"The Last Judgment" (fragment) from the Church of St. Peter in Venhaston, 1480
In early August 2020, a number of media outlets reported about a 16-year-old schoolgirl from Vladivostok, who decided to sell her soul to the devil. The services of an intermediary were offered to her by an 18-year-old boy who promised to arrange everything in the best possible way - no worse than a notary.
In our time, we have already lost the habit of being surprised at the churches of Satanists demanding official recognition, and all kinds of hereditary sorcerers, and human stupidity, but this case turned out to be simply unique. The girl not only did not receive a penny for the attempt to sell her immortal soul, but, on the contrary, paid 93 thousand rubles for the right to sell it. Promising that the devil would fulfill the girl's three wishes, the fraudster demanded 6 thousand rubles for the information provided, 5 thousand for witchcraft, and modestly estimated his personal services of the spellcaster at one thousand rubles. He also convinced her that devil worshipers should not wear gold (they are such modest guys, nothing can be done). Therefore, she took all the jewelry she had to the pawnshop, and transferred the money received to the consultant's bank card. Well, to give any charlatan a phone and a laptop is already a Lokhov classic.
After reading about this, I thought. Who and when did the idea of the special value of the human soul for the devil come to mind? And even more so any soul - not an ascetic of the level of St. Anthony and not an outstanding thinker like Faust. Satan might want to seduce them out of sport. But an ordinary person with all his advantages and disadvantages, overwhelmed by small and large passions, not too worthy desires, with a bunch of skeletons in the closet, has every chance of ending up in the underworld without the efforts of the unclean. And, let's be honest, in the case of the Last Judgment, the main hopes of many of us will be associated with the infinite mercy of God. The unconditional right to eternal bliss from those living today deserve a few.
Satan and Archangel Michael weigh souls
The biblical texts do not mention the possibility of selling the soul. Satan acts there as a deceiver and a provocateur, as in the case of Eve. With the consent of God, he conducts a cruel test of the Godly Job (who as a result turned into the Long-Suffering). Tempting Christ in the Wilderness. But it doesn't pretend to be a soul.
Stories about the Devil's interest in buying human souls appeared already in medieval Europe, and, oddly enough, did not meet with objections from the official Church.
For the first time this plot sounded in the apocryphal description of the life of Saint Theophilus (Theophilus) of Adana (he is also called Cilician, Penitent and Econom). He died about 538, the day of his memory is celebrated by Catholics on February 4, Orthodox - on June 23.
According to legend, Archdeacon Theophilus was asked to become the new bishop of Adana, but out of modesty he refused. Another candidate who became a bishop, whether jealous of Theophilus and seeing him as a possible competitor, or for some other reason, began to oppress him and deprived him of his post of economist. Repented of his decision, Theophilus found a magician and warlock who had the skill to summon the devil. Satan did not have to persuade him for a long time: in exchange for renouncing Christ and the Mother of God, Theophilus received the now desired appointment. At first, Theophilus was happy with everything, but closer to old age he began to feel fear of hellish torments. Appealing to the mercy of the Virgin Mary, he fasted for 40 days, and the Mother of God descended upon him, promising to intercede with the Son. Three days later, she again appeared to Theophilus, informing him of forgiveness. But the devil did not back down: three days later, the awakened Theophilus found on his chest a contract signed by him in his own blood. In fear, he fell on his knees before his enemy - the legitimate bishop, and confessed everything to him. He threw the scroll into the fire. On Sunday, Theophilus in the city cathedral told the whole people about his sin, took communion and spent the rest of his life in repentance. In the XNUMXth century, a certain Eutychian, who claimed to have witnessed these events, wrote the story "On the repentance of Theophilus, the church's steward in the city of Adana." In the XNUMXth century it was translated into Latin, in the XNUMXth century - into Russian.
Legend of the monk Theophilus. Icon of the first half of the XNUMXth century illustrating this legend
In the Russian translation of the story of Eutychian, Theophilus in his prayers, referring to the Virgin Mary, calls her "The Seeking of the Perished". And from the XNUMXth century in Russia they began to paint icons with the image of the Mother of God "Seeking the Lost". One of them can be seen in the Dormition Joseph-Volotsky Monastery:
Icon of the Mother of God "Seeking the Lost", Dormition Joseph-Volotsk Monastery
Then legends began to appear about people who, having concluded an agreement with the devil, were able to get rid of eternal damnation without fasting and the help of the Mother of God - simply by deceiving the unclean, who, as it turned out, although skillful, but not very smart. An example is Saint Wolfgang of Regensburg (lived in 924-994, revered on October 31) - the patron saint of sculptors, carpenters and shepherds. By the way, with his permission, the Czech diocese was formed, which had previously been part of his diocese.
Saint Wolfgang. Stained glass, Pfarrkirche Liesing
He decided to involve Satan in the construction of a new church, promising him a pig in a poke - the soul of the first creature to cross the threshold of this temple. But the devil who appeared to him, as it turned out, was not a fool either: he realized that he would be slipped into some kind of dog or rooster - apparently, he had already burned himself on the construction of bridges and other cathedrals (both of them, according to the legends, he built a lot ). And so he instantly erected a temple around Wolfgang, offering him either to stay in it forever, or to step over the threshold and go to the underworld. But through the prayer of the saint, a wolf came to the church. Well, who else could have come to the future saint, whose name means "Step like a wolf"?
This church (rebuilt in late Gothic style) can still be seen in the Austrian city of St. Wolfgang.
St. Wolfgang on a German postage stamp
Perhaps Satan, many years later, nevertheless took revenge on the cunning Wolfgang. In Bavaria, of which this saint is the patron, the Nazis opened the Dachau concentration camp on March 22, 1933, and about 3000 priests became prisoners.
In cooperation with the devil (as well as in cohabitation with the succubus Meridiana), ill-wishers also accused Pope Sylvester II, but I have already described this in detail in the article Mage and Warlock Herbert Aurillac.
But how could you sell your soul to the devil? Indeed, in the cities of medieval Europe, he did not have offices with signs "Wholesale and retail purchase of souls".
Scientists and educated people were in an advantageous position, who could not only find a treatise describing the magical formulas for invoking the devil, but also understand the intricacies of the process. After all, there were a great many demons around, they were responsible for different spheres of activity and could bestow different benefits. Each group of demons had months, days of the week, and even hours in which they were most powerful and could be of greatest benefit.
The invocation spell was supposed to accurately describe the properties of the desired demon and contain a "convincing call" to appear and fulfill the required, backed by the power of the secret divine names. And, of course, you had to take care of your safety, having correctly drawn the notorious magic circle - this, by the way, took a lot of time. I will allow myself a small quote from the chapter "Mephistopheles and Faust" of the novel "Three worlds of loneliness" (since everything is already compiled and linked here):
"The magic circle, consisting of four concentric circles, was drawn by him with coal, not chalk. In coal, the names of the demons of the hour, day, season of the year, as well as the secret names of the season and earth of that time of the year, the names of the Sun and the Moon were carefully spelled out. He did not forget to write down also the characteristics of the demons and the names of their servants. And in the inner circle were inscribed the secret names of God - Adonay, Eloy, Agla, Tetragrammaton. Two wax candles and four lamps with olive oil dimly lit the room. Locking the exit from the magic circle with the sign of the pentagram , he opened a pre-prepared synopsis, and in Latin summoned twenty-four demons guarding this day of the week, seven demons controlling the days of the week and seven controlling the planets known to medieval astrologers. Then - seven demons of metals alchemists and seven demons of rainbow colors. : in different corners of the room faint tapping was suddenly heard, ghostly lights came off the floor and rose to the level eyes, candles and lamps suddenly went out, and the room was plunged into complete darkness. However, after a few seconds, an ordinary electric light came on in the room and, not paying attention to the signs of the pentagram, a fair-haired young man without horns and tail, and also without a mustache and beard, emerged from the circle. He was dressed modestly and rather conservatively. "
(This young man had nothing to do with the forces of hell.)
And the mystics of the level of Faust or Agrippa of Nestheim could deduce their own formulas for calling the demons they needed.
People who were illiterate and completely uneducated could not summon a demon on their own, of course. And they still had to earn his attention. The methods were different, including the most savage. It was necessary to start with a statement of intention: to come to church early Sunday morning and deny God there. Then it was necessary to offer prayers to the devil, and even better - to perform black masses with sacrifices. In prayers, it was necessary to clearly express the will to deal with the unclean and clearly formulate the conditions: for example, youth and beauty, wealth, title, and so on.
If you believe the testimony of the daughter of the famous Parisian sorceress Catherine Lavoisin (burnt on the Place de Grève in 1680), Louis XIV's favorite Madame de Montespan at the black masses, which were conducted for her by the stripped-down Abbot Gibourg, said:
"I want the king not to deprive me of his friendship, so that the princes and princesses at court would honor me, so that the king would never refuse me."
And Etienne Guibourg, piercing the throat of a baby bought from the poor with a knife, said:
"Astarot, Asmodeus, prince of consent, I beg you to accept this baby as a sacrifice, and in return do what I ask. I pray you, the spirits, whose names are written on this scroll, to assist the desires and intentions of the person for whom the Mass was served."
According to the testimony of Guibourg himself, he held three black masses for the Marquise de Montespan.
It is curious that during the black masses, other clergy acted as Gibour's assistants: the abbots Mariette, Lemenyan and Tournai, and the fourth, Davo, supplied human fat for the manufacture of the candles necessary for this ritual.
Unknown artist. Portrait of Madame de Montespan
Antoine Coypel. Catherine Deshayes (La Voisin)
Black Mass for the Marquise de Montespan
The charges against Montespan were never brought, the documents testifying against her were burned, but after that Louis completely lost interest in her - it was time for new favorites.
If it came to the conclusion of an agreement with the devil, he was recorded by a sinner with his own blood taken from his left hand on a virgin-clean parchment made from the skin of a calf, first born of a cow. The inquisitors believed that after that a trace appeared on the human body - a "devil's mark". For her, the "holy fathers" were ready to accept anything: a large mole, a wart, a strange-shaped scratch, any point that does not bleed when injected.
The demon signs a contract with the nuns. Medieval drawing
In the archives of the Russian Empire, you can find information about the so-called God-marked letters - personally written contracts with the devil, which list the benefits that the person who wrote them wants to receive. In 1751 the case of the military furrier Pyotr Krylov, who wrote such a letter, was examined.
There is also a divinely celebrated letter from a certain corporal Nikolai Serebryakov. He heard that if you write it, the demons "will appear and bring money in the form of a man." And dashed off drunk:
"O all-generous and great prince Sataniel, according to the subscription given from me to you for the services ... I will fall before your feet, I tearfully ask you to send your loyal slaves to me."
Sometimes the demons went down to the point that they themselves put a signature on the contract - of course, encrypted or in the form of an anagram. A document signed by several demons at once was discovered in France during the investigation of the Urban Grandier case. This cleric, the nuns of the Ludden Monastery of the Ursulines, were accused of bewitching them by throwing a bouquet of flowers over the fence. At the trial, among the evidence, a document was considered and studied, written in Latin with the help of a mirror - from right to left and with missing vowels. Apparently, Grandier's soul was of special value, because the investigators somehow found on him the signatures of the demons of the highest rank: Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Leviathan, Astaroth and Elimi. And one of the princes of hell was not invited to sign this fateful agreement, and he was probably very offended. The official protocol states:
"The demon Asmodeus stole (the contract) from Lucifer's office and presented it to the court."
Asmodeus seemed to the judges a credible witness, and in 1634 Grandier was burned at the stake.
Here is the very treaty presented to the High Court by Asmodeus:
Grandier's pact with Satan and other demons
You may be interested in excerpts from it:
"Today we conclude an alliance agreement with Urban Grandier, who is now with us. And we promise him the love of women, flowers of virginity, the grace of nuns, world honors, pleasure and wealth ... hobbies will be pleasant for him. He will bring us once in a while year a tribute, marked by his blood, he will trample under his feet the relics of the church and pray for us. Thanks to the operation of this treaty, he will live happily twenty years on earth among people and, finally, come to us, reviling the Lord. Given in hell, on the advice of devils.
Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer, Leviathan, Astaroth. I certify the signatures and marks of the chief devil and my masters, the princes of the underworld. The scribe Baalberit ".
Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer, Leviathan, Astaroth. I certify the signatures and marks of the chief devil and my masters, the princes of the underworld. The scribe Baalberit ".
Many researchers believe that the real reason for Grandier's condemnation was not the hysterical ravings of anxious nuns, but the strained relationship between this cleric and Cardinal Richelieu.
In cooperation with evil spirits, people were often suspected, somehow distinguished from others. So, in the XNUMXth century, by order of the Bishop of Würzburg, Philip-Adolf von Ehrenberg, the most beautiful girl in the city was burned (even her name was preserved - Babelin Gobel) and a student who knew too many foreign languages, and even a wonderful musician who amazed everyone with his singing and playing various musical instruments.
In the deal with the devil, the captain of the Dutch East India Company, Bernard Focke, who lived in the XNUMXth century, was also suspected, who very quickly brought his ship from Amsterdam to the island of Java and back.
In the not so distant XNUMXth century, it was said about Niccollo Paganini that he exchanged his immortal soul for the ability to masterfully play the violin. And even more: that for this purpose he killed his mistress, whose soul the devil imprisoned in his violin.
During the Viennese tour, some spectators saw a devil in a red jacket behind Paganini's back, who was leading the musician's hand. In Leipzig, someone saw the living dead on the stage, and a music critic of a local newspaper wrote about Paganini: "I have no doubt that if you examine him thoroughly, you will find a forked hoof in his boots, and under his frock coat - well hidden black wings."
In this lifetime portrait of Paganini, painted by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, we do not see anything demonic in the appearance of this musician
These rumors were complicated by the real history "resurrection" of little Niccolo, who fell into some kind of lethargic state and was almost buried, but sat in a coffin at the farewell ceremony.
Paganini himself never denied these rumors about ties with the devil, and, perhaps, even played along with the public, rightly believing that they only fueled interest in him and in his performances, and asked for fantastic fees. In the same Vienna, he then earned 800 times more from concerts than Schubert, who toured at the same time.
The reckoning came after death: because of the protests of local residents, Paganini, who died of tuberculosis, could not be buried for a very long time. He was denied a Catholic burial in Nice, where he died (moreover, the local bishop Domenico Galvani forbade to serve the funeral Mass for the famous musician), and in his native Genoa, and in a number of other Italian cities. As a result, Parma became his final resting place. It took 26 years from the moment of death to the normal burial of the remains.
But if Paganini was slandered by rumor, then another Italian composer and violin virtuoso, the Venetian Giuseppe Tartini, slandered himself: he assured him that Satan himself had played his sonata "Devil's Trill" in a dream, demanding his soul in return. And he regretted that he could not fully convey the melody played by the demon.
Louis-Leopold Boilly. Tartini's dream, 1824
In the twentieth century, the very famous jazz musician Robert Johnson himself spoke of the "magic crossroads" where he sold his soul to the "big black man" who taught him to play the blues and tuned his guitar. He even wrote some songs about it: "Me and the Devil Blue", "Hellhound on My Trail", "Cross Road Blues", "Up Jumped The Devil".
Perhaps Johnson alluded to the crafty African trickster god Legbu (Ellegua), who met people at the crossroads, but in the songs, as you can see, he called him the devil.
A funny story was also told about American General Jonathan Moulton (1726-1787) - that he sold his soul to the devil, who pledged to fill his boots with gold every month. But Moulton cut off their soles and put them over the hole in the basement. And when the general's house burned down, everyone decided that this was the revenge of the deceived devil.
And, of course, writers from different countries contributed to the creation of new legends. Faust was especially "lucky" in this sense: thanks to Goethe, he turned from a character of folk Germanic legends and fairy tales into an epic hero, continuing his adventures in the works of other authors. In Russia, for example, Pushkin ("A Scene from" Faust "), Bryusov (" Fiery Angel ") and even Lunacharsky (drama" Faust and the City ") made Faust a character in their works. Others hinted at him. Kuprin in the story "The Star of Solomon" once again played on the plot about Faust, the role of which is played by a poor official with a talent for cryptographer Ivan Tsvet. And his personal demon turns out to be an attorney Mephodium Isaevich Toffel.
Oddly enough, this mystical "antiscientific" plot was not forgotten in the USSR either. In Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita (published in the Soviet magazine Moskva in 1966), the heroine, having concluded an agreement with Woland, transfers her soul to his power and is deprived of the "right to light": only Woland can now decide her fate. And, unlike Tamara from M. Yu. Lermontov's poem "The Demon", she did not receive forgiveness.
The story of a poor coal miner. Petr Munch, who sold his soul for a bag of gold, became the plot of the "fairy tale told at night" in the film of the same name, filmed in the USSR based on the works of Wilhelm Hauff in 1981. True, the soul in this "fairy tale", out of harm's way, was replaced by the heart, and the role of the devil was played by the "Dutchman Michel" - the evil spirit of Pomerania.
A. Kalyagin as the Dutchman Michel. A still from the film "A Tale Told at Night".
Another (episodic) character in this film sold Michel a heart for luck while playing dice.
But in many modern works today, ironic and parody notes are often heard. An example is Terry Pratchett's novel "Eric" and the trilogy by R. Sheckley and R. Zelazny "The Story of the Red Demon" ("Bring me the head of a handsome prince", "If you were out of luck with Faust", "One Demon's Theater").
And even the creators of The Simpsons have found a neat way to lead Satan. The devil managed to buy Homer's soul for a donut, but his wife Marge presented a wedding photo at the court with the inscription that he gave his soul to her.
In general, it is worth recognizing that there are no examples of the successful sale of the soul to the devil in both church and secular literature, and in folk legends. Moreover, very often Satan's gifts and favors have proved useless and even harmful. Deals with him sometimes brought wealth and power, but never happiness. Contrary to popular belief, Bulgakov's Margarita did not receive happiness either. Having granted her and the Master "peace" and "eternal shelter", Woland deceived them: he condemned them to mortal melancholy and great boredom without any hope of leaving this small prison and getting out of the swamp of time that had stopped for them.