The Conjuring 2 introduced us to Valak, a powerful demon disguised as a nun with the sole purpose of terrifying (and sometimes impaling) unsuspecting families and professional ghost hunters. The creature is the stuff of nightmares, but we've been able to handle its different appearances throughout the Conjuring franchise because we know its a fictional character, created to delve into our deepest fears for a few hours of creepy entertainment.
But how would you feel if I told you a similarly creepy nun existed in real life? There are times where reality decides to kick things up a notch and become even more terrifying than fiction. This latest example is courtesy of a particular nun who, 300 years ago, claimed to have written a letter while possessed by the devil.
A Mysteriously-Terrifying Letter
In 1660 Italy, A 15-year-old girl named Isabella Tomasi joined the Palma di Montechiaro convent in Sicily and subsequently changed her name to Maria Crocifissa della Concezione. Sixteen years later, in 1676, the young woman was found by her fellow sisters covered in ink in front of a strange letter. The explanation? Maria told the sisters it had been the devil who had taken control of her hands and written it for her.
This letter caught the attention of countless people in Italy and around the world, because no one was able to decipher it. It was just too complex. Jump to 341 years later, however, and we've finally cracked the code thanks to modern technology. A group of Italian scientists from the Ludum Science Center in Catania got together to solve the riddle of Maria's cryptic message. To accomplish such a task, they tapped into the dark forces of the internet, as explained by the Science Center's director, Daniele Abate:
"We heard about the software, which we believe is used by the intelligence services for codebreaking. We primed the software with Ancient Greek, Arabic, the Runic alphabet and Latin to de-scramble some of the letter and show that it really is devilish."
Maria was an avid linguist, so the science team came up with the theory that she invented her own language. Working with that, they gathered languages she might have learned at the time, such as Runic and modern Greek, Latin, Arabic, and Kumanji Kurdish. Fortunately for all of us curious souls, their efforts paid off. They deciphered the letter, and the message they discovered is incredibly disturbing.
Fifteen lines were decoded in total. While scientists said some of them were incoherent rambling, there were others which made sense, such as God being a flawed system created by humanity, God erroneously thinking he can free mankind, Jesus and the Holy Spirit being considered "dead weights," and also contemplating the possibility of Styx being certain (Styx is a river that separates the Earth from the Underworld in both Greek and Roman mythology). Sweet baby Jesus, that is a whole lot of medieval theological baggage.
While the letter hasn't yet been entirely deciphered, Maria was also reportedly prone to constant screaming attacks and fainting episodes at the convent's altar, which she claimed were the devil's way of turning her away from God and making her evil. Taking that, and her claims that the devil wrote her letter into account, I have a pretty good idea of how the rest of the letter plays out. Let's just say it's doubtful it looks good for Team Jesus.
Was This Really The Case Of A Demonic Possession, Or Just Of A Unstable Mind?
Now, this is pretty creepy, but don't freak out just yet. Abate also presented the more realistic possibility that perhaps Sister Maria wasn't actually possessed by demonic presences, but instead was just mentally ill:
"I personally believe that the nun had a good command of languages, which allowed her to invent the code, and may have suffered from a condition like schizophrenia, which made her imagine dialogues with the Devil."
That makes sense, especially if we take into account the reported ramblings of her letter, and her ability with languages, which could have easily allowed her to create her own language system. But as Abate states, everyone will believe what they desire. As for me? I'm sticking to the schizophrenia explanation. Not because I don't believe in her story, but because that's the least terrifying option than a world in which the Devil actually exists and he's using women of the cloth to spit hot Satanic bars.
I'm pretty sure this story will me keep up at night for the next few weeks (yes, I scare easily). This story just made the other Conjuring films seem like a total walk in the park, and I don't think that will ever change.
We'll get to see a creepy nun on screen when #TheNun hits theaters on July 13, 2018.