One very weird corner of the UFO phenomenon is that of what are typically referred to as alien implants. These are cases in which a supposed alien abductee will claim to have been implanted with some sort of alien device, usually in the form of a chip or wire of some sort, that the extraterrestrials have put in their bodies for inscrutable reasons. The whole notion of this only really took off in the 1960s or so in the public consciousness, but if some reports are to be believed such cases have been going on for centuries. And so here we get into some strange territory involving an alien abduction, alien implants, and a notorious ruler from Russian history.
Ivan IV Vasilyevich, better known as Ivan the Terrible, is often mentioned in the same breath as being among one of the most notorious despots in history. Born in 1530 to Vasili III, the Rurikid ruler of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, he would soon to prove to have a strong destiny, born to royalty and going on to become the grand prince of Moscow at the age of just 3 years old and later the very first Tsar of all Russia at the age of 16. As a ruler he is considered to have been a rather formidable force to be reckoned with, famous for his numerous fierce and epic war campaigns that brought under his iron fist vast expanses of new territory that helped him to transform Russia from a medieval state to a mighty empire. Yet, one doesn’t earn a nickname like “The Terrible” for no reason, and Ivan IV Vasilyevich is just as known for his cruel cunning, ruthlessness, and immense intelligence.
By all accounts Ivan had always been neglected in his youth and had had a propensity for torturing small animals and showing no signs of remorse for bad deeds, and it is this upbringing that perhaps drove his ruthless deeds as a bloodthirsty ruler. When Ivan was just 13 years old he was already calling for assassinations of his enemies, having a Shuisky prince and his entire family killed and fed to dogs, and while the common people respected him for the many reforms he was bringing to the country, those around him were absolutely terrified of him. In particular, Ivan was described as being incredibly unstable, prone to bouts of sudden rage from out of nowhere in which he would bang his head against the floor, destroy furniture, and throw animals from the Kremlin walls. These roiling fits of anger could be triggered by the slightest things or even for no discernible reason at all, and in some instances these tantrums turned deadly for even his closest people, such as one incident in which he murdered his own eldest son, also named Ivan, and caused the son’s pregnant wife to miscarry by beating her for perceiving her to be wearing immodest clothes.
These sporadic and unpredictable bouts of rage were often married with intense episodes of paranoia. When the first of what would be many wives, Anastasia, passed away after 13 years of marriage he was convinced that she had been poisoned, and he often accused his closest aides of plotting against him. Over the years he became so paranoid that in order to make sure that no one tried anything funny, Ivan put together his own hand-picked bodyguard corps band of thugs called the Oprichnik, with their job being to go out and keep an eye on the populace and intimidate or terrorize them by dressing in black and riding black horses through the streets with severed dog’s heads attached to their saddles. This gang was the Tsar’s eyes and ears, meant to stamp out opposition, and pity on anyone who they perceived to be working in any way against their boss, as they would execute both commoners and nobles alike with impunity and without trial. They are estimated as having killed thousands of nobles and countless civilians, and they were also said to engage in arcane black masses. In particular, there was a contingent of 300 of these Oprichniki who allegedly lived at Ivan’s expansive castle, where they allegedly routinely held these black masses and carried out rituals and human sacrifices.
It seems that as he got older Ivan’s bouts of anger, paranoia, and depravity would only worsen. He was known to personally torture those he deemed a criminal or as a threat to his absolute rule, often in horrific ways such as feeding them alive to starving dogs, quartering, death by boiling, impalement, using red hot irons, or roasting them alive over open fires. He would also order massacres of perceived enemies, such as one raid on the city of Novgorod that killed thousands, simply because he had the paranoid notion that the city’s noblemen were going to defect to the neighboring state of Livonia. Some of his methods of cleaning up Moscow were also a bit extreme, like the time he drowned in a lake all of the beggars his thugs could round up, resulting in many hundreds of deaths. It was all a horrific display of wanton cruelty, and despite all of the changes he had brought to Russia Ivan was seen as one of the most oppressive and sadistic tyrants the country had ever seen.
In his later years Ivan’s health deteriorated and he would end up disbanding the Oprichnik, even doing an about face and making it a crime to ever even mention them again. He would die of a stroke in 1598, leaving behind a power vacuum that would launch an era of revolt, war, and famine called the Time of Troubles, which would kill millions, managing to bring more hardship upon Russia even in death. Ivan the terrible certainly made his bloody mark upon history, and there has been much debate and discussion as to why he was so unstable, depraved and prone to such bouts of extreme behavior. One idea was that he had just simply had a rough childhood that molded him into a monster, while other theories say that he was plagued with chronic pain or that he suffered from mercury poison due to ointments he used on his joints, or maybe, you know, he was just crazy. And then there are aliens and this is where we take a sharp turn into the truly bizarre.
UFO researcher Albert S. Rosales was able to track down a rather curious article in a Russian UFO newspaper called Inoplanetyane. Written by an Alexander Bogatikov, it suggests that Ivan the Terrible’s bizarre behavior, uncommonly high intelligence, and rampant depravity were caused not by a rough childhood or pain or poisoning of any kind, but rather by an alien implant that had been placed in his head during an abduction when he was a child. Wait, what? There are many pieces of evidence offered for this theory, including that Ivan allegedly had several encounters with small humanoids in his room at night and was prone to touching a spot on his head often despite never complaining to doctors about anything wrong there, but the main evidence offered is the alleged finding of an academician and anthropologist by the name of Dr. Rudolph Vanzhaev. According to the article, in the 1990s Vanzhaev had access to Ivan’s skull for the purpose of reconstructing Ivan’s facial features, and while examining the skull he came across a “tiny metallic object with sharp teeth-like protrusions” that was reminiscent of some sort of computer chip and measured a little more than one centimeter in diameter. This “diminutive metallic plate” was covered in bone, and a portion of the article reads:
A stunning discovery was made by academician and anthropologist Dr. Rudolph Vanzhaev who at the end of the 20th century was reconstructing the facial features of the famous Russian Tsar Ivan the Fourth (or Ivan the Terrible). Dr. Vanzhaev discovered a diminutive metallic plate in Ivan’s skull while he studied it. The strange artifact a little more than one centimeter in diameter, remotely resembled a complicated electronic mechanism. The Doctor concluded that this object somehow increased the intellectual abilities of the Tsar but at the same time, caused his periodic uncontrolled fits of anger. The tiny metallic object with sharp teeth-like protrusions was discovered quite accidentally. Dr. Vanzhaev was studying the exhumed skeleton of Ivan the Terrible, attempted to find the physiological cause of his death (later it was established that the Tsar’s bones contained a huge quantity of mercury, or quicksilver). Moving his hand along the inner surface of Ivan’s skull, Vanzhaev felt a small protrusion. Trying to see it better, he took a large magnifying glass and saw something very small and metallic, halfway covered by bone tissue.
The device was similar to an electronic chip used in computers or other electronic equipment. When the device was studied more closely, using different kinds of techniques and equipment it appeared to be a miniature transmitter of electric impulses to the brain and the heart. Such impulses, emphasized Dr. Vanzhaev, sharply increased the brain’s ability to solve the difficult intellectual tasks but at the same time, created various collateral effects that influenced the man’s psyche. The layer of bone tissue that had grown around the metallic device was quite noticeable. This meant according to Vanzhaev, that when Ivan was “implanted” he had been quite young, possibly in his childhood. Another Moscow based researcher Vladimir Alexeevich Smemshuk also mentioned in his books that Ivan the Terrible was under “alien control” and experienced several humanoid encounters at night when he was alone in his bedroom.
What in the world is going on here? Considering that the source seems to be pretty weak, with no real corroboration and no way to know if this Vanzhaev guy is even real, it is definately one to raise a few eyebrows. Is there really anything to any of this, or is it a tall tale and piece of fake news for a slow news day that has managed to lodge itself in the lore? Was one of the greatest tyrants in human history controlled or influenced by aliens? It seems safe to say that this can be filed away into the "Things that make you say 'Huh'" files, but it is damn strange all the same.