Yep, exactly like our own modern day Jenny McCarthy, de Noaille was convinced that inhaling large daily doses of methane fresh from a cow's butt would bring her a long and healthy existence. To that end, she kept a herd of cows outside of her bedroom so she could be sure to get the full benefits of the gas. She also slept with dead squirrels tied around her head to prevent wrinkles, used onions on her doorknob to guard against infection, and believed that when leaves fall (especially from oak trees, which she thought England had too many of), the climate became unhealthy, so she would leave England until spring came. Upon her death, de Noaille endowed an orphanage for the daughters of clergymen. A set of rules accompanied the cash gift, including drinking plenty of milk, using phrenology to ensure "firm spirit and conscientiousness," and instructing that no girl under 10 should be taught math.
It would take away from valuable head-measuring time.
De Noaille truly leveled up in peculiarity when, at a Paris salon, she fell in love with a painting by Ernest Hebert. Upon discovering that Baron Rothschild had already bought it, she did the next rational thing: She purchased the model. Seven-year-old Maria Pasqua was bought from her father for two bags of gold and the promise that she would be raised as a Catholic and treated as an equal, which is a nice thing for your parent to ask for when they're selling you to a stranger.
"So are they priced by the pound or by the soul?"
De Noaille kept her promise, although Maria did not have the most conventional childhood, even for a victim of human trafficking. Kept in Grecian clothing (tight clothing was deadly, according to de Noaille) and allowed to drink milk only from cows personally selected by de Noaille (children brought up on milk were less likely to become drunkards), Maria received an education and a standard of living that were superior to what her parents could have provided. By all accounts, she left the comtesse's home a prosperous and happy woman ...
... whom we must assume always smelled of cow butt.
Claire Gordon recently graduated with a journalism degree and now realizes she should have gone to business school. She also interns at the Austin Chronicle and puts wigs on her bulldog more often than he would appreciate. Read her stuff here, then hire her.
Related Reading: Sometimes the craziest people were right all along. Take these nutjobs who accurately predicted Pearl Harbor, the NSA spying scandal and much more! If you prefer your crazy with a heaping dose of legal power, read about the most insane judges of modern history. More a fan of nutty athletes? We've got a list of them, too.