Then there’s the Voynich Manuscript.
This manuscript was created in Central Europe, possibly Northern Italy, at the end of the 1400s or during the early 1500s. It’s made of vellum and runs some 240 pages, with many dense passages of text. It was named for Wilfrid Voynich, a book dealer who bought it in 1912. It’s actual authorship is unknown. It also includes a diverse collection of images, including 113 species of plants, images of medicines in jars, images of the Zodiac, and a lot of images of people (especially miniature nude women) often shown bathing in tubs. If that sounds weird, don’t worry. It gets weirder.
For one thing, no one can read the Voynich Manuscript. The curly script has been analyzed by linguists, historians, cryptographers and even codebreakers who served in both World Wars, and to this day, no one knows how to begin deciphering the text. For another, those 113 plants depicted in a fair amount of detail? No one has ever agreed on what kinds of plants they are, or if they’re not completely made up. Basically everything in the book, which seems to run from cosmological phenomena to herbalism, seems only almost familiar. Historians think it might have been a pharmacopoeia, or a medicine-making recipe book (astronomy and astrology played a large part in medieval medicine), but with all its oddities, it’s hard to say. Others think it’s a complete hoax, although a carbon dating test of the vellum places it in the right time.