Mystery That No One Has Solved: The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich manuscript is considered one of the most mysterious texts because even to this day, no one has been able to decipher it.
Interesting Engineering

In a world where knowledge is only a Google search away, mysteries have become scarce, indeed. Although there are plenty of things that humans still do not understand, the amount of knowledge that is being generated on a daily basis is simply overwhelming.


Mysteries in the modern era are in fact, in short supply.

Enter The Voynich manuscript:

The Voynich manuscript is still considered one of the most mysterious and elusive texts because even to this day, no one has been able to decipher it. British and American codebreakers from World War 1 and 2 have attempted to decipher its text but to no avail.


Source: Wikimedia Commons

Cryptographers, too, have attempted to figure out what the text means, but have failed to do so. Some experts think the language was completely made up by the author and doesn't exist anywhere else on earth.

Here's what the unknown characters look like:

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The popular imagination has been excited over the years by this unknown and mysterious text and has been the subject of both novels and speculation. But none of the many hypotheses proposed over the last hundred years have yet been independently verified, though. It continues to elude everyone that happens upon it.

So what do we know about the Voynich Manuscript?

Here are some noteworthy facts:

  • It contains pictorial information concerning the following topics: astronomy, herbs, biology, food recipes, cosmology, and pharmacology.
  • Its pages are made of vellum, which is derived from tanned mammal skin
  • The trail of ownership goes as follows: ? → Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor → Jakub of Tepenec →Georg Baresch → Athanasius Kircher  → Jan Marek Marci (Joannes Marcus Marci) →rector of Charles University in Prague → Athanasius Kircher →Pieter Jan Beckx → Wilfrid Voynich → Ethel Voynich → Anne Nill → Hans Peter Kraus →Yale -Wikipedia
  • Some of the drawings are very detailed while others are a bit crude.
  • Many scholars have differing opinions on the nature of the text and some even claim that it is a hoax.
  • There are a few Latin letters that appear in the manuscript.
  • Many people believe it was an early guide to medicinal information.

Here's a detail that shows the curious drawing style. What do you think this drawing represents?

Source: Wikimedia Commons

And here's one of the astronomical drawings which contain extremely detailed organic shapes:

Source: Wikimedia Commons

One of the best things about the Voynich manuscript is that it is in public domain and its entire contents are available on Wikipedia for viewing. If you go to the section called "The full manuscript" and click on the word, "show", you can see the entire manuscript, including all the pictures. It's divided up by subject, so if you want to only look at the astronomical pictures, you can.

The Voynich manuscript continues to elude both scholars and the general public. There are few mysteries on earth that elude cryptographers. Will you be the one to finally crack the unknown code?

Source: Wikimedia Commons

There are people out there who claim that they are close deciphering the text; however, that might not be the case for some time. 

Leah Stephens writes under the pseudonym, Stellabelle. She is an artist/researcher who writes books and you can connect with her here

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