Wolf Grigorievich Messing (1899-1974) was born in Poland. He became famous for his work as a stage entertainer, guessing the thoughts of the audience. He spent his youth in Polish traveling circuses, where he joined the mastery of illusion.
In 1939, after the outbreak of World War II, he fled to the USSR, where he began to read minds, first as part of propaganda teams, and then with individual concerts. At the expense of the artist, 2 aircraft were built that took part in the hostilities.
Messing's name is surrounded by legends and mystery. This makes the experiences look even more impressive.
This man was, in fact, the first Soviet psychic. The 2010 TV series about Wolf Messing revived public interest in this phenomenon even more. However, the name of the illusionist is often associated with myths, some of which he also generated himself. We will deal with their debunking.
In 1915, 16-year-old Wolf in Vienna met with Einstein in his painting, where he was surprised by the abundance of literature. Messing also held a telepathic session with Freud and Einstein there. This myth was spread by the artist himself, but it turned out that Einstein was not in Vienna at all from 1913 to 1925, and he never had his own apartment there. And the scientist never kept a lot of books at home, preferring to keep a few reference books and reprints of important articles.
After the occupation of Poland by the Germans, Messing's head was estimated at 200 thousand marks, as an artist in one of the Warsaw theaters predicted the death of Hitler if he went to the East. And this myth was replicated by the artist himself, in fact, no evidence of such a statement was found. During the inspection of a large number of Nazi archives (secret police, security services, office, ministries, etc.), no information about the artist Wolf Messing was found. No information about him was found in checking the catalog of the Berlin Library, as well as Polish archives associated with the activities of the Nazis at that time. And in the documents of the Reich Propaganda Ministry, no evidence of Hitler's reactions to Messing's speeches was preserved.
Messing's foot disease is explained as follows. When he was arrested in German-occupied Poland, Wolf mentally ordered the jailers to come to his cell, there he put them in a trance, and he himself jumped out of the window of the guardroom. According to Messing, it is freedom that he owes to a disease of the legs. The story is beautiful, but it was not necessary to jump from the windows of the commandant's office, because you could calmly get out of it. Messing himself was very skeptical about extreme adventures and thrills. By the way, other versions of this story, canonical for the hero, end like this: ".. and left the building without hindrance."
In 1940, Messing met with Stalin in Gomel. The leader asked Wolf about the state of affairs in Poland, as well as meetings with the country's leaders. Similar meetings with Stalin took place later, including in Moscow. It is doubtful that the country's top leadership would show such interest in the fugitive pop telepath, who, moreover, had nothing to do with politics. Turning to the archives, they could not find any documents that testified to Messing's meetings with Stalin. And the records of all the persons received by Stalin in the Kremlin were kept, they were published, the name of Wolf Messing is not there.
Stalin decided to personally check Messing, for this he gave the illusionist the task - to receive one hundred thousand rubles from the savings bank, presenting instead of documents a blank sheet of paper from a school notebook. After the end of the experiment, the money was returned to the cashier, who suffered a heart attack after seeing how cruelly he was deceived. Messing added to this legend that he could easily leave the residence of the leader and just as easily entered back, hypnotizing the guards. However, this whole myth is easily exposed by the employees of the State Bank. The fact is that the check for receiving money first goes to the accountant, who cannot issue money in principle, then, depending on the amount of money (and this is just such a case), the document is checked by two auditors, after which the check is returned to the cashier, who counts the whole amount and preparing documents. Only then is the client called, to whom the money is handed over. Messing, who told a completely different story, was hardly familiar with such a complex system and hypnotized people whose existence he did not even suspect. So this whole story is just a beautiful myth.
Another task of Stalin to check Messing was to ban him from leaving the Kremlin, but after 10 minutes the famous artist was walking around Moscow, miraculously past the KGB screens. To refute this myth is again simple, no facts about the meeting of the leader with the artist were found. There is no information about this in the archives of the Central Committee of the CPSU, in the records of persons received by Stalin for 1927-1953, in the archives of the FSB and other repositories of documents of that time.
Messing took part in the disclosure of the high-profile case of the director of the fruit and vegetable shop, in which he confessed to the telepath about the crime. There really was such a case, and it was after the conversation between the suspect and Messing that the investigators released a document with facts that completely exposed the culprit. This certificate was even filed into the file, and the information in it turned out to be reliable. However, as it turned out, in this way the investigator made it possible to use undercover information, covering the true source with the name of the artist. Naturally, the person who betrayed the attacker remained unknown, which was what the investigation was seeking. Messing received his portion of fame and another myth about himself in his piggy bank.
In 1944, near Novgorod, a suspicious man was arrested who looked like a German and confessed that he was. His exposure could only be made with the help of Messing. The scouts suspected of the arrested German intelligence agent, but they could not expose him. The German stubbornly denied his guilt, not even succumbing to the staging of his own execution. It seemed that this man was able to endure any pain without breaking. It is alleged that Messing was invited for interrogation, who was present under the guise of a high-ranking official. Through telepathy, the artist realized that the detainee was translating phrases from German into Russian in his head during interrogation, so he was lying, being an experienced spy. The myth says that at the end of the interrogation Messing said in pure German: "Yes, now I am absolutely convinced that you are innocent." Then he got up from the table and said in the same tone, but in Russian: "That's all. You can go." The prisoner immediately jumped up and betrayed himself. In fact, it is worth noting that spies are caught not by intelligence, but by counterintelligence. It is doubtful that they would admit to secret interrogation of an ordinary touring artist, who, moreover, has recently received Soviet citizenship. And what was the purpose of Messing's fate in the interrogation? Would the spy admit that he knew Russian and what would it give in the way of proving his involvement in the German special services? And the reaction of the detainee to the words of the telepathist cannot clearly indicate his knowledge of the Russian language. As a result, the rich biography of Wolf Messing was replenished with another myth, useful for the artist.
In 1951, a hearing was held in Kazan in the case of the girl's murderer, but Messing quickly realized that the accused was innocent and exposed the real criminal. According to this myth, a fragile girl was thrown from a bridge at night, and the charge fell on her former friend, although there was no evidence against him. The evidence was based on the fact that young people had met once upon a time on this bridge, although they had not seen each other for two years. The depressed guy in every possible way denied his guilt. Messing also became interested in this process, who quickly felt impulses from a real criminal, who was among the public at the trial. Soon, the telepath accurately figured out a 25-year-old guy, whom he began to send mental signals, urging him to confess. However, the killer did not react in any way, then during the break Messing left a note on the culprit's chair, on which was written "No way out." When, when the meeting was resumed, the criminal found a note, he began to shout that it was he who had committed the act. In fact, this myth is refuted by the recollections of the court workers of Tatarstan in the 50s. On the one hand, no one remembers such a story, and therefore does not confirm, and on the other hand, no mention of such a case was found in the archives of the court.
During his performances, Messing easily identified objects in the hands of people and found things hidden in the hall. Thanks to the memoirs of Ignatius Schoenfeld, who was sitting with Messing in the NKVD prison in the 40s, some details of the artist's work became known. Wolf took lessons from the telepathic artist Zalessky, and he taught the artist some of his tricks. The fact is that usually, when the viewer is asked to give an item, the number of options is very limited. Usually it was a hairbrush or a watch, possibly glasses. The assistant singled out this or that word by intonation, letting the master understand exactly what it was about: "Tell me, what exactly is NOW in my left hand?" Naturally, the telepath depicted the torment of the thought process, but most often he accurately guessed the indicated object. As a result, almost all items that people usually carry in their pockets had their own system. However, the telepath should have avoided children, as the most unpredictable things could end up in their pockets.
Messing wrote an autobiography "About myself", which became a source of information about him, about his extraordinary gift and meetings with great people. I must say that it is from this book, published in 1964, that most of the folk myths about Messing are drawn. In fact, the artist did not write such a book; the well-known journalist Mikhail Khvastunov, nicknamed "Mikhvas", became its author. The pen worker quickly realized what a sensation Messing's memories could become and concluded an agreement with him to create such a work on his behalf. Wolf himself could hardly write such a work, since he was semi-literate, and in Russian, moreover, rather weak. The fact that such a work was personally written by Messing is denied by his personal secretary, no drafts of the book were subsequently found with the artist. This is how tales about Messing's meetings with Stalin, Beria, Einstein, Sholem Aleichem, Freud and Gandhi, as well as information about the artist's wonderful gift, were born. Meanwhile, several other large and famous representatives of this genre worked on the stage at that time, but no one came up with so many myths and fables about them.