Will the 20 yr death cycle for US presidents resume with Bush?

Will the 20 yr cycle of death in office for US presidents resume with Bush?


Legend: U.S. Presidents elected in years evenly divisible by twenty are under a death curse and will die in office.

Origins: With one exception, since 1840, U.S. Presidents who have been elected in years ending in zero have been killed or have died of natural causes while in office. And the one exception (Reagan) literally came within an inch of death.

Died Under the “Curse”
1840 … William Henry Harrison
1860 … Abraham Lincoln
1880 … James A. Garfield
1900 … William McKinley
1920 … Warren G. Harding
1940 … Franklin D. Roosevelt
1960 … John F. Kennedy

Note to moderator: I am not threatening Bush. I am just discussing presidential history and a popular legend.

[Moderator Hat: ON]

Yes, but I don’t see the “Debate” here. We obviously can’t know if he’ll keel over. So what, exactly, is there to debate?

Please let me know why you posted it here in GD.

David B, SDMB Great Debates Moderator

[Moderator Hat: OFF]

Well, the debate is: whether or not you think Bush will die in office? Do you think the pattern is an omen?

Obviously, nobody can say for sure what will happen, but I thought speculative discussions like that were suitable for GD. Here are some others like that in GD:

What will happen when Castro dies?
Do opposites exist?
Could Hitler have gone to heaven?
Does evil exist?

[Moderator Hat: ON]

Well, like I said, I don’t see much to debate, but, hey, have at it.

David B, SDMB Great Debates Moderator

[Moderator Hat: OFF]

Not long ago, I myself asked this very question, in General Questions.
Nobody knows.
I hope not. I don’t see how Dick Cheney wil be any different a president than Bush.
Now Theres a debate!

I guess we could debate whether Reagan survived the curse, or broke it, and then we can debate whether or not we really think there is a curse, or just bad luck.

Anybody have any idea how you figure out the odds on that?

Reagan survived it.

Given both the recent incident where a rather confused individual stood outside the White House and fired off a gun, and a previous occurrence of someone breaking into the Bush compound in Florida with a weapon, I would not be surprised to see a serious assassination attempt occur during Bush’s term.

Whether any attempts will be successful remain to be seen; the Secret Service seem to be pretty good at their jobs, including averting any threats ahead of time.

As for dying in office, I think Cheney’s probably more likely to die (of a heart attack or similar) than Bush is to be assassinated.

Um, we’re debating something from Snopes? :confused:

My big question would be, why does the “curse” not begin until 1840?

My prediction:

Bush will die in the White House. Not in the literal sense, but figuratively; in 2002, the mid-term elections will sweep out the thin Republican majority and fill both houses with Democrats. The administration will be unable to put forth any real leadership and die a lame duck.

Hey, just my opinion.

Well, you see, DDG, if you add up all the individual numbers in “1840”, it comes out to be 13, which is considered unlucky. And if you add 18 to 4, you come up with 22, which, adding the individual numbers again, gives you 4, which is considered by some Asian cultures to be a number symbolic of death. It’s a rigorous scientific proof. :rolleyes:

The real reason? If you try to extend the system to before that, it breaks down, and a broken-down “cosmic fate” theory is no theory at all, and then everyone’s disappointed.

Also, as Snopes mentions, both Lincoln and Roosevelt survived their -0 terms, not dying until their next one. The curse must have known they’d be reelected! It obviously waited to kill them to throw off suspicion about itself. :rolleyes:

On the Snopes page mid-way down, it says it started with Harrison because it is “an ancient Indian curse, supposedly administered by Tecumseh himself after suffering defeat at the hands of William Henry Harrison at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811”.

curious george wrote:

The keyword here, as far as George W. Bush is concerned, is “elected”. :wink:

Curse, schmurse. It’s a tradition. Someone will off Shrub because it’s the thing to do, every twenty years. In a country going through massive cultural changes, it’s nice to know there are some things you can count on. [rave like a loon]Heck, if I were some nihilistic suicidal depressive with a death wish and a good rifle, I’d do my part to impose a spurious order on American history! People think Oswald & Hinckley were nuts, but they got in the history books, didn’t they?[/rave like a loon]

Actually, I feel sorry for Bush. He seems like a nice guy, but he’s put himself in the crosshairs here. Not just the twenty-year thing. America is culturally divided & on its way to disintegration, and he will probably get caught in it, trying to “unite” factions who not only disagree, but do so rabidly–even hate each other. The “curse” may put his chances of assassination over the threshold–give someone an excuse to kill him.

:PWhich may be why the smart Republicans didn’t run for President in 2000!:wink:

Odd, the only uniting I’ve seen Shrub do so far is uniting all the moderates and liberals against him…

“I’m a-gonna appoint an anti-gay, anti-women, anti-minority guy to run the Attorney General’s office, that’ll cheer eveerybody up!”

I may try to take a crack at it. At any rate, it is somewhat of an ill-defined problem, but I suppose one could turn it into some reasonably-defined question with a few plausible assumptions. My guess is that the odds lie somewhere in the big middle ground between likely and extremely unlikely…i.e., it is the sort of thing that is odd enough that it rather unlikely but the likelihood is on the order of 1-10%. Then, of course, you have to factor in the fact that moderately unlikely events do occur pretty often particularly when select for them by not noticing when they did not occur. (“How strange…No odd coincidences happened to me all this week.”)

The odds of it happening are exactly 100%- as it did happen. It is also very, very likely- that if you explore any list of similar men- you will come up with “co-incidences”.

Now, if- BEFORE Harrison was killed- someone had printed the so-called “curse”- there might be something to it. But there is no evidence or mention of the curse until after someone noted the co-incidence, and made up a story to go with it.

There was NO “indian curse”. And- the 'run" was broken by Reagan.

Remember- FIGHT ignorance- not AID ignorance. :smiley:

Well, if November 3rd 2004 comes along and nothing has happened to Bush, does that mean he is going to get a second term?:slight_smile:


I had always HEARD (yes I know, such an awesome standard) that the curse was well known at the time.(1800’s)

So, does anyone have a definitive answer on whether the curse was made up retroactively, or if was there before our presidents started dropping like flies?

I think that I’ll have to second tracer and note that this curse is supposed to effect the guy elected in years ending in “0”.

So shouldn’t Gore be the guy running scared? :slight_smile: Maybe that’s why he wouldn’t let any journalists into his Journalism class at Colombia U. He was worried they might be revengful indian spirits in disguise!

That may sound silly to you, but how would you like to be scalped?

OK, seriously the whole Indian death prophecy is clearly bogus. The only reason to start it at 1840 and ignore the two presidents elected in 1800 and 1820 who survived their terms is to rely upon this silly “Dying Indian Curse” which is psuedo-racist hyper silly idiocy about Native Americans. What we have here is a “pattern” that didn’t work three times in 1800, 1820, and 1980. Close but no cigar on Reagan doesn’t count, since he did not die!

Here’s another pattern. Every son or grandson of a former president (John Quincy Adams, Bejamin Harrison, and now Bush) who became president lost the popular vote and became president anyway. Then they were beaten for reelection in four years by the the guy who won the popular vote the first time (Jackson, Cleveland, …Gore?). Does this mean Gore will be our next president? Or does it just mean that it is fun to make a big deal out of random coincidence?