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Death Cycle of Presidents
Elected in a Zero Year

YOWUSA.COM, September 13, 2000
Donna Sands

The conventional wisdom of American campaigns is that the bottom of the ticket, the nominee for Vice President has little or impact on the election results.   However, should an old Indian curse be once again fulfilled, America could be led by a President Cheney or a President Lieberman before the year 2004. Of course there are doubters who find the notion of such a curse to be ridiculous, but in their ranks one would be hard pressed to find the families of eight past American Presidents.

Tecumseh’s Curse

After the historical battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, legend has it that the Shawnee Indian Chief, Tecumseh, sent General William Henry Harrison, via released prisoners, a message… a prophecy that history justifiably labeled, 'Tecumseh's Curse': 

"Chief Tecumseh'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 his office.' 'No president has ever died in office,' declared a visitor. 'But Harrison will die I tell you. 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 20 years thereafter will die. And when each one dies, let everyone remember the death of our people.'"

In the year 2000, another election occurs in a 'zero year.' Does a danger of death lurk for a President elected this year?  Does it follow that we should be scrutinizing vice-presidential candidates as likely candidates for President?

In 1840, the sinister presidential death cycle foretold by Shawnee Chief, Tecumseh, began and every sitting President elected in a year ending in zero died in office, except for President Ronald Reagan who luckily survived, but still endured a serious assassination attempt.

An equally auspicious correlation is the 20-year Jupiter-Saturn cycle in earth signs, occurring in an air sign in 1980 and attributed to President Reagan's assassination escape, yet returning in 2000 to an earth sign. Is it possible even more correlation exists?

History of The Curse
Armed with these statistics, the bottom line implies that a vote cast for Bush or Gore might well be a vote cast for President Cheney or President Lieberman.

Since the inception of Tecumseh's prophetic curse, the Presidents elected in zero years and their Vice-presidents who inherited the Presidency are as follows:

  1. Elected in 1840, William Henry Harrison
    Died April 6, 1841 of pneumonia.    
    Vice President John Tyler
  2. Elected in 1860, Abraham Lincoln
    Assassinated April 14, 1865
    Succeeded by Vice President Andrew Johnson
  3. Elected in 1880, James Abram Garfield
    Assassinated July 2, 1881
    Succeeded by Vice President Chester Alan Arthur
  4. Elected in 1900, William McKinley
    Assassinated September, 6 1901
    Succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt
  5. Elected in 1920, Warren Gamaliel Harding
    Died August 2, 1923 from food poisoning
    Succeeded by Vice President Calvin Coolidge
  6. Elected in 1940, Franklin Delano Roosevelt
    Died April 12, 1945, stroke, medical records missing
    Succeeded by Vice President Harry Truman
  7. Elected in 1960, John Fitzgerald Kennedy
    Assassinated November 22, 1963
    Succeeded by Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson
  8. Elected in 1980, Ronald Wilson Reagan
    Assassination attempt on March 30, 1981
    Succeeded by George Bush by election.
  9. Elected in 2000, ?????

Tecumseh and Harrison

Tecumseh, Chief of the powerful Shawnee Tribe, 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 and that the land could not rightly be ceded by or purchased from, an individual tribe. 

When the United States refused to recognized 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, the Shawnee Prophet, at the battle of Tippecanoe.

Even though Tecumseh was Chief of the Shawnees, Tecumseh's brother was almost as distinguished, not only as a warrior but also perhaps more importantly, as the spiritual leader of the Tribe. He became known as the Shawnee Prophet after a revelation supposedly from the Native American 'master of life,' which urged the renunciation of white ways and a return to Native American customs. He gained further prestige as a prophet when he foretold an eclipse in 1806.

Tecumseh was away recruiting, when Harrison's and his men came close to the Shawnee village in 1811. In Tecumseh's absence, the Shawnee Prophet that led the dawn attack that started the battle of Tippecanoe. Harrison's men drove them back and retaliated by razing their village.  Although the battle of Tippecanoe was considered a draw, since the U.S. forces eventually retreated, it nevertheless 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 legendary message.

Bannered with the slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too," General William Henry Harrison was elected as the ninth president in 1840. Only a month after his inaugural, Harrison died and his running mate, John Tyler, became the first Vice President to inadvertently fall heir to the Presidency. Tyler sustained as President through the remainder of the term as did each of the Vice-presidents so succeeding. Thus, Harrison became known, not only as the first elected President to die in office, he was the first President of a 120-year consecutive death cycle in seeming fulfillment of the legendary Tecumseh curse.

Fulfillment of the Curse

Four Presidents died as victims of assassination, Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy…. plus there was a major attempt on Reagan's life. That's five of the eight Presidents elected in 'zero years.' Two deaths of the eight elects were questionable, Harding's with food poisoning and FD Roosevelt's, the clue, being his missing medical records. That's seven. Only one remains, the first… Harrison who reportedly died of pneumonia and was the original object of the 'curse.'  Only once in the past 140 years did a President survive Tecumseh's Curse… Reagan… only once out of eight opportunities. Based on this fact alone, shouldn't the second name on the 2000 election year ticket be as toughly evaluated as the first? 

As if the correlated death statistics weren't enough to be seriously concerned, when we probe deeper, the data becomes even more astonishing. One very disquieting factor is a correlation to assassination. Even though other Presidents suffered attempts, only those elected in 'zero years' were actual victims of death. The very first known assault was against Andrew Jackson in 1835, after being elected in 1832. Just prior to his inauguration in 1933, F.D.R survived an attack, but the Mayor of Chicago, also present, wasn't as lucky. After his election in 1948, Truman escaped an attempt in 1950 that left dead a White House guard.  Tyler survived a shipboard explosion that killed Secretaries of State and the Navy although it is unclear if this was a premeditated assault. That makes only three additional attacks, (that we know of) and Tyler's as a fourth possibility. Reagan's survival of his assault makes five; 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.  One was the only death of a sitting President not elected in a 'zero year,' Zachary Taylor, who died of cholera in 1850, bringing forward Millard Fillmore.  Another was Nixon's resignation, calling forth Gerald Ford. Thus, in all other election years, only two resulted in untimely events that promoted Vice-presidents. On the other hand, except for one, in every 'zero year' election since Tecumseh's Curse…. seven out of a possible eight Vice-presidents were fast-forwarded.

Could It Really Happen Again

Let's crunch a few numbers. Counting all elections, including Washington's first inauguration, but not Clinton's last, there was 46 elections out of which nine Vice Presidents inadvertently inherited the Presidency…that's a 19.5% chance.  Counting all inaugurations, the odds are even less…. a total of 51 out of which nine were promotions, revealing a 17.7% chance. Yet, for zero years with seven events out of a possible eight, the chances of it happening again are a whopping 87.5%!

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