Friday, 4 December 2015

Old Nick Is Dead

When you hear the name 'Old Nick', you may, like me, well think of the Devil, as this is a popular English nickname for that particular supernatural being. It’s a term possibly derived from the name 'Old Iniquity', the name of the devil in medieval plays. We also commonly use the terms 'Old Scratch, Old Ned, Old Roger, Old Horny, Old Harry', and 'Old Billy'.

So naturally my eye was caught, and my attention grabbed when I saw a news snippet that startlingly said that 'Old Nick Dies Alone in the Australian Outback'.

Old Nick Can Appear Anywhere ..... But Wrong 'Old Nick'

In fact the persona that the story was referring to was not the devil, but a Mr Leonid Gurevich Kulikovsky, a Danish born immigrant who for some reason that was unexplained in the story, was simply known as 'Old Nick', to those who knew him in Australia's Northern Territory. I might have turned the page at that point, but my curiosity as to why this death was considered newsworthy was piqued, and I read on.

It seems that in fact this reclusive resident of a trailer park situated on the outskirts of the outback town of Katherine, was in fact something of a historical oddity. He had, unknownst to anyone, been the great grandson of Alexander III, the Tsar of all the Russia's. This revealed identity was a surprise to his neighbours, and in fact it was his doctor, who had to register the 72 yr olds death of a heart attack, who actually discovered this recluses true identity from papers found in the trailer.

The Younger Leonid Gurevich Kulikovsky ... The Later 'Old Nick'

His great grandfather Alexander III, was the penultimate Emperor of Russia, King of Poland, and Grand Prince of Finland, who reigned from March 1881, until his death on 1 November 1894. He was in many ways the author of the demise of the Tsar's, as he reversed all his predecessors reforms .... one of his children was Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, who eventually married Nikolai Kulikovsky, a Russian commoner (although the family had a long military tradition, including a general in the Napoleonic wars). Eventually after surviving the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the Russian Civil War, they ended up in Denmark, and after the Second World War the couple moved to Canada. Along the way they had two children, Tikhon Nikolaevich in 1917, and Guri Nikolaevich in 1919, and whilst in Denmark, the erstwhile 'Old Nick' was born in 1942 to one of them.

That's as far as I can take the tale .... only to add that Tikhon and Guri both fought as Danish Officers in WWII, and that as their father was a commoner they had no titles, but instead were brought up as 'Danish' commoners, so Leonid didn't inherit a title either. He and his family were submerged from the footnotes of history when his grandmother and grandfather had died, until he himself resurfaced at his death, in a trailer park on the other side of the world. The local Russian Orthodox Church in Australia buried him with as much due pomp as they could muster.

But if history and fate had taken another set of twist and turns, he could have been a major player in the ruling dynasty of 'all the Russia's' ....


  1. There are plenty of 'Nick's in his immediate lineage which probably explains his nickname (!) This story is reminiscent of 'Anastasia', only with less mystery.

    1. Well I would have thought that he would have been a 'Leo' if it was a family nickname (especially as his Aussie mates didn't know his lineage). As for 'Anastasia' I think that the DNA tests (and the family skeletons found in Yekaterinburg in the 1990's and 2007), have shown that the girl claiming to be the Tsars daughter was simply a delusional imposter with no relationship to the Romanov's

    2. Strange how that story still has legs. She was a mad German girl but fanasist's wanted to believe otherwise.

    3. I think people wanted to believe but its been pretty much disproved now. Thanks for the comment.


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