The Voynich Manuscript, a mysterious compilation of drawings of strange plants, naked figures, elegant prose, and other wonder-inducing facets, has stumped the best cryptographers in the world. The manuscript was carbon dated and is believed to have originated some time between 1404 and 1438. The manuscript itself is named after famed antiquarian, Wilfrid Voynich who acquired it around 1912 from a collection of books belonging to the Jesuits in Italy, and then exposed it to the public.
However, we still don't quite know who penned the original. Many believed it was the work of 13th century English Franciscan, Roger Bacon, who was so deeply interested in alchemy and magic it eventually secured him a jail cell. As previously noted, because it was carbon dated to be from the early-mid 1400s, this is impossible.
On top of not knowing the exact date, or author...we have no idea what the intent was. The strange drawings and prose lead some to believe it may be the key to eternal youth, an elaborate joke, or even something left behind by an alien. Or, is it simply a collection of herbal medicine and cures? Though, it should be noted, none of the plans drawn have ever been identified.
The book is currently housed under lock-and-key (okay, and a vault) in Yale University's Beinecke Library and is allowed to emerge from the shadows only once in a blue moon.
Siloe, a small publishing house deep in northern Spain, decided they wanted to get their hands on this elusive and intriguing manuscript.After a 10-year fight for access, it has secured the astonishing right to clone the document.
Director of Siloe, Juan Jose Garcia, says "Touching the Voynich is an expereince...It's a book that has such an aura of mystery that when you see it for the first time..it fills you with an emotion that is very hard to describe."
But just because Siloe got access, don't count yourself lucky enough to get a hold of it as an individual just yet. Siloe most likely was finally awarded access because it specializes in making facsimiles of old manuscripts. However, you might be able to get your hands on a reprint - they have the rights to make exactly 898 replicas of each work it clones. You might have to spend a pretty penny though, as Siloe is currently pricing the copies, once completed, at about 7,000 to 8,000 euros. Oh, and there are already almost 300 pre-orders!
The process will be a long one, though. It will take about 18 months to make the first facsimiles.The book contains over 200 pages, including several large fold-cutouts, so it is not an easy process.
And their intense attention to detail makes this process, and the finished product, even more realistic.They will be specially treating the paper with a paste developed by the company and give it a special treatment to make it feel like the stiff, hard parchment of the original. The pages will also be artificially ages and all the imperfections will be re-created.
Jokingly, Garcia quotes one of his business partners as saying..."the author of the Voynich could also have been a sadist, as he has us all wrapped up in this mystery".