Native Village 
Youth and Education News

December  2012

10 of the World's Biggest Unsolved Mysteries
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Voynich Manuscript

Named after Wilfrid M. Voynich who acquired it in 1912, the Voynich Manuscript is a detailed 240-page book written in a completely unknown language or script. Its pages are filled with colorful drawings of strange diagrams, odd events and plants that don't match any known species.  The original author is unknown, but carbon dating reveals that its pages were made between 1404 -1438. It has been called "the world's most mysterious manuscript."

Some believe The Voynich Manuscript was meant to be a pharmacopoeia of topics in medieval or early modern medicine.
Others say the pictures suggest it was some kind of textbook for an alchemist. Because of the book's unidentified plants and diagrams that appear to be of astronomical origin, some propose the book may have an alien origin.

One thing most theorists agree on is that The Voynich Manuscript is unlikely to be a hoax because of the time, money and detail that would have been required to make it.

Beale Ciphers

The Beale Ciphers are a set of three ciphertexts believed to reveal the location of one of the grandest buried treasures in U.S. history: thousands of pounds of gold, silver and jewels.

The treasure was obtained in 1818 by a mysterious man named Thomas Jefferson Beale while he was prospecting in Colorado.

Of the three ciphertexts, only the second has been cracked. Interestingly, the U.S. Declaration of Independence turned out to be the key — a curious fact since Beale shares his name with its author, Thomas Jefferson.

One cracked code reveals the treasure was buried in Bedford County, Va., but its exact location may be hiding in another uncracked cipher. To this day, treasure hunters scour the Bedford County hillsides digging (often illegally) for the loot.
The mystery of the Phaistos Disc sounds like something out of an Indiana Jones movie.

The disc was discovered in 1908 by Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier in the Minoan palace-site of Phaistos. Made of fired clay, the disc contains mysterious symbols that may be an unknown form of hieroglyphics. It is believed that Phaistos Disc was designed sometime in the second millennium BC.

Some scholars think that the hieroglyphs resemble symbols of Linear A and Linear B, scripts once used in ancient Crete. The only problem? Linear A also eludes decipherment.
Today the disc remains one of the most famous puzzles of archaeology.


Shugborough inscription

From afar, Shepherd's Monument in Staffordshire, England, might simply appear to be a sculpture recreating Nicolas Poussin's famous painting, “Arcadian Shepherds.”

But if you look closer at the 18th-century sculpture, you'll notice a curious sequence of letters: DOUOSVAVVM. The code that has eluded decipherment for over 250 years.

Though the identity of the code carver remains a mystery, some wonder if the code is a clue left behind by the Knights Templar about the whereabouts of the Holy Grail.

Many of the world's greatest minds have tried to crack the code and failed, including Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin



Zodiac letters

The Zodiac letters are a series of four encrypted messages believed to have been written by the Zodiac Killer, a serial killer who terrorized San Francisco Bay resident in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The letters were likely meant to taunt journalists and police. While one message has been deciphered, the three others remain uncracked.

The identity of the Zodiac Killer also remains a mystery, although no Zodiac murders have been identified since 1970.


Critics of the stones have called for them to be destroyed.



Rongorongo is a system of mysterious glyphs written on various artifacts on Easter Island. Many believe they represent a lost system of writing or proto-writing. If so, it would be one of three or four independent inventions of writing in human history.

The glyphs remain undecipherable, and their true messages — which some believe could offer hints about the perplexing collapse of the statue-building Easter Island civilization — may be lost forever.



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