A highly surprising message just arrived here at Cipher Mysteries from our Chaocipher Clearing House chum Moshe Rubin:-

Is your readership aware that NSA has placed the entire text [of Mary D’Imperio’s “An Elegant Enigma”] on its site?

I couldn’t find the link on your site so here it is!

This is a great find, highly recommended for all Voynich researchers – if you haven’t read it already, download it straight away! Having said that, even though it took me six attempts to download it completely (doubtless they were tracert’ing me to see if I just happened to be a terrorist, bless ’em), I did get it all in the end. But please let me know if this happens to get removed (which is always possible).

Incidentally, this is just one of a number of cryptological history publications the NSA has kindly made available on its website. The 2007 article by John Clabby on Brigadier John Tiltman (“A Giant Among Cryptanalysts“) is also well worth looking at (though not nearly so essential as D’Imperio, naturally).

11 thoughts on “D’Imperio’s “Elegant Enigma”, now a downloadable PDF!

  1. Dennis on March 24, 2009 at 5:09 am said:

    A splendid discovery, Nick! Thanks! I put the link on my own Voynich site.


  2. I’d also like to thank you– I’ve been trying for a while without any success to get this from libraries.

  3. Vytautas on March 27, 2009 at 9:10 am said:

    I am a bit disappointed about content of this book because of better common view was appeared for me from manuscript pages and Internet material. Books are like all other world’s things – they changes, and IMHO now this book is more interesting only from historical perspective… Especially if we’ll remember that at time of book’s publishing there wasn’t such thing as Internet 🙂

  4. It is certainly true that D’Imperio’s “Elegant Enigma” is a research artefact from another era entirely. Even so, I would contend that her book remains a far more useful resource than 99% of the (roughly) 48,400 webpages found by Google for “+Voynich +Manuscript”.

    Hopefully, before very long even these webpages will look outdated. 🙂

  5. Pingback: NSA/CSS declassified documents « Jerusalem Mosaics

  6. Many thanks for the link!

    Looks like nsa.gov server blocks foreign IP-addresses. I finally downloaded the book using TOR with an exit in U.S.

    I also noticed some missed pages (e.g. #76). Still top NSA secrets?

  7. Sukhwant Singh on April 28, 2014 at 8:12 am said:

    My name is Sukhwant Singh and for the past 2 months I have extensively researched in depth on MS-408 better known as the Voynich manuscript.
    I hope, my explanation will lead to resolving the Voynich manuscript once and for all.
    The origins of the VM ( Voynich Manuscript ) lies in 6000 miles east from its current location. The place is in North Eastern Sindh region which is a part of Pakistan right now. The explanation in the VM is copied from an even older original book written in “Brahmi” language about ( 300-400 B.C ). The knowledge and editions of the books were passed through generations of merchants( Known as Mahajan’s with Vedic knowledge ) in ancient Indus valley civilization which also gave the name “Sindhustan”, the Sindh region in particular which was divided into India and Pakistan in 1947.
    The book is divided into 4 parts as mentioned by the author( details below ) written in early 15th century as that’s the time period when Khojki was more prominent.
    The book was taken by the “Holy” man from town to town and based on the knowledge he had( He was the go to guy and first person to approach in case of issues, either injury or some depression, bad dreams, marriage and business, Hex etc. ) , and the facts he collected from the inhabitants/customer. This man would then recommend to-do things. The book also deals with what kind of women she is based on the type of hair she has, what type of clothes she wears, what to expect from the second wife of the husband etc. What to do if someone has Hex on you and how to figure it out and recommendations for getting rid of the Hex.
    The book is not written for others to read and is usually passed within the family from Father to Son or someone more capable whom the Mahajan has taught and guided himself.
    Some background…..
    When the Arab conquered the Sindh region in about early 700 ADs and moved more towards the east they started eliminating learned Sindhi scholars and Holy men, who enjoyed rich merchant heritage and were established in the region. With passage of time, “Urdu” language was forced in the region and subsequently became an official language and in current times known as Sindhi language (Descendent language of Landa script) which is currently written in Urdu script.
    In early 15th century Khojki language was used by many to write prayer hyms and guidance songs. The extended use of this script and the underlining Landa script also indicate that the author didn’t revise his book into the periods urdu language but made it’s knowledge more hidden by superimposing Khwaja Khoji Vowel marks on top of Brahmi languages ( K, Ki, Ku, Kuu, Kay, Kaay, Ku, Kho, KHU, KHUU Gutturals ( Guttural).
    Brahmi language is considered as the main language based on which current northern India languages are based on. It itself is part of Indo-European set of language whose base is Sanskrit in general. This timeline spans 1000’s of years from the period of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.
    This VM manuscript is a very important book and will be another key to bind “Roma” people in Europe with their Sindh region ancestry. Most likely this book was taken along with the movement of Sindh’s migrant population 100’s of years ago( as slaves by Arab rulers ) and was preserved in good condition because the knowledge it would provide and likely the person owning it wanted to one day use it to establish the same respect the merchants of the Sindh region held. “Roma” migration from Sindh region resulted in scores of people being moved as slaves into Turkey and then current Europe.
    There has been plenty of scientific tests conducted on the origins of Roma people. The book landed from a Roma person into the hands of Italian rulers as the poor Roma people faced many atrocities in Europe and many times were eliminated by the countries in which they tried to make their settlements.
    I am attaching studies conducted in Sindh as latest as in 2010 to get the local knowhow about the herbs, roots etc. and their usage. This study was conducted to preserve whatever knowledge is left in the Nara desert region of Sindh.
    The main issue to decipher the VM had to do with the place where it ended first and then later in America. Considering the “Nasal” phonetic words particular to “Landa” language (Ancestor language of Khudabadi, Mahajani, Gurmukhi, Khojki, Sindhi languages) are not spoken in Europe and for that matter in America.
    English does not have these sounds at all. So for that matter it becomes next to impossible to decipher it and all the false theories it has generated, including its origins.
    In America, it being predominantly English speaking world it adds to the problem where from ages researchers started emphasizing that the VM is some sort of miniscule Roman language or some false code system( It is not ).
    That miscategorization has hindered the deciphering of the language for such a long time.
    I am going to decipher few paragraphs to best of my ability and because I don’t have Sindhi as my mother tongue, it won’t be fair for me to translate the whole book( I would need help from a Sindhi native speaker, currently I am in process of translating in parts as much as I can ).
    I have deciphered the alphabet to what I think it is( As I originally belong to Punjab region and I am aware of the cursive writings from the region as well as phonetics ).
    The alphabet contains 4 different character set from languages spoken in same way but written in different form. There was no consistency of a set language in the region.
    The merchants/judicial holy Sindhu men started using 3,4 languages mix in order to hide the contents( depending on the knowledge of the person and area he travelled ). This was done to protect business knowhow and maintain superiority at that time. The languages used by the merchants of North western Multan and Sindh were “Multani” and “Landa/Khudabadi/Mahajani” apart from other regional dialects and written words. It was what the Sindhu Mahajan’s( Merchants ) used to do. This kind of book and knowledge was in demand as people relied on auspicious moon cycles and it was part of daily life and it is still in many parts of the world.
    Day and night are divided into 15 “Mahurats” or auspicious times, Year is divided in 12 months based on astrological signs ( Not January February etc.. ) The day and night each were divided into 8 parts each based on Sanskrit astrology ( pages 67v and 69v clearly depicts the division of 8 parts segments around the sun and moon )
    Day 05:48
    07:17 07:18
    08:47 08:48
    10:17 10:18
    11:47 11:48
    13:17 13:18
    14:47 14:48
    16:17 16:18
    Subh Rog Udwegh Chanchal Labh Amrit Kal Subh

    Night 17:48
    19:17 19:18
    20:47 20:48
    22:17 22:18
    23:47 23:48
    01:17 01:18
    02:47 02:48
    04:17 04:18
    Amrit Chanchal Rog Kal Labh Udwegh Subh Amrit

    The times, days, years were not depicted as in Roman date forms, nor did they had the same timeline of 24 hours. This book is thus written with calculating moon cycles and the positions of 9 planets and the Vedic astrological knowledge is gathered from the original Brahmi book ( 300-400 BC or even earlier ).
    Some details of which are recorded in India’s archeological preservations.
    The characters are also intermingled from dialects in the region but they sound and mean the same example
    CH, TA, JJH, K, KH are written in mixed scripts, which makes it difficult.
    The Brahmi scipts usage from which the MS 408 book was copied adds to more complexity, but the words used are common short 2-3 characters found in recent Devanagari language. This book probably had 1-2 readers( at that time, Mahajan himself and probably his son or someone else he took along on his business in various towns There were other people who had similar books but probably not as detailed as this one. Holy men were killed by Arab rulers and their books were burned so that Arab rule could be established in force and almost everyone follow one language, which was Urdu ( like Persian script ). This book most likely was hidden by the author and usually people like him belonged to higher castes who had good people connections as they were respected for their knowledge and guidance. The so called lower caste people were made slave labor and soldiers to fight in wars. It is likely that this book’s author was killed and as this book was hidden was later picked by someone else and taken along as an important document to be used later. The problem occurred to decipher it at that time too, so the Roma person kept for generations hidden in the belongings until it ended in front of some Italian king’s subject.

    The languages used in MS 408 are ( Yes, there are multiple languages, but their pronunciations are almost same ).
    Landa, Khojki and Brahmi are used throughout the book.
    1. Landa ( Which later became Sindhi, Khudabadi, Khojki )
    2. Brahmi ( 300- 400 B.C ) Which gives a reason to believe that MS-408 is copied from an original book
    3. Multani
    4. Mahajani
    5. Khojki
    6. Gurmukhi which is also a descendent of Landa script ( Words which cuts at the end and sounds individual standing separately ). Gurmukhi usage is very minimal, which tells that the book was written prior to the era in which the Gurmukhi was main stream in Punjab region around 1430 AD.

    The last page 116V is written by someone else other than the original writer as it contains characters from Sarada and JaunSari scripts from mountainous region of Southwestern Kashmir as those few lines are similar to later on what became Kashmiri Dialect and scripted language.

    First paragraph from 1r goes like this.

    “Many 100’s of years desire tradition and as requested by the cultivator from his pouring knowledge in under increasing guidance
    To accomplish it this promise of the interrogation of field subjects and about those manner for eating about their power learning from oneself condition about
    under ongoing sufferings about stuck in those conditions which has already affected them learning from them in self-help either called for taking care during taking care or
    When called by the messenger one about trees provided information in parts and about desire….”

  8. Aromancer on April 28, 2014 at 12:07 pm said:

    Interesting article. Have you updated your work? Can you explain the illustrations? What do you think of the recent work of Professor Bax?

  9. Sukhwant Singh on April 29, 2014 at 7:09 pm said:

    Prof Bax has exchanged emails with me. He has asked more details which I will send him.

    Prof. Bax or for that matter as I have stated “No person who just speaks English” can claim to solve this. People have to understand the Book is in non English,non Roman language ( Landa and Khojki scripts ).
    Once my work is authenticated, everything will come in open.
    All those scientists and software users claiming to have deciphered this have not really accomplished anything with VM.
    My entire explanation raises many controversial statements which are going to take time for “People” to think from this point of view.

    All the “Only English speaking” persons cannot truly claim anything close to deciphering the VM!.
    So, my view is very clear, just being a University researcher ( Prof or Lecturer ) is Never going to help anyone here if the only language they speak is English.

  10. Jackie Speel on May 23, 2017 at 9:21 am said:

    Clicking on the link produces an ‘unknown error’ message. Is there a more modern link?

  11. Jackie Speel: link now updated, thanks for letting me know! 🙂

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