Secret societies, ancient manuscripts and mysteriuous rituals have always made for interesting fiction, Indiana Jones style. One disappointing thing about such fiction is that… it’s only fiction after all.

However, there is a book, a real book which for almost a century now has been giving linguists and cryptologists many sleepless nights. And the mystery is yet to be solved. Have you ever heard of…

…the Voynich manuscript? Check out: Mystery Voynich manuscript gets preliminary alphabet




  • gibberish – meaningless or unintelligible talk or writing
  • scribbles – handwriting, especially when illegible
  • juniper
  • home in on – move toward or focus on a goal
  • oodles – a large quantity
  • stark – sheer, utter, downright, or complete


Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • What are linguists and cryptologists debating in relation to the Voynich manuscript?
  • When and where did the controversy surrounding the Voynich manuscript start?
  • How did Bax go about decoding the meaning behind the mysterious language? What does he compare this to?
  • How did Pax manage to assign sound to the letter “c?”
  • What aspect of the Voynich manuscript does Bowern find most promising as far as decoding its meaning is concerned?


Practice makes perfect


Fill in the blank spaces with the correct forms of the words in CAPITAL LETTERS.

  • For nearly a decade, linguists and ________ ENCRYPT have obsessed over the medieval Voynich manuscript, ________ VIGOR debating whether it represents a long-lost language, or gibberish. 
  • Bax ________ OPTION for a letter-by-letter approach.
  • Bax ________ LIKE this to techniques used in decoding Egyptian hieroglyphs that ________ HOME in on the names of pharaohs.
  • A real ________ BREAK will occur when a significant portion of the manuscript is explained.
  • He believes it might be the written form of an ________ OTHER unwritten dialect. 

Explore it more


Voynich manuscript on Wikipedia