable Charles J. Guiteau.
William McKinley was elected in 1900 for his second term as president. After a year and a half he was killed by Leon F. Czolgosz who claimed to be the antichrist. He confessed to the murder, saying that McKinley was the “enemy of the people”.
After World War II the Americans were tired of Wilson and in 1920 elections voted for his total opposite, the decisive Warren G. Harding. He is considered one of the worst American presidents. During his tour Travels to Understand People of America he was struck by a heart attack in San Francisco. He died in his room at the Palace Hotel.
One of the most popular American presidents who was elected as many as four times was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 1940 he was elected the third time. He died from a brain aneurism soon after he was elected a president the fourth time. Since he was elected as president in the zero year, 1940, his death is also considered to be part of the Tecumseh curse.
The youngest American president John F. Kennedy became president in 1960 in the narrowest presidential race to date. On November 22 1963 he was shot in Dallas. Lee Harvey Oswald was accused of the assassination by the Warren Commission. Many still believe that Oswald was just a scapegoat for one of the most famous conspiracies in the 20th century.
The first president who might have broken the curse was Ronald Reagan, elected in 1980. But, opinions about this case differ. John Hinckley shot him 69 days after he took up office. The wound was severe and doctors said it was touch-and-go. Many say credit for this went to his wife Nancy who was, it was widely known, obsessed by the curse. It was a known secret around the White House that Reagan’s commitments and protocols were ruled by the stars and astrology, about which Nancy was fanatic. Official trips, protocols and receptions were organised according to astrology. Nancy organised public prayers for the life of her husband which a significant number of Americans attended, including Indians. It is believed that this probably broke the Tecumseh curse. Others believe that the curse caught up with him when he died from Alzheimer’s that was caused by his being wounded.
There is also an astrological explanation. Astrologist Mark Dodich analysed the Tecumseh curse and came to the conclusion that the election of president coincided with the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn that happens every 20 years. He believes that Reagan was saved by the alignment of these two planets under an air sign, while until then they were aligned under an earth sign. When Bush was elected in 2000, the alignment took place under the earth sign of Taurus. This will happen again only in 600 years. Dodich believes that this alignment marked the end of the deadly cycle, javno.com reports.
Is George Bush next?
From Washington through Clinton, there have been 47 Presidential elections during which nine Vice Presidents inherited the Presidency -- about 18 percent. And, there have actually been 53 inaugurations, lowering the natural baseline odds of death in office to about 15 percent. For zero years, however, with seven out of a possible eight dying (and the eighth being Reagan), the odds of reoccurrence rise to a meteoric 87.5%, luckystarz.com reports.
But, has the curse been broken will be known on January 20, 2009 when president George W Bush, elected in 2000, should hand over his seat to another president. He survived the assassination in Georgia during his speech. Vladimir Arutinian threw a hand grenade at 20 metres, but because it was faulty, it did not explode. Doctors say that the president is of good health, so the chances of him dying from a health problem in the next two years are slim. But, even those who have never heard of the President’s Curse, are aware of the fact that the possibility of Bush being the target of assassination is rather high.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
Discuss this article on Pravda.ru English Forum