Has your cat ever walked across your keyboard? Well, it’s not a new problem. Medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel recently Tweeted this photo of a 15th century book with… you guessed it… cat paw prints in ink on the pages! We’re part of a long and glorious historical movement, friends. (Source: Dr. Marty Becker)
The Voynich manuscript, described as “the world’s most mysterious manuscript”, is a work which dates to the early 15th century, possibly from northern Italy. It is named after the book dealer Wilfrid Voynich, who purchased it in 1912.
Some pages are missing, but the current version comprises about 240 vellum pages, most with illustrations. Much of the manuscript resembles herbal manuscripts of the time period, seeming to present illustrations and information about plants and their possible uses for medical purposes. However, most of the plants do not match known species, and the manuscript’s script and language remain unknown and unreadable. Possibly some form of encrypted 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.
As yet, it has defied all decipherment attempts, becoming a cause célèbre of historical cryptology. The mystery surrounding it has excited the popular imagination, making the manuscript a subject of both fanciful theories and novels. None of the many speculative solutions proposed over the last hundred years has yet been independently verified.
Original manuscript for Alice in Wonderland hand written and illustrated by Lewis Carroll, 1862
Beautiful! I am currently in the midst of organizing my own Alice in Wonderland costume themed 21st for next weekend- all this DIYing is a full-time job!