Giulio Fanti on the Carbon Dating of Certain Relics

imageGiulio Fanti published an interesting comment to the Shroud Science Group today. With his kind permission, I have am repeating it here. Your reaction is welcome:

Dear Russ and all, you have posed a very good question that I wish to extend to other Relics of Christ. And I want to remember that the truth is not in the middle when treating Objects related to God.

From the counting of the C14 atoms in physical objects, the labs PROPOSED the dates of some Relics of Christ. I know the following dates ASSIGNED to the relative objects reported below at 95% confidence level:

  1. Turin Shroud: 1260-1390, mean 1353 A D;
  2. Titulus Crucis: 980-1150, mean 1065 A D;
  3. Tunique of Argenteuil: 530-650 and 670-880, means 590 and 775 A D;
  4. Oviedo Sudarion: 653-786 and 642-869, means 720 and 755 A D.

I want to underline that the labs implicitly PROPOSED the dates (even if perhaps they did not admit it) but they did not determine the dates because in all the mentioned cases the radiocarbon method did not satisfy one postulate posed by Libby (the inventor of the method): all the environmental factors MUST be known from the birth of the living being that composed the object under analysis.

I don’t know of other objects related to Jesus Christ that were dated using C14. On the basis of these data, the following conclusion can be reached. There are two different possibilities that have to be scientifically evaluated.

-A. All the known Relics of Christ are false and they were made in a period between about 700 AD and 1300 AD. The millions of Christian believers that from centuries did venerate and still venerate these object were so stupid and dupe to believe in the words of some forger that, with the aid of the Christian Catholic Church presented as true false Relics. The Christian Catholic Church used and uses the popular credulity for its purposes allowing public Exhibitions of these false objects. In conclusion it’s all a swindle (but a swindle not yet explainable by Science).

Corollary: how much stupid are the SSG Members that discuss from 2002 problems related to a big fake?

-B. All the four tested Relics of Christ are not false but the relative radiocarbon results are false because they did not take into account for some environmental factor that changed the percentage of C14 in the matter posed in concomitance of the Body of Jesus Christ.

A scientific proof is the fact that ALL the scientific results relative to the TS but the radiocarbon dating are in agreement with the hypothesis that the TS enveloped the Body of the Resurrected.

The radiocarbon results are the scientific independent proof that "something" not yet well detected by science surrounds particular human bodies like Jesus Christ but not only Him. The problem is now to detect and quantify this "something". And some suggestion can be taken from some results (not yet still detected and quantified in a sufficient form) measured at Medjugorje during some apparition of the Mother of God.

Corollary: the radiocarbon dating method can be the mean that will scientifically test the presence of some supernatural factor.

Without any doubt I opt for Point "B". At least this is my way of thinking.

Best regards.


Giulio is a good friend but that doesn’t mean we agree. If the shroud and the sudarium can be connected – and I think they can – then we might have some explaining to do. But, aren’t there already identified issues with each of these tests. What do you think?

Comment Promoted on Sight and Brain and Shroud of Turin Images

imageYannick Clément writes:

I know many people will not love what I will say here, but I don’t care ! I’m not here to make friends but to express my point of view !

I just want to say this : In science, every conclusion MUST have a scientific confirmation from AN INDEPENDENT researcher or research team. In Shroud science, IT IS EXTREMELY HARD to find this kind of independence of mind because almost every scientist who’s interested in the Shroud believe it is the genuine Shroud of Christ and have some preconceptions ideas about the subject. I don’t think we can say that this work of Marion found his scientifically independent confirmation yet !

And sorry, but many of those kind of articles and researches about those kind of images (flowers and coins) are often done to confort the agenda that is to prove the resurrection using the Shroud. Why ? Because it is proven that the Corona discharge can produce an image of coins on linen. So the stretch isn’t to long to associate the image of coins produced by Corona discharge and the resurrection of Christ ! I think there’s a real danger of biais there.

I dream of the day when Shroud science will be lead by atheists or agnostics scientists who DON’T CARE ONE BIT about the Shroud being authentic. Understand me, here I’m not talking about the Walter McCrone of this world but I’m talking about honest scientist who have no preconception about the Shroud (like the majority of the STURP members were by the way). Now, that would be science we can trust because it would not be agenda driven.

And, I think Ray Schneider said it well the other day when he state : “The best of the “enhancements” do present the impression of elements of the Pilate coin, however the elements seem to be out of placement and not in the correct scale, so it may well simply be a case of similarity and not a real image at all. Remember that the folks doing the processing were looking for a particular appearance so there is a selection phenomenon at work which will drive the process to the best apparent fit.”

I think the last phrase is very true even when Marion pretend his method avoid every subjective interpretation. I’m not so sure about that because he knew what he was lookin for and I’m pretty convinced that he wanted badly to find it. By the way, this guy Marion worked with Barbara Frele and both believe also that the ghost writtings represent Jesus death certificate ! So, if you don’t see an agenda behind those claims, you could at least agree with me that there is something fishy about all those researches…

I agree. See the full discussion at Paper Chase: Sight and Brain and Shroud of Turin Images « Shroud of Turin Blog

The Shroud of Michael Jackson

imageThe Spoof likes to pick on the Shroud of Turin every now and then:

Experts say that ‘The Shroud Of Michael Jackson’ being offered for auction on eBay is a fake. The shroud, a white cotton sheet, is said to contain a ghastly (Ghostly – Ed) image of the singer’s body.

"They lifted the idea from the Shroud Of Turin," an expert said yesterday. "But it’s just a hoax."

I’m sure Max will have something to say about this.

Shroud of Turin App Anyone?

imageMacy Halford in The New Yorker’s Book Bench blog writes:

Publishers Weekly recently reported that we are in the midst of a “Digital Bible Explosion.” Apps of the Bible are now more frequently downloaded than Angry Birds, and the sacred texts of other religions aren’t far behind: there’s an iQuran, iTorah, and a digital Book of Mormon. There are devotional apps of other sorts as well. For Catholics, there’s EZPray, the Vatican-endorsed iBreviary, and Confession (which leads you through a personalized “examination of conscience” to prepare you for the sacrament); for Muslims, there’s Islamic Compass, which promises to give “the most accurate prayer times”; for Jews, there’s a combination Siddur and Zmanim; for Protestants, there’s Daily Jesus (a daily quote generator), Bible Blocks (a Tetris-like game that rewards players with a Bible verse between levels), and my favorite, Granny’s Bible Dojo (Granny cracks boards with karate chops, and helps you learn the order of the books of the Bible).

imageWe definitely need a Shroud of Turin app; maybe one that lets us look for images of coins and flowers while riding on the subway.

The Book Bench: Screen Savers : The New Yorker

Paper Chase: Sight and Brain and Shroud of Turin Images

Do read Sight and brain: an introduction to the visually misleading images by Daniele Murra and Paolo Di Lazzaro:

image. . . We should consider this “subjectivity risk" when using computer tools to elaborate images, because we may generally have the propensity to make visible something that we want to see but that is not embedded in the original image.

Concerning the scientific approach to the acheiropoietos images, only reproducible experiments are scientifically acceptable.

Interpretations of shapes, coins, faces, flowers or letters “seen” on acheiropoietos images by means of image processing tools should be considered a track useful to address further studies, but they cannot be considered as self-consistent proofs.

It is a short paper, wonderfully informative and easy to read and understand.

Copy of the Shroud of Turin in Georgia. No, Russ, Not the Peach State

imageThe Georgian Messenger was originally published during the time of the first Georgian independent democratic republic (1918-1921). On February 25, 1921, Russian Bolsheviks occupied Georgia and after that it was published only irregularly. Now it is published regularly. And from its pages we learn that:

[The Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, David] Bakradze, along with the Metropolitan of Akhalkalaki and Kumurdo Diocese, Nikoloz, visited the St. Archangel Michael Nunnery, where a copy of the Turin shroud is engraved. There is a 3D image of Jesus Christ depicted on the shroud and it is considered evidence of the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Glad that in that part of the world, journalist don’t need to go through the tiresome skeptical drill.

An Excellent Analysis of the Coins-on-the-Eyes Issue

imageMUST READ:  Jos Verhulst from Antwerp writes:

. . . The lituus seems to show an horizontal orientation, at variance with the reports by Filas and others.

Note however, that the characters seem to be composed of thread itself; they are not imprinted on the shroud, but they seem to be formed by the woven textile as such. As a matter of fact, it is possible (for instance) to detect al lot of A’s on other parts of the shroud.

So there seems to be some evidence, but it is very weak. . . .

READ THE ENTIRE LETTER:  Be fair to Jos Verhulst and to yourself and read the entire email and look at the large images below the fold by clicking on Read More. This is the best analysis I have seen in many years.

Continue reading “An Excellent Analysis of the Coins-on-the-Eyes Issue”

Two Archaeocryptologists, Three Opinions?

A reader writes:

imageWe have been taken on something of a ride across a desert on a horse with no name. Prof. Dr. Max Patrick Hamon has stirred up a dust cloud and nothing else.

The professor is an archaeocryptologist, which according to him is someone who is an ancient enigmatic image, inscription and artefact analyst and cryptanalyst. This wasn’t clear so I tried to find it in the Dictionary Of Occupational Titles but without success. I then read a description of the Office of Studies and Research ArchéoCryptologie because Dr. Hamon is the founder and director. Can anyone explain what dowsing exploration and ES detection by consensus map (intuitive archeology) has to do with this field of endeavor? Dowsing? Using a divining stick? ES? Extra Sensory?

Prof. Hamon tells us that he has discovered that the Filas, Whanger and Maroni identified coin images are not there and that he can prove it, optically and numismatically.  DO SO!!!

He claims on the other hand to have found a blood decal image of a Pilate coin. SHOW US!!!

It seems rather unfair to come to a public forum to make claims about intriguing patterns on the eye areas that are supposedly substantiated in a paper that no one can read.

I suggest that Prof. Hamon, you, Yannick and the others give it a rest until Dr. Hamon produces a paper. Will it be possible to get the paper peer reviewed by another archaeocryptologist? Is there a journal?

Was a paper to be published after Turon, Poland? Does anyone know?

Destroying the Magic of the Shroud of Turin

imageFrom Holy Objects at Spiritual Questions:

Having recently watched yet another programme on The Turin Shroud, I am prompted to wonder what all these experts think they are up to. Why does it matter? This is a length of cloth which may – or may not – have been in actual contact with the body of Christ. Amazing! – But so what?

. . .

It may be that holiness can not be made by human hands: it can not be manufactured. Perhaps we now begin to realise that the ‘spiritual’ informs and infuses the ‘natural’: it doesn’t work the other way round. So if the scientists succeed in uncovering all the secrets of the Turin Shroud, they may also succeed in destroying its magic.

Two Jews, Three Opinions and the Shroud of Turin

imageHamon had written, “On the contrary Barrie’s arguement is very weak and his opinion not qualified.” Really, did he think so? Why?

And then he wrote, “Remember: when there are two Jews, there are three opinions!”

Where did that expression come from. Well, the best place to look it up was – you guessed it – “Two Jews, Three Opinions: A Collection of Twentieth-Century American Jewish Quotations.”  Amazon

It seems that David Ben Gurion gets the credit, though different sources offer different wording so we don’t have a solid quotation.

Rabbi Susan Grossman over at Belief Net offers this tidbit:

[Debate] so imbues who we are that even the least affiliated Jew is familiar with some version of the quip, “Ask two Jews, get three opinions.” It is this openness and concurrent tendency against dogma, which is responsible for creating the kind of cultural environment that stimulates creative thinking.

Rabbi David Zauderer illustrated the expression with a joke in Torah from Dixie and The Atlanta Jewish Times:

A new rabbi comes to a well-established congregation. Every week on the Sabbath, a fight erupts during the service. When it comes time to recite the Shema prayer, half of the congregation stands and the other half sits. The half who stand say, "Of course we stand for the Shema. It’s the credo of Judaism. Throughout history, thousands of Jews have died with the words of the Shema on their lips." The half who remain seated say, "No. According to the Shulchan Aruch (the code of Jewish law), if you are seated when you get to the Shema you remain seated."

The people who are standing yell at the people who are sitting, "Stand up!" while the people who are sitting yell at the people who are standing, "Sit down!" It’s destroying the whole decorum of the service, and driving the new rabbi crazy. Finally, it’s brought to the rabbi’s attention that at a nearby home for the aged is a 98-year-old man who was a founding member of the congregation. So, in accordance with Talmudic tradition, the rabbi appoints a delegation of three, one who stands for the Shema, one who sits, and the rabbi himself, to go interview the man. They enter his room, and the man who stands for the Shema rushes over to the old man and says, "Wasn’t it the tradition in our synagogue to stand for the Shema?"

"No," the old man answers in a weak voice. "That wasn’t the tradition."

The other man jumps in excitedly. "Wasn’t it the tradition in our synagogue to sit for the Shema?"

"No," the old man says. "That wasn’t the tradition."

At this point, the rabbi cannot control himself. He cuts in angrily. "I don’t care what the tradition was! Just tell them one or the other. Do you know what goes on in services every week — the people who are standing yell at the people who are sitting, the people who are sitting yell at the people who are standing—"

"That was the tradition," the old man says.

Okay, so if you ask two Jews, you get three opinions. But all my life, growing up, I had heard, “When two or three Episcopalians are gathered together, there are four opinions.” It’s because we are the same way, I guess. Or sometimes I heard, “When two or three Episcopalians are gathered together, there is always a fifth,” We are known not to be teetotalers like the Baptists and the Methodists.

I think we can forget about the opinions of traditions and religions and stick to science and rational material. It is more appropriate.

But Hamon had written: “. . . Barrie’s arguement is very weak and his opinion not qualified.”

And he had written: “

. . . Body images (resolution limit 0.5cm) should not be mistaken with blood images (resolution limit 0.5mm). Many Shroud researchers (including Barrie Scwortz) makes repeatedly the same confusion. He also totally ignore the thread count per square centimetres. The only snag with Barrie Schwortz’s faulty opinions is that thousands of his website viewers are all too ready to believe him.

Does anyone wonder if Barrie is qualified, if Barrie hasn’t studied this problem for years, if Barrie had not worked closely with Don Lynn at JPL who understood the resolution limits and thread counts better than anyone? Check out Barrie’s Resume. Barrie is so respected for his accuracy, and his website is so thoroughly read, that he can’t get away with “faulty opinions” for more than a day or two.

These are strong opinions from Hamon – ad hominem charges. They are not qualified that I can see.

Likely Error in Hamon’s Frascati Acheiropoietos Workshop Poster

imageI noticed the following note on Max Patrick Hamon’s poster from the Frascati Acheiropoietos Workshop 2010:

[2] In 1978, the already faint blood decal in the right eye image area was irretrievably damaged by Max Frei’s too vigorous pressure of a sticky tape on the linen cloth.

I don’t believe it. I spoke at length with Barrie Schwortz yesterday afternoon. According to Barrie, Max Frei never took a sample from the face area. He tried to but was stopped by John Jackson.

There is no reason whatsoever to believe that the image of the face, and particularly of the eyes, changed between 1931 and 1978. You cannot, in this way, justify the use of the high contrast 1931 Enrie photograph, with all of its visual noise, over the technically superior, scientifically-oriented 1978 photographs.

Father Filas’ “Discover Pilate’s Lepton Coin” Paper Available

imageGiorgio Bracaglia writes to offer readers of this blog access to the Filas Pilate paper’s on the Holy Shroud Guild website. A password is required, which you can request at

After obtaining a password, enter the archives using

Survey of U.S. Catholics

imageDan Merica, at CNN, has written a useful summary of a just published report on American Catholics. It begins:

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new survey paints a picture of a less-strict American Catholic community, with 86% of respondents stating they believe a Catholic "can disagree with aspects of church teachings and still remain loyal to the church."

The report "Catholics in America: Persistence and change in the Catholic landscape," was published Monday by the National Catholic Reporter and highlights changes and consistencies of beliefs and attitudes over time:

Even as attendance is down, the survey discovered that "foundational theological beliefs and the sacraments are at the heart of what American Catholics see as core to their Catholic identity."

For example, 73% [of older] and 64% of [younger] respondents respectively said it was very important that Catholics believe in "Jesus’ resurrection from the dead" and that Mary was the mother of God.

According to Professor William D’Antonio of Catholic University, the man who led the study, these numbers have remained consistent.

At the same time, 66% of American Catholics said the Vatican’s teaching authority is either somewhat or not important, a number D’Antonio said is higher than in the past.

For those of us, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who study the shroud and wonder about its authenticity, we might wonder if what Catholics around the world think of American Catholics has any bearing. And we might wonder about the level of belief in the Resurrection and its attendant doctrines and dogmas. Does it affect shroud studies? Do shroud studies affect belief much?

Full story as it appears on CNN: Survey: U.S. Catholics going to church less frequently – CNN Belief Blog – Blogs. And the story as it appears in National Catholic Reporter.

Cameroon’s Holographic Shroud of Turin Coin

imageKrause Publications has announced the nominees for the 2012 Coin of the Year awards to be presented at the World Money Fair in Berlin during first weekend of February 2012. The nominations for the most historically significant coin are:

1. Bank of Lithuania – Battle of Gruenwald, 500 Litas, gold, KM# 173
2. Royal Canadian Mint – 400th Anniversary of Hudson Bay, 100 Dollars, gold KM#997
3. Coin Invest Trust acting as agent for the country of Cameroon, Shroud of Turin, 1000 Francs, silver, KM #38
4. Israel Coins and Medals Corp, Old Akko, 10 New Shequalim, gold, KM# 470
5. British Royal Mint, 350th Anniversary of the Restoration of the Monarchy, 5 Pounds, silver, KM # 1151a
6. Mint of Poland acting as agent for Niue – Czar Peter the Great, One Dollar, Silver, KM# 433
7. Netherlands Mint – Max Havelaar, 5 Euro, silver, KM# 294
8. National Bank of Ukraine – 600th Anniversary of Gruenwald, 20 Hryvin, silver, KM #596
9. National Bank of Portuagal, Torres Defense Line, 2.5 Euros, Silver, KM # 800
10. National Bank of Belarus, Battle of Gruenwald, 50 Roubles, Silver, KM#270


Krause Publications Announces 2012 Coin of the Year Nominees

More on Max Patrick Hamon and the Coin-on-Eye Issue

The comments about the coin-on-eye issue have gotten rather testy, For instance when Max Patrick Hamon writes:

Spy details on ancient coin types “behave” like fingerprints. Body images (resolution limit 0.5cm) should not be mistaken with blood images (resolution limit 0.5mm). Many Shroud researchers (including Barrie Scwortz) makes repeatedly the same confusion. He also totally ignore the thread count per square centimetres. The only snag with Barrie Schwortz’s faulty opinions is that thousands of his website viewers are all too ready to believe him.

And when Hamon writes: “On the contrary Barrie’s arguement is very weak and his opinion not qualified,” followed by “Remember: when there are two Jews, there are three opinions!”

I must remind him that he is wrong. He must have been thinking about Episcopalians.

It sort of started on August 29, when I wrote a posting entitled, “Pareidolia and the Shroud of Turin: Yes and No.” I was expanding on some points I had made in an earlier posting when I wrote, “I Don’t See Flowers and Coins and Teeth on the Shroud of Turin.”  I had staked out a skeptical position on coins, flowers, lettering and all manner of things and shapes that people think they see on the shroud:

flower8[I]t is fair to be skeptical, as in the case of the flowers, teeth, coins and lettering because there is identifiable noise such as the banding, wrinkles and crinkles and whatnots.

"’I see’ said the blind man as he picked up his hammer and saw," so goes the excruciatingly ridiculous old English ditty. "I see flowers, I see teeth . . ." You get the idea.

I would like to see the flowers. I see something that looks like two flowers. I’m not convinced they are flowers. I’m not trained enough in botany to know many other types of flowers to look for. I’ve read the books. Studied the charts and diagrams. Looked at pictures through gadgets. I don’t see the flowers. I want to see. Show me. Show me that these images are not pareidolias or apophenias or phantasms or I-think-I-sees. Show me that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t New Jersey.

The posting received little or no attention. Maybe it was the title. Maybe the New Jersey-ites didn’t like it.

Then, recently, I stated that I thought it would be nice if the HAL9000 HD images of the shroud were made public. The reaction was strong. To my surprise not everyone agreed. This resulted in a series of posts with numerous, initially thoughtful comments by many people. They were: 1) “Value of Putting HAL 9000 Shroud of Turin Images Online,” 2) “Free the HAL 9000,”  3) “More on Freeing the HAL 9000: Yes, what is the Archdiocese of Turin afraid of?,”  4) “Comment Promoted: Of Coins and Flowers and More on the Shroud of Turin,”  5) “There is an Image of a Flying Saucer on the Shroud of Turin” and  6) “Paper Chase: Max Patrick Hamon on the Coin-on-Eye Issue.”

To this last posting, the most important one to read, now viewed more than 3700 times and now having some 32 highly-charged comments, Max Patrick Hamon, who presented at Frascati, Italy, and Torun, Poland, offered this comment:

Dan, I wish you had asked me how much credence I give 1979-2008 Filas et al’s coin image extractions. In spite of my deep respect for Filas’, Whanger’s and Moroni’s pioneering work, my answer would have been NONE!

I might even have added: I am convinced “THEIR COIN IMAGES” are not there. Both optically and numismatically speaking I CAN PROVE IT.

However, the whole irony of it is I myself detected and identified incomplete Pilate coin impressions… on the suspected areas. Both optically and numimactically, I do hope it will be convincing even to the uninitiated eye.

When can all of us with our uninitiated eyes see the evidence? The statement is too bold to go unsubstantiated. Will this new evidence overcome the primary objections to “Filas’, Whanger’s and Moroni’s pioneering work,” namely the weave of the cloth, the visual noise (what photographs are being analyzed?) and cultural/religious objections?

We are having quite an argument about unpublished material. Did readers of this blog or anyone from the Shroud Science Group attend a talk by Hamon at Frascati or Torun?

Max, I’ll let your comments fly even when you write: “Yannick, you’re REALLY THICK.” But I would like to see substance beyond the abstract you offered which touts your qualifications while diminishing the rest of us.

Like the Shroud of Turin or Jesus’ image appearing in a tortilla

imageBlessed are the sports writers for they only know sports:

Well would you look at that? Like the Shroud of Turin or Jesus’ image appearing in a tortilla in Guatemala, Tim Tebow’s revered image has made its appearance on the cover of the upcoming issue of ESPN the Magazine. I’m not certain whether or not the Vatican will investigate this holy phenomena to determine if it is in fact a miracle, but I think we can all agree the sight of it is pretty awe-inspiring.

Source: It’s A Periodical Miracle!

Use of Coins in Jewish Burial

This past April, Joe Marino posted the following to the Shroud Science Group. At the time I asked for his permission to reprint it in the blog and did so. Because of the current discussions in the blog, I think it is a fitting time to republish it.

imageDear Researchers,

I just finished watching the tape of the documentary about the nails found in the Caiaphas tomb that was broadcast right after the Jesus:  Lost 40 Days program. In it they mention that a Roman coin was found in the skull of a woman found in the tomb.  Because of the claim that there might be a Pontius Pilate coin on the Shroud image, there has been a controversy regarding whether Roman coins were used in Jewish burials or not.  Some have maintained there is no archaeological evidence for it.  But this is not the 1st instance of it.  It seems to me that if a Roman coin was used in the burial of someone buried with Caiaphas, it is, if you’ll pardon the pun, the final nail in the coffin of the assertion that there’s no evidence for it. (bold emphasis mine)



More Questions than Neutrinos in the Universe

imageSomething to think about at Chapter 53: Alpha and Omega

Can Christ’s image, like neutrinos, pass through everything undetected, thereby vanishing and mysteriously appearing at will as matter in the photographic negative of the Shroud?
Could the resurrected Christ capture and hold still enough neutrinos to create His image on the Shroud?

And on and on and on. But let us remember they are questions. Let’s not convert them speculations, which on the Internet sometimes grow into “facts.”

Steve Jobs’ Belief in God. Maybe.

imageJobs as quoted by biographer Walter Isaacson on CBS’ 60 Minutes.

Sometimes I believe in God, sometimes I don’t. I think it’s 50-50 maybe.

But ever since I’ve had cancer, I’ve been thinking about it more. And I find myself believing a bit more. I kind of — maybe it’s ’cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear. The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on.

Source: CNN story, ‘Biographer: Mortality motivated Steve Jobs’

film, digital sensor, Shroud of Turin, whatever

imageIt seems as though the author of gointothelight thinks the Shroud of Turin is some sort of photograph:

I was thinking about HDR (high dynamic range) photography the other day. . . . Let’s start with what dynamic range is. I’m gonna butcher it up a bit here. To be honest, I skimmed a PhD thesis worth of stuff on dynamic range in the last hour or so while contemplating this article. It’s deep and I’m gonna gloss across the top.  Dynamic range is essentially how many zones, or f-stops of data your medium (film, digital sensor, Shroud of Turin, whatever) can capture without losing information.  In other words, how much contrast can you capture?

Wonder why? We are seeing many more “off the wall” references to the shroud than we used to. Anyway, the posting has nothing to do with the shroud. But if you are interested in photography, this posting and the whole blog is very interesting.

Paper Chase: Max Patrick Hamon on the Coin-on-Eye Issue


As a comment, Max Patrick Hamon has offered the first page of a paper he presented at the Toruń Acheiropoietos Conference 2011 in Toruń, Poland:

A Full Reappraisal of Intriguing Tiny Bloodstain Patterns

By Max Patrick HAMON

Resume: The present paper assumes that its readers have an elementary acquaintance with the Turin Shroud. It begins by defining the coin-on-eye issue and determining the real problem. In a preliminary approach to evaluate the quality of both arch-sceptics and arch-advocates’ main opinions and reasoning, it demonstrates the need to apply to the suspected eye areas, the strict methodology of an eidomatico-numismatic reading grid based on the bloodstain pattern analytical technique. It then proceeds to a full reappraisal of possible coin impressions left on the said areas. Finally, in the light of the new observations and findings, it considers the necessity to integrate the new data within a more coherent archaeological framework.

Through mere repetition from one author to the other and via a couple of successful websites, many an interpretation, biased result, received idea, pseudo-theory and half truth have become quasi-facts and even at times quasi-dogmas in Shroud literature of all persuasions.

In connection with the famous linen cloth, the coin-on-eye issue is no exception to this general state of things. For over three decades, arch-advocates adamantly have been thinking they see coin images on the eye areas while arch-sceptics, just as adamantly, have been thinking they do not. Even among “pro-coin-on-eye” researchers, interpretative discrepancies are observed for each eye area. As an archaeocryptologist i.e. as an ancient enigmatic image, inscription and artefact analyst and cryptanalyst, the issue did pique my curiosity. Are the coin images just mere “figures in clouds” or are they real? Could the problem objectively be ever solved?

In this light, both proponents and opponents must be reminded that there may be a very fine line between “I think I see coin images” and “I think I don’t see coin images”, depending on five crucial parameters: first and foremost, quality of material (is it biased or unbiased?); secondly conditions for observations (are the tools and technique appropriate?); thirdly observer’s particular field or fields of expertise (is s/he the right or the wrong expert/is s/he speaking inside or outside her/his own field or fields of expertise?); fourthly and fifthly observer’s personal approach and vulnerability (is s/he making use or non-use of inductive reasoning/is s/he the victim of intersubjectivity, unconscious and/or ideological biases in the recording, analysis and/or cryptanalysis of data?).

In order to get out of the research dead-end, I think it is essential now to go beyond the “pro-and anti-coin-on-eye” dichotomy. One must be fully aware that those who claim the ability to identify the presence or the absence of coin impressions left on the Shroud (a theologian, a psychiatrist, a medical doctor, an amateur scholar of numismatics or coin collector, a technical photographer, a church historian, a mathematician, a linguist, a lawyer, a laser physicist or engineer for instance) are definitely not the best qualified Shroud researchers to analyze and/or cryptanalyze ancient images and inscriptions. How can anyone of them turn into a professional numismatist, an archaeological analyst or cryptanalyst overnight? It does take extensive data-analysis and/or -cryptanalysis before you acquire the proper eye-and-brain. Without such a trained eye-and-brain for forms, how can a non-specialist, credibly discriminate between misspelling, misreading and non univocal forms; between mere “figures in clouds” and genuine palaeographic information embedded in visual background noise and random shapes?

From an archaeocryptologist’s perspective, the present paper aims therefore at making a full reappraisal of intriguing patterns on the eye areas in an attempt to surface more real facts and reach an illuminating synthesis no matter which side of the Shroud authenticity the coin-on-eye issue may fall.

imageWithout reading the full paper, I don’t know what to say. I am not even “a theologian, a psychiatrist, a medical doctor, an amateur scholar of numismatics or coin collector, a technical photographer, a church historian, a mathematician, a linguist, a lawyer, a laser physicist or engineer.”  Even so, (and absent this paper) I have been able weigh the evidence put before me. I have seen what I understand might be fragmentary identification of certain coins but I also understand why much of what I see is possibly, if not probably, visual noise. I am open to being convinced that sufficiently identifiable parts of coin images exist that are not possibly visual noise. In the meantime, however, I am sufficiently convinced that the coin images are not there to “believe” that they are not there.

The eyes shown here are from a Vern Miller photograph as it appeared in National Geographic (June 1980, page 753). Fr. Frank Filas claimed he saw a coin in the right eye. To my knowledge no one else has identified a coin image in this or any other photograph other than the non-digitally enhanced version of a 1931 photograph by Enrie.

There is an Image of a Flying Saucer on the Shroud of Turin

imageA reader writes:

There are no images of coins on the shroud. Get over it. Yeah, there was that story of the K where a C should have been, it was kind of like a Readers Digest inspirational story and it convinced a lot of people. It wasn’t scientific.*

Yannick is completely right when he shoots down the whole premise logically. That there would be coins or even flowers makes no sense what so ever. Barrie, who studied this problem extensively, was also right when he said that the weave of the cloth was too course to support the purported detail. You don’t need to be a mathematician to see that this is so.

Those few people who see coins only see them on the 1931 photo which was technically beautiful for 1931. But was scientifically ridiculous. And then these few people who see these coins only see them after the 1931 photo has been serially contrast enhanced on orthochromatic film. Doing so randomly super-sizes the silver grains. It is like rubbing a crayon on a cement sidewalk and then looking for shapes in the mess you’ve made. When you do what they did to photos you can see anything. And if you did what they did again you would see different things. Did they ever go into a darkroom and try their experiment again to see if they could reproduce the same results? Of course not. It wasn’t scientific.

When I look closely at the 1931 photo of the Turin shroud I see a flying saucer. And not just any flying saucer. I see the same one that Leonardo da Vinci drew. Wow, will this spark some new conspiracy theories.**

Picknett and Prince where are you? You could combine “Turin Shroud: How Leonardo da Vinci Fooled History” with your book “Stargate Conspiracy.” 

For those not familiar with the latter (it is not intended to be thought of as fiction) it is about the CIA and MI5 who are manipulating a secret cult of powerful and rich leaders, including leading scientists who believe that they are in direct contact with extraterrestrial intelligent beings from the star Sirius. These extraterrestrial beings are claiming to be the gods of ancient Egypt, the very gods responsible for the image of a face on Mars.

* Actually, the other way around. The lepta that some claim they see on the shroud were minted in Palestine. Nonetheless, they were Roman produced coins. The inscription of Tiberius Caesar would have been written in Greek as TIBERIOU KAISAROS. Was a C, as apparently seen on the shroud where a K was expected, a misspelling? This was a problem that seemed to preclude positive identification until an actual Lituus lepton was found with the aberrant spelling. Several have since been found. This anomaly seems to give credence to the coins identification. But why?

** It was a tank invention, not a flying saucer.