. . . or even a second face on the back of the cloth . . .

Undoubtedly, “Perception of Patterns After Digital Processing of Low-Contrast Images, The Case of the Shroud of Turin” by Paola Di Lazzaro, Daniele Murra and Barrie Schwortz provides a long needed scientific clarity to an important subject.

The abstract reads:

We discuss the link between visual perception and the potentially misleading effect of software techniques for elaborating low-contrast images. In particular, we present the example of the stains embedded into one of the most studied archaeological objects in history, the Shroud of Turin.

We show for the first time that image processing of both old and recent photographs of the Shroud may lead some researchers to perceive inscriptions and patterns that do not actually exist, confirming that there is a narrow boundary line between image enhancement and manipulation.

I have frequently discussed the subject of pareidolia in this blog. This paper, however, provides the scientific explanations, lucidity and focus I could not achieve. Bravo! (One of my most recent postings on pareidolia was from last August, Les Fredette’s Crucifixion Nail: Why I am Skeptical About It).