Grigori Rasputin, also known as the Mad Monk, wasn’t actually a monk but a self-proclaimed holy man who was thought to have mystical healing powers. He became friends with Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra in 1905 and supposedly healed their hemophiliac son, Alexei.
Many myths surround Rasputin. It was thought that he was secretly the one ruling Russia and that he had a steaming love affair with the queen. But there is no evidence to prove any of this. He did, at times, offer military advice and medical help, but his ideas were of little use to the Russian army or the Tsar.
Another myth would have you believe that Rasputin was impossible to kill. In 1914, a woman stabbed him in the stomach for supposedly seducing innocent women. He lost a lot of blood and almost died, but not quite.
Two years later, Felix Yusupov and other nobles were making plans to kill him. Yusupov invited him over to dinner on December 29, 1916, and fed him cakes and wine laced with cyanide. The poison seemed to have no effect on Rasputin, much to his would-be killers’ surprise. In the early hours of December 30, 1916, they decided to take a different course of action and shot Rasputin three times. Legend has it that he was still breathing after all of that and that he only died after they threw him in a river to drown.
An autopsy conducted later found no water in his lungs, indicating that he was dead before he even touched the water.