Still Unbreakable After All These Years

Voynich Manuscript

No matter how old the medical records are, no one should be able to perform surgery on them.

Voynich Manuscript500 years later, the Voynich Manuscript is one of Europe’s most puzzling encrypted documents. Penned in the late 1400s or the early 1500s, it contains encrypted passages and unexplained sketches. Named in honor of Wilfrid M. Voynich when he acquired it in 1912, it’s been referred to as a written historical enigma.

Subject to an international focus, cryptologists, including former decoding experts from WWI and WWII, haven’t been able to determine the mystery surrounding the Voynich Manuscript.  Medical document portals offer the same level of unbreakable security.

Focusing on the manuscript’s medical background, some theorize that it has roots in medical education during the Middle Ages because it features sketches of medicinal flora. Historical manuscript experts and aficionados based this hypothesis on its six biologically focused sections.

Sections and Sketches Feature Human Body, Nature and Science

Voynich ManuscriptThe text’s sections feature six distinct, yet complimentary sections related to the human body, nature and science. One section has sketches of over 110 undetermined plants within it. Other sections included what looked like medicinal concoctions. Yet other sections have dozens upon dozens of containers with plants and roots in various colors.

Some sections have celestially-based circular and geometrically correct drawings. Pictures of the human body in various states of health – bulging stomachs, different parts of the body swelled and the human body floating in types of humor, connected to and lying within scientific instruments. Medical Secure File Share allows you to share critical health information securely without all the cryptic pictures. Zodiac-inspired animals and mythical creatures, along with humans pictured emerging from structures were completed by a background filled with plants, suns and pictures of the heavens.

Some speculate its encryption evolved from a basic encryption system into a more complex system of layered characters that have no meaning. This higher-level encryption system was weaved with repetitive characters, character re-ordering, and mis-breaks.  The manuscript provided some of the highest levels of encryption available during its day.

This compilation of discrete sections is suspected of having a greater meaning. Scribed starting at the left margin, every line did not finish at the same endpoint on the right margin. Featuring short paragraphs, the text is broken up with tiny pictures setting off the text further. Periods, commas, and similar punctuation marks were not observed, nor were any edits or revisions noticed within the manuscript. Despite the 170,000 speech accents contained within the manuscript, the text’s flow is natural.

The language has approximately 35,000 terms with a structure and rules similar to other natural languages. Observed structure includes the use of consonants and vowels (as used in English or European languages).

Resembling an organically evolved language, language specialists cannot connect it to anything related to a European language. The number of characters for each word is sporadic but still has a pattern – between two to ten characters for all words. Characters are evenly distributed in the center of every word, but not always at a word’s start or finish.

Based on the text’s uniqueness, according to experts, the specific ciphering cannot be determined. Linguists and encoding experts believe it may be a verbose cipher or one that uses a unique set of characters to replace its intended character. The code is expressed in multiple characters to fool uninformed readers. For example, the phrases “al” or “ee” in multiple sets within the same phrase, or in conjunction with different phrases acts as the code language.

Experts Debate Authenticity and Try to Crack the Code

Voynich ManuscriptExperts also differ on the manuscript’s authenticity. Some argue its mystifying attributes are distracting through its ploy which makes experts waste their time by chasing their tails. Authenticity is disbelieved because of the inexplicable drawings, decipherable word patterns, and unverifiable historical context that the brightest minds cannot break.

Gordon Rugg, a computer expert argued the manuscript could be replicated. Recreating the manuscript with a mid-16th century encryption tool, a Cardan grille, Rugg created a similar text that used language prefixes, suffixes and stems through grid-like paper. However, Rugg’s claims can be challenged because the Cardan grille was invented a century after the Voynich manuscript was reportedly written and because the tool could replicate virtually any language nuance.

Proponents of the manuscript’s authenticity have university research backing it up. Theoretical physicist Montemurro, from the University of Manchester, looked at the manuscript for years and argued that complex language and connotation patterns existed in specific bunches and word variations with transitioning topics.

They believe the encryption is based on an unknown European language, according to a character-centric understanding, but the single or mixed languages cannot be identified. The only thing that can be determined is that the original language or language’s syntax was made obsolete by creating a holistically unique character system design.

Coinciding with the birth of language encryption in Europe, the manuscript’s origin and its exact language depend on studying the origin of encryption itself.  The manuscript’s meaning and origin are likely to be debated for some time to come.

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