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Russian mystic and self-styled holy man Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin (1871 - 1916).  (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
History - Science
Over 100 years after his death, Grigori Rasputin, a self-proclaimed holy man with much influence and power within the Russian state, remains a mysterious figure in history. However, Rasputin did not really look like a typical holy man or leader — he was a bearded and dark, looming figure who was, in a word, filthy.
Rasputin wore soiled clothing, rarely bathed himself, and once even bragged that he had not changed his underwear in six months. Some reported that Rasputin smelled like a goat and had awful breath with "teeth like blackened stumps" and a beard often filled with rotting pieces of food. He also licked the spoons he used to serve food to other people.
Rasputin failed to use cutlery and instead used his fingers to eat fish and bread, and then wiped his messy hands on the nearest tablecloth. While many were flat out sickened by witnessing Rasputin's manners, others thought it added to his enduring charisma, and women reportedly pined for his affection.
Rasputin, a married man with children, seduced aristocratic women of the Russian nobility, and rumors persist to this day that he had an affair with Tsarina Alexandra. As Douglas Smith, author of "Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs," put it, "He couldn't keep his hands off any attractive woman in his company ... regardless [of] whether they liked it or not."