a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


Black Arts Pamphlet

To: alt.lucky.w,alt.magick,alt.magic
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Black Arts Pamphlet 
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 18:48:36 GMT

Crossposted to alt.magick and alt.magic and no, this is not a mistake. 

Here we have an odd topic, crossing the line between occultism and stage
magic. It arose when Nick ( asked my help in
identifying a booklet he had bought on ebay. First, thanks to his most
recent clear description of the booklet's contents, i can confirm that
his copy of

Secrets of Black Art
The Devil's Legacy to Earth's Mortals
The Sciences of Magic, Witchcraft, Alchemy, 
Demonology, Omens, Mesmerism, Necromancy Etc.   
Johnson Smith & Company 
Detroit, Michigan
(no date, possibly 1930s)

has contents identical to and is therefore a reprint of my copy of

Herrman's Book on Black Art 
The Sciences of Magic, Witchcraft, Alchemy, 
Necromancy, Mesmerism Etc. 
Wehman Bros.
New York, 

-- and, as i said before, the Wehman Bros. edition is definitely a
reprint of an older book, because Wehman Bros. was what prublishers used
to call a "bucket shop" -- that is, they published anything they could
find in the public domain. 

My guess is that the original was written circa 1875, when presenting a
straighforward history of diabolism, a respectful exegesis on mesmersism
AND exposing fraud among "manifesting" spiritualist mediums while 
examining their performances as a form of stage magic would have
converged. It is very odd to see chapters on these subjects printed side
by side in one book, for sure. 

If one wanted to do some research on the "Davenport Brothers 'Spirit
Mysteries'" -- a program of dark-stage phosphorescence tricks,
quick-release knots, and gimmicked cabinet get-aways that are
specifically exposed in the book -- one could get a clearer sense of the
original publication date and the tenor of the times. 

As for the identity of Herrman, the author, i know nothing. 

I do know, however, that there was a 19th century American (or German?)
stage magician called Prince Herman because an African-American stage
magician of the late 19th and early 20th century adopted the name after
Prince Herman died and called himself Black Herman. Black Herman in turn
wrote a book called 

The World's Greatest Magician
Black Herman
Secrets of Magic - Mystery & Legerdermain [sic]
A Missing Key to Success, Health and Happiness

Black Herman's book, like Herrman's, straddles the line between stage
magic and occultism, although it comes down far more firmly on the side
of stage magic. It is a third-person account of Black Herman's
adventures as a touring prestidigitator-cum-detective and presents some
simple coin, handkerchief, and card tricks a child could work wiothout
special props. However, it also includes lengthy boiler plate
astrological information for people of various birth-dates and an
exhaustively long dream-interpretation chapter, with lucky numbers for
playing policy, as well as some Christian religious material ("My
Mother's prayer") -- plus a brief account of hoodoo folk magic,
specifically, "crossed conditions." It is illustrated with photos of
Black Herman on stage, producing roses, ducks, and so forth. 

Like many other occultism and stage magic pamphlets of its type and era,
Black Herman's book went through several publishers. To judge by the
date in the preface, it was originally published in 1925, but every copy
i have ever seen is "fifteenth (de luxe) edition, copyright 1938." 

I have it in two copies, one published (probably in 1938 or soon
thereafter) by 

Empire Publishing 
New York City, N.Y. 

and another in a 1960s reprint (with a zip code, and with many
illustrations deleted, but still bearing the 1938 date) from  

Dorene Publishing 
Dallas, Texas

I have inquired in the past in the newsgroup alt.magic about Black
Herman, but the only reply i got was a mention that someone had written
a book on him -- however, when i wrote to the email adress of the
supposed author, i received no answer. This is being cross-posted to
alt.magic, in the hope that someone might direct me to a source of
information about Black Herman, to alt.magick, since it deals with
occultism, and to alt.lucky.w since it deals with hoodoo.

cat yronwode 

Hoodoo in Theory and Practice --
Freemasonry for Women -------

No personal e-mail, please; just catch me in usenet; i read it daily. 

Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
   Send e-mail with your street address to
and receive our free 32 page catalogue of hoodoo supplies and amulets

     Copyright (c) 2000 catherine yronwode. All rights reserved.

Message-ID: <>
From: catherine yronwode 
Organization: Lucky Mojo Curio Company
X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.01-C-MACOS8 (Macintosh; I; 68K)
MIME-Version: 1.0
Newsgroups: alt.lucky.w,alt.magick,alt.magic
Subject: Black Arts Pamphlets
References: <> <> <8t60sd$> <8t6ist$brn$>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
Lines: 76
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 20:39:40 GMT
X-Trace: 972506380 (Wed, 25 Oct 2000 13:39:40 PDT)
NNTP-Posting-Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 13:39:40 PDT
Xref: alt.lucky.w:8472 alt.magick:214153 alt.magic:127714

John M. Hansen wrote:
>     The 'Black Arts' became a catch phrase in the 1860 - 1910
> period, when magic, at least in the predominant white middle class
> commuity was considered to be both titilating, sexual, and
> forbidden.   This titualtion was taken advantage of by any number of
> stage magicians, and others,  for their own purposes.  (Because of
> vaudville, there were a great many more professional stage magicians
> practicing then than there are today.)
>     Black Herman was one of the leading stage magicians of his time.
> He was an American Negro who was very successful as a vaudeville
> entertainer.
>     I personally doubt that he had anything at all to do with the
> book of the 'Black Arts' which bears his name.

Hi, John -- Thanks for the above. You are right, and the confusion is
not mitigated by the fact that there are two different books with
similar titles that both carry cross-over material about stage magic AND
occultism. They are:

        Herrman's Secrets of Black Art 
        Black Herman's Secrets of Magic  

I have copies of both books and have written descriptions which should
help distinguish them, already posted.  

By the way, a copy of the Dorene reprint of the Black Herman book is
currently for sale at ebay. Unfortunately, the seller is of the mistaken
impression that this is actually the 1938 edition (Dorene never took the
old copyright date off) and so he or she has set some unworkably high
"reserve" price on it. 

The Dorene edition is incomplete in that it deletes several
illuatrations and those that remain are very muddy and hard to see (They
show Black Hrman producing ducks (a speciality of his) and roses, and
performing before large African-American sudiences.) The Dorene edition
has a pink cover made of a very poor grade of "construction paper" type
stock that invariably fades to tan upon exposure to light. The actual
1938 Empire Publishing edition is a bright, clear dark orange that does
not readily fade. 

In short, what this person is selling at ebay is not worth much -- but
for drills, y'all might go there and check it out. I'd give about $5.00
for it myself as it is STILL IN PRINT at that price, with the same
erroneous 1938 copyright date and the same muddy illustrations. 

Here is the info:

Item #:   477004469 
Price:    US $9.99 
Currently $9.99 (reserve not yet met)
Bids:     0
Started:  10/22 20:11 
Ends      Oct-29-00 19:11:37 PST

-- and, as i said, this incomplete reprint edition of the book in the
obviously faded condition shown is not worth the opening bid of $10.00
-- but there is a hidden "reserve price" above that, so even if you bid
ten bucks, you won't get it. 

But you can at least see the cover :-) 

cat yronwode 

Hoodoo in Theory and Practice --

No personal e-mail, please; just catch me in usenet; i read it daily. 

Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
   Send e-mail with your street address to
and receive our free 32 page catalogue of hoodoo supplies and amulets

     Copyright (c) 2000 catherine yronwode. All rights reserved.

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races