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National Geographic explores the mystery of the Voynich Manuscript – an ancient tome discovered by chance in 1912 by the book dealer Wilfrid Voynich. This documentary explores the great lengths that have gone into trying to decipher the manuscript, which was written in cipher during the 17th century.

The book itself has many illustrations of plants and seems to be a scientific study into herbology. However, further research has shown that certain illustrations can be made to ‘move’ by spinning the book around, thus giving researchers the impression that it could have been an attempt to record alchemical knowledge. This, along with the astronomical, cosmological and pharmaceutical images has led many to associate the text with many ancient European doctors who were famed throughout history to have worked ‘miracles’ with their potions.

Many codebreakers and cryptographers have tried to crack the ciphers used in the book, including those from WWI and WWII; however the Voynich manuscript still remains one of the most mysterious books of all time.

Is the Voynich manuscript real, or a hoax? I guess we won’t know for a long time yet!