10. Wolf Messing
In 1899, Wolf Messing was born in the town of Góra Kalwaria, which is located 25 kilometers (15 mi) southeast of Warsaw, Poland. As a teenager, Messing claimed to be a psychic. He could alter people’s perceptions and predict future outcomes based on mental telepathy and body language clues. During his shows, Messing would enter a trance-like state and attempt to find hidden objects. He performed in front of large crowds and became famous after World War II. Messing even caught the attention of Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud.
In 1937, Wolf Messing predicted that Adolf Hitler would die if he ever threatened Russia and “turned toward the East.” The message angered Hitler and caused Messing to flee to Russia, where he continued to perform his act. As the story goes, Messing was then forced to prove his psychic ability for Stalin by convincing a bank teller to give him cash with nothing more than a blank piece of paper. After the successful demonstration, Messing became a teacher for the KGB.
Messing’s life was chronicled in an autobiography titled About Myself. One quote from the book says, “My ability to see the future may seem to contradict the materialist understanding of the world. But there is not a particle of the unknowable or supernatural about precognition.” Wolf Messing died in 1974. Since that time, many facts attributed to his life have been questioned and deemed unsubstantiated by historical references—a fact which has only contributed to his mystery.