This may just be me, but when I read books I don’t usually dig deep into who the author is, like finding out their background or upbringing. But it is always fascinating to see who or what inspires great authors to write such profound pieces. So as I started to research some famous authors, I came across some odd facts about them; things I never would have expected to see. Often times, we think we know authors based on the literature they produce, but behind their names on the covers of their books lie some peculiar circumstances. These are some of the most interesting and/or unexpected ones I’ve come across!
1. Stephen King has triskaidekaphobia
Image Via Dread Central
The famed horror writer Stephen King has what is known as triskaidekaphobia, which is the irrational fear of number thirteen. In fact, he’s so terrified of it that he wouldn’t pause reading or writing if he’s on page thirteen or it’s multiples until he reaches a number deemed safe for him. Ironic, considering his fiction is known to consist of some horribly disturbing aspects, none of which are a mere number. “The number thirteen never fails to trace that old icy finger up and down my spine.” he said. “When I’m reading, I won’t stop on page 94, 193, or 382, since the sums of these three numbers add up to thirteen”.
2. J.R.R Tolkien loved pranks.
Image Via Time Magazine
The legendary author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy was known to be a ruthless prankster. He actually once dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon warrior and chased his neighbor. Quite a disturbing sense of humor.
Also, J.R.R. Tolkien opposed holding Catholic mass in English, to the extent that whenever the priests spoke the liturgy in English, he would loudly respond in Latin.
3. Dan Brown was a pop singer.
The author known for writing the Da Vinci Code, used to be a pop singer. He had once written a song about phone sex.
4. Edgar Allan Poe… where do we even start?
Image Via Britannica
Edgar Allan Poe, king of the mystery story was also a very disturbed and conspicuous man. As a matter of fact, Poe became assistant editor of The Southern Literary Messenger in August 1835, but he was fired only within a few weeks for being drunk on the job. He returned to his home of Baltimore, where he got a license to marry his first cousin Virginia on September 22nd, 1835. He was twenty-six years old at the time, while she was only thirteen. Also, no one knows how he died, but theories abound, including suicide, murder, cholera, hypoglycemia, rabies, syphilis, and the flu.
5. William S. Burroughs shot his wife.
Burroughs, the author of Naked Lunch, shot his wife in the head during a drunken attempt at playing William Tell. He had also once chopped the top part of his finger to give to his ex-boyfriend, but he instead presented it to his psychiatrist. He was then admitted to a private clinic.
6. Charles Dickens spent a lot of time in morgues.
Image Via The British Library
Most famous for writing A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, and David Copperfield, among many others, Dickens was so intrigued by dead bodies that he would spend a lot of his time at the Paris Morgue.
7. Maya Angelou was the first black woman to work as a cable car conductor in San Francisco.
As a teenager, Maya Angelou won a scholarship to study dance and drama but dropped out for a time when she was sixteen to become a cable car conductor. She told Oprah Winfrey that she “saw women on the street cars with their little changer belts. They had caps with bibs on them and form-fitting jackets. I loved their uniforms. I said that is the job I want.” She was the first black woman to hold the position. She also spoke six languages.
8. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed in fairies.
The legendary author of the Sherlock Holmes books was tricked by two young school girls into believing that fairies actually exist. I don’t think I need to explain how ironic this is. The Cottingley Fairies became famous, after the girls claimed to have taken photographs of themselves with fairies. Conan Doyle used the photos in an article about fairies for .The Strand Magazine. Doyle was very spiritual, and thought the photos to be undeniable evidence of the existence of fairies.
Featured Image Via The Times