‘Girl Farm’ At Voodoo Cavern

Rice Farm Stock Photo

Camden Courier-Post – April 11, 1925

Doc Hyghcock Brought Maids from Florida

Got Them Jobs as Domestics at Eight Dollars Each—Used Half Dozen Cars

P.O. Inspectors Grill Him This Afternoon

Will Charge Him with Using Mails to Defraud – Scan His Letters
Worries over Silk Hats

Investigations of the various activities of “Doctor” H.H. Hyghcock, negro voodoo man, today brought out still more startling phases of the weird career of the dusky “seer” on Liberty Street.

Added to the previous discoveries of infant corpses, weird instruments of torture and other evidence that led to the 71 year-old negro being held without bail, on suspicion of murder, today’s new developments included:

  1. The “underground mystic” himself has told of bringing numerous colored girls from the South and other distant regions and keeping them in his labyrinth of cellars and sub-cellars until he could find employment for them in Camden, Philadelphia, or vicinity.
  2. Evidence that Hyghcock owned numerous automobiles, which have not been found by the police.
  3. Postal inspectors today joined in the probe by questioning Hyghcock this afternoon concerning his alleged use of the mails to defraud.

That the voodoo man claimed to be operating a “girl farm” for importation of colored girls was learned by Courier reporters today while making an independent investigation.

Brought Eight Girls From Florida

“I just brought eight girls up here from Florida and got them jobs” Hyghcock told a South Camden acquaintance early this week. “I bring them in from all around. They live at my house until I find jobs for them. They come back to me every Thursday and give me money for the Lord.”

At the South Camden office of the new Jersey Motor Vehicle Department, 541 Mt. Vernon Street, it was said today that Hyghcock had obtained six or eight sets of New Jersey license tags for automobiles in the last few weeks.

“You have a lot of cars, don’t you?” the voodoo man was asked by Victor J. Scharle, a member of the firm whose office serves the State Motor Vehicle Department in the South Camden territory.

Hyghcock was in the office for a new set of tags. It was only four days before the voodoo man’s arrest and the sensational disclosures made by the police investigation of his underground “witch caves.”

“Yes I keep a different car for every different kind of road in this country, the voodoo man declared.

Also Tried to Start a Restaurant

“I just got back from Florida” the colored man continued. “I brought eight girls with me, and they paid me $8.00 apiece for getting them jobs.”

Still another line of business tried by Hyghcock was revealed by records at City hall today. Two years ago the imperial-whiskered colored man applied for a city license to operate a restaurant at his Liberty Street address.

The inspector’s report caused the restaurant application to be denied on sanitary grounds. When he failed to get back his $10.00 application fee Hyghcock is said to have made numerous and noisy complaints about the city offices.

Three men, anxious to purchase “Doctor” Hyghcock’s private catacombs for the purpose of converting them into a public museum and charging admission fees for visits there, made inquiries of the police today as to who they should see for opening such negotiations.

Detective John Painter today went to Woodbury to investigate a rumor that a woman there had disappeared after being “treated” in Hyghcock’s underground sanitarium. The woman was found alive and well. She admitted that she had received “treatments” from the voodoo man.

Mayor King arranged his official business today so that he could go for a personal inspection of the “catacombs” under the South Camden houses at 4:00 PM.

Hyghcock also announces on his business cards that he is a physician, a preacher, a clairvoyant, a spirit medium, an undertaker, and real estate dealer.

The post office inspectors said they will probably serve a warrant on the medicine man in his cell at City hall on a charge of using the mails to defraud.

Police are still searching the 35 underground rooms beneath the houses and yard of the “doctor’s” houses at 413-15 Liberty Street. So far four undeveloped bodies of infants and the skeleton of a baby have been discovered in the tunnels.

Tear Into Caverns Monday

Police and firemen will start tearing out the labyrinth of rooms on Monday. They will dig up every foot of the cellar in the search for more bodies. They will also tear out a freshly cemented vault and pump out what is believed to be a well, directly under the shed of the house at 413 Liberty Street.

Hyghcock is described by police as one of the most cunning and shrewdest prisoners they have ever questioned. They have grilled him closely since his arrest but he refuses to “break.”

Yesterday morning the 71 year-old man, who has the appearance of a man of forty, and who confessed to having had five wives and 37 children was questioned by police officials. He was trapped in numerous lies but refused to admit to the police that he performed operations or killed any women in his underground church.

Trace Norfolk Addresses

Last night Hyghcock was questioned again at detective headquarters. he attempted to outguess his questioners, but without success. He made no damaging admissions, however, and after two hours he was taken back to his cell.

On his business cards Hyghcock gave two addresses in Norfolk VA. One of the addresses was listed as a physicians office and his other Norfolk address was listed as an undertaking establishment.. The Virginia police checked upon these addresses and found that Hyghcock was not known there and neither was he known to the Norfolk police.

The sorcerer spent another sleepless night in his cell, but he eats heartily. Although apparently worried, he laughingly chats with the turnkeys.

Since he has been in his cell he has not taken off his overcoat. he even keeps it on while being questioned by the detectives.

His main worry is concerning three high hats that were found in his home. The hats are of the vintage of forty years ago and bear evidence of having seen valiant service upon the heads of drivers if the ancient “seagoing hacks.”

Letters Given to P.O. Inspectors

When the “doctor’s” home was searched more than 500 letters from women all over the country were found. These letters will be turned over to postal inspectors. The letters showed that Hyghcock practiced “voodooism” by mail. The police said that this will result in additional warrants being served on him on the charge of using the mails to defraud.

The police branded Hyghcock as “the biggest liar they have ever seen.” He denied knowing any of the women whose names appear on his records. The police are trying to get in touch with everyone whose name and address appear in the records.

All day yesterday crowds congregated in front of the two houses and begged police to allow them to enter the houses and explore the underground rooms. A large number of persons were admitted and escorted through the foul smelling chambers by policemen. The crowd refused to leave, even when the rain storm came.

The police said that they expect a tremendous crowd at the house this afternoon and tomorrow. It is likely the street will be roped off to keep the curious away.

Haddon Heights police recall arresting “Doctor” Hyghcock several years ago when an ancient automobile which the medicine man was steering rattled down the White Horse Pike at 50 miles an hour. Hyghcock had a woman in the machine with him and on the rear seat reposed an open Bible. When the police attempted to lift the Bible the negro became hysterical and shouted that no human hands but his could touch the book.


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