Mad, Bad And Totally Loony: History’s Most Eccentric People

Published April 5, 2015
Updated November 7, 2023

Caroline Prodgers

The name Prodgers might not mean anything today, but in 19th-century London it was a terror to all cabmen. Cries of “Mother Prodgers” made cab drivers run for the hills, because Mrs. Giacometti Prodgers was a Victorian aristocrat who really, really hated cabbies. Like many eccentric people, her oddities made her less likable.

Weird Eccentric People

Nobody knows what caused her utter disdain for cab drivers, but Mrs. Prodgers took great pleasure in taking cabbies to court. She did this by thoroughly memorizing London’s fare map and always knowing precisely how much she had to pay, down to the last penny.

Mrs. Prodgers often made cabbies stop right before they could charge her the full fare, and if any of them dared to travel that extra yard, she would take them to court. For 20 years she kept up this insanity, victimizing more than 50 cabbies.

Caroline Prodgers

Her name struck fear in the hearts of all cabmen. Source: Horses and History

Unsurprisingly, this behavior made Prodgers notorious in Victorian London. Cabbies warned each other by shouting “Mother Prodgers” when they saw her coming and she was satirized in newspapers and caricatures.

Even judges were annoyed with Mrs. Prodgers, suggesting that she should buy her own carriage since she could clearly afford it. On Bonfire Night, cabbies burned her in effigy. Even her obituary mentioned her borderline-psychotic behavior: “Mrs. Giacometti Prodgers, the terror of London cabmen, is dead.”

Sir Richard Francis Burton

Famed explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton was one of her only friends and often indulged her lunacy, even giving her advice on court proceedings. Source: iDNES

Kiri Picone
Kiri Picone holds a B.A. in English and creative writing from Pepperdine University and has been writing for various digital publishers for more than 10 years.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.