These Respected Figures Were Also Some of the Weirdest People in History
These Respected Figures Were Also Some of the Weirdest People in History

These Respected Figures Were Also Some of the Weirdest People in History

Khalid Elhassan - August 8, 2022

These Respected Figures Were Also Some of the Weirdest People in History
Aleister Crowley. Wikimedia

6. A Weird Occultist

English occultist and writer Aleister Crowley (1875 – 1947) claimed to be a magician. Not the stage tricks kind of magician, but the warlock, spells and sorcery type. An L. Ron Hubbard type before there was an L. Ron Hubbard, Crowley also founded a religion in the early twentieth century, Thelema. He named himself its prophet, and declared that the faith’s goal was to guide mankind to a new age. A fundamental principal of Thelema was that the twentieth century would usher in the “Aeon of Horus”, which would overthrow all current codes of morality and ethics. In the new age, people’s “True Will”, which they would discover via magic, would be all that matters. Crowley summarized the Horus era’s ethics as: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law“. Crowley’s magic religion included lots of nooky with his followers.

These Respected Figures Were Also Some of the Weirdest People in History
Aleister Crowley conducting the Rite of Saturn in 1910. Pinterest

He called it “Sexual Magic”, whereby orgasms and bodily secretions were used as components of magic spells. A main precept of such magic was that all adherents should be completely open and uninhibited about intercourse, without social limitations or restraints. Followers should also expose their children to intercourse from infancy, and accustom them to witness all kinds of explicit activity. In 1920, Crowley and his followers established a religious commune in Sicily, the Abbey of Thelema. It was not long before the perverse and weird goings-on there led to controversy, scandals, and denunciations, that became regular fodder for the British and Italian press. In response to the outcry, the Italian government finally shut down the commune and evicted everybody in 1923. Crowley then hit the road, and split the final two decades of his life in travels between Britain, France, and Germany, to promote his religion.

These Respected Figures Were Also Some of the Weirdest People in History
Sigmund Freud. Pinterest

5. Sigmund Freud Was Pretty Weird

Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud is widely acknowledged as the father of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. We have him to thank for the psychiatrist couch. We also have him to thank for paying somebody hundreds of dollars an hour to nod his head while he doodles in a notepad as he listens to us drone on about our lives, before he prescribes us happy pills. Freud basically said that we are all perverts, and that deep down, all guys want to murder their fathers as a prelude to getting it on with their own mothers.

These Respected Figures Were Also Some of the Weirdest People in History
Sigmund Freud and his mother in 1872. Imgur

Ironically, the figure he chose to name that complex after was probably the least Oedipal person ever. In Greek mythology, Oedipus went to extreme lengths to avoid a prophecy that predicted he would murder his father and marry his mother. He only ended up doing so unwittingly, after a series of extraordinary flukes. Freud, by contrast, was pretty Oedipal himself, and openly acknowledged that he had the hots for his own mother. That paled in comparison to Freud’s theory that the root cause of child molestation was not adults who preyed upon children, but children who lusted after their parents.

These Respected Figures Were Also Some of the Weirdest People in History
Al Hakim Mosque in Cairo. Islamic Cultural Heritage

4. A Weird Caliph

The Fatimid Caliph Abu Ali Mansur (985 – 1021) is better known by his regnal title, Al Hakim bi Amr Allah (“Ruler by God’s Command”). He is even better known by the nickname “The Mad Caliph”, which he earned through a whole lot of crazy and weird behavior that made him one of the Middle Ages’ oddest rulers. Among other things, he was a megalomaniac who declared himself an incarnation of God. While other rulers who declared their divinity ended up with universal scorn – see, the Caligula entry, above – the Mad Caliph actually ended up with some adherents. And not just ones who adhered out of fear, but sincere believers who continued to revere Al Hakim long after his death. To this day, he is still viewed as a divine incarnation by the Druze sect in the Middle East, and is a religiously important figure to some Shia Muslims.

These Respected Figures Were Also Some of the Weirdest People in History
A coin from the reign of Al Hakim. V-Coins

The son of the Fatimid Caliph Abu Mansur and a consort named Al Azizah, Al Hakim became Caliph at age eleven after his father’s death. The Mad Caliph’s mother was a Christian, which opened him to allegations that he was an insufficiently zealous Muslim, and that he was soft on Christianity. It seems those accusations got to him, so he went out of his to prove his Muslim chops, and demonstrate that he was no Christian puppet. As in way, way, out of his way: he launched an unprecedented wave of persecutions against Christians in his empire, and ordered the destruction of Christian churches and monuments.

These Respected Figures Were Also Some of the Weirdest People in History
Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, destroyed by the Mad Caliph and rebuilt after his death. Christianity Today

3. This Caliph Had Some Pretty Weird Consumer Protection Policies

Al Hakim wanted to demonstrate that the fact that he had a Christian mother did not make him a soft Muslim. So he departed from the tolerance hitherto displayed by Muslim rulers to Christians and Jews. He went on a religious persecution bender, in which he destroyed synagogues and churches. That included the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem – the one with the cave where Jesus is thought to have lain before his resurrection. The Mad Caliph also banned pilgrimage to Jerusalem. In addition, he ordered Christians and Jews to wear distinguishing clothing to identify them. Jews were further singled out by Al Hakim, who required them to wear bells as well, so they could be identified by sound as well as sight.

These Respected Figures Were Also Some of the Weirdest People in History
Medieval portrait of Al Hakim, the Mad Caliph. Wikimedia

Al Hakim’s weird conduct went beyond his religious persecutions, and included one of history’s most bizarre consumer protection practices, ever. The Mad Caliph reportedly used to walk through the markets of Cairo in search of deceptive merchants, while accompanied by a giant African slave named Masoud. Whenever he came across a merchant who cheated his customers, Al Hakim would order Masoud to sodomize the crook publicly, right then and there. To this day, people in Cairo threaten to “bring Masoud” when they suspect that a merchant is trying to cheat them.

These Respected Figures Were Also Some of the Weirdest People in History
The Ugly Duckling. Simon and Schuster

2. The Ugly Duckling’s Author Was Pretty Weird

Hans Christian Andersen (1805 – 1875) was a Danish author who penned plays, poems, novels, travel books, and autobiographies. His specialty however was literary fairy tales. His works in that genre include The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling. They are among the most widely translated writings in the world, and have been a staple of childhood for generations of children across the planet. This, despite the fact that Anderson’s own childhood was an unhappy one. Born to impoverished parents, he grew up in dire want, and as a child, his mother sent him to work in a local mill to help make ends meet.

These Respected Figures Were Also Some of the Weirdest People in History
Hans Christian Andersen. Guia dos Curiosos

The childhood penury was compounded by a childhood homeliness, or ugliness, if you will. As a result, the young Andersen was teased, mocked, and bullied by his peers. The Ugly Duckling was actually based on his own miserable tender years. He overcame the sad childhood and dire poverty, and harnessed those experiences into stories that impacted many. However, when he was not busy writing stories that would go on to feature prominently in the childhood of billions around the world, Andersen liked to masturbate compulsively. And while not engaged in that, he liked to talk with prostitutes – and then rush back home to masturbate compulsively.

These Respected Figures Were Also Some of the Weirdest People in History
Hans Christian Andersen statue in Central Park. Central Park

1. A Children’s Books Author Who Got Carried Away With Self Pleasure

A celibate (which perhaps sheds some light on things), Hans Christian Andersen’s weird kinks went beyond his propensity to masturbate a lot. He also liked to keep meticulous records of his masturbation sessions. He described and listed them in his diary with a pair of plus signs (++). A sample descriptive entry reads: “When they left, I had a doubly sensuous ++“. In Paris, he liked to visit prostitutes and talk with them, then rush back to his hotel to put more ++ sign entries in his diary.

These Respected Figures Were Also Some of the Weirdest People in History
Hans Christian Andersen. Pinterest

He also had a maudlin and needy streak, and frequently fell in love with people – both men and women – who did not reciprocate his feelings. He often wrote cloyingly mawkish love letters to the objects of his affection, and frequently penned long tracts, in which he gushed about his feelings to women whom he knew were uninterested and would turn him down. In a way, Andersen throve on rejection. Then he would rush back home and earn more ++ entries for his diary.

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

Ancient Origins – Heraclitus Died When He Covered Himself in Cow Dung

Barrett, Anthony A. – Caligula: The Corruption of Power (1990)

Booth, Martin – A Magick Life: The Biography of Aleister Crowley (2000)

Classical Wisdom – The Cult of Pythagoras

Daily Beast – From Communing With Animals to Obsessive Bean Hatred, Pythagoras Was One Weird Dude

Encyclopedia Britannica – Al Hakim, Fatimid Caliph

Encyclopedia Britannica – Charles VI, King of France

Gizmodo – Was Pythagoras Really a Murderer?

Gonick, Larry – The Cartoon History of the Universe III: From the Rise of Arabia to the Renaissance (2002)

Guardian, The, January 18th, 2006 – Bedtime Stories: Was Hans Christian Andersen Really as Pure – and Boring – as Biographers Make Out?

Gunn, Peter – My Dearest Augusta: A Biography of Byron’s Half Sister (1968)

Henderson, Ernest F. – Blucher and the Uprising of Prussia Against Napoleon, 1806-1815 (2015)

History Collection – Strange and Delightful Holiday Traditions of the Victorian Era

Hofschroer, Peter – 1815, The Waterloo Campaign: The German Victory (1999)

Independent, The, March 27th, 2005 – His Dark Materials

Johnston, William – Geisha, Harlot, Strangler, Star: A Woman, Sex, and Morality in Modern Japan (2004)

Leggiere, Michael V. – Napoleon and Berlin: The Franco-Prussian War in North Germany, 1813 (2015)

Listverse – 10 Strange Facts About Pythagoras: Mathematician and Cult Leader

MacCarthy, Fiona – Byron: Life and Legend (2002)

Mad Monarchs – Charles VI of France

Medium – 7 Disturbing Facts About Sigmund Freud

Murderpedia – Sada Abe

New Yorker, September 18th, 2015 – Charlie Chaplin’s Scandalous Life and Boundless Artistry

Parkinson, Roger – The Hussar General: The Life of Blucher, Man of Waterloo (1975)

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Heraclitus

Suetonius – The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Book IV, Caligula

Telegraph, The, July 25th, 2020 – ‘Perverted, Degenerate, and Indecent Acts’: Charlie Chaplin and the Original A-List Divorce Scandal

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