Voynich manuscript  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

thumb|400px|The Voynich manuscript The Voynich manuscript is a handwritten book thought to have been written in the early 15th century and comprising about 240 vellum pages,{{#tag:ref|The exact number of pages depends on how the fold-outs are counted.|group=notes}} most with illustrations. Although many possible authors have been proposed, the author, script, and language remain unknown. It has been described as "the world's most mysterious manuscript".

Generally presumed to be some kind of ciphertext, the Voynich manuscript has been studied by many professional and amateur cryptographers, including American and British codebreakers from both World War I and World War II. Yet it has defied all decipherment attempts, becoming a historical cryptology cause célèbre. The mystery surrounding it has excited the popular imagination, making the manuscript a subject of both fanciful theories and novels.

In 2009, University of Arizona researchers performed C14 dating on the manuscript's vellum, which they assert (with 95% confidence) was made between 1404 and 1438. In addition, the McCrone Research Institute in Chicago found that much of the ink was added not long afterwards, confirming that the manuscript is an authentic medieval document.

The book is named after the Polish-Lithuanian-American book dealer Wilfrid M. Voynich, who acquired it in 1912. The Voynich manuscript is owned by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University, and is formally referred to as "Beinecke MS 408". The first facsimile edition was published in 2005.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Voynich manuscript" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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