What happened to Lewis and Clark after their famous cross-country expedition? How did an imaginary cult help cause the Black Death? What happened to Al Capone after he got sent to prison? What's this I hear about Napoleon's dick? There are certain moments in history that pretty much everybody knows about, even that idiot who lives next door to you. This book isn't about those moments. No, this book is about the crazy parts leading up to or following those events that have been mostly left out of the history books. If you're tired of the general whitewashing of history into some kind of epic heroic journey, well then this is the perfect book for you.


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#20 Stranger Than Fiction

The reign of Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia, was not exactly a good time for the Russian royal family.  Not only did Nicky have to deal with World War I, a communist revolt, and his wife Alex being a spoiled pain in the ass, but to top it all off his only son, and therefore heir to the throne, had hemophilia.  Now in layman terms this meant that if Nicky’s son got even a single cut, he was in danger of bleeding to death.  It was a fun side effect of the fact that pretty much every member of Europe’s royalty was inbred as fuck.  Now Nicky did also have four daughters, but this being sexist Imperial Russia, they didn’t really count.  As would be expected given such a situation, Nicky and Alex were of course all sorts of freaked out.  Alex was especially freaked out since, unlike her husband, she didn’t have the distraction of being the autocratic ruler of the largest country in the world.  With laser like focus, Alex did everything she could to try and find a cure for her young son.  However, no matter how many doctors she had examine him, every single one had the same answer, the condition was incurable.  With no one else to turn to, Alex began seeking the advice of mystics and other such crazy people who claimed they were wizards.

Enter Rasputin, the most crazy eyed bastard you've ever seen in your life.  Though Rasputin was widely known as a smelly drunk with a food filled beard, he was also known as a mystical monk who could perform miracles.  Through some kind of trickery, Rasputin managed to give the appearance that his mystical arts helped ease the symptoms of the Russian prince, thus winning him the gratitude of the boy’s parents.  However, this gratitude soon after turned into Nicky and Alex asking for Rasputin’s advice for pretty much everything, because being an illiterate foul smelling magic man obviously makes you qualified to run a country in the middle of a war.  For obvious reasons, this did not sit well with many members of the Russian government.  It probably didn’t help that Rasputin was reputed to have a giant dong, which rumors claimed he was throwing around willy-nilly in the government officials’ wives.  Eventually the husband of Nicky’s niece, a man named Felix Yusupov, decided that something needed to be done.  However, this being Felix’s first murder and all, the assassination of course did not go well.  In the course of a night, Felix poisoned Rasputin twice, shot him several times, maybe cut off his giant dong (there’s a lot of disagreement on this one), and finally tied him in a sack and drowned him in an icy river.      

The removal of Rasputin did little to help things in Russia.  Less than a year later the Russian monarchy was overthrown by the communists, eventually leading to the establishment of the Soviet Union after a confusing and blood filled civil war.  Since Nicky and his family were somewhat in the way, they were unceremoniously shot in the woods.  Felix, being better at escaping than murdering random mystics, managed to flee the country with his wife to France.  Now an exile, Felix spent most of his time throwing away what money he had living an overly exorbitant lifestyle and bragging to anyone who would listen how he had killed Rasputin.  He was pretty much a guy with really only one interesting thing about him, and by god, he wanted everyone to know about it. 

Fast forward fifteen years into the future.  MGM studios, feeling that enough time had passed for it to be classy to make a movie about someone’s murder, decided to make a film about Rasputin and his influence over the Russian imperial court.  Of course, it being Hollywood and all, they decided to jazz up the story a bit by suggesting that Felix, who had been cleverly replaced by a character named Paul for some reason, killed Rasputin because the mystic had been putting his massive dong in Felix’s/Paul’s wife.  This little addition rather pissed off Felix and his wife, mostly because Rasputin had never even met the woman.  Always being in need of a little extra cash, the couple sued MGM for libel.  After a ridiculously lengthy trial, MGM was eventually ordered to pay Felix and his wife a huge settlement.  Not wanting to get sued again, from that day forward MGM, and all the other studios, started putting a disclaimer on all their films.  You know the one, where it says the movie is purely fictional and that all resemblances to people living or dead is purely coincidental.  So yeah, that’s where that came from.