Statistical Analysis: Medieval Book in Unknown Language Contains Message
It has stumped code breakers, language experts, and mathematicians. The mysterious medieval book known as the Voynich Manuscript was written in a script that no one can understand and has drawings of plants that don’t exist.
But the latest study of the 15th-century text known as “the world’s most mysterious manuscript” concludes it may contain “a genuine message.”
Statistical analysis of the script by researchers including a University of Manchester physicist shows its overarching semantic structures reflect those that appear in real languages. That suggests it is not a hoax as some have said.
Named after book collector Wilfrid Voynich, who purchased it in 1912, the manuscript dates to the early 1400s and consists of about 240 pages of vellum.
While it looks like a typical medieval codex, it’s illustrated with pictures of herb and plant species, none of which can be positively identified, as well as bizarre pipe-like structures, cosmic maps or diagrams, astrological imagery, and naked bathing women.
In 1969, it was donated to Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and cataloged as a “Cipher Manuscript.” No one, not even wartime code breakers, has been able to tease any meaning out of its strange “Voynichese” writing, and no other example of this writing has ever been discovered.