2. The Voynich Manuscript
The Voynich manuscript has been called “the book that no one can read” by Dictionary.com, and for a very good reason: Like a few others on this list, absolutely no one can read it. “Idioglossia” is a term for a private language intended for only a few people to decipher, and such languages have been around since ancient times, up through occult history, and even are employed every day today in the modern prison system, where inmates have to speak in code to one another in hopes that their messages cannot be broken. This manuscript contains its own writing system that is totally unrelated to any known today.
The Voynich manuscript is believed to have been written in the 15th or 16th centuries, making it another old work with weird, obscure origins which has found its way into our hands in modern times. Its author is unknown. A bookseller named Wilfrid Voynich purchased the book in 1912, hence the name, but the rest of its origins are extremely difficult to trace. The work is rife with illustrations detailing many, many different things. Some of its pages hint at astrology, with Zodiac symbols, moons, suns, and other celestial bodies, while others seem to be a very rudimentary sort of botany or chemistry, with plants and fruits in various elaborate jars, perhaps suggesting a book of early medicine.
Theories galore have come up about the possible origins of the mysterious book, and all of them have been shot down, failing miserably. It has been carbon-dated, which tells us that the material it is written on is likely from the 1400s, but since then, scholars, cryptologists, and linguists alike have all failed to explain the origins and meaning of the book. It is believed that the manuscript was likely once owned by the Holy Roman emperor Rudolf II, and what is known for certain is that one of the pages have been inscribed with the emperor’s court pharmacist and chemist’s name, a man named Jacobus Horcicky de Tepenec. This signature could only be detected by ultraviolet light and is invisible to the naked human eye. The Voynich manuscript is a truly modern mystery, a book possibly full of a seemingly impenetrable meaning which has been eroded by the sands of time.