5 Ruthless Dictators Hiding in Plain Sight as Normal People

#2. The Romanian Royal Family's Slow Descent into Petty Crime

Prince Paul of Romania

When the Soviet Union swept through Europe, annexing every country around them like the drunken, bearded Borg, many royal families found themselves in exile, often penniless and lacking any applicable job skills outside of "eatin' feasts." Such was the fate of the Romanian royal family, who, within the space of a single generation, wound up descending into a life of crime. And not prestigious, Thomas Crown Affair high-society crime, but, like, "desperate crack addict in the apartment below you" crime.

The Downfall:

The former King Michael I held it together the best: He found work as a commercial airline pilot and chicken farmer to make ends meet. Meanwhile, his half-brother Carol ended up selling decorative belts in a London market and once had his house searched on suspicion of hiding the escaped train robber Ronnie Biggs. Carol's ex-wife Jeanne was arrested in New Jersey in 1979 and charged with stealing a rented station wagon. Despite claiming to have a fortune in art and land, the princess was unable to pay the $7,500 bail.

Pablo Picasso
"It's my fault these assholes can't break a Picasso?"

The family's nadir came last year when the king's daughter, Princess Irina, was arrested in Oregon and charged with running a cockfighting ring along with her husband, a former deputy sheriff. Yes, cockfighting, famously never referred to as "the sport of kings." The authorities also reportedly found methamphetamines on the scene, which serves to complete the classy tableau of Princess Meth Cockfight.

#1. A Bosnian War Criminal Went Undercover as a New Age Guru

Getty Images/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Radovan Karadzic was the Bosnian Serb president of the Republic of Srpska, which sprung out of the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1992 and immediately underwent a serious, prolonged, and tragic vowel drought. A former psychiatrist, Karadzic later decided to enter politics. One thing led to another, and he eventually found himself ruling a country as what was essentially an evil version of Frasier Crane.

Mikhail Evstafiev
"Hello, Bosnia. I'm murdering ..."

Once he came to power, Karadzic, who obtained the playful nickname the "Butcher of Bosnia," masterminded the genocide of thousands of non-Serbs, including 8,000 Muslims. We're not sure what they're teaching in psychiatry school these days, but we're pretty sure he skipped Conflict Resolution 101.

The Downfall:

When the United Nations served a warrant for his arrest on charges of genocide, Karadzic went into hiding in the Serbian capital of Belgrade. It was there that he came up with a plan too crazy not to work. He grew out his beard, changed his name to Dragan Dabic, and embarked on a promising career as a New Age alternative health guru.

"No one will ever suspect a man with a beard and fedora of secretly being an asshole."

Dragan donned a hat, a beard, and substitute-teacher caliber eyeglasses, then began preaching techniques such as sperm rejuvenation therapy, energy flow balancing, and radiesthesia. All of which he almost certainly made up on the spot in a panic. He was also renowned for his ability to read "energy grids" using something he called a Multi-Zap Zapper. Dragan was not the best under pressure.

Karadzic was so good at using fake sorcery to steal from the sick that he became a minor celebrity in Belgrade. He lectured to packed halls and had a column in a Serbian magazine. He nabbed a lucrative deal with a Connecticut vitamin company, firmly cementing his reputation as a remorseless monster. He even teamed up with a prominent sexologist to develop his sperm rejuvenation program. And all this time, while utilizing the old Clark Kent "different hair and glasses" disguise, practically no one noticed he was also the former president and infamous genocidal war criminal.

AFP/AFP/Getty Images
In court, he tried to confuse everyone by having hundreds of letters to Santa delivered.

But eventually some keen-eyed super-sleuth noticed that Dragan Dabic and Radovan Karadzic were never in the same room together, and also looked and sounded completely identical. He was arrested and taken to The Hague for trial, leaving thousands of men to live with the realization that a genocidal dictator had rejuvenated their sperm.

Related Reading: Going into hiding is clearly linked with insanity. For instance, some people will fake their own deaths to get out of breaking up with someone. Or worse, they'll fake their child's death to vacation longer.

There's almost certainly a dictator hiding near someone you love. Click the Facebook 'share' button below and warn them.

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