March 9, 1909


Police Searching for Mysterious
Female, Who Used Hypnotism on
Domestic and Got All the
Money She Had.

A mysterious "woman in black," purporting to be a cousin of Gypsy Smith, has been reported to the police by one of her victims, Mary Anderson, 1836 Pendleton avenue, a domestic in the employ of J. L. DeLong, as having muleted her of $130 after advising her to draw the money out of the bank. The woman claimed to be a fortune teller, possessing the marvelous powers of foresight, and told Miss Anderson that unless she withdrew her deposit before March 5 it would be lost.

Friends of the girl believe the woman to have been a hypnotist, the girl's story of her experience with the "seeress" seeming to bear out this belief. The money is supposed to have been taken by the woman while she and Miss Anderson were in one of the waiting rooms at Emery, Bird, Thayer's store on Walnut street.


"The woman first came to the ho use on Monday afternoon a week ago and asked to be allowed to tell my sister's fortune," said the girl yesterday, "but, as my sister does not understand English well enough to carry on a conversation, I was approached. I told her I did not have time to talk to her and didn't want my fortune told, anyway.

"The next afternoon the woman appeared again and this time she insisted upon reading my hand. She told me that my people in the old country were having some trouble with their property and that all was not well with them. This was true and I began to put some credence in what she told me. Then she declared that the property would be lost and that there would much trouble come of it.

"After telling me this she looked right at me and said that I had money in the bank. 'You had better be careful of that, too,' she said, 'for I can see that you are going to have trouble with it. That institution will fail before March 5, and if your money is not out by that time you will lose it.' She then asked me how much I had and I told her I did not think it was any of her business. 'I know how much it is,' she declared, 'you have $130 or $150 in t he bank, but you had better take it out.' "


The victim of the plot, after this seeming marvelous revelation of "powers," made an excuse the next day and went down to the bank and drew out her $130, her saving of more than seven months, the money that was to bring relief and help to her family across the ocean, and help to bring another sister from Sweden to America. She had lost some of her savings once before when a bank failed three years ago.

At the office of the bank the "woman in black" was waiting, but Miss Anderson says she was not there when she came out with the money.

"I had my money tied up in a handkerchief and that inside a leather handbag I carried," she said. I walked into Emery, Bird, Thayer's and went up to the waiting room. Here I met the woman again and she came to me and said, 'What , you again? I am glad to see you.' "

Sitting down to a table by themselves, the two women, according to the girl's story, began to talk . The "woman in black" began by asking the girl if she had been to hear Gypsy Smith. A reply in the negative brought a torrent of upbraidings. The woman declared she would suffer the torments of hell and the fires of everlasting damnation if she did not change her ways, and live the right life, as set forth in the teachings of the revivalist. She urged the girl to go with her to Convention hall, but this she would not do.


"I experienced the queerest sensation all the time the woman talked," she said. "Her beady black eyes seemed to burn into mine, and I could not take my eyes away from hers. I kept saying to myself, 'You cannot get my money, you cannot get my money.' And then she asked me to give it to her, saying she would return it to me the next day. I asked her if she thought I was crazy, and she told me that she thought I was one of the brightest girls she had ever known.

"She left me saying 'God bless you, I'll see you tomorrow.' and went out of the room. I did not get up for a moment, and when I did try I could hardly stand on my feet. I felt dazed and sleepy, and thought I should not be able to get home. There was no one in the room during all the time we were in there together. It was not until after I was on the street car on my way home that I noticed the money was gone."


The police were notified of the occurrence, but so far nothing definite has been learned. Several persons in the neighborhood of Pendleton avenue saw the "woman in black," and declared she had tried to gain entrance to a numnber of residences on the plea of telling fortunes. She is described as wearing a black hat with several large black plumes, a black skirt and a black cloak reaching about to the knee. Her expression is said to be unpleasant and forbidding, the beady black eyes which stare at you directly seem to fascinate against the will, make the face repellent.

The woman told Miss Anderson that she lived in a tent in Kansas City, Kas., in the old Electric park, and that she was gypsy and still kept to the traditions of her race.