My newest paranormal romance Kisses & Curses will be released this week through Red Rose Publishing, so I thought it would be neat to talk about what inspired the book.
Like most children, I played cowboys and indians in my parent’s backyard and like clockwork, I always chose to be the indian. Even as I watched old movies and knew the inevitable outcome, I always rooted for the Native American. And as a adult, I even adopted an elderly Native American couple through the Adopt-A-Native Elder program.
I’m not really sure how it began, but I’ve always been fascinated with Indian culture and religion and how diverse it can be from tribe to tribe. But what fascinates me most are the stories regarding Indian curses.
Over the years, both the movie and publishing industry have made Indian curses the focal points of their plots. My personal favorites include Stephen King’s Pet Semetary and Poltergeist. Don’t go to the light Caroline! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Despite these two iconic examples, Kisses & Curses wasn’t influenced by either of them. Instead, the seed for my newest paranormal was born after reading about the Curse of Tippecanoe. Also known as the Presidential curse or Twenty-Year Presidential Jinx, the curse revolves around a peculiar pattern where from 1840 to 1960 each American President who won election in a year ending in zero died in office. Supposedly, the curse ended with President Ronald Reagan, who was shot several months after his election in 1980, but did not die.
The Curse of Tippecanoe was initially sparked by then-governor of Indiana territory William Henry Harrison, who pushed for more land for settlement. One of his methods of negotiation? He bribed Native Americans into giving up their land in exchange for whiskey. I know, it sounds about as underhanded as defeating one’s enemies by infecting them with small pox with “we come in peace” blankets.
William Henry Harrison circa 1810
Of course, tension mounted between settlers and Native Americans, resulting in Tecumseh’s War. Despite a good effort by Shawnee Chief Tecumseh and his warriors, William Henry Harrison led a counterattack against Tecumseh’s village, Prophetstown, along the Tippecanoe River, earning him the name “Old Tippecanoe”.
After their defeat, Tecumseh’s brother Tenskwatawa, also known as the Prophet and leader of a nativist religious revival, supposedly set a curse against Harrison aptly named the Curse of Tippecanoe.
Why you may ask?
In 1840, Harrison was voted into the White House by riding on the national notoriety he gained by leading U.S. military forces against Native Americans, specifically the attack of Prophetstown at Tippecanoe River. Unfortunately for Harrison his military toughness wouldn’t be able to prevent his demise thirty short days from a common cold that turned quickly into pneumonia and pleurisy. After his death, other presidents who were elected into office during years ending in zero also perished.
Where does Vivienne discover evidence supporting Zeke’s story about an Indian curse?