I had 3 favorite theories, for years. Just a few years ago I had to give up a hope I, and others, had held onto for decades.
1. I had hoped that the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas and Alexandria, Anastasia Romanov, had some how escaped the slaughter of her family in the wee morning hours of July 17, 1918, at Ipatiev House, in Ekaterinburg, Russia. I wanted the woman, found in a German hospital , in 1920, following a suicide attempt and known as Anna Anderson, to be the lost Grand Duchess.
We now know that in the late hours of July16, 1918, the Romanov family was awakened and led to a basement room in the house they had been living for weeks, in exile. The Empress Alexandria, Granddaughter of England's Queen Victoria, suffered debilitating migraines and sciatica and had spent most of her time in bed or in a wheelchair. Both she and her daughter Olga were bone thin by that summer. Little Alexei was weak from constant battles with hemophilia and had to be carried down the stairs. The Tsar was resigned to another move and lacked interest in events around him. That makes 7 family members, Dr. Botkin who had cared for the family for years, a female servant carrying 2 pillows, stuffed with jewels along with 2 other servants. 11 people in one small room. They were told to wait for transport to another location.
Upstairs, the band of executioners were drinking alcohol in order to gain courage. Only a few are known. Most were from the village and not military trained. They had been given pistols, as rifles were too noisy. Each had been given the name of their target so the assassinations would happen quickly. Most were balking now at having to shoot a child and the girls.. When the time came and they did bound into the doorway, it was cramped and awkward. The Tsar was fired on first and then pandemonium broke out. Bullets were bouncing off the girls corsets, where they had sewn precious gems to take into exile with them. Some of the assassins aimed off, not wanting to be responsible for shooting a child. Next they drew bayonets and tried to stab their prey. Again the gems in the corsets deflected the blades direct hits. Rifle butts were used to smash heads. Moans were still heard from the daughters and little Alexei. More shots were fired. All in all, it was a total scewed up mess. Still, they weren't finished with their destruction. I have read varying accounts that this took anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. I am leaning more towards 40 minutes of terror due to chaos.
Not prepared for such blood and broken bones, removing the bodies proved more difficult than anticipated. They were carried to a flat bed truck. 11 bodies... nearly 2000 pounds hampering the speed of the old truck. The plan had been to drop all the bodies down an old well, deep in the Serbian forest. When the bodies were dropped into the water, to the horror of the assassins, the well proved to be only 9 feet deep. So, a grenade followed, hoping it would collapse the walls, but the well was so well constructed it didn't cave in as hoped. By then it was morning and the group still had not gotten rid of the bodies. That led to them being removed, the faces obliterated with rifle butts, acid poured on them and then set on fire. They did not realized the length of time it took to burn a body, let alone, 11 of them. So, the remains were buried in a shallow grave just off the road. Later, they would again be moved. 9 bodies in one location and 2 in another, a short distance away. That is where they stayed for decades.
I know. Hard to read isn't it? Lenin was in power. Communism ruled. I didn't know all of this in the 1970s when I first learned of Anna Anderson. I only knew this woman could have been a young girl that had survived an extinction of her family.
She was a young woman when she was found in 1920, in a German hospital after a suicide attempt. She had jumped in a river. She had scars that looked like bayonet wounds. She was the same height, had the same hair color and eye color, same shoe size as the Grand Duchess. They both had hallux valgus deformity (bunions). They shared scars on the same fingers that Anastasia had injured by slamming a door on hers. They both had scars on their backs where Anastasia had a mole removed. Anna knew inside family jokes and answered correctly questions asked of her by The Tzar's brother.
Who is this Anna Anderson?
Or was she Franziska Schanzkowska, a missing polish factory worker?
She refused to speak Russian, due to the traumatic episode she said. She would not speak the language of the people that murdered her family. Remember, her mother was Queen Victoria's granddaughter.
She spoke English well.
She knew palace layouts. She had courtly manners. All of this made the idea of her being the Grand Duchess plausible. The few remaining Romanov's that had been able to escape Russia never validated her claim.
Anna Anderson lived with wealthy advocates, one after another, all over the world, from then on. She was cared for twice in mental institutions and suffered many illnesses In 1968 she married one of her supporters, John Manahan of Virginia. He was 20 years younger. She died of pneumonia on June 18, 1984.
It wasn't until 1991 that the truth would be told. Gorbachev had torn down that wall of silence and the fate of "most" the RomanovsTsarovich Alexei may have escaped. Was it really Maria missing. Could Anna Anderson still be the real Anastasia? Family DNA from Prince Phillip, the Queen's husband had been used. I wanted to believe it could still be Anastasia.
But it wasn't. The 2nd grave was discovered in 2007 and DNA proved those missing, Maria and Alexei had been found.
Still, for me, that answers who Anna Anderson wasn't, but who was she? How would a Polish factory worker know the lay out of palaces, the answers to inside family matters, and have courtly manners? She certainly had issues. I think she may, very well have truly believed she was Anastasia Romanov.
So that's my first favorite Conspiracy theory. I have 2 others. Marilyn was murdered to protect the Kennedy's and Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone. But, I do believe Elvis is indeed dead. Do you have a pet theory? What is it?