For one hundred and forty-one years, American presidents who were elected in years ending in a zero died while they were in office, without exception. Statistically speaking, this is something of an anomaly. If the nation’s leaders were to die just as frequently when elected in other years, it could probably be shrugged away, but the only example of this happening is Zachary Taylor, who died of acute gastroenteritis. Everyone else lived through their term (or terms), though some undoubtedly felt like they had been shot in the back a few times.
This bad mojo can supposedly be traced back to Tecumseh, chief of the Shawnee people. When he was defeated in the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, he reportedly made the following curse: “Harrison will die, I tell you, and after him, every Great Chief chosen every 20 years thereafter will die. And when each one dies, let everyone remember the death of my people.” The American soldiers just laughed at his primitive superstition, but the mysterious supernatural powers set in motion by the fabled leader would play out over the next century and a half as follows:
1840 – William Henry Harrison – Died of Pneumonia
1860 – Abraham Lincoln – Assassinated by John Wilkes Booth
1880 – James Garfield – Assassinated by Charles Guiteau
1900 – William McKinley – Shot by Leon Czolgosz
1920 – Warring G. Harding – Died from a Heart Attack
1940 – Franklin Roosevelt – Died of Cerebral Hemorrhage
1960 – John F. Kennedy – Assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, CIA, Mobsters, Rosicrucians, The Illuminati, and Joe DiMaggio
The fated deaths would last until 1981, and the election of Ronald Reagan. The Republican president would experience an assassination attempt at the hands of John Hinkley, Jr. (who thought it was a really great way to impress Jodie Foster), but managed to successfully survive the attack, thus bringing an end to one of the longest curses in American history.