Exact reproductions approved of mysterious ‘unbreakable’ coded Voynich Manuscript (PHOTOS)
A mysterious Renaissance-era manuscript filled with an unknown coded language is due to be reproduced and distributed by a Spanish publisher following the company’s 10-year campaign to secure the deal.
No cryptographer in the world has managed to decipher the Voynich Manuscript, which is an eclectic mix of intricate writing and bizarre drawings of nude women, flowers, herbs and constellations.
The book’s author, origin, date and language remains a mystery, although it’s thought to have been written in Central Europe between the 15th and 16th century – it’s named after the Polish-American bookseller, Wilfrid M. Voynich, who acquired it in 1912.
Speculation as to who or what could have written the book varies from the extraterrestrial to the magical, with some wondering if it’s nothing more than the work of jokester who scrolled some jibberish. Whatever their views on its origins, many have craved the chance to get their hands on the priceless piece of literature and study it in detail.
One researcher, Stephen Bax, a professor in applied linguistics at the University of Bedfordshire, England, claimed in 2014 that he decoded 10 possible words from the puzzling text.
Bax said he deciphered 14 characters of the script and can read a handful words like coriander, hellebore and juniper, which all appear next to drawings of plants, and Taurus which is written beside a star constellation.
The weathered 200-page book has been held in a vault at Yale University’s Beinecke Library since it was bought from Voynich’s widow in 1969, and it only ventures outside of its heavily-locked doors on special occasions.
Pages of the manuscript can be viewed online, but earlier reproductions are rare and highly sought after. A tiny Spanish publishing company, Siloe, that specializes in making facsimiles has managed to secure the rights to clone the manuscript after a ten-year chase.
Siloe will publish exactly 898 copies (a print run they apparently always do because the number reads the same backwards and forwards) of the Voynich that will be a carbon copy of the real-deal down to every mark, stain and tear in the parchment, reports The Local.
Silo plan to sell each copy for €7,000 - €8,000 ($7,800 to $8,900) each, and they’ve already received around 300 pre-orders.
Filled with pictures and musings of botany, astronomy and biology, the hope of profound answers to life’s great questions will loom for around another 18 months, which is how long the delicate process will take before the first imperfect facsimiles will emerge.