The Romanovs were the last imperial family in Russia, lead by Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra before the revolution in 1917. The Tsarina believed strongly in the supernatural, which lead her to hire a monk as her spiritual advisor. That monk was Grigori Rasputin.
It turns out that Rasputin was more than just a humble monk. He has been considered one of the most evil figures in history – and even possibly the devil incarnate.
10. He Was a Prodigy
Grigori Rasputin (pictured here with his children) grew up as a peasant in a small Siberian village called Pokrovskoye. His entire family was an illiterate farming family, and they had a reputation for being horse thieves.
As a child, Rasputin claimed to have healing powers, and he could also see into the future.
At that time in Russia, the occult was actually in fashion. So, Instead of burning him at the stake for witchcraft, these peasants in the village simply accepted that he actually had incredible healing powers. This allowed him to get away with swearing, stealing, drinking, sleeping around, and generally being a terrible person.
He got married, and had children, but at 28-years-old, he declared that he wanted to change his ways and become a monk. This meant abandoning his family in order to go on this spiritual quest. He began living in a monastery, but when he realized he did not actually want to be a Russian Orthodox priest, he abruptly decided to leave and walk home, wandering around the woods of Siberia.
Keep in mind that the Siberian forest is no joke. It’s filled with wolves, tigers, bears, vipers, and wolverines. When he finally came back to his village, people could see that he was a totally changed man. He now had a long beard, and his eyes stared on forever, and he claimed that his spiritual power had intensified.
9. He Joined a Sex Cult
His family and friends knew that something had definitely changed about Rasputin while he was in the forest, which is why most people believe he joined an outlawed cult called the Khlysts. They were an offshoot of the Russian Orthodox Church that believed that they could only achieve salvation through committing sins. They would dance until they felt drunk on the Holy Spirit, and immediately followed this feeling of ecstasy by having a massive orgy. As you might imagine, the Khylsts were quite a popular underground group that a lot of Siberians wanted to join… because, well, it was probably the most interesting thing going on for these peasant potato farmers.
When Rasputin returned to his home village, he began his own cult, and continued to have sex with his congregation. If you’re wondering why so many women in the village would have been willing to join this cult and cheat on their husbands, he was known for more than just his magic abilities. After he died, they preserved his penis, because it had a reputation of its own. We’re not going to show a picture of it, but let’s just say it’s abnormally large.
Even some lady members of the aristocracy began to travel far and wide to join his group for the opportunity to sin with this popular monk. He earned quite a reputation for himself that spanned across all of Russia.
8. He Was A Miraculous Healer
At 34-years-old, Rasputin decided that he was done preaching to a small-town audience, and he wanted to move to the capital city of St. Petersburg. He claimed that he had a vision from the Virgin Mary, who told him to go to the city because the royal family needed his help.
Tsarina Alexandra needed to produce a male heir to the Romanov family, but for the longest time, she was only giving birth to daughters. She was very superstitious and believed in the occult, so she consulted several mystics to help her give birth to a boy. Unfortunately, her son, Alexi, was born with hemophilia. This is a disease that prevents blood from clotting, so if he were to ever get cut, the injury would never stop bleeding.
When Rasputin was introduced to the Romanovs, their son’s illness was kept a secret. He asked if he could pray over the boy, and advised them to keep doctors away. When Alexi actually began to get better, the boy’s parents were stunned.
Modern-day theorists believe that the reason why Alexi was healed was not because of magical powers, but because Rasputin refused to allow Alexi to take aspirin. At the time, aspirin was prescribed by doctors as a wonder drug, but it was actually making the boy’s hemophilia much worse. Even though Rasputin was illiterate, he did know a thing or two about healing.
7. He Smelled Terrible
According to testimonies from people who met Rasputin, he never bothered to bathe. Pieces of food were often seen hanging in his beard. He claimed that he went six months wearing the same underwear. A French ambassador visiting Russia compared his body odor to a goat. This makes it all the more repugnant that he continued having sex with everything that moved. Apparently, they saw his disheveled appearance as charming, and no one seemed to mind his complete lack of personal hygiene.
Apparently, the quality that drove women mad were his eyes that apparently burned into your soul. This was so strong, that some believed that he had the ability to hypnotize people into doing his bidding with his eyes. He grew rich from the money and favors he got by healing wealthy Russians, but he also advertised that he would accept payment in the form of kisses… which must have been difficult, considering that he never brushed his teeth.
6. He Was The Imperial Puppet Master
After healing Alexi, he told Nicholas and Alexandra that without him, their son would die. Since he was the sole heir to the throne, they felt that they had no choice but to accept Rasputin’s demands. There are rumors that he was allowed to sleep with the Tsarina as much as he wanted, and he had access to their daughters, as well. He started to call Nicholas and Alexandra “Papa” and “Mama,” as if he was part of the family. He gave advice about what the family should do, based on his visions that he claimed were from God. Every time anyone did something that displeased Rasputin, he would tell the Empress, and get them in trouble.
Then, of course, there were his hypnotizing eyes. Some people believed that he had the ability to trick anyone into doing his bidding just by staring at them, and that he could convince anyone to do almost anything. Rasputin had all the makings of a successful cult leader, and he used his charisma to slowly but surely manipulate everyone around him to gain unlimited power over the Russian royal family.
5. He Had Devout Disciples
Rasputin formed a fanbase of women who were happy to show up to his apartment to listen to him speak. He wasn’t just satisfied with his many female followers, either. Secret police were sent on his tail, and they recorded that he hired prostitutes multiple times a day in-between appointments.
One of the most tragic stories of his devout followers was a beautiful woman named Olga Lokhtina. She originally visited Rasputin for an excruciatingly painful intestinal neurasthenia. After he healed her, she became convinced that he was the second coming of Christ, and she wanted to be one of his disciples. She left her wealthy husband and children behind in order to move into Rasputin’s apartment. This, of course, became a public scandal. It was reported in the newspapers, and the police monitored the situation closely. Lokhtina demanded that anyone who visited Rasputin should address him as “God.” The longer she lived with him, the more she went insane. She was eventually sent to a mental institution.
4. He Was Working With The Devil
If you don’t think taking advantage of women was evil enough, don’t worry. It gets worse. In his journals, Rasputin wrote that he was in an ongoing inner battle with the Devil. He would purposely seek out sinful situations in order to fight off the evil he could feel building up inside him. He would take women into bath houses and perform a so-called ritual where he claimed the Devil possessed him into beating prostitutes. Immediately after purging this sin, he would have sex with them.
He claimed that he could actually see the Devil standing right in front of him. Multiple people witnessed him screaming to himself in the streets at this invisible figure. Two of the head priests in St. Petersburg cornered Rasputin and tried to give him an intervention. One of the bishops, a man named Hermogen, actually called him out for hurting so many women. He grabbed Rasputin’s penis and screamed that he was the Antichrist. Then, they proceeded to beat him with a huge crucifix. Of course, Rasputin ran and told the Tsarina about what had happened, so those priests were banished from St. Petersburg.
3. He Was Hated By Everyone… Including Himself
By now, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that not everyone was drinking Rasputin’s Kool-Aid. During the years he served as the royal advisor, he earned a lot of enemies. Plenty of men were unhappy with the fact that he went around sleeping with nearly every woman in Russia and claiming to be Jesus. While Tsar Nicholas II was battling alongside his soldiers during World War I, Rasputin began to advise Alexandra on her decisions as Tsarina, and even appointed his friends into positions in the government. It didn’t take long for everyone to realize that he was making all of the decisions for her.
Newspapers printed rude political cartoons of Rasputin and the Tsarina having an affair. Empress Alexandra was born in Germany, and she was Queen Victoria’s granddaughter. Since she was not born in Russia, this gave people a reason to doubt that she truly cared about the country’s well-being. While people were dying and starving to death during the war, Rasputin continued to go out and live a lavish lifestyle. Politicians called him a devil, and used him as an example of everything that was wrong with imperial Russia.
Rasputin knew that people wanted him dead. He warned Tsarina Alexandra that if anyone with Romanov blood were responsible for his death, he would put a curse on their family that would ensure their death within two years.
2. He Was Impossible To Kill
Since Rasputin had so many enemies, there were assassination attempts on his life on more than one occasion. The first time someone tried to kill him was a priest named Illiador, who believed that Rasputin was the devil incarnate. He found a prostitute who had been abused and had her nose cut off named Khioniya Guseva and paid her to kill Rasputin. They waited until he was visiting his home in Siberia, and did not have the royal guard around to protect him. Guseva stabbed him with a knife in the stomach, and even went as far as to pull the intestines out of his body. Somehow, he survived this attack. While he was in the hospital, Russia entered World War I. Rasputin wrote to Nicholas II to try and stop the fighting, claiming that he had visions of the country’s demise. He wrote to the Tsar, “we will all drown in blood.”
The Empress was trying to keep her promise that no one in the Romanov family would be responsible for his death, but her nephew-in-law, Felix Yusupov, plotted to kill Rasputin before he could ruin the whole country. His plan was to lure Rasputin with an offer he couldn’t refuse. He claimed that his gorgeous wife, Irina, was a nymphomaniac, and needed his healing touch to cure her sex addiction.
According to Yusupov, he staged a party at his home and invited Rasputin over for dinner. He laced all of his food and drink with cyanide. After hours of consuming enough poison to take down a herd of elephants, Yusupov got tired of waiting. He pulled out a gun and shot Rasputin in the heart.
1. He Rose From the Dead
In the 1997 Dreamworks animated movie Anastasia, Rasputin channels his demon powers to rise from the dead to make sure every last member of the Romanov family dies. While this might seem ridiculous to include a zombie in a story inspired by history, that is actually not too far off from what really happened.
According to witnesses, Yusupov and his friends celebrated Rasputin’s death after poisoning and shooting him in the chest. He seemed to be dead, but Yusupov felt paranoid, so he went to check on Rasputin’s body… and he opened his eyes. Rasputin began to run into the courtyard. This time, Rasputin was shot multiple times, including a shot to the head, so there was no chance of survival. Then, the men beat him with metal rods for good measure, and tied up his body in a large bag and tossed him into the freezing cold river. Even after all of this, the autopsy revealed that there was water in his lungs… which meant he was breathing, even after being shot in the head. Of course, critics believe that Yusupov exaggerated this story.
The curse that he put upon the Romanov family really did come true. During the Communist revolution, all of them were rounded up and murdered – even the children. People who loved the royal family had hoped that at least one of the children survived… but that’s a story for another day.