BLACK HERMAN, MY GREAT UNCLE AND SUBJECT OF MY NEW FILM: was known for his “Asrah Levitation” where he would raise a female subject a few feet in the air before audience members, he perfected this trick in 1919. Labeled a visionary, the illusionist was remembered for warning people not to invest in stocks and bonds shortly before the Great Depression.
Black Herman's show was very successful. His audiences included African-American and white people, which was unusual for a period when African-American performers were expected to do separate shows for black and white audiences. He used his success to help his community, hosting black businessmen and other professionals for roundtable discussions on various subjects.
By 1923, Black Herman had added "Buried Alive" to his act. At first, he would "hypnotize" a woman and then bury her six feet under for almost six hours as a publicity stunt or part of a carnival. Eventually, he himself was "Buried Alive." A few days before a major performance, Black Herman would sell tickets for the public to come to a plot of ground near the theater he called "Black Herman's Private Graveyard". They could view his lifeless body and even check for a pulse—nothing. The audience would then see Black Herman's body placed in a coffin and into the grave. The night of the show, another audience was invited to attend as the body was exhumed. They saw the coffin get dug up, opened, and Black Herman would emerge, alive and well. He would then walk to the theater, and the audience usually followed.
This iconic performer spawned generations of imitators including Mandrake the Magician and Marvel's Dr. Strange.
My romantic telling of the relationship between he and his protogee, EVA, can be viewed on AMAZON/KINDLE -Black Jack A Drama of Magic. See YouTube -The Real Black Herman
This person hasn’t posted anything on Patch... yet.