The Museum of Hoaxes
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Mencken's fake history of the bathtub, 1917
Female thieves hide money in their bras, 1950
Cat that walked 3000 miles to find its owners, 1951
Fake Fish Photos
The Cradle of the Deep, a literary hoax, 1929
Swiss peasants harvest spaghetti from trees, 1957
Jernegan's Gold Accumulator Scam, 1898
Iceberg floats into Sydney Harbor, 1978
Actress who claimed she was kidnapped by puritans, 1950
The Great Space Monkey Hoax, 1953
The Voynich Manuscript Solved?
Computer Scientist Gordon Rugg may have proven that the mysterious Voynich Manuscript (the famously untranslatable medieval book full of pictures of naked women) is a hoax. He theorizes that it was created by a sixteenth-century Englishman named Edward Kelley in order to con Emperor Rudolph II. Kelley could have created the book by using an encryption device called a Cardan Grille. Voynich scholars are still undecided about Rugg's theory, but whether or not Rugg is right, it should now just be a matter of time before he lapses into insanity, as many other scholars who have spent too long obsessing about the Voynich Manuscript have done.
Categories: Literature/Language
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 17, 2003
Comments (14)
there is still no proff that it came from the englishman excaim
Posted by pretender_saint  on  Sat Sep 25, 2004  at  01:20 AM
Has anyone suggested that the manuscript might be the work of someone with a form of insanity like Asperger's syndrome? There are many examples of similar works, combining script and illustration (especially combining nude bodies with text). These are meticulously "written" scripts--a sort of written glossolalia--that vaguely resemble letters. An example is the work of Dwight Mackintosh. The works we know are of the 20th century, but surely such people would have been around earlier. The style of drawing and letter formation would correspond to the times in which the work was produced. Trying to find meaning in the script would be hopeless in such case. But to an age obsessed with alchemy, the very fact of its being indecipherable would be enough to hold one's interest.
Posted by REB  on  Thu Sep 30, 2004  at  09:53 AM
Has there ever been an attempt to date the ink? Also, -as the aspergers syndrome theory suggests- this may indeed be the product of a disordered or influenced mind. Ergot poisoning -much like "bad trips" on hallucinagenics- could also be a culprit. Prolonged ingestion could lead to such a disassociative state as to render perception of the natural, "real" world, impossible. To fill this vacuum an establishment (and continued reinforcement) of a subjective "alien" world would be necessary. Perhaps a new tact is called for and instead of wondering "what" the better question may be, "why?"
Posted by Dr. Dunne  in  USA  on  Tue Mar 01, 2005  at  09:04 PM
As Dr.Dunne has suggested, the WHY may lead insight to the WHAT.

However, since our knowledge of psychological disorders is far from complete, we cannot disrgard the by products of an 'afflicted' mind as simple rubbish.

For example, perhaps the author WAS in a different state of reality, and apon returning to this reality, was using the only means available to attempt to convey the TRUTH which was discerned. The TRUTH then, would be encrypted with the knowledge of the present reality.

This relates to the book of Gensis, in which the Tree of Knowledge introduces reason to man, and all subsequent attempts to comprehend the experience of the garden of eden are 'encrypted' in the 'knowledge' of the world. i.e. Parable.

The WHY in this case could act as a KEY to understand or experience the MINDSET of the author, within the context (or rather through the encryption) of todays knowledge base.

Eitehr way, whether WHY or WHAT/HOW, the search is still for a KEY to UNDERSTAND the MINDSET of the AUTHOR. And if it is infact a 'psychological affliction' you cannot full understand the mindset without experiencing it first hand.
Posted by Anthony David Adams  in  Madison, WI  on  Sat Jun 25, 2005  at  07:20 PM
I am very interested by the ideas posted here. As far as I know, nobody has looked into the possibility that the document could be the result of a condition such as Aspbergers, although it would be near impossible to conclusively prove. Of course, no-one is prepared to accept this, and it would leave us at a dead end, with an untranslatable document - rather defeatist.

If we assume that the manuscript was purchased by Rudolph II from an unknown source, then sadly it is highly likely that it is a fake. The relatively recent 'Hitler Diaries' showed that some people are prepared to put extensive effort into making elaborately faked documents in exchange for money. Fakes are a very major part of collecting esoterica. In some cases, early fakes, like this may prove to be, are highly demanded as fascinating curiosity pieces - even to the extent of people faking fakes...

In the end, I think that it will remain an unsolved mystery. If the language cannot be cracked mathmatically, or liguistically - then it if is genuine, it is probably a codebook language - possibly with words being randomly assigned to dictionary words based on their position in a line. Making it almost uncrackable.

However, it remains quite fascinating...
Posted by Tim  in  England  on  Fri Aug 05, 2005  at  12:54 PM
I agree that it maybe written by person with Asperger's, that would fit, OMG that would fit so well. I personally know a guy with Asperger's who has spent 3 years writing a perfect "novel". Perfect little micro-writing, a mathematically perfect novel. Amazing to see.

Compare the Voynich Manuscript with Urville, the imaginary city created by the French autistic savant Gilles Trehin. And also the books of Alfred Wainwright (he possibly had Asperger's). He wrote the acclaimed walking guides for the Lake District, UK. His books are all hand written, with tiny perfect script and drawings. Little gems.
Posted by David  in  Ireland  on  Tue Aug 28, 2007  at  12:51 AM
Aspergers is not a form of insanity, and people with the condition are not delusional. It is a mild form of autism that tends to affect the way a person interacts socially or understands social behavior, facial expressions and language. It has nothing whatsoever to do with mental delusion.

The problem with the delusion idea postulated here is that it still doesn't explain HOW the book was made. It might explain WHY, but not HOW. The characters follow the patterns and rules of written language- it could not arbitrarily be produced. It is possible that there is no encrypted message and that the author was delusional, but that does not explain how he created the book. Whether it is a real encrypted message, a hoax or a product of delusion, the author of the manuscript set down with a meticulous process and created the language of the book- regardless of true meaning.
Posted by Mearl  in  USA  on  Mon Nov 05, 2007  at  04:36 PM
You know it could be a medical text book.
Some of the so called flowers look like disguised
anatomical diagrams of a female nature.
Posted by Rod Smallwood  in  England  on  Fri Oct 22, 2010  at  08:46 AM
I believe it is a book of a theory about how human life existed, someone have in the 15 century that goes against the thinking of the church. I think the theory is woman were created from or inside a plant which her spirit is guided by a star.
Posted by No Man Do  in  Aus  on  Mon Nov 29, 2010  at  06:52 AM
I have my reasons to believe that the author of this book is Leonardo Da Vinci, and it's written in medieval italian with an elegant style. Of course in that case; anagrams are a must. The guy likes to confuse human beings with his supreme genius. Barf.
Posted by Ozzy  on  Wed Feb 16, 2011  at  02:33 PM
Ozzy,

Could you elaborate upon your reasons that lead you to believe the author is Leonardo Da Vinci?

What is the time period you refer to as "medieval italian". Since Da Vinci was born in 1452 he is more closely associated with the Renaissance than the Medieval period which is widely considered to have ran it's course by the middle of the 1300's.

Also, "an elegant style" is hardly the province of a single person as I'm positive many of those who could write at the time did so with elegance.

"Of course in that case; anagrams are a must."

This type of logic is known as "post hoc ergo propter hoc" -after this therefore because of this. Just because one writes elegantly doesn't mean they have to use anagrams.

"The guy likes to confuse human beings with his supreme genius."

Actually, much of Da Vinci's works would have been considered heretical by the church. His backwards writing was more likely in effort to disguise his writings (or a result of severe dyslexia) than to impress the world with his genius. He didn't need to impress anyone; his works did.
Posted by Dr. Dunne  on  Wed Feb 16, 2011  at  03:16 PM
I wonder- could it be a treatise on midwifery? All those large-bellied ladies seem to be in birthing pools, which I believe were used in the past, as well as today. The plants could have analgesic or anti-emetic properties, perhaps- how many of these plants have been identified, and have their properties been listed? The stars might indicate possible zodiacal links with plants or babies born at different times of the year. Another thought- is the text in "mirror writing"?
Posted by Francoise  in  melbourne  on  Tue Mar 29, 2011  at  02:30 AM
OMG THIS DISCUSSION IS AMAZING. I took a glance at it, and it does seem like a foreign language, or like a coded work of some sort. Because of the stylized writing, letters or even whole words might become misinterpreted or misrepresented, things like the 'thorn' (English letter that came before TH but makes the same sound). It might be misinterpreted as Y (similar looking in writing but different sound). That happened when the German printing press tried printing the English language, but because the Germans didn't have anything shaped like that letter, they used the closest letter they had, and the English decided they could read it well enough, and when languages collided, people stopped reading Y as TH and therefore the Thorn letter was forgotten entirely. That's how we got 'ye', where that word never existed... it was supposed to be read as 'the', but people didn't know that.

What if all old scripts are like that? hand-writing is a fine and interesting art... just like V and U... two different sounds, but V didn't exactly exist the same way in Greek or Roman times that it exists in today's world. Back then it was a number and not a letter. We turned it into a letter, and gave it a different sound, because Greek U was in fact the shape of V. That's where V as a separate letter probably comes from.

You just blew my mind with this thread, sirs.
Posted by Amber  in  US  on  Thu May 23, 2013  at  11:49 AM
Is the originating article still in press after 9 years? If so, why?

Amber, your interest is noteworthy ... however ... who says that left-to-right is the manner to read this, or that that was the way it was written?

During this time there were many middle eastern scholars who wrote right-to-left. One cannot discount the possibility that this author too did the same.

It may be that meaning can be artificially ascribed to the symbology -where no meaning was originally intended. Could meaning come from chaos? I would conjecture that this question was at the forefront of many the philosophical discussion of the time.

Perhaps the author sought to materialize the question?

Posted by Dr. Dunne  in  USA  on  Tue May 28, 2013  at  05:10 PM
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