Curse Of The Kennedys?

gattino

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#1
Watching the Netflix series on Bobby Kennedy, I was inspired to look up the popularly referenced 'curse' of the Kennedy family. The word curse is sometimes used in jest, sometimes in sympathy, but on some level some people may be seriously alluding to a malevolent spell cast over them. What's it based on? Well wikipedia provides an answer.

We're all aware of the two brothers' assassinations, JFK Jr's untimely death and uncle Teddy's driving scandal. And every now and again anything bad that happens to any member of what is obviously a very large family passes in and out of your awareness as another example of that poor family's torment. But, if you're like me, you lose track or are unaware of a lot it. It's quite mindboggling when written down.

Excluding general ill health (we all die of something) and self harm (a drug overdose and a suicide)

John F Kennedy- Shot dead
Robert F Kennedy - Shot dead
(Oldest brother) Joe Kennedy -killed in a plane crash
(Sister) Kathleen Kennedy - killed in a plane crash
Bobby's mother and father in law - killed in a plane crash
John F Kennedy jr - killed in a plane crash
JKf jr's step brother Alexander - died from injuries sustained in a plane crash

These were all separate plane crashes i hasten to add.

Bobby's son Michael Kennedy - killed in a skiing accident

Bobby's son Joe Kennedy - survived a car crash in which his passenger was left paralysed
Teddy Kennedy - not only survived the famous car accident in which his lady friend was killed, he had also a few years earlier survived (with a broken back) a..er... plane crash in which the pilot and one of his aides was killed.



A very large family, so a large pool of people to whom things can happen, and a very rich/prominent family so more likely than most to be in fast moving transport more often. But really? Surely even with those caveats Fate is taking the piss.

Is there any comparable tale of woe in a single family excluding the Baskervilles?
 

gattino

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#3
Well that's covered in my second caveat about their greater likelihood than most of being in such vehicles more often., but it really doesn't clarify much. It prompts more questions than answers. Such as were they in fact all private planes? If that was the common cause of any significance wouldn't it have occurred to themselves after the 3rd or 4th such incident? And above all wouldn't we then expect to see such an endless catalogue of disasters in any number of other wealthy families? Have there been?

Don't mistake my meaning..obviously every individual incident had its own perfectly down to earth mechanical cause and effect. But its very hard to see the sheer quantity of violent premature deaths in one immediate family being in any way predictable or likely.

For the sake of completion I'll go back on my word and briefly mention some of the other incidents considered part of their misfortune.

John and Jackie Kennedy lost their new born baby to infant death syndrome while in the White House.
Sister Rosemary Kennedy was lobotomised to "cure" her misbehaviour and was left physically and mentally incapacitated for the rest of her life.
Bobby's son David died of a drug overdose
Robert Kennedy Jr's wife Mary committed suicide
Teddy Kennedy junior had childhood cancer that lead to his leg being amputated.

AND....my favourite new discovery...hold on to your hats..Re the same Teddy Kennedy jr: " In 1982, his mother Joan revealed that Kennedy missed by just ten minutes being aboard Air Florida Flight 90, which crashed into the Potomac River on January 13 of that year, killing 74 people. Kennedy was delayed on the drive to the airport and missed the flight. "
 

maximus otter

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#4
lt looks bad when itemised, but the Kennedys’ combo of wealth, high sociopolitical status and risky behaviours (booze, pills, adultery, political scheming etc.) all renders them far more liable to appointments in Samarra.

As to “Teddy’s driving scandal” and his abandonment of Mary Jo Kopechne to a horrible death, the full ugly story can be read here.

maximus otter
 

gattino

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#5
What have booze, pills, adultery and political scheming got to do with plane crashes? Unless they were shagging in the cockpit and distracting the pilot.
 
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maximus otter

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#6
Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. died when the remote-controlled bomb plane from which he should have parachuted to safety, exploded prematurely. Not a “plane crash”.

Travelling in small private planes is risky behaviour:

“...figures from the National Transportation Safety Board indicate that a staggering 97 percent of aviation fatalities occur in general aviation, not in commercial flights.

According to ABC News, there is an average of five small plane crashes each day, resulting in approximately 500 deaths annually.”

https://www.kreindler.com/Articles/...ane-accidents-result-in-most-fatalities.shtml

Downhill skiing, drink-driving and drug misuse...I’d bet that the Kennedy family’s insurance premium is higher than the Israeli defence budget.

maximus otter
 
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gattino

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#7
Well then again you'd expect there to be an equivalent dramatic death toll in other large wealthy families if the presumption is wealth involves the risky and excessive use of private planes.

I'm not sure what the correction on the Joe Jr incident from a "plane crash" to a "premature exolosion of his bomb plane"does to undermine the perception of unnatural bad luck in one family. It certainly demonstrates a naughty lifestyle had nothing to do with it.

Against I'm not trying to suggest any incident was caused by magic or a thunderbolt from Zeus. But that "there's nothing unusual, it's to be expected" is itself pushing the bounds of credulity.
 

PeteS

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#8
lt looks bad when itemised, but the Kennedys’ combo of wealth, high sociopolitical status and risky behaviours (booze, pills, adultery, political scheming etc.) all renders them far more liable to appointments in Samarra.

As to “Teddy’s driving scandal” and his abandonment of Mary Jo Kopechne to a horrible death, the full ugly story can be read here.

maximus otter
That does explain part of the problem. The family's "high" status and their lifestyle must have been a large contributory factor. Had they been an ordinary family the chances of so many members coming to a sticky end I would guess would be very remote indeed. Still, it's a family you would have steer cleared of, in case their luck rubbed off on you!
 

maximus otter

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#9
Well then again you'd expect there to be an equivalent dramatic death toll in other large wealthy families if the presumption is wealth involves the risky and excessive use of private planes.

...that "there's nothing unusual, it's to be expected" is itself pushing the bounds of credulity.
They are a large family. A Google search under “how many members kennedy family” gives the result “At least 46”.

Factor in:

*Unparalleled public presence (l can’t think of a comparable pedigree/clan)
*Wealth
*Risky behaviours (military service, high public office, substance abuse, dangerous sports & activities)

...and l don’t believe that they can be demonstrated to be statistical outliers in tragedy.

maximus otter
 

escargot

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#10
Rich people have expensive toys to play with. They can also afford lots more of the pricey drugs they might have a taste for, and they're probably not up at 5am for a 6-2 shift.
 

gattino

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#11
I'm not sure 46 counts as exceptionally large. My mother was one of 9, my father one of 7, I'm one of 5. You can imagine each sibling in those numbers alone have several children. You don't need to expand your definition of family beyond that to exceed those numbers. I'm not aware of accidental deaths befalling anyone among them.

So let's get back to "lifestyles of the rich and famous" making it inevitable in some way.

I can instantly think of a comparably rich, never fly Ryanair, expensive toys, many fly their own aircraft, military service, scandal ridden, high profile, lives detailed family. Our own Royal Family. I can only historically think of one member of that clan who died in an aviation incident, back in the 60s. Plus Diana's car crash. So again there's really nothing inevitable or predictable about the incidents involving the kennedys.

Looking in more detail of the 8 or 9 airplane related deaths mentioned only 2 of those involved the notable deceased being behind the wheel so to speak. None of the incidents related to drugs, drink or anything else that would put their personal behaviour in the frame. They were all - or nearly all - just damn dumb luck, largely weather related. A lighter, smaller aircraft - which not all of them were - may indeed be more prone to falling foul of the elements than a larger heavier one, but unless the implication of saying that is that there is something near inevitable about such craft being doomed to tragedy it really doesn't offer up much of an explanation as to why the incidents that do happen keep happening to the one clan. The skiing accident wasn't an obvious consequence of the fact of skiing either. The lad ran headlong into a tree. I assume most skiiers don't or their wouldn't be many skiiers in the first place. Excluding Mckinley in 1901 there were 4 major political assassinations in the US in the 20th Century. Two of them were the brothers Kennedy. Unless one ascribes to a particularly novel conspiracy theory its worth recalling that they were killed by different people for different reasons. None to do with their life style..unless politics are a lifestyle, but then the Bushes and Clintons seem relatively unscathed in the sudden violent death department.

But now i do sound like im arguing for an actual curse. But im not, of course im not. Merely arguing against the easy dismissal of a quite extraordinary sequence of tragedies as nothing unexpected at all.
 

dejanmikic

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#12
errr... what did they do to earn the Curse? sorry if I am blunt here but did they desecrate some Indian burial ground or similar? what was the start of the curse, does anyone know?
 

gattino

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#13
Well the question supposes there is a concrete or widely held belief in an actual supernatural curse. Obviously in the age of the internet some might go down that road but I'm not sure it's take that seriously as an actual paranormal phenomenon going on. But for what's its worth Wikipedia cites two such alleged back stories.

"Multiple "origin myths" for the Kennedy curse have been proposed, including (but not limited to) the following stories:
  • Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, Ambassador Joseph Kennedy Sr. was returning from Britain to America on an ocean liner. He was disturbed by the loud prayers of a rabbi and his students, who were celebrating Rosh Hashanah, so he complained to the captain. In retaliation, the rabbi cursed Kennedy and his family.[28]
  • In 1842, just a few years before the potato famine struck Ireland, Thomas Fitzgerald, paternal grandfather of Rose Kennedy, and three others uncovered a buried crock of gold under a tree, near the townland of Oorid, County Galway. However, the gold was allegedly cursed (the reason why is unexplained). Oorid was soon decimated by famine, but Thomas emigrated to America in 1850 and flourished.[29] No explanation is given as to why the curse then lay dormant for two or three generations before striking the Fitzgerald–Kennedy family."

As for whether the family itself believes it's cursed I've found three references to members alluding to it. Bobby after Teddy's plane crash reportedly told someone "someone up there doesn't like us"; Teddy himself in his mea culpa over the Chappaquiddick incident says explicitly on camera he'd wondered "if there really is s curse on the whole Kennedy family"; and according to Wikipedia Christine Onasis blamed her brother's death on the curse.
 

dejanmikic

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#14
ell the question supposes there is a concrete or widely held belief in an actual supernatural curse
Thanks mate - both of those cases do not really qualify for multi-generation disasters in my opinion....

Well.... maybe some of the grandpa Kennedy had a strange pact with the one we don't want to mention, eh?
 

gattino

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#15
It does say multiple myths exist and those are just two examples so it would be itnerestig to find out what the others may be.

There's a slight vague additional hint of a family member - the matriarch Rose - believing there was a judgement upon them. She refused to attend the funeral in England of her daughter Katherine whose marriage to a anglican she deeply disapproved of. " Rose later said her daughter's death was "God pointing a finger."

In a way Rose herself seems to have been the most cursed of all by virtue of living an uneviably long life...she lived till the age of 104, thus having to be around to see the loss of all these children and grand children.
 

dejanmikic

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#16
It does say multiple myths exist and those are just two examples so it would be itnerestig to find out what the others may be
would be really interesting to get something... if it is a curse then the source of the curse must have been a really weird one
 

gattino

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#17
"Edward Jr. and his brother, Patrick Kennedy, told CNN they reject the idea of a family curse.
"No. No. Obviously my dad had a sense of spirituality that transcended his ability to face these problems, you know, in a way that would have otherwise paralyzed the normal person," Patrick Kennedy said in 2009.
His brother Edward Jr. added, "The Kennedy family has had to endure these things in a very open way. But our family is just like ... every other family in America in many ways."
 

gattino

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#20
A last name for the death by aircraft list...ive already mentioned bobby's parents in law (his wife Ethel's mum and dad) also died in a plane crash. Turns out her brother George - bobby's brother in law - was also killed in yet another unrelated plane crash.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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#21
Well the question supposes there is a concrete or widely held belief in an actual supernatural curse. Obviously in the age of the internet some might go down that road but I'm not sure it's take that seriously as an actual paranormal phenomenon going on. But for what's its worth Wikipedia cites two such alleged back stories.

"Multiple "origin myths" for the Kennedy curse have been proposed, including (but not limited to) the following stories:
  • Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, Ambassador Joseph Kennedy Sr. was returning from Britain to America on an ocean liner. He was disturbed by the loud prayers of a rabbi and his students, who were celebrating Rosh Hashanah, so he complained to the captain. In retaliation, the rabbi cursed Kennedy and his family.[28]
  • In 1842, just a few years before the potato famine struck Ireland, Thomas Fitzgerald, paternal grandfather of Rose Kennedy, and three others uncovered a buried crock of gold under a tree, near the townland of Oorid, County Galway. However, the gold was allegedly cursed (the reason why is unexplained). Oorid was soon decimated by famine, but Thomas emigrated to America in 1850 and flourished.[29] No explanation is given as to why the curse then lay dormant for two or three generations before striking the Fitzgerald–Kennedy family."

As for whether the family itself believes it's cursed I've found three references to members alluding to it. Bobby after Teddy's plane crash reportedly told someone "someone up there doesn't like us"; Teddy himself in his mea culpa over the Chappaquiddick incident says explicitly on camera he'd wondered "if there really is s curse on the whole Kennedy family"; and according to Wikipedia Christine Onasis blamed her brother's death on the curse.
John and Robert Kennedy have been linked by conspiracists to the death of Marilyn Monroe.
 

gattino

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#22
Let's use Bobby rather than his dad as the centre of our mental map.
Death by plane crash - his brother, his sister, his father in law, his mother in law, his brother in law, his nephew, his nephew's wife, his nephew's step brother, and a near escape from a plane crash in the case of his brother Teddy and, separately, his nephew.
By assassins bullet - his brother, himself
By skiing accident - his son
Near death by motor accident - his brother, his son
Overdose - his son, his granddaughter. Suicide - his daughter in law.
 

Lord Lucan

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#23
Curse or not, it's a fascinating family story full of tragedy, ongoing to this day. The grand daughter of Bobby, Saoirse Kennedy took her life this past August at the family compound aged 22.

Edit: (Gattino, I see you have mentioned this above). It does make you wonder who is next?
 

PeteS

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#24
It is an extraordinary sequence isn't it? Perhaps the family's attitude to life comes into play a bit. Your brother gets murdered - do you then keep a very low profile? No and you die as a result. You see a family member killed in a plane crash. I'd be a touch hesitant in getting on a plane. You see another family member killed in a plane crash - I'd choose another method of transport. You see a third with the same fate and then a fourth but that doesn't prevent you getting on a plane and dying as a result. I would have learned a valuable lesson long before.
The history of the family suggests there were some not so good role models and perhaps this explains the approach to life adopted by subsequent generations. Me - I've learned from life to play it safely where possible. Dead boring I know.
 

gattino

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#25
Nowhere near as impressive in volume and frequency but America's other great progressive political dynasty also had ridiculously bad luck. Of most note to include here because it may not be widely known, Teddy Roosevelt lost both his mother and his wife to the grim reaper on the same day, in the same house, to different causes. The way you do.

On the subject of eerily coincidental plane crashes, i previously noted on these boards an extraordinary snippet i discovered in a wikipedia footnote one time and which turned out to be true despite seemingly not being widely known or referenced: Rat packers (a gang tangentially associated with the Kennedys now I think about it :p ) Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin...the former lost his mother and the latter his son in unconnected plane crashes 10 years apart on the same mountain.
 

GNC

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#26
I think if you're in a family with self-destructive behaviour, no matter how rich you are, some of that behaviour is going to affect you. And if other people want to destroy your family, then that's no help either.
 
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