Cracking the Voynich Manuscript


We have some of the finest code cracking brains in the world at TW, so some of you should be able to solve this one by this evening.

I confess to being ignorant as to what the Voynich Manuscript was till I came across it while researching something else. Imagine a "Guide" written in an unknown alphabet, in an unknown language, at an unknown date and place. If you are at a loose end have a go at it.

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The Voynich manuscript is a mysterious illustrated book of unknown contents, written some 500 years ago by an anonymous author in an unidentified alphabet and unintelligible language.

Over its recorded existence, the Voynich manuscript has been the object of intense study by many professional and amateur cryptographers — including some top American and British codebreakers of World War II fame — who all failed to decipher a single word. This string of egregious failures has turned the Voynich manuscript into the Holy Grail of historical cryptology; but it has also given weight to the theory that the book is nothing but an elaborate hoax — a meaningless sequence of random symbols.

The book is named after the Russian-American book dealer Wilfrid M. Voynich, who acquired it in 1912. It is presently item MS 408 in the Beinecke Rare Book Library of Yale University.


I heard it was

Something to do with FNORD the illuminati?

Hehe, how's this for correct logic?

Whenever I wear sandals, I wear them with socks... ( F > F = T )

So - I'm with DigitalGhost on the sandals subject - grin - I'd rather step barefoot on a scorpion* than to be seen with those. Call me vain.

* easy for me to say: not a lot of scorpions where I'm living... although in the city there's dog poo and discarded syringe needles...

But you mean I have to start a-searchin'. Oh man - this is Sunday you know - and I'm lazy by nature...

I thought it just repeated, "

I thought it just repeated, "Never whistle while you piss". Anyone picture some angry monk holding up his middle finger saying "decipher this"! ?

I don't wear socks with sandals, but then again, I don't wear sandals.

Wit, do you

wear socks with sandals?


If the translation is not online, then it doesn't exist...

The code was cracked some time ago

My home town university did it, they used tradional methods as opposed to brute force. The book turns out to be mainly a long rambling view of life, nothing of real interest until the conclusion.

The main point the author was trying to get across was simply: Never trust a man who wears socks with sandals.

There's bound to be a variant...

...of in "Voynich" soon (similar to "Klingon" and "pig Latin").

I DID spot a bit of blue-on-black almost-hidden text in that picture there - though. My bet is these people were way ahead of their time :-]

Anyway - working on it...

Linear B

It'll be hard work without a crib, although that is not always neccessary. It reminds me a bit of the Linear B decryption, which was done without cribs:

There is a good account of the work in "The Code Book" by Simon Singh ((insert Amazon aff. link here)).

Of course, there is still Linear A which hasn't been broken, if anyone solves the Voynich manuscript and has a little spare time. I have no pretensions of being a good codebreaker - I can cope with frequency analysis, but that's about my limit.