ANYTHING but an Armadillo!

If any object identification could be considered the most contentious in the whole of the Voynich manuscript, it would have to be the f80v animal as an armadillo. The reason why is momentous: If that animal is an armadillo, the Voynich manuscript is post-Columbus. It would immediately erase the foundational paradigm for the Voynich, so strongly projected and protected, that it is a circa 1420 European Cipher Herbal.

anything_but_an_armadillo_cartoon_1200x So when the issue of the identity of the f80v animal comes up, it is no surprise that the speculations of what it is become a heated battleground. At all costs, and beyond all reason, the 1420 Paradigm defenders must come up with a reason that it either looks like an armadillo, but still is not one; or doesn’t look like one, and it is meant to be something else. And it is those reasons given for rejecting it that most interest me. And furthermore, the improper methods used to dismiss it are very similar to those used to also dismiss the great many other “inconvenient truths” which are dangerous to the 1420 Paradigm.

f80v_with_labels

To see my own comparisons between f80v and an armadillo, see here, and here

The issue has been raised yet again in Koen’s latest blog post, “The Beast on f80v“. To start with, Koen’s initial claim that any New World theories of the Voynich manuscript, and for that matter all other post-Columbian dating, rely entirely on the identification of a sunflower and armadillo in the manuscript, is totally incorrect. He explains,

“You see, the New World theory rests on two pillars: the interpretation of a specific plant image as a sunflower (a New World plant) and the interpretation of the above [f80v] beast as an armadillo (a New World species).”

This is wrong because the New World theories, and any post-Columbian theory including and beyond those, such as my own 1910 Theory, have far more than only two such “pillars”. In fact the very book cited in Koen’s post, Unraveling the Voynich Codex”, by Janick & Tucker, has dozens of comparisons. Many are unique, some are repeated from their previous work, and that of others. They make many convincing comparisons between Voynich plants, objects, and text, to New World plants, art, objects and writings.

And still others have long noted many “New World” indigenous plants, too, such as O’Neil (sunflower, capsicum pepper, others), and Jim and John Coymegys, and more. And then is yet an even greater number of later post-Columbian comparisons made by myself and others, possibly indicating the Voynich could have been created any time up to 1910.

But it would be difficult or impossible to dismiss all the evidence, so instead they focus on two items, and simply pretend the others do not exist.

colums_and_stickman

Koen’s Stickman has many “pillars”, not just two. These are some of them.

But that is not the whole point of  this post. It is also about the very telling and flawed reasoning used by pre-Columbian advocates to dismiss the inconvenient armadillo comparison. And this becomes even more obvious when we look at the illogical ways attempted to dismiss it:

1) “It looks too much like an armadillo to be one, because the artist was too inexpert to draw one accurately, therefore it is something else badly drawn.”

This was first proposed by René Zandbergen in 2008, in a post to the Voynich Mailing List,

“I know it may sound rediculous [sp], but I would say that it looks too much
like an armadillo that it could be an intentional representation of one.

“Look at the picture from the late 16th C that Rich posted.
Look at any of the first illustrations of newly discovered animal
species. They just never look like the real thing.

“Ergo, it is a coincidental similarity.

I think the problems with this contention are obvious, but simply, any evidence can be rejected in any investigation, by saying it is “too good” to be that thing it most looks like. But then, the worse comparisons suggested must be the correct ones? This makes no sense, or at the very least, instantly renders any comparative evidence useless for any investigator, in any science.

2) “It does not look ENOUGH like an armadillo, because the artist was good enough to draw an accurate one if they wanted to, so it is animal X, Y, or Z (which all look less like an armadillo)”.

So was the artist good enough to draw a “better” armadillo if they wanted to, but not good enough, still, to draw a different animal well enough to NOT end up looking like an armadillo to us?

In both #1 and #2, the artist is alternatively, hypocritically, imagined as selectively better or worse in order to accept or dismiss any desired identification.

On the contrary, one can and should determine the overall talent and practice of the artist, based on their representation of those things we can easily recognize, such as the people, known animals, known plants, and so on. They are our “control”. We should then apply that observed artistic ability as equally as possible to all the illustrations of the Voynich. When we do, we see the representation of the armadillo is well within the talents of this artist… not better, not worse… and is what they most likely meant it to be.

3)  “It looks much more like an animal in an illustration it was copied from, but we have not found or seen that source drawing yet.”- (paraphrasing) Ger Hungerdink

This is not really worth repeating, but I did because I am listing the actual arguments I’ve read. We could then say it is a bird, snake, or plane, for that matter… or how about another, even closer, illustration of an armadillo, that we have not yet found?

4) “Even if it looks more like an armadillo than X, Y, Z, it can’t be, because the Voynich is too old for it to be an armadillo”

This one is especially ironic, because I and other who favor “armadillo” are usually told it is we who have a biased, post-Columbian viewpoint. But then, hypocritically, many of the 1420 adherents openly and unabashedly admit that they will only look at pre-Columbian animals:

“Because the identification as an armadillo (like the sunflower) would be against all established facts about the VM, that threshold NEEDS to be higher than when the beast is a catoblepas or a hedgehog or whatever 15th century beast known to pre-Columbian Europe….”- Ger

“So perhaps we should be looking for 14th / 15th century manuscripts within the balneological tradition that include a specific textual mention of a kylion / karabo / catoblepas? That stands a good chance of narrowing the list of possible balneological manuscripts to look at down to as few as one or two.”- Nick Pelling

“I think the imagery has all semblance of being appropriate for the early 15th century. So I’m trying to follow the rules for the study of historic imagery. This means learning as much as possible about the visual vocabulary of the time…”- Koen

“… what I tried to find out is what a 15th century person would see.”- Koen

“Same with an American creature like the Armadillo. No compelling(!) reason whatsoever why it would be in a 15th century European manuscript, even more so when there are (mythical) creatures well known in Europe at the time that could equally well be it.”- Ger

There are many other comments pointing to a biased pre-conception of Voynich dating, which is driving many “non-armadillo” identifications, but I’ll leave it with,

“But there can really be no meeting point between our views. I remain convinced that the VM is a historical, 15th century document and as such it is completely irrelevant what the thing looks like to the modern viewer.”- Koen

To make it clear: Of course there is nothing wrong with looking at the 15th century, or any other era, for illustration comparisons. But it is wrong to reject any image that is post-Columbian solely because of a pre-Columbian bias. We should let the images date the manuscript, as is properly done; and not let our prejudicial pre-conceptions alter our identifications of the images to match those.

5) “It only looks like an armadillo to those who have a post-Columbian Voynich agenda”

Well, see #4. But also, in my experience, to anyone shown the image, who knows nothing about the Voynich, or who doesn’t know nor care about the time frame it was created in, it’s an armadillo. In fact, on the contrary to #5, it seems almost exclusively to “NOT look like an armadillo to those who have a pre-Columbian Voynich agenda”.

6) “It only looks like an armadillo to those who are familiar with one”

This is an assumption, and untested. Let’s assume for a moment that everyone who is shown the f80v animal is first “familiarized” with all the other candidates… wolf, sheep, pangolin, catablepas, sea monsters, ibex, capricorn goat, sea-goat, hedgehog, and so on. Then we would know if this is true. Otherwise, it is an unfounded assumption, and so, a valueless argument.

It also ignores the greater number of point-by-point similarities of the f80v animal still are greater than the contenders: Leg length, snout length and width, curling, ears, etc.

7) “It does look like an armadillo to our modern eyes, but would not, to a 15th century viewer, therefore it is not an armadillo”.

First of all, this presupposes that the Voynich is 15th century in origin, and was even THERE to be seen by anyone. Then, it assumes what that 15th century viewer would make of the animal… something we cannot know. We can, using this “reasoning”, simply say a 15th century viewer thought it was any animal we “want it to be, or not to be”.

8) “If the manuscript included a drawing of an armadillo, [Voynich] would have had to remove the page (especially if he put it in himself). Unless he thought that it did not actually look like an armadillo.”- René Zandbergen

I admit this one took some untangling. But using this level of reasoning, there are many other alternatives we can deduce. I would not use them, but point them out by way of falsifying the above contention:

I) It is an armadillo, but Voynich didn’t recognize it as such, so he left it in.
II) It looked like an armadillo to Voynich, and he may have even drawn it there: but he gambled that people would not “catch it”, so he left it in.
III) Voynich was so honest, that when he realized he had an armadillo in his work, he left it in, because he would never cheat. The letter in which he said this was lost, but it will be found someday (sorry, Ger).
IV) Voynich knew it was an armadillo, and that it would look like one to many people, because he drew it there, or found it there. He later didn’t want it there, when he changed his provenance to Roger Bacon. But he was a savvy guy, and so he predicted that enough people would come along in future centuries defend his very poor forgery for him.

So if I was forced to pick, I’d go with IV, as I seem to be watching it unfold in real time.

9) “It is not technically good enough to be an armadillo, as it combines features from curling and non-curling species, such as not having 9 bands”.

This is paraphrasing René from the comments on Koen’s post. It is ironic, as he has also contended it looks “too much” like an armadillo to be one. Anyway, #9 has several problems. First of all, it demands a higher level of technical accuracy to this image than is reasonably seen in the work as a whole. It therefore allows the unequal application of technical demand to those comparisons rejected and those accepted, by any viewer.

But most importantly, it ignores that this does look like a popular conception OF an armadillo, as most people do see it as one. And those people would not, and do not, stop to say, “Hey wait… that is curling! Only the 9 banded armadillo curls, so I was wrong, it is not one”. As an example, think Micky Mouse. People don’t stop and say it is NOT a mouse, as he has fingers… and only 3 of them per hand, for that matter. No, they know it is a loose conception of a mouse, and an armadillo, each with sufficient accuracy to be easily identified as both.

10) “To know the popular conception of an armadillo, we only have to do a Google search. We will see the curling, band-less, f80v animal does not fit the first X number of hits.”

There are many problems with this contention: First of all, no matter what Google image results return, it does not negate the point-by-point similarity of the f80v animal to an armadillo. And two, we know it does fit the popular conception of the animal, because people think it looks like one, without needing to run to Google to check first.

11) “It will look less like an armadillo, and more like A, B, C, or D, if I just photoshop it here, and there.”

Do I really need to address this? OK, it looks less like an armadillo, and more like an elephant if I photoshop it. Or, even more like an armadillo if I so choose.

12) “It does not look like an armadillo”

Well most of those who say this at some point or another, have first either admitted it does look a lot like an armadillo; and/or have been searching for animals with “armadillo-like” attributes. That is a concession of sorts,

“This must be considered together with the fact that other explanations are available for the pose. The beaver curling up do castrate itself, any of the creatures that do an armadillo-like roll to defend themselves… “- Koen

If it really did not look like an armadillo to people, they would not be looking for “armadillo-like” features in other animals to replace it.

A Problem of Context for anti-Armadillos

There is yet another problem in addition to the faulty reasoning used to reject the armadillo: They do not offer any satisfactory hypothesis for the myriad of diverse animals offered in its stead. Rather, the common denominator for “anything but an armadillo” seems to be “Any Animal Known to Europe in Pre-Columbian Times”. It can be fantasy, allegorical, water or land borne, of any species, while being allowed to look nothing at all like the f80v drawing. Well, I’ve heard versions of “compendium”, or “encyclopedia”, which are really excuses, not hypotheses. Ger recently opined,

“What about the “missing” Capricorn?”, then, “So would the f80v be the capricorn from the missing(?) January (and February) page? Please see more examples here: https://hungergj.home.xs4all.nl/catoblepas/capricorn.htm

Why would the “missing” Capricorn, from a (probably) lost page from the zodiacs, be repeated on f80v? This is a clear attempt to manufacture context for the Capricorn beast, while at the same time, again, making an effort to imbue that choice with an armadillo-like curl, with, “The pose of the Capricorn might be its attacking stance like here.” There is often this somewhat self-conscience difficulty in explaining these armadillo alternatives in the context of any reasonable overall hypothesis.

On the contrary, for New World theories, the armadillo is perfectly at home. There are many existing, and described, but lost, manuscript records of the flora and fauna of the new world. And several of these made attempts to phonetically record the languages of the Native Americans into manuscript form.

The same goes for my 1910 Forgery hypothesis, in which I propose that the Voynich was made to look like a work by Horcicky (who “signed it”, BTW), as a record of the botany, medicine, sciences and collections of the Court of Rudolf II, mainly as understood by a reader of the 1904 Follies of Science at the Court of Rudolf II. New World artifacts and plants were all the rage in the Kunstkammers and gardens of the wealthy, and Rudolf was a premiere collector. In fact, both sunflowers (the first European painting of a sunflower appears in a Stalbemt painting of a kunstkammer) and stuffed armadillos, and many other New World items, appear in illustrations of these collections, from the time a forger would be drawing material from.

kunstkammer_armadillo

Where’s Waldo, the armadillo?

The above is just one example, but a search for Kunstkammer, or “Cabinet of Curiosities”, will turn up a great many, and some more showing armadillos, banded and not.

So for all the above reasons, such as the inability to adequately dismiss the armadillo as the best comparison; the failure to find a closer animal in point-by-point comparison to replace it; a lack of any hypothesis which would better explain those substitutes; and the false projection that only one or two items are a problem to it, these all only continue to dramatically represent the inability of the 1420 Genuine European Cipher Herbal Paradigm to defend itself in any reasonable way.

But more importantly, I use this example of the armadillo to remind everyone they should likewise question the many other conclusions offered as unassailable truths by supporters and defenders of the 1420 Paradigm, because similar “armadillo reasoning” has been used to build it. That Paradigm is actually based on a great many similar and unreasonable interpretations, on hypocritical and contradictory arguments, from poor speculations sometimes based on unknown or even incorrect information, using ineffective comparisons and rejecting better ones, with circular reasoning, based on biased pre-conceptions, ignoring contrary evidence, and after all that (or because of it?) it still fails to explain itself in any cohesive, plausible hypothesis.

And yet it is all carefully crafted into a neat, pretty picture, all presented as unquestionable fact. But then, when scrutinized, when debated (when debate is allowed), it is clear that this Paradigm in no way deserves the following it does, and probably does not deserve to exist at all.

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183 Responses to “ANYTHING but an Armadillo!”

  1. nickpelling Says:

    Surely the lack of drawn precursors (whether armadillo drawings or otherwise) is a problem for every claimant (including you) hoping to use a presumed visual similarity to prove their Voynichological point? I don’t see why you think it strengthens your argument: absence of evidence is a bust for everyone equally, surely?

    As far as the catoblepas goes: it was a suggestion based on the context, and at least I put in the hours to try to find illustrations in manuscripts and books.

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi Nick!

      “Surely the lack of drawn precursors (whether armadillo drawings or otherwise) is a problem for every claimant (including you) hoping to use a presumed visual similarity to prove their Voynichological point?”

      If I read that correctly, you are commenting on the point Ger made:

      3) “It looks much more like an animal in an illustration it was copied from, but we have not found or seen that source drawing yet.”

      Sorry if that was misunderstood: What Ger was saying was that there was probably a better comparison than our armadillo, to some other animal, but he just had not found it yet. He was trumping my existing armadillo pictures with an imaginary, hoped for, image which had not yet come along. In fact I had called it his “hoped for” illustration, and he corrected me and said it was “expected”.

      Of course anyone can “expect” or “hope for” an unknown image, nothing wrong with that. But to use it as a better comparison in a debate, as a rebuttal to an existing comparison? It is not a valid countering argument to images we actually now have, right in front of us.

      “I don’t see why you think it strengthens your argument: absence of evidence is a bust for everyone equally, surely?”

      The point being, though, he does not have the unfound image yet, and then hoping for a better image than the ones he has is a bust for him, not me. I have existing, good, comparisons for the armadillo, so no, it is not equal. In short, I do have evidence; while he does not (in this context, case, #3).

      “As far as the catoblepas goes: it was a suggestion based on the context, and at least I put in the hours to try to find illustrations in manuscripts and books.”

      And I think that is wonderful, no argument with your looking, or anyone’s looking. And if you looked everywhere, in all time frames, as I have, kudos to you. But this post is about (in part) the problem with “looking under lamp posts” (a phrase you introduced me to, in fact, and I always agreed with you it is a bad practice): With throwing out or ignoring good comparisons, and accepting worse ones because they happen to be walking under the light of one’s 15th century lamp.

      Rich

      • nickpelling Says:

        Rich: well, if you have pre-1910 drawings of armadillos that you think strengthen your argument, it would be better to show not tell. Otherwise people might think you were giving your own theory special treatment, right?

        I would also have thought that given that there is no pre-1600 drawing that could even remotely rescue the New World armadillo theory, it would have been even-handed to have mentioned that. There may be things that properly support the New World theory (albeit ones not currently known to me), but the New World armadillo is a bust.

      • proto57 Says:

        Hi Nick:

        “well, if you have pre-1910 drawings of armadillos that you think strengthen your argument, it would be better to show not tell. Otherwise people might think you were giving your own theory special treatment, right?”

        “I would also have thought that given that there is no pre-1600 drawing that could even remotely rescue the New World armadillo theory, it would have been even-handed to have mentioned that.”

        Well I did actually link several early armadillo illustrations below my f80v animal in the blog. And this link is also in my original armadillo blog post from years ago, “Dating an Armadillo”:

        http://www.santa-coloma.net/voynich_drebbel/armadillo.html

        They are from 1592, 1593, 1633, and 1551. I particularly like the Gesner one for general form and style. And also, the book it is from was mentioned in “Follies…”, a book Voynich admitted he “knew by heart”. And it is clear he used it as a research tool… a “chicken or egg” problem, but clearly he knew of it, and it is not unreasonable to consider he had seen the Gesner armadillo.

        Whether or not you think these are good comparisons is another issue, but I have always been upfront in demonstrating the sources I use.

        I also show a 17th century stuffed armadillo in this blog post.

        “There may be things that properly support the New World theory (albeit ones not currently known to me), but the New World armadillo is a bust.”

        That’s fair. As you say, it is speculation. But check out the book “Unraveling…” if you have a chance. It is interesting and valuable even if you do not agree with the theory or the comparisons it is based on. I don’t, in all cases. To me, it is foundational to my own theories, but as you know, I don’t ascribe to the New World theories (too old! Ha!). Most of the content the authors note as indigenous New World plants… 37 of them, I think… “happen” to be in the Badianus Manuscript… available to Voynich a the Windsor Library.

        And you may or may not know, but the authors have both of us on one page, with our mutually exclusive opinions on… drum roll… the armadillo. Neither of us are getting away from it any time soon.

      • proto57 Says:

        Nick… something occurred to me after answering your comments: You say,

        ” if you have pre-1910 drawings”, and, “that given that there is no pre-1600 drawing that could even remotely rescue the New World armadillo theory”

        … which seem to imply that you have never seen my collection of images of 16th and 17th century armadillo engravings. So have you been deciding the value of the armadillo comparison based on photographs of armadillos, and not early engravings of them, all along?

        In any case, as I said, I’ve long posted the link to my images, starting with my first blog post on this subject. I’ve always assumed, when having these arguments, that everyone I discussed them with, has seen them. But your comments, and those of others, have made me realize I was wrong to assume this.

        I will correct this oversight with a new blog post which includes these images (rather than just the link to them, as I did in the past), and the discuss the connection between Voynich and the Gesner armadillo, and more… that way we are all at least on the same page.

        Rich.

  2. Koen Says:

    Well for me there’s not much left to add to the discussion, only… I wish that I could draw better 😥

    • proto57 Says:

      Your site is wonderful, Koen, and one of the best out there. I hope you know it is with great fondness and respect that I engage with you. I also appreciate your willingness to allow debate at your blog. We don’t learn anything by walking away and staring in mirrors.

  3. Linda Snider Says:

    Ger’s capricorn comments were not an attempt to manufacture context, they were just further thoughts regarding my suggestion of Capra ibex, which was drawn with head down in medieval times to denote the strength of the horns. I think it is a good likeness. At the risk of being deemed a manufacturer as well, i can also provide an explanation for why it is drawn where and as it is. However, my overall theory is completely compatible with yours, until someone can read the text, since for someone to have known all the details i see in the quire would fit better with a later date, although i still hold belief in the carbon dating time period being a possibility, and will hold to that until proven otherwise.

    What, by the way, is the currently accepted reason for the armadillo having been drawn on the page, and how does it work with the rest of the page imagery?

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi Linda: Your points are well taken. It is sometimes difficult to explain the subtleties of one’s points, when writing. Well, maybe if I were a better writer… But in any case, if there is a context, an overall theory, that would explain any animal, I’m always interested. In fact, if you think about it, there are few overall hypothesis for “what” the Voynich is, even from many who suggest multiple comparisons for many images. For instance, even for those who hold the most widely accepted theory, that the Voynich is a circa 1420 European Cipher Herbal, they never really say exactly what ties together all the content. It is just suggested is is some sort of “compendium”, with diverse disciplines, many unknown, contained in it.

      As for, “What, by the way, is the currently accepted reason for the armadillo having been drawn on the page, and how does it work with the rest of the page imagery?”

      First of all, as you know there is little that is “accepted”! But for the New World theorists… not that I can speak for them entirely… they posit that the armadillo, along with other American animals and plants, are in the Voynich because it is a record of the flora and fauna of the New World. It is not unheard of, as there are many such works created by various European, and even Western-Educated Native Americans.

      For me, it would be there for different reasons, which I briefly outline in the above blog. But in short, I believe this is a forgery, meant to look like a record of the Court of Rudolf II, the botany of the gardens, the medicines and cures practiced, the astronomy and astrology, the optical experimentation, the Kunstkammer, or “Cabinet of Curiosities” that Rudolf kept, and so on. And I think that is why it was falsly signed by Horcicky… or Tepencz, because it was originally created to look like it was his record of these things, as he was Rudolf’s physician and head botanist. So an armadillo would be right at home in such a work, as no 16th century Kunstkammer would be caught without one… as any forger would know. But you can read my theory in more detail, if interested: https://proto57.wordpress.com/2016/03/23/the-modern-forgery-hypothesis/

      For the page? I don’t really have a strong idea why it would need to be on that specific page, I admit. But I would defend that omission by pointing out that no matter what the Voynich is, it is usually admittedly a scattered work, which often combines various topics on a single page. Other than that, I’d have to speculate.

      “However, my overall theory is completely compatible with yours, until someone can read the text, since for someone to have known all the details i see in the quire would fit better with a later date, although i still hold belief in the carbon dating time period being a possibility, and will hold to that until proven otherwise.”

      I believe the C14 radiocarbon results do show a 15th century origin for the calf skin. However, blank parchment stocks have often been used up to hundreds of years after preparation, and Voynich arguably had access to it. But in any case, I would love to hear your ideas, your “overall theory”, if you would like discussing it… or if you have a site or blog where it can be read.

      All the best,

      Rich.

  4. R. Sale Says:

    While the VMs ‘critter’ is sufficiently ambiguous that various explanations have been suggested, it is (IMO) neither a pangolin nor an armadillo. Both of those animals were known to defend themselves by rolling up in a ball. Though the VMs’ ‘critter’ is arched, but it is not in a ball.

    The problem with the attempted identification of the VMs “critter’ is that it concerns only the animal, without considering the rest of the illustration. There is additional construction directly below the ‘critter.’

    The answer is found in a illustration from a recent posting by J. K. Petersen (BNF Fran. 130965)

    This image shows a lamb in a vesica piscis, The vesica pisis is framed by a cloud band. Beneath this are small red markings, apparently intended to represent blood, the blood of the lamb.

    Compare this with the VMs illustration. The ‘critter’ has been compared to a sheep. It is similar in form to the image from the Order of the Golden Fleece. Beneath it is a nebuly line. Traditional heraldry defines a nebuly line as having bulbous crests and troughs. The term ‘nebuly derives from Latin ‘nebula’ for cloud. In German heraldry the line is called ‘gewolkt’, derived from ‘Wolke’ for cloud. Below this line are a number of short vertical lines that appear to represent droplets, but the absence of color, (VMs ambiguity), does not indicate if this is blood or water.

    The comparison shows a similarity of construction. Both illustrations have the same three elements in the same relationship: first, the animal (lamb); second, a cosmic boundary (cloud band or cloudy line); and third, the droplets. And they are in the same sequence.

    The identification depends on the correspondence of the individual elements *and* their relationship to each other.

    • proto57 Says:

      Thank you for the feedback, Richard. I do disagree, though, for several reasons. But not the least of which is that we already know how the VMs artist drew hair on animals, or chose to represent hairy animals with no texture at all. In contrast, the f80v animal has what seems to very much to be a depiction of scales.

      Also supporting scales over hair on f80v is that the fire breathing dragon also has a similar pattern on it, and dragons are traditionally, at least often, depicted with scales. Here is Mr. Peterson’s collection of animals from his Voynich Portal:

  5. Linda Snider Says:

    R. Sale, i like the lamb explanation. You are right, the armadillo explanation is generally ‘look, an armadillo’, without context. It simply wouldnt work with my interpretation of the page, although a lamb or ram could, but i am going with the ibex because i think that is what it most resembles, it has a traditional reason for having its horns drawn close to the ground, and yet although it follows that tradition, it is not a copy of the generally cartoonish stance with horns sticking straight into the ground, but a more realistic one, which may also have a political meaning.

    Rich, thank you for your reply. You’re right, when i said generally accepted, i realized there might be no such thing, but thank you for answering anyway. I have read some of your blog and although there are some examples you use as evidence of anachronisms that i don’t buy, i do agree that the title concept is a possibility, a 1910 forgery.

    However some of the imagery presentations by Koen and JKP have convinced me there is enough contemporariness to keep to a 1415 to 1450ish window, maybe even later.

    My own title concept i guess would be history of the world, with a bit of how to survive the flood. I see quire 13 as a tour of the world by water, the specific page as discussing the rivers and lakes of the Alps. The ibex is a mnemonic as it is generally drawn with a mountain, this time it doubles as the mountain itself. I think in both cases it adds realism to the traditional drawings, especially the alps in portolans. The green scales are reminiscent of the Guillem Soler 1380 portolan and various others well into the 16th century which continue to copy the older ones.

    Quire 14 is a stylized map of the world, with some physical aspects of the world explained, again with mnemonic devices to help remember how to draw it, and i believe there is some history of cartography built into it as well.

    Part of the cosmological section is hydrological, i think, depicting tides, waves, and water levels. The astronomical information is necessary to know ones location in the world.

    The zodiac section works with quire 13 and shows ages instead of months. This in itself would be reason enough to hide its meaning since it goes well past the biblical timelines, portraying nomadic societies of which little is known of their culture and architecture.

    Pisces is and was the current age, and is drawn with some of the architecture knocked down and flooded. Other flood references are in quire 13, which reference both the sunken city and red headed flood survivor Pyrrha. This pulls in the writings of various ancient historical writers who all reference this myth.

    I think the herbal sections depict plants for a future to provide for a displaced society. They seem to me to be fast growing edible weeds in many cases, especially ones i find in my own backyard, that made it here either by pioneers who bought their favourite seeds, or even better, those which made it here on their own through their innate ability to spread.

    I did write out some of my quire 13 theory but it is in need of upgrading, hoping to get it all written up again soon, but i keep making new discoveries. My latest epiphany was that the parasols depict marshes.

    • proto57 Says:

      Thank you for sharing your ideas with us, Linda. And thank you for keeping an open mind about mine, too.

      Please stay in touch, and let me know if you do write it up. You can also share it at the mailing list at voynich.net, if you like.

      Rich.

  6. Rich P Says:

    Some great points here and perfectly logical.

    Even for all the mystery surrounding the VM, it’s difficult to dismiss the resemblance of the f80v image to an armadillo — just on the principle of parsimony (regardless of who drew it or when).

    But I’d argue it’s easy to arrive at this conclusion based just on simple probabilities. What’s the probability that an
    artist who had never seen an armadillo would draw an image that so closely resembles one? Isn’t it far more likely that an artist intending to depict a random or hypothetical creature would draw something that *doesn’t* resemble something so peculiar from the
    natural world?

    All this to say that (IMO) the presence of an armadillo in the VM logically argues against a pre-1492 dating.

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi, Rich:

      “What’s the probability that an artist who had never seen an armadillo would draw an image that so closely resembles one?”

      That is a great point, looking at it from another angle. I had not thought of this question in the way you have.

      Thank you for the feedback, and taking the time to comment.

  7. Ger Hungerink Says:

    My thoughts on the f80v creature can be found here:
    https://hungergj.home.xs4all.nl/catoblepas/f80v.htm
    Because I am sometimes cited out of context or wrongly interpreted (like above), I thought it the best way in stead of having to react each time.

    In some browsers the text of the “tails” page was invisible (black on black)
    That has been dealt with:
    https://hungergj.home.xs4all.nl/catoblepas/catoblepas-tail.htm

    Ger Hungerink.

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi Ger! I think it was a great idea to prepare these pages, and post your links. As for citing you out of context, or getting an incorrect interpretation, I disagree… but at least with the links, whether I am right or wrong, the reader can decide.

      I don’t agree with your thought process or conclusions, on a great many points. We just think differently. That is not bad, it is actually good. If everyone thought the same, really no new ideas would be generated, and few problems solved.

      That being said, as a I said, I disagree with much of what you say, and how you go to where you got. I’ve given a couple of examples, but as another of many, I’ll cite you, quote you, from one of your above pages: https://hungergj.home.xs4all.nl/catoblepas/Lamia.htm

      Above the Topsell Catablepas, you wrote, “Of course there is Topsell’s “Gorgon” whose physique so much looks like a hairy beast`,
      especially judging from its hairy forehead, the hooves, the curly tail,.. that the “scales” represent hair.”

      I personally find several problems with your conclusion, “… that the ‘scales’ represent hair”, and your presumed use: To imply the “scales” on f80v may be hair, and not scales.

      First of all, within that very engraving we see how the artist DID represent hair, and it is on the head of the animal. https://hungergj.home.xs4all.nl/catoblepas/Topsell%201607.jpg So I think it far more likely the description “hairy beast” refers to that hair on the head, much the same as any person (not me!) or creature may be called, “hairy”, even if the hair is only on one part of the body.

      Secondly, you also use a great many other images of “scale-like” textures, which are in many cases actually meant to be hair. I might think this would have some value, if the f80v animal was alone, with no other examples by the same artist, to compare it to. But the thing is, we have some very valuable evidence as to how the Voynich artist DID represent both scales, and hair: We have hair on human heads, we have hair on other hairy animals, such as in the zodiac, and sprinkled about. And sometimes the hair is streaming lines, sometimes small dots or lines, and sometimes left blank.

      And then, luckily, we also have the Voynich artist’s treatment of scales, in the dragon. And those scales are quite similar to the texture of the f80v animal. So for both these reasons, this useful and valuable evidence, to presume that the texture on the f80v animal IS meant to be scales.

      So your ideas in this case, and in others like it, I do not agree with, nor personally find helpful. Randomly comparing the images in the Voynich to all images known to man, to all times, is only useful to an extent, and we all do it: But we must each apply some common sense, using what we already do know about the style, technique, degree of technical representation, and so on, that the Voynich creator DID use, in order to winnow down that infinite set of choices to some practical range of plausible possibles.

      That “common sense” will be different for each person, and each person will have different ideas how to apply it, based on personal experience, maybe on intuition, or whatever. But there has to be some level of discretion, some personal set of standards used to filter. Without it, anything in the Voynich can be said to be anything else… anything real, or not, fur or scales, or not, any reason, any purpose at all, under the sun. Add to that the photoshopping, and the comparison to unknown, unfound images one may imagine are existing somewhere, and really there becomes no purpose at all in looking.

      And furthermore, looking at it the other way… and this is the inspiration for this post in the first place… the only standard that I have seen applied by you, so far, is that it is NOT an armadillo. That’s it. It can be hairy, scaled, fantasy, bovine, equine, a goat, a catablepas, or anything at all, real or fantasy. You even have said you are not looking only pre-Columbian I think. Just, only, not an armadillo. But then what does that tell one, when we look everywhere, at everything else, allow that animal to be every and anything at all… and still, after all that, it still looks more like an armadillo, the one thing you don’t “allow” it to be?

      I know what it tells me. It tells me that even giving oneself an infinite amount of freedom, even ignoring the clues of the artist of the Voynich itself, or any degree of visual similarity… allowing any animal at all… which should be the ultimate test: Still, nothing better than an armadillo can be found. That is a valuable test and result, to me. But that’s my personal opinion.

  8. R. Sale Says:

    Appearance is superficial. Structure is fundamental. Besides being a metaphysical ‘truth’, it works here, in the VMs cosmos, and in the VMs zodiac.

  9. john sanders Says:

    Rich, I’m rather inclined to the view that your original Voynich imposter theory was well considered, if a little too enthusiastically overblown. Now with your wayward armadillo concept, you seem to be taking a leaf out of the uncommonly well educated ‘anything but’ folks.That unfortunately puts you in exactly the same unretractable position ie. with your head stuck right where the deceased Pangolin has his. The Boole’s were not fools, they had their reasons; they had the tools!..

    • proto57 Says:

      John! I’m back and forth on deciding if this is faint praise, or a brilliant lambasting… maybe a little of both? Or something else? It sounds as though you feel the Booles had something to do with all this… elaborate!

  10. Ger Hungerink Says:

    Rich said: “You even have said you are not looking only pre-Columbian I think. ”
    Thought wrongly, again.

    By now it must be clear I assume in all my writings the VM is not a (modern) hoax, not from the New World, not Written by God, not an Alien Device to Test the Intelligence of Mankind.

    I admit that is narrowing it down very much to an original 15th century European Manuscript, but unless I am now struck by lightning that is what I think it is – and theories assuming(!) otherwise are not my interest until they have won the 1 million dollar reward from James Randi. It is like arguing with Jehova’s Witnesses – a waste of time if you’re not a masochist.

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi Ger: Sorry for the confusion. I think I was remembering your writing this, “… indeed nothing should be filtered out, all possibilities should be kept open.”

      But had forgotten that you then qualified it with,

      “But one can not hold it against someone who spends his time foremost on the most likely theories. Like it being a 15th C. manuscript.”

      And “no”, I see nothing wrong with spending time with what anyone considers “most likely”, although I always suggest that these not be hard and fast rules which act like blinders to other possibles. It’s a personal level of balance for everyone, again, though.

      So of course I’ll retract that assumption… and say you are only looking at 15th century, as per your request.

  11. Koen Says:

    It would be revealing if we could ask several people unaware of our discussion to draw an armadillo. How many would omit bands? How many of those would draw large scales instead of tiny ones?

    My predictions respectively: none and none.

    • proto57 Says:

      I’ve thought of similar exercises… had actually considered contacting an art class teacher, and asking the class to illustrate a selection of 17th and 18th century optics.

      The problem with such an experiment is that we would be introducing various talents and degrees of desired accuracy, represented by the several people chosen. They would not necessarily represent those same choices and skills that the Voynich artist had.

      I think it is better to apply those standards, that we do know, by observing them in the other images the Voynich author did draw… as I suggested to Ger, above. And it is what I ended up doing when drawing my own images of microscopes for various presentations… Here is one:

      That is not a Voynich microscope, but a real microscope drawn using the Voynich artists skill set, as seen elsewhere in the book.

      Other considerations would be the source shown to such an artist: Are we showing them a picture of one? Which species? Or are we showing them an old engraving from a book, such as the 1551 Gesner version? Then all these things factor into what the results will be, and skew it one way or the other. Just like the old programmer adage, “Garbage in, garbage out”… i.e., “Hi res image of a 9 banded armadillo in, given to a talented naturalist watercolor artist; perfect life-like banded representation of the creature, out”.

      I think it would be pointless, and tell us nothing.

      So I’m sticking with, “Draw animals by reasonable application of the Voynich artist’s abilities and demonstrated technical understanding and concern”. With that standard, no less and no more, we can deduce what the various images are meant to be, and conversely, what the alternatives would look like, if the Voynich artist drew them. We barely have to guess.

      In any case, I do not get so stuck on the bands, as you guys are insisting. As to why, I’ve explained… and it is, after all, one of my cases already, in the original post, above. Maybe it is slightly different, and I should add it…

    • Rich P Says:

      Koen: You responded to proto57 in this post from your own blog [https://herculeaf.wordpress.com/2019/06/06/the-beast-on-f80v/comment-page-1/#comment-2435]:

      Koen
      16/06/2019 at 19:30

      “My point is that google hits give a better and more neutral overview of “popular representation” than the anecdotal evidence you collect by showing it to people.”

      Since you brought up predictions, allow me to make one: I predict that if Rich were to ask someone to draw an armadillo (as you suggest above) and he posted results that supported your position, you would accept those results; but if the results supported the armadillo proposition, you would simply dismiss those results as anecdotal — just as you did on your blog post cited above. I don’t understand how you and many others can be so accommodating of mythical beast explanations and other long-shot possibilities like the catoblepas yet at the same time be so dismissive of the armadillo possibility where you quibble over bands/scales, etc.

      But I agree with Rich that the discussion is good because it flushes out and exposes weaknesses and problems in our arguments. Nonetheless, when individuals like Rene Zandbergen misrepresent fact and opinion, not only is real progress thwarted but (as Rich has pointed out elsewhere) people begin wasting time and resources and discussions like these become pointless.

      • Koen Says:

        A good experiment answers the question it is designed to answer. We cannot design an experiment to answer what the creature represents. What I propose would only teach us how likely a modern person is to draw an armadillo with large scales and without bands. No matter what the results, it would happen in the margin of the discussion, not as a judge thereof.

      • Rich P Says:

        Koen —

        Ok, yes, I agree that such an experiment couldn’t definitively identify the creature on f80v one way or another. And without the artist to confirm, we’ll probably never know what it is with absolute certainty.

        But if the creature’s identification is really not possible, why is it such a hot topic (159 comments on your blog and a growing number here)? The simple answer is that it divides those who really want the VM to be a genuine, old work and those who question that possibility. And that explains why Rene and others so desperately want to talk about something else when the word armadillo is mentioned yet are willing to entertain any number of exotic suggestions that are highly speculative.

        Fortunately, despite this attitude, Rene actually ended up making a really good observation over on your blog … that undermined an older VM dating and, as Rich pointed out, further supported a more modern dating: [https://herculeaf.wordpress.com/2019/06/06/the-beast-on-f80v/comment-page-1/#comment-2433]

        “… the fact that armadillos were known in 16th century Europe and that they tend to roll up in a ball, which the drawing supposedly shows. However, these two points are inconsistent with each other. The armadillo that was known in Europe does not roll into a ball.”

        So for those of us who see a close resemblance to an armadillo here, Rene has moved the time frame for an armadillo depiction to post-1600 which is outside the window of the (purported) C-14 dating of the calfskin.

  12. john sanders Says:

    Rich: Mary and Daughter Lucy were the chief librarians at Queens college library, Cambridge est.1448 from the 1870s which is where they had unfettered access to all the facinating old manuscripts with their extra fancy loose leaf parchment for the taking.They being of the fairer sex, they also commanded little, if any respect within the upperclass burocracy and as such were treated as mere bookeeping servant wenches by the all male establishment clique. With the arrival in the 80s of Wilfrid Voynich, a sincere and intelligent though very pliable dupe, his soon to be wife Lily saw in him the perfect foil for her mother Mary’s elaborate plan in getting just payback on the cretins; One that has continued to make complete fools of a certain class of supersillious underachievers for four score and ten years or more.. Of course none of this could have been realised without fostering of the unique and versatile talents bred into all heirs and successors of the original Boole/Hendon clan.They have by order of passage passed down the so called Voynich code of secrecy in their own right. Undertaken with a resolute obeyance to Mary’s vow in 1885 ensuring that college educated nerds must continue to pay the piper for their arrogant discriminating treatment of the working class..

    • Monica Says:

      John. I have been thinking along the same lines, but I wouldn’t exactly use the same wording, and so far I have a lot of missing pieces to make a full picture.

      • Monica Says:

        Rich:

        Thank you for this blog and sorry for derailing it to the vms list, but I did try to reply here earlier.

        As you know, I do think it’s an armadillo

  13. john sanders Says:

    Of course Hinton not Hendon was the other family line, the initiating couple being Mary Ellen Boole. & Charles Hinton, son of Mary Snr’s off beat pal Dr. George Hinton. Chuck was the tesseract man, also prolific inventor of useful gadgets and was said to have developed the sciece fiction story genre. Folks might like to check out both families, starting with Mary Everest’s marriage to George Boole and follow the easy path through google to get some idea of what a multi talented mob they were. This all ties in with a joint effort in puting the devilishly clever manuscript together from about 1885 through to completion with George Hinton Jnr’s Mexican flora/plant input just prior to the Great War.

  14. john sanders Says:

    The most certain way to keep the VM hoax from coming unstuck at the planning stage, was to ensure that it’s implementation be based on a family conspiritorial structure which would guarantee continued secrecy bound by a family’s pride and prejudice in perpetuity, whence the establishment members must make their own initial contribution. Typical examples of personal complicitity, might have included Mary Boole’s daughter oldest daughter Margaret the rough sketcher who, along with her renowed plant artist husband Ted Taylor, spent family vacations camping in outdoors in Northern Italy; Also youngest child Ethel Lilian (The Gadfly), a polymath like her mum. Better known in later years as Lily Voynich. she was renowed for her revolutionary fervor and her ability to translate/transcribe (perhaps even invent) a host of similarly dirived lost central European romance languages of which she was held in high esteem

    The next generation born in the early1880s provided the family with such talents as Charles Hinton’s near sighted mining engineer son “Jorge’ who spent the greater part of his adult life in Mexico and time also in nearby Guatemala. His hobby as an adolescent had involved collecting and collating native MesoAmerican desert plant species for which in later life he bacame the world authority. In the late 19th century George Boole Hinton had sent dried Mexican plant samples, along with interesting root matter to his cousin Geoffrey Ingram (Boole)Taylor, who happened to be an amateur botanist in his own right. Young Geoff was also an astronomical star gazer and celestial heavens chart compositor who in later life, as a wind/wave theory physicist, Sir Geoffrey bacame involved in the wartime Manhatten Project. He may not have been enamoured for his specific role with ‘Tall Boy’ in post ’45 Nagasaki Japan, where his collector pal and first cousin had attended school in the gay nineties.

    Hopefully this may give the reader, but a few examples, of available contributive supporting talent for the hoax. It also illuminates the true extent and logic behind a masterful vendetta plot to undermine in perpetuity, the authority of the puritanical Cambridge intelligecia. As an institution it was deemed culpable for poor Mary’s sacking and loss of accreditation as an innovative teacher of Algebra.That such a brilliantly conceived and humiliatingly effective hoax, along with it’s impenitarable code of silence has defied all scholastic attempts at decription down through the ages is all credit to one. Had it been leaked, the whole extended family’s prospects for it’s future sustainability must have been irrevocably torn assunder in proper British imperious tradition…It might be fitting to point out that current co sharee of the coveted Turing prize for computor logics, is both anti establisment and a proudTorontan who just happens to share a middle name with our criminal grand dam matriarch Mary Everest Boole.The deserved beneficiary of such new found wealth and fame can surely give some due credit to Logics wizard George Boole who died 1864 and his devoted wife Mary who left us in 1916..

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi John: I honestly have never suspected any such connection in my own forgery theories, and don’t know enough about the topics you discuss to comment intelligently on them. In fact I have to be careful, because many times I’ve had more modern “hoaxers” make some very detailed proposals that turn out to be “phishing”… I would assume in some attempt to get me to agree, so that they can then “pull the curtain up” on the ruse. Believe it or not, that is the state of affairs today.

      In any case, I gave your ideas more scrutiny, not wanted to dismiss them “out of hand”. And I don’t accept nor dismiss them, but admit that there are some very interesting coincidences there, when studying the various names you drop. For one thing, the great interest in and study of MesoAmerican botany, when so many people have noted and even identified New World species in the Voynich. And more…

      In any case, I leave you ideas here for further perusal, by me and others… and thank you for your input.

  15. proto57 Says:

    I’d like to add this comment by Ger, over at Koen’s site:

    “Yes Nick, I noticed too that the catoblepas seems to be quite rare in Medieval illuminated manuscripts. And often drawn differently. That is why I thought it was important to find “the” MS that has a similar catoblepas to that of the VM (and Topsell). It might very well tell a lot about the VM.”

    The topic is still raging over at the site, and again, with much the same “reasoning” used to both dismiss the armadillo, and substitute other animals. The above comment is typical, and illustrates several of the problems outlined in my original post, above:

    – the substitute animal is given leeway in representation, to make it fit the f80v depiction: “… often drawn differently..”

    – while admitting that even with this leeway, a close Catablepas match has not yet been found “… it is important to find “the” MS that has a similar cablepas to that of the VM..”

    … ironically, when we already have a “similar” armadillo. But, “Anything…” but, still, it seems, even the missing perfect Catablepas which will finally dethrone the armadillo.

    And what would happen, I wonder, if an even better armadillo comparison was found, instead of this imaginary Perfect Match Catablepas? I think we know, by the previous reasoning used to dismiss the ones we have… no matter how close a match, how much CLOSER a match, I should say… it cannot be one, no matter what. We would still be asked to wait for this matching Catablepas.

    There are other such posts, many of them, which only further to make my points in this post, in so many ways, while not reasonable reason for dismissing the armadillo is offered (I think, because it cannot be). And yet, while failing, making the unfounded assertion that the issue is settled, that there is some “consensus” that this is not an armadillo, when there is no basis to claim there is any such consensus.

    In any case, consensus is not science, even if that turned out to be true.

    https://herculeaf.wordpress.com/2019/06/06/the-beast-on-f80v/

    • Ger Hungerink Says:

      Rich, you simply don’t understand what I am saying, or you don’t want to. My words are turned so as you have a way to attack what you claim I said. While I didn’t.
      If you think the f80v looks more than an armadillo than e.g. a goat in an attacking stance, attack the imaging, not someone else’s mistaken words.

  16. Ger Hungerink Says:

    Obviously I have to repeat here where people interested in my view can find it, rather than get from the distorted “paraphrasing” by Rich:
    https://hungergj.home.xs4all.nl/catoblepas/f80v.htm

  17. john sanders Says:

    Thanks for listening and keeping the door open for allowing some degree of greater theoretical discussion; on a subject that I must confess to not having had a great deal to do with until fairly recently. My initial introduction came from Pelling’s generally accepted C4 dating site, to which I took instant umbridge for it’s inhospitable uncompromising attitude when proposing alternate points of view. I can well understand that you must ensure that your contributors are not Cranks which I’m not, which is easilly said. Mary Boole, in her revolutionary hat was called ‘Krank, but that was in the heady days when she was pals with Sergei Stepinak to whom she intododuced her star pupil Wilfred, not long before the former’s demise at the railway crossing?

    You may not be aware that Mary knew Richard Garnett (same age) of the British Museum (later the British library) reading room, which he ran, from her glory days as Librarian of the Queens College library at Cambridge, well before her dismissal, which came partly through her association with the most unsavory polygamy advocate James Hinton. They had all been closely connected with the occult , tarrots and ouja board soothsaying experimentation, apart from also being avid historic book fanciers etc. It was more likely that Wilfrid’s interest in the manuscripts came from Mary initially and that Dickie was instigator on the commercial possibilities with an introduction, at Mary’s urging, to the British Library, thence to the fine book auction houses.

    Mary Boole liked young Freddy from first sight and must also have become aware that hy his confident social grace, he wss the perfect ruse for pulling off her, by then well advanced hoax plot. She had the wherewithall to groom him sufficiently on the main texts from her own tattered medieval works(compliments of her former empoy) to take things to the next level. By1895 she had introduced him to a more than favourably impressed Lily, though she was not quite ready to settle down. However ‘our gadfly’ must have seen something that convinced her to comply, possibly his past noncomformity, or that that they shared a love for similar Slavic customs and language. It does seem that they had a fairly open arrangement prior to their marriage in 1902, though we don’t hear of any disharmony in their almost thirty years together.

  18. john sanders Says:

    I’m still having fun with our mystical creature (not critter), firmly convinced that my guess is correct and all others only fit for scorn. With a little semi skilled brush work we might yet be enabled able to get a definitive on the real ‘the name of the beast’ ie. We might try covering the ridiculous snouted head for starters. Being at the tail end going by the scale overlap, it has become somewhat distracting. All we need to do then is to remove the weird bonelike protrusion from the front end, then simply attach separate scetches of a variety of heads unti one fits the body just so, eg. Pangolarma, wooly mamoth, giant Mexican sea louse (which has some really fine attributes) or even the dreaded catoblast to appease C4 folk…At the end of the day, there are some aspects of f80v which might suggest that the artist went out to a long lunch and didn’t get back in time to complete her work, which for 120 years has gone unoticed.

  19. john sanders Says:

    Rich,

    I’m thinking, it must indeed have been around 1910 that the the final phase of the hoax plot was put into effect. One reason being that the main facilitator, Wilfrid Voynich was considering expanding his successful catalogue book business (Fine Unlisted Books London?) to New York which would mean loss of contact. Over several years, Mary must have been puting her imposter masterpiece together. Now with numbered quires in place, the almost completed artwork (Taylor kin) along with the clever script (Lily & mum), ready for the final delicate binding assemblage with all the precisely exectuted marginal overlays carefully aligned . Mary was an accompished craft artisan, well familiar with the medieval book binding techniques from her time spent studying/analizing the old in house volumes at the Queens College library. This during her lengthy tenure in the position of chief librarian (Lucy as able assistant) with it’s many opportunities for facilitation of her own ‘improved’ circa.1421 look alike.manuscipt.

    Other reasons for the final decision in bringing things to a head as she did, may well have been with the passing in 1906 of Dick Garnett, Mary Boole’s historic volumes mentor and perhaps unwitting abetor in the project’s ultimate success, though, as with his doting prodege he was not a friend of the establishment elite. Dick was involved with Wilfrid’s introduction to the world of fine books and it’s opportunities for making a killing out of buying medieval monastery manuscripts for peanuts and on selling at a premium. Mary had also lost family, with Lucy her adept accomplace in parchment pilferage from Queens College Library, she having died in 1904 as with her US based Hinton kin Mary and Charles in ’07/8. As a youth George, their son had made his own innocentl contribution with a most unusual array of Mexican plants which eventually became the key botanical element for the creation. Aging Mary must have been relieved knowing that should her masterful plot come unstuck, at least some of her aiders and abetors would not face the inevitable recriminations…

  20. Monica Says:

    John:

    I have tried finding some sources for your claims.

    For want of better material, I have been reading what Mary Everest Boole herself wrote, to see if I can find any clues there.

    What made me think along the same line as yours (but in a rather different way) were the drawings in the Voynich. Many of them seem to tie into her life in some way, but I am still considering that.
    Also, I am in doubt whether she could have made them, or if someone else did, based on her story. As for the writing, I think that she would be perfectly capable of doing it, having been her husband’s secretary for nine years – including books on algebra in very fine and regular text before the age of the typewriter. Also, as you say, she could well have done the binding or stitching it together using old vellum, which I don’t think she came by in any dishonest way.

    As for languages, she was fluent in English and French, one uncle was a professor in Greek and another uncle had ties to India and she seems to have had close relations to both. She lived in Ireland for at least 11 years, so she may have known Gaelic and she was partial to Russian culture. As for writing in code, she says she had a passion for algebra.

    Thoughts around ‘conspiracy’ theory:

    The more people who know about a secret, the less likely it is to be kept a secret. And the VM certainly seems very well kept. So if anyone knew, my guess would be that they would be very few.

    As far as I can see, Lucy was between 3 and 11 at the time Mary Everest Boole was a librarian, so it is unlikely that she was her assistant, as you say. Nor do I think that Ethel was involved in any direct way. G.I. Taylor, her grandson mentions in “Life and Legacy of G.I. Taylor” that he visited her often but that he ‘had very little interest in the things she wrote about’. These are, of course, speculations.

    Thoughts around reason for writing in code in general:

    The motive of revenge (didn’t occur to me) .

    The economic aspect (forgery for money or to make the text shorter for saving space).

    Code could be a way to avoid hurting family and/or friends regarding the past, or by being too outspoken while writing therapeutical or truthful revelations of a painful, delicate or even criminal nature (or considered mentally ‘wrong’).

    Not creating difficulty or embarrassment for possible future generations because of controversy (sexual content, topics that were considered a collision between science and ‘alternative’ or spiritual beliefs, to name a few).

    Past experience of publications that had consequences like getting fired (and not being able to support family) or moral condemnation by society.

    Danger because the content involved some kind of spying or political intelligence.

    Misunderstandings in general because of images that were ‘before one’s time’.

    If author was female: position of woman in contemporary society.

    To instil the ‘joy of mystic truth seeking’ into people.

    Monica

    ‘Pens and paper, pencils, spare canvases, oddments of paint, waste crewels and silks, are the safest kinds of implements with which to express inspiration as it passes. And the original register should never be shown to any public, till it has been well weeded and corrected in a fully discriminating mood.’ Mary Everest Boole

  21. john sanders Says:

    Monica,

    Not suggesting for a New York minute that Mary was being unlawful in her library aquisitions. She most likely was, as part of her assigned duties, authorised to discard old books with badly damaged covers and the like, of a belief that she had as much right to junked ‘useless’ volumes as the waste collector. Daughter Lucy was around 17 years old when she worked in the library, where she remained until going off to her apocathary course in the early 80s. Some bios. suggest Mary was put off for keeping bad company (James Hinton) in the 70’s which is probably hearsay. She did not leave her job until the mid 80s when it was learnt that she was tutoring fee paying kiddies in her easy learn string Algebra invention, after which she was a regular visitor to the London Museum, whence she commenced her writing career.

    Of course it was Ethel who was responsible for reconfigurating her own familiar free flowing script for her mother’s project, probably after a great deal of discussion as to what it might represent and what additional anti decryption devices it might include. Lily was familiar with many of the central/northern European writing forms including archaic types unknown in west (romance Estonian ptp). Lily was so adept that she was approached by a group of writers, headed by her good friend and collaborator Bernie Shaw. The were after ideas on an artifical language style they might use in personal liasons; one without vowels, capitals or bothersome punctuation…: NB: ‘There be no wrath like a woman scorned for devotion to duty’. Mary Everest Boole…perhaps?..

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi John: I can’t give much input on most of your ideas, not knowing enough about the lives and activities of the people you include. But you and I would part company here:

      “Of course it was Ethel who was responsible for reconfigurating her own familiar free flowing script for her mother’s project, probably after a great deal of discussion as to what it might represent and what additional anti decryption devices it might include.”

      I believe I’ve read and examined every scrap of evidence in the archives of the Voynich’s, at the Beinecke and the Grolier Club, and everything posted online. All the letters by and about Ethel, I found her personal notebook on the Voynich plants, and and her notes on the Voynich, to herself, and to Anne Nill. And the other letters, by Nill to Garland and others, and more.

      The picture that emerged is that Ethel and Anne Nill both genuinely believed the manuscript to be an authentic ancient cipher herbal. There was never a hint they remotely suspected it as a fake or hoax. In my opinion, there is no way that the picture presented by the archives could have been faked… like Ethel PRETENDING to think it was real… she really did believe in it.

      I’m not usually convinced of things, and don’t come to “conclusions” that easily… not, even, for whatever my current idea is (and you know what it is). But this, yes.

      Ethel seems to have first become interested in the Voynich after Wilfrid’s death. It became… maybe not an “obsession”, but she became very interested in it. I think part of the reason was that, with Wilfrid gone, the manuscript, and the collections and business, fell into her lap. And of course it was the only source of income, and there was some reasonable hope that all money worries would evaporate, if it was sold. But she loved plants, of course, and I think she became personally fascinated with the work.

      The only faint whiff of suspicion I’ve noted is Ethel’s seeming to question Wilfrid’s given provenance. She wrote in one note, underlined two or three times, “HOW do we KNOW this???”… referring to the Dee-Rudolf-Ducats story. But that, also, reinforced the general impression that I had, that Ethel did believe in the manuscript as real, and also, that she was conscientious about uncovering the true story.

      The only negative I might relate is that both she and Anne seemed to want only those who agreed that this was a Roger Bacon work to view it. They did control access to the Ms., and information… but I see this as protecting the reputation of the work, and hence it’s value… just as is done today, by Yale, and their appointed and trusted guardians of the Voynich Myth.

      But this does not go to your suspicions about other Booles and Hintons, like I say, I cannot give any input on those… just Ethel and Anne. Garland? Not so sure what he knew or suspected.

      https://proto57.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/anne-nill-speaks/

  22. john sanders Says:

    Rich and respected contributors,

    I must say that I’m more than happy to have been able to express my views in a manner that I have not been able to do without derisive scornful or negative comment on other less inclusive forums. I did not expect raving reviews for my out-of-left-field unsubstantiated Boole proposition, for which I lay claim and do standby resolutely. If at the end of the day, no viable solution to the VM conundrum is found, then in my mind, the fine family will have gotten away with a sting equal to anything I can recall in my humble law enforcement career, and well deserved by all accounts!..js.

  23. john sanders Says:

    Good news on the “mythical Vellum warehouse” front for which our not so comPelling proposer might also have had need. It has been revealed that a College paleontology club expedition into Badlands Nth Dakota collected various samples for dating, including some from a huge, bison skeleton of perhaps stonage era. They were able to obtain a later than expected 1400/40 yod by C14 which, when seen along with a suspected deep arrow or lance wound in the big beast’s shoulder, was deemed fair proof of modern human presence in that area during the given time…The short story ends with a twist in the tale, when a year or so later, some local hikers visited the now signposted site and were able to extract from the same animal, unlikely remains of a lead factory bullet in 45/75 caliber made for the 1876 Winchester rifle….There is more to the story, but in short , having delved further into the four hunded year plus flawed carbon dating over such a short historical time span, we might therefore suggest that a similar outcome could have been the case with Rene’s team. What if they had not factored in for their own vellum beasts’ possible retentive isotopic transfers of trace elements and spent carbon nutriments from an original deep water source, known for a tendency to give a much greater age in some test samples. Then If that were to have been the case, upon which the theme for this fanciful tale is based, it could spell trouble for some in the 15th century buffs.

    • Koen Says:

      “Some hikers” are my favorite source of scientific data.

    • Ger Hungerink Says:

      Just a pity you did not give a link to the carbon dating story. And not a link to the hikers’ story. Of course when carbon dating a corpse on a site, afterwards it will be publicly accessible with a large sign pointing to the beast saying “this is the one”. And then everyone is free to cut pieces from it, or search for bullets they might well have hid themselves the day before to have some fun, or were fired others years before for whatever mysterious reason. But we will never know since we don’t have the source to all of this.

    • proto57 Says:

      … so it turns out you are a parody after all. That is actually a relief in a way, since I try to be so polite to everyone, no matter what theory they hold, and not be insulting to anyone. That is not always so easy, but I pat myself on the back for persevering. It eases the load a bit to strike “John Sanders” off the list.

      But here is the ironic thing that you don’t seem to realize: The genuine theories don’t need to be mocked, because they are often practically indistinguishable FROM parody.

      The hundreds of pages “reasoning” what the Voynich must be (except forgery, never look at forgery!), all the blogs, all the books and articles, are by NECESSITY very imaginative. “Genuine” does not work without being highly imaginative to try and explain it.

      Just read “Curse of the Voynich” as a prime example: The flower as gears and wheels, parts of a disassembled Medieval automobile, and bee keepers, flush toilets, a “Golden Book”, the Sforza’s, all then enciphered by an architect? It reads as though it is a parody, but it is a serious attempt to explain the inexplicable: The Voynich as a real “something”. Or Newbold’s Roger Bacon theory, or Levitov’s “Cult of Isis”, probably the prototype of all later genuine “theories”?

      I was myself temporarily sucked down the same rabbit hole, with my Drebbel theory… luckily avoiding disaster with only a single article on the subject, and not stuck with the life-long albatross of a book around my neck.

      The same goes for any of the very many colorful blogs and forums, with all the zillions of “explanations” for the content of the Voynich, trying desperately to make it’s very square pegs fit a billion round holes. But the “Voynich as genuine” is so impossible to explain, that it demands explanations which are indistinguishable from parody. I have no desire to mock anyone, but even if I did, I would not have to, because you do my work for me.

      A modern forgery hypothesis, on the contrary, is so patently simple. This is why it takes much effort to parody, as “John Sanders” demonstrated above.

      It would all be so amusing if not so sad, because it seems Wilfrid really did a job on your heads. He lives there rent free to this day.

      • Ger Hungerink Says:

        “A modern forgery hypothesis, on the contrary, is so patently simple” assuming someone to hit upon 120 clean never used folios of early 15th century vellum. Thinking he is never going to sell it, unless he put some armadillos and sunflowers on it – and in the end actually never sold it…

      • proto57 Says:

        Ger, you constantly belie your lack of knowledge about any of the factors relating to the Voynich, or any of the players involved. You should read up on the subject, and then, know the theories you critique. By simply disagreeing, without knowing the issue you are disagreeing WITH, you undermine any trust in all your other arguments.

        You should first learn all about the Voynich, starting with D’Imperio. You should read and understand all the various theories about the Voynich… you can download many of them. I’d suggest you buy a copy of Pelling’s “Curse of…”, too. While I think the theory in it is totally unsupportable and unsupported, the book is great in describing the construction of the Voynich.

        And get a copy of the recent Yale book, because the essays in it are very informative.

        Then you ought to read blogs you don’t agree with, too, to see why you don’t. It would help making a proper critique of them, rather than assuming you know something about something you demonstrably don’t. As you just did, again, above.

        No, it was not “150 folios”. No, they are not “early 15th century”, but the samples tested run from the late 14th through the early 16th, centuries. And it would arguably be easy to “hit upon” the necessary materials, if one were surrounded by mountains of materials in the 500,000 items found in the Libreria Franceschini, when he bought it in 1908.

        So argue real points, don’t make stuff up and just shoot from the hip. It is like Peter and the Wolf… less and less people will take you seriously. Don’t you notice it happening, already? People are kind and patient with you, but are not really listening as much. So when you know more, and have something really important to say, they may not be there to listen at all.

      • Ger Hungerink Says:

        To me someone who claims Voynich forged his manuscript, did not follow any of your advice.

  24. john sanders Says:

    Rent free in an unmarked grave far from home would not seem at all fitting for a man of Wilfred’s status being, as you alone believe to be the fellow who single handly fooled the antiquarian world for no obvious gain and with no body to show pity for his passing…

    • proto57 Says:

      Excellent! A real comment (I think). Actually it is ironic, but Wilfrid is buried about a half hour from my house in New York, and not 300 feet from my father’s grave. I took the pic of his grave site for Find-a-Grave: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/79329425/wilfrid-michael-voynich

      Most of his “status” was invented… although he gave up on “Polish Count” at least, at some point. But he does deserve a grave marker.

      “… as you alone believe to be the fellow who single handly fooled the antiquarian world…”

      I’m far from “alone”. Except for “something old and genuine” (no particular genuine theory), modern forgery has quite a few adherents. I’m far from alone. Which is one of the reasons your ruse worked… people constantly send permutations of my theory, looking into alternatives to him actually penning the thing. And I always remain open minded, so I listen, and discuss.

      Makes one vulnerable, it is easier to just be dismissive to anything you don’t know about. But nobody learns that way.

      “… for no obvious gain and with no body to show pity for his passing…”

      This is incorrect, and one of the “Myths” that helps perpetuate “genuine”: Wilfrid hoped to get over $100,000 for the Voynich, and offered Newbold 10% of that, and another 50% of anything over $100k, if his Roger Bacon fantasy helped sell it. That would be over $1,400,000 in today’s dollars. The fact that the whole ruse failed does not mean the incentive for “obvious gain” was not there. Many investments, real and fake, fail, it does not obviate the motivation to try.

      As for “pity for his passing”, I think that at least Ethel, Nill, and Sowerby showed sadness. But of course we don’t know everyone’s reactions, only those who chose to write about it.

    • proto57 Says:

      … BTW, I just realized another irony in your comment: You say there was “no obvious gain” in creating the Voynich as a forgery. But you obviously put a great deal of time and effort into your own forgery, without any hope of payment.

      The point is, your “gain” was not monetary, but seemingly as an attempt to show a kind of intellectual superiority over someone you disagree with: me. It was ego-driven, not for profit of any other kind.

      Yes, Voynich actually did hope for monetary profit. But just like you did, above, people create forgeries for many different reasons: Because of ego, maybe, to claim superiority to those they are trying to fool. Or to gain acceptance with their own group, or for simply pride, or even with simple artistic creative urges.

      And it is just as possible (and I propose this, as an element of my theory) that Voynich created the manuscript for some or all of a great many reasons, in addition and in spite of any hope for money, just as you did, here.

  25. Ger Hungerink Says:

    And Rich, you still did not answer to my request: “If you think the f80v looks more than an armadillo than e.g. a goat in an attacking stance, attack the imaging, not someone else’s mistaken words.”

    • proto57 Says:

      You lost me there, Ger. Your “words” are on the record… here, on Koen’s site, in all the pages you posted to “clarify” your positions. They outline all the “beasts” you think the f80v is, along with all your reasoning to support them.

      If you don’t like what you have said, then change, adapt. But don’t shoot the messenger… which in most cases, is yourself.

      • Ger Hungerink Says:

        I have not heard from you since I proposed it might be a goat in attacking stance.

      • proto57 Says:

        Oh… OK: The goat has long legs not short, a broad snout not pointy, round ears, not pointy, and does not have scales.

        It looks nothing like a goat to me, personally, even if in an “attacking stance”, as they don’t curl up when attacking. I hope.

        Anyway, I’ve already addressed my opinion on all the poor comparisons, which need much rationalization to support, in the OP “Anything but an Armadillo”. It covers pretty much anything with elements that don’t match the animal…

        But I do appreciate that you seem to still, despite all the drama and objections and so on.. that you still care what I think.

        I’ll be finishing up my “pro-armadillo” page soon, and you are welcome to post any of your animals there, too.

      • Ger Hungerink Says:

        Please add an image of a rolled up armadillo.

      • Rich P Says:

        Hi Ger —

        “Please add an image of a rolled up armadillo.”

        Maybe I’m jumping the gun, but why ask that question? To help you prove that the Voynich image doesn’t resemble a fully-rolled up armadillo?

        Rich did a thorough job in the blog post of not only promoting and defending the armadillo identification but has gone out of his way to show how unreasonable other comparisons are. You on the other hand keep repeating “goat in an attacking stance” but spend no time fleshing out that proposal or making any further defense of it. I hope you can see the difference.

      • Ger Hungerink Says:

        Rich P, then I will give the link to my explanation on this page for the third time:
        https://hungergj.home.xs4all.nl/catoblepas/f80v.htm
        A goat in fighting stance is one of the possibilities. Rich S. is so much blinded by his armadillo that he sees a fighting stance as curling up. While in general animals that are curling up are usually portrayed as either not curled up or fully curled up, the armadillo is not only exceptional in being American but is also uniquely portrayed as “while curling up”. A 15th/16th Century still from an iPhone clip.

      • Ger Hungerink Says:

        You will need quite a slow motion to actually see it between standing and curled up. But then with 15th/16th century technology as I’m sure is also described in the VMs that should not pose any problems…

      • Rich P Says:

        Ger —

        Ok, thanks — I looked at your explanation and the images on your site relating to goats.

        Your “Capricorn” (https://hungergj.home.xs4all.nl/catoblepas/capricorn.htm) can’t easily be mistaken for the Voynich armadillo. That Capricorn has only two legs whereas the armadillo has three visible ones; the scales cover only half of the Capricorn but clearly cover the whole body of the armadillo (minus the legs). The two legs on the Capricorn are much longer than those on the armadillo and also clearly show the knee joints. There are no obvious horns on the armadillo but the one on the Capricorn is unmistakable. So there are too many high-level dissimilarities of body plan to confuse the two animals.

        I don’t think you’ve supported your contention of an “attack” position either (even if we assume a goat). Look at the head position in your image of two goats. A goat’s head in an attack position isn’t down around its feet as the armadillo’s is. A quick search brought up this collection of videos of goat attacks (viewer discretion advised — some hits are a bit brutal though I don’t think anyone was gravely hurt): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXoXteIPxPU

      • proto57 Says:

        I can echo what Rich P said, and also point out, Ger, that all you are doing is repeating and reinforcing the skewed “reasoning” used in rejecting the armadillo. You are simply cycling through my points, continuing to reinforce them.

        In the string of comments above, you touch on points in numbers 4, 9 & 12. And also continue to support my conclusion,

        “So for all the above reasons, such as the inability to adequately dismiss the armadillo as the best comparison; the failure to find a closer animal in point-by-point comparison to replace it; a lack of any hypothesis which would better explain those substitutes; and the false projection that only one or two items are a problem to it, these all only continue to dramatically represent the inability of the 1420 Genuine European Cipher Herbal Paradigm to defend itself in any reasonable way.”

        What you would need to do to properly “counter” the armadillo (although that in itself is an unscientific premise to use to identify any illustration) would be to actually find an animal that is a better match to it (point by point: legs and leg length, scales, snout, ears, curl, etc.), from any time, in the style of the Voynich artist. And that animal should have some reason for being in the Voynich, in some context.

        Anyway, those are my standards, which I stick with here and in all cases.

        You could also come up with a new reason it is NOT an armadillo… but think long and hard on that before offering it up, because it could make the list in the OP. I have an “edit” feature, you know.

      • Ger Hungerink Says:

        All “I have to do”, and already did, is present an animal that equally well resembles the f80v beast, because then an armadillo is by its anachronism already a lost cause. And a goat, or sheep, or ram, or unicorn, or even a hedgehog or a sleeping dog or fox, are not in anyway less likely than an armadillo considering the crude drawing of f80v.

        Now this is an armadillo:

        You talk about leg length, compare.
        Look at its tail, compare.
        Where in f80v is the obvious tortoise-like shield with the legs and tail coming from underneath: it was called an Armadillo after its armor afterall. The scales are tiny and don’t look like fish scales as the f80v has (which could be fur anyway).

        When you claim opponents use crude drawing to explain away differences you should be the last to do so yourself. Where do you have a drawing (or photo) with an armadillo having its snout almost between its fore legs, while NOT rolled up.

        F80v is so much NOT an armadillo, that almost ANY animal looks more like it…

        And the threat with your “edit option” qualifies you as someone prepared for forgery himself, no wonder you think that way of others.

      • proto57 Says:

        Hi Ger:

        “You talk about leg length, compare.
        Look at its tail, compare. Where in f80v is the obvious tortoise-like shield with the legs and tail coming from underneath: it was called an Armadillo after its armor afterall. The scales are tiny and don’t look like fish scales as the f80v has (which could be fur anyway).”

        That rejection is #9) “It is not technically good enough to be an armadillo…”, demanding that there be a much higher degree of technical match than you demand of yourself.

        So you demand a “tortoise-like shield with the legs and tail coming from underneath”, while being OK with an animal that does not match the scales and/or the legs and/or the snout, and so on. It can be a long haired ramming sheep to you, by ignoring almost everything “armadillo like”, but the armadillo, you insist, be far more perfect, when it is far closer to begin with. So that is my point, you keep only repeating the flawed “logic” that this post was about. I’m not sure if you don’t get that, or if you think by continuing to repeat it, it will erase those points, or what. But you keep doing this.

        “When you claim opponents use crude drawing to explain away differences you should be the last to do so yourself. Where do you have a drawing (or photo) with an armadillo having its snout almost between its fore legs, while NOT rolled up.”

        Not sure exactly what you mean there, but I do offer several early drawings of armadillos that exhibit many of the features like, and in a way like, the f80v animal. But to make that clearer, I will be posting those images on my next blog post on this subject, which consolidates the “pro” armadillo arguments in one place.

        “F80v is so much NOT an armadillo, that almost ANY animal looks more like it…”

        That is a combination of my #12, and a bit of wishful thinking. No animal you have offered looks better, they are all well off. But then, you force me to repeat myself. Just show this animal you say “looks more like it”, instead of just insisting it exist. In fact, at one point (#3) you said that you “expected” a drawing that looked more like the f80v animal than the armadillo to turn up. Have you given up on that tack already?

        “And the threat with your “edit option” qualifies you as someone prepared for forgery himself, no wonder you think that way of others.”

        That is of course false, but in case you or anyone else really misunderstood me: I will gladly add to my list (edit my list) to include any interesting new “excuses” you can come up with, as to why f80v is “ANYTHING but an Armadillo”. No forgery involved, nor needed… you are writing this story, really, not me.

        That is the overall lesson here: For a forgery hypothesis, everything falls into place, it all makes perfect sense.

        But for this thing to be “genuine” and “old”, it needs endless rationalizations, excuses, skewed and uneven application of observational standards, use of non-existent and/or expected new evidence, claim of need for better experts to prove it, hypocritical and contrary opinions on the same evidence, ignoring evidence and data, processing data and removing other data to fit the desired result. And one must accept the word of Voynich, a known liar, along with some very sketchy, and in many cases, contrary evidence to support it.

        And THAT is the point of the above list on “Anything…”. Anyone who delves an inch deep in the genuine hypothesis, with a critical mind, will see the very same skewed “logic” listed here, and much more, being used to create the smoke and mirrors fictional novel that the 1420 Genuine European Cipher Herbal Paradigm really is.

      • Ger Hungerink Says:

        Ger: “When you claim opponents use crude drawing to explain away differences you should be the last to do so yourself.”

        Rich: “Not sure exactly what you mean there” .

        Rich: “…but the armadillo, you insist, be far more perfect”.

        No, you are the one to insist your armadillo must look more perfect. Simply because you do not accept from others that their proposed animal might not look perfectly the same because the drawing is only a crude sketch. Maybe from memory, copied over and over, or from stories. So you can then not say, ok, the scales are wrong, the legs are wrong, the tail is wrong, the armor is wrong, the position of the head is wrong, no one draws it half rolled up, would an armadillo bend its head that way it would be well between its legs,… – but it is only a rough sketch.

        You claim it is an armadillo, then everything of it must be an armadillo by your own standards.

      • Rich P Says:

        Ger —

        Ok, thanks — I had missed some of your comments that Rich had quoted in the original post above but I looked at your explanations and images on your site relating to goats.

        Your “Capricorn” (https://hungergj.home.xs4all.nl/catoblepas/capricorn.htm) can’t easily be mistaken for the Voynich armadillo. That Capricorn has only two legs whereas the armadillo has three visible ones; the scales cover only half of the Capricorn but clearly cover the whole body of the armadillo (minus the legs). The two legs on the Capricorn are much longer than those on the armadillo and also clearly show the knee joints. There are no obvious horns on the armadillo but the one on the Capricorn is unmistakable. So there are too many high-level dissimilarities of body plan to confuse the two animals.

        I don’t think you’ve supported your contention of an “attack” position either (even if we assume a goat). Look at the head position in your image of two goats. A goat’s head in an attack position isn’t down around its feet as the armadillo’s is. A quick search of “goat attacks” on YouTube brought up several videos that don’t suggest anything reminiscent of our Voynich armadillo.

      • Ger Hungerink Says:

        Rich P, my pages do not display just one capricorn. In general capricorn was imaged as a goat, but sometimes with a fishtail. So consider it to be proposed as a goat. That has the advantage of context: if the text e.g. mentions the days getting longer again capricorn would be an appropriate illustration in the margin. As to the scales, tail, etc. please see the other pages mentioned there. And the legs are short, the image might not be perfect in all respects I would agree. Just like the VMs ram’s have “wrong” horns and so other drawings of known things have errors in it. Anyway, my pages offer more possibilities there. And in the rotated f80v pictures you will clearly see the goat horn.

      • proto57 Says:

        Ger, you have perfectly flipped the logic of the situation here… so I’m not sure how to continue, since you won’t or can’t accurately describe the situation and previous arguments:

        “No, you are the one to insist your armadillo must look more perfect.”

        What? Where have you been? No, I’ve been saying that the f80v animal is a good representation of an armadillo; that it is more like an armadillo than any other contender offered; and never said it was “perfect”, nor that it “must look more perfect”.

        So everything you said makes no sense. How to carry on a discussion, if you just make stuff up? It would be pointless.

        Why not argue what is actually said, on both sides of this argument, then simply inventing things? What is the point of doing that?

        “You claim it is an armadillo, then everything of it must be an armadillo by your own standards.”

        Again, no… not at all. Never did. You have invented a new strawman to argue in place of me. But maybe you have succeeded in coming up with a NEW “Anything but an armadillo” argument: Incorrectly state that the armadillo supporter wants it to be perfect, and it is not, therefore it is not an armadillo.

      • Ger Hungerink Says:

        Yes, you are the one to insist your armadillo must look more perfect.
        Implicitely, but I thought that was clear. I repeat:

        Simply because you do not accept from others that their proposed animal might not look perfectly the same because [as they say] the drawing is only a crude sketch. (…) then you can not say [in your armadillo claim] the tail is wrong, etcetera – but it is a rough sketch.
        You demand from others that every detail of their proposed animal is there, or you burn it down, so implicitely you insist your own description has to fit perfectly too.

        Now with an armadillo the scales are wrong, the legs are wrong, the tail is wrong, the armor is wrong, the position of the head is wrong, no one draws it half rolled up, would an armadillo bend its head that way it would be well between its legs,…so I would say: not quite a perfect resemblance, Exit armadillo.

      • proto57 Says:

        Ger, with all respect, you are being ridiculous now, with this silly new contention.

        “You demand from others that every detail of their proposed animal is there, or you burn it down, so implicitely you insist your own description has to fit perfectly too”

        What? That is illogical. First of all, I don’t demand “every detail of their proposed animal is there”… but rather that ENOUGH detail is there to actually make a case for it. So far, the condenders are really bad…

        There is NO basis for your odd new claim I insist my choice “fit perfectly”. It is really, really, good, and better than anything else I’ve seen, or has been suggested… but no, it is not perfect, and I certainly never said it must be.

        Using the standards of the Voynich artist, “armadillo” is well within their abilities and choices of representation; and using the same standards, your goat, the sheep, the wolves, the pangolin, sea monsters and whatever, are out. I don’t ask any more nor any less of any alternative offered, and the others… in my opinion, and the opinion of others… simply fail.

        “Now with an armadillo the scales are wrong, the legs are wrong, the tail is wrong, the armor is wrong, the position of the head is wrong, no one draws it half rolled up, would an armadillo bend its head that way it would be well between its legs”

        Again, where have you been? The scales, length of legs, the position of the head (to demonstrate the key aspect of armadillos), the shape of the snout, the ears, and so on… (no, the tail is not a great match)…

        But now you have introduced a new requirement of my little armadillo, and the artist… that “no one” would show it partially rolled up, nor “between its legs”.

        Well think about it: You again show that it is YOU who are insistant on armadillo-perfection, not me; and you who want to allow unequal, lower, standards for your own choices… for goats don’t even have scales to begin with, do not roll up, and so on… their legs are longer, their snouts wider, they have horns…

        OMG Ger, you like your goat better, I get it. But your logic is flawed here (and there, and everywhere) whether or not you understand that… and I see you do not. Love the goat, I don’t care… in fact, the more I read your “reasoning”, I would beg you: NEVER support the armadillo! He stands well on his own, I don’t think it would be an asset having you on his side.

        I’m going to need to take a break… I admit you gave me a headache.

      • Ger Hungerink Says:

        Rich, Apparently you missed what I wrote about the goat, the scales, the attacking stance, the tail, the Capricorn, the zodiac context,… so here you can read it:
        https://hungergj.home.xs4all.nl/catoblepas/f80v.htm
        Just imagine your armadillo would have its head in the position of f80v: impossible – or you provide an existing drawing or photo.

  26. john sanders Says:

    I guess you missed by a country mile Rich; no parody at all and if you care to look back through my related posts on the dark side, you’ll find that I’ve always viewed my old velum theory as being most reasonable and therefore most probable. Especially in case of Mary Boole’s accessability through her research of medieval manuscripts in her care, not merely to take in the content in preparation for later partial replication, but of course to remove any much sought after blank parchment that she might fortuitously come across. Daughter Lucy’s like employment at the library could have been a Godsend.

    The so called “parody” was submitted purely to accentuate the fact that an unfortunate carbon dating over estimate is indeed a plausable second string solution, should the other have become non viable for some reason not yet apparent. One must always be ready to change tack if the wind swings around as any old salt will affirm. It goes without saying that, much like DNA, C14 dating has become a much more exacting technology since those random? VM fragments were subjected to the process a decade ago, eg. Lab techs do need to factor in bovine dietary intake and the like including hard water mineral salt licks, that could indeed add many hundreds of years.

    Take it easy Rich, not everyone is out to make you look like Frank Drebble, if that’s what you are on about. We are really not too far away from each other in direction, contrary to what you might think. Whatever; I’m not particularly concerned by another’s allegations of backdoor doings and whence they derive. Just so long as I’m allowed to pursue my leads unfettered. At the end of the day, I’m not looking to making friends amongst intellectualy superior types. That would be way beyond my humble expectations; yet I’m not looking to making enemys of my schollarly betters either; all I ask is a little leniency for my admittedly dumbass manner in going about the business at hand and in my own way. OK?..

  27. john sanders Says:

    It seems that Wilfrid made his first trip to the USA in late 1914, at a time when the Yanks were still doing great one way trade deals in munitions and war materiel with Germany, a land most migrant Americans still identified with. Meanwhile some bad hombres, recently exhiled from down Mexico way, in the form of ex Presidente Victoriano Huerto, and ex Genralislmo Manuel Mondragone, along with their families including Many’s famous pin-up daughter Nahui, were having a high old time at Manhatten Hotel NYC. Some time during 1915 Germany’s own Ace of Spies aka Fred Hansen and his team of German saboteurs were causing chaos in Brooklyn, setting off fire bombs in ship holds. They had brought plenty of big bill Deuschmarks with which to entice their two fidel amigos in an anti republica uprising south of the border. The plan being to divert growing American hostility towards the fatherland and even to become allies when the Yanks changed their minds about staying neutral at all costs.

    Grounds for bringing this all to light might be found in the Voynich so called FBI (pre Hoover) file, in which certain allegations, ultimately disproved of Wilfred having unlawful access to US military codes and thus possible links to spying, initially for Germany, later for the new USSR. Sadly the file only runs between 1915 and 1920 and there are probably many sensitive omissions that we might only guess at. Whilst he was never deemed a serious contender for any anti US behaviour, as was varified by Naval Intelligence from the outset, a close look at the invesigative work sheets finds that Wilfred Voynich had taken rooms himself at the Manhatten hotel right where the bad guys were eventually picked up and imprisoned/deported by Room 40 allied evesdroppers. I might of course (as usual)be taking things a little too far however, I’d go out on a limb and suggest that friend Voynich was most assuredly behind the sting and that this was not his only success as agent provoceteur.

    That is, a spy for the British, installed in New York at commencement of hostilities to monitor the as yet unclear situation with Taft/Wilson and the US stated intention of not getting caught up in European bickerings. In this regard he would have had his authorised local man Navy Intelligence Captain John Manly, formerly of Chicago University linguistic faculty, to fall back on or liase wuth when needed. This trust resulted in them forming a sound post war working relationship which lasted until 1930 with Wilfrid’s passing. Why the man chose to give Bill Newbold the VM translation job, as apposed to his pal John who had been given several pages to work on as early as 1914, we’re not to know. But perhaps he considered that honest John, would be the most likely to call the thing a fraud, friends or not. Maybe old Bill was considered the lesser threat and would chose to go with the smart money on Bacon and earn his fair commission, nnww say no more…NB: Mondragone, a coincidence..Fred/Sydney? O’Reilly, (Ace of Spies), Lily’s friend and Wilfrid’s citizenship witness ex India civil service?..

  28. proto57 Says:

    Hi John:

    “I guess you missed by a country mile Rich; no parody at all…”

    Well John then I am at a loss.You write very colorfully, and also with a bit of sarcasm throughout… and that is fine if it is your “style”, and it is an entertaining way of expressing yourself. But it means that I cannot any longer separate the “wheat from the chaff”, and know when you are being serious any longer. And I cannot imagine that parts such as this are not parody:

    “It has been revealed that a College paleontology club expedition into Badlands Nth Dakota collected various samples for dating, including some from a huge, bison skeleton of perhaps stonage era. They were able to obtain a later than expected 1400/40 yod by C14 which, when seen along with a suspected deep arrow or lance wound in the big beast’s shoulder, was deemed fair proof of modern human presence in that area during the given time…”

    So perhaps you are all serious, or all parody, or something in between, but there is no way I can tell. So frankly you are on your own, and I wish you the best in either case.

  29. john sanders Says:

    proto57 @ Rich: My paraphrased bison tale is a suburban myth for all I know and to be fair, I never did vouch for it’s veracity. So if you wish to apply the term “parody”? then, I suggest that you take it up with the ghost of President Theodore Roosvelt who claims to have stalked and wounded the ‘old lone bull’, then spent a goodly part of his life trying to find it without luck, and alternately writing about it. The tallish story went through various stages of embellishment, with both yea & naysayers getting in on the act down through the passage of time. To-day’s more? enlightended folk might decide for themselves whether Teddy was being honest injun or just a yarn spinner in the frontier fashion of his admired trail blazing heroes Messrs. Crockett & Boone…I must confess to making an honest error by quoting unvarified details of the dating process with century out results listed. However, in the context of my salient points for doubting accuracy of the overwhelmingly accepted VM C14 readings, my own mistake would seem to be of very minor consequence…NB: Teddy Roosevelt who was born in East 20th Street, NYC, died in 1919, seven years after running a spite filled loosing ballot for Presidency against Taft on his own PN ‘Bull Moose’ party platform..And that’s neither parody nor sarcasm from my prospective Rich.

  30. Ger Hungerink Says:

    Rich, you presented the opinion of your opponents as:
    “ANYTHING but an armadillo!”.
    However the wording is not very precise. As if it was directed against your theory only. A better statement might have been:

    “Anything but an ANACHRONISTIC MONSTER!”.

    “Anything but an other CONSPIRACY THEORY!”.

    You seem to be proud of your “discovery” of the armadillo, but you also hang on to this forgery theory. Too proud to give up, you bend your arguments such that a knowledgeable 20th C. forger would draw an armadillo in what was supposed to be a 13th C. MS written by Roger Bacon. Very appropriate of course in a chapter on nude bathing women. You seem to be proud of your mistakes.

    After all the f80v creature looks just as much like an armadillo, as f101v looks like a microscope. Which I find MORE convincing:

    https://proto57.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/the-green-microscope/

  31. Ger Hungerink Says:

    Adding to my previous post (as of now not yet accepted)

    I do not claim to have proven anything. On my pages I explain what animals it can be, some more likely. You do claim it’s an armadillo and nothing else, because if not, your whole modern hoax theory tumbles. If the “sunflower” could also be a European flower, or just a fantasy flower, or badly drawn, your whole modern hoax theory tumbles. Whereas others can be relaxed saying if it is not this “pre-Columbian” flower, then it might be another, or fictional, or a rough sketch. You need to PROVE it is an armadillo or a sunflower because of the severe consequences – and that requires a much higher degree of identification. Complaining about “your armadillo must be more perfect” is not seeing the reality.

  32. proto57 Says:

    Hi Ger: All of your posts have been “accepted”, so I don’t know what you are referring to. I didn’t respond, because your tactic in these arguments seems to be making up positions for myself that are not correct (creating strawmen for me), and no matter that I correct you, you continue to do this…, and even elaborate on it.

    The second problem is that you are clearly ignorant of the basis for the very things you profess to believe in, so your complaints are very superficial. As I pointed out, but you fail to notice, is that you are getting less and less attention, even from those you agree with. You get at most a patient nod, or are ignored.

    The third is you are illogical in your complaints and rebuttals, coming to conclusions opposite to what logic would dictate.

    In short, arguing with you is mostly pointless, because you are not using the actual arguments of mine, or the facts of the matter, nor simple logic… you simply state whatever you like, with no basis. So I left it alone. But it seems you won’t go away, so…

    “I do not claim to have proven anything. On my pages I explain what animals it can be, some more likely.”

    I never said you did. You are offering (some really bad) comparisons, and that is your opinion.

    “You do claim it’s an armadillo and nothing else…”

    I do not, and never did. I give it as what I consider the best comparison, and do not believe it is “anything else”… so far. But here, again, is a strawman you have made… patently untrue.

    “… because if not, your whole modern hoax theory tumbles.”

    And here again, you simply state something that has no basis on anything I do claim, anything I do offer, or what is offered by many others. But I point out that you need to do this, to ignore the vast number of other post-Columbian comparisons made by me, and a large number of others since 1912, in order to make your point. This is a tacit admission that your position is weak. It is a subconscious concession, to ignore and misstate your opponents arguments.

    The only other option for you would be to withdraw from the argument, as others do, because they realize they cannot argue these points. But you stay, so you must resort to inventing an argument for us, because that is the only one you think you can counter.

    “If the “sunflower” could also be a European flower, or just a fantasy flower, or badly drawn, your whole modern hoax theory tumbles. Whereas others can be relaxed saying if it is not this “pre-Columbian” flower, then it might be another, or fictional, or a rough sketch. You need to PROVE it is an armadillo or a sunflower because of the severe consequences – and that requires a much higher degree of identification.”

    I think it may be a sunflower, but it is not my favorite comparison. And again, not by a long shot does my modern hoax theory “tumble” if the sunflower and armadillo are not what many think they are. You ignore, because you have to to make your point, many dozens of modern comparisons in the Voynich. Did you read
    D’Imperio yet? Did you read “Unraveling the Voynich Codex” yet? Did you read any of the blogs by Velinski? You don’t know my theory yet… although you complain about it constantly as though you do… so I know you didn’t read it, yet… Have you read the blogs of Comegys? Of Tucker? Of Bax? There are dozens, with hundreds of reasons the Voynich is probably post-Columbian, and probably much newer.

    But you continue to falsely claim, as Koen did on his blog recently, that the “only” two post-Columbian comparisons are the armadillo and sunflower. And by purposefully ignoring all the others, you only show to the reader just how weak your position really is.

    “Complaining about “your armadillo must be more perfect” is not seeing the reality.”

    Again with this? This is right there, in the original post above, as an illogical argument against the armadillo. In #9, “…[demanding] a higher level of technical accuracy to this image than is reasonably seen in the work as a whole. It therefore allows the unequal application of technical demand to those comparisons rejected and those accepted, by any viewer.”

    In the exhibited, and therefore known, range of technical and artistic skills of the Voynich artist, the f80v animal is a far better comparison to an armadillo to any of the very bad comparisons you offer. That is the point to this post that you don’t seem to understand, because you continue to make illogical claims, false claims about my position, you continue to apply an unequal and different… “more forgiving” standard to the Voynich artist’s known abilities, in order to reject the armadillo and replace it with the very bad comparisons you offer.

    So I enjoy your complaints, here… all you are able to do is continue to dig your hole, by demonstrating to anyone following this that the only tools at your disposal are ineffectual. So have at it… as I said many times before, “You do my work for me”.

    • Ger Hungerink Says:

      Just for comparison: why should I read EVERYTHING you wrote during fifteen years about your microscope theory, when one can see in 10 seconds that it is pure rubbish… You don’t need to read 2000 years of “scientific” research proving the Earth to be flat, when you see it obviously is silly nonsense. Arguing with some one who believes in a god ultimately ends in asserting that all your objections were created by this god on purpose. Like the armadillo.

      And on my screen it says:

      “Ger Hungerink Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      July 19, 2019 at 4:54 am | Reply

      Rich, you presented the opinion of your opponents as:
      “ANYTHING but an armadillo!”.

      etcetera….

      • proto57 Says:

        Beautiful! As I’ve said, you do my work for me.. Now you say, “Just for comparison: why should I read EVERYTHING you wrote during fifteen years about your microscope theory, when one can see in 10 seconds that it is pure rubbish…”

        Right there, your admission that you chose not to know the basis for the very things you are willing to tell the world you are against.

        Why should anyone take any of your rebuttals seriously, when you admit you chose not to know what it is you are rebutting?

      • Ger Hungerink Says:

        Again, please accept my post of July 19, 2019 at 4:54 am
        It still says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
        May be it is held because it contains two links.

  33. john sanders Says:

    Ger: Strange that I just happened to be thinking of those strange D micro/telescopes which appear so similar to old composition apocethary boxes to my eyes; No matter; While we’re still hot on the trail of our dastardly TexMex armadillo, you will be sympathetic to my own unwavering opinion as to the name of the beast. There be only two strangly similar looking creatures, that I am personally aware of, both having overlapping armored scales in a way depicted in f80v (body form); They being the equatorial pangolin, confined now to Africa and the India sub continent, plus the remarkable stump tailed, shingle back skink, of arid outback Australia (you beaut).

    As a matter of more interest regarding the catoblepas, I note from my recent most thorough scanning of the Mackinnon Voynich files, that Wilfrid used an adaption of the Sessa coat of arms for his own letter heads, which name was also his business cable address in London. It depicts a catlike animal with a mouse in it’s jaws and is similar in form to another from Irkutsk Siberia, from where he escaped around 1885/7, said to represent a tiger and irmine. Not to be outdone, Patrick Lockerby has just posted a similar portrayal, this time an old English version on Pelling’s catoblepas thread.

    As a matter of interest, the town of Sessa’s coat of arms on wiki depicts a catoblepas/lion? and a Roman god locked in mortal combat; but who cares. All I can make from the files, particularly pertaining to the man himself, is that he appears to have been as straight as an arrow in all his dealings with the U.S.B.I. which is heartening to some of us, now having a much better perspective on his other mission perhaps? Others with possible alternatate motives, I can understand and respect..NB: Sessa the township in Southern Italy is roughly ten kilometres from Mondragone Palace, where Ms. Nill claimed her boss picked up his “Ugly Duckling”

    • Ger Hungerink Says:

      John, yes the pangolin has been named quite often. However because of its tail I think it can be ruled out. Lizard-like animals have a tail that is as think as their body at the position of their hind legs. Tail and body are one. As opposed to the, in my view hairy, cattle like tail of f80v. Please see https://hungergj.home.xs4all.nl/catoblepas/catoblepas-tail.htm

      And a sleeping cat would not be out of the question considering the way the scribe drew his ram’s

  34. Ger Hungerink Says:

    OK, I will give my disappeared post of 19 July a second try.

    Rich, you presented the opinion of your opponents as:
    “ANYTHING but an armadillo!”.
    However the wording is not very precise. As if it was directed against your theory only. A better statement might have been:

    “Anything but an ANACHRONISTIC MONSTER!”.

    “Anything but an other CONSPIRACY THEORY!”.

    You seem to be proud of your “discovery” of the armadillo, but you also hang on to this forgery theory. Too proud to give up, you bend your arguments such that a knowledgeable 20th C. forger would draw an armadillo in what was supposed to be a 13th C. MS written by Roger Bacon. Very appropriate of course in a chapter on nude bathing women. You seem to be proud of your mistakes.

    After all the f80v creature looks just as much like an armadillo, as f101v looks like a microscope. Which I find MORE convincing:

  35. proto57 Says:

    Hi Ger: You still have not read my theory, I see, but you continue to enjoy commenting on it. Anyway,

    “… bend your arguments such that a knowledgeable 20th C. forger would draw an armadillo in what was supposed to be a 13th C. MS written by Roger Bacon.”

    The Voynich is a very poor Roger Bacon, and I don’t believe it was created to be one in the first place. But again I note you don’t seem very knowledgeable on the history of the Voynich, so I will fill you in:

    When Wilfrid Voynich finally got around to noticing the 1666 Marci letter folded inside it (sarcasm there), he lo and behold also finally saw the “Roger Bacon” rumor in it. And guess what? A great many people accepted this possibility. Why? Where they stupid? No… but while you take it for granted, now, that it is a poor Roger Bacon… you have to put yourself in the shoes of someone 1919 to 1921, when the general image of who Bacon was, and what he accomplished, was not what it was in the decades since. So many believed it possible, at the time. Think of poor Newbold… or maybe you have not caught up enough to know the Newbold story? Go read up on it, and then finish reading this…

    …. OK, now that you know who the hell Newbold was, and what he believed, and his role in all this, you will see that even some very smart people thought this could be by Roger Bacon.

    The great irony is that the Voynich Manuscript was partly responsible for a new awareness of Bacon, and more scholarly information about him came out because of it. Also, his 700th birth anniversary was coming up, in 1914, and there appeared many articles on the man and what he was really about.

    So the Voynich was now fast beginning to look nothing like a Roger Bacon work… although some diehards still considered it possible, even up to the 1990’s, I think.

    In any case, when you get around to reading my hypothesis, which you love criticizing without knowing much about, you will learn: No, I do not believe the Voynich was created as a Roger Bacon manuscript, but rather as a Tepencz work, recording the botany and medicine and sciences of the Court of Rudolf, as popularly and incorrectly understood through the 1904 Bolton book, “Follies of Science at the Court of Rudolf II”.

    The Voynich makes an EXCELLENT fake Horcicky book. Too bad Voynich shifted gears to Bacon, and shot the whole deal out to limbo, where it still floats around. If he stuck to Horcicky, maybe this whole thing would have ended by 1920, and you would be telling me WHY it is an armadillo, and not a whatever you think it is today. Because “no armadillo” seems only to be based on…

    … hey, wait a minute… why are you stuck on 1420 anyway? Do you ever stop and really ask yourself that? You seem pretty steamed at my thinking this is a cheap forgery (still not sure why that gets everyone so hot under the collar, but whatever…)… but I’m actually not sure what ideas you do have, other than “1420 and real”. Why not take the time and let us know, here… if you like.

    • Ger Hungerink Says:

      Rich, you are ever more twisting and turning. You claim Voynich wrote the VMs before 1912. Now when Voynich brought it out in 1912 he did everything he could to have people believe it was a Roger Bacon. This can only mean that Voynich forged it TO BE a Roger Bacon. That he did a bad job is irrelevant, that’s an after thought. So while this knowledgeable 20th C, antiquarian was forging a 13th C. Manuscript, supposed to be by Roger Bacon, he put in an American armadillo(!), in a section on nude bathing women. That would surely convince the world of its authenticity (sarcasm warning).

      To this hilarious idiocy you simply have NO reasonable explanation. Addressing me as if I were a child and don’t know a thing about the VM, does give me the impression that those are the only sort of people you think you can convince of your ridiculous armadillo theory.

      • proto57 Says:

        Hi Ger: First of all it does your position no good to continue to be so nasty. It betrays a lack of confidence in your position, and an undue emotional involvement in the outcome. But if you have a point to make, I’m all ears and eyes, and I always respond.

        “You claim Voynich wrote the VMs before 1912. This can only mean that Voynich forged it TO BE a Roger Bacon. That he did a bad job is irrelevant, that’s an after thought.”

        This is sort of a straw man construction, a common and pointless method of argument you use, “A straw man is a form of argument and an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent.”

        I’ve already agreed with you, and it is something I and most others have realized, that the Voynich makes a bad Roger Bacon. That, whether it is genuine or fake. So rather than argue against a position I don’t hold, you ought to tell me why the Voynich cannot be a Horcicky botanical and pharma (my ACTUAL hypothesis), through the eyes of any one of the many who took Bolton’s “Follies of Science at the Court of Rudolf II” as a historical work. Did you read Bolton yet? You will not be able to refute my position unless you actually know it, and to know it, you would have to read that book.

        I mean, nothing wrong with not reading it, but continuing to make up straw men about what you SAY my hypothesis MUST be about makes your objections pointless to them.

        “That he did a bad job is irrelevant, that’s an after thought. So while this knowledgeable 20th C, antiquarian was forging a 13th C. Manuscript, supposed to be by Roger Bacon, he put in an American armadillo(!), in a section on nude bathing women.”

        I am not sure what the term is for this sort of argument, but I it fails to take into account that this “bad job” at a Roger Bacon (your straw man) STILL fooled hundreds, or thousands, until the early 1920’s. Have you read the articles? The books? D’Imperio yet? Many agreed that the book could be a Roger Bacon (which I don’t believe he had tried to make, only tried to turn the Voynich into, using the Marci letter and Newbold, as I’ve said).

        And again, the straw man in your argument… I and no one I know thinks he was “forging a 13th C. Manuscript. And in a Horcicky work, recording the activities and contents of the Court of Rudolf II, a (stuffed, probably) armadillo was quite at home… many Kunstkammers by famous men had them, along with many New World collectibles. And, by the way, Bolton’s “Follies…” mentions Horcicky (who “signed” the Voynich), and his collections of New World plants, and also that Rudolf’s court had collections from the Americas.

        So again, read the book, read my ACTUAL hypothesis, and argue that, if you like. That would be productive on both sides, instead of this pointless arguing non-existent positions, that neither I nor anyone I know, holds.

        “To this hilarious idiocy you simply have NO reasonable explanation.”

        Well that “hilarious idiocy” is not my theory, but your own imaginative construct you substitute in its place. But for the actual one I hold, for anyone, you included, who may not have read it: https://proto57.wordpress.com/2016/03/23/the-modern-forgery-hypothesis/ You are quite welcome to consider that not a “reasonable explanation”, but at least we will be talking about the same thing.

        “Addressing me as if I were a child and don’t know a thing about the VM, does give me the impression that those are the only sort of people you think you can convince of your ridiculous armadillo theory.”

        OK now that is illogical. Read that again if necessary… you have that backwards. First of all, through your responses it is clear that you do not have a solid background on the history of Voynich research. So I don’t mean to address you “as if you were a child”, but only to suggest you learn more about all this, so that you will be on an equal footing with those you argue with, and against.

        But the illogical premise of your claim comes with saying I feel it is only with those who ARE un-knowledgeable that will understand (not “convince”, this is a common misconception)… who will understand my theory. For if I was worried about you or anyone having MORE knowledge, why would I try to get my critiques to LEARN MORE? It would be the opposite, I would be trying to get you to remain in the dark.

        It is precisely those who do read everything about the Voynich, and know the actual problems with the 1420 Genuine European Cipher Herbal Paradigm, and read Bolton, and know everything there is to know about the Voynich in general… starting with D’Imperio… those are the people who at least understand the basis (agree or not) with my 1910 Modern forgery hypothesis. Conversely, it is those who don’t know that basis, that accept blindly the “facts” best represented in the pages of voynich.nu, and the Yale book, who cannot argue effectively against it.

        https://proto57.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/modern-voynich-myths/
        https://proto57.wordpress.com/2019/01/03/birth-of-a-new-mythology/

        I enjoy a good debate, whether with a child or adult or whatever, but I prefer that my philosophical opponent know everything there is to know, and everything or more than I know, and there is no way you can suggest that is a bad thing. I am confident in my ideas and the basis for them, so I have no need to want you in the dark.

      • Ger Hungerink Says:

        Rich, you refuse to read my posts as a whole. Chopping them up in pieces, reacting to isolated sentences, constantly giving your vision on what you think I know, you evade to answer to what I actually say as a whole and in its context. As you did not give any answer either to why every recipe would need its own microscope.

        Arrogantly accusing me of not having read all the nonsense you produced might convince some of your readers, I don’t care about those. You have a nasty way of trying to disqualify your opponent in stead of trying to convince. You seem to think insulting me helps your arguments in any way – I can’t be insulted, not by people like you.

        I leave here and you can debate your crazy proposals with people who care to spend their time on hopelessly improbable theories – as I claim to have made clear – which won’t bring the secret of the MS any nearer anyway. And solving that secret is the only thing about the VM I am interested in. This site won’t be of any use for that purpose.

        To end on topic – the creature being an armadillo would not change anything: as you also never answered to that it could have been added by a later owner. Or by Voynich after a bad night.

      • proto57 Says:

        Hi Ger:

        “Rich, you refuse to read my posts as a whole.”

        I’ve read every word of every comment you have posted here and everywhere. I’ve read and thought about every post you made on the Voynich Net, and as you may note, I am the only one who responds to you. I even went over to your blog in progress to see if I could understand your viewpoint better. I’ve not doubt I’ve given you far more attention than anyone in this field. So your first sentence is incorrect.

        “Chopping them up in pieces, reacting to isolated sentences, constantly giving your vision on what you think I know, you evade to answer to what I actually say as a whole and in its context.”

        That is the way people’s comments are addressed, mine too, like it or not. It is impossible to address each and every point in each and every post by each and every person, so we all… you included… use those parts which are pertinent to the person’s main points. And many comments seem rherorical, or sarcastic, so it is sometimes hard to know if a response is expected or not. And nothing I’ve used from your posts has been purposely taken out of context. And as you might have noticed… or not… if any point is missed by me, or any post unfairly addressed and it is brought to my attention, I will address that, like below:

        “As you did not give any answer either to why every recipe would need its own microscope.”

        They wouldn’t. This is another form of a straw man, in which you create an imaginary expectation of what a book of the type I suppose the Voynich WOULD be, then tell me that the Voynich does not match THAT. In this case, I do not assume the writings are “recipes”, first of all. They could be nothing, nonsense… which is on the top of my list. They could be descriptions of the microscopes, they could be recipes, too. They could be anything or nothing.

        In real microscope books, there is much text, and illustrations of microscopes scattered about. The main microscope books which I think might be the source for the forger are:

        “The Microscope and its Revelations”, William B. Carpenter, C.B. M.D. LL.D.:

        https://proto57.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/micro_marine.jpg and,

        … there are several more, just from Carpenter.

        “Nature Through Microscope & Camera”, Richard Kerr, F.G.S., F.R.A.S., 1909:


        … there are more from Kerr, too.

        Jabez Hogg, “The Microscope”, 1869:

        https://proto57.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/f39r_screw_moss_1869_hogg.jpg and,

        … and more from Hogg.

        The Spanish Broadsheet (advertisement) from the 18th century:

        There are some other sources on microscopy and optics in general, which may have influenced the microscopes and microscopic images in the Voynich, but those seem to be the key ones. And in many of them, the objects seen under the instruments, and the instruments themselves, and the written descriptions of both, are scattered about the books. There is no reason to believe that the Voynich, if a forgery inspired by these sources, should be exactly the same, or different… it fits right in which any imaginary conception, as a faux record of microscopes and the items seen, in the Court of Rudolf, as recorded by Horcicky and/or others.

        “Arrogantly accusing me of not having read all the nonsense you produced might convince some of your readers, I don’t care about those.”

        What? You’ve admitted it several times… it’s not an “accusation”, you told me you won’t read my ideas. You also continually misrepresent my theories, such as saying my hypothesis involved the forging of a Bacon work, and asking me “why?” an armadillo would be in it. I only suggest you read it, then you will know. Furthermore, you have made several errors and ommissions, and otherwise shown you are not familiar with many aspects of the history of Voynich research. I’m sorry if you feel that is “arrogant” to point these things out, but it is important… as I’ve repeatedly said… that we all be on the same level of understanding of these things. And if you want to… and clearly you want to… argue my theories, then have the decency to learn what they actually are. Nothing arrogant about that suggestion, either… it is simply common courtesy to do so.

        “You have a nasty way of trying to disqualify your opponent in stead of trying to convince. You seem to think insulting me helps your arguments in any way – I can’t be insulted, not by people like you.”

        I’m not sure I’ve ever insulted you, and certainly not anywhere near the level hurled at me, in these pages, and at Koen’s. I think I’ve been quite patient and polite to you, far beyond what was warranted, considering. And I’ve not been “trying to convince”? Well not “convince”, but I’ve certainly been pulling teeth here to compel you to actually read the things that you keep objecting to. But it seems you are taking my strong suggestions you “bone up” on my hypothesis, and the history of Voynich research, before engaging with me… and if that is an insult to you, then there is nothing I can do about that. That perception comes from you.

        “I leave here and you can debate your crazy proposals with people who care to spend their time on hopelessly improbable theories – as I claim to have made clear – which won’t bring the secret of the MS any nearer anyway. And solving that secret is the only thing about the VM I am interested in. This site won’t be of any use for that purpose.”

        OK, that’s fine. I wasn’t forcing you to be here, rebutting (your straw man versions of) my hypothesis. But I have to point out, yet again (because I am thorough, if anything), that you openly state you refuse to read or learn my theories, or any of the sources I cite, so how will you ever know what you really think about them? So you’ve decided they are “crazy”, and not worth your time. Again, that’s fine… but I would suggest you learn everything you can about the Voynich, even those theories you think you already know must be wrong.

        Ventris was certain Linear B could not be Greek. It held him back from solving Linear B for years… There are so many cases of this, in which mysteries are not solved because researchers shut their minds to ideas they have a pre-conception “must” be wrong. So I think it important to read all theories that are sent to me, and on the web, and do my best to understand all of them, every inch of them, and engage the holders of them, AFTER knowing their position as well as they do. Who knows? Maybe it will turn out I am wrong, and they are right? But if I don’t take the time to learn, them, I will never know.

        “To end on topic – the creature being an armadillo would not change anything: as you also never answered to that it could have been added by a later owner.”

        Well to answer that, specifically, then: I see you have taken a new tack, and suggest the armadillo could have been “added later”. First of all, that has been a common reason given to dismiss any anachronistic content in the Voynich, that it was “added later”. So much that I also wrote a post about it, years ago: https://proto57.wordpress.com/2009/05/20/nagging_sense-of_newness/

        As I said there, people would claim:

        “If something looks newer than 1450:
        1) It was added later
        2) It is not newer, and it is not what you think it might be… you want to see that, so you do
        3) They might have had it earlier than we now think
        4) It looks too much like what you think it is, so it is a coincidence.”

        In fact, now that I re-read that post, I see I did include the armadillo as having been suggested as being “added later”. I forgot that, and will add it to the list in the OP.

        “Or by Voynich after a bad night.”

        Well he was a pretty wild and nefarious fellow, with many layers, like an onion… many of which will probably never be peeled back. He certainly made a lot of strange choices in his life… it could have been a “bad night”, or just an average night, for a bad person.

        Now I hope I’ve answered all your questions, and also hope you are not going away as you say. Because I’d still like to have an answer to my questions, which I asked before, if you don’t mind:

        “… why are you stuck on 1420 anyway? Do you ever stop and really ask yourself that? You seem pretty steamed at my thinking this is a cheap forgery (still not sure why that gets everyone so hot under the collar, but whatever…)… but I’m actually not sure what ideas you do have, other than “1420 and real”. Why not take the time and let us know, here… if you like.”

        Edited to add a point I forgot: You ask about the possibility the “armadillo” was added, and in addition to my answer, above, it seems that there would have had to be an empty space to add it later, there, on that page. So unless something was erased to make room for it, and it has been insisted the Voynich does not show signs of erasure, I think it is original to the work. My opinion, which you asked for, then, is, “not added”.

  36. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    A most energetic conversation! But to return to
    the creature depicted on folio 80v. It is often forgotten that if a person says “A looks like B” they must add ‘…. to me’.
    What this means is no more than that within an individual’s range of mental images and sought-for examples, nothing (yet) exists which looks more like ‘A’ than ‘B’ does.
    So then it comes down to just how wide a range of materials they have considered whether or not their personal impression is, or isn’t, a just reflection of the range of materials and examples which exist.
    Whether within a fifteenth-century or a nineteenth-century theory, the point which Nick made is valid: that the way the posited identification looked to contemporaries matters. Because it is not whether we, today, think ‘A’ looks like ‘B’ but whether people of the time saw ‘A’ as resembling ‘B’ and drew it in a way expressing that perceived similarity (accurate or not).
    To approach things the other way.. to ask where, when and by whom a creature was drawn in this style seems to me the more appropriate method, since the bias of belief in a given theory also biases the samples taken in speaking of a perceived similarity between ‘A’ and any preferred ‘B’.
    This is where formal training and experience really matter – not because they make a person an ultimate authority but because their studies provide a wider and less biased range of examples within their own area of study.
    Now, we know that the ‘cloudband’ sort of line is used for the demarkation line between the proper domain of mankind and the rest of the world, or universe and this applies to the sea-strand as to the division made by medieval Europeans (and earlier peoples) between the world below that that above the winds and clouds.
    The creature is placed upon something drawn in that way, so the first reasonable position is that the creature is found in, or proper to, the heavens or the strand.
    It is found in conjunction with the same sort of figures we see in the calendar, and which there certain represent astronomical items or the souls/characters with which they are identified. (I do not accept the literal interpretation of the ‘bathy-‘ section though I do accept some influence in some of the drawings from the makers’ acquaitene with art of the ‘Balneis’ sort).

    So now, testing the idea that the creature ‘A’ looks like an armadillo as ‘B’, you must ask whether or not your subjective impression of ‘likeness’ agrees either with the way those animals were drawn at the time you date the content, and further whether it agrees with the stylistics and what they indicate.

    The ‘lamb’ idea fails on both counts and the ‘Agnus Dei’ is plainly mistaken, being a term used to describes the lamb of Christ and particularly as shown with a banner – this being the emblem associated chiefly with St.John the Baptist.

    The ‘looks like’ problem is endemic in discussion of the Voynich imagery and the habit of omitting to say ‘looks like TO ME’ is much to be regretted, since it short-circuits the necessary following thoughts such as ‘and what if I’m mistaken… should I look more widely to expand the range of ideas I have at present..’ and other such useful spurs to further study and research.

    I am sure that you, like Nick, believe you have 20+ reasons for attributing the work to your preferred time and place of origin, but in the end, the question is whether or not any or all of those reasons bear closer scrutiny. The same is true for all of us. Arguments from personal, untested, impressions of similarity are no better than the range of material from which the comparison is taken.

    There’s another point of importance here: no-one attempting to forge a medieval manuscript which they want attributed to fifteenth century Christian Europe (or even more, to Roger Bacon) would omit to include the most typical forms of that era, including imagery of Christ and saints, kings on thrones, armies of one sort of another, beautiful looking females in full court dress and so on. If they wanted it to pass for a Renaissance ‘humanist’ document, then of course they would attempt (at least) to employ the telling signs of that era: literal and ‘beautiful’ bodies, and an effort at the use of perspective, on which the Renaissance artists and humanists so prided themselves.

    Confidence is admirable, but self-doubt very valuable in the historian and iconographic analyst.

  37. Ger Hungerink Says:

    Anyone here interested in the real facts behind a possible forgery should read René Zandbergen here:
    http://voynich.nu/extra/nofake.html

    Rich claims to have read EVERYTHING, but surely he forgot about that (sarcasm warning).
    And if he did read it then it was the way the pope read Galilei or Darwin – with the mind set to hang them on the nearest tree in defense of “science”.

    • Rich P Says:

      Ger —

      At this time, I’d suggest that René Zandbergen is not an altogether reliable source. He steadfastly refuses to answer questions about the C14 testing results (which he claims to have access to but will not permit others to view) and presents opinions and conjecture as facts on his voynich.nu site. Indeed, his site is *particularly* misleading for amateurs and those who simply have a passing interest in the VM. Anyone who’s seriously interested in making progress on the what/how/when of the VM is hereby advised: don’t believe everything you read there! As an admirable president once said “Trust but verify!”. [NOTE: English doesn’t appear to be René’s first language so perhaps he may be forgiven for slippery wording.]

      Let’s take a look at René’s five “Executive summary” claims that the VM is not a fake (voynich.nu/extra/nofake.html). He essentially weaves a yarn here to help the reader draw the conclusion that the VM is a genuine document from long ago. But examine each point closely and you’ll see that ALL FIVE POINTS ARE RENE’S OPINION, NOT FACTS!

      CLAIM:
      “1) There is a long list of observations demonstrating that the MS is genuinely old, from inspection by qualified experts and forensic investigations. Parts of the age and history of the MS can be reconstructed just from visual inspection of the materials.”

      FACT:
      Non sequitur. The vellum on which “MS” is written has been shown by C14 dating to be centuries old but that doesn’t prove it’s not fake! As Rich S. has pointed out, forgers often seek older/original materials on which to create their deception so that others may be led to drawing erroneous conclusions about provenance.

      CLAIM:
      “2. The provenance of the MS can be reconstructed convincingly and consistently from many independent sources, through the Jesuits in Rome and several earlier owners in Prague, all the way back to before 1622.”

      FACT:
      This is my favorite … IT’S PURE OPINION and unsubstantiated by evidence he presents. There are absolutely NO clear references to the VM’s provenance — even where Voynich “acquired” the VM is not known with certainty!

      There’s way too much to cite on this topic here but the “1903 catalogue” claim alone was enough to convince me that the provenance is VERY doubtful. Here (www.voynich.nu/extra/coll_rom_mss.html) René talks about “Source 2: the 1903 catalogue … The catalogue is preserved as Arch.Bibl.109 in the Vatican archives”. He pastes a picture of some text which is neither the catalog nor the “Arch.Bibl.109” but apparently a reference to a reference(!): a 1998 work by Kristeller which references Ruysschaert’s catalog from 1959 (which itself is a reference to the “supposed” catalog!).

      But let’s assume that the “Arch.Bibl.109” is a valid catalog that exists in the Vatican archives and that it actually represents some works that were sold to Voynich. René says:

      “Of particular interest for us is of course the description of the Voynich MS, but unfortunately the matching record is so unspecific that it would not have been possible to identify the MS by this desciption [sic] alone. It is simply described as:

      Miscellanea, c.m.s.XV ”

      René obviously identifies that entry as the VM but as best as I can tell, neither de Ricci nor Ruysschaert can be shown to make that claim and in fact, Ruysschaert thought the VM was still in the Vatican Library as late as 1963!

      CLAIM:
      “3. Around 1900 there was a thriving business in forging historical artefacts, but these forgers were professionals who were considering risk and cost. A long MS on old parchment would be high-cost, high-risk and there are only very few examples of forged MSs on parchment, typically with either very few or very small folios, and/or on reused parchment.”

      FACT:
      Zero proof of fake, just conjecture about what Voyinch may have perceived as costly/risky.

      CLAIM:
      “4. Voynich had just acquired the most valuable set of books in his entire career, and was about to make a fortune from them. At this point in time he clearly had no motive to spend effort and time to create an additional fake MS. Furthermore, no credible scenario for him doing this can be presented.”

      FACT:
      This somewhat undermines René’s point 3 above that “there was a thriving business in forging historical artefacts”. If Voynich was after money, then forgeries were the place to be. It could also be argued that Voynich purchased the bookshop (Libraria Franceschini) with a view to create forgeries. Either way, it’s pure speculation with no proof of authenticity or forgery one way or the other.

      CLAIM:
      “5. From all correspondence left by Voynich it is clear that he was baffled by the MS and its history.”

      FACT:
      More conjecture. This can be argued in either direction, he may not have known or he intentionally misled so as to create more mystery to attract a buyer.

      Ger, I think you should question René more closely about this.

      • Ger Hungerink Says:

        Rich P. said: “At this time, I’d suggest that René Zandbergen is not an altogether reliable source”

        Questioning the trustworthiness of the messenger is not a very strong argument to start the discusion. As if I would not be able to judge someone myself. Putting that first you seem to doubt your own objections. So in case you are wrong, you are right afterall, becasuse the messenger is wrong. These discussions are about facts, not about who brings them. In science you will always have to check and double check what others say. Even your mother. I mainly take René’s side in this.

      • proto57 Says:

        “Questioning the trustworthiness of the messenger is not a very strong argument to start the discusion. As if I would not be able to judge someone myself. Putting that first you seem to doubt your own objections. So in case you are wrong, you are right afterall, becasuse the messenger is wrong. These discussions are about facts, not about who brings them. In science you will always have to check and double check what others say. Even your mother. I mainly take René’s side in this.”

        Again (and again and again) you contradict yourself here: You first say it is not an argument to question a messenger, and that you cannot judge them anyway,

        “Questioning the trustworthiness of the messenger is not a very strong argument to start the discusion. As if I would not be able to judge someone myself.”

        Then you immediately contract that with,

        “In science you will always have to check and double check what others say. Even your mother. I mainly take René’s side in this.”

        Well I’m not sure which it is, but in any case, as I’ve said in another response, I will be putting together a proper rebuttal of claims made on voynich.nu… then you can either read it, and argue my points, or ignore it, and continue to simple accept it as gospel.

      • Ger Hungerink Says:

        Rich P, to be clear, I am here not arguing whether Voynich forged the MS. My assertion is that IF Voynich forged it, him putting an armadillo in it, is completely ridiculous whatever hopeless twist Rich likes to give it. I think the VMs is genuine 15th C. anyway, but that is not my problem with the armadillo.

        Actually if it proved to be an armadillo the most likely explanation would be that a later owner would have drawn it in the margin – that’s what the margin was used for more often. Why? For whatever silly mysterious reason ANYONE would want to draw an armadillo there, Voynich included.

      • Rich P Says:

        Ger —

        “Putting that first you seem to doubt your own objections”

        That’s called supporting my argument and warning others (including you) to question the assertions he makes.

        And whether you side with him or not, the C14 question won’t go away. Why do you think he won’t let us see those results? Imagine if Rich S were to run his own C14 tests and then comment on them but refuse to let anyone view them. Wouldn’t you object to that as unfair and unscientific?

      • Ger Hungerink Says:

        Rich P., When I said “Putting that first you seem to doubt your own objections” I clearly did not do that to support your doubts about René. It says that you seem to have doubt about the quality and truthfulness of your own objections, so if your wrong you can blame it on René.

        As to the dating of the MS I have my doubts about the René’s conclusion, but anyone can make his own conclusions by reading the article René wrote about it. All the data needed to judge are there. My conclusion by the way remains too that it is a 15th C. manuscript.

      • proto57 Says:

        “It says that you seem to have doubt about the quality and truthfulness of your own objections…”

        Not at all. I do not, and never have claimed to know the answers, but I have great faith in the quality of my arguments, and I am always perfectly truthful in any statements I make: About what is known, what is not known, and what is opinion on my part and others.

        THAT is the point. Much of what you read is actually speculation, stated as factual. And much is, in my opinion, wild and ever hopeful speculation. Some is outright incorrect. These thing are knowable, but not if you stop at voynich.nu. In fact many of the statements there run counter to the official results and opinions they deign to represent truthfully.

        I’ve pointed many of them out, here and there, but as I wrote earlier this morning (been very busy, and took this morning to answer the very many comments here… and “thank you” to everyone), I am going to post a rebuttal to them, in my blog, within the next few days.

        “As to the dating of the MS I have my doubts about the René’s conclusion, but anyone can make his own conclusions by reading the article René wrote about it. All the data needed to judge are there. My conclusion by the way remains too that it is a 15th C. manuscript.”

        It is good that you question. All learning stagnates if you don’t question everything. I learned something over the past several decades… and said back in the early nineties that there are three basic levels of learning about anything:

        – In an hour or so you can learn the popular conception of any topic in science or history or whatever
        – In a week or so, you learn that some if what you learned in an hour is incorrect, or is not known for certain
        – Give it a couple of years, going to source materials, to all opinion, in all collections in libraries, some as yet unseen… and you now learn that MOST of what you thought you knew, and what other still profess to know, is bunk, and/or, the possibility that it is bunk.

        Not in all cases, but in many. Those things that seem solved and somewhat irrefutable don’t interest me much… and I’ve gone down several paths that satisfied me that what we think we know, may be mostly correct. But in many others, quite the opposite. I won’t list them here, but the Voynich is among them. It is a bit unique in the sense that even those who claim to know it is genuine, and old, they still cannot tell you “what it is”. Still, the thing I began to realize, over a decade ago now, is that most that people have been told to believe, and think they know…

        …. is bunk.

      • proto57 Says:

        All good points, Rich P.. I’ve recently been involved in a long discussion with another Voynich author, and that discussion will be a blog post soon: A point-by-point rebuttal of the claims of the 1420 paradigm.

        I’ve found very often, and for years, that voynich.nu is used as a defacto “bible” of Voynich discussion, both as a baseline for study, and as a sort of “argument by proxy” for those disputing anyone (like me) who disagrees with that baseline. Instead of engaging with alternative hypothesis, the critic often simply cites voynich.nu, or quotes the pages.

        So it is right and proper that that baseline be critically examined and questions, as both you and I seem to have done.

        That post is almost done, and will go up soon. No doubt there will be “fireworks”, but nothing I can do about that.

        Thanks again, Rich (S).

  38. Ger Hungerink Says:

    By the way neither did you explain why the VM scribe would put in dozens of microscopes in the Pharma section, a different(!) microscope for each plant or recipe. That they might be storage jars is of course totally unrealistic. Why would a scribe draw a different jar for each recipe together with the leaves and roots? To know which jar contains which medicine? That’s a joke.

    No in the middle ages one would use a different microscope for each recipe and the views through those microscopes are not displayed because obviously they are secret – and the microscopes are not.

    And to be ahead of you reply: no I did not study your 15 years of explaining this nonsense, to know it is nonsense.

  39. john sanders Says:

    Rich: If your snide vindicive diatribal rant against Ger was not sarcasm, than I don’t know what is. Just to think you would dare to accuse me of a similar offence is even more of an affront than can be excused in all fairness; Having in padt days spent a somewhat uncomfortable period re-hashing things I said that might have offended you personally. All I could come up with was a little mistaken slip concerning Frank Drebben the NY cop, which in all honesty I thought you may have yourself referred to in jest. At the time I was not aware of a prolific Dutch inventor named similarly (Drebber).Of course now I know he was the submariner who gave us his perpetual motion device, camera obscura and many other useful gadgets of the 17th century. So sorry if you perceived that to be an insult on your fine home town.. By the way I scored your joust with well meaning Ger 60/40 in someone’s favor and I trust that we might now move on from the well covered controvery of Messrs, armadillo, pangolin and the many catobelast.creatures.

    • proto57 Says:

      Thanks John… it is a tornado in here, of sarcasm, parody, humor, mixed with well meant opinions and so on…

      So forgive me if I have not properly identified the difference between all of them. And yes it is a quite a coincidence that you use “Drebber” (never heard of him), when it is so close to “Drebbel”. Thank you for understanding my concern…

      Drebbel was an amazing guy, and although he (probably) has nothing to do with the Voynich, I’m glad to have been introduced to him. I became friends with the European “Drebbologist”, Hubert van Onna. I’ve been able to make contributions to his pages. I’ve also created a working model of his “perpetuum”:

      So as always, just like all of us, even the very many “dead ends” of Voynich research can end up being very interesting… I know more about:

      – Drebbel
      – Francis Bacon
      – Elizabeth of Bohemia
      – Shakespeare
      – Roger Bacon
      – Armadillos and the New World
      – Ciphers and Codes
      – Botany
      – John Dee
      – Wilfrid and Ethel Voynich, and the Russian Revolution

      … and so much more, than I ever would have, if not introduced to the Voynich. I know I’m not alone… but I’m just pointing out this positive aspect of even being wrong, because even if it is not solved, we walk away with that.

      Oh hell… edited to add, the history of microscopes! My first interest in the Voynich, those damned cylinders, led me to know more about microscope and telescope history, theory and practice, than I would have ever, otherwise…

  40. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    Rich, as you know, I accept the manuscript as having been manufactured between 1405 and 1438. However, I do debate some of the assertions made on Rene’s website, even while thinking it is only his adoption of a peculiarly unengaged tone which leads to so much error. That is, he writes as if his site were not a venue for his personal collection and personal preferences (including preferred views) but rather as if he were some professor hired to write an article for the Encyclopaedia Britannica. This leads to all sorts of errors and misunderstandings among his readers, who suppose his ideas objectively true and, at the same time, suppose every un-documented statement a product of Rene’s original efforts, when they are, as often as not, only his effort at collating others’ labours.

    Since none of us who write online are without fault, including Rene, it seems a bit much to criticise a fault in his choice of prose style in the tone you’ve taken. Certainly, it is a major fault to write as if selected ideas and preferences (so often un-documented or wrongly documented) were part of a conspiracy.

    You quote a characteristic error from Rene’s site: that we know of “several earlier owners in Prague”. This isn’t true, of course: we know of only one (Marci); one more which is alleged to have been alleged (Rudolf) and one implied by an inscription (Jacub of Tepenc).

    On inspection, documentary evidence from the Jesuits… at present… offers very little information whatever about the period when the ms went to Kircher in the late 1660s and when Voynich acquired it in the early twentieth century.

    The rest is the gossamer-thread of guesswork, speculation and wishful thinking to support an idea the proponent simply *knows* to be true, but for which they are yet to proffer more argument than evidence.

    As per suggestions to date about the creature on f.80v. I set aside the ‘catepobelas’ suggestion pending some evidence which might move it from the category of things serving a theory-driven story to things possibly relevant to the manuscript’s imagery.

    • proto57 Says:

      Diane! You are a great example as to how and why we can all disagree and discuss these things. Hopefully it will be an informative lesson to others.

      Rich.

  41. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    Correction – second to last paragraph should read, “but for which they are yet to proffer more evidence than argument.”

    Also Rich, I want to say I admire that you should publish, and answer, the sort of hostile remarks passed by Ger and others. I don’t think I would, and not having public comments made is the sole benefit I see in Rene’s chosing to have a website rather than an interactive blog.

    • proto57 Says:

      Yes it is pretty rough in here sometimes. But what those who use such base tactics as insult and mockery, in lieu of genuine debating, fail to realize is that they are undermining their own position. They are demonstrating that they have an inability to argue their position effectively.

      As I often say, “They do my work for me”.

  42. john sanders Says:

    I guess my question with due notice to Rene, our hopefully Beineke retained M408 expert in residence, would be to do with the scribe’s clear ability for writing uninterrupted and on any desired plane ie., horizontal, perpendicular, around the narrow margin of a circle and even inverted it seens. All this without any apparent need to top up the the old goose nib or even to stop for a breather, resumption of which would have been jumped upon by the yank/ruskie William Freidman or his pommy counterpart John ‘The Brig’ Tillton MC.

    Anyone have any suspicions that a writing instrument, of the re-fillable type and not a medieval quill with limited flow potential, may have been put to effective use in this case. I have done some checks and it does appear that fountain pens, not of a the Parker type, had been used with varying degees of success since time immemorial. So all you pre Columbian fans with faces aghast might rest easy, you’re still in the race. Of course with a modern anti spatter, bladder charge device with non clogging iron gall ink circa.1900, our scribe would have been in her element.

  43. john sanders Says:

    Whether it be at all relevant, it seems that both Diane and Rene have now joined farces, to raise the bar on that low end carbon number from its original 1404 to 1405. This of course puts an extra digit on the board for nasty Nick’s 1460+ quest to get old Antonio, the bee keeper of Milano, over the VM finishing line ahead, so long as the C14 arrow keeps moving in that direction…

  44. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    John – no, in my case it was a slip. 1404 it is – sorry.
    I think we have many long-enduring Voynicheros, and the pity of it is that most seem to give up sharing. I’m thinking of Philip Neal whose website is such a valuable resource that it reads as if written yesterday. But he rarely converses online these days. There’s also Nick who’s been around just as long as Rene and whose book shows his original contributions fall into two seemingly opposed parts: concerted study of his own on the subject of palaeography and codicology (which were only late incorporated into rene’s site), and Nick’s semi-fantasy, speculative history .. the Averlino story.
    Other equally long-enduring and serious students and friends of the manuscript include Dana Scott, and I rather think others from the first mailing list might still be about, too. Rene just had the will and interest to be involved much more in networking, and in collecting what items he liked from original research done by others so that it remained known. So much vanishes..

  45. john sanders Says:

    Diane: Forget about the date, afterall what’s a year going to mean in terms of what we are mostly on about here. Apart from that, I do agree with everything else in your post and it was Rene that made the original slip not you. I think that you’re being over kind to friend Nick, as my definition of his novel is, well just that., speculative fantasy (my wording) and we thought he had given up on the swallow tails and other Sforzinda special effects..

    What I would like Rene to explain, in addition to all the C14 testing is; Why just submit four selected slivers of parchment for the dating process. Why not the clearly visible waste end pieces for the binding string, a sliver or two from the thong material, which he contends, (hopefully) may have been original, rotting fluff from the old folded velum within the bind and of course the goat skin replacement covering. Damn the expence; I’d think that a fairly well funded mob like Yale could cover the freight.

  46. Ger Hungerink Says:

    On second thought I won’t leave here without an explanation.

    I have to admit that I believed Rich when he wrote: “This is easily the simplest theory of all: Voynich found a stack of old calfskin, and penned a varied and enigmatic herbal of questionable quality and origin, using his wide ranging knowledge of literature as a rough source.”

    Since Voynich desperately tried to sell it as a Roger Bacon I put one and one together. The simplest theory must be Wilfrid forged a Roger Bacon. Since I thought that to be nonsense already I did not read further, merely explaining how hilarious that would be.

    But ho, it is much simpler than that. The manuscript contains “hundreds of telling anachronisms”: “obvious” armadillos, “obvious” sunflowers, “obvious” microscopes, “obvious” microscopic views, et cetera, so let’s make it simpler and say it is by the 17th C.Jacob Horcicky. Problem is a problematic letter, so to simplify matters further Voynich forged that too.

    Things get ever simpler when Wilfrid realizes that he still wants it to be a 13th C. Roger Bacon. What is simpler than to tear out all those pages with obvious references to later dates – months of tedious work. And to further simplify matters: forget all about the hundreds of “obvious” armadillos, “obvious” sunflowers, “obvious” microscopes, “obvious” microscopic views” that he left. That was to make those prospective totally ignorant buyers spending “millions” on a Bacon happy.

    Other simplifications are turning the original clean sheets of calfskin he found, into the discovery of a fully bound book, complete with quire marks. And completely EMPTY.

    Now I am fully aware that I did not understand the least of what Rich wrote in tons of text, but I can’t stand even further simplifications, knowing it hurts my far too complicated mind. so I leave it at that – and leave here.

    • Rich P Says:

      Ger –

      Not sure I completely follow your post — you seem sarcastic — but I think you’ve complicated and misrepresented Rich S’s hypothesis (which is well summarized in the first two paragraphs here: proto57.wordpress.com/2016/03/23/the-modern-forgery-hypothesis).

      The Horcicky botanical was originally intended and the Bacon claim came later. But you say the opposite, that Voynich had been thinking of the Bacon attribution all along. So naturally your conclusion is confused.

      And the problem with your take on the anachronisms is that they are the results of research that was done in an effort to determine what exactly the VM was and aren’t apparent on first glance and weren’t apparent to most laymen (and even early investigators) when Voynich made his claims. Let’s face it, even now, a hundred years later you (René, Nick and countless others) disagree with many if not all of the new world identifications!

      You’re to be applauded for attempting to construct a coherent story of how Voynich (and/or others) would have gone about creating a forgery. But you’re holding him to a very high standard — even perfection — in his effort. Unless the forgery was executed *perfectly*, you feel it couldn’t have happened.

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi Ger: I really can’t improve much on Rich P.’s response to you, he does understand where you went astray in your latest critique. But I’ll reiterate, and being hopelessly wordy, add a ton of stuff:

      “The manuscript contains “hundreds of telling anachronisms”: “obvious” armadillos, “obvious” sunflowers, “obvious” microscopes, “obvious” microscopic views, et cetera, so let’s make it simpler and say it is by the 17th C.Jacob Horcicky. And to further simplify matters: forget all about the hundreds of “obvious” armadillos, “obvious” sunflowers, “obvious” microscopes, “obvious” microscopic views” that he left. That was to make those prospective totally ignorant buyers spending “millions” on a Bacon happy.”

      I can’t speak for others, and everyone’s experience is different. But the only thing close to “obvious” for me on your list was the comparison between the cylinders and the microscopes. That is what made me “sit up and take notice”. So why didn’t others see this? Well, several actually did. The idea these could be optics, it turns out, was noted by half a dozen other people over the years, that I can determine. A Chris Parry had written online about it, and Michael Barlow, in his 1986 Cryptologia article, “The Voynich: By Voynich?” wrote,

      “The “pharmaceutical jars” really do not look like jars, and the association with pharmaceuticals is surely rather flimsy. Forget pharmaceuticals, and the jars look like an old-fashioned telescope, perhaps standing close to the copyist… Several other mysterious sketches can be interpreted as common household items by the skeptical reader.”

      But what became pretty “obvious” after I independently (re-) noted the similarity was just how many people agreed they DID look quite a bit more like optics than they do “jars”. Some of the rebuttals were similar to those for an armadillo comparison, in that they were “point-by-point” far worse (soft soap containers, ink wells, herbal jars, perpetual candles… etc.). But there was much agreement that they did look like optical instruments by many of my critics (As I pointed out, Pelling was especially interested, and looked into the history of optics to see if they could be old enough to fit “his” era. No, they are too new for that, as it turns out). And as I related (you repeat, so I am forced to) it was the original reason I was invited to participate in the ORF documentary, where they used many of my comparisons in the images leading up to my interview.

      Why do so many think they look like optics? Because it is one of those undeniable things: They just do. Now you can, and will, and many have and did, say it is coincidence, and give the supposed “age” of the Voynich as proof they cannot be optics, or say the context is wrong (as you tried to imply… when in fact the context is just fine for them, as optics, compared to other microscope works). Some critics used the armadillo argument that they “looked too much” like optics to be those, as the Voynich artist was not good enough to represent them; and still others the converse, they were “too bad” to be them, because the Voynich artist was good enough to show them better, and didn’t.

      So you are of course being sarcastic in using the term “obvious”… and I would not use that term, but as I said, close to it. The real question then is (as with the armadillo) “how” do you explain the similarity? That was the topic of my talk at the 100 Conference in Frascati in 2012, posing the question, “If there are optics in the Voynich, what does it mean?”.

      So to answer your point, “why?” would Wilfrid Voynich try to pass off a book, first made as a Rudolf II Court record by Horcicky, with microscopes, as a Roger Bacon? Several reasons:

      Voynich was a shrewd judge of character, and knew the power of impression. Much of his dealings, like a used car salesman, involved bluff and bluster. And the proof is in the pudding, so to speak… you still believe him. Many still believe him. The whole imaginative “construct” over at voynich.nu, at at Yale, and in the Yale book, and in dozens of very colorful sites, has glided along on the word of Wilfrid all this time, building a house of cards on all that shaky foundation, which really does not deserve to exist. But you believe it. Many do. And that is the second question, “why?”. It is human nature… the nature of the Paradigm, that once created, resists critical inspection, denies and ignores anomalies, protects itself and has protectors to do so. Read Thomas Kuhn, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”. The field of Voynich research reads like a sad case study right out of that book.

      But in short, if you ask yourself “why?” would he leave these things in a book later meant to be a Roger Bacon… it worked, didn’t it? You cannot see them there, you reject them, so why are you complaining?

      But there is another point that I touched on, and that is the 1908 to 1912 understanding of just who Roger Bacon was, and what he did and did not accomplish. Yes, I agree, that through our eyes, as we learn, it is a very, very, bad Roger Bacon manuscript (even though there are still some who argue it may be!). He is not known primarily for his botanical works. But you have to put on pre-1920 shoes here: Before his 700th anniversary of his birth, in 1914, and before the “discovery” of the Voynich kick started a revival of interest in all things Bacon, it was believed that Roger Bacon had experimented with optical devices far advanced for his time. People just thought that was the case. He had written passages hinting that he did, or that he knew of their existence. This is why so many, including Romaine Newbold… who was no dope… ran full tilt down the Roger Bacon road, and why so many followed him… and optics were actually one of the supporting arguments, not something to be explained away. And note that many others, in the beginning, continued to believe it could be, and referred to the work as, the “Roger Bacon Cipher”. Newbold, Friedman, many other experts, and Anne and Ethel, too, long believed it could be by Roger Bacon.

      In short, you are making the mistake of looking at it this with “post 1921 eyes”, and determining that it would be ludicris to try to pass it off as a Bacon, in short, because it worked.

      “Problem is a problematic letter, so to simplify matters further Voynich forged that too.”

      You are welcome to call that letter real, I have no problem with your opinions and conclusions. Like I said, my point is always to explain my ideas and positions, and correct misstatements about them, so others can decide from that basis what they think. It is not to convince. So if you believe the 1666 Marci letter is genuine, of course that is your prerogative. Just make sure that you know on what basis you make that claim. I mean, do you know “why?” you think it real? Do you know “why?” you think it not fake, for that matter?
      https://proto57.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/the-1665-marci-letter-a-forgery/

      I’ve not yet seen any close to adequate defense of the anomalies in the letter or its background story, only misstatements about what I contend about it. That to me is a sure sign this is another problem that the Paradigm must ignore, because it cannot explain.

      “Things get ever simpler when Wilfrid realizes that he still wants it to be a 13th C. Roger Bacon.”

      Well as Rich P. pointed out, it is not “he STILL wants”, because I hypothesize it was a NEW idea, possibly for one or more of several reasons:

      – He may have been showing around the work, privately, as early as 1908. He may have gotten bad feedback on it, of some kind.
      – As time rolled forward, and away from the increasingly discredited Bolton work; and toward Roger Bacon’s birth anniversary, it may have seemed Bacon would be a better bet. If so, we can see it was a good choice at first, as a Bacon it was fabulously famous
      – Simply, he may have felt a Roger Bacon would be worth a great deal more. A colorful herbal at the time, as I discovered, would have been worth at most about 1,000 pounds (a lot of money), but he wanted over $100,000 for his Roger Bacon Cipher Manuscript. According to Kraus, $160,000. That’s a lot MORE money.

      “What is simpler than to tear out all those pages with obvious references to later dates – months of tedious work.”

      You mean the missing pages were “months of tedious work”, I think, not the act of tearing. In any case, I think 20 pages are missing, which might be 40 to 100 hours work, first of all. Secondly, if those pages caused concern to those he may have privately showed the work to, then he damned well better take them out, or all would be lost. Thirdly, if removing them would help change the attribution to Bacon, as I noted above, removing them was net gain of $159,000 in 1912 dollars. Fourth, we know that SOMEONE did remove pages, and did reorder the Voynich, for SOME reason. I mean, “simple” or hard, it was done. I posit that my speculations are a good explanation, although I admit there could be millions of alternative explanations. The thing is, I’ve not heard any of them. Ask yourself, “Why” would ANYONE remove pages from, and re-order an innocent old herbal, especially since it WOULD be, and seems to have been, quite an effort?

      Or did you not ask that of yourself?

      “Other simplifications are turning the original clean sheets of calfskin he found, into the discovery of a fully bound book, complete with quire marks. And completely EMPTY.”

      People have and do use clean sheet of calfkin to write on, people do bind books, and quire marks have been put on blank pages, of course. So I’m not sure of this argument? I mean, if your argument is that it is hard, not simple, to make a book, then explain why any books… the many millions of real one, the hundreds of faux, hoax, and forged ones, are ever made?

      But no, it was not empty when penned on, real or fake, old or new. The pages were written on first, then it was bound. Then rebound, of course, with fewer pages.

      “Now I am fully aware that I did not understand the least of what Rich wrote in tons of text, but I can’t stand even further simplifications, knowing it hurts my far too complicated mind. so I leave it at that – and leave here.”

      Well you are being sarcastic, of course, again. But I hope you don’t go, I’m enjoying your “input” and complaints, immensely. But to counter your summary, “yes” modern forgery by Wilfrid is VERY simple: He had piles of old materials laying around him in the Libreria Franceshini, he had a vast stock of books to pull ideas and illustrations from, his buddy Sidney was a chemist, and knew how to make medieval inks, he had practically memorized the primer to base it all on, he had a whimsical nature, and a used car salesman’s sense of the gullibility of the public, combined with a background of an anti-establishment thoughts and actions. And, he was not one to let truth stand in the way of a good sale. He had everything he needed to get away with it…

      … and still does. He is probably laughing in his grave.

  47. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    John – Goodness, I’m quite unused to being spoken to (except by Rich and Koen) in such an amiable tone. Thank you.
    The Beinecke (as I learned from them) is not publicly funded and so this sort of test isn’t part of their portfolio; it had to be privately funded and the funder (a television company, I understand) dictated to the persons doing the various analyses what they wanted done. Unhappily, it was not the sort of approach modern specialists would have adopted, even if the various lab-people did their job perfectly, as I believe they did. Once the funders had decided they wanted destructive tests, and so on, the Beinecke had the say over how much of the manuscript could be removed for those tests: they say four slivers of the vellum… and the funders, not the technical specialists, selected the four. You’re right that we could have had much better information and better choices of method and things tested, but that’s how it goes with commercially- or privately-funded institutions. I rather think that if the manuscript had been in some other library, we might have have had no radio-carbon dating done at all! But that’s my feeling; we might instead have had a complete non-destructive analysis of the full palette, and a full codicological analysis.. which could well have told us just as much or more about the manuscript’s age and provenance.
    But that’s how it goes.

    If I’m kind to Pelling – as you are not the first to say – it’s because of one thing: his quite impeccable standards in attribution and documentation, the latter especially being very difficult to maintain given the mess we have today, after two decades’ general neglect of such things. I’ve never been inclined to like or dislike people for the way they treat me; only as I find them honourable or if that sounds too pompous.. intellectually honest. Which doesn’t mean I have to think they’re right. 🙂

  48. john sanders Says:

    Nice to know that I’m not alone in suggesting that Boolean hands may have been at wirk with regards compellation of VM.

    Hakan CM/VM 7/5/14 said: (excuse the fake accent js)

    “One old blank pages may have been written in the modern era? Vellum pages are old, ok, but ink may be new? E.L.Voynich was a writer. It is a suspected case. Perhaps the key in her books? The Gadfly? If this book is real, the author took into account possibility that the cipher never be solved? The disappearance of truth. Who takes the risk?” ….Indeed one might ponder, Why take risks with nought to gain.

    I wonder whether Hakan was aware that Ethel Voynich was a nilisist in both a real sense and figuratively speaking too. She had become socially withdrawn at ten years of age, calling herself Lily and only wearing black until she got into the late Rusdian nilisist phase of her life, then Wilfrid came along to guide her through the darkness. Her good pal and fellow Fabian activist George Bernard Shaw, referred to her as “my old nilisist comrade”.

    Some may recall a marine corps idiom from the VN war era, “Don’t mean nuthin man, nuthin mean nothin no moah”… Nilisism is in it’s basic form just that, nothing is for real, no life, no surroundings or existance, not even a vague hint of substance. No good, no bad, no matter, life or death and all it entails is just a big blank funk and an illusion…Reminds me of a certain weirdly illustrated book that also “..don’t mean nuthin” perhaps?.Thoughts svp.

  49. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    John – thanks for quoting Hakan. By far the most beautiful cadences I’ve heard in decade. And I mean that.

  50. Rich P Says:

    Hello John —

    “Thoughts svp.”

    I don’t know to what degree you intended to discuss nihilism, but IMO, the mere existence of discussion about and research into the VM is ipso facto a proof against nihilism as a true description of reality. In the specific theoretical case of Ethel Voynich as a potential author, are you simply suggesting that the manuscript itself has no meaning? Even in that case, there’s still meaning: deception is the meaning. The content of the work itself can then be viewed and interpreted in a different light but the ultimate sense of “meaning” is preserved. Nihilism provides no escape. 🙂

  51. john sanders Says:

    Hello Rich P,

    Off course you’re correct and I’ m not altogether certain that I should have taken the great G.B.S. (call me Bernie) seriously when he, like I, couldn’t even spell Nihilism correctly. As far as word meanings go, I can’t think of any other that has the capabilty of contradicting itself more absolutely. If Lily Boole had been afflicted with having some form of like phobia as a consequence of known maltreatment by her abusive uncle, that seems to have been put well behind her when she signed up for service with her ‘Russian Nhilisists’ by 1885. And yet still, our VM does have a definate surreal element to it, shades of Alice in Wonderland, so perhaps the input of naked pregnant ladies with their range of self gratification tools was created with Nhilisistic “don’t mean nuthin” motives. NB: Lilly’s mum Mary’s mentor, James Hinton had amongst other off beat anachronisms, a fettish for weird fantasies to do with female nudity (who doesn’t), so inspiration for the VM theme, could be rooted in that part of the Boole-Hinton family link.

  52. Rene Zandbergen Says:

    I haven’t read all of the blog post – it all looked too familiar – but I have enjoyed reading much of the comments. At least not the overly long ones.

    I don’t normally comment here, but something quite interesting caused me to make an exception.

    John Sanders proposed that ELV (with help from her family) faked the Voynich MS. Then Rich answered that this cannot be the case because the evidence left by ELV clearly demonstrates that she was completely convinced that the MS was genuine.

    Rich is certainly right in his assessment of ELV. I mean, he knows he is right and I also know he is right, but he could not convince John Sanders of this. John still believes ELV faked it.

    The parallel is perfect. The same logic applies to Wilfrid Voynich. From all the writings left by him it is clear and obvious that he believed that the MS was genuinely old.

    Rich has seen quite a bit of this evidence, but he takes the same stance as John Sanders.

    I know I am right, just like Rich knows he is right about ELV.

    Of course, one can argue that Voynich lied. He lied about the origin of the MS. This is certainly true. However, by inspection of all the documentary evidence (the same that makes it clear that ELV did not fake it) one can learn exactly what he lied about and why. None of this evidence is known to the Voynich amateurs who may believe that the ‘Voynich faked it’ theory is cool. Just like John Sanders thinks that ‘ELV faked it’ is possible.

    It isn’t.

    From ELV’s writings it is absolutely clear that she believed that the MS is genuine.
    From Wilfrid Voynich’s writings it is also absolutely clear that he believed that the Voynich MS is genuine.

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi René”: Thank you for the comments. And “no” I’m not sitting by my computer all day, I just happened to catch your response when I came in from mowing the lawn! Hot out there…

      Anyway, about this:

      “Rich is certainly right in his assessment of ELV. I mean, he knows he is right and I also know he is right, but he could not convince John Sanders of this. John still believes ELV faked it.”

      Well more technically, none of us, me included, “know” we are right, these are our individual opinions. But that is semantics, I would agree at least that I am “pretty sure” my opinion is correct… as both you and John do, also.

      “The parallel is perfect. The same logic applies to Wilfrid Voynich. From all the writings left by him it is clear and obvious that he believed that the MS was genuinely old.

      “Rich has seen quite a bit of this evidence, but he takes the same stance as John Sanders.

      “I know I am right, just like Rich knows he is right about ELV.”

      Well I disagree. There is no “parallel”, because the evidence for Ethel and Wilfrid are different. Each must be treated differently. Yes, the same logic should be applied to that evidence, but what Ethel and Wilfrid each wrote, and the actions they took, were very different.

      In my opinion, the writings of Ethel, the notes, letters, notebooks, and the actions she took relating to the Voynich, and also, the way Ethel’s interest in it was described by Anne, all point to an innocence. In fact, Ethel writing, with some emotion it seems (underlined, hurried script), “HOW DO WE KNOW THIS???”, about Wilfrid’s story of Dee and Rudolf and all that, made me think that while she believed the Voynich genuine, she didn’t necessarily trust that Voynich’s research was all that great, or that it had “foundation” in fact.

      On the contrary, the letters of Wilfrid smack of “phishing”… the feigned appearance of having little knowledge about various aspects of the Voynich, in letters he sent to archives and experts, to get their “opinion”. A great example of what I mean is the letter to Prague, relating to the Tepencz “signature”:

      https://proto57.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/you-say-tspenencz-i-say-topenencz/

      He did this many times relating to the Voynich, but not only with the Voynich: With the supposed “Giotti” minatures in the “Lives..”, with the “Boy Sketch” in the good Valturius, with the “Lost Chart Magellan”, and notably with the forged Columbus miniature. Actually, Newbold would be another example. The process was to act a bit confused, or un-knowledgeable, while giving just enough information to have the expert “correct” him. Then, in the future, he would use that expert’s response in his lectures and catalogs.

      Then, on the contrary, unlike Anne Nill and Ethel, I don’t see pages and pages of notes, copied plants and characters, and private attempts at translation and identification. None of those things even we all do, he didn’t do. Yes I’m aware of the list of names he wrote, from Bolton… but you know that can, and I feel does, have quite a different reason for being: To create something from Bolton, not to look to Bolton for answers.

      So rather than parallel cases, I’d say they are are widely disparate. Believing Ethel in no way means one must believe Wilfrid.

      “Of course, one can argue that Voynich lied. He lied about the origin of the MS. This is certainly true. However, by inspection of all the documentary evidence (the same that makes it clear that ELV did not fake it) one can learn exactly what he lied about and why. None of this evidence is known to the Voynich amateurs who may believe that the ‘Voynich faked it’ theory is cool. Just like John Sanders thinks that ‘ELV faked it’ is possible.”

      Well no, none of the amateurs do know most of the evidence in the archives, etc., and they never would, if nobody told them. Not everyone can get to those archives as both you and I, and few others have. But that is all the more reason I feel it important to make it clear there are things in those archives that most may not realize are there, and also that what is there, may be interpreted in reasonable ways they have not previously been aware of.

    • Rich P Says:

      Hello René —

      I agree with Rich S’s detailed reasoning above that your parallel is not justified. And while you’re entitled to your opinion just like everyone else I’d respectfully suggest that your post betrays a lack of objectivity. For all of the research that you have poured into the VM, you must admit that you truly can’t say *what* the VM is or *who* authored it. For all of your assertions above about what is “clear” and “obvious”, that fact still remains.

      For what it’s worth, I don’t put much stock in John Sanders’ ELV theory for the simple reason that he hasn’t provided much compelling evidence for it (at least in this thread). Looking over his comments, they appear to be more musings than diligent research. That’s not a slam against him or his theory, just an observation of the (mainly circumstantial) data.

      “However, by inspection of all the documentary evidence (the same that makes it clear that ELV did not fake it) one can learn exactly what he lied about and why. None of this evidence is known to the Voynich amateurs who may believe that the ‘Voynich faked it’ theory is cool.”

      Here I detect the thrust of your post: don’t listen to anybody but the experts. But the trouble is experts can get things wrong, too. And experts can also lie and have biases. Now, Wilfrid Voynich lied in the context of his business dealings as an antique book seller. That’s really quite relevant for any discussion of the provenance of the VM and unless you can produce some exculpatory “documentary evidence” on that matter, that’s a big point in favor of Rich S’s theory.

  53. john sanders Says:

    Always nice to have Beneike’s ‘Mr. Fixit’ swing by for a chat and well timed at that. Having spent most of my free time yesterday trying to make sense of his interesting Tepenecz thoughts and signatature chart. I still came away confused on exactly what was written on page f1r before an attempt was made to expunge it and I can’t help feeling that a degree of obvuscation was attendant. What I was certainly not confused by was the failed attempt by someone to obliterate the pesky signature &c, contrary to Wilfrid’s claim of attempting to highlight it. Rich has covered the inquiry letter to Prague with his usual aplomb so I merely add my concurrence there.

    Look closely at page one (f1r)of Vm, below the script and to left of centre and you can still see the right handed cross stroke of the Tepenecz initiator through the most determined erasure obliteration attempt. This would not be unusual and any keen eyed document examiner will confirm that the capital ‘T’ is a power stoke and more likely than not to leave a deeper impression on the page. We can only guess as to why Wilfred might have wanted the name eradicated, possibly due to Tepenecz title error in application, had that been forged; though more likely that the name itself did not fit with the necessary history for bringing home the Bacon so to speak.

    If one cares to go through the first sixty five or so plants in the botanical department, general layout is fairly constant, the plant specimens along with their leaves, flowers and elaborate root structures, always fit neatly onto the pages; with accompanying text usually above or occasionally to the sides in some cases where trunk height is involved. One gets the feeling that our artist, was most desirous of creating enough space to enable the viewer to see clearly what she had to offer of her remarkable, though weird talent for detail. Full credit must be extended to my MaggieTaylor for her most imaginative botanical skills.

    Now turn over to page f1v and carefully take in the massive root ball below the narrow trunk and follage of that specimen. The ‘original’ would have been much less dense, would have not extended so far down the sheet, nor have taken such a bulbous form. It could only have been added later at Wilfrid’s behest, purely and deceptively so as to minimise extent of rubbing penitration and other adverse effects sustained t’other side on f1r. Most importanly, the tell tale ‘T’ cross on Tepenecz with slightly inward curving flourish, which also should have shown up clearly, now conveniently forms part of the contour of the root ball where it joins the trunk on it’s right side.

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi John: Those are interesting observations relating to the position of of the “signature”. I’ll look at your suggested lining up of the “T” flourish and the root at some point.

      Meanwhile, for you (if you are not aware, but you probably are), and anyone else interested in the “signature”, I can only recommend the work by Jan Hurych on the subject. He had converted his web pages to a large PDF. The signature article appears on page 160 with the title,

      “A34. THE SIGNATUREs OF HORCZICKY (and their comparison)”

      Here is a link to his entire PDF: http://hurontaria.baf.cz/CVM/VMcompletea.pdf

      And you are also probably aware of, but just in case (and for others), related to your points in your comment, and related to Jan’s work, is my page on my surprise discovery of the “pre-treatment” photograph of the signature. It further supports previous suspicions relating to the signature, as it shows the signature would have been visible to Voynich before chemical treatment, and so it is reasonable to have expected it would have been visible to Baresch/Marci/Kinner/Kircher… yet, was inexplicably not mentioned by them. I posit, I speculate, because it was not there (well I further speculate that whole ms. was “not there”, but at the very least, it further calls into question the signature, on the back of Jan’s work, and the suspicions of others):

      https://proto57.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/new-look-at-the-de-tepencz-signature/

      But another related point to add: Yes, again, I agree with you, René, that the vast majority of readers cannot and will not be able to examine most of the archive materials. But the existence of the “pre-treatment” photograph/rotograph is a prime example of why it is important to have different eyes on those collections, because while one person may not consider an item like this worthy of note, or may miss it entirely, another could see it as vastly important. I did. I saw many things in the different archives that frankly stunned me, that I had never heard about… like having many loose Beckx ex libris labels in one folder, orphaned from their books, by Wilfrid Voynich! Or Anne Nill’s shorthand notes for the letter promising Newbold 10% of $100,000, or that letter, itself. And on an on…

      So I agree with you, and furthermore, I don’t deign to suggest I am the last word on what was there, or that I even caught it all (although I do my best to look at the collections with “different eyes”, and not shun those things that may counter my expectations. You know, for instance, I looked for items for you, too). But I feel it important to let people know, with all respect for your opinion, efforts and work… to let them know that what we actually do know is not settled, and there are many questions, and alternatives to “old” and “genuine”. Possibly much better ones, in fact, and not necessarily even, mine.

  54. john sanders Says:

    Rich: Perhaps if I had the opportunity to examine some of ELV’s notes, letters and notebooks that both you and Rene refer to, my own pronouncements on VM authorship might need some revision. I’d also point out that apart from his possible involvement with the mysterious 1891 Russian letters from the London based Friendship Society, Wilfred’s own pensmanship is also scarce (conveniently?).

    Not so long before Ethel’s passing in 1960, it is known that she was made subject of some admiring attention from certain sectors of the Soviet media and the Bolshoi Ballet. It was also stated at the time that Adlai Stevenson arranged for some long delayed royalty payments to be made for her Russian book sales, plays and movies. Most unlike the reds who never paid a penny back on their wartime lendlease agreements, let alone piecmeal payments to a former Kerensky donut girl with the suspiciously familiar name of Voynich.

    Not so long after she died, a sort of tribute song was released in her memory, which is a personal opinion not necessarilly true. I take it the song title was named for her moderate socialist leanings and intemparate habits, just the sort of stuff to inspire praise from the Kremlin. Actually the number was a re-hash of an 1880s ditty about a suffregette maker of ladies remedies. The Scaffolds from Liverpool, who borrowed drums from the Beatles was the band name and the disc which proved to be their only hit was called ‘Lily the Pink’ I took it as a sort of omen.

    Newbold had a lot of interesting stuff to say about the Bacon Cipher in some medical journal of ’21, which I really liked for its explicit and implausable incoherency. In it he describes a barrel shaped lass sitting at the end of a pool, messing with a snake headed creature in a red bucket. (fig.111/f84r) which took my fancy. I recall there being a long ‘scaffold’ letter beneath, then in a space below her left leg, is a faint signature not since mentioned but for moi. Of course you will not see the letters F.U.B.L in the pool as I do, but surely you can picture Lily as being the lost lonely lady with the bucket.

  55. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    Rich,
    As you know – but I’ll say it again for the record – I cannot agree that the whole content in the manuscript is faked and not least because it includes details which oppose the very theory which Voynich himself promoted. Why would he put two goats into the calendar when all his medieval mss would show sheep following 2 fishes. Why put a fat-tailed sheep on f.116v when he could have put a fairly ordinary Bacon-era sheep there… and so on.

    Yet in holding to your theory you are like most other Voynich writers (John as his ELV theory, Rene his Corvinus theory, Nick his Averlino theory and so forth. )

    The reason you’ve earned my respect is that you do your own work, and don’t leech off others’ (not to say everyone else does), and you never try to point-score by the brainless ‘sneer’ method as so many do. I can think of only two or three other Voynicheros who could write:

    “Well more technically, none of us, me included, “know” we are right, these are our individual opinions.”
    a very sane remark indeed.
    Hope the compliment isn’t embarrassing; take it as balance for the opposite.
    Cheers.

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi Diane: Nothing “embarrassing” at all in your compliements, and critisisms alike. I appreciate both, and the discussion as a whole.

      Since you directly ask this question of me,

      ” Why would he put two goats into the calendar when all his medieval mss would show sheep following 2 fishes. Why put a fat-tailed sheep on f.116v when he could have put a fairly ordinary Bacon-era sheep there… and so on.”

      It is because of the very “un-Bacon-like” content and appearance of the Voynich Ms., along with a great many other reasons I hold, that I don’t think this was intended to be a “Bacon” to begin with. My actual hypothesis is that it was created (about 1908/10), at first, to appear to be a Horcicky botanical, pharmaceutical, herbal, and general record of the collections and activities of the Court of Rudolf II. But not as we would now know those activities and collections, but rather through the skewed impression that many were given… Wilfrid included… by the often confabulated accounts in the very popular 1904 book, “Follies of Science a the Court of Rudolf II”, by Bolton.

      Almost everything everyone has suspected in the Voynich, even if they strongly believe the work to be old, and genuine, can be found in the 1904 Bolton. And Voynich admittedly “knew it by heart”… he knew that book well. In his archives is a list of names from Bolton, in the order found in that book, in fact. So my hypothesis is that Bolton was the primer for the creation of a forged Horcicky work, and so, was “signed” by him.

      Some of the many things speculated in the Voynich, that also appear in Bolton, or in the works of people mentioned in Bolton and listed by Voynich, are:

      – Optics (per Drebbel and Kepler and others)
      – Armadillo (per Gessner)
      – Luther
      – John Dee, skrying and magic circles
      – Edward Kelly
      – Astronomy
      – Astrology
      – Botany
      – Medicine
      – Anatomy
      – Jewish iconography and motifs
      – Francis Bacon
      – Roger Bacon
      – New World plants, animals, and objects
      – Herbalism
      – Alchemy and alchemaic symbolism
      – Heraldry representation
      – Tycho Brahe
      – Rosicrucianism, such as Fleur-de-Lis, a rose garland, and more

      Those are just off the top of my head, and they can be added to and elaborated on. But on my first reading of “Follies…”, I was struck by the sensation that if someone wanted to write a fake work to look as though it came “from that book”, they could not have done a much better job than with the Voynich.

      There is some evidence that Voynich showed his manuscript around, possibly starting as early as 1905. This, according to Charles Singer (who later retracted his claims, although it was reported he was lecturing on “the Voynich”, while supposedly never having been able to have seen it. He also later said he though it “Paracelcian”, but that is going off topic.

      In any case, I think it possible that the feedback he received by the Singer, maybe the bookseller Joseph Baer (Singer said he saw it at Baer’s, in Frankfort), told him he ought to “switch gears”. Or maybe it was for other reasons, possibly financial, as a Bacon would be worth quite a bit more than a “Horcicky”. Or, or, or… but for whatever reason, I believe he decided it ought to be a “Roger Bacon”, and so by the time he went public with the work in 1912, that is what he claimed he thought it was.

      All that, again, to explain in detail my answer to your question. As to “Why would he put two goats into the calendar when all his medieval mss would show sheep following 2 fishes.”:

      Well in that I see a description of an anomaly to other “medieval mss”, which the Voynich is sick with already. There are many examples, scattered through the book… it is on the whole, anomolous to the medieval times, in fact. And so my answer would be… again, my opinion… my answer would be, “Because it is a really bad fake, and like many bad fakes, raises more questions than answers.”

      • D.N. O'Donovan Says:

        Rich – I’ve never read Bolton’s book but your list of things in it is absolutely rivetting – and answers some long standing questions – not about the manuscript itself but about the peculiar nature of some constantly-pushed theories, the reason for which seemed utterly incomprehensible. I realise now that the most narrowly focused ‘Rudolf’ fans (not to say fanatics) just went through the list and tried to impose one and then another subject on it to serve the theory. In effect, trying to impose 17thC interests in Prague on a fifteenth-century (sorry) manuscript made centuries earlier and far, far away.

      • proto57 Says:

        … and not to sound like the soundtrack to a kumbaya festival, but of course I appreciate your knowledge, ideas and input, as much as John’s, or René’s, or anyone’s, as long as we all listen to each other and keep an open mind. You do, I think, and I hope I do, too…

  56. R Says:

    Rich, you trust what ELV has written and you don’t trust what Wilfrid has written.
    These are double standards.
    I can also hardly think of a better example of a circular argument.
    “Wilfrid’s writings can’t be trusted because he was a faker.”

    So, why trust ELV’s writings???
    (Yes, this is a rhetorical question).

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi R: Rhetorical or not, there is an answer to your question:

      “Rich, you trust what ELV has written and you don’t trust what Wilfrid has written.
      These are double standards.”

      As I said to René, and as Rich P reiterated, they are not equal cases. What each of ELV and Wilfrid have written, and what actions they have taken, are of entirely different natures. So it is not at all a “double standard”.

      I explained the differences, in general, in my answer to René, so I can only repeat them:

      “…the evidence for Ethel and Wilfrid are different. Each must be treated differently. Yes, the same logic should be applied to that evidence, but what Ethel and Wilfrid each wrote, and the actions they took, were very different.

      “In my opinion, the writings of Ethel, the notes, letters, notebooks, and the actions she took relating to the Voynich, and also, the way Ethel’s interest in it was described by Anne, all point to an innocence. In fact, Ethel writing, with some emotion it seems (underlined, hurried script), “HOW DO WE KNOW THIS???”, about Wilfrid’s story of Dee and Rudolf and all that, made me think that while she believed the Voynich genuine, she didn’t necessarily trust that Voynich’s research was all that great, or that it had “foundation” in fact.

      “On the contrary, the letters of Wilfrid smack of “phishing”… the feigned appearance of having little knowledge about various aspects of the Voynich, in letters he sent to archives and experts, to get their “opinion”. A great example of what I mean is the letter to Prague, relating to the Tepencz “signature”:

      https://proto57.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/you-say-tspenencz-i-say-topenencz/

      “He did this many times relating to the Voynich, but not only with the Voynich: With the supposed “Giotti” minatures in the “Lives..”, with the “Boy Sketch” in the good Valturius, with the “Lost Chart Magellan”, and notably with the forged Columbus miniature. Actually, Newbold would be another example. The process was to act a bit confused, or un-knowledgeable, while giving just enough information to have the expert “correct” him. Then, in the future, he would use that expert’s response in his lectures and catalogs.

      “Then, on the contrary, unlike Anne Nill and Ethel, I don’t see pages and pages of notes, copied plants and characters, and private attempts at translation and identification. None of those things even we all do, he didn’t do. Yes I’m aware of the list of names he wrote, from Bolton… but you know that can, and I feel does, have quite a different reason for being: To create something from Bolton, not to look to Bolton for answers.”

      In general, the notes and letters of Ethel and Anne were private and shared attempts to learn the secret of the VMs. To my eye, they are clearly not faked, by quantity, and quality, logically, I don’t see how they could have been disingenuous. You should see Anne Nill’s notebook… beautiful, carefully written page after page of all VMs characters. In fact, she broke down the subtleties of characters to a finer degree than anyone, I think. And Ethels notes, and notebooks… such as the two books of flower identifications. That was clearly for personal use, Most of it was… Could they have been to cement a dual, post-death reputation of innocence, for people seeing the archives? I cannot believe that is possible.

      The notes and letters of Wilfrid show nothing of the kind. Not even close. He made no notes that I could see, that show any private attempt at understanding the Voynich. His letters are the evidence, and by the structure and content of them, they are to me, not a genuine attempt to understand the mystery, but rather to get expert certification to use to sell the work. They are apples and oranges.

      “I can also hardly think of a better example of a circular argument.
      “Wilfrid’s writings can’t be trusted because he was a faker.”

      Well that is NOT the basis, and is a straw man construct, that I don’t trust the writings… “… because he was a faker”. Rather it goes one way: It is because of his actions, writings, and behavior, that I suspect he is a faker. That is not “circular” at all. If his writings exonerated him, alleviated my suspicions… if I found anything like Anne or Ethel’s notebooks, notes and letters, then I would not be here today, hypothesizing what I do.

      If you visit the archives, perhaps you will agree with René, perhaps you will agree with me, and perhaps you would come up with even a third scenario. Maybe some day you can, or perhaps they will all be digitized by the Beinecke and the Grolier Club. So for now, I can only tell you why I feel the way I do, and you can agree or disagree with my assessment.

      But it is not technically either a double standard, nor circular reasoning, that I use… that, at least, I can correct you on.

  57. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    Rich, I honestly don’t know whether I would describe myself as open-minded in that sense, because I don’t think we decide the manuscript’s nature, purpose, origin or content.

    Just suppose John attracted several thousand adherents to his theory, or that you did, or there was a unanimous vote for Rene’s ‘Corvinus’ theory. It wouldn’t mean much to me; I’d want to see the whether the evidence adduced showed range,balance and that certain integrity in acknowledging sources which marks honest research. On the last point you get full marks, of course.

    But the arguments aren’t the end of it; the key is whether the primary document supports that argument.

    When there’s neither internal nor external evidence for an ‘idea’ (as there is none for the Corvinus idea) then no, I don’t have an open mind.
    I suppose you could say I have an open mind about the manuscript’s testimony; I’ll follow wherever it points.
    Of course, I don’t have any theory which prevents my doing that, so I guess I’m lucky.
    🙂

  58. john sanders Says:

    Rich: I Really just called in to wish all the best for your birthday; So all the best Rich, for whatever might be planned in the way of celebration…I did manage to track down ELV’s No. 6 notebook apropos her botanical match-ups with VM plants, which I’m yet to examine in full..I did do a test run with f1v, which Ethel equates with Atropa aka Belladonna aka Deadly Nightshade etc. There is some likeness as far as size, formation and folliage are concerned, but that bulbous root with claws has nothing in common with the type..

    • proto57 Says:

      Thank you, John. I hope I don’t have to take any of that nightshade on my birthday.

      John is referring to this notebook: http://www.santa-coloma.net/voynich_drebbel/general/ELV_plant_notes.pdf That was the one I found in the Grolier archives and converted to PDF; I believe René found another one, which is on his site?

      And as you say, John, I see your point about the root, it is not bulbous like the F1V plant (which you previously noted lines up with the curve in the “signature” “T”…

      Rich.

  59. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    Rich, I agree that Wilfrid’s ‘history’ for the manuscript is woefully poor – or at the very least woefully sloppy in documentation. “How do we KNOW this…” is absolutely the crux of it. But faking or fudging a theoretical ‘history’ is still what most do, and what a majority appear to think the only way to approach the manuscript.

    But faking or merely selling an hypothetical history for the manuscript isn’t quite the same as making a fake manuscript, is it? And happy birthday from me too.

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi Diane: Thank you for the birthday wishes!

      “But faking or merely selling an hypothetical history for the manuscript isn’t quite the same as making a fake manuscript, is it?”

      Of course not, it is “just another brick in the wall”. But there are a very large number of points from which my hypothesis is built.

      Of the 11 forgery characteristics I gleaned from my learning about the history and forensics of literary and art forgery, the Voynich exhibits (to varying degrees) 10 of them. This is not seen in any known forgery, and I feel is powerful evidence it is also one. Most forgeries are first suspected, and even, identified, by only two or three items on my list, sometimes even only one.* This was the subject of my talk at the NSA Cipher Conference in 2017. I made a video of it, and you can see my list at this point in that video: https://youtu.be/qDTVEz6rXMQ?t=8m51s

      Of course under each one of those “red flags” there may be dozens of examples in the Voynich. For instance, “Anachronistic content” may have over 100. But some, such as #5, “Incorrect use of Iconography”, I would only say a possible 1 or 2 items could be listed, and they are not strong points.

      So to your point, above, if Wilfrid did make up the history for the Voynich, and “phish” as I suspect, and so on… I agree that this alone would not be evidence of his forging it. They are only a couple of points under #4, “Owner/seller lies about provenance”. It could mean, as has been suggested many times, that he merely wanted to enhance the value of it. And I’ve said this, too… that if he did change his mind and “make it a Bacon”, it does not mean he forged it. And even the most honest dealers probably “fudge” a bit on what they choose to use to advertise their products.

      But it is a dual-fold problem: First, not only did he “enhance” provenance (and that is being nice, because we know he lied on several points); but at the same time he left no satisfactory evidence (in my opinion) that he was genuinely interested in solving it. The first is only suspicious, the second is to me more damning, because as I said, everyone else who has been intrigued by this mystery has pages and pages of notes and drawings and attempts and letters… like Anne and Ethel, in fact… and Wilfrid simply does not.

      So to me it is a one-two punch. And then, as I said, this is only one brick in what I consider a tall and strong wall.

      * As just one of hundreds of examples, the Grolier Codex: https://proto57.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/the-grolier-codex-forgery/ It was made on period materials (blank bark pages), with proper materials, and so on. But still, it was “flagged” because of only one or two items on my list of forgery characteristics, if you consider the graphemes “iconography”. But perhaps I should modify my #1 to “anachronistic or otherwise historically incorrect content” (basically, ignorant errors on the part of the forger):

      “… Thompson argued that the codex was a modern forgery and that the unusual mix of styles in the document was not due to the mixing of cultures but rather due to the hand of a forger. Thompson queried the illustration of all four stations of Venus in the codex, noting that other Mesoamerican codices only illustrated the more spectacular appearance of Venus as morning star.”

  60. john sanders Says:

    As far as my own week eyes can make out, there would not have been any possiblity that human focal strength would have been keen enough unaided, in 1400s or for at least two hundred years hence, to complete some of the fine detail displayed on the VM Rosette page as one instance. Yes I’m aware that European masters were using projected images for their studio portrait backgrounds and such in the 15th century, but we are talking about a different genre entirely. To the best of my knowledge no satisfactory inovations were to be achieved until 1600 when chart making eyepiece focals came into general use; but I don’t see that much imrovement was made for artwork applications until the eighteenth century. Sometimes I think we can be distracted by our modern ability to magnify images, not taking into consideration that the subject of our interest is a book only a little more than 9 inches by six inches, last time it was put to the tape by it’s owners. Please tell me that I’m badly mistaken and I’ll cheerfully retract.

    • proto57 Says:

      I don’t know, John, I had not actually thought of it that way: The fine detail of the Rosettes or other pages, needing magnification to create. I mean it never actually occurred to me one way or the other… so I don’t personally have an opinion on that aspect.

      But yes I’d say about 1600 there was a surge in technical quality of all types of optics. Engravers, too, would have needed… and did use… optics to engrave the detail we see on plates of that era. I have a 1604 engraving on the wall, and I’ve often marveled a the detail.

      Rich.

    • proto57 Says:

      … well maybe one thing intrigued me in the sense of great detail: The man’s ring on f85v, which seems to have a red dot in the center. I took that as a possibly “ruby ring”. But the detail is so fine, that it does not show clearly on even the highest res images. So maybe that is an indication that your suspicion is correct?

      https://proto57.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/is-that-you-martin-luther/

  61. john sanders Says:

    Rich: I have gone through your 2008 Grolier Club aquisition of ELV’s notebook on plant species match-up with her well memorised Latin genus possible equivilents by VM number. I’ve also taken on board Anne Nill’s main point details of letters ie. Edith Richart to WMV in 1917 along with his non commital reply, John Manly’s sceptical but friendly advices to Bill Newbold in 1920/21. Then Anne’s claimed 13th century VM appraisal from an English medieval expert in the 30s to a potential buyer in ’51?. All I can say without elaboration is, that in my biased opinion, this case would now be history, if the team from Arizona University, with their C14 dating hadn’t scared the post 15th century advocates out of their wits.

    • proto57 Says:

      “All I can say without elaboration is, that in my biased opinion, this case would now be history, if the team from Arizona University, with their C14 dating hadn’t scared the post 15th century advocates out of their wits.”

      Yes the C14 dating shook up the whole world of Voynich research. I had abandoned my own 17th century theories because of it, at the time. In fact, Elmar Vogt praised me for giving up:

      https://voynichthoughts.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/steel-true-blade-straight/

      The dating of the parchment caused a re-evaluation for everyone. It also meant that all eyes were on 1420, and then, as that era always has, it continued to fail to deliver any reasonable answers, while still have many serious problems. Both didn’t go away, just because we had a date range for the parchment.

      Then the “why not?” made everyone, including me, scramble to look at how dating of parchment actually DID affect what conclusions we could come to… rather than simply assuming it mean the whole book was as old as the parchment, which is still, but incorrectly, done today.

      What I had discovered is that, while C14 dating of materials is a starting point, it is not the end-all-be-all in the case of art and literature. But you know the story… I have many blog posts showing the reality of old vellum use and availability, of the availability of old parchment to Wilfrid, of the C14 results, of the practice and history of forgers and forgery using old materials to deceive, and the important fact the the experts did not “get it right” as to dating, the majority opinion didn’t even match the C14 results in the first place!

      So as you say… even though you and I and others disagree on many fundamental points about how it is, what it is… I agree that long ago, “… this case would now be history…”. I believe, in fact, that but for a “perfect storm” of ignorance about Bacon, about the world of forgery, about the true nature and history of Wilfrid, about what a “bookseller” really entailed, and everything and everyone who has been involved, their input, their opinions, their actions…

      … that this thing should have “long ago” been dismissed as a pretty laughable forgery. Now for years I’ve held back being that blunt about it, because I didn’t want to seem insensitive to those who still fervently believed in it.

      But really I’ve been somewhat numbed over the years by the almost complete lack of civility relating to my ideas, and how I have been treated, not to mention how many truths themselves have been treated. So I do feel it is my obligation, and hopefully my nature, to try and remain patient with those who get upset at the idea of forgery…

      … but at least I feel they have, by example, freed to be a bit more direct about what I have come to believe the Voynich actually is: A pathetic, almost amateurish forgery, that has fooled many because of a perfect set of unfortunate circumstances, with perfect timing, which should have been seen for what it is a very long time ago.

      I’m still sorry if that is upsetting to some, and makes them angry at me for continuing to pursue and argue for it, but I should not let those worries slow me down in pursuing what I strongly suspect the truth of the matter actually is.

  62. Rene Zandbergen Says:

    Rich, I did not intend to confuse you. The post signed “R” was of course from me.

    I was surprised, however, to see the reference to your Tspenec / Topenec blog post.

    In it, you write that you have (had) not seen the response from Prague to Voynich, and it is clear from that wording that you had also not seen the correspondence between Voynich and Herbert Garland that went on in parallel. This is in strong contradiction with your statement that you have seen all scraps of correspondence, in response to John Sanders’ suggestion that ELV faked it.

    Both items are available at my web site:
    http://www.voynich.nu/misc/misc_04.html
    http://www.voynich.nu/extra/sp_solvers.html#voynich

    I know you like to argue that I am just publishing my opinions, but it is easy to verify that this accurately reflects original documents. I can send you them in case you want.

    Honestly, I am rather sure that you have seen all of this already, and it affects several parts of your blog post, but you did not update it. This is probably in line with blog principles. Blogs are like a diary and it is not ‘right’ to change them afterwards.

    And that just brings me back to my surprise of seeing you refer to your Tepenec blog entry, which is clearly out of date.

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi René:

      “The post signed “R” was of course from me.”

      No of course I didn’t realize that it was you: It didn’t even occur to me, since the “R” comment repeated the same claim as you had made, in part, but basically changing “parallel” cases (Ethel and Wilfrid’s archive evidence) with “double standard”. So I thought it was someone new who was not following the discussion, or who had not seen my reply.

      I am surprised now to find out you used this as an argument again, as “R”. Of course different evidence should always be treated with the same set of standards, but it also should always be reviewed independently. Ethel and Wilfrid left different records for us to review, and so it is right and valid to have separate opinions for each of them.

      “I was surprised, however, to see the reference to your Tspenec / Topenec blog post.”

      Why? It is just one example of a common practice of Voynich, but it stands on it’s own. I find his ignoring the obvious other possibles (Tapenecz, or Tepenecz, the correct one, of course) suspicious to the point of laughable.

      “Dear Smithsonian Institute, I have a 1776 letter here, signed either George Woshington, or George Weshington, I can’t quite make it out… could you please help? Oh, and send me your answer on your fine letterhead, please.”

      https://proto57.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/you-say-tspenencz-i-say-topenencz/

      “In it, you write that you have (had) not seen the response from Prague to Voynich, and it is clear from that wording that you had also not seen the correspondence between Voynich and Herbert Garland that went on in parallel. This is in strong contradiction with your statement that you have seen all scraps of correspondence, in response to John Sanders’ suggestion that ELV faked it.”

      René, I can’t imagine that you are trying to make the case you are, here, against my point. First of all, I have seen, or since seen and read, the other related correspondence you are referring to. They did not change my point, and they still do not. In fact I did update my blog post to add the Garland material. But in your paragraph, I fear you are conflating several things, in an attempt to make it appear I’ve hung myself on a technicality… implying that I may not have read “every scrap”, and therefore I cannot form the opinion I hold, or worse, that others should question my opinion on the basis that I cannot have seen enough to form it.

      That is a false argument for many reasons, including the ones given above. But also, I note here, you do not counter my contention that there is no real evidence of Wilfrid actually trying to figure out what the Voynich is, as Ethel, Anne Nill, and everyone else in the world, you and I included, have. When we die, there will be heaps papers in our archives, and several hard drives, too, dedicated to the solving of the Voynich. On the contrary, Wilfrid has virtually only left requests for others to look up information for him; then later, he used that information as professional citation.

      “I know you like to argue that I am just publishing my opinions, but it is easy to verify that this accurately reflects original documents. I can send you them in case you want.”

      Again you are conflating to separate issues into one claim: Yes, you have many accurate facts on your pages, and many original documents. I never have said otherwise, and you have every right to form your own opinions based on those documents and known facts. That is not my argument with you, it is that you:

      1) Give your opinion on many issues, but state them as though they are FACTS. You use terms such as “we know”, and “certainly”, for many things which are unknown, can only be speculated on, and in many cases, based on flimsy or non-existent evidence. And it is clear to see that many who rely on your pages… the most cited source of Voynich information, by many fold… do not understand that much of it is your opinion, so then they in turn repeat these things as fact.

      2) Then, on the contrary, you leave out, or misrepresent, many anomalies and problems with the Voynich and its backstory, that are very important to have a proper and accurate understanding of the ms.. This is clear both from reading voynich.nu, but also when corresponding, or speaking with, anyone who uses them as a basis. They are unaware of these anomalies.

      3) You misstate the conclusions of others, such as those of experts who examined the work, and claim that they came to conclusions and opinions that they never did, which in some cases are even contrary to the version you relate. And that may sound like a bold and startling claim, but I will shortly be backing it up, with point-by-point examples, in a new blog post.

      In short, your pages blend together facts and opinions very thoroughly, so that a reader of them is left with a false image of what we actually do know about the Voynich manuscript. But worse is that by doing so, the website may in fact be a very effective obstacle to solving it. This, because it causes many to not consider, nor pursue, many other perfectly valid possibilities.

      “Honestly, I am rather sure that you have seen all of this already, and it affects several parts of your blog post, but you did not update it. This is probably in line with blog principles. Blogs are like a diary and it is not ‘right’ to change them afterwards.”

      No, it does not affect the core premise of the “You Say ““Tspenencz”, I say “Topenencz”” blog post, and “no” if it did change that premise, I would have updated the post, as I did to add the Garland correspondence reference. And I appreciate your opinion as to it not being “right” to change a blog, but I disagree: If a correction or update is needed, it is usual and appropriate to do so. And I and others often do, labeling changes as dated “updates” (I do chose not to update some old posts, with ideas I no longer hold… but that is a choice, not driven by some ethical mandate. I usually leave them when what I thought then does not relate to my current hypothesis, nor hurt anyone else’s).

      “And that just brings me back to my surprise of seeing you refer to your Tepenec blog entry, which is clearly out of date.”

      Well then I’ve cleared that up: It is not out of date, I do know of the other items you refer to, they don’t change the point I was making in any way, so you no longer have to be surprised.

      • Rich P Says:

        Hi Rich,

        About René’s site you say:

        “In short, your pages blend together facts and opinions very thoroughly, so that a reader of them is left with a false image of what we actually do know about the Voynich manuscript”

        You’ve summarized it well and there are other subtleties that can be confusing for casual readers and enthusiasts like myself. I’d offer as an exhibit this page which I came across while looking more closely at the provenance question: http://www.voynich.nu/extra/xc/Ruysschaert.htm. Here there are no fewer than 11 references to “MS 408” all of which you might say are used anachronistically since, of course, 408 was never used to reference the VM until Yale acquired the work and assigned it that number no earlier than 1969.

        Maybe it’s the carefree, sometimes ambiguous language that helps create a false image. An example: “De Ricci indicates the MS 408 origin (19) in his volume 2, published in October 1937.” Wouldn’t it have been better if René actually printed the title that De Ricci actually used in Census? We know de Ricci didn’t use the term “MS 408” and historically speaking, all the other references on this page must have been to something like “Bacon cipher” or “Miscellanea, c.m.s.XV”.

  63. john sanders Says:

    In the late 1800s, when deciding on the plants most suitable to fit the desired medieval time agenda, the VM sketch artist was almost certain to have consulted the newly released, three volume Kohler Herbal pictorial with it’s modern Latinised species terminology. In view of her? limited abilities the selection would have entailed plants that were not going to be so difficult to replicate on small parchment sheets, though liberty was given to use of non authentic imaginative effects eg. weird root formation and animalistic effects to mimic Roger Bacon’s own rather hippy Jusus freak disposition.

    When half a century later, Ethel Voynich was tasked with jotting down details of the select plant specimens which could only have been from memory of a half century before, she had no troubles making quite difficult match ups with the fairly agricultural sketches done by an older family member. Not a bad effort considering that she only had single word Latin main genus association to go by, but was nonetheless in several cases, able to pick out non sequential sub species; even to the extent of identifying a single disguised leaf from a non herbal page. Upon cross checking the selections appeared to be in order.

    One might well ask, how Ethel could know all the scientific plant names by rote? Well in fact, she was a genius which gave her an edge on we mere mortals. Whilst she attempted to list her plants alphabetically, with letter sub-headings, she was not absolutely precise with the sequential flow, having to insert recalled names on three instances. That’s how we can tell that she must have been at least knowingly concerned with the hoax from it’s onset. Or else her listing would have commenced with the VM numbering and the easy common names eg. Pin cushion flower = Scabiosa = f33v &c.

    Experts from Manly & Richert in 1915, to Newbold in 1919 and the likes of Salomen, the Friedmans, Tiltman and all who have followed their paths must of course, by now be aware that the VM is most likely an impostor. Created by folks with a similar bent for deception as Dawson, the Piltdown man hoaxer of 1912 whose unlikely homo creation fooled anthropologists for forty years. His credibility had been vouched for by self acclaimed experts in a similar vane to what we see with our own imposter. VM Geekos are likewise prepared to maintain denial, purely for glory in cracking some implausable code.

  64. Rene Zandbergen Says:

    Rich, I am happy to confirm that I am no longer surprised. I fully understand your point and your logic. It seems not useful to try to argue about it.

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi René: Well understanding is important, and should not be confused with agreement (although it often is)… clearly you and I will never agree, unless something radical and unexpected changes. But as long as we understand each other (on the basis that was a genuine sentiment)… and I, too, believe I understand you… as long as we are there, that does not need further argument.

      But I’ll still argue for an accurate representation of what is actually known and not known about the Voynich, because people have a right to that. It is one of my “missions” in all this, and separate from explaining my own theories to people (although some arguments overlap). It is the thrust of most of my discussions in fact: Me, trying to find out the reasons people believe what they say they believe, so I can get them to question their own motivations. Usually they do not understand this, and think I am trying to get them to agree with me. Often I find out they don’t really know why they believe it, they just read it “somewhere” (!!!). But I’m actually trying to throw them a lifeline, and get them to think for themselves, to question their beliefs, and question what they have been told to accept as gospel, as undeniable, hard fact…. when it is anything but that.

      After that, they are on their own.

  65. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    Rich – about correcting errors. I’m bemused by Rene’s suggesting that if you change what is written on a web-page, without notice and without documentation it’s ok, but not if you prefer a blog format.
    A blog isn’t a personal diary by definition. OK blogs may have begun like that back in the 1980s, but these days scholars and scholarly institutions have blogs (inc. most of the great libraries and the Beinecke had a brilliant codicology blog for a while).

    What’s the point of providing information (whether one’s own research or not) if you don’t correct any errors you later find. The ‘rule’ is not that a scholar can’t correct the information they share, but that it is considered poor form not to annotate such changes with the date at which they were made. This is because to omit that – I’m not talking about typos or fixing grammar – is to falsely represent the post (or web-page) as having always said this-or-that. It opens the door for all sorts of underhand practice, such as incorporating someone else’s original insights into a post or web-page carrying an earlier date, or even copyrighted to a date earlier than the research was done. That makes it not just plagiarism but really infra dig. for a scholar.

    Which is one reason why I prefer the blog format, and bore my readers by adding postscripts, comments and date-marks for any substantial correction.

    In short, Rich… change away!! No use making a principle of letting readers keep reading things you later find aren’t right.

    Possibly non.seq. but my dating for the manuscript’s content was a product of training and experience in my own field. I find nothing in it which requires a date even as late as 1438, and had said so – and explained it – well before the radiocarbon dating. I don’t doubt the work is an early fifteenth-century copy, but knowing where and when the present manuscript was made isn’t enough to explain the content.
    Everyone feels frustrated when they realise that all their own hard work of research (if they do any) is not taken into account. With the rise in theory-driven approaches, I can understand why so many of stop sharing at all.

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi Diane: Thank you for your thoughts on this.

      You are a good example of what I mean, when I say people ought to question the foundation they have been handed, and told they must accept. You are not constrained by anything you have been told to believe, rather, you question everything, and come to your own conclusions… based on your observations, your personal experience and education, then molded with your own good common sense.

      We need more like you, exploring all avenues, different avenues, in order to cover more ground here, without worrying so much about what others think about it. And best of luck, as always, in your work…

      • D.N. O'Donovan Says:

        I can’t answer this calmly at the moment; I’m steaming about yet another example of the manuscript’s study being corrupted by ignorance and greed, which sees people without the brains to do original research stealing others, and circulating it as ‘an idea’ which they pretend is up for grabs, or needn’t be acknowledged if the work wasn’t done by someone conforming to their theory. It’s not just the thief, but all the innocents who take it for granted that the passed-on ‘idea’ has been around forever, or are led to think the plagiarist was divinely inspired. In this case, JKP (who I’m sure wasn’t around at the time) has gained the belief that your work identifying the subject on f.77 as the elements, and mine (later, but independent) which explained why the elements descend from something which looks like wood (hyle) is seen in that way.. and a lot more.

        No wonder nothing ever progresses when there are people determined to corrupt honest method according to some idiotic notion they have that it’s ok to steal from ‘lesser men’. Really, I do think this study will never regain any balance until the culprits leave the scene permanently. I don’t blame JKP in the least that he was never told where the ‘often-said’ insight originated, or how the debate went.

      • proto57 Says:

        Well I get why you are upset, but in Mr. JKP’s defense, it is probably just a matter of the huge number of blogs, forums, sites and mailing lists to cover. I know not all of my pages turn up in Google searches.

        To look at the silver lining, it is another affirmation of the comparisons.

        There have been a couple of recent books which have missed many of the origins of ideas, those of mine, and of others. I think it is an innocent oversight for the most part, though. Sometimes frustrating, but it is hard to project ideas in the cacophony that is the field.

  66. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    Ok, I’ve cooled off a bit.. just a bit.. so I hope I can reply to your comment properly.

    I often accept the opinions of others, because the answer to an historical or other issue related to the manuscript doesn’t lie in my own head and imagination, but in the great mass of prior studies into such things as the composition of pigments, or medieval thinking about the nature of birds.. The opposite was nicely illustrated by a student who crossed over from some technical subject in a local college. Confronted with the reading-list required for an essay on modes for rendering gesture in ancient art, he tossed it aside saying, ‘I don’t like reading; it interferes with working out what I’m going to say.’

    • proto57 Says:

      Yes it is hard to get people to read information relating to ideas they are already so sure must be wrong, and unrelated to the Voynich. I find myself reluctant in some cases, but try to read everything anyway… I think I have every book on the Voynich, and have read all of them, cover to cover. Well some are a slog… I dare anyone to read all pages of the “Cult of Isis” one….

      But you never know what you will find, even if you think you don’t agree with the basic premise of the book. I found then new Janick/Tucker book, “Unraveling the Voynich Codex”, really interesting. Do I think their theory the correct one? In my opinion, no. But that does not mean they do not have some very interesting insights… and they’ve also done their homework on many other theories at the same time, for a background.

  67. john sanders Says:

    f33v should have preceeded, my apoligies.Nahuatl folks might recall Ethel’s selection does not equate to their Sunflower. On a related point; It seems that all of the nine pages of text given by Wilfred for John Manly’s decription attempt all seem to have been script, none of which displayed any accompanying sketches that might assist his endeavours. Some of the herbals in particular appeared to have word inscriptions alongside with which he might use to identify the variety, had there been meaning at all. Note also that the Kohler herbal plant depictions were all in Latin with a common name index in German at the end apparently, which is consistent with my earlier proposition, I think..

  68. john sanders Says:

    From her formative years Ethel Voynich nee Boole preferred to be known as Lily and she dressed in black. Being considered by her older sisters and others to be the fairest of all, with her pale blonde locks and ‘snow white’ features. Could it be mere coincidence that the generic names for the VM’s first two herbals are ‘ Beautiful Lady ‘ and ‘ White Lily ‘ the only two specimens amongst 112 distinguished by their being left in an unrooted state…NB: f1v ‘Bella Donna’ may have had it’s roots added later for the purposes of evidentiary cover-up.

  69. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    Rich, thanks for your characteristically decent response.

    As I said, I don’t blame JKP; I know what difficulties are found when trying to treat the study of this manuscript.

    But I’m not talking about the general passing public, saying whatever they think of in a blog-comment.
    You know, and I know, and anyone who has been involved so long also knows, that this connection was made first by you, and then some years later also by me. At the tie – because no-one had ever seen it before, your first thought was that I was leeching off your work. 🙂 However, our readings were obviously very different and in the normal way this new perception, and the two opposing views, would become the basis for a hopefully-fruitful debate and that debate would assist understanding of the manuscript itself. As is the norm for serious research.

    What we see instead is a stupid habit, among some few, of refusing to acknowledge information, argument, evidence and sources that don’t support their pet theory that then of taking the research, mis-representing it as an anonymous ‘idea’ (or one for which they hope to be credited themselves by that omission) and trying to get associates, cronies and complete innocents to ‘look into the idea’ – effectively to create an ‘alternative’ by someone whose name they feel willing to mention. So the original researcher is ‘blanked’ and.. the critical point .. those who come later are effectively lied to, lies by omission being a major crime among scholars, but the very concept seems to be unknown to the few unprincipled individuals.

    So now instead of a branch of medieval studies and manuscript studies, the study of this manuscript has devolved since the early 2000s into a mad ‘groundhog day’ and one with which very few specialists in any relevant subject will have anything to do.

    If JKP had been told about your work, and mine, by the source from which he received the ‘idea’, then less of his time would have been wasted trying to re-invent another wheel. The normal thing would be to start with the seminal article (yours), then compare with the second study (mine) and then having set things out fairly for any who come later, added his own commentary. Instead, the error will go exponential and the next thing you see will be sneering remarks that in claiming the insight (which you should never been obliged to do yourself), you are jumping on the bandwagon which you yourself set going. I’ve had this routine applied so very often to my work, that I shut it off from general readership.

    Sorry this turned into another epistle.

  70. Monica Says:

    John:

    Can I ask why you seem to have shifted from MEB to ELV as a possible author?

    As I was searching for ELV’s plant notes to recheck them, I came across this link from 2008:

    http://www.shardcore.org/shardpress/2008/02/14/the-booles-and-the-voynich-manuscript2008/

    Interesting that it refers to Rich’s Drebbel theory as the most likely one

  71. john sanders Says:

    Monica:

    Nothing has changed at all; in that my contentention has Mary the matriarch as the hoax initiater for reasons outlined, with loyal family members with rolls to play. I considered Ethel, being a professional writer, obvious candidate for scribe, others making input according to their individual talents…With regard to the plants, both Dana S.and Edith S. have given us wonderful colour layouts, with their invividual selections from VM pics and those taken from modern herbal books. Unsurpisingly they tend in the main, not to conform with Ethel’s own choices. We’re not to reason why they didn’t take a leaf out of the ELV notebook; afterall she had the original scheme’s Latin herbals key to work with…Pardon my omission of f 2 r between Belladonna and White Lily in my last post; I just happened to be tracking the DS chart which left it out.

  72. Rene Zandbergen Says:

    It might seem a commendable thing to try to find mistakes in Voynich-related web sites, but there is a certain amusement value in the suggestion that this should be done by someone who publicly writes and advocates that:

    – the 1665 Marci letter is a fake by Voynich
    – Marci’s signature was added by a scribe
    – the Kircher correspondence was stored in Villa Mondragone and could be seen by any number of visitors to the place
    – the Tepenec signature of fol.1 is an indication that he was the author
    – the McCrone report says that ‘poxleber’ was written with the same ink as the rest of the MS
    – Voynich spent 100+ leaves of old parchment to fake a book by some irrelevant herbalist, from the early 17th century (!)
    – the beast on f80v clearly looks most like an armadillo that is rolling up in defense

    To Rich P.: the page you had issues with is not mine. It is an old page from X. Ceccaldi that I am hosting without change. This is clearly indicated near all links to that and related pages.
    I wonder if you can spot any inaccuracies in the above 7 points. Not all. Some require quite specific knowledge or a lot of reading time.

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi René: Your response is excellent, because it is a good demonstration of the need to misstate my case in order to dismiss it. If I was making invalid points, you would not need to do that.

      I also note that you feel a need to be so insulting, with, “… there is a certain amusement value” in my ideas. It is again another indication that you do consider my path a threat to the premise you so actively defend. There are quite a ideas out there that are far more wild than “modern forgery”, but they don’t draw your mockery as mine do, and their holders don’t get the same treatment. Why?

      I would contend it is the opposite of what you profess, that you have long been aware this is a serious possibility, and this is the actual reason why it draws such attention and fire from you.

      In any case, to correct your claims:

      “– the 1665 Marci letter is a fake by Voynich”

      First, I do not know who made the Marci letter. And whether or not it is a forgery does not impact the thrust, the core, of my hypothesis, but rather affects the possible motivations and timeline of it.

      But “amusing” or not to you, that letter is a walking anomaly. It has many problems with it, and its backstory. So I stand firmly behind my suspicion that it is a fake. No need to copy all the reasons, here, I can link to my page on the subject:

      https://proto57.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/the-1665-marci-letter-a-forgery/

      “– Marci’s signature was added by a scribe”

      I do not know who the signature is “supposed” to be by, a scribe or Marci. I’ve heard different people suggest it reflects an “older, sick” Marci, and I’ve heard it contended it was by a scribe. It does not matter to real or fake nature of the letter as a whole. Perhaps you misunderstood my point the above linked page?:

      “It has long been known that the “signature” of Marcus Marci is not by him, as it seems to be different on his other, earlier letters. This has been explained by the fact that Marci was very old, and ill at this point, and some scribe wrote and signed the letter for him. But interesting to me is the almost pantographic ability of this scribe… because in the Kircher Carteggio is one, later, Marci letter, dated September 10, 1665, seemingly by this same scribe… but if so, why are the signatures an exact overlay?”

      I was only relating one opinion as to who may have signed the letter, but it is of course irrelevant to the issue of it being forged. You frequently do this… attempt to show some sort of inaccuracy on my part, even when it is only reflecting the opinions of others, and even when it is moot to the issue I am proposing.

      In short, it matters not, to forgery, who signed any of the Carteggio Marci letters, or the versions the 1666 Marci letter most closely matches. It does not affect the issue at hand: The 1666 Marci letter is very questionable.

      “– the Kircher correspondence was stored in Villa Mondragone and could be seen by any number of visitors to the place”

      Again, a misstatement of this issue. First of all, it was you who long projected your “opinion as fact”, telling people the letters of the Carteggio were “under lock and seal”, and that there was no way that Voynich could have seen them, ever. And related to that, you have consistently opined that these letters of Kircher were not seen, not visited, not only by Voynich, but by other scholars.

      But you do not know that. We could go into all the reasons you have given for claiming this, and I can point out that they are without merit. But in short, this is your opinion, again, which you, again, present to others, over and over, as “fact”.

      But yes, I find it implausible to believe that the papers and archives of the great polymath Kircher, one of the Jesuit’s most revered historical figures, would not be studied by the very Jesuit professors at the Villa Mondragone. And of course the Strickland brothers studied there. It is not at all unreasonable to consider that Joseph Strickland, friend of Voynich’s, and supposedly the one who made the sale of many items from there, did not inform Voynich of the mention of the “Baresch manuscript” mentioned in those letters.

      Such leads are basis for the success of any book dealer, and Voynich was one of the best at rooting out leads.

      You have been fervent in creating a false impression that there is no way that Voynich could have gotten wind of the letters, or the mentions of the manuscript in them. There is no real basis for your claims in this area. At the same time, you use the evidence that Voynich did buy many OTHER manuscripts from the Collegio Romanum and the Villa Mongragone to make your case that the Voynich Manuscript was among them… so: Great access to everything, but no access to the letters? That is your opinion, not fact, and I think it an unsupported one.

      “– the Tepenec signature of fol.1 is an indication that he was the author”

      What? I don’t believe Tepenec was the author, first of all. What I do hypothesis is that a forger of the Voynich put a (bad) “signature” on f1r. It is not a good match to the known signatures, as Jan Hurych and others have demonstrated:

      A34: http://hurontaria.baf.cz/CVM/VMcompletea.pdf

      And my discovery of the “pre-treatment” “signature” in the Beinecke archives (René, this was something I’ve always wondered… you were in those archives well before me. Did you miss that photograph, or did you consider it not worthy of mention, or other?) raises further suspicions about Voynich’s claim as to its visibility, most importantly, “why” would Baresch/Kinner/Marci not mention its presence to Kircher? I think the obvious is because it was not there, and/or, the whole manuscript was not there:

      https://proto57.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/new-look-at-the-de-tepencz-signature/

      “– the McCrone report says that ‘poxleber’ was written with the same ink as the rest of the MS”

      Well actually it was the curious reversal by several genuinists that caused me to wonder why the story shifted from the last page marginalia being from “a different hand, a different time”, to “by the same scribe who wrote the Voynich” (paraphrased). I was trying to figure out why this was done, and so went back to the McCrone report and had my answer. Yes, the ink is the same for the marginalia and the main text. I know the various “armadillo-like” rejections of it… McCrone got it wrong; it is a misreading of the report; formulas are not fingerprints anyway; McCrone probably has other information that they didn’t release which counters the report, and on and on.

      But all things considered, being in the same ink implies a forger “switched styles”, in order to give the impression that others, at some other time, had worked on the manuscript. And if so, that worked also… because most Voynich scholars long accepted that, until they needed to change their opinion to fit the facts.

      “– Voynich spent 100+ leaves of old parchment to fake a book by some irrelevant herbalist, from the early 17th century (!)”

      Well thank you, you actually support an element of my hypothesis: That it might occur to a forger of a Horcicky herbal/pharma that a Roger Bacon would be a more valuable work. But to the hypothetical “original intent” of a Horcicky:

      1) Voynich was arguable privy to such materials, as he was surrounded by a 40 year collection of any and everything when he bought the Libreria Franceschini in 1908. Forger or not, that is a forger’s dream.

      2) Horicicky would not have been an awful choice for a forger in 1908/10, as the 1904 Bolton book which talks about his activities in the Court of Rudolf II was a best seller (and as you know, very familiar to Wilfrid).

      3) I don’t contend that it was 100 leaves, in any case. The foldouts, the noted lighter edges (possible cuts), the observation by Pelling that scars and veins line up across pages, and more, imply that a far lesser number of full size folios was cut down to make the pages and quires of the smaller Voynich:

      https://proto57.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/the-three-quire-theory/

      “– the beast on f80v clearly looks most like an armadillo that is rolling up in defense”

      Well, yes, you are correct there. Again, you can snark at me that it is “amusing” I contend this, but for all the reasons, past present and in a future post on the subject, yes, Armadillo is far and away the best comparison, in my opinion.

      No, I won’t write a webpage saying “we now know this is an armadillo”, because we don’t. I don’t. We shouldn’t.

      One more thing to note: Besides the mis-characterizations of what I do speculate on, you also have cherry-picked those things you thought could be be most easily addressed. This is frequently the case, as you continue to ignore many problems with the Voynich manuscript, as I and others have outlined.

      But your pages have all your BEST arguments against my theory; and the best arguments FOR the 1420 Genuine European Cipher Herbal Paradigm. But rather than pick and choose the “low hanging fruit” there, I can, and do intend on addressing all of it.

      Because unlike the critics of my theories, I don’t need to misstate, nor cherry pick, nor confuse opinion with fact, nor omit information, nor insult, nor delve into sophistry, nor apply varied standards ad hoc, nor use mutually exclusive, hypocritical and contrary arguments… in order to make the case their own position is seriously flawed.

    • Rich P Says:

      Hello René —

      “the page you had issues with is not mine. It is an old page from X. Ceccaldi that I am hosting without change. This is clearly indicated near all links to that and related pages.”

      Ok, but if one simply types “Ruysschaert voynich” at bing.com (which I think is how I “landed” there) that page is the first link. Regardless, I hope you see my main point which is that this is just one example where facts/observations/opinions are intertwined at voynich.nu in such a way that they are hard to separate.

      To your seven points, well, Rich S. has already done a fine job of walking through and addressing them far better than I could! I would only reinforce Rich’s point that the McCrone report showing that the same inks were used across contexts in the VM is like a smoking gun for forgery. It kills multiple birds with one stone. It elegantly eliminates most if not all of the many postulated storylines and people associated with them because it renders them internally inconsistent — the same purported owners and other individuals trying to determine the origin of the VM can’t reasonably be assumed to have used the same ink found in the body of the text itself!

      And if there’s any question about the value or interpretation of the McCrone report, that’s all the more reason to open up full access to it and give everyone the tools needed to draw their own conclusions. Or if that can’t be arranged, maybe some additional C14 tests could be conducted — all it would take is one slip-up showing modern ink was used in some untested area of the VM to blow the whole thing up (like McCrone did with the “Archaic Mark” codex: https://www.mccrone.com/case-studies/ink-analysis-the-archaic-mark/).

  73. john sanders Says:

    Rene: With regard to X Ceccaldi, did you mean “hosting without change” or should it have been “without charge”. I’m not inferring any wrongdoing, though I do feel that in all fairness we might as well ask questions such as whether people might be deriving a pecuniary interest in VM related matters which could be seen as a reflection of favouritism for a particular viewpoint. That would at least enable all of us mere mortals who are not on any parole or stipend, to at least know what we’re up against.

  74. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    Concerning the Census.. Reviews of the first volume include one which mentions that the de Ricci’s survey included manuscripts then held by bookdealers, as well as in public and private collections.

    Lynn Thorndike’s review says (wrongly) that the Census includes ‘all’ manuscripts in America, and says among other things that the numbering system is confusing with none of the numbers in the Catalogue agreeing with those of the libraries holding them, and that it would have been helpful to have added incipits.

    In 1940 when the third volume – the Indices were published, Anne Nill had played an important role in making several of them. Since many may not know this so I’ll quote. For convenience I won’t quote directly from the book, but from a review that is more easily accessed online at JSTOR.

    “Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada, by Seymour de Ricci (with the assistance of W. J. Wilson), Volume III, Indices, New York, H. W. Wilson Co., 1940, pp. vi, 222.
    The Indices to Volume I and II of this valuably comprehensive survey are grouped under the headings: 1. General Index of Names, Titles and Headings, by Anne M. Nill; 2. Scribes, Illuminators and Cartographers, by Anne M. Nill; 3. Incipits, by Anne M. Nill; 4. Gregory Numbers for Greek New Testament Manuscripts, by W. J. Wilson; 5. Present Owners, by Anne M. Nill; 6. Previous Owners, by Seymour de Ricci.

    review by Ernest Cadman Colwell
    from the Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 59, No. 3 (Sep., 1940), pp. 440-441.

    The reason I choose to quote from that review over others is that the author adds an addendum:
    ” A check of a score of items found no omission and no error.”

    However, I found Beeson’s review most interesting because he realised (as Thorndike seems not to have done) that the Census didn’t include all mss in America. Beeson’s review of the first volume makes that comment. See:
    Modern Philology, Vol. 34, No. 4 (May, 1937), pp. 425-427.
    What he says is this:
    ” The number of items listed, large though it seems (nearly 6,000), falls far short of the reality; e.g., for the Huntington Library no account is taken of the 50,000 documents found in the archives of the Earls of Huntingdon, of the Battle Abbey manuscripts (2,800 items), or of the Stowe collection (784 deeds), and only 109 of the 15,000 items among the Bridgewater manuscripts are described. Similarly, of the 10,000 documents in the Library of Congress concerning the Mercy-Argenteau and the D’Avaray families only 400 are cited; the Bacon collection in the library of the University of Chicago (several thousand documents) is not catalogued, nor is the Canagua collection in the library of the University of Illinois (several thousand volumes).”

    that Bacon, btw is not Roger, but a later Nicholas Bacon.

    Anne Nill was a modest person, but her abilities, practical experience and her being entrusted with the work of making those indices suggests that she should be considered another competent assessor. She (or Wilfrid himself) may have provided the description seen in the Census, but from Rich’s account of her correspondence she was never all that convinced of the ‘Baconian’ provenance, and certainly not of the theory of ‘New World’ origin, nor does she seem to have known anything suggesting the now constantly urged theory of ‘central European/Germanic character’ for the manuscript.

  75. john sanders Says:

    One can imagine what McCrone would be thinking when asked to give an old fashioned lab derived opinion on the material make-up of the VM folio..”Why bother, if it’s likely to go agin what the new fangled spectro toy says, to give the punters exactly what they ordered”. At the later (unrecordeded) press release, The SA C14 chap even had the hide and gall (pardon the pun)) to blurt out “..and Mac’s own lab analysis of ink and paint pigments is age consistent with our Super Spectro Scam Scanner “. Thank Goodness “Mac” was able to jump up and give lie to that pronoucement, though more’s the pity that nobody saw need to put any of this into writing, and indeed how odd.

    It is conceivable, even likely that ‘The man from Tennessee’ was just a journeyman techo doing a job with very little to go on from Rene and his team. At the time they seem to have known little about the full effects of ancient deep water isotopic carbon depleted transfers entering into the food cycle of certain land animals as their main diet along with mineral supplements essential to their needs. A few other potential carbon imbalances, such as collagen, calcium carbonate &c. were likely factored in to the test data and adjusted accordingly to come within a five percentile band for error allowance. It may also have been out to buggery, truth being known and it’s about time that someone honest came forward and fessed up to what they know.

    My calculations for three hundred sheets of 9 × 6 inch calf vellum equate, adjusting for high side error, to ten full square trimmed average sized hides, so I’m at a loss as to how the estimate of one hundred was calculated. Why many fine scholarly folk immediately put the kybosh on suggestions that long term careful storage potential might apply to vellum used in the VM, I can’t really fathom; unless it scares hell out of them knowing there is case history in spades. If you told them that a crate of thousand year old Sacre Bleau bin 14 had recently been taken from a wreck off Calais, they’d want to try some just for fun. Then if having found it fruity to the nose, aged perfectly and most agreeable, come back for seconds.

    • proto57 Says:

      Well John, as the old expression goes, “Once bitten, twice shy”. I sense… my opinion opinion opinion… that the Vineland Map debacle burnt both Yale and McCrone, and they both bent over backwards to not make some of the same mistakes. In the case of Barabe’s McCrone ink analysis, while it does have some conclusions, it… in my opinion opinion opinion… markedly avoids describing in detail, at least, attempting to explain, certain unusual findings. Think the Vineland “anatase” wars, still raging after decades, when you read in the Voynich report, “titanium compound” (samples 17 and 20). And what about the “slightly unusual” copper and zinc? The “unidentified constituents” in the gum binder? The mercury? And more?

      What McCrone has done… and don’t get me wrong, I do not blame them… has said, “Here’s what we found, now you all do what you want with it. Don’t call us”. Because, at least in my case, they won’t answer any of questions: “What form is this ‘titanium compound’?”, “WHY is copper and zinc unusual to find? Do you mean ‘unusual’ to an assumed 15th century origin? ‘Unusual’ to all inks? ‘Unusual’ unless a brass pen nib is used?”, and so on. Crickets. So genuinists can, and do, continue to claim that the McCrone report “Found NOTHING out of the oridinary”, or even go as far as to claim McCrone validated the ink as coming from the 15th century. No, they did not say that, they did not date the ink, and they did point out that there were unusual and unidentified constituents that needed further study to resolve.

      Now will come the claim I am “impugning” McCrone, that I am a “conspiracy theorist”, a “flat earther”, if experience is any dictate. No, nothing of the kind. McCrone is absolutely wonderful, trustworthy, and admirable in every way. They have shown great independence and professionalism and the highest scientific standard in everything I have seen and read. I feel bad for what they were put through with the Vinland report, and actually understand why they would not want to answer my questions… that is one hellish can of worms, and they know it. In my opinion, opinion… oh hell.

      My point is that their report does not reflect those things claimed of it by the Genuinists, for certain, or in some cases, at all, and is actually a red flag saying, “Look here! We have to test some of this stuff again, because we raised some interesting questions!”. Will that ever happen? Probably not. It will simply continue to be falsely claimed that the McCrone report proved the Voynich is genuine, and 15th century.

    • proto57 Says:

      As to this, “My calculations for three hundred sheets of 9 × 6 inch calf vellum equate, adjusting for high side error, to ten full square trimmed average sized hides, so I’m at a loss as to how the estimate of one hundred was calculated.”

      You seem very aware of this, John, but for the reader who is not: In the comments section of my post:
      https://proto57.wordpress.com/2009/10/09/but-who-would-use-vellum-anyway/

      Nick Pelling had commented on the amount needed for a bible, and the cost, and gave links. I replied,

      “… I worked it out: The bi-folios (4 pages) of the vellum Gutenberg bible would have been 17.5″x24 inches (pages were about 12″x17.5). Doing the math, we divide the 1,272 pages of the Gutenberg bible by 4 to get the number of bi-folios, coming up with 318 needed sheets. Multiplying these by their area, we have a total area of skin (poor sheep) of 133,560 square inches.

      “The VMs, if we use a baseline of 220 pages, needed 55 sheets (thereabouts). Each is about 12″x9″, giving a surface area of 108 square inches, and a total of 5,940 square inches needed for the whole book. When we divide that figure into the 133,560, this means the Voynich would have needed about 1/22 of the vellum the Gutenberg bible did. I actually think it would be much less, because many more smaller rectangles can obviously be cut from an irregular shape… but let’s stick with the 1/22. So if the bible used 300 sheepies, then the Voynich would have needed only 13… a baker’s dozen.

      “Even if we double that amount to be conservative, and use the high end of the scale of cost, we are only talking about a couple of dozen shillings… not even many pounds. And if the 170 calfskin figure is used, it is actually only 7.72 skins needed… which seems to have only cost about 6 or 7 shillings at the most, total.”

      And John, it seems your estimate of “… ten full square trimmed average sized hides” is pretty close to my very conservative 13 hides (edited to point out, 10 is right between my range of 7.72 and 13). And, still not the fortune in hides often still used to claim the Voynich would have been too expensive to make “as a forgery”. But one more thing: If you think about that claim, in any case, it makes no sense: For we are to believe that a genuine work, by real scribes, in the 15th century, who were making all sorts of things, valuable and not, from hide skins… would spend “a fortune” to make them; but a forger, who wanted between one and two million dollars for the same book, would not have? No, it was cheap… but if expensive, still is not any kind of argument against forgery.

      As for blank vellum not being available, that is simply a myth:
      https://proto57.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/old-blank-vellum-sitting-around/

      And a good argument for Voynich himself having access to enough of it, can be made:
      https://proto57.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/something-sheepy-in-the-state-of-denmar/

      And since I’m listing my various arguments, related to John’s points:
      https://proto57.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/the-three-quire-theory/

  76. john sanders Says:

    Diane,

    In late 1952 when Anne was perhaps pushing for a sale to Rudolf Hirseh, she qoted a 1936 letter from Richard Soloman (sic) that he had been astounded when a reputed antiqarian from London, a Mr. Goldschmidt, had tentatively dated the MS in the 13th century range (RB?). She did not agree with the appraisal, stipulating that she stuck by her earlier date assesment, which she did not then elaborate on. I wonder would she have been thinking “Don’t take my word for it pal, I’m only the hired help after all”.

  77. john sanders Says:

    Monica:

    You will no doubt be aware that Mary edited a journal called ‘The Crank’, naming it after her admitted disposition and “…because it’s a little thing that makes revolutions”. In 1908 she had a 6d book published, It’s full title being, ‘Miss Education & her garden: A short summary of the educational blunders of half a century. Dedicated (without permission to the educational authorities of Great Britain’. If that’s not weird enough to credit her with a plot against said authorities, her daughter Ethel Voynich, when in contact with her nephew G. I. Taylor (see1943 Will), opined that the Boole family were ‘Crooks & Cranks. Sir Geoffrey, a renowned physicist and man for all seasons, (astrology astronomy, cartography, aero wing and yacht design, & botany), visited the U.S. on a maritime survey and may have been there to greet his plant sketch artist Dad Ted and uncle Fred Voynich as war broke in 1914. With all his talents, young Geoff would have been handy to have on your side when it came to laying out plans for a fool proof family conspiracy such as the VM wouldn’t you think?..

  78. Monica Says:

    John:

    Thanks for your answer. I used Ellie Velinska’s excellent page of botanical references. I just wanted to look at E.L.V.’s notes.

    I was aware of ‘the Crank’ and the correspondance between Ethel and G.I. Taylor. They referred to Mary E. Boole as ‘the Missus’. Some of their letters are to be found here, along with other letters and a lot of biographical material:

    http://georgeboole.ucc.ie/?page=4

    There is a chapter in ‘Logic Taught by Love’ from 1906 (pages 110 to 115) by Mary E. Boole. It is about passing on a legacy in a form that gives it permanent value, which, in my opinion, comes closer to a motive for making a document like the VM than a revenge motive does:

    https://archive.org/details/logictaughtbylov00bool/page/110

    I agree with you that the family seems to be remarkable and capable of a lot of things, including making someting like the Voynich, but I am not so sure they were involved in it in that sense.

    Try looking at the rosettes page from a M.E.B. point of view.

    What would have been most precious to her?

  79. john sanders Says:

    Monica,

    What a minefield of information you’ve provided and I’m most greatful. I’v just started to cherry pick the detail and at this moment I’m pondering about Mary Ellen Hindon’s son George with his detailed schemetic family tree, noting how it mirrors some elements of our VM roundels very closely indeed. I’d also be interested in George’s memories from early childhood as a nearsighted kid attending bath houses with his family in Japan in the 1890s. He would have been taken in by the unique water outlet pipes, the tubs in addition to the naked ladies interacting with gay abandon and the colourful Meiji vase pool decore etc. Later on with his growing up in the USA and Mexico, perception of those times may have adjusted to a more familiar Westernised format which he may have found easier to sketch…More on George (Jorge) and his legacy as a botanist and his service to the allies in ww1 later if that line pans out..

  80. john sanders Says:

    Monica,

    The name is George Hinton of course, so bare it in mind for I’ll keep getting it wrong; not that it will make any difference to the 1421 lads and lasses.

  81. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    About pre-radiocarbon assessments – I find the same true then as now. If the binding is fifteenth-century European style (and there are question-marks on that point), the page-layout is hardly fifteenth-century European style. I’ve seen no evidence yet that the marking up is fifteenth-century European style (because there’s no sign there was any marking up for the Vms… so far as I’ve found to date). Added to this, the heavy pigments may be late-added and we don’t know how late, but the washes seem characteristic of earlier rather than later custom. (I’m open to correction that point).

    But what seems to be lost in the enthusiasm for pushing theories is the manuscript itself. If it offers objection to a theory, what tends to happen is that the theory is tacitly argued preferable, and anyone pointing to discrepancies between a theory and the object’s evidence is waved off, while the crowd is told to ‘pay no attention to this fuss; he/she is being less than sensible’.

    Is it any wonder that scholars, seeing this happen in public arenas, shy off altogether? I do wish we still had Reeds’ mailing list. I can’t imagine Prinke having the arrogance to instructing everyone to ‘pay no attention’ to Reeds or Neal because they had raised objections to a theoretical construct – can you?

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi Diane:

      ” If the binding is fifteenth-century European style (and there are question-marks on that point),”

      On that point… I was recently told (by an author of a recent book about the Voynich) that I “must refute” certain public statements which are critical of modern forgery. Well of course I’ve been doing so, to all arguments, for a good 7 or 8 years now… but this request compelled me to sit down and address each and every point all at once.

      As part of that process, I revisited the expert analysis of the work, including the binding, as outlined in the new Yale book and elsewhere. Although I was familiar with these points (and as I said had in the past addressed them), when critically examining them again, it only reinforced the suggestion you make here: “question-marks”. It is not really the experts opinion that the materials, techniques and binding of the Voynich are all “slam dunk” 15th century, but rather read as an almost apologetic, carefully couched, reluctant, demonstration that there are a great many PROBLEMS with these things.

      But as I said, I’ve been cleaning up my point-by-point rebuttal of the “critique-by-proxy” the writer demanded of me, and which I did already send him, in rough form… for a blog post. That should be up in a day or so.

      ” I do wish we still had Reeds’ mailing list. I can’t imagine Prinke having the arrogance to instructing everyone to ‘pay no attention’ to Reeds or Neal because they had raised objections to a theoretical construct – can you?”

      I’m not certain if you are addressing any one person specifically, but as for “Reeds’ mailing list”, do you mean the voynich.net list, begun by Gillogly, Reed and others? Because that is still active, owned and run by me the past few years. It is not always busy, that comes in fits and starts… but it has more subscribers today than it ever did.

      But as for people saying not to “pay attention” to any particular theory and so on, this does happen of course, but never directly. What is done is that a false narrative has been constructed, and is perpetrated and heavily defended: that the mystery of the Voynich only lies within a very narrow possible set of (supposedly) “known” values of time frame, geography, purpose, and genuineness. This then cause people to choose to not pay attention to anything that does not fall within that construct, as they are told nothing is possible outside of it.

      Maybe that is what you meant. But I’m not sure anyone is ever directly told to not pay attention to any one particular theory. I know I always encourage people to read everything they can lay their hands on, and learn everything they can about this field, related fields, even those things they might think totally unrelated.

  82. john sanders Says:

    Monica,

    By M.E.B. I presume you refer to ‘the missus’, that being the case, nothing comes readily to mind as to what she might find precious about ‘the rosettes’ pages. It’s overall layout, hints to me of a well defended outpost with signs of human belowground activity, as evidenced by subterranean plumbing and power generation etc. In that context, I’m still more directed towards George Hinton. His brilliance as a mine engineer with possible intentions to design and build a model community for his Nahuatl silvermine workers can’t be overlooked… PS: I see by ‘the Missus’ letter to her sister-in-law in 64, that she was also into the newfangled Latin names for plant species; “geraniums” being also remembered so well by daughter Ethel Lily Voynich in later years, selecting four from the VM selection no less!…

  83. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    Rich – I wrote a little about the bindings and the careful phrasing struck me, as it did you.

    I don’t quite know what to make of the binding’s description. I think it’s one for the experts but in case you find it interesting, here’s what I wrote:

    https://voynichrevisionist.com/2019/05/11/expert-opinion-myth-versus-materials-science-pt-5a/

    I feel that we may never know how widely flax was used for sewing supports in the earlier period – just not enough manuscripts remain. Perhaps it was a practice of monks trained in the traditions brought by Columbanus, of which Luxeuil had been one.

    Also – sewing supports aren’t only found in European binding but were used in Armenia and when I asked Prof.Kwakkel’s views he pointed me to to a passage mentioning this.

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi Diane: Yes you and I have flagged much of the same phrasing in the Yale volume, but you have gone in much more detail, tracking down the specifics. Very nice. If it is OK I’d like to link your page when I post.

      Rich.

      • D.N. O'Donovan Says:

        Rich,
        Very kind of you to link. The Beinecke’s codicologists are second to none; the sense I gained from that essay is that we have seen grow such an emphasis on personalities that even a technical study was affected by diplomatic considerations.

        We have reached the point where anything said about the manuscript is judged chiefly by whether the speaker is ‘one of us’ or not, apparently from the belief that a ‘a good chap’ produces good information, and an ‘outsider’ bad information.

        I have to say I’ve been personally attacked more than once for doing no more than sharing a book-title. But as you might recall, the ‘bad person; ignore’ thing began the moment I made clear that I thought the ‘central European cultural product’ theory at odds with the internal evidence.

  84. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    I phrased that badly. I should have said… Columbanus, among whose foundations was Luxeuil. As you may recall, my research turned up material pointing to the manuscript’s having come into (and possibly returned to) Jesuit possession when both the head of the Jesuit order and the great book-thief Guglielmo Libri were in the same town. Libri went there to die and left the remainder of his collection – licit and illicit – to be administered by an honourable friend, but much was removed and sold off piecemeal by Libri’s heir. I only mention this because among the old collections first co-opted by the French and later stolen by Libri were works from that monastery. From there too we have copies of the curious script associated with Ethicus. But I’m surely off topic now. 🙂

  85. D.N. O'Donovan Says:

    PS re ‘Reeds mailing list’… you’re right of course but the practice has arisen of distinguishing between the ‘first list’ at the old site, and whose files are all available for download, the later site which is less accessible. I regret not being able to check the list to see when one or another idea or argument was first presented, and by whom, and I should very much like to have written a post making clear to my readers the contributions Dana Scott has made – but one can only do what one can do.

  86. john sanders Says:

    Those with an imaginitive inquiring eye, might like to put to close scrutiny, Monica’s archival, George Hinton schemetic half roundel family tree diagram and the f 68 v roundel with the blue fan blades. The Hinton depiction has radial forks from its centre annular ring which seem to be a close approximation of similar double fork tyne projections on the VM design.

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