Blackington, Alton H. (photographer)
Image of African American fortune teller, wearing a turban, and holding a crystal ball. A man of mysterious origins and occult leanings, Calvin Brazan Braganza left a scattered and contradictory record. Even the most basic facts about his background are few and uncertain. From scouring city directories, the census, and other official records, it appears he might have been born at some time between 1887 and 1889 (or perhaps a decade earlier), in either Goa (India), California, or New Mexico. In the 1930 census, he reported having been raised speaking Tuscarora. He first surfaced as a clairvoyant in the city directory for Fitchburg, Mass., from 1915 to 1917, and then from 1924 to 1933, it seems certain that he was plying his craft in Boston as a metaphysical practitioner -- a phrenologist, astrologer, seer, and teacher. When he registered for the draft in 1941, having moved on to New Jersey, he reported himself as a "Consultant, psychologist, and publicist." Braganza claimed an impressive array of degrees from metaphysical colleges and reportedly founded several occult organizations, none of which are easily traced. When he made plans for a 1930 World Occult Congress, claiming to have issued thousands of invitations, Walter Franklin Prince of the American Society for Psychical Research called him out for "pure rot and chicanery." On a more secure basis, it appears that Braganza died in New Jersey in April 1956.