In 21 May 1991, at only 42 years old, Ioan Petru Culianu, Professor of the Religion history at the University of Chicago, was shot once in the back of the head. The murder took place in the bathroom of Swift Hall of the University of Chicago in a day when the building was full with visitors to a book sale.
Why and by who? is a question that still remains without answer.
But who was he? Ioan Petru Culianu, as many as you already know, was a Romanian historian of religion and culture, a short story writer, philosopher and political essayist, born in 1950 in Iasi, Romania.
In an interview made in 1990 by his student Emanuel Guano he said that he had decided to become a writer at the age of 13 choosing between physics and literature as a carrier for live. At the age of 17 years old, he has already started being published in Romania. As student at the University of Bucharest he was studying also the history of religious, dreaming going in Indi as Mircea Eliade once did. After refusing the collaboration with the Romanian Security (Romanian Intelligence) during the communist period, in 1970, his new book was censored. In 1972, he leaves the country (some say that he succeeds in leaving Romania because finally he collaborates) to travel in Italy where he had obtained political asylum and then a scholarship. He later graduated from the Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore in Milan. He lived briefly in France and the Netherlands, before leaving Europe for Chicago.
After leaving Romania, he tried many times to go in Chicago at Mircea Elide. Shortly, he became the most loved and respected student of Mircea Eliade, he worked with him at the final tome of the notorious “Historian of religions” and at “Dictionnaire des Religions”. One of the three last wishes of the great philosopher and expert in religions’ history Mircea Eliade was that all of his manuscripts to be left to Ioan Petru Culianu, “the only friend to whom he has so many to say”, the only one who has the knowledge to understand. After the death of Ioan Petru Culianu, the manuscripts of Mircea Eliade were taken by the University of Chicago and then donated to the Louvre Museum.
Ioan Petru Culianu, being proficient in seven languages (Sanskrit, Hindi, French, Italian, German, Greek, English) and completed three doctorates (one in Milano, Italy and two in Sorbonne, France), was an encyclopedic personality. His studies were focusing on the interrelation of the Occult, Eros, Magic, History and Physics being specialized in Renaissance magic and mysticism. Some of his later studies were trying to decode the “myth” that lays in physics, like in Einstein equations upon universe and so to find the bridges between science and religion, mystic, history. Being seen by some criticizes more as a Faust with successful books in libraries than as a savant, Ioan Petru Culianu was definitely attracted in his work by dark, occult, demons.
After the Romanian Revolution in 1989, Ioan Petru Culianu criticized the new power in Bucharest, calling it just a new communist. He was also against the rights political Romanian formations, making requests for investigation of Holocaust in Romania during the war. That is why some say he was murdered by the Romanian Security or by KGB, some by the neo-fascist involvement.
Apparently, in the last years of his live, he was starting to attend occult movements, secrets societies. Experts in occultism see his dead as a punishment; he was killed in the closet just for having a degrading death. Many aspects of his live remain a mystery and his death, “the perfect murder”, the greater of his mysteries.
I let you choose a script for his life, “Nikita” or “Da Vinci’s Code”? Or maybe “Alias” because this one has both, secret services and secret societies.
photo: osservatoreromano.va, chapitre.com, altmarius.ning.com, clubafaceri.ro