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Re: VMs: some thoughts/observations

Hi William,

At 14:16 20/02/2004 +0000, William Edmondson wrote:
You also ask why many of us are dismissive of Kelley-as-hoaxer theories: my own opinion is simply that it is hard to explain why a hoaxer would go to the trouble of producing an ms with structure at every level - stroke adjacency, letter adjacency, letter pairs, word structure, word-initial, word-final, Neal keys, line-beginning, line-end, paragraph, page, language. The question also arises as to why they would use a character set which is unsuited to fast writing with a quill (this would seem to be a very poor decision), and non-flamboyant content (as opposed to alchemy or obscure religious symbols). Furthermore, even if you accept that they would be bothered to take all those on as design aims, what was their methodology - ie, how did they achieve them?

I'm not convinced that the effort required to produce VMs indicates genuineness at the expense of fake. Fakers will surely go to enormous lengths, if they think it will pay off (that could be an erroneous assumption). Complexity of structure? Why not, if both Kelley and Dee found such things as Enochian easy enough to perpetrate then why not VMs???

Go on - try to convince me!


While there are many on-list who have far greater knowledge of Enochian than I do, it does seem quite evident to me that, when comparing it to the VMs, the two are really quite different beasts. I'm happy to trust Jacques Guy on this one: exactly a year ago today, he posted:
Voynichese is entirely unlike Enochian. Laycock had had a close look at
the VMS. He'd obtained a microfilm from Yale, and I'd printed perhaps
sixty enlargements.

What I'm saying is that the real question isn't "why not", but "how". Sure, we can always play "Conspiracy Top Trumps", guessing which historical figure would have been most likely to fake the VMs - but the entire hoax argument falls over if you can't figure out how it was done. Again, if you think that explaining the complexity of structure isn't a problem, you're in the same boat as Gordon Rugg (and possibly sinking fast). :-o

Finally: while I *can* imagine someone constructing a composite cipher system (out of numerous simpler parts) to produce what we see in the VMs, I find it extremely difficult to imagine an artificial language maker wasting space on verbose-cipher-like characters (qo, or, ol, dy, etc) - and I find it even harder to imagine a faker using a barely-writable character set (AIUI, each glyph can take up to 6 or 7 strokes to form) for a 200+ page hoax, let alone one with so many layers of structure.

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....

PS: FWIW, what's the biggest fake you know of? (Please nobody say "WMD"). :-p

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