A page from the Voynich manuscript. Clicking on the image takes you to one of many web pages about this document.

Nothing like a good historical mystery related to a book to send my imagination soaring. I am posting something totally off-topic, even for my loose definition of my focus here. This is just too fascinating and I always love to share a good mystery!

This document was “discovered” in 1912, by an antiquarian bookseller named Voynich – hence the name. He discovered it when going through a book collection at what had once been a Jesuit monastery. I won’t go into great detail here about the document itself, as there are tons of websites that delve into it. I just wanted to share what fascinates me about it: The book is written in a language that no one knows anything about. Many believe it many not be a legitimate language at all, but a cipher (code). The images throughout the book are of the “natural world,” but not precisely. Most of the plants are totally unknown. The images with humans in them seem to indicate either an odd symbolism or an even odder reality. In short, this book makes no sense to us, even setting aside the script.

Dating experts put the book at having been written between the 15th and 17th centuries. Nothing else like this work exists anywhere, so we have no clue as to its purpose. There are quite a few sites out there suggesting that this is a book of alien origin, provenance or influence. “Alien” as in not-of-this-planet. I can totally see how someone would want to go to a conclusion like that. The mystery is so provocative!

For those who, like me, would love to look at this document in more detail, it is available in many different formats from the internet archive. Please click here to be whisked away to a download page. If you come to any conclusions or it provokes ideas for you, please feel free to share them. I would love to have a good ole discussion on this one!



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