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Herman Boaz

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Herman Boaz

1795 Broadside
BornJames (or Thomas) Bowes aka Herman Boaz
circa 1736
DiedDecember of 1820 (age 83)
CategoriesBooks by Herman Boaz

Herman Boaz (c.1736-1820), always believed to be a native German was, in reality, an Englishman who's real name was James (or Thomas) Bowes. He apparently also was a surgeon and an expert in angling.


His first traces as a magician are from 1762. He travelled extensively England and Scotland rivalling with Philip Astley and Katterfelto. Among his various feats he also performed mind reading routines. [1]

In The Lives of the Conjurors (1876), Thomas Frost refers to him as a "small fry of the profession", although from the number of advertisements and articles about his exhibitions in newspapers and magazines suggest he was rather popular throughout England and Scotland.

His life seems to have been extremely interesting. For example, he also escaped from prison in 1773.

In Miracle Mongers and their Methods, Houdini mentions that Boaz employed a fire-eater billed as the "Man-Salamander" on his program. In reality, it is very likely that the Boaz Houdini mentions is not Herman Boaz but another performer capitalising on a famous name.

One of his more bizarre acts was a hen that laid twenty eggs in a row on a table and then withdrawing from the innards of a hot "roasted jigget of mutton" cards on which audience members had earlier written their thoughts.[2]

The Caledonian Conjuror, Mr. Arbuckle, stated on his billing that he was one of Boaz's pupils.

Boaz died in Edinburgh after nearly twelve years being diabled by a paralytic affection.


  • The Juggler's Oracle, or, the Whole Art of Legerdemain Laid Open (1826). This book has always been ascribed to Boaz. In reality, quite surely it wasn't authored by him and his name was only used to increase the sales.


  1. HERMAN BOAZ OUT-CONJURED IN GLASGOW By EDWIN A. DAWES in Magic Circular August 1994; reprinted in Complete Rich Cabinet of Magical Curiosities (2005)
  • Pietro Micheli, "They lived by tricks - Palatino, Palatine, Breslaw, Boaz and others", published by the author, Italy, 2012, pp. 161-234.
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