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WITCHCRAFT ON GRAND STREET

New York, May 26, 1910. Testimony was introduced yesterday in the case of Carmela Rubino, of No. 30 Grand Street, which made Magistrate Kernochan gasp and exclaim that he could understand why they used to burn certain persons in Salem, Massachusetts, during the Colonial days. The woman was arraigned in the Tombs court charged with practicing medicine without a license. The principal affidavit in the case was made by Mrs. Leonora Buffano, of No. 50 Wallace Avenue, Jersey City. Minor affidavits were submitted by Leonard and Giovanni Buffano, of the same address, and by Mrs. Concetta Spinella, of No. 3I Wallace Avenue. Mrs. Spinella, however, plays a prominent part in this story of modern witchcraft, for if her daughter had not died after treatment by Mrs. Rubino, who had been recommended by the Buffanos, the latter would not have become suspicious and caused the arrest of Mrs. Rubino, through the County Medical Society.

According to Mrs. Buffano she first went to Grand Street for medical attendance on or about March 1, when she paid $20 for having a yellow powder rubbed on her chest and departed with the feeling that a painful stomach trouble would bother her no more. Two days later, so runs the affidavit, Mrs. Rubino appeared at midnight at the home of her patient, announced that the house was full of devils and collected $55, which she placed in a pan, covered with sand and promised to bury in a vacant lot. The Buffanos believed that this procedure would cause the supposed devils to make their future abode in the vacant lot.

A few days later, Mrs. Buffano's stomach trouble being no better, she went to Grand Street and gave up $20. She got more for her money this time, a blue ribbon being tied around her left leg after the powder had been rubbed on her chest. The affidavit continues to recite that Mrs. Rubino returned the call and convinced her patient that her eldest son could be prevented from committing murder only by the payment of $35. Mrs. Buffano paid it. To prevent the arrival of a fatal disease she also paid $10 for each one of her six children.

At various other times Mrs. Buffano alleges that she or members of her family paid sums that aggregated $180, and she said that she drove from her home an aged relative, whose presence was supposed to be the cause of all the trouble.

Mrs. Spinella gave up only $11, she said, although she agreed to pay $50 if Mrs. Rubino would cure her daughter within a week. Mr. Rubino took the case on this basis and the child died. Then came the end of the sway of the Grand Street "doctor" over certain residents of Jersey City. Mrs. Rubino waived examination yesterday. Magistrate Kernochan held her in $500 bail, which was furnished.

New-York Tribune, May 26, 1910

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Hans Baldung Grien - Hexen (Witches; woodcut, 1508) - Wikipedia