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VMs: More on Ascham

Dear GC,

I can't speak for many other members of the list, but I personally enjoy
very much
learning from your efforts and many valuable contributions to our list. I
regret to hear about
your health reasons limiting your time to participate and trust that you
will be able to recover soon.

When you say Dr Strong is fundamentally correct, I was wondering if you
could wouldn't mind commenting on his statement about the key being in
Dee's 'actions with spirits' - I will quote two excerpts from his letters:

"If you will look on the last page of John Dee's Actions with Spirits which
was published in 1659 you will find a very interesting page. By dividing
the page into two parts you will find that one half has exactly the same
frequency distribution of word size that is found in the Voynich
manuscript. If anybody be interested in working out this cypher, you will
find the identical cypher which I determined in the Voynich manuscript. The
only difference being in the number of alphabets used and the difference in
the arithmetical progressions."

Do you know if this frequency distribution is indeed identical to the VMS?
to what part? the whole?

And then:

"But if Ascham waited for four hundred years before his code system was
discovered, I can wait just as long for recognition in finding Ashcham's
reason. If you continue p. 865 you may find more repetitions of what you
call "the word 40HC89". You may conclude that this combination is not even
a single word and the combination may have different meanings. In other
words it is not a unit of words but a unit for the entire passage. That is
as far as I will go in indicating my system. My description of the system
of decoding used is clear. But even without this clear hint, any expert
decoder should be a master in his own field."

Does this final statement by Dr Strong fit into your own interpretation of
his methods?

Well, he said he had found the nature of the manuscript at the Cushing
(Yale's Medical) Library. We can assume from his letters that he may have
possessed copies of Ascham's works which came mostly from the Bodleian
(Oxford). But I'd love to know what was it that Dr Strong found at Cushing
that gave him the hint he was looking for - what do you think it could have
been? Beinecke's MS337 was not at Cushing at the time - or was it? and
there are no other Ascham or Askham MSs in Yale's integrated catalog -
meaning that perhaps there weren't others but that one in those days. And
yet I have the feeling that was the one that caused Strong to feel
convinced he'd found the real VMS author; after all, he seems to think a
'Lytle Herbal' was probably not Ascham's work. Is Anthony's name really in
the VMS? Where?

Finally, GC, I am sure even those in disagreement are interested in seeing
where your arguments go. Rest assured that from many silent corners your
efforts are well appreciated, so please do continue helping us with the
unraveling of this knotty problem and never mind the personal tone in the
presentation of your ideas, for in this game no one should take offense and
the war for good science in taming our sphinx is after all, a noble war. 


ps. Nick, thanks so much for asking that lady in Yale - look forward to see
what comments she has about those volvelles - will we ever see pics? GC?
Sharing is not mandatory but heck, it's very welcome.

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