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The last 30 Voynich blog posts from the community across the web... Posted on From
The Old Canton Cafe Baccarat School Timeline…
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Sat 20 Feb 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Notes on Balutz…
I was recently reminded that, having got sidetracked by Triantafillos & Stelios Balutis, I hadn’t got round to returning to the Balutz line of inquiry. So here are some notes on Balutz-surnamed people to keep you going. 🙂 By the way, even though you might think that “Balutz” came from the slum district of Bałuty … Read More → The post Notes on Balutz… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sun 14 Feb 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Why would a Lithuanian be called “Joseph Kean”?
This is, of the course, the single question that bothered me most after writing my most recent post on the Somerton Man. As you’d expect, almost all the Keans/Keanes I found were Scottish or Irish immigrants: but, sticking out like a sore thumb, there was a single British Joseph Kean with two Lithuanian parents. I … Read More → The post Why would a Lithuanian be called “Joseph Kean”? appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sun 07 Feb 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

The Somerton Man, Four Straight As, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the 1930 US Census…?
Ever the provocateur, Pete Bowes’ latest challenge concerns the fact that if you look at each of the four short uncrossed-out lines of mysterious text indented on the back of the Somerton Man’s Rubaiyat, the seventh letter is always A. Well, he says, what are the odds of that, then? So Let’s Run the Numbers… … Read More → The post The Somerton Man, Four Straight As, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the 1930 US Census…? appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 06 Feb 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Was SM a boxer, a wrestler, or a clog dancer?
And yes, he could have been all three, or indeed none of them. But please bear with me, there’s a lot of ground to cover here. Boxing The background here is that I suspect that in the late 1930s to the 1940s, the Somerton Man ended up as some kind of criminal ‘heavy’ (e.g. a … Read More → The post Was SM a boxer, a wrestler, or a clog dancer? appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Mon 25 Jan 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

“Mostly Harmless” now identified as ‘vaejor’…
In a recent post, I briefly mentioned an unidentified hiker known as “Mostly Harmless” who had been found dead in a tent in Florida in the summer of 2018. He had a fat wodge of cash in his pocket, a very distinctive scar, and some kind of connection to an online game called Screeps. As … Read More → The post “Mostly Harmless” now identified as ‘vaejor’… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 23 Jan 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

The Tamarin Bay Cipher Mystery…
Mauritius has long had a surfeit of treasure hunters, though also a shortage of actual treasures. In fact, in Alix d’Unienville’s (1954) “Les Mascareignes: Vielle France en mer indienne“, M. Aimé de Sornay asserts (p.236) that almost all Mauritian treasure hunters focus on what we might call The Big Two: La Buse’s treasure and Bernardin … Read More → The post The Tamarin Bay Cipher Mystery… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sun 17 Jan 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Cipher mystery things I aim to find out in 2021…
Researching cipher mysteries is almost always ponderous and frustrating: it will doubtless take all of 2021 for the work I put in to the WW2 pigeon cipher and the Bernardin Nageon de l’Estang letters during 2020 to bear fruit. Yet what Dave Oranchak’s recent epic crack of the Z340 tells us is that if we … Read More → The post Cipher mystery things I aim to find out in 2021… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sun 03 Jan 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

After Z340, which cipher mysteries could get cracked in 2021?
In the wake of Dave Oranchak’s epic crack of the Zodiac Killer’s Z340 cipher, which other unsolved ciphers might get cracked in 2021? For me, the way the Z340 was solved highlighted a number of issues: It seems very likely to me that other long-standing cipher mysteries will also require collaboration between entirely different kinds … Read More → The post After Z340, which cipher mysteries could get cracked in 2021? appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Wed 30 Dec 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

“A Massive Hunt” – Clarkson, Hammond & May take on a Cipher Mystery…
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Sun 27 Dec 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Zodiac Z340 is CRACKED!
Dave Oranchak posted today about how he (along with Jarlve and Sam Blake) cracked the Zodiac Killer’s infamous Z340 cipher. Here’s his video: Unsurprisingly (to me), it turned out that code breakers had been (kind of) close for some time, with the single largest tell (than never quite told) being the curious results you get … Read More → The post Zodiac Z340 is CRACKED! appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Fri 11 Dec 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

The Glut of Somerton Men…
The Somerton Man, found dead by the sea wall on Somerton Beach in the early morning of 1st December 1948, has had innumerable speculative theories pinned to his unnamed corpse over the years. Was he a Soviet spy, an international man of mystery, a former lover, an errant parent, a Third Officer, a gangster, a … Read More → The post The Glut of Somerton Men… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Tue 17 Nov 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

The Nageon de l’Estangs in 1760…
Here’s an official document (from 1760, according to my notes) from the Mauritian Archives that my French is just not good enough to read completely. Can a French Cipher Mysteries reader be kind enough to transcribe it for us all? Please post your transcription as a comment below, and I’ll update the post as quickly … Read More → The post The Nageon de l’Estangs in 1760… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sun 08 Nov 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Hidden treasure, Pointe de Vacoas, and 300 dead dodos…
In my last Cipher Mysteries post, I floated the idea that when Bernardin Nageon de l’Estang famously wrote that… j’ai naufragé dans une crique près des Vaquois … he may have been referring not to the town or inland area called Vacoas, but rather to Pointe de Vacoas on Mauritius’ South-Eastern coast, which was close … Read More → The post Hidden treasure, Pointe de Vacoas, and 300 dead dodos… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Tue 03 Nov 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

“Carte générale de l’Isle de France avec le détail de son Terrier et les noms des habitans par numéros”…
This “Carte générale” is a really great 18th century map of Mauritius held at the BNF, one that Cipher Mysteries commenter Anthony Lallaizon alerted me to. The BNF shelfmark is “département Cartes et plans, GE C-9307“. Note that the BNF also has a second map of Mauritius that seems to be an updated copy of … Read More → The post “Carte générale de l’Isle de France avec le détail de son Terrier et les noms des habitans par numéros”… appeared ....
Sun 01 Nov 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Domingo Delgado and the “Amelia Manuscript”…
You might be interested to know that an interview with (relatively new) Voynich researcher Domingo Delgado was posted to YouTube a few days ago. In this, Delgado describes how he thinks the Voynich Manuscript was: made in Italy (because he thinks the handwriting is distinctively Italian); made in the 15th century (largely because of the … Read More → The post Domingo Delgado and the “Amelia Manuscript”… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 24 Oct 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Why a Hoopoe’s Heart?
Everyone knows Macbeth’s witch’s ingredient list: Fillet of a fenny snake, / In the cauldron boil and bake;   Eye of newt, and toe of frog, / Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,   Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting, / Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing, […] While real medieval recipes were hardly averse to a bit … Read More → The post Why a Hoopoe’s Heart? appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sun 11 Oct 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Typex seen through code-breaking eyes…
Previous posts here have established (I believe) that the WW2 Pigeon Cipher was almost certainly encrypted using the British Typex cipher machine. So I think it would be a good idea to look at this message from a Typex code-breaker’s point of view. While Kelly Chang’s (2012) master’s project on the cryptanalysis of Typex is … Read More → The post Typex seen through code-breaking eyes… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 10 Oct 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Looking for a Baltimore / Washington crypto collaborator…
This website may have been quiet-ish of late, but the lights here at Cipher Mysteries Mansion have been burning into the night. Yes: once again, I find myself hot on the trail of one of the ‘classic’ unbroken historical ciphers. Intriguingly, what I’ve found is that there is some hugely useful information out there relating … Read More → The post Looking for a Baltimore / Washington crypto collaborator… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 03 Oct 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Brief notes on Voynichese benched gallows…
I mentioned in a comment on Koen G’s recent post that I thought that Voynichese benched gallows (i.e. gallows that have a ch glyph struck through them) may well be nothing more complex than a different way of writing gallows+ch; and that I thought this was much more likely than the alternative notion that it … Read More → The post Brief notes on Voynichese benched gallows… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Tue 29 Sep 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Comparing Voynichese word-initial l- with ol- and al-…
I recently mentioned in a comment that my working hypothesis was word-initial EVA l- was a different token to EVA l elsewhere: and Emma May Smith asked me what evidence I had for that statement. So I thought I’d post a few stats to throw onto the fire. The Evidence Just to be clear, though: … Read More → The post Comparing Voynichese word-initial l- with ol- and al-… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sun 20 Sep 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Glyph Distribution Diversity
Each glyph in the Voynich script has a different distribution. Some occur in a particular position, such as the start, middle, or end of words, or adjacent to specific glyphs, such as [q] before [o]. Some glyphs may appear adjacent to many others, some only a few. We can think of glyphs as having a […]
Thu 17 Sep 2020
Emma Smith
Agnostic Voynich

Can You Name This Man?
Here are some nice period photos for you, and a little challenge. 🙂 While looking on Trove for white ties (as per the one which was famously in the Somerton Man’s suitcase), I stumbled upon the Sam Hood Photographic Collection II’s Theatrical subsection, which contained this intriguing white-tied image (“308. Smoker with violin case”): There … Read More → The post Can You Name This Man? appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sun 13 Sep 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

On single-leg gallows and the benefits of having more questions than answers…
Since posting about Voynichese’s strange single leg gallows behaviours a few days ago, I have continued to think about this topic. On the one hand, it’s clear to me how little of any genuine substance we actually know about how they work; and on the other, I’ve been wondering how I can start some broadening … Read More → The post On single-leg gallows and the benefits of having more questions than answers… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 05 Sep 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Introducing Virtual Typex…
I missed Virtual Typex‘s launch back in March 2020, but a Cipher Mysteries review is better late than never, eh? The short version: Virtual Typex is a gloriously techy bit of onscreen kit, that simulates all the moving components of a Typex cipher machine in a visually satisfying way. You’ll need a big monitor to … Read More → The post Introducing Virtual Typex… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Mon 31 Aug 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

The Mystery of the Single Leg Gallows…
Anyone who proposes that Voynichese works in a ‘flat’ (i.e. straightforward) way has a number of extremely basic problems to overcome. For a start, there are the Voynichese’s ‘LAAFU’ (Emma May Smith’s acronym for Captain Prescott Currier’s phrase “Line As A Functional Unit”, though she now prefers to talk about “line patterns”) behaviours to account … Read More → The post The Mystery of the Single Leg Gallows… appeared ....
Sat 29 Aug 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Might “Handel” be the Somerton Man Messiah?
Pretty much everyone who has had a look at the Somerton Man mystery at some stage ends up raking through Gerry Feltus’ book “The Unknown Man” for research leads to follow. So let’s hear what Gerry has to say about “Handel” (p.59): At 11 a.m. on 7 January [1949] Detective Sergeant A Evans had a … Read More → The post Might “Handel” be the Somerton Man Messiah? appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 22 Aug 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Paolo Guinigi and ciphers…
Paolo Guinigi was Lord of Lucca at the start of the 15th century: the Lucca archives hold the Governo da Paolo Guinigi (“GPG”), a substantial collection of his correspondence from 1400 to 1430 (he died in 1432). Of interest to cipher historians is that some of this correspondence may well be enciphered. [Incidentally, thanks very … Read More → The post Paolo Guinigi and ciphers… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Wed 10 Jun 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Sad news: Mary D’Imperio has just died.
According to a news item I found just now, Mary D’Imperio died on 28th May 2020 in Springfield VA, at the age of 90. The details were relayed by her cousin Robert G. D’Imperio. Voynich researcher Don Hoffman visited her a few times in December 2019 at the nursing home she was in. He put … Read More → The post Sad news: Mary D’Imperio has just died. appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Tue 02 Jun 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

The Visitation, an Auxiliary Bishop, and banderoles…
Apparently it’s Voynich Art History trivia weekend here at Cipher Mysteries. First up is this and this, both prints of Master E.S.’s “The Visitation” that I found recently: Though classily executed, this is clearly (I think) in the same family as Diebold Lauber’s couples and the Voynich Manuscript Virgo roundel couple. Ex Libris I also … Read More → The post The Visitation, an Auxiliary Bishop, and banderoles… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 02 May 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

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