Anyone can change the course of history. You can start a movement, run for office, or if you're too insane for that kind of thing, buy a cheap gun and try to kill the President.
Now killing the President requires a lot of planning, but when you're crazy, planning involves casting imaginary spells and talking to ghosts. All of which makes it even stranger that some of the craziest assassination plots ever hatched by some of the craziest people came so close to succeeding.
6Richard Pavlick (1887-1975)
John F. Kennedy
At the dear old age of seventy-three, Richard Pavlick maintained his youthful vigor by constantly ranting about politicians, wealth and Catholics. So naturally when these things converged in the form of John F. Kennedy's presidency, Pavlick felt that something drastic had to be done and that he was just the senile nutbar for the job.
Apparently Pavlich learned everything he knew about committing crimes from The Riddler. After giving away his property and most of his possessions, he decided it would be a good idea to mail postcards around town, with cryptic clues about his intentions.
Pavlick began stalking Kennedy and on December 11th this elderly one man League of Evil launched his plan.
Fun Fact: Guns can be problematic. They require training to use well and even then they can still jam or miss. But do you know what never misses? A 1950 Buick filled with dynamite.
Maybe Pavlick felt that the revolution he'd spark would be so awesome that he didn't need to live and witness it. Maybe he just had a gross misunderstanding of how dynamite works. Whatever the reason, one Sunday as Kennedy left for mass, there was an old man in an exploding car, prepared to kill him in the flashiest way possible.
What Went Wrong:
On the first attempt, Pavlick saw Kennedy had his wife and two children with him, and got cold feet (note that if you're that concerned about bystanders, a car bomb is probably not your best weapon).
This bought time for the good guys to work through the diabolical clues he mailed out. And by that we mean the postmaster glanced at the dates and postmarks and told the Secret Service where he was. By the time he was working on his second attempt on Kennedy's life, the cops were closing in.
When they pulled him over, the cops found seven sticks of dynamite wired in the vehicle. Pavlick originally had much more, but when he became nervous about getting caught he removed most of it, apparently under the impression that it's ok to have just a few explosives in your trunk at any given time.
"What? There's, like, four sticks in there. Come on."
He was held in a mental institution for a few years, then upon release decided to stalk and terrorize the postmaster that had tipped off the Secret Service on the Kennedy thing. Before he could come up with a more efficient way to kill than the old exploding Buick trick, he died in 1975, and was no doubt buried in a dynamite laden coffin.