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Account of George. G. Zebroff

‘. . . Peter the Lordly was killed by the hand of a villain who placed under His seat an infernal mechanized bomb which shattered the innocent body of the Holy Wrestler. May God forgive him! [...]

Petiushka sat down at the end of the coach and had Maria F. Strel’aeva sit alongside of himself [...] I (was) with my companion at the other end of the coach. My companion sat down by the wall, I sat beside him. After some distance (of travelling) the conductor came in and began checking the passengers. Coming up to Petiushka, and seeing him half asleep, he stopped in front of him and says: ‘Mr. Verigin, are you sleepy? Please take the liberty to go to the sleeping compartment, there you will be able to rest!’ Petiushka refused, saying: ‘I’m not sleepy.’ The conductor goes away. After half-an-hour the conductor returns and again checks the people, but didn’t approach anyone. When coming to where Petishka was sitting he again addresses him in the same manner, but with greater insistence requesting that he move over to the sleeping compartment. Petiushka outrightly refuses. The conductor leaves. After another half-hour he comes back again, I looked at him and saw something unusual: he held in his hands some kind of an object which he was waving with. I felt cold shivers running over me. I began poking my companion and saying to him: hey, don’t sleep, something is going on in our coach: the conductor is waving with some kind of a stick; such a stick I saw in the hands of doctors when performing operation. But my companion only continued snoring, asking not to be disturbed. When the conductor passed through all of the coach, all of the passengers were weighed down into speedy slumber, and all talk subsided. I myself felt going into a half-sleeping condition, but something disturbed me very much, and somehow I withheld myself from complete oblivion. I began forcing open my lowering eye-lids, and through the tears I observed a person dressed in some kind of woven cloth, in the shape of a wide coat coming in proximity of Petiushka, bending over him, looking him directly in the face to see if he was sleeping or not . . . and then he quickly placed a small suit-case under his seat – and left. Here I appealed to my companion not to sleep but to find out what was happening, and I poked him in the side. The companion, however, didn’t have the energy to overcome the stupefying drowsiness which was not natural, but was induced ‘chloroform’ by which the conductor caused the passengers to fall asleep so that no one would be able to see what will be happening to Verigin.

Passing the station of Farron, the train slackened speed. The tail engine held up – so to speak – the hind part of the train, while the one in front pulled the fore part. The coach in which Petiushka sat, and also we, was in between. With difficulty I kept myself from falling asleep, gathering all my energy to overcome the unnatural tendency toward sleep. However, I failed to comprehend the satanic design; all I heard was the people snoring and once in a while, through the oncoming tears, I saw Petiuhka in a sleeping pose, and Maria reclining against his breast. In this position their souls were rendered to God.

All of a sudden there was a crashing noise: in the beginning of the entire spectral phenomena, I heard Petiushka’s voice saying: ‘Lord forbid! Lord forbid!’ – and then everything was quiet. Only the crackling of the flame of fire was making a terrible roar. ‘We are alive yet’ was how I felt, and under the impact of such a terribly deafening roar my companion woke up and, being still in our mind, (we) sprang forward toward the doors, wishing to escape as soon as possible, in which we didn’t succeed: the doors were locked. Here I remembered: the conductor was rattling with his keys . . . I then sprang towards a window, attempting to crawl out, which was very hard to do, but I had to make it. ‘O yes, to climb out I did, but how was I do drop myself down?’ – I thought to myself. The coach was gently rolling. . . The dark of the night concealed in the ravine all the places where it was possible to lower oneself down to a safe place. But to ruminate upon such apprehension there wasn’t time. I jumped blindly and hit with my spine against the wall of a rock, falling between the rock and the wheels of the coach, where I laid in a bent position. The coach dragged me forward, while my spine was against the rock, undergoing a bending experience to such a degree that I thought I would be broken-up altogether. But I survived, perhaps for the end that I be able to convey a message to the world. My companion too, followed me out.

When I walked out to the elevation where the passengers were already standing, I observed how the operators of the machine ran from place to place as if searching for something.” [...]

“I saw how they ran to the level below the railway track, and locating something, began striking at it. Then it was I guessed, they were searching for Petiushka and when finding him, probably saw he was still alive, and to be sure he died, were finishing him off. Seeing me, the conductors came up, took a hold of me and began shaking me in all directions asking me: ‘Where are you from? What did you see?’ I said, Yes, I saw everything and know how this happened. They began to shake me around so that I almost collapsed completely, and all the time they kept asking: ‘Did you see? Did you see? . . . ‘ Then I caught on they were determined to destroy me. I pretended to black-out, asking them to please tell me where I was and what was happening to me. Then they decided I was normally (?) sick and despatched me, along with the wounded ones, to the hospital in Grand Forks where I didn’t stay very long. There they tried to treat me with some kind of medicines. I refused them, saying: there is nothing wrong with my stomach, only my back is all scratched up. The nurses insisted that I drink the medicine; I asked for clear water, and with that I declined. And while there I was much subjected to interrogation as to what I had seen and what I can say about the train catastrophe after I would leave the hospital. I categorically denied all indications that I had seen anything. And under those conditions they allowed me to leave.

And now I can freely pass on to the people that, what I saw.” [...]

MRS. ASTAFOROFF: (through Mr. McIntosh):

“Praise the Lord! The Holy Prophet Petushka the Lordly was killed by the authorities of the Canadian law in a spirit of enmity, under the heavens. Lordly was an emissary, a Holy Emissary for the sacred cause -- and for this sacred cause he was killed. We, who have signed below firmly believe this person Grigorii Zebroff, or George Zebroff, that he spoke the truth as to how Lordly was killed. Grigorii Grigorivich Zebroff, or George G. Zebroff, was travelling in the train in the same coach with Petushka Lordly and with Maria – “

MR. McINTOSH: It says here “Maria Khrestova”?

MR. PODOVINIKOFF: Meaning “of Christ.”

MRS. ASTAFOROFF: (through Mr. McIntosh)

“With Maria of Christ on the day on which they were killed. Grigorii remained alive and told my father [of Mary Astaroroff] --” [...]

MR. McINTOSH: “And many others. Exactly how -- exactly as is written here. And we remember because this was many times repeated by Grigorii. He told father, and father others in our presence about this and it was spoken of day and night at that time and people even up to this day remember.”


“Masha Grigorevna Astaforoff.” Or, “Mary G. Astaforoff.” [and 37 others]

Source: Kootenay Commitee on Intergroup Relations, Account of George G. Zebroff (Castlegar, B.C.: , June 19, 1985), 3-15.

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