"May the Great Worm Gnaw Your Vitals"
April 26, 2017 12:11 PM   Subscribe

In which Beatrice Patton, widow of General George S. Patton, Jr., places a seemingly effective curse on his former mistress. (SLWaPo)
posted by Songdog (23 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
When I was a kid I was friends with Patton's grandson, Ben. I remember at the family homestead in Hamilton Massachusetts, It was widely held that his grandmother haunted the place, and often you would come into the room where her favorite rocking chair was and it would be rocking by itself.
posted by prodigalsun at 12:30 PM on April 26, 2017 [9 favorites]


Ewwww...Patton had a fling with his sister-in-law's daughter or better known as a niece. This story paints the framework of the women being punished for the affair or the Hera Problem. This is an old narrative where the young woman is punished for their participation in a transgressive act and the punisher is an older woman. This is all woman on woman violence including Gordon's suicide. Heck, the article quote implies that Gordon made a "play" for George Patton as if Patton was some defenseless schmuck.
posted by jadepearl at 12:33 PM on April 26, 2017 [30 favorites]


Wow. What an odd story to put in the WaPo. I wonder what was specifically "Hawaiian" about the curse?
posted by orrnyereg at 12:47 PM on April 26, 2017 [4 favorites]


I suspect that the "Hawaiian" nature of the curse is simply a way to emphasize that the curse is "exotic" and thus more dangerous. I wouldn't be surprised if there was nothing authentically Hawaiian about the curse at all.

(See also Egyptian, Voodoo, and Gypsy curses.)
posted by truex at 1:01 PM on April 26, 2017 [9 favorites]


I always find historical affair stories (or just real-life love stories, period, even if they end in tragedy) interesting, although this is indeed a strange story for the Post.

I've also always truly wondered whether my last ex before my husband put a curse on us. If you ever read this, dude, do tell. Twisted, inquiring minds want to know.
posted by limeonaire at 1:03 PM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


I agree with you about facts and the treatment, jadepearl. I think half of my interest is the fact that the Post published this story at all (the other half is the bizarre detail used as hook, which is probably the reason they did so).
posted by Songdog at 1:10 PM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Along these lines, I just got this book of true divorce stories in the mail today. I got it mostly 'cause Chip Zdarsky has a story in there. I guess I've read a few books like this now. About 10 years ago I read The Other Woman, a collection of essays about affairs which is perhaps more immediately relevant to this thread. And then one of my favorite essay collections of all time, which I lend to/recommend to people on the regular, is Committed: Men Tell Stories of Love, Commitment, and Marriage. If anyone has recommendations of other books of essays or stories like this, I'd love to hear about it.
posted by limeonaire at 1:24 PM on April 26, 2017


the facts. the facts and the treatment.
Stupid edit window.

posted by Songdog at 1:27 PM on April 26, 2017


It was widely held that his grandmother haunted the place

Well, based on this...odd anecdote to put in the Washington Post... I find that entirely credible.

also... amateur
posted by Naberius at 1:34 PM on April 26, 2017


Once, at an art fair, I bought a voodoo doll. One of my friends asked to borrow it because her ex-boyfriend had found a new love. She stabbed the legs of the doll violently. The ex-boyfriend's girlfriend was in a car accident where both her legs were broken.
I don't know where that doll is now, I still don't believe in any sort of supernatural stuff, but I did throw the doll in a box and never opened it again.

That said, I agree that this thing about men being helpless victims of young vulnerable women is disgusting.
posted by mumimor at 1:34 PM on April 26, 2017 [4 favorites]


It's unclear that Patton had an intimate relationship with Ms. Gordon, and sources tend to think not.

Still, he was the asshole who sent a cavalry charge into the Bonus Army camp in 1932 - an event that surely contributed to Hoover's loss to Roosevelt.

Patton is a complicated fellow. A racist and anti-semite, he was also curious and quick to learn and adapt, and he tempered his prejudices when it suited him - and he was among the first in the Army to integrate his forces.
"I don't give a damn who the man is. He can be a nigger or a Jew, but if he has the stuff and does his duty, he can have anything I've got. By God! I love him."
Personally, I'm not convinced he had an affair with his niece, although he certainly had some affection for her. Certainly smarter and better people than me have written about it. I can believe his wife believed they had an affair, and I can believe she was unkind about it. She was notoriously headstrong, and was deeply protective of him - for example, she had reportedly beat the snot out of some guy who had said something smartassed about George.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:11 PM on April 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


@mumimor > I don't know where that doll is now, I still don't believe in any sort of supernatural stuff, but I did throw the doll in a box and never opened it again.

"For the love of God, Montresor!"
posted by mosk at 2:14 PM on April 26, 2017 [16 favorites]


Just in my own circle of acquaintances, I'm aware of four times in which women attempted to get revenge on a current or former romantic partner using magical means, resulting in no discernible damage or discomfort to the targeted party (I was the target on two of these occasions). I've also had passing acquaintance with five men who attempted to get revenge on current or former romantic partners by decidedly non-magical means, and the end result was five dead women and one dead child.

Given the respective consequences, I've always found it difficult to get too worked up about the notion of a scorned wife leveling a curse at someone.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 2:17 PM on April 26, 2017 [26 favorites]


bleah. What a strange one sided article which is gross to women in general. I get so tired of this notion that men have affairs because women throw themselves at them.
posted by frumiousb at 3:00 PM on April 26, 2017 [5 favorites]


the article quote implies that Gordon made a "play" for George Patton as if Patton was some defenseless schmuck.

To be fair, he only had an enormous army to defend him....
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:22 PM on April 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


Still, he was the asshole who sent a cavalry charge into the Bonus Army camp in 1932

Under the command of MacArthur, along with his second in command Eisenhower. Plenty of blame to go around

Heck, the article quote implies that Gordon made a "play" for George Patton as if Patton was some defenseless schmuck.

Sort of like Bill Clinton.
posted by IndigoJones at 3:40 PM on April 26, 2017


His real mistake was returning the Spear of Destiny. Once you get it, you can't give it up!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:45 PM on April 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


I was treated poorly by someone recently (in non-romantic circumstances) and my brain reacted, as it often does, by entering into an angry loop of sour ranting about everything I wished I'd said to her and all the ways she'd wronged me. This got exhausting and made me miserable, so instead of allowing my brain to continue to monologue, I forced myself to redirect my energy into actively cursing her. I made up a suitable curse ("May her hair fall out, may her eyes seal over...") and then repeated it every time I felt the urge to revisit the subject of how angry I was.

It was fun pretending I was a witch; it made me feel powerful instead of powerless, and I found myself able to snap out of the mental anger loop pretty quickly, instead of losing days to futile anger, which has happened in the past. I highly recommend cursing as a way of dealing with your enemies.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 3:52 PM on April 26, 2017 [4 favorites]


I think I would experience a lot of complex emotions if I cursed someone I hated and they committed suicide. Most of those emotions wouldn't be good and none of them would be healthy. I think I'll keep my curses to myself.

Except for the current presidential administration. May their teeth shatter and their eyes bleed.
posted by poe at 3:58 PM on April 26, 2017 [7 favorites]


Too bad she couldn't find a leprechaun in time to counteract the curse.
posted by 445supermag at 4:52 PM on April 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


Except for the current presidential administration. May their teeth shatter and their eyes bleed.

Might I suggest the Trump Binding Spell for that instead? Skips the bad karma of curses and goes right on to the important "stop him from harming people" step. Though I don't think binding was something Beatrice would have been concerned about now that her husband was dead and the harm had been done.

As for the related article: (a) did Jean know what this "Hawaiian" curse (I doubt it was Hawaiian or maybe she just learned it on a military base there for all I know) meant or was supposed to do? and (b) I bet she had a whoppingly guilty conscience. Also (c) the whole Great Worm thing sounds more like Beatrice was trying to get her to come down with stomach cancer.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:34 PM on April 26, 2017


I am utterly aware of the power differential here, but at 21 I think I would have been old enough and self-aware enough NOT TO GET INVOLVED WITH MY MARRIED 50-YEAR-OLD UNCLE.

Just saying. Give younger women some credit for common sense.
posted by tully_monster at 5:43 PM on April 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


I am utterly aware of the power differential here, but at 21 I think I would have been old enough and self-aware enough NOT TO GET INVOLVED WITH MY MARRIED 50-YEAR-OLD UNCLE.

According to George, who is unreliable on this point, the affair began in 32 or 33 when she was 17/18. As the war drew to a close, she also got dumped by an officer she was seeing - who returned to his wife - and according to her friends, she was pretty well devastated. She would have been 29/30 at this point. This coupled with the loss of her uncle was deeply troubling for the young woman.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:09 PM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


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