When Typos Were Believed To Be The Work Of Satan

Satan, the original prankster.
When Typos Were Believed To Be The Work Of Satan

Given that humanity has been able to blame pretty much anything and everything on the Prince of Darkness, it shouldn’t be too surprising that, during the Middle Ages, typos were considered the work of the Devil, too. More specifically, it was believed that one of Satan’s henchmen, the demon Tutivillus, was forever roaming around churches and playing pranks on scribes copying religious texts by adding typographical errors to their written work. We guess it checks out since demons seemingly have nothing better to do than hang around and take the blame for what is clearly human folly. 

Devilish Tutivillus didn’t stop there, either. He apparently lurked among churchgoers, picking up all the mistakes they made during praise and worship. Any and all misspoken words in the sermon itself were collected and taken back to Lucifer to gloat over. Idle gossip inside the church walls was recorded because being a demon is also like being a crew member on a Reality TV set. In one of the Christian folklore stories that were often told during those times, Tutivillus tells an Abbot he must bring his master a thousand sacks a day of “faylaynges and of neglygences in syllables and wordes, that ar done in youre order in redynge and in syngynge, else I must be sore beten.” This basically translates to “Imma take all the crap that comes from your hands and mouths and make Satan LOL, suckers.”

Of course, this implies that demons are better at linguistics than humans. Which again, checks out.

Books and plays were written about Tutivillus; he was even painted in some of the churches to remind everyone that we should be equally obsessed with both God and the Devil at all times. The demon troll was also blamed for choir members not hitting their notes because why take accountability for anything when a supernatural entity has been created to take the fall for you. Most excellent.

While many laughed and saw the representation as a mockery of the self, others, of course, took the pesky demon tales way too seriously, demonstrating that no matter what age we live in, there will always be people who’ll loudly proclaim, “The devil made me do it.”

Coincidentally, this will also be Cracked’s official statement on typos from now until eternity.

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