Group of items from a demonic pact given to one of the Surnateum's
Origin: curiously combination dating from the first half of the 19th
Napoleonic box containing a copper skull, a coin featuring an image
of the Beast of the Apocalypse,
a black crucifix, an ancient pact
and an incomplete and well worn pack of tarot cards.
File: Storyteller's tale
At first, I didn't understand the reason behind his invitation.
But he is not the sort of man one refuse. He was a famous author of fantastic
tales and stories, a lover of enlightened art, a collector of bizarre
objects and an accomplished businessman - and his circumstances were
such that he didn't want for anything. His had an encyclopaedic
knowledge of the occult and hsi numerous travels to far-away lands had expanded his
knowledge of the realm of 'magic'. To top it off, his Malaysian cook
produced veritable miracles of culinary refinement.
At the end of a sumptuous repast and after the servant had
discreetly slipped away, we repaired to the library.
"Do you believe in the Devil?" he asked me
The question caught me by surprise.
I told him that according to the Bible and the Christian conception
of the universe, the Devil was a divine creature whose name, diabolon,
means 'he who divides and prevents mankind from understanding and
accessing his divine essence by creating the illusion of multiplicity
This concept is not opposed to 'God', but to the notion of 'symbol' - sumbolon
- or 'that which resembles'. Satan, Shaitan and Seth
are different representations of this same figure.
"Your knowledge is astonishing," he added.
"You are clearly not one of those ignoramuses who claim that
the Devil is the enemy of God."
He then told me about the witches of Salem, Father Gaufridy, Urbain
Grandier, Baphomet of the Knights Templar, Malleus
Malifecarum, a copy of which he owned (re-bound in the skin of a
witch), as well as an infinity of other subjects. He could talk
forever on these matters.
"Since the dawn of humanity, man has forged pacts with the
forces of darkness in exchange for wealth, success with the opposite
sex, health and fame. Nowadays it is not rare to find traces of
squalid and bloody sacrifices at your local crossroads, not
necessarily in some
far-flung corners of the world.
Here, let me show you an interesting collection of objects."
He walked into the library and pushed a concealed button, whereupon
a wooden wall slid aside revealing a secret hiding place. From the
hiding place he removed an early 19th century French jewellery box, an
old key and a strange piece of parchment.
"This strange object is a pact written on the untouched pages of a handwritten
document. Paper was a rare and
costly commodity in those days because any available wood was used as fuel. This
pact was drawn up between a magician, a canon of noble birth, and a
demon - or, more accurately, a daemon, a particularly wily jinni by
the name of Eblis.
It was done in the presence of a 'brotherhood' of French expatriate noblemen living in Belgium who had escaped the guillotine and vowed their
revenge. The pact was established one stormy night during a
particularly trying ritual.
The canon owned an incredible and ancient Arab talisman,
a stone used to invoke demons which is strangely reminiscent of a
fragment from the Black Stone of Kaaba. He recited 'Bagahi Laca Bachabe',
the invocation for Muslim devils.
A form then appeared, accompanied by an appalling odour.
After the shock of the actual appearance, those conspirators who had
not fainted pulled themselves together. Most of them asked for
vengeance for all those who had perished during the French revolution;
others asked for to have their fortunes returned to them or to be
reunited with their loved ones.
Only the canon did not let himself get carried away by his feelings.
He knew that these reckless men would have to pay an exorbitant price
to see their wishes come true. That is why, when it was his turn, he
asked for absolute knowledge of good and evil, total knowledge. It was
a strange request, but someone who knows everything can easily break a
A mischievous grin lit up the demon's face, and then he agreed. In
exchange, and in contrast with the usual terms of pacts, Eblis
demanded that the canon be at his service throughout the term of the
contract and to find him other souls like those he had just seized.
The 'magician' agreed to the terms immediately.
He signed the pact in his own blood and put his handprint on the
parchment. It was at that point that the demon offered the canon a
strange form of immortality: the canon would live a normal life from
birth to death, and then he would be reincarnated. Every time he
reached his current age, the demon would appear to remind him of the
conditions of the pact. He would then have an eternity to learn - a
form of eternal damnation. As soon as he put his hand back on the pact
he would remember.
At that moment a curious fog fell before the eyes of my host and I
thought I saw an intense tiredness there - the tiredness of a man
crushed by the weight of a heavy curse. But perhaps it was just an
He opened the box and removed an incomplete pack of tarot cards, a
long hat pin, a small copper skull, a very old coin featuring an image
of the Beast of the Apocalypse and a black crucifix.
"The tarot is a marvelous tool for communicating with the
inhabitants of the shadow world - and Eblis is never far from these
objects. Let me show you."
He mixed the cards up and asked me to remove one of them. Without
knowing, I had taken the Devil card.
Was it chance, a coincidence or a sign?
"That is the first sign!"
He opened the pact to the page containing the magic square, the
jinni's signature and the handprint. He put the old key on the palm of
his hand and recited a brief incantation.
"Prince of evil, empower your faithful servant. For you have
all power and knowledge. Eblis, I have placed my soul in your power."
The key began to turn over slowly on the palm of his hand; an
invisible force was trying to manifest itself in our world.
"Now that we are sure of a presence, let's force it to take a
name. Please place the crucifix,
the skull and the coin on three parts of the magic square, making
sure they comply with the Rule of Movements."
I then added up the randomly chosen numbers and obtained a total of
51,783 on my calculator. "Turn your calculator end-for-end and
read what it says now. Demons are masters at inverting one's values."
It read: EBLIS.
He once again mixed up the tarot cards and asked me to insert the
Devil card. The pack was cut at that point. I then turned over, one by
one, the cards that stood out to me: the first was the Magician, the
man of power. The next card was Fortune, followed by The Lovers. The
last one was Death, reminding me of the vengeance demanded by the
cenacle at the first invocation.
When the Devil and Fortune where put together, a Louis d'Or coin
"The time has come to find out what price you must pay to see your
wishes come true."
I once again moved the objects on the magic square.
The total was 37,080, giving me the word 'OBOLE'.
My host gave me the hat pin so that I could prick my finger and shed
five drops of blood on the pact.
I almost agreed, but I never could stand jabs, so I refused to go
ahead with it.
"What a shame!", he added. At once, the gold coin
disappeared and the word ERROR flashed on the calculator screen.
"Does all this remind you of anything? Place your hand on the
hand print on the pact!"
It was a perfect match.
They found me wandering the streets of Brussels at five o'clock in
the morning. I haven't been able to sleep since.