The Voynich manuscript has been bewildering scholars for more than a century

In 1912, bookseller Wilfrid Voynich discovered an illustrated manuscript that was written in a mysterious alphabet that had never been seen before. The text bears the hallmarks of natural language, but no one has ever been able to determine its meaning. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll learn about the Voynich manuscript, which has been bewildering scholars for more than a century.

We'll also ponder some parliamentary hostages and puzzle over a tormenting acquisition.

Show notes

Please support us on Patreon!

Notable Replies

  1. This is so interesting every time it's on Boing Boing.

  2. Schizophrenia's one helluva drug.

  3. There is a Voynich font and if you use it to make magical nonsense text you find yourself deciding certain symbols look like vowels and others more like consonants and certain juxtapositions of the gibberish just don't look right. It's funny since it's all unknown.

  4. I was listening to this while working on some software specifications, and it occurred to me that people arguing it must be meaningless because it doesn't follow natural language rules haven't read any specs documents lately. We always have to be careful that the shorthand and jargon gets written so that the people who requested the changes can sign off on it, and that's with everyone involved being fluent in English.

Continue the discussion

4 more replies