100-Year-Old Hoax May Be 600-Year-Old Code
UK researchers find new patterns in mysterious manuscript
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2013 5:26 PM CDT
The Voynich manuscript   (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University)

(Newser) – Many people believe that the Voynich manuscript—a book found in 1912 written in an unknown language with images of plants and astronomy—is a hoax. Cryptographers, mathematicians, and linguists have been trying to decipher the supposedly 15th-century text found by book dealer Wilfrid Voynich in 1912 for 100 years, with many deducing it's just a nonsense language fabricated by Voynich himself. But a new study has found the words may hold a real message after all, the BBC reports.

"It's not easy to dismiss the manuscript as simple nonsensical gibberish, as it shows a significant [linguistic] structure," says study author Marcelo Montemurro, a theoretical physicist at the University of Manchester. Montemurro used computers to analyze the text, finding the semantic patterns were similar to known languages, but in a way he says Voynich couldn't have known about in 1912 to make the language look "real." But although they have found the pattern, what the words actually say remains a mystery. "There must be a story behind it, which we may never know," he says.

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Showing 3 of 22 comments
ginobean
Jun 24, 2013 8:25 AM CDT
There's a very compelling reason why people commit fraud/forgeries -- money. The very fact that the Voynich manuscript still intrigues us today is probaby why it was originally forged in the first place -- it generated a profit for whoever forged it. The fact that most of the plants are not even real help confirm that it is indeed a forgery. Also, the fact that the Voynich manuscript is the only manuscript containing this supposed "language" confirms that it is a forgery. If it had a been a real language, other manuscripts would have shown up by now. And for the topics of the subject matter, plants and astronomy it would be incredible that the author would encrypt it in any form, since the purpose of most written text is to convey information, not obfuscate it.
jooberdoober
Jun 23, 2013 6:41 PM CDT
Who say it is a language of THIS world? There are Reptilian amongst us and they have seemed to adapted to our languages quite well.
JasonAlanGlazier
Jun 23, 2013 6:30 PM CDT
History is not point less any one who say's history is point less is a sore loser who can't comprehend art of the past seeing how we learn from our mistake's by studying the past..The past is part of our life we need to learn from it