According to folklore of the Mississippi Delta, early blues musicians looking to improve their chops could wait for the devil by a deserted crossroads. Upon the devil’s arrival, the musician was offered a Faustian barter: supernatural musicianship for the musician’s soul. In accordance with this tale, Robert Johnson was reported to have disappeared for several weeks, returning as one of the most legendary and inspirational blues musicians to have graced the genre.
Discovering the Devil's Crossroad
As the legend suggest, Johnson’s exchange took place at a crossroad near Dockery Plantation in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The location was best approximated as the intersection of Highway 49 and Highway 61 in southern Clarksdale. While you should not have trouble finding the crossroad, Mississippi’s board of tourism has erected the Crossroads Monument -- a lively ensemble of replica blues guitars -- to help locate the precise intersection and emblazon its historical significance.