For years, the scholarly establishment has dismissed the mysterious Voynich Manuscript, carbon dated last year to the 15th Century, as a hoax designed to deceive early book collectors, but now a team of specialists at the University of Manchester in the UK have strong evidence that the text is not simply random invention, but an actual unknown language. They used a new approach that they are developing called the ‘entropy approach’ to determine whether or not real language is involved in the manuscript. The letters in the text cannot be read, but the words can be compared to each other even though their meaning remains unknown. The team, led by theoretical physicist Dr. Marcelo Montemurro, looked for the average distribution of words in the text, and found that it was consistent with the way actual language works, not the way a randomly structured hoax would appear. Using their method, they can determine by the frequency of a word’s appearance how much information it carries.

They have tested their system on known works such as Darwin’s Origin of Species and Moby Dick, discovering, for example, that the highest entropy word in Moby Dick was ‘whale.’ Their formula identified several high-entropy words in the Voynich manuscript as well. While the meaning of the words cannot be determined without knowing how the manuscript’s alphabet works, this is nevertheless strong evidence that the text is written in a real language.

Additional studies revealed that the language of the manuscript is most similar to huiman languages rather than things like DNA structure or a machine language such as Fortran. reported in 2011 that another mysterious text, the ‘Cophalie Cypher’ had been broken by cryptographers and found to be about the eye, eye surgeries and optics. The cypher was created by a German secret society, ‘the High Enlightened (Hocherleuchtete) Oculist Order"of Wolfenbuttel.

The Voynich Manuscript is far more mysterious. It is far larger, for one thing, and copiously illustrated with, among other things, many detailed drawings of plants that are not present on Earth. The manuscript was found in a monastery in Italy in 1912 by book dealer Wilfred Voynich, and is presently kept at Yale University.

Our in-depth coverage of the Voynich Manuscript dates back to 2003, and has always been clear, credible and carefully researched. We depend on subscriptions to keep going, and offer a rich archive to our subscribers. Click here to find out more.

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