We’ve all heard stories and rumors about celebrities selling their soul to the devil in exchange for wealth and luxury. Some people openly confess to having a deal with the devil, while others throw subtle hints through images, music, and speech. Whether or not you believe in these rumors is a matter or personal opinion. However, some of these people have given us quite obvious clues that indicate they have some sort of a connection with Satanism.
The general belief states that making a pact with the devil can enable a person to achieve massive success, gain fame and accumulate wealth fast. Basically, those who make a pact with the devil can have anything they want in life in exchange for their soul burning in hell after death. However, some of these satanic accusations are only rumors. Here are 18 people who allegedly sold their souls to the devil for fame and success. We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether you believe in this or not!
Besides being a talented guitarist, Robert Johnson is one of the most famous blues musicians across the globe. He was born in 1911 to a family that struggled with finances and barely made ends meet. Naturally, Robert desired to change his life and gain wealth, which led him to make a pact with the devil. He went on to write the song “Me and the Devil Blues,” which made people question his choices. His lyrics included morbid lines such as “You may bury me on the highway side.” Sadly, Robert’s life ended quite early at the age of 27. The cause of his death remained unknown, even though many people believe he was poisoned by his lover’s husband.
After his death, the Mississippian Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church wanted Robert to be buried there, despite his “pact with the devil.” Naturally, people got curious and questioned the Reverend James Ratliff regarding Robert’s relationship with the devil, to which Ratliff responded that he didn’t even know about Robert until a week prior to his death. However, he did hear about the rumor but he believed that Robert’s soul could be saved, as many people in the church would pray for him.
In the song he wrote, titled “Crossroads,” Bob Dylan wrote about falling to his knees and pleading to the lord to help save his soul. The lyrics obviously indicate that Dylan went off the right track. Even though it seems like he is referring to God, the last line that says “I’m standing at the crossroads, believe I’m sinking down” indicates his connection with the devil. Despite his “sinking” and struggles, Dylan achieved enormous success with his music career, which seems to be the result of this pact with the devil.
In one of his interviews, Dylan sounded like he was confessing the deed on the spot when he said “It goes back to that destiny thing. I made a bargain with… it …. a long time ago, and I’m holding up my end.” When the interviewer asked him what his bargain was, Dylan said: “To get where I am now.” The interviewer continued with “Should I ask who you made the bargain with?” To which Dylan responded with “You know, with the Chief Commander. On this Earth and in the world we can’t see.”
Theophilus of Adana
Going way back to 538 AD, we’ll take a look at the story of a cleric in the Roman Catholic Church. Namely, Theophilus of Adana unexpectedly rejected becoming the new bishop despite being elected for the position. He let his rival become the bishop while he took an ecclesiastical position. His motives at the time were unknown but it was certain that he had some strange intentions. After all, he wanted to take the position of the archdeacon and control the money received through donations. His plan was to let the rival take the position of the bishop in hopes to gain the position he wanted in return.
However, things didn’t go as planned, since the new bishop completely ignored Theophilus of Adana and gave the archdeacon position to someone else. Naturally, Theophilus got angry not only at the bishop but at the whole church. He no longer considered Christians as holy as they claim to be so he decided to switch teams and seek help from no other than Satan himself. He denounced Jesus and the Virgin Mary by signing a contract in his own blood. After the second election, he was chosen as the new bishop with the help from the devil. The guilt of signing a deal with the devil bothered him so much that he ended up confessing to another priest. The other priest burned the blood-written contract and, just when Theophilus of Adana thought that God had forgiven him, he collapsed dead on the floor.
Born in 1782, Niccolo Paganini was a professional violinist who learned to play this instrument at the age of five. By the time he turned 11, he had already performed in public several times while at the age of 15 he started a world tour. However, unlike Mozart and Beethoven, Niccolo Paganini didn’t gain full credit for his accomplishment. Instead, many people believed he had the devil on his side, summoned by his mother who was obsessed with her son’s success. Paganini’s talent almost seemed unnatural. He didn’t need sheet music or any assistance whatsoever. He was always able to perfectly memorize his songs and move his fingers so quickly that it almost looked impossible. Today’s scholars even believe he had two medical disorders that enabled him to play so exceptionally fast. The two disorders were the Marfan Syndrome, because of which he had extremely long fingers, and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which made his skin flexible and rubbery.
Despite all the success, Paganini’s life went downhill at a very young age. He already became an alcoholic and a womanizer at the age of 15. As he grew up, he began looking scarier and scarier, with his face sunken due to all the drug abuse. Many believed that Satan himself helped him perform while others claimed that he could split himself in doppelgangers and walk around the audience while performing at the same time. They even claimed that one time, while he was performing, a bolt of lightning struck his violin, which was supposedly a sign from the devil. At the age of 50, Paganini got so ill that doctors believed he was going to die so they sent in a priest to pray for him. When he saw the priest, Paganini freaked out and demanded that the priest leaves and that he could get better on his own. Even though the priest left, Paganini didn’t survive.
It was no secret back in the day that Aleister Crowley had connections with Satanism. In fact, he was a known leader of an occult group. Aleister grew up with Quaker parents and he started rejecting the Bible even as a little child. His mother, who was a very strict woman, often called him a “devil” and criticized him for his Satanic worshiping. Affected by this, Aleister began calling himself “the beast” and “the AntiChrist” at a very young age. Later in his life, Aleister made many claims regarding Satan and God fighting for his sole. He even wrote in one of his books: “I was in the death struggle with self: God and Satan fought for my soul these three long hours. God conquered – Now I have only one doubt left – which of the twain was God?”
Looking closer at his teachings, Aleister observed Satanism from the perspective of a Quaker. The Quakers had very strict beliefs regarding this topic, as they claimed that any aspirations outside of God were considered Satanic. Within his occult, Aleister emphasized the following phrase “Do What Thou Wilt,” which meant do whatever you want with your life. Some of the things he encouraged people to do were yoga and meditation. He also encouraged others to focus on their goals.
Jack Parsons invented the first rocket jet fuel engine. As astonishing as that sounds, there is something creepy behind the story of this invention. Namely, Parsons was a huge fan of the idea of rocket ships. He grew up reading sci-fi stories about people being able to fly to the outer space and he secretly dreamed of building his own rocket ship. At the age of 13, he summoned the devil for the first time, as he hoped to sell his soul in exchange for a real rocket ship. Of course, his plans didn’t come true but he continued to pursue his science dreams as he grew older and he even attempted to build a rocket that could travel to the outer space.
At the age of 20, he met Aleister Crowley, whom we’ve already mentioned, and he got dragged into his occult, which was considered Satanic. Parsons goal was to summon the Babylon goddess through a spell called “The Babylon Working,” which would eventually help men reach the moon. Believe it or not, his plan worked, as he invented jet fuel that NASA uses to this very day. Could it be possible that he achieved his extremely challenging mission by selling his soul to the devil?
Jack Parsons wasn’t the only one who got dragged into Satan worshiping because of Aleister Crowley’s teachings. Jimmy Page, also known as one of the guitarists from Led Zeppelin, was a big fan of Crowley’s idea of focusing on doing whatever he wants with his life. He was such a big fan of Crowley’s that he even purchased his former home in Loch Ness, Scotland. According to Page’s beliefs, this property was haunted by evil spirits. He often explained that people had died in that house and that he could hear strange noises whenever he was there.
Naturally, these claims led people to believe that he had some sort of a connection with the devil, which wasn’t uncommon for musicians in that time. It didn’t take long for people to spread rumors about Jimmy Page being a Satanist and, soon after, everyone began saying that the whole band worshiped Satan. The rumor has it that if you play their song “Stairway to Heaven” backward, you can hear demonic voices speaking.
Antonie Rose was a single mother who got accused of witchcraft after trying to protect her son Michael from the extreme poverty they lived in. Antonie claimed that another witch tried to kidnap her son but she ended up saving him by stabbing the witch in the arm. Many people claimed that they saw Antonie asking the devil for help. They even saw her placing a broomstick with ointment between her legs, which turned out to be a psychedelic herbal that wiccans used to get high.
In 1477, Antonie was accused of being a witch and, as they did to every suspect back then, people tortured her until she confessed her connection with the devil. It was this story with the broomstick that started the whole “witch on a broomstick” stereotype.
John Fian was a Scottish schoolmaster who lived just outside Edinburgh in the 1500s. As a smart young man, he earned a doctorate degree in his early 20s. He was so focused on learning and reading books that he never talked to ladies at all. This became a problem later on in his life. When he met his student’s older sister, he was so attracted to her but he had no idea how to approach her. He was so desperate that he bribed the student to bring him three of his sister’s hairs so he could cast a love spell on her. Little did he know that the boy actually gave him the hair of their cow instead of his sister.
The next morning, that same cow ran into the school, found John and jumped into his lap. The cow followed him around the town until authorities noticed that something strange was going on, after which they arrested and tortured Fian until he confessed to working with the devil who gave him supernatural powers. After hearing the confession, the authorities demanded that he writes down the names of all other witches he knows. John refused to write any names and fell asleep. He later told his guards that the devil came in his dreams and told him that he confesses any names that he would die instantly. Somehow, John managed to escape out of the prison but they caught him again, after which they burned him in a fire.
Philippe Musard was a French composer who lived in London. He had a great time in London where he worked as an event organizer. After he made a lot of money, he decided to move back to Paris in 1832. However, he chose a very bad time to go back home where everyone was worried about the spreading cholera epidemic. Musard saw this as a business opportunity because he knew that people were afraid and they needed to distract themselves with drinking and partying. He decided to organize huge balls during the winter at the Theatre des Varietes.
He loved partying so much that he didn’t only organize the whole thing but he invented his own group dances and lyrics that people could sing to classical music. One would say that Musard had a great life. He partied every day and made money doing so. However, he knew that all the alcohol would eventually kill him. It was no wonder that pious Christians despised him, as they believed his way of life was sinful. In fact, most of them were certain that Musard had some sort of a pact with the devil because of his ability to make “good” people join his side and enjoy sinful activities at his parties.
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa was another distinguished scholar in the 1500s who enjoyed writing about the occult. It seemed as if he was obsessed with the devil, as he mentioned Satan and Satanic elements in many of his books. He also wrote about witches and how they were able to perform magic spells. Agrippa revealed so much information in his books that people started to wonder how he knew about all of that. Apparently, he was interested in Satanism since he was a child and he used to follow groups of witches around town, which is how he learned about magic.
Later on, he found Jesus and saved his soul, after which he devoted his life to teaching others how to keep the devil away. Throughout his life, Agrippa published a total of 8 books about the occult. Interestingly, Agrippa never hid his fascination and connection with the devil. Despite going public with his Satanic writing and behavior, he was never arrested nor tortured for witchcraft. It was either the devil who kept him alive or people simply wanted to keep him around to learn more about witchcraft and magic.
In the 1600s, a French Catholic Priest called Urbain Grandier practiced exorcism, that is, attempted to cast the devil out of people who had been possessed. During ordinary exorcisms, priests had to be alone with the possessed person in order to be able to cast the evil spirits out the body. In case the exorcism failed, it would be considered that the devil who possessed the person was too strong. Father Grandier was in charge of numerous exorcisms surrounding the St. Pierre Du Marche monastery when strange things started happening. When a nun at the monastery picked up a random bouquet of roses, she smelled them and collapsed on the floor as if she had a seizure.
The priest immediately assumed that the nun had fallen under a magic spell. During the exorcism, he asked the devil what his name was and the response he got was “Astaroth.” He also asked how a demon could enter a holy place such as the church. The devil answered that he came in through the roses. However, many didn’t believe this story about Father Grandier. He was certainly a sinner but it was because he refused to take a vow of celibacy and he occasionally had sex with the nuns. Because of this, people believed it was possible that the nun was simply pretending to be possessed to get revenge on Grandier. After being accused of witchcraft, Grandier was burnt at stake.
Gilles de Rais
Gilles de Rais participated in the battle between France and England, where he fought with Joan of Arc for the French side. Having been in a battle together, Gilles and Joan of Arc became good friends. Soon after, Joan of Arc was kidnapped and taken to the English who accused her of being a witch and burned her at stake. Gilles de Rais was so upset by her death that he wished to find the key to eternal life through alchemy. The Catholic Church was interested in his money, as he was the richest man in France at the time.
However, he did not plan to donate his money to the church. Instead, he paid actors and designers to reenact the glorious battle in which he fought alongside Joan of Arc. The church officials were upset because Gilles de Rais was wasting his money instead of donating it to church so they arrested him under the accusation of being a serial killer and worshiping Satan. After he was put to death, the Catholic Church took all his money and possessions.
Giuseppe Tartini was a famous Italian composer and violinist who composed a song in the 1700s titled “The Devil’s Trill Sonata.” Tartini claimed that he was visited by the devil one night and that he saw the devil play a violin at the edge of his bed.
Ever since this visit, Tartini’s musical talent improved and he became able to play complicated trills that seemed practically impossible for other violinists. Even today, not many violinists can play “The Devil’s Trill Sonata” the way Tartini did. Some even believed that he had six fingers on one hand, which is how he was able to play such complex compositions.
Johann Georg Faust
According to the popular legend, Doctor Johan Georg Faust was a German astrologer and alchemist during the 1500s. Wanting to enjoy life as much as he possibly could, Faust made a deal with a devil called Mephistopheles. This allowed him to enjoy in sinful activities such as sodomizing his male students and being mean and abusive to others.
Faust was the kind of person who looked down on everyone else and believed he was their superior. Many priests were certain that Faust had a deal with the devil, which was the only thing that could explain his behavior. Faust also had a pet dog who was believed to be the demon who could transform from a dog to a human servant at any time. During his lifetime, Faust published several spellbooks until he died in a laboratory explosion in 1540 caused by one of his chemical experiments.
Known as “Yankee Faust,” Jonathan Moulton was one of the earliest colonial settlers in the New World who remained remembered as a Satan worshiper. During his early youth, Moulton was living in poverty but his destiny switched up when he changed careers. After becoming a professional silversmith, Moulton made a ton of money and started serving as the Bridigire General for New Hampshire. According to the legend, Moulton was able to switch his careers thanks to his deal with the devil. Changing careers wasn’t a common move back in the day, as it seemed practically impossible to do.
However, Moulton did it so easily that everyone assumed he was working with the devil. According to the legend, Moulton agreed to sell his soul to the devil in exchange for filling up the boots with gold coins on the first day of each month. Later on, he found the biggest pair of boots in the state with leather going all the way up the thighs so he could gain as many coins as possible. Even though the devil filled the boots with gold coins all the way to the top, regardless of the size of the boots, Moulton got greedy and decided to cut a hole in the shoes that would go down to his basement. The next month, the devil realized he had been tricked and he burned Moulton’s house down.
Christoph Haizmann was a Bavarian artist. In 1677, he worked at a castle in Austria where he was invited to work for noble patrons. However, Haizmann began having seizures, which everyone understood as the physical symptom of being possessed by the devil. People immediately assumed he was possessed by the devil, as that would explain his supernatural painting talents.
Later on. Christop Haizmann actually confessed to making a pact with the devil at the start of his career. At the time of the confession, he claimed that he regretted his move and wanted an exorcism but people wanted to know whether he was practicing witchcraft. Authorities decided that he wasn’t guilty of witchcraft but he was very much possessed. During the exorcisms that a local priest performed on Haizmann, the artist had a vision where he came face-to-face with the devil who looked like a dragon. When he woke up from the strange vision, he was no longer possessed. After this event, Haizmann devoted his talent to painting the Devil he saw in his visions.
The Salem “Witches”
The Salem witches are a big part of American history. Back in the day, it was believed that groups of people who practiced witchcraft in a small town of Salem in Massachusetts had a deal with the devil himself. Demon possession was the only explanation to the supernatural powers these witches allegedly had.
Many people in Salem were accused of performing magic, worshiping Satan, and conducting rituals in the woods. A lot of people were killed and even burned at stake at the infamous Salem witch trials. Sadly, most of those people were innocent and falsely accused.