The Day My Father Met the Devil

Flame projected in eye of senior man, close-up
Chistopher Robbins/Stone/Getty Images

A man meets a strange man who says he is an illusionist, but what he shows the man is beyond belief

This is a story my father told me about the day he met the devil. It took place in Juarez, Mexico in the year 1942. My father was twenty years old at the time. It was a story he told my brothers and I only a couple of times. It's very disturbing and it's been a haunting memory for my father.

It was in the early evening on a summer's day.

The circus had arrived in town and my father and his younger brother, my uncle, went to check it out. There's always lots of pretty girls at these traveling fairs, but my father wanted to see the freak shows. My father was always fascinated with the elastic-man, the cow with two heads, the singing chicken and all the other weird attractions these shows provide.

This time it was kind of a disappointment. There were the usual presentations, but nothing new and some of the acts were obviously fake. But they met two girls and were getting ready to go hear some live music when they ran into a short, stubby man wearing a dinner jacket who started talking to them.

This stranger introduced himself and started talking about the freak shows. Then he raised his arm and exclaimed he was the greatest illusionist in the world. He said he had a trick that was both scary and amazing. My father asked him if he was part of the circus.

The man said he auditioned for a job, but the owner turned him down. My father asked him why. The man said his act was so frightening the owner accused him of being the devil.

Now my father and uncle were intrigued. They asked the man if they could see the trick. The man said of course, but they would have to come to the trailer where he lives.

There he would show them. The man said his trailer was not far away.

My father, my uncle, and the two girls followed the stranger until they arrived at the stranger's place. There were some steps leading up to the front door. The man showed them in and my father and company sat on a sofa. The trailer was a good size and well kept.

After turning up all the lights so his guests could see better, the stranger put on a cape, commenced with an introduction, bowed, held up his right hand then proceeded to put on a white glove on his right hand. He extended the arm and started running his left hand over, under and around his gloved right hand, all the time closing and opening his right hand, wiggling the fingers.

He started chanting some strange words in another language. Then with his left hand he grabbed the tip of the white glove, turned and looked at my father and asked him and the others if they were ready. They said yes and with a quick motion he removed the glove.

My father was in shock and disbelief, and so was my uncle. The girls screamed! There staring them in the face was the skeleton of the hand still wiggling the fingers! He turned the hand around so they could see the back. My father said it was real!

Then my uncle got up to get a closer look. That's when the man grabbed the top of my uncle's head with his bony hand and said that now he was really going to show them something!

And that was all it took. The girls ran out the door screaming and crying, followed by my father and uncle! The man came out the door yelling and laughing! My father stopped and turned around. The stranger was standing there at the top of the steps with a grin on his face looking at my father.

On the ground was a wooden plank with long nails pointing up. The man jumped off the steps and landed right on those nails! The nails went right through his shoes! Blood started to flow. My father stood there transfixed. The man started to laugh again and pointed at my father with his bony finger. My uncle returned, grabbed my father by the arm and both of them ran!

My father and uncle knew that was the devil and they are so grateful they were able to escape. It's a day he'll never forget -- and hasn't.

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