Author Archive

Shroud of Turin on the Internet

October 22, 2014 Leave a comment

imageDid you know that you can follow the 2015 Exhibition news on twitter. It’s @Sindone2015.

You can also follow this blog on twitter at @shroudstory

According to Alexa, this blog is the most popular Shroud of Turin website in the world. No, really, as of today our global rank is 993,584.  Notice that I say”our.”  It’s the comments that make it so. Look, you can’t really compare websites. This is a daily blog. It is valuable because it reaches so many people.  Everyone helps.

Categories: Uncategorized

Homogeneous or Not? That’s the Question

October 22, 2014 19 comments


Hi Colin.

I see you are up with a new posting, Who says the Shroud of Turin image is homogeneous? Think again, fellow shroudies…

Did I read that right? Fellow shroudie? 

Anyway, you write:

Here are two images of the TS image, frontal v dorsal,  that I can confidently state that no one apart from myself has ever seen before. In fact, I too had not seen them until a hour or so ago. (One needs to scrutinize them closely).

In a picture caption you ask, “Can you guess the provenance?” 

No Colin, I can’t.  I don’t know what you mean by provenance, in this case.  “The shroud”?  The photograph? The film?  The digital file name after conversion from one to the other?  The raw bitmap file?  The JPEG or GIF on a particular website? The original with original size, dots per inch, contrast, brightness, color saturation, etc.? The website where you glommed onto the image?

Every step – object to film, film to digital, file type to file type conversion, resizing and so forth — introduces artifacts including different color approximations in different density areas of the image; or so I’m told. I’m not a graphics expert so correct me, Colin, if I’m wrong.

Anyway, that may or may not be the case here. It would be nice to know what image you are using. For what you are proposing, it would be nice to get a full color image that has had the least possible manipulation in the past.

You write:

It’s been said the TS image is "homogeneous" . . .

These two images show in  my humble estimation  that the TS image, whether imprint or painting (I still prefer imprint) is most definitely NOT homogeneous. Under the carefully adjusted contrast, brightness and mid-tone settings,  but emphatically with NO fiddling with colour,  they show some "grey" areas and some "orange-brown" areas, admittedly an approximate description.

Do you know, Colin, what your software does when you fiddle?

And if anyone says it’s "just" blood, I have another image, ready and waiting, to kick that suggestion into the long grass. (Sorry about the idiomatic English – I only use it when animated,  and I have to say that fellow shroudies sometimes get me animated, not to say pissed-off,  with the dismissive put-down tone of their comments).

[. . . ]

For now, let’s just content ourselves with the two new images, and hang loose for a while, if only to tease my readers (to say nothing of play for time).

Here’s a challenge to fellow shroudies: whose images were these originally, and where did they first appear, before I began to tinker with them in MS Office Picture Manager (legitimately I maintain). ?  (bolding emphasis mine)

You may have a point, Colin; an important point, perhaps. But you also have an attitude. That may be why we are so dismissive. The stink bomb you threw on what was intended as a thank you posting for the organizers of the St. Louis conference will be remembered for a long time. It is why your comments are being moderated for the time being.

Homogeneous or Not? That’s the Question. It is worth exploring.

Note: Image shown here is a screen grab from Colin Berry’s site. Its original provenance is unknown.

Categories: Image Theory Tags:

What Next? Stadiums?

October 21, 2014 4 comments

These Shroud Encounter presentations are getting big, like this one at The Villages in Florida.


Categories: Presentation Tags:

On Early Reviews

October 21, 2014 4 comments

imageJohn Klotz  pens out some thoughts about what two people are saying about his book in A critcal response to a critic. For instance, on what Hugh Farey, the editor of the British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS), wrote, John writes:

As an author, I suppose that I should not be too sensitive to criticisms. It comes with the territory. However, Hugh Farey’s  criticism posted on that I did not devote enough space and energy to explaining why Picknett-Prince theory that DaVinci forged the Shroud 100 years after it was first exhibited in Lirey, France is nearly as supercilious as the theory itself (which Hugh apparently rejects also).

And on what Ms. Underwood had to say over at Amazon,  John tells us:

[Her] review was enlightening and helpful to me:

"Excellent account of the history of Shroud research and presents a very good case for its authenticity! I was a bit disappointed that it did not delve into how the findings of quantum physics may provide a possible mechanism for the image formation."

I will be preparing a revision to answer Ms. Underwood’s comment and if anyone has already purchased the book, I will provide the revision gratis. Actually, the revision of the one chapter will include a discussion of a 2010 presentation by Andrew Sullivan and Nigel Kerner[iii] which argues that consciousness was an elemental power that along with gravity pre-existed the universe and engendered it. That’s my very brief summary and/or conclusion.

You will want to read A critcal response to a critic.

Categories: Books Tags: ,

Quick Reaction to In the Belly of the Beast

October 20, 2014 22 comments

“Whoa,” writes a reader in reaction to my Belly of the Beast posting. “Before you go slamming Dr. Jackson you need to look at the YouTube of him explaining the folds and the way the shroud was lifted out of the box. And read Dr. Jackson’s Foldmarks as a Historical Record at where you can see the photographs. You dumb s… “

I think I ran into a fan. The part you may want to see starts at about the 11:10 mark and runs to about 18:00.  It is a good explanation.  Watch it! I still believe that the fold marks must be confirmed. I still say it is not class 1 evidence.  (Link to YouTube). And I added in the link to the above mentioned paper.

Categories: Critical Summary Tags:

In the Belly of the Beast

October 20, 2014 17 comments

imageI was reminded during Bob Siefker’s presentation in St. Louis that John Jackson and the other authors of A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses – Version 2.1 assign significant importance to the raking light photographs of the shroud. So do I, but far less so. To my way of thinking:

  • the cloth was at times folded
  • the cloth was possibly folded in half along its length three times such that the face, and only the face, appeared on the outside. This, of course, lends credence to the term tetradiplon. It also comports with the idea that the shroud may have been stored folded in a reliquary with a grate, so as to show only the face.
  • the cloth may have been been an inspiration for the Man of Sorrows icons that show Christ rising out of a coffin-like container.

I have been giving this some thought. What did the Critical Summary actually say?

    Quoting from item L6 of the Critical Summary:

One of the tasks undertaken by the STURP team was to take raking light photographs of the Shroud. Linen has poor elasticity, explaining why it wrinkles so easily. Thus, linen cloth has sort of a memory that can reveal how the cloth has been folded (see item H 13.0,2). . . .

Okay. That seems probably so.

Jackson has studied the fold lines, some of which are as sharp as a straight edge and show discoloration as would be expected if folded over the edge of a wooden block or batten, as illustrated as "F” in the diagram below.

Words like “discoloration as would be expected if” sound speculative, not evidentiary. At least, it is not strong evidence.

Jackson’s team developed a computer program that maps prominent folds found on the Shroud related to the Man of Sorrows Icon.

That instantly bothered me. What sort of computer program maps fold marks on the shroud to hand painted icons? In what way? Moreover, to which Man of Sorrow Icon? Without an explanation this unfortunately sounds like the “scientists say” jargon we encounter in television commercials.  It’s like “ a computer programs says.”

Google suggests these icons:



The Critical Summary goes on to say:

These folds have been found to be consistent with the design of a lifting device that could have been used for raising the cloth.

imageConsistent with what design? This is an imagined lifting device. The point of this imagining may be to match the AD 1203 description of what Robert de Clari saw or to fit an account of “The Palace Revolution of John Comnenus by Nicholas Mesarites wherein we find

In [Constantinople's Pharos] chapel Christ rises again, and the sindon with the burial linens is the clear proof.

I’d like to think there is some connection. I’d like to think this is all true. But the imagined device (click on the image on the right), while illustrative of a possibility, seems far too tentative to be in an evidence table.

So what are the fold marks really evidence of? How good is the evidence?

The authors of the paper have classified this as Class 1 Evidence which they define thus:

This rating is given to items of evidence that are firmly supported by empirical and/ or forensic research. To receive this rating there must be multiple corroborating research sources.

Yet when I look at the references I find only one paper by Eric Jumper and two similar popular books by Ian Wilson. Unfortunately Wilson uses material “deduced by Dr. John Jackson.” While not exactly a circular reference, it’s close. There is not much to go on.

Wilson goes on to say, “Although exactly how the cloth was made to rise is necessarily conjectural.” (The Blood and the Shroud page 157). Perhaps anticipating the problem some of us might therefore have, Bob Siefker said in his St. Louis talk:

Some people might not like the fact that we’ve rated this class 1 evidence but we’re in the heart of the belly of the beast. I’ve seen those folds. I’ve seen the marks. I’ve seen the razor thin nature of those folds where the “F” block is. I’m not only rationally convinced that the scheme is right, I’ve seen close evidence and had it very deeply explained to me. I’ve been very lucky to be in the belly of the beast, over here [pointing to], John Jackson.

So? Can I see the folds? Can anyone see the folds?  Are the photographs online? Can we examine the computer program’s logic? Without some illustrative photographs of the folds, without an explanation of what the computer program does, I’m thinking the entire item, L6, should be demoted.  Without some supporting evidence of a cloth-raising device being used, the speculative diagram should be removed. It is evidence of nothing.

What am I missing?

An Interview with Giulio Fanti

October 19, 2014 1 comment

the resurrection as “so much more than a conjuring trick with bones”

former Anglican Bishop of Durham. Philip Davies

imageAn interview with Professor Fanti had been mentioned in the comments, with a link. It was just revised yesterday. It needs to be mentioned at the posting level, something I just realized this morning from a series of emails that I’m seeing in my inbox.  It needs to be read by everyone and I have been remiss in not featuring it. Here is some of the introduction. Click on the title to read the full paper:

Professor Giulio Fanti discusses the controversies in the realm of Shroud studies

Louis C. de Figueiredo

It is no secret that the realm of Shroud studies is a minefield. It is evident in books, websites, newsletters and blogs. Apparently the matter also reached the ears of Pope Benedict XVI, prompting him to request cooperation in a message read out to the people attending a Shroud conference in the US in 2005.

There seem to be very few signs of any change for the better. On the contrary, there has been an increase in the number of people entering the field to indulge in vicious personal attacks and character assassination, driving out qualified scholars willing to discuss the topic, in fact forcing them to leave in disgust.

Anyone who has kept abreast with the news will notice that Pope Francis can be blunt-spoken, even more than his Bavarian predecessor, and does not shrink from criticising what he judges to be wrong. At the rates things are going, whether he will pay any attention at all to petitions addressed to him regarding future tests on the Shroud will remain to be seen.

Fortunately, there are scholars and scientists who have steered clear of the infighting and favouritism and have made important contributions to the study of the Turin Shroud. Among them are American attorney, political activist and op-ed contributor John Klotz, who recently launched his meticulously researched and lavishly illustrated book The Coming of the Quantum Christ: The Shroud of Turin and the Apocalypse of Selfishness. Klotz asks the important question, “If indeed the Shroud is Christ’s and, if science is deciphering its revelation, what is it telling us?” It is a question that Professor Giulio Fanti of the University of Padua — who agreed to discuss the relic and granted the following interview – has been seeking to answer for the past seventeen years.

Some of Professor Fanti’s findings have been contested, particularly part of the data published in his last Shroud book which did not appear in a paper published later. In this case he leaves it to readers to judge for themselves and is working on the rest of the material he has gathered that is expected to be published in more peer-reviewed journals.

There is something that seems to indicate that there can be a tell-tale sign demonstrating not only that the Turin Shroud did indeed wrap the body of Jesus in the sepulchre but also that the Resurrection was an historical event, exactly what sceptics would like to see. It will have to be demonstrated beyond doubt that the image formation was near-instantaneous, if not instantaneous, a task that can be easily handled by both Professor Giulio Fanti and Dr. Paolo di Lazzaro, Chief of Research at ENEA, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development and Applications of Radiation.

At the time that Louis first linked to the paper, Hugh Farey commented. And this comment belongs at the posting level as well.

Thanks, Louis. So the Resurrection “had to be” not quite instantaneous because Jesus “must have taken a few seconds” to power up. Perhaps you are correct. The God I believe in does not have to take any time at all. He may have allowed himself to revive over 36 hours, individual cells reawakening in succession until he simply got up as from a bed, or he may have vanished in an instant, the space he occupied being as instantly filled with air, or left as a vacuum, or he may have exploded in a burst of radiation, which was just enough to have an effect on the Shroud. He may have caused the dead of Jerusalem to do any of the same, and then sent them all back to their graves, or he may have made the people of Jerusalem think they had seen their forebears when in fact they had remained peacefully in their ossuaries. He may have reconstituted himself instantly, and sat in the garden for the rest of the night waiting for Mary Magdalene to turn up, or he may have not reappeared until just before she arrived. Somewhere along the way he provided clothes for himself. Perhaps while he was still in the tomb, perhaps after he re-materialised.

He may have done any, all or none of these things. That’s who God is. From a scientific point of view, none of them is open to inquiry. I do not know what the Resurrection was scientifically, or how long it took. Nor does anybody else, nor does it matter. In 1984 the Anglican Bishop of Durham attempted to explain this in describing the resurrection as “so much more than a conjuring trick with bones” and a few years ago Pope Benedict showed a similar lack of enthusiasm for “the mere resussitation of a corpse.” Frankly, in the opinion of most modern theologians, all as orthodox as the Pope, the measurable, physical events of the morning of the first day of the week after the crucifixion are trivial compared to the meaning of the Resurrection and the effect it had on the disciples, whatever actually occurred.

And Louis commented back:

Hugh, I fully agree with what you said and now we are speaking the same language. I believe in the Resurrection because it had to happen, not only because it explains the growth of the Jesus movement, that became the Church, but also due to the question of existence. As I have stated more than once, even if the Shroud is “proved” to be authentic it will still not answer many questions, but this is for another article.

Meanwhile, you will be my “scientific advisor”, though you are anti-authenticity and I am in the opposite camp, but keep an open mind as the Church does. The Church also calls some qualified devil’s advocate when it comes to a canonisation process. Who knows, perhaps Rome will call you when needed!

And now. Read the entire interview.  Offer your opinion.


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