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Sep 01

Voynich Manuscript

vonich man

The Voynich Manuscript

 

An elaborate ruse by a Charlatan to fool a client during a time when Alchemy was at its prime? Or could it possibly be a language no one has ever seen before, and will lay hidden until its author is revealed?  One of the mysterious of all texts, the Voynich Manuscript has remained untranslated for several centuries. Considered at the time of discovery a small but thick book, this leather-bound tome was approximately 7 inches by 10 inches, and held over 200 pages. The pages themselves hold what are thought to be herbal depictions of unidentified plants, astronomical drawings depicting many nude women and zodiac constellations. Some pages have biological drawings of tubs with intricate piping network that seem to depict body organs with nude woman bathing,  and short paragraphs marked with star-like “bullets” that could be recipes. They also contain circular diagrams that seem to be cosmological in nature, and pharmaceutical depictions of plant parts with texts.

None of the texts have been seen anywhere else in the world, and has intrigued those that have seen its pages or heard of its existence. Unlike the Rosetta stone, there is no other language that is discernible to those attempting to decipher its code. The finest of the American and British “code-breakers” during World War II seemed to have failed.

(Re)Discovered in 1912 by an antique book dealer in a Jesuit College in Frascati, Italy, Wilfrid M. Voynich bought the book from the Jesuits. Later photographing and sending them out to experts around the world in an attempt to decipher the book and its many pages, Voynich failed to make any leeway as to what is actually contained in any of the texts itself.

However, a letter was found tucked in the manuscript written by Johannes Marcus Marci of Cronland to Athanasius Kircher that was dated 1665 or 1666 by Voynich. It states that the manuscript was originally purchased by Emperor Rudolph II of Bohemia, sometime around 1586, for a great sum of 600 ducats, or what some experts say would have been $14,000. In the letter, Marci asks Kircher to attempt to break the cipher, and mentions that Roger Bacon, a Franciscan Friar who lived from 1214-1294, may be a possible author of the manuscript.

The letter left very little clues to those who have tried to decipher the words in the manuscript. In fact, it left more questions to be answered.  Questions that couldn’t be answered without knowing what the symbols in the book mean. This brought about questions of who wrote it and to what purpose? Although Voynich went about to prove that that Roger Bacon was indeed the author of the book, many theories have been presented. These theories have included anything from Leonardo da Vinci to a massive hoax on a very historical scale.

The theory that Roger Bacon wrote the manuscript has been debunked by carbon dating in 2009, which puts the vellum of the book to the early 15th century.  Well after Roger Bacon’s lifetime in the 13th century. It is with the C14 dating of the early 15th century that would probably exclude Leonardo da Vinci as its author, since he would either be a very small child (if the carbon dating was off by decades) or was yet to be born.

That leaves the possibility of a hoax. As before, if the carbon dating is accurate, what would possess a person to go through such extensive work to fool others? Was it an elaborate ruse by a Charlatan to fool a client during a time when Alchemy was at its prime? Or could it possibly be a language no one has ever seen before, and will lay hidden until its author is revealed?

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voynich_manuscript
http://www.world-mysteries.com/sar_13.htm
http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/voynich.html
http://www.edithsherwood.com/voynich_decoded

 

Meredith Coplien

Meredith Coplien

Representative at National Paranormal Society
My name is Meredith Coplien, and I live in Orange Park Florida (Jacksonville area). I am currently a student studying CompTIA A+ and stay at home mom. I’m married to a wonderful man who happens to be in the Navy with 2 little boys (the oldest being special needs). I don’t know when my first paranormal experience was, per se. My mother’s culture kinda made it out to be an everyday occurrence. It wasn’t until I was older did I realize that it wasn’t so much so with American culture. I grew up as a Navy Brat, which has brought my travels to Washington State, Hawaii, Bahrain, Sicily, Italy, and finally Florida. After marrying my husband, it has brought me to Illinois and back to Florida. Needless to say, that I have experienced a lot of different cultures, their ideas on the paranormal, and just some plain weird stuff that would happen during our stays in foreign nations (which I will eventually get to talking about one day). I don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to the paranormal. I have a lot of personal experience, just not technical. I believe in logic and science should come first and foremost in the field, to rule out the normal before jumping to the paranormal.
Meredith Coplien

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