From the infamous Zodiac to the indecipherable Voynich Manuscript, here are the most famous uncracked codes in history!
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4 - Taman Shud Case
In 1948, a male body wearing a sweater and coat with no identification was discovered on Somerton Beach in Australia. No fingerprints matched, nor dental records, and an autopsy uncovered bizarre congestion, such as blood in the stomach and enlarged organs. A suitcase discovered at the train station nearby is believed to have belonged to the unknown man, inside authorities found pants with a secret pocket. The crumpled piece of paper inside was found to be torn from a book called The Rubaiyat, scrawled in black ink were the words Tamam Shud, a Persian phrase for ended. The Rubaiyat was written by Omar Khayyam, dubbed the Astronomer-Poet of Persia, and translates poems from ancient civilizations like India, Greece, Rome, and China. An unlocked vehicle was also uncovered near the train station, in the back seat, police found the remaining pages of the rare book, and scrawled on the back cover where five lines of capital letters. The FBI and Scotland Yard attempted to decipher the cryptic clues from the book and torn page but were unable to yield any leads. Many consider this bizarre unidentified person case as one of Australia's most profound mysteries.
3 - Shugborough Inscription
Located on the grounds of Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire England is an 18th-century monument which contains a stone engraved copy of the Nicolas Poussin painting, The Arcadian Shepherds, as well as a mysterious unsolved cipher text message. The ten-letter long cryptic inscription embedded into the rock's face reads D O U O S V A V V M, the D and the M are slightly lower than the other letters. The strange statue was built in the mid-1700s, commissioned by Thomas Anson, paid for by his brother Admiral George Anson and fashioned by the Flemish sculptor Peter Scheemakers. The painting replica carved on the stone has some slight differences compared to the original painted version, could these discrepancies be a clue? Alterations include an extra sarcophagus at the top of the main tomb, the horizontal reversal of the characters, and the trees in the background. In 1982, the authors of the pseudo-historical book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail theorized that Nicolas Poussin, the painter of the original artwork, had been a member of the Priory of Sion and that perhaps his Shepherds of Arca contained hidden meanings of great esoteric significance. Speculation grew, could the replica painting carved in the monument at Shugborough Hall be connected to the original artwork and could both lead to clues to finding the real Holy Grail? As no one has managed to solve the riddle, there is only speculation.
2 - The Voynich Manuscript
Discovered in 1912 by a Polish book dealer named Wilfrid Voynich, the Voynich Manuscript is an illustrated codex hand-written in an unknown writing system. The calfskin on which it is written has been carbon-dated and indicates that the book dates back to either the 15th or 16th century Italy. Some of the pages are missing, with approximately 240 still remaining. Written from left to right the 170,000 characters contain no punctuation marks. The alphabet of the unknown language is thought to contain anywhere from 19 to 28 letters, as some of the text is written in patterns similar to Greek and Latin. But these are only theories as this cryptic book has never been deciphered. Some believe that the manuscript is a hoax and is constructed with an artificial language. Many pages are covered in strange drawings and are colored in with paint, most pages contain images of plants and what appears to be paragraphs beneath them with descriptions. Star charts, vibrant diagrams of Zodiacal symbols, some nude women, a map of nine islands connected by causeways, pharmaceutical plants, and even a few recipes can also be found between the pages of the manuscript. Many researchers agree that the manuscript was meant to serve as a pharmacopeia, a how-to guide for medieval medicine. This mysterious book has been fascinating and frustrating code breakers over a century, could this be a Necronomicon, an ancient book of shadows, a medicinal text, or something else entirely. We may never know.