EXPOSED: Charles Dickens
When his father was sent to debtor's prison in 1824, Dickens left school to work at a rodent-infested boot-blacking factory to help support his family.
After attending several lectures by John Elliotson in 1838, Charles Dickens became fascinated with mesmerism. He attempted to use mesmeric techniques to help his family and friends John Leech, illustrator of A Christmas Carol, and Augusta de la Rue.
Obsessed with the earth's magnetic field, he insisted that his bed face north wherever he slept.
Dickens kept a pet raven named Grip until 1841. After Grip's untimely demise, Dickens had his favourite pet's body stuffed and mounted.
Half an hour before the start of a public reading of his work, Dickens would drink a raw egg beaten into a tumbler of sherry.
Dickens combed his hair hundreds of times a day.
Dickens frequented the Paris Morgue, often viewing the bodies of suicides, murder victims, and drowning victims. He was also known to traipse about with the Thames River police looking for dead bodies and gossiping about suicides.
In May 1846 Angela Burdett Coutts approached Dickens about setting up a home for the redemption of prostitutes. After initially resisting, Dickens eventually founded the home, named "Urania Cottage", in the Lime Grove section of Shepherds Bush.
In 1862, Dickens became part of London's Ghost Club, a group which investigated spiritualist phenomena and met often to discuss ghostly subjects.
Dickens was travelling in the first class carriage with his mistress Ellen Ternan and her mother on 9 June 1865 at 3:13 pm when the train derailed at Staplehurst, Kent, killing ten passengers and injuring forty. He died exactly five years after this accident after suffering a stroke at Gad's Hill Place.