7 (more or less) Purported Facts about the Voynich Manuscript

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.

8 Comment

  1. Kemal S. says:

    Heard of it in passing but never read it before, but since you quite kindly provided a link to it I’ll take the time to give it a good solid read.


  2. […] Sufis, and Hermeticism? For the first time in a very long while indeed, I’m relieved to find a nice post on the Voynich Manuscript from someone with sufficient culture and wit to appreciate its enraging crosstalk without lapsing […]

  3. Dear Kemal,

    Having reached a point in Vms research where it has – for some time now – seemed a fairly ordinary product of early 15thC., your satire is just what I needed.

    Glitter-dust over dull old pottery sherds, as it were.


  4. Kemal –

    I forgot to mention that I believe one or more of its sections probably derive from the environment of Yemen, though prehaps not from one a Muslim community there.

  5. Ah, and who has not needed a bit of glitter dust spread over the tablecloth of the mundane, now and then?

  6. Some of the illustrations are believed to show maps of Baghdad.

  7. That would be pretty amazing actually.
    It will be quite fascinating to see what modern cryptoanalysis yields up with many similar manuscripts, in the future

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