Dr. Dee’s Not Having It.

Here’s something fun for Friday: “The Quest to Unlock the Mysteries of a Bizarre Manuscript Known as Voynich,” a discussion about current efforts to figure out a medieval/early modern text written in an unknown language. Batya Ungar-Sargon wrote the piece.

The article includes a priceless anecdote about Edward Kelly and Dr. John Dee, Elizabethan gents known to truck with the occult. Apparently, they

worked closely to communicate with angels, Kelly transcribing whole books in the Enochian language with which they spoke to him. The relationship lasted until one day, while consulting with the spirits, “Kelly pretended to be shocked at their language, and refused to tell Dee what they had said” [. . .] Upon Dee’s insistence, Kelly told him that, according to the angels, the two men “were henceforth to have their wives in common. Dee, a little startled, inquired whether the spirits might not mean that they were to live in common harmony and good-will? Kelly with apparent reluctance, said the spirits insisted upon the literal interpretation.” It marked the end of the friendship.

Ha. Nice try, Kelly.

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