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A small independent Spanish publishing house has been granted permission to print nearly one thousand copies of the world famous Voynich manuscript, a book written in a code or language that scientists and academics have failed to understand for centuries. The mysterious work, which dates from the Middle Ages, has been locked away in a safe at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University in the United States.

The mystery of the book lies in the difficulty of deciphering its beautiful symbols, lettering and illustrations – and the fact that its author has never been identified. Despite thousands of professional and amateur attempts to decode the language and uncover its meaning, they have failed to do so.

Theories range from Leonardo da Vinci using an encrypted language to descendants of ancient civilisations and even beings from another world.