Does anyone remember those ‘O’ and ‘A’ level GCE questions that began with the words: “compare and contrast?”
Don’t panic, I’m not setting an exam question, and I’m not really going to either compare or contrast the two documents I’m about to write about. However, neither text is very well known and the only similarity with “compare and contrast” is that one is accepted as being a genuine manuscript, whilst the other is probably a fake.
So I’ll start with the real article.
THE VOYNICH MANUSCRIPT
The Voynich Manuscript measures around seven by ten inches, and contains approximately 250 pages, although it may have originally contained more.
Apart from the many drawings and diagrams, it is written in an as yet unknown language that is believed to be encoded, but it has eluded all attempts at deciphering.
Thought to have been compiled in Europe during mediaeval times, it was discovered in Italy in 1912 by an antiquarian bookseller named Wilfrid M. Voynich. He found it in a Jesuit College in Frascati and bought it from them. Then, in 1961 he sold it to an expert on rare books, called H. P. Kraus, for a large sum of money.
Eight years later Mr. Kraus also attempted to sell it, for an even larger amount of money, but was totally unsuccessful. So he donated it to Yale University, who suspect it might have been written by the British Franciscan cleric Roger Bacon; who lived between 1214 and 1294. Bacon had an interest in alchemy and was at one time imprisoned by the church. Not a great deal is known about the early history of the manuscript, but it does appear to have been bought by the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Rudolph II, for the sum of 600 ducats.
He lived between the years of 1552 and 1612 and had a great interest in all things esoteric. When the document turned up in 1912 it contained a letter, dated 1666, from a Johannes Marcus Marci, the rector of Prague University. It was written to Athanasius Kircher, a Jesuit scholar, and showed the manuscript to have been bought by Emperor Rudolph II.
The document contains a great many coloured illustrations, amongst which are those seeming to depict: herbal recipes; unknown plants; charts that seem to show the signs of the zodiac; strange charts that appear to be depictions of what would be seen in the sky when looking through a telescope; microscopic cells; and naked women in bathtubs that seem to show plumbing.
The Beinecke rare book and manuscript library at Yale University now houses the Voynich Manuscript. In its introduction it states that:
“Scientific or magical text in an unidentified language, in cipher, apparently based on Roman minuscule characters; the text is believed by some scholars to be the work of Roger Bacon since the themes of the illustrations seem to represent topics known to have interested Bacon.”
A history of the numerous attempts to decipher the manuscript can be found in a volume edited by R. S. Brumbaugh, “The Most Mysterious Manuscript: The Voynich “Roger Bacon” Cipher Manuscript (Carbondale, Illinois, 1978).”
At the following Yale University link you can also read a complete description of what the manuscript comprises, together with an account of how it actually looks, e.g. colours, subject matter, writing materials, type of paper, etc: The six sections it contains are categorized as being:
“Botanical sections; Astronomical or astrological section; “Biological” section; Sextuple-folio folding leaf contains an elaborate array of nine medallions, filled with stars and cell-like shapes, with fibrous structures linking the circles. Some medallions with petal-like arrangements of rays filled with stars, some with structures resembling bundles of pipes; Pharmaceutical section; Continuous text.”
It also lists the contents of supplementary material relevant to the document. One of the most interesting pieces of information on the page states that:
“The identification of several of the plants as New World specimens brought back to Europe by Columbus indicates that the manuscript could not have been written before 1493.”
All of the above can be found in this report.
Of course, there are many websites either devoted to the Voynich Manuscript, or at least having good articles about it.
One of the best is dedicated to the document and, on it’s index page reads:
“There is a 16th Century manuscript called “The Voynich Manuscript,” (often called the most mysterious book in the world), who’s translation has eluded cryptographers and linguists for almost a hundred years. This site is packed with information about it, and offers both a long, and a short, tour:”
There is also a site that takes a very intellectual look at the Voynich Manuscript. This has a mailing list which was begun in 1991 for the benefit of academic researchers. According to the site it comprises “cryptographers, linguists, botanists, astronomers, paleographers, medievalists, historians, astrologers and even a few crackpots,” many with different approaches and transcribing techniques.
It also includes the following piece of information:
“The text is written in a neat and clear script which has defied attempts at interpretation by some of the best cryptographic minds available including Athanasius Kircher; noted cryptologist Brig. John Tiltman, head of the British codebreaking establishment at Bletchley Park during World War II; and William F. Friedman, the famous American code breaker who turned cryptanalysis into a science and led the team that broke the Japanese Purple cipher machine.”
You can find the site here.
Computer analysis of the text show there are two “languages” being used, Voynich A and Voynich B.
Since 1919, there have been various attempts to decipher the code, but it seems that the text cannot be simply changed into, e.g. English, Latin, etc: However, two separate attempts were made by W. Friedman and J. Tiltman, who both came to the conclusion that the language was artificial.
As with many other artifacts of unknown origin there have been shouts of “Hoax!” especially as the document still remains almost totally un-deciphered.
Some would maintain that it was a 16th Century fake that was done simply to sell to the Emperor Rudolph II for a very large amount of money, given his interest in so many arcane things. However, the idea of it being a forgery has not been proved.
A short list of some of those who have tried to crack the cryptography of the code in this report.
However, a psychologist, Dr. Gordon Rugg, who teaches computer science at Keele University, in the UK, believes he may have a very good idea as to how the text was created. But he came to his conclusions using the good old-fashioned paper and pen method, rather than using a computer. In the days of Queen Elizabeth I she had an astrologer named John Dee. He had an assistant called Edward Kelley, who most modern historians now believe to have been a fraud.
But Kelley was very interested in cryptology and Rugg thinks he may well have faked the Voynich Manuscript. So he used one of Kelley’s methods, a grid of 40 rows and 39 columns to make a table. He then filled it in with syllables from the document and put a lattice made from cardboard on top of it. This frame comprised three squares in a diagonal pattern, and he began to make words by reading each syllable as he moved the grid across the columns and down the rows. All of which resulted in producing the same internal patterns as those found in the manuscript.
Dr. Rugg calls the approach he used the Verifier Approach; which addresses what might be called the “expertise gap” in the academic world. Whilst doing his research Dr. Rugg discovered a mechanism, called the Cardan Grille, which had first been depicted around 1550 by Girolamo Cardano.
How to Create an “Indecipherable” Manuscript:
1. Stock a grid with randomly generated prefixes, midfixes, and suffixes.
2. Using heavy card stock, cut a three-slot grille that exposes word fragments.
3. Work through the table, placing the grille over three cells to form a new word.
4. Copy the words onto the manuscript page.
5. To vary the pattern, periodically cut a new grille and repeat steps 3 and 4.
Dr. Gordon Rugg also has his own web site. Here he explains his work on the Voynich Manuscript, and the conclusions he came to.
In early February 2006 a UK TV station, BBC4, broadcast a documentary about the Voynich. It set out several different theories as to what the manuscript might mean, and you can read an interview with the director here.
Finally, for a very different perspective, James Finn, the author of “Pandora’s Hope,” says that he believes the Voynich code might have been as follows:
“It was encoded. But not by the logical method, the mathematical method of encoding they were looking for. It was visually encoded.”
And in an article at this link he sets out his reasons, with examples, for thinking about it in this way. It makes a highly intriguing read.
In all probability the real truth behind the Voynich Manuscript will never be known.
THE KOLBRIN BIBLE
Apparently the Kolbrin Bible is a collection of ancient texts that are contrary to, or an alternative of, the official version of the Bible. However, there really isn’t very much information about it to be found on the Internet.
It actually comprises two books, “The Kolbrin” and “The Gospel of the Kailedy.”
The preface of the first book states that it contains a collection of documents from various sources, although many have been damaged over time and are thus only partially complete; while the other volume is an ‘unknown’ version of the New Testament. But, whether real or a hoax, both volumes are controversial, and the whole subject seems to have come to light in relation to the study of predicted devastating earth changes; especially during what many believe are The End Times.
It would seem that the Culdian Trust are the ‘guardians’ of this work.
In the Foreword they state:
“Although it formulates a distinctive spiritual philosophy, this book is not claimed to be anything other than a transmitter of ageless wisdom. It serves the common cause, the common good and the common man through presentation in a particular form.”
And in the Introduction they say that:
“The Kolbrin, in its present production, incorporates a body of enlightened teachings which are the treasure of the centuries, a light on the path of Truth, and as applicable to the world today as they were in the past. There has, however, been a considerable amount of reconstruction, as the original writings survived only precariously. Most of what is presented here was actually salvaged from a pile of discarded manuscripts that was partially burned and damaged by the weather before being reconstructed into manuscript from which this is rewritten.”
According to the site The Kolbrin originally came from Glastonbury Abbey, with the documents being saved from a fire in 1184 and then kept secretly. They add that:
“Since then, much of the original text was lost or destroyed due to the passage of time, their environment and human error. Each caretaker though, has gone to painstaking efforts to preserve what was left and to fill in the gaps with the correct knowledge in order to preserve the original meaning.”
Then, about 200 years later it fell into the possession of John Culdy who lived in Scotland, and became known as “The Bronzebook of Britain.” During which time the remnants of other ancient texts, known as “The Coelbook,” also became integrated into it.
Included the text of a note, describing some of the document’s origins, that was reputedly found within the covers of an old copy of The Kolbrin.
THE BRITAIN BOOK
In an article at the Ufodigest it suggests that:
“The Kolbrin is more significant than a mere religious history lesson. It is the first Judaic/Christian document that binds our scientific understanding of human evolution with creationism and intelligent design.The mathematical principles from the Kolbrin reflect the ancient interest of the Druids in the stars, mathematics and global catastrophe. The Kolbrin speaks of the return of the “Destroyer” planet, a dark star that has caused a disaster in the past and is predicted to do so again.”
It also puts forward the idea that The Kolbrin may be the Bible of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.
As a book of prophecy The Kolbrin may well imply global catastrophe from a celestial object. Writing on Andy Lloyd’s DarkStar web site, Greg Jenner talks of The Kolbrin Bible and suggests that passages in it might be describing a fly-by from Nibiru, a.k.a. Planet X.
Half way down the page, just after a ‘critique’ of Andy’s book, Greg quotes from “The Book of Creation,” Chapter Three, and concludes by saying:
“With passages like these I tend to put much weight in what the text has to say - a planetary encounter. Yes, I realize ancient manuscripts have certain built-in biases and exaggerations dependent upon the point of view of the author but at the same time you simply cannot just throw a precious document like this out with the bath water.Therefore it is reasonable to suggest the Destroyer mentioned in the Kolbrin, is in fact Nibiru, the celestial Sky Monster accompanied with a red meandering comet-like serpentine tail. This dovetails the symbolic trinity associated with ancient Sumerian tablets that I believe portrays Sol, Marduk, and Nibiru (with its comet-like serpentine tail).”
This book looks at The Kolbrin as having a message from ancient times, about global catastrophes, that contain a warning for us today. You can read the book review here.
Is The Kolbrin real, or yet another hoax?
It’s very hard to tell, but the suspicion is that it is possibly nothing more than a hoax. So, if you have any real evidence that could help to prove its provenance, or otherwise, I’d be more than happy to receive it.