Posted by David J. James
One reader of this blog brought up the subject of the Voynich Manuscript and asked whether the Goldlist method could be a good tool to someone wishing to decipher this.
I produced the first draft of the below answer in the comments section next to the query, but I thought it was a very good idea to talk about this as a main article on its own account, so I’m reproducing the answer here, and expanding it a bit with a few more thoughts.
It will be a nice precursor to another article I have in the pipeline, namely my story “Otherwise Engaged” which also talks about a special book made by one person and handed down in a family, this one containing a self-fulfilling prophesy. Although it was among my favorite short stories in the ones I ever entered into the Daily Telegraph‘s monthly short story competitions some years back, it was one of the ones that actually didn’t get anywhere, other than some nice comments by other Telegraph bloggers at that time.
Anyway, now to my thoughts on the Voynich Manuscript.
The easiest thing is to assume that it is a hoax, as so many of the unexplained things are hoaxes, but in order not to assume any bad intentions on the part of the author, let us say that it is a work of art.
The paper and the ink seem to be consistent with 15th century Italian, which also had a writing style of the sort used here at that time, a revival of an earlier Carolingian handwriting style.
The manuscript should not be looked at in isolation from the accompanying illustrations. They contain detailed drawings of plants which are not actually consistent with plants to be found in any of the linguistic locations posited, in fact, these plants don’t exist, unless they all existed once and all coincidentally disappeared, or maybe they exist on another planet and the author was a shipwrecked alien, or, most likely they are the product of someone whose psychology is a ‘creator’ style psychology. Read the rest of this entry →