6 Real-Life Villains Who'd Be Too Crazy For Comic Books
Some villains just don't work. Their motivations and backstories in no way explain why exactly they feel the need to boil the seas or murder everyone named Kevin. And yet sometimes the truth can be as unpredictable as fiction. Because there are real-world ne'er-do-wells with schemes so audaciously illogical they put Infernio: Burner of Kevins to shame. For example ...
The Tiger King Of Oklahoma Tried To Assassinate An Animal Rights Activist
Joe Schreibvogel-Maldonado-Passage goes by many names, obviously. To some, he's best-known for running for both governor of Oklahoma and president of the United States. To others, he's the man who tried to three-way-marry two other dudes, with wild monkeys acting as flower girls. But to most, he's simply Joe Exotic, the most dangerous zoo owner in the world.
Joe Exotic also calls himself The Tiger King. Not because he looks like a third-string male stripper who's had to wrangle his fair share of animal print leggings, but because he once owned the largest animal park in Central Oklahoma. Greater Wynnewood Animal Park was Joe's personal paradise, stocked with exotic wildlife such as baboons, alligators, and yes, jungle cats. None of whom he knew how to handle.
No sanctuary or licensed zoo, Greater Wynnewood Animal was in fact nothing more than a shady animal prison in the middle of nowhere where people could pay a buttload of money to snuggle a big cat. And despite his self-imposed title, Joe Exotic didn't even care about tigers. Aside from many counts of illegal wildlife trafficking, he also (allegedly) shot five captive tigers to death solely to make room for other prey.
But if you think Joe Exotic's cruelty was only was reserved for animals, you'd be wrong. When animal rights advocate and Big Cat Rescue sanctuary owner Carole Baskin began exposing Greater Wynnewood as the animal Auschwitz it was, Joe threatened to kill her in a series of rambling YouTube videos. When that intimidation tactic failed, the Tiger King tried to hire two assassins to murder Baskin, offering to sell some tigers to cover the cost. His animal instincts failed him, however, as one of the hitmen was an FBI agent, who arrested him. A jury then put Joe in his own cage for the rest of his life. At the time of this writing, his many attempts to get President Trump to pardon him have gone unanswered.
Related: 5 Real-World Criminals Who Were Certified Supervillains
The Japanese Billionaire Who Wants To Breed A Legion Of Children
In 2014, Thai police raided a Bangkok condo and retrieved nine babies. That's already a bad start to any story, but it further turned out the babies were all part of a sinister breeding experiment. And not even by some shadowy government, but the utterly insane son of a powerful Japanese entrepreneur.
The children, whose mothers came from impoverished backgrounds, had all been fathered by 20-something Mitsutoki Shigeta, son of Japanese billionaire Yasumitsu Shigeta. But not in the typical way sociopathic trust fund kids tend to put a baby in the help. Instead he had the women artificially inseminated with his sperm. Shigeta told the head of one fertility clinic that he hoped to eventually have over a thousand children, fabricating a steady 10-15 every year until his death of, we'll assume, over-masturbation.
He had already set up another "baby factory" in Thailand, having produced in total 16 offspring this way. His motive for this teething throng? Shigeta told the clinic head that he thought an army of children would help him win elections -- which his lawyers later revised to the only slightly less insane "He just wants a huge family."
"I figured I'd pop out a baseball team and see where things went from there."
When the clinic discovered his plan, they immediately called Interpol, afraid this ultra-rich insane person would burst into their sperm bank one day, like Mr. Freeze, but with a way more terrifying gun. He was forced to flee Thailand with the police hunting him on human trafficking charges, but his daddy's very expensive lawyers fought back. He was awarded full custody of 13 of his 16 known Thai kids in 2018.
Since then, Shigeta has allegedly relocated his baby-making operation to India and Ukraine, where the local governments are hopefully more understanding of his plan to put a Shigeta in every classroom.
Related: 5 Real People More Terrifying Than Any Movie Villain
The "Italian Unabomber" Who Terrorized Venice With Exploding Food
In 2000, a Venetian woman opened a tube of tomato puree, which then exploded, ripping off three of her fingers. A few years later, when a six-year-old girl tried to light a candle at a nearby church, a tiny bomb hidden inside took three of her fingers as well. Shortly afterward, a group of schoolchildren kicked a Kinder Egg on the side of the road, only for it to explode in midair. Those are just a few of the many microscopic terror attacks courtesy of the biggest (and smallest) serial bomber in the history of Italy.
Between 1994 and 2006, a mysterious individual terrorized the north of Italy with over 30 improvised explosive devices. His signature? Most of his explosives were tiny and hidden in everyday objects. The ghoul went as far as cracking open eggs, putting in a miniature explosive, gluing the shells back shut, and then placing them back into cartons. See, that's why you always check your eggs.
Because of his wave of tiny terror, the media dubbed this explosive fearmonger the Italian Unabomber. Unlike the American Unabomber, the Italian one never communicated with the public to reveal some grand manifesto. In fact, the only thing the police ever found out was that they liked hurting children -- planting bombs inside candy, Nutella jars, bubble blowers, and a felt-tip pen that almost cost one young girl her hand and eyes. A particularly nasty job was wrapped in paper so that it resembled a message in a bottle, taking the hand of a hopelessly romantic passerby.
To make matters worse, the Microbomber was never caught. A suspect, engineer Elvo Zornitta, was arrested, but had to be released when it was discovered that police had faked evidence to put him behind bars. Completely coincidentally, the bombings stopped after Zornitta was released in 2006, and Italy has not had any Unabomber attacks since then. Nonetheless, the bomber remains at large, able to resume booby-trapping supermarket aisles at any moment. But like the Italians say: When life gives you lemons, check for wiring.
The British Butler Who Always Did It
Archibald Hall was a street crook with ambition. While spending most of his youth in prison, he studied elocution and the British peerage in the hopes of becoming a fancy conman and jewel thief. Alas, his dreams of living the life of nobility didn't pan out, so Hall decided to accept his lowly station and become a murdering butler.
Hall's scheme started out simple: He would worm his way into the houses of old blue bloods, gain their trust, and then steal their jewelry. But in 1975, his life changed when he started working for the elderly Lady Margaret Hudson. Halls later said the work was easy, and he liked the old lady too much to rob her -- but he did murder his partner in crime, David Wright, after he got tired of Hall constantly postponing the heist and started threatening him. Hall invited him to go shooting rabbits and, well, you'd have to be a real David Wright not to guess what happened next.
But Hall's past soon caught up to him, and he fled to London. Soon after, he started to buttle (yes, that's a real word) for the Rt. Hon. Captain Walter Scott-Elliot MP and his wife Dorothy. And when Mrs. Scott-Elliot overheard him planning his robbery with his accomplice Michael Kitto, Kitto suffocated her to death. Hall then drugged Mr. Scott-Elliot and got his longtime girlfriend, Mary Coggle, to dress up in Dorothy's wig and clothes to keep the confused old man from figuring out his wife was stuffed in their car's trunk.
When Hall had stolen everything he could, it was time to get rid of the evidence, which included murdering Scott-Elliot with a shovel and Coggle with a fireplace poker after she refused to get rid of an incriminating mink coat. Amazingly, Hall and Kitto got away and were in the clear. But their luck ran out quite poetically when Hall insisted on switching the license plate on the getaway car because it contained the unlucky number sequence 999. Police pulled him over, noticed that the plates didn't match the numbers on the car's tax disc, and then noticed the dead body of Hall's brother Donald (whom, in fairness, Hall had murdered because he was a pedophile) in the trunk. Hall was arrested and confessed to all five murders, after which a judge gave him all the time in the world to practice his elocution by sentencing him to life without parole.
Related: 6 Supervillains From History That Make The Joker Look Subtle
The Greek Coca-Cola Heir Who Smuggled Drugs On A Private Jet
Alkiviades "Alki" David is the platonic ideal of the evil trust fund kid. Heir to a ludicrously successful Greek Coca-Cola bottling concern, he has sunk every cent he's ever been given into a variety of insane schemes. Like running a streaming service that has been sued by literally everyone for copyright infringement. Or paying someone to streak in front of President Obama. Or creating that awful company that turns dead musicians into holograms. Or then entering in a long-fought legal battle with famed musician Roy Orbison's children over the rights to their dead father's electro-ghost.
But most of those were at least semi-legal. That all changed in 2019, when David's jet was stopped by the Saint Kitts Island police. Aboard the cops found not only 5,000 marijuana plants, but also Golden-Globe-winning actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers (of The Tudors fame), his wife, and his mother-in-law, in what has to be the weirdest report any cop ever has had to write up. Touching down with a plane packed to the gills with weed was reportedly all part of a scheme to "develop legal cannabis businesses" in the Caribbean tax haven. But the police had another way of describing it: "possession with intent to supply."
Of course, it wasn't long before David managed to "clear everything up" and post the $30,000 bail, probably with whatever money clips had fallen out his pocket on the way to the station. So despite carrying enough weed to get every Black person in America a life sentence, he and the Rhys Meyerses were free to go -- though not until the actor's family had been thoroughly cavity-searched. Thankfully, David also had plenty of "medicinal ketamine" on hand to deal with all the stress, for which he was promptly arrested again and ultimately suffered no other consequences whatsoever.
Related: 5 Real People Who Accidentally Hatched Supervillain Plots
The Quiet Businessman Who Had A Fetish For Derailing Trains
Before 1930, Szilveszter Matuska was the most average man to have ever lived. He ran a respectable building supplies company in Austria, and was a loving father and devout Catholic. Then one day, Matuska decided he would quite like to see some trains crash. And so, like an old-timey Mr. Glass, he set out to make that happen.
After his first two attempts to derail trains were clumsy failures, Matuska bought a disused quarry and went on a Rocky-style montage to practice his dynamite skills. In 1931, he successfully blew up a bridge outside of Berlin, sending a train hurtling 30 feet into a gully. Miraculously, there were no casualties -- something that couldn't be said a month later, when he collapsed another bridge and dropped the Budapest-Vienna Express 75 feet, killing 22 passengers. Matuska was found at the scene laughing with delight. He even claimed to be a survivor (a really, really happy one), and helped rescue others from the crash, afterward returning to Vienna for a celebratory nine-day sex binge with 12 different prostitutes.
Not the most subtle of mass murderers, Matuska was soon apprehended by Viennese police. He turned his highly publicized trial into a circus, changing his motives for the attacks several times. Sometimes he claimed to be an anarcho-communist striking out at the government, while other times he said he only caused the crashes to drum up sales for his nonexistent "greatest invention in the world," a new type of train signal. But the most unsettling of all was when he started claiming the bombings were ordered by Leo, an evil spirit who had appeared throughout his life in various guises, including a school classmate, a traveling magician, and his army captain during World War I. At one point, he silenced the entire courtroom by announcing that Leo was in the room with them -- though the judge didn't allow for his imaginary friend to take the stand.
Psychologists agreed, however, that the true reason behind Matuska's train crash obsession was 100% sexual. This theory was backed up by police, who claimed Matuska had confessed that "I have to wreck trains because now it's the only way I can find fulfillment." Matuska was eventually given life in prison, but was heard cheerfully promising to resume bombing when he got out. A promise he broke in 1945, when he managed to escape from prison (his guards likely distracted by the whole World War II thing), after which he was never seen or heard from again.
E. Reid Ross has a book called BIZARRE WORLD, which is due to be released in September. He's practically on his knees begging that you pre order it now from Amazon or Barnes and Noble and leave a scathing/glowing review.
For more, check out Why Supervillains Always Keep The Good Guy Alive:
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