6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)

6 Famous People From History (And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)

6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)

History isn’t made by regular folk — it’s made by the crazy geniuses who kick history in the balls until history barfs up bilious notoriety and fortune. And what rarely gets mentioned in our history books is how these visionaries kicked back after a hard day of being awesome and relax. Unsurprisingly, these visionaries’ pastimes were often as eccentric and ahead of their period as they themselves were. For example…


Louis Armstrong Really, Really Loved His Laxatives

It’s always a thrill to receive something from a celebrity, like a handshake, an autograph, or a cocktail napkin with a room number written on it. But big fans of jazz superstar extraordinaire Louis Armstrong could sometimes get something much more intimate of his in the mail: a picture of Satchmo shitting on the lavatory, happy as a clam.

6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies) Thomas Pluck
You go fishing through a keyhole, you’re bound to catch a boot .

Let’s set all of this butt stuff into context. For most of his adult life, Louis Armstrong was a yo-yo dieter: He’d lose an immense amount of weight, gain the weight back, lose it again, and so and so forth. He achieved most of his dramatic weight loss through a constant use of laxatives, particularly Pluto Water — a brand of mineral water with bowel-loosening side effect. However, it was hard to transport and even more difficult to find whilst out on the road. At a loss for a new style to give his gust segment some oomph, Armstrong stumbled onto a new product called Swiss Kriss.

How does it work? According to the man himself, the first time he utilized Swiss Kriss resulted in something that “sounded like applause” and forced him to crawl back to bed when the performance was finished. Yeah, we opt his earlier work in that regard.

6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies) Slim Aarons/ Getty Images
If merely he had detected sugar-free gummy bears .

Satchmo was hooked. Before starting his Swiss Kriss regimen, he was the heaviest he’d ever seen. Within one year, he’d lost 100 pounds. So many fans wrote to him asking for his secret that he had to have custom-printed cards made up of him with his cheek touching porcelain. This wasn’t a paying sponsorship by the way, which is probably the same dedication that built him one of the best musicians of all time. Have you ever loved something enough that you decided to spread the word by sending pictures of you spreading your cheeks? Louis Armstrong did. And that’s why he was the greatest.


Ben Franklin’s Morning Routine Was Sitting Around With His Dong Out

We all have a special thing that we like to do in the mornings to get us pumped for the daily grind: a glass of orange juice, some light exert, checking your notifications, or cocaine. It was no different for Benjamin Franklin, though his morning routine didn’t involve coffee or crossword puzzles, but letting his old John Hancock flap freely in the wind.

6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies) Franklin called his morning nudism “air baths, “ a delightfully old-timey way of describing going about your morning ablutions with your nips indicating. We’re talking everything from bringing in the newspaper and feeing cereal to catching up on your correspondence and tidy the house whilst airing out his birthday suit. As he described it to a friend 😛 TAGEND

“I rise early almost every morning, and sit in my chamber, without any clothes whatever, half an hour or an hour, according to the season, either read or writing.”

And where did he like to sit while waving around his Washington monument? Slap-bang in front of the window, of course. Dedicated his reputation as one of history’s greatest horndogs, this must have been a grody scheme to invite any patriotic passersby to come in and fulfill the Pounding Father himself.


Charles Dickens Turned His Dead Cat Into A Letter Opener

Charles Dickens was a complex human with many love — ghosts, class warfare, gruel — but most important of them all, however, was the affection he felt for his cats. His house was crammed full of them, so much so that one cat even developed itself to snuff out candles in a desperate bid for attention. His favorite was a small deaf cat called Bob. The two were inseparable, leading Dickens to once ask, “What greater love than the love of a cat? “

6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies) MilanEXPO/ iStock
“Ebenezer Scrooge beamed at Cratchit. ‘I’m a changed human. From now on, you’ll be paid in cats.'”

When Bob passed in 1862, Dickens was distraught and ached for a style to immortalize his faithful friend. Perhaps dedicate a volume to him, or give one of his unfortunate protagonists a feline companion to traipse through the London sewers with? As an author, he had plenty of options, which is why we’ll never understand why he had Bob’s paw removed, stuffed, and turned into a letter opener. And not only any letter opener, however, but one with an ivory blade inscribed with “C.D. In Memory of Bob 1862, ” because sometimes history writes National Treasure sequel plots for you.

6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)


H.G. Wells Was The First Ever Wargaming Nerd

H.G. Wells was likely the most influential early science-fiction novelist on how we look at the genre today, used to describe hour travel, genetic experimentation, dystopias, and bikes becoming the dominant route of transportation( they can’t all be wins ). But, implausibly, being an Edwardian sci-fi writer was by no means the nerdiest part of Wells’ life. That honor goes to when he decided to invent tabletop wargaming on a whim.

6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies) “Nuh uh! “

One night, Wells and his friend Jerome K. Jerome( where’s this guy’s biography, right ?) were sitting around the house when they decided to make a game out of firing a toy cannon at some doll soldiers they had laying around. It was pretty fun, but that wasn’t enough for Wells. Inspired by the war simulation used to train officers in the Prussian army, Kriegsspiel , Wells set about building a proper game with rules because, as a proto-wargamer, he had to know precisely how many turns it took to capture a cannon before the fun could start.

By the end of the night, Wells had designed the first recreational wargame, Little Wars . The basics were at first simple. Creating a battlefield terrain from whatever everyday household objects they had laying around, such as volumes, candlesticks, and maids, video games would start and, using a formula of Wells’ invention, injury would be dished out, pieces would be captured, and someone would wind up going to the POW camp( a shoebox ). It was a brutal game, too. The cannons that they used, for example, actually fired inch-long pegs that easily beheaded the hollow figurines in their desperate charge.

But like the perfect archetype of a certain kind of gamer, Wells became annoyed by their battlefield constantly being disturbed by “a great rustle and chattering of lady visitors. They considered the objects upon the floor with the empty dislike of their sexuality for all imaginative things.” The typical social setup of the British parlor, with its coarse carpets and noisy girls, simply didn’t work for Wells. He and Jerome decided to seclude themselves and using their combined model-building smart-aleckies, creating everything from houses to bridges to trees, dedicating their game both an awesome looking and the ability to recreate real-life skirmishes such as the Battle of Gettysburg.

6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)

Wells eventually turned all of this into a volume entitled Little Wars , which soon kickstarted a countrywide trend for fake-blowing stuff up. This was secretly Wells’ hope. He was a pacifist and hoped that Little Wars would go old-timey viral not just because he wanted to stimulate bank, but because it could dedicate everyone an outlet for their murderous propensities and avoid another devastating conflict. As he described it, “You merely have to play at Little Wars three or four times to realize just what a blundering thing Great War must be.”

Little Wars was published in 1913. The Great War kicked off in 1914. Guess he should have made the game a bit shorter( and easier to assemble ).


Mark Twain Was A Joan of Arc Fanboy

It’s hard to think of Mark Twain having any hobbies beyond dropping sick burns and combing his moustache. But for most of his life, he spent his free time being chairperson, vice-president, and treasurer of his very( very) own Joan of Arc fan club. In fact, he seemed to adore her in the same way some people adore whatever anime character is on their body pillow.

6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)

According to his official biographer, Twain’s obsession started when he was a young printmaker and stumbled upon a page describing Joan of Arc floating the breeze. His infatuation with the French martyr grew such that he subsequently expended 12 years traveling across Europe snaffling up every piece of research that he could find about her life. If Twain were alive today, he’d be submitting regular pieces to fanfiction.net in which they rode off into the sunset together to start an organic farm outside of Toulouse.

The result of this massive research bender was Personal Recollections Of Joan Of Arc , a biography written from the in-universe perspective of a fictional maid of Joan, Sieur Louis de Conte. The book recounted every moment of Joan’s life from childhood( which she spent played with forest nymphs, apparently ), her fateful one-on-one with The Almighty, to her taking up arms against the English.

6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)

But Twain, who took venerating Joan of Arc as serious as a heart attack, didn’t want readers to pick up a copy of the book expecting his trademark wit and panache for the dramatic. He therefore arranged for it to be serialized in Harper’s Magazine and credited to the fictional de Conte. This foolproof scheme worked for roughly 10 seconds. Twain’s popularity caught up with him, much to the disappointment of his fans. Where was the repartee? The sons floating on rafts? WHAT ABOUT AMERICA, MARK?

Twain didn’t care, and continued to champion his crush — to the point where he would publicly castigate fellow writers for portraying Joan as a peasant daughter as opposed to a radiant, heavenly beauty she was in his head. Fortunately, Twain lived long enough to see Joan adopted as a figure of strength by the suffragette movement. But of all the joy venerating Joan of Arc dedicated him, this one must have been the greatest: Whilst dedicating a lecturing in 1905 to the Society of Illustrators, the organisers secretly arranged for a Joan of Arc impersonator to enter the room, wordlessly glide towards him, and hand him a laurel wreath, before wordlessly gliding out again. For the first time in his life, Mark Twain didn’t have a snappy comeback.

6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)


Nikola Tesla Really Fricking Loved Pigeons

Nikola Tesla had a reputation for being one of the craaaaziest people in the history of science, but that’s an insultingly reductive take on a man whose genius was thwarted every step of the way. Tesla was sabotaged by his contenders, pursued by the government and even had all of his work burnt to a crisp. And while he didn’t possess the necessary social abilities to hug away his sadness and frustration, he did have many non-human friends be returned to: pigeons, including with regard to the heartbreaking romance he struck up with one special bird.

6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)

Tesla spent much of his adult life living in New York City, where he lived out of a small hotel room — because get someone else to change his sheets dedicated him more time to science( also, people like Edison kept him quite poor ). At the stroke of midnight, he would walk down to the New York Public Library, and feed the multitudes of pigeons waiting for him. But when this arrangement became unfeasible( or he just felt lazy ), he would simply fling open the windows of whatever hotel was staying at, fling seed around the room, and invite the birds inside.

Unsurprisingly, the hotels didn’t like this. His devotion to his pigeons expense Tesla tenancy at the St. Regis, the Hotel Pennsylvania, and the Hotel Governor Clinton. When he moved into the New Yorker, the hotel toyed with evicting him for his bird-feeding shenanigans, but decided against it when they realized that the bad publicity would expense them more than the warehouse of bleach they would need to clean his room every day.

6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)

Towards the end of their own lives, Tesla retreated more and more into his homeless dame shtick. After he was knocked down by a taxi and rendered unable to walk, he was so afraid that his beloved pigeons would go hungry he would dispatch Western Union couriers to his usual haunt to dump out his birdseed, constantly haranguing them by telephone until it was done.

It gets a lot sadder when you learn that Tesla actually fell in love with one of these birds, a beautiful all-white specimen that could, allegedly, find him wherever he was in the city. That’s not us being hyperbolic when we talk about love, either. As he described it, “I loved that pigeon as a human loves a woman, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life.” When the bird became sick, Tesla stopped going to work at his laboratory just to tend to her. And when she died, he lost all will to live, even turning his back on his scientific pursuits.

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6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)
6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)
6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)
6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)
6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)

6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)

6 Famous People From History( And Their Totally WTF Hobbies)

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