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.
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Tatiana Lungina, formerly a Moscow journalist and a close friend of Wolf Messing and his wife, and assistant Aida, was specifically charged by Messing to prepare his life story. And their friendship lasted for over thirty years before his death in 1974.
In Los Angeles, Tatiana Lungin conducted meticulous records of all the circumstances of Messing’s life, impressions regarding the man with an extraordinary destiny and a mysterious soul. The principle which she tried to follow strictly in her work on the book was the utmost respect for veracity. Only the “verified” personal experiences and observations, only the words and the assessments given by Wolf Messing and people close to him, formed the basis of her book.
This edition was edited by D. Scott Rogo, author of twenty-eight books on parapsychology, including The Poltergeist Experience, Exploring Psychic Phenomena, and Life after Death.
Endorsements and Review Quotes
[…it is clear that Messing managed to sustain a career in the Soviet Union in the face of its hostility to what was perceived as mysticism. He argued that there was nothing mystical in his abilities, only phenomena that science had not yet explained.]
[…it is a readable introduction to this enigmatic character, even if it does eventually prove to contain more legend than reality. There are glimpses into the Russian academic world of the 1930s–1960s, with its uncomfortable reaction to the subject of mind-reading, and the necessity for Messing to skirt the implications of ‘occultism’ in a culture that was fiercely materialist. Lungin’s own experiences of everyday life in the Soviet Union have an authentic feel.]
[…Ostrander and Schroeder say in their foreword to Lungin’s book that she “has side-stepped the sensational to create a warm, personal memoir of her long-time friend Wolf ”. It is the nature of friendship not to probe too deeply, but it is precisely the sensational in Messing’s career that needs to be scrutinized.]
Tom Ruffles, Alexandra Nagel for the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, January 2015
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