In the popular television series X-Files, Mulder and Scully try to trace mysterious cases that are beyond common sense. Indeed, the motto “The truth is out there” in the titles of each episode tries to explain some of these cases.
In the same way the following inventions have puzzled scientists for centuries, with the only difference they cannot afford to say that the truth is out there, simply because they know neither what is this truth, nor where to find it…
The Voynich Manuscript
It is a manuscript in an incomprehensible language, illustrated with incomprehensible drawings from an unknown author. The Voynich manuscript has tortured historians and cryptanalysts for centuries and is believed to be written four or eight hundred years ago. Best professional and amateur cryptanalysts, including some of the top American and British “decoders” of the Second World War, did not manage to translate a word.
Mixed-up illustrations have raised many theories about the origins of the book, its content, and the purpose it was created for. Many believe that it is some kind of alchemical herbarium or astrological manual. Regarding the language used, many argue that this is a text written in an unknown language or the rare phenomenon of automatic writing. But the main question is: will its content ever be understood?
The Giant Balls of Costa Rica
More than a thousand huge stone balls are scattered in the delta of the Diquis River in Costa Rica. The bolas grandes, as the locals say, are four meters in diameter and weigh more than twenty tons. Most of them are made of granodiorite, a very hard rock like granite, while the rest are made of coquina, a hard calcareous material. Since none of the two materials is found in that location, scientists believe that the balls were probably moved there after being created.
As for how they could be constructed, one theory says that the manufacturers gave the final shape carving them with knives, while another theory is based on the fact that the rocks tend to get curved forms if pieces of rock heated by fire and then poured in cold water. However, regardless of the technique, the obvious question arises: why so much trouble for these balls? What do they symbolize? Until now, scientists have not given a clear answer.
The Baghdad Battery
In 1928, German archaeologist Wilhelm Konig discovered in Baghdad something that resembled a small earthenware pitcher thirteen centimeters long, containing a copper cylinder attached to the rim of the hole and a small iron rod in the lid. Analyses showed that it contained a kind of oxidizing solution, wine or vinegar. After some research, it appeared that the finding of the German scientist was an ancient… battery. Since then, more similar batteries dated between 250 BC and 225 AD were found.
Scientists assume that the batteries were used for medical purposes, thanks to the healing properties of electricity; for galvanizing metals; in making jewelry or in creating statues which emitted light and to be used by priests to impress the faithful.
The Baigong Pipes
In a region of China that has never been inhabited by people, there are three triangular openings on top of a mountain, which are filled with hundreds of rusty pipes of unknown origin. Some of them reach the base of the mountain, while some other reach the banks of the neighboring lake. According to the archaeologists, the construction dates back at least 95 thousand years ago, which raises reasonable questions about the identity of the manufacturer and his purposes. The theories about alien visitors who created inside the mountain a spacecraft seem to be prevalent and will continue to exist until scientists find a solution to the puzzle.