Movie Ivan the Terrible by Sergei Eisenstein

All Russian tsars were superstitious people: they believed in omens, dreams and signs. Surprisingly, Russian tsars could even predict their own demise.

Ivan the Terrible and a Comet

In the winter of 1584 Ivan the Terrible saw a comet in the night sky and said to his courtiers: “This is the messenger of my death.”

The tsar ordered to gather all wizards and stargazers from around the country and to deliver them to Moscow. They were questioned daily, and once they got the exact date of the tsar’s death – March 18.

On that day Ivan the Terrible felt great, had lots of fun, and in the evening when he sat down to play chess, he suddenly fell to the floor and died.

Peter the Great and his Eagle

In the spring of 1703, Peter I was examining wetlands in the delta of the Neva River, trying to choose a place to build a new city. When an eagle appeared in the sky, the emperor decided that this was a good sign, and commanded to lay St. Petersburg in that area.

When the grounds for the first Orthodox Cathedralwere broken in St. Petersburg, an eagle chased away the crows circling over the place.

Empresses and their Double-Gangers

The wife of Peter I, Catherine I shortly before her death in 1727 claimed that at night her double came to her, and right before her death the empress dreamed of her husband, who called for her.

A few days before her death in 1740, Anna Ioanovna also saw her double: a woman-ghost walked in a royal dress through the throne room and melted into air. The empress turned to her courtiers and said: “Soon I’ll be gone.”

The same thing happened 56 years later to Catherine II. She saw her double sitting on a throne and got so scared that gave an order to shoot it. A few hours later she suddenly died.


On March 9, 1801, Paul I during a horse ride suddenly felt short of breath and complained about it to his servant. On March 12 conspirators killed the tsar, choking him with a scarf.

Some people think that the Russian rulers of the Romanov dynasty had a gift of prophecy; others say that it is simply paranoia of royal persons.  What do you think?

To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

Pic: Movie Ivan the Terrible by Sergei Eisenstein.


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