Weird Behavior of Famous People Part 1

About the weird behavior of some famous people in history including King Edward, Walt Whitman, and Richard Wagner.


1. When King Prajadhipok became ruler of Siam (Thailand) in 1925, his one obsessive fear was that he might someday be overthrown or forced to abdicate and thereby left without income. To alleviate this concern, Prajadhipok became the only known ruler to take out unemployment insurance with British and French insurance companies. The king's fear came true in 1935, when he was forced to abdicate his throne. But he had no material worries. He collected on his insurance policies and dwelt in comfort the remaining six years of his life.

2. King Otto, ruler of Bavaria from 1886 to 1913, insisted on starting his day by shooting a peasant every morning. To satisfy their leader's violent whim, two of Otto's more pacifist attendants played a secret game with him. One gave the king a rifle filled with blank bullets, and the other dressed as a peasant, strolled into view, and fell "dead" at the sound of the gunshot.

3. Whenever German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) conducted music by Felix Mendelssohn, he would wear gloves. After the performance, Wagner would take off the gloves and throw them on the floor to be swept away by a janitor. This behavior was due to the fact that Mendelssohn was a Jew and Wagner was an anti-Semite.

4. Hailed for his 1726 satirical masterpiece, Gulliver's Travels, and respected as dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, Jonathan Swift suffered through his birthdays. A crusty and embittered bachelor, Swift only wore black attire on his birthdays and rejected all food. He died insane at the age of 78.

5. Czar Peter the Great, head of Russia from 1689 to 1725, had one troublesome phobia: He was afraid to cross bridges.

6. American poet Walt Whitman, who published Leaves of Grass in 1855, wrote much of his free verse in the first person, but he would not read anything written by anyone else in the first person.

7. Niccolo Paganini, the flamboyant and romantic Italian violinist and composer, reached the height of his success in Paris and London in 1831. In solo concert performances he often played with frayed violin strings, hoping that all but one would break so that he could show his skill by playing with the single remaining string.

8. Determined to make money to help her impoverished family, Louisa May Alcott worked as a teacher, dressmaker, and housekeeper until she finally took up writing books for children. In 1868 she became renowned throughout the U.S. for her best-seller Little Women. Yet writing the book bored Alcott. She intensely disliked little girls and only wrote her best-seller at the insistence of her publisher.

9. Florenz Ziegfeld (1869-1932), the impresario who produced 24 versions of the Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway, rarely communicated by letter. He liked to carry a pad of telegraph blanks with him and dash off wires. He would use up an entire pad of telegraphs in a single day. Even when he sat in the orchestra pit watching his comedians and chorines on stage above him, he would send them telegrams.

10. King Edward VII, Victoria's son who became ruler of England in 1901, would allow no one who came into his presence to carry loose change, because the slightest jingling of coins unnerved him.

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