There are myths about transmission of talents and powers at the crossroads
in many folk traditions around the world : ancient Greece and ancient Rome,
Celtic countries, India, Japan, Western Africa, Guatemala and others
In the African American mythology of Mississippi, inspired by Hoodoo spirituality,
musical virtuosity is what is one of the talents sought after. Once acquired,
it has been bragged about by bluesmen Tommy Johnson, Peetie Weatstraw and many others.
One must go to a crossroads at midnight (at sunrise according to other sources)
and play his/her instrument (most often a guitar). A « tall black man » will appear,
will take the instrument, tune it and when he gives it back, the aspiring bluesman
will become a virtuoso ready to seduce and conquer new audiences.
Today this myth is mostly associated with the memory of bluesman Robert Leroy Johnson,
« King of the Delta Blues Singers ». Yet according to his wandering companions,
Johnson never claimed to have made a pact with the Devil at the crossroads
and never mentioned such an agreement in any of his recordings