Buckle up, things are gonna get weird.
Picture it. Siberia. Middle of winter. 1869. Nothing good can come from this scene, right? Well, yeah kind of. Grigori Rasputin was born on 21 January 1869 in the tiny village of Pokrovskoye (which I can spell but not pronounce) If you are familiar with Russian geography, and all good History buffs really should start making an effort at this point, this is in the modern Tyumen Oblast region. A happy little corner of the world where it rains or snows every day and everyone is a potato farmer.
We don’t know too much about Grigori’s early life aside from when he was born and who his parents were (Surprise! They were peasant farmers).
Some sources describe him as an unruly child who fought, swore, drank, and stole his neighbors horses. I like to imagine him as the Bart Simpson of Pokrovskoye. Anyway Grigori goes to church and gets himself saved in 1897 and is a new man! That is until he catches a whiff of theosophy: basically a combo of Christianity and the occult. So basically Grigori blacks out, sees a vision of the Virgin Mary, and wakes up having Jesus powers. Most impressive of all, he gets a reputation for being able to heal with his touch. He lives in a monastery for a while but decides to leave because of all the homosexuality that is happening (no, seriously). He wanders the countryside eventually making it back home to Pokrovskoye and moves back into his parents’ basement.
People notice a slight change in Grigori’s appearance. All of a sudden he’s grown a Gandalf beard and developed a thousand yard stare that would make Chuck Norris shit his pants. He starts leading prayer circles in his parents’ basement but has to do it on the downlow because Rasputin isn’t exactly in good standing with the church after sounding the alarm on all the forbidden sex that was going on.
Anyway, some of the townsfolk start getting pissed because Grigori was having the women “ceremonially” wash him before all their Bible study classes and gets run out of town by some angry husbands that weren’t too happy about Grigori giving their wives a come to Jesus moment.
It’s around this time that he gets the nickname “Rasputin,” or “the debaucher.”
Rasputin goes from town to town leading prayers and railing housewives for a few years until he finally makes it to St. Petersburg sometime around 1905. He falls into favor with some of the female members of the aristocracy (go figure) and that’s when the Tsar first hears about the Ol’ Mad Monk.
Ya see, Tsar Nicholas II’s family had been cousin consummating for so long that their kids were coming out with problems you and I couldn’t dream of in our worst nightmares.
He’s got one kid named Alexei whose suffering from hemophilia; basically your blood can’t clot and you die of a paper cut. It being 1905 and all, he figures it's worth the gamble to let some ghoulish freak near his kid on the off-chance that he happens to be some kind of miracle worker.
Now I don’t know if there are some weird coincidences here or what is going on but Rasputin is actually able to help this poor incest baby. He becomes so important to the Royal Family that the Tsarina doesn’t let the kids travel anywhere without being accompanied by Uncle Razzy. Now whether he was giving the Tsarina a little something extra on the side I can’t really say. Regardless, they start giving Rasputin free run of the capital. Probably a good idea, right?
Wrong. Rasputin ends up raping a nun and doing all kinds of other weird shit but no one can really do anything about it because he has a free pass from the king and queen. But the aristocracy in the city freakin haaaate this guy.
Just look at this picture. No one is happy to be there. So then World War I breaks out. Problem is that Russia has like one potato for every three soldiers and even fewer rifles. Rasputin was a big critic of the war from the get go and when Tsar Nicolas joins the war, Grigori gets back at him by basically going on a year long drunken sex rampage through the streets of St. Petersburg. The Tsar goes to the front and leaves the Tsarina in charge. She basically does whatever Rasputin says so now you have that crazy man running the country.
A few guys including the Tsarina’s nephew-in-law decide to poison this weirdo before he can do any more damage and this is where things get weird. I mean weirder. So basically the plan was to invite Rasputin over to the house of Felix Yusupov, the Tsarina’s nephew-in-law. They would give him some tea laced with cyanide and it’d be night-night forever. Well he comes in, he drinks the tea, and the conspirators wait. Nothing. Weird. Ok. Rasputin asks for some wine, which of course was also poisoned. He drinks three glasses! And nothing! Now Yusupov is nervous because it’s 2:30 AM and he’s been feeding Rasputin cyanide for hours with no effect so he switches to plan B. He pulls out a revolver and says to Rasputin that he “better look at the crucifix and say a prayer,” and proceeds to shoot him in the chest. (Warning: Graphic image!)
It’s finally over. Or is it? They drive Rasputin’s supposedly dead body back to his apartment. The plan was to put all his clothes on, lay him in bed, and I guess they just figured people would overlook the gaping hole in his chest?... Anyway, they make it back and just then Rasputin returns from the dead like a pissed off drunk zombie and starts throwing haymakers. He scores a solid blow to Yusupov, knocking him on his ass, and bolts for the door. He makes it about half way across the yard before Yusupov is able to take dead aim and hits Rasputin twice. Scoring at least one headshot (see graphic image). Not taking any chances this time around, his killers place his body in a sack and toss him into the freezing cold river. The autopsy later revealed that his lungs were filled with water and that he sustained injuries trying to get out of the bag. So just for the record, he survived drinking enough cyanide to kill a blue whale, taking a clean shot through the chest, getting a headshot dead center in his forehead, at least one other bullet wound, and being tossed into an icy cold river for at least a minute or two.
Not too many people came to the funeral to see Rasputin off to whatever sex-filled bizzarro afterlife he believed in. The Tsarina came to bid farewell to his supposedly massive "appendage" (which according to legend was 13 inches long), but other than that only a few Royals actually came. A lot of debate remains about how accurate the description of his death was but unfortunately we’ll never know because two months later, in came the Commies! After the Bolsheviks finished pumping the Royal Family full of lead, they burned Rasputin’s body; partly out of penis envy and partly to remove any memory that the Royal Family ever existed. And thus ends the odd story of the Mad Monk, Grigori Rasputin.