Italian police are reporting a strange crime related to the remains of Saint John Bosco, a 19th century priest and author known for his charitable work with the street children of Turin. After Bosco’s death in 1888, a large movement grew to have him canonized as a saint. Pope Pious XI canonized John “Don” Bosco in 1934, and an entire movement now carries on his legacy in educating underprivileged children throughout the world.
A part of Bosco’s brain was kept as a relic by the Catholic church and displayed in the basilica of Castelnuovo near Turin. Totally normal. Now, that brain has been stolen by thieves, and the Italian police say that black magic or a ransom conspiracy might be afoot.
According to Roman newspaper Il Messaggero, the theft likely occurred on the evening of Friday June 2nd as the church was closing. The church has been closed ever since, prompting Revered Moreno Filipetto, a spokesman for the Salesian religious order, to issue a curiously terse public statement:
The relic of St. Bosco has been stolen. To avoid hindering the ongoing police investigation, no other information will be provided.
For now, police have little leads; whoever the burglar was, they were able to steal the brain without breaking anything or leaving behind any evidence. Police believe the thief could have blended in with pilgrims come to pay their respects and quietly walked off with the brain as the church closed its doors for the night.
The investigation is being led by prosecutors in Asti, who believe the brain could have been stolen for use in some type of ransom plot or even in Satanic rituals. If the wax replica of Bosco’s body wakes up and starts speaking in dark, forgotten tongues older than the stars themselves, we’ll know which of the two this case turns out to be.