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Nice article on the Voynich manuscript


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#21 billwalsh

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 04:54 AM

I, errrrr..., have a working theory on the manuscript's origins that fits several of the known facts. I would have to partner with a cryptographer knowledgable in South Slavic languages to pursue it, however.


Well, I'm out. My only Slavic language is Russian, and I'm not a cryptographer. That said, if you're in Monterey, maybe put a “help wanted” sign on a bulletin board outside the DLI…


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#22 heresiarch

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 01:47 PM

I, errrrr..., have a working theory on the manuscript's origins that fits several of the known facts. I would have to partner with a cryptographer knowledgable in South Slavic languages to pursue it, however.

 

Try the NSA.  I'm semi serious, they have had an on-going research program into the Voynich Manuscript since the 1950s. 

 

Both William Friedman (the father of American cryptography) and Brigadier John Tillman (Bletchley Park and later a consultant to the NSA) ran research groups working on the VM.  The reason is that the Voynich Manuscript text passes the tests for an enciphered natural language, and regardless whether the manuscript is Medieval or a C20 fake, the NSA want to know how someone created a pencil and paper cryptosystem capable of passing their tests. 

 

The NSA published a summary of their research in 1978, which is available on-line: "The Voynich Manuscript: an elegant enigma" Mary D'Imperio, NSA CSS 1978.

 

https://www.nsa.gov/..._manuscript.pdf

 

Of course, this is also great material for 1920s, Atomic Age Cthulhu and Delta Green. 



#23 Pookie

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 02:20 PM

The Guardian has another article on the manuscript pointing to a possible author.

 

Author of mysterious Voynich manuscript was Italian Jew, says scholar.


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#24 billwalsh

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 06:28 PM

Seems like quite a reach and generalizing from a very few data points (and absences). Who knows, though?

#25 JeffErwin

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 06:35 PM

Seems like quite a reach and generalizing from a very few data points (and absences). Who knows, though?

 

Having my own theory - which is in fact shared by a few others - I have to say that the evidence presented also supports my own suspicion. I think the evidence of non-Christian and Mediterranean/north Italian origin is plausible - though I feel it supports my theory better. But there are other groups besides Jews to consider.



#26 deuce

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 05:05 PM

Decoded?

 

https://www.the-tls....cript-solution/

 

Seems like it could be legit...and relatively banal, as I have long suspected.



#27 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 06:32 PM

In the end, I rather find the idea that it was a standard-issue imitation of other imitations of plagiarized works of fanciful medieval pseudo-science, filled with abbreviated jargon and inept illustrations, quite plausible and rather a bit more charming than my conclusion that it was entirely faked, or any of the more elaborate and romantic "conspiracy theories" about it.

 

That decoding of the text reveals something surprisingly familiar:  anyone who has glanced through enough YouTube videos dedicated to "New Age" bunk, fad diets, alien conspiracies, and the like has seen the modern equivalent:  a lazy, fourth-hand collection of other people's ideas, filled with abbreviations and jargon only understood by those who bother following such things, narrated by a text-to-speech engine over crude and nearly random images only barely related to the content.  The more things change, the more they stay the same!  Given enough time and stripped of just enough context, any such YouTube video would look like just as mysterious and baffling a thing as the Voynich MS ever did...

 

Rather than strip all the fun and mystery out of things, the result actually suggests all sorts of fun ways to use anything from the Voynich Manuscript to its modern equivalents as inspiration for weird horror.  In the end, any "Mythos" explanation we can think of to describe the contents of such a work would probably make as much sense as - and be more fun than, and perhaps only a little less fanciful than - the actual contents of the ramblings of obsessed crackpots.

 

Great find, deuce!


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#28 billwalsh

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 07:39 PM

I saw this yesterday! I think it's an entirely plausible solution, but the big question is, can he produce a fluent, coherent, persuasive transliteration/translation? If so, my hat is tipped.

 

Bill

 

Decoded?

 

https://www.the-tls....cript-solution/

 

Seems like it could be legit...and relatively banal, as I have long suspected.



#29 JeffErwin

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 09:07 PM

I saw this yesterday! I think it's an entirely plausible solution, but the big question is, can he produce a fluent, coherent, persuasive transliteration/translation? If so, my hat is tipped.

 

Bill

 

It's not the first solution (a medicinal manual) along those lines. There's no sign he has attempted the actual text, but the illustrations are plausible enough. It ought to be noted that there is no clear distinction between medicine, alchemy, astrology, and the occult sciences - all are "natural philosophy" - in mediaeval or early modern science. If this is the answer, why on earth encipher it? I suspect an alchemical text myself, mainly because they are more frequently encoded.



#30 andreroy

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 09:36 PM

I've recently gotten my hand on the Yale University's scan of the Voynich Manuscript and the Cthuloide Welten #12 which has an article on using it as a Mythos book.

My German is a bit rusty, so I'may planning to brush up on it before reading, but overall the stats suggest a minor Mythos book.

#31 billwalsh

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 09:46 PM

It's not the first solution (a medicinal manual) along those lines. There's no sign he has attempted the actual text, but the illustrations are plausible enough. It ought to be noted that there is no clear distinction between medicine, alchemy, astrology, and the occult sciences - all are "natural philosophy" - in mediaeval or early modern science. If this is the answer, why on earth encipher it? I suspect an alchemical text myself, mainly because they are more frequently encoded.

 

Well, he claims to find it a legible medieval Latin shorthand, but there's not a single actual sentence deciphered, which implies maybe it's not that simple. We'll see one way or the other.


I've recently gotten my hand on the Yale University's scan of the Voynich Manuscript and the Cthuloide Welten #12 which has an article on using it as a Mythos book.

My German is a bit rusty, so I'may planning to brush up on it before reading, but overall the stats suggest a minor Mythos book.

 

Ah, too bad we didn't translate that for Worlds of Cthulhu…



#32 andreroy

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 09:54 PM

I've recently gotten my hand on the Yale University's scan of the Voynich Manuscript and the Cthuloide Welten #12 which has an article on using it as a Mythos book.
My German is a bit rusty, so I'may planning to brush up on it before reading, but overall the stats suggest a minor Mythos book.


Ah, too bad we didn't translate that for Worlds of Cthulhu…


Indeed it is...it would have saved me a lot of headache to find it (it is quite hard to get).

They even included plot hooks for Gaslight, 1920s and Cthulhu Now settings

#33 billwalsh

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 09:57 PM

Indeed it is...it would have saved me a lot of headache to find it (it is quite hard to get).

They even included plot hooks for Gaslight, 1920s and Cthulhu Now settings

 

I think I have a copy around here somewhere. I'll have to try and dig it out!



#34 andreroy

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 10:16 PM

I think I have a copy around here somewhere. I'll have to try and dig it out!


That would be nice indeed...still need to brush up on the German as I have a few issues of Cthuloide Welten to read (#1, #12, #15, #18 (still looking for #9, #19, #20)), but I never say "No" to anyone offering help.

#35 yockenthwaite

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 08:31 PM

From Ars Technica today: So much for that Voynich manuscript “solution”

Edited by yockenthwaite, 10 September 2017 - 08:31 PM.


#36 billwalsh

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 08:46 PM

 

Aha! The language remains a stumbling block. As JeffErwin said, good guess on the pictures, the text remains the issue.



#37 Dabbler

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 08:49 PM

Mr. Gibbs, from the description, would be no worse fit to handle the Voynich Manuscript than if he were Mr. Gibbon. I will wait until it is properly deciphered -- though it is worth remembering that Linear B was deciphered in part by a scholarly amateur, Michael Ventris. It's the television-show hack (who, incidentally, more or less unacknowledged appropriates the work of others) I cannot abide.


Edited by Dabbler, 10 September 2017 - 08:50 PM.

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