In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the Devil or Satan or Lucifer is the arch-enemy of the people of God and he would try anything to lead people away from God and bring them in his team. It is believed that Satan was the chief musician of God before he rebelled against Him and was thrown to Earth along with many other angels who supported him. These fallen angels thus became demons. In Christianity, the demons roam on the Earth and are destined to hell eventually and those who follow these demons would have a similar fate. But even after clear warnings, it didn’t stop many from making deals with Devil.
The Bible specifically tells that the evil spirits should not be contacted, for the own good of people, and yet, there have been many cases over the years where people allegedly tried to get favours from the demons to get what they desire. Here are 5 such famous people who are believed to have sold their souls to the Devil to get things done.
1. Niccolò Paganini
Niccolò Paganini was born in Genoa, Italy in 1782 and is considered to this day to be one of the greatest violinists to have ever lived. He was such a genius when it comes to playing the violin that many of his techniques and skills were considered to be impossible.
His mother wanted him to be a great violinist from an early age, and there is speculation that it was her who had made a deal with the Devil of his soul for greatness. He could play the violin at the age of 7 and was already performing in public when he was just 11 years old. When he was 13, he was sent to a famous violinist of his time to improve his skill, but Alessandro Rolla, his teacher, sent him to his teacher because he was too talented for him. His teacher sent him to his own teacher for the same reason.
When he was 15 years old, he started touring solo but soon had a breakdown. He turned out to be an alcoholic, gambler and womanizer. But he recovered and became one of the first major violinists to perform in public without sheets. He could memorize everything and was ridiculously skilled. His such ability soon popularized the rumor that he was in league with the Devil. Many people even claimed to have seen Paganini’s doppelgangers during his performances with horns and tails helping him and hovering around him.
When Paganini died in 1840, the Catholic Church refused to bury him in Genoa but was ultimately allowed after four years. Still, it lies today about 200 kilometers from his birthplace.
2. Robert Johnson
Robert Johnson, though he only lived for 27 years, is considered a great Blues musician. As a matter of fact, he was ranked 5th in the list of Rolling Stones greatest guitarist of all times and artists like Eric Clapton and Keith Richards have revered him as the greatest of all Blues musicians ever.
Johnson was the tenth child of his parents, and though he was always interested in music and could play harmonica well from an early age, he didn’t have but any talent in playing guitar despite of his much efforts. But then, one day he took a tour of Robinsonville, Mississippi for several months and when he returned, he was not only able to play guitar but could play so well that it would astonish people.
Many believed that it was impossible for anyone to gain such mastery in such a short time and accused him of making a deal with the Devil. Soon stories started to make rounds that during his tour, he met the Devil who tuned a guitar and gifted him that, which made him unstoppable. His song ‘Me and the Devil’ only fueled the speculation of the people. His sudden guitar-playing skill remained a mystery, however.
Another mystery about him was how he died. It is speculated that after a gig in August 1938, he was given a bottle of whiskey by a woman, drinking which he collapsed as it was poisoned by the woman’s jealous husband. The story but cannot be confirmed and where his body lies today is also unknown.
3. Saint Theophilus the Penitent, or Theophilus of Adana
Saint Theophilus was a sixth-century archdeacon of the Catholic Church in the present day Turkey. His story is one of the first cases in history in which someone was accused of selling soul to the Devil. According to the legends, he was offered the position of bishop in the Church, but out of humility, he let someone else take the position. But the new bishop, instead of being grateful, removed Theophilus from his position of archdeacon. This angered him so much that he contacted the Devil and made a deal with him, for which he had to renounce Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary.
Soon after this, circumstances became such that he ended up becoming the bishop, the position he had previously refused. But as years passed by, he grew more and more scared of his soul and realized that vengeance and the position of bishop is nothing comparing to salvation. He was full of regrets and decided to fast. After fasting for forty days, Virgin Mary appeared to him and agreed to intercede with God for him. He continued to fast and thirty more days later, she appeared again and his sins were forgiven.
Three days after that, when he woke up in the morning, he found the contract that he had made with Satan and had signed with his own blood was stuck on his chest. He took it to the Church, confessed his sins publicly and the contract was burned. He was so elated by the freedom that he immediately passed out.
4. Father Urbain Granadier
In 1632 in Loudun, France, a number of nuns accused Father Urbain Granadier, a Catholic priest, of bewitching them and sending a league of demons to commit vile acts with them. They even had the names of the demons. A trial was quickly conducted by the Church and the priest was questioned. During the trial, he was accused of having sexual relationships with many women, and then a document was produced in front of the judges which was allegedly the contract that Granadier had made with the Devil. It had not only the signature of Granadier but also the signature of several demons including the Devil himself. The contract was written backwards in Latin and translates to the following:
We, the influential Lucifer, the young Satan, Beelzebub, Leviathan, Elimi, and Astaroth, together with others, have today accepted the covenant pact of Urbain Grandier, who is ours. And him do we promise the love of women, the flower of virgins, the respect of monarchs, honors, lusts, and powers. He will go whoring three days long; the carousal will be dear to him. He offers us once in the year a seal of blood, under the feet he will trample the holy things of the church and he will ask us many questions; with this pact, he will live twenty years happy on the earth of men, and will later join us to sin against God. Bound in hell, in the council of demons.
Father Urbain Granadier was later burned at stake for the charges of witchcraft.
5. General Jonathan Moulton
General Jonathan Moulton was born in the month of July 1726 and was not always extraordinarily wealthy. He started his career as an apprentice to a cabinet maker but soon decided to join the army. While serving in the army, he fought in three major wars. In the year 1749, he married his first wife and had eleven children with her. He soon settled in Hampton, Virginia and surprisingly got filthy rich in no time. His sudden accumulation of so much of wealth in such a short time came as a surprise to the poor neighborhood and it was alleged that he had made deals with Devil. He went on to marry two more times. He married his third wife at the age of fifty years.
As to how he got so much of wealth, locals alleged that he had made a contract with the Devil in which the Devil was supposed to give him a boot full of gold. But Moulton tore open the sole of the boot and so the boot would never be full of gold. When the Devil learned that he was being tricked, he took revenge on Moulton in the strangest way possible that cemented the hypothesis of people. Upon his death at the age of 61 years, his body went missing from the coffin and instead the coffin was filled with gold coins having the seal of Satan himself. The locals buried the gold-filled coffin anyway. His body was never found and no grave mark was put in its place.