The Book That Can't Be Read

Ratings: 7.17/10 from 84 users.


The Book That Can't Be Read

Men have always tried to encode secrets, military communication, love letters, forbidden knowledge, and most secret text is eventually decoded, but among all of history's cryptic writings one stands out. It's the world's most mysterious book written by an unknown author in an odd alphabet and brilliantly illustrated with puzzling images. For centuries, it defies all attempts to unveil its secrets. Now, for the first time, experts analyze the ink, pigments and parchments of the Voynich Manuscript.

What secrets are hidden between these lines? Who wrote them and why? At the headquarters of the US Military Intelligence Service, experts succeeded in decoding Japan's so called Purple Code. William Frederick Friedman, the service's Director is one of the world's best cryptographers. For practice between jobs, Friedman and his team decode ancient cryptic texts. One by one, the codes are cracked, but one book, The Voynich Manuscript, stubbornly defies all attempts to decode it. Unnerved, the cryptographers give up. It's the only code they're unable to crack.

The roughly 200-page manuscript, with its strange symbols has been a mystery for decades. At the beginning of the 20th century, an antiques dealer from New York visits Villa Mondragone near Rome looking for precious books. His name is Wilfrid Voynich. Villa Mondragone is home to many historical texts from a Jesuit school. Wilfrid Voynich is allowed to inspect a trunk that comes from the estate of Athanasius Kircher, one of the most famous scholars of the 17th century.

Among various manuscripts, the trunk contains an unusual book. Voynich buys the manuscript, and for the rest of his life tries to decipher it. He dies without even coming close to a solution. After Voynich's death, the manuscript ends up at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale. The library possesses a wealth of literary gems, but probably none as famous as the Voynich Manuscript. Rene Zandbergen is one of the leading experts on the Voynich Manuscript and has been working on it for years.

When Rene first saw an image of the page of the Voynich Manuscript, he immediately had the feeling this is something he can decipher, this is something he can read, but as the years went by, this turned out to be wrong, so he couldn't read it like so many other people before him.

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34 Comments / User Reviews

  1. UncleJoe223

    Every time "experts" get their hands on something we end up with more questions, arguments, and total confusion. And I haven't even watched the doc yet, but I'm betting that's what happens.

  2. UncleJoe223

    Just because the page is dated that old, why does it mean the writing is that old?

  3. UncleJoe223

    Okay, so after viewing this doc, we know NOTHING new. And the doc leaves out so much that the Voynich contains that points to the author (or authors) had extraordinary knowledge of plants, astronomy and other subjects.


  4. bionara

    This is something that's fascinated me for a while. I was thrilled to see it featured on TDF. Then I spotted the yellow square of doom that is the NAT Geo logo - I should've known it would be an overdramatised piece of rubbish with constant buildups and music that wouldn't be out of place on Gladiator or 300. This is not sparta!

    A truly curious topic but a wholly disappointing watch.

  5. sonibvc

    "Hue, I juret unakimeri sik tituna!" ---> What does it mean? Answer: Nothing, I just made it up for fun. Even I don't know what it means.
    Why so much fuss about this book? Smart people with a sense of humour have lived since history began. It is obvious that this book as nothing more than the intellectual "fart" of some talented guy who created an elaborate mumbo jumbo just to perplex people - there is no secret in it. Small kids create words and sentences all the time that they don't know what they mean and their parents try to see meaning in it and interpret it.

    What a time waster!

  6. John Payne

    They handle the book without gloves? Strange, indeed.

  7. dewflirt

    Nice little round up of all that's known so far, don't see what's to complain about. Part of me hopes they'll never make more sense of it than they have already, makes a change to have an honest to goodness puzzle to enjoy instead of a made up mystery. Not quite sure why they bought da Vinci into it though, other than to make it enigmatic by association. He'd never draw a naked lady so crudely ;)

  8. dewflirt

    I noticed that too, the British Library prefers clean, dry hands to gloves. Gloves transfer dirt, dislodge pigments and make you cack-handed ;)

  9. DigiWongaDude

    People absolutely believed the same as you about the 'scrawling pictures' in Egypt, look how that turned out.

  10. John Payne

    Who knew? My day is complete I learned something new, thank you

  11. sonibvc

    Just becouse it was expensive and took time does not mean it has a secret meaning. Look at the pyramids or the iffel tower etc.. The epitomy of expensive and time consuming. And for what? For Art. Just to say "look at me/us, we are so great!" I insist it was meant to be an intelectial exercise and they even admited it in the move.

  12. dewflirt

    Not me, I only looked because you mentioned it. Thanks to you too :)

  13. DigiWongaDude

    You know Da Vinci was a bit of prankster don't you? The Turin Shroud may be down to him?...can't remember... Speculating this was his genius expressing itself as a boy, well, all the more riveting really. I'll have to watch it again, but I think that was dispelled wasn't it? He was such a talented cat that if the paper was even dated to his lifetime, that would be enough to seal its fate, no doubt...and put it's value through the roof! lol.

  14. DigiWongaDude

    If I could get inside your head for just one minute, I'm sure I would be driven mad for eternity. (Having read your other posts).

    I'm not saying it contains secrets, I'm saying it could have meaning, and that meaning right now is a secret.

  15. sonibvc

    Its not as bad as it looks. I merely state what the majority thinks. As ugly as it may sound to you, it is the truth. Unfortunetly the only place to state such things is the internet as the fabled "free speech" it is not free any longer and punishible by fines and even jail sentance.

  16. DigiWongaDude

    Fair enough I guess?

  17. Patrick McCormick

    The paper is circa1420, but, does that mean is was used in 1420? I have in my home office reams of paper that are at least 3 years old. Maybe they should carbon date the pigments before making assumptions. They (radiocarbon dating) do not date the age of the writing but the preparation of the parchment itself. However, radiocarbon dating can often be used on the inks that make up the writing, since many of them contain organic compounds such as plant leachings, soot, and wine.[citation needed] Wikipedia

  18. norlavine

    Perhaps the mystery is as deep as the discovery 1000 years from now of a McDonald's 'M" unearthed and possibly esoterically linked to others found in other locations, buried under the flattened and carbon blackened remnants of a world that nuked itself in the name of 'whatever' xx

  19. dewflirt

    At least the burgers will still be edible :)

  20. dewflirt

    Just pointing out that da Vinci is used like salt now, a pinch of him can make almost anything palatable. This doc didn't need him really - the curse of Dan Brown!! :)

  21. norlavine

    @ Dewflirt
    You just made me laugh! Didn't think of that! xxx

  22. Microhero

    Paper wasn't really that abundant (it was kind of a luxury) at the time that you would sit on it for even 3 years before you'd use it.

    It is possible... but not plausible.

  23. Bill Farley

    Don't forget "Twinkies." 1000 years from now they'll still be fresh!

  24. LoggerheadShrike

    I like how some people assume their own opinions are the majority opinions (even though they have difficulty finding anyone to support the same opinions!), and then go on to say that because it's the majority opinion, it must be the truth.

  25. Jack1952

    Lol. There is something comforting in the knowledge that my great, great, grandchildren will still be able to get fries with that long after the nuclear holocaust. I'm sure children of the future will gobble them down while the adults shake their heads wondering how anyone could eat that crap. Like my dear mom used to say, "No matter how much things change, they stay the same"

  26. Patrick McCormick

    Yes, they did do a chemical test to see if the ink was authentic but a much bigger sample would be needed for carbon dating.

  27. LoggerheadShrike

    True but I'm not sure it's really necessary. If it's a forgery, it isn't a modern one, since it's attested in a number of letters as far back as 1639. There is no way forgers at that time could have anticipated modern analysis either; they wouldn't have bothered using period inks, for instance, because they couldn't have anticipated chemical analysis.

  28. oQ

    That'll be my next watch.

  29. Mike Cole

    interesting.. i guess its hard to tell the difference between insanity and genius

  30. Manfredo

    Get your facts straight. The pyramids could be more than a grave. Im not even going to say why since you obviously form your opinions without knowledge :)
    "Question Everything"

  31. sonibvc

    To your "Question Everything" I say "Invert, always invert"

  32. LarryConners

    Bottom line, she gave up..!! Concluding the book is jibberish or a bastardized, undecipherable Latin...

  33. Anti

    Well that was a lot about nothing... all buildups and let downs, and a non conclusion..
    Anyone can cast an opinion of this book and all are right or not..

  34. GLB

    A lot about nothing. Entertaining and intriguing at first... but eventually culminated to nothing

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