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The Mystery Of The Voynich Manuscript

By Edited Apr 20, 2015 6 20

The History

The Voynich manuscript is a book believed to be written in the 15th century. It consists of 240 vellum (mammal skin) pages, most with illustrations.

Many believe the book to be a code or ciphertext, but it has yet to be decoded. The author, script, and language are completely unknown.

In 2009, the University Of Arizona performed a C14 dating test, which determined the book was most likely written between 1404 and 1438.


Voynich Script
Star Diagram

Inside The Script

Although the language is unknown, some information can be learned from the text. The text was written mainly from left to right, with a somewhat consist right margin. Some text is organized in paragraphs or blocks, while some is written in bullet or star form. There are over 171,000 individual symbols and glyphs throughout the manuscript.

There is six main illustration types throughout the manuscript that give a indication on the purpose of the book.

  • Herbal - Many pages contain hand drawn pictures of plants and herbs, with some text below them. None of which are identifiable to any known plants.
  • Health/Pharmaceutical - Many plant roots and parts through smaller diagrams.
  • Space/Astronomicall - There are certain diagrams which contain moons, planets, stars and the sun. Even a couple constellations are depicted, along with the 12 major zodiac signs.
  • Biological - A few pages contain people bathing, and some animals.
  • Maps/Informative Diagrams - One map is a six page foldout drawing of a full map. Nine islands, a castle and a mountain or volcano are all present.
  • Recipes -  Many pages with short paragraphs, often in bulleted information.

Previous Owners

The overall history of the book is for the most part, unknown and full of gaps. There is 240 pages, but there was originally 272, meaning that 32 were torn or ripped out before they were read. Wilfrid M Voynich is the only known owner, who acquired it in 1912 as a book dealer. It is now named after Mr. Voynich.

The manuscript is currently owned and stored by the Beinecke Rare Book And Manuscript Library of Yale University.


Although the mystery of the manuscript has never been solved, there has been many theories to it's origin and purpose.

Hoax: Many believe the book was written simply to trick others, or just as a fantasy book. Basically random strings of symbols and glyphs.

Code: There is a few experts who believe the book is a complete code, most likely translated into a European language. Although nothing has been even near decoded, or deciphered.

Extinct Language: There still lies the small chance that the book was written in a rare language that is not yet known, although this is very unlikely.



Apr 18, 2011 4:02pm
I love this article because it is intriguing, historic, and grows my curiosity. I had read about this before, but you broke it down very nicely. Thanks!
Apr 26, 2011 7:29pm
Cool article. I love stuff like this. Nice work. It makes me think of the Knights Templar and different mysteries in history. Cool!
May 2, 2011 2:28am
Fascinating article, I have never heard about this mystery. I'm always glad to hear about another mystery to check out.
May 28, 2011 12:26am
Im the exact same
May 2, 2011 10:15pm
Very interesting article! I learn something new on IB everyday. Thanks for sharing.
May 3, 2011 4:46pm
I love this article with its mysteries and mystic texts....Thank you !
May 4, 2011 12:34pm
I wonder if they'll make a movie about it.
May 4, 2011 9:41pm
Interesting story. Where was it found? Of what nationality is Mr. Voynitch? Where can the book be seen now?

Maybe there's another article coming?
May 10, 2011 6:36pm
It's amazing to see the Voynitch in person at Beinecke Library- but they rarely take it out of the safe! Go for a visit if you can (I've posted on using Beinecke if you need some info).
May 14, 2011 10:48am
I've done a lot of research on the Voynich MS and it is a truly fascinating mystery.
May 14, 2011 6:37pm
Very interesting thanks for sharing now my curiosity has me looking through the net to find out more.
May 15, 2011 2:45pm
Seems like a hell of a mystery inside an old document. Totally fascinating
May 27, 2011 6:13pm
Probably someones diary written in a secret code.. I deciphered my little sisters in no time. I should take a crack at it.
May 28, 2011 12:26am
haha, you should see if they will let you borrow it!
May 30, 2011 3:40am
I want to get my hands on that book, its a true relic
May 30, 2011 4:37pm
Wonderful article. Really interesting. There obviously is a purpose to the book although we don't know what it is yet. It certainly has an impact on people. Just goes to show you that we have alot to learn as it is so hard to figure out or decode. Keep up your writing and researching OC. It will pay off.
Oct 28, 2011 10:20am
Good Article! Makes you wonder what other things that we don't know exist yet in our realm! Also makes me wonder whether I should go on a hunt for these!
Nov 8, 2011 5:18pm
I love real-life mysteries ... especially involving books. Very cool.
Nov 18, 2011 11:28am
I've read three of your articles about mysteries and all of them are very intriguing. Who doesn't love a good mystery. Good reads!
Nov 24, 2011 10:16am
Love them! Thanks!
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