Welcome, friends. What I’ve got for you today is really bizarre, and what’s more, it will literally change your life. Only slightly, mind, but not necessarily for the better. Consider that before you move on.
This won’t be a full four-part project like I normally do, but it also can’t be condensed into a Friday Foofaraw, because it is a singular phenomenon that really deserves some close attention on its own merits. It’s something I can practically guarantee you’ve never heard of before, but which you will not be able to stop noticing once you know what to look for and where to find it. Prepare yourself, gentle reader, because you’re about to learn the story of Vyacheslav Krasheninnikov, the most famous pre-teen prophet you’ve never heard of.
Vyacheslav Krasheninnikov, fondly known to his family as Slava, was a boy from the town of Yurga in the Kemerovo region of Russia. He is, however, most famously associated with the small city of Chebarkul, where, tragically, he died of leukemia in 1993, at the age of ten. His life was short, but highly significant. To the Russian Orthodox church, he was at best an imaginative boy whose flights of fancy were greatly overblown by his grieving parents and interpreted as mystical visions; at worst, he was himself possessed by a demon, or something even more sinister. But to his followers, young Slava is a saint, or perhaps an angel, or perhaps something even beyond that.
To wit: somebody made an icon of this kid, which, if you’re not at least a saint, is a big no-no.
Slava was, in many ways, a product of the ‘indigo child’ movement, which had filtered to Russia through mass media around the same time that it was fashionable in certain circles in the English-speaking world. Russia seized upon the idea, and Slava was one of many children his age who were touted to have some mysterious abilities far beyond typical human nature. However, where these special talents of indigo children are typically thought to arise from some metaphysical energy or psychic power, Slava, both during his life and after his death, was conceived of as a specifically religious figure.
The stories about Slava derive principally from his mother, who wrote several books about him, and a woman named Lydia Emelyanov, an early advocate of the indigo-children phenomena in Russia, who wrote two more. Aside from being “remarkably kind, obedient, intelligent, pious, [and] devout”, Slava was said to have the gift of mystical healing. People came from all around to receive his healing; one of his patients supposedly claimed that he treated her by gazing at her from a distance, and that “from my head something seemed to come off in the form of thin strings.”
Slava’s healing ability apparently transcended his death; when pictures of sick children are placed on his old chair, the children are miraculously healed. At the small shrine set up around his memorial, the earth over his grave must be constantly replenished; pilgrims remove it bit by bit, to mix with water and apply as a curative lotion. Small marble stones, routinely spread over the grave, also vanish. They are ‘infused’ in water and can cure many ailments. One claim comes from a fellow who decided to tie a little buzz on to celebrate his birthday, before suddenly being called in to work. A bottle of water infused with the marble stones from Slava’s grave sobered him up instantly (or, one presumes, that is at least what he told his boss.)
If you’ve only got time to visit one child’s grave after a Russian bender, well friend, make it this one!
The marble stones are important; Slava specifically asked for them to be scattered over his grave. Why? Well, marble, because it is a living being with a pulse, frightens away aliens, which are really demons.
This is where it starts getting really odd. Faith healing is one thing; we could argue about its efficacy (if we really wanted to, which I don’t at the moment) but we can all agree that it’s pretty standard protocol for saints and holy people. But Slava was more than that. He was a seer and a prophet, and the stuff he saw and prophesied was bonkers.
Slava’s death was primarily a result of his refusal to accept a blood transfusion, based on his belief that the sins of the donor are transmitted to the patient in the blood (leaving this critical decision to a ten-year-old boy seems odd to me, but whatever.) Slava could speak to plants. He declared that it was unlawful to kill birds, because birds are involved in the creation of time, and killing them hastens the end of days. He avowed that the bowels of the earth hid gigantic subterranean spaces (undetectable to science due to a “layer of radioactive sand”) which are full of dinosaurs, mutated to massive proportions by underground nuclear weapon testing. These dinosaurs will emerge from sinkholes and lakes, and we will only be able to kill them by “going for their nerves”. Some of his visions are pretty transparently lifted from Hollywood movies; he once spoke of a short, mysterious monk who had a light on the tip of his index finger, who assisted him in leaping across a huge canyon (one presumes the monk first called his home monastery for permission to perform the miracle.) Slava called upon his listeners to give up drinking vodka, because it dries up your brains. He warned about the mark of the beast and the nearness of the apocalypse, in which demons (which will appear to humans as extraterrestrial aliens) will run rampant on the earth. With the dinosaurs. There are many, many more claims like this. A good run-down can be found here.
What appear to most of us as childhood flights of fancy are, to a certain group of very strange Russians, infallible truths about the present age and indisputable prophecies about the coming tribulation. And for some, Slava is even more than a prophet; when we take a look at his life, full of suffering and prophecy, granting the gift of healing to others, taking their suffering on himself, and dying too young, he begins to look an awful lot like a much more famous religious figure. This characterization (which Slava may have acknowledged himself during his lifetime) is embraced by Slava’s most eager followers, who see in him nothing less than the second coming of Christ.
But hey, really wacky metaphysical claims aren’t exactly foreign to Russia. The raskol, which formed the rift between the Orthodox church and the so-called ‘Old Believers’, spawned a massive number of truly bizarre sects, some of which are documented here. Contemporaneously, you may have heard of Vissarion, the head of a Siberian church which claims that he is Christ reincarnated (he was the focus of a Vice documentary.) You may also be familiar with Valeria Lukyanova, the so-called ‘human Barbie’, whose quest to turn herself into the world’s favourite doll has rather overshadowed the fact that she teaches astral projection and believes she’s an alien. Naturally, there’s a Vice documentary about her as well.
But what sets Slava apart from these others is something I will now demonstrate. Let’s take his claim that “vodka dries one’s brains” and pop that into a Google search:
Huh. That seems like… a lot.
How about his claim that “birds participate in time creation”?
Hmm. Uhh… hm.
Okay… well, let’s try something a little more obscure, like Slava’s idea that dinosaurs “will get out through sinkholes and lakes. To kill them, go for their nerves.”
Alright, what the hell?!
Okay, okay, but let’s try something really crazy and see how many instances we can find of his theory that the antichrist will be a “born to a 12th generation prostitute, flying, big-nailed, gloved, pale-faced, red-eyed, Satan-possessed since he’s 12 years old, homosexual man.” That’s awfully fucking specific. Surely that’s not going to be-
This is why I wanted to bring little Slava to your attention today, my friends. The internet is positively crammed full of this stuff. It’s absolutely everywhere you wouldn’t think to look. What’s more, filling in the gaps between these formulaic professions of faith in the utterly insane, we find passages that seem to be freely-composed, only appearing in one or two places. This means that this isn’t the work of spam-bots; what we have here is a healthy, thriving community of faith, undergoing actual mythological and theological development as we speak, and it’s pretty much all happening deep in the comments sections of unrelated Youtube videos, in emails that get funneled straight to your junk mail (yes, yours, specifically), in the murky waters of Yahoo Answers, blasted in giant text blocks across Reddit threads you’d never read— pretty much everywhere on the internet, provided it’s the last possible place you’d be looking.
I was drawn to this story specifically because I kept seeing this shit everywhere I turned and I finally had to get to the bottom of it. Now that I know what’s going on, I find it more and more. I’ve developed kind of a sixth sense for it; everywhere there’s an obscure website with a comments section and people asking questions about religion or human health, there’s Slava. It’s completely inescapable. And it will happen to you too.
Now, thanks to me, you’re cursed with this hideous awareness as well, and I guarantee this little Russian boy’s sci-fi apocalypse will start appearing to you too. You don’t even have to go looking for it. Just wait and watch. Slava’s ghost will track you down.
Good background there, and lots of links for further research, but they’re all in Russian. Copy the link and paste it to Google, then use the translation function; close enough.
If you need more, just look… anywhere.