5 legendary encounters with the devil throughout history

(ORDO NEWS) — From trying to catch him by the nose to selling your soul to him, find out what a hellish trail the Devil has left in our myths and legends.

Lucifer, Satan, Iblis, Beelzebub are just some of the many names used to describe humanity’s arch-demonic enemy. The diabolical figure of the devil appears in history all over the world.

Whether such a monstrously evil creature exists is debatable. However, the infernal trace that the devil left in the legends and folk traditions of mankind is undeniable.

Many stories describe encounters with the monster, both for the worse and for the better. So, here are five historical encounters with the devil.

1- Richard Cabell

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It is said that the infernal ghost of Richard Cabell haunted Dartmoor and the area around his final resting place

Richard Cabell lived in the 1600s and was the local squire of Brook Manor in English Devon. He was considered a monstrously evil man: a figure of darkness who, according to local legend, beat and taunted his wife until one night she fled, fleeing through the swamps with her husband in hot pursuit.

They say that in the end he overtook the unfortunate woman and killed her and her faithful dog. The ghost of this faithful dog haunted Cabell for the rest of his life.

It was said that the reason for the squire’s gloominess lies in the deal he made with the devil.

After gaining immortality from the beast, Cabell did whatever he wanted, creating such an infamous legacy that it later inspired Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles.

However, he was not destined to gain eternal life. Cabell died on July 5, 1677 – some claim he was being hunted by a pack of ghost hounds seeking revenge.

It is said that on the night of his burial in the family vault, the same flock of ghost hounds swept through the swamp to howl at his grave. Since then, on the anniversary of his death, Richard Cabell’s hell phantom could be seen haunting the swamps and surroundings of his final resting place.

Frightened by the dark figure and his diabolical connection, the locals built iron bars around the squire’s grave and placed a huge stone slab on the grave.

However, even after taking such precautions, some still report a strange red glow coming through the iron bars. Some even claim that on certain nights, a whole host of demonic creatures gather at his grave, who try to take the promised soul of their master.

2- Saint Dunstan

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[Image credit: British Library’s Catalog of Illuminated Manuscripts] Initials from the Life of Dunstan in the Canterbury Passionary, depicting Saint Dunstan grabbing the devil with blacksmith tongs
In the tenth century, the religious fate of England was protected by Dunstan, a pious and charitable clergyman, who during his life held many important ecclesiastical offices.

By the time of his death in 988, Dunstan had served as Archbishop of Canterbury and reformed monastic life in England, and was also a skilled painter, harpist, and metalsmith. Not only that, Dunstan was said to have protected England from the devil himself.

According to legend, Dunstan repeatedly met with the devil. The most famous of these encounters took place while he was living as a hermit in a cell at Glastonbury. Being a talented metalworker, Dunstan sometimes took orders.

One such order came from an old man who appeared at his window and asked if Dunstan would make a chalice for him. Agreeing, Dunstan began work on the product. However, when he looked up from his work, he noticed that his visitor had changed: at one moment he was an old man, at another a young man, then a woman.

Then Dunstan realized that his visitor was the devil.

Hiding his disappointment, Dunstan continued to work on the bowl. He took the blacksmith’s tongs and brought them to the fire. When they were red hot, he pulled them out of the flame, turned on his heels and grabbed the devil by the nose with tongs. Despite the struggle and cries of the devil, Dunstan calmly drove the monster out of his cell.

Another time, Dunstan was sitting in his cell and playing the harp. As the saint sang his tune, a “tramp” approached him. It was the devil who again wanted to deceive the holy man.

However, Dunstan was a cunning man. He grabbed the devil again, this time by his devil’s hoof. The saint began to shoe the beast, furiously nailing a metal horseshoe to the devil’s hoof.

The devil begged and screamed in pain as Dunstan drove nail after nail into him. When he was finished, Dunstan only agreed to take off his shoe and free the devil only after he promised that he would never go through the door over which the horseshoe hangs.

Since then, a horseshoe, which is hung near the house, has been associated with good luck and protection.

“Above your threshold, on your mast,

Make sure the horseshoe is nailed on tight.”

3- Devil’s bridge

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In almost every country there is a legend about the “devil’s bridge”. In this regard, the Austrian region of Tyrol is no different.

Legend has it that once in a village in the Montafon valley, a bridge was swept away by a powerful stream of water. The villagers were justifiably worried, since their road to Schruns and back depended on this bridge, to the other side of the river, where they traded and bought food.

United, the residents approached a local carpenter, offering him a large sum of money if he could repair the vital bridge in three days.

The carpenter was perplexed. The money offered would have made his extended family rich. However, he saw that it was impossible to complete such a large amount of work in just three days. Before making a decision, he asked the villagers for one day to think it over.

All that day, until midnight, the carpenter studied and thought, frantically looking for a way to restore the bridge within the specified time. Angry and irritated, he couldn’t find a solution. And just as he was about to give up and go to bed, a little man in a green hat entered the room.

The strange little man said that he could help the carpenter complete the task in three days. However, he had one condition: as soon as the bridge was completed, the first soul to leave the carpenter’s house and cross the bridge would be his.

Then the carpenter realized that this strange man was the devil.

However, the carpenter was so enticed by the large amount of money that he agreed to the devil’s terms, believing that when the time came he could trick the devil.

Three days later, the bridge was completed, and the devil stood in the middle, waiting for his sacrifice. After standing there for many days, the carpenter finally appeared.

Feeling that retribution was near, the devil jumped for joy. However, the carpenter drove one of his goats, and when he drove up to the bridge, he pushed it in front of him and exclaimed: “Here is the first soul from my house!”

Enraged at being so deceived and humiliated, the devil grabbed the goat by the tail and dragged it across the bridge. The devil held her so tightly that her tail broke free. Laughing and mocking everyone who saw him with the goat, the devil disappeared.

It is said that from the day the carpenter outsmarted the devil, all goats have short tails.

4- Robert Johnson

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Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil

Robert Johnson was an American blues singer-songwriter and musician. He is best remembered for his guitar playing, and is still considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

Strangely, playing the guitar was not the skill he had as a child. The story goes that although he was a passionate guitar player in school, he was not said to have any real talent for it.

However, at the age of 18, Johnson showed a guitar prowess that seemed to come out of nowhere. His quick command of the instrument was inexplicable: he played it with such an intimate grace that the only explanation for this is devilishness.

According to legend, as a young man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi, Johnson longed to become a great blues musician.

This desire was so great that he took his guitar to a nearby crossroads. There he was met by the devil, who took the guitar and retuned it. Giving it back, Johnson received the mastery of the instrument – for a small price of his soul.

In later years, Johnson became an itinerant musician, moving from place to place and playing guitar for money on street corners. He later recorded several songs.

Some say that hints of Johnson’s devilish pact can be found in several of his own songs, including Cross Road Blues and Me and the Devil.

Somewhat ominously, Johnson died under mysterious circumstances in 1938 at the young age of 27. According to one version, he was poisoned by the jealous husband of the woman with whom he flirted.

According to another version, he died of syphilis. Ultimately, no one knows. Not only that, but Johnson’s burial site remains a mystery at least three different locations have been noted as possible.

Since Johnson’s music is now inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, it’s anyone’s guess if the devil came and took his fee as agreed. Eventually, Johnson died at the legendary and possibly cursed age of 27, which means he joined other great musicians in the infamous 27 year old club, including Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison.

5- George Lukins Obsession

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Christ driving away the believer is depicted on a fragment of the temperance canvas in Gurk Cathedral, Carinthia, Austria

On Saturday, May 31, 1788, the Reverend Joseph Easterbrook was alerted to the strange case of George Lukins, a man who claimed to be possessed by the devil.

One of the Reverend’s parishioners, Mrs. Sarah Barber, told him of Lukins’ illness.

On visiting the village of Yatton in Somerset, where she used to live, Mrs. Barber was dismayed to find a man she once knew in a state of unusual illness.

George Lukins, a tailor and peddler by trade, was a child of “good character” who “continually attended church and communion”. However, over the past eighteen years, his behavior has changed – his character has changed.

During her stay in the village, she told the reverend, she witnessed how the unfortunate man had seizures several times a day, during which he “sang and shouted in various sounds, some of which were not like a human voice.”

George was placed under the care of Mr. Smith, an eminent surgeon. Many other medical gentlemen also gave their help to Mr. Smith and his patient. Everything was in vain. No cure for the mysterious ailment could be found, and George himself during the attacks declared that no doctor could help him.

Many villagers were convinced that this man was “bewitched”. George himself “declared that he was possessed by seven devils.”

After hearing Mrs. Barber’s recollections, Reverend Easterbrook asked George Lukins to visit him.

In his notes, the Reverend described how George made “the most terrible sounds” as his body convulsed. Experiencing up to nine seizures a day, the man was weak and emaciated. He also couldn’t hear religious utterances without writhing in pain.

Another witness, who published a letter in the local newspaper at the time, described George declaring “in a roaring voice that he was the devil” and then singing a hunting song in a “hoarse” and “terrible” voice. They even detailed how “at certain times of the fit he is so violent that an assistant must always be at hand to keep him from injuring himself.”

On June 13, the Reverend Easterbrook and several of his friends and colleagues met with George in the sacristy of the church.

They began to sing hymns, which immediately sent George into convulsions. His seizure became more and more violent until he spoke in a “deep, hoarse, hollow voice”.

The Voice stated that he would “never leave” his hold on George, and that any attempt to help him would result in “a thousand times worse” torment. Then the voice began to sing in its usual manner, boasting of its power, blaspheming, and swearing vengeance both on poor George and on all who dared oppose him.

As the session continued, other voices appeared, all of them refusing to let George go and warning against any attempt to help him. At some point, the voice took possession of the man and announced: “I am a great devil,” after which George began to have such violent convulsions that two men had to restrain him.

When the voice, which was mistaken for the devil, was asked why he was torturing George, he replied: “So that I can show my strength among people.” All this time, George continued to suffer from severe convulsions, despite his small stature and weakened body.

When the session reached its climax, one of the priests in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit ordered the evil spirit to come out of the person. Prayers for deliverance were said and the priest repeated the command. George’s convulsions and agony grew stronger. He was already screaming – howling – in terrible pain.

Then he was released. The convulsions stopped – the devil seemed to be gone. George Lukins, previously declared incurable by doctors, was healed.


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