Wolf Messing.

By order of Stalin, himself, Wolf Messing is asked to remove 100,000 roubles in cash from the Moscow Gosbank, after having telepathically conditioned the Head Teller.  Messing recounts:

“I presented myself before the teller and handed him a sheet of blank paper taken from my notebook.  Behind the counter, the man attentively examined the “document”.  He was elderly, which perhaps facilitated my enterprise.  He slowly went towards the safe and removed several wads of money which he then counted in front of me… “

Messing leaves the bank and presents himself to the two public servants who had been given the task of controlling the experiment.  Then he returns to the stunned teller and begins to re-count the notes.  The blank paper is still on top of the pile of forms, and the telepath says with a smile, pointing to the roubles:

“You gave me this for that!”

The teller grabs the piece of paper and furiously turns it in all directions.  He even holds it towards a lamp, as if an order had been written there in filigrane.  Then suddenly, he collapses, struck down by a heart attack…

Highly delighted by these results, Stalin submits the paragnostic to a whole series of new tests.  Thanks to his faculties, Messing manages to slip into the most secret places of the Red Empire in full war alert, and to crown everything, he presents himself one day before Stalin, who is working in his datcha, surrounded by a rampart of policemen and bodyguards.  Not only had he succeeded in an enterprise as considerable as entering Fort Knox to try to steal the gold of the United States of America, but the civil and military guards had bowed to him as he passed…  The dictator, who was starting to worry, asked him how he had done it.  Messing replied:

“It’s quite simple.  I mentally suggested to your domestics and to your guards that…  I was Beria!  It’s a shame that I was unable to procure a steel pince-nez, like your Chief of Police!”

The telepath was laughing.  He was tall and had light, curly hair, quite the opposite of the short, dark, bald boss of the NKVD…

In the highest spheres of the Regime, no-one has any more doubts about Messing’s powers, and everyone is asking if he mightn’t be justiciable for a little stay in Siberia.  Or, what would be the best way of using him…  Stalin is so impressed that he agrees to his request to make a grand tour throughout the whole of the Soviet Union.

It is said that the function creates the organ.  As the paragnostic multiplied the challenges, his faculties developed and there he was, driving a car, while wearing a blindfold, through the whole of Riga, obeying only the telepathic injunctions of a passenger.  The least astounding thing about this is that, in his normal state, Messing was perfectly incapable of driving a car…

A little while later, he wins a game of chess, also wearing a blindfold, against an excellent local player.  There again, he has no experience of chess, and he plays and wins because a champion is holding his left hand throughout the game.  Now he can also make someone trip at a distance, and his prophetic gifts are confirmed by the announcement made in public at this time [1940], that the war would end in the first week of May 1945.  Within a few months, the reputation of the paragnostic grows to the point that no Soviet citizen has not heard of his exploits.  He rapidly becomes a sort of national hero, which is accompanied by an unexpected consequence:  because crowds flow to each of his performances, the telepath’s bank account swells to overflowing.  He is so popular that he is untouchable, and the policemen who follow him every time he goes out are only able to confirm the ampleur of his success day after day.  But he knows that he shouldn’t irritate the People’s Commissioners too much…  As he has chosen his camp, he makes a gift of two fighters to Russian aviation, which he entirely finances himself.  There are photographs which represent the Pole surrounded by officers in fur hats, very flattered to be posing beside the star of the day, whose name has been painted on the two aeroplanes.  The ceremony for the reception of the gifts is brilliant, and from the Black Sea to the Ural, Messing’s popularity is immense.  Nikolai Semyonov, Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, will write a little later that it was capital to scientifically study the parapsychological phenomena produced by sensitive people like Messing.

The Russians did.  Despite surface hostility, which denounced telepathy as “idealist and antisocial”, Leonid Vassiliev, Professor of Physiology at the University of Leningrad, acquired a notoriety just as great as that of the American Rhine, the founder of scientific telepathy.  The Russian used a sort of space cabin, so well insolated with mercury and lead, that even short radio waves were unable to penetrate it.  He installed percipients in it, who had to capture orders coming from the exterior.  The most gifted of them succeeded in “reading” a message sent from 17,000 kilometres away.

What happened to Messing?  We don’t know.  His last sign of life was in the form of a remarkable article, which appeared in the famous Soviet magazine Science and Religion.  In it he explains that his gifts are not mysterious nor supernatural, but that he is totally incapable of explaining them in rational terms.  He announces the imminent release of a book in which the whole of his experiments would be related, with a chapter on the concrete use which could be made of them in the case of armed conflict.

This book never appeared, or in any case it did not arrive in the West.

To be continued.