Back when I began this blog, I had in mind that I would explore those things that interested me, especially in the realm of the unusual and the paranormal. I have, in the past, talked about global warming on Mars (and, apparently on Pluto), how many planets are in the Solar System (eight for those of you who haven’t been keeping track), and if Anna Anderson was really the Russian princess Anastasia. In that column, based on DNA, I thought the answer was no (see In Search Of... Answers in June 2005).
Some disagreed. Although the bodies of the Czar and most of his family had been found ending part of the mystery, two of the children were still missing. That could mean that they had survived and that Anderson could have been Anastasia. Anderson wasn’t the only woman who made this claim. She was merely the most famous. Certainly all of them couldn’t be telling the truth, and as so often happens, it was pretty clear that none of them were.
The story that had circulated for years was that Nicholas II, his wife, five children, a doctor and three servants were killed in the basement of a house where they had been imprisoned after the Russian Revolution. The records of those murders became available to the world after the collapse of the Soviet Union confirming the story that had been a fairly well known "secret". In 1991, the remains of several bodies were found... with a couple of important exceptions.
And, to complicate the story even more, there seems to be some confusion about who was found in 1991. Aleksei, the 13-year-old son, and one of his sisters seemed to be missing from the mass grave. Many believed the missing girl was Anastasia, but others suggested it was her sister, the 19-year-old Maria.
And there the mystery remained until this year. Vitaly Shitov (and yes, that name bothers me too), who is reported to live in the Yekaterinburg (Russia) area where the bodies were found, said that he believed that the two missing children would be located in the same place, just not in the same, common grave. This year, he, and fellow amateur archaeologists discovered, on a raised area about 70 yards from the first grave, a second. It contained two bodies, (or rather bones of two bodies), believed to be those of Aleksei and one of his sisters.
If the information is verified and the DNA tests are conclusive as expected, this ends the mystery once and for all. The Czar and his family were all murdered on that July night in1918. Anastasia did not survive and escape into the West, and the DNA tests on the genetic material of Anna Anderson that proved she wasn’t Anastasia is further confirmed.
I will note one thing here and it is an outgrowth of the tabloid mentality that was so prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s. These supermarket newspapers often made claims that couldn’t be verified, naming experts in foreign lands and providing those experts with degrees from equally vague universities. And this is not to mention the nonsense that circulates on the Internet.
Here we’re dealing with a man living in the region with a name that looks like it was invented for the humor it provides. I believe that this mystery has been solved and I believe it was solved with the DNA tests conducted on Anna Anderson and with the discoveries in the Russia archives and in the Russian fields in the 1990s.
So there is really little doubt. Anna Anderson kept the story going during her life and though many thought we would never learn the truth, science, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and amateur archaeologists have given us the answer. Anna Anderson wasn’t Anastasia. The Czar and his family were all murdered and then buried in two graves that were hidden to prevent them from becoming a rallying point for opponents of the Communists. Another of the mysteries of the 20th Century didn’t survive very long into the 21st.