The Mystery of the Voynich Manuscript

wfgodot

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Tons online about this rather well-known mystery. (The mystery is well-known; not so the answer.) One of those things one hears of and thinks of then forgets, then hears of and thinks again of for years. This is a good introduction to the mystery, from The New Yorker's Reed Johnson, published online 09 July 2013:

The Unread: the Mystery of the Voynich Manuscript
Stored away in the rare-book library at Yale University is a late-medieval manuscript written in a cramped but punctilious script and illustrated with lively line drawings that have been painted over, at times crudely, with washes of color. These illustrations range from the fanciful (legions of heavy-headed flowers that bear no relation to any earthly variety) to the bizarre (naked and possibly pregnant women, frolicking in what look like amusement-park waterslides from the fifteenth century). With their distended bellies, stick-like arms and legs, and earnest expressions, the naked figures have a whimsical quality, though their anatomy is frankly rendered—something unusual for the period. The manuscript’s botanical drawings are no less strange: the plants appear to be chimerical, combining incompatible parts from different species, even different kingdoms. Tentacled balls of roots take the forms of animals, or of human organs—in one case, sprouting two disembodied heads with vexed expressions. But perhaps the oddest thing about this book is that no one has ever read it.

That’s because the book—called the Voynich manuscript after the rare-book dealer who stumbled upon it a century ago—is written in an unknown script, with an alphabet that appears nowhere other than in its pages
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first paragraph+; much more follows at the link, with pictures
 

ArianeEmory

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Great. I'd never heard of this before. I'm sure you know what that means.

:viking:
 

fruity

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This has always intrigued me. It's absolutely fascinating.
 

Laughing

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OOooh, yes, slightly larger than a paperback would fit into my stocking nicely.

Thanks for the find!
 
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