Voynich theories are like radish shoots after Spring rain (as Rudy Cambier likes to say) – they keep on popping up. And here’s a new
radish shoot theory, courtesy of Morten St George, whose Andean Sky God website digs deep into a whole range of historical mysteries – Nazca lines, Shakespeare, Cabala, Rosicrucianism, and now the Voynich Manuscript.
According to St George, the 9-rosette castle is likely to be a fortress similar to Carcassone, but one “destroyed by the Crusaders, i.e. left without ruins“… “Montségur, the final stronghold of the Cathari Church“. So it’s clearly a Cathar document.
Of course, the 15th century radiocarbon dating presents a problem for any Cathar Voynich theory: indeed, St George acknowledges that “it would seem impossible for the Cathars to have written the Voynich because at that time the Cathars no longer existed, at least not anywhere in Europe.”
So… if the Cathars wrote the Voynich Manuscript in the 15th century but they weren’t in Europe, where were they? St George’s response is unexpected yet logical:-
“The plant drawings in the Voynich provide the answer. The Voynich has drawings of more than one hundred exotic plant species, highly detailed drawings from flower to root, all of which represent plants that no one in Europe had ever seen before. Realistically, there is only one place on Earth that can produce such an extraordinary diversity of plant life, and that’s the tropical rainforests of South America, which I shall call Amazonia. The Cathars went to Amazonia.”
In fact, the Voynich Manuscript’s Quire 13 (the ‘balneological section’) has a whole load of drawings of the “elaborate network of conduits, funnels, and containers up in the trees to collect rain water, which they then used for drinking and washing. In the Voynich, drinkable rain water, in contrast to rainforest water, is always depicted in blue color“. Ah, so that is why they’re coloured differently! 😉
However, there is no happy ending for the Cathars in exile: even hundreds of years later, St George is convinced that the Inquisition would hunt down and kill the Cathars in South America. “In such circumstances, the Church of Satan would continue to hunt down the Cathars until the end of time.”
In a worthy piece of soul-searching, St George finishes up his presentation with the following Q&A couplet:-
“Do you think this sounds like the plot of an end-of-times film?
Things are what they are.”
In the spirit of Rich SantaColoma’s desire to keep all possibilities in play, I freely admit say that there is a small chance that Morten St George has stumbled onto something huge here – that the Voynich Manuscript was indeed written by Cathars in exile in South America, before their being finally (if belatedly) obliterated from the pages of history by the Inquisition. (It also doesn’t take much to connect St George’s ideas with Leo Levitov’s (now venerable) Cathar heresy Voynich theory.)
Of course, the real study of history is about far more than enumerating possibilities, because in the hands of the imaginative (let alone of those really don’t get out enough), there is no list of possibilities that cannot be doubled or tripled in length. Indeed, such possibilities tells us far more about the showboating creative facility of the person or people constructing them than about the real historical artefact itself: the role of the object ultimately reduces to that of a stage on which to play out stories culled from the pareidoiliac static of a troubled mind.
And in my opinion, the biggest sign of such trouble is normally when would-be decrypters discover – almost always to their personal surprise and amazement – that their deciphering methodology developed for one particular object also just happens to work on other, apparently unrelated objects. For example, John Stojko not only could read the Voynich (in Old Ukrainian), but was also (as I recall) able to read Estrucan gravestones. It’s tempting to speculate whether he could in fact have used the same approach to “read” any string of letters. “John Stojko Read My Barcode” isn’t yet a T-Shirt slogan, but perhaps it should be.
If all the world’s a stage, then the evil Church conspiracy, the Rosicrucians, Shakespeare, and the Voynich Manuscript are surely the festival side-stages on which the troubled perform their one-man (or indeed one-woman) shows. Curiously for things of such age, history only has a walk-on part in such productions. The play’s the thing, indeed!