Archive for the ‘News & Views’ Category

A Hung Jury on the Pray Manuscript

February 14, 2015 4 comments

A teacher in Indianapolis writes:

imageI conducted an experiment with 12 high school students.  I gave the group one large picture of the Shroud (as it is, not tone reversed into a positive image) and an enlargement of the weave pattern that I did not describe other than to say it was the weave pattern of the Shroud. I also gave them a copy of the Hungarian Pray Manuscript drawing. I asked them if they thought it was inspired by or derived in part from the Shroud of Turin. They were given thirty minutes to discuss this question among themselves. I listened and tried to not show any expression on my face.

This is not a scientific experiment. The population is too small. There are no controls.  Students were not interviewed.  The only criteria for selection was that the student had not heard of or seen a picture of the Hungarian Pray Manuscript and that they had heard of the Shroud of Turin even though some of them were not sure what it was. Two, other students, not selected for this experiment, thought that a shroud was part of an automobile’s cooling fan, which it is.

After only three minutes a majority of the students decided that the weave pattern was symbolically depicted in the HPM. I recognize that bias caused by the photograph of the weave pattern played a role in this identification. There was no other way.

They all spotted the mark on the forehead and the crossed hands.  It took several minutes to spot the four holes in an L-shape pattern. Eight of the twelve thought the holes were meaningful.

They never mentioned the nude body on the Shroud or the HPM. Nor did they notice the absence of thumbs.

At the end of thirty minutes, nine students were sure the HPM portrays the Shroud and Jesus as seen on the Shroud. That is how they put it, which was better than the “inspired” or “derived” wording I used.  Two students remained unconvinced but remained open to the possibility. One student was certain that any similarities were merely coincidental because, “We found things because we were looking for things.”

I’m convinced.  And I know about the absence of thumbs.  I like the wording: “[T]he HPM portrays the Shroud and Jesus as seen on the Shroud.”

On Deaf Ears Here?

February 14, 2015 14 comments

As Colin Berry writes in his own Science Buzz blog: The Turin Shroud is clearly a medieval fake – albeit a very clever one. What more is there to say? 

Well, he does say:

Having wasted thousands of words pressing simple straightforward logic, and getting little back by way of  return except ridicule and insults (the few exceptions to that broad-brush description know who they are) I decided to bow out, and do so in a way that makes a point. I posted images instead of text. Any words of my own, the minimum needed, were incorporated into the images to create a series of cartoons, billboards etc. Images are more powerful than words.

Images imprint onto the visual cortex, a major part of the hind-brain with a minimum of pre-processing that is in any case not under conscious control.

Words on the other hand get consciously pre-processed in many subjective ways, so much so that where Porter’s site is concerned, 99% or more of one’s words either fall on deaf ears or get hopelessly scrambled and commuted within seconds of receipt.

Or, as Eminem rapped it in Taking My Ball (as you read these four lines you need to bounce the upper half of your body straight up and down – you see, you can rap):

imageIt feels so wrong, does it feel so right? But its alright, it’s okay with me.

I’ll do my steps all by myself, I don’t need nobody to play with me,

But if you just give me a chance, I can put you in a trance the way I dance .

But don’t nobody wanna play with me so I’m taking my ball and going home (home).

Here is the topmost image from Colin’s posting. No sense messing with words:


Picture of Eminem with deaf ears is a publicity picture from

Categories: Other Blogs Tags:

Maybe the Trickster Did It

February 9, 2015 10 comments

when you eat of it your eyes will be opened

imageThe Stumbler, in this part of his “long and circuitous journey from a childhood with two alcoholic parents, through the weird world of anomalous phenomena, to an iconoclastic Christian faith based on experience, observation, study and intuition,” tells us in his blog posting, Oh, no, surely not that old fake the Shroud of Turin?:

It’s highly unlikely you know more about the Shroud than I do.  For one thing, since 1997 I’ve been a devoted follower of  This amazing site was created in 1996 by Barrie Schwortz, Official Documenting Photographer for the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project.  It’s one of the truly great Internet sites, highly organized and with virtually everything published about the Shroud in every language.

The Stumbler tells us:

A First Century result from the carbon dating would’ve been nice, of course, but this didn’t happen.  The tests showed a date range of 1290-1360 AD.

I wasn’t fazed, for two reasons:

First:  As I’d said before the testing, there’s simply too much other evidence the Shroud dates to long before 1290.  Physical evidence, from the cloth itself.  Historical evidence, meticulously pieced together by Ian Wilson and other serious researchers…

Second: If the Shroud were a 14th Century fake, it’d still be the strangest artifact in the history of mankind.  When the carbon dating results were announced, it was very telling to me that the media and the great mass of casual followers seemed almost relieved and chortled at Shroud believers as though they were and always had been credulous fools….

The Stumbler goes on to tell us about “more recent test” with date ranges of 300 BC to 400 AD. And he believes these new tests why?


Please, don’t take my word for it.  Spend at least an afternoon on  Even before you do that, spend a few bucks on Ian Wilson’s The Shroud: The 2,000-year-old mystery solved (2010), a wonderful introduction to Shroud studies. . . .

Just don’t do what too many people do: Don’t dismiss the Shroud because you “once saw a program” on CNN or “once read an article” in Time or on the Internet or, worse yet, “once talked with a guy” whose opinions you respect who thinks the Shroud is a blatant fake and not worth bothering with….

Then there is this. Does this trump the KGB Hacker conspiracy theory or what?

What about our old friend the Trickster?  Haven’t I suggested his antics have infected just about every other area of weirdness studies, from ufology to NDE-ology?  Just because I’m a Christian, do I think Shroud studies are immune to the Trickster?

imageNot at all.  The carbon dating results certainly could be the Trickster at work.  Some of the Shroud studies themselves are major turn-offs, at least for me.  A segment of the research fraternity has purported to find so many additional images on the Shroud we’re only a step away from someone spotting a Domino’s pizza box or a Ford hubcap.  This sort of stuff is eerily reminiscent of what the Trickster has done in ufology and NDE-ology, and I fear it has seriously diminished interest in the Shroud.

But did you notice what is says on the side of that Domino Pizza box?  Maybe there is a hubcap or a coin over the eye or a whole bunch of flowers. That’s got to be good for some strange speculation.  The Stumbler continues:

But still, the Shroud is in a different category from UFOs and NDEs. Unlike them, it isn’t a phenomenon.  It’s an artifact.  It’s right there in front of you.  It can be observed, photographed, handled and even sampled.  It challenges you, head on, to find an explanation.  The Trickster may divert your attention with his antics, but the Shroud remains.

Or has the Stumbler been tricked by the Trickster? 

It would help if we had a better understanding of what tricks the Trickster can do and which tricks he cannot do. Does he change carbon 14 content or does he hack the AMS Control Computer?

A Call for Traditional Liturgy (Latin Mass) During Shroud Exposition

February 2, 2015 Leave a comment

imageI spotted the call on the Cardinal G. Saldarini  Association Facebook Page.  A headline topping the Home Page of the Holy Shroud Guild that read “CALL FOR TRADITIONAL LITURGY DURING EXPOSITION OF THE HOLY SHROUD – TURIN APRIL-JUNE 2015” had sent me hunting.

On the Rorate-Caeli blog I found a compact introduction:

In 2015, there will be in Turin an exposition of the Holy Shroud (Sindone), and millions of pilgrims are expected. We are trying to have as many TLMs as possible during the exposition and are already cooperating with many traditional communities and institutes supporting them as a local base to organize their celebrations and keeping a calendar of the various pilgrimages in order to avoid overlapping.

Our goal is to have the maximum possible of participants at their celebrations in Turin and to develop collaboration with them for the future. We have prepared an appeal to all traditional communities that has been released in many traditional sites and Facebook pages in French and other languages.

The Facebook page for the Associazione Cardinal G. Saldarini has the full release in English, which is now making the rounds of many Latin Mass societies:


for the Latin-Gregorian Liturgy “Summorum Pontificum”
(Coetus fidelium stabiliter existens ex art. 5 M.P. Summorum Pontificum et art. 15 . Instr. Universae Ecclesiae)

As you might already be aware of, H.E. Cesare Nosiglia, Archbishop of Turin, has arranged from 19th April to 24th June 2015, an extraordinary exposition of the Holy Shroud (more information and booking of the visit are available on the website

Among the pilgrims from around the world that will gather in Turin to venerate the holy relic, on this occasion there will certainly be, as in past expositions, many priests and devotees of the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy according to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite.

The Associazione Cardinal G. Saldarini – founded in 2013 to promote in the territory of the Province of Turin the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite according to the provisions of MP Summorum Pontificum Cura – makes itself available to these priests and devotees to offer its help in the organization of the pilgrimage and in assisting the liturgical functions in the extraordinary form.

At the same time, it would like to take, as much as possible, the opportunity to participate and to involve the devotees in Turin in the functions that these pilgrims will organize.

For these reasons, if the community entrusted to you or that you are member of is interested in promoting a pilgrimage to Turin to venerate the Holy Shroud, including celebrations in the extraordinary form, we would be grateful if you would inform us by contacting us via mail (cardinalsaldarini @

If you would also like to know more about our activities, please visit our Facebook page (accessible without registration):

We look forward to hearing from you soon,

Sincerely yours in et M.a

I find this fascinating.  I’m Episcopalian.  My wife and I attend a parish church which does an Anglican version of the high mass every Sunday. Were it not in English you wouldn’t know the difference from appearances (except that you might notice women priests).

Categories: 2015, Other Sites Tags:

Picture for Today from the Sindone 2015 Facebook Page

January 27, 2015 1 comment

Tweet of the Day Out of Turin: Shroud is Message of Unity

January 26, 2015 3 comments
Categories: News & Views

The Hidden Away HD Images: An Indispensable Tool for Researchers

January 25, 2015 47 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.


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