The Top 10 Weirdest People In History, From The Toxic Lady To The Hopeless Romantic Gravedigger

Published December 8, 2018
Updated May 15, 2019
Published December 8, 2018
Updated May 15, 2019

Whether flamboyant, miserly, or paranoid, some of history's weirdest people put modern-day eccentricities to shame.

Weirdest People In History

Henry Paget, the man who made his car’s exhaust pipe release perfume.

We’re all a little bit weird, some more than others. There are those, however, who blaze past casual weirdness and enter the ranks of the epically bizarre. The behaviors exhibited by these individuals rank them as the weirdest people history books have ever seen. From public defecation as an act of philosophical rebellion to (maybe) eating a baby because of insatiable hunger – these are some of the most freakish, perplexing, and historically weirdest people who’ve ever lived.

Diogenes Was A Crazy, Homeless Philosopher

Weirdest People Diogenes

Wikimedia CommonsDiogenes seated in his abode — an earthenware tub.

Not much is known about the Greek philosopher Diogenes’ early life, but there is much speculation about it. What we know for sure though, is that the ancient thinker was one of history’s weirdest people.

Diogenes was born in either 412 or 404 B.C., in the very remote Greek colony of Sinope. As a young man, he worked with his father minting currency for the colony. That is until they were both exiled for adulterating the gold and silver content of the coins.

Young Diogenes made his way to Corinth in mainland Greece. Almost as soon as he arrived, he seemed to have snapped. With no job, Diogenes adapted to the life of a homeless beggar. He voluntarily threw away all his possessions — except for some rags to hide his nakedness and a wooden bowl for food and drink.

Diogenes often sat in on Plato’s classes, eating as loudly as he could the whole time to disrupt the lessons. He argued loudly with Plato about philosophy, and would also periodically masturbate in public. He relieved himself whenever and wherever he felt like it — including on Plato’s stool in his own academy.

It probably didn’t help Diogenes’ case that he frequently ate whatever he could pick up off the ground. He shared the scraps with the dogs that followed him everywhere, including into Plato’s classes. Despite this, (or possibly because of it) Diogenes got a reputation as one of the wisest philosophers in Greece.

There are stories of his quick wit and penetrating insight that left others (especially Plato) looking foolish. It’s said that when Alexander the Great visited him while he was sunning himself, naked, on top of the barrel in which he lived, and asked if he – the most powerful man in the world – could do anything for the philosopher. Diogenes said, “You could move out of my light.”

Richard Stockton
Richard Stockton is a freelance science and technology writer from Sacramento, California.