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.