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The World's Most Mysterious Book Finally Decoded. The Voynich Manuscript.

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
|Globe Correspondent
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.




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It seems The Bible Code

(searches OT) picked up *a few* mentions: http://revelation13.net/KingJames16.html

General info on the Bible Code: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_code

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

It`s the secret recipe for Jagermeister.

Don`t try to make it or drink it at home.

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people that pay no price for being wrong.
Thomas Sowell

reminds me of the diary of Charles Doyle, Arthur Conan's father

who resided in an insane asylum for extreme alcoholism:


see the rest here http://www.littleisobel.com/home/2011/04/09/charles-altamont...

Defeat the panda-industrial complex

I am dusk icon. anagram me.

67% of the national

67% of the national geographic channel is owned by Rupert Murdoch. If this manuscript was of any real importance you wouldnt hear about it on tv.

jrd3820's picture

The importance comes from how old it is

and how many academics have spent nearly a century trying to figure it out.

There is also no way of telling how important this document is yet because it is just now being decoded, it has taken a while for experts to figure out how to translate it. And beyond all that the importance of the content of this manuscript boils down to who finds what important. Biologists might find it to be extremely important because of the possible mention of new plant life. That might not be important to you or I, it is important to some people though.

I first heard about it in a library. National Geographic is not the only place that this manuscript has been discussed. Also, The Bible has been discussed on National Geographic, is that to say The Bible is not important?

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

maybe it was a random

maybe it was a random fictional writing some guy high on ergot made?

jrd3820's picture


It could be. That could still hold some importance for some people. Or maybe not. That's the mystery and the beauty.

If you do have some time, check out the bottom video. That is just the Professor who has claimed to have finally cracked some of the code going over some of the illustrations. It is more academic and scientific than the Nat Geo documentary part of it.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

Michael Nystrom's picture

Maybe it is a recipe for a softening agent

I understand softening agents come in a variety of forms...

He's the man.
jrd3820's picture

We can't have that recipe getting out

Someone might be out a job even if it is a volunteer position.

I loved these commercials when I was a kid.


“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

Michael Nystrom's picture

I cannot help but be reminded of this movie

Which is great, if you happen to be on an airplane, and able to watch it for free.


He's the man.

Finally Decoded?

Finally Decoded???

Granted I didn't watch the whole video, but I did start it and read the linked article. Sounds to me like this thing is still just as much a mystery as it ever was.

jrd3820's picture

It kind of is still a mystery

The 1st video in the post was an add on that someone posted in the thread. It was before the coding process had begun to make way, it just gives the history of the book.

The articles and 2nd video show how it is beginning to be decoded, and after more than a century of various academic experts trying to code it, they are beginning to make headway.

I titled it that way because it was a title of one of the articles that caught my eye about the story. I suppose a more accurate title would have been 'finally making headway towards being decoded.'

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

I've seen a documentary on that book.

I find it fascinating, too, jrd.

I laughed at this criticism of the new theory: "If the manuscript was crafted by a native Mexican, asks René Zandbergen, a German space engineer and proprietor of a respected Voynich website, then why does it include a European zodiac design?"

Hmm. Good question! Heck, next thing these modern theorists will be telling us is that in some earlier time there were connections between not only sacred sites around the world but between sacred sites and the heavens! ;)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

look inside this book


the page numbers are in base 21

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

I am finding that there are few things anymore . . .

about which I have enough understanding even to attempt to discuss.

This is one.

Interesting; I'm going to look at the documentary later, maybe.

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

I don't know but, it seems to me to be a medical book,

giving recipes from the area between India and the Middle East for oil distillation and uses. (Whether the oils are obtained by press or a still, I'm not sure. But, the picture of the gourd looking thing with the live bodies inside, to my mind, looks like some kind of a still.) The oils could be used alone or in combination, depending on what was to be treated. I think that's what all the other visual aids were about, how to treat and with what to treat it.

Some of the other graphics could be like a calculator to show how much organic material is needed for however many drops of oil to use. (Do you have any idea how much of that stuff you need for one lousy drop of oil? A lot!)

Also, that geographic area is big into fragrances, which would also come from the distillation as the byproduct, hydrosol (scented water). The hydrosol could be used as a cologne or in bathwater, to smell pretty or even as something to be heated and inhaled to treat whatever.

There had to have been several languages (with dialects) and cultures in that area and it looks to me like someone put it all together in one do it yourself book for practitioners of the healing arts of that time. People, particularly wandering desert people, spoke several languages (maybe 5 or more), not just their own.

Again, I don't know. Just saying what I think it is.

“It is the food which you furnish to your mind that determines the whole character of your life.”
―Emmet Fox

jrd3820's picture

I agree Nonna....

I have been reading about this book for a few years now. I wanted to study rare documents and first edition/special edition books at one point.

I always thought it was probably almost an almanac, maybe with some medical stuff, gardening/farming stuff, and so on and so forth.

What always drew me back to the story wasn't so much what the book was about, although that certainly is an interesting thought process, but how nearly impossible it has been to decipher. In this day of modern technology and years of people breaking codes, this one remained a mystery and challenge.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

hey, look, there's a whole bunch of them :)


“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

jrd3820's picture

Why thank you Ed....

However, now that I see this post did so well, I actually have a list of other really mysterious documents and books and writings that have been undeciphered that I will share every so often.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss


I don't think it was a code, per se. Just a few different languages unknown today, with symbols (medical or astrological) that would make sense to a practitioner of that time and place.

“It is the food which you furnish to your mind that determines the whole character of your life.”
―Emmet Fox

jrd3820's picture

Language is a code though

It's a code for communication. Old unknown languages have been discovered before and cracked with much more ease than this book was. There are markers in languages that give really smart coders the ability to translate languages. This one went to all the experts. Language experts. Coding experts. All sorts of experts. No one could crack it.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

Oh, okay.

I was thinking "code" like something hidden.

Not so sure about the almanac thing... (Like I'm sure about the whole thing! ... LOL!) It seems to me the astrological signs might be an indicator of a particular season when a particular herb is ready to be harvested. Just guessing here. I do have a good imagination, anyway. :)

“It is the food which you furnish to your mind that determines the whole character of your life.”
―Emmet Fox

(((Nonna))) You're not sure about the almanac part?

I laughed so hard because I was having the same types of thoughts. Well, it's definitely not a hoax. And those are definitely real plants. This likely pertains to hidden knowledge that's been written so as to remain hidden except to a chosen few. But I'm not sure about... lol

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Michael Nystrom's picture

Maybe someone should give this to Kurzweil

...studying it is considered “academic suicide.” Pelling goes farther, calling it “kryptonite.”

Maybe he'll get sidetracked off of his current thing.

- - -

Seriously, what an interesting story. It reminds me of Foucault's Pendulum, by Umberto Eco, which I read twice, and understood less than half of. In spite of being lost in the details, the story keeps pulling you along. Partly because you're never exactly sure what is true and what is not.

Kind of like this manuscript.

I propose we create one of these of our own, for future generations of scholars, in order to keep them busy. If the robots are going to take their jobs, they'll need something to do.

In a way, it also reminds me of this:

How computer-generated fake papers are flooding academia

More and more academic papers that are essentially gobbledegook are being written by computer programs – and accepted at conferences

What do you make of it? What do you think it is?

He's the man.
jrd3820's picture

Shhh!!!! Keep Kurzweil away from my world of wonder

He'll only try to kill it.

We have been creating our own. It's called the Dailypaul. It has thousands of chapters (threads), thousands of characters, each character is represented in the chapters they choose and they represent themselves. Didn't Kurzweil tell you? This too, will be a mystery someday. As a futurist he should know that. When people wrote these manuscripts centuries ago, they thought they were communicating quite clearly. They didn't realize that it would be nearly impossible to decipher in some cases.

I read about fake papers and documents and books in academia a few times in undergrad. Just like fake paintings are getting harder and harder to spot and tell from the original. People are able to create fake masterpieces complete with wear and tear and carbon dated papers and canvasses. It's an intricate process, but it happens. There is a market for it.

I have not read Focault's Pendulum. It's moved up as high priority now though, it looks really good.

As far as the Voynich manuscript. I have been following the story for years, and it is probably an almanac of sorts, but like I told Nonna, the thing that interests me is the mystery.

On another unrelated note. I watched Spirited Away last night! I feel like a different person now. Now that I know that story and have seen that movie. That is an Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz style masterpiece and I am so glad I saw it. I'll have to wait to see The Wind Rises because it is not playing near me right now at least, but I will absolutely be seeing it after seeing Spirited Away.

Now keep Kurzweil away!

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

Michael Nystrom's picture

What would life be without mystery?

That's what makes it fun.

I'm glad you watched Spirited Away! Isn't it wonderful? That is another film full of mystery.

Speaking of futurists, Michio Kaku was in Boston tonight. He has a new book out and it was announced that it just hit #1 on the NYT Bestseller list. It is called The Future of the Mind.

I was impressed. My mind was blown, but I have a tendency toward that. Samantha was not impressed. But then, she is a neuroscientist, and Kaku is a theoretical physicist. I felt like I was sitting in the car with a crow cawing in my ear on the drive home. She was cawing about all kinds of errors.

It was a very entertaining presentation, which is what you need to do, I guess, to get a book to hit #1 on the NYT List.

But again, he had a very simplistic definition of consciousness. One completely devoid of mystery. So utterly devoid of mystery that it simply cannot be true.

This place is a mystery. Sometimes I wonder what everyone is still doing here. Don't they know the election is over?

So you think it is an almanac of plants? The Voynich manuscript? With all those pictures of plants, it might be a book about the secrets of the plants. It is pretty fascinating that it has survived this long.

So I got home, and there was a letter waiting for me from my pen pal. I can't wait to read it!

He's the man.

There would be no life without mystery!

Everything is mysterious. According to French philosopher Gabriel Marcel everything can be viewed from two different perspectives, that is, from the perspective of a problem or a mystery. Problems can be solved, or at least tried to be solved, but mysteries can never be solved, they can only be lived which means that one can become part of them, can participate them. Problem is always something that one tries to solve, that is, to get rid of it, for example mathematical, scientific, economic, medical, psychological, political, national, international, marital problems. Problem is possible only if one takes distance to things and sees it as an object and makes it a problem. There is no problems in world itself. Mystery instead is something which cannot be distanced as one is part of it. If one dives into the depths of things and matters every thing becomes a mystery which one does not anymore try to solve, but enjoy it, dance with it, laugh with it. For example if one looks at a small child who has a hiccup the child does not make this a problem which she/he tries to get rid off, solved, but does continues to live with it and then suddenly it just disappears. A young child doesn't seem be very much concerned with his/her hiccup. On the other hand an adult makes the hiccup a problem which he starts to get rid off with different kinds of methods. Very often people make life and the world full of problems and this is a huge problem in itself as in a true sense life and the world are not problems, but mysteries.

Problem-solving mind is pretty superfial even if it is in many cases very useful, but mystery oriented way of life is abyssal (I use this term in a positive sense as bottomless depth). Everything has a depth dimension; even the things that we normally understand as very ordinary or banal. Perhaps the most extra-ordinary is the depth dimension of the ordinary life in which we speak, walk, shake hands, sit, fart, see and listen. The hand moving, or should we say swimming, through the air can take so many routes and styles to encounter the hand of the Other who is always an infinite mystery to me and in that meeting between the these two mysterious hands which are able to grasp, point, hit, stroke anything can happened. The doors are open and the hand is that door to possibilities of love, hate, caress, warmth, indifference, violence, dance, poetry, truth, custom, habit, fellowship et cetera. The way to this extra-ordinary of the ordinary is attitude of "openness to the mystery" as Martin Heidegger pointed out. Could it be perhaps said that we normally try to solve problems, but in openness to mystery the mystery of life, of the world, of Being solves us from our constant need to see things and events taking place as problems?

"Air is the very substance of our freedom, the substance of superhuman joy....aerial joy is freedom."--Gaston Bachelard--

Maybe you're

already aware of Rudolf Steiner, but if not you might want to check him out. Here's just an abstract of something someone wrote on a similarity between Heidegger's and Steiner's views on the nature of thought. I'm not too familiar with Heidegger, although I was aware there was a connection in some regard. But I remain blown away by what I learned via Steiner re thought, for example as opposed to viewing the mind as a vessel to be filled. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11217-009-9147-1...

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir