Inv. SDD/sp-35803

Group of items from a demonic pact given to one of the Surnateum's investigators
Origin: curiously combination dating from the first half of the 19th century


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 suddenly.
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 and difference'. 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, anancitide, 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 pact.
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 illusion.
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 appeared.
"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.