Upon awakening from her demonic reverie – so the legend goes – Sister Maria Crocifissa della Concezione found herself soaked in ink. A bizarre letter had apparently come into her possession during the night, and it was covered with mystifying symbols. Adding to the mystery, the nun claimed that Satan himself had written the message – and yet no one was able to understand it… until now. The centuries-old mystery finally had a turning point when a group of curious scholars dedicated themselves to translating the letter once and for all.
The struggle between good and evil
The island of Sicily, where Sister Maria had taken spiritual refuge, is a place of deep-rooted Christian faith. Indeed, Saint Paul is said to have preached in the region nearly two millennia ago. But some people believe that wherever Christ goes, Satan isn't far behind. In fact, the eternal struggle between good and evil is a fundamental tenet of Christian doctrine.
Born in 1645, Isabella Tomasi was 15 years old when she joined a Benedictine convent in the Sicilian town of Palma di Montechiaro. There, she was baptized and renamed Maria Crocifissa della Concezione. The Benedictine order traditionally teaches work, peace, and prayer. But for all her toil and devotion, Sister Maria did not seem to be at peace. In fact, she claimed to be possessed by the Devil himself.
Turmoil from within
And whether or not the Devil exists, Sister Maria really did appear to be a conduit for fiery torment. When approaching the convent altar, she would allegedly shriek and lose consciousness. Apparently convinced that Satan was trying to turn her towards evil, the nun seemed to be racked with inner conflict.
A diabolical letter
Then one day in 1676 the Devil took control of the nun’s body – or so she claimed – and authored a diabolical letter. The note did not use a familiar language, though, nor even a recognizable alphabet. Instead, its mysterious glyphs seemed to resemble a jumble of archaic letters and occult symbols.