Argus the Prophet: The Boy with a Thousand Eyes

At a military camp in Seymour, Victoria, at the end of the First World War, a young boy, just five years old, astounded and mystified the returned soldiers with his remarkable psychic gifts. Around the camp, he would soon become known as The Boy with a Thousand Eyes. And then, as his fame spread throughout Australia and New Zealand, packing theatres with amazed audiences, he would be known simply as Argus the Prophet.

On 7 March 1922, Adelaide’s Advertiser reported on the remarkable powers of the young boy wonder who had amazed so many returned soldiers at Seymour.

“Argus, a bright, brown-eyed boy, not yet 11 years of age, has appeared before and mystified thousands of persons by his remarkable gift and thought-reading. He made his first appearance when only five years of age at the Seymour military camp, where he entertained 25,000, who were so amazed that they called him, “The Boy with a Thousand Eyes”.

“With his father, Sergeant C.O Copeland, Argus toured New Zealand for two years; during which time his mysterious powers were put to a severe test. Dunedin University students challenged him with an intricate mathematical problem, and Argus calmly gave the correct answer, which was well in the billions.”

A popular attraction packing theatres

At just 11 years old, Argus the Prophet was fast proving a popular attraction, packing theatres wherever he went and leaving audiences spellbound.

Argus boy prophetThe Advocate, on 21 September 1922, announced that Majestic Pictures had “secured at a considerable expense” Argus the Prophet, who had just concluded a season at His Majesty’s Theatre, Hobart where “crowds flocked daily to see this phenomenon”.

The article speculated that the powers demonstrated by Argus “are latent in the mental organisation of all of us” but “it is only here and there that we find an individual in whom they are developed to the point of being made manifest”.

“Argus has already demonstrated, on numerous occasions, that he is one of those few in whom this development occurs, and the severe tests he bas been put to prove beyond question the genuiness of the claims made on his behalf. His mind, too, is of a razor-edge keenness, and the rapidity of his psychic process is abundantly evident in the quick and unhesitating manner in which he gives his answers to the questions put.

His psychic abilities, the article stated, were demonstrated at his most recent performance when: “A lady who had lost a sum of money was told that one of her household had placed it under the mattress of her bed. This morning she rang up the Theatre to inform the management that, on her return home, she had searched and found the missing money in the very place designed by the boy.”

Rare occult powers of telepathy and clairvoyance

A week later, the Advocate produced more evidence of the boy’s astounding psychic abilities.

“The boy seated himself in a chair on the platform, and after being blindfolded, his manager went amongst the audience inviting all sorts of questions from all and sundry. The questions were in the majority of cases answered quickly and accurately by the lad. Sceptics were convinced that Argus, who is only 12 years of age, possesses some rare occult powers of telepathy and clairvoyance. Articles which were produced were accurately described, and the thoughts of members of the audience were revealed in an amazing manner.

“In one case a returned soldier was told that he was wearing a gold ring which he obtained in Belgium, the truth of which was admitted by the owner of the ring. Even the future was divined, and, according to the statement of the manager, the lad is generally, though not always, correct in prophecy. The audience were quite prepared to believe the statement that this wonderful lad had baffled police, scientists and doctors. It is the intention to take him on a world tour, where his occult powers will be submitted to various scientific tests.”

The Mercury on 26 February 1927 offered further examples of the young prophet’s powers.

“From all parts of the audience questions were set and problems prepared. Argus did not fail to answer one. He declared, with amazing rapidity, the denomination of playing cards drawn at random from an ordinary pack. Without fault he described coins, their country of origin, and their value; his answers seemed to invest him with the uncanny power of living in the minds of persons who had made gifts to friends in the audience: and, above all, he identified a considerable assortment of the weirdest curios that could have been collected.

“One sceptic tested the youth with the back tooth of a sea leopard. Argus knew it at once. A Finnish dagger was recognised – mentally – within a couple of seconds; and several despairing ladies were set on the track of articles which they believed to have been lost forever. Argus had no difficulty in divining the numbers on bank notes even before their owners had troubled to look for themselves, and to one lady he related the intimate life story of a gold ring she displayed.”

A master prophet

Later, on 21 November 1930, The Daily News reported that: “Argus has been claimed as a master prophet and holds among his treasured possessions many letters testifying to the truth of his forecasts.

“One of the most remarkable of these, it is said, comes from a lady in Waihi, New Zealand, who came to his manager after the show one evening, seeking information about her sister, who was bedridden, and for whom the doctors had given up hope.

“Argus was put into a trance and there and then after a few minutes in a very deep trance, he told the lady that her sister would be walking in five months. Six months later he met the lady and was told that her sister had completely recovered. To prove her appreciation this lady sent a letter testifying to the truth of the boy prophet’s surprising forecast.”

Radio-telepathy test … and an accurate prediction

In December 1927, Argus the Prophet submitted to what was described as a “radio-telepathy test”. The Singleton Argus on 3 December 1927 reported on the remarkable live test and its astonishing results.

“A radio-telepathy test, which astounded live members of the Legislative Assembly [Lower House of the NSW Parliament] and thousands of members of the public, took place on Wednesday night between [radio] station 2BL and Hoyt’s Theatre, George Street [Sydney], where Argus the Prophet waited to receive impressions.

“A strong committee was formed at 2BL to concentrate on certain questions and objects. At Hoyt’s Theatre, on the stage, Argus faced a microphone, and described those objects, and answered the questions with astounding swiftness and accuracy. Argus was watched by a committee selected at random. As those in studio 2BL picked up objects Argus described them; as they wrote personal matters on paper Argus replied to them.

“Questions relating to the Harbour Bridge were answered. Argus predicted that five years would elapse before the bridge would be completed.”

The Sydney Harbour Bridge was indeed completed in 1932 with the last stone of the north-west pylon set in place on 15 January 1932, and the first train crossing the bridge on 19 January. The formal opening occurred on 19 March 1932.

Yet another prophecy, this time in 1931, would also come to pass in the most extraordinary of circumstances.

Prophesising tumultuous political events

In Argus the Prophet and the Depression, published in The Horsham Times on 6 October 1931, it was reported that: “The youthful prophet who performed at Horsham for three nights … gave his version or prophetic utterance about the depression.

“He predicted that there would be an early election next year and the new Prime Minister would be Mr J. A. Lyons, other members of the Government going over to the latter. This change would prove of benefit, for in about two year’s time there would be a new Australia as the result.”

Again, Argus the Prophet’s predictions proved correct with Lyons, who had quit the Labor Party in March and had led a group of defectors to the opposition benches, and forming a new political party, became Prime Minister in January 1932 after a series of extraordinary political events that brought about an early election at the end of 1931.

An outcome that even the most experienced and well-connected political commentator would have been unlikely to foresee in October of 1931.

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4 thoughts on “Argus the Prophet: The Boy with a Thousand Eyes

  1. …and so what happened in his later life, assuming of course that he lived past 1932 – did his amazing abilities continue? And was he able to forsee his own death, whenever that may have been? Does anyone know the answer to these questions?

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