Crazy, Funny, General, Strange

How To Be a Local Character

My local character was a guy who practically lived at the Rockingham Park Mall–nobody knew his real name, but he claimed to be Michael Jackson, even though he was white and apparently a genius before ‘the accident’. Come to think of it, maybe he was Michael Jackson after all…?

Almost every community has one or two of them: persons who everyone knows, even if you have never spoken to them. Some local characters have gained nationwide recognition via internet. If your neighborhood doesn’t have one, you can follow a character from somewhere else! Here are five basic examples of different types of local characters.

Living History


Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton seems to belong to an earlier century. Sutton is a renowned moonshiner in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. He got his nickname from the night he shot a popcorn machine that took his money. Sutton charges $5 for tourists to have their picture taken with him, then he tells stories of the moonshining business. He published a book of stories, Me and My Likker. Local authorities tolerate him for the tourism he draws, but the ATF arrested him in 1974, 1981, and 1985. It happened again in March of 2008, when Sutton was found in the possession of more than 850 gallons of moonshine.

Cultivated Bizarreness


Prince Mongo has been a fixture in Memphis, Tennessee as long as I can remember, but his home planet is Zambodia. Mongo’s legal name is Robert Hodges and he is quite wealthy from his behind-the-scenes ownership of bars and restaurants. He has run for political office a few times. Prince Mongo takes in homeless people at his mansion in an upscale Memphis neighborhood, where he displays bizarre artworks in the yard such as coffins and a collection of 50 toilets. He’s also been known to dress in strange costumes and howl during the night. The neighbors are chronically concerned.

Read the rest at mental_floss.