Hoaxing the Voynich Manuscript, part 8: The illustrations and script

By Gordon Rugg

In this series of articles, we’re imagining that you’ve gone back in time, and that you want to produce the Voynich Manuscript as a hoax to make money. We’re looking at the problems and decisions you’d face, and at the implications of various possible solutions.

This article is about how issues involved in producing illustrations and a script for the hoax.

When you produce images and a script with the intention of hoaxing, you have three human weaknesses working strongly in your favour. Two of them are fairly well known, but the third isn’t, and it shows up over and again in research carried out by people who think that the Voynich Manuscript is actually a simple problem. Those things are:

  • Pareidolia
  • Confirmation bias
  • The birthday problem

All of these problems are on show in a recent paper by Tucker & Talbert that featured in New Scientist and elsewhere this month. I’ll discuss it in brief within this article.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24987-mexican-plants-could-break-code-on-gibberish-manuscript.html#.UvAHA9X1REA

voynich collage

(Images courtesy of the Beinecke Library)

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