The Voynich manuscript has delighted conspiracy theorists and researchers since book dealer Wilfred Voynich found it in an Italian monastery in 1912. Its illustrations of naked nymphs, unidentifiable plants, astrological diagrams and pages and pages of text in an unidentified alphabet is considered gibberish, part of a Renaissance hoax to bilk rich, dumb people out of some money, by most, but an elaborate code by a persistent minority, mostly people who believe in "Chariots of the Gods" and Loch Ness Monster stuff.

Looking for patterns in the words is meaingingless, so a pair of analysts created a formula that looks for global patterns in the frequency and clustering of words that might indicate meaning. So if you analyze "Moby Dick" you get high-entropy words like 'whale' and Darwin's 'Origin of Species' yields 'species' and 'varieties'.

Ummm, no kidding.

But a theoretical physicist with interest in information theory can have a little fun with it.  And it's PLoS One, so it was only $1,200 away from being in a journal.

Why is The Voynich Manuscript likely a hoax regardless of any new analysis?  If it is not, it is the only hand-written document in history that had 200 pages and no errors.

Citation: Montemurro MA, Zanette DH (2013) Keywords and Co-Occurrence Patterns in the Voynich Manuscript: An Information-Theoretic Analysis. PLoS ONE 8(6): e66344. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066344

New signs of language surface in mystery Voynich text by Lisa Grossman, New Scientist