The Most Eccentric Presidents in U.S. History

By | November 20, 2020

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President Ronald Reagan throwing a football from his desk in the Oval Office. (Mary Anne Fackelman-Miner/White House/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

Presidents are people, too, and just like many of us, they have their quirks. Some former presidents, however, have taken their little personal oddities to a whole new level. When one is the leader of the free world, those oddities are often on display for the whole world to see ... and for the media to mock.

Ronald Reagan Consulted The Stars

Ronald Reagan was once a Hollywood star, but he spent his time as the 40th president consulting a different kind of star. He and his wife, Nancy, were big believers in astrology. In fact, when Reagan was sworn in as Governor of California in 1967, he did so at exactly 12:10 A.M. because it was said to be an astrologically auspicious time. The Reagans both sought the advice of a noted astrologer before making important decisions, even those about national security and national policy. It's even rumored that Reagan chose George Bush as his running mate based on astrology. An astrologer reportedly warned Nancy Reagan that something bad would happen on March 30, 1981, and indeed, it did. That was the day that Reagan was shot and wounded by a would-be assassin. 

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Official Presidential portrait of Calvin Coolidge. (Charles Sydney Hopkinson/Wikimedia Commons)

Calvin Coolidge's Electric Horse

Calvin Coolidge loved to ride horses and considered it good exercise, but the demands of the Oval Office limited his riding time, so he had an electric horse installed in the White House and spent his free time riding the contraption. Although he was mocked in the press, the electric horse—which had two settings, "trot" and "gallop"—served as a good stress reliever for Coolidge during his years in office.