Put wrestling fan US President-elect Donald Trump in the ring with the Voynich Manuscript, and who would win? Actually, the two may be more evenly matched than you think…

For a start, both are surrounded by groups of people who claim to know what they mean (but almost certainly don’t), while remaining utterly unfathomable.

And as far as street cred go, both have appeared in the Marvel Universe: Trump in New Avengers Vol. 1 #47

…and the Voynich Manuscript in “Black Widow & The Avengers” #18:


It’s also hard not to notice that the Voynich Manuscript author’s apparent obsession with (mostly) naked nymphs…

…oddly parallels Trump’s long association with (and indeed ownership of) Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss Universe (just try not to mention Miss Mexico, that might not end well):

Moreover, they are both big on the East Coast (New York and New Haven respectively), where both have achieved notoriety, each in their own unique way. Also, it’s hard not to find anyone commenting on either Donald Trump or the Voynich Manuscript who doesn’t in some way use them as blank canvases, projecting what they want (or perhaps fear) to see onto them.

Yet perhaps this hard-to-pin-downness and malleability (qualities eerily like those of the Voynich), ultimately, formed the core secret of Trump’s success at the presidential polls: given such a long series of mixed and often contradictory messages, people – like so many Voynich theorists – heard what they wanted or hoped to hear, who can say?

And finally, both arguably achieved their biggest public goals in November 2016: on the 1st, the Voynich Manuscript was published by Yale University Press in a sumptuous (if largely uncritical) edition…

…while on the 8th, The Donald defeated The Wicked Witch. Just like a fairy tale, right? (Which is, of course, not the same as a happy ending – the Brothers Grimm were often as grim as their name.)

To my eyes, perhaps the most unsettling comparison between Donald Trump and the Voynich Manuscript is that November 2016 also marked the end of a quest for them both: a quest for respectability, to become part of the Establishment… but on their own terms. By which I mean that they are both (I think) now starting to re-cast and reinvent the whole idea of what the Establishment means in 2017 and beyond.

Will it be long before swathes of politicians remould their ever-fickle personae in Trump’s image, or before history textbooks start to use the Voynich Manuscript as didactic material? Right now, I’m not sure I’m massively comfortable about either of these paths, to be honest: but perhaps both are now somehow inevitable.

Me, I’m neither a fan nor a critic of Donald Trump: yet I can’t help but be struck how his quest for the Presidency was effectively won via a prolonged gladiatorial beauty contest, much like a peculiar merger of both his love of wrestling (a televisual theatre of pre-teen anger) and Miss (Whatever) pageants (a televisual theatre of sexless beauty).

And I can’t help wondering if – like Voynich researchers, ever reaching for the apparently unattainable – it will turn out that he was more driven by winning the ultimate competition for political power than the idea of actually holding the reins (and the burdensome moral responsibilities) of high office. Similarly, would the Voynich Manuscript still hold its particular appeal if we could read it, if its quest for meaning was finally over?

25 thoughts on “WWE Ultimate Smackdown: Donald Trump vs The Voynich Manuscript…?

  1. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on January 14, 2017 at 3:12 am said:

    Misca : You have to endure. I publish a book. Then you read what is written there. So hold on. ( final solution ).

  2. Dennis S. on January 14, 2017 at 6:40 am said:

    Well done, Nick!

    I just ordered my copy of the Yale VMs edition. I was too slow with my own edition. 🙁

  3. Sarah Higley on January 14, 2017 at 6:48 am said:

    Except the Voynich Manuscript (blessedly) doesn’t speak. Or tweet. Whether it has a relationship with Russia… that I can’t tell.

  4. James R. Pannozzi on January 14, 2017 at 3:29 pm said:

    I’ve listened for months to insults and distortions of Trump from the “news” media including insulting remarks about his supporters of which I am one.

    What you characterize as a “gladitorial beauty contest” in fact depended on key issues, similar in nature to BREXIT which the UK media distorted and denounced and peremptorily discounted in a similar manner and for similar reasons. Both Trump and BREXIT won.

    They did not win for “beauty” reasons. As in any election or referendum there will of course be posturings, assertions, presentations in the most favorable light. But in both the above cases, they won because the principles, the ideas of both things touched a common cord, resonated, confirmed the opinions and ideas of a large group of people regarding a liberation from a corporatist globalist status quo foisted on them by a “news” media designed to influence and maintain that status quo.

    The connection with the Voynich is obvious – it is represented by some as meaningless nonsense designed to make money or as a deception or “hoax” analogous to Trump being called “not a serious” candidate.

    But, as the numbers of people at this forum, and common sense would attest, many think it genuine. Both are the real deal. Trump really was elected, by us and the Voynich WILL be solved and read, by people, just like you, who have dedicated their time and energy and research into reading what might be a major ethnobotanical and historical milestone.

    Those who disagree on either issue are either status quo serfs, playing the role that those maintaining the S.Q. desire, or have succumbed to assertions, innuendo and opinions masquerading as “news”, “fact” or “likelihood”.

    History is being made in Egypt, in the UK, in the U.S., in Italy, France, Brazil, South Korea, Japan and there is a common thread underlying it. Likewise, history will be made with the Voynich when its message and a consequent understanding of the reasons it was hidden, are exposed.

  5. Thomas F. Spande on January 14, 2017 at 5:13 pm said:

    Dear all, I think most Voynichers nurse the hope that the VM will turn out to be logical. The same cannot be said of “The Donald” who has promised to “drain the swamp” but merely put in more Wall Street alligators! He has insulted his way into the presidency of the US but every day confirms our worst fears, that we have put a nutter into power. Cheers, Tom

  6. James: as I wrote, I’m neither a fan nor a critic of Trump – and though there are big issues swirling around all of us at the moment, only our future selves will be able to judge whether Trump was the right person to tackle them. As with Voynich research, just because a majority believes X to be true doesn’t make it true. :-/

  7. bdid1dr on January 14, 2017 at 7:50 pm said:

    @Nick & Mr. Pannozzi: You know as well as I do, that “money speaks”. Some times the money is ‘dirty’. Trump is ‘filthy rich’. Oh, I will miss President Obama! President Obama was horrified to watch, on camera, the capture of of Osama bin Laden.
    An aside: Didya know that our first President (Jefferson) had an enormous library (30 thousand or so). Among his collection was a Koran gifted to him.

  8. Thomas F. Spande on January 14, 2017 at 8:06 pm said:

    Nick, 2.8 million more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than the Donald. The Donald has trouble with this fact claiming those a) were votes from illegals or b) he could have gotten those votes if only he had campaigned in CA or NY. Now slowly the US states are getting it together to make the Electoral college a superfluity and this is done now by 11 states including mine, Maryland. The idea is simple: The state’s electors are required by state law to vote en mass for whomever won the national popular vote. The Supremes may find this unconstitutional but they will have to go up against a bunch of states and this will get nasty.

    Cheers, Tom, a proud Marylander.

  9. Thanks for this one, Nick! I’ll post it to my Facebook page. Here’s another difference between the Voynich manuscript and Donald Trump: the Voynich is more intriguing and worth the trouble of researching.

  10. bdid1dr on January 14, 2017 at 11:43 pm said:

    @ Senor De la Garza;
    If you enjoy researching the “Voynich”, you may also enjoy Fray Sahagun’s “Florentine Codex”; Book Eleven, in particular. Both manuscripts were confiscated by the Spanish Inquisition — and never returned to him. Also, I recommend Professor Leon Portilla’s many publications of the History of Mexico and Spain.

  11. Thomas F. Spande on January 15, 2017 at 12:26 am said:

    BD, The original Library of Congress burned to the ground. Jefferson gave the LC his library.

    Nick, Are you allowing posts to your blog to end up on social media, like Facebook, Twitter etc? If this is permitted, I urge you to reconsider this policy! Many might not appreciate having their ideas bruited about on these other forums and might consider it an incursion into ideas they wish to reach a more limited audience, i.e. other posters to your blog(s). Consider those who are going to claim, “Eureka” I have the solution to the VM” and stand on their front porch awaiting a called for press conference! Cheers, Tom

  12. researchs went astray when the voynich manuscript related to politics . i pity you voynich manuscript you will never talk if like that ….

  13. Ahs still trahn ta dreen..apps for the first line error but my little machine only provides 8 lines of visual and the word prompt thinks I’m an idjit js.

  14. Tom: posts and comments on Cipher Mysteries get copied all over the web, and there’s nothing you or I can do about it.

  15. Dennis: they did a pretty good job with the foldout pages etc, and the printing was nice and clear, with only a few minor issues.

  16. Ellie Velinska on January 15, 2017 at 3:38 pm said:

    LOL. VMS researcher in Trump talk would sound something like this:

    The Voynich manuscript is the greatest most fabulous manuscript. All other manuscripts are overrated. The solution is easy – peanuts! My solution is great – world class – beautiful. I will not tell you the solution – I like to be unpredictable. All other failing theories are fake news. Losers! We have to build a wall to stop the Aztec theories from invading the field. The Yale book is the first step in making the Voynich manuscript great again 🙂

  17. Thomas F. Spande on January 15, 2017 at 4:18 pm said:

    Niick, I was asked by Amazon to write a review: (only because I bought it from them at $36). I headed it “Close but no Cigar!” Outside of Rene’s good timeline essay, the others were either irrelevant (Alchemy, give me a break!) or poorly documented and lacking key info (like BD’s buddy Zyats and her colleagues). Still, I would agree, for a Chinese printing job, it was very well done and the binding was nicely done also. I put it to use for my “pricking” contribution in answer to “xplor”. It would have been nice to have the page edges gilded which would made the edges stand out a bit better.

    Cheers, Tom

  18. bdid1dr on January 15, 2017 at 4:29 pm said:

    Kinda reminds me of “Gorilla Talk” : Bare one’s teeth in a big ‘grin’ and pound on one’s chest, and roar louder than the competition……
    hmmmph !


  19. Thomas F. Spande on January 15, 2017 at 5:02 pm said:

    To James, Re your post of Jan 14, I would remark with comments that Trump has made and has refused to repudiate. (1) He has little regard for POWs, such as John McCain who endured 5 long years in the Hanoi Hilton. (2) He mocked a news reporter who had some neurological disorder like Parkinsons or supranuclear palsy. (3) he has championed “waterboarding” long after it was repudiated by the military and intelligence communities, and recently written into US law (McCain amendment), (4) He had trouble at the start figuring out where Crimea was even located and seemingly has no problems with its grab by the Russkies, (5) he has sown doubt as to how reliable is our support of NATO and our treaty obligations there and elsewhere. (6) Most think NAFTA was beneficial to the US (and some think TTP would have been also); Now NAFTA is under attack and TTP is dead in the water, TPP would have been an attempt to isolate China. He threw that bargaining chip away before even trying to use it. (6) He is using “Art of the Deal” tactics on China by threatening to change our “One China” policy. The best seller was largely co-written by Schwartz who felt so awful about having any association with it, that he gives his substantial royalties to charities and opposed Trump’s election. (7) does anyone in his right mind believe Trump (whose military experience is some military academy for problem kids) knows more about ISIS than “the generals”. Finally, he spends a lot of his political capital before even being sworn in (Jan 20 ) by his over 300 tweets (post election) attacking the US intelligence community, gloating evermore on his victory over Hillary and the Dems. and blasting various American corporations like GM for building one platform only of the lowest price Chevy Cruze in Mexico, that was designated largely for export. The rest of the Cruzes come from Lordstown, OH. Finally the frigging wall with Mexico. Many American ranches share land with Mexico and don’t want a wall. Now half the crops of CA are being plowed under because of lack of “stoop labor” that Mexico used to provide. Every day in every way he steps on powerful toes, many of them GOP. Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised at Impeachmnt calls before the year is out.

    What he exploited and rightly so in his campaign was “Jobs, jobs, jobs!” while Clinton spent most of her time attacking Trump. Bad strategy on her part.
    Can The Donald deliver? The deals with Carrier and Ford were largely window-dressing, Some think many of the lost jobs are due to our constant chasing of productivity with automation being a huge part of that equation. If The Donald can save or deliver good jobs, not just more burger flipping or valet parking, then I will modify my views a bit. Still we are losing gold in O’bama and maybe getting tarnished silver in turn.

    That’s it from “Ol’ Craze in the Basement”

    Cheers, Tom

  20. Thomas F. Spande on January 15, 2017 at 8:40 pm said:

    Ellie, Spot on! you might add a few “Believe me”s! Otherwise you have captured the Trumpland lingo to a scary fare thee well.

    Cheers, “Ol’ Craze from the Basement!”


  21. Ellie Velinska on January 16, 2017 at 4:25 am said:

    Hi Tom,
    How about this: The leaders of the VMs research are incompetent. I will not say ‘They are stupid’, because those horrible people – the media – will put me in an electric chair, but let’s face it – They are stupid! Big league! I have the greatest solution. Believe me! But I’m keeping it secret for now – it’s leverage. Who have read the Art of the Deal? It’s the third best book after the Bible and the Voynich manuscript.

  22. they are not stupid ot incompetent as i said earlier they went astray they lost the way . it is time for them to wake up and listen to the ” the Amateurs” . we have so many of them who could cracked the ms . my advice for them is ( donot underestimate people findings ).

  23. Thomas F. Spande on January 16, 2017 at 3:54 pm said:

    Ellie, You are getting pretty good at this! Delivered through a sphincter-like mouth with a lot of finger jabbing and hands often shaped into the “OK” symbol, using your phraseology and you have the essential Donald. Cheers, “Ol’ Craze from the Basement”


  24. bdid1dr on January 17, 2017 at 5:26 pm said:

    Another item first to be illustrated was the TOMATILLO (NOT a tomato”) .
    “x to m tl o” . Other items, which illustrations verified uses were the squash (both edible and/or dried to be used as a ‘loofa/lufa’ sponge. The seeds were edible too.
    When the bath-house folios were accompanied by very SAD stories being told by the ladies (one woman speaks of her captivity from her home near the ” Eastern Star”).

  25. bdid1dr on January 31, 2017 at 6:43 pm said:

    I understand your need to ‘vent’ somewhere on the WWW. So, I’ll take the blame for starting the derogatory comments in re our new President. and probably wasting a lot of Nick’s time and patience . I am still furious about when I asked to be excused from the voir dire jury selection because of my hearing impairment. The judge ordered that my driver’s license be SUSPENDED — not simply removed from voir dire list !
    How does that expression go — “Hell has no fury such as a woman scorned ! ”
    Still p-o ‘d !!

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