Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History

Khalid Elhassan - December 11, 2019

One of the more unfortunate aspects of history – and of life in general, for that matter – is that there is no shortage of creepy moments. There you are, with everything going along on its merry way – or at least it is normal and innocent and totally not skeevy way – when BOOM! Out of nowhere, something pops up to change things and the perception thereof – and not for the better. Following are forty fascinating things about some of history’s creepier moments.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
A young Queen Victoria. Art Might

40. Queen Victoria’s Stalkers

Celebrity stalkers are an unfortunate feature of today’s world, plaguing the famous, and sometimes the infamous, alike. Such fame fiends are not a new phenomenon exclusive to the modern era: they have been around for some time, as Queen Victoria, were she still around, could attest.

Britain was enamored by the young Victoria when she ascended the throne. Her two predecessors, her uncles, had been old, ineffectual, and corrupt, while their predecessor, the Mad King George III, had been, well… mad. So Victoria arrived as a breath of fresh air: a young, pretty, innocent, and clean new slate for her nation. Admirers tossed letters into her carriage, the bolder ones visited the palace with marriage proposals, and as seen below, the creepier ones dedicated themselves to stalking the young queen.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Buckingham Palace, circa 1837. Pinterest

39. Poor Security Made Stalking Queen Victoria Remarkably Easy

Britain’s royal household bureaucracy was a mishmash of inefficiency, ineptness, and outright incompetence. When Victoria once asked a servant for a fire, she was told no can do: his job was to arrange and prepare the wood and coal for a fire, while a separate department was responsible for actually lighting it. In another example, cleaning palace windows was divided between two departments, one for cleaning the outside, and another for the inside.

Security was also inept and inefficient, with no single person in overall charge of safeguarding the royal palaces. Buckingham Palace, for example, had low walls topped with tree branches, and lax guards. As a result, drunks and the homeless were often found sleeping in the garden, propped up against the inner wall or laid out beneath the trees. Less innocent interlopers, such as stalkers, faced little difficulty in progressing past the garden, and into the royal palace.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Queen Victoria’s coronation portrait. Wikimedia

38. The Silversmith Stalker

An invitation to Buckingham Palace to formally see Queen Victoria was a big deal and a great honor, coveted by many. On the other hand, just getting into Buckingham Palace and seeing the queen, informally and without invitation, was a cinch. Staggering drunks had little trouble getting into the palace grounds to sleep off a bender in the royal garden. Others, with more sinister and creepy intentions, had little trouble reaching the palace itself.

Such was the case with silversmith Thomas Flower, one of Victoria’s persistent admirers, who was found sleeping in a chair near the queen’s bedroom in the summer of 1838. Apparently, he had managed to get into the palace, then wandered around for hours trying to find the queen – Buckingham Palace was and remains a big building. Finally, after tiring of the search, he fell asleep. He was arrested and imprisoned, until friends bailed him out for £50.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
A soot and grease begrimed urchin. Timeline

37. The Stalker and the Queen’s Panties

Thomas Flower’s stalking of Queen Victoria was creepy, but it paled in comparison to the stalking of Edward Jones, a teenager dubbed “Boy Jones” by palace staff. Around 5 AM on December 14th, 1838, a palace servant saw a gargoyle of a face in a window, that appeared to be smudged with soot, and belonging to an ugly youth who was impishly grinning at him. Investigation revealed that a palace room had been ransacked, so the alarm was sounded, and the hunt for the intruder was on.

A constable spotted a teenager outside the palace, gave chase, tackled, seized, and hauled him in. A closer look revealed that the arrestee was an unfortunately featured young man, whose face and clothes were covered in grease and soot. He was wearing two pairs of pants, and when the outer one was removed, several pairs of ladies’ drawers fell out – Queen Victoria’s panties.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Boy Jones. The Independent

36. Living in the Palace Walls and Chimneys

The soot and grease-covered young man arrested with Queen Victoria’s underwear gave his name as Edward Cotton – subsequent investigation revealed his real name to be Edward Jones, a fourteen-year-old urchin. He had gotten into Victoria’s bedroom, and along with her panties, had stolen a letter, her portrait, and assorted linens. That he had gotten that close to the queen was bad enough, but discovering how long he had been in the palace was worse: Edward Jones had been living in the royal residence for a year.

During the daytime, he hid behind furniture, or in the chimneys and other spaces in the palace walls. At night, he wandered Buckingham’s halls. When he was hungry, he raided the kitchen, and when he got too dirty, he rinsed his shirt in the wash. During meetings between the queen and her ministers, he sometimes hid under the table and eavesdropped.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Boy Jones eavesdropping on Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Daily Mail

35. The Persistent Boy Jones

Edward Jones’ story became a sensation. When he was sent to the magistrates a few days later, the hearing was packed with journalists and other curiosity seekers, eager to find out more about the now-famous Boy Jones. The kid was a lovable tramp, and the fact that he had avoided detection while living in the royal palace for so long testified to his intelligence and talent.

He was tried for theft and trespass, but after a bonkers trial, filled with laughter and incredulity, the jury found him not guilty. The police congratulated him and wished him well – and also, that he would put his undoubted talents to better use. Boy Jones thanked them, and left. Less than two years later, on December 3rd, 1840, two weeks after Queen Victoria had given birth to her first child, Edward Jones was found hiding beneath a sofa in a room next to Her Majesty’s boudoir.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
A prison ship. Missed in History

34. ‘How Frightened I Should Have Been!’

Whatever the public’s perception of Boy Jones as a lovable tramp, Queen Victoria was not amused. As she put it in her journal: “Supposing he had come into the Bedroom, how frightened I should have been!” He was rearrested, retried, and got three months’ probation. Soon thereafter, he was arrested again, while trying to break into the palace. This time, he got three months of hard labor.

The authorities were stumped. Jones’ crimes were not felonies, so a lengthy stint behind bars was not an option. After he was arrested for a fourth, and then a fifth time, when caught loitering near the palace, they finally shipped him to Brazil, where he was kept in an offshore prison ship for six years. He returned to Britain, and was deported to Australia, but snuck back to London. He finally returned to Australia, where he became Perth’s town crier. He died in 1893, after falling off a bridge while drunk.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
The Stasi’s seal. Wikimedia

33. The Stasi Drove People Insane

Ever have one of those days where nothing seems to go right? You just can’t figure out why you are so scatterbrained, nothing seems to be where you remember placing it, and just about everything seems to go wrong and off-kilter. Nothing major, but just a steady and persistent accumulation of minor mishaps and frustrations, that drive you to the edge of snapping?

What if it was not just some random bad luck, but somebody – a powerful somebody with far reach – deliberately messing with you, to try and drive you insane? No, we are not talking about something out of The Twilight Zone, but a tactic used by East Germany’s secret police, the Stasi, in a bid to not only mess around with dissidents and subversives but to drive them insane.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
A Stasi surveillance station. Stasi Records Agency

32. Total Surveillance

Trained by the Soviets, East Germany’s Stasi soon exceeded their KGB patrons in their diligence to root out subversives who posed a threat to the state’s “socialist dream”. With over a quarter million formal and informal employees, plus another half million informants – in a population of about 17 million – the Stasi achieved what might have been the highest ratio of secret-police-to-citizen ratio in history.

The goal was total surveillance, and the Stasi got closer to it than anybody else. Its army of officials, analysts, and technical specialists was deployed across East Germany, to plant and monitor hidden microphones and cameras. As a result, there was hardly a workplace, educational institute, or public space, that was free of eavesdropping ears and prying eyes. It was creepy, but creepier yet was the practice of Zersetzung, or “decomposition” – a type of psychological warfare to isolate, then demoralize, perceived troublemakers.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
A photo taken by the Stasi inside a target’s dwelling. New York Times

31. “Decomposition”

Zersetzung, or “decomposition”, boiled down to the Stasi using its resources to mess with perceived opponents of the regime. It was a calculated strategy to gradually wear down a target’s confidence, mental stability, and social relationships, until they had nothing left. For example, in a bureaucratic system where paperwork was all important, the Stasi would arrange for the target’s applications and other documents to go astray or get delayed.

To damage the target socially, the Stasi would start rumors that he or she was having an affair, was corrupt, or was engaged in otherwise nefarious activities. They would even break into targets’ homes to rearrange their furniture, or steal innocuous objects, such as odd socks. It was creepy, and also devastatingly effective. Not only against dissidents, but also against apolitical innocents, who had been falsely accused of dissidence by vindictive neighbors, colleagues, friends, relatives, or romantic rivals.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
American fighting men in Iwo Jima. National Interest

30. The Underground Denizens of Iwo Jima

During WWII, Japanese machine gunners Matsudo Linsoki and Yamakage Kifuku were posted to the volcanic island of Iwo Jima. In 1945, the island was invaded, leading to some of fiercest and bloodiest combat of the entire Pacific War. The defenders fought fanatically, almost to the last man: out of a garrison of 21,000 Japanese, nearly 20,000 died before the island was declared secured.

Kifuku and Linsoki were among the few Japanese survivors. Believing their government’s propaganda that Americans tortured and killed prisoners, they were too afraid to surrender, and so went to ground. Literally. During the day, they burrowed into the warren of tunnels that honeycombed the island, and emerged at night to pilfer food and other necessaries from the American garrison’s supply and trash dumps. Via such means, they managed to survive for a long time in a barren and inhospitable island bereft of vegetation and game.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Yamakage Kifuku and Matsudo Linsoki. Wanpela

29. A Years-Long Holdout

Matsudo Linsoki and Yamakage Kifuki went unnoticed in Iwo Jima for years, helped by the American garrison’s lack of interest in scouring the island’s harsh landscape. That lasted until January 6th, 1949, when two US Air Force corporals in a Jeep spotted a pair of pedestrians in uniforms a few sizes too long, walking alongside a road. They spoke no English and were uncommunicative, but the corporals took them for Chinese laborers. Assuming they were hitch-hiking to the island’s main base, the airmen kindly gave them a lift and dropped them off in front of the headquarters building.

Linsoki and Kifuku wandered around the base for hours, until a passing American sergeant realized that they were Japanese and took them in. After interrogation, they took their captors to their hideout. There, the Americans encountered a cave richly stocked with canned foods, flashlights, batteries, uniforms, boots and shoes and socks, and sundry goods that the pair had pilfered over the years.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Idi Amin. Biography

28. Uganda’s Creepy Dictator

Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada (circa 1925 – 2003) began his rise to power as a military officer, before seizing power in a 1971 coup. His regime was known for repression, ethnic persecutions, human rights abuses, economic mismanagement, corruption, and nepotism. But what sets him apart from other brutal and incompetent kleptocrats, and earns him a place on this list, was his sheer creepiness and bizarreness.

Amin was commander of the Ugandan army when he got wind that he was about to be arrested for theft, so he overthrew the government and declared himself president. His behavior was odd from the start, and grew increasingly more creepy, erratic, and unpredictable with time.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
A blinged out Idi Amin. Quora

27. The Erratic Neurotic

Idi Amin started off as a conservative, and was initially supported by the West and Israel, only to end up an ardent supporter of Libya’s Gaddafi and the PLO. He ordered the expulsion of Uganda’s ethnically Asian citizens and residents. He then seized their and Europeans’ businesses and enterprises, which formed the economy’s backbone, and handed them to relatives and supporters who promptly drove them into the ground.

After the UK severed diplomatic relations, Amin declared that he had defeated Britain and awarded himself a CBE (“Conqueror of the British Empire”) medal, and conferred upon himself a VC, or Victorious Cross, a copy of the British medal. Among the titles he bestowed upon himself were “His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular“. He also declared himself King of Scotland.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Idi Amin. Adam Smith

26. When a Dictator Creeps On Your Girl…

Idi Amin’s personal life was no less bizarre than his public one. A polygamist, he married at least six women, one of whom he murdered and dismembered. In 1975, a nineteen-year-old go-go dancer caught his eye. So he had her boyfriend beheaded, then married her in a lavish wedding that cost about 10 million dollars, at a time when much of Uganda was hungry and malnutrition was widespread.

Estimates of Amin’s victims range from 100,000 to half a million. A harebrained attempt to seize a province of neighboring Tanzania led to a war which he swiftly lost, and he was forced to flee in 1979. He headed first to Libya, and then to Saudi Arabia, whose royal family gave him asylum, refused to honor requests for his extradition, and paid him generous subsidies until his death in 2003.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Medieval dancers. Pinterest

25. Help: I Can’t Stop Dancing!

From time to time, just about everybody gets a tune or jingle stuck in his or her head, and simply can’t seem to get it out, humming or mumbling it on and off for hours or maybe days on end. But what about the next level: how about a dance move that one can’t stop? Almost everyone loves a good shimmy, but what happens if the shimmy is so good that you just can’t quit, and end up dancing yourself to death?

That is what the good people of Strasbourg, Alsace, in what is now France, discovered in July of 1518, when their town was struck with a dancing mania, with hundreds of people dancing nonstop, for days on end. By the time the dance fever finally broke, many had literally danced themselves to death, perishing from heart attacks, strokes, or sheer exhaustion.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
When the beat drops, medieval style. Procaffenation

24. The Death Dancers

The Strasbourg dance craze started innocently enough. On an otherwise unremarkable summer morning, a Frau Troffea began dancing in the street. Onlookers clapped, laughed, and cheered her high spirits as she danced. And danced. And danced some more. Troffea danced without rest or respite for six days. Within a week, she had been joined by dozens in her marathon dance, mostly women.

Concerned, authorities consulted local physicians, who opined that the plague was caused by “hot blood”. Convinced that the dancers would recover only if they got it out of their system by dancing continuously, musicians were hired, a wooden stage was erected, and additional dancing space was made by opening up guildhalls and clearing out a marketplace to make more room.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Engraving of three dance plague victims being restrained. Wikimedia

23. Dance, Dance, Dance

The authorities’ efforts to help the crazed dancers get it out of their system backfired, and simply ended up encouraging even more people to join the mania. Within a month, the number of nonstop dancers had mushroomed into the hundreds, and at the height of the dance fever, fifteen residents were dying each day from exhaustion and heart attacks.

The Strasbourg dance craze was not an isolated incident, and between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries, similar outbreaks with enough frequency for contemporaries to coin a term for the phenomena: Saint Vitus’ Dance, or Saint John’s Dance. There is no modern consensus on the cause, so it is simply categorized as an unusual social phenomenon – a mass public hysteria, or a mass psychogenic illness of unknown provenance.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
LBJ. The Daily Beast

22. Lyndon Johnson’s Johnson

Lyndon Baines Johnson, (1908 – 1973) might have gone down in history as one of the country’s greatest, if not for Vietnam. He spent decades in Congress, first in the House and then the Senate, whose Majority Leader he became in the 1950s. When fate elevated him from vice president to president following John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, he entered the Oval Office with an unequaled mastery of the legislative process.

He put that mastery to good use, pushing through landmark legislative accomplishments such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Both Medicare and Medicaid were also started during his administration. Had Vietnam not derailed his ambitious “Great Society” program, LBJ would probably rank alongside FDR as one of America’s most transformative presidents. Another thing that might have derailed Johnson’s ambitions was his… Johnson.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
JFK and LBJ. The Wall Street Journal

21. ‘Have You Ever Seen Something as Big as This?!’

If there was one subject matter that LBJ never got tired of talking about, it was his Johnson. The 36th president was always eager to let those around him know that he had an unusually large penis. LBJ was a competitive womanizer, and whenever people mentioned JFK’s many affairs, he would bang the table and brag that he had more women by accident than Kennedy ever had on purpose. Today, the sheer number of sexual assault allegations LBJ’s conduct invited would probably force a presidential resignation – at least if he was a Democrat or TV president.

From early on, LBJ was notorious for creeping out people, especially in congressional bathrooms. If a colleague entered as he was finishing off at the urinal, he would often swing around, still holding his member, and whirl it around while hooting: “Woo-eee! Have you ever seen something as big as this?!” Johnson would then begin discussing pending legislation, while continuing to brandish and shake his Johnson.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
‘You won’t believe how huge it is – are you sure you don’t want me to show you?’ National Archives

20. ‘Jumbo’

Lyndon Johnson had no humility when it came to his penis, which he called “Jumbo”. In an alpha male ritual of primacy assertion, LBJ obliged aides, both male and female, to take dictation while standing at the door of his office bathroom, while he urinated or defecated.

He also liked to display it – in a manner of speaking – on the House and Senate floors. While conducting his business as a legislator, Johnson was in the habit of extravagantly rummaging away at his crotch. He would frequently reach through his pocket to better position “Jumbo”, so its outline could show beneath his pants.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Lyndon Johnson, perhaps thinking about his Johnson. Vox

19. Johnson Never Tired of Talking About His Johnson

Lyndon Johnson never tired of working a penis size boast into conversations, as a clip from the LBJ Tapes, recording a phone call with his tailor illustrates: “Another thing, the crotch, down where your nuts hang – it’s always a little too tight. So when you make them up, gimme an inch that I can let out there, because they cut me“.

He also had a special nozzle installed in his White House bathroom, positioned to shoot water directly at his penis while he showered. He refused to listen to arguments from White House staff that installing the special nozzle would require a great deal of plumbing work, and insisted on having his way. Being POTUS, he of course had his way, telling the staff: “If I can move 10,000 troops in a day, you can certainly fix the bathroom any way I want it“.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Still from a movie about Sada Abe and Kichizo Ishida. IMS

18. Picking the Wrong Geisha for a Girlfriend

Successful Japanese businessman and restaurateur Kichizo Ishida (1894 – 1936) had a reputation as a ladies’ man. Starting off as an apprentice in a restaurant that specialized in eel dishes, he opened a highly successful restaurant when he was 24, the Yoshidaya, in Tokyo’s Nakano neighborhood. By 1936, Ishida seems to have left the management of his other business affairs to his wife, and dedicated himself to womanizing. Early in 1936, he began a torrid love affair with a recently hired employee, Sada Abe. It ended horrifically.

Sada Abe (1905 – 1971) had been Geisha and former prostitute before she started working as an apprentice at Ishida’s restaurant. It did not take long after her hiring for her boss to start making advances, which she eagerly welcomed. The duo became infatuated with each other, spending days engaged in marathon sex sessions at hotels, not pausing even when maids came in to clean the rooms.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Still from a movie about Sada Abe. Ozy

17. The Obsessive Lover

Kichizo Ishida was quite pleased with the physical part of his torrid affair with his employee and girlfriend, Sada Abe. Unfortunately, her infatuation with her boss and boyfriend grew into obsession. She started getting jealous whenever Ishida returned to his wife, and began toying with the idea of murdering him as a means of keeping him forever to herself.

She bought a knife and threatened him with it during their next marathon sex session, but Ishida assumed it was role play. Instead of alarming him, the knife turned him on, which threw Sada off. Later during the marathon session, she again steeled herself to kill him, this time attempting to strangle him with a Geisha belt during sex. That only turned him on even more, and he begged her to continue, which again threw her off.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Contemporary Japanese newspaper article about Sada Abe and Kichizo Ishida. Christian Phelps

16. Offing Her Lover

Kichizo Ishida finally fell asleep, at which point Sada Abe, gathering her nerve one more time, went ahead and strangled her dozing lover to death with a Geisha scarf. Then she took out the knife and castrated him, carved her name on his arm, and with his blood wrote “Sada and Kichizo together” on the bed sheets, before fleeing.

Ishida’s body was discovered by a hotel maid the next day. When news of the murder and mutilation broke, and that a “sexually and criminally dangerous woman was on the loose“, Japan was gripped with what became known as “Sada Abe panic”.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Sada Abe in police custody. Famous Pictures

15. ‘Ma’am, Why Do You Have a Penis and Testicles in Your Purse?’

Police eventually caught up with and arrested Sada Abe. When they did, they discovered that she was carrying Kichizo Ishida’s genitals in her purse. When questioned why she was running around with her deceased lover’s penis and testicles, Sada replied “Because I couldn’t take his head or body with me. I wanted to take the part of him that brought back to me the most vivid memories

Sada Abe was tried, convicted, and served five years in prison before she was released. She went on to write an autobiography, and lived until 1971. The Ishida-Abe love affair and its painfully creepy conclusion became a sensation in Japan, embedded in its popular culture and acquiring mythic overtones ever since. The story and variations thereof has been depicted in poetry and prose, both fiction and nonfiction, portrayed in movies and television series, and interpreted over the decades by numerous philosophers and artists.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
The Forbidden City, the heart of China’s imperial government, as depicted in a Ming Dynasty painting. Wikimedia

14. The Creepy Teen Ruler

In 1505, a fourteen-year-old ascended China’s throne as the Zhengde Emperor (1491 – 1521). Unsurprisingly, the teenaged ruler was uninterested in governing. Disregarding state affairs, he abandoned himself instead to an extravagant and profligate lifestyle, marked by lavish spending, bizarre behavior, and poor choices that set the stage for the Ming Dynasty’s downfall.

The teenage emperor entrusted governance to eunuchs, and devoted himself to pleasure seeking. In his defense: how many people would have done better if given absolute power at age fourteen? With governance left entirely in their hands, palace eunuchs became China’s most powerful class. Without checks or oversight, corruption became endemic and public offices were openly bought and sold, while taxes soared to pay for the emperor’s pleasures and to feather the nests of courtiers and officials. The poor governance was bad, but the emperor’s creepiness was worse.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
The Zhengde Emperor. Wikimedia

13. ‘General Zhu Zhu’

The young Zhengde Emperor took to learning foreign languages and traveling incognito – although most of the time it was obvious just who he was. He was also into make believe in a big way, creating an alter ego for himself, a general Zhu Zhu, upon whom he lavished praise and rewards. He also built a city block within the imperial palace so he could pretend to be a shopkeeper.

Less innocent, and way creepy, was his habit of taking his companions on thrill raids. They would burst into the homes of rich subjects, violently seize and kidnap their daughters, then hold them for ransom. Officials who criticized the emperor’s erratic and irresponsible behavior were arrested, tortured, and executed by the hundreds. Zhengde eventually drowned in 1521 when his pleasure barge capsized, finally bringing his reign to a long hoped for end.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Grover Cleveland. Encyclopedia Britannica

12. Grooming a Baby For a Wife

Frances Clara Folsom (1864 – 1947) was born in Buffalo, New York, the only surviving child of Oscar Folsom, a lawyer and close friend of Grover Cleveland. At age 27, the future president met Frances shortly after she was born. Cooing over the newborn, Cleveland took an interest in her while she was still in swaddling clothes. He bought the infant Frances a pram, used to babysit her as “Uncle Cleve”, and doted on her.

Frances’ father was killed in an accident while racing his carriage in 1875, and left no will. So a court-appointed Cleveland to administer his deceased friend’s estate. That brought him in even closer and more frequent contact with Frances. He became her new father figure, and her hero. Unlike Frances’ real father, who had been notoriously careless of both his life and his family, “Uncle Cleve” was dependable, quite attentive, and doting. Eventually, the doting became something else.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
The wedding of Grover Cleveland and Frances Clara Folsom. Wikimedia

11. ‘Waiting For My Bride to Grow Up’

Grover Cleveland continued to dote on Frances Folsom as she grew up. Then, at some point, matters progressed from doting to grooming: Cleveland took to sending her flowers, with notes saying “I am waiting for my bride to grow up“. People thought he was kidding, but as things turned out, Cleveland was in deadly earnest.

After he was elected president and while Frances was in college, Cleveland sent her a letter proposing marriage, then sweated her reply like a schoolboy. She agreed, and on June 2nd, 1886, as the Marine Band was conducted by John Philip Sousa, 21-year-old Frances Folsom wed the 49-year-old president in the White House’s Blue Room. To date, it is the only time a president was married in the White House or while in office.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Albert Dekker and Katharine Hepburn. YouTube

10. Hollywood’s Creepiest Death

Character actor Albert Dekker (1905 – 1968) had a career that spanned 40 years on stage and the silver screen. During that time, he accumulated a filmography of over 110 credits, winning acclaim for notable performances in films such as East of Eden, The Killers, Dr. Cyclops, Kiss Me Deadly, as well as in his final acting role in Sam Peckinpah’s classic western, The Wild Bunch.

He also won acclaim for being one of the few actors in Hollywood to exhibit enough moral courage during the Red Scare of the early Cold War, to stand up to and denounce the demagogic Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee. That got Dekker blacklisted in Hollywood and derailed his career for years, before the anticommunist hysteria finally waned and he was able to return to acting. Unfortunately, what he is most remembered for is his super creepy death.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Albert Dekker. Star Crush

9. A Mysterious Disappearance

In 1968, Albert Dekker completed filming The Wild Bunch, left the set, and seemingly fell off the map. Family and friends grew concerned after days passed with nobody hearing from him. He was a no-show at a date with his fiancee, fashion model Geraldine Saunders. She tried calling, but got no response, so she went to his apartment and pinned a note on a door already covered by notes from friends and acquaintances.

When she returned later that evening and found things still the same, Saunders convinced the building manager to let her in the apartment. Once in, they found the bathroom door chained from the inside, and had to break it open. There, they discovered Dekker hanging dead from a leather belt. Normally, that would be plenty startling and creepy in itself, but in this case, that was just the start of the creepiness.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Albert Dekker. Celeb Heights

8. A Horrific Scene

The scene in Albert Dekker’s apartment was horrific, as well as so bizarre and grotesque that his fiancee collapsed. The building manager was so flummoxed, that it took him quite some time to overcome the shock and gather his wits to call the police. Dekker was naked in the bathtub, with a ball gag in his mouth, a scarf covering his eyes, and his hands cuffed behind his back. In addition to the belt around his neck, there was another around his waist, tied to a rope binding his ankles, which in turn was wrapped around his wrist and clasped in his hand.

Dekker’s nipples were surrounded by sun rays drawn in lipstick, which was also used to draw a vagina on his stomach. A hypodermic needle was sticking out of each arm, and his right butt cheek had two needle punctures, above which the word “whip” was written in lipstick. His body was covered in other words written in lipstick, including “slave”, “cocksucker”, “make me suck”.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Albert Dekker’s death certificate. Pintrest

7. Foul Play?

Albert Dekker’s death was initially ruled a suicide. However, after S&M toys and porn were found in his apartment, it was changed to accidental autoerotic asphyxiation while masturbating. Despite the coroner’s ruling, foul play was suspected and the death was and remains suspicious. For one, his fiancee knew that he had been keeping $70,000 cash in the apartment to buy a new house.

The money, as well as expensive cameras and filming equipment, were never found. In addition, it seemed incongruous that Dekker could have tied himself in the manner in which he was discovered all on his own. Whether Dekker had acted alone, had a partner or partners who panicked and fled when a sex game went terribly wrong, or was murdered, the mystery remains unsolved to this day.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Opening to underground cave in which Shoichi Yokoi hid. Flickr

6. There is Pride, and Then There Is…

Japanese Army sergeant Shoichi Yokoi was posted to Guam in 1943. The following year, after the island was captured by US forces, Yokoi went into hiding with nine other Japanese soldiers. They refused to surrender at war’s end. The group gradually dwindled over the years, until Yokoi’s last two remaining companions drowned in a flood in 1964, and he was left as the last Japanese holdout on Guam.

Unlike the majority of holdouts who did not believe that the war was over, Yokoi knew by 1952 that the war had ended with Japan’s surrender. He simply could not bring himself to swallow his pride and return home as a defeated soldier. So he hid in the jungle for 28 years.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Shoichi Yokoi’s cave. Mike Dash History

5. The Stay-Behind

It was not only pride that prevented Shoichi Yokoi from surrendering. He also convinced himself that Japan would rise again and attempt to retake Guam. When that happened, he would be ready and in place to assist with the reconquest. Awaiting that day, Yokoi survived in the jungle, spending his days hiding in an elaborate hole in the ground, and emerging at night to hunt lizards and gather snails and tubers.

In January, 1972, two local men came across Yokoi in the jungle. Taking him for a local villager, they were ready to move on, but a paranoid Yokoi assumed they were about to attack him, so he attacked them first. They beat him up and subdued him, then carried him out of the jungle and back to civilization, where his astonishing story finally came out.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Shoichi Yokoi. The Olympians

4. ‘I Was Really Good at Hide and Seek’

When Shoichi Yokoi was asked how he had managed to hide for so long in an island as small as Guam, only two miles from a major American air base, he replied “I was really good at hide and seek“. By the time he finally arrived back in Japan, Yokoi was famous.

Despite 28 years of isolation in a Pacific jungle, his mind was still sharp, and he swiftly parlayed his celebrity into a successful media career, becoming a popular TV personality and an advocate for austere living. He died of a heart attack in 1997, and was buried under a gravestone that had been commissioned by his mother in 1955, when he had been officially declared dead.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Monticello. Incollect

3. Creeping on a Dead Wife’s Lookalike Half-Sister

Thomas Jefferson engaged in conduct that would count as clear-cut violent sexual criminality today. The Founding Father and leading member of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence was a complicated man, to put it mildly. On the one hand, he penned some of the most stirring words in advocating freedom, liberty, and equality.

Jefferson’s phrase in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” has moved and inspired idealists for centuries. On the other hand, Jefferson pursued his happiness in a hilltop plantation, Monticello, leading a life of luxury that was only made possible by the labor of hundreds of chattel slaves. There, he also raped his dead wife’s underage lookalike half sister.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Thomas Jefferson. Wisconsin Gazette

2. The President and the Child Concubine

Thomas Jefferson had a creepy relationship with his slave, Sally Hemings (1773 – 1835) – although calling it straightforward rape might be more accurate than a “relationship”. Sally Hemings was a slave, kept in bondage by a brutal system in which violence, including deadly violence, was used to coerce its victims and secure their compliance. She had as much choice in submitting to Jefferson’s sexual demands as does a modern kidnapped victim, who finds herself chained for years in some psycho’s basement.

Even if she had not been a slave, there would still have been something super creepy about the age disparity between Sally Hemings and the famous Founding Father. Thomas Jefferson was 44 years old when he started having sex with Sally. She was thirteen or fourteen. Even if she had been a willing participant, it would be considered statutory rape today: children that are deemed legally incapable of consenting to sex.

Queen Victoria’s Chimney Stalker and Other Creepy Moments From History
Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson. All That is Interesting

1. A Dead Ringer For a Dead Wife

Thomas Jefferson’s child concubine was also his dead wife’s sister and lookalike. Sally Hemings was the daughter of a slave woman and John Wayles, Thomas Jefferson’s father-in-law. That made her the biological half-sister of Jefferson’s wife, Martha Wayles Jefferson (1748 – 1782). Sally, who was nine when her half-sister died, bore a striking resemblance to the deceased Martha, and the resemblance only increased as she grew. Jefferson missed his dead wife, so when her lookalike sister was thirteen or fourteen, he began sleeping with raping her.

In short, Thomas Jefferson having sex with Sally Hemings would be an epic scandal if it had happened today, hitting just about every icky button there is. Pedophilia? Check. Incest? Check. Violence, coercion, and rape? Check, check, and check. Adding another layer to it all is that Jefferson fathered six children upon Sally, and kept them as slaves. He eventually got around to freeing his children, but he never freed his concubine: Sally Hemings was still Thomas Jefferson’s slave when he died in 1826.


Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

All That Is Interesting – Idi Amin, the Murderous Cannibal Who Ruled Uganda

BBC – Shoichi Yokoi, the Japanese Soldier Who Held Out in Guam

Bondeson, Jan – Queen Victoria’s Stalker: The Strange Story of the Boy Jones (2012)

Cracked – 5 Creepy Moments From History You Never Learned in School

Encyclopedia Britannica – Dancing Plague of 1518

Encyclopedia Britannica – Zhengde, Emperor of Ming China

Guardian, The, January 22nd, 2018 – Why Lyndon Johnson, a Truly Awful Man, Is My Political Hero

History Things – History’s Nutcases: The Zhengde Emperor

Local, The, Germany’s News in English, February 8th, 2019 – Why Germany Will Never Forget the Stasi Era of Mass Surveillance

Murderpedia – Sada Abe

New Republic, March 4th, 2016 – The Presidential Penis: A Short History

New York Times, September 26th, 1997 – Shoichi Yokoi is Dead; Japan Soldier Hid 28 Years

Past Medical History – The Dancing Plague of 1518

Shadows and Satin – The Life and Death of Albert Dekker

Timeline – This Teen Stalker Stole Queen Victoria’s Panties and Lived in Buckingham Palace Chimneys For a Year

Vox – Thomas Jefferson Spent Years Raping His Slave Sally Hemings

Wanpela – Matsudo Linsoki

Washington Post, July 7th, 2017 – Sally Hemings Wasn’t Thomas Jefferson’s Mistress, She Was His Property

Wikipedia – Frances Cleveland

Wikipedia – Sada Abe