Voynich Manuscript Pages

Voynich Manuscript – The Secret to Immortality?

Voynich Manuscript – The Secret to Immortality?

Most people seem to believe that this manuscript, written by an unknown author in a mysterious language, is either a complex hoax or possibly a valuable insight into the secret science of the 15th or 16th Century. This seems to be the way that opinion is divided amongst scholars, internet researchers and everyday people.

The Voynich manuscript is a hand illustrated codex written using an unknown script and language. It takes its name from Wilfrid Voynich, a Polish book dealer, who bought it from the Society of Jesus (Collegio Romano) in 1912. It was originally supposed to be sold to the Vatican Library.

When he returned to the USA, Voynich distributed photo-reproductions of the manuscripts pages to scholars whom he hoped would help him decode its strange alphabet and texts. Many code-breakers apparently took up the challenge with enthusiasm. Although it was reviewed by many skilled cryptographers, including American and British codebreakers from both World War I and World War II, it remains undecipherable. Even with the latest code busting technology, it still remains unreadable.

Most scholars believe that it was written between 1450 and 1520 – possibly as late as 1590. The author, alphabet and meaning of this bizarre text remain unknown.

The Voynich Manuscript is listed as MS 408 in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University.

It is believed that that the original Manuscript had approximately 272 pages in 17 sections of 16 pages each. 240 pages remain today but the other 32 pages are still missing. It is also believed that these pages were already missing by the time that W. Voynich found the book.

The book contains many hand-drawn pictures possibly inscribed with a quill pen. Some of these have been “coloured in, possibly at a later date. Written from left to right, the text has a vaguely ragged right margin.

Voynich Manuscript Diagrams
Voynich Manuscript Diagrams (WMC)

Based on the principle of Zipf’s Law that is calculated using word frequencies, the text displays patterns that are consistent with a “natural” language. Statistically the mysterious language is similar to either English or Latin. Some of the words at the end of the Manuscript are genuine (if poorly written) Latin

Pictures and diagrams, particularly of hairstyles and buildings, are consistent with the period 1450 – 1520.

The Voynich Manuscript clearly has six sections. These are: Herbal, Astronomy, Biological, Cosmological, Pharmaceutical, and Recipes.

For a full timeline of the manuscript’s history click here.


1919: William Romaine Newbold, a professor of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania studied photo-reproductions of the Voynich manuscript and claimed the meaning of the book could be determined through the use of a microscope that revealed irregularities in the edges of the letters and complicated anagrams. He supported Voynich’s belief that the book was the work of Roger Bacon.

1931: John Manly studied the work of Newbold and finally published an article pointing out the weaknesses of the theory. Most importantly, he showed that the use of anagrams could create almost any meaning that the cryptologist wished to find in the manuscript. Newbold and his followers were disgraced and other serious scholars “scared off” from studying the Voynich Manuscript.

1943: Joseph Feely published a book that claimed he had deciphered the Voynich Manuscript using a highly abbreviated form of Latin and the use of a simple substitution code. He implied that the author was indeed Roger Bacon but did not effectively explain the secrets of the content. His findings were fully rejected by the scientific community.

1944: William and Elizabeth Friedman were both famous cryptographers and the first to suggest that the text was written in a synthetic but precise language that was based on well-defined and strictly logical principles. This was proposed whilst they were working with the FSG (First Study Group) that they formed at this time.

1953: Prof. Leonell C. Strong, a medical scientist from Yale University, proposed a complicated poly-alphabetic substitution cipher. According to his findings the Voynich Manuscript was the work of Anthony Askham, the less well-known brother of Roger Askham the English scholar and didactic writer. Strong’s “method” has never been fully revealed and is largely considered dubious and over dependent on transcription accuracy.

1978: John Stojko suggested, in his book published in 1978, that the Voynich Manuscript was actually a series of letters originally written in old Ukrainian. These, he claimed, could be deciphered by removing all the vowels and then writing the consonants in a secret alphabet. His findings have not found popular support as his method is arbitrary and, as such, able to create anything.

1995: Sergio Toresella, an expert in medieval herbals inspected the Voynich Manuscript at the Beinecke library and produced an article regarding “alchemical herbals”’ of the Middle Ages. He believed that the purpose of the book was to impress the gullible clientele of a charlatan doctor or quack.

Here’s another interesting theory …

The 1400’s were a period of intense investigation into the natural and supernatural world and the centre of this interest was Western Europe. This was the Renaissance period and the time of Niccolò de’ Niccoli (1364 – 1437), Poggio Bracciolini (1380 – 1459), Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519), Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (1469 –1527) and Nicolaus Copernicus (February 1473 – 1543).

It was a time of great scientific discovery and vast misunderstanding. Science and magic were the good and evil twins of knowledge. Alchemy thrived in hidden laboratories as its followers sought the great prizes: How to transmute base metals into gold, how to cure all illnesses and what would give a person immortality?

Forbidden Knowledge

Not everyone agreed with these quests. In particular, the Catholic Church hated the Idea of earthly immortality which would render their creed redundant. In 1478 the Spanish Inquisition came into existence with the sole purpose of hunting down and ridding the world of heretics, witches and any person that did not believe in the word of the Christian God.

While the focus of this movement remained in Spain, it had significant support in other European countries. It lasted for nearly 360 years until it was final disbanded as late as 1834. The cruel fact is that the emerging scientists and students of biology, anatomy and medicine were often seen as wizards or magicians who drew their arcane knowledge from liaisons with the demon realm.

Voynich Manuscript - Spanish Inquisition
Voynich Manuscript – Spanish Inquisition (SSPL)

The Church was not openly supportive of this challenge to God’s ultimate power. In public these “seekers” were hunted and tortured for their dissident beliefs but in reality, certain sections of the Catholic Church, such as the Jesuits, were extremely interested in this exploration of nature and reality. Just look at Kircher’s interests to see the truth of this. In fact, history has shown that this suppression was not about God but about the power of the Pope. This is the period during which the Voynich Manuscript first appears.

Lost in Translation

It is also especially important to point out something that many modern scholars overlook – language is constantly changing. Not just difficulty that a modern American might have when reading a 12th century English text, the actual denotation and connotation of words has changed over the years. In addition, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of words that are no longer used and are now forgotten. Words like mumpsimus, scandaroon, stangster, upas and twychild have all just slipped away. (Forgotten English; Jeffrey Kacirk)

Now add dialect and phonetics. France still recognizes seven dialects and there are probably more in Italian. In 1450 there were an estimated 70 complex dialects in France alone (P. Veyger, 1992). It is very possible that in 1480 AD there still existed dialects of French, Italian and Latin that we would find as unintelligible as ancient Egyptian was before the discovery of the Rosetta stone.

This theory proposes that the Voynich Manuscript was originally written in a “far” dialect now lost to us and at the same time transcribed using an invented script. It is likely that it was written by a person from a religious order that had the ability to visualize alternate letters.

The words are very likely to have sometimes been spelt phonetically and this explains the discrepancies and similarities. The reason for this type of writing is twofold. Firstly, it prevented the enemies of knowledge from understanding what had been written and secondly, it made the Manuscript appear more mystic and therefore more valuable.

Travellers Tales and Forgotten Wisdom

It was during this period that communication with the mystical realms of India, Asia and the other faraway places was becoming more common. Returning travellers would speak of impossible animals, powerful medicines and herbs that had strange and unusual properties. Such knowledge from afar would have seemed incredibly valuable.

This theory claims that that Voynich Manuscript was originally the work of a person who dedicated himself to recording the information and tales of returning travellers.

This would explain the accuracy of some of the “Western plants” drawn in the book (personal experience) and also the appearance of strange and exotic plants that are still unrecognizable. Given the layout and contents of the book it is likely to be a compendium of quasi-spiritual medical information. The “Recipes” section at the end of the Manuscript is a description of how to prepare wondrous medicines and cures.

Alchemists of the time believed that celestial conditions could impact on the substances of nature such as Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. This explains why a section on apparent astronomy is included. In particular, the images of “Tubes and Women” is an extraordinarily strong symbolism for primitive anatomy.

Voynich Manuscript Plants
Voynich Manuscript Plants (WMC)

It is very possible that the plants depicted never existed or were drawn based on the memory and descriptions of the travellers. It is also possible that they once existed but are now extinct. It is a recognized fact that certain “special” plants and creatures were kept hidden from the common people. Simply look up the story of the rediscovery of the herd of “Pere David’s” deer that were kept hidden in the Imperial Chinese Reserves until they were the only ones remaining on this planet. Then there is the silphium plant that provided contraception but was used to extinction.

The author probably claimed that the recipes offered cures to terrifying illnesses and may have even included a recipe for the “Elixir of Life” – immortality! Whether the author honestly believed that it held the secret of immortality or not is almost academic. It does seem that owners of the book did believe that it held the secret of extending life. This is validated as in almost all cases the Voynich Manuscript is passed on just before or just after the death of the owner. Naturally, the Jesuits and Roman Catholic Church would want it – if only to keep it out of the hands of the emerging quasi-scientific community.

The Elixir of Life

There is the possibility that the Voynich Manuscript does actually contain cures for dangerous diseases and maybe even a way to extend human life. Scientists are only recently beginning to really study ancient Chinese and Asian herbal medicine and in doing so realizing that there is a lot to be learnt.

This would explain why Rudolf II was prepared to pay so much for it and why it was given to his botanist and private physician. It also explains why an alchemist was called in to try and decipher it and why it was then passed onto yet another royal doctor (Marci). Finally, it explains Kircher’s interest in it and why it was deemed too dangerous to be kept in a public library.

As the years passed and science became established the owners of the Voynich Manuscript no longer saw it as a threat to their religion but as a curiosity and carelessly allowed it to fall into the hands of an American book dealer.

Was it originally written to impress the gullible or was it the clandestine record of how to defeat death? We may never know the true secret. What we can surmise is that generations of owners have believed it contained knowledge worth gold, Papal protection and possibly even dying for.

The Voynich Manuscript is not the only mystical and unexplained document from this period. The little-known Ripley Scroll is just as mysterious as the Voynich Manuscript; as are the carvings on the tombstone of Nicholas Flamel, the alchemist that some believe really did discover the secret of the Philosophers Stone – immortality.

Finally, where are the missing pages? What was written on them? Why were they removed? Were these pages the key to unlocking the mystery of the Voynich manuscript?

The Hellfire Caves - Peeping Skull

Revealing the Mysterious Carvings of The Hellfire Caves

The hellfire caves were originally made for Sir Francis Dashwood of West Wycombe hall. Dashwood was the leader of a notorious hellfire club known as the Knights of St Francis who would meet in secret and perform rituals mocking the popular religions of the time. There would also be excessive drinking and casual fornication with prostitutes and the equivalent of 18th century groupies.

The entrance to the caves is designed like a church and the tunnels spread out under the hill linking many chambers, mazes and even an underground river. Ironically, there is a real church built on top of the hill.

As you wander deeper in the caves, you’ll suddenly notice that there are strange faces, skulls and imps carved into the stones and chalk of the walls. Once you realise that they are there you start to see them everywhere. There are those that claim that the senior members of the club were expected to carve their face into the wall as part of the ceremony mocking the statues of saints found in churches.

The Hellfire Caves - Kelly Carving
The Hellfire Caves – Lord Kelly Carving (C) Clint Pavenu

There is the suggestion that these were made by the original flint miners, but this is unlikely. The reality is that life was pretty harsh for the common folk back in 1751 and after a back-breaking day of shovelling and hauling chalk to the surface the last thing on your mind is to carve some random faces. (But … who knows for sure.) It’s also worth noting that carvings such as these do not exist in other such quarries.

The truth is that nobody really knows what took place both at the caves and at Medmenham Abbey and it is now widely believed that all the records were burnt by Paul Whitehead (along with his own works) three days before he died.

The Hellfire Caves - Man with Donkey Ears - Pan
The Hellfire Caves – Man with Donkey Ears – Pan (C) Clint Pavenu

However, if you read authors such as Daniel Mannix then these caves were a hotbed of demon worship, human sacrifice, and the seduction of virgins. If you read other sources, then you will perceive a different view. Libertines and radical liberalism amongst the upper-classes were all part of the rich but drunken tapestry of life in the 1700’s. Secret societies were all the rage and the “must-have” accessory of the time. In addition, prostitution and mistress-keeping was a far more accepted activity then than it is today.

The Hellfire Caves - The Wizard
The Hellfire Caves – The Wizard (C) Clint Pavenu


The Hellfire Caves - Monkey Head with Legs
The Hellfire Caves – Monkey Head with Legs (C) Clint Pavenu

The Hellfire Caves - Square Head Man - Demon
The Hellfire Caves – Square Head Man – Demon (C) Clint Pavenu


The Hellfire Caves - Peeping Skull
The Hellfire Caves – Peeping Skull (C) Clint Pavenu

The Hellfire Caves - Cross and Ghost Man

The Hellfire Caves – Cross and Ghost Man (C) Clint Pavenu

The Hellfire Caves - The Red Man
The Hellfire Caves – The Red Man (C) Clint Pavenu


The Hellfire Caves - The High Priest
The Hellfire Caves – The High Priest (C) Clint Pavenu


The Hellfire Caves - Masked Man and Cross
The Hellfire Caves – Masked Man and Cross (C) Clint Pavenu


The Hellfire Caves - Man with Pointed Beard
The Hellfire Caves – Man with Pointed Beard (C) Clint Pavenu


The Hellfire Caves - The Hooded Ghost
The Hellfire Caves – The Hooded Ghost (C) Pavenu


The Hellfire Caves - The Fat Friar
The Hellfire Caves – The Fat Friar


The Hellfire Caves - The Shocked Man
The Hellfire Caves – The Shocked Man (C) Clint Pavenu


The Hellfire Caves - The Three Screaming Men
The Hellfire Caves – The Three Screaming Men (C) Clint Pavenu

Lovers Heart Symbol

The Mysterious Origin of the Love Heart Symbol


Around the world the classic “heart-shape” has come to represent love.  It’s carved into trees and printed on millions of valentines cards every year.  In one sense, the meaning of any symbol is what most people believe it means.  Still, to truly understand something it’s often worth looking beyond the obvious. What the heart-shape actually means is the subject of some debate.

What it doesn’t do is represent the form of an actual human heart which is fist shaped and quite unpleasant in appearance.  Also, a real human heart is not something the average person sees very often. Why would humans choose such an ugly organ to represent their deepest most passionate love?  Well, it would seem that they didn’t.

Lovers Heart Celtic SymbolsThe truth seems to be that the origin of the heart-shape or “Lovers Heart” was a stylisation of a ladies VJ and the inverted head of a man’s pocket rocket*1.  So, when “hearts become entwined” it means much more than just love.

Love Heart Symbol Found in Ancient Rome

How can this be true?  There have been claims that it first appeared in Neolithic times but there’s no hard evidence of this.  It does appear in the Roman period and can be seen in 2,000-year-old Roman graffiti in the cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii – occasionally on the walls of brothels where it features more detail than the modern version.

There is no question that sex in ancient Rome and other great cities of the time was much more “liberal” than now but, even then, there were restrictions.  (Pliny the Elder) One theory is that it was a secret symbol that a man would give to a woman to indicate that he wanted to make love to her – especially if there was a restriction on them being together – perhaps a difference in social status.  A woman might do the same thing.  The heart symbol seems to have first represented lust before it became associated with love.  Think how similar it is today and how many cards are signed, “From your secret valentine”.

Something that ties in with this theory is the Silphium drug.  During the emergence of the Roman Empire, it seems that there existed a plant known as Silphium (a form of Fennel).  It is believed that this important plant grew only in the area surrounding the city of Cyrene in North Africa. Its importance is that it acted as a contraceptive and the seed was perfectly “heart-shaped”.  It was considered so important that it was imprinted on the coins of the time.  The demand for this plant was so great that it was “used” to extinction.  It’s interesting to note that Silphium has similarities to the word Sylph – meaning a desirable woman.

Silphium Heart and Hungarian Heart
Silphium Heart and Hungarian Heart (C) Pavenue

Heart Symbol Origin

So how did the word Heart become associated with the shape?  The answer has more to do with connotation than design and the clues can be found in the way we use it in language today.  Think of these expressions: “It is the heart of the life”, “He left me heartbroken never to be whole again”, “His love stabbed my heart”, “He made my heart throb” (not beat but throb – and that is a very old word indeed – meaning to pulse and contract – possibly Anglo Saxon), “My heart shuddered with desire”, “She surrendered her heart”.

The innuendo is obvious. The word heart once meant centre or deep inside.  We still use it today when we refer to ‘heartwood’ which is the wood deep inside a tree.  Whether it was slang or whether it came from a change in meaning the similarities are simply too overwhelming to be ignored.

Again, the medieval period was far more licentious than we like to admit.  Nude dinner parties while in a bath were not uncommon.  It wasn’t until the arrival of various nasty diseases that people started being a lot more cautious about casual bonking.  They also stopped bathing together because it too could spread disease.  This lack of bathing also helped reduce the desire for bonking.

Proof Lies in the Design of the Love Heart Symbol

There is much more history that can be cited but the real proof lies in the design. Viewed from the front the symbol clearly depicts a female’s mound.  There’s no doubt that this is a much more realistic interpretation than that of the human heart.  Equally, another version of the symbol may signify the lady bits viewed from behind.  A design from the 15th century (La Blessure) depicts the female symbol (Venus) inverted and superimposed on the heart shape.

It is also common to see a heart “pierced” by an arrow with tiny droplets of blood.  This is cupid’s arrow – the arrow of desire and love.  Some even suggest that droplets of blood represent the loss of virginity. The arrow is also the definitive phallic component of the Male symbol – Mars – the erect arrow.  We still use the word shaft to mean the shaft of a man’s best bit and the shaft of an arrow.

Pierced Lovers Heart
Pierced Lovers Heart (C) Pavenu

So how did it become so widely spread? One theory is that the Church adopted and sanitised it. They certainly used this strategy to overwhelm many other pagan and pre-pagan beliefs and symbols.

Easter was once a celebration of fertility – that’s why we still give Easter Eggs. The very name comes from the pagan Goddess Eostre whose sacred animal was the rabbit – Easter Bunny (ever wondered why?).

This wasn’t the only conversion. The names of most of the weekdays are actually named after Nordic or Roman Gods, Thor – Thursday, Frija – Friday, Woden – Wednesday, Saturn – Saturday. Mayday is actual a fertility rite, Lent was the pagan lean month when food stocks needed to be conserved and the halo – or rays of light from the head of the deity – were actual a representation of the Egyptian Sun God Ra.

The symbol above is another depiction of the Love Heart symbol. It allegedly dates from the Romano-Greek period and was reproduced in both Spain and England c 1700. The Word “Tergo” seen written in the circle can be translated from Latin as “From behind” or “The Rear”. In this version of the symbol the lines of the heart extend beyond the normal shape associated with the heart. The words “Connubialis Pectus Pectoris” seem to mean lustful heart. The words “Connubialis Tripudiam” appear to mean happiness. The inverted female symbol of Venus is integrated into the design and a smaller heart links the circle and the cross.

Lovers Heart Parchment
Lovers Heart Parchment (C) Clint Pavenu

The cross itself is enclosed by four smaller hearts of excellent geometrical precision which in themselves make up the shape of the “lucky” four leafed clover symbol.

A little more than one hundred years ago, the modern love heart symbol was popularized by yet another restrained society, the Victorian’s. They adored the romantic heart shape and just like their historic counterparts used it as a secret symbol for physical desire. It was during this time that the erotic book “The Pearl” was written by an anonymous author.  Like the Love Heart Symbol, The Pearl was another Victorian “code” for a lady’s happy bean.

When it comes to the heart symbol origin it is possible to cite example-after-example.  Literature is literally littered with them.  You don’t have to go looking for them – once you understand what you are looking for the examples leap out at you.

*1 (Editor’s note: sorry for the use of so many euphemisms but search engines do get so odd about certain words.)

Page tags: Heart Symbol Origin, Love Heart Symbol, Lovers Heart, Heart Symbolism

Strange Books Still a Mystery

Strange Books We Just Cant Understand

Sir George Ripley c. 1588 AD / English – The British Museum

The Ripley Scroll or “Ripley Scrowle” is one of the most important works (books) of Sir George Ripley an influential and renowned English alchemist of the 15th century. The life of Ripley is as mysterious as his legacy of mystical alchemical writings and illustrations but it is alleged that he studied in Rome and may have been an agent of the Papacy during this time with connections to The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem otherwise known as the Knights Hospitallers.

Strange Books - The Ripley Scroll
The Ripley Scroll

During his latter life he returned to England where he produced most of his recognised works on alchemy. It is interesting to note that a Papal Decree of 1317 had forbidden the study into and publishing of alchemical texts and particularly forbade “clerics” from pursuing this subject and yet a little over a hundred years later Ripley, a clear favourite of Pope Innocent VIII seems to have dedicated his life to the pursuit of this science. The Ripley Scroll has been interpreted in many ways but still remains a mystery. Most scholars believe that the Ripley Scroll is the “recipe” for immortality but there are those that believe researchers have missed some crucial evidence. Many researchers feel this mystery needs to be examined in much more depth. Perhaps Ripley may have known much more than seems obvious.

A section of the original Ripley Scroll that refers to the “Serpent of Arabia’. The traditional assumption is that this is code for “Aqua Fortis” or nitric acid but there may be another meaning! Very recent advances in modern medicine have begun to reveal that the alchemists, and Ripley in particular, may have known something as yet unexplored.


Michel de Nostredame c. 1555 AD / French – Lambeth Palace – London

The prophecies of Michel de Nostradame (Nostradamus) have been repeatedly published over the centuries from the time when they were first made public in 1555AD. In brief, they are a collection weird verses called quatrains that apparently predict events that will occur in the future. (With a start date of 1556). Nostradamus never claimed to have personally experienced visions or prophetic inspiration and openly attributed much of his work to earlier sources – a practice that was typical of the time. Ancient wisdom was already much more respected than modern discovery … a practice that still continues 500 years later.

The final edition of his works was published in 1568 and comprised 942 quatrains divided into ten Centuries. It is worth noting that the last Century only has 42 verses indicating that Nostradamus planned more prophecies in the future. In addition, there is only one quatrain that does not rhyme and some scholars believe that this was deliberate and is a “key” to unlocking the others – others still believe that this is the prophecy for the last engagement or the final battle between good and evil. Hundreds of people have used tens of thousands of words to try and explain the mysterious writings of Michel Nostredame but the truth is we are no closer to understanding them today than they were in 1555.

Nonsense or Divine Insight? The frightening part is that many of Nostradamus’ prophecies do seem to make sense and can be linked to events that have happened or look likely to happen. Is this a case of making vague nonsense fit the facts or proof of a divine plan with unrevealed power – you decide?

Konrad Lykosthenes 1557 AD / Alsatian – The University of Cambridge, England

The Greco Romano world (500bc – 400ad) had long known that beyond the borders of their respective empires there were vast unexplored lands teeming with weird and mysterious animals as well as strange people. For example: Leopards, cheetahs and other beasts were even brought back to Rome and displayed to the awed citizens.

A thousand years would pass before Konrad Lykosthenes assembled his Prodigiorum ac Ostentorum Chronicon and published it in Basel in 1557 which described various beasts and creatures as reported by travellers to distant lands.

The real mystery of this manuscript is not the strange and mythical creatures depicted but the accuracy of the descriptions and images of those that are known to be real.

Page 17 clearly depicts a Canadian moose even though the famous mariner and explorer, John Cabot, had only recently, in 1497, rediscovered the region. (The woodcut is remarkably accurate.) Page 18 has accurate representations of both an Indian rhinoceros and elephant. Page 19 reveals a Camel and, more surprisingly, a good representation of a Chacma Baboon (Papio Ursinus). On leaf 24 is a collection of sea monsters and at least three of the creatures can be identified as a giant lobster, a narwhale and an oarfish. Leaf 27 has a good representation of a crocodile and 29 clearly shows a Pelican. However, some of the other images are of creatures unknown to modern science. While there is the temptation to dismiss these as the fantasies of travellers there does remain the possibility that they did once exist and are now extinct.

Perhaps the most intriguing image in the book is the picture on page 31 which is clearly a representation of the now extinct Mauritian Dodo (bird). However, the first recorded Journey to Mauritius took place in 1598AD – 40 years after the Lykosthenes book was published.

Currently in the library of St John’s College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Luigi Serafini between 1976 to 1978 / Italian – Publicly Available

Written between 1976 and 1978 by Luigi Serafini it is best described as the natural history book of a parallel Earth where life is similar but at the same time mind twisting and strange in its alien representation. Approximately 360 pages in length, it is almost entirely written in code or cipher text. Although the author is still alive in 2009 he has steadfastly refused to comment whether the language is real or simply an assembly of symbols collated to produce the illusion of meaning. The book is broadly separated into 11 sections that include; Flora and Biology, Fauna and Animals, Bipedal Creatures, Physics and Chemistry, Machines, Biology and Sexuality, Historical and religious, The Language, Social Practices, Entertainment, and finally, Architecture.

Strange Books - Codex Seraphinianus
Codex Seraphinianus, Luigi Serafini (CC Wikimedia)

There is no doubt that the book is a masterpiece of the imagination that challenges the natural instincts of human perception. The images are vibrant in colour and while clearly impossible in many cases are also strangely believable. The writing is based on the Western style with the words organised from left to right with a clear repetition symbols and a sense of grammar that is consistent with a written language. It has yet to be deciphered although there have been claims the pagination system has been “broken” by Bulgarian linguist Ivan Derzhanski. It is also now quite rare and if you can get an original edition it can cost well over $500. Whether it was intended merely as an weird experiment in art or is a complex code that will one day be deciphered remains to be seen.


Unknown author circa 1404 / Manuscript Library, Yale University

The Voynich Manuscript is a genuine mystery. Most people seem to believe that this Manuscript, written by an unknown author in a mysterious language, is either a complex hoax or possibly a valuable insight into the secret science of the 15th or 16th Century. This seems to be the way that opinion is divided amongst scholars, internet researchers and everyday people.

Many truly ridiculous and bizarre theories have been put forward and most of these have been very effectively debunked. The story is as follows:

When he returned to the USA, Voynich distributed photo-reproductions (not Photostat*) copies of the manuscripts pages to scholars whom he hoped would help him decode its strange alphabet and texts. Many code-breakers apparently took up the challenge with enthusiasm. They failed to decipher the strange language and since then, even with the latest modern technology, it still remains unreadable even though there have been claims to the contrary.

Many researchers believe that the Voynich Manuscript contains a recipe for the Elixir of Life. This would explain why Rudolf II was prepared to pay so much for it and why it was given to his botanist and private physician. It also explains why an alchemist was called in to try and decipher it and why it was then passed onto yet another royal doctor (Marci). Finally, it explains Kircher’s interest in it and why it was deemed too dangerous to be kept in a public library.

As the years passed and science became established the owners of the Voynich Manuscript no longer saw it as a threat to their religion but as a curiosity and carelessly allowed it to fall into the hands of an American book dealer.

Voynich Manuscript - Strange Book
Voynich Manuscript (CC Manuscript Library, Yale University)


Unknown author / Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Written by an unknown author, the Rohonc Codex is also written in an unknown language. The number of symbols used in the book is circa ten times more than any other known alphabet.  However, most of the symbols are used infrequently, so they might not be an alphabet, but a syllabary, or logographs like Chinese characters. The justification of the right margin would seem to imply the symbols were written from right to left in the Islamic tradition. The paper used dates back to around 1530ad, but the text cannot be verified to the same date.  The images are either chivalric or religious although there are some aspects to the pictures that suggest paranormal.

Many scholars and cryptologists have studied the book over the past 100 years but have still failed to decipher the writing.   The codex was named after the city in which it was discovered (originally Hungary now Austria) and is now kept in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences library.

Rohonc Codex - Strange Book
Rohonc Codex (CCKlaus.Schmeh WMC)

Unknown author c. 16c / Bodleian Library & British Library

The Book of Soyga, also titled Aldaraia, is a 16th-century Latin treatise on magic, one copy of which was owned by the Elizabethan scholar John Dee. After Dee’s death, the book was thought lost until 1994, when two manuscripts were located in the British Library and the Bodleian Library under the title Aldaraia sive Soyga vocor. The Sloane version is described as Tractatus Astrologico Magicus which translates as Texts of Astrology and Magic. Much of the book is in Latin and deals with a number of occult subjects.

However, the book contains 36 large squares of letters that have remained a mystery and all attempts to make sense of them have failed although some of the codeword keys have been identified which allowed the tables to be created in the first place.  What they were for and why they were created remains a mystery.

Book of Soyga Diagram - (Clint Pavenu)
Book of Soyga Diagram – (Clint Pavenu)

Secrets of the Dollar Bill

Symbols on Money - Secrets of the Dollar

Symbols on money can tell us a lot about its secrets and origin. There is definitely something strange and weird about the USA Dollar. From hidden secrets and symbols to cataclysmic prophecies the Dollar has it all. Just have a look at this initial collection of bizarre findings. Please note that there are so many secrets that we’ve classified this as a “live” page which means we’ll keep adding to it.

These secrets only seem to appear in the Dollar currency. We’ve looked for similar effects in the Pound, the Rupee, the Euro and even the Rand without any success. However, with the Dollar we just keep on finding them! After Months of study we can honestly say that the Dollar is the most complex, intelligent, intricate, mysterious and beautiful of currencies. It is the perfect representation of Art and Science.

Dollar Bill Symbols


Symbols on Money: Prophecy of doom or an incitement to terrorism?

We first saw this in an email but checked it out for ourselves. This is an ordinary 20 Dollar banknote that we had in one of our wallets. It was first printed in 1928 and is known as the “Jackson Bill”. The version shown in the images was printed in 2003 (after the 9/11 attacks but the image of the White House is essentially the same as in earlier versions). We are trying to access an original 1928 bill and to see if the effect described below is the same.

20 Dollar Bill 2006 Version
20 Dollar Bill 911 First Fold
20 Dollar 911 Second Fold
20 Dollar 911 Fully Folded


There is a further oddity when it comes to symbols on money such as the Dollar. The lines of the folds overlay two of the same large letters twice -“EA EA”. This is said to represent the first level of the Masonic Rite and stands for Entered Apprentice.

If you align the cross hairs correctly, the gap on the right matches precisely with 90 degrees of the 3 x 30 3rd degree of a master mason before ascending to Chapter.

Symbols on Money - 20 Dollar Bill The Entered Apprentice

Secrets of the Dollar

Much has been written on the Internet about the number thirteen and its relationship to the secrets of the Dollar Bill. A lot of it is Interesting but some of it may take you in the wrong direction! Here is some new information. There are five numbers that repeat themselves with noticeable regularity. They are: 3, 6, 9, 12 and 13. The first four (quarters) are all linear multipliers of three (3) and represent the geometric thirds and the original Trinity. (An important concept in deep Masonic teachings; hence the title – a 33 degree Mason – the highest rank.)

They are also the proportions of the “Golden Mean” which was so important to Da Vinci “The Real Da Vinci Code” and the Fibonacci sequence and considered the “Natural Miracle of proportions”. One source claims that this is part of the Great Secret that is only usually revealed to a “32 degree Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret” in preparation for his ascent to the position of 33 degrees.)

They are also the parametres of the parallelogram grid used to design all else on the Dollar Bill. Why? Take any number in the universe and divide it by three (3) and it will repeat to Infinity. This is believed to be the Masonic interpretation of the Divine. Proof of the existence of the “Great Architect”. So why was 13 so important? It dates back to the existence of two organisations – The Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller. Both were Christian Warrior Orders established to protect pilgrims to Jerusalem. (Please bear with us and do your own research as we are trying to cram a thousand pages into a few paragraphs.)

Dollar 13 Annuit Coeptis
E Pluribus
13 Berries
Dollar 13 Arrows
Dollar 13 Stars
Dollar 13 Stripes
Dollar 13 Steps
Dollar 13 Olive Leaves
Dollar 13 Berry Tail Left
13 Berry Tail Right
Dollar 13 Flourishes
Dollar 13 One PlusThree Thirteen

The Hospitallers stayed “Pious” and today are commonly known as St. John’s Ambulance the Knights Templar introduced the first promissory currency and so became “God’s Bankers”. The word “Banker” originally meant “Holder of Valuables” Their power grew to such an extent that they potentially threatened both the Roman Catholic Pope Clement V and the French King Philip IV. On Friday the “13th” of October 1307 a secret order issued by the Pope to destroy the Order was carried out with vicious efficiency using the excuse of Heresy and Demon worship. Most of the Templar wealth was confiscated but a significant proportion was saved. The persecution of the Knights had been worst in France where it benefited the French King but in other countries remnants survived.

What happened to the wealth of the Knights Templar is uncertain. It is one of the great unsolved secrets. There is an interesting coincidence that some of the first references to the Freemasons (1390) start to appear shortly after the original persecution. There are also a number of similarities between the two organisations. Both have a physical and symbolic link to the Temple of Solomon, both have a strong belief in a supreme being, both have ritual secrets and both have a focus on living an honourable life and doing charitable works. Finally, both organisations have always seemed to been associated with banking. Terry Pratchett, in his novel “Making Money” reminds us that banks often look like temples.  Symbols on money remind us of its origin and its value.

Dollar Bill United America 13

People who look for hidden symbols on money, particularly the Dollar, often refer to the magic “Fluorescent 13 and Washington Image”. It can apparently be created by scanning a Dollar Bill (in an older model scanner) and shining an ultra violet light on the bill only. The rest of the screen should be masked off with black paper. Once the scan is done the image is put through a series of “curve” and “contrast” adjustments in Photoshop until the tint is revealed. The new colours are then overlaid on the original scan that has been colour inverted and merged. The result is supposed to look like the picture above. We tried this without success so the above image is an artist’s impression. The position of the three is supposed to represent the Fountain of Knowledge.

The Secret 13

We could write books about the discovery of America by the Europeans and there would still be debate. It is fair to say that the actions of Christopher Columbus in 1492 – 1493 did create a wide awareness that a continent did indeed exist across the Atlantic. The years that followed saw several of the great “Old World” countries take a significant colonial interest in the “New World”. Between 1492 and 1776 the Spanish, Dutch, French and British all laid claims to various parts of the land mass. During the period 1720 and 1776 two interesting developments coincided. It was during this period that the Freemason movement gained significant numbers and strength and at the same time the desire for independence was growing stronger in the American Colonies.

A theory about the origins of the Dollar Bill and Great Seal is This: Many people had moved to the New world in order to live safe from the “Royal and Religious prejudice of Europe”. It is highly likely that amongst these people were influential descendants of the both Freemasons and the Knights Templar. (Perhaps the Freemasons were the descendants of the Templars) Core to their beliefs was the creed that “All Men are Created Equal” and that “Liberty for All” should be part of their eternal “Constitution”. The number 13, the date on which they were originally betrayed, was (and still is) built into all their works as a warning to future generations. It even dictated the original number of States.

As such, the designers of the original Great Seal, and those who continue to design the USA Currency (the treasury department), still include many geometric and image-based symbols on money that add to the mystery of the Dollar. Possibly the descendants of “God’s Bankers” still included the number 13 to remind their descendants that betrayal can happen at any time…. (Please note that the current One dollar bill was printed in 1963 – the first One dollar Bill was printed in 1862.)

(The One dollar Bill was first printed in 1862.)

This is one of the most commonly known secret symbols on money. Hidden in the top left curve of the shield shape that surrounds the number one is a tiny deviation from the geometric web.

This shape is called The spider or sometimes the Owl. It certainly does not appear to be an accident of design but a deliberate modification of the underlying web or mesh pattern If you then examine the matching number one on the opposite side a simulation o a spider’ web becomes clear.

Neither the “Spider” nor the “Web” are perfect representations. This may be that to make them so would have revealed them too easily when the note was first being designed. It is also said that if you rotate the image it becomes the sign of Piracy – The skull and cross bones.

US Dollar Spider Example


This is one of the most commonly known “secrets” of the Dollar Bill. Hidden in the top left curve of the shield shape that surrounds the number one is a tiny deviation from the geometric web.

If you enjoyed this article take a look at the ‘Mysterious Origins of the Love Heart‘.