Most people who have an interest—even a minor one—in the paranormal and psychic abilities have heard of Edgar Cayce, the so-called Sleeping Prophet. Much has been written about him and he is probably the best known psychic of the 20th century.
But what about Polish psychic Wolf Messing or the blind Bulgarian psychic Baba Vanga? In spite of a lifetime of interest in all that is beyond strange in the realm of the sixth sense, until recently I didn’t know about either one. Messing’s name seemed vaguely familiar to both Trish and me, but that was it. Yet, both were quite well known in their day, if not in the U.S., in other parts of the world.
I guess what drew my attention to Messing were pictures of him, including the one above that made me think that he looked like one of the famed Marx Brothers. But Messing was no doubt entangled with a different Marx, who philosophy dominated the Soviet Union during much of the past century. Pictures of Messing came up when I looked up Baba Vanga after learning about her on a recent episode of Ancient Aliens. Yes, that show is still on the History Channel, now in its 12th season. I didn’t know that either until I received a call from a producer for the show, who wanted to talk about time travel and Beyond the Bermuda Triangle, which I co-authored with Bruce Gernon.
So who are these two mysterious characters from the past?
Let’s start with Wolf Messing. He was born in 1899 in a village southeast of Warsaw when Poland was part of the Soviet Union. He lived until 1974 and was known for his ability not only to read minds, but to affect minds. That caught the interest of the Soviet leaders who exploited psychics, such as Messing, for their own purposes. Messing was a talented remote viewer, capable of psychically spying on people and places, and because of his ability to alter thoughts, he became an instructor in these matters for the notorious KGB—the Soviet’s spy agency.
In an interview with a Soviet magazine in 1961, Messing said: … It’s not mind-reading, it’s, like the “reading of muscles” “… When human thinks hard about something, the brain cells transmit impulses to all muscles of the body. Their movements, invisible to the eye, I can easily feel. … Often I’m performing mental tasks without direct contact with the inductor. The pointer to me here is the breathing frequency of inductor, the beating of his heart, voice timbre, his walking nature etc.”
In the ‘20s and ‘30s, Messing was the most famous psychic in Europe. He became well known while living in Germany where Einstein invited him to his home for an interview with him and Freud. In the encounter, Freud sent Messing a telepathic message. After focusing a few moments, Messing excused himself, went to the bathroom and returned with a tweezers and plugged a hair from Einstein’s mustache. Freud laughed and said that was exactly what he had mentally asked him to do.
Messing also predicted that Russia would invade Germany, even though at the time Stalin had a non-aggression treaty with the Nazis. He also predicted the end of the war to the month. Hitler saw Messing as a dangerous wild card and put a bounty on his head. That’s when Messing fled to Russia, where Stalin became interested in using him for military purposes. Interestingly, up to that time, Stalin had outlawed and imprisoned psychic practitioners.
Stalin tested Messing, first asking him to psychically rob a bank. Messing went to a bank and handed the teller a blank piece of paper and requested 100,000 rubles. The teller, believing he was looking at a certified request, did as he was told. A KGB agent planted in the bank watched the entire scenario unfold. Stalin’s next test was to see if Messing could get past the guards and enter his secured bunker. Again, Messing succeeded at the task, walking past guards inside and outside the compound, and even Stalin’s servants who were all KGB agents. When he walked into Stalin’s room without attracting any resistance, Stalin asked how he’d done it. Messing responded that he sent one thought to every guard telling them that he was the head of Stalin’s secret police.
It’s unknown if Stalin sent Messing on any psychic missions. Many documents from the Stalin years remain classified in Russia. Near the end of his life, Messing wrote an autobiography. But shortly after he announced its pending publication, the manuscript vanished and was never found.
In the next post, we’ll explore the life of Vangelia Gushterova, better known as Baba Vanga, and it was a fascinating one.