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5 Famous Hoarding Cases

Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale
Big Edie and Little Edie, amid their clutter.
Big Edie and Little Edie, amid their clutter.
Tom Wargacki/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Also known as "Big Edie" to prevent confusion in an extended family that recycled names at a stunning rate, Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale ("Little Edie") lived for many years in an East Hampton, N.Y., manse known as Grey Gardens. A documentary concerning their unique situation was later made with the same name.

Considered incredibly eccentric and exceedingly reclusive (starting to sense a theme here?), the two women lived amid luxurious squalor, and over the decades, they reportedly harbored some 300 cats all told. Occasionally other animals, such as raccoons, also entered the home after falling through holes in the roof. When sanitation workers eventually gained access to the residence, they found mounds of empty tin cans littering the floor, and fecal matter strewn everywhere. Fiercely protective of their dwindling collection of heirlooms, the mother-daughter pair made national headlines when local officials subsequently struggled to evict them. The reason for this 15 minutes of fame? They were Jackie Kennedy Onassis' aunt and first cousin.

It's hard to say whether the Bouvier Beales were hoarders, or if something else was going on, but let's put it this way: That was an awful lot of cats.