Sold My Soul At The Crossroads

By March 28, 2013Blog

I used to be a little obsessed with Robert Johnson.

Several years ago, I helped put together an alternate reality game for Amanda Palmer, and Robert Johnson was one of the characters. There was a whole site about it, here

The story goes (which you may have heard on Radiolab, or seen alluded to in Oh Brother Where Art Thou?) that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads to be able to play blues guitar. It’s a crazy story, filled with murder and sex and voodoo and music– and a lot of contention.

In my mind, the crossroads is desolate and spooky and deeply romantic. Like this:

Ooh, spooky.

In actuality, it’s in Clarksdale, Mississippi, and looks like this:
Devil keychains are 99 cents!

Devil keychains are 99 cents!

My best friend is there right now, on a road trip, and he took a picture for me of the BBQ restaurant now spitting distance from the crossroads.
BBQ for lost souls.

BBQ for lost souls.

If I were writing a story? Tourists would come to the crossroads, shrug at the kitsch, go to the BBQ place and find the devil looking inconspicuous in an apron and tee shirt behind the counter.

“What’s on the menu?”
“Here you go.”
“No, no, the OTHER menu.”
“Ah. Well, Banjo’ll cost you your firstborn, harmonica’s cheaper:  we just take your innocence. But guitar: we’ll have to do a credit check.”

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