Hoax, Prank Or Meaningful Message?
The Voynich Manuscript is a left to right hand-written codex in an unknown language. It has been carbon dated to the 15th century. Despite the endless efforts from world class cryptanalysts, nobody has been able to decipher or understand the text. The book is full of painted illustrations of plants and stars unknown to mankind. Ever since the book was discovered in 1912 by antique book collector Wilfrid M. Voynich, it has been the focus of vigorous debates. Can this book hold key findings of alien life? Was the author of the book trying to leave us a message? Is this just a hoax or a prank to confuse new generations?
The book contains 246 pages and 170,000 characters. Protein testing confirmed the parchment was made from calf skin. The bindings and covers are not original to the book. Insect holes on several pages suggest the book had a wooden cover earlier. A quill pen and iron gall ink were used to write the text. The images were colored in with minerals that were very expensive at the time. In 2009 the University of Arizona did a radiocarbon analysis and dated it between 1404 and 1438. It was found in an Italian Jesuit college and named after rare book collector Wilfrid M. Voynich who found it. A letter was found inside of the book dated 1666 naming previous owners who lived during early 1700’s. Owners include Emperor Rudolf II, pharmacist Jacobus de Tepenecz, alchemist Georg Baresch, scientist Jan Marek Marci and Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher. The manuscript contains 220-246 pages that are illustrated and can be unfolded extending several pages long. Based on the illustrations the book can be divided into six sections (Herbal, Astronomical, Biological, Cosmological, Pharmaceutical and Recipes).
Originally theories emerged of Wilfrid M. Voynich himself fabricating the manuscript but carbon date ruled it out. It was believed that he did it for money since he called the book “The Roger Bacon Manuscript”. Roger Bacon was a famous English philosopher who studied nature. A lost Roger Bacon book would be worth a fortune. William Friedman who became the first chief cryptologist of the NSA ruled the manuscript as early examples of made up language. James Finn believed it was written in Hebrew and warns the end of time. There are even theories of this book being linked to Ponce De Leon and the fountain of youth. The truth is that to this day nobody has been able to understand the meaning of the manuscript or prove who wrote it. The book remains inside Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale University.