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The last 30 Voynich blog posts from the community across the web... Posted on From
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

Ernst Zinner’s history of nocturlabes…
As should be clear from the last few posts here, my Voynich research focus has recently turned to the wave of astronomical instruments that appeared in the German-speaking lands in the first half of the fifteenth century. The person behind much of this wave would appear to be John of Gmunden (AKA Johannes von Gmunden, … Read More → The post Ernst Zinner’s history of nocturlabes… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Sat 25 Apr 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

The ‘theorice novelle’, and how the pieces fit together…
It turns out that the timeline of theoricae planetarum I previously put forward was missing three important entries: Theorica planetarum [antiqua] (misattributed to Gerard of Cremona) Theorica planetarum of Campanus of Novara Jean de Lignieres’ abbreviation of Campanus of Novara’s theorica Petrus Philomena de Dacia (Peter Nightingale)’s Equatorium Theorica novelle Theoricae novae planetarum of Georg … Read More → The post The ‘theorice novelle’, and how ....
Sat 18 Apr 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Astronomical volvelles, Gianfranco Crupi, and a request for help…
It struck me increasingly hard as I reached the end of my last post that I didn’t really know the history of astronomical volvelles in manuscripts. That is, pretty much all the astronomical volvelles I’d actually seen images of were either in incunabula or were from the 16th century (printed books or otherwise). For example, … Read More → The post Astronomical volvelles, Gianfranco Crupi, and a request for help… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Mon 13 Apr 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

The Theorica Planetarum hypothesis and research landscape…
Back in 2006, I argued (in ‘Curse’, pp.58-61) that a series of seven consecutive circular diagrams in the Voynich Manuscript’s Q9 (‘Quire 9’) and Q10 probably represented the seven ‘planets’ of traditional astrology / astronomy. (Note that the wide Q9 bifolio had been incorrectly rebound at some point in the manuscript’s history, making this sequence … Read More → The post The Theorica Planetarum hypothesis and research landscape… ....
Sun 12 Apr 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Might Gotha Chart. A 472 be connected to Voynich Q9?
While idly flicking through the splendid ex-library copy of Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt’s (1929) “Schwäbische Federzeichnungen” that landed on my doorstep this morning, my eye was drawn to Abb. 52, a drawing from Gotha Chart A 158 (and more on that another time). What is Gotha (and might it be home to Batma?), and how come it … Read More → The post Might Gotha Chart. A 472 be connected to Voynich Q9? appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Mon 30 Mar 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Hans Wegener’s drive-by guide to UB Heidelberg’s 15th Century German illustrated manuscripts…
If, like me, you’ve been looking for a nice guide to illustrated manuscripts in the Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg’s Cod. Pal. Germ. collection for a while, you’re in for a bit of a treat here. 🙂 German librarian / book historian Hans Wegener’s (1927) “Beschreibendes Verzeichnis der deutschen Bilder-Handschriften des späten Mittelalters in der Heidelberger Universitäts-Bibliothek” (which … Read More → The post Hans Wegener’s drive-by guide ....
Sat 28 Mar 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Eichstätt, Bellifortis, scribes…
While searching for the early 15th century German source images from which some images in the Voynich Manuscript were copied, we have so far found two manuscripts of the Welcher Gast (one from Eichstätt (1420), and one from Heilsbronn) that contain some eerily Voynichian motifs – a bird, a fish, and a child. But are … Read More → The post Eichstätt, Bellifortis, scribes… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Mon 23 Mar 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Thomasin von Zerklaere’s “Italian Guest” (Welscher Gast)…
A recent comment by Marco Ponzi on Voynich Ninja helpfully highlighted a 2019 comment there by Linda which pretty much everyone else had overlooked. She had previously suggested visual parallels between the Voynich Manuscript’s drawings and the ones in Erlangen-Nürnberg, Universitätsbibliothek MS B7, but when Marco (and then Koen Gheuens too) looked a little further, … Read More → The post Thomasin von Zerklaere’s “Italian Guest” (Welscher Gast)… appeared ....
Fri 20 Mar 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Adelaide car thieves (1951)…
Here’s a nice article on Trove from September 1951 that I think sets a fair level of expectation about how car thieves and car theft worked at that time in Adelaide. Enjoy! 🙂 C.I.B. WINNING BATTLE WITH JOYRIDERS Motorists can cut car thefts Detectives are slowly, but surely winning the battle of wits with Adelaide’s … Read More → The post Adelaide car thieves (1951)… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Fri 13 Mar 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

Chewing gum, foil wrappers, and car thieves…
It just struck me that I haven’t seen anyone suggest that the most useful part of the Somerton Man’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum packaging might simply have been the aluminium (AKA “aluminum”, before any American readers choke on their Coke) foil wrapper around each thin stick of isoamyl-acetate-flavoured gum. As thedude747 posted in a comment … Read More → The post Chewing gum, foil wrappers, and car thieves… appeared first on Cipher Mysteries.
Tue 10 Mar 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

The “St George’s Convent Library” Voynich theory…
My recent “Pax Nax Vax revisited” post led me to a new Voynich hypothesis that I don’t recall reading anywhere. Given that (as Jan Hurych helpfully pointed out) our Voynich-owning chum Jakub Hořčický (Sinapius) became capitaneus / administrator of the properties of St George’s Convent in Prague Castle in 1606, might Sinapius have simply swiped the Voynich … Read More → The post The “St George’s Convent Library” Voynich theory… appeared ....
Sun 23 Feb 2020
Nick Pelling
Cipher Mysteries

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