The Lives of Eccentrics - Episode 3

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Having lived in the early-to-mid-20th century, what exactly did these two brothers accomplish? The answer: absolutely nothing. Yes, they quite literally did nothing.

The Brothers Nobody Knew: Collyer Brothers (誰も知らない兄弟『コリヤー兄弟』, Dare mo Shiranai Kyōdai "Koriyā Kyōdai"), simply titled Collyer Brothers (コリヤー兄弟, Koriyā Kyodai) in its original serialization, is the third episode of The Lives of Eccentrics series, written by Hirohiko Araki and illustrated by Hirohisa Onikubo. It was originally published in issue 2 of Manga Allman in 2002. In the volumization, this chapter serves as the fifth chapter of the series.


The Collyer brothers are introduced: Homer (born 1881) and Langley (born 1885). Although they attained notoriety, they accomplished exactly nothing of note besides hoarding goods in their home.

The brothers' lives are described in a series of interviews. A car salesman recalls selling Langley a car, though he doesn't know what Langley did with the vehicle afterwards. An old woman remembers that she was engaged to Homer, but also that the two broke up after he refused to sleep with her. A real estate agent explains that the Collyer brothers lived on Fifth Avenue in Harlem, which was a rich neighborhood before an influx of African-American tenants drove the elite away. One of Langley's old classmates shares that the Collyer brothers' parents split after the father was caught in an act of infidelity, scarring the brothers and causing them to withdraw from the world. Finally, a shopkeeper narrates how he dealt with Langley and used to sell them more than a hundred oranges each week to keep Homer's blindness at bay; one day, Langley suddenly stopped buying oranges, asking the shopkeeper to deliver newspapers to them instead.

It is revealed that the interviewers are a duo of burglars who are interested in the Collyer brothers' house. Convinced that the brothers are hiding a huge fortune in spite of their strange way of life, the leader of the pair decides to sneak in the house with his acolyte. After breaking the front door open, the burglars find the entryway barred by a massive array of furniture, which the leader interprets as a barricade against intruders. With all the windows barred and the back door blocked, the burglars must find a way through the furniture.

The acolyte finds a tunnel behind a drawer, but it is revealed to be a trap covered in cacti. When they finally cross the first barrier, the acolyte finds a dollar bill on the floor. When he tries to pick it up, however, his finger is bitten by a rat that was formerly trapped under the bill. Angered, the acolyte decides to go first through a tight passage, just so that he can reach the Collyer brothers first and get revenge for himself. However, he steps on a piano key, triggering yet another trap - causing an ice pick to pierce his leg, and subsequently releasing a bundle of firecrackers which fall into and explode inside of his mouth. As the acolyte gesticulates, he triggers another trap, and is covered in calcium phosphide, a liquid that combusts when it comes into contact with water. After surviving the subsequent explosion, the leader manages to reach the Collyer brothers' room. However, when he tries to open the door, a final trap activates and launches a car at him.

When the police finally investigated the house after an anonymous caller reported corpses inside, they found Homer's body and determined that he had died of starvation. After clearing out the house, the police also found Langley's corpse: he had been killed by one of his own traps while delivering food to his brother. The brothers' possessions were sold at an estimated $100,000 value, which was subsequently given to a family relative.

One last interview is shared: a doctor recalls an incident in which a man's wife died of diabetes. Strangely, the man hid his wife's death and buried her beneath his house, refusing to acknowledge her death publicly or answer any questions about her. This facade lasted for years before a relative's inquiry led the police to discover the corpse. The man had never reported the death of his loved one simply to preserve his tranquil, quiet life.


Collyer Parents
(Mentioned only)



  • In real life, the Collyer brothers did not seclude themselves until Homer lost his eyesight, decades after their parents' separation. Langley, fearing that doctors would move to hasten his blind brother's death, insisted upon letting no one else near his brother and singlehandedly attempted to care for him and cure his blindness.
  • The romanized titles of the chapter and biographical afterword misspell the titular characters' last name as "Colliar"; in addition, the latter abbreviates Langley's name as "R." rather than "L."


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