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The Mystery of the Voynich Manuscript

The mysterious Voynich manuscript, housed at Yale University, has been thought to be a forgery by some scholars (none of whom have been able to decipher it) but recent radiocarbon testing shows that its parchment pages date to the early 15th century. The book contains rows of text scrawled on visibly aged parchment, flowing around intricately drawn illustrations depicting plants, astronomical charts and human figures bathing in what may be the fountain of youth. Alien characters, some resembling Latin letters, others unlike anything used in any known language, are arranged into what appear to be words and sentences, except they don't resemble anything written by human beings.

In PhysOrg.com, Daniel Stolte quote physicist Greg Hodgins as saying, "Is it a code, a cipher of some kind? People are doing statistical analysis of letter use and word use--the tools that have been used for code breaking. But they still haven't figured it out." The manuscript was discovered by accident in 1912 in a villa near Rome by antique book dealer Wilfrid Voynich while he was sifting through a chest of books offered for sale by the Society of Jesus. Voynich died 18 years after his discovery, without having been able to decipher it. PhysOrg quotes Hodgins as saying, "The text shows strange characteristics like repetitive word use or the exchange of one letter in a sequence. Oddities like that make it really hard to understand the meaning. There are types of ciphers that embed meaning within gibberish. So it is possible that most of it does mean nothing.

There is an old cipher method where you have a sheet of paper with strategically placed holes in it. And when those holes are laid on top of the writing, you read the letters in those holes. "Who knows what's being written about in this manuscript, but it appears to be dealing with a range of topics that might relate to alchemy. Secrecy is sometimes associated with alchemy, and so it would be consistent with that tradition if the knowledge contained in the book was encoded. What we have are the drawings. Just look at those drawings: Are they botanical? Are they marine organisms? Are they astrological? Nobody knows. "I find this manuscript is absolutely fascinating as a window into a very interesting mind. Piecing these things together was fantastic. It's a great puzzle that no one has cracked, and who doesn't love a puzzle?"



(Wonders if the repeated word use is related to Rhythms, rather than discrete ideas)

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