Top 10 Mysterious Text and Codes

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Throughout recorded history humans have used language to share its secrets with the next generations. In some cases however the books, manuscripts, or engraving are stored so effectively that the world changes drastically before the information comes to light. Cultures transform, rulers play musical chairs, and sometimes even whole languages are lost or forgotten. In some cases the written languages are simply lost to the momentum of progress, in others the meanings are obscured by elaborate codes or ciphers that never get ‘cracked.’ This list details the top ten most intriguing, mysterious texts, manuscripts, and engraving that have come to light from the past to apparently baffle us for eternity.

10. The Necronomicon


The Necronomicon makes the top ten list due to its insistent popularity and world famous reputation. It takes the last spot on the list because, for all intents and purposes, no true Necronomicon exists. Horror novelist H. P. Lovecraft first referred to The Necronomicon in his original short story The Hound (1924). The Necronomicon is also described a in The Dunwich Horror where an “unabridged” version of the Necronomicon shows up in the fictional Miskatonic University library (1929). The alleged author was the “Mad Arab” Abdul Alhazred. According to Lovcraft the Necronomicon details the history of the ‘Old Ones,’ as well as offering the means to summon them. Stories claim the book is an extremely dangerous and powerful book. Subsequent authors like August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith have also referred to the fictional Necronomicon in their works. It is commonly portrayed as bound in leather and having metal clasps. So many readers believed the Necronomicon was a real work booksellers and librarians fielded countless requests for it. Pranksters have listed it in catalogues of rare books. One Yale student went so far as to create a card catalog entry for it. Since Lovecraft’s death publishers have exploited the book’s notoriety and have printed many works called ‘Necronomicon.’ In 1973 a limited edition of 348 copies of a text called ‘Necronomicon’ were printed in an invented indecipherable language called ‘Duriac.’ Books called ‘The Necronomicon’ discovered in second hand bookstores inevitably refer to a fictional version of a ‘Necronomicon’ assembled by some ambitions Lovecraft fans back in the 1970s.

9. The Emerald Tablet of Hermes


The next most mysterious entry is the Emerald Tablet of Hermes. Experts consider the Tablet one of the oldest alchemical writing that has survived. Greeks and Egyptians used the word translated as `emerald’ to describe any or all green gems or stones. The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus is considered the single most fundamental writing about alchemy and the occult. The famous Corpus Hermeticum is also attributed to Hermes Trismegistus as well. Alchemy is the Medieval predecessor of chemistry, that attempted to turn mundane metals into gold or find the elixir of life. Alchemy is called the “hermetic art” after its founder, Hermes Trismegistus. Allegedly crafted by an ancient Egyptian sage, the Tablet proclaims 13 edicts explaining the nature and origin of the universe as well as man’s role as the conjunction of macrocosm and microcosm.

8. The Zodiac 340 Letter


Zodiac killer letter referred to as the 340 for the number of symbols it contains In the late 1960s the Zodiac serial killer terrorized Northern California. During his strangle hold on the public imagination the Zodiac killer sent coded messages to local newspapers. The first cipher was sent to different newspapers in three parts which when formed a 408-letter code that took experts a week to decipher. On November 8, 1969, Zodiac sent his second 340-letter coded message to the San Francisco Chronicle. Code-breakers have attempted to solve the Z340 for the past forty years and has been investigated from multiple perspectives. The message still remains unsolved due to the complexity of the cipher. All of methods have failed to deliver any meaningful success earning this document special mysterious status even among expert code-breakers.

7. The Beale Papers


The story of the Beale papers originates in a dime novel by John W. Sherman, a newspaper editor from Virginia. The Beale Papers contain a set of three numerical codes or three cipher texts. Sherman claims to have been the one to break the coded paper titled “No.2” by converting the numbers to the first letter of the corresponding word in the Declaration of Independence. Allegedly Thomas Beale and his companions set out for New Mexico and unexpectedly stumbled across a cache of gold and silver. They cross country trips burying the treasure in Bedford County, Virginia. Before departing they left three encrypted messages with an innkeeper named Morriss saying if they didn’t return in 10 years, Morriss was to open the box and follow the instructions. Even though Beale and his party were never heard from again Morriss waited 23 years before opening the box only to discover the coded messages. Without the key Morriss couldn’t decipher the long lists of numbers. Morriss passed the box on to a friend who successfully deciphered one document that detailed the treasure’s contents using technique called a book cipher. Beale used a version of the Declaration of Independence as the key for his second message but no one has been able to determine what was used to code the other two. After decades of failed attempts to decipher the two remaining messages the papers were deemed to be a hoax. Numerous professional analyses suggest that the person who wrote The Beale Papers also wrote Beale’s letters, casts doubt on the authenticity of both.

6. The Sarajevo Haggadah


A Haggadah is a Jewish collection of bible stories, prayers, and psalms related to an important Jewish holiday; Pesah. The Sarajevo Haggadah was written in Spain around 1314 and is one of the most valuable such books in the world. Ten years ago experts valued it at seven hundred million US dollars. What makes the Sarajevo Haggadah astonishing and unique is the fact that it was created in the middle of the 14th century, the golden age of Spain. The book mysteriously arrived in Bosnia in 1492, the eighteenth year after the expulsion of Jews from Spain sanctuary in the “European Jerusalem;” Sarajevo. A note with the text dated 1609, states that the book does not speak against the Church. Historians presume this seal of approval by a Catholic cleric saved it from being burned during the Spanish Inquisition. The Haggadah was one of the first objects of value the Germans demanded after entering Sarajevo in 1941. After the 1945 liberation the Haggadah reappeared in the National Museum.

5. The Rohonc Codex


The Rohonc Codex resembles Old Hungarian script as it is written right to left and displays have a similar mix of straight, rune-like, and rounded characters. The document can be firmly dated to 1838 when Count Batthyány donated it to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The Codex appears to be of medieval origin. The apparently hand-written script is undecipherable and the black-and-white illustrations are considered fairly crude. Code breakers have determined that the Rohonc Codex has over two hundred symbols along with the forty-two letters it contains non-alphabetic symbols that could represent common names or words. There are also a number of characters used only rarely. The only definite thing known about the codex is that the paper on which it’s written has a well known Venetian watermark from the period of 1529-1540. This was a surprise considering the writing and artwork appeared to pre-date 1000 AD. There is always the possibility that the codex is a copy of an older document made in the16th century. The Rohonc Codex has not been deciphered nor is its origin deducible making it number five on the mysterious manuscript top ten.

4. La Très Sainte Trinosophie


‘La Très Sainte Trinosophie’ or The Most Holy Three-fold Wisdom from the latter half of the 18th century has been called “the rarest of occult manuscripts.” The only surviving copy is in the library in Troyes, France. ‘Trinsophie’ is a book of alchemy and Egyptian ritual magical containing Arabic, Chaldean, and hieroglyphs within the French writing. ‘Trinsophie’ is an important codex in Masonic, Rosicrucian and hermetic traditions which was believed to be created by the hands of legendary mystic the Count St. Germaine. St. Germaine was a reputed mystic popular among the royalty of Europe in the mid 1700s. Superstitious Parisians believed he was Cartaphilus, the Wandering Jew who had was present at the trial of Jesus of Nazareth. When Jesus halted for a moment on his way to Cavalry Cartaphilus stepped out of the crowd to hurry Jesus. Jesus allegedly told Cartaphilus he would Jesus’s return and therefore Cartaphilus lives as an immortal, waiting. He has also been associated with Anton Mesmer the inventor of Hypnotism, Peter III of Russia, Annie Besant and theosophist Madame Blavatsky.

3. The Copper Scroll


The Copper Scroll was found in a Cave at Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea in 1952. It was discovered by archaeologists. In the text was incised on thin sheets of copper that were joined together. When it was discovered the rolled document was heavily oxidized and far too brittle to unroll. It took scholars years to open the scroll. When it was deciphered the scroll turned out to be a list of buried treasure. The Copper Scroll treasure consists of gold and silver, as well as coins and vessels. It is impossible to estimate what this ancient horde might be valued at today. In 1960 it was estimated that it would top $1,000,000 U.S. The text is in ancient Hebrew but the words it uses are not found in the Bible or anywhere else from ancient times. Some of the geographical locations noted refer to places that no longer exist. Some suggest the Copper Scroll is a work of fiction because even if the alleged treasure did exist there is still no information about where it came from or who it belonged to. Some believe the scrolls refer to Temple treasure hidden before the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 C.E. Others believe the treasure belonged to the Essene sect that lived at Qumran. These are no more than educated guesses what really happened to the treasure we may never know.

2. The Voynich Manuscript


The Voynich surfaced at the court of emperor Rudolf II of Bohemia (1552-1612). An attached letter claims he bought it for 600 gold ducats some time between 1608 and 1622. It has long been considered ‘The Most Mysterious Manuscript in the World’. According to the calligraphy, drawings, paper, and pigments it is estimated the manuscript was created in the late 13th century. The manuscript is small but has nearly 235 pages. It is written in an unknown script of which there is no known other instance in the world. The text is written in an enciphered script, and illustrated with colored drawings of: unidentifiable plants; herbal recipes; frolicking naked bathing women; mysterious astronomical charts, some live cells as seen through a microscope; strange zodiacal signs. The alphabet according to various experts has either nineteen or twenty-eight letters that share no characteristics with any English or European letter system. Some believe it to be a book about alchemy but no one has ever come close to agreeing on a true solution. This intriguing, extremely puzzling manuscript is most famous for that fact that despite nearly eight hundred years of study, no one has come close to deciphering the Voynich. It remains an absolute utter mystery.

1. DNA Code


Topping our list as the single most mysterious ‘document’ or indecipherable code is our very own human DNA. Scientists and researchers have teamed together over years in an attempt to decode the message hidden in the chemical code. Because the human genome is the complete set of instructions for making a one of the most complex and detailed creations known on Earth; a human being it is hands down the most mysterious and most complex form of ‘manuscript’ we can even imagine. DNA consists of a double helix, resembling a twisted ladder Each rung is made of base pairs of complementary chemicals; adenine (A) joined to thymine (T) or cytosine (C) attached to guanine (G). Each of the four bases represent a letter in the genetic code which spell the three-letter ‘words’ along either side of the ladder that are the instructions the cell uses to assemble amino acids into proteins. Each complete DNA “sentence” is a gene responsible for the production of a specific protein. The genetic message is some 3 billion letters long. Most genes consist of between 10,000 and 150,000 code letters. The Human Genome Project plans to decipher and interpret the wisdom of the genes. Scientists have managed to decipher only a tiny fraction of the human genome. Deciphering the human genome is considered the “Holy Grail of biology.”