Great State: The Last of the Cherokee Conjurers
LOST CITY, OKLAHOMA — The eye of a witch, the shrunken head of an Oklahoma Outlaw; these are among the ‘tools’ of Jeramy Neugin and his father Bobby, who bill themselves as the last of the Cherokee conjurers.
“We are, as far as we know,” says Bobby. “We don’t know of any other Indians that perform magic.”
From their lonely house in rural Lost City, near Tahlequah, the Cherokee capital, this father and son act spent years researching family history, native lore, and good magic tricks.
“The storytellers that the Indians have today, back in the old days they illustrated those stories with magic,” says Jeramy Neugin.
In the five years since they went professional, Bobby and Jeramy’s tricks include calling up a ‘demon’, who appears in the form of a wasp swarm.
A live wasp emerges from a closed fist. “There goes the first one,” says Jeramy.
They have what they playfully claim is the finger of Sasquatch which turns squiggly lines on a piece of paper into real worms when their finger is waved over a velvet bag.
The eye of their witch has magical powers too, helping them perfom card tricks.
“They say whoever possesses that eye can see things no other person can see,” says Jeramy during a performance.
Bobby used to do a few magic tricks for his son, but it wasn’t until he started telling old stories with them that they stuck in Jeramy’s imagination.
That’s why they dug up the old Illinois River monster legend which includes what they tell audiences is the body of an infant monster.
They call on the forces of a Thunderbird too.
That, they tell spectators, is the fossil of a dragon.
Another Cherokee legend tells on a race of forest guardians they call the Little People.
The Neugins have what they call a skeleton specimen which communicates through a bell on a wooden box.
“If you’re here in spirit, let us know,” says Jeramy.
Then the bell rings.
The Neugins say the original Cherokee conjurers used all kinds of trick magic to help tell their stories.
Even the old cup and ball trick has links to Native American heritage.
Jeramy says of his ancestors, “If they were alive today they would be Chris Angel or David Blayne doing this stuff.”
They perform their magic show all over the country.
The Neugins might come off as a little spooky at first, but from bleeding ghosts to resurrected vampires and more, this show aims for entertaining their audience instead of scaring it.
Bobby and Jeramy perform under the name ‘Lost City Magic’.
They have an interesting website at http://www.neugin.vpweb.com