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Science PopWrapped | Science

World's Most Secretive Book Not So Secretive Anymore

Ashley Perna | PopWrapped Author

Ashley Perna

08/19/2015 3:05 pm
PopWrapped | Science
World's Most Secretive Book Not So Secretive Anymore | Secretive
Media Courtesy of Voyich.Web

The Voynich Manuscript might be the most secretive book in history. The 240-page volume was written in the 15th century, and re-discovered in the early 20th. The work is filled with strange drawings, geometrical designs and depictions of plant life. More interesting, and more baffling, is the language in which the text was written: it has never appeared in any other document in recorded history and has remained undeciphered to this day. Even experts are uncertain as to the purpose of the beautiful, yet seemingly meaningless, script.

Many of the illustrations are of plants, leading some to believe the work is an herbalists guidebook, written in a code or cipher. This was the assumption professor of applied linguistics Stephen Bax was working from when he came across a major breakthrough. Bax was working on decoding the document as a hobby, and had already deciphered a few words, such as "juniper", "cotton", and "Taurus". Next to what appeared to be an image of hellebore there was the word "kaur". Bax did what everybody with an internet connection would do - he Googled it. Sure enough, Google informed him that "kaur" was indeed an Indian name for black hellebore. Bax believes that the text is in a natural language, or written in something that resembles a natural language, and has published a paper online detailing his methods. So far, he has decoded 10 words over a year and a half, and has turned to the internet to help document the rest. Bax did a reddit AMA and has launched his own website, where he frequently interacts with those who leave him comments and feedback.

Other experts say the manuscript is nothing more than an ancient practical joke gone on too long, or a trick designed to swindle someone wealthy. Others still claim the text is a doomsday document or a work containing the secret history of the lizard people. What do you think? Does The Voynich Manuscript hold the meaning to life? Is it a 15th century Indian medicine book? Or is it nothing more than a really clever joke?


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