Ray Downing of “The Real Face of Jesus?” TV Documentary received an Emmy for “Stealing Lincoln’s Body”

Maria Downing of Studio Macbeth writes:

Another source for the DVD is http://www.realfacedvd.com/
The cost is $12.95+3.95S&H. Can be ordered online or by calling 1-800-598-5137.

That is a better price than Amazon.

Speaking of Studio Macbeth: Maria’s husband Ray Downing, the genius behind the 3D graphics in the “The Real Face of Jesus?” just received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Graphic Design & Art Direction for the History Channel special “Stealing Lincoln’s Body.”

From a Press Release:

imageNew York, N.Y. – September 27, 2010  – Winners of the 31st Annual News and Documentary Emmy® Awards were announced tonight by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS).  The News & Documentary Emmy® Awards were presented at a ceremony at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, located in the Time Warner Center in New York City.  The ceremony will be broadcast on Saturday, October 9 at 8pm ET on C-SPAN.

The event was attended by more than 900 television and news media industry executives, news and documentary producers and journalists. Emmy® Awards were presented in 41 categories, including Breaking News, Investigative Reporting, Outstanding Interview, and Best Documentary, among others. 

This year’s presenters included Diane Sawyer, anchor, ABC’s World News, Lester Holt, weekend anchor, NBC’s Nightly News, and weekend co-anchor, Today, Sheila Nevins, President, HBO Documentary Films, Dan Rather, anchor and managing editor, HDNet’s Dan Rather Reports, Bob Simon, correspondent, CBS’ 60 Minutes, Paula Zahn, Executive Producer/Host, On the Case with Paula Zahn, Investigation Discovery Network.

Another Shroud of Turin 3D Question About the New Website

Francis writes again with another question:

Can you explain why there are two side by side images that rotate slightly? Is there a point to this?


These are stereoscopic images. You should be able to see them with a stereoscope such as the one pictured here.

imageI am told that some people can see stereoscopic images without the aid of a stereoscope and that all you need to do is relax your eyes and stare at the image for a while until the left and right images merge into a single 3D image.

More on the new Shroud of Turin in 3D Website « Shroud of Turin Blog

Humerous Quote about the Shroud of Turin Research Project

Hat tip to Joe Marino of the Shroud Science Group for this quote from an article by Cullen Murphy in Harpers, November 1981:

Theories abound as to how the shroud could have been concocted, and STURP is forever testing new ones, if only to keep the project fun.  Should some member be seduced by the notion that the image was formed by an elusive combination of butter, lemon, and egg yolk, the team would immediately go into action, devising experiments, creating simulacra, baking the coated samples, irradiating them with lasers, burning them with acids, working feverishly until an excited phone call informed coordinators Jackson and Jumper that, while the mixture didn’t yield an acceptable shroud image, it made a remarkably fine Hollandaise sauce."

The Harpers article is very informative and entertaining. You can find it in libraries. You can also find it online at http://www.harpers.org/archive/1981/11/0024680 but you will need to subscribe to the magazine to read it. The cost is $16.95 per year.

More on the new Shroud of Turin in 3D Website

Francis writes: 

Would be nice if I had some of those red/blue 3d glasses they use for some 3d movies. Maybe the site could give instructions on where to get them. I do have a pair of polarized glasses from a recent movie but they don’t work.

Everything else looks good so far.

Francis, you can order 3D glasses from Amazon.com. You want to be sure you order the red and cyan ones. You want good ones such as Pro-Ana PRO-X style glasses for viewing anaglyphs on LCD monitors. They’ll run you about $4.70 plus shipping. Here is a link: http://www.amazon.com/Pro-AnaTM-Prescription-Glasses-Movies-Screens/

The Real Face of Jesus DVD

A reader asked:

Okay, I decided to buy a copy of the History Channel’s Real Face of Jesus DVD. There it was listed as a hot topic in History’s online shop. When I clicked on the link I discovered that I can only pre-order it for delivery more than a month from now. What gives?

I’m guessing that the The Real Face of Jesus? DVD is temporarily sold out.  For many weeks it was one of their top five best sellers.

However, you can order it from Amazon.com where it sells for $22.49 which is 10% less than the History Channel charges. Amazon  reports that they have it in stock and can even deliver it to you the next day for an additional shipping charge.

BTW: it has a similar high rating at Amazon from a smaller number of customers.

Really, Really New Big Deal Shroud of Turin Website


* * *

imageJoin me in applauding Petrus Soons.

I have long thought that the 3D quality of the Shroud of Turin image was a big deal. It is perhaps the most important thing to understand about the Shroud. But the 3D quality is also difficult for many people to understand and it is fraught with misinformation.

The 3D quality (elevation, height field data), to my way of thinking, shows us that:

  1. It cannot be a painting, bas relief rubbing, dry pigment daubing, negative sun bleaching (“Shadow Shroud”), etc. 
  2. It cannot be a photograph made with reflected light using a camera and lens. Leonardo da Vinci can turn back over in his grave and rest in peace.

In fact, when we understand the 3D quality we realize that there are no known artistic or hand-craft methods by which the image could have been produced prior to the modern era (and perhaps even still today, as no one has been able to do it).

The 3D quality offers new possibilities for confirming or denying the existence of possible objects and even lettering on the image. This subject has always been controversial and it will remain so.

Better understanding of the  3D quality of the image opens up new possibilities for hypothesizing how the images might have been formed.

Recently, the History Channel (now called HISTORY) produced a spectacular documentary that focused attention on the 3D quality. To quote from the HISTORY website:

In The Real Face of Jesus?, HISTORY unveils the fruit of many months of labor [by Ray Downing and his team at Studio Macbeth], made possible by sophisticated computer tools in very capable hands: an accurate depiction of the man many believe to be Jesus Christ. For the devout and curious alike, this is a compelling story of transformation—a fascinating journey from the realm of creativity and imagination into the domain of science and technology.

BTW: This HISTORY documentary has remained a best seller and one of the best all-time rated shows from this network (4.9 out of 5 from 103 reviews – top that).

Now, Petrus Soons has produced what may well be one of the most significant websites on the Shroud of Turin. Certainly this is so for understanding the 3D quality of the images. Spend time exploring it. From what I’ve seen so far, it is extraordinarily well explained.

But first, before visiting the site, click on the above image (or click here) to watch a 53 second video of what Petrus has accomplished. (Unfortunately it is on Vimeo and thus locked up so it won’t get the attention is deserves on YouTube – undoubtedly it will be hacked shortly and get wider distribution).

Then visit the new site. Enjoy and learn. It is called Shroud of Turin in 3D. Easy to remember, too: http://shroud3d.com/

Blue and Black Pencil Shroud of Turin


Mike Willesee and the Shroud of Turin (continued)

Philip from the UK writes in an email:

Nutty proponents of authenticity are a bigger problem than skeptics. Mike Willesee is an example of what will happen as the shroud gains more and more public attention. John Lupia and his crazy made up pseudoscience is another example. And what about those crop circles that people think look like the face on the shroud? 

Keep reporting facts and reasonable historical and scientific theory. You do a disservice when you give the likes of Willesee and Lupia undeserved attention. . . .

If we don’t pay attention they will get it elsewhere. Good grief, they might start blogging.

Computer Rendering of the Shroud of Turin Face


This doesn’t help much.

From Down Under this bit in the Sydney Morning Herald

Catholic Mike Willesee will not be distracted from his one-man crusade to scientifically prove the existence of Jesus Christ’s DNA in the ”blood” on the Shroud of Turin.

This week’s claims broadcast on the ABC in a documentary which reckons Leonardo da Vinci was behind the shroud, labelled a fake years ago, have had little impact on Willesee, who friends describe as being ”totally obsessed” with his mission.

Willesee is in Los Angeles working on his quest. His glamorous wife, Gordana, a part-time make-up artist and devout Catholic who reignited her much older husband’s faith in the church, is due to join him in coming days.

Indeed, the Willesee home in Centennial Park is testament to the wealthy family’s Catholicism, filled with icons, statues, candles and images of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.

Cardinal George Pell has been to the home to conduct Mass in Willesee’s private chapel, said to be as stunning as anything in the Vatican.

Willesee had the chapel fashioned out of marble. It is filled with flowers and candles and is just a hop, skip and a jump from the family kitchen.

And just where is he going to get a sample of Jesus’ DNA for testing?

‘The Holy Grail’ on National Geographic Channel

Show scheduled for September 27, 9:00 pm Eastern Time (Check page for times in other time zones).

image Follow NGC investigators to a mountaintop monastery in search of clues about the authenticity of a cup some believe to be the Holy Grail. On the trek, discover how and why the Third Reich relentlessly pursued the cup. And re-live the story of a priest said to have died suddenly after breaking the chalice, which miraculously repaired itself.

The Holy Grail | National Geographic Channel

Stephen Hawking says God’s not needed. (Continued)

Adam writes: 

Media hype aside Hawking has said nothing new in this latest statement. But it’s naive theology which places God in a creation situation requiring a before and after – ‘time’ as we know it is a creation too.

I could not agree more. In fact, it is naive philosophy and probably naive theoretical physics.

The more universes, the more they are characterized as everlasting without beginning or end, the greater must be the creator God.

Stephen Hawking says God’s not needed. So? « Shroud of Turin Blog

Downloads of Face to Face with the Shroud of Turin

image You can now download the phenomenal Shroud of Turin film from Performance Films for the BBC. It is the first to be given access to the Shroud for close examination.

Reporter, Rageh Omaar, brings the story up-to-date by involving Oxford’s Radio Carbon Unit in a new investigation.  Rageh comes face to face with the image on the Shroud and with those who have dedicated themselves to solving its mystery.  First shown 2008.

Just £9.99 ipod/pad compatible.


Review of Pamela Ewen’s ‘The Secret Of the Shroud’ from the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

First, about Pamela Ewen, the author: Read that here.

Then about the book:

A frightened apostle in AD 33, a tragic child in the 1950s, and a slick, twenty-first century church leader are all linked by the secret of the Shroud of Turin, the purported burial cloth of Jesus-and by something more.

Wesley Bright, a corrupt, media-savvy clergyman, is out to destroy the Christian church of the God who abandoned him in his boyhood. Likable and entertaining, Bright keeps his motives well hidden. But as he seeks revenge, leading the church toward unknowing destruction, the mysterious Shroud of Turin stands in his way.

Strange characters and clues emerge like shadows limned in mist as the most recent discoveries on the Shroud connect the pieces of a fascinating puzzle. When Wesley learns the ancient secret, he’s forced to confront a terrible choice: keep the secret—and the power, wealth, and fame he’s won over the years—or expose it…and lose everything.

At stake is one thing: absolute truth.

I know I’m repeating myself. It is a very well written page turner. Get it.

Trial of the Shroud of Turin at Newman University in Wichita

I hope they record it. Write to Larry Schauf at the university or better yet, comment on the announcement page.

The Campus Ministry office at Newman University will present “Trial of the Shroud of Turin” at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 27, in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center inside the Dugan Library on the campus of Newman University. The event is free and open to the public. The event will feature Larry Schauf presenting an examination of the evidence of whether the Shroud of Turin is the true burial cloth of Jesus or a medieval hoax.

Schauf, a board member of the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association and a former federal prosecutor, will present the strongest evidence for both sides of the debate. At the conclusion of the presentation, the audience will serve as a jury and cast their votes based on what they have learned. A question and answer session will be held while the “ballots” are counted.

Notice and place to comment: Newman University to present ‘Trial of the Shroud of Turin’ Oct. 27 « Newman University

The Shroud by Steven Meloan, Michael Meloan.

image A friend just recommended the recently released novel, The Shroud, by Steven Meloan and Michael Meloan. “It’s pretty powerful,” he wrote. Here is a description from Amazon.com.

image "The Shroud" is a full throttle ride through the culture war between science and religion. Geneticists battle Christian fundamentalists over the most important cloning experiment imaginable; the battle unfolds in a circle of desire, reason, and choice centered on a sincere search for the truth. Written with the authority of genuine biologists in a style that mixes Harlan Coben suspense with a dash of Dan Brown in the style of Dean Koontz, and characters you want to argue with in a bar while your motorcycles are parked outside. –Ransom Stephens, Ph.D., author of "The God Patent"

It is the near future, and a genetic research team from the NIH has been asked by the Vatican to use the latest findings of the Human Genome Project to shed new light on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. The lead researcher, Robert Strickland M.D., is an agnostic with spiritual leanings. But as the inquiry proceeds, it appears that this is indeed the burial cloth of the historical Jesus. The vestment’s bloodstains, and their genetic data, open up the possibility of cloning, which sparks international protest movements. The ensuing investigative journey–from Washington D.C., to Israel, to Belize–has global repercussions, and forever transforms the lives of all involved.

It is available in paperback at Amazon. It has a five star rating at Amazon (17 5s and 2 4s). The price is $12.95. The e0version for Kindle version is 6.95. I’m downloading now.

Amazon.com: The Shroud (9780615352152): Steven Meloan, Michael Meloan: Gateway

Comment on “Is the Shroud a radiation photo?”

Cazab replied to the last posting, “Is the Shroud a ‘radiation photo’ of the resurrection? Some think so.

The comment needs better exposure. It is now its own posting.

I am not a specialist in radiation but I discern a huge gap between some scientists.

According to Fazio “any hypothesis of the Shroud body image formation by radiation must be rejected” (Fazio et alii, The interaction between radiation and the Linen of Turin, Radiation Effects and Defects in Solids, Volume 165, Issue 5 May 2010 , pages 337 – 342, http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=t713648881).

According to others, “deep UV radiation simulates the Turin Shroud image” (Lazzaro et alii, Journal of Imaging Science and Technology — July/August 2010 — Volume 54, Issue 4, pp. 040302-(6) ).
That is to say that the Turin Shroud is not crystal clear…

Ray Rogers was also quite convinced that the image could not have been formed by radiation.

See: Is the Shroud a ‘radiation photo’ of the resurrection? Some think so. « Shroud of Turin Blog

Is the Shroud a ‘radiation photo’ of the resurrection? Some think so.

Jerome Corsi, author of The Shroud Codex, is reporting in World Net Daily:

Scientists are building the case that the image of a crucified man on the Shroud of Turin was created by radiation that emanated from the body itself, a theory remarkably supportive of the traditional resurrection account that is central to Christian theology.

A scientific paper co-authored by attorney and historian Mark Antonacci and physicist Arthur Lind argues that the image of the crucified man in Shroud of Turin might constitute what amounts to a photograph taken at the instant Jesus’ body transformed as he rose from the dead.

In the paper, "Particle Radiation from the Body," Antonacci’s and Lind’s argument centers around the 29 unique or unusual features that scientists over the past four decades have found on the Shroud’s body image and fiber.

Keep in mind that some serious scientists who think the Shroud may be authentic have  had some real concerns about whether or not the image could have been formed by radiation. Keeping that in mind, read the full article: Shroud a ‘radiation photo’ of resurrection?

Headline of the Day

This headline appeared in the Huffington Post’s Science and Religion blog in a posting by Clay Farris Naff, a science writer:

Stephen Hawking to God: Your Services Are No Longer Needed; God to Hawking: You So Don’t Get Who I Am

And the lead paragraph reads:

Stephen Hawking has touched off a Big Bang, and his publishers couldn’t be happier. But just like the original Big Bang, Hawking has created an explosion out of nothing.

Read the entire posting over at the Huffington Post: Clay Farris Naff: Stephen Hawking to God: Your Services Are No Longer Needed; God to Hawking: You So Don’t Get Who I Am

Articles About the Shroud in the Islamic Journal ‘Review of Religions’

Joe Marino, one of members of the Shroud Science Group, has let me know that there are 3 articles in the August 2010 issue of the Islamic journal Review of Religions that discuss the Shroud of Turin. You can read these online as a PDF file:


Here is the table of contents from page one of the sixty-four page document. The articles that deal with the Shroud of Turin are highlighted in bold.

2) A Message of Peace – Part 2. Respect for all Prophets and religious founders is the bedrock for establishing peace in any society – Founders of any faith should never be insulted (Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi)

11) Means of Peace.  The world is in search for the means of peace – Islam teaches that to attain external peace, peace within must first be established (Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), Khalifatul Masih V, Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim community) 21

39) Truth about the Crucifixion. Keynote address from the International Conference held in London in 1978 on ‘Deliverance of Jesus from the Cross’ proving that Jesus(as) survived the crucifixion and travelled to Kashmir where he eventually died a natural death (Hadhrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad(ru), Khalifatul Masih III, Third Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim community)

56) The Shroud of Turin. An introduction and historical background to the blessed cloth that has incited intense debate amongst scholars, historians and millions of religious followers around the world (Arif Khan, UK) 56

63) Historic Visit by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V to the Shroud of Turin Exhibition. First ever visit by any Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community to the Shroud of Turin featuring the discussion between His Holiness, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), Khalifatul Masih V, Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim community, the  Director of the Exhibition and resident Professor of Oriental Studies.

Thoughts and reactions? I have yet to read the articles but I wanted to post a link for others quickly.

Shroud of Turin Quotation of the Day

Ross MacKenzie of the Richmond Times-Dispatch writes:

Carbon-dating has judged the linen Shroud of Turin to be a 13th century creation requiring seven centuries and modern photography not only to discover but to label a fake. In May, saying the shroud bears the image "written in blood" of a crucified man, Pope Benedict XVI effectively declared the relic the burial shroud of Jesus. Despite the comfort fragmentary carbon-dating has given doubters — prudence, faith, and common sense align with the pope.

Come to think of it, not just with the Shroud but with Stephen Hawking’s newest book in which he explains that all of creation can be explained without the need for God; the law of gravity being enough.

Stephen Hawking says God’s not needed. So?

So why are we concerned with the Shroud? No this has nothing to do with it. But it is interesting. And it stimulates thought. Boyle, as he always does, has explained things very well. From MSNBC’s Cosmic Log Blog:

imageAlan Boyle writes: British physicist Stephen Hawking’s [pictured] latest book is already making waves with his observation that science can explain the universe’s origin without invoking God.

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” Hawking and his co-author, Caltech physicist Leonard Mlodinow, write in “The Grand Design,” which is due to be issued next week. “Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

That’s the quote that lit the match in The Guardian as well in The Times of London, which published an excerpt from the book in its Thursday edition. But by itself, the quote doesn’t have much “there” there. If Hawking is saying merely that something can arise from nothing willy-nilly, that’s not much of an explanation for the origin of the universe.

What he’s actually saying in the book is that when we study the universe’s origins, we have to work our way back from the present, rather than assuming there’s an arbitrary point 13.7 billion years ago when Someone pressed the button on a cosmic stopwatch. And when you look at it that way, the universe looks more and more like a quantum phenomenon, in which a multitude of histories diverge. This is what Hawking calls top-down cosmology.

Space and time fizzle out, so it can’t be said that there is a time before the big bang — just as you can’t say that there is something north of the North Pole. (I’m talking “north,” not “up.”)

Gravity is part of the picture because it helps keep the cosmic balance sheet in line. Here’s the part of the paragraph just before the quote cited above: “Because gravity shapes space and time, it allows space-time to be locally stable but globally unstable. On the scale of the entire universe, the positive energy of the matter can be balanced by the negative gravitational energy, and so there is no restriction on the creation of whole universes.”

“The Grand Design” puts together ideas that Hawking has been trying out for a long time. Five years ago, for example, he noted that eliminating the question of what happened before the big bang meant “the beginning of the universe would be covered by science.” And four years ago, he joked that he had presented a paper suggesting how the universe began during the same conference at which Pope John Paul II asked scientists to set the question aside.

Does Hawking’s view mean that modern physics “leaves no place for God in the creation of the universe,” as the Times suggests, or that “God did not create the universe,” as The Guardian claims? Not unless you need a “God of the Gaps” to step into science’s place. A more sophisticated view would hold that physics (and evolutionary biology, to cite another example) are the not-always-mysterious ways in which God routinely works. In fact, Soren Kierkegaard would say that God’s workings have to be transparent — and I tend to side with Soren.

Some will argue that such a concept of divinity is so weak it should be sliced away with Occam’s Razor. Others will quote chapter and verse to support their claim that religion trumps science. And still others will argue that science and religion should be non-overlapping magisteria.

But hey . . . Read on and comment at Cosmic Log – Hawking says God’s not needed. So?