The Voynich manuscript is probably not a hoax, according to computer analysis. The analysis revealed patterns that suggest that the writing is most likely an organized, yet unknown, language.
The document was obtained by antique bookseller Wilfrid M. Voynich in 1912. The original origin of the manuscript is unknown. However, it is estimated, through carbon dating, to have been written between the 15th and 16th centuries in Central Europe.
The Voynich manuscript has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories. Many researchers have concluded that the manuscript was simply a hoax. Some conspiracy theories even suggest an extraterrestrial origin.
The mystery surrounding the manuscript stems from the unknown text and bizarre drawings.
Throughout the manuscript, there are drawings of over 100 unknown species of plants and apparently medicinal herbs. There are also drawings of nude females with swollen abdomens connected to or interacting with “tubes and capsules.”
As reported by PLOSOne.com, computer analysis has indicated that the mysterious text may actually have meaning. Using information theory, researchers Marcelo A. Montemurro and Damian H. Zannette have concluded that the manuscript contains an organized “distribution of words that is compatible with those found in real language sequences.”
Their findings support their theory that the Voynich manuscript was not a hoax. As the text appears to organized in an actual language, they expect that the manuscript contains a “genuine message.”
The research team has not determined whether the language was invented or a cloaked form of a known language. However, their findings may assist in eventually deciphering the text.
As reported by BBC, Gregory Rugg of the UK Keele University is not impressed with the findings. Rugg explains his skepticism:
“The findings aren’t anything new. It’s been accepted for decades that the statistical properties of Voynichese are similar, but not identical, to those of real languages … I don’t think there’s much chance that the Voynich manuscript is simply an unidentified language.”
A portion of the Voynich manuscript mystery may be solved, but there are still many questions remaining. Like any good mystery, the origin and meaning will likely be a point of controversy and discussion for many years.
[Images via Wikimedia]