Medieval book in unknown language contains message

A detail from the "biological" section of the Voynich Manuscript, with its mysterious script and illustrations.

(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

It has stumped code breakers, language experts, and mathematicians. The mysterious medieval book known as the Voynich Manuscript was written in a script that no one can understand and has drawings of plants that don’t exist.

But the latest study of the 15th-century text known as “the world’s most mysterious manuscript” concludes it may contain “a genuine message.”

Statistical analysis of the script by researchers including a University of Manchester physicist shows its overarching semantic structures reflect those that appear in real languages. That suggests it is not a hoax as some have said.

Named after book collector Wilfrid Voynich, who purchased it in 1912, the manuscript dates to the early 1400s and consists of about 240 pages of vellum.

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