Once upon a time–not that long ago, really- it wasn’t necessary to hunt too far to understand the reasons for strange behavior. If someone acted in a bizarre way, they were nuts. End of story. That isn’t a very nuanced view of the world of yesteryear, but I think it’s generally true (interesting to note, however, that when a genuinely crazy person happened upon the scene and committed some outrage, they were more often than not held to account as if they were responsible. Case in point: Charles J. Guiteau, the off-his-rocker assassin of President James A. Garfield; but that’s another story for another time). Anyway, here’s what occasions this brief rumination: a story from a 1906 edition of The New York Times that details the strange behavior of one of the city’s finest:


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