Hoaxing the Voynich Manuscript, part 7: Producing the text

By Gordon Rugg

The six previous articles in this series looked at the component parts of a hoax. This article shows how those components can be put together, to produce  the text for a large document consisting of meaningless gibberish. This process is much the same regardless of which script you use for that gibberish, and regardless of which illustrations you use. The script and illustration issues are discussed in article 8, which I’ve already published

There are a few key points about this hoaxing process that are absolutely central to understanding why it gives new insights into Voynich Manuscript research. These points are:

  • This process  isn’t random.
  • This process isn’t deterministic – there isn’t an algorithm that would let a future researcher reproduce the text within a given page using the same table and grille.
  • This process produces numerous complex statistical regularities in the output text as completely unintended side-effects of a very simple production process.

This method is fast and easy to use. You can generate meaningless gibberish text as fast as you can write it down. I’ve produced quasi-copies of various pages from the Voynich Manuscript, where I’ve copied the original illustration, and generated the appropriate amount of meaningless gibberish text to match the amount of text in the original page. It consistently took about an hour and a half per page. More time spent on text within a page was balanced by less time spent on illustration and vice-versa, so each page took about the same time regardless of whether it was mainly text, mainly picture or a mixture.

At that rate, one person working alone could produce a document as long as the Voynich Manuscript (about 240 pages) in under ten weeks.

Here’s how the method works.

Continue reading