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Archive for Sunday, December 8, 2013

100 years ago: Traveling ‘clairvoyant’ fleeces Lawrence girl

December 8, 2013

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Dec. 8, 1913:

"Prof. F. Lynn, 'clairvoyant, verified prophet and spirit medium,' did a thriving business in Lawrence for the two weeks just closed. For the services rendered the community in the way of informing callers of their own names, the business, untangling love affairs and commercial deals and dispensing advice and warning he collected goodly fees and then as mysteriously and in as quiet a manner as he appeared he disappeared again.... On Monday of the second week of Prof. Lynn's sojourn in Lawrence an innocent and misguided young girl, a domestic in a prominent Lawrence family, called at the Professor's parlors seeking information and assistance along matrimonial lines, such as the Professor claimed it to be within his power to give. For his services on the first day the girl paid a fee of two dollars. But such a fee was not sufficient to secure the aid that she fancied was needed. She confided in the professor that she was in love with a certain young man, she was very much in love with him and they were to be married. But she wished to hasten the date of the happy occurrence, she hoped to be wedded before Christmas time if that were possible.... Why, indeed, all things were possible with the professor. But such an undertaking as that involved great expense, a special and most costly drug must be employed at an expense of thirty dollars for the drug alone. The professor's fee would be five dollars.... This was indeed no small item for a girl who was obliged to earn a livelihood with her own hands; she had saved the money to aid in furnishing the little cottage they were to occupy, but she would make the sacrifice.... Of course the 'powerful drug' could not be obtained in Lawrence, the professor must secure it elsewhere and if the girl would return on Thursday all would be made clear to her and she would be told more about the lover and the plans for the wedding day. She returned to the rooms once occupied by the man who had taken her money, who had promised her so much in return. She found that he had gone.... Since that time Prof. Lynn has not been seen about Lawrence. The girl has told her story to the authorities and the man who has been branded as a 'faker' is now sought by the police. His whereabouts are unknown, he left no word behind him, he left only a trail of sorrow, remorse and shame. The innocent domestic, it is said, was not the only victim of the wonderful powers of the spirit medium.... The clairvoyant whose proper name is said to be Charles Bowman came to Lawrence on November 21. He obtained a license to practice his art here and secured rooms at 736 New Hampshire street. He wore long hair, shabby clothes, and in general bore out the popular idea of a 'fortune teller.' His thin face and haggard features made a distinct impression on the public mind and he became somewhat of a familiar figure on the street.... Prof. Lynn sought to advertise his business in the Journal-World, but when the nature of his practice was learned the advertising was refused. The paper felt that this man was not engaged in a legitimate business and refused him space. After this Prof. Lynn covered the town with handbills telling of his wonderful powers.... Many clients called at his place to learn of the powers of this man, this man of unusual ability, who greeted people by their proper names, told them of their families after they had told him first, perhaps they didn't remember telling him, but nevertheless they did.... If he can be found it is understood that suit will be brought against the clairvoyant and an effort made to brand his work as false and as a fake."

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