Tag Archives: cipher mystery

Hello to Voynich Enthusiasts

Welcome to the Voynich Portal

Sometimes following a trail in the Voynich manuscript is like flying over uncharted territory, looking for a local landing strip. From a distance, it might look like a good spot to set down but when you get closer you discover it’s not what you thought it was and you have to pull back on the stick and try again.

Every aspect of the document plays this trick on you. At first, the text looks like it might be easy to decode. The same goes for identifying the plants, the zodiacs, the star wheels, the map, the apparent recipe section. “It can’t be that hard to figure this out,” has surely passed through the minds of many VM researchers, aficionados who then find themselves still perplexed and searching for basic answers five or even ten years later.


How I Was Sucked into the Matrix

I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled onto the Voynich Manuscript (Beinecke 408). I only remember it was around Christmas 2008 that I was googling something unrelated and either came across a reference to herbs or to cryptography in general. Further searches for information on medicinal and culinary herbs and spices brought me to Edith Sherwood’s site with her plant IDs and theories about the origin of the VMS. Since I love puzzles, it didn’t take long to get hooked.

I kept intending to study it but couldn’t find a moment free until somewhere around 2010, in my not-so-spare time, I created masses of scattered notes all over my hard drive. I truly didn’t have time to explore the Voynich but still, with five minutes here and five minutes there, managed to accumulate a surprising number of notes.

Such Good Intentions, So Little Time

I intended from the beginning to share my notes, especially those on the plants, with anyone who might be interested but, again, was short of time. Saving a note to yourself that encapsulates a myriad of thoughts, and expanding it out into a paragraph that others can comprehend are two different things and it wasn’t until 2013 that I finally set up a blog to share my observations with the Internet community.

Even with a place to upload the information, it was a daunting task to simply FIND my notes which were not confined to anything as sensible as a Voynich directory (or drive). I saved them wherever, whenever, assuming I would have time to consolidate them later.

That day has not yet come, but I have managed to upload a tiny portion of the notes in the spirit of getting started and if I win a lottery, then I will have the time to make the rest of it presentable (and comprehensible) as well.

In the meantime, I offer the Voynich Portal and hope it might elucidate or at least entertain those of you who love puzzles and mysteries as much as I.


J.K. Petersen