Bavarian artist Martin Dorn has provided me a seven-pages encrypted manuscript. Can a reader decipher it?

The famous Voynich manuscript …

Source: Schmeh

… has inspired many an artist to create an encrypted book him- or herself. The most popular example is certainly the Codex Seraphianus

Source: Codex Seraphianus

…, an illustrated encyclopedia of an imaginary world, made by Italian artist, architect and designer Luigi Serafini (born 1949). The Codex Seraphianus has never been solved. Serafini once said that the text in this strange work is mere gibberish and can’t be deciphered. However, it is unclear whether this statement is true.


The Dorn Manuscript

When Bavarian medicist and artist Martin Dorn read my book Nicht zu knacken, which contains a chapter about the Voynich manuscript, he felt inspired, too. He created a seven-pages manuscript (I call it Dorn Manuscript) containing encrypted text. He sent it to me – the original, not a scan. This means that, for the first time in my life, I own a notable piece of art. Perhaps it will be extremely valuable one day.

Here’s the title page of the Dorn Manuscript:

Source: Dorn

Here are pages 2 to 7:


Source: Dorn


Source: Dorn


Source: Dorn


Source: Dorn


Source: Dorn


Source: Dorn

Can a reader decipher this seven-pages cryptogram. According to Martin Dorn, the encryption system used is simple and shouldn’t be a real challenge for a good codebreaker. I assume that the plaintext is in German.


#100 on my encrypted book list

As the Dorn Manuscript can be regarded as a short book, I put it on my encrypted book list. It is the 100th book entering the list, so it has received the identity number 00100. I started this list in 2013 (with the Voynich Manuscript being number 00001), which means that it took six years until the 100th entry was reached. I’m sure that there are far more encrypted books around and that my list will continue to grow.

So far, the Dorn Manuscript is listed as unsolved on my encrypted books page, but I’m sure this will change soon. The first reader who presents the solution will be mentioned in the “broken by” field of my list. Good luck!

Further reading: Voynich manuscript: 898 official replicas and one unofficial one


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Kommentare (5)

  1. #1 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa...
    10. Dezember 2019


  2. #2 Thomas
    10. Dezember 2019

    The headings might read:

    – Über die Dinge
    – Abschnitt
    – Wo wir herkommen
    – Von dem was in uns ist
    – Abschnitt – Vom Leben
    – Vom Menschen

  3. #3 Thomas
    10. Dezember 2019

    The end is from Goethe’s Faust:

    Die uns das Leben gaben, herrliche Gefühle
    Erstarren in dem irdischen Gewühle.

  4. #4 Thomas
    10. Dezember 2019

    The end (Faust):

    Dem Herrlichsten, was auch der Geist empfangen,
    Drängt immer fremd und fremder Stoff sich an;
    Wenn wir zum Guten dieser Welt gelangen,
    Dann heißt das Beßre Trug und Wahn.
    Die uns das Leben gaben, herrliche Gefühle
    Erstarren in dem irdischen Gewühle.

  5. #5 Magnus Ekhall
    11. Dezember 2019

    Well done Thomas!