January 22, 1869 – December 30, 1916: Age 47
Rasputin was a Russian mystic who had a considerable following among the nobility of early 20th century Russia. After an unexceptional childhood, he spent a few months in a monastery, married, and had three children. In 1901 he made a pilgrimage to various places, including Greece and Jerusalem. By 1903 he had arrived in St. Petersburg, where he began to develop a reputation for healing and prophesy. In 1905, he was in Siberia when he got word that the son of the Tsar, who was hemophilic, was bleeding after a fall from a horse. Rasputin was able to provide some relief through prayer and practical advice like "Don't let the doctors bother him too much, let him rest."
Every time the boy had an injury, the boy's mother called on Rasputin, and he got better. She came to believe that God spoke to her through Rasputin, and his influence over the royal household grew.
A group of Russian nobles, viewing this influence as too great a threat, invited Rasputin to dinner and served him cakes and red wine laced with cyanide. Although they put enough poison to kill many men in the food, Rasputin appeared unaffected. One of the assassins, panicking, pulled out a gun and shot him in the back. Then they ran out of the palace, leaving the body alone.
It was a cold night, however, so one came back to get a coat, and he leaned over to check on the body. Rasputin opened his eyes, grabbed him by the throat, whispered “You bad boy” in his ear, threw him across the room, and tried to run away. The other assassins, however, had returned, and they shot him three more times. He fell down but still wasn’t dead, so they hit him until he stopped moving, wrapped his body in a sheet and threw it in the freezing river.
When he body was recovered and autopsied it was found he had still been alive when thrown in the river: he either drowned or died of hypothermia.
No conversation of Rasputin can be complete without this: turn up the volume and click here.