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French Cops Stung By African ‘Sorcerer’

November 10, 1985

NICE, France (AP) _ Two French national policemen lost $7,600 to an African ″sorcerer″ who claimed he could turn 50-centime coins worth 6 cents into 500-franc bills worth $60, according to a published report.

The daily Nice Matin reported in its weekend editions that the so-called sorcerer told the policemen that coins dropped into a potion of boiling water and secret herbs would magically turn into much more valuable bills.

Instead, the sorcerer turned their money into torn newsprint and disappeared from town, the newspaper reported.

The newspaper quoted local police as saying one of the two gendarmes visited a man calling himself ″Grand sorcerer and seer Seydou Diaby″ for ″consultations about a personal problem.″

Self-proclaimed seers and mediums are common in France and often advertise in local newspapers.

During the ″consultation,″ Seydou Diaby asked the officer to drop a 50- centime coin into a bubbling pot, the newspaper reported. The seer covered the pot, recited several incantations and removed the cover to reveal a new, 500- franc bill floating in the pot.

The gendarme revisited the sorcerer accompanied by a fellow gendarme.

The sorcerer repeated his ″miracle″ several times, and three days later the two gendarmes returned with a combination of borrowings and savings totaling 60,000 francs, or $7,600.

According to the newspaper, the sorcerer placed the money in a suitcase, recited incantations and told them he would return the suitcase to them, ″but you must absolutely not open it for three days or the spell will not work.″

Three days later, the gendarmes opened the suitcase to find nothing but cut-up newspapers.

Nice Matin said a warrant was issued for the ″seer.″ It did not say when the incidents took place. Local police on Sunday said they were aware of the case but could give no details.

PX-11-10-85 1203EST

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