A FRAUD? “<The most mysterious manuscript in the world.>, so named 40 years ago [1922] by the late Prof. John M. Manly of the University of Chicago, is now for sale in New York for $160,000, although not one cipher word on the 135 pages has ever been deciphered. The owner, Hans P. Kraus, the rare book dealer of Vienna and New York, upon being reproached for asking such a price, said that when deciphered the manuscript would be worth $1 million.

The existence of the manuscript has been known in the U.S. for 50 years, In 1912 it was purchased by a New York rare book dealer, the late Wilfred M. Voynich at a place never before disclosed but now identified by Kraus as the Mondragone Monastery in Frascati, near Rome. The age of the ms. is nor certain” “Accompanying the ms. was a letter of transmittal written in 1665 by Johannes Marcus Marci at the court of the Emperor Rudolph in Prague. Marci sent the ms. as a present to Athanasius Kircher, a celebrated Jesuit scholar and scientist in Rome who had written a work on ciphers. Marci challenged Kircher to solve the mystery; Kircher’s fame was such that his failure to do so probably discouraged other scholars, perhaps for centuries, from attempting the task.

The Marci letter said that the manuscript once belonged to the Emperor Rudolph and was thought to be the work of Roger Bacon, a statement which Voynich accepted as true. He later established that the ms. was in existence at least as early as 1608 when, after chemical treatment of a faded page, there appeared in the margin the signature Jacobi de Tepenecz. The title de Tepenecz was bestowed on this botanist and alchemist in 1609 [Roger Bacon viveu no séc. XIII].”

As to why Bacon had written in cipher, Voynich said that since Bacon had written dissertations in plain language on the subject of ciphers, it was logical to assume that he would have put his own precepts into practice.”

Newbold [criptógrafo do séc. XX] said his decipherments proved that the 13th century scientist had possessed both a telescope and a microscope, whose invention history places several centuries later; that the ms. included a drawing of what was undoubtedly the great spiral nebula in Andromeda, of whose existence Newbold had been entirely unaware, and that he had deciphered the date of a falling comet and other facts likewise unknown to him before then.”

Some sick souls believed that Newbold had learned the secrets of black magic, and one deluded woman traveled hundreds of miles to beseech him to cast out the demons that had taken possession of her.”

All the scholars competent to judge the ms. were – and still are [1962] – agreed that it is definitely not a hoax or the doodlings of a psychotic”

from a Vatican manuscript partly in cipher, they [Manly and William Friedman] obtained, by the straightforward methods of solving simple ciphers, a medieval recipe for making home brew; Newbold, using his complicated methods, produced a totally different result.”

The complex method used by Newbold was reducible to 9 steps. The first and last of these, without any consideration of the intermediate abstruse and confusing processes, are utterly devoid of precision and are incapable of yielding one and only one plain-language text – a rigid requirement of any legitimate cipher method.”

PÓS-II GUERRA: “The group comprised specialists in philology, paleography, ancient, classical and medieval languages and literature; Egyptologists, mathematicians and authorities in other sciences depicted in the manuscript. Under Friedman’s direction, they agreed to meet after working hours and concentrate their talents on an attempt to master the document.” “The scientists disbanded and returned to their universities or research projects. Their considered opinions as to the age, authorship and general nature of the ms., based on their extracurricular work, are still valid today”

a symbol often resembling our hand-written small letter <m> just as often looks as though it is composed of 3 separate symbols.”

The first impression is that here is a simple substitution cipher. However, the decipherer is doomed to utter frustration when no solution based on such a theory is reached.”

1. The number of basically different symbols employed in the manuscript is quite small – perhaps 20, or even fewer. However, tiny variations and affixes may make multiple forms of a basic character, which might suggest counting them as different symbols.

2. (…) the number of different <words> is quite limited.

3. (…) rarely are they over 7 or 8 symbols in length.

4. There is a very large number of repetitions of single <words> and groups of <words>.


7. The text is homogeneous, the same <words> appearing in all sections whether botanical, astrological, biological or astronomical.


10. Certain symbols appear so infrequently as to suggest that they are extraneous to the text or are errors, made perhaps by the author himself or by some scribe who transcribed the original.”

Unlike most unsolved ancient writings – the Mayan hieroglyphics, f.ex., where most scholars believe there is insufficient material and too little repetition – this manuscript presents exactly the opposite characteristics.”

There can be no question that the same scribe wrote the text and made the drawings”

Although a well-known American botanist, Dr. Hugh O’Neill, believes that he has identified 2 American plants in the illustrations, no other scholar has corroborated this, all agreeing that none of the plants depicted is indigenous to America.”

Egyptian hieroglyphic writing intrigued scholars for centuries. All attempts at solution were unsuccessful until Rosetta Stone was found in 1799. Even with the trilingual writing on that stone, and with one of the versions in the well-known language Greek, the decipherment took 30 years.”

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