The Voynich Manuscript, is one of history’s most famous and curious put-ons and gags. It contains 240 pages of encrypted recipes, purported to include the 14th century’s best known chicken vindalo and rice briyani, with additional instructions on preparing the philosopher’s stone and conjuring physical appearances of Cain Ben Adam.
This manuscript’s history is quite peculiar and though somewhat lost in the outlines of history the following speculative origins seem quite likely, it is believed, by some, to have been prepared by a drunk Oxford student after a bad ale bender and unfortunate embarrassing night in a local brothel, during which certain hijinks’s, witnessed by other students, led to a series of dares resulting in said manuscript’s compilation.
The manuscript’s Kofta Kebob recipes are purported to exceed those found in the Kashf al-Asrar al-Makhfiya (كتاب كشف أسرار for short) and Ibn Sina’s Kanz al-Asrar (see the كتاب كنـز أسرار). Other experts, however, disagree.
What is, however, known for a fact is that chanting the manuscript’s deciphered text will not cure pleuritis. It is suspected, however, that reading it will drive one mad, with curious and utterly irredeemable urges to translate said recipes into middle Tibetan, by any means necessary, whilst contemplating ones navel upside down.
For this and more interesting reasons, the manuscript guardians at Yale University are known to be quite selective as to those to whom they allow access.
Interested parties can petition the Beinecke Manuscript collection at Yale for access to manuscript MS 408, which is not – at this time anyway – available via inter-library loan.
Imam Malik ibn Anas’s Kitab al-Sirr (كتاب السر) is also purported to be considerably more interesting, possibly containing the secret identity of the antichrist and also the location of his genetic laboratory wherein he engineered the races of Gog and Magog. Since this book is utterly lost to history, however, the Voynich Manuscript comes as a runner up among history’s most curious and fascinating manuscripts.