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Dr. Jim Jordan

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Dr. Jim Jordan, from a family photo taken in 1950
Dr. Jim Jordan, from a family photo taken in 1950

Dr. Jim Jordan, born James Spurgeon Jordan, was a famous African-American psychic reader, healer, and root doctor. He lived from 1871 to 1962 in the small town of Como, North Carolina, but clients drove and even flew to see him from all over the United States. Although some of his clients were wary of him because of his powers, he was always “an enemy of Ole Satan.” For instance, he used goofer dust not to kill, but to turn back evil and bring good luck.

Jordan was the son of former slaves and he received his training within the family. He learned much of his herbal medicine lore from his mother, Harriet Jordan, who was believed to have been of mixed African and Native American descent. His father, Isaac Jordan, founded the Mill Neck Baptist Church and was a strong supporter of the Black community of Como, located between the larger towns of Murfreesboro North Carolina and Franklin, Virginia. His uncle, Allen Vaughn, also a former slave, was a professional psychic and card reader in Franklin, Virginia, and also a leader of his church, as was common with conjure doctors who did only positive work. Jordan's cousin, Aunt Jo Minton, a palm reader and herbalist midwife, also taught him much about divination, conjure lore, and herbal medicine.

His reading methods included card cutting, palm reading and crystal ball scrying. He was able to show his clients things that he himself saw in the crystal, so he may have been using a ball made from a figured stone in addition to a conventional clear or translucent crystal ball. For most of his seventy-year career, Jim Jordan wildcrafted his own herbs and roots with the help of his sons and nephews. He began supplementing locally harvested herbs with commercial spiritual supplies after 1925, when his practice grew too large to wildcraft and dry herbs for everyone he helped. Jim Jordan was active in the church, and at the end of his life was honored with a well-attended funeral at the church. Shortly after his death, a local journalist, author, and publisher named F. Roy Johnson collected first-hand accounts of his life, and published a biography called The Fabled Dr. Jim Jordan: A Story of Conjure.

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