History is made up of the bad and the good. While we might choose to focus on the best stories out there, there are an equal number of unsettling cases, showcasing the darker side of the human condition. While being stalked is very much an issue of the digital generation, it is hardly a new topic. Throughout history, there have been countless tales of obsession, with many of them centered around the world’s most famous figures. These deranged stalkers were so focused on their object of affection that they did everything in their power to enter in their worlds. For that, they will go down in history.
- Rufus Griswold
Edgar Allen Poe remains one of the most famous writers of all time, beloved for his tales of the macabre. As well as being a master storyteller, however, Poe did a little critiquing of his own, reviewing the latest literary works of the 19th century. In 1841, Poe’s sideline brought him to the attentions of Rufus Griswold, a poet whose work the writer had reviewed. Giving it a less than favorable critique, Poe went on to win the heart of the woman Griswold was in love with, angering the poet beyond repair. In a strange twist of events, Griswold became the executor of Poe’s will, taking his revenge to another level. Using his insight, Griswold began fabricating publications, doctoring letters and statements in Poe’s name. He even published a false life story under Poe’s name, using false documents to inform his story. Now, many of the things people believe about Poe are as a result of Griswold’s slander and so much of what thought we knew has turned out to be a lie.
- Richard Lawrence
American Presidents and assassination attempts seem to go hand in hand. It should come as no surprise, then, that former President Andrew Jackson endured an attempt on his life. In 1835, Jackson survived an assassination attempt taken out by Richard Lawrence, who had been stalking the President. Lawrence’s reasoning behind the crime was based on a vetoed bill to reform the Second Bank of the United States. In Lawrence’s mind, the President was behind his financial woes and had caused him to murder his own father. When he was put on trial, Lawrence was acquitted for reasons of insanity, spending the rest of his days in an asylum.
- Lady Caroline Lamb
Things weren’t easy for Lady Caroline Lamb. Since childhood, she suffered from both mental and emotional issues, later turning to reading and writing as a way of escape. Despite being married and with a child, Lamb fell head over heels for Lord Byron when she met the writer some years later. From the start, things didn’t go well and despite being embroiled in a scandalous affair, the two were never destined to be together. Somehow, however, this fact only heightened Lamb’s affections for the writer. After Byron’s interest waned, Lamb’s only intensified and when he broke things off, Lady Caroline lashed out. She would send him anonymous letters, burn his effigies and bad mouth him in public. While Byron went on to marry someone else, Lady Caroline Lamb never forgot their affair and continued to speak out against him.
- Jane Bigelow
Charles Dickens is still thought of as one of the finest writers in the world. At the time in which he was writing, things were even more intense and over the years, Dickens attracted more than a fan or two. None were quite as loyal as Jane Bigelow, however. After meeting him at a social event, the socialite soon grew attached to Dickens, following him at every turn. Over time, her admiration grew into something a little more insidious and before long, she was sending threatening letters to other women who showed an interest in him. At the height of the stalking, Bigelow lashed out and attacked an elderly widow who called on Dickens at his hotel. Following the case, Dickens assigned guards against Bigelow in order to keep her away.