7 Of The Weirdest Hobbies That People Actually Do

Published April 29, 2014
Updated March 12, 2024

Ironing while jumping out of planes. Jumping out of planes in general. Bizarre hobbies like these prove that nothing is too arcane for human interest.

Once primitive man overcame the need to search endlessly for food, a bit of a gap opened up in the average human’s schedule. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the advance of modern medicine has given most of us seven or eight decades to fill up with distractions.

Here are seven weird hobbies people have found to make the time just fly by:

Weird Hobbies: Filing Lawsuits

Bizarre Hobbies Jonathan Riches

Use of this image is considered “fair use” under U.S. Copyright law. Not that that will stop him from suing ATI. Source: The Smoking Gun

Going to court is something most sane people try to avoid. Fortunately, the insane have valiantly stepped up to plug that gap. Meet Jonathan Lee Riches—listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s most litigious man. A listing that prompted Riches to sue Guinness because of course it did.

Riches has a history of mental illness and a felony record that saw him serve time in Kentucky federal prison. We bring this up mainly as part of our inevitable legal defense for calling him “insane” in the preceding paragraph. You can’t be too careful.

In pursuing what Riches calls his “legal masterpieces” (of course the phrase comes from a legal filing he wrote), he’s managed to file some 2,600 lawsuits in federal district courts since 2006. He has also driven to Connecticut in an elaborate scheme that involved impersonating Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza’s uncle, which we include to further indemnify this website for the above assertion regarding Mr. Riches’ mental health.

Targets of his legal ire have included former President George W. Bush, Somali pirates, and Jimmy Hoffa. He has also sued the surviving victims of the Holocaust, the Roman Empire, and “various Buddhist monks,” though it isn’t certain how much money he thought he was going to get out of the latter group.

In an all-out effort to be extra cray-cray, Riches has also sued various inanimate objects and academic ideas such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Dark Ages, and the Eiffel Tower.

Collecting Ecstasy

Bizarre Hobbies Ecstasy Pills

12 times this much ecstasy.

In 2009, Dutch authorities got an unusual report. A man, who has never been identified, reported the theft of his ecstasy collection, which he had been keeping in coin folders. According to the report, a burglar broke into the 46-year-old man’s Eerbeek home and made off with more than 2,400 pills of ecstasy.

Apparently, the man had been collecting the pills out of an appreciation for the different colors and logos stamped on them. He denied using ecstasy himself. He was fully aware that his collection was ridiculously illegal, but chose to report the theft out of concern over the forty or so pills in the collection that he said were poisonous.

Ecstasy Pile

Dutch police declined to press charges against the man, on the grounds that they technically lacked evidence to support a possession charge. For his part, according to police spokesperson Esther Naber, the man had given up hope of getting his collection back. She added: “Why would you make something like this up?”

Bizarre Hobbies: Flying… Without A Plane

Weird Hobbies Wingsuit Jumper

Source: Chamonix

So you’re tough. We get it. You jump out of planes and stuff. We get that, too. But have you considered the advantages of jumping out of a plane wearing a wingsuit and gliding like Rocky the Flying Squirrel across the countryside?

The earliest wingsuits went into production as early as the 1930s, and were made from canvas and whale bone. We’ll pause here for a moment to let the Steampunk potential of a whalebone flying suit sink in.

Modern wingsuits permit up to a 10:1 glide-to-drop ratio, meaning that a drop from 15,000 feet could potentially allow the diver to cross thirty miles of countryside, although the current record is “only” a little over 17 miles.

Unfortunately, it isn’t as if you can just go and buy one of these. The US Government, as well as several wingsuit manufacturers, requires that you have a minimum of 200 standard freefall jumps in the last 18 months before you can even ask for a suit. Unless you have the whalebone to make your own, that is. (Note: Please don’t do this.)

Extreme Ironing

You know what’s boring? Ironing clothes. If only there was some way to combine the boring work with the soul-crushing terror of rock climbing, snowboarding, and other extreme sports. Hey, would you look at that? There is!

The “sport” in question is extreme ironing, and it has its own international associations and everything. The whole thing began in 1997, when East Midlands resident Phil Shaw was faced with a choice between taking care of his ironing or going rock climbing with friends.

Despite allegedly being sober, Mr. Shaw (who now calls himself “Steam” in EI forums) decided to do both and took his ironing kit with him for the climb. And thus a new hobby was born.

Bizarre Hobbies Mountain Ironing

Source: Wikipedia

The practice has spread around the world over the last 15 years. Devotees of extreme ironing have had themselves photographed pressing their shirts on kayaks, mountaintops, and even in the middle of busy freeways.

Nobody seems to have been killed doing this yet, but it should be noted that nobody has been photographed ironing on top of Mt. Everest, either. Get on that, Internet.

Competitive Dog Grooming

Competitive Dog Grooming

Source: Pets Uncaged

Thousands of years ago, one of our hunter-gatherer ancestors took a look at a wolf and thought: “I bet I could make that thing fit in a purse.” Since then, we’ve been shaping dogs to suit our, shall we say, unique demands.

Competitive dog groomers continuously work to sculpt their dogs into ever-more surprising and bizarre forms. Shows take place as a subgenre within the larger dog show circuits and . . . oh, who are we kidding? Here are the adorable pictures:

Bizarre Hobbies Camel Dog

Source: Natasha Yi

Steelers Dog

Source: Natasha Yi

Bizarre Hobbies: Newsbombing

Paul Yarrow

Some people make history. Some people get swept up into history as it unfolds. And some people make it a point to stand around in the background of news reports as that history is being transmitted to the public. These are the newsbombers.

That dapper gentleman in the background of those on-scene reports is London resident Paul Yarrow. Over the years, he’s managed to appear behind some of the biggest names in the news business, and his visage has been captured by the BBC, al Jazeera, and Sky News, among others.

Newsbombing

Yarrow makes it a point to find locations where live reports are being filed and then… stand nondescriptly in the background while the reporter talks to the camera. It isn’t clear what Yarrow gets from this, but at least it doesn’t involve ironing.

Train Surfing

Bizarre Hobbies Train Surfing

Source: Wikipedia

If everybody you know jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?

Apparently for some, the answer is probably yes. Train surfing began in Germany in the 1980s, and took off from there. The practice entails finding a train—the faster, the better—jumping on it, and then maybe dying.

Bizarre Hobbies Train Emergency

As a hobby it has its shortcomings, not least of which is the cosmic irony that if you’re drunk enough to think this is a good idea, you’re almost certainly too drunk to do it safely. In 2008 alone, at least 40 young men (strangely, girls tend not to do this) died jumping onto trains in Germany.


Enjoy our article on the world’s weirdest hobbies? Then be sure to check out our other posts on amazing facts that will make you the most interesting person in the room and the world’s most extreme sports.

author
Richard Stockton
author
Richard Stockton is a freelance science and technology writer from Sacramento, California.
editor
Savannah Cox
editor
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
Cite This Article
Stockton, Richard. "7 Of The Weirdest Hobbies That People Actually Do." AllThatsInteresting.com, April 29, 2014, https://allthatsinteresting.com/weird-hobbies. Accessed April 24, 2024.