Locked away in the Yale University Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library vault, seen and touched by few, this rare and incredibly old 15th centuary manuscript has finally been deciphered.
Many of the worlds greatest cryptographers have spent a lifetime trying to figure out this book, which is written in a strange and mysterious coded language, to no avail, however, 900 copies are ready for circulation as a Spanish publishing house has been granted permission to make copies, perhaps someone out there will be able to crack the Voynich Manuscripts mystery.
Juan Jose Garcia who is the director of Siloe, the publishing house who was finally given the go ahead to distribute copies, after requesting for 10 long years, says that “Touching the Voynich is an experience” and “It’s a book that has such an aura of mystery that when you see it for the first time … it fills you with an emotion that is very hard to describe.”
For about US$9,000 dollars you can purchase an exact replica of the Voynich. There are only 898 copies and each one comes complete with identical holes, patched tears and stains like the original.
Folger Shakespeare Libraries Bill Sherman states that “The Voynich Manuscript has led some of the smartest people down rabbit holes for centuries.” In this Washington Post interview he continued to say “I think we need a little disclaimer form you need to sign before you look at the manuscript, that says, ‘Do not blame us if you go crazy.'”
13th Century Roger Bacon was for centuries believed to have written the book. He was known for being consumed by magic and alchemy, it even landed him in jail. Carbon dating put this idea to rest as they later realized the manuscript was written between 1404 and 1438.
The author is still unknown, some speculate it was Leonardo da Vinci, others think it was written by aliens. Since no author could be identified the book was named after Wilfrid Voynich who is said to have purchased it in 1912.
The book is incredibly odd, filled with strange and disturbing illustrations. These images are nothing compared to the obscure text.
Reed Johnson stated in 2013 that “It doesn’t match any other language that’s been seen in any other book. The drawings often have labels, which would seem to offer a route to deciphering the code. But that hope has proved to be an illusion,”
The manuscript has been digitalised and can be viewed here.
All images via Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
H/T: Science Alert