The Voynich Manuscript is a medieval work written in the fifteenth century by unknown authors. To solve her riddle, researchers, top military codebreakers, linguists, historians and countless other scientists are trying for several hundred years: although technology is turning into a universal language, the language of the manuscript are still unknown.
While nobody has succeeded in making sense of the text and illustrations –some concluded it was an invented language– scientific analysis has revealed much about the book’s physical materials, including its parchment, ink, binding, and pigments.
The most recent private owner was the aforementioned antiquarian bookseller Wilfrid M. Voynich, from whom the manuscript gets its name, so the real author is another mystery. Voynich had acquired the book in 1912 through a secret sale from a Catholic priest.
The relic was sold along with many other humanist and classical texts, so Voynich didn’t necessary seek out the book specifically. However, once he realized he had stumbled upon an incredibly strange heirloom, he dedicated himself to finding out the history and meaning of it —Was it his destiny?
While the mysterious manuscript contributed nothing to Voynich’s bank account, its contents have tantalized and confounded scholars, professional code breakers, and amateur sleuths.
Raymond Clemens, curator of early books and manuscripts at the Beinecke Library, said he receives at least three emails a week from someone who claims to have cracked the cipher or discovered some insight into the manuscript’s origins.
The good news is that you don’t need to start touring all secret sales in your area to procure the Voynich manuscript —At least you are looking for your own holdover story of life, ha!
Actually, you can take an eye on the Voynich manuscript online by yourself. Nevertheless, its real location sits in a rare books library at Yale University.
According to the Beinecke’s web data, about half of all the traffic to the “zoom viewer” tool for its online collections involves pages of the Voynich manuscript online, which was digitized in 2004.
How ‘Voynich’ Metamorphosed?
Since enthusiasts across the globe puzzle over its contents, attempting to make sense of the antiquity, often called “Voynichese,” that has bewildered some of the 20th century’s most accomplished cryptologists, the Voynich manuscript has appeared in novels and inspired orchestral compositions, including a symphony written by Yale composer Hannah Lash.
Fantastic ‘Voynich Manuscript’ Theories
There is no shortage of theories about the manuscript, and they range from the reasonable –it’s just a medieval hoax– to the fantastic.
“My favorite theory, as yet unsurpassed, is that the Voynich manuscript is actually the field notebook of an alien biologist in training, out on a field trip from the Andromeda Galaxy,” Paula Zyats, assistant chief conservator at the Yale University Library, suggest. “This young scientist dropped her notebook on Earth, and that’s why we have the Voynich manuscript.”
And finally, some Voynich theorists wish to remain (at least partially) anonymous, making the whole situation a bit more mystical: An unknown Greek individual has proposed a Jewish Arabic Voynich theory, which claims to map Voynich letters to Hebrew equivalents, to produce an Arabic text, among others examples.