David Thompson the Great Canadian Explorer Played Checkers With the Devil and Won!

David Thompson, the great Canadian explorer had an encounter with the Devil, while at Cumberland House a small village in northern Saskatchewan in the winter of 1786. True or not, he recorded the encounter in his diary.

While waiting for clear weather he usually spent the evenings alone in Cumberland House playing Draughts, a checker board game, a game of skill, one man on each side of the board as in Chess or Checkers. David thought himself quite the expert player. When no one was around, which was quite often, he would play by himself, getting up from one chair and going over to the other side, make a move then going back to his original seat, making a move, back and forth. You get the picture. This one evening, while sitting waiting for someone to come and join him a strange incident occurred that had a profound effect on him for the rest of his life. 

A tall dark man entered the room and sat down on the opposite side of the table. David wrote that the stranger looked like a Spaniard. Salvador Dali comes to mind, with a pointed moustache wearing a large brimmed hat with a feather. When he removed his hat, he had two small black horns at the top of his forehead, which Thompson described as pointing up and forward. He also saw nothing but black curly hair below the man's waist and the shine from his hooves, he had for feet. He had that superior demeanour Thompson despised and was surprised when he reached out and made the first move, tempting Thompson by saying, 

"It's your move."

Thompson wrote he couldn't resist, and they played several games. The stranger lost them all but kept his cool. Suddenly, he stood up, smiled at Thompson as if to say, 

"I'll be back for round two," 

then disappeared right in front of Thompson's eyes.

He wrote he could not tell if he were dreaming or what? That he could not decide, because the visitation was so real to him. 

From that moment on, David Thompson never played another game of chance again, for the rest of his life. You could say, "he was scared straight." 

Sixty-three years later, he wrote in another entry, commenting that the event of playing Draught with the Devil has kept with him all his life, as if it happened yesterday.

Was it just a hallucination? Cabin fever? Was he over-tired? Or was he a little psychotic, crazy? Maybe it was Lucifer himself. I'll leave it up to you but remember, David Thompson also believed he saw the footprints of a four-toed Sasquatch. Food for thought.

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