Frequently asked questions about Gustavo Adolfo Rol
(edited by Franco Rol, February 2014)
1) Who was Gustavo Adolfo Rol?
A spiritual Teacher of Christian-Catholic orientation, who lived in Italy in the twentieth century (1903-1994), gifted with many “paranormal powers”, which he defined as “possibilities”. A man from a wealthy family, he earned several degrees (Law, Economics, Clinical-Medical Biology), was always elegantly dressed and possessed an encyclopedic body of knowledge; a lover of the arts, he played the violin and piano, and was a painter and antiquarian, after having worked as a banker for a decade during his younger years.
He met many famous people from his century during his lifetime, from heads of state to artists, as well as many common people from all professions and walks of life.
He always placed his “possibilities” at the service of his fellow man.
2) What and how many were his paranormal powers or possibilities?
The author here subdivided the phenomena into 50 distinct categories, even though they overlap, including:clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition, retro-cognition, telekinesis, materialization and dematerialization of objects, doubling, levitation, time travel, healing powers, xenoglossy, lightening strikes, diagnosis of illnesses (endoscopy and ability to see an aura), transfer or agility, etc. These possibilities were expressed spontaneously in any daily life situation (for example, Rol could stop a stranger on the street and tell him that he had made a mistake regarding a certain decision and that he should not have seen a certain person or done a certain thing, or he could tell the person to undergo medical exams because he detected a health problem) or through experiments, as he himself defined them, which he performed at home or at the homes of others.These experiments were encoded and standardized, and always repeated according to the same schemes, which could be assimilated and verified continuously by those present (on average between 5 and 10 people), who also actively participated in the experiments based on instructions given by Rol. A topic for conversation would be selected, modern art, for example, and Rol would ask those present for a special characteristic of this type of art, or a list of painters, then drawing randomly, often through the use of playing cards, the responses or opinions of those present; it was then decided to look for this response or opinion in an encyclopedia or a book in the home or brought by one of the guests, using once again the cards as a random selection system: for example, a guest would choose a book, and another would use a deck of cards brought by the same and still in its original sealed packaging, never having passed through Rol’s hands, to indicate three random cards to select the page (with face cards being zero), and a third guest would be asked by Rol what line to read, the first, last or any other line.After these chance selections were made, the designated book would be opened to the specific line and the same sentence dictated casually by one of the guests present at the start of the experiment would be found. In other experiments, all of the people present would choose a sheet of blank A4 paper from a brand new ream, fold it over in four or eight sections, place it in their pockets or necklines of the dresses, and then a topic would be selected. Through a procedure similar to that described previously, the sentence would appear written on one of the folded pieces of paper, or a fresh watercolor painting would appear, or any other type of image, writing or drawing referring to the subject randomly chosen at the start of the experiment. Sometimes a very small object would also appear in the middle of the piece of paper, like a medal, a coin, a charm, etc. In other experiments larger sized objects would be materialized in places in the home chosen by the people present.
3) Was Rol born with these possibilities, or did he discover them later on in his life?
Rol was an introverted, sensitive child, also very intuitive, characteristics that led him to undertake a path observing reality and himself, as well as cultivating a perception of existence on a higher level, more complex than the human level, very quickly defined as spiritual. The intertwining of mystical aspiration and rational analysis of what surrounded him, united with curiosity, stubbornness and will, led him to the conviction at the age of 22 that it was possible to predict the color of the cards without seeing them after having passed randomly in front of a tobacco shop window where decks of cards were on display. It was a challenge that began almost like a game, but after two years of attempts he managed to predict all 52 cards in a deck. On that day, July 28, 1927, he was in Paris, and he wrote the following in his work diary:
“I discovered a terrible law linking the color green, the musical fifth and heat. I lost my will to live. Power frightens me. I will write no more!”
He began to develop his possibilities from that moment on and onward into the following years.
4) What does this "law" that he discovered mean, and why did he define it as "terrible"?
Let’s first have a look at this declaration by Rol in 1987: “I began with the cards:why should it be impossible to predict the color of a face down card? I tried and tried again, but for a long time I could not do it.Then one day I looked at a rainbow and it was then that lightening struck. I realized that the color green was the central color, the color that kept the others united. I measured the vibration of the green color and discovered that it was the same as the musical fifth, and that it corresponded to a certain degree of heat. I then began to predict the cards accurately, and little by little to do all the other things... ”Beyond the actual physical correspondences, this “law” can be traced back to a perspective from yoga, and in general to a mental condition during which in a profound meditative state one is able to visualize the color green and simultaneously “hear” the musical fifth with the inner ear (or a harmony of two notes, such as, for example, do-sol) similar to the sound OM in the Hindu tradition. In this state it is possible to develop a “psychic heat” similar to Prana or Tum-no from the Tibetan tradition, which create favorable conditions for sensitivity and perception, and can lead to a non-dual state, or a condition of absolute detachment which reveals certain psychic powers. This is nevertheless only the start of a pathway.Rol defined this law as “incredible” because of its psychic shock characteristics and the depersonalization of anyone experimenting with it. The Power of the Spirit cannot be “administered” to anyone who is not prepared to receive it, and it is for this reason that the story of the teachings of the Teacher to the disciple has spanned all populations for thousands of years, or also more subtly falling into standardized canons that form the rules of Initiation. The absence of a Teacher does not prevent access to this Energy-absence-of-Energy, but renders things much more difficult, and also dangerous, even leading to psychic imbalance and death. After his discovery, Rol spent at least one year dealing with serious health issues.
5) Why did he say that he had nothing to do with parapsychology and deny that he was a medium, psychic or wizard?
Any authentic spiritual Teacher would say that they were no part of parapsychology, and Rol was the first and only “subject” in the West gifted with paranormal possibilities to refuse to be included in this area of study, something that is most welcome or even sought after by those who are not true Teachers.In fact, a Teacher, or anyone who has reached a higher spiritual level and at the same time has proven to be gifted with these possibilities, which in a Christian sense are generally defined as charisma or gifts from the Spirit, and in Orient siddhi, or accomplishments/realizations (in this case one could refer to Siddha Guru), considers the attention of parapsychology to “powers of the mind” as totally out of proportion to their real value, which is only secondary and instrumental for spiritual teaching (or a real understanding of this world and the dimensions it is connected to). If for the ordinary person these things represent a sort of accomplishment on the evolutionary scale, for the enlightened person these are only consequences of his state, which have a very relative and functional importance, almost totally for the conversion of his fellow man.
At its origins, parapsychology studied above all people in sleepwalking states or trances induced by animal magnetism practices. Then over the course of the nineteenth century the study included people who self-induced these states, or medium, providing real proof of authentic cases of beyond the ordinary psychic powers. But the induction or self-induction of these states are not difficult to obtain, and have nothing to do with the completeness that a Teacher must demonstrate, who not only must lose consciousness but also possess a much wider range of possibilities than a medium has, as well as knowledge that is able to elevate those that around him. Rol did not fall into a trance, and had much vaster possibilities than any medium coming from the realm of parapsychology, and his spiritual influence is also above all developing after his death.
In contrast to mediums, the wizard maintains his state of consciousness, and certainly the Teacher is also a wizard, but not just a wizard. An authentic wizard who is not a teacher is an individual who is not spiritually evolved, who is certainly quite limited in expressing his “magic”. Like mediums, the wizard also draws upon specific possibilities of the human psyche and nature, but he is not able to elevate himself beyond these (because he is unable to completely renounce his own ego, while in the case of a medium there is total submission, if not outright possession, by forces that he is not able to effectively control). As for the definition of “psychic”, it is intended as an adjective for Teacher – as in the case of Rol – who was also psychic, while not just a “psychic” if intended as a noun, in which case it indicates a person that has not necessarily undergone any kind of spiritual or esoteric process, and does not present any alterations in the state of consciousness, but spontaneously gifted with an uncommon sensibility able to express some basic psychic powers, like clairvoyance, telepathy and precognition, nevertheless in a preemptory and precise manner (like in the case of Rol), as opposed to a more vague or occasional manner, even if with positive results exceeding the statistical average.
It is this last category of people that parapsychology sought out most of all in the latter twentieth century, attempting statistical experiments with common people to see if one was more “sensitive” than the next, with results that were not at all interesting from a spiritual point of view, even though exceeding the statistical average.
6) Did Rol ever provide a definition of himself?
In addition to the aforesaid, Rol also denied that he was a special person, for example when he responded the following to journalist: “But are you sure that I am important for your investigation?I am a normal person. I have nothing to do with the mediums, healers and spiritualists that you are interviewing. That is a world very far from my mentality. My modest experiments belong to the world of science. They are things that all men will be capable of realizing in the future.”
Perhaps one of the first and very rare times that Rol gave a definition of himself dates back to an article in 1977 in the magazine Gente authored by Renzo Allegri, but actually written by Rol in the third person:
“Rol was not only the ‘Uomo dell’Impossibile’ (Man of the Impossible)…[he] continuously worked and dedicated himself to his fellow man.”
In the latter 1980s he suggested that the journalist G. Dembech use the following title for a book about him: “Gustavo Adolfo Rol.The great vanguard”, wanting to emphasize a precise function he played from a historic perspective.
Therefore, the man of the impossible and the great vanguard, to which another important definition written by Rol himself in 1978 should also be added, that of the drainpipe:
“I necessarily must act with ‘spontaneity’, almost ‘according to the impulse of an unknown order’ as Goethe said. I have defined myself ‘the drainpipe that brings the water falling from the roof’. It is therefore not the drainpipe that must be analyzed, but instead the water and the reasons for which ‘that rain’ is manifested. Studying these kinds of phenomena at their conclusions does not permit establishing their essence, but instead one must look higher to where the ‘intelligent spirit’ that is already a part of that Wonderthat must not necessarily be identified with God to recognize its existence. In the Wonder, there is the Harmony encapsulated by Everything, and this definition is valid for those who admit and those who deny God.”
7) Did Rol hold spiritualist meetings?
No.Generally speaking, in a spiritualist meeting a group of people are seated around a table, and according to the directions given by a medium in a trance, or not, in contact with one or more presumed spirits of the dead, or by simple invocation – with the hands of those present on the table all in contact with each other – or through the use of a panel with the letters of the alphabet, where the medium, alone or collaborating with those present, lets a "spirit" answer their questions using the hand of the medium moving autonomously according to some kind of indicator to select the letters of the response. Rol never did anything of this sort, because:1) he did not go into a trance; 2) he did not invoke any deceased spirits, since he claimed that "the deceased are not among us", but in some cases he did ask for assistance – for lack of a better term – of what he called the "intelligent spirit" (explained further on); 3) the objective of his experiments was different from that of spiritualist meetings: in the latter the participants are trying to obtain information about the "hereafter" or comfort from a deceased loved one, while Rol's experiments had the objective of demonstrating human potential when a person knows how to find syntony with a more profound dimension of the Cosmos, as well as the reality of this same dimension, spiritual, beyond time and identifiable with God. Rol's only exception to the rule that "the deceased are not among us" was to provide comfort to those who had just lost a loved one, when he said that he could see that person at their side and could provide an exact description of the person in question. These were special situations, however, strictly private and without any kind of rituals, and it was not based on the actual deceased, but instead on his or her "intelligent spirit".
8) What is the "intelligent spirit"?
Rol affirmed that every animate or inanimate thing possessed a “spirit”, and so human beings had “intelligent” spirits because of the special characteristics of human consciousness. These two types of “spirit”, different only by a degree, are present in the moment that the thing or human being exists, as well as after its destruction, or death. It is a kind of “film” of the thing or individual, its reproduction containing all the information and history about the thing or individual, from birth to death.For example, if Rol asked the “intelligent spirit” of Leonardo Da Vinci to “participate” in an experiment and to materialize a painting on a blank piece of paper, the “ethereal memory” of Leonardo conserved in the Archive of the Universe could realize it thanks to Rol’s mediation, a kind of catalyst and revitalizer of the same memory… Nevertheless, the painting that the intelligent spirit of Leonardo created would adhere to the artistic genre of his genius, and could not paint in a style different from his own, or represent subjects that he had not portrayed while alive, like the characters of a film cannot voluntarily change their roles or do anything different from those that they did in the film. It also follows that according to this same analogy, it is possible to identify the “soul” with the actor, who could also interpret other roles. In fact, according to Rol, “the soul returns to God”, an expression that can be interpreted in various ways. The metaphysical tradition sustains that an Illuminated Teacher can return to Earth voluntarily, to continue or complete a spiritual mission. The destiny of those who in life did not reach a sufficient spiritual level to permit post-mortem survival is different. In fact, those who remained on the level of matter will only return to matter…
9) Did Rol believe in reincarnation?
No, even though this is a controversial topic. Some people, a minority, claim that Rol supported and believed in reincarnation, generally those people that already believed in this theory before even meeting him, and they interpreted some of his allusions or metaphors in a literal sense, therefore confirming their own convictions. The author delved extensively into this subject in the book The Symbolism of Rol, demonstrating that he did not believe in reincarnation based on declarations made by Rol himself and the metaphysical tradition. Certainly the theory in question, from an exoteric perspective, is reassuring and understandable… There is also truth in it, as there is truth in the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis. But certainly not from a literal standpoint. Returning to the declarations made by Rol, he affirmed:
“Everything that has been conceived of and done up to now in the supernatural field is far from the truth. The concepts that they have about spiritualism, and above all reincarnation, are inadequate, if not plainly false.” (autographed letter, 1951)
“Reincarnation does not exist, I do not believe in it!”(audio recording, 1970s)
As a response to an article written by a journalist who wrote that Rol “also alluded to himself as a reincarnation” of Napoleon Bonaparte, Rol answered this claim in a letter to the magazine:
“Nothing could be more false: an affirmation of this type goes against all of my religious and philosophical principles.” (1987)
Finally, the affirmations by some that Rol was ambiguous about this point in order to not offend the Catholic Church have no foundation in truth. The aforesaid declarations, without being filtered by any third parties, do not leave room for ambiguity of any kind.
10) Has the Catholic Church ever expressed an official opinion on Rol?
No, but there are noted personal accounts of the esteem of members of the clergy, like Maurilio Fossati, who was the Archbishop of Turin, or Don Andrea Bava, who preached in the San Vito parochial church.
Don Piero Gallo, the parish priest of the SS.Pietro e Paolo Church in the San Salvario quarter where Rol lived, who knew him only as an acquaintance from the Molinette Hospital just before his death, formed his opinion of him based on the testimonies provided by several people who had known him in the neighborhood, declaring on many occasions that Rol “had shined the brilliance of God in many places”, and that he was “an extraordinary man... generous, affectionate, humble and always an optimist, even in the face of suffering, clearly influenced by the Virgin Mary... for having traced his powers back to God. (...) It can be said that he lived a “non-denominational sainthood” for all he did for the most humble, indigent and suffering…”and finally that “with his example he brought many other people closer to the Church”.
The Catholic writer Vittorio Messori, who knew Rol, wrote in 2004 that his life was “a life not only of a principled gentleman, but also of a practicing believer, who could often be found in one of the chapels praying in the shadow of the Virgin Mary… If he cared to know me it was because he wanted to congratulate me for the “Catholic” things I wrote and confirmed to me several times – also during the very last phone call he made to me – that he fully acknowledged the orthodoxy of the Church.”
The journalist from the publication Avvenire Monica Mondo, who knew Rol, wrote in the Catholic newspaper that she had “recited quite a few Hail Mary's” with him, and that “he never drew attention to himself or asked anything for himself, and he truly only wanted to do good for others, to help the sick, lend money, a good word or use his gifts, which he himself could not explain (he would say they were a gift from God, and that he had to acknowledge this and use them for God’s purpose).”
Rol had contact with diverse levels of the Catholic hierarchy, arriving it seems at a meeting with Pope Pius XII.His consideration for the institution of the Church, like for its traditional Saints, was relevant, very respectful and devoted.He met Saint Pio of Pietrelcina in San Giovanni Rotondo, and kept a photograph of him on the desk in his studio, together with photographs of the Parish Priest of San Secondo of Pinerolo, Don Giovanni Battista Martina, who he considered to be a saint, and Father Eugenio Ferrarotti, who was first a priest in Turin and then an exorcist in Genoa in the 1950s.
The fact that the Church has not yet expressed an official opinion is due in all probability to expectation of a more complete framework of Rol’s human and spiritual life, for which details have emerged and are still emerging, even in recent years.
11) What is the "sublime consciousness"?
Rol provided various definitions, one of which was the following:
“The state of sublime consciousness is union with the Absolute, the Everything, an entirety without any form of separation."
It is thanks to this state that Rol was able to express his possibilities and perform his experiments.
The author has related the sublime consciousness to similar states in metaphysical traditions, such as Nirvana or Samadhi from the Hindu tradition. The truly realized Teacher who has reached this spiritual level as an unintended consequence obtains what is traditionally referred to as siddhi, or in other words, Rol’s possibilities.
12) Did Rol ask for monetary compensation for demonstrating his experiments or providing "paranormal" advice to those who approached him?
Absolutely not. It would be absurd and inconceivable for a Teacher like him (and for any true Teacher), whose only purpose was to help others and demonstrate the existence of God as far as possible, and that “death does not exist”. It was actually Rol who donated money both to individuals as well as charitable institutions, often in anonymous form.
13) What was his source of income?
Rol came from a wealthy, professional family. Nevertheless, he was never supported by his family and he began working at age 22 as a banker at the Banca Commerciale Italiana, in the Turin branch founded by his father, who was the bank director in the Turin offices. He moved around to several branches of the bank throughout Europe (Marseilles, Paris, London, Edinburg, Genoa, Casablanca, Sestriere) over the source of nearly a decade, until resigning from the bank in 1934, a few weeks after his father’s death.
During his stay in Marseilles (1925-1926), he had some economic difficulties trying to support himself alone on only his salary, without any help from his family. He made ends meet by playing the violin at the cinema to accompany silent films.
After the death of his father, Rol administered the family fortune and began working as a freelance antiquarian and English/French translator, and also began to sell some of his first paintings. In the 1940s he opened an antique store in the historic center of Turin, which he kept until the 1960s, when painting became his only (and occasional) source of income.Careful administration of his financial resources over time made it possible for him to enjoy his later years without economic worries, and dedicate as much time as possible to doing good for others.
14) Can Rol's paintings be viewed in any museums? Are they catalogued?
Rol painted about a hundred paintings, perhaps even 150, but at present there is no definitive catalogue of his works, but only partial catalogues that refer to two exhibitions held in 2000 at Sermig in Turin and in 2005 at the Guarene Castle in the Cuneo province (about 50 paintings in all). At the moment these paintings are from private collections, and no other exhibitions are currently scheduled.
15) Why did Rol become so well-known after his death?
Rol never sought out the spotlight, and he always maintained a very private profile, often asking the few journalists that he knew and his friends to speak of him only after his passing. This was because extreme media attention would have prevented him first from living a peaceful life and second from being useful to his fellow man in a specific, effective way, since he would have had to ignore so many pleas for help once his possibilities became public knowledge, not to mention the likelihood of mythomaniacs or fanatics. The last thing that Rol wanted was to see a line of people outside of his front door, or to be drawn into televised debates.
16) Did Rol have any disciples or followers? Who were the people who provided testimony about him?
No, he had no disciples – this because Rol never presented himself as an “official” Teacher – nor followers, because he was not the leader of any sect or secret society. Also from this point of view, he was an apparently normal person, surrounded by friends and acquaintances, often spending his time with figures from international high society, both because it was his ideal environment based on family tradition, as well as because by trying to influence those in positions of power he hoped to obtain “cascading” results downstream. This did not prevent him from spending time with people from all social classes and professions, and those that are providing testimony today are many who knew him as a friend, acquaintance or also casual testimonies of unique situations without even knowing who he was.
17) Did Rol perform experiments only at his home?
No, on the contrary, it could be said that he performed his experiments above all at the homes of others, often his friends. This was also a way to draw the attention away from himself and his context, since his Turin apartment with a view of the Valentino Park was furnished elegantly with prestigious antiques and Napoleonic relics, almost like a museum with a very suggestive atmosphere. To avoid a certain sense of suggestion that his personality and context could inspire in others, Rol chose the more “normal” apartments of his friends, where he could feel perfectly at ease and also help the guests feel at ease, who therefore had the sensation that Rol was a guest just like they were, one of their “equals”, contributing to a relaxed and cordial atmosphere, a very important condition for successful experiments.For example, in the 1960s Rol liked to go to the home of Franca Pinto or the married couple Pierlorenzo and Giuliana Rappelli, or his cousins Franco and Elda Rol. In the 1970s he would go to the home of the married couple Giorgio and Domenica Visca or that of Remo Lugli, and so forth.
18) There are those that claim that Rol was only a magician. Why?
This is a common claim among those magicians who did not know Rol, and in general among all those skeptics or doubters who never sufficiently learned about his history. The main reasons for this point of view are three:1) Rol often used playing cards; 2) Rol was never subjected to a scientific control according to modern science; 3) the theory that the variety and extraordinary nature of the miracles attributed to him are simply impossible, the fruit of tricks, suggestion or invention by the same witnesses who described them. The “paranormal”, nevertheless, was never demonstrated.
19) Did Rol ever perform any magic tricks?
A response to this question could be given based on two elements:1) the testimonies about him; 2) the experiments. In the first case, no one has ever stated to have seen Rol perform magic tricks in his adult years, while there exists a misunderstanding by a journalist about Rol as a child enjoying magic tricks. In reality the author went directly to the source of this story (an Argentine nephew of Rol born in 1926, when Rol was 23 years old), who had simply stated that when Rol was young (and not a child) he performed ”games” with the cards, which is true, based on the fact that he began experimenting at 22 years old with playing cards, which were at the base of his discoveries.And since these games, which in reality were experiments, had nothing at all to do with magic tricks (the author not only witnessed these, but agrees with Rol that anyone in his same condition would be able to perform them), and subsequently based on the current biography on Rol, he never performed any magic tricks.He did sometimes play a joke on someone to challenge their critical perspective, or also just to have a laugh, since Rol was also a great joker and took advantage of funny situations to downplay the real “games” that leave some people who had just met him speechless, if not in a panic.
20) Has anyone ever claimed to have found a trick or some form of deceit in his experiments?
No, no one who knew and spent time with Gustavo Adolfo Rol ever made any such claim (and it has been almost 90 years since his possibilities were first manifested, in 1927, and more than 20 years since his death in 1994).
21) Magicians affirm to be able to replicate all of Rol's miracles. Is it true?
Yes, many magicians have claimed to be able to replicate all the phenomena attributed to Rol. But this stems from pure and simple verbal and media illusionism... because it is impossible to replicate the majority of these phenomena. In general, what the magicians are able to replicate are the effects of some of the phenomena attributed to Rol, while what they are absolutely in no way able to replicate are the conditions in which Rol performed them. As a very banal example that we provided years ago, it would be possible to replicate the effect of Jesus walking on water (like the magician Dynamo did on the Thames), but not the same conditions in which Jesus found himself (transparent Plexiglas had not yet been invented, not to mention the clever editing of the photographs portraying the event…).In certain cases an effect cannot be replicated, and there is not enough here to list the episodes and phenomena that are impossible to repeat, but we would immediately think of cases of clairvoyance, telepathy, miraculous healing and precognition (the “Cini case” would be an excellent example, but there are also many others), but also the playing cards would suffice (as will be described further on).
22) Did Rol ever agree to demonstrate his experiments to magicians?
Yes, because he never had any preconceptions about magicians, and also because he selected people based on his heart as opposed to based on their professions, or based on a sort of initiation strategy (which it seems did not always end successfully, as in the cases of people who wound up disappointing him). There were 5 magicians that knew Rol, two international professionals (Alexander and Tony Binarelli) and three novices (Ermanno and Carlo Buffa di Perrero, Giuseppe Vercelli). All 5 had very positive opinions of Rol, 4 of them saw his experiments (excluding Alexander, who nevertheless provided testimony about a personal episode of clairvoyance), and 3 of them referred to Rol in writing or during interviews (excluding Ermanno Buffa di Perro, Carlo’s father, who passed away in 1982). All three are in agreement, also with another hundred testimonies, that there were no tricks in Rol’s experiments. In particular, Carlo Buffa tried in fun to “trap” Rol several times, to see if the experiment would still be a success if the conditions were changed without warning. And the experiments were always successful all the same.
23) Why were playing cards at the base of many of his experiments?
As has already been discussed, playing cards were the basis for Rol's discovery. But the way he used them subsequently was mainly linked to their function as a mathematical instrument, or as the generators of an order starting from random conditions. This order was constructed randomly and yet teleologically with the participation of all those present, Rol not acting as anything but an unmoved mover, or like a director of an orchestra that is limited to only coordination of the various instruments.
Explaining in only a few lines how the cards were applied to certain experiments is impossible. We will limit ourselves here to only what was written as part of a different work, or how the cards worked in the simplest way possible:
“An ‘easy’ experiment, to start off the evening, could be performed with two decks: for example, guest A would be asked to take their deck, never touched by Rol, and shuffle it, place it on the table and cut the cards at random, and then show the cut card, like the Ace of Hearts. Rol would then ask guest B to take their deck, shuffle it and place it on the table, and then use a different method, always absolutely random, asking guest C a number from 1 to 52; for example, guest C would say 22, so then Rol would say to guest B, ‘remove 21 cards from the top of your deck, then turn the twenty-second card over face up: it should be the Ace of Hearts. ’Guest B would carefully remove the cards one by one, arriving at the twenty-second card, which when turned over would be the Ace of Hearts.
The experiments would proceed more or less according to the same scheme, with the complexity and randomness increasing each time, for example asking guest D for the first word that came to their mind, to then count the letters in that word and add them to the letters of another word that had been offered by guest E a moment before, and to then take any book from a bookshelf and look for the chapter that corresponds to the number that was the sum of the letters of the two words, and on this page, the first word or the first line would be the same that Rol had written on a sheet of paper in front of him, demonstrating it to everyone there. And so on and so forth, always increasing in intensity.Tens and tens of these experiments were often performed in an evening.”
24) What did Rol think about science? Did he ever meet with scientists?
Rol declared that had his predisposition not taken him along a path that was primarily spiritual in nature, he would have definitely turned his interests towards science. Moreover, he also had excellent knowledge of physics, biology and medicine, and he placed great value on scientific achievements, at least up to the point in which these were not in direct opposition with the spiritual development of human beings.In the field of medicine he always directed those who needed care to specialists and official medicine, before possibly intervening himself with his therapeutic possibilities.He met many scientists, also quite famous (like Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi), and he prophesized that in a not so distant future his experiments would be explained through science and would become an integral part of the same.
25) Why didn't he subject his possibilities to scientific testing?
Rol was not contrary to scientific experiments on his possibilities, and he actually spent his entire life trying to find someone in the scientific field who was suitable to receive his knowledge through a long apprenticeship as usually occurs in the spiritual fields (in these cases, one refers to initiation). No experimentation that did not respect these criteria could be contemplated, for the very nature of things and certainly not due to Rol himself. For the same reason that it would not be thinkable to put a supersonic jet into the hands of a child, or administer university level exams in elementary school, Rol’s science, which was Sacred Science, presumed and presumes an entire series of preparatory steps that are not only cognitive, but above all empathic, or in other words the individual that wants to learn must be mature in an interior sense, and must have dominated their ego, must have no vested personal interest, must have developed qualities like intuition, imagination, spontaneity, must be able to completely calm the mind, and so forth... Or: before moving to the “operative” step in the mechanics of Rol’s experiments, an aspiring student would have to have come a long way along the path to spiritual enlightenment. Rol claimed that anyone in his state could perform his experiments. The fact is that one must first be in his same state... In a conversation recorded in the 1970s and published in The Symbolism of Rol, Rol said the following to the journalist Remo Lugli:
“Look Lugli, if you were twenty years old and if I knew that I could support you without you having to study [work], I would take you under my wing, and in ten years you would be able to do everything that I can do…”.
In addition to the preparation of Rol’s “examiners”, who would have to have been well-prepared people and those with whom he had established a relationship based on friendship and confidence, an essential element for the successful outcome of his experiments, also linked to the aforementioned prerequisite, it was the fact that Rol had to feel at ease and unrestricted by any psychological conditioning to perform an experiment, or to repeat the same experiment process in several takes to reach a preset outcome. His emotional state was a fundamental element for the dynamics in his experiments, and it could not be otherwise because it is an implicit part of consciousness – and more specifically what Rol called the sublime consciousness – and there is an unavoidable relationship among these factors and matter, between them and time, between them and space, etc.
The sublime consciousness is a bit like the famous china shop where it is a good idea not to enter with a bull...This should be for the moment a sufficient explanation.
26) Does a scientific explanation for his experiments exist?
An integral formulation has not yet been made, but the author has already provided sufficient elements for knowing where to look for these in other contexts. Nevertheless, no scientific formulation could ever be thorough enough without the proper spiritual premises, and for the sake of simplicity I have indicated the theory and practice of yoga as a starting point, which can be integrated with some theories from physics, in particular those from the twentieth century.
27) Did Rol ever write and publish books?
In addition to his personal and artistic qualities, Rol was also an excellent writer. This is how Alberto Bevilacqua described him in 2000: “…he was a writer of rare intensity, a thinker, and a philosopher with religious beliefs, on a grand scale.”
Bevilacqua was commenting on the book of writings autographed by Rol, edited by Catterina Ferrari after his death (“Io sono la grondaia...” Diari, lettere, riflessioni di Gustavo Adolfo Rol, Giunti, 2000 – “I am the drainpipe…”Diaries, letters, reflections by Gustavo Adolfo Rol), one of the most important texts about Rol, because in essence “written” by him. Other diaries and letters were published after his death, but Rol never published anything while alive.As a young man, before his discovery in 1927, he was writing a book on philosophy and spiritual thoughts, but he did not finish the project. In the 1950s he told a journalist that he was writing a booked entitled “The four surrounding walls”, but at present it has never been seen and its existence not proven.
28) How many biographies or essays have been published about him?
As of January 2015 the Italian works dedicated to Rol are 25. Chronologically, the first was published in 1986, “Rol l'incredibile" (Rol the Incredible) by the journalist Renzo Allegri, not authorized by Rol and the only biography to be published while he was still alive.
29) What are the most reliable and interesting books about Rol?
In addition to the aforementioned “Io sono la grondaia”, the most serious and complete is “Gustavo Rol. Una vita di prodigi” (Gustavo Rol.A Life of Miracles), by Remo Lugli (Mediterranee, 1995/2008). Another very interesting book is a work including a collection of Rol's autographed letters is “La Coscienza Sublime” (The Sublime Consciousness), edited by Maria Luisa Giordano (L’Età dell’Acquario, 2006), as well as the testimony by Giorgio di Simone, “Oltre l’umano. Gustavo Adolfo Rol” (Beyond human. Gustavo Adolfo Rol) Reverdito, 2009. For a more general and all-encompassing analysis, refer to the two works by Franco Rol, “Il simbolismo di Rol” (The Symbolism of Rol) (2008/2012) and “The Unbelievable Gustavo Adolfo Rol” (2012/2013). Further information can be found here: http://gustavorol.org/index.php/bibliografia
30) Is Rol known only in Italy or also abroad?
As far as knowledge in the greater public, Rol is currently most well known in Italy, because the majority of biographical material written about him was published in the last 20 years only in Italian. Over the course of 2013 Franco Rol published the two first biographies in languages other than Italian, translations of “L’Uomo dell’Impossibile” in English (The Unbelievable Gustavo Rol) and Spanish (El extraordinario Gustavo Rol). In 2014 he published the French version (Un être exceptionnel. Gustavo Adolfo Rol) and the second edition in English (The Unbelievable Gustavo Adolfo Rol). For 2015 he is planning to publish a version in Portuguese.
31) Did Rol have any children? Are there any close relatives of Rol?
No, he did not have children, and the reasons for this are unclear. Some say that his wife Elna was unable to have children, and other that he was the one with an infertility issue, and yet others say that he did not want children so that he could dedicate himself entirely to his fellow man. The closest living relatives of Gustavo are his nephews and nieces (22) from his brother Carlo (1897-1978), who emigrated to Argentina in the 1920s, where he had four children:Maria (1924-1979), Umberta (1926-2011), Vittorio (1929-2017) and Maurizio (1934-2004). In addition to his brother Carlo, Rol had two sisters that remained in Italy, Giustina (1900-1970) and Maria (1914-1996), neither of whom had any children. A bit farther out on his family tree, he had a cousin twice-removed named Franco Rol (1908-1977), who Gustavo considered to be like a brother. This man’s nephew, also named Franco Rol, is the author of these texts.
32) Has there ever been anyone else with the same possibilities as Rol? Or anyone existing today?
Yes, there have been others, because Rol was part of an ancient spiritual tradition that still exists today. Nevertheless, it could be said that in the West it has been since the times of Jesus that a Teacher of Rol’s caliber has existed, while in the orient teachers of his kind are more frequent. Rol’s originality lies in the fact of his modernity and apparent normality, in a addition to a series of theoretical formulas that would allow analysis of a spiritual path for the first time from a purely scientific perspective. At present the author is not aware of any living person with the same spiritual completeness and possibilities as Gustavo Adolfo Rol.
33) Where can the thoughts and ideas of Gustavo Adolfo Rol be read online?
Mainly on theFacebook page dedicated to Rol.