Those few of you who regularly read my ABC Wednesday posts will know that there is nothing I like better than an eccentric rogue and this week I give you one of the greatest – Maurice Flitcroft the Phantom of the Open.
Here was a man who took up golf at the age of forty-six and believing that he had mastered the game in a matter of months he posed as a professional to enter the most prestigious tournament in golf and carding a never to be equalled score of 121. Read more ›››
Like the secret of immortality or turning lead into gold, there are arcane legends as old as time, but none stranger than the magical petrol pill promoted by Guido Franch.
Franch was born in Livingston, Illinois, in 1910 and left school at the age of twelve to become a coal miner. He might have remained a blue collar worker except that in the 1950s he ‘discovered’ how to turn water into gasoline. Read more ›››
When America initiated the Manhattan Project it relied on the talents of many brilliant scientists who were often eccentric and some of them politically compromised, none more so that the atomic spy Klaus Fuchs.
Fuchs was born in Germany in 1911, the third of four children of Lutheran pastor Emil Fuchs. His father held strong left wing views as a member Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and heavily influenced the younger Fuchs‘ political views. Read more ›››
Bertram Forer was an American psychologist who is remembered for describing the technique for self-deception familiar to psychics, astrologers and even popular business personality tests.
Forer was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1914 and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1936. He then received his MA and PhD in clinical psychology from the University of California. Read more ›››
Maria Teresa de Filippis was an Italian racing driver who in 1958 was the first woman to enter the Formula One Championship and is one of only two women ever to make it to the starting grid.
Filippis was born in Naples in 1926, the daughter of a count, her career began on the Amalfi coast when her brothers bet that she couldn’t drive quickly. Read more ›››
Mankind is never more inventive than when he is trying he is trying to maim or kill his fellow man and during the Second World War, the German secret service came up with many ingenious, if rather Heath Robinson, devices for assassination and sabotage.
Although known by MI5, detailed illustrations of these devices remained hidden until the turned up in the effects of artist and graphic designer, Laurence Fish, in the summer of 2015. Read more ›››
The English countryside is dotted with follies, buildings that we would probably call vanity projects these days, and one of the most prolific sponsors of such eccentricities was Mad Jack Fuller.
The Fuller family were landowners in Brightling, East Sussex, from the late 16th century and made their fortune from manufactured iron goods, especially cannons which they supplied to the Royal Navy. Read more ›››
This week’s figure from the past is Arthur Furguson who is either one of the foremost fraudsters and flimflammers in history or the figment of someone’s febrile fantasies.
Born in Scotland in 1883, Furguson was an actor and like many in his profession, he was natural born salesman a talent he was to put to good use later in his life… Read more ›››