In 1676, Sister Maria Crocifissa della Concezione of the Palma di Montechiaro convent wrote a coded letter. The letter was found in her room and she had no previous recollection of actually writing it, leading her to claim that Satan had possessed her and used her hand to write it.
For over 300 years it has remained a mystery as no one had been able to decode the letter which had been written using symbols and letters that resembled aspects of Greek, Arabic, Latin, and the Runic alphabets. Sister Maria was an accomplished linguist due to her studies at the convent which had led some researchers to believe that she wrote this letter in a language of her design based on languages and symbols she was already aware of.
Coding software available on the dark web helped a team of Italian computer scientists translate 15 lines from the letter discussing the relationship between God, Satan and mankind. The letter is said to refer to God and Jesus as 'Dead Weight.'
On that morning in 1676, Sister Maria woke up covered in ink, with no recollection of writing the letter. She claimed that Satan himself had taken over her body and written the letter. The other sisters of the convent believed her.
In the 17th century, medical science was not even in the same ballpark as what we know today. Because Sister Maria wrote the letter but couldn't remember doing so, several researchers have suggested that it is possible that she was suffering from schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder, two conditions that were not defined until the last century.
The "Devil's Letter" has been on display at the convent since the 17th century and many people have attempted to decipher it over the years. This Italian team is the first to have any success, but there is much that still needs to be understood.
Was this letter written by the Devil himself? Or was it simply a misunderstood case of mental illness? You decide.