The Strange and Abnormal: Voynich Manuscript lacks reality

Ava Ferrigno, Features Editor

A manuscript handwritten in a language no one can understand that contains depictions of plants and animals that don’t exist. Seems like something straight out of the movies, right?

The Voynich Manuscript, which possible originated in Northern Italy, has stumped scholars, cryptographers, and scientists of all fields. Written between 1404 and 1438 (as determined by carbon dating), the strange script surrounds paintings, drawings, and diagrams etched onto parchment made of calfskin. Unlike its name implies, the author of the manuscript is unknown. Wilfrid Voynich only purchased it in 1912 and began an extensive study of it, finally bringing it into the modern mainstream.

What is most peculiar about the manuscript is the fact that the system in which it was written seems to match languages found in Asia, but the lettering and diagrams more closely resemble those from Europe.

On top of the fact that the script does not match any known cipher or code, many scholars believe that the work is a natural language, meaning that it isn’t gibberish.

Some, on the other hand, believe the Voynich Manuscript to be a hoax, possibly by Voynich himself, in order to make a profit.

I disagree with this for numerous reasons. Carbon dating proves that the material that the script is written on is from the 15th century, and blank calf skins would not have been kept or survived from then. Additionally, the whole manuscript was handwritten, following common laws in languages. It would have taken a lot of time to write it and since mass printing wasn’t even available at the time, there would have been no way to copy the script to sell or even make it widely known to the public.

But if the Voynich Manuscript is authentic, then why is it written in a secret language? The obvious answer seems to be that the information it contained was not meant to be read by just anyone. Although, that theory is strange within itself considering most scholars believe that the manuscript is a pharmacopeia (guide to medicine) based on the illustrations included.

Maybe one day, as technology advances, we will be able to discover the true intent of the Voynich Manuscript. For now, we will have to remain in the dark.