Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Rasputin's Death

R always seems to be full of possible posts, rich in subject matter. I thought about doing Roanoke (among other things), but thought perhaps it had been done to death. Instead, I'm going to talk about Rasputin.

Grigori Rasputin
By Wood, Alan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Rasputin was the man they loved to hate in Russia in the early 1900's. He was a peasant, but one accepted by the Romanov royal family as a mystic, healer, and adviser. They contacted him to help their son, Alexei, who suffered from hemophilia. It was said he could heal with prayer. He did appear to help Alexei. It's theorized that he either used hypnosis or that his recommendation to take Alexei off aspirin (a blood thinner) helped. It's probably a combination of these two things, plus the fact that he recommended rest for the boy, something that helped relax him and allow his body to heal itself.

Whatever he did, he became a trusted adviser to the Tsar and Tsarina, giving them political advice, which they often heeded, and leading to issues within the Russian government. Aristocrats were angered, and a few of them conspired to kill him.

Only this mystic was a hard man to kill. They attempted to poison him with cyanide, but it had no effect, so then they shot him. At first, they thought he was dead, and left him on the floor. They discovered he was still alive when he went after his attackers. He was shot again, this time in the head, and it still didn't kill him. In a rage, one of his attackers went at him with a dumbbell. They then rolled him up in a rug and tossed him into a river. When he was autopsied later, they found water in his lungs, meaning he was alive when he went into the river. Accounts differ as to whether poison was actually found in his system, but his daughter said he couldn't have sweets, so she felt he hadn't eaten the cyanide laced treats.

It's important to note that he had been the victim of an attempted murder before, though from a group of women who wished revenge for wrongs he'd committed against them. He was stabbed in the abdomen by one of these women and left for dead. He survived. If nothing else, he was a hardy man.

The mystery here is two-fold. First, did he have magical healing powers? Or did he simply have common sense that benefited the young royal? Was it the magic of prayer? A miracle? 

Secondly, why was he so hard to kill? Did it have to do with his powers of healing? Could he heal himself? Or was a higher power watching over him, giving him the chance to fight to save his life? Or maybe he was just a strong man.

What do you think?

May you find your Muse.

32 comments:

  1. I've always been fascinated by Rasputin and the last tsar and his family. And that's the question wise or magical at the crux of it. Unless that's whether the women who claim to be Anastasia really are...

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  2. Doubt he had any powers. Sounds more like a series of fortunate events that kept him alive.

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  3. Conviction of purpose seems to give some people strength. He probably had a strong constitution.

    I've read the story of Nicholas and Alexandria which also includes info about Rasputin. In that book, it seems the mother had more faith in the healer.

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  4. Luck, That eventually,well ran out. I think you like you said, a little of both, some faith and common sense but as far as surviving a stabbing and gunshots, well, that is some luck.
    Lucy Lucy's Reality

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  5. It's crazy how he survived the cyanide and the gunshots. How?? This is a mystery even Sherlock can't solve.

    Deecoded

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  6. I don't think he had any sort of power but he certainly had enough luck!

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  7. Fascinating story. I like to believe in mystic powers, so maybe they helped keep him alive!

    Mary Montague Sikes

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  8. Great account of his story. I think it is a combination of the power of self healing and prayer.

    www.wearinglemon.blogspot.com

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  9. Aw... I was expecting Roanoke, so I'm kinda disappointed. No, I don't know why I was expecting that.

    One of the interesting things about cyanide: it kills by interacting with the acid in one's stomach. It has been theorized that Rasputin had a condition which resulted in very low acid levels, so it's possible he just didn't have enough acid in his stomach to activate the poison. Supposedly, it has been verified that he did eat the cyanide-laced food.

    There are, of course, those people that believe that he never died and is still alive today.

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  10. It seems as though he were possessed of some kind of special spiritual powers, in spite of his outward appearance as an uncouth, vulgar peasant. It's kind of ironic that the Romanovs involved with Rasputin's murder were saved through that crime, since they were exiled and put under house arrest. One of my favorite members of the Royal Family, Grand Duke Dmitriy Pavlovich Romanov, was involved in the murder and got exiled to Persia as punishment.

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  11. Whenever I hear his name I think of "Ra - Ra - Rasputin!" which my mother sings sometimes ;)

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  12. I think I had an uncle like him. Survived more calamities than I can remember...but he definitely didn't have mystical powers! :)

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  13. I love the mystery which surrounds Rasputin and am happy to keep it as a mystery. :)

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  14. I thought I'd be the only person to mention the song, but Trisha got there before me :-) It's certainly a fascinating story - my opinion is common sense (for the healing) mixed with good old-fashioned hardiness (to avoid being killed). Peasants in Russia at that time would have been very strong just to survive the winters!

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  15. Hi, Shannon,
    I think he had good sense and was as healthy as a horse. :)

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  16. He could have been an immortal, like in the Highlander films....

    ..or an alien....

    ...it's always aliens... :)

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  17. Roanoke is an interesting mystery but Rasputin is an interesting guy. I doubt he had powers but he sure was hard to kill!

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  18. I've never heard of him before. You gave a lot of amazing information about him, but I feel like I need to read more on my own before coming up with any theories.

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  19. Maybe he was a superhero, like Bruce Willis in Unbreakable. More likely, the stories have been exaggerated a bit and he was just a man with common sense, and a fast healing body. The Engineer is like that: rarely sick, and if he is (which he's been 4 times in our 30 years together) what takes the other three of us a week to get over, he's done with in a day or two. Drives this medical worst case scenario girl CRAZY.

    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

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  20. As the author of a book about Rasputin (my great-great uncle was his secretary), written after many years of research, I can tell you that Rasputin was well-versed in the use of Siberian, Tibetan and Chinese herbs and made no secret of his use of them. He did, however also use prayer, although many accounts of his healing (for which he was widely known in Siberia)resemble 'empathic healing.' He also offered common sense, advising that the tsarevitch rest and telling the royals to stop using aspirin which prevents blood from clotting (counterproductive to a hemophiliac). He did not like the idea of hypnosis, feeling it to be the work of the devil.

    He did have a sturdy constitution and the circumstances of his death have been debated for years. It wasn't that he couldn't eat sweets. He simply didn't eat sweets or meat. He preferred fish and potatoes. The cyanide they put in his wine did make him woozy, but it is currently accepted that he did not die by drowning or hypothermia, but by a gunshot to the head, and was dead when he was thrown in the Neva River.

    There were many, many attempts on Rasputin's life. The stabbing by Guseva was not orchestrated by a group of women and had nothing to do with wronging women, but was orchestrated by a monk, Iliodor, who was exiled on Rasputin's word and wanted to do away with him.

    What is little known, and the reason that he was hated and vilified by the nobility, was that he proposed equal rights for Russia's oppressed minorities, especially the Jews who were victims of ethnic cleansing at the time. He wanted all people to have the same rights and to have a say in government and policy. This was very threatening to the nobility which he hated.

    You can read more in "Rasputin and The Jews: A Reversal of History" or on the book website: http://therealrasputin.wordpress.com/

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  21. This part of history always fascinates me. Rasputin, the Royal Russian family and their ultimate demise. Another, good intriguing post, Shannon

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  22. Interesting history. Never heard the full story. What an intriguing character idea for a book though, true or not!

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  23. "Rah, Rah, Rasputin!" Thanks for the story.

    I've read some of this before. Strange man; strange ideas. Miracle worker? Who knows for sure?

    Blessings and Bear hugs!
    Bears Noting

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  24. Hmm, This is an interesting mystery and does make me want to know more about Mr. Rasputin than I do. I agree, he does appear to be a hardy fellow, almost catlike in nature, with multiple lives, to endure multiple murder attempts. I do believe in the healing power of prayer, but it is hard to say without knowing more what his particular strength was. Good read. Thanks Shannon. God bless, Maria from Delight Directed Living

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  25. I've always been intrigued by Rasputin. I"m leaning toward the conclusion that the stories have just been exaggerated beyond the truth. Although mystic healing would be cool.

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  26. A great R! I have always been intrigued by Anastasia--especially Rasputin's role in the family. So mysterious.

    Scrumptious Setting = S

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  27. The man clearly had some luck, which is is a power itself. Stratoz goes from A to Z

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  28. You can take a lot of abuse when your adrenaline is pumping, and you are angry and determined. He was probably also very strong.

    I think he simply told the kid to do the usual common-sense things.

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

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  29. I would also fall under the commons sense and possible exaggeration of story.

    You keep having authors of books associated with your topics popping up and commenting! That is so awesome lol What Mrs C mentions about equal rights makes a lot of sense.

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

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