If the author of this article in Scientific American is right and the Voynich manuscript is actually a hoax, then, well, that’s a bit of a bummer. At least it would be an interesting hoax - there’s nothing really dull about an elaborate, beautiful, and yet totally meaningless book produced painstakingly in the 16th century by a “notorious forger, mystic and alchemist” (Edward Kelley, an associate of the whacked-out John Dee) just to make Rudolph II look like an idiot. In fact, that’s pretty nifty.
And to be honest, in cases like this, any conclusive evidence one way or the other is bound to be a bit of a bummer. You see, it’s the mystery of the thing that’s so intriguing. It’s like the Vinland map or the Shroud of Turin - the things that leave you wondering are the things that capture the imagination, because they’re full of infinite possibility. I probably don’t really want to know who made the Voynich manuscript or why. What I really like is the search for who made it and why.
And with this in mind, I point you to my new favorite bit of intrigue: does this monument in Shugborough point the way to the Holy Grail? Codebreakers - from Bletchley Park, no less! - are working to find out. Ooh, I do love a bit of mystery…
Thanks to Neil Gaiman for pointing the way to the Scientific American article.