The Voynich manuscript, described as "the world's most mysterious manuscript", is a work which dates to the early 15th century (1404–1438), possibly from northern Italy. It is named after the book dealer Wilfrid Voynich, who purchased it in 1912, from the Villa Mondragone.
Some pages are missing, but the current version comprises about 240 vellum pages, most with illustrations. Much of the manuscript resembles herbal manuscripts of the 1500s, seeming to present illustrations and information about plants and their possible uses for medical purposes. However, most of the plants do not match known species, and the manuscript's script and language remain unknown and unreadable. Possibly some form of encrypted ciphertext, the Voynich manuscript has been studied by many professional and amateur cryptographers, including American and British codebreakers from both World War I and World War II. As yet, it has defied all decipherment attempts, becoming a famous case of historical cryptology. The mystery surrounding it has excited the popular imagination, making the manuscript a subject of both fanciful theories and novels. None of the many speculative solutions proposed over the last hundred years has yet been independently verified.
In his will Wilfrid Voynich provided that the VM could be sold to any public institution for $100 000, but could never go to a private collector at any price (quoted in Nottingham Evening Post 21 March 1930).
The Voynich manuscript was donated to Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in 1969, where it is catalogued under call number MS 408 and called a "Cipher Manuscript". The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library pdf of the manuscript is here .
There are many books, TV programs and websites covering the VM; theories as to what it is that it is written in a Constructed script.
The various attempts to translate it, most of which do no more than provide ideas for a few words.