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Vol. VII, 2013

From: Berj N. Ensanian
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 9 JAN 2013 2316:10 GMT

J.VS: Preliminary observations on the new image of the Voynich Nine Rosettes

Dear Colleagues

This morning on vms-list Voynich Researcher Ernest Lillie, who as you recall visited here off-J briefly last October
in connection with J.VS comm. #384, announced the fruition of his efforts to get the Beinecke to produce and
publish an improved image of the Voynich nine rosettes foldout [1].

The new image:

includes a color reference, and that's only the second VMS image I know of with one.

I've had a quick look-over of this new image and here give my preliminary observations. They should be taken as
very preliminary, for what they are worth:

1.) There seem to be lots of erased writings here and there, e.g. : near the top, above the north rosette, running
horizontally, there are indications of erased / rubbed-out  patterns and writing.

2.) There appear to be some new glyphs, at least using as a reference Glen Claston's extensive catalog of
Voynich glyphs (on which his voyn_101.txt transcription is based) - e.g. see the upside down word at the top left
of the north-east rosette : an "f", and an "s" variation of the GC-9 glyph.

3.) Erased writing, running vertically, at the top-right of the parchment, at the right of the T-O map symbol there.

4.) Apparently Hindu-Arabic numerals embedded in the articulated "waves" above the section containing many stars
in the north-east rosette: e.g. " 75999 ". This is the most interesting thing I've noticed so far at this early stage.

5.) Many hidden single glyphs in the north rosette, in particular GC-e .

6.) Below and to the right of the "tower in a hole", that other tower's color there seems lustrous-metallic
per J.VS comm. #213 (2 SEP 2008).

7.) Possibly some very tiny writing on the downward pointing castle.

8.) Where the "flow" from the west-central rosette meets the central rosette, at the crossed parchment creases,
it appears the flow at its narrowest section flows through a ring.

9.) Very tiny writing in the patterns surrounding the quatrefoil connecting the west-central and south-west rosettes.

10.) Lustrous-metallic smear at ~ 7:30 o'clock of central rosette.

11.) Lustrous-metallic smear at ~ 7:30 o'clock of east rosette.

Berj / KI3U

[1] vms-list post " VMs: New Voynich Image ", by Ernest Lillie, Wed 1/09/13 5:08 AM.

From: Berj N. Ensanian
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 17 JAN 2013 2333:06 GMT

J.VS : Ethel Lilian Voynich Family Photo

Dear Colleagues

Here's Ethel Lilian Voynich (1864-1960) in an early family photograph:

Some eventually fairly famous people are in there - ELV is shown with Margaret Taylor,
Alicia Boole Stott, Lucy E. Boole, Mary E. Hinton, Julian Taylor, Mary Stott, Mary Everest
Boole, George Hinton, Geoffrey Ingram Taylor, and Leonard Stott.

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 19 JAN 2013 1518:00 GMT

J.VS : Botanists at odds over a botanical depiction

Dear Colleagues

As we know the illustrations in the Voynich Manuscript's botanical section(s)
have never enjoyed universal agreement as to identification, neither among
amateurs nor professional botanists interested in the general VMS problem.
Indeed, the strange botanicals of the Voynich are a major part of its enigma.

Depending on the particular Voynich botanical the student is confronted with
the possibility that the depiction is in some way stylistic, or a composite of
different botanical elements or a composite of the same botanical at
different stages of life or both, or primarily symbolic with "botanical" graphics
serving as the vehicle, or only mildly suggestive of botanical realism akin to
designs on some wallpapers, or the product of an illustrator with some sort of
reduced capacity, or even some combination of the foregoing and perhaps other
possibilities not listed above.

In any case, botanists can disagree that a particular botanical illustration's
intended organism has been corrupted out of acceptable bounds by artistic style.
Here's a current example, from an 18 JAN 2013 BBC online News article:

" 'Wrong' maple leaf on Canadian banknotes "

" Canada's new plastic banknotes feature Norway maple leaves, instead of the Canadian
sugar maple leaf, according to botanists.

They argue the leaf shown features more sections and has a more pointed outline than the
Canadian version. "

" Bank of Canada officials say the image is a "stylised" leaf, created with the help of a
botanist. "

' "I think it's just an after-the-fact excuse," said Sean Blaney, senior botanist at the
Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre, who first brought the image to the attention of
the broadcaster CBC. '

' "This could not be confused with a native species of Canada," Julian Starr, a botany
professor at the University of Ottawa, told the CBC. '

Well! Looks like a lot of money is at stake there - perhaps the botanists in charge of
selecting a leaf for the artist to draw might have first settled the matter by tasting
the Maple sap / syrup from the trees the prospective leaves were taken from: nothing
like a shot of good cold Maple syrup from an excellent season to bring about consensus :-).

But to bridge back to our Voynich realm and address the larger relevant question for us:

What was the intent of the Voynich Manuscript author when he / she had the botanicals
illustrated as we see them, and in general: assuming the manuscript was eventually to be
seen / studied by others, what are they / we supposed to conclude about what we are

Different people confronted by the same object or scene see it differently, and that's
certainly not news. For example, to me it is absolutely plain as day that in the Voynich
folio f76r the Voynich "text" there, aside from whatever else it may represent, is serving
as mosaic graphical elements, in a unique hand-script text-art form, to depict a face and
head of a man holding up close to his eyes, with both his hands, a rectangular plate
suggestive of an optical filter plate [1]; this in turn suggesting that the VMS author has
rendered there on f76r, in the middle of the book, a self-portrait, and further that
throughout his manuscript he has hidden things which require special optical filters to
reveal, possibly optical filters prepared from botanical extracts given elsewhere in the

And there is nothing particularly "stylistic" about this depiction - it is a stunning
piece of masterful realism art within its medium, and right there that f76r hand-script text-art
self-portrait compels me to the conclusion, if nothing else in the book does, that the VMS
author is a genuine genius, and that attacks on the VMS enigma absolutely must always keep
that foremost in mind - the man is a genius bound only by his own rules, and definitely
not by conventional intellectual thinking, no matter how stratospheric. To me that has
been plain as day ever since I saw it in f76r and nothing can make me not see that.

But of course others do not see that, or at least do not admit it publicly. Now, I wish to
emphasize that I am not advancing the idea here that I am right about f76r and others are
wrong, for that would be useless vanity. But rather that I, personally, do see this
self-portrait rendered there with the script, and that's that. People see things
differently. A dialog bridge to what others perceive about f76r could be opened via: Well,
do you think there is something peculiar about the Voynich f76r text, especially when you
rotate the page a little? Yes? What?

So again: what is the intent of the Voynich author in regard to what is to be seen when
confronting the book? Could it be that a major reason for the creation of this work was
exactly to explore just how one reacts to it, to explore what different people see in it?
This assumes the VMS was eventually to get some exposure, even if only in a restricted
private circulation.

But there is yet another or additional possibility and it is quite in line with my view that the
Voynich Manuscript is an advanced natural philosopher's summarized life's workbook [2] :
the VMS author may have used his work as a mirror in manuscript form to explore his own
conscious and subconscious thought processes of different times throughout his life. This seems
quite plausible to me because commonly when I come across things I've sketched and written
long ago, I see something I had not noticed before and I am motivated to explore:
gee, what exactly made me render that detail, what was I thinking?

Berj / KI3U

[1] J.VS Library deposit # 18-1-2008-04-15 :

[2] Journal of Voynich Studies communication #380 (Vol. VI, 1 FEB 2012):
J.VS: The Voynich Manuscript Mystery : What is it?, and Who did it?; by Berj / KI3U.

From: Berj N. Ensanian
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 25 JAN 2013 1540:29 GMT

J.VS : The House Emblem of Wilfrid Voynich's antiquarian business : interesting ?

Dear Colleagues

I've been meaning to get around to a little extra item in connection with the comm. :

" VMS f1r: does it point to a Russian origin of the Voynich Manuscript? " [1]

Therein we had occasion to place some attention on Siberia (Wilfrid Voynich having
escaped from a Siberian prison during his early revolutionary period).

The little extra item I want to point out here is the great similarity between the house
emblem of Voynich's antiquarian business - seen here on a piece of stationery which is
itself of some fame in the ever twised and convoluted VMS provenance mystery:

and the Coat of Arms of the Siberian city of Irkutsk :

"  Irkutsk began as a fur and gold trading settlement in the mid-1600s and since that
time it’s coat of arms has been a Siberian tiger holding a sable. "

Naturally, one might be forgiven for pondering if Ethel Lilian Voynich and Ann Nill,
murkying the VMS provenance waters even more than already the case with their little
stationery revelation above, were actually sending a subtle signal via use of that
emblem-bearing stationery: that the true place of the discovery of the Voynich Manuscript
was in Siberia.

Berj / KI3U

[1] Journal of Voynich Studies communication #384 (Vol. VI, 5 AUG 2012):
J.VS: VMS f1r: does it point to a Russian origin of the Voynich Manuscript?; by Berj / KI3U.

From: Berj N. Ensanian
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 26 JAN 2013 2356:30 GMT

J.VS : Voynich f67v2 and Sami Noaidi (shaman) drum symbols

Dear Colleagues

Vis-a-vis the interesting avenues for exploration in J.VS comms. #384 and #391 [1,2]
I have lately been examining things Russian and in particular Siberian. One Siberian
track I was following, the shamanic, led me to the Sami people, inhabitants since ancient
times of Arctic "Sapmi". The Kola Peninsula is the part of Sapmi in today's Russia; it is
geographically quite a bit west of Siberia (which is bounded in the west by the Ural
mountains), but there appear to be historical connections between a very important Sami
tradition, the "Noaidi", that is shaman, and Siberia which is rich in shamanic traditions.

The Noaidi used a decorated reindeer skin drum, a personal work, as a sacred instrument in the
shamanic ritual. So important has the shamanic drum been throughout Sami history that it is
today prominently symbolized in the Sami flag inaugurated in 1986.

The traditional drums of reindeer skin were covered with all kinds of designs and symbols,
including animals, the sun and moon, stars and / or constellations, pathways, boats and
structures, trees, beings in various scenes, crosses and "glyphs" and other items.
Not surprisingly, the overall impression from some of these drums is reminiscent of ancient cave
art associated with shamanism - difficult to interpret without prior thorough study. Forced
christianization upon the Sami included destruction of their drums, especially from the late
17th century on, to the point where today only about 70 something are preserved in museums [3].

As I proceeded to view online images of shamanic drums, mostly Sami drums, I more and more
wondered if the illustration in Voynich folio f67v2 may have had a shamanic influence. Voynich
f67v2 is a cosmological page, perhaps the strangest of the lot. It has circle or balloon headed faces
in odd arrangements at the peripheral corners of the central circular construction featuring the "sun"
(in any case a star). At the upper right corner of f67v2 we see a "+" type cross, the points of which
terminate in balloon-heads. A surprising number, better than 10%, of the extant authentic Sami drums
exhibit this symbol, minus the details within the balloons which make the faces [4].

The Sami drum depictions shown on Gjerde's website [4] suggest, that if indeed Voynich f67v2
has a Sami shamanic influence, f67v2 is akin to the "sun cross" type of drum associated with
the southern region of Sapmi. Indeed, all of the drums exhibiting the balloons-cross are of
the southern sun cross category [5]. These sun cross types are interestingly "helio-centric" as has been
noticed by some students of these drums [6].

According to the webpage "Shaman´s drum symbols in Scandinavia" [7], the "+" cross with
circles at the points is a symbol of the witch, and a witch / shaman or a person spellbound.
D'Imperio in her Fig. 41 gives "A charm to chase away mice" incorporating this symbol. In Fig. 42
D'Imperio lists this as an alchemical symbol for Quicklime. I would say the Sami interpretation is
closer to directly something-cosmological.

Now, as to whether or not shamanic drums, in particular Sami drums had some influence upon the
author of the VMS, I will leave it with this: after seeing all these drums, if I came upon
Voynich f67v2 for the very first time as the decoration of a shamanic drum, I should not be
surprised. The possibility of a shamanic angle in the VMS is not new - certainly the somehow
ongoing belief among some Voynich students that Edward Kelley is connected to the VMS can be
considered part of the general idea. Really, one of the simplest possibilities for some of the
Voynich text paragraphs is that they are a record of shamanic sounds / music / chants, and
maybe even were constructed to serve as trance inducers.

Here are leads to some more sources on Sami drums: [8,9]

When I read that the Sami usually depicted the sun as a goddess, I was reminded of the
distinctly female appearance of the sun visage in the Voynich cosmological folio f68v1, in
contrast to other sun-faces in the Voynich, for example in f70r2; perhaps the male versus
female sun folios distinctions in the VMS merit some attention. In my view the female sun of f68v1
is the best-rendered sun-visage in the VMS.

So, it continues to be quite interesting and surprising to follow Voynich research tracks
suggested by the Russian / Siberian possibility. Then too there is that inviting little
info-bit in Taratuta's biography of Ethel Lilian Voynich, suggesting that the Russian
revolutionary Stepnyak at least once opened discussion of medicinal botanicals with the
Voynich's and ELV's mother Mary Boole [10].

Berj / KI3U

[1] Journal of Voynich Studies communication #384 (Vol. VI, 5 AUG 2012):
J.VS: VMS f1r: does it point to a Russian origin of the Voynich Manuscript?; by Berj / KI3U.

[2] Journal of Voynich Studies communication #392 (Vol. VII, 25 JAN 2013):
J.VS : The House Emblem of Wilfrid Voynich's antiquarian business : interesting ?; by Berj / KI3U

[3] Jazz drummer Grant Strombeck's website:

[4] The website of Tor Gjerde :

[5] in Gjerde's list of surviving Sami drums, see no. 15, 22, 25, 30, 33, 34, 38, 39, 40 :

[6] For commentary on helio-centrism in the Voynich Manuscript see
Journal of Voynich Studies communication #230 (Vol. II, 5 NOV 2008):
J.VS : Voynich Manuscript folios for heliocentric content evaluation; by Berj / KI3U


[8] "Lapponia" (1673) by Joannis Schefferi; google books.

[9] An excellent recent paper by Francis Joy :
" The History of Lapland and the case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures reversed "
Joy covers the history of Noaidi drum research from Scheffer on in some detail;
he explains the mistakes which have crept into Noaidi drum research from the beginning.

[10] "Our Friend Ethel Lilian Boole / Voynich ", 1957, by Evgeniya Taratuta; translated
from the Russian by Seamus O Coigligh with additional notes, 2008;

From: Berj N. Ensanian
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 4 MAR 2013 10:18 AM EST

J.VS : Just WHY is the Voynich the world's most mysterious manuscript?

Dear Colleagues

This morning's off-J discussions motivate me to record a couple of points here as a
communication, in the spirit of a re-visit of ground I've already covered here and there a
number of times over the years. While old hat to us, perhaps they can help serious Voynich

The Voynich Manuscript, dubbed an "elegant enigma" by Mary D'Imperio, has for a long time had
this reputation of being "the world's most mysterious manuscript". Why so? The reason is
rooted in the ongoing vexing difficulty to establish even the very basics of what this work
actually is, against the rather tremendous amount of information the book itself presents.
It would be somewhat like archeologists coming across an entire civilization complex, very well
preserved, but after a hundred years of extensive study still lacking significant agreement on
who the people of the civilization were, and what purpose their complex served.

And this artifact, the Voynich Manuscript, really does present a tremendous amount of
information from its physical construction on through the inked and painted text and graphics.
There are so vastly many details to observe and evaluate that it is a big problem in itself to
just first notice and catalog details, and second to assign them some degree of significance
or insignificance toward a solution of the mystery. Here's an example:

It has long been observed that some VMS text, notably toward the end of the book, appears to
have been scripted non-linearly, with one obvious possibility being that the scripting
procedure involved so much text going down the page initially, then followed by pieces of text
back into earlier sections already scripted, as if the later added text is functionally
dependent in some way on the final page-positioning of the earlier text, somewhat like an
iteration process. Needless to say such a scheme could considerably expand the time required
by the creator to create the page; and the amount of time the VMS creator spent rendering each
page is itself an important factor impacting on various theories about the VMS.

There are other inscrutable manuscripts out there, for example the Rohoncz, but look and look
at the Rohoncz (best online-available pictures of it), and aside the mystery of its writing
you just don't see details anything like you do in the Voynich, neither in the writing nor in
the illustrations. Lets consider a pretty good example of this point:

Consider Voynich folio f93r, often referred to as the "Sunflower folio". Left of center, and
running down pretty much the entire page, is a very noticable varying stain, as if some liquid
had "accidentally" spilled onto the page. But toward the bottom of the page where the stain
terminates a little above the folio's bottom edge, a close look reveals a dramatic detail.
Lets revisit this:

We go to the J.VS Library and open library deposit # 12-2007-10-12 [1] and retrieve these
blink-able images of the bottom end of the stain on VMS folio f93r:


If these jpegs are insufficient to make the point, then they certainly can be used as guides
to locate the matter on the tif images extracted from the Beinecke MS 408 SID's.

Now, what do we see? To me it's plain as day that there is an intentionally constructed face
at the end of this f93r stain. So basically we have 3 choices:

a.) deny the face is there at all (i.e. it's just the end of a stain)
b.) admit the face is there, but rule it an accident
c.) concede the face is not only definitely there, but was intentionally rendered

If Bob takes position a.) against Jane's position c.), then Bob is essentially, intentionally
or not, dismissing Jane's position with "Oh you're just seeing what you want to see. That's
just pareidolia."

But Jane is far more sophisticated than Bob gives her credit for, and points out to him that
he is guilty of his own charge: Bob is just not seeing what he does not want to see, and no
further fancy pseudo-intellectual buzzword for describing Bob's thinking is necessary.

And so position a.) leads to stalemate.

If Bob takes position b.) then the stalemate is broken, and discussion in the vein of the VMS
enigma, on this particular item of the f93r stain, can proceed. However, positions a.) and b.)
must also be invoked literally countless times across the VMS - the manuscript is filled with
these astonishing little enigmas, which must be denied outright in order to advance any VMS
theory which visualizes the manuscript's level of sophistication as relatively low.

As for me, there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that c.) is the truth. And this now blows
up the complications fantastically: the end of that stain with the face is VERY TINY!

How on earth was it done????????

It does appear to me that the face is actually a separate little stain, skillfully joined at
the end of the main stain. But nevertheless, how did he/she manage to get a detailed and
expressive face rendered with a stain, and then in such a small size? This, I assert, makes
for a major reason why optics, filters and lenses for sure, are in my view so crucially
relevant to understanding the mystery of the VMS [2].

To me, these kinds of things about the VMS are exactly what make it the unique enigma it is.
Both in various J.VS communications, and the J.VS Library, I have provided a great number of
examples of potential little enigmas for evaluation by the Voynich student. If the serious
student finds that even a fraction of these, and undoubtedly there are many more possibles
than just the ones I and others have provided, fit into the spirit of c.) above, then it will
be realized that the Voynich Manuscript truly deserves the appelation "the world's most
mysterious manuscript", and any serious theory seeking to explain the VMS is obliged to
earnestly address these unusual characteristics, and not sweep them under the proverbial
carpet of taboo.

Berj / KI3U


[2] for an examination of the power and quality of magnifying lens necessary to render some of
the micro details in the VMS, see:

Journal of Voynich Studies communication #185 (Vol. II, 20 APR 2008):
J.VS: Voynich steganography reference: f80v CATWOMAN's cat-face versus f1r Tepenece;
by Berj / KI3U

The "catwoman" image is also available in [1].

From: Berj N. Ensanian
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 6 MAR 2013 9:10 PM EST

J.VS : Calcite Navigation Sunstones and the crystal cube of Voynich f102v2

Dear Colleagues

From an article dated today, 6 MAR 2013, on the website:

" Shipwreck find could be legendary 'sunstone' "

" An oblong crystal found in the wreck of a 16th-century English warship is a sunstone, a
near-mythical navigational aid said to have been used by Viking mariners, researchers said on
Wednesday. "

" The stone is made of Iceland spar, a transparent, naturally-occurring calcite crystal that
polarises light and can get a bearing on the Sun, they said. "

" Sunstones, according to a theory first aired 45 years ago, helped the great Norse mariners to
navigate their way to Iceland and even perhaps as far as North America during the Viking heyday
of 900-1200 AD, way before the magnetic compass was introduced in Europe in the 13th century. "

" Using a transparent crystal similar to the original, the scientists were able to follow the
track of the setting Sun in poor light, with an accuracy of one degree. In a second experiment,
they were able to locate the Sun for 40 minutes after sunset. "

' How does the sunstone work? If you put a dot on top of the crystal and look at it from below,
two dots appear, because the light is "depolarised" and fractured along different axes. You
then rotate the crystal until the two points have exactly the same intensity or darkness. "At
that angle, the upward-facing surface of the crystal indicates the direction of the Sun,"
Ropars told AFP in an interview in 2011, when preliminary research about the Alderney stone was
published. '

On reading this there came to mind the blue-colored cube object on Voynich f102v2 which I've
previously discussed as suggesting to me a crystal. On f102v2 it is among the top row of
illustrated objects, the fourth from the folio's right-hand edge. Scripted above it is the
Voynich text-group GC-ohcos .

In previous discussion I had noted that the cube has a pair of "eyes". But now, reading the
above about two dots, it has me wondering if the f102v2 object may be a sunstone. I have no
idea if sunstones known at the time of the VMS's creation used the dot technique - a sunstone
can be used to track the sun as is, without a dot added atop the crystal.

What's more, what is particularly interesting about this possibility is that, once again, here
is something which suggests optics is of great importance in the Voynich Manuscript. Curiously,
the f102v2 cube (we note that it is not exactly a cube, but a parallelepiped) is painted blue,
and some calcites flouresce blue. There's even a bluish variety of calcite found in the U.S.
State of Maryland. Calcite deposits are associated with hot springs and volcanic areas - as we
know this too has Voynich manuscript resonances. Finally, to yet again mention my favorite
century for the Voynich, the 17th century, lets note that the Dutch scientist Christiaan
Huygens (1629-1695) appears to be the first European to extensively study the optical phenomena
of calcite.

Berj / KI3U

From: Berj N. Ensanian
To: Journal of Voynich Studies
Sent: 7 MAY 2013 2:08 PM EDT

J.VS : New Yorker hand-writes the King James Bible

Dear Colleagues

Here's an interesting article from BBC News online dated 6 MAY 2013:

" New York man handwrites King James Bible "

" A New York state man is finishing up his handwritten copy of the King James Bible after
four years and 2,400 pages. "

" The King James Bible is estimated to be 788,000 words, now all hand copied with a
felt-tip pen on watercolour paper by Mr Patterson. "

" While he initially toiled for up to 14 hours a day on the project, he now averages six to
eight hours a day. "

The Voynich Manuscript text is measured at roughly 35,000 groups or  "words".
A very simple comparison then:

(35000/788000)(48 months) = ~ 2.1 months to copy the VMS text by one scribe

Pretty much in the order-of-magnitude ballpark with previous Voynichland estimates.
But that's just copying the text only. The entire creation of the VMS would require much
more time obviously, and depend on its unknown levels of sophistication [1,2].

Berj / KI3U

[1] see:
Journal of Voynich Studies communication #380 (Vol. VI, 1 FEB 2012) :
J.VS: The Voynich Manuscript Mystery : What is it?, and Who did it?; by Berj / KI3U.

[2] see:
Journal of Voynich Studies communication #393 (Vol. VII, 4 MAR 2013) :
J.VS : Just WHY is the Voynich the world's most mysterious manuscript?; by Berj / KI3U