The Hidden Away HD Images: An Indispensable Tool for Researchers

January 25, 2015 14 comments

Surely, someone in Turin has seen the data and decided to not make it public for some reason.

imageOn the Haltadefinizione website we read:

Haltadefinizione® was in charge of the shooting of the cloth of the Shroud between January 22nd and 23rd 2008.

. . .  Haltadefinizione® was authorized to acquire high definition (HD) digital images of the Shroud. These HD images represent a milestone in the history of the Shroud. During the shooting of the Shroud, the entire surface of the cloth was captured for the first time using advanced HD photographic techniques. . . .

The image reached an unprecedented optical resolution not visible to the naked eye, allowing clearly to distinguish the individual elements that compose the cloth: elements of a diameter of a few hundredths of a millimeter.

[ . . .]

. . . 1649 photographs were taken, each of which represents the area of the size of a business card, creating a single image of 12 billion points stored in one file of 72 Gigabytes, equal to the contents of 16 DVDs.

In order to reproduce the entire image at its maximum enlargement, a humongous cloth would be needed, 68 meters wide and 18 high. . . .

imageThat is 223 feet long by 60 feet wide. That is more than 2/3 of the length of an American football field, not counting the end zones. Does that not give us an idea of how valuable this photographic data is?

But as Mario Latendresse points out in a comment:

This photo file has never been shown publicly (at the resolution taken), not even on the app Shroud 2.0, although many people think so. What is on Shroud 2.0 is a lower resolution.

And Colin Berry points out:

[The] Haltadefinizione site . . . [tells us] “HD digital photography by Haltadefinizione® is an indispensable tool for researchers who wish to access anytime to unique images of the Shroud and process them in real time”

. . . It’s described as an “indispensable tool for researchers”, as indeed it probably is. But is it available to researchers? If so, then why no details on the Halta site about how to gain access, beyond those relating to the feeble Shroud 2.0 (a damp squib if ever there was).?

Why is this so?  Requiring 16 DVDs to hold it, is the file too big?  Down with the flu, I downloaded half that many DVDs from in a couple of hours. On the bookcase, the entire Inspector Morse television series contains 18 DVDs in a single box. Breaking Bad, 21. 

Think about some of the questions that we might be able to answer if we could see the Haltadefinizione images. Many people went to a lot of trouble to create these high-HD images. Surely, someone in Turin has seen the data and decided to not make it public for some reason.

The Poke in the Eye Award for This Sunday Morning

January 25, 2015 2 comments

goes to Colin Berry for a comment to You cannot fold and unfold a painting (and more). Guess who has been poked.

Would someone care to make me an offer for the GENUINE Mona Lisa?

Yes, this is the real one, not that cheap and garish imitation that hangs in the Louvre.

There are three ways you can tell that mine is the original. Firstly, all, and I mean ALL the original paint pigment has fallen off, leaving just a ghost of Da Vinci’s original.

Second, you will note that what remains is a tone-reversed negative. Yes, when pigment detaches from a Da Vinci, one is left with a negative of the original. Not many people know that.

However, the real proof that mine’s the original comes from entering the image into a 3D rendering program:

Only a genius of the highest order – Leonardo Da Vinci – centuries, nay millennia ahead of his time – was able to paint an image that degrades to leave a photographic negative with encoded 3D properties.

Message to prospective purchasers: informal ostentations are held nightly at my home, 3, Railway Cuttings, East Cheam. Entrance is free, but viewers are expected to purchase the East Cheam Pilgrim’s Badge, cast in durable epoxy resin for a special reduced price (£35 plus VAT).

Categories: Humor Tags:

Tweet for Today: Training for Journalists

January 24, 2015 1 comment
Categories: 2015 Tags: ,

New Paper on the Shroud of Arquata

January 24, 2015 8 comments

not produced by apparent drawings or painting

used sophisticated optical and spectroscopic non-invasive technologies


The paper by P. Di Lazzaro, M. Guarneri, D. Murra, V. Spizzichino, M. Missori, V. Piraccini, A. Mencattini and A. Danielis is available at:

Academia   &   ENEA’s Open Archives.

An English version is in the works. In the meantime:

1)  There is an English abstract:

In this report we summarize the main results of the first in-depth measurement of the Shroud of Arquata, a 1:1 copy of the Shroud of Turin which dates back to 1653. The most peculiar feature of the Shroud of Arquata is the front and back human footprint which is not produced by apparent drawings or painting as in the other copies of the Shroud. In the frame of an agreement between the City of Arquata, the Technical Unit Application of Radiation of the ENEA Centre of Frascati and the Institute of Complex Systems of CNR, we used sophisticated optical and spectroscopic non-invasive technologies, suitable to the study of Cultural Heritage.

The elaboration of experimental results allowed to obtain scientific data apt to suggest the possible origins of the double image, of the stains simulating blood and of the false patches embedded on the Shroud of Arquata.

In addition, the experimental data allowed to develop a plan for the proper long-term conservation of the Shroud of Arquata.

2) and you can translate the paper into English with Bing or Google translation tools by converting it to an editable Word (doc or docx) file and then pasting the text into the translation tool. Here, for example, are three translated paragraphs from the Introduction:

During the restoration of the church of S. Francesco at Borgo di Arquata del Tronto , in the province of Ascoli Piceno , in 1980 is found a double urn of gilded wood , hidden in the niche of an altar . Inside there is a large sheet folded and a scroll. On the sheet is visible footprint front and back of a human body , and the center is the word ‘ EXTRACTVM AB ORIGINAL ‘ (extract from the original, which is sanctified by direct contact with the real relic ) .

It is a copy in 1: 1 scale of the Shroud of Turin , the most valuable and controversial relic of Christendom [ 1 ] . Copying Arquata accurately reproduces the image and stains on the Shroud of Turin : in addition to the double human footprint are noticed reddish spots in the side , feet and head , the drawings that recall the patches corresponding to burns inflicted to the Shroud Turin by fire in 1532 , and even water stains .

However , there is one important difference between the Shroud of Arquata and the other 50 copies of the Turin Shroud survived to our times [ 2 ] : at first glance , the impression you do not recognize human brush strokes , nor drawings , nor anatomy of the face and body . Conversely , the origin of painting and art of the other copies of the Shroud is evident even at a superficial analysis [ 2 , 3 ] .

Should a St. Louis Conference Paper be Withdrawn?

January 23, 2015 3 comments

Please, somebody who was there, tell me you noticed!

imageA reader wanted to know if I had seen Hugh Farey’s comment about Jeffrey Skurka’s presentation?  No, I had not. 

Should it not be withdrawn?, he or she wondered.

Well, now I have read it. And I read, as well, Piero’s comment referenced by Hugh (which is reproduced below). Well done, Piero!

First, here is Hugh’s comment:

Piero, you appear to be absolutely correct. I cannot be sure what the “measured age” of 106.8+/- 0.6% refers to, but the comment “reported result indicates an age of post 0 BP” means that the book was found to have been made after 1950, which is, by convention 0 BP.

The page on the [right] of slide 83 of Sturka’s presentation is a general Explanation Sheet, which shows how a normal test is calibrated. it takes, for example, a date of 2400 +/- 60 BP, and shows how it correlates, on the chart below, to a calendar date of 530 BC to 390 BC. Presumably the same sheet accompanied every report the Dating Company made. In a feat of quite staggering incompetence, Jeffrey Skurka has

1) assumed that the illustration on the Explanation Sheet actually refers to the radiocarbon test report itself,

2) assumed that a calculated radiocarbon date of 2400 BP in fact means a calendar date of 2400 AD.

At the 2014 conference where he presented this, there were a number of very distinguished, and very experienced physicists, who might have been looking out for evidence of a 2400 AD radiocarbon dating result having read about it in the abstract beforehand.

Please, somebody who was there, tell me you noticed!

Noticed?  With 112 PowerPoint charts attempted in half an hour? Strange topics like spontaneous human combustion and shrunken skulls?  High-speculation and the paranormal posing as science? I don’t think anyone was paying attention anymore by chart 83.  I wondered if we even saw chart 83? If so, what was said? I could go to the tape (see the 32 minute mark of what was a 40 minute talk – we did see it) but that isn’t the real question. The real question is should this presentation stand?

Here is what I think before a second cup of morning coffee:

  1. Jeffrey should fix the mistake and resubmit his presentation.
  2. In the meantime, should withdraw the paper and not at the next update cycle, but now. Simply annotating the list of papers is insufficient in that search engines don’t pick up warnings that way.
  3. The YouTube of the presentation should similarly be withdrawn by Shroud University.
  4. The conference program, still online, should be annotated with the fact that the paper contains a serious mistake and that it has been withdrawn pending correction.

Too harsh?  Too embarrassing?  Unnecessary?

Here is Piero’s comment that deals with more than just the above problem:

Here I want to consider another time the following questionable statement
(taken from the words by Siefker) :
>The body image would lose its optical properties, a result of alignment being lost
over time possibly just by moving the cloth through earth’s magnetic field
such as when the cloth is being transported.
(“The Enigma of the Apparent Age of the Shroud of Turin … etc. …”, slide 67 of 112)

because, in my opinion, this is a too vague hypothesis …
Where is the true proof on linen fibrils ?
Where are inherent experiments or useful references ?

Yesterday I didn’t consider the questions:
What were the exact conditions during the transport of the relic to/from Montevergine (Avellino)?
Who was the responsible about the (possible) photographic controls?

But I believe that I answered to the following question:
Where are the exact comparisons on inherent images?

because I indicated as irrelevant the possible comparison
and this was due to the inherent (probable) small magnitude
for the presumed effects…
— — —
Here the last phrase (of the same slide):
>Also, until confirmed the body image should be protected from any extraneous
magnetic fields such as magnets and electrical transformers.

So …
Which kind of magnetic fields were present during controls of 1978
(and subsequent “manipulations”)?

Another strange thing = slide 65 of 112 :
“The Resurrection Event” = “The electric current is running along
the threads of the linen cloth and normal to the surface
as is the magnetic field …”
In normal conditions electric current doesn’t run along
threads of linen because linen is an insulating material.
So, Siefker had not specified in a clear manner what
were these particular conditions.
In short, there is not this useful explanation…
Here the last curious thing.
Observing the document that appears on the slide 83 of 112
we can read:
Measured C14 age = 106.8 (and then this is not 2400 !)
Then : near 100 years old = “modern”… as you can easily read in that paper.
Perhaps that result was a “good approximation” for radiocarbon dating a modern book…
On the other side (see at right side of this slide) there was only a simple explanation about the Dendro-Calibration
( = Calibration of Radiocarbon Age to Calendar Years…) with an example…
Am I wrong in my conclusion?
I hope in your attention…

Categories: Paper Chase, St Louis 2014

Exorcisms and the Shroud. Huh?

January 22, 2015 Leave a comment

clip_image001Rich Barlow has penned for BU Today (that would Boston University) The Devil Makes Them Do It: CAS prof on why Catholic exorcisms are spiking (that would be David Frankfurter, professor and chairman of the religion department at the College of Arts & Sciences). The shroud is mentioned in the article. It seems to be thrown in without good reason.

Many people, likely including some Catholics, have difficulty believing in demonic possession. While accepting it, the Vatican historically has been behind major scientific research. How do you explain that paradox?

The desire to quantify—or confirm miracles scientifically—is a phenomenon of modernity. You don’t find this kind of effort to do “scientific research” on the possessed, or on healing techniques, or on relics or icons in early Christian or medieval miracle stories. People debated which worked and which had other causes; that’s all. But today, “science” has become a discourse, a way of talking about things that seem to work. And it is a discourse that matters a lot to many people, so many people try to draw in science to “prove” religious experiences.

Scholars of religion, however, are less interested in what the Catholic Church actually comes up with in “scientifically verifying” an exorcism, or the Shroud of Turin, or a demon’s presence, than in the fact that the Church is trying to invoke science for things that really don’t lend themselves to scientific validation. That’s not to say that miracles aren’t “true,” for certainly they do have enormous truth to many people. It’s just that their truth is a religious truth, a subjective truth, compared to the scientific verification of whether an ancient bone belongs to this dinosaur or that dinosaur.

Is the shroud mentioned because of “trying to invoke science for things that really don’t lend themselves to scientific validation.” If so it is without foundation. Do they no longer teach this in journalism: the who, what, where, when, why? We, who read this blog, might understand and agree or disagree but would the typical reader of this article in BU Today?

In fairness, Barlow links to That is a cop out and one wonders if this isn’t a quick Google find.  Link to something inside the website that explains what the shroud is and why it might have some meaning in this article. There is plenty of material there to answer that question.  Or maybe the mention of the shroud in this article is pointless?

Categories: Article, Press Coverage


January 22, 2015 Leave a comment

authentic or not

imageImagine that you are commissioned to create a shroud. That is what David Rolfe wants you to imagine.

You are to create a work that captures its essence and convince viewers both contemporary and beyond that they are in the presence of a most precious relic. However you go about it, and we may never know, we can see what you created. We can look upon it as it lies within these pages centuries after you created it. Does it fulfil the brief? Does it speak out as a great work should? Let us make an objective assessment of its observable subjective qualities and its simple facts. What do we see?

• Your choice of an image left on a Shroud is a perfect encapsulation of the mystery that surrounds him. After all, it is the reporting of his death by crucifixion that is the principal independent corroboration that Jesus lived at all. Congratulations

So read the whole list of "congratulations" in The Shroud’s Intrinsic Value – Authentic or Not in the latest issue of BSTS or on David’s site:

Categories: News & Views, Other Blogs Tags:

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