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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magicians of old » » More on Black Herman (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

SJMiller
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I got a good laugh out of the following piece concerning Black Herman when I found it. Hope you will enjoy is as much as I did. Will post a piece on Black Carl later today.

From The Chicago Defender, June 18, 1927

Harlem Healer Given Setback By Woman Cop

Jailed When He Fails to Show License

New York, June 17 - Charged with fortune telling and practicing medicine without out a license, Herman Rucker, 39 years of age, known throughout Harlem as “Black Herman the powerful healer”, was held on $1,000 bail Sunday morning following arraignment in Washington Heights court before Magistrate Weil. Because the magistrate’s son, John Weil, was acting as counsel for Rucker, the case was postponed and will be heard by another magistrate this week.

A lengthy complaint purports to tell “Black Herman’s” method of bringing back to a lonely wife the love of an unfaithful husband. The information was obtained by Policewoman Nettie Sweatman of the 18th division, who made several visits to the “doctor’s office’s” at 119 W. 136th Street near Lenox Avenue.

Bottles of Strange Liquids

Bottles filled with strange liquids to be sprinkled in the four corners of the wife’s bedroom and on her bed, roots to be laid against the husband’s body, printed prayers to be slept upon, boxes of powder to be worn day and night and scrapings from the soles of the feet, to be bottled with water and, with other ingredients, placed in the husband’s food, all are set down in the complaint and sworn to as the magic by which “Black Herman” told the policewoman she would “get her husband back”.

During a visit on may 15, Policewoman Sweatman reports, 15 women and one man were awaiting an opportunity to confer with “Black Herman”, who finally came out of his office immaculately dressed in Prince Albert coat, striped trousers and highly-polished shoes.

On the walls and ceiling of a hallway outside his office it is alleged that “Back Herman” has painted “fantastic pictures of black devils, nude women, and a life-sized photograph of himself.”

Had Magic Root

“John the Conqueror” is given in the complaint as the name of what is claimed to be the “magic” root handed the policewoman. She reports “Black Herman” said to her: “I see you need a job and you will get on.”

During another visit “Black Herman” is reported to have looked intently into the policewoman’s eyes and said: “You have a pain in the side. It is appendicitis.”

He then handed her a bottle containing a liquid and labeled “Back Herman’s Body Tonic” it is alleged.


On October 22, 1927, the same paper reported that “Herman Rucker, known in Harlem as “Black” Herman, magician, was sentenced to an indeterminate period in Sing Sing on a charge of practicing medicine without a license. The charges were preferred by Policewoman Nettie Sweatman.
Bill Palmer
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He must have really ticked someone off.

His book said "Black Herman comes once every seven years."

Some think that was because it took that long for people to forget what he had done the last time he came through town!
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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SJMiller
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Personal opinion is it had to do with the fact that the statue of limitations of crimes like fortune telling, practice medicine without a license, etc. is seven years.
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