Most books are meant to entertain, enlighten, and provoke solutions. Solutions to some of life’s most troubling concerns. But not all books are meant to be answers. In fact, there are many that harp on asking you a profound question to leave you thinking. Usually, however, those books pose a societal question you knew already existed. Yet, beyond those tomes, there are a few obscure and mysterious texts that will leave you puzzled. They incite more questions than you realized you had before even starting. This books are written in dead languages, undecipherable codes, and under shrouded circumstances. And while there are dozens in existence of this nature, here are four books that you should actually pay attention to. They are sure to titillate your idea of history and narrative, while proving inspiration for crafting your own life mysteries.
1.) Voynich manuscript
For as much that is unknown about the Voynich Manuscript, a lot is also unknown. For example, no one knows who wrote the text. The book’s name comes from a Polish book dealer named Wilfrid Voynich. Voynich purchased the book in 1912, but the manuscript is suspected of being much older than that. In fact, some historians speculate that the text was produced sometime in the early 1400’s, most likely in Southern Europe.
The history of the text is just as ambiguous as the contents it holds. There has been 12 different proposed owners (or keepers) of the manuscript ending with its current residence at Yale. The first confirmed owner of the manuscript was a Prague resident named Georg Baresch. He is the first confirmed/verified owner of the manuscript and was just as puzzled by it then as we are today. In fact, there are letters from Baresch to various scholars asking for clues onto the text’s meanings.
2.) Ripley Scrolls
Scholars are uncertain to who actually created the Ripley Scrolls and to whom to attribute the scrolls to as its original author. Scholars believe that the scrolls were penned sometime in the 15th century. The reason they are referred to as the Ripley Scrolls is because they refer several times to a famous alchemist of the time, George Ripley.
The scrolls are largely filled with illustrations. But it also includes panels of text and lines of text that are constant throughout the work. The lines are written in both English and Latin and contain a great deal of iconography as well. As for the illustrations, three themes seem to present in a majority of the illustrations. Feathers, toads, and blood. Scholars suggest that blood holds a strong symbolism with the stone itself.
What makes the Ripley Scrolls so amazing is the theory that the book holds a step-by-step manual for creating the philosopher’s stone. For those of you that didn’t read Harry Potter, the philosopher’s stone is a magical entity. And its magic will allegedly turn lead into gold. Oh, and besides being able to provide tremendous wealth, it also can extend the life of the holder. Because the stone also allows the holder to make the famed Elixir of Life.
So why hasn’t anyone created or found the philosopher’s stone? Well, the original copy of the scroll no longer exists. There are reproductions, that are supposedly close to the real thing. But when you compare the copies, you find that they are all a little bit different. You could ask the authors of the copies what they meant to transcribe or where they copied form, but no such luck. All the 16 remaining copies were created in the 17th century or earlier. It’s like a game of telephone, but with ancient text. Because of this, we are still trying to figure out what the original scroll held and how close the reproductions are to being accurate.
3.) Rohonc Codex
The Rohonc Codex is an illustrated manuscript that is a massive 448 pages with more than 80 illustrations accompanying the text. Just like with the Voynich Manuscript and the Ripley Scrolls, the text isn’t named after the author. Instead, the codex is named after the city it was found in, Rohonc, and its author is largely unknown. Although some historians have pointed to it as a hoax, crafted by an antiquarian and librarian, Sámuel Literáti Nemes, others still study its validity and relish in its mysteries.
4.) Book of Soyga
The Book of Soyga is a treatise on magic associated most closely with a man named John Dee. Dee isn’t the author, however. He is considered more of a compiler and translator of sorts by most scholars. Dee is suspected of compiling nearly 40 thousand letters and loose pages in the Book of Soyga and discovering its magical properties. Dee was a librarian by nature and amassed the largest library in England during his lifetime in the late 1500’s. He came to believe that the text had a special attachment with the paranormal. And historians have found indication that Dee believes himself to have conversations with archangels concerning the Book of Soyga.