In this, the first biography and personal memoir of Wolf Messing to appear in the West, Tatiana Lungin limns a revealing portrait of one of the greatest psychic performers of the twentieth century.
Born a Polish Jew near Warsaw, Messing ran away from home at the age of eleven and soon discovered his psychic gifts. Supporting himself by performing mind-reading acts in Berlin theaters, at fourteen Messing was sold by his unscrupulous manager to the famous Busch Circus. In no time Wolf gained an international reputation as the world’s greatest telepath as he toured the capitals of Europe. In Vienna Messing met Albert Einstein who brought him to the apartment of another admirer of his abilities, Sigmund Freud. His touring days ended abruptly in 1937 when, after Messing publicly predicted the downfall of the Third Reich, the Nazis placed a sizable bounty on his head. Summoning all his hypnotic powers, he escaped capture by the Gestapo and fled to Russia.
In the USSR Messing’s displays of telepathy, uncannily accurate predictions, and psychic crime solving gained him a rare celebrity status. While most parapsychologists were forced to conduct psychic research in secrecy, Messing thrilled audiences in packed theaters across the country. His fame was all the more amazing coming as it did in the Marxist society dominated by Joseph Stalin, the man who had officially abolished ESP. Even Stalin himself was intrigued by Wolf’s ability to influence thoughts at a distance, and devised a number of unusual tests of Messing’s powers. The stories of how Messing successfully took on Stalin’s challenges to hypnotically elude his personal security force, and even commit psychic bank robbery, are colorfully related.
As Messing’s longtime friend and confidante, Lungin draws from personal notes, conversations with Wolf, and reports of other eyewitnesses of his performances to chronicle Messing’s incredible life and career. At the same time, she provides an inside look at parapsychology and psychic research behind the Iron Curtain.