We've all heard the story of the Hatfields and the McCoys -- they're the two American mountain clans who carried on a decades-long feud over a pig and a poke. There's probably no one who has, or ever will, quite match the Hatfield-McCoy grudge in terms of either duration or intensity, but that doesn't mean there aren't a few contenders out there giving it their best.
Take, for example ...
#5. The (Crazy) Man Who Never Forgives or Forgets
Matthew Mundschau was just your average Milwaukian -- that is, if your average Milwaukian makes a habit of keeping a detailed mental checklist of every single person who's ever wronged him. Oh, and by "wronged him," we don't mean "nailed his girlfriend" or anything like that; we're talking more along the lines of "drove too slowly in traffic."
Objects in mirror are crazier than they appear.
We're not sure what exactly the final straw was. All we know is that one day in 2003, Mundschau decided it was damn well time to pay back some of the people on his decade-long grudge list. So he grabbed his fluorescent spray paint, headed to the first address on his list and proceeded to cover the house with obscenities, threats, taunts and presumably a veritable wealth of fluorescent dicks. So what had this person done to deserve having his house transformed into a glowing bonerfest? Mundschau blamed the 75-year-old owner of the house for getting him fired from a crappy supermarket job ... 10 years earlier.
And Mundschau wasn't done. Next he found the house of a man who had intervened in a fight Mundschau was having with a girl in a parking lot five years earlier. He not only spray painted the house, but also gave the homeowner the classic "dump all the potted plants into the hot tub" treatment. After he finished his angry dump, he paused just long enough to slash a few tires before moving along.
"Abusive dick, am I? Would an abusive dick vandalize your home for no reason? I think not!"
At a third house, he apparently ran out of spray paint and switched instead to paint stripper, which he dumped all over the cars parked at or around the house. What did this person do? Mundschau believed she had cut him off in traffic.
So we guess the moral of this story is that if you've ever, at any point in your life, visited Milwaukee and accidentally bumped into a stranger on the sidewalk while there, immediately install an alarm system in your home, because that stranger might have been Matthew Mundschau.
"When I was 6, you passed me on the street and waved with your left hand. Here comes the pain!"
#4. German Neighbors Restart the Cold War Over a Bush
The Kern and Bensch families of Munich don't actually remember what started the lengthiest neighborly pissing contest in the history of ever, but their earliest court filing was over the placement of an elderberry bush, so let's go with that. What followed was a 14-plus-year spat that escalated out of control, leading to many, many other legal disputes, with accusations ranging from trespassing to disturbing the peace to all-out assault with "clubs." At some point during all this, Eugen Kern decided to erect a 12-foot-high fence along the property line to separate the two families.
An exploding poison fence.
Of course, since walls are basically useless without armed guards to man them, this did little to stop the cross-border hostilities. So Kern, a former electronics technician, installed security cameras in trees, which he monitored from a command center in his house at all hours like a hobbyist security guard/psychopath, or psychoguard, if you will. Glass windows were boarded over because they kept getting broken. And don't forget the motion sensors. Or the concrete barriers. Or the freaking barbed wire.
"I just don't understand why our property value keeps dropping."
The Kerns accused the Bensches of attacking the fence with chainsaws. The Bensches accused the Kerns of purposely sowing grass and weeds in their garden like they were some kind of asshole fairies. They purposely flooded each other's yards. Anonymous phone calls (and presumably plenty of unexpected pizza deliveries) were made. They even engaged in psychological warfare by blasting music in their neighbor's general direction until the wee hours of the morning.
Oh, and did we mention that they lived in a duplex?
Via Google Maps
Yep, that's the fence running right down the middle.
#3. The Man Who Preferred Prison Over Paying Alimony
H. Beatty Chadwick and Bobbie Applegate lived the classic American love story: They met, fell in love, got married, realized they despised each other and engaged in lengthy and bitter divorce proceedings. The divorce settlement required Chadwick to fork over $2.5 million to his ex-wife, but Chadwick insisted that he had lost all his money in a bad overseas investment.
"OK, so I bought Jackie Chan's hair. Nobody ever said I was a smart man."
His ex-wife's lawyers, however, called bullshit and presented evidence that Chadwick was just hiding the loot in foreign bank accounts. The judge agreed with her and, after Chadwick continued to insist he didn't have the money -- presumably by turning his pants pockets inside out and shrugging enthusiastically -- jailed him for contempt until such time that Chadwick decided to cave and pony up the dough.
That was in 1995. Chadwick parked his ass in prison until 2009, simultaneously setting the world records for both the longest contempt of court sentence and the longest continual bird flipped at authority.
"Eh, whaddaya gonna do? 99 problems and all that, right?"
Now, we don't want you to think that he was somehow wrongly accused -- Chadwick appealed to any court that would listen to him that he totally didn't have the money, but every court upheld the original ruling, including the Supreme Court. Twice. Chadwick's own lawyer believed he had the money, claiming that his client should be released because "There's something to be said for letting Beatty out the door and following him. Nothing else has worked." Even the "Free H. Beatty Chadwick" blog gracefully skates over whether or not he actually had the cash, stating that it's not about the money.
In 2009, a judge ultimately ordered that Chadwick should be released, because imprisoning him was "clearly having no effect." And so the 14-year grudge match finally ended, with the world champion title going to H. Beatty "Grudge Master" Chadwick. No word on whether he called up his bank the very next day to make a just completely obscene withdrawal, but we're going to go ahead and assume so. He earned it.
"My first act as a free man? I'm going to burn $2.5 million on my ex-wife's front lawn."