Satan’s riddle 17th century ‘possessed’ nun’s letter deciphered

(ORDO NEWS) — The message – truly diabolical – describes God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit as “dead weight,” the researcher said.

It was written by Sister Maria Crocifissa della Concezione, a 31-year-old nun who lived in the convent of Palma di Montechiaro in Sicily.

According to historical records, on August 11, 1676, she was found on the floor of her cell with her face smeared with ink, with a note written in an incomprehensible mixture of symbols and letters.

Sister Mary, according to historical sources, said that the letter was written by the devil in an attempt to make her turn away from God and turn to evil.

This message, consisting of only 14 lines of jumbled, ancient letters, over the centuries defied any attempt to understand its meaning.

“When working on a historical decipherment, one cannot ignore the psychological profile of the writer. We needed to learn as much as possible about this nun,” Daniele Abate, director of Ludum, told Live Science.

Sister Maria Crocifissa della Concezione, born Isabella Tomasi (she was an ancestor of the Italian writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa), entered a Benedictine monastery when she was only 15 years old, according to historical records.

“The letter looked like it was written in shorthand. We assumed that Sister Maria created a new dictionary using the ancient alphabets that she might know,” Abate said.

To find out for sure, the researchers first tested the software they used with some standard shorthand characters from various languages.

They found that the nun’s letter contained a mixture of words from ancient alphabets such as Greek, Latin, Runic and Arabic.

“We analyzed how syllables and graphisms [or thoughts represented as symbols] are repeated in writing to find vowels, and ended up with an improved decoding algorithm,” Abate said.

According to him, the team did not have high hopes for the result.

“We thought we could only decipher a few words that made sense. But the nun was fluent in languages,” he said, adding that “the message was more complete than expected.”

Incoherent in nature and not entirely clear, the letter, in addition to calling the Holy Trinity “dead weight”, further says that “God thinks he can free mortals… This system does not work on anyone… Perhaps, in Styx now you can be sure.”

In Greek and Roman mythology, the Styx is the river that separates the underworld from the world of the living.

According to Abete, the letter suggests that Sister Maria suffered from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

“The image of the devil is often present in these disorders. We learned from historical records that every night she screamed and fought with the devil,” Abete said.

For the church of that time, this letter was considered the result of its struggle with “countless evil spirits”,

According to Serafiki’s account of the behavior of the nun, written shortly after the incident, the devil forced Sister Mary (who was later blessed) to sign the letter.

She heroically resisted this demand by writing “Ohimé” (oh me), which is the only intelligible word in the letter.


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