Gregory Efimovitch Rasputin, born in Siberia in 1869, was part of a sect called the Khlysts, who practiced a combination of religion and sexuality, according to Colin Wilson, author of "Rasputin and the Fall of the Romanovs." The Khylsts believed that to achieve salvation, they had to engage in sinful activity to drive sin away.
Rasputin traveled around Russia as a healer, preacher and mystic. Wilson writes that the healer met the Romanov royal family - Czar Nicholas II and Czarina Alexandra - in St. Petersburg in 1905, and he soon became very close with them. Rasputin was known for his hypnotism. During a time of war, depression and civil unrest, many of the Russian people didn't trust this man who was so beloved by the Romanovs.
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