Have you ever wondered about the mysteries that lurk within the pages of old, forgotten books?” With every turn of the page, literature invites us into a world of intrigue and enigma. It’s not just about the stories that are told, but also the ones that are shrouded in mystery.

The world of literature is teeming with mysteries that beg to be unravelled. And today, we’re going to uncover ten of the most mysterious books that ever existed.

The Voynich Manuscript

“Our first mystery takes us back to the 15th century, with the enigmatic Voynich Manuscript.”

  • Discovered in 1912 by a Polish book dealer named Wilfrid Voynich, after whom it is named.
  • The manuscript consists of about 240 vellum pages filled with strange botanical illustrations, astronomical symbols, and what appear to be recipes.
  • The most mysterious aspect is that it is written in an unknown script or language that has defied all attempts at decryption, making it a cryptographer’s nightmare.

“This peculiar tome was discovered in 1912 by Polish book dealer Wilfrid Voynich, hence the name. The manuscript, made up of about 240 vellum pages, is filled with strange botanical illustrations, astronomical symbols, and what appear to be recipes.

However, the most mysterious aspect of the Voynich Manuscript is its language.Written in an unknown script, it has defied all attempts at decryption, making it a cryptographer’s nightmare.Over the years, countless linguists and codebreakers, including those from both World Wars, have tried to crack this unyielding cipher. Yet, none have succeeded.

Theories about the mysterious book’s manuscript origins and content range from a sophisticated hoax to an undiscovered natural language, even to the work of extraterrestrial beings. Yet they all remain mere conjectures. “Despite the best efforts of cryptographers, the Voynich Manuscript remains an unsolved puzzle.”

The Rohonc Codex

“The Rohonc Codex, a challenge to even the most seasoned cryptographers, is our next mystery.

  • A 450-page long illustrated manuscript, the Rohonc Codex, was first unearthed at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1838
  • Christian, pagan, and Islamic motifs dance alongside seemingly fantastical scenes, all defying interpretation.
  • It’s still not clear whether the texts in Rohonc Codex should be read from left to right or right to left.
  • Theories suggest the Rohonc Codex was intentionally written in an inscrutable high-level code, rather than an ancient lost language.

The Rohonc Codex, a 450-page illustrated manuscript unearthed in 19th century Hungary. This enigmatic book, boasts a unique writing system unlike any known language. Its vibrant illustrations showcase a curious blend of Christian iconography, seemingly pagan symbols, and fantastical creatures unlike any documented in history.

The codex’s origin story itself is shrouded in mystery. While some believe it may have belonged to the Batthyány family, whose library housed it before donation, a tantalizing clue lies in a 1743 library catalog entry mentioning “Hungarian prayers.” This cryptic note has fueled speculation that the codex might be a cleverly disguised religious text, though the unknown script throws cold water on that theory.

Despite captivating scholars for centuries, the Rohonc Codex has yielded no definitive answers. Is it a genuine artifact from a lost civilization, a meticulously crafted hoax, or something else entirely?

The debate continues, with some Hungarian scholars leaning towards forgery due to stylistic inconsistencies within the illustrations. Adding to the intrigue, a 2003 claim of a partial decipherment by a Romanian scholar has yet to be widely accepted.

Les Prophéties or ‘The Prophecies of Nostradamus’

Les Prophéties, meaning “The Prophecies” in English, is a collection of poems written by the French physician and astrologer Michel de Nostredame, better known as Nostradamus. First published in 1555, it remains one of the most famous and controversial prophetic texts ever written.

Composed of nearly a thousand quatrains, or four-line verses, his book has been interpreted in countless ways, with some claiming that he foretold significant historical events, from the rise of Napoleon to the advent of World War.

Some of the more famous predictions attributed to Nostradamus include :

  • The Great Fire of London in 1666
  • The French Revolution
  • Both World Wars
  • The rise of Hitler and Napoleon
  • The September 11th attacks.

Yet, the mystery lies not just in the interpretation, but also in the accuracy of these predictions. How could a man from the 1500s foresee events centuries into the future? Skeptics argue that his writings are so vague and poetic that they can be interpreted to fit any event, while believers maintain that his foresight was uncanny.

“The Prophecies of Nostradamus, a book of foretelling, remains a source of debate and speculation.”

The Codex Seraphinianus

“Next in our list of the most mysterious books in the world, we have a book that is as strange as it is beautiful – The Codex Seraphinianus.”

What appears to be an encyclopedia from another world, the Codex pictures fantastical flora and fauna in a surreal alphabet no one recognizes. This book emerged in the late-twentieth century, penned by Italian artist, Luigi Over over two years.

Some pages of this mysterious book depict odd machinery while others show figures engaged in bizarre interactions. The whole book feels like peeking into the mind of an alien, which is precisely what Serafini says inspired him.

But the intrigue doesn’t end. The Codex Seraphinianus is written in a language that’s yet to be deciphered. Its unique script, an array of curvaceous symbols and lines, remains an unsolved puzzle. Theories abound, with some suggesting it’s a coded message, others proposing it’s an experiment in semiotics, or the study of signs and symbols.

Despite attempts to crack the code, the language of this old mysterious book remains as elusive as the day it was first inked. “The Codex Seraphinianus continues to intrigue and baffle its readers, a testament to the power of the unexplained.”

The Tibetan Book of the Dead

“Our final mention in the list of the most mysterious book in the world is a spiritual journey into the afterlife—the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

This ancient text, originally written in the Tibetan language, offers a unique view on death and rebirth, unlike any other. The book, also known as ‘Bardo Thodol‘, serves as a guide for the deceased during the process they undergo after death, leading up to their rebirth.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead is shrouded in mystery, not just for its unique interpretation of the afterlife, but also for its spiritual significance. It is believed that the teachings in this book can liberate one from the cycle of death and rebirth, allowing them to attain enlightenment. Yet, the true understanding of these teachings remains elusive, even to the most learned scholars.

The book’s profound insights into the nature of existence and its perspective on death as a transformative journey rather than an end make it a truly intriguing piece of literature. The Tibetan Book of the Dead, a guide to the afterlife, continues to mystify and inspire.”

The Book of Soyga

“Venture into the realm of the occult with our next book – The Book of Soyga.”

  • The Book of Soyga, also known as “Aldaraia”, is a 16th-century book about magic, astrology, incantations, and demonology acquired by scholar John Dee while advising Queen Elizabeth I.
  • While most of the book was written in readable Latin about conjurations, formulas, spells, and hierarchies of angels/demons, the final 36 pages contained 36 indecipherable tables that Dee could never decode before his death in 1609.
  • The book was lost after Dee’s death but rediscovered in 1994 in two locations, though the mystery of who wrote it and the meaning of the 36 coded tables remains unsolved.

This enigmatic book, dating back to the sixteenth century, is steeped in mysticism, and it vanished into the mists of time only to resurface in two separate libraries in the early twentieth century. The Book of Soyga’s connection to the famous occultist John Dee further deepens its mystery in the list of the most mysterious books in the world.

Dee, a confidant of Queen Elizabeth the First, was said to have sought the book’s secrets, particularly those hidden in its cryptic tables. These tables, filled with seemingly random letters and numbers, are believed to hold a concealed, arcane knowledge.

Despite the best efforts of scholars and cryptographers, the true meaning of these tables remains a mystery. Some suggest they hold a guide to summoning and controlling demons, while others believe they contain the secrets of the universe itself.

The Book of Soyga remains a tantalizing enigma, a window into the arcane.”

The Smithfield Decretals

On the list of our next top old mysterious books is a medieval mystery wrapped in a religious text, The Smithfield.

At its core, the Smithfield Decretals is a collection of papal pronouncements compiled by Pope Gregory IX in the 13th century.These pronouncements, known as decretals, clarified and established legal principles within the Catholic Church.

The book gets its name from its eventual home – the British Library. Before landing there, its ownership history remains a bit murky, but it likely passed through various hands over the centuries.

What truly sets the ‘Smithfield Decretals’ apart among the list of the most mysterious books in the world is its illumination. Illumination refers to the use of decorative illustrations and calligraphy in manuscripts.

These images are a bizarre array, with scenes depicting knights battling snails, human-like creatures in the midst of daily tasks, and even rabbits performing a funeral.

The mystery here lies in the meaning behind these strange scenes.

What could they possibly signify? Are they satirical commentaries on the church, or metaphors for moral lessons? Or perhaps they were simply the product of a bored, imaginative scribe?

To this day, the true interpretations remain elusive. “The Smithfield Decretals, a religious text, is a puzzling mix of the devout and the bizarre.”

Old Mysterious books: The Dead Sea Scrolls

It was 1946 in the desert canyons near the Dead Sea. A young Bedouin shepherd, searching for a stray goat, flung a rock into one of the countless caves that pockmarked the sandstone cliffs. But the dull thud that followed sounded unnaturally hollow. Curiosity piqued, he scrambled into the cool darkness to investigate. There, covered in batlike dustings of debris, he found a strange cache of large clay jars containing tightly bundled scrolls wrapped in linen. Little did he know his seemingly mundane task that day would lead to the archaeological find of the century – radically reshaping our understanding of early Judaism and Christianity. Those first unrolled scrolls from one of the old mysterious books, revealed ancient texts that predated any known biblical manuscripts by centuries…

  • The first scrolls were discovered in 1946-47 by a Bedouin shepherd in the Qumran caves. Over the following decades, thousands of priceless scroll fragments were discovered in 11 different caves in the area.
  • The scrolls contain biblical texts, apocryphal writings, prayers, commentaries, rules of conduct for an ancient Jewish sect, and other documents dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 1st century CE.
  • Some of the most famous scrolls include the Isaiah Scroll, the Community Rule, the War Scroll, and the Commentary on Habakkuk.
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls shed light on Jewish beliefs, practices, and scriptural interpretations before and around the time of Jesus Christ.They have helped scholars better understand the biblical texts, revealing variations and different versions from the traditional Hebrew Bible.
  • After their discovery, the scrolls were acquired and studied by scholars and institutions from around the world. Conservation efforts have focused on preserving these priceless ancient manuscripts, many of which were found in fragmented condition.

The Dead Sea Scrolls continue to be an invaluable source for biblical scholarship, religious studies, and understanding the historical and religious landscape of ancient Judaism and early Christianity.

What’s next?

It’s not the end, and there is more to it. Of course, there is no limit to the world of the unknown. So, if your thirst for the unknown is still not quenched, check out our extended list of the most mysterious books in the world.

Also Read : Codex Gigas or the Devil's Bible 

Leave a Comment