Tamerlin Tsarnaev's Influences Include Alex Jones and a Radical Exorcist

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A new set of unexpected details about the Boston Marathon bombing, a story so far overflowing with unexpected details, has arrived, and boy is it weird. As we learn more about it, though, the mind of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder of the two brothers suspected of carrying out the bombing as well as a daring police chase and shootout three days later, appear to be beyond weird. This guy — pictured above as an infant with his family in Dagestan — is starting to sound downright sinister.

The major development in the sleuthing of the Tsarnaev brothers, specifically sinister Tamerlan, involves a red-bearded exorcist named Misha. Misha was a few years older than Tamerlan and had emigrated to the Boston area from Armenia. Whereas the Tsarnaevs were born into a Muslim home, Misha converted and soon became involved in radical teachings. Citing the boys' uncle Ruslan Tsarni, the Daily Mail reports that Misha used to "give one-on-one sermons to Tamerlan over the kitchen table during which he claimed he could talk to demons and perform exorcisms." That's really weird.

According to multiple reports, Tamerlan and Misha met between as 2007 and 2009 near the Cambridge area. "Misha was telling him what is Islam, what is good in Islam, what is bad in Islam," said Elmirza Khozhugov, the former brother-in-law of the Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, who sat in on some of the conversations. "This is the best religion and that's it." Khozhugov told the Associated Press. "Misha was important. Tamerlan was searching for something. He was searching for something out there."

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It all sort of unraveled at that point. Tamerlan immersed himself in radical Islam and even quit listening to music because, he said, it's "not really supported in Islam." (Misha told him that.) The 26-year-old's radical thinking wandered into the political sphere as well, and apparently, he started getting into conspiracy theories. We're not talking Area 51 or the 9/11 Truther movement. Tamerlan got into pretty much all of the conspiracy theories, including one century-old fantasy that Jews rule the world. 

Obviously, Tamerlan listened to Alex Jones's popular and usually looney radio show Infowars. At least according to the AP's sources (read: Tamerlan's family) Tamerlan he was a listener. BuzzFeed's Rosie Grey reached out to Jones to see how he felt about having a suspected terrorist as a listener. Of course, Jones said it was a government conspiracy. "I've seen this before," Jones said. "The federal government trying to connect me to tragedies. That's the media and the government's own conspiracy theories."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.