Monday, July 02, 2012

Good Thing #17: The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich manuscript is an illustrated book of about 240 pages, written most likely in Italy in the 1400s. That's about all anyone knows for sure about it. It's written in something that has the attributes of a language, but over the past hundred years none of the world's top cryptographers have been able to crack it. Many of the illustrations are of plants that have never been known to exist. It's been dubbed "the world's most mysterious manuscript." Just Google it. There's a wealth of information out there on it, and all of it will just make you wonder more. 

That's why the Voynich manuscript makes me happy. We live in times where it feels like everything is defined, regulated, understood, put in neatly labeled compartments. And here's this object that has defied all that for almost 600 years. Maybe it's just a hoax, but what a hoax! A hoax that has kept people wondering for more than half a millennium is a wonder itself.  Or maybe it's not a hoax at all, but an actual record of places and things that only the author had access to.

Either way, it's a reminder that there are still wonders in the world. 

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