The 13th Floor

The 5 Strangest, Most Mysterious Books Ever Written

Not all books are written to be entirely comprehended. Some books are written for indecipherable reasons known only to their authors. These books defy all reason and logic and are enigmas meant to never be interpreted. Here are five books that will leave you wondering for the rest of your life just what their authors were trying to convey


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This strange encyclopedia written by Italian artist, architect and designer Luigi Serafini took thirty-months to complete. Started in 1976 and completed in 1978, it is a 360 page cipher filled with strange images. The drawings are of strange flowers and imaginary creatures as well as unusual metamorphoses. One that stands out is of a man and a woman having sex while morphing into an alligator. The chapters are devoted to surrealist interpretations of everything from biology to physics to history. There is also a chapter devoted to a strange alien alphabet.



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This 14th Century medieval manuscript is said to contain papal decrees of Pope Gregory IX. Sometime in the later part of the 14th century, an unknown person in England commissioned artists to enhance the work. Some of the images are benign pictures of animals while others depict brutal battles. One particular battle features a woman defending her castle with a sword while another shows a woman fighting off a winged beast. At one point, the illustrations journey far from the text as they tell the story of Reyard the Fox, a trickster who is eventually caught and hung for his crimes.



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A 16th century treatise on magic was last owned by Elizabethan scholar John Dee. The book disappeared for several centuries before turning up in 1994 at the British Library. The book contains magic spells as well as teachings on astrology, demonology, and names and genealogies of angels. There are also 18 pages of random letters that have yet to be deciphered.



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Conrad Lycosthenes was a 16th century Alsatian. A humanist and encyclopedist, he was fascinated by the strange and unusual. Although Nostradamus is the first name to come to mind when you think of prophecies, Conrad was also in the prophecy game during Nostradamus’ time. Whereas Nostradamus gained fame for his words, what mostly stands out for Conrad are his illustrations. Conrad’s chronicle features a history of the world going back to Adam and Eve, working its way up to present day. In his illustrations, he details monsters and wars and, in one drawing, features a rocket flying over Arabia in 1479. Although, Conrad’s prophecies haven’t seemed all that accurate, at least not yet, his rocket over Arabia illustration has been used by many UFOlogists to prove that we have been visited by other worlds.



The works of Henry Darger are fascinating, not just for the content, but for the man himself. Born in 1892 in Chicago, Illinois, Darger worked as a hospital custodian in Chicago. With exception of serving in the Army during World War I, he spent most of his life not journeying far from his hometown. In 1930, he moved into a one room apartment in Chicago’s North Side where he lived for the next 43 years. His writings were not revealed until his death in 1973. That’s when a 15,145 page manuscript entitled THE STORY OF THE VIVIAN GIRLS, IN WHAT IS KNOWN AS THE REALMS OF THE UNREAL, OF THE GLANDECO-ANGELINNIAN WAR STORM, CAUSED BY THE CHILD SLAVE REBELLION was discovered. Also found with his single-spaced manuscript were several hundred drawings, water colors, and collages that illustrated the story. The story itself focuses on seven princesses in an Edwardian fantasy world who help to start a rebellion of slave children against their master. In addition to this work, two other lengthy tomes were also found. CRAZY HOUSE: FURTHER ADVENTURES IN CHICAGO is the continuation of the Vivian sisters’ story, removing them from their fantasy world and placing them in Chicago in 1939. The final book THE HISTORY OF MY LIFE is an 8 volume series that only spends 206 pages on the writer, before spending the next 4,672 pages on a fictional story about a tornado called “Sweetie Pie”.