Behavior: Rise of The American Oddball

U.S. eccentrics are kinder and less sarcastic than the British sort

Since he is a millionaire recluse who lives with a monkey and wears a single sequined glove, Michael Jackson qualifies. So does President Andrew Jackson, a card-carrying aristocrat who insisted on creating a backwoods image as "Old Hickory." Prominent achievers like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford all fit the profile. Others that make the grade are less well known. They include a Long Island vampire expert, a California professor of frog psychology and a Virginia doctor who disports himself in a clown's nose and goofy hats and refuses to charge his patients.

All are certifiable American eccentrics. So says...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!