10 Absolutely Bizarre Books And Their Histories

6. The Rohonc Codex

The Rohonc Codex is almost wholly indecipherable, in every literal sense of the word. Since it surfaced in the 19th century, it has been studied by scholars, linguists, and code-breakers, and yet, not a single word of it has been decoded or is even decipherable as actually a word that stems from any known language. This isn’t an ancient work from a culture whose history was shared by many and has been lost to time; this is a work written with the intention of obscurity and coded meaning—and no one can figure it out. This means that its authors went to great lengths to encrypt it with a code that even the greatest attempts from brilliant minds can’t figure out. It’s a deep, dark, mysterious puzzle.

This beautifully illustrated work’s history is masked in historical obscurity, the trail of its origins largely lost to time. Its first presumed historical appearance is from 1743, in the Rohonc Library in Hungary. While the work is definitely not Hungarian or a derivative thereof, it’s believed to have been a prayer book owned by someone Hungarian at some point. Its first appearance for certain comes in 1838, when a Hungarian living in England donated his entire library to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

It’s like what ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics were to us before the Rosetta Stone came along. Attempts at translating the Rohonc Codex into a modern language were made by the Hungarians starting in 1840, then again in 1884 and 1890, and all have failed completely.[5] This is truly one of the most mysterious works of literature in the world, and while some think the whole thing is an elaborate hoax, many believe it to be genuine. Maybe one day, we’ll crack the code and shed some light on its contents.

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