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Here are all of the strange misfortunes that – some say – make up the unrelenting curse of the Kennedy family.

Is the Kennedy family cursed? All the strange misfortunes

The Kennedy family has a long history American politics, reaching into everything from esteemed positions in politics and business, to entertainment and public service. 

While there are still several prominent members of the Kennedy family alive today, luck and good fortune seem to have disappeared from their lives long ago, replaced by a lineage rooted in tragedy. 

Here are all of the strange misfortunes that – some say – make up the unrelenting curse of the Kennedy family. 

The beginning of the Kennedy family curse

The list of those who met their early demise can be traced back as early as the 1940s, with the nine children of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and Rose Kennedy – the parents of the former President John F. Kennedy. 

It began with the death of  US Navy Lieutenant Joseph P. Kennedy in 1944, the eldest of those nine children. At age twenty-nine, Joseph was killed in war – but not by some unseen enemy. Joseph took part in a military operation testing new bombing planes that would be radio controlled and remotely crashed into targets. 

The irony? A real pilot had to be a part of takeoff, and then evacuate the plane in flight. The plane exploded mid-air, killing Joe Kennedy – his remains were never found. 

Four years later in 1948, Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy, daughter of Joseph Sr. and Rose, was killed in a plane crash over France while on vacation – she was only age twenty-eight. Her mother Rose would not attend the funeral, and reportedly described the incident as “God pointing a finger.” 

The Kennedy family and the cursed 60s

Fast forward to the infamous events of the early 1960s, when some began to wholly accept that something malevolent was shaping the misfortunes of the Kennedy family. 

It began with the death of Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, the infant son of President John F Kennedy and his wife Jackie Kennedy, who died in hospital at two days old. 

Three months later, bereaved father and President, John F Kennedy, was assassinated while riding in his presidential motorcade in Texas in 1963. The sniper – Lee Harvey Oswald – shot the president through the head, bits of which were scattered onto his wife Jackie. Many retain the suspicion this killing was part of a much deeper plot. 

One summer night in 1986, Robert F Kennedy, younger brother of President Kennedy was celebrating his election win in the California Democratic presidential primary. He too was shot after making a speech in his hotel headquarters. Robert Kennedy died in hospital the next day from his wounds. 

The Kennedy family’s modern misfortunes

We wouldn’t see another open killing of a Kennedy by an assailant, but that didn’t mean tragedy was any further from ending. It was as though the effect from these huge incidents sent an unpredictable, unprecedented ripple through the entire family. 

David Kennedy, the fourth child of the assassinated Robert Kennedy, was found dead in 1984 by a drug overdose in a Florida hotel room. Then in 1997, another son of Robert Kennedy – Michael Kennedy – was killed in a skiing accident; He ran into a tree while on vacation in Aspen, CO with other members of the Kennedy family. 

1999 brought one of the next great misfortunes upon the Kennedy family when John F. Kennedy Jr. was killed in a plane crash off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, MA. Piloting the plane himself, it was reported that pilot error led to the accident. The event killed John Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn, and his sister-in-law. 

The Kennedy family: Its contemporary curse 

Kara Kennedy died in a Washington D.C. health club in 2011. She was the victim of a fatal heart attack. Kara was the daughter of former MA Senator Ted Kennedy, the youngest son of the original Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. Dying after her workout session, many attributed the death as a direct result of the curse. 

Mary Kathleen Kennedy was the former wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr, but the couple divorced in 2010 with enormous coverage from the media. She committed suicide in 2012 at her home in New York. Then in 2019, Saoirse Roisin Kennedy, granddaughter of Robert F Kennedy, was found dead at the Kennedy family compound in MA by an accidental drug overdose. 

Gaining the most recent media attention, 2020 saw the death of Maeve Kennedy. Another granddaughter to Robert F. Kennedy, the bodies of Maeve and her eight-year-old son Gideon were found after they went missing from a canoe trip in Chesapeake Bay. 


The strange misfortunes of the Kennedy family 

If the long list of victims above weren’t enough to convince you of a curse, there’s an even longer list of strange misfortunes that may not involve death, but are no less saddening. Covering them all would take an eternity, but here are some of the most notable. 

In 1941, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and his wife Rose secretly arranged for their daughter Rosemary to undergo a lobotomy at the age of twenty-three. The attempt to “cure” her mental illness left her both mentally and physically disabled. Some believers cite this as the first terrible event that brought upon the Kennedy curse. 

In 1964, Senator Ted Kennedy survived a plane crash that killed an aide and the pilot. After spending five months recovering in the hospital, Robert F. Kennedy was reported to have said, “Somebody up there doesn’t like us.”

Ted Kennedy was involved in a vehicular incident again, accidentally driving his car off a bridge and killing his only passenger in 1969. And in 1973, Joseph P. Kennedy II crashed a jeep that left a fellow passenger paralyzed, and injured his brother David. 

Even if you can’t bring yourself to bear the idea of “curses” outside of your favorite show or movie, sometimes we have to admit some events are beyond the logic of circumstance. In the case of the Kennedy family, we like to think if an evil curse isn’t responsible for their problems, it might as well be the very least of their problems. 

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