13 Famous Historical Figures Who May Have Sold Their Soul to The Devil
Johann Georg Faust
Johann Georg Faust, the real-life subject of Goethe’s famous tragedy, Faust, was an alchemist, astrologer, and magician of the German Renaissance. His rumored collusion with the Devil became the subject of numerous tales, most notably Goethe’s Faust and The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faust.
Faust allegedly made a deal with the Devil (represented by a lesser demon, Mephistopheles) for his soul in return for twenty-four years of service from Mephistopheles himself. While the deal was for the demon to fulfill “every lust in [Faust’s] heart,” all the granted wishes eventually end horribly, and after sixteen years, Faust regrets his deal and asks to withdraw.
The end of his tale differs depending on the version. In some, angels save Faust and bring him into heaven despite his deal; in others, Mephistopheles carries him off to hell to be tormented eternally.