13 Famous Historical Figures Who May Have Sold Their Soul to The Devil
One of his most famous pieces is titled “Le Streghe,” which translates to “Witches’ Dance.” Because of this title, many believed that Paganini had made a deal with the Devil to become the greatest musician in the world.
The claim was supported by his unmatched skills, which including the ability to play three octaves across four strings in one hand – a feat that is still considered nearly impossible. He once won a rare, very valuable Stradivarius violin by playing a piece so technical it was said to be unplayable without extensive preparation. Paganini played it on sight.
Of course, there are more down-to-earth explanations for his seemingly superhuman skills, such as Marfan syndrome, a genetic mutation that results in elongated fingers, among other traits. Other theories offer Ehlers-Danlos syndrome as a possible cause, an inheritable disorder commonly know as Rubber Man Syndrome.
Thanks to Paganini’s skill and the eerie theories surrounding it, people both adored and feared him. Fans claimed he was the son of the devil, or the devil himself. Others claimed they could see a demonic figure just off stage, guiding Paganini’s bow.
Eventually, Paganini had to publish letters from his mother to prove that he was born to human parents. The rumors even impacted him posthumously, as no church would give him a Catholic burial. His family ultimately had to make a formal papal appeal in order to give him a proper burial.