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Episode Info:

The story of a man who mesmerised half a continent...

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In 1989 the Cold War was coming to an end. Soviet Union and the whole Eastern Bloc were crumbling. There was confusion everywhere. One day, state television channel started showing something really strange. A man, looking like Doctor’s Spock muscly brother, was staring at the camera promising to programme people’s brains and free them from all the pain and suffering.

Who was he? Where did he come from? Did his methods have anything to do with medicine or science? Or, was he just another charlatan who profited from people’s insecurities in turbulent times? Listen to MESMERISED, a Stories From The Eastern West episode on the rise and fall of Anatoly Kashpirovsky, a man who mesmerised half a continent.

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Further reading Further watching Thanks

Żenia Klimakin / for recounting his meeting with Kashpirovsky from a few years back. Żenia is a journalist at

Krzysztof Rowiński / for delivering wonderful voice over for Żenia Klimakin to open and close this episode. Krzysztof is a PhD scholar in Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Maria Litwin / for being resistant to Kashpirowsky's super powers and telling us what she saw, when nobody else was looking.

Polina Justova / for becoming the English voice of Maria Litwin. Polina is an editor for and also works as a literary translator and language teacher.

Jan Morawicki / for helping us build a political perspective on those hectic times. Jan Morawicki was born in Saint Petersburg in Russia. He is a journalist and anthropologist working at the University of Łódź, Poland

Jerzy Oleksiak / for devoting his time to becoming Jan Morawicki’s English doppelganger. Jerzy is a former intern at, but now digs holes in the desert, looking for traces of extraterrestrial presence back in Ancient Egypt.

Romuald Polczyk / for explaining why hypnosis can actually work. Dr Polczyk works at the Institute of Psychology at the Jagiellonian University. He wrote his doctoral thesis on hypnosis.

John Beauchamp / for becoming Kashpirovsky’s dusty English voice. John is a seasoned radio journalist, currently working on Unseen Warsaw, a series of soundwalks located in Warsaw.  

Zuzanna Grębecka / for helping us dig into the meanderings of Soviet pop culture and science. Dr. Grębacka works at the Institute of Polish Culture at the University of Warsaw.

Grażyna Soczewka / for becoming the voice of Zuzanna Grębecka. Grażyna is head of the Artists & Works section at and is our go-to voice for many of our videos. Marcin Kuropatwa / for inviting us into his childhood memories where Kashpirovsky was capable of anything. Marcin Kuropatwa is an ethnographer and a musician, and works for the National Museum of Ethnography in Warsaw.

  • Written & produced by Monika Proba

  • Edited by Adam Żuławski

  • Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak

  • Hosted by Adam Żuławski, Monika Proba & Nitzan Reisner

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