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The Devil Man of Algiers Louisiana


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#1 MissSpider

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 02:39 AM

I've read about the Devil Man, who called himself clark carleton in a book called Gumbo Ya Ya. He appeared in Algiers LA in the late 1930's. He supposedly had long black horns, and could disappear at will. He also harassed women on the steets. He claimed to have an alliance with Neptune, and had received powers from him. Has anybody heard about this? :P

BTW My signature is taken from something he said. I just thought it sounded neat. :P

~"I came from the hills of Arkansas on September 6, 1938. I walked under the stars and Neptune guided me through the darkness of the night. You want to know how I got my powers? Well, Neptune came to me in the form of a fishhook in June and May of 1937. I was reading my bible at the time. Oh yes, I'm a Baptist man, but I believe in the Divine, too. Neptune told me to walk straight ahead, that I would find a two headed man stranded on a rock. I found him but he disappeared. Then I knew I had the power."~


#2 whiskeysuicide

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 01:32 PM

I've read about the Devil Man, who called himself clark carleton in a book called Gumbo Ya Ya. He appeared in Algiers LA in the late 1930's. He supposedly had long black horns, and could disappear at will. He also harassed women on the steets. He claimed to have an alliance with Neptune, and had received powers from him. Has anybody heard about this? :Spaz:

BTW My signature is taken from something he said. I just thought it sounded neat. :D


no, but he sound screepy.
spongebob got his powers from neptune.
but turned them down because patrick couln't come.
haha anyways...
i look it up and see what i can find.

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are you sure it wasn't anthony hopkins?
i couldn't find anything
just a bunch of homemade websites with people who use the name devil man.
tough one.. i'll be on the look out.

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#3 Morbid

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 11:50 PM

We have a "Lobster man" and a "Lobster girl" here in pa. The guy is just a deep red color. And the girl has a hand in the shape of a lobster claw.
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#4 RowanG

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 01:11 PM

I live in New Orleans (or just outside) and have never heard of that legend... will have to find the book and have a looksee.

#5 RowanG

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 01:43 PM

Okay for some reason I cannot edit my own entry so I will add in a new reply that I just spoke with a guy here in my office who grew up in Algiers and he said he's heard something about this legend...

#6 MoonChild

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 01:45 PM

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#7 earth_spirit

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 04:03 PM

Gumbo Ya Ya was a collection of Louisiana folk tales originally compiled by Robert Tallant and published as part of the WPA's Louisiana Writer's Program back in the 1940's. I haven't been able to find anything about the so-called "Devil Man" online, so I guess I'll have to break down and buy a copy of the book. Sounds like a good read.

Thanks, MissSpider! :hug:
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#8 bedmit

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Posted 23 November 2006 - 01:54 AM

Gumbo Ya Ya was a collection of Louisiana folk tales originally compiled by Robert Tallant and published as part of the WPA's Louisiana Writer's Program back in the 1940's. I haven't been able to find anything about the so-called "Devil Man" online, so I guess I'll have to break down and buy a copy of the book. Sounds like a good read.

Thanks, MissSpider! :clap:


Yes, it does. Any suggestions where I could find a copy?
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#9 earth_spirit

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Posted 23 November 2006 - 12:05 PM

Amazon.com, of course! I ordered one for myself yesterday, a 1945 Haughton Mifflin First Edition copy. But you can still get it in paperback for a few bucks:

Gumbo Ya Ya

Click on the link to go straight to the listing on Amazon. BTW, I also found out what "gumbo ya ya" means. In the vernacular of the bayou, it means "everyone talking at once."

Edited by earth_spirit, 28 November 2006 - 11:27 PM.

The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit -- Nelson Henderson Not A Ghost Of A Chance -- The Story Of My Three Years At The Imperial Casino Hotel <-- Click Here For My Personal Website

#10 RowanG

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Posted 23 November 2006 - 06:14 PM

My mother, who used to be a licensed tour guide for the city of New Orleans, has a copy of this book. This is what is said about The Devil Man of Algiers...

...In September of 1938 there appeared in Algiers, on the other side of the Mississippi from New Orleans, a mysterious stranger who rode on the air, wrecked bars and homes and insulted women. He is described as having had long black horns, bright pink ears shaped like sunflowers and eyes like a chicken. He could make himself disappear or change into a baboon right before your eyes. And he announced he was the 'Devil Man.'

The Devil Man never killed anybody permanently, but he caused a lot of temporary deaths from fright. One night a man and his wife were coming home from a dance in their automobile and were stopped by a man who asked for a ride. The woman did not like his looks, so he was refused. Ten miles later they met the same man again, and the couple became nervous and threw their liquor out of the car. Ten miles later the same man stopped them once more. But this time he didn't bother to ask for a ride. He performed in a much more picturesque fashion. He just changed himself into a devil, right before their eyes, casually. Of course, the woman fainted. Somehow the man managed to keep the car going down the road. A few miles farther the Devil Man made a fourth appearance, this time riding a brown horse. The Ford won the race.

The couple told the neighbours about their experience and the neighbours told the police, causing the latter to begin an extensive search for this remarkable individual. There are stories of the police meeting him, firing their pistols, and having the bullets return to them by way of hairy hands.

Soon the Devil Man was insulting Negro women in the streets, and some of them didn't like it very much. There were so many different stories of meeting the Devil Man that Sergeant Holm of the Algiers police ordered everyone arrested who so much as said they had seen him. But the only actual arrest made was of a wild-eyed, dark brown fellow who said his name was Clark Carleton, that he came from the hills of Arkansas and had been sent to this 'latitude' by the great spiritual monarch, King Zulu. This monarch, said Clark, was not to be confused with the King Zulu of New Orleans' Mardi Gras, being the 'great benefactor and advisor to Neptune, who comes only to those who speak his language.' And Clark said he spoke his language very fluently. However, he said he wasn't really the Devil. He was greater than the Devil!

George Horil, white proprietor of the Paradise Inn, tried to prevent the police from arresting Clark and substantiated some of the stranger's statements. But his influence failed. What could the police of any civilised country do with a man who claimed to be greater than the Devil?

Horil told another version as to how the Devil Man story began.

'That Negro came into my place about a month ago,' Horil said. 'He told me he was hungry, and said, "I'm from the hills of Arkansas. My ears look like they are waiting for to hear the up yonder spirits and my eyes look like they are looking for the moon. Even the Devil would feed me." I could see the man was hungry, so I gave him a piece of pie, some milk and a sandwich. I'll admit he did look funny. Well, long about that time some school children came along and started laughing at the man, who was standing in front of my place, now. They kidded him so much that he became angry, and he said, "If y'all don't let me alone, I'm goin' to put the Devil on you." Then the kids started yelling. "Devil Man! Devil Man!" They drew such a crowd that the man got scared and ran off.

'Then the story got around that he disappeared into the graveyard opposite my place. Some of the beer parlors began saying the Devil Man had been to their joints, bought whiskey and disappeared. They said he would come back, and crowds of people would hang around these places in hopes of seeing him, some of them carrying guns and rifles. Of course most of them would buy drinks and plenty of them. One fellow said, "If the Devil Man takes me to Hell I want to be good and drunk."

'One of the place put a sign outside, saying the Devil Man was doing all his drinking in his bar. And the people went for it. They packed the place.'

Louis Kohlman, proprietor of Kohlman's Bar, said his business had doubled itself. The owner of Karper's beer parlor stated: 'The Devil Man nearly ruined my business. The people wouldn't come out at night, especially when they heard this Devil Man had poured whiskey down a woman's back in my place.' The desk sergeant at the Algiers police station said cynically, 'There isn't any Devil Man, not even the man we have arrested. He's just trying to make some money.'

But while the body of the captured Devil Man languished behind prison bars, his spirit apparently stalked the streets of New Orleans. On the night of September 13, 1938, there were more than two hundred calls at police headquarters regarding peculiarly Satanic activities. It was reported that the Devil Man was entering bars and frightening bartenders into giving him free drinks simply by removing his hat and letting them view his horns. One call offered the information that the Devil Man was the Big Apple, a popular Negro rendezvous in South Rampart Street, doing the Big Apple. There were evidently several Devil Men at work.

However, the one in the prison cell announced, with no little pride:

'My name is Clark Carleton, and I am the Devil Man - but greater than the Devil. I came from the hills of Arkansas on September 6, 1938. I walked under the stars and Neptune guided me through the darkness of the night. I reached Port Allen, Louisiana, and from there I rode the ferry into Baton Rouge; then I came to New Orleans, still under the guidance of Neptune and possibly one of his assistant stars.. I stopped at the Page Hotel. I came to New Orleans as the sun came down in the skies.

'Yes, they got me in jail, but it's my spirit that his haunting the people, because I ahve not been treated right by the police. That's why I'm going to keep on troubling them. If I wanted to, I could get out of sight right now - I could disappear away from all of you.' At this point a policeman offered the information Clark had 'disappeared' one day, breaking jail, and had been recaptured.

'You want to know how I got my powers? Well, Neptune came to me in the form of a fishhook in June and May of 1937. I was reading my Bible at the time. Oh, yes, I'm a Baptist man, but I believe in the Divine, too. Neptune told me to walk straight ahead, that I would find a two-headed man stranded on a rock. I found him but he disappeared. Then I knew I had the power.

'I went to fourth grade in school. I ain't no amnesia victim, but I don't remember anything about my people or anything else about myself. Tonight I'm going to divide myself with Neptune and maybe when you come back I will be able to tell you more. But, please tell everybody that I'm not going to hurt anyone, my spirit is just passing around New Orleans and Algiers like a bird because I have been mistreated by the police.'

On September 24 somebody shouted 'Devil Man' in the basement of the Craig Negro Public School. A near riot was the result. Little coloured boys and girls ran screaming for homes and mothers. Teachers barred all doors to lock themselves in. Anxious parents ran to the school for reassurance.

Opinions regarding the Devil Man varied greatly. In one respect, however, most coloured citizens agreed. As staunchly religious Sister Susie Mack phrased it, 'Ain't nobody got no business messin' around with no man what professes to be the Devil!'

Evidently this Devil Man did at last go too far. The last heard of him was when a 'devil baby' with 'horns 'n all' was reported born in one of the Negro sections of New Orleans. 'The Devil sure got us now!' was the mournful conclusion whispered from door to door.

But Louisiana can take it. As Brother Peter Williams, ebon pillar of Mother Keller's church, said with immortal wisdom and magnificent tolerance:

'It is our policy to give every man a hearing, be he devil or baboon.



#11 earth_spirit

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Posted 28 November 2006 - 06:28 PM

That's quite a tale, Rowan! Thanks for sharing it :hug: My copy of Gumbo Ya Ya is in the mail, so I'm anxious for it to show up so I can read the rest of the stories!
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#12 RowanG

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 10:39 AM

It's not listed in the table of contents like I expected. I only found it by thumbing through the Index. Even there it's just listed as 'Devil Man' and only through the reading of the story do you realise it's set in Algiers.

#13 earth_spirit

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 12:42 PM

My copy of Gumbo Ya Ya finally arrived in the mail, and I was not disappointed. Not only are there some great stories in it, but the art work is fantastic, as well. The book is broken down in sections covering the many cultural and ethnic groups that lived in the Louisiana of the 1940's and appears to be a wealth of stories and what we call "urban legends" these days. And yes, the Devil Man story is there in the index . . .

Sensitive readers should be forewarned, though, that the first edition copy of the book contains language that is not politically correct in this day and age :clap:
The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit -- Nelson Henderson Not A Ghost Of A Chance -- The Story Of My Three Years At The Imperial Casino Hotel <-- Click Here For My Personal Website

#14 MissSpider

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 03:52 PM

Yeah the language is disturbing. I was lucky enough to get a copy from the 40's for $5.

~"I came from the hills of Arkansas on September 6, 1938. I walked under the stars and Neptune guided me through the darkness of the night. You want to know how I got my powers? Well, Neptune came to me in the form of a fishhook in June and May of 1937. I was reading my bible at the time. Oh yes, I'm a Baptist man, but I believe in the Divine, too. Neptune told me to walk straight ahead, that I would find a two headed man stranded on a rock. I found him but he disappeared. Then I knew I had the power."~


#15 RowanG

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 05:23 PM

Sensitive readers should be forewarned, though, that the first edition copy of the book contains language that is not politically correct in this day and age :purplebounce:


Why should it?

Edited by RowanG, 04 December 2006 - 05:23 PM.





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