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The Devil’s Crossroads

In the year 1810, a group of southern farm workers, gathered up the body of a young man who had

chosen to end his life in an unnatural way. He was taken down from the rope in which he was found

hanging and placed in a horse drawn buggy. As the dust kicked up from the wagon, the elders of his

family fretted over what they would have to do next. It would not be an easy task.

Soon, the wagon arrived at an old dirt crossroads and several of the men began to dig a grave beside

the road.

Taking out a wooden stake, one of the elders drove it through the heart of the corpse, which let out a

gasp of air that had been trapped inside.

The body was taken from the wagon and placed into the grave, with the stake still holding fast in the

man’s heart.

The young man’s mother cried for him and so did his young wife. Many of the children gathered around

and watched curiously as the ritual was performed.

“Daddy?” A young lad asked. “Why did you do this thing to our brother and why isn’t he being buried in

the cemetery with our other family members?”

“Son,” the father replied, “your brother committed an unholy act, one that I pray does not keep him from

entering Heaven’s gates. When one suicides, their spirit is sometimes left to roam the earth and haunt

the land. It is never at rest and a stake must be driven through the heart to keep the ghost from


“I understand that, Daddy, buy why did we bury him all alone at the crossroads?”

“Son, didn’t you know that the devil likes to dance at the crossroads at night? It is an evil place that he

enjoys very much. Those who suicide are known to cross the devil’s path and we don’t want to bring him

into our family’s cemetery. What your brother did is a shame to the family and that is why he is buried at

the crossroads. When everyone sees his grave, they will know of the shameful thing he did. His body is

to be excluded from the rest of our family.”

In the 19th century it was well known among the people of the United States that the crossroads was the

unholy place to go if a person were looking to make a deal with the devil. If a body were down and out

and looking to make a name for themselves, a forbidden contract could be signed by making a midnight


In 1892, Rollo, MO, there lived an elderly African-American man named Henry Rice. Rice made his

home in a roughly constructed shack, made of old fruit boxes and large pieces of tree bark. Although

living in these humbled conditions, he claimed he had supernatural powers that were stronger than most

any man who walked the earth and he could have any means that he desired.

When Henry was a young man, he was sold into slavery along with his wife and two children to a very

harsh man who treated them all badly. The man killed Henry’s wife by his harsh treatment and sold his

children to another man. The man was also very mean to Henry and worked him harder than the other

men. Henry found himself in a terrible state of mind and didn’t know where to turn. He knew one thing for

sure, he hated his master and would do whatever it took to do him harm.

One day as he spoke with some of the older people on the farm, they told him in hushed tones about a

place along some old crossroads. The elders said that times in the past the devil would show himself

there. It was there that he could sell his soul and get even with his master.

Henry found the place at the old crossroads and got down on his knees and prayed for an old man (the

devil) to come to him and buy his soul. He was so serious about the deal that he returned six nights in a

row with no results, but on the seventh night, something supernatural happened.

“I was scared to death,” Henry said. “On the seventh night, a devil came from out of a hole in the rocks

and asked me why I was calling on him so often. I was so afraid I couldn’t move, but he talked so nice to

me, that I was soon put at ease.”

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