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The last 30 Voynich blog posts from the community across the web... Posted on From
Edwin Morgan’s “The Computer’s First Code Poem” (1968)…
Here’s a little cipher (semi-)mystery for you. The 20th century poet Edwin Morgan was so taken by the emerging world of computers that in 1949 he started collecting together files / scrapbooks of cybernetics clippings and notes. Given that, once Morgan began his concrete poetry phase in 1962, it was somehow natural that he would … Read More → The post Edwin Morgan’s “The Computer’s First Code Poem” (1968)… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sun 10 Oct 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Charles Gazzam Hurd and the Somerton Man…?
A month ago, I exchanged a series of emails with a nice – though somewhat retiring – correspondent, who suggested that I might consider whether the Somerton Man was in fact Charles Gazzam Hurd. Here’s Hurd and his son (Charles Gazzam Hurd Jr): The Disappeared The last we know of Hurd’s life (from The Doe … Read More → The post Charles Gazzam Hurd and the Somerton Man…? appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sun 19 Sep 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

At last, a Voynich testicle theory!
And yes, you have me to blame for it. So here goes… It all starts in Frascati… Today’s story begins in the Voynich Centenary Conference back in 2012, with – as I recall – a bunch of Voynicheros crowding around my Jean-Claude Gawsewitch Voynich Manuscript photo-facsimile. With the pages turned to some of the Q13A … Read More → The post At last, a Voynich testicle theory! appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 11 Sep 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

“The pompous loop”…
I’ve just found a very intriguing reference to Anthony Petti’s (1977) book “English literary hands from Chaucer to Dryden” (a copy of which which I have of course ordered, and which I hope will arrive within the next month). It was mentioned by Isabel De la Cruz-Cabanillas and Irene Diego-Rodríguez of the University of Alcalá … Read More → The post “The pompous loop”… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Mon 23 Aug 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

The Keff family that disappeared…
I recently posted about my search for Edouard Keff, and noted that it was possible that he might have been born in Chateaurouge as a brother of Jean Keff and Pierre Keff whose troubled (bagnard) histories I had previously found. As part of all this, I ended up doing my best to reconstruct the Keff … Read More → The post The Keff family that disappeared… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 21 Aug 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Some Grove words are valid
Several years ago I wrote a few thoughts on Grove words. One of the points I made is that some Grove words are likely to be valid. I specifically made this argument: Yet 31% of words with the gallows removed have no occurrences, which presses for an explanation. There may be two reasons for this. […]
Mon 16 Aug 2021
Emma Smith
Agnostic Voynich

The Hunt for Edouard Keff continues…
If you recall, a French journalist claimed that the real identity of mysterious wife murderer Henri Debosnys was in fact poetic fantasist Edward (Edouard) Keff: and that the journalist had been at the Lycee Charlemagne in Paris with Keff in 1845 (at the age of about 12). Unfortunately, my previous efforts to trace any such … Read More → The post The Hunt for Edouard Keff continues… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sun 15 Aug 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Benches in first line position: some progress
A little while ago I made a post about benches [ch] and [sh] at the start of a line. In the post I attempted to “restore” words with initial benches by removing preceding glyphs. The attempt wasn’t a great success and I could not find the solid answer that I wanted. I’ve begun approaching the […]
Sun 15 Aug 2021
Emma Smith
Agnostic Voynich

Somerton Man: Latest News…
I recently emailed FSSA (Forensic Science South Australia) for an update on their forensic investigation into the Somerton Man. They very kindly replied: SA Police have carriage of the investigation to identify the Somerton Man. We have had a forensic case meeting recently in Adelaide involving Forensic Science SA, National DNA Program for Unidentified Human … Read More → The post Somerton Man: Latest News… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 14 Aug 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Antonio Guayneri’s De Balneis, transcribed…
My last post discussed the various copies of Antonio Guayneri’s De Balneis still extant: since then, I have (with the kind help of Stefano Guidoni) managed to get phone scans of MS Torino 1200 (with the shelfmark H.II.16). I also found a nice site with solid information about Guayneri, including his epitaph from the Church … Read More → The post Antonio Guayneri’s De Balneis, transcribed… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sun 08 Aug 2021
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

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

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