I find it important to learn things. Maybe you do too.
The Voynich Manuscript
This is known as the Voynich manuscript and it was written in the early 1400's. In code. Wilfrid Voynich is the gentleman who found the book. The whole book, over 200 pages thick, is full of illustrations and coded writing. No one knows who wrote it or why they wrote it or what it is, although it is suspected that it has something to do with medicine and botany and astrology and naked girls....at least that is what is illustrated. Cryptanalysts, or code-breakers, have been trying to decode this sucker for 100's of years....and as of late, sophisticated computers with code breaking programs have lost the battle to figure this one out. Why write a book in code? That is pretty much a guarantee that it won't be a best seller. Maybe it isn't a code at all, but simply nonsense-writing. But that seems to be a lot of trouble to say nothing at all. Here is your chance to become famous -- simply break the code.
Barbara Newhall Follett
NOBODY MAY COME INTO THIS ROOM IF THE DOOR IS SHUT TIGHT (IF IT IS SHUT NOT QUITE LATCHED IT IS ALL RIGHT) WITHOUT KNOCKING. THE PERSON IN THIS ROOM IF HE AGREES THAT ONE SHALL COME IN WILL SAY “COME IN,” OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT AND IF HE DOES NOT AGREE TO IT HE WILL SAY “NOT YET, PLEASE,” OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. THE DOOR MAY BE SHUT IF NOBODY IS IN THE ROOM BUT IF A PERSON WANTS TO COME IN, KNOCKS AND HEARS NO ANSWER THAT MEANS THERE IS NO ONE IN THE ROOM AND HE MUST NOT GO IN.
In 1927 she finished her novel at the age of thirteen. It was a forty thousand word long book titled The House Without Windows. Her father sent it to a publisher. Weeks later, when she received a letter from the publisher she wrote of her feelings upon seeing the envelope:
"I simply threw myself on the floor and screamed, either with fear for what it might contain, with joy for getting it at last, or with terrific excitement of the whole thing. There is a feeling, after you have been waiting a long time for anything, there is a feeling that, when it really comes, it must be impossible— a dream—an optical illusion—a cross between those three things…
"Now: “What doo zhoo fink???” It is Eepersip, The House Without Windows, my story, my story in New York, with the Knopfs, to be published!!... published!!!!!!!!"
The Saturday Review of Literature said of the book: It is "almost unbearingly beautiful." The novel also received critical reviews by the New York Times and H. L. Mencken.
The novel was not a child's book but an adult novel for adult readership.
Next she published The Voyage of the Norman D. one year later at the age of fourteen. The reviews?
"Its ingeniousness is preserved, yet embellished, by a literary craftsmanship which would do credit to an experienced writer," the Times Literary Supplement marveled from London. The Saturday Review featured her book alongside Dorothy Parker’s latest, and declared it “a fine, sustained, and vivid piece of writing.”
William Follett, her father, was her biggest supporter and fan. He had taught her how to type at the age of five, and he critiqued her works as they were in progress. He encouraged her to follow her dreams. Shortly after The Voyage was published he and Barbara's mother divorced and he left.
The young Barbara felt that he had abandoned her. She ran away from home and was soon picked up by the police and reunited with her mother. They were poor, so she had to go to work taking stenography. She said of those times, “My dreams are going through their death flurries. I thought they were all safely buried, but sometimes they stir in their grave, making my heartstrings twinge. I mean no particular dream, you understand, but the whole radiant flock of them together—with their rainbow wings, iridescent, bright, soaring, glorious, sublime. They are dying before the steel javelins and arrows of a world of Time and Money.”
Still she wrote two more books, Lost Island and Travels Without a Donkey in 1934. She met and married an adventurer named Nick Rogers shortly after these books were published. In 1939 Barbara discovered that Nick had an affair with another. After an argument she left...to never be heard of again.
The child prodigy disappeared after she felt abandoned by the second man in her life. The last mention of her was this police report:
Brookline. 139 4-22-40 3:38 pm Maccracken. Missing from Brookline since Dec. 7, 1939, Barbara Rogers, married, age 26, 5-7, 125, fair complexion, black eyebrows, brown eyes, dark auburn hair worn in a long bob, left shoulder slightly higher than right. Occasionally wears horn-rimmed glasses.