The Visitor



reputation perform strange
mysterious phenomena reach
leader eager meet/met
uncover fraud message
order (2) show (2) show up
within (2) without pass (3)
invitation document write/wrote/written
whatsoever in fact explicitly
implicitly instruct security
chief block (3) entry
Kremlin heavily lightly
guard place whole
world after issue (2)
sense (2) look up stranger
behind in front of stand/stood
startled press (2) hide/hid/hidden
button (2) alarm ring/rang/rung
bell entire building
second (2) commotion throw/threw/thrown (2)
later personnel dash
immediately surround upon
interrogation reveal indeed
try compound answer
out loud over (2) over and over
again question right before
right (4) appearance only
head (2) secret secret police
feat receive foot/feet


Mysterious Phenomena

Many years ago in Russia, there lived a man who had a reputation for performing strange and mysterious feats.

Word of the man soon reached the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin.

He became eager to meet this person — or uncover him as a fraud.


So Stalin had a message sent to the man. It was an order: show up in Stalin’s office at the Kremlin. Within three days.

The man would not receive a pass, written invitation, or other official documents whatsoever.

In fact Stalin explicitly instructed the security chief to block the man’s entry into the Kremlin (The Kremlin was the most heavily guarded place in the whole world).

The Office Room

Two days after the order was issued, as Stalin worked on his desk, he sensed something. Looking up, he saw a stranger standing in front of him.


Startled, Stalin pressed hidden security buttons. Alarm bells rang out. The entire building was thrown into a commotion.

A few seconds later, security personnel dashed in Stalin’s office. They immediately surrounded the stranger.

Over and Over Again

Upon interrogation, the man revealed that he was indeed Wolf Messing, the person Stalin had ordered to try to enter his compound.

The officials demanded to know how Messing had managed to do what he had done.

He answered: “Before coming to the Kremlin, I would say to myself, out-loud, ‘Beria, Beria, Beria; I am Beria,’ over and over and over again.”

The security officials then questioned Kremlin guards. They said that right before Messing’s appearance in Stalin’s office, the only person who had passed them was the chief of security — and head of the Soviet secret police — Lavrenti Beria.

*     *     *     *     *     *

1. Approximately when did this event take place?

2. Was the main character an “ordinary” person?

3. Stalin was curious about this man. Yes or no?

4. Why do you think the Soviet leader wanted to see him?

5. It was virtually impossible to simply enter the Kremlin. True or false? Why or why not?

6. Was Stalin surprised, shocked and stunned?

7. According to Wolf, how did he gain entry into the Kremlin? According to Wolf,

8. What did the security guards say? The security guards said that……………………

A. What are some possible explanations for what had happened?

B. Could this have any practical applications in everyday life?

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