Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dec. 3 - The Voynich Manuscript Decoded?

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The Voynich Manuscript Decoded?

  • page 1

I give examples to show that the code used in the Voynich Manuscript is probably a series of Italian word anagrams written in a fancy embellished script. This code, that has been confusing scholars for nearly a century, is therefore not as complicated as it first appears.

All attempts over the past century to decode this mysterious manuscript have met with failure. This is probably due to the initial error made by Voynich and his followers attributing the authorship of the manuscript to Roger Bacon, the 13th century British scientist, monk and scholar. As I showed in a previous paper on my Website, The Voynich Manuscript, was the author left handed?, Roger Bacon could not have written this manuscript and I suggested that a young (around 8 to 10 years old) Leonardo da Vinci was a likely author. Using this premise I proceeded to consider what would be required to decode this manuscript and reached the following conclusions:

  1. Determine the language used in writing the manuscript
  2. Correlate the Voynich alphabet with the modern English alphabet
  3. Decipher the code

If Leonardo da Vinci was the author of the VM, he would have used the language of Dante, i.e. medieval Italian, so I have assumed the VM language to be Italian. I initially used Rene Zandbergen’s basic EVA characters(i) as a starting point to correlate the VM letters with the English alphabet, while taking into account that the Italian alphabet only uses 21 letters. Later in my studies I had to modify some of the EVA correlations. As the best code breakers, using powerful computers, were unable to decipher the code, it did not appear likely that I could break the code. I am however addicted of solving Jumbles and playing Text Twist and this made me consider a different approach. When I examined the VM script, I noticed that there were very few corrections, and the writing, though slow, had the appearance of easy fluidity. A complicated code would require making a preliminary copy using for example a slate for a scratch pad. Paper was expensive in the 15th century. To produce a 200 page manuscript under these conditions would be a very tedious task. The encoding must have been simple, easy and direct. Gordon Rugg(ii) has suggested that the VM is nothing but a meaningless jumble of letters! I wondered whether he was not correct, with one modification, only the individual words were jumbled, i.e. anagrams. I was further encouraged when looking at the last page, Folio 116v of the VM to find that the top line on this page is:

Folio 116v

The Italian alphabet does not use the letter X. Leonardo used this letter as shorthand for ver.(iii) This line may be interpreted as follows:

Povere leter rimon mist(e) ispero

Which translates into English as follows:

Plain letter reassemble mixed inspire

This brief sentence indicated that the use of anagrams should be investigated. This was further supported by reading Wikipedia’s report that anagrams were popular throughout Europe during the Middle Ages and that some 17th century astronomers, while engaged in verification of their discoveries, used anagrams to hide their ideas. Thus Galileo announced his discovery that Venus had phases like the Moon in the form of an anagram. Similarly Robert Hooke in 1660 first published Hooke’s Law in the form of an anagram.

Word anagrams do not always offer a unique solution and an exact collelation between the EVA characters and the English alphabet has not been established, therefore, to test this ‘anagram hypothesis’ as precisely as possible, I used the single words found on many of the herbal pages. Most of these drawings are so poor that the author of the manuscript obviously considered it necessary to identify the roots/plants with names. I therefore used these single words to help modify the EVA alphabet (shown below) based on the plant/root name obtained from the subsequent translated Italian anagram. This resulted for the most part in a usable correspondence between the VM and English alphabets which when once established was used for deciphering all subsequent anagrams. I quibble a little here for at this time I have not been able to identify all the 21 letters of the VM Italian alphabet (j,k,w,x, and y excluded). The letters H, Q, Z and a single T have not been identified and there may also be some letter combinations like that used for tl that need to be identified. The ll combination may represent either one or two l’s. Letters like o and a, when they occur at the end of a word, have a tail and can easily be confused with a g, which has a curved tail. Other letters like m,n,r and u, when they occur at the end of a word have a curlicue. It is difficult to interpret words that have a number of c’s and e’s. These anagrams are best solved by trial and error. The letters I used from the VM and their English equivalent are shown in the table below:

Letter Table

Using this basic alphabet I have identified a number of plants, herbs and vegetables from the herbal pages. I was not able to decipher all the words, due no doubt to the fact that many of the plants around 500-plus years ago probably had common names that have since fallen into disuse. In addition modification in the spelling of some words may have occurred making it difficult for someone like myself, who does not read or speak Italian, to decipher these words.

I used an Internet site, ‘Italian Anagram Dictionary,’ to help me unscramble the words and translate the anagrams into English. The book ‘The Botanical Gardens of Padua 1545-1995’(iv) helped identify some of the common names used for plants in Italy in the 16th century. You can judge from the examples given below, whether this Anagram Code has been successful deciphering this limited selection from the Voynich Manuscript. I hope some of you who read medieval Italian will help decipher more of the manuscript so we can finally learn the mysteries, if any, that this manuscript is hiding.

When I gave this manuscript a final reading, I suddenly remembered that Dan Brown in his book ‘The Da Vinci Code’ made use of anagrams. It will be ironic if Leonardo da Vinci is established as the author of the Voynich Manuscript and it is accepted that he used anagrams for his code. I doubt however that the Voynich Manuscript will have much to say about Mary Magdelene or the Priory of Sion, but that remains to be seen.

The pages that follow contain sections of the Voynich Manuscript with words that have been decoded using the anagram method. The first line of typed text above the Voynich handwritten text is the modern English interpretation of the letters. The second line is an Italian anagram of these letters. The third line is the anagram translated into English.

  1. ↑ back Kennedy, G. and Churchill, R., 2006, The Voynich Manuscript, Inner Traditions, Rochester Vermont, p.243.
  2. ↑ back ibid p.245.
  3. ↑ back Richter, J.P., 1970, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, vol I, Dover Publications, New York, p.1-4.
  4. ↑ back Ed. Minelli, A., Marsilio, 1995, p. 207-241.

Folio 99r Top Section
Folio 1
Folio 99r Second Section
Folio 2
Folio 99r Third Section
Folio 3
Folio 99r Bottom Section
Folio 4
From Folio 88r Top Section
Folio 5

Folio 6
From Folio 88v Top Left Section
Folio 7
From Folio 88v Second Left Section
Folio 8
From Folio 88v Bottom Right Section
Folio 9
From Folio 88v Bottom Left and Top Middle Sections
Folio 10

From Folio 102r
Folio 11
From Folio 102r
Folio 12

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How to Digitally Record/Video a UFO sighting:

Como registar digitalmente ou gravar um vídeo de um avistamento de um UFO:

Stabilize the camera on a tripod. If there is no tripod, then set it on top of a stable, flat surface. If that is not possible lean against a wall to stabilize your body and prevent the camera from filming in a shaky, unsteady manner.

Estabilize a camera com um tripé. Se não tiver um tripé, então coloque-a em cima de uma superfície estável. Se não for possível, então encoste-se a uma parede para estabilizar o corpo e evitar que a camera registe de maneira tremida e instável.

Provide visual reference points for comparison. This includes the horizon, treetops, lampposts, houses, and geographical landmarks (i.e., Horsetooth Reservoir, Mt. Adams, etc.) Provide this in the video whenever is appropriate and doesn’t detract from what your focus is, the UFO.

Forneça pontos visuais de referência para comparação. Isso inclui o horizonte, cimo das árvores, postes de iluminação, pontos de referência geográficos (como o Reservatório de Horsetooth, Mone Adams, etc) Forneça esses pontos no vídeo sempre que for apropriado e não se distraia do que é o seu foco, o UFO/a Nave.

Narrate your videotape. Provide details of the date, time, location, and direction (N,S,E,W) you are looking in. Provide your observations on the weather, including approximate temperature, windspeed, any visible cloud cover or noticeable weather anomalies or events. Narrate on the shape, size, color, movements, approximate altitude of the UFO, etc and what it appears to be doing. Also include any unusual physical, psychological or emotional sensations you might have. Narrate any visual reference points on camera so they correlate with what the viewer will see, and thereby will be better able to understand.

Faça a narração do vídeo. Forneça pormenores sobre a data, hora, local e direcção (Norte, Sul, Este, Oeste) que está a observar. Faça observações sobre as condições atmosféricas, incluindo a temperatura aproximada, velocidade do vento, quantidade de nuvens, anomalias ou acontecimentos meteorológicos evidentes. Descreva a forma, o tamanho, a cor, os movimentos, a altitude aproximada onde se encontra o UFO/nave, etc e o que aparenta estar a fazer. Inclua também quaisquer aspectos pouco habituais de sensações físicas, psicológicas ou emocionais que possa ter. Faça a narração de todos os pontos de referência visual que o espectador irá ver e que, deste modo, será capaz de compreender melhor.

Be persistent and consistent. Return to the scene to videotape and record at this same location. If you have been successful once, the UFO sightings may be occurring in this region regularly, perhaps for specific reasons unknown, and you may be successful again. You may also wish to return to the same location at a different time of day (daylight hours) for better orientation and reference. Film just a minute or two under “normal” circumstances for comparison. Write down what you remember immediately after. As soon as you are done recording the experience/event, immediately write down your impressions, memories, thoughts, emotions, etc. so it is on the record in writing. If there were other witnesses, have them independently record their own impressions, thoughts, etc. Include in this exercise any drawings, sketches, or diagrams. Make sure you date and sign your documentation.

Seja persistente e não contraditório. Volte ao local da cena e registe o mesmo local. Se foi bem sucedido uma vez, pode ser que nessa região ocorram avistamentos de UFOs/naves com regularidade, talvez por razões específicas desconhecidas, e talvez possa ser novamente bem sucedido. Pode também desejar voltar ao mesmo lugar a horas diferentes do dia (durante as horas de luz)para ter uma orientação e referência melhor. Filme apenas um ,inuto ou dois em circunstâncias “normais” para ter um termo de comparação. Escreva tudo o que viu imediatamente após o acontecimento. Logo após ter feito o registo da experiência/acontecimento, escreva imediatamente as impressões, memórias, pensamentos, emoções, etc para que fiquem registadas por escrito. Se houver outras testemunhas, peça-lhes para registar independentemente as suas próprias impressões, pensamentos, etc. Inclua quaisquer desenhos, esbolos, diagramas. Certifique-se que data e assina o seu documento/testemunho.

Always be prepared. Have a digital camera or better yet a video camera with you, charged and ready to go, at all times. Make sure you know how to use your camera (and your cell phone video/photo camera) quickly and properly. These events can occur suddenly, unexpectedly, and often quite randomly, so you will need to be prepared.

Esteja sempre preparado, Tenha sempre uma camera digital, melhor ainda, uma camera vídeo consigo, carregada e pronta a usar sempre que necessário. Certifique-se que sabe como lidar com a sua camera (ou com o seu celular/camera fotográfica) rápida e adequadamente. Esses acontecimentos podem acontecer súbita e inesperadamente e, por vezes, acidentalmente, por isso, necessita estar preparado.

Look up. Be prepared. Report. Share.

Olhe para cima, Esteja preparado, Relate, Partilhe.



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