18th Anniversary for shroud.com


In an email to shroud.com subscribers, Barrie Schwortz writes:

Just a short note to let you know that our 18th Anniversary update is now  online! Just go to to our Home Page and click on the January 21, 2014 date link to see the details.

This update includes six more issues of Shroud Spectrum International, the December 2013 issue of the BSTS Newsletter (with some bonus material), a new DNA paper by Kelly Kearse, more on the 2015 Shroud exhibition, links to many important new websites and papers, news from around the world and much more! We think you will find a lot of useful information that will keep you busy for some time to come. And don’t forget to visit our Private Subscribers Page [link changed to signup page*] for exclusive offers not available to the general public. You can also visit our Facebook page, which we try to update weekly.

[ . . . ]

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, you can contact me directly by e-mail at the address listed at the end of this letter.  Please be patient as I receive large volumes of mail.  Although I do my best to answer most of the letters I receive, a response is not always possible.  Your patience and understanding are appreciated.

Warmest regards,

Barrie Schwortz

Editor & Founder, Shroud of Turin Website
President, STERA, Inc.

Quick Links…


Shroud of Turin Website

Shroud of Turin Website Mailing List Signup Page

Shroud of Turin Website Private Subscribers Page [*]
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Mail a Tax Deductible Charitable Contribution to STERA, Inc.
Make an Online Contribution Using Secure Contribution Form

*It is only fair to change the link here. But go ahead and signup if you have not done so. You are encouraged to do so; it’s free and you may withdraw your name at any time. And you will find out what the link is.

imageIF YOU ARE THE IMPATIENT TYPE, jump to the Update Table of Contents page and scroll about or click on one of these links within that page:

    Lots to discuss in the next several days.

The idea of something being authentic is "just too powerful"

Joe Marino writes:

imageThe Military Channel has a new series called "Myth Hunters."  I just finished watching my recording from 16 January.  The 1 hour episode was called "Quest for the True Cross" and featured German author/historian Michael Hesemann [pictured].  (Hesemann gave one to two presentations at the 2001 Dallas Shroud conference.)

While historical documents, certain archaeological data and comparative paleography indicate that the titulus crucis from the Santa Croce in Rome is authentic, the C-14 dating performed in 2002 did not agree.  The results came out something like AD 842-1000.

The program spent several minutes on the Shroud.  Robert Wilcox was interviewed for that portion and expressed doubts about the reliability of the C-14 results in that case.  (Bob, you should have alerted us you were going to be on.)  But they let a C-14 scientist give the old line that C-14 is practically infallible.

Although the program did give most of the time to Hesemann, at the end they once again touted how reliable C-14 is.  The narrator ended by saying that believers won’t accept the reliability of the results in the case of the titulus crucis because the idea of it being authentic is "just too powerful."

Once again we have a case of mainstream science accepting the validity of C-14 dating over a wealth of other scientific and historical information that conflicts with the dating.

What has happened to science? When did it lose an open mind perspective?

Oh no, a mean and nasty smokescreener and clever rationalizationer

Joe's Office

Sectes et Pseudo-sciences is reporting on the 2013 Activities of Joe Nickell:

As CSI’s Senior Research Fellow Joe Nickell continued his work—now in the middle of his fifth decade—of investigating the world’s paranormal, historical, and forensic mysteries. A former stage magician, a twice-promoted operative for a world-famous detective agency, and a literary scholar (Ph.D. in English literature, with an emphasis on literary investigation and folklore), Nickell also has a strong background in both historical research and forensics. He is the author (or co-author or editor) of some forty books, including Unsolved History, Crime Science, and Looking for a Miracle.He has appeared on numerous television shows, such as Oprah, and has been profiled inThe New Yorker and on the Today show.

[ . . . ]

Print and online news sources that sought Nickell’s expertise included the Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel, Kansas City Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Raleigh News Observer, and many others. Nickell was the prominently featured skeptic regarding the notorious Shroud of Turin in an article in the National Catholic Register. (Unfortunately Nickell’s scientific and historical evidence was followed by a proponent’s smokescreen of pseudoevidence, pseudoscience, and clever rationalizations.)

Oh no, a mean and nasty smokescreener of pseudostuff, no less a clever rationalizationer, at the National Catholic Register.

Official triptych showing Joe in his lab wearing a suit, sleeveless bush jacket and white lab coat is from Joe’s media information page at joenickell.com

Most Scientists . . . Don’t You Just Love It

And you may have heard that once upon a time most people thought the world was flat.
No they didn’t. Like script writers writing for the History Channel, they didn’t think at all
about matters on which they were not well informed.

imageJohn Klotz writes:

Last night [=January 18] there was a History Channel subject on ancient relics which briefly stated about the Shroud: While some have attacked the carbon dating "MOST SCIENTISTS"  accept.

I was bit bummed out by the History Channel thing. Not because I believe it but because I believe the reverse is true as to the opinion of most scientists who had studied the Shroud.

I have been fascinated by the story of "La Principessa" that was identified as a da Vinci drawing even though its provenance had been shrouded in mystery and there is no explanation where it had been for several centuries. You can see the analogy.

For some reason I was "inspired" to dig into a book about the La Principessa this morning to sharpen my analogy. La  Principessa had been carbon dated to the 16th century but here’s the caution by the authors about the weight it carried:

"Carbon-14 dating is a chemical examination based on the way natural elements age, and it can be used to test a material or substance that has a biological origin—such as vellum, cloth, or wood. Carbon is breathed in by animals and plants through the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon-14, one of three carbon isotopes, is radioactive and subject to decay over a very long period. Its half-life is 5,730 years, which means that in that period, half of the carbon-14 isotopes will have decayed. By measuring the percentage of carbon-14 that remains in a test sample, it is possible to determine its age to within two hundred years.

"The most famous and controversial case of carbon-14 testing involved the Shroud of Turin, the cloth that is alleged to have been the burial shroud of Jesus. In 1988, carbon testing revealed that the age of the cloth was medieval, which means it could not have belonged to Jesus. That might have settled the matter once and for all, but there was so much interest in the Shroud of Turin, and so much passion

"In 2005, Raymond N. Rogers, a highly respected chemist and a fellow of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, revealed in a scientific journal that the entire cloth was much older than the test sample—at least twice as old, and possibly two thousand years old. The explanation: the corner that was tested had been subject to mending and thus contained newer material. Rogers’s discovery did not stop the controversy, and studies of the Shroud of Turin continue."

Whitney, Catherine; Silverman, Peter (2011-12-19). Leonardo’s Lost Princess: One Man’s Quest to Authenticate an Unknown Portrait by Leonardo Da Vinci (pp. 60-61). John Wiley and Sons. Kindle Edition.

Public domainRegarding photographs copied from Wikimedia Commons which reports regarding potential copyright claims:

This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself [,La Bella Principessa,] is in the public domain for the following reason:

This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.

This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.

The official position taken by the Wikimedia Foundation is that "faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works of art are public domain".
This photographic reproduction is therefore also considered to be in the public domain. In other jurisdictions, re-use of this content may be restricted; see Reuse of PD-Art photographs for details.

Paper Chase: A Wonderful, Rare Document from Father Weuncheal

imageGiorgio Bracaglia has uploaded a new file, Doctor Hynek and the Holy Shroud by Edward A. Weunschel, C.SS.R., S.T.D.  to the website of the Holy Shroud Guild.

Giorgio calls it “a rare document from Father Weuncheal.” I might add the word wonderful, as well.

You may click HERE for direct PDF access if you are using Windows 8 and want to read the document with the Chrome browser or in desktop mode.

Wilson & Shroudies vs Academia: Another Guest Posting by O.K.

Shroud/Mandylion in 958 letter of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus
Wilson & ‘Shroudies’ vs ‘Academia’ scholars.

PDF Version

imageThe identification of the Mandylion, brought from Edessa to Constantinople in 944, with the Shroud of Turin, is matter of a heated debate. While widely accepted among the Shroud historians, beginning with 1978 book of Ian Wilson at least, nevertheless it is usually ignored or often contested (if not rejected outright) by many Byzantinists and art/Church historians, on various basis (usually on a statement that it has been not accepted by “serious” authorities in that branch of science–Wilson is not considered one of them).

One of the arguments against, is the widely held view that Mandylion is distinct object from all the relics of the Christ’s Passion, stored in the famous Pharos Chapel in Boukoleon Palace in Constantinople. This was raised by Yannick Clément on the recent discussion about Mandylion and Wilson’s ideas on this blog.1 Here I want to show on example of Emperor Constantine VII letter, that the matter is not so simple, as most members of the infamous narrow-minded ‘Academia’ think.

What is this letter? I think the best way is to quote here a fragment of Daniel Scavone’s paper on sources about presence of the Mandylion/Shroud in Constantinople:2


A letter of the same Constantine VII to encourage his troops campaigning around Tarsus in 958 is the first explicit introduction of the burial shroud icon of Jesus in this context. The letter announced that the Emperor was sending a supply of holy water consecrated by contact with the relics of Christ’s Passion which were then in the capital. No mention is made of the recently acquired Mandylion: as a relic of Jesus’ ministry it would have been out of place among the relics of the Passion. Reference is made, however, to the precious wood [of the cross], the unstained lance, the precious inscription [probably the titulus attached to the cross], the reed which caused miracles, the life‑giving blood from his side, the venerable

tunic, the sacred linens (σπάργαvα), the sindon which God wore, and other symbols of the immaculate Passion. 20

The term used here for “sacred linens,” spargana, usually means infant’s “swaddling cloths,” but here must mean burial linens, as it does in several other texts. The precise identity of this sindon has been enigmatic, since no mention exists of the arrival in the capital of Jesus’ burial sheet, but it acquires some clarity with Zaninotto’s recovery of Doc. III. Just as in the Gregory Sermon, the words of this text may suggest that the Byzantines could see “blood” from the side of the figure depicted on a cloth.

Document III is strong evidence that the Edessa icon was indeed a larger object, harmonious with the words sindon and tetradiplon of the Acts of Thaddeus, and was seen to be stained red in the correct places. It must thus have been unfolded in Constantinople sometime after its arrival in 944. A possible unfolding is evidenced by the imperial letter of 958 (Doc. IV), where suddenly, without fanfare, Jesus’ sindon is first announced. At the time of its arrival in 944, the status of the Edessa icon must, it seems, be understood as follows: Still enframed or encased as described earlier and as seen by artists, and still generally considered to be the towel of the Abgar narratives, and in the treasury of the Byzantine emperors it was inaccessible to the public (as it had been in Edessa). Its size (larger and folded in eight layers) and nature were not fully known and not often pondered. Certainly its possible identity as Jesus’ bloody burial wrapping was not immediately recognized or, if it was, then by only a few intimates and not generally broadcast. The Byzantines were too much under the spell of the Abgar cycle to have considered the implications of the side-wound. The evidence for this last point is the absence of any hint of a shroud in Gregory’s sermon (Doc. III), though his words hint strongly that he was looking at the entire body on the Edessan cloth. With the Mandylion folded in eight so as to expose only a facial panel, the chest‑with‑side wound section might have been available to the view of Gregory, upside-down on the opposite side, without requiring a complete unfolding with consequent recognition. 21 Footnotes:

20 See A. M. Dubarle, Histoire Ancienne du linceul de Turin jusqu’ au XIII siècle (Paris: O.E.I.L. 1985) 55f. See too Carlo Maria Mazzucchi "La testimonianza piú antica dell’ esistenza di una Sindone a Costantinopoli," Aevum, 57 (1983) 227‑231, which provides the original Greek of the salient portions of the letter of 958. Though the burial cloths emerge quietly and without fanfare or ceremony in the capital from 958 with no mention of an image, the large or main shroud is described with image in the texts of Mesarites and Clari (Documents XI and XII). 21 See above, n. 10. The manner of displaying the Edessa cloth, in a frame wider than it is tall may have been the result of folding the actual burial wrapping in half three times and sealing it in a frame to remove from view the blood and nakedness of the body. In this form it came to Constantinople where only gradually did the Byzantines become aware that a far greater relic was present, one which derived from the actual (Biblical) burial of Jesus, and not from the Abgar story, a mere apochryphal and anachronistic aetiological legend. Indeed, the fact that the arrival in the capital of the burial wrappings, so prominant in the relic collection, was not heralded by the usual great processions and viewings, seems to support a rather unorthodox discovery.

In opinion of Scavone, the cloth mentioned in the document τής θεοφόρου σινδόνος (t s theofórou sindónos) is nothing else than the burial shroud, moreover it is the Shroud of Turin, in contrast to the other burial cloths, (σπαργάνων, sparganon) stored in Constantinople. Scavone claims that No mention is made of the recently acquired Mandylion: as a relic of

Jesus’ ministry it would have been out of place among the relics of the Passion, and further discusses Wilson’s ideas how Mandylion after the transfer to Constantinople in 944 became the Shroud. We wiil not be discussing this, instead mentioning only that Scavone didn’t say us the most interesting thing, we will go to the opinion of another scholar.

Her name is Marta Tycner-Wolicka. In 2009, while she was making her Ph.D. in the Institute of History at University of Warsaw, she wrote a book titled ‘Opowieść o wizerunku z Edessy’:


It is a literary exegesis of The Narratio De Imagine Edessena, written by (or on behalf) of the Emperor Constantine VII, after arrival of the Mandylion in Constantinople in 944 (it was included as Appendix C in Wilson’s 1978 The Shroud of Turin). While Tycner-Wolicka’s academic dissertation is not actually about the Shroud, it is indirectly related to that issue, and in fact useful in many ways. While Tycner-Wolicka may be called part of the ‘Academia’, she obviously has to express negative views towards Wilson in her book, even though she does not dismiss them outright, and claims that she is not interested what the Image of Edessa actually was. Nevertheless, let’s quote her views about Wilson (she mentions him, his title, or the Shroud maybe 3 times through the whole book):

On pg. 15, about the translations of the Narratio:

„Jako pierwsze powstało tłumaczenie na język angielski, załączone jako aneks do, niezwykle skądinąd bałamutnej, książki Iana Wilsona o całunie turyńskim, której autor najwyraźniej nie wiedział o istnieniu lepszego wydania.” (w przypisie: „Książka, do której załączony został przekład zawiera wiele do tego stopnia kontrowersyjnych tez, że większość badaczy odmawia jej statusu pozycji naukowej. Tłumaczenie jest jednak osobną całością i jest całkowicie wiarygodne”)

Translation: „The first translation was the English one, included as an Appendix in, otherwise extremely confused/misleading/delusory, Ian Wilson’s book about the shroud of turin, the author of which seemingly was unaware about existence of better edition” (and in footnote: “The book to which that translation is included, contains many theses controversial to such a degree, that most scholars deny it a status of scientific book. The [polish] translation however is a separate whole, and is completely reliable”) On pg. 47-48 in footnote:

“Teza Wilsona zdobyła licznych zwolenników wśród osób zajmujących się „tajemnicą całunu” (por. zwłaszcza artykuły D. Scavone na łamach internetowego czasopisma Collegamento pro Sindone) i nielicznych zwolenników wśród naukowców:”

"Wilson’s thesis has gained many supporters among people dealing with "mystery of the shroud "(cf. especially D. Scavone’s articles published in the pages of online magazine Collegamento pro Sindone) and few supporters among scientists:” and next she mentions three of those supporters (A-M. Dubarle, D. Freedberg, J. M. Fiey), and interestingly, no opponents. At least we know she is familiar with Scavone’s ideas (and that ‘ scientists’ and ‘the people dealing with "mystery of the shroud "’ are two different groups). And why Wilson is bad? Because he is bad, obviously, and no explanation needed!

Those are the last words Tycner-Wolicka has to say about the Shroud in her book. Or… maybe not. While making her exegesis, she mentions 958 letter of Constantine VII, and the list of relics included in it. She analyzes the meaning of terms σπαργάνων/sparganon, and τής θεοφόρου σινδόνος/t s theofórou sindónos. While she concludes that the first term refers to the burial cloths (just as Scavone does), the identification of the second item may surprise, after all what was told about her supposed attitude towards Wilson’s ideas. The first thing is the meaning of the words t s theofórou sindónos. While Scavone translates them as the sindon which God wore, Tycner-Wolicka translates it in a much more inspiring way: bogonośna chusta – God-carrying cloth. And she writes further on pg. 172:

Skoro zatem pierwsze z badanych określeń to chusty grobowe, to czym jest owa „bogonośna chusta”? Nie ma chyba większych wątpliwości, że musi chodzić o nasz mandylion. Trudno zresztą wyobrazić sobie, żeby podobny zestaw relikwii, sporządzony w imieniu Konstantyna Porfirogenety (czy też przez niego) pomijał tak ważny dlań przedmiot. […] Ciekawy jest i sam zestaw relikwii, świadczący o tym które z nich uznawane były za pomocne w walce: są to relikwie męki pańskiej. […] I tu zaskoczenie –mandylion został potraktowany jako relikwia, w dodatku relikwia pasji. Jest to zestawienie bardzo ciekawe, które pozwala inaczej spojrzeć na fragment Opowieści mówiący o powstaniu wizerunku w Ogrójcu. [przypis: interpretacja, ze jest to jeszcze jedna z chust grobowych, np. ta która okrywał twarz Chrystusa (przedmiot ten bywa, choć rzadko, wspominany jako osobna relikwia) nie wydaje się być uzasadniony.

Nie wiadomo bowiem wówczas, co mialby znaczyć przymiotnik „bogonośny”.]

So if the first from analyzed terms refer to the burial cloths, then what is that “God-carrying cloth”. There are no greater doubts that it must be our mandylion. It is hard to imagine that similar set of relics, written on behalf of Constantine Porphyrogenitus (or by himself) omitted an item so important for him. […] The set itself is an interesting one, testifying which were considered as helpful in combat: the relics of the Lord’s Passion.[…] And here, surprise –the mandylion has been treated as a relic, in addition a relic of the Passion. This is a very interesting statement that allows for a different look at a fragment of Narratio talking about the creation of the image in the Garden of Gethsemane. [footnote: interpretation that it is another burial cloth, for example the one covering Christ’s face (this item is, although rarely, sometimes mentioned as a separate relic) seems not to be justified. It is unknown what the term “God-carrying” might have referred to then.]

Reading those words written by a scholar who is sceptical to the Wilson’s ideas –

PRICELESS. Because she was one step from the same conclusion as Wilson –and had she only been able to recognize what the term “God-carrying” might have referred to… It is obvious for any ‘Shroudie’ on this planet –the image on the Shroud of Turin. A relic of the Passion. The burial Shroud of Christ. And the Mandylion itself!

At the end of this article it is worthy to mention some other text. In Narratio we have following fragment:

When Christ was about to go voluntarily to death . . . sweat dripped from him like drops of blood. Then they say he took this piece of cloth which we see now from one of the disciples and wiped off the drops of sweat on it

This fairy-tale about creation of the Mandylion in the Gethsemane is a proof that there was a blood on the Mandylion, which everyone could see. We should notice, however that the presence of the blood itself is not directly mentioned –and this is deliberate, as the Narratio gives two accounts of the story creation of Mandylion, traditional one (before the Passion events), and a new one, connected with blood-sweating in Gethsemanne, without actually giving a preference to any of them (thus there couldn’t be a direct mention of the presence of blood, because it would give a clear answer to a reader which version is the correct one).

In another text the sermon of Gregory Referendarius delivered on the day of the arrival of Mandylion in Constantinople (16 August 944), we read:3

This reflection, however–let everyone be inspired with the explanation–has been imprinted only by the sweat from the face of the originator of life, falling like drops of blood, and by the finger of God. For these are the beauties that have made up the true imprint of Christ, since after the drops fell, it was embellished by drops from his own side.

The above is the original Guscin’s translation, following Dubarle, however he later revised his opinion, writing: The thrust of the text is that the sweat of agony (like drops of blood) adorned the Image, just like blood from its side adorned the body from which the sweat had dripped, i.e. two different events at two different times.4

Anyway, although the text is confusing (again, deliberately!), it gives an allusion of the presence of the side wound on the Mandylion (perhaps suggesting to the audience, that the blood from the side wound had been later, perhaps in miraculous way, transferred on that cloth). Just like the story in Narratio, and the description in the Constantine’s letter, this is definitely not accidental! The Emperor and the top hierarchs of the Byzantine Church (theological disputes and conspiracies for power were daily bread for Byzantines) knew perfectly the meaning of the words, and how to choose them. Thus those allusions say for themselves. It is clear what the Mandylion was. There is virtually no room for any conclusion other than that the Shroud of Turin and the Mandylion transferred to Constantinople in 944 are one and the same object.

There is no other viable explanation of those coincidences. For the ‘Academia’ pseudoscholars – blinded, prejudiced, immersed in their dogmas, lacking any imagination – no chance, I think. But as always, I can be mistaken, and someone may come with some brilliant and unexpected solution…


1 See thread: Yannick Clément on the Letters Between Jesus and King Abgar https://shroudstory.com/2014/01/06/yannickclmentonthelettersbetweenjesusandkingabgar/and the comments below.

2 Daniel C. Scavone, Acheiropoietos: Jesus Images in Constantinople: the Documentary Evidence http://shroudstory.wordpress.com/about/acheiropoietosjesusimagesinconstantinoplethedocumentaryevidence/

3 Mark Guscin, THE SERMON OF GREGORY REFERENDARIUS http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/guscin3.pdf


FYI: The Big Thirteen

Top Shroud of Turin Websites

According to Alexa Popularity Rankings





Shroud of Turin Website




Shroud of Turin Blog (Shroud Story)




Holy Shroud: Official Site




Museum of the Shroud/Centro Internazionale di Sindonologia




The Shroud of Turin Education Project




The Shroud Exhibit And Museum, Inc. (iSEAM)




The Shroud of Turin in 3D




Shroud University




Shroud Encounter: Experience the Mystery




The Shroud of Turin




Shroud of Turin: News on . . .




Turin Shroud Center of Colorado




The Turin Shroud: medieval scorch? Separating the science from the pseudo-science…shroudofturinwithoutallthehype.wordpress.com




Why 13? There are many more websites that are primarily focused on or dedicated to the Shroud of Turin but only thirteen have sufficient visitor traffic to allow estimating a popularity ranking.

Alexa Ranking: An estimate of this site’s popularity calculated using a combination of average daily visitors to a website and the page views on the site over the past 3 months. For instance, Google is number 1, Amazon is number 10, Oxford University is 5,915 and this blog is 2,025,541.

As of:  January 16, 2014 (See Alexa)

Royal Society Lecture: Exchanges in science and religion

BT writes from Connecticut:

Thinking that we focus too much on Newtonian science to try to explain the Shroud while ignoring Quantum science, I was hunting about and came upon this. While it does not pertain directly to the Shroud, this presentation by physicist and priest, the Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne, KBE, FRS, does suggests useful ways of thinking about the Shroud. It may be found on the Royal Society website . . .


Increased Awareness of the Shroud of Turin

imageIn Angels and Demons and then there’s Alex Rodriguez, Tony Castro repeats and invents numerous analogies between baseball and religion. He writes in VOXXI™ the independent voice for the Hispanic America journalism project. Of coarse, there must be a relic:

Then there are baseball’s own sacred relics: Jackie Robinson’s No. 42, baseball’ holy shroud of Turin; its prophets: the scouts on the lookout for future major leaguers; and rituals such as the saintly Joe DiMaggio who would never run from his centerfield position to the dugout without first running in and touching second base.

The article is painful partly because the analogies are so overdone and partly because of the Rodrigues tragedy. But at least we can suppose that readers know about Robinson’s famous shirt at the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library in Cooperstown, New York. Oh, and we can suppose they also know about the shroud in Turin.

I do sense an increased awareness of the shroud.

Top of Head Puzzle

If you haven’t discovered ShroudScope, now is a good time to check it out.

Daveb writes:

imageI’ve just been looking at the top of head Enrie negative in Shroudscope at maximum magnification.  The image changes abruptly from orthogonal frontal to orthogonal dorsal.

Despite my three years of professional university training in technical drawing theory and practice back in the early ’60s, I just cannot figure it out at all. 

Separately, the frontal and dorsal images in projective geometry jargon are what might be called near-orthogonal projections.  If two separate photographs were taken, say on large glass plates, at a scale of one-to-one, the first of the front of the body, and the second of the back of the body, then transferred onto a cloth so that they met at the crown, then the result would be very close to what we see on the Shroud, apart from minor distortions only.

We might be able to account for these minor distortions, because of the way the cloth may have been draped. Close to the edges of the body, the cloth would have fallen away from the horizontal.  It could still be sustained at near horizontal, if some of the 100 pound package that Nicodemus brought was packed alongside the body. This could result in a close near-orthogonal image, but only for the two separate aspects.

Because of this near-orthogonality, I have tended to give scant credence to theories involving laminar flow of vapours onto the cloth-surface causing the image.  I feel there has to be some kind of significant vertically directed influence in the imaging process.  It is one reason why I can be sympathetic to theories such as De Liso’s involving seismic action, variations in the geo-magnetic and electric fields associated with the seismic release of radon gas.  These can bring about the necessary vertically directed influence.

However, even this sort of theory breaks down when it comes to the crown of the head, and I cannot resolve it.  Essentially there are two distinct ways of bringing the cloth over the head of a body lying on its back.

The first is to maintain the near-horizontal aspect of the cloth over the face and also over the back of the head.  There should then be a short section of cloth, clear of the head, on which there is no image, and we would see a gap not less than about 30cm between.  There is course no gap seen at all, but the frontal and dorsal images at the crown abut each other.

The second way is to wrap the cloth in near-contact with the hair.  However this would cause a major variation in the orthogonality of the image on the cloth, no matter what the imaging process might be, and there would be significant distortion.  The only way this can be avoided, is for a spontaneous precise distortion of the cloth at the crown for no explicable reason at the immediate instant of the imaging process, followed by restoration to normality afterwards.  This notional distortion of the cloth has to be so precise, that the resulting image retains its orthogonality.  I cannot imagine how such a remarkable occurence could possibly come about.

This discontinuity of the image at the crown of the head is an enigma which I suspect has yet to be addressed in a satisfactory way.  At present I can see no way of explaining it, apart from my overly imaginative speculation above.  I wonder if anyone has looked deeply into this problem before and been able to come up with a better answer.

Can other correspondents see the enigma, or even see a way to a solution?

Paper Chase: Dorothy Crispino on The Fathers of American Sindonology

Barrie Schwortz writes on STERA’s Facebook Page:

I am busy working away on our January 21st update but wanted to give you something to read in the meantime. This is a presentation made by Dorothy Crispino at the 1996 Esopus Conference in honor of Fr. Adam Otterbein, in which she details the beginnings of Sindonology in the U.S. – In case you missed it…

The Fathers of American Sindonology

In this place sixty odd years ago, a handful of Redemptorist priests recognized Christ in another effigy, and like the disciples at supper at Emmaus, they lost no time in spreading the news. Perhaps you remember how it started, here in this very building. How Father William Barry, a priest at the Mo…

The Questionable Restoration of the Shroud of Turin

Joe Marino passed along this video, not recommending its position, mind you, but making us aware of it. It is called Conserving the Shroud of Turin. It is an English voiceover of a presentation by Professor Bruno Barberis last March.


The historical content is interesting. The need for the restoration is questionable, at best. I draw your attention to The “Restoration” of the Turin Shroud: A Conservation And Scientific Disaster by William Meacham appearing in e-Conservation Magazine.  The abstract reads:

In 2002 the Shroud of Turin was subjected to a radical intervention aimed at ridding the relic of carbon dust and charred material said to pose a serious threat to the image. Patches that were applied in 1534 to cover holes from fire damage were removed. Vacuuming was done of portions of both sides, and other remedial measures were taken to optimise the appearance of the relic. This aggressive operation was in stark contrast with modern precepts of conservation, and resulted in important scientific data and heritage features being lost, along with great opportunities for sophisticated testing and sampling. The long-term negative impact of the intervention is feared to be substantial; the underlying premise, that the image was threatened, has been shown to be false.

Arculfus’ Shroud: A Guest Posting by O.K.

In addition to a walking cane, I carry an iPad with me everywhere I go. I spend a lot of time in waiting rooms or at a table in a restaurant waiting for my wife who is outside on the phone with one of the kids or on a bench in the dog park waiting on the dog. I keep a special folder on my iPad. It contains articles, comments and whatnots that I want to reread soon. I call the folder “Treasures.” There are comments by Louis, DaveB, Hugh and Yannick; quotations I came across in today’s papers; even a recipe for Low Country BBQ Sauce. I already put the following guest posting into the folder because I will want to reread it later today, maybe a couple of times. And then I’ll want to think some more about it.

Arculfus’ Shroud –an alternative to the Wilson’s Mandylion
theory about the early history of the Shroud of Turin.


imageAs we all know, the most popular reconstruction of the Shroud of Turin’s early history, up to 1204 when it was seen in Constantinople by the crusader knight Robert de Clari, is the one suggested by Ian Wilson in his 1978 book The Shroud of Turin, and subsequent. Wilson proposed (although there are claims that this had been suggested before by some other authors, nevertheless, we will be further calling it the ‘Wilson hypothesis’), that the Shroud of Turin is identical with the Mandylion, the ‘not-made by human hands’ image of Jesus face (and in later versions the whole body), which miraculously cured the king Abgar V of Osroene, contemporary of Jesus. According to Wilson hypothesis, the Shroud was folded in 8 layers (tetradiplon), in a way that only face could be seen. The Mandylion was brought from Edessa to Constantinople in 944, when its true nature was found.

The Wilson hypothesis became a standard one, and widely accepted in Shroud scholarship, despite some reluctance from Byzantinists and other art/Church historians, usually not interested (not to say ignorant) in Shroud affairs. Nevertheless, there are still some inside Shroud circles, who contest it, from various reasons. For them, I want to present a possible alternative hypothesis to Wilson’s, although I still prefer the former (with some minor modifications), arguments for which I find much stronger, actually on the verge of being proven. The other hypothesis was actually quite popular about 50 years ago, only later to be abandoned in favour of Wilson’s. It identifies the Shroud of Turin with the burial cloth that Frankish bishop Arculfus de Perigeux saw in Jerusalem circa 670 AD. This theory has been described in Pietro Savio’s 1957 book Ricerche storiche sulla Santa Sindone, which is unavailable to me –I have the summary of it in the Stanisław Waliszewski’s book Całun Turyński Dzisiaj.1

The basis of the story is the relation of Arculfus reported to the Adamnan, the Abbot of the Monastery of Iona in the Scottish Hebrides, where Arculfus landed after the storm during his voyage back from the Holy Land. We can quote it here via Rev. James Rose Macpherson translation from 1895:2


As to the sacred napkin which was placed upon the head(31) of the Lord in the Sepulchre, we learn from the narrative of the sainted Arculf, who inspected it with his own eyes.

The whole people of Jerusalem bear witness to the truth of the narrative we now write. For on the testimony of several faithful citizens of Jerusalem, the sainted Arculf learned this statement which they very often repeated to him as he listened attentively : A certain trustworthy believing Jew, immediately after the Resurrection of the Lord, stole from His Sepulchre the sacred linen cloth and hid it in his house for many days; but, by the favour of the Lord Himself, it was found after the lapse of many years, and was brought to the notice of the whole people about three years(32) before [this statement was made to Arculf].(33) That happy, faithful thief, when at the point of death, sent for his two sons, and, showing them the Lord’s napkin, which he had at first abstracted furtively, offered it to them, saying: `My boys, the choice is now given to you. Therefore let each of you say which he rather wishes to choose, so that I may know without doubt to which of you, according to his own choice, I shall bequeathe all the substance I have, and to which only this sacred napkin of the Lord.’ On hearing this, the one who wished to obtain all his sire’s wealth, received it from his father, according to a promise made to him under the will. Marvellous to say, from that day all his riches and all his patrimony, on account of which he sold the Lord’s napkin, began to decrease, and all that he had was lost by various misfortunes and came to nothing. While the other blessed son of the above-named blessed thief, who chose the Lord’s napkin in preference to all his patrimony, from the day when he received it from the hand of his dying sire, became, by the gift of God, more and more rich in earthly substance, and was by no means deprived of heavenly treasure. And thus this napkin of the Lord was faithfully handed down as an heirloom by the successive heirs of this thrice blessed man to their believing sons in regular succession, even to the fifth generation. But many years having now passed, believing heirs of that kindred failed, after the fifth generation, and the sacred linen cloth came into the hands of unbelieving Jews, who, while unworthy of such an office, yet embraced it honourably and, by the gift of the Divine bounty, were greatly enriched with very diverse riches. But an accurate narrative about the Lord’s napkin having spread among the people, the believing Jews began to contend bravely with the unbelieving Jews about the sacred linen cloth, desiring with all their might to obtain possession of it, and the strife that arose divided the common people of Jerusalem into two parties, the faithful believers and the faithless unbelievers.

Upon this, Mavias,(34) the King of the Saracens, was appealed to by both parties to adjudicate between them, and he said to the unbelieving Jews who were persistently retaining the Lord’s napkin;(35) `Give the sacred linen cloth which you have into my hand.’ In obedience to the king’s command, they bring it from its casket and place it in his bosom. Receiving it with great reverence, the king ordered a great fire to be made in the square before all the people, and while it was burning fiercely, he rose, and going up to the fire, addressed both.contending parties in a loud voice : `Now let Christ, the Saviour of the world, who suffered for the human race, upon whose head this napkin, which I now hold in my bosom, and as to which you are now contending, was placed in the Sepulchre, judge between you by the flame of fire, so that you may know to which of these two contending hosts this great gift may most worthily be entrusted.’Saying this, he threw the sacred napkin of the Lord into the flames, but the fire could in no way touch it, for, rising whole and untouched from the fire, it began to fly on high, like a bird with out-spread wings, and looking down from a great height on the two contending parties, placed opposite one another as if they were two armies in battle array, it flew round in mid air for some moments; then slowly descending, under the guidance of God, it inclined towards the party of the Christians, who meanwhile prayed earnestly to Christ, the judge, and finally it settled in their bosom. Raising their hands to heaven, and bending the knee with great gladness, they give thanks to God and receive the Lord’s napkin with great honour, a gift to be venerated as sent to them from heaven; they render praises in their hymns to Christ, who gave it, and they cover it up in another linen cloth and put it away in a casket of the church.

Our brother Arculf saw it one day taken out of the casket, and amid the multitude of the people that kissed it, he himself kissed it in an assembly of the church; it measures about eight feet(36) in length.(37) As to it let what has been said suffice.


Arculf saw also in that city of Jerusalem another linen cloth of larger size, which, as is said, St. Mary wove, and which, on that account, is held in great reverence in the Church and by all the people. In this linen cloth the forms of the twelve Apostles are woven, and the likeness of the Lord Himself is figured; one side of the linen cloth is of red colour, while the opposite side is green.(38)


30C. places this chapter at the end of the first Book.

31C. adds, ‘and the body.’

32`Three hundred’ is suggested by various editors.

33C. reads, instead of next three sentences, ‘And when he was at the point of death, he said to his two sons: My sons, who of you would wish faithfully to receive the napkin of the Lord? On hearing this, the one who had received his sire’s wealth according to his will, received the napkin that has been spoken of, and sold it to his own brother.

34L. ‘Mavius;’ others, `Majuvias,’ `Navias ;’ C., `Nauvias.’ Muavia, the founder of the Omeyyad dynasty, Caliph of Syria, A.D. 658; sole Caliph, 661; died, 680.

35`In the sight of the Christian Jews who were present,’ V:, R.,P. 12943.

36`Cubits’ in some MSS.

37On the margin of C. there is added in the handwriting of the fifteenth century: `But afterwards it came into the possession of the Bishop of Anicia, who had made a voyage in the districts beyond the sea; and he, dying there, gave it to one who was his priest. This priest also died as he was crossing the sea, leaving the precious gift to a cleric who served him. He, when he was in the country of Petragora, where he was born, placed the napkin of the Lord in a church which was recommended to him, near Caduinum. And not long after he had left the church one day, a fire broke out in a [the nearest] farm and also in that church, and burned whatever it found; but it did not touch the casket in which the napkin was preserved, and which was near the altar. On hearing this, some of the brothers, who were lately staying at Caduinum, hastened thither, and when they had found the casket, they broke it by force, and, taking the “barletum,” where the napkin of the Lord was, they brought it with them very quickly and deposited it in their own monastery about the year of the Lord 1512. But the cleric, not finding the treasure, went on to Caduinum, and when he could not recover it, he put on the monk’s habit, and as long as lie lived, he guarded there what he had formerly possessed.’

38Of the colour of green herbs,’ B., P. 12943.

The term Rev. Macpherson translates as ‘napkin’ is actually a sudarium, the term used to describe several burial clothes of Jesus, sometimes used synonymously with sindon , the word usually translated as ‘shroud’ (there are examples for interchangeability of them). I have discussed this extensively (as well as the whole topic of the relics of the burial cloths of Jesus venerated through centuries) in an article written in Polish.3 In the same article I have discussed some aspects of the hypothesis that Arculfus’ Shroud and the Shroud of Turin are the same, here I want to present some of them. There were several arguments why this hypothesis was largely abandoned, however reviewing them, I found they were rather weak. One could build quite a good case for Arculfus’ Shroud being the Turin one, following some of the assumptions, which are not so hard to accept.

But first let’s analyse the Arculfus story and its context. Although legendary to high degree, we can trace some historical seeds in it. Arculfus relates that the cloth was stolen by some Jewish Christian shortly after the Resurrection, then it was passed through the generations, until descendants of the thief returned to Judaism. Forgetting moralizing tales about two sons, this is plausible –but with the reservation that the Shroud had to be revealed in the 6th century, or earlier to became a model of various icons of the Christ, including famous Pantocrator of Sinai. Next, Arculfus claims that the cloth was in possession of the Jews about three years before his visit in Jerusalem –also there is nothing impossible in that. We know that during the Persian invasion in 614 AD, Jews revolted against Byzantine rule, captured Jerusalem, slained its Christian population and devastated it churches. The cloth could have been captured by the Jewish rebels during that time. Then the conflict between Christians and Jews arose, which was resolved by fire ordeal on order of Mavias, the King of the Saracens. As the footnote 34 informs us, this is historical person. As for the fire ordeal itself, and the miracle which allegedly happened then, we cannot address that issue, it is up to each person whether this story is believable or not. Anyway, in the end the cloth was stored inside the Basilica of The Holy Sepulchre –we can be certain there was some alleged burial cloth of Jesus in Jerusalem circa 670 AD. Following the Commemoratorium de Casis Dei vel monasterii, written about 880 AD, a Shroud was guarded, by a guardian, in the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.4

Now the question arise whether this cloth could be our Shroud of Turin. Two objections are usually raised:

1. The Arculfus’ Shroud is too short –it is only 8 feet (circa 240-250 cm) long, while the Shroud of Turin is 437 cm, or 14 feet, 3 inches long.

2. There is no mention of an image upon it.

One can provide several answers to those objections. For the first objection, Savio assumed that it was the Shroud of Turin folded in two, its original had to be 4.8-5 m, and then it was systematically shortened by cutting pieces of it for relics. This version is no longer possible to maintain, after Ian Dickinson’s work we know the length of the Shroud of Turin is almost perfectly 8 Assyrian cubits long, thus there was no shortening –it is hard to imagine that pieces were cut in the that accidently the Shroud became almost exactly 8 cubits long. However, there is much better explanation. Let’s quote the key fragment of Arculfus’ relation: it measures about eight feet(36) in length.

And the Rev. Macpherson’s footnote:

36`Cubits’ in some MSS.

That’s it! We cannot be sure of the Arculfus’ Shroud length –and it can correspond exactly to the length of the Shroud of Turin.

Now the second, much more serious object, lack of mention of the image upon it. However, with one simple assumption, it can be also resolved easily.

It is very easy to make the images on the Shroud of Turin non-visible. Just to recall that the Shroud of Turin has the backing cloth. And so had Arculfus’ Shroud:

they cover it up in another linen cloth and put it away in a casket of the church.

The difference is that in case of the current Shroud of Turin, the backing cloth is attached to the back side of the cloth, where no images of the body are visible to the naked eye, but for the Arculfus’ Shroud (assuming it was the same cloth) it could be exactly opposite –the front side, with the images could have been covered, and hidden from the sight. For what purpose? One must remember one thing, for the Jews, who possessed the cloth for some generations, as well as for the Muslims, which ruled over the Holy Land during those days, and were settling the dispute about the linen, there is a strict prohibition for creating and worshipping graven images. The religious objections might have been stronger than the beauty of the relic. On the other hand, in the next Chapter XII Arculfus mentions another cloth on which the forms of the twelve Apostles are woven, and the likeness of the Lord Himself is figured –and this caused problem for nobody.

Assuming the Arculfus’ Shroud is the Shroud of Turin, what would have been its later history? Leaving aside the very interesting matter of Charlemagne’s relics, it was most probably transferred to Constantinople at some date –Savio suggested around 1050. Then it became part of Imperial collection, was noticed by Robert de Clari etc. According to Savio it was transferred from Constantinople to France circa 1247 by Philippe de Toucy, baili of the Latin Empire, and ancestor of Jeanne de Toucy, first wife of Geoffrey de Charny.

At the end a few words should be spoken about relation between the Shroud and the Mandylion. Waliszewski, while preferring Savio’s reconstruction of the Shroud early history over Wilson’s, does not rule out the possibility that the Shroud was transferred to Edessa at some point of its history (but basing on Arculfus relation, several generations after Resurrection, probably during the reing of Abgar VIII/IX circa 200 AD), where it was found in the 6th century, but according to him, the Shroud was returned to Jerusalem, to its “proper” place. Thus, the Mandylion was nothing, but merely a copy of the Shroud. Truly, I find this hardly believable –for Byzantine Empereros, Constantinople would have been of course much more ”proper” place. But the history of the Shroud is so complex, and full of surprises, that even scenarios identifying the Arculfus’ Shroud with the Mandylion are possible.

Concluding, the Arculfus’ Shroud hypothesis, despite some drawbacks, and unanswered questions, is quite possible alternative to the Wilson’s theory. The main problem is that the arguments for the latter are much stronger –and much more plausible, in my opinion.



1 Stanisław Waliszewski, Całun Turyński Dzisiaj, WAM, Kraków 1987, part 1 of the book, called Na tropach historii. Waliszewski mentions briefly Wilson’s ideas, but prefers Savio.

2 IN THE HOLY LAND ABOUT THE YEAR A.D. 670).Translated and Annotated BY THE REV. JAMES ROSE MACPHERSON, B. D. LONDON: 24, Hanover Square, W.1895

http://faculty.colostatepueblo.edu/beatrice.spade/seminar97/arculf/arculfus.htmBook I, Chapters XI-XII

3 Ile było płócien pogrzebowych Jezusa? Part 1: http://ok.apologetyka.info/ateizm/ilebyopocienpogrzebowychjezusacz1,749.htm, Part 2: http://ok.apologetyka.info/ateizm/ilebyopocienpogrzebowychjezusacz2,750.htm

4 Waliszewski pg. 20, see also Remi Van Haelst, The Sindon Munda Of Kornelimunster, Compiegne And Cahors, http://xresurrectionnowinc.blogspot.com/2011/01/shroudimagesthroughoutworld.htmlVan Healst claims 808 AD, Waliszewski 880 AD, one date is probably a typo.

Note by Dan Porter, editor of this blog: I have a copy of a map from Waliszewski’s book that may help you. It shows possible routes between places in the Middle East and Northern France and points in between. Because of possible copyright issues I have decided not to post it. If you would like to see a copy, send me an email at DanielRobertPorter@gmail.com. Please put the word map in the subject and allow a couple of days for me to send it to you.

When is a relic not a relic?

clip_image001This stream of keep-me-awake lunacy was the result of a comment by Andy Weiss.

If you are Roman Catholic it might be very easy to decide about relic possession and the rules that pertain to selling them or giving them away.

What happens if a relic is owned by a non-Catholic person or organization? What about all those relics in Merry Olde England in Anglican churches throughout the land. Can there be or are there dual claims?

Is there a way to distinguish between Catholic and non-Catholic relics?

Now, I read that a Catholic can give a relic but cannot sell it. Can he or she give it to a non-Catholic?  Then what?

What about samples of relics given to labs and individuals for research:  Can the church demand them back? Does the church have any legal standing?

And now the big question? Who owns the Shroud of Turin? Is it a spoil of war? Is it a theft from an ally? Does the Greek Orthodox Church have a legitimate claim?  Does the modern state of Turkey have any claim to it? Is it a relic?

And since anyone can create a third class relic by touching something to a first class or second class relic, could things get out of bounds real quickly?  Might test tubes in Arizona, in theory, be relics? Given our knowledge of particle physics, is touching, anymore, a valid criteria? Can a photograph of a relic – thanks to photons – be a third class relic? I guess that would not apply to digital photographs.

This is a picture of . . .

For All The Saints is a Catholic ministry located in the diocese of El Paso, Texas. Our mission is to make authentic holy relics available to local parishes for feast days and other special occasions. If your parish wishes to borrow a relic or even sponsor a major veneration of several relics, please contact us. We currently have over 170 relics, available for loan to local parishes.

Barrie Schwortz’ TEDx Talk Featured on NDE Site

imageIf you have been following this blog you know about Barrie Schwortz’ TEDx Via della Conciliazione Talk (May 3, 2013). After that posting I featured Barrie’s talk in the right margin of the blog. You may have clicked on it there. Of course, you may have encountered it elsewhere such as Vatican News, the Catholic Herald and shroud.com. It is hosted on YouTube, which in and of itself is a powerful referral source.

I was fascinated to see the Barrie’s talk featured on NHNE Pulse, a blog as dedicated to Near Death Experiences as we are here to the Shroud of Turin. Go check out TEDx: Barrie Schwortz on The Shroud of Turin. And take some time to browse about as I am sure others, upon landing on shroudstory.com, do for us.

NHNE lists this blog as a reference and I’ve touched on the subject of Near Death Experiences on occasion. There was Near Death Experiences and the Shroud of Turin? about Eben Alexander’s book featured in Newsweek and the Huffington Post. There was my quoting from John Klotz’s blog, Living Free in which he wrote:

Salon.com, the Internet equivalent of MSNBC has a lengthy article by a author of a book to be released next week entitled “Brain Wars.” It’s about Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE) and Near Death Experiences (NDE)http://www.salon.com/2012/04/21/near_death_explained/singleton

It is my position that the Shroud has a direct relationship to the issues raised.

And there was Akiane’s Jesus, Heaven is for Real and the Man in the Turin Shroud and Still More on Akiane’s Jesus, Heaven is for Real and the Man in the Shroud

It took years for me to be mostly convinced that the shroud is real. I’m still working on NDEs.

If you will be in the Cleveland area on January 25th

imageThe Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting:

David Onysko, who has done extensive research and speaking on the Shroud of Turin, will give a multi-media presentation on the shroud, science and history at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 10285 Ravenna Road, Twinsburg. [Twinsburg is near Cleveland.]

The shroud, believed by some to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ, bears the faint image of a bearded, crucified man along with a pattern of what are said to be bloodstains.

The event is free. For more information, call 330-425-7377 or see Onysko’s website at manintheshroud.org.

If you visit David’s website, Man in the Shroud Ministries, you are in for a bonus feature, a 91 slide slideshow presentation.  Enjoy.

David’s bio from his website:

imageIn 1983, David Onysko earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Cleveland State University with a Master in Education in 1991.  After two decades of teaching, he is turning his full-time attention to Sindonology (the study of the Shroud).  David’s interest has led him to many scientific/theological conferences (St. Louis, Rome, Dallas, New York, etc.)  Over the years, he has spoken to thousands about the Shroud of Turin, including international audiences.  In April 1998, David and a world-wide press corps viewed the Shroud during a private 45 minute showing.  In August 2000, David and his family traveled to Turin, Italy to see the image during the Shroud’s Jubilee Exposition.  He has been presenting the continuing story of the Shroud of Turin since the late 1980s.  David resides in the greater Cleveland area.

You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may

imageIt is an attractive website: The Shroud of Turin for Children. But does it bother anyone that the following (brown background box below) appears on every single page?

It is one thing to toss around what we think we see as facts among adults who usually know how to take such claims with a grain of salt. It is another to tell children, definitively, that something had been placed around Jesus’ neck with three Hebrew letters and what that means.



“You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may,” is the famous line by Sam-I-Am in Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham.

Danish blogger, Austin Sailbury, explains that “Green Eggs and Ham is about navigating life with an open mind and, at its best, it’s Seuss’ way of saying, ‘Don’t judge a book, or an egg—or a man—by its color.’”

Sadly, Dr. Soons takes a different approach with the shroud. What he should be saying is that some people see a ponytail on the man of the shroud. Others do not. Some people see lettering and it could mean this or that. So don’t believe everything you are told. Keep an open mind and you may learn how to judge what you see. In other words, make informed decisions. 

Is this a missed opportunity or is it a chance to fix a website soon?

Checking in on the Bari Workshop, September 4-5, 2014

Two pages, in particular, have been updated.image

image1) The Accommodations page, now lists the Oriente Hotel, Grand Hotel Leon d’Oro, Hotel Victor and Bed and Breakfast Melo

2) The Venue page is filled with exciting pictures of Bari and Apulia. Bari, capital city of the Apulia Region (South Italy), rises on the Adriatic sea as a prominent economic and cultural center. With special reference to mechatronics and wind/photovoltaic energy, Apulia represents nowadays one of the most developed industrial built-up regional areas.


Also note the following deadlines:

  • Submissions of abstract or draft manuscript: May 9, 2014
  • Acceptance/rejection: June 25, 2014
  • Final manuscript: July 25, 2014
  • Registration: July 31, 2014

If you plan to submit a paper you should note that

Prospective authors should submit an extended abstract of 3 to 4 pages in IEEE double-column conference style, including figures, tables and references. The extended abstract should summarize the scope of the paper and the primary results and findings, emphasizing new advances, theories and/or applications so that the program committee will be able to understand originality and value of the work.

Authors are allowed to submit a draft version of their manuscript, consisting of up to eight pages in IEEE double-column conference style.

Authors should submit their abstracts or draft manuscripts by May 9, 2014,through the EDAS submission system.(To be activated)

Submission implies willingness to register and attend the workshop to present the paper by at least one Author per paper (member and non-member fees only are acceptable to this purpose) – no exceptions.

How many more purported pieces are out there?

imageWhile looking for some other documents I came across the following for sale advertisement:


A unique piece from the private collection of a Roman Monsignor: A wonderful filigree silver reliquary, a masterpiece of the Roman silversmiths of this golden age of Baroque art, about 3 inches (7.5 cm) tall, with fine detailing and silver flowers, sealed with the red wax seal of Cardinal Frederico Caccia (1635 – 1699).

Inside the theca, the precious relic is surrounded by filigree gold paperoles and silver thread decoration. In the center is the most precious relic, one of the rarest of which we know, a fragment of the Holy Shroud of Our Lord Jesus Christ, venerated in Turin, and inscribed S.[anta] Sindone D.N.J.C. [the Holy Shroud of Our Lord Jesus Christ].

The tiny part of the Shroud was most likely detached in 1694 when repairs were made to it by Sebastian Valfrè, and presented between 1695 and 1699 by Duke Victor Amadeus II (1666 – 1732) whose family, the Savoy, was the owner of the Shroud at the time. The Savoy have erected a magnifiscient Chapel of the Holy Shroud, and the reliquaries containing small pieces of the Shorud itself were most likely bestowed to commemorate the Chapel’s competion in 1694 after 27 years in construction.

It is well known, that Savoys were trying to leverage the phenomenal success of the veneration of the Shroud to achieve dominance in Piedmont, to transform Turin into the new absolutist capital, and to gain international recognition as a ruling house of royal rank. Therefore, it is likely, that a number of reliquaries containing small pieces of the Shroud were gifted by the Duke Victor Amadeus II to achieve the dynastic aspirations of the Savoy.

There is more to read HERE.

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Jones

imageStephen Jones is starting a new “mini-series of posts, setting out the case for fraud in the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud . . .”

This is the last paragraph of part 1 of Stephen’s series:

. . .  I cannot prove that there was scientific fraud in the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud, although I firmly believe that to be only viable explanation. All that I can do is to set out the evidence for: 1) what went wrong in that dating; 2) the bias and dishonesty of those involved in the dating; and 3) suggest various ways that scientific fraud might have occurred in that dating. And then leave it to the `men and women of the jury’, my readers, to make up their own minds, based on that evidence.

The preceding paragraph in Stephen’s posting is a quotation by Richard Feynman from his book, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)

It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty – a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid-not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, And how they worked-to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated. Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can-if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong-to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it … the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another … I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you’re maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. (emphasis here is by Stephen)

But are we talking about fraud? Stephen is:

What do I mean by "fraud"? By "fraud" in this context I mean at least the definition of Broad and Wade [right in their book, Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science], of "making results appear just a little crisper or more definitive than they really are, or selecting just the `best’ data for publication and ignoring those that don’t fit the case": (bolding by Stephen)

This ‘mini-series’ sounds promising. Stephen isn’t joking and the title of this posting, being as it is a play on the title of Feynman’s most famous book, is meant as a full-throated compliment to Stephen, assuming he pulls it off.

They don’t do it just for the credit card numbers

imageA reader wonders:

How safe is shroud.com?

Barrie Schwortz’ shroud.com is an irreplaceable treasure. Could it disappear tomorrow because of hackers? It deals with a highly controversial topic that is unavoidably an affront to atheists and many religious people. As such it is a natural target for idealists or extremists of all kinds and particularly a group of hackers who call themselves “Anonymous.” They could probably take down the website in a few minutes. Would they also destroy backup copies of the website’s contents?

Is a full backup copy of the website stored somewhere such that it is inaccessible to the hosting company and the people, like Barrie, who update the site? THIS IS NOT A MATTER OF TRUST. It is about protection against spoofers and hackers of all kinds. Think in terms of identity theft. Could someone posing as a technician for the hosting company or posing as Barrie Schwortz erase the entire site and all backup copies? For protection against this sort of thing, password protected archives will not suffice. Third party backup companies doing multicyclic pull backups is essential. Push backups are vulnerable. If Barrie or a technician can erase or overwrite backup, then it will likely happen in the event of a takedown attack.

How much damage could someone posing as Barrie do? I imagine it would be 100%. Only files stored on third party systems or on dismounted DVD media would be safe. And how much damage could someone posing as a technician of the hosting company do in just a few minutes? Just as much.

After discovering what may have been an attempt to infiltrate my blog, I am implementing two-step authentication. For this I need a userid and password to gain access to the host and my cellphone, in hand, to confirm it is me who is signing on. As for backup, I’m trusting WordPress on a daily basis and I now plan to do monthly backups to DVD.

Best Shroud of Turin Comment of the Day and it’s on Another Blog

Confused, huh? It’s okay it happens. Let me help you out a little: When Mark says above that the truth claims of Christianity neither rise nor fall on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, what he means is "the truth claims of Christianity neither rise nor fall on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin". He’s a professional writer so sometimes he gets carried away on the flowery verbiage.

— AnsonEddy

imageThe commenter is talking about Mark Shea who is finding a naturalist explanation of the image miraculous. I’ve always thought that. But yes, I know, it is an a priori sandwich.

Mark Shea says in Shroud of Turin Dated… over at Patheos:

For some, the notion that there is a naturalistic explanation for the Shroud deprives it of a divine origin.  Me: I find myself thinking, “Out of all the millions of people who have lived and died, it seems like more than luck that only Jesus of Nazareth should have his image preserved.”

And I can’t help but think that atheists of the gaps sense rather the same connection, since they spend so much time attempting the hopeless task of writing it off as what it obviously is not: a “medieval forgery”.