Old Print Article: “German ‘Prophet’ Lands In Jail,” New York Times (1921)


“Then he began his career as an itinerant long-haired prophet.”

Louis Hauesser was a wealthy German who saw his fortune sink during World War I, before reinventing himself as a “messiah” with a bevy of young followers, many of them attractive females. In that sense, he presaged Krishna Venta, Charles Manson and Mel Lyman, among others. He was in constant conflict with authority figures, and spent a fair amount of time as a defendant. A court appearance for a trifling matter in the early ’20s was the basis of an article in the December 23, 1921 New York Times. The story:

Berlin–The Moabit Police Court witnessed a strange scene when an ‘Apostle of Charity,’ one Louis Hauesser, self-styled ‘Prophet of the Latter-Day Christ, World Benefactor, Initiator of the New Era and Proclaimer of the New Healing,’ was called to the bar on a charge of having failed to pay $6.29 to a Berlin paper for an advertisement, the insertion of which is said to have been obtained under false pretenses. Prophet Hauesser, six feet of splendid manhood, had bare legs, sandals, a hair shirt, prophet whiskers and the longest inflowing locks seen in court in many a moon. He was accompanied by a similarly garbed and locked flock of faithful, more than a score of freakish men and women.

For months the German Messiahs have been peripatetically and profitably prophesying all over Germany, making many converts, particularly among women. The South German police, taking cognizance of the prophet’s increasing bare-footed and hair-shirted female following, put him into the psychiatric ward of Tuebingen University for observation, whence he was released owing to lack of a charge, but the professor’s expert findings are of remarkable human interest.

Until the outbreak of the war the hairy prophet was a well-groomed, fashionably dressed spender and husband of a remarkably beautiful woman living in luxury. He owned a champagne factory and also derived a large income from betting bureaus in Switzerland. But he blew in all his own and his wife’s money and went broke early in the war.

Then he began his career as an itinerant long-haired prophet. ‘His conspicuous virility exercised influenced a strong influence over a large number, even intellectual persons, particularly women,’ according to the Tuebingen professor.

In the police court Hauesser stubbornly refused to sit on the accused bench but graciously gave the Judge permission to go ahead and sentence him, however he pleased. He got the usual installment of three days in jail for contempt of court.”