It was back in the 1980s when my old friend and mentor, voodoo man Earl Marlowe (featured in my Voodoo Spellbook), first told me how to sell your soul to the at the crossroads…
What Earl told me was old voodoo knowledge that had been handed down to him by an aged root doctor in the American South, where Earl lived for a number of years. The ritual at the crossroads underpinned Earl’s brand of voodoo conjure which he schooled me in.
Besides being a voodoo doctor, Earl Marlowe was a blues and world music singer. I used to back him on guitar and we played live dates throughout Britain and the U.S. That’s why Earl related to me how a guitar player should go about making a pact with( as Earl put it, “a fearsome conjurer in the Holy Bible”) at the crossroads.
Earl had received this lore from the root doctor he knew in the South. What this old practitioner knew came from before the time legendary 1930s bluesman Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul at a lonely Mississippi crossroads. But it would have been around the time Tommy Johnson (unrelated to Robert) and Peetie Wheatstraw (mostly a blues piano player) were talking of the diabolic pacts they’d made – the 1920s.
This is what Earl told me:
“If you wanna make a contract with the Devil, first thing you gotta do is trim yo’ finger nails close as you can. Take a Black Cat Bone [don’t hurt cats, use chicken bones instead and paint them black] and a guitar and go to a lonely crossroads at midnight.
Sit down there and play your best riff. As you do so think and wish for the Devil to come. By the by, you will hear music in the cold distance, quiet at first, but gettin’ louder and louder as the musician come closer.
Do NOT look around: Just keep playin’ yo’ guitar.
The invisible guitar player will eventually sit down by you and play in unison with you. After a while, you will hear something alive tugging at your guitar. Do NOT try to hold on to it. Let the Devil take it and keep strumming along with your fingers as if you still had the guitar in your hands.
Soon enough the Devil will hand you his instrument to play and will accompany you on your guitar. Again you’ll be playin’ riffs in unison.
After a time, he’ll grab your hands and trim your fingernails until they bleed. Do NOT be afraid. Finally, Satan will take his guitar back, and give you back yours.
Keep on playing. And do NOT look around. His music will become fainter and fainter as he walks away into the distance.
When it’s all quiet, you can go home.
You’ll find you can play anything you want to on the guitar. And you’ll be able to do anything you want in this world. But you have sold your eternal soul to the Devil and you will be his in the world to come.”
Earl said someone he knew from way back sold his soul in this way. “If he was locked in jail, the man would meet the jailer as he walked out of jail,” he said. “He could make his-self tiny so that no jail bars could hold him in. He also had the power of invisibility and could take whatever he desired from stores without fear of getting caught.”
People have been known to get out of contracts with the Devil. In one case Earl knew of, the contract was broken by a duel with the Devil. During the fight the man managed to scratch the shape of the cross on the Devil’s chest… thus nullifying the pact.
Some old conjure doctors say the Devil always gets his own – even if a person locks themselves in their room. As Earl said: “When the Devil finds the door locked, it don’t bother him none. He floats like a mist through the keyhole or crack in the door and lets his-self in that way.”
That said, there is a secret formula attached to the above crossroads rite which puts you on an even footing with Satan and there’s no question of a debt to him. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement.
“It ain’t something you can discuss in public,” said Earl. “It’s the secret tradition of diabolic sorcery. Robert Johnson knew it. Tommy Johnson knew it. So did Peetie Wheatstraw. You bet they did! They weren’t slow. They was fast!”