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.

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  1. Dude, please tell me you have confirmation from independent sources other than IFL Science for this story. I’m not buyin’ any of it.

    • The Ludum Science Center’s website suggests it is a children’s museum. The Italian Wikipedia pages on the good sister and the letter appear to have been updated very recently in ways that might be relevant to the story–I don’t speak Italian and can only wing it so far with Spanish and Google Translate, so can’t say for sure. The story appears to have originated with an Italian radio station interview with the director of the children’s museum, and the main vectors for dissemination of the story seem to be British tabloids, sites of questionable reliability, and Facebook clickbait sites. I have only found the story reported on three other Catholic sites. one a humor page. The big Catholic news sources don’t seem to be running with this story. The “dark web” story is questionable and nobody’s released a transcript of the “translation” anyway. You’re writing for a serious publication; please go back and do some more research into this story, and verify or retract. This story is causing some confusion.

      • Your comment reeks if intellectual pride, one of satan’s greatest assets. There is no amount of research that could ever satisfy your skepticism. Still, if you’re that doubtful, you should do some studying on your own instead of expecting the author to do it for you.

  2. These type of things translated are exactly the type of things demons are reported to have said during exorcisms and spiritual warfare! It is also interesting to point out the lie that many irreligious people like to spread about God being a human invention. It just makes it really obvious where these people are getting their material from… satan.

  3. Lord we Pray for all those who are possessed by the Devil or any evil spirits. I have witnessed it in my neighbourhood and it is terrible. It goes away for a while but never leaves you in peace. Thank you Jesus.

  4. “God thinks he can free mortals” and “Hod is an invention of man” makes me believe that either this is all nonsense, or Satan is a schizophrenic.

    • I noticed that oxymoron as well. If Satan stated that “God thinks he can free mortals” and then states that “God is an invention of man”. Then that would, by default, mean that Satan is an invention of man. For if Satan exists (and he does) to have made these statements (assuming for a moment that they have been made), then God must also exist.

  5. Can you provide some references. I don’t believe the story and see no reason to.
    There is nothing new from their so called “code breaking findings”. A lot of people still think God is an invention of man.
    So tell me something I didn’t know…

  6. I lived in a Roman Catholic men’s religious community in Italy for several years and we had a true mystic in the community, one of the Brother’s is a stigmatist. Now get ready for this: from the wounds on his hands, feet and side, issued the most exquisite perfume, we experienced a variety of mystical phenomena in the convent. Two incredible but true things I witnessed: one from Heaven the other from Hell. This Brother was granted the special grace from time to time of “visits” from Heaven, for example, he frequently encountered the Most Blessed Virgin Mary–when this happened the entire convent which is a large structure with well over 100 occupants would be completely filled with this celestial perfume which would last for days. Now the experience from Hell: One afternoon in the summer I and a group of four other seminary students were conversing in the corridor as it was free time, the Brother passed us and went into his room which was at the end of the hall, he came out quickly and asked us to come inside–well, when we entered the smell of sulfur and fire was so intense my immediate reflection was that this was supernatural for never had I experienced anything like this–the intensity was extreme–the Brother asked our opinion and all were of the same accord that this was demonic, the Brother agreed–he said this is what greeted him when he entered the room and wanted us, who were studying for the Priesthood to experience it. Later in a private conversation I asked him if he also had “visits” from satan, he answered in the affirmative.

  7. LUDUM is a scientific dissemination center, not just dedicated to children, many of our research has been published in major world magazines.
    We have come to this work, with the utmost respect for the religious path and sure that science and faith are well-separated things, discovering a scientific truth in our opinion does not affect the faith. That said, we faced the challenge in the most secular way possible by carefully verifying each technical step.
    When you begin the work of historical decryption, one can not ignore a structuring of the writer’s psychological profile. We carefully evaluated the semantic knowledge of the writer and why he chose writing as a means of expressing his communication.
    Often, the person who claims to have mystical visions, when he passes to writing, makes a step towards something more structured, so an operation far from trivial and despicable, in fact he must appropriate the code by vivifying it, projecting parts of itself to give existence effective both to code and to parts of itself. In the case of Isabella Tomasi, the slowness of writing is related to the gesture of the hand that traces the marks on the sheet, and thought can thus be structured, at least in principle, in less automatic, more elaborate, less chaotic, more structured modes , favored by geometricity imposed by linguistic signs, aligned side by side and placed on the page in parallel lines. The permanence of the signal can have an ambivalent emotional relapse, on the one hand the written text, which does not disappear immediately after being produced as the oral one, can be lived like a mirror that reflects parts of the self that the author would prefer not to to see, as a concrete material reality that can not be ignored; on the other hand, the text, as a product of its own thought, can be retrieved, observed, evaluated, criticized, and restructured through interventions of various kinds. So we imagined the creation of a new vocabulary using the Greek alphabet, the Latin one, the Runic (old Germanic populations) and the Yazidis, the devout worshiped people who lived the Iraqi Sinjar before the onset of Islam. The notions that Sister Maria Crocifissa of the Conception could possess, as we have supposed the result was vulgar.
    The software
    The network including the deep web provides excellent decryption software, but according to our theory it was a software that interpreted the invented alphabet in a stenographed way by the nun, so we have programmed one of the best software available for this. we tested our software with some standard declinations (italics, geometric and mixed) in different languages. We have analyzed the repetition of syllables and graphs in the letter so as to identify vowels or pairs of them and we have developed and refined the decryption algorithm. Actually we did not have great expectations on the result and we were thinking of getting the most out of some words of meaning. But obviously the mental path was well structured and the message was more complete than expected. The work envisaged a commitment of three people for three months of work (ie the true non-continuum).
    The complete result is as follows:
    We do not hear this, but for us the challenge was won, we solved the centenary riddle and we were pleased with it.
    Published the post on our page as jolly as it is in our style, we did not think to arouse this international attention but we know the devil does the pots and not the covers.

  8. While the good sister may have perceived something evil, the “letter” itself sounds like something from the Dan Brown school of theology. Biggest contradiction is the existence of the devil but attributing belief in God to man. Even in hell this self contradiction couldn’t pass the logic test. There are far more reliable reports throughout history from authentically holy men and women that contradict most of this interesting but seemingly fanciful story.

  9. Why are there no sentences/words in any of the many character languages in the world? Does this mean that the devil does not understand any of dialects of China, or does it simply mean the lack of the ability to write this or any form of calligraphy? Is there the possibility than Satan does no exist in the People Republic of China?

    Where is Dan Brown when we need him!!

  10. this story is rather spooky in its entirety and seems to lack fundamentum in re; in other words sounds very much like fake news. “a spirit is a living thing . . . that cannot be seen, heard from or touched . . . .” [baltimore catechism]. is the direct opposite now the case???

  11. What has been translated does correspond with what has been said by demons during exorcisms. Many sceptics choose not to believe because then they would have to face the fact that there is consequences for their sins .

  12. I trust in Jesus. How do I take these stories? With a contrite heart and a grain of salt. I can also research further on my own if I really need to know the truth. The depths of teaching of the Catholic Church can answer some of these questions if I want to get into it. If not, then I tend to leave it be. I can keep my peace because, like I said, I trust in Jesus. He will reveal all at the appointed time.


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