Sunday, January 29, 2006

Devil's pact

“Do you think that people can, in effect, make a pact with the devil? I don't mean where they merely live as unregenerate people, but I mean they specifically ask the devil for X in exchange for whatever, and God lets the free market work.”

Although a friend emailed me this question, I think it sufficiently interesting to pursue in public.

Actually, it’s not all that easy to answer, for the evidence we have isn’t generally that discriminating.

1.Are there people who make a pact with the devil for something in return?


2.Are there people who seem to enjoying an assist from dark side whether or not they make a conscious pact with the devil?

It looks that way.

3.Are there people who, in fact, get what they bargained for? Sometimes, or so it seems.

Let’s run through some examples.

The Faust legend itself has its basis in a historical individual. Even Melancthon wrote an account of his life, allegedly based on first-hand information.

“Faust” was a seminary dropout to dabbled in hermeticism. However, it doesn’t seem that the real Faust got anything in return. He was just a charlatan.

In a similar vein is Aleister Crowley, the one-time Plymouth Brethren turned hardcore Satanist experimented with all manner of black magic, but the devil doesn’t appear to have blessed his efforts.

3.It’s hard to tell is some men are possessed or merely delusional. Swedenborg is a case in point. Yeats is another intriguing example—as is Ruskin.

4.Then you have men who seemed to be receiving royalties from the dark side, although it isn’t clear that they ever exactly signed on the dotted line.

For example, one of the reasons that historians find Hitler so endlessly fascinating is that he, unlike the average megalomaniac who rules by brute force, was a genuinely charismatic figure and popular leader.

How could pure evil incarnate enjoy such a mass following, luring the most sophisticated nation in Europe into the abyss?

While we say that some public speakers are “spelling binding,” that’s generally a bit of hyperbole. But in Hitler’s case it is tempting to attribute his phenomenal success to possession.

And yet he was not a Satanist. He’s seems to have been an atheist. He turned against his nominally Catholic background with a vengeance. He was used by the devil without using the devil.

Another case in point is the late Charles Templeton, a one-time associate evangelist with Billy Graham who became an outspoken apostate and went on to a fabulously lucrative career as a media mogul.

As with Hitler, there doesn’t appear to have been a direct qui pro quo, and yet the kind of worldly wealth power he wielded as a result of his very public defection from the faith looks like a Faustian bargain, whether or not that was ever his intention.

5.According to Kurt Koch, the late Lutheran exorcist, paranormal powers are a form of mediumistic magic, which is, in turn, hereditary. There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence in support of his contention.

Assuming that his interpretation is correct, there are men and women who seem to be on the devil’s pension for services rendered by an ancestor—although it amounts to a family curse.

6. If you study the literature, the common pattern seems to be that those who deliberately dedicate their lives to the dark side get little or nothing in return for their vassalage. Indeed, more often than not they are rewarded for their unholy devotion by mental illness and family tragedy.

On the other hand, there are other individuals where we do find a telling connection between worldly success and apostasy, or paranormal power and a family history of occult entanglements.


  1. Actually Hitler became a pagan; He delved into astrology and Germanic paganism. The Nazi party was heavy with cult-like ritualism. Hitler was known for consulting with astrologers and fortune-tellers for guidance.

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