Caterina Sforza's Spine


Caterina Sforza




Impudence in the face of adversary


Lack of concern for self and others



Collected by

Warehouse 9







Date of Collection




Caterina Sforza was an Italian noblewoman and Countess of Forlì with her husband Girolamo Riario, and after his death as a regent of her son Ottaviano. The descendant of a dynasty of noted condottieri, from an early age, Caterina distinguished herself through her bold and impetuous actions taken to safeguard her possessions from possible usurpers and to defend her dominions from attack, when they were involved in political intrigues.

In her private life Caterina was devoted to various activities, including experiments in alchemy and a love of hunting and dancing. She had many children, but only the youngest, Captain Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, inherited his mother's forceful, militant personality. Caterina's resistance to Cesare Borgia meant she had to face his fury and imprisonment. Once she gained her freedom in Rome, she led a quiet life in Florence.

In April 1509 Caterina was stricken by a severe case of pneumonia. She appeared to have recovered, but had a relapse of the disease, after which she made her will and arranged her burial. At the age of forty-six years, "The Tiger of Forlì", who had "frightened all of Romagna", died on 28 May 1509. Her body was placed in a small tomb in the chapel of Le Murate in Florence, a convent of nuns whom Caterina had befriended during her time in that city, and where she had kept a cell as a spiritual retreat. During the 1830s the nuns were forced to leave the property, and in 1845 it was redesigned as a prison. Sometime during this renovation, Caterina's body was lost.


The vertebrae taken from Caterina's skeleton (Th1-Th4, Th7, L2), when held tightly, release an aura that affects the part of the brain associated with risk/reward. When in the face of adversity, even minor disagreements, the affected will act in a impudent, blunt and even aggressive manner despite their previous disposition.

The motive of the affected seems to be less in achieving their goals than it is infuriating their opponents. They will resort to curse-laden tirades, personal attacks and, if all else fails to garner a reaction, physical assault. The affected will also display no regard for their own safety of that of those around them, even those the would usually try and protect.

The energy of the vertebrae, while usually affecting the holder, can be directed towards another person provided they are close enough and already in a confrontational mood. The only way to resolve the effects, once started, is to let the aggravation peter out on its own, a task that may take some time depending on the instigating grievance.

Affected victims, once calmed down, report a sensation of not being in control of their actions and speaking words that were not their own and that they did not mean or believe.


Collection of the vertebrae began in 1534, when a nun from a nearby priory went on a rage-fueled tirade against a group of ill-mannered mercenaries who then proceeded to kill her. The incident was traced back to a travelling monk who had brought several "Holy Relics" to Turkey for sale and trade.

Interrogating the man, three more vertebrae were identified and collected although he admitted to not keeping good records of his transactions. The rest of the spine and, potentially, the rest of Caterina's bones have not been recovered, although rare reports of similar cases from that region continue to surface around religious institutions.

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