Mysterious Voynich manuscript has 'genuine message'
The 15 th Century Voynich manuscript is considered to be the most mysterious text ever uncovered as it has never been decrypted despite over a century of attempts to uncover meaning and more than 25 different analyses from top minds around the world. This has led some to claim that it is nothing more than an elaborate hoax. However, a new study published in the journal Plos One, suggests that the manuscript does hold a genuine message and may have been constructed to hide secret information.
The 240 page book, which uses a cryptic language and numerous illustrations depicting astronomical, biological, cosmological, herbal and pharmaceutical themes, was discovered in 1912 by a Polish-American named Wilfrid M. Voynich. Numerous studies have shown that the unknown language does show similarities to known languages and the latest finding supports the hypothesis that there are meaningful words and messages within the text.
Marcelo Montemurro, a theoretical physicist from the University of Manchester, UK, has been analysing the manuscript’s linguistic patterns for years and believes he is getting closer to unravelling its mysteries. Using a computerised statistical method to examine patterns of how the words were arranged, Dr Montemurro and colleagues found evidence that content-bearing words occur in clustered patterns where they are required as part of the information being written. Moreover, the semantic networks show that related words share structure similarities, which is a pattern observed in known languages.
Dr Montemurro believes that such patterns indicate that the Voynich manuscript is no hoax. "It's not easy to dismiss the manuscript as simple nonsensical gibberish, as it shows a significant [linguistic] structure" he said. It is unlikely that the patterns were deliberately incorporated into the text as part of a hoax as knowledge of those linguistic structures did not exist at the time the manuscript was created.
As for the meaning of the text, that still remains elusive. Craig Bauer, author of ‘Secret History: The Story of Cryptology’ believes it could be hiding something significant. "It could solve a major crime, reveal buried treasure worth millions or in the case of the Voynich manuscript, rewrite the history of science," he said. While Dr Bauer originally believed that the Voynic manuscript was a hoax, the latest findings have swayed his opinion and he know believes it holds something meaningful and Dr Montemurro agrees: "There must be a story behind it, which we may never know”.