Italian Niccolo Paganini is branded as the greatest violinist of all time, given that no other soloist existed to hand the instrument close to how brilliant he does. Corresponding this excellence are numerous rumors about the source of his bewildering talent. He was regarded as the “devil’s son”, the “witch’s brat” and a devil worshipper. Succinctly, audiences thought that his soul was traded to the devil to carry out these supernatural violin techniques.
7-year old Niccolo was able to play the violin through 15 hours of practice a day while locked in his room by his father. By 11 years old, he can perform solos on stage. At the age of 13, he had become a proficient violin virtuoso and a composer and guitarist at 19. That time, Paganini was self-supportive and was freed from his father’s strict dominance.
He travelled Europe in every solo performance, giving in to gambling and women at the same time. Paganini was also believed to be the greatest womanizer of all time, hypnotizing ladies in every melody he creates. Rumors about him murdering a woman, using parts of her intestines as an eternal source of gut for his strings and imprisoning her soul in it were also spread. Creepy screams of women were believed to be heard from his violin when he plays on stage.
Niccolo was a giant history maker. At the age of 23, he composed the most difficult violin work ever created in the “24 Caprices”. He was the first person to write an entire piece using only the G string. Paganini produced the largest sum of money in a single trip any performing artist of that era wouldn’t earn in more. Exaggeration aside, he owns many superlative adjectives in this field until today.
This is the reason why there is minimal doubt on why people believed he was a devil’s offspring. A satanic figure, Paganini’s double that always appears in the audience with the same long black locks, burning eyes and sardonic smile, was suspected to blend with his existence. Sometimes, the unidentified figure appeared on stage at Paganini’s side dressed in a red cloak and pantaloons. It has horns, hooves and a tail guiding Paganini’s bow arm through a performance. The satanic figure was also believed to raise a thunderstorm, during concert and let out a lightning from Niccolo’s bow, also taking possession of his body in another performance. His tall and thin body, long nose, pale and lengthy face with hollow cheeks, thin lips that seemed to possess a sardonic smile and eyes that looks like flaming coals strengthened these myths of all sorts.
In his presence, some people would even make signs of the cross to get rid of what they believed were his demonic powers. Once, he was forced to publish letters from his mother to prove he came from human parents. But these accounts haven’t made the audience worship him less.
Later on, Paganini died of larynx cancer on May 27, 1840. The church refused his body interment in any sanctified land. So, his corpse was buried in a village graveyard on his own estate. The neighborhood somehow talked about what they believed to be sounds of creepy violin emanating from his coffin every night. His legend haunted the world for years.