Wolf Messing, an enigmatic ‘psychic entertainer’ whom Sathya Sai Baba claims to have encountered



The following text is a somewhat revised version of a thesis composed as a required part of the MA-course Occult Trajectories II: Magic in Twentieth-Century Europe and North America, offered during February-May 2004 at the Department of Religious Studies, University of Amsterdam.


Alexandra Nagel


Eindhoven, 16 October 2004



This study researches a handful of ‘Messing anecdotes’ from two perspectives


Wolf Messing (1899-1974) was a Polish Jew and in particular circles a quite well known ‘psychic stage performer’, to whose name nowadays are attached a number of persistent stories. The weaving together of a handful of anecdotes and some hard facts has made Messing into a legendary figure. One aspect of the current ‘Messing myth’ has been created by the Indian guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba and his followers. It is dealt with by former Sai Baba-devotee Brian Steel within the context of de-mystifying stories intimately connected to this guru.[1] The purpose of this essay is to concentrate on Messing himself.


As I discovered through my research, it turns out that not only Sai Baba took part in creating an aura of mystery around the man, but that those having been in contact with Messing, willingly or unwillingly, have had a hand in a kind of myth-making around him as well. Sai Baba’s story concerning Messing appears to be built upon this myth-making. To illustrate this entanglement, the elements of Messing’s personal narrative linking to the claimed Sai Baba~Wolf Messing relationship are included in the section concerning Messing’s life. Thereafter, the first angle to unravel a few ‘Messing anecdotes’ is by assessing Sai Baba’s two discourses in which he talked about Messing. A version of the story ‘Sai Baba encounters Wolf Messing’ is quoted and discussed. The second angle to unravel ‘Messing anecdotes’ takes place by assessing as far as possible three anecdotes as told by Messing’s biographers.


The essay is rounded off with a series of questions for a much about Wolf Messing is still very enigmatic. Based upon the material presented in this essay, it is tempting to conclude that Messing must have been a fraud, but this definitely would do injustice to the man. More investigations need to be carried out before such opinion could be backed up sufficiently.



The common narrative of Wolf Messing depicts a fascinating life


On September 10, 1899, Wolf Gregorevich Messing was born as one of the several sons of Abraham Messing, a pious Jew, who earned his income as a gardener. The family lived in poverty in Gora Kalwaria, also called Kavalienberg, a village 30 km outside Warsaw.[2] Already at a young age it was obvious that Wolf had a very good memory: at the age of six he knew the Talmud rather well and thus his teacher advised his parents to enrol him in a rabbinate school in a nearby town. Wolf did not want to go, until his first ‘miracle’ in life occurred. He shared this story with one of his friends, Tatiana Lungin:


“Once toward evening, my father sent me to the store for matches. Twilight was falling, and it was dark by the time I returned home. And here is where the first ‘miracle’ in my life occurred, the one that sealed my destiny. It was filled with meaning.

“On the steps of the porch, in the patches of fading sunset, a gigantic white robed figure appeared before me. Even now I can hear his words, spoken in a deep bass.

“My son! I am sent to you from above to determine your future. Become a yeshiva student! Your prayers will please heaven!”

Wolf grew silent, vividly recalling his childhood vision. After pausing several moments, he started again, but his voice was much quieter.

“It’s difficult for me to convey the state I was in after my encounter with the mysterious giant. You must remember that then I was mystically impressionable. I must have lost consciousness, because, when I came to, I saw the faces of my parents over me, praying in ecstasy. After I had calmed down, I remembered what happened and told my parents. My mother shook her head sorrowfully, muttering something incoherent. My father, displaying restraint and concentrating for a moment on some inner reflection, suddenly pronounced: ‘So He wishes!’

“I was so strongly shaken up, and my father’s words were so weighty and decisive, that I ceased to resist.”

Wolf stopped again and asked for a glass of strong tea. He remained silent while the teakettle heated up, and he even seemed depressed. He stared into space, distracted. But several gulps of tea revived him. The creases at the bridge of his nose and on his brow smoothed, and his gaze warmed. I figured now was the time to stir his memory, to wake in his heart everything that had been repressed for so many years. But Wolf remained silent. Not wanting to rush things, I simply waited patiently. (...) After taking a few more sips of tea, Wolf asked my permission to continue.

“The religious school was in another settlement,” he explained. “For the first time I left my father’s house to begin an independent life. Prayers, the Talmud, everything took place within the boundaries of the prayer house where I lived.

“Soon I was in for another shock. One of the religious pilgrims who often took shelter in our school was the ‘messenger from heaven,’ he who announced my calling in the name of God! I recognized him immediately by his enormous height and his unusual voice. I thought, ‘So all this had been set up by my father!’

“That event shook my faith that earlier had been so deep. How could God have permitted this heathen to speak in His name! Now I believe that my father’s deception was the key factor in my decision not to become a rabbi. From that moment I have been an atheist. Disillusioned, I left everything and set out for parts unknown.”[3]


At the time Wolf was eleven years old and penniless. Alone, he took off to Berlin. But before doing so, he, so he told Lungin, committed three crimes: he stole eighteen grosz (‘nine kopeks’) out of a collection box in which Jews placed donations for Palestine, hungrily he secretly dug up potatoes from someone’s garden, and he climbed onto a train to Berlin without a valid ticket. As the story goes, during this travel Wolf discovered for the first time that he was able to influence other people’s thoughts. For when the train inspector wanted to see his ticket, Wolf handed him a scrap of paper while mentally suggesting to him ‘This is a ticket!’. The inspector did accept it as such (perhaps feeling pity for the boy). At some point in big city, due to poverty and thus malnutrition, Wolf collapsed and was brought to a hospital. It was there that his cataleptic and telepathic abilities were discovered and studied. Doctor Abel and a colleague, doctor Schmidt, are said to have tested Wolf Messing on ‘mind reading’ assignments, which he apparently passed well since Abel introduced him to his first manager, Mr. Zellmeister. For three days per week, from Friday till Sunday evening, Zellmeister had agreed to put his protegé at work at the Berlin Panopticon (waxworks). There, young Wolf had to bring himself into a trance induced state of sleep. Besides having a look at a Siamese twin, a woman with a long beard, visitors could see a boy, Wolf, in a ‘crystal coffin’ seemingly dead. The following season Messing was assigned two different roles at the Berlin Wintergarden. In his performance as a fakir, his body was pierced with needles and swords. In the other he represented a detective who had to trace the jewellery that just before had been distributed by ‘robbers on stage’ to the spectators.


Thereafter, Zellmeister took him to the Busch Circus, and eventually Messing came to perform in a setting in which his stage life continued until late in life. Individuals could write down little tasks like ‘Walk upon a row number x in the audience, and pick out such and such an object from that particular man’s pocket’. They delivered these to an assistant or chosen panel on stage. From the tests a few were picked out to be carried out by Messing. Instead of reading or being told the text, Messing was (believed to) telepathically read the assignment from the mind of its inventor, and do precisely what the instructions ordered him to do. For the time being, the person whose mind Messing ‘read’ was called his ‘inductor’, or ‘sender’. Although Messing was able to pick up the instructions without physical contact, often the inductor held the psychic’s left or right arm above the wrist, and from a certain state of relaxation Messing then knew what he was supposed to do. “People’s thoughts come to me as pictures,” he explained, “I usually see visual images of a specific action of place.”[4]


Between 1917 and 1921 Messing travelled with Zellmeister in Europe, and performed in capitals like Paris, London, Stockholm, Rome, Geneva. He then stayed in Warsaw, only to continue from 1922 onward to work and travel again as a stage performer, together with his manager.[5] They also went to countries like Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, India, Japan, and Australia. In 1937 Messing, so he claimed, forecast for the first time that Adolf Hitler’s reign would come to an end. “Hitler will die if he turns toward the East,” he predicted, upon which a price of 200,000 mark was put on his head.[6] Being Jewish and sensing the thread against his people, he fled in 1939 from Warsaw, the city where he was stationed at the time, to Russia. There he worked and lived for the rest of his life, travelling and performing all over the immense country, until his death on November 8, 1974. Already decades before Messing’s mother had passed away due to a heart attack and his father and brothers had become victims of the Majdanek concentration camp and the Warsaw ghetto. The only relative of Messing who survived the concentration camp is a niece, Marta Messing. After the war, she emigrated to Argentina. Messing and his wife Aida Mikhailovna Rapoport – they met in 1944 – did not have any children, hence, after Aida’s death in 1961, Wolf became a lonely man.



Nowadays, four famous names come hand in hand with Messing’s name


When in 1970 Sheila Ostrander & Lynn Schroeder published their Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain, they devoted Chapter 4 to Wolf Messing. He was a very popular figure in the USSR, they said. They had heard him referred to often but had had no opportunity to meet and interview him personally. Their description of his life, including most of the above, is largely based upon biographical articles published under the title “About myself” in the magazine Nauka i Religia, ‘Science and Religion’, numbers 7 & 8, 1965.[7] This magazine ceased publication soon after 'perestroika' and nowadays it is difficult to find the issues of 1988 and 1989 in which Messing’s story was published again – even more so the issues from the 1960s.


Basic elements of the story as told by Ostrander & Schroeder have often been retold by others in brief and rather superficial references to the Polish psychic stage performer. One of these involves the anecdote related above, in which young Messing presented a scrap of paper to the train inspector who accepted it as a ticket. Other important anecdotes relate how Messing has been in contact with famous figures in our history, namely Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, and Joseph Stalin. Three excerpts taken from Ostrander & Schroeder illustrate what it involved, beginning with the encounter of Freud and Einstein:


In 1915, despite the war, the impresario arranged a show for Messing in Vienna. He was the “hit of the season.” While in Vienna the sixteen-year-old Wolf starred in what is certainly one of the most delicious psychic experiments on record.

Albert Einstein invited young Wolf to his apartment. Messing still recalls with astonishment the number of books―”they were everywhere, starting with the hall.” In Einstein’s study Wolf was introduced to the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, who once remarked that if he’d his life to live over again, he would have devoted it to psychic research. So intrigued was Freud with Messing’s psychic powers he decided to do a number of tests with him. Freud acted as inductor.

“To this day I still remember Freud’s mental command,” says Messing. “Go to the bathroom cupboard and pick up some tweezers. Return to Albert Einstein, pull out from his luxuriant moustache three hairs.”

After locating the tweezers, Messing gingerly went up to the celebrated mathematician and, begging his pardon, explained to him what his scientist friend wanted him to do. Einstein smiled and turned his cheek to Messing. Freud must have smiled too, because young Messing carried out his mental command faultlessly.[8]


A memorable meeting in India:


In 1927 in India, Messing met Gandhi. They discussed politics and then Gandhi became Messing’s sender for a psychic test. The command he gave Messing was a simple one. “Take a flute from the table and give it to one of the people in the room.” Messing did so. The man put the flute to his lips and began to play. Suddenly a basket in the room trembled and began to move. A motley-colored snake emerged from the basket and swayed in rhythm to the music.[9]


The first alleged encounter with and first assignment from Stalin:


It was in 1940 [in Gomel, USSR], a time when people were often carted off by the police to disappear forever, with no reason given and no questions asked.

“What about my hotel bill and my trunk?” Messing asked. The trunk wouldn’t be needed and the hotel bill was settled, the secret police indicated.

“We arrived somewhere―I didn’t know where,” says Messing. “I was led into a room. It seemed to be a hotel. After some time I was led to another room. A man with a moustache came in.” The psychic Wolf Messing was face to face with Stalin![10]


The first meeting with Stalin led to a series of bizarre but, for Messing, triumphantly successful encounters with the dictator. (…) Stalin commanded a straightforward, horrendous trial of Messing’s talent. He was to pull off a psychic bank robbery and get 100,000 rubles from the Moscow Gosbank where he was unknown.

“I walked up to the cashier and handed him a blank piece of paper torn from a school notebook,” says Messing. He opened an attaché case and put it on the counter. Then he mentally willed the cashier to hand over the enormous sum of money.

The elderly cashier looked at the paper. He opened the safe and took out 100,000 rubles. Messing stuffed the banknotes into the case and left. He joined Stalin’s two official witnesses in charge of the experiment. After they had attested that the experiment had been satisfactorily performed, Messing returned to the cashier. As he began handing him the packages of banknotes, the cashier looked at him, looked at the blank piece of notepaper on his desk, and fell to the floor with a heart attack.

“Luckily, it wasn’t fatal,” says Messing.[11]


And on the narrative goes. Several other psychic, paranormal, narrative type stories follow. In the three biographies I have been able to obtain on Wolf Messing, the anecdotes cited are mentioned – while adding or deleting diverse details. The most important book is the 1989 one written by Messing’s friend Tatiana Lungin (already referred to above), published first in 1981 and translated from Russian into English and edited for the occasion. Lungin tells us that she dotted down notes around 1955 and 1962 when Messing was telling her details from his life history, and that her notes form the raw material for Messing’s unfinished autobiography, of which a section appeared in the articles “About Myself”,[12] i.e. the articles that were important source material for Ostrander & Schroeder. Ostrander and Schroeder prepared the foreword to Lungin’s book, beginning with the sentence “SUPER PSYCHIC tested by Freud, Einstein, Gandhi and Stalin!”[13]


The second biography is compiled by Varlen Strongin.[14] He points out that Messing cannot have been the author of his autobiographical work himself: those writing for him must have added the ‘proper patriotical lines and sayings’, it is not likely that Messing would have written in this way himself. The third biography, in very romanticised style, is created by Austrian Topsy Küppers, who emphasises on almost every page Messing’s Jewish roots. Often Küppers is surprisingly precise in details, for instance about Messing’s love life in Warsaw. She definitely must have done research on the subject matter, but, regrettably, only on rare occasions source references are given that could be followed up.



Sathya Sai Baba must have made up his encounter with Wolf Messing


The survey of Ostrander & Schroeder, and with them the field of parapsychology, has brought Messing after his move to Russia, so to speak, back to the West.[15] With a personal ‘revelation’ about a meeting with Wolf Messing, Sathya Sai Baba has added even more to global public awareness about Messing’s existence. Although it is unclear why Sai Baba shared the story, fact is that the Indian guru treated his audience during the Third World Conference of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation in November 1980, to novel information. According to Sai Baba, his encounter with Messing had taken place in the South of India, in 1937. At the time Messing must have been 39 or 40, Sai Baba a boy at the age of 11 or 8 (there is controversy about his year of birth: it is 1926 as the biographies Sai Baba – personally ‘blessed’ – tell us, or, perhaps, based upon circumstantial evidence, 1929[16]). The notes taken down by Samuel Sandweiss, a psychiatrist and the guru’s adept, illustrate that the meeting was embedded in a context:


At times Baba would make sudden changes in the direction of his talk, as if responding to a devotee’s need―or sensing the time right for a certain teaching. During an especially memorable discourse, he made such a sudden change to reveal some interesting historical and spiritual information. Perhaps it was because several groups of Russians and Chinese were present for the first time. At any rate Baba suddenly began:


At about the year 1917 Stalin was coming into power in Russia. There was a great change in the social order. A man by the name of Wolf Messing came to Stalin to tell him of the reality of the atma, the unseen basis, the real self, the infinite divine aspect of man. Stalin could not understand Wolf Messing and his message, and what followed was hardship and suffering in Russia. Wolf Messing went to Vienna. He met with Freud who seemed interested and wanted to study him but Messing was not interested and moved on. In 1937, when this body was 11 years old, I was walking near a train station. On the platform was a lone man awaiting a train. He had come to India to see the great saints and to find further evidence of his vision of the atma. When I came closer, his eyes looked into mine and filled with tears. He became excited and joyful beyond bounds and began rushing toward me. Reaching out to me he cried, “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.”


And as Baba said this he welled up in exquisite joy himself, sending waves of excitement and love into the audience. We sat electrified as Baba continued.


This man rushed to me and took my hand. He was filled with joy―with ecstasy. My friends were frightened, thinking that he would take me away. They grabbed me and began pulling me from his grip. They took me from the train platform. Although this man lost hold of this body, his eyes never left sight of me until I was out of range. This was Wolf Messing. He had seen the atma.[17]


The way in which Sandweiss recalls the event shows unmistakably that Sai Baba coloured the encounter with his own spiritual teachings, and twisted elements of the original Messing narrative. The ‘atma’, the ‘infinite divine aspect of man’, is not likely to have been a word of Messing’s vocabulary; I have not seen it used by Lungin, Ostrander & Schroeder or others. It is said that Messing has been interested in the Hindu tradition when involving yogi practices for the connection it held with his own paranormal, psychic and cataleptic abilities.[18] But such interest sounds extreme in case it would have included spiritual teaching(s), and it is simply bizarre to believe that Messing would have sought contact with Stalin to talk about the ‘atma’. Second, Sai Baba makes it sound as if Messing first met Stalin, then went to Vienna to meet Freud, upon which he went back to Russia again. This does not conform to Messing’s travels. A third point indicating a shuffle of original details concerns Sai Baba’s statement that Messing was not interested in Freud testing him, for, as Sai Baba said, Messing was merely on a ‘spiritual’ path. Not one of the three biographies on Messing offers an inkling in this direction. Fourth, as far as Messing’s narrative goes, he went to India only once, namely in 1927, the year that Sai Baba turned 1 year old (or was not even born yet). In other words, the details Sai Baba offered in his anecdote concerning Wolf Messing, appear to be jumbled and twisted versions of details found in stories about Messing’s life history. Sai Baba must have made them up in order to catch the attention of his audience, and to fit his own narrative.


The fact that Sai Baba, as Sandweiss related, became excited when ‘revealing’ this particular encounter, however, is backed up by another devotee, Robert Priddy. Long time follower of Sai Baba and nowadays staunch critic of the guru, Englishman Priddy had become close to the editor of Sai Baba’s public lectures, the former journalist V.K. Narasimhan. As Priddy recalled, Narasimhan shared with him that Sai Baba became very emotional when telling the story on Wolf Messing “quite unlike anything he [Narasimhan] had seen before.”[19] Narasimhan eventually obtained a copy of Lungin’s biography. He already had a copy of the book by Ostrander & Schroeder. It could very well be that it had been given to him by American devotees in the 1970s and that Narasimhan had shown it to Sai Baba before his 1980 discourse, or that it had been given to Sai Baba who had passed it on to Narasimhan.


Over the years two more versions of ‘Messing meets the young Sai Baba’ have appeared in writings by other devotees (see Appendix). Based on the different versions, Brian Steel has argued in detail, and in combination with several other typical ‘Sai Baba anecdotes’, that the ‘Messing ran towards Sai Baba’ story could be accepted as a perfect illustration of the notion that Sai Baba is a guru who tells stories, and that devotees accept indiscriminately whatever he offers them. At the same time, Steel does not deny that all Sai Baba’s alleged abilities can be explained away as fraudulent. Most of the guru’s strongest critics admit that not all stories told about him can be dismissed as fake; Sai Baba must have certain psychic abilities.


A possible explanation of Sathya Sai Baba’s sudden ‘revelation’ can be found in Sandweiss’ observation that the (so-called) meeting between Sai Baba and Wolf Messing popped up first when Chinese and Russian devotees had come to visit Sai Baba. Also noteworthy is the fact that the best selling book by Ostrander & Schroeder had been out since 1970 and would have been available in India. As Steel has pointed out (which is in concordance with Priddy’s information), Sai Baba may have picked up information along the way and used it when it seemed useful for the occasion. Moreover, Sai Baba may intuitively have sensed similarities between Messing’s psychic abilities and his own, which perhaps may explain Sai Baba’s excitement when talking about the Polish-Russian Jewish psychic entertainer.


Reasoning along such a line is a tricky and sensitive business. Ideas like these require thorough analysis and careful definitions, something that goes way beyond the purpose of this study. Nevertheless, one does wonder what else, if anything, may have caused Sai Baba to bring up his particular story.


Yet, backing up the hypothesis that Sai Baba mixes and merges elements of original Messing stories comes through Baba’s public lecture held August 31, 2002, in which he spoke a second time about Wolf Messing, thereby adding new ‘revelational’ elements. One of these clearly connects to Messing’s first ‘mystical’ experience as related by Lungin. Sai Baba informed his audience about Messing’s early years, and then:


One day a tall personality wearing a white robe came and stood in front of their house [the house of the Messing family]. He called Messing near him and said, "Your parents are planning to put you in a lunatic asylum or in a school for the mentally retarded. You do not need to go anywhere. How can those who are afflicted with worldly madness understand your madness' which is of spiritual nature? If only everyone gets such a spiritual madness, the whole nation would prosper. Do not get yourself admitted to schools where only worldly education is taught. The formal or secular knowledge does not appeal to you. Learn spiritual knowledge. I have come here only to tell you this." Messing asked him, "Grandfather, where do you come from?" He replied, "I will tell you later. I am going back to the place from where I came. Never forget my words. Do not have anything to do with worldly knowledge. Acquire only spiritual knowledge. Now you are very young. Till you attain a certain level of maturity, do not have any association with anybody. Now I am going back." Saying this, he vanished right in front of Messing's eyes. Messing wondered, "Where did he come from? Where has he gone? Will I also go back to the place from where I came?" He started enquiring thus. His parents did not allow him to go anywhere. He was confined to his house only. It was 9th February 1909. On that day his desire to go in search of spiritual knowledge erupted again for he was not satisfied with the secular knowledge being taught to him. He remembered the words of the old man who appeared at his doorstep sometime ago. He went inside the house and found 8 coins in an almirah. Keeping them in his pocket he embarked on a spiritual journey in the wide world. He wandered and wandered not knowing where he was going. He toured the entire world. None questioned him about tickets or the money required to buy them.[20]


In the citation offered previously, it was said that Messing’s first ‘mystic’ experience turned out to be a large deception for the ‘figure in white’ appeared to be a man who was asked to enact a scene on little Wolf so Wolf would be willing to join the religious school in a nearby village. Furthermore, Wolf did not find 8 coins but stole ‘eighteen kopeks’, and a train inspector did ask him about a ticket yet accepted Wolf’s piece of paper as a one. Nowhere in Messing’s biographies it is said that Messing was not allowed by his parents to leave the house, nor that he was eager to embark on a ‘spiritual journey’. Before his move to Russia, Messing did tour the world indeed, but not by himself, he was always accompanied by his manager, always performing. In other words, again, it seems obvious that Sai Baba has been picking up on elements of Messing’s anecdotes and incorporated them in fanciful story to suit his own agenda.



Of the three ‘Messing stories’, at least one appears to be made up


It will be clear that the above is part of the Messing myth created by Sai Baba and his adepts, and that it was built, or so it appears, upon elements included in the writings on Messing published by Ostrander & Schroeder and, later on, Lungin as well. Now it is time to check out the three anecdotes in which it is claimed that Messing was tested by several famous men, and to see whether any myth-making may have taken place there as well.



Freud and Einstein are not likely to have met in 1915

Zielinski and Ostrander & Schroeder pass on 1915 as the year when Messing met Freud and Einstein in Einstein’s apartment in Vienna.[21] Based on Messing’s biographical publications, Strongin states the same and adds that Einstein had come to see Messing in one of his shows in Vienna. Thereupon he had invited Messing and Sigmund Freud to his apartment. It was the one and only occasion Messing met Einstein. Freud on the other hand, so Strongin states, had met and experimented with Messing more often the next two years, the period that Messing was stationed in Vienna.[22] Contrary to this is the version of the event Lungin and Küppers relate. Lungin assigns the meeting to November 1913 in Freud’s apartment, where Einstein introduced Messing to Freud.[23] Küppers also let the meeting take place in Freud’s apartment, at the Berggasse 19, including a picture of a wall as proof that there were many books indeed. Küppers elaborates further that Freud and his daughter Anna had been to a show of Messing, upon which Freud had invited him, and Einstein, for the next day to his home.[24]


It is said by Lungin and Strongin that the biographical notes taken from Messing may not be 100% accurate. Messing spoke Russian and German with a heavy accent, something that may have brought in mistakes; failing to remember the precise chronological order of events, may have brought along other mistakes in Messing’s biographies. (Besides, Strongin warned that Lungin most likely had her own – political – motifs to alter facts somewhat, or to omit things she knew.)


This then, may explain the changes Lungin and Küppers made into the original ‘Messing meets Einstein and Freud’ anecdote. For the fact is that Albert Einstein (1879-1955) never lived in Vienna; Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) did. Einstein had an Austrian citizenship when he was assigned at the University of Prague between 1911-1912. Thereafter he lived in Zürich, only to move again to Berlin in April 1914, where he stayed until the end of 1932.[25] During those years Einstein visited Vienna occasionally, namely in 1909, 1913, 1921, 1924, and 1931.[26] But this is not all. A few other peculiarities – conflicting building blocks of the story – are more difficult, if not impossible, to reason away as minor flaws.


Based upon research into remaining sources, it is generally accepted that Freud and Einstein met first in 1927.[27] Einstein was sceptical of Freud’s psychoanalysis, but the two “formed a kind of friendship, mostly through a sporadic exchange of letters.”[28] In the popular press they were often easily paired, Thomas Levenson explains, since both were Jewish and challenged ‘eternal verities’. Yet even the hypothesis that only Freud may have performed some tests on Messing is highly unlikely. For had Freud done so, he or someone with whom Freud may have talked or corresponded about it, would have mentioned it in letters or so. As far as is known, nowhere has Freud, nor any of those he was in contact with, ever referred to the person Wolf Messing.[29] Also in the literature on Einstein the name Wolf Messing is nowhere to be found, except in an article on Einstein and parapsychology by Wilfried Kugel, who simply referred to the anecdote as told by Lungin and then admitted that no further evidence for the encounter has been traced and left it at that.[30]


Unless new evidence surfaces, this brings us to the conclusion that the anecdote of Messing being tested by Freud and Einstein in Vienna, has to be a fictional story.



In 1927 Gandhi travelled India widely

Ostrander & Schroeder, Lungin and Strongin write that Messing was travelling and performing in India in 1927.[31] From Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) it is known that, after years of active involvement, he retired between 1926-1929 “from the political controversies of the day” and toured India extensively for the “important task of nation-building ‘from the bottom up’.”[32] Gandhi met people everywhere, from local villagers to national politicians. In December 1926 he went to the annual session of the Indian National Congress in Gauhati, and resumed travelling the country early in 1927. He visited Bengal, Bihar, Bombay, and the Carnatic (last week of March).[33] Exhausted, he stayed in Mysore until he felt strong enough in June to resume his walks to villages. On November 2, 1927, Gandhi was in Delhi, followed by three weeks in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and Madras in December to attend again the annual National Congress meeting.


Now, combining the two paths of life in 1927, it may be possible that Messing and Gandhi met. But then, the event described is just a small type of anecdote; there is not so much that gives it weight of importance similar to the testing by Freud and Einstein – if that event did take place! An encounter with Gandhi may have stayed in Messing’s mind through the idea to have been tested by (another) famous figure. It is highly unlikely that the assignment ‘pick up a flute and ...’ – suppose it happened – would have left a lasting imprint on Gandhi’s memory. Far less so would people writing about Gandhi incorporate an anecdote as ‘Gandhi tested the famous Messing’, for it will be beyond the scope of Gandhian researchers.


Thus, to my knowledge there is no proof that Messing and Gandhi did meet, but unless other circumstantial evidence is found  – no matter how unlikely this may be – there currently is no substantial evidence for a judgement that the anecdote must be a concocted story.



Did Stalin really test Messing?

“We’d thought a lot of things about Stalin, but never that he was a psychic researcher,” Ostrander & Schroeder express an initial doubt concerning Stalin’s involvement with Messing.[34] They disregarded their doubt based on conversations with communist scientists, and friends of one of Stalin’s granddaughters, who told them about at least one other experiment Stalin must have carried out with the Polish immigrant. They also relied on the judgement of ‘a seasoned observer of the Soviet scene’, Ludmila Svinka-Zielinski:


It is important to remember that under the conditions prevailing in the USSR anything done or written by such controversial personality as Messing had to be scrutinized, criticized, and subjected to constant censorship, so that he could not get away with fraud, attempted fraud, or anything that even approached a vain boast. In fact, we can be convinced that to survive and to exist in the environment on such a level, Wolf Messing must be thoroughly authentic.[35]


When searching literature for further evidence on Stalin in connection with Wolf Messing, I did not come across more than two observations that I considered worthwhile, and they do not even come close to the probability that Joseph Stalin (1879-1953), or others for him, tested Messing’s psychic abilities. “There is no direct evidence that Stalin believed in the occult, but we know that he was superstitious,” Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal says about the Soviet leader.[36] And although his repetition of key slogans “ensured that the desired message would get through”, and speaking in a calm, monotonous style that had an “almost hypnotic effect on his audience,” Stalin banned hypnotism in 1948, “suggesting that he feared its effect.”[37]


The study Rosenthal edited reveals diverse developments and several European influences during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the Soviet fields of magic, occultism, theosophy, symbolism, and the like. One chapter is devoted to the ideas of the writer Maxim Gorky (1868-1936) on ‘thought transference’, a subject in particular that may have linked to Messing’s work, but such is not the case.[38] There has been scientific interest in Messing’s telepathic (psychic) abilities, even from a scientific point of view – as is explicated in some depth by Lungin – but whether Stalin himself has been involved in testing them remains an open question. One needs to know a lot more of the intricate relationships between Soviet communist ideology, sciences, and secret services to find an entrance into Messing’s place or role in the totalitarian regime of the USSR. My quest into this matter just failed (I was not able to find useful entrances), but, as is explicated further on, it led to the notion that the Stalin anecdotes are complicated and deserve more research.



It is said that journalist Khastunov invented anecdotes


Having assessed three of Messing’s biographical anecdotes, it seems rather obvious that something must have happened in order for the stories to have come into the world in the way they have. All the tales come from Messing’s proponents, except for Sai Baba’s, which in my opinion has been proven to be made up. Nowadays they even seemed to be glued onto the man. Did Messing perhaps make them up? If so, why would he? If not, who did? And why? What may have caused the stories to spread? Is it due to the fact that some pictures of Messing, his wife, his dogs, and others, offer a personal, trustworthy touch to the biographical works, hence the reader easily comes to believe the anecdotes at face value? For if one reads Ostrander & Schroeder, Lungin, and Küppers more closely, not much ‘evidence’ is offered in a way sufficiently consistent with the one I pursued when falsifying the Einstein~Freud, Gandhi, and Stalin material. There is little or no proof in the form of newspaper clippings or advertising of shows of ‘the world’s greatest telepath’, pictures portraying Stalin and Messing together or literature references. I have to admit, as I discovered, the material required to obtain a more profound, and independent insight into Wolf Messing is difficult to come by. This is true even with the aid of the internet. Yet, the internet – to a certain degree – happens to have been enlightening, or so it seems, concerning the myth-making around Messing. It involves in particular information found on two websites.


On the first is an article by the Russian journalist Alexander Kharkovsky (USA emigrant, living in New Jersey), telling us that Messing knew Esperanto, and personally knew the inventor of that language, the Polish Jew Ludwig (Ludovico) Zamenhof (1859-1917). Kharkovsky claims to have become friends with Messing at the Esperanto club in Moscow through a remote relative of Zamenhof, and to have introduced Messing to the journalist M.V. Khvastunov, head of the science department of the daily Komsomolskaya Pravda.[39] He, Kharkovsky, was witness of some of the talks Khvastunov and Messing had about a biography that Khvastunov wrote on Messing. The book, supposedly titled something like A Man Alone with Himself, never was officially published.[40] This then, may be the manuscript Ostrander & Schroeder had heard about. “After the appearance of an announcement that Messing's full autobiography would be printed by the newspaper Sovietskaya Rossiya in 1967, the book was suddenly withdrawn, although it was said to be circulating in manuscript form,” they had said towards the end of their chapter, and they thought of motifs why the publication would have been taken back.[41]


The second website is more revealing. It is composed by Yuri Zverev, and offers details of his meeting with the Polish journalist Ignatiy Shenfeld. Shenfeld told Zverev to have been born in the same village as Wolf Messing, and that he met the psychic entertainer in 1941 in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) in prison, where both were alleged to be German spies. Shenfeld claimed that Messing told him a lot about his life and he in his turn shared a lot of this information with Zverev. According to Shenfeld, Messing, due to the money made through his performances, was one of the richest men in the USSR, and probably co-operated with the KGB. When Messing was evacuated from Moscow and imprisoned in Tashkent, in 1941, this happened because Messing had refused to donate 1 million rubles to build an aircraft for the Soviet army. When at some point Messing donated the money, he was released, whereas Shenfeld had to spend 8 years in imprisonment.


Another story told by Shenfeld to Zverev concerns the biography created by ‘M.V. (Mikhvas) Khvastunov, a journalist from Moscow’. Khvastunov planned to make a lot of money with the book, and in order to guarantee its success, he made up all stories like the ones on Freud, Gandhi, and Stalin. Ultimately, the book was not published because it was forbidden, but the material found its way widely into publications in many periodicals like Smena, Baikal – and thus became the core of Messing's life history in other publications, including the biography written by Tatiana Lungin...[42]



Aspects of Messing’s life are in need of further research


One may tentatively deduce that Messing’s narrative must for a large part be an invented life history. Probably unaware and unintended, Ostrander & Schroeder have played a role in spreading – probably false – stories. They should have cross referenced their material more thoroughly. For instance, they could have looked into the 200,000 mark put on Messing’s head in 1937 by Hitler, or the protest the German Embassy in the Soviet Union lodged when Messing in 1940 predicted the end of the German hegemony, or the ‘psychic bank robbery’ Stalin assigned him to perform. Lungin and Küppers (I cannot judge for Strongin) should have done so as well. The fact of the matter is, they did not, so one wonders whether this was due to laziness, accident or was purposive falsification.


If it is true that Khvastunov made up a series of anecdotes in order to make money with a Messing-biography, this must have taken place somewhere in the early 1960s, before the appearance of articles on Messing between 1965-1966. Lungin says Messing shared with her parts of his life story in 1955 and 1962. Is this true? Or did she alter facts and used the information in the articles when she compiled her biography on Messing in 1981? I.e., did she incorporate material from Kvastunov, published in articles in the 1960s? If Lungin did so, why would she? And suppose that what Lungin tells is the truth. What if she did hear the anecdotes involving Freud and Messing, Gandhi and Stalin hear from Messing’s mouth? Messing does come across as a sincere person – why would he have made up anecdotes? Did he have a low self esteem and was he compensating for it with some nice yet intriguing tales? Lungin portrays Messing as a chain smoker, energetic on stage but often tired off stage, at times somewhat grumpy yet still sympathetic, a man with some health problems. All in all, a lonely, sensitive and sincere man. Therefore, it is hard to believe that Messing was a clever fraud. If he nevertheless was a fraud, am I too lured into the mythical image that has come into being about the man? To be yet more hypothetical, were ‘unexplainable’ factors involved? For instance, did Messing perhaps have very vivid ‘out of body’ experiences in which he travelled to the apartment of Freud in Vienna or to India, and did his mind somehow blend different levels of reality together?


At any rate, again, I currently lack information and I lack further avenues to pursue. At this point, I consider it too easy to conclude that Messing’s narrative is a concocted story of his own or his biographers doing. To me, the way in which Messing’s life has become entangled in myth-making and his – probably genuine – uncommon abilities, could lead to interesting investigation. Having studied the material available, questions have come to my mind.


Why did Messing donate airplanes to the Soviet army?

Beginning with the statement of Zverev (based on Shenfeld) that Messing was a wealthy man who donated an airplane to the Soviet airforce: these two statements must be true. That the plane was given in order to become a free man is puzzling. What actually took place? How could Messing have had so much money that he could afford to buy an aircraft? To be more precise, he donated two, the first in 1942, the second in 1944. It implies that Messing was highly paid for his performances. That in itself, together with his presumed psychic abilities, must have made him a well-known person in the country and one in whom people high in the political hierarchy must have had an interest.


Lungin quotes Messing on not trying to hide his considerable monetary resources due to good earnings, and then lets Messing explain: “... in my situation, I thought it most reasonable to give my savings to the army. Such donations were then widely publicized to inspire Soviet patriotism. I decided that the best use for my money would be to buy a plane.”[43] Now, would that be the real motive behind his gift, or mere a politically correct explanation? Let there be no doubt: Soviet patriotism was promoted at the time. But did Messing contribute to it as a free man, or as someone who was forced to act as the system required him to behave? Rumours of Messing’s involvement with the KGB always have been around, Lungin knows, but according to her he managed to escape the secret agency’s requests for tests, or usage of his skills. She considers it fair to say that Messing “remained an enigma to the KGB, just as he did to the scientific establishment.”[44] To what extent this is true, or just politically correct, is uncertain. Likewise, the connections Messing may have had with the KGB, and what role this may have played in the gift of two air fighters.


After the war Messing continued to receive privileges like good payments for his shows. It had been by personal order of Stalin, so Lungin writes, that Messing and his wife were assigned an apartment on Novopeschanaya Street in Moscow during a time of extreme housing shortage there,[45] and he was allowed to travel by first-class sleepers. This had a drawback: up till his seventies Messing was forced by the giant government agency Goskonzert (State Concert) to keep on working. His psychic powers failed him but he was told “in unmistakable terms it was his duty to entertain his public.”[46] Furthermore, whereas Lungin and many other Jews applied for emigration to Israel (Lungin and her family ended up in the USA), Messing never did. Asked why not, his answer used to be that ‘they would never let him go’. Henry Gris & William Dick suggest as the motive that perhaps Messing was “ashamed to be equated with clowns and tightrope walkers” for Messing was advertised in the USSR as a ‘brilliant entertainer’ and ‘concert artist’, something Messing had surrendered to after being ‘browbeaten into docility by Stalin’.[47] They also suggest that perhaps the authorities would not allow him to leave the country ‘for fear that he would not come back’. In that case, upon what would the fear have been based? Could it imply that Messing knew things that they did not want spread abroad?


In summary, Messing was allowed a special place in society, but what precisely were the dynamics that must have come along with it? How was Messing able to move between the KGB and/or other politically sensitive institutions and keep a privileged position? How may this explain the donation of the airplanes, and perhaps fit in with the stories that Messing was tested by Stalin and his men more than once? How may it have affected the rest of his life?



What does it imply to foresee future events, and to be a psychic?

As stated in the introduction paragraph, Messing is said to have predicted on (at least) three occasions the end of Hitler’s empire. It is one of the persistent anecdotes that is difficult, if not impossible, to verify. There always have been persons, especially during times of crises, who predicted things to come, also concerning Hitler,[48] meaning that the trait of forecasting outcomes may not be special at all. On the other hand, something noteworthy must have caused Messing’s ability to predict future events, otherwise Lungin would not have shared her own experiences on this, nor would others whose letters are included in her book, have remembered their experiences as exceptional.[49]


There is an interesting element Lungin also describes in combination with Messing’s premonitions, namely a particular sign that came along when he suddenly knew something. An example. At some point Messing’s wife, Aida, was suffering from a serious illness. “Do you feel bad?” Wolf had asked her, upon which Aida did not reply and a moment of intense silence followed. Then Messing said: “Aidochka, you must go to a specialist,” and “Don’t fool around with this!” When his wife refused to listen, he continued: “This isn’t Wolfochka talking to you, but Messing.”[50] As Lungin came to understand over the years, whenever Messing was referring to himself as Messing, he spoke with what she called the ‘sixth sense’; on those moments the information he received did not come from his ordinary mind. As Messing he knew that his wife had cancer and would not recover from it. A few years later, Messing as Messing predicted the day and hour of her death to the minute; Lungin was present when the prediction came through.[51]


The kind of knowing Messing recognised as stemming from a different level of awareness (that he called Messing), shines through in the stories in which he knew details of people’s past, their health issues,[52] or events to happen. It somehow also is connected with his ability to carry out assignments on stage – and ‘read thoughts’. In today’s popular spiritual terminology it would be said that Messing was channeling Messing, i.e. his ‘higher self’ or ‘guide’, and that, in combination with his ability to sense things, he was a ‘psychic’, meaning a person with ‘paranormal’ abilities, abilities that fall out of the range of (common) understanding. But what does all this mean? Where does the information come from when one knows? When will predictions arising from this level of awareness become reality, and when not? What does such knowing tell us about the nature of a human being? And about the nature of reality in general? What is the implication of the fact that certain persons, psychics, seem to have strong sense for what the future is likely to bring?



The result from this study is the insight that Messing is an enigmatic figure


Dozens of other questions can be asked but it is time to wind up the discussion. The main conclusion I feel able to draw from my investigation into Wolf Messing’s life, is an insight only. Due to his ─ in my opinion probably valid ─ psychic abilities, Messing is an interesting but enigmatic figure. And due to the complexity of scientific, political and social forces of the era research into the man and/or his psychic abilities complicate investigations enormously. I sincerely wish that others continue thorough research on the man and on his work.





Several people have contributed to my work with sharing information they have (or have not, and thus left an open end in my work). Hereby my thanks especially to Serguei Badaev for tracing and summarising Russian information on Wolf Messing, Alexander Golbin for sharing some of his personal experiences with Messing, Uwe Schellinger for sending me literature I was unaware of, and to Robert Priddy and Brian Steel for their comments along the way and correcting my English.



Appendix.   Sai Baba’s encounter with Wolf Messing comes in five versions


The story Sai Baba told his audience concerning his encounter with Wolf Messing took place on a conference held November 20-23, 1980. Notes from the discourse were published by the Sathya Sai Organisation. Sai Baba retold the story in 2002, even adding new details. In the meantime, devotees have published about the encounter too. As far as known, a total of five publications now circulate concerning the very same event.



1. The official version of the lecture of Sathya Sai Baba in which he related his encounter with Wolf Messing

The discourse given on November 22, 1980, was published in Sathya Sai Speaks, XIV, pp. 364-365. The relevant passage:


From 1917, materialism and atheism were promoted in Russia, mainly by Stalin. But, he could not suppress the opposing forces completely. A powerful spiritual person named Wolfe Messing arose, exhibiting a purified consciousness and an insight marked by Divine characteristics. Stalin planned to put him down and sent him into Hitler’s presence. Messing prayed, “Lord! I seek only to spread Your Glory on earth; hence I am not frightened at the tactics of these evil men.


An incident revealed for the first time

On his way to Hitler, he encountered Einstein at Vienna and Freud, a scientist engaged in research on the human mind. Freud was surprised at Messing and his powers; he realised that his own researches were shallow and turned attention to the search for the highest level of consciousness in man. Stalin was caught between Freud and Messing but he dare not give up the image he had once built up. He continued the easier path of establishing the materialistic and atheistic state and implanting irreligion in the hearts of the youth.

The age of this body reaches 55 tomorrow. I have not until today revealed this incident anywhere to any one. It was 1937. This body was then 11 years of age. I was then moving the whole day with groups of boys who gathered around me. I was then at Kamalapur in Cuddappah District. I was one day near the station at Kamalapur with the boys. On seeing me, one person ran up to me, took me in his arms and kissed me, with tears pouring down his cheeks and uttering the words, “I am so happy. I am so happy.” He was madly dancing with joy repeating, “I love you. I love you.” My companions who were watching all this wondered, “Who is this white man? He looks like a lunatic. Evidently, he is planning to kidnap him.” As we moved off he was standing riveted to the spot, wistfully watching me until I disappeared from view. It was Messing.


Aura can be discerned around human body

Messing came to India in order to identify and realise the Aathma principle. He undertook a variety of spiritual exercises with this end in view. As a result, he acquired Divine Vision. He met Gandhi and many holy persons engaged in ascetic practices on the Himaalayas and returned to his country gratified that he had won what he was yearning for.

Only those who know and seek what has to be sought can gain the goal. Only those who know the Brahman (Supreme Truth) Principle can recognise It. Messing hat the Aathma (divine self) ever in his mind and so he was able to announce that he had attained the awareness. He proclaimed that Stalin’s state would collapse and just as he prophesied, Khruschev transformed it soon after.


2. Samuel Sandweiss’ version of the same discourse (cited above) was published 1985.


3. The encounter of Sai Baba and Wolf Messing is mentioned by R. T. Kakade & A. Veerabadhra Rao in their book Shirdi to Puttaparthi, 6th ed., Hyderabad: IRA Publications, 1993, pp. 159-160. Brian Steel’s observations about this publication:


The book has been VERY popular in India, to judge by the number of editions it has gone through and the fact that it has been translated into no less than eleven Indian languages.

Although SB is not responsible for what is printed in the authors’ book, I will take the liberty of quoting the intriguing little twist that they add to this Messing story. I leave the reader to make his or her own judgement about whether the following report was made by an eye-witness or not. This alternative version may also be of interest to those who study the different versions of SB's stories which appear in the SB literature.

One of the authors of the above-mentioned book tells us that he was present at the Conference of 20-23 November 1980 and, without mentioning SB’s Discourse of 22 November (during which he revealed the Messing story), he reports the following simplified story, either from one of the Conference days or from a special entertainment programme by SB students ("The Kingdom of Satya Sai") on 24 November. (It is not clear.) If it took place during the entertainment, it may have been just a dramatic re-enactment of the alleged Sathya Narayana-Messing meeting of 1937 - but this had already been revealed by SB on 22 November. As the reader will see (and the audience would surely have understood), the incident is reported as though the "Russian" was really the man involved. (Wolf Messing, born in Poland, died in Russia in 1974.)


"In this connection, I would like to narrate two incidents, which became known to the public, even to the devotees, for the first time. Two gentlemen, one from Russia and the other from Korea, had volunteered to narrate these events, for the delectation of the gathering. Baba had never even mentioned them earlier, as having happened, even though he was very much a part of them.

"The Russian recalled that more than forty years ago when Baba was still a boy, studying in a school in Kamalapur, he had occasion to see the young lad playing on a platform of the Railway station along with the other children. He felt attracted by something unique in the boy’s personality, even at that tender age, and tried to take him into his arms and enjoy the bliss of communion. He must have felt a divine aura about the boy, which was not obvious to the rest of the children present. They feared this stranger, a foreigner, was trying to whisk away their young friend, a favourite friend. They got concerned and ran to report the matter to Baba’s elders, who arrived on the scene and took the boy away from the stranger and felt relieved that they had saved their young ward from the clutches of an unknown foreigner. Little did they realise at that time, that their young child would later develop into divine personality and that the foreigner could notice the innate divine spirit, even at that tender age of the boy." (Kakade and Rao, pp. 159-160)


(The second incident, narrated by the Korean devotee, appears to be from his own life.)[53]


4. The version of the discourse is retold by R. Padmanaban in Love Is My Form, Vol. 1, The Advent (1926-1950), Bangalore: Sai Towers Publishing, 2000, p. 48:


Wolf Messing Meets Sathya

Wolf Grigorievich Messing was a Jewish mentalist, born on the 10th of September 1899, in Gora-Kalevary Varshave, Poland. His father and other relatives were killed by the Nazi regime in Midenek. Until 1939, he visited many countries, demonstrating his psychological experiments. In 1939, he went to Russia, where he married in 1944 and settled down. He died of kidney failure on the 8th of November 1974, in Moscow.

Baba once provided an interesting insight relating to Wolf Messing’s visit to India. Baba spoke of him in glowing terms:

“A powerful, spiritual personality by name Wolf Messing arose, exhibiting a purified consciousness and an insight marked by divine characteristics. Messing prayed, ‘I seek only to spread Your glory on earth, hence I am not frightened of the tactics of these evil men.’

“Messing once came to India to realise the ‘Atmic’ principle. He undertook a variety of spiritual exercises, with this end in view. Consequently, he acquired Divine Vision. Then he could truly announce that he had attained a constant awareness of Atma, being ever conscious of that supernal unifying principle.”

Baba then went on to narrate an interesting incident, something that, according to Baba, He had, until then, not revealed anywhere to anyone.

Baba would say, “I was on the move the whole day with groups of boys who had gathered around me and was at Kamalapuram with them. On seeing me, one person, named Wolf Messing, ran up to me, took me in his arms and kissed me, with tears pouring down his cheeks and uttering the words, ‘I am so happy, I am so happy.’ He was also madly dancing with joy, repeating, “I love you. I love you.’ My companions, who were watching this, wondered. ‘Who is this white man? He looks like a lunatic. Evidently, he is planning to kidnap us.’ As we moved away, he was standing riveted to the spot, wistfully watching me, until I disappeared from his view. The chief characteristic of Sathya Sai, let me tell you, is Equanimity.”

Later, on another occasion, in a private gathering, Baba revealed more. He said that Wolf Messing was travelling from Madras to Cuddapah, through Kamalapuram. The train stopped at Kamalapuram station, for a break. Some boys, along with little Sathya, were playing on the other side of the station. He saw Sathya and got down with his luggage and came towards the boys. All the boys ran away―into a nearby house, and the young Baba went to his own house. The boys thought that the white man had come to kidnap the children. Messing came in front of Sathya’s house and sat across the road, waiting there for two hours. The elders noticed this and inquired why he was there. He said that he had come to seek blessings from a particular boy in the house opposite. Even as some elders were also watching the strange man from the very house Messing was surveying as Sathya stood behind them and raised His hand in blessing. (abhayahastham). Messing got what he wanted and returned to the station leaving by the next train.


5. Sai Baba brings up his encounter with Wolf Messing in a public lecture on the Gokulashtami Celebrations August 31, 2002.

The section concerning Messing taken from the summary of that discourse:


It was mainly about Krishna Leela and Sai Leela alternatively. (...) Such miracles happen not only in India but also in other parts of the world. There was a Russian by name Wolf Messing who was born on Sept 10, 1899. From childhood he was seeking God and he used to look here and there and scratch his head etc. The parents thought he was mad. They even thought of putting him in mental hospital. On 1-2-1909, he suddenly saw an old man, tall and wearing full white dress. He came and stroked his head and told him that he is not mad. He is a spiritual seeker and vanished. Immediately thereafter he left home with the equivalent of 8 annas and went in search of God all over the world. No body asked him for any ticket to travel and he was managing with only the 8 annas. He came to India years later. He was travelling from Cudappah to Anantapur by train, which passes through Kamalapuram. Swami was at that time studying in 3rd standard at Kamalapuram. He went along with 2 boys, (one Ramesh son of Sirasdar) and they were in a field close to the railway track talking to each other. This Russian, on seeing Swami, jumped out of the train and came and sat at a distance from swami and kept on looking at Him. Ramesh, seeing this, got scared and ran to his father and brought his father. He thought that the white man was going to take away Raju. They took swami to their house, and the white man also followed them. He continued to sit in front of the house for a few days and finally left. While going, He wrote on the wall in front of their house that those people were extremely lucky to keep the very God in their house. He went back to Russia. He returned after 20 years are [sic] so to India and was looking for Raju at Kamalapuram. The people there, told him that, the boy is no longer Raju, but has become a guru and is called Sathya Sai Baba, living at present at Puttaparthi or Bangalore. He came to Whitefield. He saw Swami. At that time, Narendar, son of Damodar Rao was the principal of Bangalore College.Swami blessed him and he took photograph of Swami. It came out with a big aura around the body of Swami and big halo around his head. Narendar wanted the photo, Russian gave him the photo but refused to give the camera because it captured the divinity. He went back to Russia. After some days, when Swami was sitting with Narendar, Messing suddenly appeared in front of Swami took His blessings and vanished! (Swami said, He had not told this to anybody so far!)[54]


The Messing related section taken from the complete version of the discourse:


... Not only in India, but also in a communist country like Russia, many such mysterious powers of Divinity were experienced. A person by name Wolfe Messing was born on September 10, 1899 in Poland. Right from his birth, he radiated divine effulgence. He behaved in a mysterious manner even while he was very young. He would make some movements with his hands and laugh to himself. His parents were mystified as they could not understand his strange behaviour. One year passed in this manner. In his second year, he started talking to himself. He would scratch his head as if he was engrossed in deep thought. He would run here and there, laugh to himself and converse with some unseen beings. All this baffled his parents. They wondered as to why he was laughing to himself and to whom he was talking. There was an element of anxiety and fear in them.


One day a tall personality wearing a white robe came and stood in front of their house. He called Messing near him and said, "Your parents are planning to put you in a lunatic asylum or in a school for the mentally retarded. You do not need to go anywhere. How can those who are afflicted with worldly madness understand your madness' which is of spiritual nature? If only everyone gets such a spiritual madness, the whole nation would prosper. Do not get yourself admitted to schools where only worldly education is taught. The formal or secular knowledge does not appeal to you. Learn spiritual knowledge. I have come here only to tell you this." Messing asked him, "Grandfather, where do you come from?" He replied, "I will tell you later. I am going back to the place from where I came. Never forget my words. Do not have anything to do with worldly knowledge. Acquire only spiritual knowledge. Now you are very young. Till you attain a certain level of maturity, do not have any association with anybody. Now I am going back." Saying this, he vanished right in front of Messing's eyes. Messing wondered, "Where did he come from? Where has he gone? Will I also go back to the place from where I came?" He started enquiring thus. His parents did not allow him to go anywhere. He was confined to his house only. It was 9th February 1909. On that day his desire to go in search of spiritual knowledge erupted again for he was not satisfied with the secular knowledge being taught to him. He remembered the words of the old man who appeared at his doorstep sometime ago. He went inside the house and found 8 coins in an almirah. Keeping them in his pocket he embarked on a spiritual journey in the wide world. He- wandered and wandered not knowing where he was going. He toured the entire world. None questioned him about tickets or the money required to buy them. Thus he roamed about for 10 years. Then he entered India. He boarded a train that was going from Cuddapah to Anantapur. In between the train stopped for a while at Kamalapuram where I was studying at that time. In the classroom Ramesh and Suresh were the two boys sitting on my either side on a desk. Ramesh's father was a Sirasthadar (Revenue Official) and their family was very rich. Every day we would go towards the railway station for a walk discussing some spiritual matters. In those days there were only one or - two trains going via Kamalapuram. The three of us sat on a stone bench on the railway platform, As we were happily talking to each other Wolfe Messing saw us through the window of the moving train and at once opened the door and jumped out. In the process he lost his balance and fell flat on the platform. Ramesh and Suresh were concerned that he might have fractured his leg. I told them not to worry saying "He is coming only to see Me. So nothing has happened." He was not carrying any luggage not even a small bag. He came straight towards Me and sat in front of Me at a distance of about ten feet shedding tears of joy.


Ramesh and Suresh watched this scene. In those days, the boys were afraid of the White people that they might take them away and put them in the military service. Therefore they wanted to take Me away from that place. As Messing was approaching Me Ramesh ran to his house and requested his father to bring a jeep immediately and take Me away from the sight of a 'White person'; Ramesh's father at once brought a jeep lifted Me up and put Me in the jeep. When he took Me to his house Messing also followed the jeep and came up to the house of Ramesh. He sat there for a full day waiting for Me to come out of the house. In the meanwhile whenever he would spot Me through the window/he would smile at Me call Me and try to convey something to Me But nobody was willing to permit him to meet Me. At that time Seshama Raju (Swami's elder brother) was working as a teacher. A word was sent to him through a peon, informing him of the position. Messing waited for three days and left the place and went somewhere by train. Before leaving, he wrote on the door of the house with a chalk piece thus: "The people who live in this house are very fortunate. They are able to keep the Divine child with them and serve Him. I am not that fortunate. Anyway, thanks."

He finally reached his country, Russia. After twenty years, he again visited India. This time he brought a Kirlian camera, which was capable of taking photographs of the aura around human beings. Those who are of Sathwic nature will have a resplendent white aura around their body. Those who are Rajasic in nature will have a red colour aura and those who are Thamasic in nature will have a black colour aura around them. He came straight to Kamalapuram and started enquiring about the whereabouts of Raju. But, by that time, I was no longer Raju, the high school student. Raju became Sathya Sai Baba. People told him that Sathya Sai Baba would be residing either in Puttaparthi or in Bangalore. Therefore, he left Kamalapuram for Bangalore.

When he arrived at Bangalore he found a huge congregation. On enquiry, he came to know that they were waiting for Sathya Sai Baba's Darshan. He too waited for My Darshan. When I was moving amidst the congregation, he saw Me and thought to himself, "Yes, this is the same person whom I saw as a boy many years ago. He has the same with divine effulgence surrounding him." He approached the Principal of the College. At that time Narendra was the Principal. He was a great scholar in Sanskrit and a very good teacher. His father Damodar was a Judge and his father-in-law Sunder Rao was a reputed doctor. Both of them were present there. He requested them to take him for Swami's Darshan. He told them, "You are not able to see the reality. Swami is verily God. You are seeing only His physical form and getting deluded. You will know the truth when you observe His aura."


He wanted to observe Swami's aura through the camera he had brought with him. In those days, I used to give Darshan to the devotees at the end of Nagarasankirtan. As I stood in the balcony giving Darshan, he clicked his camera. He could see that the entire place was permeated with light. When he showed the photograph, one could see great effulgence around My face. My entire body was engulfed in white light which symbolises purity. Nothing else was noticed. Narendra took that photograph and requested him to give the camera also as it was not available in India. He said he was prepared to give the photograph but not the camera as he had a lot of work to do with it. He expressed his desire to have an audience with Swami. In the evening a meeting was arranged in which he was to address the students. I also attended the meeting. He was not looking at the students or the teachers; he was trying to see where I was seated and what I was doing. When he spotted Me, he started coming towards Me, saying "My dear my dear". He kept repeating "You are My everything. I am Your instrument." So far I have not revealed this to anyone. He stayed there for ten days. I taught him all that had to be taught. I told him that when God descended on earth, he would act like a human being. Daivam Manusha Rupena (God takes the form of man). He said that the same has been said even in their scriptures. He wrote a book and gave it to Gokak. Gokak was a scholar in English but had no knowledge of Russian. However he kept the book with him.


After a few days. Messing left without informing anybody. One day Narendra received a letter from Russia. Messing wrote in the letter, "You are a teacher working for God. How fortunate you are!" He requested Narendra to keep him informed about the happenings related to Swami. One day Narendra was expressing some doubts and I was clarifying them. Only two of us were in the room. All of a sudden. Messing arrived there. How he came there was a mystery to Narendra.


He did not have a ticket with him. He came, had My Darshan and disappeared. It was not possible for all to see this. It was not easy to understand either. Divinity is highly mysterious.[55]



Bonch-Burevich, B., “Can One Read Thoughts?”, pp. 395-398 in International Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 7 nr 4, 1965. (The article originally appeared in Komsomolskaya Pravda, July 14, 1962.)

Broda, Engelbert, Einstein und Österreich, Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1980.

Ebon, Martin, “Moscow’s ESP Dilemma”, pp. 42-43 in The Humanist, Sep-Oct 1977.

Eisenbud, Jule, “The Messing Mystery”, pp. 261-275 in Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 54, September 1990.

Gris, Henry & William Dick, The New Soviet Psychic Discoveries. A First-hand Report, London: Souvenir Press, 1979 (1978).

Kugel, Wilfried, Ohne Scheuklappen: Albert Einstein und die Parapsychologie”, pp. 59-71 in Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie und Grenzgebiete der Psychologie, 36(1/2), 1994.

Kugel, Wilfried, Hanussen. Die wahre Geschichte des Hermann Steinschneider, Düsseldorf: Grupello Verlag, 1998.

Küppers, Topsy, Wolf Messing. Hellseher und Magier, München: Langen Müller, 2002.

Levenson, Thomas, Einstein in Berlin, New York: Bantam Books, 2003.

Luckhurst, Roger, The Invention of Telepathy, 1870-1901, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Lungin, Tatiana (D. Scott Rogo ed.), Wolf Messing. The True Story of Russia’s Greatest Psychic, New York: Paragon House, 1989.

Nanda, B.R., Mahatma Gandhi. A Biography, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1958.

Ostrander, Sheila & Lynn Schroeder, Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain, New York: Prentice-Hall, 1971 (1970).

Ostrander, Sheila & Lynn Schroeder (eds.) , The ESP Papers: Scientists Speak Out from Behind the Iron Curtain, New York: Bantam, 1976.

Rosenthal, Bernice Glatzer (ed.), The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, Ithaca / London: Cornell University Press, 1997.

Sandweiss, Samuel, Spirit and Mind, San Diego: Birthday Publishing Company, 1985.

Strongin, Varlen L’vovich, (in Russian) Wolf Messing, the fate of the prophet, Moscow: AST-Press Kniga, 2002.

Tenhaeff, W.H.C., Oorlogsvoorspellingen. Een onderzoek met betrekking tot proscopie in verband met het wereldgebeuren, Den Haag: H.P. Leopolds Uitgeversmaatschappij, 1948.

Walker, Roy, Sword of Gold. A Life of Mahatma K. Gandhi, London: Indian Independence Union, 1945.

Wilson, Colin (et al.), Grote Mysteries. Wonderlijke krachten van de menselijke geest, Rotterdam: Lekturama, 1978 (1975-1976).

Zielinski, Ludmila, “Russia and Poland” Vol. III in Eric J. Dingwall (ed.), Abnormal Hypnotic Phenomena. A Survey of Nineteenth-Century Cases, London: J. & A. Churchill Ltd, 1968.

Zielinski, Ludmila Svinka, “Wolf Messing”, pp. 14-16 in Newsletter of the Parapsychology Foundation, January-February 1969.



References offered in the literature which I have not been able to obtain

(if anyone who can help me obtain any of these, I’d be grateful!)


Anonymous, “Wolf Messing”, in Zapopyarnaya Pravda, Norsilk, Siberia, 18 June 1965, Nauki i Zhizhn nr 4, 1964.

Kamensky, Yu., “Let the Light Shine”, in Nauka i Religia, (‘Science and Religion’), September, 1966.

Kharkovsky, Alexander, “Wolf Messing”, in VESTNIK Vol. 6(1), 5(81), March 8, 1994.

Marin, Vadim, Clearly I See The Future, Moscow, 1968.

Messing, Wolf, “I Am a Telepathist,” in Smena, nr 14, July 1965.

Messing, Wolf, “The Mind Readers,” in Sputnik, nr 1, 1966.

Messing, Wolf, “About myself”, in Nauka i Religia, (‘Science and Religion’), nrs 1 & 8, 1965.

Messing, Wolf, “About myself”, in Nauka i Religia, (‘Science and Religion’), nrs 2, 5, 7, 8, and 10, 1988, and nr 1, 1989.

Ostrander, Sheila & Lynn Schroeder, “Russian Telepath: Wolf Messing” in Fate, vol. 23(5), issue 230, May 1969, pp. 62-?.

Vasiliev, Mikhail, I am a Telepath, Moscow: Interkinocentre, RIA, North-West, 1990.

Zverev, Yuri, “Wolf Messing”, in Neva, 2000, nr 8, p. 151.


Lungin (1989: 63-64) refers to Messing’s friendship with the writer Aleksei Ignatiev. Küppers (2002: 316 note) states that Ignatiev wrote a biography on Messing (no reference given).


[1] Brian Steel’s writings on Sai Baba are on http://bdsteel.tripod.com/More/index.html, where his articles on Messing are: Paranormal References: Wolf Messing and Kirlian (Revised), July 2002; More Messing, October 2002, and SB’s Wolf Messing Stories Revisited, March 2003.

[2] Lungin (1989: 22), and Küppers (2002: 9-10). All further data on Messing, if not specified otherwise, can be found by Ostrander & Schroeder (1971), Lungin (1989), and/or Küppers (2002).

[3] Lungin (1989:24-25). See also Ostrander & Schroeder (1971: 48-49).

[4] Ostrander & Schroeder (1971: 46).

[5] According to Lungin (1989: 45), Mr Kobak became his manager in 1922; according to Küppers (2002: 241 ff.) Zellmeister remained his manager much longer.

[6] Ostrander & Schroeder (1971: 44). Messing claimed he predicted Hitler’s ultimate downfall on two more occassions: in 1940 during a speech at a private club in Moscow he stated “Soviet tanks will roll into Berlin!” (Ostrander & Schroeder, 1971: 45), upon which the German Embassy immediately seems to have lodged a protest, and in 1943 he prophesised before an audience at the Opera Theater in Novosibirsk that the war probably would end in the first week of May 1945 (Ostrander & Schroeder, 1971: 56). Gris & Dick (1979: 26): Messing “remained exceptionally proud of his correct prediction, during a demonstration in Novosibirsk on March 7, 1944, that the war would end on May 9, 1945.”

[7] Ostrander & Schroeder (1971: 416). Ostrander & Schroeder probably have relied heavily on Zielinski (1969), for all basic elements on Messing are in there as well. Zielinksi (1969: 14) referred to Science and Religion, nrs 1-7, 1965.

[8] Ostrander & Schroeder (1971: 51-52).

[9] Ostrander & Schroeder (1971: 52).

[10] Ostrander & Schroeder (1971: 41).

[11] Ostrander & Schroeder (1971: 42).

[12] Lungin (1989: 21-22, 40).

[13] Lungin (1989: vii).

[14] Since Strongin’s book is in Russian, and I do not speak that language, Serguei Badaev and Jelena Donskaja read it and summarised some parts of it for me.

[15] Scott Rogo, author of many books on parapsychology, was editor of Lungin’s book. Messing is referred to in The ESP Papers by Vadim Marin, and Vladimir Reznichenko (Ostrander & Schroeder, 1976: 32-40), in The New Soviet Psychic Discoveries by Gris & Dick (1979: 17-18, 25-27), and briefly in a popular style written book on paranormal phenomena by Wilson (1978: 20). Often more or less the same information about Messing is available on websites like http://www.vor.ru/English/Footprints/excl_next939_eng.html, http://www.omensageiro.com.br/personalidades/personalidade-25.htm, and http://www.worldofthestrange.com/nlv465.html.

[16] See Brian Steel, 1940-1945: the Need to Revise the Official Sathya SaiBaba Story, March 2004, available on http://bdsteel.tripod.com/More/1940.htm. See also my article Sai Baba as Shiva-Shakti: a Created Myth? Or? on www.exbaba.com.

[17] Sandweiss (1985: 227-228).

[18] After describing the meeting with Gandhi, Lungin (1989: 45-46) continues that Messing confided with her “In India I became acquainted with the life of the legendary tribe of yogis. I admit that I envied their capacity for entering a state of deep catalepsy for long periods of time, sometimes several weeks. My personal record was only three days.”

[19] Personal communication with Robert Priddy. His extensive information on Sai Baba is available on http://home.no.net/anir/Sai.

[20] Taken from http://www.kingdomofsai.org/DISCOURSES/Disc20020831.html. The complete discourse is included in the Appendix.

[21] Zielinski (1969: 14), and Ostrander & Schroeder (1971: 51).

[22] Strongin (2002: 35).

[23] Lungin (1989: 43-44) citing Messing:


Einstein had arrived from Zürich, where he taught, in November, after receiving an invitation to report on his recent findings to a convention of natural scientists and physicians. I don’t remember for sure, but I think we gathered at Sigmund Freud’s apartment because Einstein immediately introduced me to this no-less-renowned personality. I was proud and flattered to be presented to two such giants of science at one time.

                The apartment amazed me with its abundance of books.


Zielinski (1969: 14) also let the meeting take place in Freud’s apartment: “Freud was, apparently, so intrigued by Messing’s faculties that he invited him to his own place where Messing gave a performance, in Einstein’s presence...”

[24] Küppers (2002: 143-151).

[25] Bode (1980: 8), and Levenson (2003: 3).

[26] Bode (1980: 11-13).

[27] Michael Molnar (Freud Museum, London) pointed out this out to me, thereby offering as reference: Ernest Jones, Sigmund Freud: Life & Work, Hogarth, 1980, p. 139. Eisenbud (1990: 266-267), referring to E. Freud, L. Freud & I. Grubrich-Simitis, Sigmund Freud: His life in pictures and words, 1978):


In a letter of January 2, 1927, to his Hungarian colleague, Sandor Ferenczi, Freud wrote: “Yes, I spent...two hours chatting with Einstein....He is cheerful, assured and likeable, and understands as much about psychology as I do about physics, so we got on together very well” (...). Since both Freud and Ferenczi were at this time greatly interested in the possibility of telepathy, it is a virtual certainty that had the highly unlikely “experiment”[with the tweezers] described by Messing taken place, there would have been some mention of it.


[28] Levenson (2003: 322). Bode (1980: 21) does not mention Freud being a friend of Einstein’s, he only mentions that when the threat of WWII was nearing, came out “einen vom Internationalen Institut für geistige Zusammenarbeit (Paris) des Völkerbundes angeregten schriftlichen Meinungsaustausch zweischen Albert Einstein und Sigmund Freud, der von Einstein als Gesprächspartner ausgewählt worden war.”

[29] As people at the Freud Museum, London, and the Freud Museum, Vienna, informed me, they did not trace a single reference to Wolf Messing in their archives, (other than stemming from the Messing side of the story).

[30] Kugel (1994), also on the internet at http://www.physik.fu-berlin.de/~kugelw/kugelpapers/einstein.html.

Personal communication: The only reference found in the Albert Einstein Archives, Jerusalem, on a combination of Messing and Einstein, was Kugel’s article. In case the anecdote were to be true, the meeting had to have been in Freud’s apartment, in 1913 (not 1915).

[31] Lungin (1989: 45), and Strongin (2002: 42). Küppers (2002: 247) does not give a date, and continued the Gandhi anecdote with another peculiar story: Messing visited the grave of the prophet Yuz Asaf (Jesus) in Srinigar. Küppers indicated to have read newspapers having published articles after Messing’s return from India, meaning that there may be proof that Messing indeed has been in India.

[32] Nanda (1958: 262). See also Walker (1945: 98-99).

[33] Walker (1945: 98): “During 1927 he would go to Bihar, Maharashtra, Madras, United Provinces, Bengal and Orissa.”

[34] Ostrander & Schroeder (1971: 42).

[35] Ostrander & Schroeder (1971: 55). They cited this from Zielinski (1969: 16), who basically repeated in English what had been published of Messing in Nauka i Religia (‘Science and Religion’) nrs 1-7, 1965. Zielinski (1968) researched the development of hypnotism in nineteenth-century Russia and Poland.

[36] Rosenthal (1997: 413). Lungin (1989: 66) considers Stalin’s interest in Messing to prove the exception to the rule that under Stalin all research in the supernatural was taboo, and a field like parapsychology went underground.

[37] Rosenthal (1997: 407).

[38] Mikhail Agursky in Rosenthal (1997: 247-272). Based on Agursky’s study, Gorky, close friend of Vladimir Lenin, is mentioned in Occult Roots of the Russian Revolution  available on http://www.geocities.com/countermedia/1.html.

[39] An article on Wolf Messing originally published in Komsomolskaya Pravda, July 14, 1962, was translated by B. Bonch-Burevich (1965) in English, without offering the name of its original author.

[40] Alexander Kharkovsky’s article “Wolf Messing” is available in Russian on http://miresperanto.narod.ru/eminentuloj/messing.htm. Other material I traced on Kharkovsky is his article in English posted on http://miresperanto.narod.ru/en/articles/strangled_cries.htm, about the poet Julius Baldin. On http://www.chron.com/content/interactive/space/missions/mir/news/1988/19880402.html is the Houston Chronicle article of April 2, 1988, by Mark Carreau on ‘Soviet émigré Alexander Kharkovsky’.

[41] Ostrander & Schroeder (1971: 56-57).

[42] Serguei Badaev summarised in English the information on Wolf Messing available on the Russian website http://zverev-art.narod.ru/ras/41.htm. It was published originally in the Russian magazine Neva, 2000, nr 8, p. 151.

[43] Lungin (1989: 61). Strongin (2002) included a picture of Messing besides the aircraft that carried his name.

Küppers (2002: 309) in one of her few references:


Siehe »Der baltische Flieger«, 22.5.1944. Bericht von Flugkapitän Konstantin Kovalev, der auf das Flugzeug schreiben lieβ: Ein Geschenk von Prof. W.G. Messing, zum Sieg über den Faschismus. Kovalev rühmte sich, mit diesem Flugzeug 38 deutsche Kampfmaschinen abgeschossen zu haben.


[44] Lungin (1989: 67).

[45] Lungin (1989: 26).

[46] Gris & Dick (1979: 17).

Actor and magician Yury (or Yuri) Gorny critically published Legendary Magicians: Mystery revealed, Jan. 8, 2004, on http://english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/377/11730_mystery.html his assessment of Messing’s psychic abilities. Apparently in 1966 Messing had flunked the tests Gorny had set up for him.

[47] Gris & Dick (1979: 17-18).

[48] See for instance Tenhaeff (1948: 220-221, 227), and Kugel (2002: 187 ff).

[49] See in particular Lungin (1989: 135-143).

Downloaded from http://www.sleepandhealth.com/Newspaper/2004/June/19.htm, a brief testimony by Alexander Golbin, from Illinois:


I was among the lucky ones who were able to meet Wolf Messing off the stage and personally verify predictions about my own future. Many of the prophetic statements were completely unbelievable then, but, with time, turned out to be true. Messing predicted that I would be a doctor when I was twelve and told me to study English seriously five years before I was forced to emigrate from Russia.


[50] Lungin (1989: 14).

[51] Lungin (1989: 34).

[52] A topic indirectly and lightly covered by Lungin (1989: 110) concerns the stories in which is said that Messing was able to diagnose illnesses and to cure people from different kinds of pains, anxieties, and the like. Discussing with Lungin the subject of folk healers, Messing explained such practices as a form of hypnosis, and knew that ‘spells’ or ‘utterances’, the so called ‘sweet talk’ of folk healers could take physical complaints away. “I know this first hand,” Messing said, “because I can ‘sweet talk’ headaches away with the touch of my hand. I’ve done it thousands of times.”

[53] The text is taken from the postscript of Brian Steel’s Paranormal References: Wolf Messing and Kirlian (Revised), July 2002, available on http://bdsteel.tripod.com/More/index.html.

[55] Downloaded from http://www.kingdomofsai.org/DISCOURSES/Disc20020831.html.

Serguei Badaev’s critical remarks on the discourse:


1. Wolf Messing was a citizen of the USSR, a totalitarian state. No citizen, except for some diplomats and KGB agents, were allowed to travel abroad alone to prevent possible defection. Even Soviet sailors when in a foreign port were allowed ashore only in a group of 3-4 people. In other words, as citizen of the USSR, Messing could never have travelled alone, or accompanied only by his impresario, to India.
2. It was said by Sai Baba: “Before leaving, he wrote on the door of the house with a chalk piece thus: "The people who live in this house are very fortunate. They are able to keep the Divine child with them and serve Him. I am not that fortunate. Anyway, thanks."” And “In the evening a meeting was arranged in which he [Messing] was to address the students.”

One should wonder what language Messing used and whether Sai Baba could read English (if the sentence on the door was written in English) at that time. For it is well known that Sai Baba is not very good in languages, although devotees believe otherwise, and it is well known that Messing did speak several languages (although with a heavy accent) but whether it included English is uncertain.
3. It was said by Sai Baba: “I told him that when God descended on earth, he would act like a human being. Daivam Manusha Rupena (God takes the form of man). He said that the same has been said even in their scriptures.”

Here Sai Baba seems to imply that Messing, at least to some extent, was a Christian and meant the New Testament and Jesus as the Son of God. But Messing was a Jew and according to the Jewish Scriptures to think about God descending on earth as a human being is a sacrilege. The same with Messing's words "He told them, "You are not able to see the reality. Swami is verily God."” These are more likely to be the words of a Hinduist, not a Christian or a Jew.

4. It was said by Sai Baba: “One day Narendra received a letter from Russia. Messing wrote in the letter, "You are a teacher working for God. How fortunate you are!"”

It is well known that during the communist regime in the USSR all correspondence going abroad was thoroughly checked. Even mentioning God in a letter might have cost Messing dearly. Most probably such a letter (if indeed written by Messing) would not have escapes KGB's filters! After all, Messing was a special person, all of whose contacts were taken notice of.