Being in a position of power is awesome, and we’re not going to lie: given nigh unlimited god-like power over millions of people, we’d probably abuse it just a little. However, here’s a list of 10 people who went way too far, because they were in charge and because they could.
10. Lavrentiy Beria
Lavrentiy Beria was not a nice man; operating just under Stalin during WWII, his power and reach were effectively absolute. So what did he choose to do with it? He’d rape any woman he took his fancy to. Using his vast reach and virtually unopposed power over Russian life and death, Beria would drive around Russia in his armored limousine (because power comes with all the best perks,) pick out any woman who took his fancy, and have his men bring them back to his mansion. When there, Beria would rape the woman in a soundproofed room and then give her a bunch of flowers. This last act was a token gesture that Beria did as to make the sex seem consensual. Women who didn’t accept the flowers would be arrested and sent to the Gulags, because Beria was an ass like that.
Speaking of Gulags, most of Beria’s victims were women with family members already imprisoned in them, and they only accepted his advances under the promise they’d be freed. Most of the time, the women’s family were either dead already, or forced to be in the room as Beria had his way with them. Again, he was an ass.
His sexual appetite was such that even Stalin himself feared for his daughter’s life and innocence when she was alone with him. Then again, when a guy has a soundproof rape room in his house, anyone would be uncomfortable leaving their children there.
9. Ivan the Terrible
With a name like Ivan the Terrible, you’re probably not holding out much hope for this one. So what are we going to talk about? His abuse of the nobility? The executions he’d hand out seemingly at random whenever he felt like it? Nope, we’re going to talk about what Ivan did to dogs and cats, because the Internet loves them more than people.
It’s noted that in his youth, because he wanted to hear their anguished screams, and also because he could and no one could stop him, Ivan would throw cats and dogs off of the walls of the Kremlin. Again we could go into much, much more detail about the horrific acts this man committed because of the power he held, but lets be honest here — after reading that you already know he was pure evil.
8. Emperor Commodus
You may remember Emperor Commodus from the Gladiator movie. Though that film went out of its way to represent Commodus as an unlikable, power-mad dictator, the movie didn’t even approach how insane he truly was.
Commodus openly believed that he was a direct descendant of Hercules, and as such fought in the arena as much as he could — fought being a word we use in the loosest possible sense of the word. As Emperor, no opponent would ever dare strike Commodus in open combat, meaning all of his gladiatorial fights were him simply beating unarmed men to death. He also stabbed animals to death from a high wall to prove how great he was.
But it gets worse! Simply murdering unarmed men and slaughtering hundreds of wild animals for fun wasn’t enough for Commodus; he had the audacity to charge the city of Rome for every appearance in the arena he made. That’d be like Obama challenging you to a game of one-on-one basketball, having his secret service shoot your family at halftime, and then charging you for it. Only Commodus would have probably stabbed your dog too.
7. Emperor Caligula
We could have probably written this entire list about Roman emperors, but we only wanted to include thereally insane ones, and Caligula was likely the most insane of them all.
Though many of the stories about him have been blown out of proportion as time has marches on, a lot of them are grounded in fact. For example, it’s widely accepted that Caligula once had an entire section of a crowd gathered at the Coliseum thrown to the animals because he was bored, but an important part most miss out on is that he had their tongues cut out first so they couldn’t complain about it.
That’s just the kind of man he was; he didn’t just kill people on a whim, he made sure they suffered too. Because who was going to argue with him?
6. Christian VII
Christian VII was the kind of King you could have a beer with, as long as you were always, always on your guard. Why? Because Christian had a rather unusual habit of slapping people as hard as he could across the face whenever he damn well felt like it.
Slapping someone across the face may seem like small potatoes compared to the other things on this list, but you have to realize Christian saw no difference between slapping a peasant and a freaking lord. All were equal, and all were slappable in his eyes.
Think of this as more of a glimpse into the mind of someone with absolute power than us saying the slapping thing is in line with cutting people’s tongues out. It’s an example of total disregard for even the most simple human courtesy, an example of someone so safe in the knowledge they can do whatever they want, so without empathy for the feelings of others, that physically assaulting them is little more than something to pass the time.
5. Emperor Heliogabalus
Emperor Heliogabalus, sometimes spelled Elagabalus, was another Roman Emperor who let total control over what was virtually the entire known world go to his head. Whereas other Roman emperors enjoyed murdering people, Elagabalus just really liked eating. However, he had really peculiar tastes. For example, he loved him some eel, but to make it tastier he fattened them up by feeding them live slaves. Because what’s a little human suffering when you’ve got dinner to make?
Elagabalus would also force his guests to eat rocks, and play awesome practical jokes like trapping them in rooms with live lions. No guest ever complained, because they enjoyed living. When he wasn’t annoying his friends, Elagabalus also held a lottery for the people of Rome. You may think this sounds like a nice gesture, until you realize the prizes included boxes of angry bees, and he launched the tickets out of catapults along with hundreds of snakes. Why? Because it was funny.
4. Emperor Nero
Okay, one more Roman Emperor, then we promise we’ll stop. So what did Nero do, you ask? Well, he mugged people. Again, this may seem tame compared to launching deadly snakes into a crowd of innocent people or slapping people across the face really, really hard. But you have to remember, Nero had virtually no need for money; anything he couldn’t afford, he could just take. He didn’t mug people because he needed money, he did it because he liked stabbing random people, and he enjoyed the power he felt when his victims realized he was the Emperor and that there was literally nothing they could do to stop him from punching their lungs full of speed holes, without risking being tortured to death for treason.
Man, that’s cold.
3. Josef Mengele
If you’ve never heard of this guy, read his Wikipedia entry, and then quietly hug your children and cry. If you don’t have any children of your own, take a leaf out of Josef’s book and borrow some.
Basically, during WWII Josef was given unlimited and unfettered access to the thousands of inmates passing through Auschwitz. Josef had free reign to perform any experiment his sick mind could concoct. He was completely safe in the knowledge that anything he did could be passed off as legitimate medical experimentation, and that no one would stop him unless they wanted an angry letter from Hitler.
We’ll likely never know the true extents of what Josef did at Auschwitz. However, from what little information has been gathered about him, it was almost certainly horrific. Experimentation without anesthesia was incredibly commonplace; he once removed a young boy’s kidney just to see what would happen, and injected chemicals into people’s eyes to see if he could change their color. He’d remove limbs, castrate and sterilize his victims (who again, were mostly children) and meticulously note what happened. Usually, the scientific conclusion was “whatever I did caused horrible, painful death.”
Unbelievably, virtually nothing of any medical significance was ever discovered in post-war research into his work, aside from “poison and mutilation are bad for you.” If you’re looking for some closure here, Josef died many years later in Brazil, as a free man.
Yes, we’re making this entry about all samurai, because they were all, as far as we could tell, buttholes of the highest degree. Now, the Internet has a huge chubby for samurai and feudal Japan in general, but this is almost certainly because the Internet has learned everything it knows about Japan from Dragon Ball Z and Jackie Chan movies (even though he’s Chinese.)
In reality, samurai were huge douchewads who cut people down for fun, because samurai were one of the ruling classes of Japan. As a ruling class, they were entitled to a few privileges, one of which was Kiri-sute gomen, which was literally the right to cut down anyone of a lower class for any reason whatsoever, without reprieve.
Though this wasn’t a practice likely followed by all samurai all the time, just realize that they had free reign to kill anyone they felt like, for any reason, and no one could do anything about it unless they too wanted a brutal neck-stabbing. You have to admit, that’s kind of harsh.
1. Kim Jong-Il
Kim Jong-Il literally lived the dream of being a billionaire playboy who owned his own country. He was like that one person we all have on Facebook who does nothing but brag about how awesome their life is, only people actually believed everything he said because he was Kim Jong-Freaking-Il.
The list of all the crazy stuff Kim claimed to have done or invented is massive: he invented the hamburger, the weather was directly linked to his mood, and the first time he ever played golf he got 11 holes-in-one. How do we know that last one? A bunch of his guards signed sworn documents that they’d seen him do it.
We could go into the atrocities Kim committed, but there are enough of those on this list already. We think it’s far more amazing that he used his power and reach to basically write fan fiction about how awesome he was, then convinced his entire country to believe it. He was basically a rich spoiled child everyone was too afraid to scold. When he was travelling by armored train across North Korea, he had lobster airlifted to him every single day. When he wanted North Korea to have a film industry, he kidnapped a famous South Korean director, presumably single-handedly while fighting off a group of capitalist ninjas because at this point, why the hell not?
And that, ladies and gentlemen is the image we want to leave you with. Not people being tortured, not animal cruelty, but an elderly Korean man sitting in his giant mansion full of naked women, alcohol, and gold, wondering how he can make his life sound more interesting to people whose minds would be blown if you showed them an iPhone.