One of the most mysterious paranormal documents from the middle ages is commonly known as the Voynich Manuscript. A document which dates from about the early 15th century and may have been crafted in northern Italy, this manuscript seemingly presents illustrations of plants with the written text documenting their uses, possible for medical purposes. The problem is that the text is written in an elaborate code which has, so far, defied all attempts at translation while many of the plants that are illustrated are not recognizable, perhaps meaning that they no longer exist or never existed in the first place.
The name of the manuscript comes from Wilfrid Voynich, an antique book dealer who first purchased it in 1912 in at the Villa Mondragone, which is located near the city of Rome. Although Voynich’s first belief was that the manuscript was created in the 13th century, carbon 14 testing along with close examination by experts has placed the date just over 100 years later, towards the beginning of the 15th century.
According to documents found within the manuscript itself, it was known to have belonged to Emperor Rudolf II who ruled between 1552 and 1612 who purchased it for the equivalent of over $80,000 in today’s value of money. After that, the book passed through several hands until its final arrival at the Villa Mondragone in the late 19th century. One letter that accompanied the manuscript from the 17th century indicated that the owner could not decipher the language and hoped that someone else could.
What the Voynich manuscript does present are 240 pages, most of them with illustrations of plants along with information written from left to right in a language that as yet is still unknown. The fame of the book grew as Voynich attempted to have the language translated. Celebrated code breakers, even those serving during both World Wars from Britain and America have yet to scratch the surface as to what the mysterious language could possibly be.
The manuscript itself is incomplete as apparently over 30 pages are missing, plus information from later owners, such as page numbers and notes were added. It’s also quite possible that the book’s frequent preservation efforts have also changed the order of the pages from when it was originally published.
The script used in the manuscript does appear to have a natural language pattern, which around 35,000 words of various lengths that follow a type of order that most languages have, however, despite countless attempts, there simply has been no translation of even a single word nor have many of the plants that are depicted in the illustrations been identified.
This mystery has lead to many theories as to the actual purpose of the book, from holding herbal medical secrets that could cure many diseases to being one of the most elaborate hoaxes in world history. The evidence that the manuscript is a hoax seems far fetched given the intricate detail of the manuscript.
Currently, the Voynich manuscript resides at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library where it has been since 1969.