Weird History The Dark Saga of the Kennedy Family  

Lyra Radford
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The Kennedys are legendary; many consider them the American equivalent to a royal family. However, as glamorous as their dynasty may be, there are two sides to every coin, and, on the far side of “Camelot,” there are some seedy elements – the most prominent being the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and all the conspiracy theories surrounding it.

Other aspects of the Kennedy dark side include tales of JFK's infidelity toward Jackie O, tragic accidents, excessive drinking, bribery, and gambling addictions. Buried even deeper in the collection of Kennedy dark secrets are family members tucked away for mental disabilities, or shunned for religious differences, or ostracized for rape and murder allegations.

So much misfortune has befallen a seemingly charmed family, that the phrase “The Kennedy Curse” has become the common, simplified way to describe the scandal and tragedy that seem to follow not just the Kennedys, but their extended family as well.   

JFK And His Father-In-Law Shared The Same Lady Of The Night... And The Same Bed


JFK And His Father-In-Law Shar... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Dark Saga of the Kennedy Family
Photo: Cecil W. Stoughton/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

When JFK met his soon to be father-in-law, John “Black Jack” Bouvier, for the first time, things didn't go so well. Bouvier called Kennedy “a goddamn Mick” and looked down on his family's bootlegger past – which is just as ridiculous as it is hypocritical, considering the source. The two eventually found some common ground, and, apparently, it was their mutual love for booze and women that are not their wives.

According to one of Black Jack’s former lovers, songwriter Cole Porter, JFK and Black Jack got drunk together one night and decided to order a showgirl hooker for the night. She came over, and both men seduced her in the same bed.

Jackie Was Given Electroshock Therapy


Jackie Was Given Electroshock ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Dark Saga of the Kennedy Family
Photo: Robert L. Knudsen/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

One night back in 1957, JFK came home late at night after a tryst with one of his many mistresses. He had been drinking and so had Jackie, and the two of them ended up in a huge argument. In the heat of the moment, Jackie burst from the house and out into the street, wearing nothing but her slip.

John brought her inside and called an ambulance to come get her. She was admitted to Valley Head Psychiatric Clinic in Massachusetts. They had a fight (probably over his infidelities), and he had her committed for a week. While in the clinic, she received three electroshock treatments for depression.

Jackie had begun suffering from depression and even suicidal thoughts after she miscarried two of their children. Therapy and antidepressants would have benefited her greatly, but instead she got electroshock therapy. According to her biography, she called the treatments “the nightmare ride of my life.”

Rosemary Kennedy Was Given A Lobotomy And Kept Hidden Away


Rosemary Kennedy Was Given A L... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Dark Saga of the Kennedy Family
Photo: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Wikimedia Commons/Fair use

Rosemary, the eldest Kennedy sister, was often referred to as “the missing Kennedy.” She had a learning disability and a low IQ, but, as she grew older, she became more and more physically attractive. Her parents, Joseph and Rose Kennedy, feared this was dangerous for a woman with the mental capacity of a child, so they kept her locked in the house most of the time.

Out of frustration, she would have tantrums and lash out at times. It seemed Rosemary's behavior was tarnishing their reputation as a ‘perfect family,' so Joseph took her to a mental facility in Upstate New York to have a prefrontal lobotomy performed on her.

The doctor performing the procedure asked her questions in the operating room and did not stop scraping away her brain tissue until she could barely speak. At just 23 years old, she was left unable to speak or walk. She was kept hidden away, and it would be 40 years before her story was told.

William Kennedy Smith Was Accused Of Sexual Assault By Four Women


William Kennedy Smith Was Accu... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Dark Saga of the Kennedy Family
Photo: Cecil W. Stoughton/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

In April of 1991, William Kennedy Smith was brought up on rape charges for the alleged rape of a 29-year-old woman at the Kennedy estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

The night of March 29, 1991, Smith, his uncle Senator Ted Kennedy, and his cousin Patrick J. Kennedy went out to a bar and met two young women. They all went back to the Kennedy home where the alleged rape took place.

Smith was tried and acquitted on the rape charge, even though three other women testified that they were all sexually assaulted by him in the 1980s.