The Eccentropedia: The Most Unusual People Who Have Ever Lived
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The contrarian is the individual who probably springs most often to mind when people hear the word 'eccentric'. Contrarians are the people who do not give a fig for social conventions and determinedly go their own way, whether it's in their clothing, habits, beliefs, hobbies or living arrangements. Their spiritual father is Diogenes, and they have absolutely no doubt that they are the sensible ones and it is the rest of the world that is out of step. Contrarians, especially in England, are often associated with the aristocracy (who after all, do often have the time and money to be able to live exactly as they please), yet they may come from all walks of life, and indeed, some of the most notable have literally lived on the streets, becoming in the process well-known and often well-loved individuals. It is the contrarians that John Stuart Mill was thinking of when he wrote in On Liberty, 'That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.' Mill understood that conformity in a society breeds stagnation. By rejecting conventions, eccentrics demonstrate new ways of thinking and living. Of course, what may seem outrageous or crazy to an eccentric's contemporaries may be judged as eminently reasonable and sensible by later generations (Charles Waterton's early conservation efforts and Victoria Woodhull's tilt at the White House being but two of many examples that could be given).
Hippocratic Oath, and studied Ruhnama instead of medical books. Not surprisingly, the country’s mortality rate took a sudden turn for the worse (Niyazov reacted to an outbreak of bubonic plague by banning it). Had these events not taken place, the dictator’s own doctors may have been more solicitous in treating the heart condition that eventually took Turkmenbashi the Great away. NORMAN, RUTH E. (1900-1993) ‘The Archangel Uriel’ Ruth Norman was the Barbara Cartland of UFO cults. With her
later wrote a letter to his former comrades, urging them to surrender, too. Onoda and his two remaining companions looked at each other and shook their heads — another trick. The men lived mainly on boiled bananas and coconuts. They occasionally stole rice and other goods from villages, and every few months killed a cow, which they butchered, enjoying fresh meat for a few days, and drying the remainder. They built makeshift shelters during winter, and slept in the open the rest of the year.
connoisseur of cranks, who recorded his experiences on the trip in his first book, The Innocents Abroad. Twain dubbed Cutter ‘the Poet Lariat’ and wrote that he ‘gives copies of his verses to consuls, commanders, hotel keepers, Arabs, Dutch — to anybody, in fact, who will submit to a grievous infliction most kindly meant’. In the notebooks he kept on the voyage, Twain expanded on Cutter’s character and his compulsion to write when the muse was upon him. ‘Many’s the time,’ Cutter told him, ‘I’ve
incapable of guile, and have no embarrassment about their bodily functions. (The word ‘cynic’ is generally supposed to have derived from the Greek ‘kyron’ for dog.) Diogenes lived just as simply and spontaneously, relishing his own poverty. His diet consisted mainly of onions and the occasional bit of raw meat. He is said to have lived in a barrel or tub next to the temple of the Earth goddess Cybele, and to have thrown away one of his few possessions, a cup, when he saw a boy drinking water from
where she remained for several weeks. At her request, the wedding feast was left intact and the dining room locked. Eventually it became apparent that Eliza was pregnant to Cuthbertson. After she gave birth the baby was spirited away and given to a servant to raise so as to prevent a scandal. Eliza remained in the house, refusing to see any of her friends. She still held out hope that her errant fiancé would appear, and at night the front door was left slightly ajar, fastened by a chain, with a