About My Theories

Below you will find my previous theory about the Voynich: That it is a faux book, created to reflect the fiction of Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis. However, over the past year I have come to believe that this is less likely the best explanation for the existence of the Voynich Manuscript.

After speaking at the 100th Anniversary Conference in Frascati, Italy, in May of 2012, I felt free to explore certain nagging doubts… intuitive beliefs about the Voynich, which I had mused at, then discarded… that Wilfred Voynich himself may have created his own “Roger Bacon Cipher Manuscript”. The ironic thing was, that since I was compelled to distill my faux Utopia artifact ideas down to their basic elements, for the Conference, this actually freed me to open up to the concept that the Voynich may be even newer than I had been willing to accept. Stripping away the similarities to the New Atlantis, it still appears to be a faux document, with elements of many fictions, and sciences, and still, optics in it… all of which can fully well be explained by it being a modern hoax.

Critics helped, tool. My critics told me that blank vellum was unavailable in any quantity in 1610: This caused me to check, only to find out that ancient blank vellum has always been available. My critics told me that some of my microscope comparisons were “too new” for 1610/20: But rather than think they no longer looked like microscopes (simple because they seriously do look like them), and going back to the carbon 14 test dates, it caused me to look forward. So be it, perhaps they are too new.. let’s look at newer. Critics told me that Wilfred could not have seen the “Baresch letter”, putatively describing the Voynich (sort of), but rather, when I looked into this, I found that he could have easily seen it. Critics told me people did not fake things unless they were valuable, that Wilfred was trustworthy, that this would have taken too long, been too expensive, and that Wilfred never tried to sell it. No, no, no… all these complaints, and many more, turned out to be incorrect, and actually modern myths themselves.

All that being said, this is a work in progress. As it stands now, in the summer of 2013, I fully accept that the Voynich may be a 1420 (or so) Alchemical Herbal of an odd nature, or any number of alternate things. Even an artifact of the New Atlantis! But from where I stand now, with what I know now, I strongly believe that the burden of proof is on those who think this is an odd, real, herbal, made anytime before about 1900. Well, they do not feel this way, and may never. But that is the path I am on, to explore this new hypothesis to the very end, whatever that is, correct or not.

And so I changed the title of the blog to “Voynich Optics”. It is a double-entendre, relating both the the roots of these theories, even the present one, in my firm belief that optical devices, real and impressional, are being represented by many of the cylinders in the Voynich; but also, “optics” in the sense that I am still looking into it. All of it, as I am able.

************************************************************************************

Below is the previous theory,  which, although superseded, I still hold possible.

“This theory proposes that the Voynich Manuscript may be a faux book, which was created between 1610 and 1620, and made to look as though it came from Francis Bacon’s fictional island of New Atlantis. And as such, that it was made to look much older than it was, and that it includes a map of the fictional Bensalem, along with both real and fanciful representations of optics and other devices, flora and fauna, the Arts and sciences, astronomy and astrology. And, that much of this was reflected from past, real works, but distorted into an imaginative reflection of how the author thought they would have been perceived and practiced by the advanced, fictional culture of New Atlantis. The theory further supposes that it may have been created under the influence of, and possibly created by someone from, the circle of Francis Bacon’s near contemporaries and their world. These include Cornelis Drebbel, Michael Maier, Solomon De Caus, Johann Valentin Andreae, William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Simon Forman, Robert Fludd, among others.” H. Rich SantaColoma

15 Responses to “About My Theories”

  1. john brine [son of wlb-red apron] Says:

    I find the leonardo link idea very tantalising. Do you? It is because my studies put Shakespeare 100 years later decyphering L’s work which astonishes the italians that in early teens he can do these things. Edith sherwood also covers tarot and the milan scene very well fitting her theory. So we have a triad of theories, because I also have a medical book explaining close secret work involving Shakespeare Cecil and his nephew Bacon. Ladies are explained too!

  2. proto57 Says:

    I have read Mrs. Sherwood’s theory, but not really made a personal judgment whether I consider it plausible or not. It is interesting that she considers a “young” Leonardo having written it, and the dating of the vellum seems to fit pretty well… the vellum was in it’s 30’s while he was in his 20’s. But other than that, I couldn’t say one way or the other.

    I think it was Pelling who pointed out that the Voynich was written “right handed”, and that since Leonardo was left-handed, he could not have written it. I don’t know. I would guess that, considering the man’s almost superhuman talents, he would have been able to feign ambidexterity.

    The problem with Shakespeare, from my perspective, is not the theory itself… as you know, we both suspect the same circle of influence. I do like your ideas, what I understand of them. The problem is simply the carbon dating, which shows vellum of at least 180 years old in such a theory, which is some degree of unlikely. Anywhere, at this time, from very unlikely to highly implausible. It is true there are instances of vellum use for far more than 180 years. But until the habit is understood, I’m not considering the theory itself worth pursuing. Have you considered the dating? How do you feel about it, as relates to your theory?

    By the way, I had the honor to meet Edith Sherwood and her husband while at Yale for the filming of the ORF documentary. Her interview was the morning of the day of mine, and we had lunch with Rene and the producers. I had a chance to chat with her afterward, and found both her and her husband wonderful and interesting people. It seems that her interview did not make it into the European release, but my understanding is that the English release will be several minutes longer. Hopefully it will be back in that version.

  3. pete langman Says:

    Interesting, though there seems to be one gaping hole in the New Atlantis theory … New Atlantis wasn’t published until 1626/7 and, to the best of my knowledge, there absolutely no mention of it anywhere until it is published after Bacon died. Any suggestion that it was written before 162something is speculative in the extreme … plus it’s no utopia, and its title is (I think) a fabrication on the part of william rawley …

    • proto57 Says:

      Pete: I edited my answer (again) to shorten it, and clarify a couple of points. First of all, there is evidence that the New Atlantis was a working concept, and possibly existed in manuscript form, sometime between 1614 and Francis Bacon’s death. Some scholars place it as early as 1608, but I think the 1614 “earliest date” is most reliable. However, Bacon was writing on some concepts included in the New Atlantis as early as 1594.

      So I would not call it a “gaping hole” in the theory, but rather a question mark… an area for further investigation. You can read more about the above points, and more, on this page: https://proto57.wordpress.com/2009/07/15/dating-the-new-atlantis/

      Most importantly the Harlien Charter (mentioned and shown on the above linked blog post), which dates to 1617, makes the reference, “…Solomons House modled [modeled] in my new Atlantis”, along with one other reference. And if a manuscript or concept existed this early, my circle of interest could easily have been privy to it. Even though the dating of the vellum all but precludes the manuscript being inspired by it, I still have an interest in when the New Atlantis was written. But the C14 dating makes any relation to the Voynich a moot point in any case.

      You also state about The New Atlantis, “it’s no utopia”. That is incorrect, it is practically the definition of a utopia, and certainly inspired by More’s original “Utopia”. And whether or not Bacon himself called it “The New Atlantis”, does not affect the theory in any way, as it is the content in both works I find similar, and the Voynich has no title anyway. But as I pointed out, the Harlien Charter does call it that. Thank you for your feedback… Rich.

  4. pete langman Says:

    Well, it’s certainly true that there are parts of Bacon’s work which fit in with New Atlantis way back in his career, and I certainly wouldn’t argue that the work is a neat encapsulation of much of his thought. That’s a given. The problem is the lack of evidence that Bacon was ever writing it – particularly odd considering the way in which he was constantly writing about his own writing … I agree there are aspects of it which suggest it could not have been finished before a certain date, but one can only speculate as to when it was begun. To me, that’s more than a question mark … perhaps gaping hole is a little strong, but hey!

    I also agree that many may well have been party to any MS written of it, but that would most certainly include Rawley. Unfortunately, Ellis (for ’twas he who partially edited it … then he fell ill and Spedding rather hurriedly finished the job) simply repeated everything Rawley stated without reservation. Bushell, colourful beast that he was, is utterly untrustworthy …

    But I must disagree with its being a utopia. It certainly references More, though rather scathingly, but while More wasn’t really expecting his utopia to come off, I rather think Bacon was. Of course, he didn’t believe there was an island etc, but he meant Salomons House to happen, and in effect, the text is his vision of England’s future, if only it would embrace his way of going about science. It’s the intention which, I think, prevents it from being a real utopia.

    Obviously, anything regarding Bacon’s intentions are speculation …

    As for the title, yes, that’s fair that it doesn’t really matter, but like you I’m very interested in its genesis … and I don’t really think it was Bacon’s title – something which has wide ramifications for the text as a whole.

    I’ll check out the link with interest.

    Pete

  5. Rich SantaColoma Says:

    Peter: All interesting points… I still disagree about New Atlantis not being a Utopia, but appreciate the distinction you make. And you are correct that dating the New Atlantis is purely speculation… for all we know, he only set the idea to paper circa 1624. I do feel that the evidence is strong enough to at least allow the possibility that he did so much earlier. But it is a matter of opinion, and I understand your objection. Rich.

  6. The Voynich Affair: Chapter 7 | Linnet Moss Says:

    […] New Atlantis theory as well as the microscope theory. These days he leans toward the view that the manuscript is a hoax, perhaps perpetrated by Voynich […]

  7. Angela Allyn Says:

    You have to write this book: the book of the Voynich hoax. The manuscript has already claimed too many victims, people who waste 100s and 100s of hours of their precious lives puzzling over the thing, it’s not ok that it should claim anymore. For most people the Voynich manuscript is like a crossword puzzle or a cryptic, they want to throw their mind at it for a Sunday morning, and when they don’t solve it, that’s the end of it. Or they solve it to their own satisfaction; it’s alien! or a 14thc herbal, or what have you. But there’s a weird power to this manuscript, I think because it’s such a poorly done hoax; for some people it grips them in a way that they just can’t shake. They become defensive of it, they embroider more nonsense on to it- their devotion can only be called “cult like.” Those victims are too far gone, and should not be your concern, you can’t save every puppy. But you CAN and should prevent more people falling under its spell. Write the book of all the evidence for it being a hoax. You’ve done most of the research already.

    A couple loose ends that do need to be investigated though;

    -the idea that Voynich’s friend Reilly checked books on ancient inks out of the library. Reilly as co-conspirator?
    -The idea that Voynich’s whole autobiography is filled with error (not just the Polish Count thing, but the voyage from Shanghai, his revolutionary activity etc.),
    -Voynich and his revolutionary friends had an ideological ax to grind against society, making successfully perpetrating a hoax morally acceptable to them.
    -More information about Voynich’s book store/ time in Florence. What circles did he really move in here in Italy? Did he know the local Sienese art forgers?
    -What did Bernard Berenson think of the Voynich manuscript? (If indeed he ever really saw it.)
    -Why didn’t anyone buy it when Voynich was alive and trying to sell it? Contemporary opinions of experts like Belle De Costa.

    At this point you obviously won’t find a smoking gun piece of evidence, like a contract between Voynich and a Sienese medieval art forger, but the sheer accumulation of the circumstantial evidence and it being logically and coherently written up should turn the tide away from obsessing about this manuscript. I personally think the fervency of people’s beliefs about the manuscript and the pseudo-history surrounding it are the most fascinating things about this whole affair.

    I live in Florence now and would be happy to do a little leg work to help with the research in Italy- contact me if you’re interested in that help.

    • proto57 Says:

      Hi Angela: I can’t thank you enough for your refreshing comments. I does seem that the modern forgery theory has been resonating with an increasing number of people, and also in the last two years or so causing turmoil in the “genuine camp”. The forgery possibility is simply too practical and supportable to be ignored any longer (although many are actively trying!).

      As for your list of ideas for further research, they are very good… some have been explored, but not all. I only write about a smaller percentage of what I am exploring, or what I see or hear from others:

      “-the idea that Voynich’s friend Reilly checked books on ancient inks out of the library. Reilly as co-conspirator?”

      I’ve probed at every angle of the Reilly connection I can find, and have not been able to link him to actual forgeries of any kind. It is of course implied, as you suggest… along with the movements of Ethel and Sidney to the Continent, his chemistry background in general, and more. I would think there is some stronger connection between him and forgeries, but have not found it… only the smoking gun you mention: Interest in ancient ink formulas. I’ve written to the author Cook about some comments in his biography of Reilly, but have not heard back yet.

      “-The idea that Voynich’s whole autobiography is filled with error (not just the Polish Count thing, but the voyage from Shanghai, his revolutionary activity etc.),”

      Yes so much of his background is contradictory and clearly made up. And these “errors” are a thread that runs through almost every thing known and unknown about him. Critics of my theories claim that even though they must admit the problems with his truthfulness, that after about 1910 he “cleaned up his act”… or that he confined his lying to “embellishment” of provenance or other unimportant issues peripheral to his bookselling. But this is a selective view. People are people always, and don’t as a rule change their stripes so easily, and this must be considered when considering anything he said, did… or owned.

      “-Voynich and his revolutionary friends had an ideological ax to grind against society, making successfully perpetrating a hoax morally acceptable to them.”

      Very good point Angela… and something I’ve written about on the Voynich List at length. You understand, and have come to the same conclusion I have: That to have the Revolutionary mindset that he must have had, he would naturally feel disenfranchised from the very people he later would be catering his rare books to. It would be more natural to believe he had a certain satisfaction in fooling these people… in separating them from their hated wealth, than to think he suddenly became one of them. I think in so many ways, and on so many levels, this is apparent: in the way he used “experts” to do his bidding, and appealed to their greed and ego to do so. He was a manipulator, and good at it. There is much that is not publicly known or discussed about this: One interesting point is that he offered Newbold 10% of the first $100,000 of sales, and more of anything over that, IF Newbold’s Roger Bacon attribution “stuck”, and helped with the sale. He used, and ruined poor Newbold. I think Voynich had a superior attitude of the very class of people he had actively fought against most of the earlier part of his life, and I’ve no doubt this would have been a tremendous motivation… at least a rationalization for him… to use, and/or sell to, this very same class.

      “-More information about Voynich’s book store/ time in Florence. What circles did he really move in here in Italy? Did he know the local Sienese art forgers?”

      So agreed this is very important, and a core issue. From all evidence there was far more going on there than openly admitted. Zimmern, in her article, glosses over its history, Franceschini, and Voynich’s purchase of the place. It was actually a meeting place for liberal intellectuals for decades; Frasceschini hosted these meetings, and was an activist and writer on many subjects. Helen Zimmern makes him out to be (in her 1909 article) an eccentric literary pack rat: far from it. And the idea that Voynich stumbled across the place after his death, and so “luckily” happened on a cheap sale of this old pile of books, is similarly ludicrous: This collection was well known to the book dealers of Europe for over 30 years by then, and I even suspect was in effect the main source of all Voynich’s great finds, including his 150 incunabula to the BL in 1902. But enough said about that… I would love to discuss the literally thousands of damning bits of information surrounding that place, and the players in Florence before WWI, and how it may tie into the history (known and unknown) of forgery in Europe before WWI.

      “-What did Bernard Berenson think of the Voynich manuscript? (If indeed he ever really saw it.)”

      Berenson’s name has cropped up in some interesting ways which I think might touch on “our field”, the Voynich, but nothing so far directly. I agree though: it is a good point you make.

      “-Why didn’t anyone buy it when Voynich was alive and trying to sell it? Contemporary opinions of experts like Belle De Costa.”

      Anne Nill was often frustrated by Greene, especially with the attempts to sell her other works, such as the Valturius. So what was Greene’s real view on Voynich’s works? On the man himself? I have also wondered this. Again, I think I see you and I have had some very similar thoughts: Questions and concerns about works often remained unspoken, I think, among professional circles, as some sort of misplaced ethics, or really, etiquette. The world of art and antiques has done, and still does I’m afraid, itself a grave disservice by an attitude of silence when questions of authenticity arise. It is part of the nature of the structure of the system of discovery, provenance, valuation, payment… wherein collectors, libraries and museums don’t want sources to dry up, and don’t want their opinion and collections questioned: It reflects on thier reputations, and the good reputations lead to donations, to enrollments, to tuitions, to endowments. It is a thread that runs throughout, that any problems should not be discussed, and even, actively suppressed. I’ve seen it explained in books on forgery and theft, it is not imagined.

      Ironically, Greene exposed the Spanish Forger, and yet, I suspect, did turn away… without damning… many works she did not feel right about. And I also suspect she has been fooled, too… and perhaps realized this at one point, quietly practicing the sentiment of the dictum, “Once bitten, twice shy”.

      “… but the sheer accumulation of the circumstantial evidence and it being logically and coherently written up should turn the tide away from obsessing about this manuscript. I personally think the fervency of people’s beliefs about the manuscript and the pseudo-history surrounding it are the most fascinating things about this whole affair.”

      Thank you for pointing this out: When the whole story is really known, and if it were described in one place (as you encourage, and I have and do intend to do), the circumstantial case is really undeniable. And yes, the “fervency” of people… the psychology of the issues, the response to proposals, the acceptance of some really absurd “facts” necessary to prop up the unsupportable, are really quite amazing. It needs to be explained in one place, so that it can be absorbed as a cohesive whole.

      “I live in Florence now and would be happy to do a little leg work to help with the research in Italy- contact me if you’re interested in that help.”

      This is very exciting… There are several very important issues relating to Florence, that I do not publicly discuss, which could be easily explored by someone locally, who was interested in doing so. I will take you up on your offer, and contact you privately.

      Thank you again so much for taking the time to voice your interest, and support in these ideas. For years I worked as a sort of pariah in my field, living in a very small dog house… you would be amused, but maybe not shocked, by much of the reaction I’ve gotten (I “should be punched in the nose” for my “wild speculations”, and impugning the dead “who cannot defend themselves”, and far more. Lost a few good friends too, which has been unfortunate). That is a story in and of itself. So it is gratifying to see like minds “getting it”, and understanding the merits of these ideas, it is a welcome breath of fresh air. Talk to you soon…

  8. Bookman Old Style Says:

    Having been a bookseller for some 25 years (new and used, retail and online, rare and common) and an academic librarian for around a decade, I find the modern forgery theory very compelling. Nearly every rare book dealer I’ve ever met has been proudly eccentric and quietly scheming in some way. This does not imply dishonesty, though I’ve seen that too.

    I’m just starting to dip into the vast literature on the VM, but already it seems that the biggest hurdle to explaining the modern forgery theory is the source of such a large quantity of matching 15th century vellum, including fold-outs.

    Has anyone raised the idea that Voynich may have acquired a blank, or partially blank, medieval stationery or ledger book? Holly Robertson, at the University of Texas- Austin, describes an inventory of 22 medieval Spanish archival stationery bindings. Most are vellum wraps over a paper textblock, but 2 of the 22 have vellum textblocks. Look, for instance, at this example from 1501. Could Voynich have taken something like this out of its case, and married it to another binding from the Jesuit collection?
    https://www.ischool.utexas.edu/~hollyr/portfolio/spain/archival-bindings/2004-09.html

    A related idea that would better explain the fold-outs would be if he had found a medieval binder’s “dummy” or practice copy. Contemporary hand-binders produce blank dummies. I would imagine that medieval binders must have too. The fold-outs might have been incorporated as examples of the technique.

    I realize that either a blank stationery binding or a binder’s dummy from 1400-1450 may be a rare thing indeed, but perhaps not as hard to credit as an occult, encrypted, surreally illustrated treasure that slipped out of the possession of an order of scholastic priests…

    • proto57 Says:

      Bookman: Thank you for your input.

      “Has anyone raised the idea that Voynich may have acquired a blank, or partially blank, medieval stationery or ledger book?”

      I have raised the point on many occasions. The most compelling thing would probably be Voynich’s purchase of the Libreria Franceschi in 1908. It had mountains of materials, accumulated without prejudice over 40 years by the previous owner. I’ve written about it, here:

      https://proto57.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/something-sheepy-in-the-state-of-denmar/

      When you consider the vast, unknown stocks there, it is almost hard to argue the opposite: That he would NOT have had access to suitable materials. But as you have (and thank you for the link), I have also explored the possibility that the needed parchment could have come from a blank ledger, and I show several examples:

      https://proto57.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/old-blank-vellum-sitting-around/

      “A related idea that would better explain the fold-outs would be if he had found a medieval binder’s “dummy” or practice copy.”

      That is a good idea. The fold-outs are still considered hard to explain by the genuinists: I was recently at the talk given at the Beinecke, announcing the publication of their new Voynich book. The editor of the book said, and it is written in the book, that fold-outs like this are practically unknown for the era. The book, however, gives a somewhat odd reasoning as to why it proves the opposite.. that is, genuine,

      “The quantity and size of the foldouts in the Voynich Manuscript are very unusual for the time period; it is rare to find so many large pieces of parchment folded into a single textblock, and this seems to indicate authenticity [!]: In the twentieth century it would be quite difficult to find this many large sheets of genuine medieval parchment in order to produce a forgery.”

      Well of course I would argue the foldouts, first of all, being anachronistic, do imply forgery (or at least some later creation date); and also, we have evidence Voynich had access to much parchment (Libreria); and also, the writer of that passage is incorrect… as you note, and I have noted, old blank parchment, even in sizes big enough for the foldouts, is not as rare as to obviate this use. But there is, I think, another possible to consider, when thinking of the very problematic foldouts: That perhaps, the Voynich was created by cutting down a far fewer number of full sized sheets, into the quattro we see. Then, the foldouts could have simply been parts of these larger sheets… some folds of which, in fact, would then be original. It would explain much, as I outline in my Three Quire Theory:

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

      Thanks again for your feedback, thoughts and comments. It is appreciated.

  9. Bookman Old Style Says:

    Thank you for your quick and detailed reply. I’ve read all the posts you link, and find them well argued. I need to spend more time with your Three Quire Theory.

    I’m just learning the outlines of the debate. Rene Zandbergen seems to be prominent among the non-institutional commentators (I understand that he may be persona non grata to you, or vice versa- the personal dynamics of the online argument are evident but not transparent). In particular, I’m reacting against his post “Why the Voynich MS is Not a Modern Fake. It seems to represent something like the consensus mainstream view.
    http://www.voynich.nu/extra/nofake.html

    In Part 1 of this post, he says “The sewing/stitching of the binding is centuries old,” but his cite for this is unclear. Was the opinion of experts he mentions, on 7 November, 2014, based on a visual inspection only? Even if this is true, it does not rule out the use of a genuine, but blank, medieval stationery book (or binder’s dummy).

    You report: “The editor of the book said, and it is written in the book, that fold-outs like this are practically unknown for the era.” I’m certainly not an expert, so fold-outs precisely like this may be unusual, but they cannot have been a great challenge to a skilled medieval binder, as I just discovered.

    Erik Kwakken’s blog introduced me to the medieval folding almanac. The beautiful “Zodiac Man” example he leads with is dated 1415-1420, an extremely relevant timeframe!! It is one of some 30 surviving examples of the folded almanac.
    https://medievalbooks.nl/2015/10/02/the-incredible-expandable-book/

    This lead me to the Wellcome Library, which owns the Zodiac Man almanac. According to their specialist, Elma Brenner, “Almanacs’ practical function suggests that they were both ephemeral – readily discarded and replaced – and relatively inexpensive to produce, as the somewhat crude illustrations of MS. 39 and MS. 40 would indicate. The Library’s new acquisition, however, appears to be a very different kind of object.”
    http://blog.wellcomelibrary.org/2014/01/the-enigma-of-the-medieval-almanac/

    I’ve also just learned about medieval volvelles, among other feats of early paper/vellum engineering. I plan on learning a little more about early bound-in maps, which seem to exist in 15th books.

    All of which is a way of saying that I am far from convinced that the physical form and binding of the VM is really extraordinary. I suspect that if it were to turn up in blank form (as it may have done c. 1910 for Voynich), it would merely be considered an interesting curiosity.

    What gives the VM its allure is its illustrations, its indecipherable text, and its supposed provenance. As you have demonstrated, they all could been manufactured by Voynich himself, or a confederate.

    • proto57 Says:

      “Rene Zandbergen seems to be prominent among the non-institutional commentators (I understand that he may be persona non grata to you, or vice versa- the personal dynamics of the online argument are evident but not transparent).”

      It is true that Rene and I have a deep scholarly disagreement, but at the same time I respect him, and count him among my friends. I first met Rene when he interviewed me for the 2009 ORF documentary, then in 2012 at the Frascati Conference (he was an organizer, I a speaker), and then in the fall of 2014 when he gave a talk at the Folger in DC. We have had a wonderful time when spending time, in person, and I look forward to seeing him again. And while we certainly “butt heads” at times, on the subject of the Voynich, I also think this is a good thing for both of us… it is a reminder, and an incentive, to pursue our very different paths.

      “In particular, I’m reacting against his post “Why the Voynich MS is Not a Modern Fake. It seems to represent something like the consensus mainstream view.”

      Thank you for bringing that page to my attention. I feel it is somewhat reactionary to my advancement of the modern forgery ideas, though, as the recent Yale publication also is (you will note both are careful not to name me, while citing Barlow’s decades-old article). It was admitted by both Clemens and Rene that a major reason to write the book was specifically to counter forgery claims. And now, this page. It would be too long a task to point all of what I consider problems with the claims on that page (and the book, for that matter), and I reserve both for a longer work on my part. While stated as “consensus”, as you point out, much there is opinion, speculation, or outright not factual. In fact, much is provably incorrect. There are dozens of such points, which could stand correction. But I’ll address the one you bring up:

      “In Part 1 of this post, he says “The sewing/stitching of the binding is centuries old,” but his cite for this is unclear. Was the opinion of experts he mentions, on 7 November, 2014, based on a visual inspection only? Even if this is true, it does not rule out the use of a genuine, but blank, medieval stationery book (or binder’s dummy).”

      1) If the sewing/stitching… or any other evidence, for that matter… is of a type that dates from a certain era, it usually does not preclude that that type can have been made or done at any time after, up to and including the present. One has to ask, in this case, “What precludes the sewing/stitching having been done in 1908/1910?”.
      2) In the 2016 Yale book, the sewing, and material (flax) are considered somewhat problematic. On page 25, “Although it is not unheard of for a fifteenth-century manuscript to be sewn onto flax supports, as the Voynich Manuscript is, it is less usual than the use of leather supports. The sewing appears to be very old and is either original or an imitation of that used in the early Gothic period.” [italics mine.. if an “imitation”, again, why then assume/claim it must have been done in the 15th century? Also… if Gothic in style, then isn’t that possible evidence of an inept forgery, using the wrong technique?]
      3) It is also noted that the “… sewing and cover were repaired in the 1960’s”. To what extent were these repairs, if known, and if not known, then how can one say with certainty when any of it was created in the first place? I mean if you have a Gothic-style binding, made with incorrect materials for the 15th century, claimed repaired in the 1960’s, then how can you insist it was made in the 15th century?
      4) The paper in the spine, page 26, “Although parchment or leather spine linings were commonly used at this time, paper spine linings like that found in the Voynich Manuscript were not. This paper lining requires further study, and determining its age or origin might offer further clues that would help place the manuscript geographically.” So in this, we have yet another problem with the creation of the binding/spine, which is dismissed for “further study”.

      There is much more. But the overall point is that these people insist the book is a genuine 15th century work, while noting a large number of anomalies, at all levels, in all areas, in all disciplines. Then these anomalies are either chalked up to later repairs and additions; left “for further study”, or, usually when impossible to do either of the former, spun into support of the work as 15th century to begin with… when in reality, what they all show, is that a 15th century origin is not only not proven, but actually may not be correct.

      As to your other points, I do agree that it is possible that an intact, blank book from “the time” is not out of the question. But considering all the anomalies of the work, I for the present believe it most likely that the work was created from larger, old materials, but at a more recent date. But please don’t get me wrong: I am open to all possibles, and even do believe that the Voynich may turn out to be what is claimed by many: An odd, early 15th century Northern European cipher herbal. But I do at this point consider that not only unlikely, but point out that the method of presenting that argument does not seem on the whole transparent… and then, if it needs to misstate opinion and unknowns as factual, it does little to win me back to that position. I’m ready and open to be shown why this thing is real… but they would have to give valid arguments as to why it is, and I’ve seen nothing but opinion, intimidation, spin, and obfuscation, so far.

  10. Yavor Says:

    Hi there,

    You provide solid evidence for the modern forgery theory. I have cited your work on Wikipedia, is that ok with you?

    • proto57 Says:

      That is quite alright with me, Yavor, and thank you for the interest and support. That being said, I would not be surprised if your citation does not last long… there is quite a lot of opposition to this idea, and it is very active. So don’t lose sleep over it, or get into a “wiki-war” over it, if it does get canned. Meanwhile, continue to keep and open mind, and thanks again… Rich.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: