Devil’s Letter, mystery revealed
2017 was a year full of mystery and curious things, but it has also brought the solution to some myteries and ennigmas unsolved from decades if not centuries, like that of the “Satan's letter”, or "devil's letter". It was August 11, 1676 when sister Maria Crocefissa della Concezione, i.e. Isabella Tomasi (ancestress of Giuseppe Tomasi, author of Il Gattopardo), was found in her own cell in the Palma di Montechiaro monastery, sitting on the ground, with her face dirty of ink.
The inexplicable devil's letter
She had a letter in her hand, that seemed in her handwriting but undecipherable and according to the nun it would had been delivered by Satan himself. Looking at the letter (still on display in the monastery), first Maria Crocefissa's sorority sisters and then tens of scholars find evidence of the date, of the word “Ohimè” (i.e. “alas”) and of the signature that the nun would have market, as she declared, by order of the devil.
The remainder of symbols and their meaning has remained without any explanation for over 340 years, since the nun declared only that the devil wrote the 11 lines of which the letter is made with the aim of get her away from God and get her closer to evil, furthermore entrusting to her two messages that the nun never reveal, because, she once stated, “under no circumstances I can say, and not even have to be said, since time will come that you will hear and see everything”.
Researchers have deciphered the document
A few months ago, btw, some computer scientist of the Science museum of Catania, directed by Daniele Abate, have succeeded to crack the mysterious message: all started by comparing all the letters and symbols of the different alphabets Tomasi would have known (Italian, Greek, Cyrillic, Latin, Runic and Yezidis), coupling one another to find correspondence in the text of the letter. The method seem to have worked at the end, at least partially.
According to the expert, in the document you can read phrases such as “Perhaps now, Styx is certain” (the Hellish river, ed) “Since God, Christ and Zoroaster follow the ancient and saint paths sealed by men, alas” and “a God who thinks he can free mortals”. Phrases that seem to suggest that sister Maria Crocefissa was suffering from schizophrenia or a bipolar disorder, diseases which would have convinced her she was fighting against Satan himself.
Blessed or just schizophrenic?
Just for her struggle against the devil and her ability to resist him, outlined also by a report drawn up by the abbess, Maria Serafica, Tomasi was indeed beatified, but according the experts the letter was drawn by her hand according to a specific alphabet, made up by herself by mixing carefully simbols that she knew, so much that in the letter symbols occur and the writing are clearly discernible, in a specific pattern.
What drove Isabella Tomasi to write the letter, intentionally of not, we'll never know, since she died when was just 45 years old, in 1690, by pronouncing as her last words “saint, saint, saint”, taking to the grave her letter's mystery. But at least, finally, we were able to decipher a mystery not otherwordly at all.