How things get reported in the media

imageThe Northfield News in Vermont reports:

Donald W. Messier, RFP, M.A. presented a program devoted to the mysteries of the Holy Shroud of Turin at St. John the Evangalist Church last Sunday, Mr. Messier is the State Director of Shroud Exhibit for the State of Vermont. He is a well-known expert or Sindonologist in the study of the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.

. . .

Small samples of the linen were carbon dated in 1988 in a flawed study that examined a part of the Shroud that had been repaired and rewoven in the 12th Century. Further study led Professor Max Frei, Director of Scientific Dept of the Zurich, Switzerland Criminal Police said, “I can confirm, without the fear of being proven wrong, that this linen cloth dates back to Palestine, 2000 years ago.”

Further study by Frei? Didn’t Frei die in 1983?

On Dmitry A. Kuznetsov

clip_image001Gian Marco Rinaldi writes in a comment:

I have translated into English my 2002 inquest on Kuznetsov [pictured] , originally in Italian (a biography of Kuznetsov up to 2001 and an analysis of his papers from 1989 to 2000). Moreover I have published an account of my recent inquest on papers he published after 2002 (the latter do not concern the Shroud). Here is the link: La  Sindone  di  Torino Kuznetsov  special.

There is a lot there, enough to keep me busy for awhile.

The Gospel According to Bill O’Reilly Continued

imageI watched the twelve-minute segment of 60 Minutes about Bill O’Reilly and his new book (see my earlier September 27 posting, The Gospel According to Bill O’Reilly). I was amazed at the man’s arrogance. Here is how CBS bills the interview conducted by Norah O’Donnell:

The Gospel according to Bill O’Reilly? 
September 29, 2013 4:00 PM

Bill O’Reilly, the king of cable TV news, says the Holy Spirit tapped him to write "Killing Jesus" – a book that refutes parts of the Bible

Watch it by clicking on the image above.

Here are some choice bits posted by Anugrah Kumar in the Christian Post right after the show aired:

"And I believe – because I’m a Catholic – that comes from the Holy Spirit. My inspiration comes from that. And so I wrote Killing Jesus because I think I was directed to write that," added O’Reilly in the interview with Norah O’Donnell that will air on Sunday evening.

O’Donnell asked O’Reilly if he thinks he’s a chosen one. "I’m just one of many who have been given gifts," replied the anchor of "The O’Reilly Factor." "I can write. I can bloviate on TV. So I’m trying to use the gifts in a positive way. And I believe that’s all directed and that’s why I’m here on the planet."

In Killing Jesus, O’Reilly "details the events leading up to the murder of the most influential man in history: Jesus of Nazareth," according to publisher Henry Holt and Company, which paid the two authors $10 million as advance

Some parts of the book contradict the New Testament’s accounts of the crucifixion. For example, O’Reilly believes Jesus couldn’t have spoken the words, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do," because the crucifixion wouldn’t have allowed enough air in His lungs.

In Case You Missed, “In Case You Missed It”

imageRuss Breault tipped me off to something I had missed (Facebook is not well Googlized, but that isn’t a good excuse; is it?). Russ writes:

Barrie has implemented something new on his FB page.  He is now posting every friday a recommended article from the archives of  He has titled the feature, "In Case You Missed It".  Here is the link:

Here is the first item:


And the next:

Our next installment of "In Case You Missed It" is an important paper co-authored by Dr. Alan Adler and Dr. Alan and Mary Whanger. It was first presented in 1997 at the Nice Symposium in France. It is titled Concerning the Side Strip on the Shroud of Turin, but also makes some very important observations about the radiocarbon dating (see the last 3 paragraphs). Remember, this was written three years BEFORE Benford and Marino first presented their work in 2000.

Thanks, Russ. I’ll need to pay closer attention.

Blood from a picture of Christ: Links to the shroud?

OK. a regular on the blog, asks:

imageI am currently writing an article for, trying to trace all the burial cloths of Jesus (or parts of them) which were venerated all along the world at various times. While checking the list  of relics sent by Latin Emperor Baldwin II to king Louis IX in César Barta’s article ( ), one thing made me curious. The list goes as follow:

1. – The crown of thorns as the most valuable
2. – A piece of the cross
3. – Blood of Christ
4. – The nappies of the infant Jesus
5. – Another piece of the cross
6. – Blood from a picture of Christ
7. – The chain
8. – Sacred cloth inserted in a picture (Mandylion)
9. – Stone from the tomb
10. – Milk of the Virgin Mary
11. – The spear
12. – A victorious cross (this is most probably reference to Titulus)
13. – The purple mantle
14. – The reed
15. – The sponge
16. – A part of the shroud (sudarii) in which Christ’s body was wrapped in
the sepulchre
17. – The towel used to dry the Apostles’ feet
18. – Moses’ rod
19. – A part of John the Baptist’s head
20. – St. Blas’ head
21. – St. Clement’s head
22. – St. Simeon’s head.

Most of them are listed in other documents about relics in Constantinople. But what is:

6. – Blood from a picture of Christ ?

Can it have any links with the Shroud?

National Geographic’s 100 Greatest Mysteries Revealed

imageThe National Geographic Society comes out with a revised special single-issue magazine October 1. I picked up a copy at the checkout of the grocery store. Wal-Mart and CVS have it. So does Amazon for $11.45.

The Shroud of Turin, as expected, is included under a section entitled, “Religion, Myth, and the Supernatural.” Not a bad, short article, considering:

THE SHROUD OF TURIN may be real or it may be a hoax. But it certainly reveals the limits of science in resolving the controversy. The shroud is a long, rectangular flaxen cloth that many believe to be Jesus’ burial wrappings. Faintly visible on the surface (and more evident in photographs) is the image of a naked, bearded man, with wounds like those suffered by Jesus at his death. The shroud is currently held in Turin’s Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

The shroud’s validity has been debated since it first to view in the 14th century. In 1988, three independent carbon dating tests put its origins between A.D. 1260 and 1390, long after Jesus’ death. In 2005, a scientist asserted that the tests were performed on patched areas ant that the shroud was much older. this claim in turn was disputed. In 2013, scientists from the University of Padua retested the fibers from 1988 and dated them to between 300 B.C. and A.D. 400, the time of Christ.

On Easter Sunday, 2013, Pope Francis I spoke of the shroud with a mixture of reverence and caution, saying, “The Man of the Shroud invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth.” Whether the cloth is historically valid, not even the pope is prepared to say.

Get this special issue. It is fascinating. It kept me up last night. Want to know what else is under Religion, Myth, and the Supernatural? Go figure:

  • The Lost Tribes of Israel
  • Garden of Eden
  • Noah’s Ark
  • Ark of the Covenant
  • King Arthur
  • A Female Pope
  • Prester John
  • Holy Grail
  • Dracula
  • Count of Saint-Germain
  • Fountain of Youth
  • UFOs
  • Roswell
  • Bermuda Triangle

The Shroud Affair Crowd Funding Campaign: A Guest Posting by David Rolfe

“I am hoping that Shroudies everywhere will rally round . . .”

imageBy David Rolfe

In my view the recent campaign was a minor miracle and a major success! Over $5k in as many weeks. I had gone to a seminar on finance for films and someone gave a talk on this new phenomenon of crowd funding. Could it possibly work for me? I have been struggling for a while with my script. Frankly, while, in my humble opinion, it is already better than most of the films that reach our screens, it is not yet good enough to do the job I want it to do. Entertain, of course, but also be true to its subject and leave the audience wanting more of it. I am only going to get one shot at this. It’s taken a long time already and my own meagre resources nearly expired. So, this campaign has been both a psychological and practical shot in the arm and I have learned a great deal from it.

The main thing I have learned is that I don’t think I really need a site like Indiegogo to do it. They are a great platform and make the process of submission relatively easy. But, over 95% of the contributors came from the good efforts of Barrie Schwortz and his announcement, the readers of this blog and my own database – hardly anything from the casual browsing traffic on Indiegogo.

imageFor a continuing project like the development of The Shroud Affair, the setting of a deadline and target for a specific period is fairly arbitrary. When I was launching the campaign some films with celebrities attached were raising millions and Zombie movies or spinoffs from whacky video games were raising sums in six figures. Where to pitch the most amazing mystery in the world? I plucked $25k from the air. It will take a lot more than that to get the project up to a pitch where Hollywood must take notice but it seemed a reasonable place to start in that company.

So, with what I have learned, I have developed the proposition in a number of ways. First, I have decided to cut out the middleman and set up my own site for the purpose which is hereby launched. This already saves the 10% in fees and processing via Indiegogo.

I have structured it so that any funds received under the heading of crowd funding will be set-aside into a pot that will be treated equally with other investments when it comes to the distribution of any profits. This means that not only will contributions get the whole thing off the ground but, if successful, create a fund for further Shroud research. If it achieves its most critical objective, it will help usher in the next scientific round of tests and, like The Silent Witness did for STURP, this film may be able to provide some funds towards it.

This brings me to another decision. The Silent Witness was made possible because (The Late) Fr. Peter Rinaldi of the Holy Shroud Guild of America responded very positively to my request for help back in 1976 when I went to visit him in New York when everyone here in London and TV distributors in the US had turned my proposal down. He trusted me enough to put his influence behind me and it was not long before the project was fully funded. His reward was that he could use the share of the profits that accrued to the Guild to prime the STURP expedition. The Shroud Affair is now dedicated to his memory and I believe that nothing in this world – or the next – would please him more for it to succeed in its objectives.

The exercise also forced me further into the realms of social media including the previously opaque (to me) world of Twitter. It may well be that the answer to getting a bigger audience for this (and the whole subject) may come from this powerful force. If anyone out there already is a member of the Twitterati and would like to assist they would be very welcome. Failing that, this project is going to be dependent largely on those of us already hooked. How many of us are there? Barrie has over 3,000 on his list. Dan’s annual hit rate is huge – well into the upper six figures I believe. I’m not sure how that translates into Shroudies, however.

If I am going to succeed I am going to have to get a much larger proportion of this cohort to trust me to bring this subject much higher up the agenda. What can I say? Our rarefied field sometimes seems full of factions fighting for their particular perspective. And that’s fine. That’s how we slowly get to a truth. At least it would be if there was any prospect of real answers and there will not be while the Vatican remains seemingly indifferent to calls for another chance for science.

One of the reasons my task of scriptwriting has been difficult has been the imperative for the result to be entirely neutral as far as any of our controversies are concerned. All options in the story, including a medieval fake, must remain open at the end with only the Shroud’s unique nature and powerful subjective qualities being asserted. I am reminded here of Father Peter. Some months after the C14 was announced and long before its shortcomings were properly understood I asked him how he felt about it. He replied in that distinctive tremulous voice: “I believe the Shroud is a miracle. Why shouldn’t it be a medieval miracle?” My script even allows for this.

So, going forward, and with this assurance from me, I am hoping that Shroudies everywhere will rally round and if not able to support the project themselves do whatever they can to publicise it. Self-appointed though I am, I am doing everything I can to make it something we can all be proud of.

David Rolfe 27th. September 2013.

Shroud Lectures in Reading, Pennsylvania

imageIf you are going to be in the area of Reading, Pennsylvania, next week, you might want to check this out. You will need to call for dates and times. According to the Reading Eagle:

Berks Countians will be able to see a life-sized replica of the Shroud of Turin and hear a lecture on the scientific research and mysteries surrounding the sacred cloth at four presentations next week at the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters’ Motherhouse Complex near Alvernia University.

The Rev. Dr. Thomas Drobena [(pictured)] of the Slovak Zion Lutheran Synod, Torrington, Conn., will make the presentations.

The Gospel According to Bill O’Reilly

imageThe AP is reporting:

Bill O’Reilly says God told him to write his new book, "Killing Jesus: A History."

The Fox News anchor explains in an interview on CBS’ "60 Minutes" that one night he awoke with the title of the book in his head. He says he believes he got that message from the Holy Spirit.

O’Reilly says the book is a researched, historic account. Despite its de-emphasis of religion, he is using his special gifts from God in a positive way.

He says it’s all part of God’s plan for him.

I’m sure he thinks so.  Actually, it is Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, who also co-authored "Killing Lincoln" and "Killing Kennedy" with O’Reilly. O’Reilly’s name is just so much bigger  because God told the publisher that he talks to O’Reilly.

Is the shroud mentioned? The authors come close – and oh so far. Here is a quote:

[T]hey do make the extravagant gesture of coating the body in expensive myrrh and aloe, to overwhelm the coming smell of decomposition. Then they wrap the body tightly in linen, making sure to keep it loose around Jesus’s face in case he is not really dead but merely unconscious. In this way, he will not suffocate. Jewish tradition dictates that all bodies be examined three days after apparent death. Thus the tomb will be reopened and Jesus will be observed on Sunday.

But all this is merely adherence to ritual. For Jesus is clearly dead. The spear rupturing the pericardial sac around his heart left no doubt.

Nonetheless, the tomb will be reopened on Sunday. When death is formally pronounced, his body will rest inside the tomb for a full year. Then the bones will be removed from his decomposed body and placed in a small stone jar known as an ossuary . . .

Pericardial sac? Where do we think they got that?

There is this:

As the two Marys approach the tomb, they are stunned. The tombstone has been rolled away. The crypt is empty.

Mary Magdalene cautiously steps forward and looks inside. She smells the myrrh and aloe in which Jesus’s body was anointed. She clearly sees the linen shroud in which the body was wrapped. But there is nothing else there.

To this day, the body of Jesus of Nazareth has never been found.

Mary clearly saw the shroud? Did the AP not say, “O’Reilly says the book is a researched, historic account. . .  he is using his special gifts from God in a positive way.”

Yup! Got to love this paragraphs from a review of the book by New Testament scholar Joel L. Watts:

. . . While promising a researched narrative they simply rely on a fanciful retelling of the Fourfold Gospel story. It is written, I believe, to appeal to the fundamentalist and the evangelical but fails miserably in the hype induced by Mr. O’Reilly’s comments earlier this year, that somehow Jesus was crucified because he a member of the Taxed Enough Already Party.

Quotations for Today: Benedict XVI and Atheist Piergiorgio Odifreddi

clip_image001Dear professor, my criticism of your book is in part harsh. Frankness, however, is part of dialogue: Only in this way can understanding grow. You were quite frank, and so you will accept that I should also be so. In any case, however, I very much appreciate that you, through your confrontation with my Introduction to Christianity, have sought to open a dialogue with the faith of the Catholic Church and that, notwithstanding all the contrasts in the central area, points of convergence are nevertheless not lacking.

— — Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

, , ,  in an 11 page open letter to a prominent Italian Atheist, Piergiorgio Odifreddi, in response to a book by him, Dear Pope, I’m Writing to You.

The National Catholic Register reports:

Odifreddi said the entire 11-page letter will be included in a new edition of his book. He said that he and Benedict may disagree on almost everything, but they have

united in at least one common goal: the search for the Truth, with a capital ‘T.’

For a different take on the story see The Ratz is back, stung by atheist into addressing the ‘deviance’ and ‘filth’ in his Church in The Freethinker.

Off topic, nonetheless relevant to prior discussions here.

Too Bad

Time ran out on the crowdfunding campaign with just 21% of the funding goal of $25,000 raised. Sixty-three people participated.


Shroud Encounter at Georgia Tech October 3

imageThe popular Shroud Encounter with Russ Breault comes to Georgia Tech on Thursday October 3rd at 7:00 PM in Clough Commons –Room 152 (next to the library) at 266 4th St. NW. Parking deck on the corner of 4th and Fowler.

Sponsored by the GA Tech Catholic Center.


Shroud Encounter Promo–Georgia Tech–Thursday, October 3rd at 7:00 PM from Shroud Encounter on Vimeo.

Anglican vs Catholic Communion Wafers

imageSomeone in this blog suggested  that because I am an Anglican, I probably am unaware of the topic of Eucharistic Miracles. Well, that’s right, mostly. It was hanging around Catholic shroudies for several years that made me somewhat aware. For instance I know something about the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano. (Call me skeptical. And a good friend, a Jesuit priest, shares my skepticism. So it is not just an Anglican thing.)

Anyway, the subject reminded me of Frank Tipler’s book, The Physics of Christianity. Why? Well, as I recall, Tipler wanted to test a consecrated host to see if two molecules, once separated, say by the breaking of the bread, maintained quantum coherence – I guess the spin of electrons. Why this would happen with consecrated bread was something Tipler maintained was characteristic of the Second Hypostasis of the Triune Singularity that was God. Tipler wanted to scientifically determine who was right, Anglicans or Catholics. Yes, he wrote that in his book.

What follows is a slight revision to something I wrote in late 2008.

Back in November of 2008, A. S. Haley, who calls himself an Anglican Curmudgeon and writes a blog by that name, recommended reading Frank Tipler’s The Physics of Christianity. He wrote:

. . . I regard that book as one of the most remarkable books about Christianity that I have ever read. In fact, the book is so remarkable that I have decided, at the risk of my reputation as a reliable curmudgeon, who can always be counted on to tell you what is wrong . . . to tell you instead about some of the things which this amazing book shows are inescapably correct about traditional Christian belief. . . .

Well, I had read the book. (There is a lot about the shroud in it.) I certainly didn’t share Haley’s enthusiasm. Tipler’s book is not so remarkable. It may be, as Haley tells us, that Tipler obtained his doctorate under John Archibald Wheeler, the man who named the black hole and whose most famous student was Richard Feynman. It is only too bad Tipler didn’t pick up Feynman’s warning: “I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.”

Frank Tipler, a Tulane University professor of mathematical physics does propose an interesting idea. He argues Christian doctrine is an expression of all cosmological reality as it can be described by modern physics: God is a triune singularity. The second hypostasis of this singularity entered history in our universe (and indeed in other universes of the multiverse) as God incarnate in Jesus for the sake of mankind. The miracles attributed to Jesus and other most other historical miracles are not violations of nature and are scientifically possible, even plausible. Two miracles in particular, the incarnation and resurrection, are indeed scientifically possible and, as Tipler sees it, essential for immortality.

Indeed, the cosmological picture Tipler paints with the laws of nature is consistent with orthodox Christianity as expressed in the Nicene Creed. At the same time, however, his hypothesis seems amazingly discordant with a Christianity grounded in history and faith.

Tipler, as you might have imagined, is not some self-acclaimed, navel-gazing, self-published guru. His previous book, The Physics of Immortality, received considerable attention. “A thrilling ride to the far edges of modern physics,” wrote the New York Time Book Review. “A dazzling exercise in scientific speculation, as rigorously argued as it is boldly conceived,” said the Wall Street Journal. Science, the prestigious, peer-reviewed academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science wrote, “Tipler has written a masterpiece conferring much-craved scientific respectability on what we have always wanted to believe.” It remains to be seen if this sequel will get the same attention.

Of this sequel, Bryan Appleyard, a columnist for the Sunday Times (of London), in a review that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer (June 10, 2007) wrote: “I doubt this book will make many converts. Believers will continue to believe, perhaps with a little more confidence, and skeptics will continue to doubt, perhaps a little less. But Tipler should not be ignored by anybody.”

Yes, but. As an orthodox Christian, who like Tipler, has no issues with the theory of evolution or a universe that is thirteen-some billion years old or is but one of a seemingly endless number of universes, I found myself scoffing at Tipler’s assertions. It is important to remember that physical cosmology, like biblical exegesis and theology is controversial and unfinished. Even from certain facts and generally accepted theories, cosmologists, astronomers and theoretical physicists arrive at many different conclusions about the nature of reality. Tipler’s thesis is but one of many, something he recognizes. He simply dismisses all others out of hand by declaring everyone else wrongheaded.

The theological perspectives Tipler offers on miracles, the virgin birth, the incarnation and the resurrection are well worth reading. The scientific explanations offered along with the theology are interesting so long as it is well understood that they are only possibilities. He speculates too much.

Some topics are weak. His characterization of the difference of opinion on the real presence of Christ in the consecrated bread and wine of communion between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church is naïve. It is based on a smattering of mostly old documents, long since revised and amended. He quotes from the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion of the Church of England, circa 1571, that states that transubstantiation is a “blasphemous fable” and a “dangerous deceit” and ignores the wide spectrum of contemporary opinion held be Catholics and Anglicans. Many Anglicans do in fact believe in transubstantiation. I do. Most of his defense of transubstantiation is biblical. His interpretation from physics is just as easily an argument for a more Protestant view: consubstantiation.

Tipler’s discussion of the Shroud of Turin is worth the price of the book. Tipler clearly thinks the Shroud is genuine. So do I. But, I am far from being convinced that the so far unexplained images are the product of sphaleron quantum tunneling. Some details, particularly the proposed history of the cloth between 1204 and 1356 CE is fiercely debated among shroud researchers. Some of the scientific claims he makes lack sufficient rigorous confirmation; they should not be used to support authenticity at this time. Overall, however, Tipler presents a well-reasoned argument for authenticity.

Tipler’s scenario for the Resurrection is, well, interesting, or something. Jesus, he argues, may have dematerialized through a physical process known as baryon annihilation via electroweak sphaleron tunneling. By baryongenesis (what happened after the Big Bang) Jesus then rematerialized so that his followers would know he had been resurrected.

Is there in this a purpose to the incarnation? Yes. Jesus, Tipler contends, entered history inside of our space-time to show us how to achieve immortality. It is with mankind’s technology that immortality will be achieved. Not only will all people, past and present, gain immortality, according to Tipler, but that mankind will save the universe. To do so, mankind must populate the universe to its very edge. And he must construct computers and software powerful enough to emulate the mind, consciousness and soul of everyone.

Mankind can only accomplish this task by figuring out how to annihilate baryon particles (protons and neutrons are two examples of baryon particles formed by quarks). This process would provide the unlimited source of energy required for conquering the outer limits of space. By annihilating the right quantity of baryon from everywhere throughout the universe, the expansion of the universe will be halted, something which is necessary if the universe is to survive and necessary for the futurist computers of immortality to exist in space-time.

But in figuring out how to annihilate baryon particles, mankind will also then know how to build the bombs (much more powerful than conventional nuclear weapons) that will inevitably lead to the destruction of the world. So what role does Jesus have in all this? Tipler speculates that Jesus left his image on the Shroud of Turin as a clue to enable us to figure out the process of baryon annihilation.

Tipler’s technological doomsday scenario is to happen soon. Though it is unlikely to happen in my lifetime, it will happen, by his estimate, in the lifetime of most of his students at Tulane. This cataclysm, he suggests, may be the Great Tribulation foretold in Matthew’s Gospel: “For at that time there will be great suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” (24:21 NRSV)

This idea for immortality is in essence no different than what Tipler proposed in his previous book, which the prestigious scientific journal science praised by saying, “Tipler has written a masterpiece conferring much-craved scientific respectability on what we have always wanted to believe.”

The fly in the ointment is this: What if a terrorist or an accidental fire destroys the Shroud of Turin before we can figure out baryon annihilation. Is immortality doomed? It is hard to tell if this is possible in Tipler’s model, which is largely deterministic. Would a second coming of the second hypostasis of the cosmological singularity prevent this? And why is a scientific riddle embedded in the images on the Shroud? Why not an explicit set of instructions carved in stone?

Is Frank Tipler a modern Hildegard of Bingenof? Her scientific visions in the 12th century were derived from the ancient Greek cosmology. Has Tipler turned the tables on those who think we should only believe what can be proved with science? If Tipler is right, some of us alive today will know it. Or we won’t.

Any volunteers to try this? It is a page from the book:


What did Jesus look like?

imageSister Melannie Svoboda, a Sister of Notre Dame in Chardon, Ohio, in her blog, Sunflower Seeds, imagines what Jesus looks like.

“Let’s start with the Shroud of Turin,” she writes. She discussed the close briefly and reminds us that “the Catholic Church has neither formally endorsed nor formally rejected the Shroud of Turin.”

Sister Melannie then gives some other images to contemplate. Regrettably, she doesn’t name them.

imageOne is Warner Sallman’s, “Son of Man.” handed out on wallet cards to American troops during World War II by the Salvation Army and the YMCA.


Shreds of Evidence: A Guest Posting by Joe Marino

“several thoughts popped into my mind”

imageBy Joe Marino:

I recently rewatched a Shroud program titled "Shreds of Evidence" shown on A&E cable network on 4/21/95.  It was a BBC/Timewatch production.  I believe that was the 1st time it had been broadcast in the United States.  I’m not sure when it was first shown in England.  But it was actually produced in 1988, per the date listed at the end of the video and something else I’ll mention in a minute.

The program starts out with the late Fr. Peter Rinaldi, a well-known Shroud advocate, going to the Cathedral to pray before the Shroud.  But when I tell you that David Sox was interviewed a lot and was the program consultant, you will be able to guess what direction the program heads.  Sox is an American Episcopal priest who has been living in England for some decades now.  He was the 1st General Secretary of the British Society for the Turin Shroud and seemingly pro-Shroud in the 70s until he apparently became convinced by the evidence put forth by McCrone, who believed it showed that the Shroud was a fake.

Sox, as many of you know, had the book The Shroud Unmasked printed and ready to go when the C-14 dates were released in October 1988.  Against the protocol set for the C-14 labs, he was given advance information about the results, and I believe was even allowed to observe the actual testing at Zurich.

The program paints a picture of pro-Shroud scientists, including STURP of course, as those who have let their religious feelings get in the way of their scientific objectivity.  It paints a picture of C-14 being pretty much fool-proof.  It paints a picture of science pretty much always proving that religion is rarely if ever on the same level as science.  It paints a picture of the 14th century being a time of many relics and very much into suffering, implying that the Shroud fits in perfectly with that time as a man-made object.  The point is made that people in the 14th century literally paid to see the Shroud.

What really jumped out at me at the end of the program was when the rolling text gave the dates that the British Museum received the results from Zurich and Arizona and Oxford was delayed.  It then said that the official results were expected in September.  So this documentary was already complete in summer 1988!  So Sox not only had his book ready to go when the dates were announced, he was significantly involved in a documentary completed before the dates were even announced.

I think this is interesting in light of the later discovery that "anonymous businessmen" made a 1 million pound donation to Oxford for ostensibly having proven the Shroud to be a forgery.  And, of course, we know that the British Museum’s Dr. Michael Tite, who was billed as the independent overseer of the 1988 C-14 dating, left the museum and took the place of the late Dr. Edward (Teddy) Hall, when he resigned shortly after the dating and after the lab had received the donation.

Knowing that Sox’s book was ready to go when the results were announced and that "Shreds of Evidence" was produced even before the official dates were announced, several thoughts popped into my mind:

*Was having both the book and documentary ready before the official dates were announced designed as a specific psychological attack on those who believed the Shroud to be authentic?  If so, what individuals or groups were involved?

*Were there any connections/associations between the publisher of Sox’s book, BBC/Timewatch, which put out the documentary, and the "anonymous businessmen" that donated the million pounds to Oxford?

*We may never know the answers, but I have a feeling that if we did, there would be some shocking revelations.

The Eucharistic Miracle of Buenos Aires

“This is where the weird part comes in, and I am still puzzled why this miracle,
which has been well-documented and verified by church officials,
is less publicized than the Shroud of Turin . . . .”

clip_image001Alicia Colon, this past Sunday morning in American Thinker, on What the Secular Media Doesn’t Know about Pope Francis:

On August 18, 1996 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at Holy mass, a woman discovered a discarded host on a candleholder and brought it to Fr. Alejandro Pezet who placed it in a container of water inside the tabernacle of the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. The following Monday, August 26, upon opening the tabernacle, the priest was astonished to find that the Host had become a bloody substance and he notified his Bishop Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis I), who gave instructions that the bloodied flesh be photographed. When the photographs were taken on September 6, the bloodied flesh had grown significantly in size. After it had been kept in the tabernacle for a few years the Bishop decided to have it scientifically analyzed since it had not suffered any visible decomposition.

This is where the weird part comes in, and I am still puzzled why this miracle, which has been well-documented and verified by church officials, is less publicized than the Shroud of Turin which still remains officially uncertified.

In 1999, in the presence of then Cardinal Bergoglio, Dr. Ricardo Castanon, an atheist at the time, sent the fragment to New York for analysis, but did not inform the team of scientists its origin so as not to prejudice the study.  One scientist, Dr. Frederic Zugibe, a cardiologist and forensic pathologist, determined that the substance was real flesh and contained human DNA, and furthermore he concluded was a piece of heart muscle.

Read on.  Where was this test done? Rockland County Medical Examiner’s lab? “One scientists” – so who were the others and what do they say? Are there papers on this? If I Google, “The Eucharistic Miracle of Buenos Aires” I do get quite a few interesting hits but nothing that seems like a primary source. Phrases like “well-documented and verified by church officials,” is not exactly helpful journalism. Maybe that is why this story doesn’t have legs,  why there is a weird part.

Any useful material? Well-documented and verified by church officials?

This is one very good way the story is being told

imageThe Little Falls Times, the local paper for the village of Herkimer that sits along Interstate 90 halfway between Schenectady and Syracuse, reports that the Dolgeville Rotary Club has organized a special program  for the annual Dolgeville Central School Alumni Reunion. As part of that program L. David Pye, a member of the class of 1955, will talk about the shroud:

The Shroud of Turin is believed by millions to be the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth. The cloth contains a full body image fully coincident with the known history of his crucifixion in Jerusalem. Pye’s interest in this archeological artifact evolved while he was a visiting professor at the University of Parma, Italy, which happened to coincide with the showing of the Shroud in 2010 in nearby Turin. He had previously been contacted by a major television network about the Shroud and the possible use of glass to create the image on the cloth by exposure to sunlight. His presentation will explore the mysteries and controversies surrounding the Shroud.

Pye is dean and professor of glass science, emeritus, at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, and is an honored teacher, scholar and researcher. A resident of Spruce Lake in the town of Salisbury, he presently serves as the founding editor of the International Journal of Applied Glass Science and is an aspiring stained glass artist.

Hmm: “use of glass to create the image on the cloth by exposure to sunlight.” Remember the Shadow Shroud back in 2005? 

Did I mention that there will be an ice cream social after the program.

So is that the Shroud of Turin depicted in the Hungarian Pray Codex?

imageJust in case you missed it, there is a lively discussion going on about the Hungarian Pray Codex illustration in the posting, Significant Endorsement: Former Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury backs The Shroud Affair. It was supposed to be a discussion about that but it became a conversation about Ian Wilson’s work (Wilson’s name is mentioned 65 times). But then, starting with comment #61, a most thoughtful discussions on the Pray Manuscript picture began: is that the Shroud of Turin depicted in the Hungarian Pray Codex?

Why is this important? Because we often say that the Hungarian Pray Codex is historical evidence that the carbon dating is wrong and that the shroud had a history before Lirey, France of the mid-14th century.

After nearly a hundred comments, none of them insignificant, David Goulet writes:

I can see how some people connect the Pray codex to the Shroud. The L shape holes, the weave implication, red lines approximating blood. But I can also see Hugh’s argument that these are not conclusive evidence, that there could be other explanations. Confirmation bias is a legitimate problem here — seeing what we expect to see. If you deny this (I’m not saying you are) you would be deluding yourself.

and the beat goes on. 

Click on the image above or here for an 883 by 1386 pixels, high resolution image of the illustration. Now pour a cup of coffee or tea or pour a tall cool something or other and click on comment #61 and start reading. Then read these past postings.

and we are a long way from certainty and agreement. Join in. Or comment here. FYI, I still think that is the shroud in the Pray Codex. But I get it, too. And this is why I blog.

Paper Chase: Giulio Fanti’s New Flax Fiber Dating Machine

imageTwo days ago, Giulio Fanti presented a paper, A New Cyclic-Loads Machine for the Measurement of Micro-Mechanical Properties of Single Flax Fibers Coming from the Turin Shroud at The Italian Association of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (AIMETA) Congress in Turin, September 17-20, 2013. The paper was co-authored by Pierandrea Malfi. Both are from the University of Padua. Giulio was kind enough to provide a copy of the paper for the readers of this blog ahead of the publication in the conference’s proceedings. Please respect the copyright and the kindness. Comments are, of course, welcome.


As a bibliographic research has shown the absence of machines of the type requested, it has been necessary to design, build and test a new cycling-loads machine capable to measure the micro-mechanical characteristics of flax fibers like Young modulus, tensile strength and the loss factor. The flax fibers in question have diameters of 5-25 μm and lengths of 1-3 mm.

The requirements for the testing machine are to furnish the stress-strain parameters, with an uncertainty not greater than 10%, relative to different loading-unloading cycles measuring fibers from 1 mm to 30 mm long, with 1% strain, a resolution of the order of 0.1 μm and capable to measure forces up to 0.5 N with a resolution better than 2 μN.

The design problems have been solved by employing a mechanical lever displaced by a micrometric screw to impose the displacements and by using an analytical balance, properly calibrated to measure the corresponding forces. The single flax fibers have been glued on particular polyester bases build up for the purpose.

The machine has been used to date fibers coming from the Turin Shroud. To reach this purpose, proper calibration curves have been determined using a series of ancient flax textiles. The Turin Shroud fibers resulted of 400 AD with an uncertainty of ±400 years at 95% confidence level, thus compatible with the epoch in which Jesus Christ lived in Palestine.

Link to paper in this blogs archives:

And that is one of the top 25 conspiracy theories of all time?

Just posted two days ago at the mega online tabloidy-gossipy-so-much-like-a-grocery-store-checkout-stand-paper, Radar Online:


In case you can’t read the picture text:

The Shroud of Turin: The alleged burial cloth of Christ, known as the Shroud of Turin, has always caused a commotion with some doubting its authenticity and others saying it showed Jesus was alive AFTER the crucifixion. And the 1994 book The Jesus Conspiracy claimed that the Vatican interfered with the carbon dating of the shroud to make it look phony, because Christ surviving the crucifixion would wreck the theology of the church. But the Vatican has denied it.

The Divine Jest: The Shroud of Turin (Amended)

imageAn interesting article by Isaac the Eagle on the website of St. Stephen’s Anglican Church in Timonium, Maryland (Just north of Baltimore):

And [Russ Breault] has a fascinating tale to tell: not least, The Shroud might aptly be described as a divine joke at the expense of skeptics. It is unique in that it would be even more miraculous if it were to be a fake than if it were to be genuine.

And this:

imageThe findings of Professor Fanti—a life-long atheist—and Roberto Maggiolo, both from the university’s department of mechanical engineering, were recently published in the highly regarded journal of the Institute of Physics in London.

Ed: Fanti is not a life-long atheist.

While the front of the shroud has been studied intensively over the years, the back has remained hidden under the Holland cloth sewn on by the nuns. However, in 2002, that protective layer was removed for restoration and the back of the cloth was photographed.

The two scientists studied these photographs, using mathematical and optical techniques to process the images. They discovered that the face that can be seen on the reverse of the shroud matches that on the front.

“We can detect the presence of a nose, eyes, hair, beard and mustache on the back surface that correspond in place, form, position and scale to those of the front,” Prof. Fanti said.

The findings, he said, support the contentions of those who maintain the cloth is genuine.

Don’t expect the skeptics to take the news quietly. This is a comedy that isn’t going to close any time soon. Indeed, it’s already run for seven centuries.

A life-long atheist, pictured here with Benedict XVI? Here is something that Giulio Fanti wrote for posting in this blog on November 4, 2011:

I am Christian Catholic by faith and I had the privilege to confirm more than one time my faith by means of personal physical proofs.

From my researches on the Turin Shroud and on other Objects connected with the Supernatural I understood that positivism is not always applicable and that there is necessary to suppose the existence of something that is out the traditional science to explain some phenomena connected with God, to the Mother of God, or to Religion in general.

I therefore approach problems related to the Turin Shroud and to other supposed relics knowing that Science and Faith are not in contrast each other but the one helps to explain the other.

I am sure that the Turin Shroud is authentic in the sense that it enveloped the dead Body of Jesus Christ and I tend to suppose authentic also the Oviedo Sudario, the Tunique of Argenteiul and the Titulus Crucis (being the first more reliable for me than the last) from knowledge I have on these Objects (that is not so wide as the knowledge I have for the Turin Shroud).

I am the leader of a Research Project on the Turin Shroud financed by the University of Padova also addressed to study the possible environmental effects that could have influenced the radiocarbon dating on the Turin Shroud and also from these on progress results I formulated the hypothesis recently presented. I repeat, it is only a working hypothesis that should be tested in the future, but for me it must not be a priori discharged.
There should be too much to write about the argument and much of it should be read in my publications, therefore my messages must be synthesized as much as possible. For example in this view I only presented two hypothesis in my recent posting in reference to the two possibilities of authenticity or falseness of the four Relics of Christ.

Quote and a Movie for Today

imageThe concept of a cloth falling into the underlying body region and receiving an image, in essence, requires that two separate assumptions be made. First, we must assume that the body became mechanically "transparent" to its physical surroundings and, second, that a stimulus was generated that recorded the passage of the cloth through the body region onto the cloth as an image. With regard to the latter assumption, it is unclear in an a priori sense what to assume for the physical nature of the stimulus. However, we at least know that it was able to interact physically with cloth; otherwise, image discolorations would not have been formed. I propose that, as the Shroud collapsed through the underlying body, radiation emitted from all points within that body discolored the cloth so as to produce the observed image. As will be seen below, this assumption [340] explains the superficiality of the Shroud image and, perhaps, the differentiation in fibril coloring.

                                                   — John P. Jackson

— from his paper, An Unconventional Hypothesis to Explain All Image Characteristics Found on the Shroud Image.

imageThe full paper may be found in Stephen Jones’ blog starting at about the third paragraph of a posting in which he writes:

"Cloth Collapse theory" to explain the origin of the Shroud’s image is, in my opinion, one of the most important things ever written about the Shroud of Turin. This is because it claims to, and I agree that it does, "explain all image characteristics found on the shroud image."

And now for the video: yes, that is a nose you are looking at.  It is Jackson’s presentation of his hypothesis at a St. Louis Symposium in the video, "What is Missing? "  You will need to download it in WMV format from Shroud University.  It runs a little bit over an hour (1:18).