The mystery of Robert Johnson

By Phil Archer - Reporter

HOUSTON - Houston artist Gibson has produced thousands of composite drawings to catch criminals during her career with the Houston Police Department, but Gibson has also used her CSI skills to identify a rare photograph of a legendary blues singer lost for 3/4 of a century.

According to the legend, Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to become the King of the Delta blues.

That's the legend. When it comes to fact, not much is known about Johnson except he died young at age 27, then became the role model for practically every guitarist who's come since.

There were only two known photographs of him after his death in 1938 until seven years ago, when a picture surfaced, allegedly of Johnson and a friend.

But was it really Johnson holding the guitar?

The Johnson Estate commissioned forensic artist Lois Gibson to figure it out. She's helped solve more than a thousand cases working with Houston Police. And she was already a fan.

"When you hear his songs you know they were covered by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones," said forensic artist Lois Gibson.

Lois compared the features of the face in the photos and after considering the lighting, lens angle, age and provenance decided it was real. An historic treasure.

"I was really excited. My blues roots. It's very exciting." said Gibson.

Gibson's analysis was good enough for the Johnson estate, they've accepted that third photograph as genuine and since then Gibson believes she's found a 4th photograph of Robert Johnson drinking with friends. Apparently it takes an artist to find an artist.

Copyright 2014 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.