It’s one of the world’s most mysterious books, a centuries-old manuscript written in an unknown or coded language that no one has cracked. Scholars have spent their lives puzzling over the Voynich manuscript, whose intriguing mix of elegant writing and drawings of strange plants and naked women has some believing it holds magical powers.
The weathered book is locked away in a vault at Yale university’s Beinecke library, emerging only occasionally. But after a 10-year appeal for access, Siloe, a small publishing house in northern Spain has secured the right to clone the document… Siloe, which specialises in making facsimiles of old manuscripts, has bought the rights to make 898 exact replicas of the Voynich – so faithful that every stain, hole, sewn-up tear in the parchment will be reproduced.
What should be noted, for those who started salivating at the idea of owning their own copy of the Voynich Manuscript only to baulk at the thousands of pounds that each copy will cost, is that the folio is already freely available in digital form online, at Yale University’s Beinecke library website.
Amazingly, Voynich voyeur Rene Zandbergen notes that more than 90% of the online access to the Beinecke library is only for the Voynich manuscript.
Why? Because, as long-time Grail readers will know, everyone’s got their own theory about the decoding of the manuscript, or who wrote it. From this 1978 book released by the National Security Agency (NSA) about the ‘elegant enigma’ of the Voynich manuscript, through to this recent arXiv.org paper arguing that it was written by Edward Kelley, offsider to the famed Elizabethan mage John Dee, this is a mystery that has occupied the attention of many over the past few decades.
Here’s a full-length documentary on the topic for those interested: