11 Oddities of Geniuses That Few People Know About
A genius mind comes at a price: most of these great people were oddballs with really weird habits. Everyone knows about the ear of Vincent van Gogh, but did you know that Alfred Hitchcock was actually scared of his own movies? Or did you know that Pablo Picasso was a big ladies’ man and loved shooting?
Bright Side has researched the biographies of some famous people from art and science and come to the conclusion that even though some of the things these people did seemed questionable to society, they were still extraordinarily talented.
1. Salvador Dali
Salvador Dali was easily the most provocative artist of all time. Here are just some of his oddities:
- Dali had an ant eater from the Paris zoo as a pet and once he walked with it on the streets of the city.
- Once, the artist did an interview while sitting in a tree, and sometimes he gave lectures in a diving suit: he claimed that it was easier for him to dive into the ocean of his subconscious.
- Salvador was convinced that dreams were the sources of his ideas for paintings. He had one trick: he sat on a chair holding a heavy key in his hand and tried to fall asleep. As he drifted into sleep, his grip got weaker, and when the key hit the ground, he’d open his eyes and have a moment to catch a glimpse of his dream.
- Dali’s will was to be buried so that people could walk on his grave. The artist’s body is entombed in the floor of one of the rooms of the Dali museum in Figueras, so hundreds of people walk on top of him every day.
2. Paul Gauguin
Paul Gauguin didn’t become an artist right away. He was originally a stockbroker and would only spend his free time painting. His life was mostly good: his family had money, so Gauguin, with his wife and children, lived in a comfortable apartment where he had special rooms for painting.
But at some point, he started moving further from his day job, communicating with artists more and more, and then one day he left his wife and 5 children and went to Tahiti. There he got married to a young local girl and created numerous beautiful paintings that were the best works of his life. But the end of Gauguin’s life was pretty terrible: he was sick, depressed, and poor. He died on the island without ever being able to contact his family.
3. Pablo Picasso
The artist was famous for his love life: he was married twice, but from time to time, he had love affairs with different women. He had 5 children, 3 of which were born out of wedlock.
For almost his entire life, Picasso had doves in his house even though he thought they were ill-tempered birds. He never understood why these birds were chosen as a symbol of peace. And he also loved to shoot a rifle: just for fun. It’s said that the artist always had it close when he was bargaining with the buyers of his paintings: allegedly to persuade them not to drop the price too much.
4. Andy Warhol
Warhol had an incredibly acute sense of smell: he could easily tell the difference between almost identical smells and always used cologne. At the age of 23, the young artist decided to dye his hair gray, and here’s how he explained it:
“So I decided to go gray so nobody would know how old I was and I would look younger to them than how old they thought I was. I would gain a lot by going gray:
1. I would have old problems, which were easier to take than young problems,
2. Everyone would be impressed by how young I looked, and
3. I would be relieved of the responsibility of acting young—I could occasionally lapse into eccentricity or senility and no one would think anything of it because of my gray hair. When you’ve got gray hair, every move you make seems ‘young’ and ‘spry,’ instead of just being normally active.”
And here is one interesting fact. Do you remember one of the most famous of Warhol’s works — the can of Campbell’s tomato soup? The artist loved this cheap soup his entire life and always ate it right from the can.
5. Nikola Tesla
This famous inventor was pretty weird. Tesla always counted how much food he ate and completely hated the look of women’s earrings (especially pearls). In hotels, the physicist would only stay in rooms with numbers that were multiples of 3. He also had a habit of always finishing tasks — even those he hated. He was scared of germs, always washed his hands, and because of this, changed dozens of towels every day. He slept very little: he spent about 2 hours thinking and only about 2 hours sleeping. Rumor has it that Tesla could predict the future: once he convinced his friends to not get on a train that got derailed a short time later and took a lot of lives.
Nikola Tesla loved creating an atmosphere of mysticism and secrecy around himself. His eccentric personality was always surrounded by many rumors. Maybe some of his actions were theatrical, but it’s impossible to answer this question with certainty.
6. Albert Einstein
As you can imagine, scientists were always trying to pick his brain. It’s been noted that he made the people who talked to him repeat the same things over and over again.
Also, since he was very young, Einstein hated wearing socks. For some reason he always thought that his big toe would eventually make a hole in them. He actually even wrote about it in a letter to his wife, “Even on the most special occasions, I managed to avoid wearing socks and hid this fact under high boots.”
7. Alfred Hitchcock
The master of horror, Alfred Hitchcock, suffered from ovophobia which is a phobia of oval objects, like chicken eggs. If a waiter at a restaurant ever served eggs, Hitchcock’s mood would change dramatically.
The famous director had a wonderful memory: he remembered the names and locations of all the New York streets, and could easily memorize the entire phone book. Some actors from his movies noticed that after drinking tea, Hitchcock would throw his cup over his shoulder: this is how he relaxed because he didn’t want to take out his frustrations on the actors. And also, he was scared of policemen for his entire life which is why many of his movies were based on the fear of an unfair accusation.
And finally, Hitchcock was scared of watching his own movies. “I’m scared by my own movies. I never watch them. I don’t know how people can stand watching them.”
Here are some other oddities of famous geniuses
8. It is believed that the famous chemist Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev was famous among his neighbors... no, not thanks to his periodic table of elements, but thanks to his suitcases! As it turns out, he really loved making suitcases and they were so robust and well-made that he had a lot of clients.
9. Great Danish author Hans Christian Andersen had a lot of fears. He was scared of literally everything: robberies, losing his passport, dying in a fire, and losing his teeth (for some reason, he believed that the number of his teeth influenced his talent as a writer). He also had a lot of mistakes in his work: he had to pay proofreaders to edit them which was really expensive. But there was no other way, otherwise nobody would’ve published his books.
10. Chinese politician Mao Zedong never brushed his teeth. He had a really simple answer, “Have you ever seen a tiger do it?”
11. French writer Honoré de Balzac was a huge coffee fan. He wouldn’t start writing until he drank 5 cups of coffee and he compared the effect of caffeine to a riding crop, the whip that makes a horse move. Sometimes he could even work for 2 days in a row without stopping. But after some time, his body developed an immunity and the coffee stopped working. And then Balzac started eating coffee beans: he would eat up to one pound a day.
Do you know anything about the unusual habits of famous people? Tell us in the comment section below!
Preview photo credit ASSOCIATED PRESS/FOTOLINK