Home > f75r > Decryption of folio f75r using Letter Pair matching

Decryption of folio f75r using Letter Pair matching

Folio f75r from the Voynich "Balneological" Folios

Letter Pair Mapping with Two Nulls

Following an idea from Knox, where Voynich words are constructed from codes that represent plaintext letter pairs.

First Result

These results are from a Genetic Algorithm that uses a Latin dictionary to match 188 of the 353 VMs words on f75r. This is an unusually good score compared with what I am used to. The table below shows the relationship between plaintext Latin and Voynich characters.

Voynich: oe    hc    4c    29    8(    e9    ek    e8    92    n    i9    i2    bo    yo    a    89    hi    e2    y    s9    2k    2a    y8    p    K9    eo    2    g2    2o    ha    a&    h9    iy    1H    ai    ea    (    c8    V    1c    am    18    ih    &9    so    ii    H    82    ho    ko    Öc    ka    9    aK    k9    op    N    1K    y9    ya    o4    an    4o    2H    Kc    g1    c1    h1    ay    sa    8    m    ae    8a    s8    e1    9k    1s    98    kc    y1    9h    e    ap    1i    h    io    Vc    4    ok    ki    c9    o8    g8    H9    po    s2    o9    28    oy    cK    cg    eh    Ö    81    c    ch    1    k1    cc    cm    o    oh    go    co    1a    cH    Hc    g    k    h2    ik    Hs    b    K    s    2i    1h    i    19    4H    i8    2c    aN    &
Plain:               er    us    ti    re    en    tu    in    is    it    um    or    at    nt    ri    te    co    ra    ta    es    li    di    io    on    an    ar    de    pe    st    am    ro    la    su    ci    ic    pr    ni    ur    to    ce    qu    em    ns    si    ul    nd    iu    le    cu    ca    ru    as    ec    ia    se    mi    al    et    ae    ne    im    ve    vi    ba    il    ab    lu    os    sc    na    ct    me    ma    tr    do    un    ac    ol    mo    id    el    no    ll    ex    ss    nu    ie    po    pi    ue    lo    du    ed    ib    mu    sa    eb    bi    ge    ui    om    pa    ig    rt    bu    nc    ut    fi    ud    fe    eo    ep    mp    gi    pu    be    cr    da    ua    so    oc    ir    au    sp    ad    ub    fa    ng    pl    vo    rr    ag    uc    uo

The following is the complete Latin for f75r. (Words followed by an apostrophe signify valid words from the Latin dictionary.)

lunielosas epulas' vestra' uslunias verura agri'
mais agas re' sagino' vedonias toristra tonias atra'
vestis' puno getoas eras' stis agncas enim' stra ge
maon palleo' elulas colo' stno ri agas ge agas veterrpr
agelos toas cras' ra im ubrras veteit vero'
ilnias vesori unim tori' vestra' pl' anno' tori' vero'
sira toas vestdias iubeas' vestis' suas' conias epudri
veluri alas' an' veri' vestmi agib vestra' tori' scno
iuge' verura quas' agas vestis' suas' ri pilo' mori' donias
veterras vestis' as veterras ri vestno epos' agri' mara' tostio
sabeas' vestno as agas ra exit' agas ri agri' vero'
ilnias terras' veri' veri' veri' veri' vestis' agri'
scla me' teumas vestis' ri agri' vestis' suas' vestis' pios' meas'
scis' vestis' vepaulas scct tori' sino' ge agri' epquas vero'
iunias vestra' agnias no' ut' pestis' pl' epagri vestis' tori'
ilnios agilas coniosas mano' lino' us' leno' agri' vestio'
sino' agduas veno' agri' veno' piim pura' scra as
vesonias veno' agas vero' agas ieas vestis' os'
et' agas vera' toas dolo' an' olim' agas vect
neepim toas vota' ge ingira anra ll
duos' agas vestis' tori' ge caas stra tori' aera'
illo' solo' veteit vestno salo veno' tori' vestio'
vestis' teit vepaosas scis' toon anra
scis' vias' veterras us' ri veterras donias aeio
mais ag mais vere' mara' amas'

edmepera es' veia deos' agri' epmeri mara' pios' pinias ri orno'
finias ilnias veteit sino' mala' agon' veno' no' ubrras veterras andonias
mais fame' ri an' pace' epulri veno' mais toas veterras tori' verumi'
ve mais exemas veas vestis' toro vestno mais tori' epme agri' epos' se'
iunias veas suas' vestra' agri' toas vena' veti mano' ri
mpcoas mano' agri' vestis' mara' acri' agri' vestra' agri' tuas'
veteit no' agri' veno' toti' vestis' alnias ennias maatio
ad' ri epme mara' pias epos' pios' stis ri
vestis' ubocas vestis' mara' mara' agri' vestis' ri
sino' nias veterras veleas epos' pios' mara' mara' ri
veri' ri ubocas veri' veterras vequas anno'
venias' veterras veri' veri' venias' tuas'
innias veterras venias' terras' pilo' letuas
mara' agri' vestis' agri' mano' terras' ra agri'
siterras veterras piulri vero' ri terras' ta
iunias veri' veterras veueit veuerras mara'
innias tostra ri vestis' faos pios' ri
rtnias scis' epnias veri' pinias epri pios' pill ce ut' mara' ri
sanias vias' veas epnias scatno pias pinias vemori pinias epce
veas veri' ag veri' mais agri' nt cuno tori' os'

Here is the English translation of the above text, using the Google engine:

lunielosas a banquet to your uslunias verura of the field
maïs the thing you are doing STUFF vedonias toristra black tones
you were a garment puno getoas stis agncas for GE P ^ or
Elul, I worship the Pallium Maon RI stno you are doing you are doing veterrpr GE
Toast the rationale of agelos to morrow I’m ubrras but refuses to allow
ilnias vesori unim your marriage-bed couch in the year but the PL
Sira Toast vestdias their gowns with thee to give orders cones epudri
veluri of the true or the wings of your marriage-bed vestmi agib scno
the continual verura which you are doing their gowns with a pestle to die the gifts of RI
Earliest Earliest RI as a garment vestno tostio marl in the epic poem of the field
Saber vestno cometh out of the rationale of you are doing as you are doing but the RI of the field
ilnias of the true lands of the true garment of the field of truth of the true
scla me teumas RI garment of the field their gowns with my pious clothing
do you know a garment vepaulas marriage-bed allows GE holy man of the field, however epquas
June and to the lambs made to your plague of bed clothing epagri pl
ilnios their active U.S. coniosas frame with linen thread, a pimp dress of the field
of the field allows agduas hunt hunt piim as a pure scra
vesonias hunt you are doing you are doing but the mouth of the garment ieas
Toast true, and do it from grief or a lever you are doing in times past
Toast neepim vows GE ingira anra ll
you are doing two marriage-bed clothing caas ge P ^ or the air bed
that alone it is vestno refuses to allow the surge of marriage-bed dress hunt
do you know a garment teit vepaosas toon anra
do you know the ways of Earliest Earliest RI U.S. aeio gifts
ag maïs maïs you love truly marl in

edmepera you are the gods of the field veia epmeri marl in the pious ornament of the pine RI
refuses to allow the end of ilnias allows evil games were held at not hunt ubrras Earliest andonias
maïs peace or hunger, RI epulri hunt maïs Toast Earliest marriage-bed verumi
maïs veas or produced an example of a garment on a couch bed vestno maïs epme epic poem of the field itself
June veas their Toast of the field a vein of your frame is forbidden to confer RI
mpcoas marl in the frame of the field a sharp dress of the field of the field your your
prohibits the hunt of the field not to the whole garment maatio alders in Ennis
RI epme to the marl in the epic poem, listen to her pious pious stis RI
ubocas garment garment garment marl in the marl in the RI of the field
nias allows Earliest let her cover her epic poem, the pious marl in marl in RI
RI of the true ubocas in the year of the true Earliest vequas
oh come oh come Earliest of truth of truth thy
Earliest rely on the hair and the lands of the bidding, joyfully oh come
marl in the garment of the field of the field frame the rationale of the lands of the field
Earliest siterras piulri RI But the lands of ta
June of the true Earliest veueit veuerras marl in
RI tostra rely on the garment the pious faos RI
do you know of the true rtnias epnias epri of the pine as the pious pill ce marl in RI
ways to the sound pious veas epnias scatno Pini Pini vemori epce
veas of the true ag nt of the field of the true maïs cuno the mouth of the marriage-bed

Second Result

214/353 words matched

Voynich: oe	hc	ii	K9	2H	ho	2o	e2	o8	89	ha	o	n	iy	4H	ko	ae	c9	&	i9	e9	g	h2	e1	kc	op	1h	82	c8	an	8a	9	p	g1	h	o4	i	eh	cc	hi	K	eo	y	cm	am	c1	ai	18	i8	a&	Hc	a	e	aN	ih	e8	ap	1i	y9	H9	19	4o	ya	1c	Öc	aK	oh	28	1	i2	io	b	2c	Vc	4	oy	1s	2k	k1	h9	ok	&9	8(	ka	s	h1	s8	cK	ek	bo	s9	s2	1H	y1	9k	g8	go	81	ki	1K	8	o9	98	ik	po	N	y8	sa	cg	c	92	ay	ch	2	k	1a	9h	so	H	m	Hs	Kc	yo	4c	2a	g2	Ö	2i	k9	29	cH	co	V	ea	(

Plain:   		er	us	ti	re	en	tu	in	is	it	um	or	at	nt	ri	te	co	ra	ta	es	li	di	io	on	an	ar	de	pe	st	am	ro	la	su	ci	ic	pr	ni	ur	to	ce	qu	em	ns	si	ul	nd	iu	le	cu	ca	ru	as	ec	ia	se	mi	al	et	ae	ne	im	ve	vi	ba	il	ab	lu	os	sc	na	ct	me	ma	tr	do	un	ac	ol	mo	id	el	no	ll	ex	ss	nu	ie	po	pi	ue	lo	du	ed	ib	mu	sa	eb	bi	ge	ui	om	pa	ig	rt	bu	nc	ut	fi	ud	fe	eo	ep	mp	gi	pu	be	cr	da	ua	so	oc	ir	au	sp	ad	ub	fa	ng	pl	vo	rr	ag	uc	uo

sspebeeoro aberro’ imitem plsspero imllem meis’

amor’ mero’ es’ lorras imiopero viisitem vipero irem’

imitor’ puas doviro auro’ itor meepro post’ item’ do’

amus nimium’ beerro tuco itas is’ mero’ do’ mero’ imtoleuo

mebeeo viro’ caro’ em st’ falero imtota immo’

suco’ tonaem mo amem’ abco imitor’ gero’ imtolero immo’

supero’ imdiis ibst viis’ imitem ne’ quas’ viis’ immo’

crem viro’ imitncro devoro’ imitor’ duro’ tupero aburis

imssis gero’ qu imis’ imitbu meae’ imitem viis’ utas

dedo’ imllem iuro’ mero’ imitor’ duro’ is’ idco onis’ iopero

imtolero imitor’ ro imtolero is’ imitas abeo’ meis’ amem’ viitla

lovoro imitas ro mero’ em alta’ mero’ is’ meis’ immo’

supero’ tolero’ imis’ imis’ imis’ imis’ imitor’ meis’

utat te’ toscro imitor’ is’ meis’ imitor’ duro’ imitor’ ideo’ tero’

utor’ imitor’ imnierro utua viis’ cras’ do’ meis’ abiuro’ immo’

depero imitem mepero as os’ enitor’ ne’ abmeis imitor’ viis’

supeeo mesuro tupeeoro amas’ spas pl’ reas meis’ imitla

cras’ meinro imas meis’ imas idst puem utem ro

imdipero imas mero’ immo’ mero’ maro’ imitor’ eo’

et’ mero’ imem viro’ ioco’ qu past’ mero’ imua

icabst viro’ ntue do’ ferrem’ quem’ mi’

ineo’ mero’ imitor’ viis’ do’ baro’ item’ viis’ veem

suco’ dico’ imtota imitas loco’ imas viis’ imitla

imitor’ tota’ imnieoro utor’ vius quem’

utor’ tiro’ imtolero pl’ is’ imtolero iopero vela’

amor’ me’ amor’ imes amem’ curo’

muteenem ac’ imng adeo’ meis’ abteis amem’ ideo’ idpero is’ pias

olpero supero’ imtota cras’ amat’ meus’ imas as falero imtolero quiopero

amor’ arte’ is’ qu nisi’ aberis imas amor’ viro’ imtolero viis’ imllbu

im amor’ aliaro imro imitor’ vimo imitas amor’ viis’ abte meis’ abeo’ an’

depero imro duro’ imitem meis’ viro’ imui imno amas’ is’

saturo’ amas’ meis’ imitor’ amem’ unis’ meis’ imitem meis’ sero’

imtota as meis’ imas vino’ imitor’ gepero popero amirla

ex’ is’ abte amem’ idro abeo’ ideo’ itor is’

imitor’ faigro imitor’ amem’ amem’ meis’ imitor’ is’

cras’ pero imtolero imrero abeo’ ideo’ amem’ amem’ is’

imis’ is’ faigro imis’ imtolero imiuro quas’

impero’ imtolero imis’ imis’ impero’ sero’

fepero imtolero impero’ tolero’ idco resero’

amem’ meis’ imitor’ meis’ amas’ tolero’ em meis’

crtolero imtolero ideris immo’ is’ tolero’ ue

depero imis’ imtolero imbita imbilero amem’

fepero viitem is’ imitor’ areo ideo’ is’

ebpero utor’ abpero imis’ idpero abis ideo’ idmi si’ os’ amem’ is’

lopero tiro’ imro abpero utiras idro idpero imonis idpero absi

imro imis’ me’ imis’ amor’ meis’ ru rias viis’ eo’

Google Latin translation:

LOSE ONE’S WAY sspebeeoro imitate the plsspero my imllem
the love of art with wine, a viper, lorras imiopero viisitem I should go
I imitate gold puas doviro itor after the meepro Also I give
Let us beerro tuco nor its matter too much with wine, I give it with wine, imtoleuo
the flesh of a man mebeeo trappings in exchange st em or rather imtota
I love it thunders with the juice of MO abco because I imitate or rather I bear imtolero
the Upper imdiis ibst imitate the ways of the ways of the nay, lest the
crema imitncro BEAR WITH PATIENCE I imitate her husband hard tupero aburis
imssis which I bear the bottom of my imitbu imitate the ways of the utas
imllem with wine, I swear to surrender to you because I imitate it hard idco iopero onis
imtolero because I imitate it in imitation of ro imtolero I left ’em that I love my viitla
lovoro imitation of their ro em high with wine, with wine, he or rather my
tolerate the lowest bottom of the upper bottom of the bottom because I imitate my
utat toscro you because I imitate it because I imitate my hard for that reason because I imitate Walter
to use because I imitate the ways of imnierro utua to morrow or rather I give my DENY BY OATH
lost to imitate the mepero as the mouth of the abmeis MAKE A GREAT EFFORT not to imitate the ways of
supeeo mesuro tupeeoro you love pl Spas charge my imitla
meinro the bottom of my tomorrow, the lowest idst puem Moreover the ro
imdipero with wine, or rather the bottom of the wine because I imitate him marum
imem and mere man as a joke with wine, which the past imua
icabst ntue her husband, whom I give, my bear
to enter the wine I give because I imitate the ways of the ways of Baron item veem
with the juice of the place, I say to imtota in imitation of the ways of the bottom of the imitla
I imitate the whole imnieoro to use the remarks which the
a raw recruit to use the PL imtolero it sails imtolero iopero
imes the love of me all love I love I do not care
muteenem imng so much so, and I love my Abtei for that reason he listen to her pious idpero
olpero the Upper imtota to morrow as he loves my the bottom of the trappings in exchange imtolero quiopero
the love of the art of which he will be absent unless the bottom of the ways the love of her husband imtolero imllbu
I’m the love of the other because I imitate imro vimo in imitation of the love of my ways, I left ’em or Abtei
imro goes when my hard imitate the man you love it imui imno
do you love when sufficiently fed with single I love because I imitate my my my imitate the late
imtota the bottom of my wine as I imitate gepero popero amirla
one of them disappeared in a puff idro Abtei I love it for that reason itor
I imitate faigro I love my love because I imitate it because I imitate
their steps to morrow I left ’em imtolero imrero I love it for that reason that I love
bottom of the bottom it faigro imtolero which imiuro
I command to the bottom imtolero too late, I command to the bottom
fepero imtolero idco UNLOCK command to tolerate
I love because I imitate my my my you love em tolerate
crtolero imtolero ideris tolerate it or rather electronic resource
lost to the bottom I love imtolero imbita imbilero
fepero viitem it for that reason it because I imitate BE DRY
ebpero to use the bottom of abpero idpero idmi do you go for that reason I love it if the mouth
a raw recruit to lopero imro abpero utiras idro idpero imonis idpero God forbid
imro me, the bottom the bottom the love of my ru him the ways of Azariah the

Categories: f75r
  1. garlok
    November 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Very good. I understand some pictures from the manuscript and i see you are on the way. I’m sure.

  2. Vytautas
    December 22, 2010 at 6:20 am

    Interesting results, but I see old problem: any method which is applied to VMS text gives for us something with para-meaning, but always about different things 🙂 Games with standard science methods IMHO are worthless – this is NOT one layer cipher IMHO… Why not to look into salt and pepper paradigm ? 🙂

    Best regards,

    • JB
      December 22, 2010 at 8:53 am

      You may well be correct, Vytautas – thanks for the comment.

      What is the “salt and pepper paradigm”?

      • Vytautas
        December 26, 2010 at 10:41 pm

        Hi, Julian,
        “salt and pepper paradigm” – it is a bit humor, a bit idea 🙂 First mention of this subject is in Robert Firth’s rant “Voynich dream”. Another mention about this is drawings of the VMS – there are some drawings with subject IMHO. So I think this paradigm is worth of dicussion: what it means ? I remain with idea about two level cipher (salt and pepper may be symbols of levels). This is my pure speculation, don’t treat it too serious 🙂 Happy New Year!

  3. garlok
    January 28, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Hi Julian!

    At first sorry for my bad english…

    Words we use are metonymies. The translation gives a metaphoric text every time. The pictures of VM – except plant pictures – according to the text are metaphores too. I think the writer of VM don’t knows the root meaning or he knows partly. The signs and their corresponding vocalisations based on an ancient technology and phylosophy. I study this for many years.

    When i saw first time the big picture with bridges and castles i felt “yesss, it is!”. This is the greatest picture i ever seen. At this time the VM is the most important key to understand the born of our languages. For the translation you need to analyse more languges. For instance icelandic and hungarian are very good for collating.

    I have found a complete root system behind our symbolism. If you think we can talk about this in private mail.


  4. October 8, 2011 at 6:39 am

    Dear Knox,
    My name is Stefan and I have been observing the various blogs about the VMS for years, including yours. I was more of a lurker though, but I have actively developed theories myself, most of which revolve about the language, the script, the cipher, encoding a.s.o., and not so much about the drawings because I find it obvious that the author put much more effort into the quite meticulously done writing than into the sloppy drawings. Hence, that is why I focus on the text.
    I would like to apologize for the lengthiness of this posting. I hope you can stick with me all the way through it..
    When you published this blog article in October 2010 I read it with great interest. At first sight, when looking at your results, I had the impression that the outcome was mostly gibberish and I dismissed your approach, as did one of the commentators. But later on, I took the time to analyze the results in more depth and observed a few things I wanted to share with you. I imagine that you are aware of these things, but in case you are not, then this might be of interest to you. I have to admit that I am still not 100% sure I understood exactly how you applied the digraph substitution using your algorithm, but nevertheless I hope my thoughts apply to it correctly.
    Why do I think a digraph substitution could be at work in the VMS? I did put myself mentally in the shoes of a possible author/scribe and/or copyist of the 15th century who was facing the problem of having to conceal a most likely medicinal-alchemical-astrological/astronomical text (which was perhaps based on, or even a copy of, a well-known older scripture) in a simple, efficient and yet reasonably safe way. I always was of the opinion that the VMS was a practical book, one that contained knowledge that could be applied in practical contexts, a book that was carried along by its owner and was updated little by little, and was not buried in some papal archive or monastery library. So, an overly complex cipher method would not have made sense. Rather, I believe that the author was looking for something practical, allowing for decipherment on-the-fly, without the need of a big nomenclature or code list or sets of cipher discs– both of which are great for black chamber scribes but not for general usage, since they are not handy and can be lost or stolen. This made me pursue the idea that the cipher may be based on a simple digraph substitution as you proposed. I am not aware of any such example from that time, but it is not inconceivable. But the step from letter by letter to digraph substitution does not appear to be too great of an intellectual leap, while the shift from monoalphabetic to polyalphabetic seems more challenging to me. But I believe many agree that polyalphabetic substitution is not at work in case of the VMS. To cut this short: if the text that needed to be encrypted contained many well-known signs, symbols and therefore familiar textual elements (words, prepositions, phrases, names a.s.o), a simple monoalphabetic letter by letter substitution would not be safe enough. A digraph substitution would certainly have done a better job at concealing things, but it still would offer enough cipher cribs to a potential decipherer, since certain frequent freestanding words like « est », « et », « quod » a.s.o. could be identified and eventually be deciphered – something we have not been able to achieve in VMS research, as far as I know. So, I believe the encipherer has built-in an additional step besides digraph substitution: namely obfuscation of word integrity. This could be done by shuffling letters/anagramming and inserting nulls, as has been proposed by others. But the already limited character set of Voynichese leaves little room for null characters, in my opinion. Unless, of course, the nulls themselves are digraphs made up by otherwise « valid » letters – just the way you did it in your work.

    Considering all of this, I find your approach to identify digraph substitutions, run a self-optimizing algorithm and match the deciphered text against a contemporary Latin dictionary of the era (assuming the plaintext is Latin) makes a lot of sense. You used a genetic algorithm to do so. Since I am not an expert in that field, it is not entirely clear to me how that works and what kind of tools you use.
    But let me get to the point I want to make: as far as the actual outcomes of your letter pairing analysis are concerned, if the hypothesis of a simple digraph substitution were true, then a self-optimizing algorithm should yield a very good match with the (correct) dictionary at some point, and eventually help decipher the text. As can be seen from your work, you reached about 50%, and I think that is a good figure. But what I overlooked at first but struck me later is that your second run produced more „gibberish“-like output, even though the matching rate with the Latin dictionary is considerably higher than in the first run. I was expecting the opposite to happen. So I started pondering the question why this could be. (Side note: Of course, one could always argue that the plaintext language is not Latin – in which case one might want to test your genetic algorithm with dictionaries of other languages – or that the approach itself is flawed all along, and therefore the outcomes are random, but I want to stick to the assumption it’s not for the sake of my argument).
    I went over your first run again and analyzed the outcome. Two things became clear after some consideration:
    a) The output text from your first run, when analyzed for metrics and internal structure, clearly reveals to me that the text is meaningful, non-random, somewhat repetitive as we all know, but actually (and that I find interesting) showing clear signs of metrics, like in a poem or song or incantation – or a scientific text where frequent enumeration and referencing among textual elements contribute to the emergence of structure. Some of that „structure“-effect may be attributed to the rigid digraph substitution method you used, but certainly not all of it.
    b) More importantly, I don’t think it is accidental that many Latin words (or parts of words, I should say) that you produced in the first run of your algorithm relate closely to the kind of content and vocabulary I’d expect the VMS to likely exhibit: i.e. medicinal, chemical, alchemical, astrological. But then why is it that your second run, yielding even better results when matched against the Latin dictionary, produces clearly less such vocabulary, in fact it produces more gibberish? Should it not have yielded better results (i.e. less gibberish, but more coherent and topic-related textual elements than the first run?) This question lingered in the back of my head for over half a year, and I now have a possible explanation for it and I’d be very interested to know what you think about it :

    What if the encipherer not only used a simple digraph substitution (with or without additional null digraphs to obfuscate word lengths) but also – in addition to it – used a simple method of unambiguous letter shifting? I propose that the encipherer simply cut off the first letter (or digraph or syllable) of a word, attaching it to the end of the previous word and THEN applied the digraph substitution. This method of „shifting“ sideways one letter even makes additional nulls unnecessary as the textual change due to this simple transformation is quite dramatic.

    This is an example: Plaintext:
    quod est inferius est sicut quod est superius

    Resulting text after transformation (shifting 1 letter to the left):
    quode sti nferiuse sts icutq uode sts uperius

    Now let me ask the key question again: Why do I think this could explain that your second, better-matching algorithm run, yielded worse output?

    Well, the line of reasoning is this: IF the original plaintext had undergone a simple digraph substitution (with or without nulls), then a genetic algorithm would necessarily have to produce better and better matches and eventually get us close to decryption (if I don’t mistake you, then that’s basically your underlying assumption, right?). But assuming that the plaintext word length was altered by shuffling letters (i.e. by simple shift of a letter as I proposed above), THEN this would mean that your genetic algorithm operated on the „wrong“ text from the very beginning – namely on the slightly transformed version. Using the Latin example from above: your digraph substitution algorithm did not run on « quod est inferius est sicut quod est superius » but on « quode sti nferiuse sts icutq uode sts uperius ».
    Resulting from this, it seems perfectly possible to me that your 2nd genetic algorithm run could produce a higher dictionary match rate while putting out more syntactical gibberish than the first run, which matched fewer Latin words, but yielded more syntactically meaningful text i.e. meaningful text bits/parts of words (in a non-stringent linguistic sense, of course). Therefore, as a conclusion of this line of reasoning, one could now imagine running your genetic algorithm again over the same text (f75r) but by first trying to reverse the letter shifting transformation proposed by me. IF your algorithm then produces better matching outcomes (in terms of both dictionary match AND syntactical meaningfulness), could we (IMHO) interpret this as a clear sign that we are on the right track as far as the cipher method is concerned.
    It is this particular point I am interested to hear your opinion about.
    I know that what I am trying to explain is not trivial. If you need more clarification, please let me know.

    Or maybe, after all, I got it totally wrong and there is a completely different and more probable explanation for the curious results of your 1st and 2nd run letter pairing analysis?

    Anyway, I am looking forward to your answer
    Thanks, Stefan

  5. JB
    October 8, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Hi Stefan,

    Thanks very much for this interesting comment. I am not “Knox”, by the way – he is another VMS researcher who has his own blog, and is active on the VMS mailing list (which I assume you are a member of?).

    I need to think more about your idea of a letter shift as an method of obfuscating the cipher – it would certainly be quite easy to run the genetic algorithm with this step included.

    When I have considered it some more, I will comment further.


  6. October 8, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Hello Julian, sorry about the name confusion 🙂
    Yes, I am also a very active reader of the VMS Mailing list (I refer to the Voynichmonkeys message board). But no, I am not a memeber yet, as I didn’t have to say much myself. When that will become the case; I’ll certainly subscribe

    I am looking forward to your feedback.

    Thanks & Kind regards

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