Case 37 - The Death of a Ghost - King of the Delta Blues : Robert Johnson

According to legend, as a young man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi, Robert Johnson had a tremendous desire to become a great blues musician. He was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery Plantation at midnight. There he was met by a large black man (the devil) who took the guitar and tuned it. The devil played a few songs and then returned the guitar to Johnson, giving him mastery of the instrument. This was a deal with the devil mirroring the legend of Faust. In exchange for his soul, Johnson was able to create the blues for which he became famous. Johnson died on August 16, 1938, at the age of 27, near Greenwood, Mississippi, of unknown causes. Several differing accounts have described the events preceding his death. According to one theory, Johnson was poisoned by the jealous husband of a woman with whom he had flirted. Johnson had been flirting with a married woman at a dance, who gave him a bottle of whiskey poisoned by her husband. But....when you start looking into this case, it doesn't add up. Did Robert Johnson really make a deal with the devil? How did he really die? Where is he buried? These are questions that surround the myth and the legend of Robert Johnson.

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