Something had taken control of Sister Maria Crocifissa della Concezione’s body. She had no recollection of what she had done, but according to legend, when she woke up, she found a letter written in weird glyphs that she didn’t understand. But she claimed that an evil force had written it.
It took centuries to find a translation, but with the help of new code-cracking technology, a team of researchers was finally able to decipher the language used to write the letter, and they had to confront their own darkness to do it.
She Was Struggling With her Demons
According to the legend, Sister Maria Crocifissa della Concezione was struggling with something that most nuns feared and hoped would never happen to them. So, she headed to the Sicilian island of Saint Paul to confront her inner demons—literally.
She Joined a Convent and Changed Her Name
Sister Maria was born Isabella Tomasi back in 1645. When she turned 15, she went to the Sicilian town of Palma di Montechiaro to join the Benedictine convent. That’s when she took on the name Sister Maria Crocifissa della Concezione. But something insidious was lurking within her.
She Claimed the Devil Had Taken Over Her
The Benedictine order preached about love, peace and work. But there was no love or peace in Sister Maria’s heart. Instead, something sinister had possessed her. And whenever she approached something holy, she would scream and faint. This convinced her that Satan was using her as a conduit. But what did he want from her?
She Was Found Covered in Ink
It was on August 11, 1676 that the nun was found in her cell, lying on the floor. Her face was full of ink and she was holding some sort of letter. But what was she doing on the ground? Had she been assaulted in some way?
The Devil Made Her Write a Letter
Sister Maria was convinced that Satan was trying to corrupt her. Her fears were seemingly confirmed when something diabolical took over her and forced her to write a letter in glyphs that were eerily similar to occult symbols and ancient wording. But what did it say?
She Offered a Dire Warning
The mystery behind what Sister Maria had written plagued scholars for many years, but she didn’t need any help figuring out what was on the letter. She claimed that she knew and it terrified her and her fellow nuns to the core.
A Spirit Was Manipulating Her
We’ve all seen movies and TV shows that show Satan or the Devil trying to corrupt the souls of an innocent. And what better target could he have picked than a disciple of God? So, Sister Maria claimed that Satan was attempting to convince her to turn evil and denounce God. But as terrifying as that was, she didn’t have much in the way of proof.
What About the Letter?
Sister Maria had the letter and her interpretation of how Satan wanted her to turn against God and all of his teachings. But the letter itself was written in a language that the church couldn’t read. So, no one knew what to make of her warning.
The Nuns Believed Sister Maria’s Claims
Years passed since Sister Maria had written the letter and yet it remained illegible. But the sisters at her convent didn’t leave anything to chance and decided to display the letter publicly, as a warning. And there was one account from an abbess who claimed Sister Maria’s struggles were real.
An Abbess Wrote an Account of What Happened
Abbess Maria Serafica left a written record about what had happened to Sister Maria. She claimed that “innumerable evil spirits” had tried to attack the sister and that Satan himself tried making her sign the letter, but she resisted him and signed “Ohime” which means “Oh me.” As the centuries passed, many have tried to decipher the letter, but it was in 2017 when someone offered hope to shine a light on the mystery.
A Team of Scientists Tried Cracking the Letter
A group of computer scientists from LUDUM Science Center in Catania were determined to crack the code. They were led by LUDUM Director Daniele Abate. But despite the various tools at their disposal, the team couldn’t decipher the letter. There was one place they could turn to, but it was a very dark place indeed.
They Had to Go Dark to Decipher the Letter
The only thing that could help the team figure out what Sister Maria’s Letter said was through a decryption program that only world governments had access to. So, they had no choice but to acquire a copy of the program on the dark web. But would it finally help solve the letter?
She Came Up With a Code
Abate surmised that Sister Maria had come up with a code of her own by blending different aspects of various alphabets. But there was only one way to be sure and that was by finding a way to crack the code, which is exactly what happened.
They Used a Code Breaking Program to Translate
Abate told The Times in 2017 that “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 letters and show that it really is devilish.”
The Letter Was Thoroughly Analyzed
"We analyzed how the syllables and graphisms [or thoughts depicted as symbols] repeated in the letter in order to locate vowels, and we ended up with a refined decryption algorithm," Abate shared with Live Science. But were they able to finally put this mystery to rest?
They Cracked Part of the Code
Abate’s team was able to crack some of the letter. Unfortunately, a lot of it didn’t make sense in those 14 lines that they had deciphered. But the parts that did make sense would have had some serious repercussions for Sister Maria back in the day.
She Claimed God Was a Hoax
According to Abate, the translation of the letter suggested that God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost didn’t really exist or have the power to do anything. The letter reportedly called the trinity “dead weights,” and there was one more thing that was even more mysterious. But did the Devil make her do it or was it all in her head?
Sister Maria Referenced the Underworld
The letter continued, "God thinks he can free mortals ... The system works for no one ... Perhaps now, Styx is certain." Styx is the river mentioned in Greek and Roman mythology and is said to be the thing that separates the world of the living with the world of the dead. But Abate and her team couldn’t exactly take the nun at her word either.
They Couldn’t Ignore the Psychological Profile
"When working on historical decryption, you cannot ignore the psychological profile of the writer. We needed to know as much as possible about this nun," Abate told Live Science. And after some careful consideration, the answer became clear.
She May Have Been Bipolar
Abete claimed that Sister Maria might have been suffering from bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. "The image of the devil is often present in these disorders. We learned from historical records that every night she screamed and fought against the devil," Abate explained.
Scholars Claim the Writing Makes No Sense
According to various modern-day scholars, Sister Maria’s writing is mostly gibberish which is why the text has remained undecipherable after all these years. But Abete believes that Sister Maria was not possessed and did in fact know what she was doing.
Sister Maria Had Knowledge of Different Languages
Abate told The Times, “I personally believe that the nun had a good command of languages, which allowed her to invent the code. And [Sister Maria] may have suffered from a condition like schizophrenia, which made her imagine dialogues with the Devil.”
She Created a New Vocabulary
"The letter appeared as if it was written in shorthand. We speculated that Sister Maria created a new vocabulary using ancient alphabets that she may have known," Abate also shared with Live Science. So, was it possible that there was a simple explanation for the ramblings in the letter?
Was She Really Possessed?
Back in the day, mental illness wasn’t understood. So, while it might have appeared that Sister Maria was possessed, she may have in fact been suffering from mental problems. But the order at the time believed that demonic forces had taken over the sister who was thoroughly blessed to repel the evil influences. But her claims are not an isolated incident.
Possessions Remain a Modern-Day Concern
Although it’s been centuries since Sister Maria was reportedly possessed, the concept of demonic possession remains a real threat in the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, they have trained members of their order to practice exorcism so that what allegedly happened to Sister Maria doesn’t happen to anyone ever again.
She Was Thrust Into the Spotlight
When she was 15, Swedish nationalist Greta Thunberg went on a climate-change campaign that put her in a global spotlight. And for the past few years, she’s been traveling and spreading the word on climate change, but is she really who she claims to be? Apparently, the internet is confused about a recent photo that surfaced that puts Thunberg right in the middle of a strange theory.
Climate Change Affected Her
Thunberg was born in 2003 in Stockholm, Sweden. Her parents are actor Svante Thunberg and opera singer Malena Ernman. When she was 8, Thunberg learned about climate change but had no idea why no one was doing anything about it. But, she had bigger issues to deal with.
She Suffered a Major Setback
Greta's behavior changed before she became a teenager. She became depressed and stopped talking and eating. Doctors determined she had selective mutism, obsessive-compulsive disorder and Asperger Syndrome. But this didn’t deter her from her mission.
Asperger's Gave Her a Purpose
Asperger syndrome is a type of autism that makes it difficult to relate to, talk to or understand others, and it's part of broader category called autism spectrum disorder. And yet, Thunberg believes her condition helped her focus on the world’s problems and in the process, raise awareness for climate change.
She Had a Superpower
On August 31, 2019, she tweeted: “I have Asperger’s, and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm. And— given the right circumstances— being different is a superpower.” Thunberg used that superpower to spark change, and that started with her parents.
Her Parents Became Eco-Friendly
Long before her 2019 tweet, she asked her parents to start upcycling instead of buying new products. She also encouraged them to go vegan. But her mom made the ultimate sacrifice by giving up flying, which meant giving up her international career as an opera star. And that’s when Thunberg realized she had the power to change people’s minds.
She Skipped School for Climate Change
In August 2018, Thunberg cut school and went to the Swedish parliament to campaign for policy changes on global warming. She even held up a sign that read, in Swedish, “School strike for climate change.” Months later, the media took notice of the young activist with pigtails and they wanted answers.
She Called It Her Moral Responsibility
The Guardian asked Thunberg why she had taken up this mission, and she explained: “I am doing this because nobody else is doing anything. It is my moral responsibility to do what I can. I want the politicians to prioritize the climate question, focus on the climate and treat it like a crisis.”
Other Students Joined Her Mission
Word spread of Thunberg’s mission, and soon, other students started a movement called Fridays for Future that saw youngsters cutting class to draw attention to the climate crisis. Even teachers like Benjamin Warner joined in despite of the potential three weeks’ pay cut he could have incurred. He felt it was necessary to stop an environmental catastrophe. But did others listen?
She Gained Lots of Followers
In time, Thunberg started making speeches about climate change at the 2018 TEDxStockholm event. She also gained a ton of social media followers and inspired more students to join her outside the Swedish parliament. This eventually caught world leaders’ attention.
She Sailed to the UN Climate Action Summit
In August 2019, Thunberg used a 60-foot racing yacht powered by turbines and solar panels to sail across the Atlantic to attend the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City. Once she was there, she gave world leaders a piece of her mind.
She Called World Leaders Out
With an unwavering voice, she called the leaders out. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering; people are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you.” But that wasn't the last they'd hear from her...
A Mysterious Image Surfaced
After her visit to the United States was over, she sailed to Spain for another UN Summit. But around that same time, a mysterious image taken in 1898 resurfaced on the internet and threatened to change how the world saw the environmental activist.
She Was Twinning With a 121-Year-Old Woman
Although Thunberg is only a teen, a 121-year-old photo showed that she bore a striking resemblance to someone who existed many years ago. This started a myriad of bizarre conspiracy theories to swirl around Thunberg.
Photographer from the Past Stuns 21st Century
The image was taken by photographer Eric Hegg, a man who hoped to earn a fortune during the gold rush that was prominent in Canada’s Yukon territory from 1896 to 1899. He never found anything of value, but one of his photos depicted three children playing a role in a mining operation, and conspiracy theorists were stunned by one particular child.
Netizens Thought She Was a Time Traveler
One of the kids in the gold mine on the photo taken in 1898 looked a lot like Thunberg. And there was only one thing that made sense to netizens and conspiracy theories: the environmental activist has to be a time traveler of sorts.
Everyone Has a Theory
One netizen wrote on Twitter: “I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but Greta is 100 percent a time traveler.” Another Twitter user mused that Thunberg was sent back in time to alter history and stop climate change from happening.
They’re Hounding the University for Answers
The photograph offers very little information like the location it was taken and the date, but nothing about the identity of the people in the photo. But this hasn’t stopped folks from inundating the University of Washington, who owns the photo, from inquiring about the young woman.
Was It a Facial Recognition Mix-Up?
University researchers believe that when the photograph was digitized, facial recognition software inadvertently marked the young miner’s face with Thunberg. So, when they Googled her, the vintage photo popped up instead. But the two women may have a similar origin story.
The Women May Have Something in Common
According to The Independent, it’s possible that the miner girl may have come from Sweden. At the time the photo was taken, the Yukon had a Swedish community. And today, almost 1,000 Swedish-Canadians live in the area where Hegg took the photo in the late 1800s. But what does Thunberg have to say about the photo?
She Has Yet to Address the Photo
Unfortunately, Thunberg hasn’t addressed the photo that has so many conspiracy theorists claiming she’s a time traveler. Some people believe she may be trying to deflect attention so that her secret doesn’t come out.
Thunberg Was Transitioning
At the time that the photo went viral, Thunberg was transitioning from the United States to Portugal where she would later head to the UN Summit in Madrid. So, she hasn’t made any comments about the photo itself, but she did make a statement that was truly alarming.
She Achieved Nothing
According to The Guardian, Thunberg claimed that she and her fellow activists had “achieved nothing” while attending the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Madrid. But others would disagree with her assessment.
She’s Gained Lots of Recognition
In 2019, Thunberg received a nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize. She was also on the list of Time’s most influential people of the year. So even though she doesn’t think highly of her achievements, others obviously do. But what about the big question?
Is She a Time Traveler?
Thunberg’s call for action continues to educate and inspire people to do something about climate change before it’s too late. But none of that answers the one question on the minds of conspiracy theorists with too much time on their hands. Is Thunberg a time traveler? That’s probably a secret she’ll never tell.