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  • Writer's pictureTammy Lowe

Interesting Fact of the Day...

The Devil's Thumb

Come with me to Aachen, Germany.

I'm waiting and waiting to take a photo of these doors, but the two adorable old men wouldn't move.

I knew why though.

They were searching for the Devil's Thumb.

You see, way back in the year 796, Charlemagne wanted a huge, beautiful Cathedral built here. He ordered the townspeople to have it finished by the time he came back from war with the Saxons. He then rode off, leaving the town council in charge.

This was an impossible task since cathedrals take generations to build. The townspeople were like, "Holy crap! We can't have this done before Charlemagne gets back. We don't even have enough money!"

They worked like mad, but half-way through construction, the city coffers ran dry. They ran out of money. They were freaking out, needing to finish before Charlemagne- Charles the Great himself- got back.

One day, a man comes to town. "Don't worry," he tells the people. "I'll give you the money to build your cathedral. The only thing I want in return is the soul of the first person to walk through the doors when it's complete."

The townspeople can see this is a deal with the Devil, but...they're desperate. They agree. They'll figure a way out of the deal later. The Devil gives them the much needed money and they continue building the church.

Eventually, Charlemagne sends word he's coming home to Aachen...and he's bringing his buddy, Pope Leo III with him, to consecrate it.

This means the Pope will be the first person through the doors. *gasp*

They finish the beautiful cathedral on time, building it in a record NINE years, from 796-805. (Legend aside: this is an absolutely incredible feat.)

Meanwhile, a monk comes up with a plan to outwit the Devil and save the soul of Pope Leo. In no part of the deal was it mentioned the soul had to be human. If they let a wolf in the doors first, the Devil will grab that instead of the Pope.

So, opening day comes with all the pomp and circumstance of having the beautiful Aachen Cathedral opened. The Devil is super excited. He's hiding behind the huge doors (as seen in the photo), just waiting to pounce on Pope Leo III and take his soul.

But, the townspeople sneak up and let a she-wolf in first.

As it runs through the doors, the Devil grabs the wolf, laughing as he rips out the soul.

He then realizes his mistake and is so furious, he storms away, returning to Hell, but not before slamming the front doors as hard as he can--slicing off his thumb in the process.

His thumb is still there to this hard as iron.

And the fact these two men spent forever searching for it makes me smile.

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