Books

This Italian holds the world record for books written upside down…

This Italian holds the world record for books written upside down…

Michele Santelia (63) works as an accountant in the city of Campobasso (a hundred kilometers north of Naples). If he juggles numbers during the day, at night, he is typing on the keyboard. Far from spending hours trying to comment on Facebook posts, he shamelessly indulges in a crazy hobby.

In All Cats Are Gray, Michele copies books on her computer, using Leonardo da Vinci’s mirror method. In other words: it reproduces them upside down — so they can only be read in a mirror. And he has 81 such typed works in his incredible library.

The record intrigues. The method becomes horrible : Michele not only writes backwards, uses four different keyboards, but above all, she never checks the screen to make sure the text is correct. Anyway, the keys on his keyboard are empty: not a single letter is visible.

The icing on the tiramisu multiplies languages, which are not necessarily endowed with a traditional alphabet: hieroglyphs, ancient Hebrew, traditional Chinese, Mayan, Etruscan, cuneiform… up to the glyphs of the undecipherable The Voynich Manuscript.

Back to the Babel of Peace

Thanks to him, we find the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Code of Hammurabi, the Bible, as well as all the texts of Leonardo da Vinci (easy: they are already upside down)… and the Guinness Book of World Records 2022.

This profession began in 1992: he was then 30 years old and since then he has been practicing with ease this ability he discovered in himself. “I write upside down, precisely to challenge the world which, paradoxically, is going upside down“, he explains to the leaders in Guinness record.

And let me add:There are despicable and unbearable events that should no longer exist today. But in some dictatorial and totalitarian countries there are still disgusting despots who, in order to preserve their power, kill helpless people. Cowardice!»

Otherwise, Michele maintains a certain humility: if in his discipline the competitors are not legion, this presence in Guinness 2023 does not relax him. Since 2007, he has been setting a record, and every year he surpasses it, increasing the number of books transcribed using this method.

81 reproduced works represent 4.593 million words and for 1236 kg of books – which exceed it by several heads, once assembled. He nicknamed this scaffolding of books “upside down tower of babel».

And here again, the allusion has a certain depth: if the biblical Babel, once destroyed, sowed confusion among people who speak different languages, its tower of books is written in the languages ​​of the whole world. “It is an allusion to the return – as if it were done in reverse – to an idyllic world. A place without insane violence, deceptive ideologies, heinous crimes, unspeakable evil, absurd power and political games.»

A writer, maybe. A philosopher, certainly.

Author of the photo: Guinness Book of Records



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