Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

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Q. Kumber
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Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Q. Kumber » August 17th, 2019, 4:45 am

There are remarkable similarities between the search for Erdnase and the meaning of the Voynich Manuscript

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/ ... l-mystery/

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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Jack Shalom » August 17th, 2019, 9:29 am

Hi, it's behind a pay wall. Can you summarize it please?

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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Joe Lyons » August 17th, 2019, 9:31 am

Finding the author of the Voynich Manuscript is easy. Just trace back Hunter S. Thompson’s ancestry.

https://holybooks-lichtenbergpress.netd ... script.pdf

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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Q. Kumber » August 17th, 2019, 9:37 am

I didn't realise about the paywall. Here's a short excerpt from the much longer article"

Why do people keep convincing themselves they’ve solved this medieval mystery?

For centuries, the Voynich Manuscript has resisted interpretation, which hasn’t stopped a host of would-be readers from claiming they’ve solved it. In June 1921, the monthly magazine Hearst’s International announced that University of Pennsylvania Professor William Newbold had “come upon the key to the secret cipher of the [Voynich] Manuscript … and the truth of six hundred years ago is coming out!” Newbold surmised that 13th-century English scientist Roger Bacon had written the manuscript with the aid of a microscope and a telescope, centuries before the invention of either instrument. Newbold’s solution was debunked in 1931 by University of Chicago classicist John Matthews Manly in a journal of medieval studies called Speculum, leaving Newbold posthumously disgraced. Although they had once been close friends, Manly felt a moral imperative to publicly denounce Newbold’s work in the “interests of scientific truth.” “In my opinion,” he wrote, “the Newbold claims are entirely baseless and should be definitely and absolutely rejected.”

Sound familiar? It should. Every few months, it seems, a new theory is trumpeted by the news media beneath a breathless headline along the lines of “Has the Voynich Manuscript Really Been Solved?” (Spoiler alert: No, it hasn’t.) I’ve seen them all.

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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Bill Mullins » August 17th, 2019, 10:29 am

Jack Shalom wrote:Hi, it's behind a pay wall. Can you summarize it please?


If you are in Chrome, try opening it in an incognito window. MS Explorer/Edge and other browsers have a similar window.

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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Christopher1979 » August 17th, 2019, 1:33 pm

As an antiquarian book dealer, this really interests me. Remarkable similarities?... for me, a little bit of an overstatement but there is no denying both the Voynich Manuscript and Erdanse share many comparisons.

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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Jonathan Townsend » August 17th, 2019, 6:49 pm

This book is also fun: Codex Seraphinianus
https://www.amazon.com/Codex-Seraphinia ... 0847842134

It's not ancient/mythical and the artist is around if you'd like to say 'thanks'.
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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Zig Zagger » August 18th, 2019, 2:12 am

Bill Mullins wrote:
Jack Shalom wrote:Hi, it's behind a pay wall. Can you summarize it please?


If you are in Chrome, try opening it in an incognito window. MS Explorer/Edge and other browsers have a similar window.

I hit the paywall with Firefox on my desktop PC but had no problem accessing the article via iPad/Safari.
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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Zig Zagger » August 18th, 2019, 2:31 am

Christopher1979 wrote:As an antiquarian book dealer, this really interests me. Remarkable similarities?... for me, a little bit of an overstatement but there is no denying both the Voynich Manuscript and Erdanse share many comparisons.

Thank you, Quentin, for sharing this nugget! I can see your point, and I fully agree.

Christopher, the point is not so much about similarities between the two books or their secrets or how we approached (solved?) them.

It's more about the meta-level. How premature claims to have solved a puzzle hit the market at regular intervals.
How we tend to let our preconceptions guide our research.
And how the "inner circle" tends to overreact with rejection, derision and hostility.

I'll copy some paragraphs from the article and replace the Voynich references with Erdnase in another post, then the match will be self-evident.
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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Zig Zagger » August 18th, 2019, 3:35 am

Phew! Here are the most relevant paragraphs from the great article by Lisa Fagin Davis. (You're welcome, Jack!)

((Double brackets)) and bold additions mine!
Why do people keep convincing themselves they've solved this ((medieval)) mystery?

For ((centuries)) decades, the ((Voynich Manuscript)) Erdnase authorship has resisted ((interpretation)) discovery, which hasn't stopped a host of would-be readers from claiming they've solved it.

Every few months, it seems, a new theory is trumpeted ((by the new media)) beneath a breathless headline.

But most would-be interpreters make the same mistake ((as Newbold)): By beginning with their own preconceptions of ((what)) whom they want ((the Voynich)) Erdnase to be, their conclusions take them further from the truth.

Like others before them, ((these)) authors tend to go public prematurely--and without proper review by the real experts. Word of each new solution spreads across the ((globe)) Genii Forum in minutes.

Almost Dozens of solutions have been proposed in the past ((century)) decades alone, most of them more aspirational than they are substantive.

I recently received an ugly and threatening direct message . . . referring in detail to my critique . . . For some, apparently, the stakes appear to be irrationally high.

. . . undercooked solutions presented without context lead readers down a rabbit hole of misinformation . . .

Every new ((Voynich)) Erdnase theory offers an opportunity for readers to exercise healthy, critical skepticism . . . Proposed solutions shouldn't automatically be rejected (the default reaction of most ((medievalists)) Erdnasians), but they should be approached with caution. Seek out expert opinions, and do some follow-up reading. It shouldn't take ((a Voynichologist)) an Expert expert to spot a leap of logic or an argument based on wishful thinking instead of solid facts.

. . . we tend to bring our preconceptions with us to the table. The more we burden the manuscript with what we want it to be, the more buried the truth becomes.

To truly understand the past, we have to let it speak for itself. The ((Voynich)) Erdnase Manuscript has a voice--we just need to listen.

Chapeau, Ms Davis, I'd say you've nailed it! For Voynich, Erdnase, and beyond.
It would be fun and revealing to browse through the Erdnase thread again with this checklist in hand...
This brief text should be required reading for all (amateur) historians and over-enthusiastic secret-solvers, don't you think?
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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Bill Mullins » August 18th, 2019, 5:36 pm

Zig Zagger wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:
Jack Shalom wrote:Hi, it's behind a pay wall. Can you summarize it please?


If you are in Chrome, try opening it in an incognito window. MS Explorer/Edge and other browsers have a similar window.

I hit the paywall with Firefox on my desktop PC but had no problem accessing the article via iPad/Safari.


Whether or not you hit a paywall at the Washington Post depends on how many articles you've viewed since the first of the month on that browser on that machine (further modified by how long it has been since you've deleted cookies, and whether or not you've used incognito tabs on your browser). IOW, if you hit a paywall: delete cookies, open incognito browser, change browser, change device. Brave is a good, privacy-oriented, free browser that you can download in addition to what came installed on your computer.

I have a .mil email address through work, and with it I can have a free on-line subscriptions. I think if you have a .edu (student) email address, you can get a discounted subscription.

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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Zig Zagger » August 19th, 2019, 4:15 pm

Thanks, Bill, for these tips!

Would you also care to comment on the Voynich article and the Erdnase parallel?

I take it from your posts that you are a fine and thorough researcher and analyst, so I'd be eager to hear your thoughts!
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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Jack Shalom » August 19th, 2019, 5:30 pm

Thanks, Zig, for the quotes.

Bill, that's exactly what happened---already accessed my quota of freebies from the WP. I tried incognito, but I guess I have to deep six the cookies as well.

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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 19th, 2019, 5:50 pm

I pay for the Washington Post!
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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Bill Mullins » August 20th, 2019, 3:24 pm

Zig Zagger wrote:Would you also care to comment on the Voynich article and the Erdnase parallel?


Edward Galloway didn't write the Voynich manuscript, either.

Jack Shalom wrote:Bill, that's exactly what happened---already accessed my quota of freebies from the WP. I tried incognito, but I guess I have to deep six the cookies as well.


Paywalled sites and the browsers are continually playing cat and mouse with each other. The Post comes up with a way to detect that it is being sent to an incognito browser, at an IP address it has already seen more than 5 times since the first of the month, and blocks it; the browser reconfigures itself so it looks like a "normal" browser, but without cookies to show it has previously been visited; lather, rinse, repeat.

Deleting cookies is a PITA. I normally just have 4 browsers on a machine (Edge/Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Brave). There are more than that available, I think, but 4 and their assorted hidden/incognito modes will usually let me read most of what I want. Plus, there are three computers at my house (my laptop, wife's laptop, and a desk machine that hasn't been turned on in a long time), plus one more at work. And my phone. There's more internet than I can read anyway, so it's not a big deal if I miss a few articles.

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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Bill Mullins » August 20th, 2019, 3:51 pm

Zig Zagger wrote:Would you also care to comment on the Voynich article and the Erdnase parallel?

You deserve a straight answer to your question.

This quote from the article certainly rings true:
my public comments are not always accepted in the constructively critical spirit in which they are given.

And so does this:
When we approach an ancient object such as the Voynich Manuscript, we tend to bring our preconceptions with us to the table.

Marty Demarest is a writer, and he sees Erdnase/Sanders through that lens. Chris Wasshuber is a publisher, and his father is/was a printer; I think both of those professions are front and center in his examination of the book. I think much of what David Alexander wrote and said was wish fulfillment/confirmation bias (in fact, most of what has been said about Erdnase, in this forum and elsewhere, is confirmation bias).

The author of the Post article has a blog post that covers the same ground, in more depth. In the blog post, she talks about looking up one thing (comparing proofs of Newbold's book to the actual printed book), and finding out something else entirely, that ends up being interesting. I've had that happen a number of times, and often, the chance of doing so is the best reason to go searching on a piece of information (that's what happened when I found the "Erdnose" quote.)

She found a copy of Newbold's book that had marginal notes by Charles Mendelsohn, who was a contemporary of Manly and Newbold, and knew Manly.

I think the best hope of definitively identifying who wrote Expert would be if something similar was discovered -- a previously unrecognized copy of the first edition, with an inscription by the author, or marginal notes from someone who knew him.

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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Dustin Stinett » August 20th, 2019, 7:46 pm

At one of the LA History Conferences years ago, Bill Kalush said to me that he believes, and I agree, that one day a letter will be discovered among a bunch of paper that will have his identity in it. "Had lunch with Dustin [because I am Erdnase]. I read through the manuscript of a book he is soon publishing under the name Erdnase... ."

The only question for me is, will I live to see it.

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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 20th, 2019, 8:47 pm

If such a letter exists, that would not end speculation. The person who wrote the letter may have been fibbing, or the person who claimed to be Erdnase may have been fibbing. Who knows?
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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Tom Gilbert » August 21st, 2019, 7:44 am

Thanks Richard, I had a buyer for the letter I found. Now they've backed out.

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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Jack Shalom » August 21st, 2019, 9:13 am

I missed it, but wasn't there a recent movie about a woman who forged letters from famous authors? Sounded like fun.

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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Bill Mullins » August 21st, 2019, 12:42 pm

Jack Shalom wrote:I missed it, but wasn't there a recent movie about a woman who forged letters from famous authors? Sounded like fun.


Can You Ever Forgive Me?

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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Diego » August 22nd, 2019, 1:43 am

When I saw, "Can you ever forgive me?", the story of how this unpleasant person forged/stole/switched letters to sell, it made me think our our own world of magic collecting. As she sold more letters supposedly from famous authors, the forgeries develop a life of their own, as they are bought and sold thru established dealers and collectors and gained legitimacy.("I bought this from _____ , or it came from ____'s collection") Also as letters that could be traced back to this woman became objects of suspicion, some dealers and collectors would sell them anyway, not wanting to take a loss, and the letters gained more traction in the process. Because CONTENT of letters is a major factor in determining it's price, she would add a"P.S." to the letter, with gossip or entertaining statements about their famous friends.

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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby webbmaster » September 11th, 2019, 3:15 pm

The "V", as I like to call it. could be used for a book test with great patter possibilities. Better yet have a card selected and it appears at the page number of the card or something to get cards in there to have some connection to Erdnase.

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Re: Erdnase and the Voynich Manuscript

Postby Jonathan Townsend » September 11th, 2019, 3:51 pm

Printing your own version of V with altered text and artwork would be project. Altering the text to accommodate some magic tricks would be wonderful. If you're going to play with the pages - please also make a coloring book gaff (blow book) of the thing. :D
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