“Voynich manuscript” from Wikipedia

Genuine mysteries are so very rare, but here is an artifact of an unknown language, an unknown botany, an unknown madness, an unknown world.
-The Voice before the Void

“Voynich manuscript”

Wikipedia

The Voynich manuscript is an illustrated codex hand-written in an unknown writing system. The vellum on which it is written has been carbon-dated to the early 15th century (1404–1438), and it may have been composed in Northern Italy during the Italian Renaissance. The manuscript is named after Wilfrid Voynich, a Polish book dealer who purchased it in 1912.

Voynich manuscript undeciphered untranslated unknown language mystery tome grimoire rare medieval codex book Beinecke Library Yale University page 181 folio 102 recto weird plantsSome of the pages are missing, with around 240 still remaining. The text is written from left to right, and most of the pages have illustrations or diagrams. Some pages are foldable sheets.

The Voynich manuscript has been studied by many professional and amateur cryptographers, including American and British codebreakers from both World War I and World War II. No one has yet succeeded in deciphering the text, and it has become a famous case in the history of cryptography. The mystery of the meaning and origin of the manuscript has excited the popular imagination, making the manuscript the subject of novels and speculation. None of the many hypotheses proposed over the last hundred years has yet been independently verified. Continue reading

“The Moon-Slave” by Barry Pain

Walpurgisnacht. Springtime Halloween.
A famous tale… of the danger of dance.
-The Voice before the Void

“The Moon-Slave”

Barry Pain

The Princess Viola had, even in her childhood, an inevitable submission to the dance; Continue reading

“A Balloon Attack” by James Norman Hall

World War I:
American volunteer pilots in the Lafayette Escadrille of the French air service target German observation balloons behind enemy lines in Hall’s wry – and, at times, beautiful – first-hand account of flying in the First World War.
-The Voice before the Void

“A Balloon Attack”

from High Adventure: A Narrative of Air Fighting in France

James Norman Hall

“I’m looking for two balloonatics,” said Talbott, as he came into the messroom; “and I think I’ve found them.”

Percy, Talbott’s orderly, Tiffin the steward, Drew, and I were the only occupants of the room. Percy is an old légionnaire, crippled with rheumatism. His active service days are over. Tiffin’s working hours are filled with numberless duties. He makes the beds, and serves food from three to five times daily to members of the Escadrille Lafayette. These two being eliminated, the identity of the balloonatics was plain.

“The orders have just come,” Talbott added, “and I decided that the first men I met after leaving the bureau would be balloonatics. Virtue has gone into both of you. Now, if you can make fire come out of a Boche sausage, you will have done all that is required. Listen. This is interesting. The orders are in French, but I will translate as I read:—

On the umteenth day of June, the escadrilles of Groupe de Combat Blank [that’s ours] will cooperate in an attack on the German observation balloons Continue reading

“The Hand” by Guy de Maupassant

Halloween Special:
Maupassant has a brilliant way of relating the supernatural. He does not say: “this supernatural thing happened,” a fact which would be unbelievable; instead he says: “it is said that this supernatural thing happened,” a fact which is indisputable.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Hand”

Guy de Maupassant

translated from the French

All were crowding around M. Bermutier, the judge, who was giving his opinion about the Saint-Cloud mystery. For a month this in explicable crime had been the talk of Paris. Nobody could make head or tail of it.

M. Bermutier, standing with his back to the fireplace, was talking, citing the evidence, discussing the various theories, but arriving at no conclusion.

Some women had risen, in order to get nearer to him, and were standing with their eyes fastened on the clean-shaven face of the judge, who was saying such weighty things. They, were shaking and trembling, moved by fear and curiosity, and by the eager and insatiable desire for the horrible, which haunts the soul of every woman. One of them, paler than the others, said during a pause:

“It’s terrible. It verges on the supernatural. The truth will never be known.” Continue reading

“The Buffalo Hunt” by Pierre Falcon and Agnes Christina Laut

Canada Day Special:
Glory and grisly death, for food and clothing.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Buffalo Hunt”

Pierre Falcon and Agnes Christina Laut

Now list to the song of the buffalo hunt,
Which I, Pierre, the rhymester, chant of the brave!
We are Bois-Brulés, Freemen of the plains,
We choose our chief! We are no man’s slave!
Up, riders, up, ere the early mist
Ascends to salute the rising sun!
Up, rangers, up, ere the buffalo herds
Sniff morning air for the hunter’s gun!
They lie in their lairs of dank spear-grass,
Down in the gorge, where the prairie dips.
We’ve followed their tracks through the sucking ooze,
Where our bronchos sank to their steaming hips.
We’ve followed their tracks from the rolling plain
Through slime-green sloughs to a sedgy ravine, Continue reading

“The Repairer of Reputations” from The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers, part 1

Walpurgis Night Special:
A story unique and masterfully weird… and our world’s introduction to the King in Yellow.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“The Repairer of Reputations”

from The King in Yellow

Robert W. Chambers

part 1

Along the shore the cloud waves break,
The twin suns sink beneath the lake,
The shadows lengthen
In Carcosa.

Strange is the night where black stars rise,
And strange moons circle through the skies
But stranger still is
Lost Carcosa.

Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
Where flap the tatters of the King,
Must die unheard in
Dim Carcosa.

Song of my soul, my voice is dead;
Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed
Shall dry and die in
Lost Carcosa.

Cassilda’s Song in “The King in Yellow,” Act i, Scene 2.

The Repairer of Reputations

I

“Ne raillons pas les fous; leur folie dure plus longtemps que la nôtre…. Voila toute la différence.”

Toward the end of the year 1920 the Government of the United States had practically completed the programme, adopted during the last months of President Winthrop’s administration. The country was apparently tranquil. Everybody knows how the Tariff and Labour questions were settled. The war with Germany, incident on that country’s seizure of the Samoan Islands, had left no visible scars upon the republic, and the temporary occupation of Norfolk by the invading army had been forgotten in the joy over repeated naval victories, and the subsequent ridiculous plight of General Von Gartenlaube’s forces in the State of New Jersey. The Cuban and Hawaiian investments had paid one hundred per cent and Continue reading

“Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man” by the Marquis de Sade, version 2

Second version. Read with Brent Woodfill. Brent is an archaeologist who specializes in ancient Maya cave complexes of Guatemala and the Yucatán.
Actually, I was full drunk.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man”

Marquis de Sade

translated from the French

PRIEST – Come to this the fatal hour when at last from the eyes of deluded man the scales must fall away, and be shown the cruel picture of his errors and his vices – say, my son, do you not repent the host of sins unto which you were led by weakness and human frailty?

DYING MAN – Yes, my friend, I do repent.

PRIEST – Rejoice then in these pangs of remorse, during the brief space remaining to you profit therefrom to obtain Heaven’s general absolution for your sins, and be mindful of it, only through the mediation of the Most Holy Sacrament of penance will you be granted it by the Eternal.

DYING MAN – I do not understand you, any more than you have understood me. Continue reading

“Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man” by the Marquis de Sade, version 1

“An interesting, well-reasoned argument for atheism,” as Brent describes this piece.
Read with Brent Woodfill. Brent is an archaeologist who specializes in ancient Maya cave complexes of Guatemala and the Yucatán.
We were drinking when we read these.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man”

Marquis de Sade

translated from the French

PRIEST – Come to this the fatal hour when at last from the eyes of deluded man the scales must fall away, and be shown the cruel picture of his errors and his vices – say, my son, do you not repent the host of sins unto which you were led by weakness and human frailty?

DYING MAN – Yes, my friend, I do repent.

PRIEST – Rejoice then in these pangs of remorse, during the brief space remaining to you profit therefrom to obtain Heaven’s general absolution for your sins, and be mindful of it, only through the mediation of the Most Holy Sacrament of penance will you be granted it by the Eternal.

DYING MAN – I do not understand you, any more than you have understood me. Continue reading