After centuries of failed attempts, a letter written by a 17th-century nun who claimed to be possessed by Satan himself has been finally decoded.
The letter was written by Sister Maria Crocifissa della Concezione in 1676. Born Isabella Tomasi in 1645, she took on the new name when she entered the Benedictine convent of Palma di Montechiaro at the age of 15.
Shortly after her taking her vows, she awoke one morning covered in ink with the famed Lettera del Diavolo, Italian for Devil’s Letter, next to her. She told the sisters of the monastery that the Devil possessed and forced her to write it. The letter was put on display at the Palma di Montechiaro in hopes that someone would be able to decode the messages.
Over three hundred years since the letter was written, a team of scientists at the Ludum Science Center in Catania, Sicily have finally cracked its code using a code-breaking software they discovered on the dark web. The software is used by intelligence services for code-breaking, but the scientists were able to adapt it to decode the letter. The director for the Ludum Science Center, Daniel Abata, said:
“We heard about the software, which we believe is used by intelligence services for code-breaking. We primed the software with ancient Greek, Arabic, the Runic alphabet and Latin to unscramble some of the letter and show that it really is devilish.”
While the entire letter could not be translated, they were able to make sense of fifteen sentences using the software. One says “God thinks he can free mortals,” while another reads “Perhaps now, Styx is certain.” (Styx is the river that divides the Earth and the underworld in the Greek and Roman Mythology) Another sentence talks of God being an invention of man and that this “this system works for no one.” The final sentence describes the Trinity as being “dead weights.”
Sister Maria Crocifissa della Concezion was known to faint at the altar in the convent, saying the Devil was trying to make her serve evil and not God. On October 16, 1690, she died peacefully within the convent. In 1701, the beatification process was started for when the Bishop of Agrigento commissioned a biography to be written for her. On August 15, 1787 Pope Pius VI named her the Venerable.