Yogi hypnotizing a chicken, or The story of one unusual picture

This picture has been roaming for many years on social networks and forums both in the foreign and in the Russian-speaking segment of the Internet. It shows a man in a suit looking at a chicken with his eyes bulging horribly, as if he wants to incinerate the unfortunate bird with his eyes. Usually this photo, which has become a meme, is provided with funny captions. There are many versions on the Internet about what is actually happening in the photo. Most of them are fictional, but we will now tell the true story of this frame.

Yogi hypnotizing a chicken, or The story of one unusual picture

Oddly enough, but the photo, which became popular abroad and only then appeared in our country, captures our compatriot who lived in the first half of the 20th century. His name was Vladimir Goltschmidt, and the list of his professions and titles is too long to give it in full.

Yogi hypnotizing a chicken, or The story of one unusual picture

Vladimir himself called himself a "futurist of life" and the first Soviet yogi, but the scope of his work was unusually wide. Goltschmidt was engaged in athletic gymnastics, what we now call power extreme, wrote poetry, prose, paintings, was fond of spiritualism, nudism and many other serious and not very serious things.

In Moscow, this man was known to many – on the street, he towered a head above the passers-by and stood out among them with a muscular figure and ... complete disregard for the seasons. Holzschmitt was always lightly dressed – in a shirt and jacket, and did not wear a hat even in Epiphany frosts. The yogi's fingers were encrusted with massive rings, and bracelets with mysterious amulets jangled on his wrists. In addition, Vladimir often sprinkled his head with gold powder, so as not to get lost in the crowd.

The Futurist of Life made acquaintances with representatives of the creative elite of Moscow and Petrograd, including Mayakovsky and Yesenin. His own poems were terrible, but this did not bother Vladimir in the least, and he often recited them with or without reason. Holzschmidt lived off performances that are difficult to classify in any particular genre.

Yogi hypnotizing a chicken, or The story of one unusual picture

Usually it all started with a lecture about a healthy lifestyle, proper nutrition, physical education and tempering. The yogi and bodybuilder convinced the audience how useful it is to do without a hat and fur coat in winter, and in the morning rub the body with snow and pour water on it. Then Holzschmidt read his own and other people's poems, making everyone feel sad. All the most interesting things, for which the audience gathered, took place under the curtain. Boards were brought out on the stage, which the big man easily broke on his head or broke into splinters with his bare hands.

Then the "futurist of life" lifted weights, broke horseshoes, bent nickels with his fingers and demonstrated other power tricks. Under the mood, Vladimir could treat the guests to something quite extreme, for example, hold your breath for a few minutes or swallow a whole large baked potato.

Yogi hypnotizing a chicken, or The story of one unusual picture

The unassuming audience was delighted with the show, and the more intelligent branded Holzschmidt, calling him a charlatan and a buffoon. Not without incidents. One day, the yogi was so distracted that he told everyone that he no longer needed food and was saturated solely with the energy of prana. Just a couple of days later, the "pranoed" was caught in a grocery store buying sausage and only outstanding physical data saved him from being beaten.

When mass performances did not work out, Holzschmidt gave concerts to those who wanted to at home. Sometimes after that, silverware and jewelry disappeared, but the yogi was never caught by the hand. Once it even came to communicating with the guards of the law and the yogi was taken away for the duration of the investigation, but everything ended well.

Yogi hypnotizing a chicken, or The story of one unusual picture

In 1918, Holzschmidt once again shocked the audience by installing a half-meter plaster monument to himself in front of the Bolshoi Theater. He explained his strange act in a very confusing way, as always, in very bad verses:

If you don't understand anything, don't worry. Then no one understood the yogi, poet and bodybuilder, and his monument was demolished on the same day. Soon Holzschmidt again distinguished himself-went for a walk naked, wearing only rings, as part of the action "Down with shame!". He was accompanied by two naked female fans. The trio of incompetents were immediately arrested and exiled from Moscow.

But the "futurist of life" was not one to be discouraged by such trifles. Excommunicated from the capital, the yogi and showman began to tour Russia and promote his idea: "The truth is one: the life of a person on Earth is the greatest joy." The yogi called his lectures "The Sunny joys of the Body". When he was forgiven and returned to Moscow, he went back to his old ways.

In the late period of Vladimir Goltschmidt's life, the" round-the-world traveler and hypnotist " was often met during his performances in the cities of Central Asia by the artist Viktor Ufimtsev. According to the same Ufimtsev, Goltschmidt died in 1954 "in old age, illness and poverty." 

Yogi hypnotizing a chicken, or The story of one unusual picture

But let's go back to the photo with the chicken. Holzschmidt, among other things, claimed to have a thorough knowledge of hypnosis and believed in it himself. At his performances, he sold postcards and souvenir photos, one of which was a "masterpiece" with a chicken. Where this rare picture was taken by foreign Internet users is difficult to say, but only thanks to them we can remember today about this extraordinary, funny, but generally not a bad person.

Keywords: History | Celebrities | Bodybuilding | Yoga | Poet | Futurism | Monument

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