General Joseph Leonidas Schmuckatelli found himself scouring the Black Hills of North Dakota in search of a band of Pawnee lead by a powerful shaman and medicine man that carried out a campaign of terror in the Dakotas. His medicine was such that his name, Crooked Eagle, struck fear in the hearts of Indian and settler, alike.
Using Indian scouts, the general tracked Crooked Eagle's band and fought them to the last man. Expecting a powerful chief, the General was taken aback when he saw a slight if somewhat pudgy man wearing only a breech cloth and covered from head to toe in dried blood as the leader of this band.
Crooked Eagle let forth a scream that witnesses say resembled something that could only be spewed from the mouth of hell. With a deep breath the medicine man spoke a few words in his language and collapsed in a heap, dead. Turning to one of the Pawnee Scouts, the General asked what was said.
"He placed bad medicine upon you. He said your family will be cursed and you will die with your deeds unknown. We must burn his body and take no photographs."
"Nonsense, we have to show the world that he is a threat, no longer."
After Crooked Eagle's lifeless body was photographed for the world to see he was truly dead, they buried him in a grave near the Post.
In the weeks that followed, people close to the General began dying off. First it was his brother in Kansas, followed by his sisters, his two oldest sons and his daughter. When his last remaining son and wife took ill, the General summoned the Pawnee Scout as he was finally afraid for their lives.
“I told you his magic was powerful. We must find Crooked Eagle's bones and burn them and all of the photographs; as his spirit lives in them."
“We can’t get all the photographs; they have been published in newspapers all over the country. “
“If we cannot destroy him entirely, then you must contain him, it may save your family's lives, but not your reputation. Come with me to where you buried his body.”
As they exhumed the body of Crooked Eagle all that could be found was the old Indian’s skull. The Scout said some prayers and handed the skull to the General after he anointed it with oil and sage.
“Take the skull and keep it with you always, if you ever lose it, his power will come back and take vengeance on your clan.”
The General had the skull plated with silver and locked it away so none would find it. Although he saved the lives of his youngest son and his wife, Crooked Eagle’s curse still took hold. A fire at the National Archives after the General’s death destroyed all of his records. His son labored to locate every newspaper account of his father’s campaign against Crooked Eagle and destroy them.
His descendants entered military service and spent their careers ignoring and eventually bumbling many of their assigned duties in the quest to find the last of the photographs of Crooked Eagle, that they might be destroyed, too.
To this day, the last of the photographs have not been found and descendants of the General constantly labor day and night in the ranks of the Military to find them, their hidden agenda unknown to their comrades, the Schmuckatellis are only known for the mistakes they make on duty.