Mark I

Here is my theory how the VM was actually enciphered — Mark I. It’s actually a fairly simple method, it would have been feasible in the time period considered, it is moderately labour-intensive, and it is able to statisfy some of the properties of the VM text. (Though not all of them — which is why I later went on to Mark II.)

Anyway, here’s the deal:

How it works:

Suppose you want to encipher the word “abdomen”:

mark_i_1

The first thing you do is you decompose the letters which make up the word into the individual penstrokes you have used to write it down, from left to right:

mark_i_2

As you note, we have used a surprisingly small number of different strokes, namely only six. Let’s write them down orderly, and assign a number to each of them:

mark_i_3

Now we can replace each of the strokes from our ciphertext sequence with the number we have assigned to it in the list above:

mark_i_31

Thus we have replaced the plaintext word “abdomen” with a string of digits, “12344342551625”. If we had used little obscure glyphs instead of the well-known arab digits, we would have arrived at a string of Voynich characters like “qochhchoiiqnoi”.

That’s all there really is to it.

Read more on the following pages:

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