Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Weird Wednesday - The Voynich Manuscript

Elvish script?
Happy Weirdsday! Today's tidbit of weirdness is the controversial and extremely mysterious Voynich Manuscript. Take a look for yourself at the Yale University Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library and see if you can decipher it.

While the true origins (and purpose) of the book are unknown, it is believed to have been written in the 15th or 16th century. It is divided into six parts, including a botanical section, astral charts, bizarre interconnecting tubes & miniature women, pharmaceutical drawings, and of course cryptic (and so far undeciphered) text.

Suspected authors include Roger Bacon and John Dee, a couple of chaps fully capable of mysterious weirdness. The book bopped all around Europe for hundreds of years, and there are large gaps in its history.  It has been owned by an alchemist, the Jesuits, and Ethel Lillian Voynich (author of The Gadfly and daughter of George Boole, the inventor of Boolean Logic, without which you would not have the computer you are looking at right now,) before finally ending up at Yale University.

Multiple universes connected by wormholes?
A navy cryptogropher believes it was written by more than one person. Other theorists believe it is a hoax, filled with meaningless gibberish. Yet another school of thought believes it is far too sophisticated to be just a simple 15th century hoax.

Another idea is that the real information is contained in microscopic markings in the letters themselves. Or maybe it is really an invented alphabet for a known language.

And what about all those crazy pictures and the little women?

Maybe it is a step by step guide for the construction of a hyper-dimensional star gate.

So come on and figure that thing out. I want to know what the heck it is!


  1. I love your weird wednesdays. You find intriguing things. This book is really fascinating. Wow.

  2. ooo... you've suddenly given me this great idea for us all to write a book wherein we contribute whatevever we like.... it keeps circulating until it develops its own mythology like this. Yes? :D

    very cool~

  3. @M Pax - I'm glad you like it. It is very interesting, that's for sure.
    @LTM - that's a good idea! I nominate you to be chief "Keeper Of The Internet Book of Mystery" ;)

  4. Where are you finding this stuff? :) I like these posts too. These are just the sorts of things that can inspire a story (or even a novel!).

  5. Thanks, Lindsay. I dig these out of a huge and dusty Idea List file. There's tons of stuff in there :)

  6. This is so intriguing I have long wondered if ti was the field notes form a voyage from a famous story of Bullworth Lytton (sp?)- The Vril... a story originally alleged to have been a genuine telling of an actual event - that in later years he claimed was made up...but I have always wondered...What if?

    I LOVE the stories keep em coming!!

  7. Thanks, Michelle! Yep, this is definitely good for "What If's." I think the Voynich book predates the Vril tale by a few hundred years, though. I've found another source that seems to give a good analyses of all the theories: