Joe Biden was elected president in 2020. For nearly 180 years, a myth circulated that attempted to explain the peculiar fate that affected United States Presidents elected in a calendar year divided by twenty.

Presidential mortality (eight US presidents died in office) appeared to follow a peculiar pattern. All but one of the decedents had been elected in a calendar year described above:

William Henry Harrison (1840) died in 1841 with pneumonia after only one month as president.                                                              Abraham Lincoln (1860) was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth in April, 1865.                                                                                               James Garfield (1880) was assassinated in 1881 in a Washington DC railroad station.                                                                              William McKinley (1900) was assassinated in 1901 in Buffalo, New York.

Warren G. Harding (1920) died in San Francisco in 1923 from a cerebrovascular accident (stroke).                                                         Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1940), serving his 4th term as president, died in Georgia in April, 1945, also from a stroke.                                 John F. Kennedy (1960) was assassinated in Dallas, Texas in November, 1963.

Ronald Reagan (1980) survived a potentially fatal assassination attempt in Washington in March, 1981. He may have died except for an alert Secret Serviceman who perceived that the president coughed up blood and diverted the presidential limousine to the George Washington Hospital ER. Did Ronnie Reagan break the Curse?

George W. Bush (2000) survived an assassination attempt when the grenade, thrown at him, failed to ignite.

Tecumseh and his brother, the Prophet Tenskwatawa were leaders of the Shawnee Indians who inhabited much of the Northwest Territory. Together they planned a confederation of Indian tribes to thwart the encroachment of their lands by white settlers. Their military nemesis was US General, later President, William Henry Harrison. Harrison’s army defeated the British and the Indian Confederation in the 1813 Battle of the Thames. In this engagement Tecumseh was killed.

Afterwards,The Prophet allegedly exclaimed, “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 Curse of Tecumseh.

Will Biden, elected in 2020, escape the curse. Merely an historical question, certainly not a prediction.

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