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Professor Hermann

Professor Hermann (we have used this spelling although he is sometimes referred to as “Herman”) had a short public life of just a few months. Styling himself, as did others, as “The Wizard of the World”, or as the “Great Hungarian Wizard” he was first noted in Kapunda, South Australia, at Crasses Rooms on August 13 and 15, 1859, and had apparently just arrived from England; although it should be noted that a “Hungarian Wizard”, unnamed, had performed at the Eldorado Assembly Room in Ballarat, Victoria, in late September 1858. (1) If this was Hermann, it might indicate that he was in the country with his eyes on gold-mining at the ‘diggings’.

Near the end of August he performed in Clare, with complimentary reports.

On September 16, the “Hungarian Wizard” was in the Hamburg Hotel, Rundle Street, Adelaide. “The attendance was rather numerous, the various sleight of hand tricks that he performed caused much amusement and were loudly applauded by the audience, who appeared very well pleased with the performances.(2)

Commentary on his repeat performance of September 17 was good: (3) ‘The tricks which he performed were exceedingly well executed. Eggs were made to change their colour at word of command, and silver to answer questions, do dance, &c.  The usual tricks on cards [unclear], were played, and a gun which apparently was loaded with a bullet, was fired, the bullet instantly being caught in the Wizard's teeth ... the company dispersed, seemingly delighted with the entertainment, and feeling, according to the old distich, that "The pleasure is as great, In being cheated as to cheat."  ‘

South Australian Register (Adelaide) September 21, 1859
PROFESSOR HERMANN'S ENTERTAINMENT. - Professor Hermann performedhermann before a tolerably large company on Monday [19th]. During the evening, however, a slight accident occurred to him by a piece of wadding, which was fired from a gun, his object being to catch the bullet between his teeth, striking him on the forehead. The tickets of admission were at once returned to the audience, and the performances were postponed till Tuesday evening. On that occasion the room was very well filled, and the Professor, who had quite recovered from his mishap, appeared, and went through some entirely new and clever tricks, to the evident satisfaction of the company.

Hermann is last noted (4) at Strathalbyn, where he “endeavoured to collect an audience, but I understand he failed in his object. The truth is, there is but very little money in circulation up here at present, and future prospects are none too encouraging.”
It may be that Prof. Hermann then decided to abandon his magical career in Australia.

 

REFERENCES:

(1) The Star, Ballarat, September 22, 1858

(2) South Australian Register, September 17, 1859

(3) South Australian Register, September 19, 1859

(4) South Australian Weekly Chronicle, November 19, 1859

 

 


 

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