5 Historic Encounters with the Devil

5 Historic Encounters with the Devil

December 16, 2019 100 By William Hollis


Lucifer, Satan, Iblīs, Beelzebub – these
are but some of the many names used to describe the arch-demonic enemy of mankind. A diabolical Devil-figure appears in history
all across the globe. Whether such a monstrously evil being exists
is up for debate. However, the hellish mark which the Devil
has left on the legends and folklores of mankind is indisputable. Many tales describe encounters with the beast
– for the worse and for the better. As such, here are five historic encounters
with the devil. Richard Cabell lived during the 1600s and
was the local Squire of Brook Manor, in Devon England. He was regarded as a monstrously evil man:
a figure of darkness who local legend records as having beaten and abused his wife, until
one night she escaped, fleeing across the moors with her husband in hot pursuit. It is said that he eventually caught up with
the unfortunate woman, murdering her and her faithful dog. The ghost of this loyal canine haunted Cabell
for the rest of his life. The reason for the squire’s darkness, it
was said, lay in a deal he had made with the devil. Granted immortality by the Beast, Cabell did
as he pleased, creating such an infamous legacy that he would later go on to provide the inspiration
for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles. However, eternal life was not to be his. Cabell died on the 5th July 1677 – with some
saying that he was hunted to death by a pack of phantom hounds, bent on revenge. On the night of his interment into the family
tomb, it is said that this same pack of phantom hounds came baying across the moor to howl
at his grave. From then on, on the anniversary of his death,
the hellish phantom of Richard Cabell could be seen stalking the moors and the area around
his final resting place. Terrified of the dark figure and his diabolical
connection, local people built iron bars around the squire’s tomb and placed a huge slab
of stone on top of the grave. However, even after taking such precautions,
some still report a strange red glow emanating through the iron bars. Some even claim that, on certain nights, a
whole host of demonic creatures gather at his grave, trying to retrieved the promised
soul of for their master… In the tenth century, the religious fate of
England was safeguarded by Dunstan, a pious and charitable clergyman who held many important
ecclesiastic positions throughout his life. By the time of his death in 988, Dunstan had
served as the Archbishop of Canterbury and had reformed monastic life in England, as
well as being a skilled artist, harpist and metalsmith. Not only that, it was said that Dunstan had
protected England from the Devil himself. According to legend, Dunstan encountered the
devil numerous times. The most famous of these encounters occurred
whilst he was living as a hermit in a cell at Glastonbury. A talented metalsmith as he was, Dunstan occasionally
accepted commissions. One such commission came from an old man,
who appeared at his window asking if Dunstan would make a chalice for him. Agreeing, Dunstan began working on the piece. However, when he looked up from his work,
he noticed that his visitor had changed: one moment he was the old man, the next a young
boy, then a woman. It was then that Dunstan realised his visitor
was the devil. Concealing his distress, Dunstan continued
to craft the chalice. He picked up his blacksmith’s tongs and
moved them to fire. Once they were red-hot, he pulled them from
the flames, turned on his heel and seized the devil by the nose with the tongs. Despite the struggling and screams of the
devil, Dunstan calmly cast the beast from his cell. On another occasion, Dunstan was sat in his
cell playing his harp. As the saint sang his melodious tune, a “tramping
vagrant” approached. This was the devil, once again intent on deceiving
the holy man. However, Dunstan was a man of cunning. He once again seized the devil, this time
grabbing his diabolic hoof. The saint proceeded to shoe the beast, furiously
nailing a metal horseshoe to the devil’s hoof. The devil pleaded and cried in pain as Dunstan
hammered nail after long nail into him. When he was done, Dunstan only agreed to remove
the shoe and free the devil after he promised he would never pass through a door over which
a horseshoe hangs. From then on, the hanging of a horseshoe outside
one’s home has been associated with good luck and protection. “Over your threshold, on your mast
Be sure the horse-shoe’s well nailed fast” Almost every country possesses a legend of
a “Devil’s Bridge”. In this respect, the Tyrol region of Austria
is no different. Legend reports that, one day, a village in
the valley of Montafon had their bridge swept away by an overwhelming torrent. The villagers were justifiably concerned,
for they depended upon that passage to pass to and from Schruns, on the other side of
the river, from where they traded and purchased their supplies. Banding together, the villagers applied to
the local carpenter, offering him a large sum of money if he would rebuild the vital
bridge in three days’ time. The carpenter was in disbelief. The money being offered would make his large
family rich. However, he saw that completing such a great
amount of work in just three days was an impossibility. Before making a decision, he begged the villagers
for one day of reflection. All that day, up to midnight, the carpenter
studied and pondered, frantically searching of a way to rebuild the bridge in the specified
time. Angry and annoyed, he could find no solution. Just when he was about to give up and go to
bed, a little man wearing a green hat entered the room. The strange man claimed that he could help
the carpenter complete the task in the three days. He did, however, have one condition: once
the bridge was finished, the first soul out of the carpenter’s house to pass over the
bridge would belong to him. It was then that the carpenter realised the
strange man was the devil. However, so enticed by the large sum of money
was he, the carpenter agreed to the devil’s terms, believing that, when the time came,
he could cheat the devil. Three days afterwards the bridge was complete,
and the devil stood in the middle, awaiting his prey. After having remained there for many days,
the carpenter at last appeared. Sensing his payment was close at hand, the
devil jumped with joy. However, the carpenter was driving one of
his goats, and as he approached the bridge, he pushed her on before him, and called out:
“There you have the first soul out of my house!” In a fit of rage at having being so deceived
and humiliated, the devil seized the goat by the tail and dragged her across the bridge. So hard did the devil handle the creature
that her tail came out. Laughed at and mocked by all who saw him with
the goat, the devil took off. It is said that since the day the carpenter
outsmarted the devil, all goats have had short tails. Robert Johnson was an American blues singer-songwriter
and musician. It was his guitar-playing ability for which
he is most remembered, and is still considered to be amongst the greatest guitarists of all-time. Strangely, playing the guitar was not a skill
which he was ever known for as a child. The story goes that, although he played it
avidly in high school, he was not reported as having any real talent for it. However, at the age of 18, Johnson displayed
a mastery of guitar that seemed to come from nowhere. His rapid knowledge of the instrument was
inexplicable: he played it with such intimate finesse that the only explanation for it was
devilry. According to legend, as a young man living
on a plantation in rural Mississippi, Johnson greatly desired to become a great blues musician. This desire was so great, he took his guitar
to a nearby crossroads. There he was met by the devil, who took his
guitar and retuned it. Upon handing it back, Johnson was given mastery
of the instrument – for the small price of his soul. In the years that followed, Johnson became
an itinerant musician, moving from place to place playing his guitar for tips on street
corners. He later went on to record several songs. Some say that allusions to Johnson’s diabolical
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. One theory suggests that he was poisoned by
the jealous husband of a woman he had flirted with. Another theorises that he died of syphilis. Ultimately, no one knows. Not only that, Johnson’s gravesite is a
mystery – with at least three different locations having been marked out as possible sites. With Johnson’s music now enshrined in the
Blues’ hall of fame, one can only wonder if the devil came and collected his fee as
agreed. After all, Johnson died at the legendary,
and possibly cursed, age of 27, meaning that he joins other great musicians in the infamous
27 club, including Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison. On Saturday 31st May, 1788, the Reverend Joseph
Easterbrook was alerted to the strange case of George Lukins, a man who claimed to be
possessed by the devil. It was one of the Reverend’s parishioners,
Mrs. Sarah Barber, who told him of Lukins’ affliction. Upon visiting the village of Yatton in Somerset,
a place where she used to live, Mrs. Barber had been disturbed to find a man she once
knew in a state of extraordinary illness. George Lukins, a tailor and common carrier
by profession, had been a child of “good character”, who “constantly attended the
church and sacrament”. However, for the last eighteen years, his
demeanor had shifted – his nature changed. During her stay in the village, she told the
Reverend, she witnessed the unfortunate man have fits multiple times a day, during which
he “he sang and screamed in various sounds, some of which did not resemble a human voice”. George had been placed under the care of Mr.
Smith, an eminent surgeon. Many other medical gentlemen had also lent
their help to Mr. Smith and his patient. All was in vain. No cure could be found for the mysterious
malady, with George himself declaring – in the middle of his fits – that no doctor could
do him service. Many of the people of the village were convinced
the man was “bewitched”. George himself “declared that he was possessed
of seven devils”. Upon hearing Mrs. Barber’s recollections,
Rev. Easterbrook requested George Lukins visit him. In the Reverend’s notes, he described how
George made “the most horrible noises” as his body convulsed. Experiencing as many as nine fits a day, the
man was weak and emaciated. He was also unable to hear religious expressions
without writhing in pain. Another witness, who published a letter in
the local newspaper at the time, described how George would declare “in a roaring voice
that he is the devil”, before singing a hunting song, in a “hoarse” and “frightful”
voice. They even detailed how, “At certain periods
of the fit, he is so violent, that an assistant is always obliged to be at hand, to restrain
him from committing some injury on himself.” On 13th June, Rev. Easterbrook and several
of his friends and colleagues met with George in the vestry-room of the church. They began by singing hymns, which immediately
caused George to convulse in agitation. His fit became more violent, until he spoke
in “deep, hoarse, hollow voice”. The voice declared that it would “never
quit” its hold of George, and that any attempt to help the man would cause him to suffer
torment “a thousand times worse”. The voice then starting singing in its usual
manner, boasting of its power, blaspheming and vowing vengeance on both the unfortunate
George and all those who dared to oppose him. As the session continued, other voices manifested,
all refusing to release George and warning against any and all attempts to help him. At one point, a voice possessed the man and
declared: “I am the great Devil”, before causing George to have such violent convulsions
that two men had to restrain him. When the voice thought to be the devil was
asked why he tormented George, it answered: “That I may show my power amongst men.” All the while, George continued to suffer
violent convulsions, despite his small size and weakened body. As the session reached its climax, one of
the clergymen commanded, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the evil
spirit to depart from the man. Prayers for his deliverance were offered,
and the clergyman’s command repeated. George’s convulsions and agonies grew stronger. He was, by now, crying out – howling – in
miserable pain. Then, he was delivered. The convulsions stopped – the devil, seemingly,
departed. George Lukins, previously declared by medical
men as incurable, was cured. Thank you for watching. I hope you enjoyed this! If you want more of The Paranormal Scholar,
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