That odd picture was taken in the Manahan living room in 1969, exactly 30 years before this Web page was created. Jack Manahan and I had been friends for years. Shortly after they married I asked them to pose with something in the room that best represented the new spouse.
Anastasia is holding Jack's invitation to the Richard Nixon Presidential Inauguration. Jack is holding a print illustrating Anastasia's father, Czar Nicholas II.
Individual photos of Jack and Anna that were taken that same day are available on a ceramic mug as an unusual gift or souvenir. You can see them and buy them HERE.
This is the story behind the picture from my newspaper column.
January 12, 1969
B-6 THE DAILY PROGRESS, Charlottesville, Va.
Grounds for Comment
by REY BARRY
Leave the newsroom for Christmas vacation and what happens: astronauts fly to the moon, John Steinbeck dies, and Jack Manahan marries the woman who believes she's the Grand Duchess Anastasia.
Such events cross-comb the hairs of time into tangles it will take many years to unravel. To help historians keep track of the Anastasia affair, we spent an afternoon with the Manahans, recording events on paper and film.
The bare facts first. John E. Manahan, 49, of Albemarle, and Anna Anderson, 67, of Germany took out a marriage license at the Albemarle County Court House on the morning of Dec. 23, 1968. That afternoon, they were married in a civil ceremony by Charlottesville City Sergeant Raymond C. Pace in his office at the Corporation Court House on High Street. Attending the ceremony was Archbishop Gleb Botkin of the Church of Aphrodite, an old friend of the bride.
"Why marry?" was the most obvious question. There were two answers.
Said Jack, the millionaire artifact collector and former bachelor college professor who describes his present activities as farmer, dairyman, writer, lecturer, and gratuitous consultant on matters historical: "I spent five years looking for a wife. We married for congeniality, mutual respect, and because Anastasia likes Virginia and wants to stay here. She had other suitors and preferred me.
"But if you ask her," Jack said as Anastasia listened, "she'll say she married me because she wanted to live in America and her six-month visa expires Jan. 13.
"This isn't true. We had every reason to believe the visa would have been extended automatically for another six months and we have a letter from the immigration service to this effect. After that, a special act of Congress (they're relatively common) could have allowed her to stay probably indefinitely."
Asking Anastasia why she chose to marry after a widowhood of almost 50 years, she frankly stated it was her belief the German embassy wanted her to return to Germany and she preferred to live in America.
Yes, she agreed, the six-month extension was probable, but there are inevitable complications dealing with the German embassy, with officials in Bonn, and with officials in her home district in Germany.
Also, she later noted, her house in Germany which she believed was fully paid for, now mysteriously has a mortgage for which settlement is demanded. Her financial affairs in Germany had been handled by friends, she said, and the state of her finances were often an unhappy perplexity.
"People lived on me as though I were the milk cow of Europe," she complained later at dinner.
"Jack is a highly agreeable and nice person," she said after discussing a list of past suitors that included a relative of the king of Denmark and a Californian named Finnegan. It was noticed that above the Manahan fireplace, bracketing a Christmas card from Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley, were two Christmas cards signed Don Finnegan.
Jack said he first met Anastasia last July when she came to the United States for her first visit here since the late 1920's. He'd been interested in the Anastasia vs. history affair for 10 years, he said, and earlier this year invited Anastasia sight unseen to come to Virginia as his guest.
(The name Anastasia is being used here for convenience. Mrs. Manahan, the former Anna Anderson, has claimed for more than 50 years to be the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II of Russia who, historians generally hold, was murdered along with his whole family during the Bolshevik revolution.
(Mrs. Manahan maintains she survived the family slaughter and the truth of her claim is a point of honest debate among those with the most complete knowledge of the affair. One effect of her claim is that no history of the Czar and the Russian revolution can discuss the family murder with accuracy now without a reference to Anna Anderson, at least by footnote.)
Money is often mentioned in connection with the Anastasia affair since the Czar supposedly deposited 10 million rubles or more in the Bank of England before the revolution, money that supposedly has grown through interest to an amount some estimate at $28 million or less, but by others at more than $80 million.
One source is on record stating the Bank of England has no account for the Czar, but Anastasia says he had money in banks all over the world. Manahan said a small amount of cash was distributed to near relatives of the Czar in 1928, and 10 years later six members of the Romanov family received cash "advances" of about $140,000 each. He declines to speculate how much might be available to the Romanov survivors but believes no distribution of funds will occur during Anastasia's lifetime.
It might be noted here that Anna Anderson Manahan is merely the best known and most widely recognized of several claimants to the Anastasia title, most of whom have written books, sold stories to magazines, or otherwise announced their claims.
There was also a woman in Holland who shortly before her recent death claimed to be a secret, hitherto unknown fifth daughter of the Czar whom historians believe had only four daughters and one son.
This is mentioned only because Manahan thinks the truth of the Dutch claim is not out of the question. The case of Anastasia vs. history has many facets.
What are the Manahans' plans for the future?
"We'll live in Virginia," Jack said, "and perhaps do some traveling. I'd like to spend some time in Germany."
"France," suggested Anastasia, "maybe we go to France. We live here in town, or we live with my cats on Jack's farm in the country, we live everywhere.
"Except Russia. I never go back to Russia"
Would you like an Anna Anderson VIVA ANASTASIA bumper sticker with her picture?
Maria Rasputin's Endorsement and Her Interview
Among the scores of people who knew Anastasia as a little girl at home in her palace was Maria Rasputin, daughter of the infamous Gregori Rasputin. Maria was 3 years older and, according to Gleb Botkin, an unimpeachable source, they played together. They shared memories no one but Maria and the genuine Anastasia knew.
Maria met with Anna Anderson on Tuesday, August 13, 1968. They talked in private and when they returned, Maria declared Anna Anderson was the real Anastasia. I was there and heard her say it. My notes show that among other things, Maria said, "She reminded me of things I had forgotten...There was one time I was dressed up like a Red Cross nurse, the kind who accompanied wounded troops home on the trains. I'd entirely forgotten the incident until being reminded."
That and much more were in my front page story reporting Rasputin's endorsement.
In November Maria returned to Virginia to talk Anastasia into coming to Los Angeles for the party circuit. Hollywood parties and dining out were the schtick of Maria's longtime patron, an ego-driven Hearst Publications writer named Patte Barham. Be Anna royalty or not, she acted like a Grand Duchess and flatly refused to dine out on her persona.
(She wouldn't be caught dead in Los Angeles, Jack later said.)
Anna turned Maria and Patte down, so Patte told Maria to withdraw her endorsement. The withdrawal was not in Charlottesville, where reporters aware of the inside story would have done the questioning. It was done at a Washington, DC, airport before low level society page bimbos, as Patte anticipated.
Yet the night before they told an entirely different story. After they visited Anna in November, and with the endorsement 100% in force, I took Maria and Patte to dinner and an interview which I wrote up in my newspaper column published Sunday, Nov. 17, 1968.
The title "Kind Rasputin" is a triple entendre, two in English and one in German.
We had a pleasant encounter with history last week by taking the daughter of Rasputin, "the mad monk of Russia," to the Gaslight for a hamburger.
She was in town over the weekend with her friend Patricia Barham, a film and theatre columnist from Los Angeles. While here, they tried and failed to get the apparent Grand Duchess Anastasia to leave her Albemarle County farm for L.A. smog.
The apparent Grand Duchess is, of course, Anna Anderson, the woman who has claimed for 50 years to be the surviving daughter of the last Russian royal family.
If you missed the social news of the summer, Anna moved here from Germany in August and may settle permanently in Albemarle.
Rasputin's daughter, Maria, has been in the U.S. since 1937 and in Los Angeles since 1965. As was reported during her earlier visit here in August, she came to this country as a circus animal trainer with Ringling Bros.
We learned this trip she was a member of the Hagenbach Brothers animal act, a job she took after several years touring Europe as a Russian folk dancer.
Making a living was a problem for Russian emigres during the 20s and 30s and Maria grabbed at an offer to go on the stage. Girls like Maria who spent their childhood having tea with the Czar's children every Wednesday weren't trained to make a living, but Maria had some talent and endless spunk, it appears.
For although Maria was mauled by a bear in Peru, Indiana, she stayed with the circus until the traveling show played Miami, Florida, where she quit and went to work as a riveter in a defense shipyard, she related Saturday night.
She stayed in defense plant work until 1955 when she was laid off because of her age, 66. Since then she has been working in hospitals and baby sitting for friends.
Since credibility gap had yawned intrusively into the conversation, we asked her how she got into the animal training game, and where she got the courage to whip up on lions and tigers. She learned in London, was her unelaborated answer though she noted, "After you've been the target of a revolution, nothing scares you anymore."
Gregori Rasputin, her father, was tied in with the Russian royal court as religious advisor.
That lasted until personal enemies decided Rasputin-style religion was going too far and they ended him in a legendary assassination said to involve poisoning, stabbing, and drowning.
Maria said she had it rough in the Bolshevik revolution the year after her father was murdered and eventually left Russia for Berlin, Bucharest, Paris, London, and Miami.
Her English vocabulary isn't all it might be, she readily admits. She says she speaks Russian best but also German and French. When the time came to write a book - and virtually every notable Russian emigre wrote at least one in the decade 1925-1935 - she dictated her memoirs and the result was, "My Father," an anecdotal book on Rasputin published in 1932.
Her friend Pat Barham is in the throws of re-write on a second Rasputin book based on Maria's recollections. She intends to call it, "The Rape of Rasputin" and described it as "sexsational and exciting" but not funny.
Maria claims a leaning to be psychic and Pat affirms that on election morning two weeks ago, Maria said that Mrs. Richard Nixon had come to her in a dream and smiled. Maria has "signs" like that often, Pat said.
"Little Mother," Pat calls Maria for her continual worrying about handbags within reach of strangers in restaurants, suitcases open in hotel rooms, and columnists getting a comfortable chair for interviews.
Since being interviewed is an old game for Rasputin's only legitimate daughter, she talks willingly and seemingly without reservation. This prompted Gaslight owner John Tuck to volunteer that the father of one of his boyhood chums was one of the band of assassins that did Rasputin in.
"Why didn't he like my father?" Maria asked with genuine curiosity. John didn't know, or at least didn't say.
"My father was a kind man," Maria later said when we returned to her hotel. "Once he was savagely attacked by the most powerful newspaper in Russia. Friends asked why he didn't close the paper down since he could have done it like this," she said with a snap of fingers.
"Let them write about me," her father reportedly said. "Let them make money." Maria described him as "a kind man who would never have closed the paper."
Historians may not agree Rasputin was kind but there's no doubt Maria is thoughtful. "When you leave the hotel, stop at the desk," she said as the interview closed.
We did and found waiting a pot of white chrysanthemums to carry home through the season's first snow flurry.
I took a photo of Maria and Anna and put it on a ceramic mug for sale at Zazzle. You can get it here.
Grigori Effimovich, aka Rasputin
The name Rasputin in Russian does not mean "licentious," as is sometimes said, though there's a similar Russian adjective "rasputnii" with that meaning. Most historians agree that his name signifies, roughly, a place where two rivers meet, which describes the area from which the Rasputin family originates. It is said that Rasputin tried to have his name changed to the inconspicuous "Novykh" ("New Man") after his first pilgrimage to the Holy Land, but this is a subject of dispute. Rasputin today is a common surname without negative connotations, as the contemporary Russian writer, Valentin Rasputin, would be quick to explain.
The Royal Children
Five photos whose authenticity is beyond question
This is one of the most famous photos of the 5 Romanov kiddies, taken around 1916. Clockwise from top are Tatiana, Anastasia, Olga, Alexei, and Maria. The photo is famous because LIFE magazine used it on the cover Oct. 18, 1963. In that issue LIFE put its prestige behind one of the weaker claimants to being Anastasia, Eugenia Smith of Chicago. Perhaps Anna Anderson snubbed Claire Booth Luce. Such was LIFE.
Anastasia Romanov before 1917 - - Anna Anderson approximately 1923 - - Anna Anderson 1968
Newly-discovered picture shows Nicholas II with 15-year-old Anastasia
in Mogilyov sharing a cigarette.
Gleb Bodkin's 1930 photo (and his caption) of "Anastasia Tschaikowsky" from his book The Real Romanovs. After meeting her, the son of the czar's court physician believed totally that she was the Grand Duchess Anastasia he knew as a girl. His book describes the intrigues behind denying her recognition.
THE DNA TESTS AFTER ANNA ANDERSON MANAHAN DIED
Many people are convinced the widely-reported DNA testing that was done on tissue and hair that was said to be Anna's proved nothing.
While the DNA testing itself was done by honest professionals, the samples they were given to test were almost certainly rigged. The DNA experts had no way to know that, and they said as much.
The truth is, there's no evidence the tissue and hair they tested actually came from Anna Manahan.
Briefly, here's the case for Anna before the DNA tests
Such evidence does not die with Anna.
- Anna was thoroughly convinced and convincing that she was Anastasia
- Anna matched Anastasia's physical measurements, including the unique scars
- Anna evidently had the memories Anastasia had
- In the most trying or the least trying of circumstances, Anna was
always in character
- The people who knew the Grand Duchess back in Russia - at least those who had nothing to lose if she were proven to be alive - all swore Anna was Anastasia
Here's a letter to another newspaper, the Cville Weekly
printed Dec. 18, 1998, summarizing reasons to reject the DNA findings.
Most folks have come to accept that Anna Anderson Manahan was not
But not everyone.
The few still questioning it have more going for them than small numbers
For one, none of the DNA findings would be acceptable as evidence in a US
court due to grievous flaws in provenance and possession.
Of the samples termed "Anna Manahan DNA," only one has any serious claim to
authenticity - the piece of intestine.
The hair? No one knows the origin of the hair. The world is relying on,
"Hey, a North Carolina shopkeeper who outbid everyone else for cartons of
Jack's books packed by Althea Hurt, says he found a box of hair in one
carton. Trust me: he did, and it's Anna Manahan's hair."
Is there a court anywhere in the world that would allow that as evidence?
We can accept that the North Carolina book dealer is not churning publicity
to generate payback for his high bid. We can believe that Althea Hurt
doesn't know a box of hair from a book.
But we know Jack Manahan as legendary for being a life-long packrat. The
hair could have belonged to his mother, or could easily be one of the
thousands of curios he bought on his habitual buying trips here and abroad.
Only our romantic simplicity makes it Anna's hair.
So it's the intestine we rely on, kept under lock and key and anonymously
cataloged at Martha Jefferson Hospital. Not at UVa Hospital, where with
the most careful cataloging they still managed to switch babies. At Martha
Jefferson a mistake is ... impossible.
But Martha Jeff is in Charlottesville and the DNA test was done in England.
In the course of getting it from here to there the sample passed from hand
to hand. So much for the thread of secure possession. For all anyone knows,
the worldwide Russian Nobility Association could have provided a substitute courier
for a brief but important few hours.
Conspiracy theory: Is it reasonable to think this group of Romanovs ignored
the travel route of that telltale tissue, considering they had already committed a
fortune and more than 50 years to discredit Anna Anderson's claim? The truth is, with
Anderson dead, discrediting is more important now than when she was alive.
Had the Anderson DNA checked out, Manahan heir Althea Hurt, who already
demonstrated she will fight for her property rights all the way to the
supreme court, could lodge a legal claim to much of what these distant
relatives of the Czar inherited since 1917. They remain unchallenged heirs
to their prized possessions only so long as there is no proven survivor of
the Romanov family massacre. This is to ignore?
So far as the respected professionals associated with the DNA testing, had
that substitution in transit happened none of them would know. Everything
they are saying is the truth as far as they know it.
Jump ahead now to January, 2004, and the British medical journal Annals of Human Biology. An article there casts doubt on some DNA samples against which Anna Manahan's were compared. The DNA is said to have been too well preserved, and contaminated with "fresh" DNA. The link to read the abstract summary is
here . This is what I found there:
Annals of Human Biology - Publisher: Taylor & Francis Health Science. January 28, 2004 - Abstract:
Background: A set of human remains unearthed near Ekaterinburg, Russia has been attributed to the Romanov Imperial Family of Russia and their physician and servants. That conclusion was officially accepted by the Russian government following publication of DNA tests that were widely publicized. The published study included no discussion of major forensic discrepancies and the information regarding the burial site and remains included irregularities. Furthermore, its conclusion of Romanov identity was based on molecular behaviour that indicates contamination rather than endogenous DNA. The published claim to have amplified by PCR a 1223 bp region of degraded DNA in a single segment for nine individuals and then to have obtained sequence of PCR products derived from that segment without cloning indicates that the Ekaterinburg samples were contaminated with non-degraded, high molecular weight, 'fresh' DNA.
Aim: Noting major violations of standard forensic practices, factual inconsistencies, and molecular behaviours that invalidate the claimed identity, we attempted to replicate the findings of the original DNA study.
Subject: We analysed mtDNA extracted from a sample of the relic of Grand Duchess Elisabeth, sister of Empress Alexandra.
Results: Among clones of multiple PCR targets and products, we observed no complete mtDNA haplotype matching that reported for Alexandra. The consensus haplotype of Elisabeth differs from that reported for Alexandra at four sites.
Conclusion: Considering molecular and forensic inconsistencies, the identity of the Ekaterinburg remains has not been established. Our mtDNA haplotype results for Elisabeth provide yet another line of conflicting evidence regarding the identity of the Ekaterinburg remains.
[See footnotes below]
Summary - and where I stand
A brief anecdote. One day in 1977 I joined Manahan and some German prince for lunch at the Hardware Store, a Charlottesville restaurant. The royal was a Romanov here to visit with Anna. He was balding and I joked to Jack that his hairbrush would hold very few Romanov DNA souvenirs for Jack to collect. For Jack and for the royal there was nothing out of the ordinary in that remark.
So here's my summary.
In science it's usually safest to look for the simple answer. When money
and royalty are involved, the simple answer is usually wrong.
Beyond question, Anna Anderson believed she was the Grand Duchess Anastasia. Her bodily scars and damage were 100% consistent with Anastasia's. She possessed information only Anastasia would have known. Until we discover she learned these things in some other way, I believe Anna Anderson was Anastasia and the crucial DNA sample was switched in transit.
Witnesses said she survived the Romanov family massacre because the jewels sewn into her clothing acted as a bullet-proof vest. She and the jewels were smuggled out of Russia by Alexander Tchaikovsky, a conscripted soldier who was part of the unit assigned to dispose of the bodies.
Eventually she surfaced in Berlin, mentally unstable. Her attempt for recognition by her relatives was thwarted by reports, some by her, of Romanov wealth secreted away by the Tsar for his children in an English bank. If Anna achieved recognition, the fortune would go to her and not to the relatives she needed for recognition. So they refused. By the time the great wealth was found to be not so great, sides had been taken, positions had been staked out, hearts broken could not be mended, and the past was doomed to be prologue.
In the 1920s there was a much greater reason than money for one powerful, wealthy Romanov to deny recognition. The real Anastasia knew he had secretly been a traitor in 1916, and so did Anna Anderson. But that's beyond the scope of this page. The Real Romanovs by Gleb Botkin is one book that relates the details.
Late in life Anna married an American, Jack Manahan. When she died, Jack became her heir. Jack grew dotty in his dotage and before he died, he named as his heir a young woman believed, rightly or wrongly, to be a fortune hunter. She wasn't, but she showed great tenacity in fighting off challenges to Jack's will. By winning it all she came into enough wealth (millions) to pursue Romanov claims around the world for the rest of her life, should Anna Anderson be proven to be the genuine article. And this heir is a lawyer.
This echoed the situation of the 1920s when the son fathered by Alexander Tchaikovsky was considered a loose cannon heir who could deprive relatives of the Tsar and Tsarina of rank and inheritance.
All over again in the 1990s disproving Anna's claim became a burning issue among Romanovs. This new heir's ability to pursue Anna's claims rested - not on Romanov family acceptance - but merely on Anna passing a DNA test. If Anna passed, suits to recover past dispersals could begin, and the entire Romanov family would be insecure in their possessions.
The intestine tissue sample went from Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia, to the UK by mail, and passed through many hands including customs before it reached the lab. Some of the most well-entrenched, influential, and resourceful people in Europe, including English royalty, had a huge interest in that package. Because it went by mail, no one can say with certainty that the piece of intestine that began the trip is the same piece of intestine that was delivered.
All we know is that powerful people desperately needed the DNA test to fail.
To the relief of Romanovs everywhere, that tissue sample failed the Romanov DNA test. It matched, they said, the DNA of Franziska Schwanzkowska, an unschooled, certified insane Polish factory worker with no Romanov connections and no access to the inside information everyone agrees Anna Anderson knew.
That they happened to have Franziska's family DNA available for comparison is another tie to the Romanov machinations of the 1920s, and the latest link in the long chain of plausible denial.
Missing from my work here is information about Jack Manahan, a fascinating man. Others have collected history and anecdotes about him, which I added to this page for fear it could disappear from the web and be lost to us.
Jack Eacott Manahan - Remembering the czar of Charlottesville eccentrics
by WILLIAM O. TUCKER JR., published July 5, 2007
"I've been waiting since the day Jack Manahan died," began the letter published May 10, 1990 in the Charlottesville Observer, "to see either an article or a letter. Perhaps the New York Times had a piece. He certainly deserved it. He was, after all, royalty. Not because he was married to Anastasia, but because he was the king of us Charlottesville eccentrics.
[Footnotes to the Annals of Human Biology abstract]
"He was our monarch not because he carried a dog food bag for a briefcase, not because he lived in houses overflowing with books, antiques, dogs, and cats and not because, given the slightest opportunity, he could tell almost anyone the name of their uncle twice removed.
"No, he was king because he left us all more alive with his effervescent good nature, his odd acts of charity, his wondrously weird speeches, and so much more. He woke us up from the common-placeness that is the plague of our age.
"I'd give a lot to hear him come into my bookshop and ask one more time, 'Sandy, have you Evan Meechum's book on the territorial rights of the Algonquins and their sisters in western Pennsylvania?'
"All of us need more people around us like Jack Manahan. I won't forget him. He woke me up."--Sandy McAdams, Charlottesville
John Eacott Manahan was probably Charlottesville's best-loved eccentric. Aside from his marriage to Anna "Anastasia" Anderson, he was truly a larger-than-life person. But the life story of the man many Charlottesville residents knew only as an amusing "character" is interesting and impressive.
A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he held high posts in several prestigious organizations such as the presidency of the Huguenot Society of Manakin. He received his bachelor's, master's (government), and doctoral (history) degrees from UVA. His father was a longtime dean of UVA's School of Education.
Jack's law studies at Harvard were interrupted by war. He attended Officer Candidate School at Columbia and Notre Dame, where, out of 969 midshipmen, he graduated ninth. He was number one in ordnance, number three in navigation, thirteenth in seamanship-- but way down in engineering.
Following a two-year tour in the Navy during WWII, Jack began his teaching career in 1946 at Radford College. He also later taught history and political science at Massanutten Military Academy, the University of Maryland, and the College of Charleston in South Carolina. He worked and taught for UVA's Extension Division (now Continuing Education) from 1948 to 1955.
Almost every longtime Charlottesville resident over 50 knew or has heard stories about Jack. An employee at The Daily Progress says Jack often ordered food from Ken Johnson's Cafeteria (located near the site of what is now Ruby Tuesday's along Emmet Street), and when he went in to get the take-out trays, he'd stuff his pockets with condiments. Then he and Anastasia would sit in the car in the parking lot and eat their dinner, of which potatoes were always a part.
Anastasia believed the KGB wanted to kill her, and among other weird aversions, she would not eat from anything metal. Which explains why their battered old station wagon was always full of empty Styrofoam trays. Sandy McAdams says that once on a visit to his bookstore, Jack raised the back door of the vehicle, a 1968 Ford Futura, to reveal a box of puppies among the jumble of styrofoam. About a decade ago, McAdams pointed to a dog at his feet and told the story.
"That's where I got my dog," he said. "Anastasia was there, and Jack said, 'How can you go wrong with the offspring of a duchess?'"
Another Charlottesville man tells a story about being in Alderman Library doing research on his thesis in the 1980s, late in Jack's life when things were starting to slip. As he ambled by, other students stared at Jack with his untied shoes and disheveled clothes as they would a street person. But the thesis-writer squelched the snickers by announcing, "You just saw the son-in-law of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia."
After her famous 1920 rescue from a suicide attempt in a Berlin Canal, Anna Anderson spent decades living with European well-wishers and trying to prove that she was Anastasia Romanov, the youngest child of Nicholas and Alexandra, the one miraculous survivor of the royal family's execution by the Bolsheviks.
Her suit against members of Romanov family to prove her claims dragged through the German courts until 1970, when the German supreme court declared that her allegations could be "neither established nor refuted."
Two years earlier, she had shown up in Charlottesville shortly before her six-month American visa was to expire. Jack and Anna were married at the Albemarle County Courthouse on December 23, 1968 in a civil ceremony performed by Charlottesville police sergeant Raymond Pace.
Soon the longtime bachelor's living quarters, a small Italianate house on University Circle, began to deteriorate. Many stories and articles in local media detail the numbers of animals and shocking conditions inside and outside the house. In The File on the Czar, Anthony Summers and Tom Mangold write about a 1974 visit:
"The street is the epitome of American suburban affluence, but one house stands out. The garden is wild and untended, high grass spreads across the path, and creeper bars the way to the front door, in a way that suggests visitors are few and rarely welcome."
They authors find Dr. John Manahan. "He is in his fifties, crew cut, and paunch– a conventional American male who has let the conventions slip a little. The suit is baggy," they write, "the tie egg-stained.
"He says he has spent the day cleaning for our arrival, but the living room is still an extraordinary muddle. In the center, incongruously, is a huge tree stump; on the walls old pictures recalling the glories of imperial Russia contend in cramped space with bric-a-brac and childish daublings; over everything hangs the pervasive smell of cats. The balcony, which should be a pleasant place to contemplate the view, is piled high with a mountain of potatoes which have overwhelmed their container– a large plastic bath.
"All this," says Manahan, "is how Anastasia chooses to live."
Although he's rich, and although this is America, the potatoes remain because his wife feared being hungry in the winter. The stump recalls her time in the Black Forest, and the cats– well, the cats are there simply because "Anastasia's life is centered on her cats."
(Oddly, the Manahan family motto is Felis Demulcta Mitis: "The stroked cat is gentle.")
In a 1990 C-ville Review article, Overton McGehee (writing under a pseudonym) relates that Anastasia believed human souls were reincarnated in animals when they died, and animal souls were reincarnated in humans.
"When the cats were sick, Jack had to sneak them out in the middle of the night to take them to the vet," McGehee reported. "The explanation was quite simple. The cats were Anastasia's reincarnated friends. Obviously, you don't take Russian nobility to the veterinarian, even a Charlottesville veterinarian."
McGehee's article also mentions the stump. He said his uncle told him about the night Jack and Anastasia stopped to chat, and his uncle asked Jack why there was a tree stump on the station wagon roof. Jack explained that they needed to take it to the dump. McGehee's uncle offered to tie it down, but Jack declined the offer. Then he drove off slowly, careful not to tax the wagon beyond its physical endurance.
Was it the same stump? During competency hearings for Anna in 1983, the Daily Progress reported, Jack testified that Anna did not like strangers and believed that artificially heated houses spread germs and disease. A more logical explanation about the stump was supplied by a neighbor when the furnace in the house was broken.
Even though Jack was well off on paper, he didn't seem to have much cash. So he would drag pieces of wood-- from limbs to whole trees-- into the house and feed them into the fireplace.
But wood wasn't all that was burned there. The neighbor-- like a young man who testified at a later trial-- reported that if one of the 20-plus cats died, Anastasia cremated it in the fireplace. Evidently that was okay since its soul had departed.
Dining out with the Manahans must have been unusual. Summers and Mangold continue in The File on the Czar:
"At dinner in an eminently respectable country club, Anastasia wears a synthetic raincoat– and keeps it on throughout the meal. She clutches a rain hat filled with silver foil, ready to wrap leftover meat from dinner, which she scoops up and saves for those feline friends of hers."
In an article in the September 1993 issue of Lynchburg's Scene magazine, Betty Reid Page described having a strange luncheon with Anastasia and Jack in 1982: "Jack sat at the booth with his napkin tucked in at the neck of his shirt below his several chins. Anastasia ordered strong, hot tea and put 12 spoons of sugar into the cup and then poured a little at a time into the saucer and drank it."
Page added, "Anastasia ate a little of her lunch. Then she took a large handbag, opened it, and scraped the rest of the food inside. Into the bag, on top of her glasses case, charge cards and coin purse went the remains of a pork chop, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, and a bit of cherry cobbler." Jack, unperturbed, explained, "She's taking the food home to her cats."
But by the 1970s, neighbors on University Circle had had it with the cats-- and the refuse buildup on the Manahan property.
An August 30, 1978 article in the Progress reported that six neighbors had sworn out warrants against the couple for failure to maintain clean and sanitary premises, allowing their dogs to roam, and allowing weeds and brush to grow in excess of 18 inches. And there were odors.
The article noted that two years earlier Jack had explained it all in an interview, "Anastasia sets refuse traps around the house to keep away unwanted visitors. The traps include banana peels, firewood, and other large objects."
At trial, Jack attempted to prove that he was innocent of the charge of rat harborage by showing a pristine caribou antler. He reasoned that it was a well-known fact that rodents gnaw on antlers, and that since these antlers had been stored in his basement for years with no gnawing, he couldn't be guilty of rat harborage.
The judge disallowed the motion and fined the Manahans $1,750.
"Anastasia often sits in a car and screams at all hours of the day or night," read an October 13, 1983, article in the Progress. The doors on the Manahans' unheated home remain open, it said, and "the couple's property is in poor condition, witnesses testified."
A former neighbor said that most of the screams she heard were Anastasia yelling for Jack. For some reason she always called him "Hans." One source says Anastasia let out a piercing scream in his presence, and he asked Jack what was wrong. He said, "Oh, you know those Russians– they're never happy unless they're miserable."
Despite the filth and the quirks, a letter in the Progress after Jack's 1990 death shows the reverence many felt for him. "On the afternoon of March 25, nearly 300 people crowded into the Westminster Presbyterian Church to demonstrate their affection for a great soul, Dr. John E. Manahan (as he deserved to be addressed, though he preferred to be called ‘Jack' by his many friends). Jack was always a gentleman, always courteous, always considerate. The one word that best describes him (if a complex human being can be so summed up) would be ‘kindness.'
"It will be hard to think of Charlottesville now without Jack Manahan," closed the writer, Francis W. Springer.
Jack was unquestionably a bold historian. In a wide-ranging interview with Barclay Rives in the January-March 1988 issue of Albemarle, Jack stated that he knew many of the world's great secrets. He said not many people knew that Jefferson's motto was "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."
Another secret he revealed: "The stock market crash on October 19  was planned because that's Yorktown Victory Day. That's the main day of the year for me. I always go to Yorktown, but I didn't get there this year." The connection with the stock market crash was not explained, like so many things in Jack's life.
Jack's specialty, though, was genealogy. He had 25,000 books on the subject, perhaps the largest collection on the East Coast. McGehee's 1990 article provided an example of his encyclopedic knowledge. Jack related the 18th century story of a frightened three-or four-year old boy abandoned on a dock near today's present-day Hopewell.
The mysterious boy was able to communicate little beyond the fact that he was named Pietro Francisco. He was raised by the family of a Cumberland County judge and grew up to fight in the American Revolution, including many battles against Colonel Banastre Tarleton's raiders. He grew so big and was so heroic that he was dubbed "the Virginia giant."
"Many years later," McGehee wrote, "the old war hero was honored with the post of Sergeant of Arms at the Virginia General Assembly. Still no one knew from whence he came, not even Francisco himself. That knowledge had to wait until Jack Manahan came along.
"[Jack] went to an island in the Azores where many people are unusually large. Sure enough, there was a record of Pietro Francisco, who had vanished at the age of four. Today, buttressed by Jack's research, Portuguese-American communities celebrate Peter Francisco Day, in honor of the first Portuguese-American hero."
Jack became interested in Anastasia, 21 years his senior, through Gleb Botkin, son of the Czar's family physician. Botkin's father had been murdered by the Bolsheviks along with the royal family in 1918. Botkin had known Anastasia as a child and supported Jack's wife's claim that she was the Czar's daughter. He escaped from Russia during the early months of the revolution and came to New York to be near his children. Botkin founded "The Church of Aphrodite"-- which was more philosophy than religion-- and gave himself the title of Archbishop.
When his house in New Jersey burned, the Reverend Botkin moved to Charlottesville to be with his daughter, Marina, and he served as Jack's best man when Jack married Anastasia.
Former journalist Rey Barry has written that Jack was entranced with Anastasia's story-- which Jack came to believe and champion-- and that was his main reason to marry. Her interest may have been that she wanted an identity and a way to stay in this country because her visa was set to expire on January 13, 1969. Jack apparently loved and took good care of her for as long as he was able.
Anastasia told many stories about her history. She long insisted that her many abdominal scars came from Bolshevik bullets and bayonets. As she grew older in Charlottesville and was contending with severe arthritis and anemia on top of what appeared to be mental problems, she recounted a new version of the story of her family's survival and her own miraculous escape. Each member of the family had doubles, she said, and they were the ones executed in 1918.
"Her story, even her champions concede, is made less believable and appealing by her obstinacy, contradictory evidence, and paranoia," wrote the late Libby Wilson (Elizabeth Zintl Wilson) in a front page Progress article in 1983.
That year, Anna's condition had worsened such that in October, when both of the Manahans were found suffering from Rocky Mountain spotted fever in the living room of the University Circle house, a Charlottesville judge appointed a legal guardian for her, and he had her admitted to the University's Blue Ridge Hospital psychiatric ward. Jack was able to take care of himself but not her.
Then, on Tuesday, November 29, 1983, the story of Jack and Anna took a bizarre turn: Jack abducted her from the facility.
Once again, the story of a missing princess roiled the media and rekindled interest in the Anastasia legend. "Authorities stymied in search for Manahans," read one Progress headline. Three days later, Anna and Jack were found living in the beat-up blue station wagon parked in front of an abandoned Amherst farmhouse screened from Route 29 by trees.
The station wagon had broken down, and Jack had been walking back and forth between the car and Pappy's restaurant in Amherst where people had become suspicious and called the police. Even though it was December, the deputy who drove them back to Charlottesville said he had to keep the windows open because of the stench-- the enfeebled Anna had not had the use of a bathroom. Jack said he abducted her because he was afraid she would be stuck in a mental institution. A source alleges that Jack paid an attendant at the hospital $1,500 for assistance in spiriting his wife away.
Two months later, Anastasia died of pneumonia at Martha Jefferson Hospital. Jack said she was "just worn out." A friend says Jack went on and on at her funeral at the University of Virginia chapel about all her "royal" friends who knew she was Anastasia but had let her down. Her remains were cremated and sent back to Castle Seeon in Bavaria where she once lived. She also has a headstone near the Manahan plot in the UVA cemetery.
Up until the day she died, February 12, 1984, Anastasia had never been able to prove she was a Romanov. So there was nothing to inherit from Anastasia. Jack, however, had inherited various properties after his parents died in 1966, including Fairview Farm near Scottsville, a 660-acre estate including an elegant manor house, buildings, farm equipment, and cattle. It became the source of many headaches.
In a signed but undated document filed in the basement of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, Jack recites the "untoward happenings" that occurred at Fairview between 1966 and 1982. He stated that 33 people lived on the farm until 1972, and 15 people lived there until 1982. During the period from '72 to '82, the house and farm were vandalized and burglarized. Valuable antiques, furnishings, farm equipment, and garden ornaments were stolen. Timber was cut without permission, and his dogs were killed. He said that hardware was ripped from doors and window latches, and commodes, gates, and bedding were stolen.
"To date 41 of our dogs are missing without trace of body," Jack wrote. "Twenty more have been found dead-- all under mysterious circumstances. One lived with two bullet tracks and one thirty-aught six bullet removed by the veterinary at a cost of $78." He also had problems with the Confederate Angels motorcycle gang who came out from Richmond to hold wild parties and vandalize the property.
Since his family had owned the farm for many years, there are people still living in and around Scottsville who remember Jack as a child and throughout his life. At a lunch at Lumpkins Restaurant, six people gathered to share stories about Jack. ("They have good food, and it's stylish," Jack was quoted in the 1988 Albemarle article.) For almost two hours the group swapped interesting memories. Some were funny, some sad, and some were insightful about the ways Jack was unique.
Jack's father, the UVA School of Education Dean, was said to be an autocratic, aloof man who wasn't well liked, even by some fellow faculty members, and one in the Lumpkins group said the dean was disappointed in his son. Another said Jack's father was very tight with money and told him he was leaving everything to Jack in trust because Jack didn't know how to manage money.
Jack's mother, however, was just the opposite. She was "an elegant, lovely lady-- kind and caring-- not like his father," one of the lunchers noted. She evidently served as a buffer between Jack and her husband. One member of the lunch group said Jack collected butterflies when he was young, but added, "He wasn't effeminate."
They said Jack gave "tea parties" at Fairview where people came and stood around and chatted as though they were at a normal tea party-- except that instead of tea and scones, Jack served Kool-Aid and store-bought cookies.
Virginia Lumpkin recalled one Christmas Eve when Jack came into her restaurant. For some reason, he had to go back out to the truck to ask Anastasia something. She said she heard Anastasia cussing Jack with words she couldn't believe. But when Anastasia saw her, she immediately smiled and said, "Hello, Mrs. Lumpkin," in a most pleasant and polite manner.
One in the group was a neighbor of Jack's who reported the trouble she and other neighbors had with Jack's cattle getting out and causing significant damage to her lawn and formal gardens. Even though she was fond of Jack (she had known him most of his life), she finally had to take him to court. Jack didn't show up at the first or second court dates, and when he did finally appear, he asked during the middle of the proceedings if he could go out and check on his wife who was sitting in the truck. The judge allowed him to leave-- but Jack didn't come back.
When the trial resumed at a later date, Jack interrupted so often that he had to be told he couldn't speak unless it was his turn. The aggrieved neighbor had asked for $1,120 in damages, but somehow it was agreed that $800 would be an acceptable compromise. The neighbor said Jack came by later when she wasn't home and slipped a check under her door with a letter of apology about the cows.
But the saga continued. Although Jack ultimately had to sell the cows, actually herding them was another matter. A group assembled at Fairview to round up the cows and asked Jack where they were. Jack thought for a moment and said, "My cattle go around the farm in a clockwise fashion. On Friday, they were over there [pointing]. This is Tuesday, so they should be over there."
Even though they ended up not being at the designated spot, the cattle were finally rounded up and sold.
During the period from 1985 to his 1990 death, Jack's life continued to be punctuated by the problems at Fairview. Many in Scottsville remember picking Jack up on the Belmont Bridge and giving him a ride south on Route 20. He usually had a large bag of dog food for the dogs in the country.
A Progress article relates that the county dog warden had complaints about 28 wild dogs that threatened people and chased livestock and that he was authorized to kill dogs that did not have licenses or shots. The warden said it was difficult to get in touch with Jack because he didn't have a telephone. "The best way to find him," the warden was quoted, is to "go along VA 20 where he's often hitch-hiking."
An elderly lady from Scottsville– the epitome of proper Southern manners– relates a tale of her own. She says she stopped and offered Jack a ride. Jack came around to her window and looked at her and said, "I don't know you. I'm not riding with you."
An article in the Progress on September 17, 1987, related the story of a 103-year-old tenant being sued by Jack for back rent. Elbert Radford said he was born on Shakespeare's birthday – April 23-- in 1884. He said he paid Jack $100 in advance in July. The case was continued because Jack didn't show up. It said he had been hospitalized for stress since a fire had gutted part of his mansion. He apparently suffered a minor stroke as a result of the stress.
Jack's love of history was matched only by his peculiar relationships with women, and not just Anastasia.
In a court battle over his will, an article in the Progress on June 10, 1994, stated "Neuropsychiatrist Gregory O'Shanick of Richmond testified that Manahan had a history of psychotic delusions that began in 1944 when, as a 24-year-old, he was discharged from the Navy for pursuing an 18-year old girl from a prominent Tidewater family, ostensibly to create worldwide religious peace."
His marriage to Anastasia seemed to be more about his interest in proving she was Czar Nicholas II's daughter than in acquiring a wife, but his fantasy of marrying Althea Hurt is stranger still. Daughter of one of Charlottesville's top developers, Hurt renewed her friendship with the widowed Jack (whom she had known since childhood) shortly after Anna's funeral in 1983 by offering, trial testimony showed, to be his "business partner." But Jack seemed to want more.
In 1986, Jack had wedding announcements printed proclaiming Althea to be "the true Czarina of the Russias." The cards showed that he intended to marry her on July 4, 1986, on Monticello's South Portico. Jack gave these cards to many people, including anyone who stopped at the intersection of Rt. 20 and James River Road in Scottsville. He also mailed invitations to Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Emperor Hirohito, and the Pope. Although Althea was not a part of the marriage plans-- she had turned down his proposal-- their friendship endured.
Perhaps one of the strangest stories about Jack occurred after his death on March 22, 1990. His last will, made in 1987, left the vast majority of his estate to Hurt. But Jack had several cousins, three of whom contested the will. The 1994 trial saw 60 witnesses and lasted nine days.
The audiotape created by the Michie Hamlett law firm for the express purpose of heading off a challenge was supposed to be the centerpiece of the defense. However, neuropsychiatrist O'Shanick testified, according to the Progress, that "Manahan's repeated digressions on tape-- each one longer and less related to the subject at hand-- show he was not functioning normally."
After an emotional closing by lawyer Debbie Wyatt, alleging that Hurt exerted "undue influence" on the old man, the jury ruled the will invalid. But a month later, Judge Henry D. Garnett, sidestepping the issue of "undue influence," overturned the verdict because, he said, there was no evidence of fraud. In March 1995 the Supreme Court of Virginia sided with the Judge in overturning the jury's decision. Having already acquired the houses on University Circle, Althea Hurt now became Czarina of all Jack's property.
Shortly after that trial, interest in Anastasia exploded. The Russians conducted tests on the recently exhumed bones allegedly belonging the murdered royal family. Someone wrote a book alleging that the Czar had secreted a fortune. Anyone who could prove to be heir to Anastasia might claim it.
Back in the U.S., two separate DNA investigations began. One was pushed by a Northern Virginia man who had married Gleb Botkin's daughter. Another began when a lock of Anna's hair was found in books sold after Jack's death to a Chapel Hill, North Carolina bookstore.
On October 5, 1994, Dr. Peter Gill, who had traveled to Martha Jefferson Hospital from England to shave a few slices of intestinal tissue taken from Anna during an operation, announced at a press conference in London that Anastasia's DNA did not match the bone samples of Tsar Nicholas II or Empress Alexandra, or a blood sample from Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, grandson of Alexandra's oldest sister, Victoria.
While Anna Manahan's supporters shook their heads in disbelief, two aspects of Peter Gill's research had even more painful repercussions for the believers. The intestinal DNA matched the DNA profile isolated from the hair sample at a Pennsylvania State lab. Furthermore, the sequences also matched a relative of Franziska Schanzkowska, a Polish peasant woman who went missing around the time "Anastasia" appeared.
Bill Tucker is a retired writer who lives in Lynchburg with his artist wife.
Article Title: Molecular, forensic and haplotypic inconsistencies regarding the identity of the Ekaterinburg remains
Authors: A. Knight, L. A. Zhivotovsky, D. H. Kass, D. E. Litwin, L. D. Green, P. S. White, J. L. Mountain
A1 Department of Anthropological Sciences Stanford University Stanford CA 94305 USA
A2 Vavilov Institute of General Genetics Russian Academy of Sciences Moscow Russia
A3 Department of Biology, 316 Mark Jefferson Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti MI 48197 USA
A4 PO Box 19754 Stanford CA 94309 USA
A5 Bioscience Division Los Alamos National Laboratory Los Alamos NM 87545 USA
A6 Department of Genetics Stanford University Stanford CA 94305 USA