There once was drunken Shawnee Indian named the Prophet. Actually, he was born Laulewasika in 1775. He was the eighth child of Puckeshinwa and Methoataske. His brother was the famous warrior, Tecumseh. He lost his right eye as a child when his brother was teaching him how to shoot a bow. Soon after that, he acquired a second name, Elkswatawa, which means "the Prophet." Later in life, he also adopted the name Tenskwatawa, which means "open door."
The accident with his eye made it impossible for him to become the warrior he wanted to be. In his depression, he began to drink heavily. This habit stayed with him throughout his entire life. It's hard to say if his visions, which were the reason he got both his second and third names, were a result of true prophecy or cheap whisky. It is said that he predicted both an eclipse and the Great Earthquake of 1811.
On Nov. 7, 1811, American troops led by William Henry Harrison attacked and routed the native Americans at a place in Indiana called Tippecanoe. Versions of the legend say that Harrison came back to this battle site in 1840 while campaigning for the Presidency and that this is when the curse was placed upon him by an aging Tecumseh. The problem here is that Tecumseh died in 1813. Others say it was the Prophet who placed this curse at that time. The problem here is that the Prophet died in 1837.
You know how legends go, however. The curse was that not only would Harrison die in office, but that every future Great Chief elected in a year ending in -0- would also die in office. No President had ever died in office. One month after being sworn in, Harrison died of pneumonia. And every other President elected in a year ending in -0- has also died, almost. That would be Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Harding, FDR, and JFK.
When Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, it would have seemed a good bet to assume the curse would continue. I mean, Reagan was no spring chicken. And, sure enough, in 1981 he was shot. However, Reagan apparently didn't believe in the Curse. He lived.
So, the big questions now are these:
- Is this all just a bunch of crap?
- Is Ronald Reagan some sort of superhuman?
- Or, is this stupid Curse finally broken?
I guess we'll know fairly soon.