The World's Most Mysterious Book Finally Decoded. The Voynich Manuscript.Submitted by jrd3820 on Tue, 03/04/2014 - 23:57
For a late night when you should be asleep, but your busy searching the tubes of the internet. This was decoded by a human.
The Voynich Manuscript has been called the world’s most mysterious manuscript and the book that can’t be read. This professor recently claimed to have cracked the code.
Why scholars can’t resist the uncrackable Voynich manuscript
Studying it has been called ‘academic suicide,’ but an astonishing range of researchers have fallen under a mysterious document’s spell
By Ruth Graham
February 23, 2014
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript
Here is what is known about the Voynich manuscript, a mysterious document that has bedeviled scholars and top cryptographers for more than a century: It consists of 246 pages of handwritten script and illustrations. It was discovered in an Italian monastery by a Lithuanian bookseller named Wilfrid Voynich in 1912.
Here is what is not known: Just about everything else. The greatest code breakers of the last 100 years have failed to decipher the Voynich manuscript’s ornate script, or even agree on whether it says anything at all. Experts have theorized that it was written in Europe, Asia, or South America; they have speculated that it was created by Leonardo da Vinci, by 13th-century philosopher Roger Bacon, or Wilfrid Voynich himself. When it comes to code breaking, “The Voynich is the Mount Everest of the genre and the K2 at the same time,” said Nick Pelling, a British computer programmer who wrote a 2006 book about the manuscript and maintains a website about historical cyphers.
Today, the manuscript is kept at Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, where, according to staff, it is one of the library’s most frequently requested objects. Now that the library has put high-resolution scans of the pages online, the Internet turns up almost limitless chatter about the manuscript, much of it crackpot.
What is perhaps most striking about this unscalable peak, however, is how many different serious academic specialists have brought all the resources of their disciplines to try to climb it. Linguists have puzzled over the script, physicists have used computerized models to analyze its patterns, chemists have analyzed its parchment, and historians have traced its ownership through the centuries. Last month the Voynich landed in the news when a retired botanist and a retired Department of Defense information technologist proposed a new theory based in botany: Arthur Tucker and Rexford Talbert identified 37 of the manuscript’s 303 botanical illustrations as plants that could be found in a 16th-century botanical garden in central Mexico, and argued that the manuscript was written primarily in an extinct dialect of the Aztec language Nahuatl. Last week came another claim: Stephen Bax, a British applied linguist, announced he had translated 10 of its words.