Johan Christian Eugen

Monday May 12th  1909

Death of the "Wonderdoktor."

Remarkable Petoria Personality

(From Our Own Correspondent)

Pretoria, Saturday

News was wired from Capetown yesterday of the death there, from malarial fever, of Mr. L. C. Engen of Pretoria.

Mr Engen was very well known in this town, and was admittedly a quite remarkable personality. He was the originator of a system of treatment for health and the cure of diseases which was followed by a surprisingly large number of people, not only in Pretoria, but in places so far apart as Portuguese East Africa and the Cape Colony.  He was credited by his friends with possessing psychic insight and influence in regard to disease, and however this may be he certainly was extraordinarily successful in may cases of treatment.

It would be a revelation to name some of the people who went to him for advice, especially among the Dutch population, to who he was known as the Wonderdokter: and amid? he knew ............. many high placed people, and was trusted by men of high education and keen perception, he is said never to have refused help to the poorest who came to him in time of sickness. He was appointed to attend General Lukas Meyer at the front during the last war.

Exactly what his success lay in it is difficult to say. It is usual in such cases to attribute the successes of treatment of the kind adopted by him as due to the influence of suggestion acting through the medium of the mental attitude of the patient, and a glance at the diet instructions usually given by him would seem to show that these were rather intended to give the patient something tangible to go upon than as having any important effect of themselves. But those most intimately acquainted with Engen claim something far deeper for his treatment. no less than an actual psychic influence over disease,  and his actions in many cases seem to indicate that he made the same claim for himself. With this he combined what may be called a creed of his own, which differed so much from religion on the one hand or " spiritualism" on the other that this, added to his peculiar treatment , give rise to the term "Eugenite" a designation the ............ of which is well understood all over Pretoria. Drugs he was never known to use, and when he came in conflict with the Medical Act - as happened more than once- nothing that can be characterised as more than a technical offence against the law was alleged against him.

Johan Christian Engen was born in Christiana, Norway, and was fifty-six at the time of his death. He had followed the sea, and held a master mariner's certificate. He lived in New Zealand for over 20 years, and married his present wife in that country. He came to South Africa in 1894, and lived in many parts of it, including Rhodesia, the Cape Peninsula, Johannesburg and Pretoria. He is described as having shown considerable public spirit and having had the interests of his adopted country always at heart. One of the peculiarities attaching to his remarkable character was a hobby for farming, and he had a farm in of the remote parts of Transvaal. It was a recent journey to this place that brought on his death. He left for the place, where his wife was lying dangerously all with malaria which has been so rampant during the present season, and his cart breaking down, he was forced to ride 250 miles, sleeping exposed on the veld at night. This, coupled with shortness of food during the journey was followed by ....................... malaria. He made light of these, saying - and his friends testify to the truth of the assertion - that he had always cured himself before and that he ought to be able to do it again. He - was - visib'y affected however, and admitted that the unusual hardships and exertion, followed by the fever, had had an adverse effect on his system. He consented to go to Capetown thinking the change of air would set matters right, but refused to take quinine or call in medicalnadvice. He did not recover strength however, and collapsed on Wednesday hight last, when a doctoe was called in in order to comply with the ordinary usages.

Many people who knew or were treated by Mr Engen will keenly regret to hear of his sudden death, and the circle of his patients was a large one. Some of his successes, which can be vouched for by unimpeachable witnesses, are truly remarkable, and he is said even to have staved off cancer in an advanced stage. It would be interesting in a high degree to have an account of his theories and system from someone fully acquainted with them, but he never appears to have written anything on these heads himself.