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The last 30 Voynich blog posts from the community across the web... Posted on From
Line Position Mapping
The last two posts on this site have been very similar. Not only have the investigations sought to prove similar things using similar methods, but the result of both was failure. Neither managed to prove the hypothesis I sought to test. Yet I’m going to do it again. Many times. Even though I know that […]
Tue 03 Aug 2021
Emma Smith
Agnostic Voynich

Can we unpack bench gallows? (No.)
This post is very long. A summary is provided at the bottom. The outcome is that I was unable to find an answer. Bench gallows [ckh, cth, cfh, cph] appear to be combinations of a gallows [k, t, f, p] and a bench [ch]. They also seem to have links with both benches and gallows. […]
Sun 01 Aug 2021
Emma Smith
Agnostic Voynich

Antonio Guayneri’s De Balneis…
Want to know about Antonio Guayneri? As always, Step One is to open Thorndike’s “History of Magic & Experimental Science” Book IV, and go straight to the index. OK: “Guaineri, Antonio, Chap. XLVII”. Let’s go, boiz. Thorndike largely contents himself with extracting the list of Guaineri’s (many) individual books from the 1481 editio princeps printed … Read More → The post Antonio Guayneri’s De Balneis… appeared first on Cipher ....
Thu 29 Jul 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Bench-initial line position
It has long been observed that bench glyphs, [ch] and [sh], are less frequent at the start of first words in a line. Certainly Currier had made this observation back in the 1970s. A related, but less well-known feature is that words beginning with a bench glyph and sometimes more frequent in the second position […]
Wed 28 Jul 2021
Emma Smith
Agnostic Voynich

Q13B’s bath complexes…
Even if we can’t (yet) read the Voynich Manuscript’s inscrutable ‘Voynichese’ text, and even if many (if not most) of its bifolios appear to be misordered and misbound, there are still a handful of places where we can (I think) reconstruct its original bifolio nesting. (Despite my own intensive efforts to do this for the … Read More → The post Q13B’s bath complexes… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sun 25 Jul 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Here’s how I plan to crack the Voynich Manuscript (2021)…
As with just about all historical research, simply wanting to find things out isn’t enough: you really have to have a plan to guide you. And while I can see an awful lot of people who want to crack the Voynich Manuscript, I can’t currently see many who are trying to do so guided by … Read More → The post Here’s how I plan to crack the Voynich Manuscript (2021)… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 24 Jul 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

What mistakes did Scribe 2 never make?
In her recent (2020) Manuscript Studies paper “How Many Glyphs and How Many Scribes? Digital Paleography and the Voynich Manuscript“, Lisa Fagin Davis builds up to the conclusion (p.179) “The fact that all of these collaborative methods involve Scribe 2 may suggest that she or he was in charge of the project in one way … Read More → The post What mistakes did Scribe 2 never make? appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 19 Jun 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Somerton Man: It’s Edge of the Seat Time…
Like a constipated true crime podcaster, I’m currently perched on the edge of my seat waiting for something solid to emerge. Now that SAPOL’s forensic finest (surely) have the Somerton Man’s DNA in their sweaty hands, what will it be able to tell us? One interesting thing about DNA searching is that even if you … Read More → The post Somerton Man: It’s Edge of the Seat Time… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sun 13 Jun 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Henry Debosnys: Crowdfunding DNA Extraction…?
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to work out if there was a way I could set up a funding page for a genealogist-driven collaborative effort to identify Henry Debosnys from his DNA. Obviously, the funding would need to cover the two physical stages: Extracting his DNA – the nice people at … Read More → The post Henry Debosnys: Crowdfunding DNA Extraction…? appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Wed 09 Jun 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Might Paul Olum have been the person behind Richard Feynman’s Ciphers?
A fascinating email from long-time Cipher Mysteries commenter Paul Relkin has alerted me to a pair of ciphers by mathematician Paul Olum (1918-2001), who knew Feynman at Princeton, and then worked with him at Los Alamos. Sure, you can read Olum’s Wikipedia page, but perhaps the best person to describe him is Richard Feynman himself … Read More → The post Might Paul Olum have been the person behind Richard Feynman’s Ciphers? appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Mon 31 May 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Somerton Man: “Three Main Theories”…
A couple of days ago, I listened to a ten-minute online Somerton Man piece on Radio National Breakfast with Fran Kelly, basically because Fran had Gerry Feltus phoning in to give his tuppence worth. (Am I allowed to say that Gerry didn’t seem as Royal Sovereign H pencil-sharp as normal?) As you’d expect, there wasn’t … Read More → The post Somerton Man: “Three Main Theories”… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Wed 26 May 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Review: Benedek Lang’s “The Rohonc Code”…
A copy of Benedek Lang’s nice-looking book “The Rohonc Codex: Tracing a Historical Riddle” landed on my doormat this week, courtesy of The Penn State University Press (its publisher). Its back cover blurb promises that it “surveys the fascinating theories associated with the Codex“, and that it finishes up by “pointing to a possible solution … Read More → The post Review: Benedek Lang’s “The Rohonc Code”… appeared first on Cipher ....
Sat 22 May 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Somerton Man Exhumation: And So It Begins…
As mentioned in a fair bit of Australia’s press, the exhumation of the Somerton Man has begun in West Terrace in the last 24 hours, with all the normal shots of PPE, tents, and mini-diggers accompanying the reports. Once the FSSA have processed the body (in whatever parlous state it’s in) and extracted the man’s … Read More → The post Somerton Man Exhumation: And So It Begins… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Wed 19 May 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Convicts escaped from Nouvelle-Caledonie…
While looking for lists of people “condamne a mort” in the tumult of 1871 France, I stumbled upon a list of 34 convicts who had escaped from France’s Pacific prisons in Nouvelle-Caledonie prior to 1876. (Which was what I had actually hoped to find, but hadn’t believed my archival luck was strong enough to do … Read More → The post Convicts escaped from Nouvelle-Caledonie… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Wed 12 May 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Final notes on Jean Keff and Pierre Keff…
Before moving on, I thought I ought to publish my last few notes on Jean Keff and Pierre Keff, in case someone passing happens to be trying to work out their family tree. (I should again stress what a good source of information filae.com is.) Children of Jean Keff & Reine Lichtenberger Note that in … Read More → The post Final notes on Jean Keff and Pierre Keff… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 08 May 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Sadly, Henry Debosnys was not Pierre Keff… :-(
I was certain the French archives would have good, solid information on historical prisoners, so went looking for them. And that’s how I found the official French archive site filae.com, which (modest paywall notwithstanding) was actually very impressive (To be precise, searching filae is a bit hit and miss, but the depth of the archives … Read More → The post Sadly, Henry Debosnys was not Pierre Keff… :-( appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Fri 07 May 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Jean Keff escaped Le Bagne de Toulon! (…sort of)
I wondered whether Retronews.fr (the BnF’s old newspaper site) might have anything to say on the subject of Jean Keff and Pierre Keff. To my surprise and pleasure, it did… Escape From Le Bagne de Toulon I quickly found two short news articles from 1872 concerning Jean Keff’s escape from Le Bagne de Toulon, in … Read More → The post Jean Keff escaped Le Bagne de Toulon! (…sort of) appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Tue 04 May 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Was Henry Debosnys in fact Pierre Keff?
A trawl through newspapers.com’s (paywalled) archive throws up various tidbits to do with fantasy-spinning wife-killer Henry Debosnys. For example, that his defence counsel consisted of Arod K. Dudley of Elizabethtown and Royal Corbin of Plattsburgh; that his brain “weighed fifty-two ounces“; and that on the day of his execution, “he commenced the day with his … Read More → The post Was Henry Debosnys in fact Pierre Keff? appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Mon 03 May 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

d’Agapeyeff Cipher: how about a sorted frequency distribution search of Project Gutenberg?
Even if (and I would not disagree that it’s a big ‘if’) we accept that the 14×14 rearrangement of the d’Agapeyeff Challenge Cipher’s Polybius square output is a staging point on the reconstructive road back to the original plaintext, we’re still left with an unknown transposition of an unknown substitution. Which is not great. 🙁 … Read More → The post d’Agapeyeff Cipher: how about a sorted frequency distribution search of Project Gutenberg? ....
Sat 01 May 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Sektu and Henry Debosnys
Some interesting correspondence in the last few days has brought the case of hanged murderer Henry Debosnys (along with his curious unsolved ciphers and his not-very-credible autobiography) back to mind. It has also reminded me of a number of Debosnys-related things I’ve been meaning to post to Cipher Mysteries for ages… Sektu on the Portuguese … Read More → The post Sektu and Henry Debosnys appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Fri 30 Apr 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

If not off-white, then what?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the off-white tie found in the suitcase the Somerton Man famously left at Adelaide’s railway station. Only an American gangster (or perhaps poor old Hector St Clair) would have a white tie to go with his black shirt: and what we’re looking at isn’t even a white tie, it’s … Read More → The post If not off-white, then what? appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Mon 26 Apr 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

“The Codebreaker” on PBS America, Wed 28 Apr 2021…
If you are in the UK and have an interest in historical codebreaking, I’d recommend moseying over to PBS America (Freeview channel 84) this coming Wednesday evening (28 April 2021) at 8.40pm for “The Codebreaker“. First aired in the US in January 2021, this documentary is on Elizebeth Friedman (1892-1980), whom I expect most Cipher … Read More → The post “The Codebreaker” on PBS America, Wed 28 Apr 2021… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sun 25 Apr 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Somerton Man exhumation approved, late middlegame approaches…
According to a big story in today’s (24 Jan 2021) Adelaide Advertiser (a huge thanks to all the people who passed it my way, very much appreciated!), an application by South Australian Police last month to exhume the Somerton Man has just been approved by Attorney-General Vickie Chapman. The plan is to extract a full … Read More → The post Somerton Man exhumation approved, late middlegame approaches… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 24 Apr 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Introducing the “suffixity” metric (perhaps)…
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Sun 18 Apr 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Walthamstow’s Second Biggest Mystery
Though not quite as big a mystery as why boy band East 17 was so popular, Walthamstow now has its own cipher mystery: a series of curious graffiti-ed number codes. Reuben Binns started noting these back in 2018: Looking closely, you can see that these are typically 2-8-7 or 2-7-7 numeric codes, and that they … Read More → The post Walthamstow’s Second Biggest Mystery appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 17 Apr 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Direct From The Source
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Sun 11 Apr 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Keane – What’s In A Name?
Imagine, if you will, that everything about the Somerton Man is somehow embedded in the name written on the back of the off-white tie found in the suitcase left in Adelaide Station. Can we decrypt the life hidden in this writing? Well… we can certainly try to, right? As normal, let’s examine it reaaaaally closely… … Read More → The post Keane – What’s In A Name? appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Tue 16 Mar 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Kean on ships…
I’ve been raking over Ancestry.com, trying to take the search for the Somerton Man back to archival basics. For example: we have a first initial (T or J) we have a surname (Kean or Keane) we have a rough date of birth (1900, plus or minus five years) we know he had no tattoos / … Read More → The post Kean on ships… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Mon 08 Mar 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Can you decode Robert Walker’s code names?
James Robert Walker’s life story, smuggled out of Pentridge Jail just before his suicide, was sensationally serialized in the Argus in September 1954 to October 1954. If you want to read it, I edited it into a single downloadable file here. I found it of particular interest because in the early 1940s Walker ran his … Read More → The post Can you decode Robert Walker’s code names? appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sun 28 Feb 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

The Old Canton Cafe Baccarat School Timeline…
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Sat 20 Feb 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

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