Cracked has talked about the Voynich manuscript before, but no one's figured it out since then, so we're going to keep talking about it until one of you lazy bastards cracks it. Because it's certainly one of the most famous invented languages ever observed, unless it's gibberish, which it still might be.
This could be nothing, or hilarious, or really, really racist. We just don't know.
If you aren't familiar with it, the Voynich manuscript turned up in the collection of a literary collector in the early 20th century, but it's been carbon dated to sometime in the early 15th century. It's written in a completely unknown language using a completely unknown alphabet, and, just for fun, it's filled with strange drawings of completely unknown biological things and plants. "Bigfoot" is as good an explanation for its origin as any. "Bigfoot wrote this and read it back to himself while jerking off" is even better.
"Yessssss. All Bigfoot's shorties up in the green soup, getting all soupy."
All sorts of cryptographers and linguists have tried to crack the language, revealing a grand total of jack zilch. It's a little like existing languages, but not a lot, and it's full of strange features that don't show up anywhere else in the world. The best guess right now is that it's either a cypher of some kind, which is sort of plausible but for the fact that people back then weren't that good with codes, or a hoax, which is sort of plausible but for the fact that it really, really looks like an actual language, and people weren't that good at creating fake languages back then.
Edward Kelley was suspected of creating it as a hoax, primarily because of his
reputation as a schemer who always kept fake manuscripts hidden in his hat.
So we don't know. Do you know? You should tell someone.
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist who likes it when they get all soupy, too. Join him on Facebook or Twitter to express your disgust.
For more from Bucholz, check out 5 Facts About Colors That Will Change How You See the World and So You're Now a Mech Warrior.
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