Researchers have failed to solve the mystery of the Voynich Manuscript for more than 100 years. Credit: Facsimile Finder/Youtube

The Voynich Manuscript; Memoirs of а Lost Alien Civilization or Medieval Science Fiction?

A long-lost language or something much more special?

The Voynich manuscript. This is what researchers call a document written in an unknown language that contains drawings of absolutely fantastic plants, as well as maps of an unfamiliar starry sky. Today, this manuscript is one of the most mysterious written artifacts ever discovered.

Scientists have been struggling to solve the mystery of the manuscript for more than a century. No one has been able to understand or explain this mysterious ancient text although there are many theories that literally cover anything from information about an alien civilization to early Medieval science fiction. However, none of them ever came close to clarifying its purpose and origin.

Everything you need to know about the Voynich manuscript

Pages from the Voynich manuscript showing a variety of plant and tree species. Many of the plants in the "book" do not resemble any of the species we have on Earth. Credit: The Atlantic
Pages from the Voynich manuscript showing a variety of plant and tree species. Many of the plants in the “book” do not resemble any of the species we have on Earth. Credit: The Atlantic

The strange manuscript first saw the light of day and gained wide publicity in 1912, when it was acquired by the antique dealer Wilfred Voynich. The document is 240 pages long and contains a wide variety of characters that no one can decipher.

Almost immediately after the document appeared, the strange language of the manuscript was subjected to careful cryptanalysis. And later, it was analyzed by the leading crackers of military codes both during the First and Second World Wars. However, none of them managed to get even a little closer to solving the content of the document.

Researchers have figured out very little. For example, the Voynich manuscript uses about 25 different characters, written from left to right. It was also found that the text was written quite freely. That means that the one who wrote it knew the language in which he wrote perfectly although this language has never appeared anywhere else in history. For now, of course.

The origin of the “book” remains a mystery to this day. However, an analysis of the carbon dating of the parchment pages shows that it was made sometime between 1404 and 1438. According to the McCrone Research Institute, Chicago, USA, the paints used in the Voynich manuscript are quite consistent with materials that were commonly used in the 1400s.

So who actually created the Voynich manuscript?

Why should we consider the possibility of extraterrestrial origin?

The Medieval text includes sketches of star maps that astronomers have never seen before. Credit: Classical Astrologer
The Medieval text includes sketches of star maps that astronomers have never seen before. Credit: Classical Astrologer

Let’s analyze the facts.

First, the language in which the manuscript is written is not used by anyone else on this planet.

Secondly, the document contains images of completely unknown star cards.

Thirdly, most of the plants drawn on the pages of the manuscript are not found on Earth.

Of course, the Voynich manuscript could be the work of a common Medieval man with enviable imagination. There are great examples of writers who have created entire worlds in their books together with entire writing systems but the fact that this text is from the 15th century makes it harder to believe.

One can easily jump to the conclusion that the manuscript was created by an extraterrestrial being. Moreover, it could make an incredible fictional story. For the sake of fun, imagine that it was created by a being that was stranded on Earth.

With the absence of human technology, the extraterrestrial could not have been able to repair its ship which left him/her with no other option but to remain here. This is why it created the Voynich manuscript which holds memories of the homeworld mixed with the experiences on Earth.

Now, back to reality. Perhaps one day someone will find another artifact written in the same language or maybe an entire lost human civilization. There are countless hypotheses about the origin of the Voynich manuscript but not a single one is convincing enough to prove anything.

A few years back, a team of computer scientists researched it and claimed that it was written in either Arabic, Aramaic, or Hebrew. However, the writings must be from either a really ancient version of any of these languages or an unknown dialect. A different theory suggested that it was written in a Proto-Romance language that influenced languages like modern Spanish and Portuguese.

In each case, there have been dozens of decipherment claims in the past but nobody has been able to translate anything. The mystery continues…

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Johnson, R. (n.d.). The Unread: The Mystery of the Voynich Manuscript.
Kettley, S. (2019, May 15). Voynich Manuscript SOLVED: World’s most mysterious book deciphered after 600 years.
The Voynich Manuscript: Who wrote the mystery medieval codex and what is it trying to tell us? (2020, November 26).
Zachos, E. (2018, February 01). Did Codebreakers Crack This Mysterious Medieval Manuscript?

Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. My experience as a freelance writer began in 2018 but I have been part of the Curiosmos family since mid-2020. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

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