For most of history’s villains, the power to terrorise and run rampant through the lives of the innocent is simply criminal dick waving. The bigger and more daring the crime, the larger the perpetrator’s wang!
But, in a very few cases, the intent was driven by something more powerful than simply the urge to ream a new hole in the backside of society. Some of the greatest crimes in history were committed by people who were, allegedly, blessed with an IQ that would make the rest of us look like an amoeba.
People like this:
‘Good morning, son. How are you today?’
‘Holy fucking shit! Pater has morphed into the very personification of all that is foul and evil. I must cast aside my fear and drive a sharpened instrument into his body, repeatedly. Afterwards, I will retire to France and contemplate my deed whilst painting stunning vistas and indulging the delights of Parisian whores.’
Which is, in a nutshell, pretty much the whole story.
Dadd, a noted artist, was your average, everyday sane guy who went about doing things that sane people did – like believing in fairies and painting them.
In 1842, whilst on a painting expedition down the Nile (yeah, people really did that shit even way back then) he suddenly turned violent. Which, in itself, isn’t actually big news. The last time it happened to me was just the other day when I caught my neighbour’s cat crapping in my freshly turned flowerbed. But the sylph-obsessed artiste went one step further by claiming to be possessed by the Egyptian god Osiris: the deity who represented death!
On his return home, and without the backing music of Elvis’s band, Dadd suddenly decided that his dad was the devil in disguise. Apart from staring wildly and foaming at the mouth, there was only one recourse – murder most foul. With a big fucking knife.
Once the satan/father hybrid had been despatched, Dicky went on the run. Just for good measure, he attempted to kill a fellow traveller with a razor but failed.
The bungled slash and run cost the crazed artist his freedom – he was captured by police officers and committed to Broadmoor for the rest of his anime/fairy porn painting days.
George Leonidas Leslie
In bank robbing folklore, George Leslie is a god-like figure, striding amongst lesser mortals as he robs them blind.
Leslie was a meticulous planner. He was also more prolific than a colony of rabbits raised on “bunny Viagra”. In fact, between 1874 and 1884 it’s estimated that Leslie was responsible for 80% of all bank heists in the United States. 80% – that’s the equivalent of getting an Advanced Level qualification A grade in screwing over the banking community. Consistently. For 7 years.
And that’s all because George Leslie wasn’t your average criminal.
Born in 1840, George’s family owned a brewery. Now for most young men this is the perfect excuse for spending 20 of their formative years in an alcoholic stupor. But Leslie had other ideas. After qualifying from the University of Cincinnati, with a degree in architecture, he decided that beer was boring. Instead of intoxicating the world, George Leslie used his house sized brain to commit crime.
Between the years of 1867 and 1884, Leslie and his colleagues immersed themselves in the dark art of robbing the shit out of financial organisations. Every heist was planned surgical precision: Leslie would acquire blueprints of the banks layout and build exact replicas of the vault they were going to bust open. He even tasked gang members to get jobs inside the target in order to work out routines and weaknesses in security.
By the time Leslie’s criminal career was over it was estimated that he and his accomplices had stolen between $7 and $12 million (a few hundred million in today’s figures, if you’re wondering.)
Unfortunately for George, he didn’t get to enjoy his ill-gotten gains to the max. In 1884, his decomposed body was found in Yonkers, New York. Although nobody was ever charged with his murder it’s widely believed that he was killed by a fellow gangster for playing “hunt the very large stick of dynamite’ with the mobster’s sister.
Al Capone: gangster, modern-day Robin Hood and a grand believer in the tradition of giving Valentine’s day gifts!
Capone entered a life of crime at an early age. By the time he was 14 years old, he had been expelled from school thanks to his involvement in an impromptu boxing match with his female teacher. Capone’s natural flair for doing stuff the government didn’t approve of (which, at the time, included anything that could be even remotely classed as “fun”) shone through from day one.
Between 1920 and 1931, the crime lord’s gang, the Capones, built a huge empire based on smuggling, bootlegging and prostitution.
But, being a savvy mobster, Al used his money and charm (and a nail studded baseball bat) to build a public persona with bigger kahunas than King Kong. Even though he was busy bribing every official under the sun, his shrewd mind had a softer, more important target. By dishing out stolen money to the ranks of the poor he earned himself a reputation as a modern day Robin Hood.
Let’s get this straight: Al didn’t just run a crime syndicate, he wrote the book on which all crime syndicates were based. And, in a dubious hat tip to the king of pin striped suits and machine guns, it was rumoured that the original version of Scarface was modelled on Capone.
During the course of his “career” Al managed to rack up a net worth was over $1 billion!
But, like most of history’s most notorious villains, Capone’s days were numbered. Even his alleged IQ of 200 couldn’t save him from Kevin Costner’s “Untouchables”. Contrary to popular belief, the former syndicate leader did not die in prison. Capone finally expired in his family home on January 25th, 1947. Rumours abound he breathed his last on a dense bed of $100 dollars bills which had been laid out to spell, “Fuck you, taxman!”