ORF has just announced that its 45-minute Voynich documentary “DAS VOYNICH-RÄTSEL” (the Voynich riddle) will be broadcast on ORF2 (on Astra) at 21:05 on Thursday 10th December.

Well-known Voynich researcher René Zandbergen (who has been involved in the documentary’s production) has kindly passed me an English translation of ORF’s brief online description:-

The Most Mysterious Manuscript In The World.

It is the most mysterious manuscript in the world: a book written by an unknown author, illustrated with drawings that are as bizarre as they are enigmatic – and in a language that could not be deciphered by the best cryptographers in the world. No wonder that this manuscript even plays a role in Dan Brown’s new mystery bestseller “The Lost Symbol”. Since its discovery 100 years ago, the Voynich Manuscript has equally captivated both scientists and occultists. The breakers of the Japanese “Purple” code, physicists with modern computers or expert historians – they all tried their luck, but so far nobody could decipher the contents of this book. This documentary follows a new trail that could lead to the author, using the first ever forensic investigation of the book itself to try to break the secrets of this mysterious manuscript.

A documentary by Klaus Steindl and Andreas Sulzer.

OK… though it’s true that the VMs only gets namechecked in “The Lost Symbol”, and that it has attracted far more interest from novelists than it ever has from occultists, I (along with most other Voynich researchers, I confidently predict) can barely wait to see what they’ve come up with.

I really hope that Klaus and Andreas have managed to do a good job of (a) the history, (b) the forensic science, and (c) putting the two halves together in a coherent and persuasive way. Fingers crossed for them!

18 thoughts on “Austrian “The Voynich Riddle” documentary…

  1. Rene Zandbergen on November 24, 2009 at 11:34 am said:

    Just to point out that, though the programme will be on Astra, it will also
    be encrypted, to my current best knowledge.

  2. So it’s finally here.
    I can barely wait to see what they’ve come up with.
    But what can we, the poor souls who don’t live in Austria, do to watch this documentary?

  3. If the Cipher Mysteries coverage isn’t enough for you 🙂 , then all I can suggest is waiting until it gets broadcast elsewhere, which surely can’t be that far behind…

  4. I’d better get on with my publication-quality PDFs, since I want them to use my PDFs for a follow-on book!

  5. Rene Zandbergen on November 24, 2009 at 3:49 pm said:

    I will pass on all hard facts once I have them.
    For now, I know that it will also be aired on ARTE, which is freely available
    all over Europe. The language there will again be German (and French???).
    This should take place roughly one month after the initial show on ORF.
    At some point it should also be possible to buy the DVD with at least English
    and German.

    For the time being rather unprecise information, I am afraid.

  6. Michelle Smith on November 24, 2009 at 8:06 pm said:

    New trail, can’t wait to see this!!!

    Ps. Renè are you still up to organizing the Villa Mondragone thingy? 2012 is just around the corner….

  7. It’s not like it’s the end of the world, Michelle. 😉

  8. Rene Zandbergen on November 25, 2009 at 2:39 pm said:

    Hmmm, some sort of event at the Mondragone at the 100th anniversary of
    Voynich’s discovery still seems like a good idea in general, but I have to
    admit that I haven’t got any clear ideas what it should be like.
    Organising a proper conference in one’s spare time is completely out scope
    for me, I’m afraid. I’d play my part in a group effort, though.

  9. Michelle Smith on November 25, 2009 at 3:08 pm said:

    I knew someone would say that!!!

  10. 9.15am. Opening session. Nick Pelling. “Evidence for the origins of the Voynich Manuscript.”
    9.22am. Fistfights break out over what constitutes “evidence”.
    1.00pm. Pizza (uneaten) and sandwiches.
    1.15pm. Fistfights resume (Hall and now Conference Room B as well).
    5.30pm. Closing speech. Steve Ekwall. “ThE VoYnIcH MaNuScRiPt RoCkS”.

    Who couldn’t organize that? 🙂

  11. 5.45pm. Kiss and make up?

    There is a link to a 55 second trailer for the documentary here:

    http://tvsales.orf.at/db/db_single?caller=961&ka=docume

    I could not get the top one (mpeg) to work, but the lower link, the .wmv file, worked. Rich.

  12. Ernest Lillie on November 26, 2009 at 5:05 am said:

    Is there anywhere on-line that one may be able to watch the documentary — possibly a few days after its initial airing? I guess I’m thinking of something along the lines of “Hulu.com”.

  13. Rene Zandbergen on November 26, 2009 at 10:12 am said:

    Thanks for that link Rich!

    This ‘recently discovered signature’ bit is from the original flyer of April 2008,
    and I know that they know better. The images are new. The text could
    be old… (at least I hope 🙂 )

    Nick, your description of the conference assumes that people would
    actually be listening attentively what the others are saying. I think it would be
    a great step forward 😀
    Better not bring in the pizza’s too early.

  14. I certainly think they’d be listening… up to the word “evidence”. That’s when the rotten fruit would start flying! 🙂

  15. Thanks for that, Rich – though as Rene notes, the text does seem rather outdated. If I didn’t know better, my guess is that this was a flyer originally edited together to present to overseas TV networks. 🙂

    As a cryptology aside, the fragment of C code that appears about 15 seconds into the trailer comes from the FEALNX Linux module http://www.filewatcher.com/p/fealnx.tar.gz.2449/fealnx.c.html. The original FEAL (Fast data Encipherment ALgorithm) was intended as a high-speed replacement for the DES cipher, which then (when it was busted) evolved into FEAL-8, FEAL-N, and then finally FEAL-NX (hence the name). Just so you know! 😉

  16. Rene Zandbergen on November 29, 2009 at 12:05 pm said:

    The plot thickens.

    Possibly, the programme will *not* be encrypted. Looking at this page:
    http://tv.orf.at/program/orf2/primetime/20091210/
    it clearly says ‘ORF 2 Europe’ which would mean that it is visible through
    Astra. The same term appears in the left margin of the original link already
    given by Nick above. I don’t think that this was there before…

    More info as soon as I have it…

  17. Jody on May 14, 2013 at 4:03 pm said:

    First cluster:

    077 AARDAPPEL
    078 ASENICION / SENICION / GROUNDSEL
    079 —– DOTTER / WATERLELIE / GELE PLOMP
    080 BASILIKA
    082 —– EIKEL ?
    084 BLAUW FORTUIN / BLUE FORTUNE / ANIJS / DROPPLANT ?
    085 BIJVOET / ALSEM
    086 —– ASTER ?
    087 BIESLOOK
    093 BLAUWE VIOOL
    094 BOL —
    095 CRAIAM
    097 GROTE BALSAMITE / GRANDE BALSAMITE / POSTERATA / POSTELATA / POSTELEIN
    100 GROTE GENTIANA
    102 GROTE BIESLELIE
    109 LEEUWEN POOT / PEDO LEONIS
    110 LAVENDEL (KUIF)
    111 LUCIFERPLANTJE

    116 VLAMBLOEM

    119 PASSIEBLOEM ?
    121 NETEL
    123 DRAGON / DRAECANA
    135 DUIZENDBLAD / ACHILEA
    136 CREEPER (Klim plant )/ SKY FLOWER / INDIA (Edith Sherwood)
    138 ALRUIN MANNETJE / CENTAURI / MANDRAGORA

    138 VELDBIES
    139 ZONNEBLOEM

    Second cluster:

    141 APPEL / GOUDAPPEL / POMA AMORIS
    142 BEKER —–
    146 BRAAM /FRAMBOOS
    148 GERUBIJN / GODSBODE / HEMELING / Cherubijn / serafijn / Aartsengel
    150 SLANGENWORTEL / WATER ARON
    153 STOK RADIJS
    156 ST PATRICS DAG PLANT / SHAMROCK / KLAVERTJE 3
    158 MOEDERKRUID (of Muurfijnstraal)
    159 SLANGENKRUID
    170 WORM HOUT
    177 WORTEL BASILICUM / ZOETE BASIL /BASILIS / BASILICUM ?
    178 WORTEL NETEL / DOORN
    179 WORTEL PRIJ
    180 WORTEL PEE
    181 ZWARTE — BES
    182 ZWARTE STOKROOS
    185 ZWARTE DUIVELBLOEM / BAT PLANT

    (Left some out )

  18. First cluster:

    077 AARDAPPEL
    078 ASENICION / SENICION / GROUNDSEL
    079 —– DOTTER / WATERLELIE / GELE PLOMP
    080 BASILIKA
    082 —– EIKEL ?
    084 BLAUW FORTUIN / BLUE FORTUNE / ANIJS / DROPPLANT ?
    085 BIJVOET / ALSEM
    086 —– ASTER ?
    087 BIESLOOK
    093 BLAUWE VIOOL
    094 BOL —
    095 CRAIAM
    097 GROTE BALSAMITE / GRANDE BALSAMITE / POSTERATA / POSTELATA / POSTELEIN
    100 GROTE GENTIANA
    102 GROTE BIESLELIE
    109 LEEUWEN POOT / PEDO LEONIS
    110 LAVENDEL (KUIF)
    111 LUCIFERPLANTJE

    116 VLAMBLOEM

    119 PASSIEBLOEM ?
    121 NETEL
    123 DRAGON / DRAECANA
    135 DUIZENDBLAD / ACHILEA
    136 CREEPER (Klim plant )/ SKY FLOWER / INDIA (Edith Sherwood)
    138 ALRUIN MANNETJE / CENTAURI / MANDRAGORA

    138 VELDBIES
    139 ZONNEBLOEM

    Second cluster:

    141 APPEL / GOUDAPPEL / POMA AMORIS
    142 BEKER —–
    146 BRAAM /FRAMBOOS
    148 GERUBIJN / GODSBODE / HEMELING / Cherubijn / serafijn / Aartsengel
    150 SLANGENWORTEL / WATER ARON
    153 STOK RADIJS
    156 ST PATRICS DAG PLANT / SHAMROCK / KLAVERTJE 3
    158 MOEDERKRUID (of Muurfijnstraal)
    159 SLANGENKRUID
    170 WORM HOUT
    177 WORTEL BASILICUM / ZOETE BASIL /BASILIS / BASILICUM ?
    178 WORTEL NETEL / DOORN
    179 WORTEL PRIJ
    180 WORTEL PEE
    181 ZWARTE — BES
    182 ZWARTE STOKROOS
    185 ZWARTE DUIVELBLOEM / BAT PLANT

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