Rasputin's enemies often attributed his skills of seduction, his mystical healing ability and influence on political figures to hypnotism. While people often reported feeling compelled to do things while in his presence, many examples his power have more rational explanations.
Rasputin the womaniser
Despite his lax attitude towards personal hygiene, Rasputin is infamous as a womaniser. Orgies, outings to bath houses, violent sex with society women and prostitutes all feature in accounts of his life. One such story describes how Rasputin saved locks of hair from the virgins he seduced. After his death several boxes of this hair were found buried in his garden. Such stories are most likely exaggerations and reports of Rasputin having an affair with the tsarina are most likely false. They were simply defamatory rumours spread by tabloid newspapers after the royal family’s deposition.
In addition to theories of hypnosis or personal magnetism, several accounts attribute his many conquests to his reputed 13-inch penis. There is no scientific evidence to support this theory. It is simply more likely that as his fame grew, he attracted an ever increasing number of female followers.
Rasputin the Healer
Sceptics of Rasputin’s healing powers claimed that monk had in fact used hypnosis to cure Alexei’s’ haemophilia. Medical evidence suggests that the boy was not actually suffering from haemophilia at all, but from aplastic anaemia. Many symptoms of this disease are similar to those of haemophilia. However unlike haemophilia it is also characterised by spontaneous remission. In many cases this remission is long term. It is likely that Rasputin simply arrived at the child’s bedside at the right time.
Rasputin the invincible
Descriptions of Rasputin’s assassination rely heavily on the accounts of the perpetrators or their co-conspirators. It is quite likely that Rasputin’s resilience was greatly exaggerated to cover up their own ineptitude. It is claimed that when an autopsy was performed on Rasputin’s body it was found that he actually died of drowning. This raises the question as to whether he had actually been poisoned, shot and beaten before being thrown into the river.
Rasputin the Clairvoyant
Rasputin was reported to have had visions all his life, some of which foretold the future. The most famous of these premonitions relates to his own death and is described in a letter he sent to the Tsar. Reports by his secretary that Rasputin transferred all his money into his daughter’s account shortly before he died would indeed suggest that knew his death was imminent. However, given the level of hostility towards the monk it is unlikely that Rasputin would have needed clairvoyant powers to predict his assassination.