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Re: VMs: Hello again, again

Welcome back GC!  I think many of us have taken this hot, humid summer
off to do more productive things (ie golf).

I have recently taken the steps to looking at the Voy again myself.

I am now convinced that the gallows characters that are crossed by other
characters (usually ch) are put that way for only decorative purposes
(or, perhaps, to further obfuscate the text).  ie - what we know as cphy
[EVA, of course] would more properly be  p-chy (the p not being an
alphabetic character, but more on that in another post sometime soon -
if I remain motivated, or it rains on all the days I can get out to the

Larry Roux
Syracuse University

>>> gc-@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 08/09/05 1:00 AM >>>
Hello Jim, sorry to be out of touch so long.
Hello everyone else, and sorry to be out of touch so long.

These last months I have been engrossed in a very exciting piece of 17th
century cipher that holds great promise for many more discoveries. Most
of what I've been doing lately is processing text and programming to
look for instances of this cipher, an early Masonic usage (in print) of
a Trithemian theme.  Excitement is a very tiring response to something,
and as I've discovered with the Voynich many times, I required a break
from current my studies, and wound up here once more.

I have not even looked at a Voynich photograph since I left the list,
and I have not done 10 minutes' work on the subject in these several
months.  I haven't monitored the list, nor viewed the recent archives,
so I'm here afresh, without any idea of "where" exactly "here" is, at
least in terms of contemporary conversation.

Through private communication, many of you are already aware that my
current focus has been a set of letters that preface the First Folio of
William Shakespeare.  Shakespearean scholars have agreed enmasse that
the two Heminge/Condell letters were authored by Ben Jonson, and the
last letter in question, that of Hugh Holland, was written by Holland, a
friend and confidante of Ben Jonson, considered to be one of "Ben's
Tribe".  So what is Jonson doing in the lead, when Heminge and Condell
were the ones supposedly compiling and publishing these documents?  Who
actually cares that Condell for one, endured a lingering illness and
died before the publication, so could not have participated in this
project in any meaningful way?  Is Bush's press staff writing this
history, or do we want the facts?

Jim Reeds might be aware that the use of Trithemian steganographic
cipher requires that the text should point the way to the key, and in
this these letters and poems point the same direction, namely the word
"two".  Comparing similar texts to these letters, the number of double
letters is up on the charts in these Jonson letters, and there is the
answer to the problem.

I leave it to each of you to follow the trail before my book comes out,
but here I offer you a clue to the problem - Ben Jonson's first poem,
placed next to the image of Shakespeare, yields the results "ciphr on
two" when placed against a Vig slide.  Four other letters, three from
Ben Jonson, one from Hugh Holland, fall into the same system class, each
with its own key.

Interestingly enough, there is a letter by "Heminge and Condell"
entitled the "Letter Dedicatorie", which uses two abbreviations.  For
"Your Lordships" the letter uses the abbreviation "L.L.", and for "Your
Honors" the letter uses the abbreviation "H.H.".  This "third person"
abbreviation set was used only in law documents, and appeared (to the
best of my knowledge) in only one book before the first folio, the book
being published first in 1617, and had no rightful usage the address in

The theme of the letter is "two" and "paire", go figure.  And the amount
of double letters here travels off the chart compared to contemporary
text.  It becomes obvious that the HH and LL are the keys to the
"double" cipher, and that the answer is obtained by simple Trithemian

It should be noted that Ben Jonson once wrote a piece decrying the use
of cipher and anagrams in the works of others, and Jonson said he never
used such trivial means, yet he used those same trivialities in his
dismissal of such means in the same piece, probably to make a point.

Much after Jonson's argument against cipherists, about 1617 or sooner,
Jonson was listed as one of Sir Francis Bacon's "good pens", who were
employed in many literary efforts, to include the latinisation of
Bacon's works and the enciphering and deciphering of State dispatches. 
We can only assume his opinion of cipher changed for the better, because
we find Jonson utilizing cipher in more and more documents after this

Not wanting to offend the orthodoxy, I must admit that Jonson's
attributions in cipher to the authorship of the compiled plays must have
been a sign that he suffered mentally in some way, since he didn't seem
to think that the actor William Shakespeare was the author of these
greatest of works.  If anyone should know, it should have been "Old

Obviously, though the ciphers are relatively simple, the results have
some very serious implications.  The worn-out topic of valid Baconian
cipher is even an issue here.  Fortunately, I circumvent that nightmare
by putting forward the idea of "Jonsonian" cipher instead.

But this is exactly the subject I've burnt out on for the present, and
seek some relief in another pass-time, namely the Voynich.  So where are
we in our understanding?  The answer is 42, so what is the question?

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