It’s a thin line between genius and insanity. We know this. We’ve seen it amuse us, in small doses. In larger ones, we’ve watched it destroy careers and steal people we love when they were far too young.
The same brains that produce hilarious comedy, political genius, spin page-turning stories, and lead nations to greatness also see the world a bit differently from your average accountant or plumber. Since these 10 people definitely fall into the former categories, a little crazy is to be expected – but you might not know just how odd some of their quirks were rumored to be.
You’re about to find out, but remember: very few of these are confirmed, so don’t go tossing these around at your next meeting with a history professor unless you want to sit through a lecture on primary sources!
10. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The famous French philosopher tells in his memoir of needing to be spanked in order to get a boner. While that’s not all that insane or weird, the next part is: he liked it so much that people said Rousseau would pull his pants down in public and chase strange women around ass first, asking them to give him a whack.
9. Nikola Tesla
The scientist and inventor reportedly struggled from extreme forms of both obsessive-compulsive disorder and germaphobia. He refused to touch anything with dirt on it, had to bow to the number three with many everyday tasks, and couldn’t make himself touch anything round.
Kind of makes his accomplishments all the more impressive, don’t you think?
8. Ulysses S. Grant
He reportedly never let people see him naked – not even during the war, when he showered separately in his own tent. He supposedly bragged later in life that no one had seen him naked since he was a child. More than a bit of an odd claim, given that Grant was married, and the two had a child together!
7. Lyndon B. Johnson
The President must have taken his last name to heart, because according to several biographies, he liked to show off his penis (which he called ‘Jumbo’) to unsuspecting passersby or urinal-mates.
6. Martin Luther
Guys, he ate spoonfuls of his own poop. SPOONFULS.
I cannot with this fact, which, according to his own poopy mouth, seems to be true. When talking about the practice, he commented that he “couldn’t understand the generosity of a God who freely gave such important and useful remedies.”