Another Article on Francesca Saracino’s “La notte della Sindone” Documentary

imageMarco Tosatti writes, today, in Vatican Insider:

“It’s the greatest scientific cheat of all times”. So Franco Faia, the man who with Luigi Gonella and Giovanni Riggi di Numana was one of the workers, and witness of the operation of the dating of the Holy Shroud, describes what happened then. Faia gives his opinion in “La notte della Sindone”, a documentary movie by Francesca Saracino, produced by Paolo Monaci Freguglia for Polifemo, a co-production with Rai, distributed in Italy by Medusa Home Entertainment.

The movie offers a very accurate reconstruction, with documents and witnesses both new, of a real patchwork of secrets, manoeuvres and mysteries: the controversial exam with the C14, a thriller not yet clear at this moment, with many questions unanswered.

Vatican Insider has had in preview the entire DVD, and specially the “special contents”, never revealed up to now, of the puzzle. It seems particularly interesting a fresh document, which sheds a clear light on the C14 question, and on the statement according to which the Holy Shroud would be a medieval object.

Source: Shroud, a documentary raises the opposition to the tests C14

Big Deal Peer-Reviewed Scientific Paper Soon to Be Published


imageA Google-based search of the Optical Society (OSA)’s Optics InfoBase shows the following early posting of accepted papers to appear in an upcoming issue of Applied Optics, a highly respected peer-reviewed journal that is now celebrating its 50th anniversary of publishing high quality scientific papers.

Here is the entry. Will it generate the same level of interest that this same information created late last year?

Superficial and Shroud-like coloration of linen by short laser pulses in the vacuum ultraviolet

  • P. Di Lazzaro, D. Murra, E. Nichelatti, A. Santoni, and G. Baldacchini
  • received 07/23/2012; accepted 10/20/2012; posted 10/22/2012; Doc. ID 173160
  • [full text: PDF (1297) KB)]
  • Abstract: We present a survey on five-years experiments of excimer laser irradiation of linen fabrics, seeking for a coloration mechanism able to reproduce the microscopic complexity of the body image embedded onto the Shroud of Turin. We achieved a superficial, Shroud-like coloration in a narrow range of irradiation parameters. We also obtained latent coloration that appears after artificial or natural aging of linen following laser irradiations that at first did not generate any visible effect. Most importantly, we have recognized distinct photo-chemical processes that account for both coloration and latent coloration.

Keywords (OCIS):

  • (140.3610) Lasers and laser optics : Lasers, ultraviolet
  • (350.6670) Other areas of optics : Surface photochemistry

If you try to access the paper you will get the message that “[y]ou have attempted to access the full-text of an Early Posting article. Access is available via an institutional subscription. A pay-per-view option will be offered shortly.” 

Link to Optics InfoBase: Applied Optics – Early Posting. You will need to scroll down about 3/4 of the way down the list.

Image is Scorched Lemonade?

imageColin’s latest idea:

Actually, what this experiment shows is that a more intense image is obtained on the impregnated linen [(with lemon juice)] than the control, untreated linen, for heated metal templates at the same temperature. You will have to take my word for now that images can be obtained at lower temperatures on the impregnated linen with scarcely if any image on untreated linen.

It may well be that none of the imaging on treated linen is due to modification of linen carbohydrates, whether the cellulose or even the more heat-sensitive hemicelluloses etc of the primary cell wall. It may be that ALL the image represents pyrolysed products in the lemon juice. In other words, one can have thermal imprinting using a heat-sensitive  invisible “ink” that need not damage or affect the linen itself. This makes it more probable that the image thickness meets that 2o0nm criterion!

Is Colin now agreeing to some of the criteria? I like the fact that he is still trying to find a solution that fits his worldview.


More from Fanti on the skewed nose

imageGiulio Fanti writes:

-1. If a detail, the slight deviation of the nose, is present in the negative image it is obviously codified also in the positive image. Perhaps our eyes-brain system is not able to detect the detail in question because the inverted colors introduce some difficulties in the subjective interpretation.

I want not to discuss here the evidence of the broken nose (and then slightly deviated) on the Shroud image because this fact has been already showed by medical forensic experts.

-2. Minting error or damage to the coin? It was the first problem I considered but higher magnification of the detail of nose eliminates this hypothesis (see . . . [image at right, click on it for larger 692 by 768 pixel version]. In addition I have also found the photos of a Justinian II semissis, a Justinian II solidus and a Michael III solidus showing more or less a deviation of the nose (with the same curvature) that confirm the detail perceived by different Byzantine sculptors.

-3. At the time of the Byzantine emperor the Shroud body image was certainly more evident than now because more contrasted from the background that was brighter. It was therefore easier than now for an observer to detect details like non-symmetric hair.

MUST LISTEN: Thomas De Wesselow’s talk at Shroud Enigma

imageDavid Rolfe writes:

I have uploaded Thomas De Wesselow’s talk given to the BSTS on Sunday Oct.21st.

Few members of this group harbour doubts that the Shroud is a medieval painting. However, for the vast majority, that is the answer they will give if asked the question: "What is the Shroud?" De Wesselow takes on this proposition head on and from first principles as only an expert in medieval art can.

The link to the talk is:

Best wishes to all

Or just click here or on the photograph. It runs for about an hour.

Shroud Encounter Coming to Westminster College in Pennsylvania

The Westminster Cable Network in reporting:


NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – Westminster College’s Office of Faith and Spirituality will host Shroud Encounter Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Wallace Memorial Chapel. Admission is free to the public.

Shroud Encounter is a production of Shroud of Turin Education Project, Inc. and will be presented by international expert Russ Breault. The presentation is a fast moving, big-screen experience using over 200 images covering all aspects of Shroud research.

Millions of people over the centuries have believed this artifact to be the actual burial shroud of Jesus.  The 14-foot long linen cloth bears the faint front and back image of a 5’10" bearded, crucified man with apparent wounds and bloodstains that match the crucifixion account as recorded in the bible.

However, while the Shroud of Turin is the most analyzed artifact in the world, it remains a mystery. A 1981 investigation concluded the image was not the work of an artist, due to the lack of visible traces of paint, pigment, dye or other artistic substances on the cloth. It does have traces of AB positive blood and human DNA; however there are no stains from decomposition. Carbon dating done on the shroud is inconclusive, but adding strength to its authenticity, scientists confirmed the presence of pollen from plants that only grow in Israel.

Breault’s presentation will cover all aspects of the history, science, art and theories of how the image may have been formed. Breault has been featured in several national documentaries including "Mysteries of the Ancient World" on CBS and most recently "The Real Face of Jesus?" on the History Channel.

Source: Office of Faith and Spirituality to Host Shroud Encounter – WCN – Westminster Cable Network

Comment Promoted: Denis Mannix on his proposal

imageThis is a wonderful, much needed clarification. I can only imagine that Ray Rogers would have been pleased. He was always pleased when someone proposed and/or conducted experiments rather than merely speculating.

Denis Mannix writes (by way of a comment posted by David Rolfe).

Shroud Maillard hypothesis.

The present proposal is not to study the Maillard reaction at all. In Shroud circles the expression “the Maillard reaction” has come to be used as a general term for Ray Rogers’ claim that the image has been formed by a Maillard reaction and, more surprisingly, that it involved gases that retained, within their gaseous state, information about some physical characteristics eg. the shape, of their source. His claim is based on experiments that he carried out simulating the conditions with the tomb.

The work proposed is designed to test only the latter part of this claim by Rogers which is quite a surprising claim ie. that a clear image (comparable with the image on the Shroud) can be made on a recipient surface by gases that rise in a thermal current and retain, during their movement, the details of the surface, (wounds, fingers etc) from which they were released. This claim will be tested by the accuracy of the image they generate on a reactant surface. At the same time it will test to what extent any simultaneous diffusion within the gas phase obscures the image. This is as far as the proposal goes.

This high quality image is an essential prerequisite before we go on to study what reaction has caused the image. If we do get the high quality image may some people may still need verify that it has the same chemical composition as the image on the Shroud. This would then lead into studies of the possible reactions that might have formed the image, including the Maillard reaction.

UPDATE – The Real Face of Jesus: Ray Downing Suing A&E, Owner of the History Channel

clip_image001Maria Downing writes in response to yesterday’s posting:

Hope all is well.

Cannot comment, but here is a short statement from Ray, plus a link to a good summary.

Best from both of us,


Here is the statement from Ray:

Ray Downing and Studio Macbeth entered the broadcast industry to contribute decent, thoughtful, and innovative television programming.

It seems that the common sense notion of right and wrong has been distorted in some circles of this industry, and we find ourselves victims of their intimidating tactics.

The control over one’s own property, public image, and professed beliefs is a fundamental individual right.

The question which we have been forced to face is how far the abuse of these rights can be tolerated.

After a year of privately and confidentially attempting to rectify these injustices with the parties involved, we have no recourse but to petition the federal courts for relief.

Ray Downing
President of Studio Macbeth, Inc.
Computer Graphics Animation

Picture is of Ray and Maria and others of the Studio Macbeth team after having been awarded an Emmy for bringing Abraham Lincoln back to life on the History Channel special "Stealing Lincoln’s Body".

Max Patrick Hamon on the Skewed Nose

imageMax Patrick Hamon writes with illustrations (I modified the format to fit the blog space):

Skewed nosed cheiropoietic & acheiropoietic Christ faces?

By way of an illustrative reply to the bloggers who thought the skewed nosed Christ face on Justinian II’s solidus obverse (685-695 CE) was a mere “minting error” and/or “directly influenced by the Christ Pantocrator, here are the perfect photographic overlap of the two ‘non made by hand’ Holy Faces (Turin Sindon + Manoppello Veil) by German iconographer, Sister Blandina Schlömer and the Christ Pantocrator of Saint Catherine’s Monastery (6th century CE). Now the reader can just guess what are the prototype and its two possible copies.

The coin image shown at right is repeated below the other two images in the same size as the other images. (Click “Read more” if necessary.)

Continue reading “Max Patrick Hamon on the Skewed Nose”

How much bilirubin?

imageToday, Colin Berry, after citing a comment on this blog, asks a question (well, editorializes, really). Fair enough. It seems to be a valid point:

Well, we’d all like to solve the mystery of the Shroud, and if bilirubin has a part to play, then ought we not to know precisely how much was there, if only to be certain that SOME was there?

So what’s the answer. I’m happy to have the answer in old money (mg%) or in SI units, e.g mmoles /decilitre. But please don’t quote back Alan D Adler’s comment that there were “extraordinary levels of bilirubin”. I am already familiar with that quotation. However, there’s little prospect of “solving the mystery of the Shroud” (sic) when the amount of an allegedly crucial signature of trauma and crucifixion is reported as “extraordinary”, leaving one to speculate as to whether that is just 1 mg% or 20 mg%. That’s the difference between normal and highly jaundiced. Oh, and let’s not bother for now about the proportion of the bilirubin that was conjugated or unconjugated with glucuronic acid (which clinicians use an an aid to differential diagnosis, e.g whether the bilirubin was due to excessive haemolysis of red blood cells or due to liver or kidney impairment). Total bilirubin will do. If you can say how it was measured, so much the better.

Btw: there has to be lots of bilirubin according to Alan Adler, to explain why the blood looks permanently red. But that did not prevent him advising the Shroud’s custodians to instal extra light protection for the Shroud on the grounds that bilirubin was unstable to light. Yup, I’m confused too…

Quite simply scandalous

imageGo for it, Colin. Express your “disgust and contempt” to the Royal Society. I mean with, “so-called scientists lining up . . . a systematic attempt . . . misinformation, nay, DISINFORMATION . . . [it is] quite simply scandalous.” Why send it only to the president of the society; you should copy the Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

I am now wholly convinced there was a systematic attempt by key members of STURP and many others to eliminate contact scorching aka thermal imprinting as an image mechanism with scarcely any attempt at serious scrutiny. We now have the unedifying sight of so-called scientists lining up to say that it fails to match a superficiality criterion (<200nm) – one that rests on little more than one man’s failure to see something well when immersed in adhesive tape ‘goo’ under a light microscope. More so-called ‘scientists’ have since piled in, claiming without a shred of theoretical or experimental evidence that a scorch can never be as superficial as the image on the Shroud.

That so-called scientists should engage in this kind of misinformation, nay, DISINFORMATION, is quite simply scandalous. I think it time that I redrafted that letter to the Royal Society that I mooted earlier. I was far too neutral and polite in that first draft. I want to convey my disgust and contempt at the way in which pseudo-science is STILL being used to promote the authenticity agenda.


A good question about Justinian II coins

imageHugh Farey asks in a comment:

The coins of Justinian II’s first reign (685 – 695 AD) are indeed remarkably shroud-like, and it is difficult not to think it was indeed the model. However, when, after a period of exile, Justinian returned to the throne (705 – 711 AD), the same sort of coins (with the same designation – Christus Rex Regnantium) have a closely shaven Christ with tightly curly hair. Can anyone suggest why the changed their mind about Christ’s appearance?

This image from the emperor’s second reign, A. D. 705-711 shows Justinian II with Tiberius on the reverse side. The obverse side shows Christ with curly hair and short, trimmed beard.

Later coins, for instance during the reign of Romerus II with Constantine VII and if not before, show Christ again with long flowing hair and a full beard.

Fly on the wall summary of the BSTS Meeting

imageBy way of a part of a comment by Hugh Farey on Colin Berry’s blog we have a quick fly-on-the-wall summary of the BSTS meeting. Here is some of that comment while we await a report on the meeting:

. . . [T]he BSTS meeting was interesting (particularly as there were life-size photos to pore over), and although in principle extremely controversial, very polite! David Rolfe did not pursue the Dawkins Challenge at all. He read out a goodwill message from Ian Wilson (now living in New Zealand) with interpolations of his own, from which two new movements came to light. Someone in America is reviewing the pollen sample slides, both those taken by Max Frie and those by other members of the STURP team, with a view to explaining the rather different interpretations different people have made of them; and also (quite exciting) a mould for making Lirey/Cluny pilgrimage badges has been found. I didn’t know about that, but immediately Googled “Lirey pelerinage moule” and find a photo of it as the front cover of a book – still only published in France as yet. It does not seem to be the mould for the famous badge, but certainly for one very similar.

Thomas de Wesselow then expounded in detail why he thought the two components of the shroud image, image and blood, were “technically, stylistically and conceptually” incompatible with 14th century art or forgery (I know you and many others disagree, and he did not reveal anything blindingly new, but he set out his arguments clearly and with many illustrations), . . .

Finally a medical lady whose name I didn’t catch ran through the image as pathology, with some real Roman nails and a flagrum mock-up based on the famous remains found in Pompei. It was interesting for me as I had only seen these things on telly before, but not revelatory; and Tony Luby, a teacher, explained how he used the shroud in his RCRE classes.

Link to book cover at that shows mold mentioned above. 

The full comment also deals with scorching experiments.

The Real Face of Jesus: Ray Downing Suing A&E, Owner of the History Channel

clip_image001Was this thing just too successful? Will this throttle-back the success of “The Real Face of Jesus?” going forward? Ray Downing reads this blog. Hopefully we will hear from him.

INews Hollywood is reporting that A&E Television Faces Lawsuit Over Copyright of 3D Jesus Christ:

Raymond Downing, a New York-based 3D digital illustrator, is suing A&E Television Networks, owner of the History Channel, and Left Right Inc., a production company, for infringing the copyright of his virtual reproduction of Jesus by overusing material subject to a licensing agreement.

According to his lawsuit, which has just been moved to a New York federal court, Downing, and his Studio Macbeth firm, first created a virtual depiction of Abraham Lincoln, which he licensed to the History Channel for the 2009 show, Stealing Lincoln’s Body. Downing won an Emmy for his work.

An executive producer at History Channel then visited Downing’s studio and witnessed an exhibition of the 3D digital recreation of Jesus from the Shroud of Turin. Apparently impressed, the History Channel then licensed "Virtual Jesus" for a 2010 program called The Real Face of Jesus?

But Downing says the rights granted were limited — History was allegedly only allowed 10 graphic animation sequences and the rights were "non-transferable, non-sublicensable and related solely to the Real Face of Jesus Program for the History Channel."

Read the full article

Based on the Shroud of Turin: Justinian II Solidus has Face of Christ with Skewed Nose and Unbalanced Hair Length?

imageGiulio Fanti writes:

. . . an additional confirmation that the TS was the model of Christ’s images during the Byzantine Empire, I have found a very interesting variant of the Face of Christ on Justinian II’s Solidus (685-695) AD showing long hair only on the left and SKEW NOSE.

As you know, there are dozens of different variants of the Face of Christ in Justinian II made in different mints during these years, but the face [at right or in larger format here as "Justinian II – Face of Christ with skew nose.jpg" is the first one that reports the skew nose.

As also there are clearly visible the longer left hair than the right ones, that are longer than in other similar coins, I deduce that this Face was one of the first minted after the sculptor looked at the TS.

In fact, in agreement with Alan (Whanger), the Face of Christ became more and more less typical of the TS with the time passing.

Someone will say that this is a minting error, but "casually" also the curvature is in agreement with that of the TS!

Every comment against my interpretation of this clue is welcome, also from Dan’s Blog. (Dan, you are free to use this information if you clearly show my copyright).

I’m impressed. Comments, as Giulio makes it clear, are welcome.

Photograph bears copyright notice: G. Fanti 2012. Used here with implied permission.

Thibault Heimburger: Now, I know for sure that the TS body image is not a scorch

imageThibault Heimburger sent us a significant 24 page paper, THE TURIN SHROUD BODY IMAGE: THE SCORCH HYPOTHESIS REVISITED along with the following email:

This paper is not only for Collin Berry but also for all of you. I knew that the "scorch hypothesis" had been long ago dismissed by STURP authors but often on indirect arguments. I must confess that their conclusions (at least in the papers I have) were often not so definitive as expected.

I had to look for the evidence. Fortunately, the scorch hypothesis is probably the only one that can be tested without sophisticated scientific instruments. Only a microscope is needed.

I did not try to reproduce the TS image but only to study in depth the fundamentals mechanisms shared by any kind of scorch on a linen fabric.

Now, I know for sure that the TS body image is not a scorch. Whatever the different parameters, it simply can’t be a scorch. It is not a paint or a dye. What is it ?

A slightly different version in French is available here:

This is a much needed contribution to shroud science. We – all of us – should  appreciate Thibault’s efforts.

*Picture shown is image 24 from page 18 of the paper.

On the Day of the BSTS Meeting

clip_image001Charles Freeman asks:

But, and this is the topic at hand, will the British Shroud meeting be a place when anyone opens up new avenues of research or will it be one when the old arguments are simply recycled and everyone pats themselves on the back. Will the impossibility of Dawkins accepting the challenge until he is given access to the Shroud be raised? Will there be any agreement even on what scientific facts about the Shroud there are for him to go on?

Good questions.

*Taken from a comment in BSTS Meeting Reminder

Is Giovanni Battista della Rovere Depiction Accurate?

clip_image001Stephen Jones writes in 2. What is the Shroud of Turin?:

This aquatint print accurately[1] depicts from the information on the Shroud of Turin how Jesus’ body was laid on the bottom half of the Shroud and then the top half was taken over His head and overlapped at His feet.

How do we know this that this is accurate? We have the note, but . . .

1. Except that it wrongly shows Jesus’ right hand on top of His left. (Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World’s Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, p.137).

Maybe an explanation is coming in another posting.

Tinfoil Hat Warning: Crop Circles Revisited

imageI thought this had been forgotten after it was widely reported in 2010 in the fringe media and, of course, The Daily Mail. Jesus or someone or some “being” is particularly interested in communicating with us in 250 foot wide crop circles – tortillas and toast not being large enough – or someone is very ingenious in using the image from the Shroud of Turin in creating this prank. Or is it that “false patterns” can be more suggestive and deceptive than we like to think.

Well, the WonderInSpirit blog has reminded us with The Cosmic Weavers of The Wave. This video (below) is good. But this one (link only) does a better job of showing the crop circles up close.


Anything concrete or intelligent?

STURP or Whatever, the Musical: “It Can All Be Explained”

imageDid we need to be reminded? Michael Riedel recalls rogue producers of the past in yesterday’s New York Post:

The “Rebecca” scandal has made me nostalgic for the Broadway of the ’70s and ’80s, when the street had a colorful selection of rascals and rogues and ticky-tacky productions that closed overnight.

Anyone remember “Into the Light,” a musical about the Shroud of Turin, that ran six performances in 1986?

The late writer Peter Stone dubbed it “Jesus Christ Tablecloth.”

MUST WATCH:   There are three back-to-back 1986 reviews on this YouTube with amusing clips from the actual Broadway show. It leads me to wonder if the members of STURP, the Cardinal of Turin and all those priests and nuns ever danced and sang so wonderfully? It is worth seven minutes of your time if you value laughter. 

The Central Dilemma of the Shroud?

clip_image001Stephen now (just a few hours ago) doing what he does best: finding the best quotes and putting them in context. Here, he quotes (and I re-quote) Ken Stevenson and Gary Habermas in his latest posting in his new series: The central dilemma of the Shroud

The bottom line then is that either the image is that of Jesus of Nazareth or it was intended by its creator to portray Jesus. Since we’ve virtually ruled out human artifice, are we crazy or unscholarly or unscientific to suggest the image is likely that of Jesus?

It goes back to the great quote by John Walsh:

Only this much is certain: The Shroud of Turin is either the most awesome and instructive relic of Jesus Christ in existence-showing us in its dark simplicity how He appeared to men-or it is one of the most ingenious, most unbelievably clever, products of the human mind and hand on record. It is one or the other; there is no middle ground. (emphasis Jones)

Is it the central dilemma? Or is this notion subsumed in the greater mystery of the image? Authenticity through science? Plausible history?

Shroud of Turin in Haiku

imageFrom Tigerbrite’s Blog. Take a few seconds to click in and read the comments. Nine so far like: “Nice take on the prompt, not religious myself, but the history of this shroud is captivating.”

Shroud of Turin

Two millenia

this linen in safe keeping

stains of blood and sweat.


Tenderly wrapped by

Joseph Arimathea

carried from the cross.


The Magdalene waits

within the tomb to receive

and tend his wounds.


Resurrection life,

a miracle of spirit.

Tomb cloth of Christ.