How many strange statements can you count?

imageThis is an account of a lecture given by John C. Iannone. Gosh, I hope this is a problem in reporting:

. . . The Shroud’s authenticity was attacked in the late 1980s by the New York Times which was doing what it does best– mocking the beliefs of Christians.

. . . Invited by Shroud Custodian Cardinal Saldarini to analyze the Cloth, Mr. Iannone told a Fort Pierce Florida audience at St. Anastasia’s Catholic Church that the four soil samples he and fellow scientists examined from the cloth match precisely the four soil types at the locations where the Shroud was known to have traveled!

[ . . . ]

The “epsilon,” which is a small positive quantity that provides mathematical analysis, could be seen as a lightened area flowing out of the lips of our Lord as HIS very death was taking place! . . .

But clearly the most transcendental part of the evening’s lecture came when the Catholic scholar explained the very exact analysis points to the location on the cloth when Jesus rose from death.  

[ . . . ]

. . .   “As Jesus Christ entered Eternity, the atoms of His Body at the Resurrection accelerated dramatically. . . . And the light of Jesus’ Resurrection even shows up in NSA analysis!

This is why we must blog!

More on the ISA Tile and the “Prince of Peace”

Throw away the so called progressive overlay. I trust my eyes more.
I think the man in the Akiane painting, in the ISA mosaic and on the Turin Shroud
are possibly the same person.

clip_image001A reader writes:

Why not have the three images submitted to facial recognition programs, using a random set of head-on male facial images, then a subset with facial hair?

A lot of facial recognition, explicitly or not, is based on certain ratios/portions between centers of eyes, mouth (upper lip), nose tip, and widths for these, because they are invariants under "facial expressions" reflecting deformations by facial muscular movements. Then there are various other characteristics, which are variable, adjusting for relative point of view.

Another reader writes:

Phil Dayvault may be a ‘Shroud scholar and a former FBI Special Agent — in the field of forensic analysis’ but this video mishmash would never last five minutes under scrutiny from a defense attorney in a courtroom. Show me the original photos without any size adjustments. Now resize them for convergence, which is permissible, but without changing any proportions whatsoever. In other words no stretching, no skewing, no tilting, no rotating, no concaving, no convexing, etc.  More over no doing this with features like eyes, noses, etc. No smiling. No frowning. Do a paper that shows that there is no fiddling. Then I will be impressed. Show me source photographs and documentation. How were these photographed? The distortion from a 28mm lens is extraordinary. And images off the internet are often swizzled to fit a page or something. 

The only way to go is use facial recognition software.

(or human recognition, I say).

Here is an interesting article: Facebook’s facial recognition software is now as accurate as the human brain, but what now?

Facebook’s facial recognition research project, DeepFace (yes really), is now very nearly as accurate as the human brain. DeepFace can look at two photos, and irrespective of lighting or angle, can say with 97.25% accuracy whether the photos contain the same face. Humans can perform the same task with 97.53% accuracy.


Throw away the so called progressive overlay. I trust my eyes more. I think the man in the Akiane painting, in the ISA mosaic and on the Turin Shroud Man are possibly the same person.

Stigmata and the Shroud of Turin

imageRuss Breault writes:

I received an objection regarding stigmata…that it is always in the hand and not the wrists…seems contrary to the Shroud.  So I did a little research. Interestingly there have been several to report stigmata in the wrists including Saint Francis of Assisi!  I did not know that and considering that the current pope has taken the name of Francis, I thought it may be of interest.  Here is a web source:

Mystics of the Church: Stories of the stigmata in persons throughout the world

Here is one paragraph from this interesting article:

As stated above, for most stigmatics the wounds are in the palms of the hands, however there have been a number of individuals throughout the history of the Catholic church whom have had the wounds upon the wrists–two relatively recent cases would be Fr. Jim Bruse of Woodbridge, Virginia, a Catholic priest who was reported to have received the stigmata the day after Christmas in 1991 until 1993, and also Georgette Faniel of Montreal, Quebec, who had the stigmata on and off from 1950 until her death in 2002. Looking farther back in history we note that St Francis of Assisi is also stated to have received the stigmata in the wrists.

Painting of St. Francis by Cimabue, also known as Cenni Di Pepi or in modern Italian, Benvenuto di Giuseppe. Photograph is from Wikipedia. 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.

Heaven is for Real, the Akiane Prince of Peace, the ISA Mosaic and the Shroud of Turin

imageWith the movie, “Heaven is for Real,” in the theaters, the book of the same title is back on the New York Times Bestseller List; that is 134 weeks, on again – off again, that it was a bestseller in the non-fiction category. It is about the near death experience (NDE) of a four year old boy, Colton Burpo. I haven’t seen the movie but the reviews are in and it seems to be fairly good. All the syndicated big name reviewers and all the major newspapers covered it. Here is what Ty Burr wrote in the Boston Globe:

Room For Discussion

“Except that ‘Heaven Is for Real” turns out to be about cynicism and doubt for a sizable chunk of its running time — the struggle within those who already believe rather than the conversion of unbelievers. That makes it a surprisingly nuanced entry in the Christian film genre, even if the movie finally and firmly comes down on the side of angels, Day-Glo Elysian Fields, and Christ as nice guy incarnate. The faithful should welcome it warmly. Others may come away unconvinced while appreciating the film’s sincerity and lack of anti-secular axes being ground.

Why is this a big deal, here, in this blog?  Back in February of 2011, I blogged about this after receiving an email from a reader:

PrinceofPeace13I just finished reading “Heaven is for Real.” I am thinking that the Akiane Prince of Peace is very similar to the man in the Turin Shroud. STURP and now the Shroud Science Group with all its scientific books and journals cannot begin to match the power of this story. Four-year-old Colton Burpo left the hospital operating room and went [to] heaven where he saw Jesus. Later, he confirmed that Jesus looked like the Akiane Jesus. The Akiane Jesus looks like the Turin Shroud.

I wrote at the time:

The Akiane Prince of Peace? The book, Heaven is for Real? A kid who saw Jesus in heaven during some sort of purported near-death experience (NDE)? Really? And does this visionary picture look like the man in the Shroud?

I also wrote:

Akiane Kramarik seems to be a child visionary. Growing up in a home with an Atheist mother and a lapsed Catholic father, she apparently began having “divinely inspired visions,” which she translated into poetry and art.  By age four (Colton’s age) she was painting and writing poetry. There can be no denying, at least, that she is a prodigy. She appeared on CNN, World News Tonight and the Oprah Winfrey Show. Forget that she is a child; her work is amazing.

She was just eight-years-old when she painted Prince of Peace, her first portrait of Jesus. This is the painting Colton said was right.  It is reproduced in the back of every copy of this best seller. . . .

. . . Yes, I’m sure that such a popular image, if indeed many people think it is similar to the image of a man on the shroud, will have an impact on belief about the shroud. Nonetheless, the goal of the Shroud Science Group (as was the goal of STURP) is not to sway opinion. It’s purpose is to pursue the scientific and historical truth about the shroud, whatever it may be and wherever it may lead, and to disseminate that information in a responsible way.

That said, I say go read the book and make up your own mind. I’m intrigued but not swayed. Then again, it took me five years to conclude that the Shroud of Turin was probably real.

Now, I should probably add, go see the movie.

And now to the crux of the matter: Phil Dayvault, whose work has been discussed on this blog and who has participated with his own comments, has a new (or updated) web page, The ISA Tile and the “Prince of Peace” and a video that you should watch (you may need to hit the pause button if, like me, you are a slow reader of white on black).

YouTube Link:

There is room for a lot of discussion here. How good are Dayvault’s methods? Can they be reproduced by others? Can the software be revealed and examined? I didn’t see any obvious morphing going on, but is there any? Tilting? Angling back to front? Changing horizontal and vertical proportions? Any other Photo Shop stuff I didn’t think of? Any control work with other faces?

If you will be in Hamilton, Ontario this Week

imageBarrie Schwortz announces on the STERA Facebook page:

Next week (April 24-28) I will be returning to Canada to make a series of presentations at Emmanuel United Church, 871 Upper Ottawa Street, Hamilton, Ontario, in conjunction with the Vancouver Shroud Association’s Man of the Shroud Exhibit(

I will be giving student lectures in the afternoons and adult lectures in the evenings. This is my last lecture series of the year and as always, I hope to see some of you there.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! – He is risen indeed! Alleluia!


Mosaic depicting the risen Christ leaving the tomb.  The Roman Catholic Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Albanian (Tosk) – Krishti u ngjall! Vërtet u ngjall!

Armenian – Քրիստոս յարեաւ ի մեռելոց՜ Օրհնեալ է Յարութիւնն Քրիստոսի՜ (Christos haryav i merelotz! Orhnial e Haroutiunn Christosi! – Christ is risen! Blessed is the resurrection of Christ!)

English – “Christ is risen!” / “Truly He is risen!” or “Christ is risen!” / “Indeed, He is risen!” or “He [or ‘The LORD’] is risen!” / “He [or ‘The LORD’] is risen indeed!” or “Christ has risen!” / “Indeed He has!” or “Christ is risen!” / “He is risen, Indeed!” ; Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!;

Old English – Crist aras! Crist soþlice aras! (Lit: Christ arose! Christ surely arose!)

Middle English – Crist is arisen! Arisen he sothe!

Danish – Kristus er opstanden! Sandelig Han er Opstanden!

Frisian – Kristus is opstien! Wis is er opstien!

German – Christus ist auferstanden! Er ist wahrhaftig auferstanden!

Icelandic – Kristur er upprisinn! Hann er sannarlega upprisinn!

Dutch – Christus is opgestaan! Hij is waarlijk opgestaan! (Netherlands) or Christus is verrezen! Hij is waarlijk verrezen! (Belgium)

Afrikaans – Christus het opgestaan! Hy het waarlik opgestaan!

Norwegian – Kristus er oppstanden! Han er sannelig oppstanden!

Swedish – Kristus är uppstånden! Han är sannerligen uppstånden!

Latin – Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere!

Catalan – Crist ha ressuscitat! Veritablement ha ressuscitat!

French – Christ est ressuscité! Il est vraiment ressuscité!

Italian – Cristo è risorto! È veramente risorto!

Portuguese – Cristo ressuscitou! Em verdade ressuscitou!

Provençal – Lo Crist es ressuscitat! En veritat es ressuscitat!

Romanian – Hristos a înviat! Cu adevărat a înviat!

Romansh – Cristo es rinaschieu! In varded, el es rinaschieu!

Sardinian – Cristu est resuscitadu! Aberu est resuscitadu!

Sicilian – Cristu arrivisciutu esti! Pibbiru arrivisciutu esti!

Spanish – ¡Cristo ha resucitado! ¡En verdad ha resucitado!

Walloon – Li Crist a raviké! Il a raviké podbon!

Greek – Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! (Khristós Anésti! Alithós Anésti!)

Church Slavonic – Хрїстóсъ воскрéсе! Воистину воскресе! (Christos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese!)

Belarusian – Хрыстос уваскрос! Сапраўды ўваскрос! (Chrystos uvaskros! Sapraŭdy ŭvaskros!)

Bulgarian – Христос възкресе! Наистина възкресе! (Hristos vyzkrese! Naistina vyzkrese!), or (Church Slavonic): Христос воскресе! Воистину воскресе! (Hristos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese!)

Croatian – Krist uskrsnu! Uistinu uskrsnu!

Czech – Kristus vstal z mrtvých! Vpravdě vstal z mrtvých!

Macedonian (Traditional (as per Church Slavonic) – Христос воскресе! Навистина воскресе! (Hristos voskrese! Navistina voskrese!;  Vernacular – Христос воскресна! Навистина воскресна! (Hristos voskresna! Navistina voskresna!)

Polish – Chrystus zmartwychwstał! Prawdziwie zmartwychwstał!

Russian – Христос воскрес! Воистину воскрес! (Christos voskres! Voistinu voskres!)

Rusyn – Хрістос воскрес! Воістину воскрес! (Hristos voskres! Voistynu voskres!)

Serbian – Христос васкрсе! Ваистину васкрсе! (Hristos vaskrse! Vaistinu vaskrse!)

Slovak – Kristus z mŕtvych vstal! Skutočne z mŕtvych vstal! (also not used; the Slovak of eastern religions use Church Slavonic version: Christos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese!)

Ukrainian – Христос воскрес! Воістину воскрес! (Hrystos voskres! Voistynu voskres!)

Latvian Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!

Lithuanian – Kristus prisikėlė! Tikrai prisikėlė!

Old Irish – Asréracht Críst! Asréracht Hé-som co dearb!

Irish – Tá Críost éirithe! Go deimhin, tá sé éirithe!

Manx – Taw Creest Ereen! Taw Shay Ereen Guhdyne!

Scottish – Tha Crìosd air èiridh! Gu dearbh, tha e air èiridh!

Breton – Dassoret eo Krist! E wirionez dassoret eo!

Cornish – Thew Creest dassorez! En weer thewa dassorez!

Welsh – Atgyfododd Crist! Yn wir atgyfododd!

Persian مسیح برخاسته است! به راستی برخاسته است!‎ (Masih barkhaste ast! Be rasti barkhaste ast!)

Hindustani – येसु मसीह ज़िन्दा हो गया है! हाँ यक़ीनन, वोह ज़िन्दा हो गया है! – یسوع مسیح زندہ ہو گیا ہے! ہاں یقیناً، وہ زندہ ہو گیا ہے!‎ – Yesu Masih zinda ho gaya hai! Haan yaqeenan, woh zinda ho gaya hai!

Marathi – (Yeshu Khrist uthla ahe! Kharokhar uthla ahe!)

Turkish – Mesih dirildi! Hakikaten dirildi!

Uyghur – ئەيسا تىرىلدى! ھەقىقەتىنلا تىرىلدى!‎ (Əysa tirildi! Ⱨəⱪiⱪətinla tirildi!)

Azeri – Məsih dirildi! Həqiqətən dirildi!

Chuvash – Христос чĕрĕлнĕ!! Чăн чĕрĕлнĕ! (Khristós chərəlnə! Chæn chərəlnə!)

Carolinian – Lios a melau sefal! Meipung, a mahan sefal!

Chamorro – La’la’i i Kristo! Magahet na luma’la’ i Kristo!

Fijian – Na Karisito tucake tale! Io sa tucake tale!

Filipino – Si Kristo ay nabuhay! Siya nga ay nabuhay!

Hawaiian – Ua ala aʻe nei ʻo Kristo! Ua ala ʻiʻo nō ʻo Ia!

Indonesian – Kristus telah bangkit! Dia benar-benar telah bangkit!

Malagasy – Nitsangana tamin’ny maty i Kristy! Nitsangana marina tokoa izy!

Malayalam – (ക്രിസ്തു ഉയിര്‍ത്തെഴുന്നേറ്റു! തീര്‍ച്ചയായും ഉയിര്‍ത്തെഴുന്നേറ്റു!) (Christu uyirthezhunnettu! Theerchayayum uyirthezhunnettu!)

Aleut – Kristus aq ungwektaq! Pichinuq ungwektaq!

Yupik languages – Xris-tusaq Ung-uixtuq! Iluumun Ung-uixtuq!

Japanese – ハリストス復活!実に復活! (Harisutosu fukkatsu! Jitsu ni fukkatsu!)

Korean – 그리스도께서 부활하셨네! 참으로 부활하셨네! (Geuriseudokkeseo Buhwalhasheotne! Chameuro Buhwalhasheotne!)

Navajo – Christ daaztsą́ą́dę́ę́ʼ náádiidzáá. Tʼáá aaníí daaztsą́ą́dę́ę́ʼ náádiidzáá.

Tlingit – Xristos Kuxwoo-digoot! Xegaa-kux Kuxwoo-digoot!

Ganda Kristo Ajukkide! Kweli Ajukkide!

Swahili – Kristo Amefufukka! Kweli Amefufukka!

Gikuyu – Kristo ni muriuku! Ni muriuku nema!

Quechua – Cristo causarimpunña! Ciertopuni causarimpunña!

Arabic (standard) – المسيح قام! حقا قام!‎ (al-Masīḥ qām! Ḥaqqan qām!); المسيح قام! بالحقيقة قام!‎ (al-Masīḥ qām! Belḥāqiqāti qām!)

Syriac – ܡܫܝܚܐ ܩܡ! ܫܪܝܪܐܝܬ ܩܡ!‎ (Mshiḥa qām! sharīrāīth qām! ; Mshiḥo Qom! Shariroith Qom!)

Neo-Syriac – ܡܫܝܚܐ ܩܡܠܗ! ܒܗܩܘܬܐ ܩܡܠܗ!‎ (Mshikha qimlih! bhāqota qimlih!)

Turoyo-Syriac – ܡܫܝܚܐ ܩܝܡ! ܫܪܥܪܐܝܬ ܩܝܡ!‎ (Mshiḥo qāyem! Shariroith qāyem!)

Tigrigna – (Christos tensiou! Bahake tensiou!)

Amharic – (Kristos Tenestwal! Bergit Tenestwal!)

Hebrew (modern) – המשיח קם! באמת קם!‎ (Hameshiach qam! Be’emet qam!)

Maltese – Kristu qam! Huwa qam tassew! or Kristu qam mill-mewt! Huwa qam tassew!

Coptic – ⲠⲓⲬⲣⲓⲥⲧⲟⲥ ⲁϥⲧⲱⲛϥ! Ϧⲉⲛ ⲟⲩⲙⲉⲑⲙⲏⲓ ⲁϥⲧⲱⲛϥ! (Pikhristos Aftonf! Khen oumethmi aftonf!)

Mandarin – 基督復活了 他確實復活了 (Jidu fuhuo-le! Ta queshi fuhuo-le!)

Abkhazian – Kyrsa Dybzaheit! – Itzzabyrgny Dybzaheit!

Georgian – ქრისტე აღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტად აღსდგა! (Kriste agsdga! Cheshmaritad agsdga!)

Estonian – Kristus on üles tõusnud! Tõesti, Ta on üles tõusnud!

Finnish – Kristus nousi kuolleista! Totisesti nousi!

Hungarian – Krisztus feltámadt! Valóban feltámadt!

Esperanto – Kristo leviĝis! Vere Li leviĝis!

Ido – Kristo riviveskabas! Ya Il rivivesakabas!

Interlingua – Christo ha resurgite! Vermente ille ha resurgite! (or) Christo ha resurrecte! Vermente ille ha resurrecte!

Quenya – Tengwar Rendering (Hristo Ortane! Anwave Ortanes!)

Klingon – Hu’ta’ QISt! Hu’bejta’!

Dothraki – Khal Asvezhvenanaz yathoay. Me Yathoay Me nem nesa.

Tzotzil – Icha’kuxi Kajvaltik Kristo! Ta melel icha’kuxi!

Tzeltal – Cha’kuxaj Kajwaltik Kristo! Ta melel cha’kuxaj!

Rastafarian – Krestos a uprisin! Seen, him a uprisin fe tru!

Source of translations:  Wikipedia Photograph: Sam Lucero

Wayne Phillips: Hopes to create a small “Shroud Army”

The Shroud in the papers this Easter Sunday

imageThe Tampa Tribune is up with an Easter Sunday story:

CLEARWATER — In the mid-1970s, Wayne Phillips saw a television program telling the story of the Shroud of Turin, a centuries-old linen cloth that bears the image of a crucified man.

At first, he was miffed. Years of Catholic schooling — Jesuit High School in Tampa and Notre Dame University — and he had never known about this artifact? (He would later learn that it was a delicate subject at the Vatican.)

A doctor, he has a curious mind. A mind shaped by logic and by science. But as a Catholic, he understands some beliefs are still a mystery.

He yearned to reconcile both and know the truth in his mind and in his heart. So Phillips began his own decades-long investigation to determine the shroud’s authenticity.

There have been many ups and downs in this journey. But today, Phillips says without hesitation: “I believe it is real.”

Now he wants to share his knowledge with others.

A skeptical point of view for balance:

The shroud’s iconic image is venerated by many Christians, specifically Roman Catholics.

Conversely, it has been mocked by disbelievers, landing on the cover of tabloids such as the National Enquirer and satirized on an episode of “South Park.”

Pat Linse, co-founder of The Skeptics Society, calls the shroud “a highly stylized, somewhat amateur rubbing. It’s like Big Foot. Every time someone comes up with a new theory or whatnot, it’s gets a big flurry of attention.”

Linse has no problem with believers who hold the shroud sacred as an article of faith.

But when people claim they have scientific proof that it’s real, they had better be prepared to stand their ground against the critics. For the 100 facts in the shroud’s defense, Linse says, “we can counter with 1 million that show it’s a fake.


“The church keeps it alive because humanity can’t prove it’s real,” Phillips says. “It can’t prove it’s not, either.”

He understands the doubters.

His lifelong friend, Ralph Ruso, a retired Hillsborough County educator and school administrator, is one of them.

Phillips and Ruso grew up together in Seminole Heights and Davis Islands and served as best man at each other’s weddings. Ruso has been to three of Phillips’ presentations, learning something new every time.

But does he believe?

“It’s still a mystery to me,” Ruso says. “I can’t say it’s real. What I do like is that there’s this ongoing process of studying it and trying to figure it out. I love Wayne’s passion for it. He says there’s hope for me yet, but I’m not there.”

Phillips says even his wife of 44 years, Bridget, a devoted Catholic, thinks he’s “insane” (she really doesn’t), and only one of their four grown children has come to one of his talks. He’s fine with that, because the shroud is his obsession, not theirs.

STURP mentioned:

In 1978, two years after Phillips saw the documentary, a team of American scientists banded together for the Shroud of Turin Research Project.

They were not predisposed to putting their stamp of approval on it; according to Phillips, most were in the group were agnostic, and only two were Catholics.

After five days of repeated tests, sample taking, photographs and X-rays using state-of-the-art equipment, they eventually determined the shroud “showed no evidence of the hand of an artist” and that its image was of a “real human form of a scourged, crucified man.”

And the carbon dating:

But in 1988, laboratories in Zurich, Oxford and Arizona performed carbon-14 dating on a small corner of the linen. All three came back with a date range of 1260 to 1390, declaring the cloth to only be 600 to 700 years old.

A story in The New York Times called the shroud a fake.

“I was completed destroyed,” Phillips says. “Just devastated. A dozen years into this, and I felt like I had been duped.”

Still, a small part in him wouldn’t let go. As much as he relied on science, what if the testing proved flawed?

The debate continued, though the naysayers felt the case was closed.

Then, in 2005, a scientific paper concluded that the sample used to test the shroud’s age in 1988 was taken from a rewoven area, rather than an original swatch of the linen. Therefore, the radiocarbon date was not valid for determining the shroud’s true age.

Bryan Walsh: Every time we get closer, it gets further away

The Shroud in the papers this Easter Sunday

imageLaura Kebede has an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, about Bryan Walsh (pictured) and his Shroud of Turin center: Shroud of Turin research continues in Goochland. That would be Goochland, Virginia:

Casual interest turned into 17 years of education and research surrounding the world’s most famous 14-foot piece of linen for Bryan Walsh when he visited the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado in 1997.

Before his visit, he spent three hours on the phone with John Jackson, the 1978 leader of an international research team on the cloth believed to have wrapped Jesus’ body after he was crucified.

“It was like two peas in a pod getting together,” Walsh said.

He returned to Richmond with the hope of opening a similar center and putting his chemistry background to work.


Walsh and research director Diana Fulbright also have an office and research room, which in the summer will contain lab equipment for experiments related to the shroud.

[ . . . ]

During the 40 days before Easter known as Lent, Walsh said he and Fulbright spend about 30 hours per week making presentations to community groups and churches along the East Coast. They have even traveled to jails to educate inmates about the sacred cloth.

[. . . ]

Walsh will be conducting experiments this summer related to linen’s reaction to chemicals that might alter the accuracy of radiocarbon dating.

[ . . . ]

“It’s all recent discoveries and science. … It’s all as if we’re supposed to understand it now,” he said. “Every time we get closer, it gets further away.”

Myra Adams: The larger question for Easter Sunday is how did the Shroud survive

The Shroud in the papers this Easter Sunday

imageMyra Adams has an Easter morning article, Five reasons why the Shroud of Turin could be authentic, in BizPac, the conservative “alternative to legacy media in Palm Beach County” and the country.

Today, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ commonly known as Easter or, less commonly, Resurrection Sunday.

If it were not for this event Christianity, the world’s largest religion, would not exist and Jesus, instead of being the most significant person in history, would have been just another forgotten Jewish man crucified by the Romans around  33 AD.

For those who are truly celebrating Christ’s resurrection today and not absorbed with chocolate-covered marshmallow bunnies, here are some questions, facts and answers that you could roll like eggs at your family’s Easter gathering.

First, the BIG question: Does scientific evidence for Christ’s resurrection exist today? The answer, millions of other faithful and I believe, is “yes” and it is called the Shroud of Turin.

Read on.

It’s called circumstantial evidence. Anybody have a better idea?

imageJohn Klotz has posted The Shroud of Turin and the Resurrection in his blog, Quantum Christ:

It is often stated that the Shroud of Turin doesn’t prove the Resurrection. That’s correct. But on Easter it is proper to discuss what the Shroud does prove in connection with the Resurrection. It certainly supports the possibility of the Resurrection and is consistent with it.

How so?

Read on.

Happy Easter from Discovery

imageIt must be the day before Easter. Rossella Lorentz just three hours ago posted an article called Fact-Checking the Bible. It is pretty tame. In fact, this who media season leading up to Easter has been fairly quiet. Here are some samples. The Shroud of Turin gets mentioned in a sort of different way:


  . . . according to newly published research by Tel Aviv University based on radiocarbon dating and evidence unearthed in excavations, camels were not domesticated in the Land of Israel until the 10th century BC — several centuries after the time they appear in the Bible.

Adam and Eve: 

The fossil record indicates that humans did not appear suddenly, but evolved gradually over the course of six million years.

. . . they weren’t the only man and woman alive at the time, or the only people to have present-day offspring.

The Great Flood:

[A] 3,700-year-old clay tablet, consisting of 60 lines in cuneiform, has been dubbed a prototype of Noah’s ark described in the Bible.

The tablet contains a detailed construction manual for building an ark with palm-fiber ropes, wooden ribs and coated in hot bitumen to make it waterproof. It also contains the first description of the ark’s shape — surprisingly, it’s a massive round vessel.

We can skip over Exodus, the birth of Jesus, the question of whether or not Judas betrayed Jesus and jump right into the Crucifixion of Jesus: 

Described in the four canonical gospels, referred to in writings by Paul the Apostle, Jesus’ death by crucifixion at the direction of Pontius Pilate has also been questioned. The main argument is that there is no first-hand witness for Jesus’s crucifixion.

As for physical evidence, a heated ongoing debate surrounds the Shroud of Turin, the piece of linen that that some believe to have been wrapped around Jesus’ body after the crucifixion and others debunk as a medieval fake following radiocarbon tests. The Vatican itself remains neutral on the issue.

Gosh, I’m not upset by any of this. I think I agree with most of it.  The Bible is not a history book, after all. But at least I think Jesus was crucified. I think the vast majority of biblical scholars and historians of the first century think so. And I don’t think the shroud can prove anything here.

Funny, they forgot to cover the Resurrection.

Russ Breault was on The Hagmann & Hagmann Report on Yesterday

imageRuss was featured last evening, Good Friday, April 18, 2014, on the Blog Radio show.  You can hear it now.

imageFind the play button, sit back and relax and listen. What a great opportunity to hear the man of Shroud Encounter. The show ran for three hours and is now available in the show;s archives.

The promo, which I only saw this morning, tells us:

Mr. Breault uses a “CSI approach” as he takes audiences on a thought provoking adventure that extends through early church history, ancient art, modern science, and medical forensics to inform listeners about the proven characteristics of the Shroud as well as the “mystery” behind it.

Could the Shroud be the most important archaeological artifact ever found, or is it just a medieval fake? Does it provide clues to what happened during the crucifixion and resurrection, or is it just a pious art work created to represent these events? After thousands of hours of scientific analysis, the Shroud remains a profound mystery. After this episode, however, you will have a much clearer understanding why there still exists both mystery and controversy regarding this alleged burial cloth of Jesus.

This is a very special show that promises to have a significant impact on your beliefs and perception of this “controversial” artifact. Mr. Breault’s appearance tonight is most appropriate as Christians worldwide are marking today to remember the day of the crucifixion.

Check Out News Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Hagmann and Hagmann Report on BlogTalkRadio

Good Friday


Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dalí

A friend of mine, a Jesuit priest, told me that this painting was, “the Father’s view from above.” As such, he said, it does not have any nails or blood. Theologically, that may be interesting, but Dali tells us that he was inspired by a dream to paint it this way.

According to Wikipedia:

imageThe painting is known as the "Christ of Saint John of the Cross", because its design is based on a drawing by the 16th-century Spanish friar John of the Cross. The composition of Christ is also based on a triangle and circle (the triangle is formed by Christ’s arms; the circle is formed by Christ’s head). The triangle, since it has three sides, can be seen as a reference to the Trinity, and the circle may be an allusion to Platonic thought. The circle represents Unity: all things do exist in the "three" but in the four, merry they be.

There is more at Wikipedia.

imageThe image shown above is intentionally low resolution and is not suitable for commercial printing. As with the English-language Wikipedia, hosted on servers in the United States by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, the use in this blog qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law.

At left is a photograph showing how the painting is exhibited at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland. Having been attacked and damaged once, it now must be protected behind a glass shield.

Two Million Page Views and Counting

imageSometime today, we crossed the 2,000,000 page views threshold.

  • 26,731 comments so far
  • Yesterday the blog had the second best day yet. 2,762 different people visit the site. Today will be better.
  • Tomorrow is Good Friday. We’ll do even better.  Last year on Good Friday the blog had 5,580 visitors. I don’t imagine that we will top that.

The Turin Shroud Image is not a Scorch

NEW & IMPORTANT:  A paper from Thibault Heimburger: The Scorch Hypothesis: New Experiments, April 2014


Maundy Thursday


Lorenzetti Pietro. Last Supper.fresco. Assisi, c. 1320

Remember the Valencia Consensus Parenthetical

questions for Giulio Fanti and Paolo Di Lazzaro

imagePiero asked:

What is the final result of diimide (a powerful reducing agent) treatment on images produced by Corona Discharge ? … and on images produced by VUV excimer laser irradiation ?

Alvin commented:

Those are VERY GOOD QUESTIONS that DiLazzaro or Fanti or anyone else has [not] been able to answer yet (to my knowledge at least)… I guess that if it is so, it’s simply because no one (starting with DiLazzaro and his team) have chosen to make the test, which would probably discard their hypothesis right away, because I seriously doubt that a diimide treatment of their oxydized samples would be able to remove the color and leave a clean linen fiber behind as it was the case for the colored fibers of the Shroud…

and added in another comment:

Here’s another test DiLazzaro should do with his oxydized samples: Try to apply sticky tapes on it with a similar amount of pressure as Rogers used in Turin and see if he can find the same kind of ghosts of color on the tapes. Again, I seriously doubt he could find any… And if my guess is good, that would also be enough to discard his hypothesis right away. Same thing for Fanti and his corona discharge hypothesis.

Paulette took a swipe:

Remember the Valencia Consensus Parenthetical.

For those who don’t, see A Parenthetical Change in the Valencia Consensus from two years ago.

Okay, we will need to wait several weeks

imageStephen Jones is now mapping out his revised strategy: Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: Revised #2:

I have decided to create a list of every item of historical evidence of the Shroud’s existence from the 13th to the 1st century on my system, before I complete this Revised #2 post. That however, could take several weeks.

The purpose of documenting all this historical evidence of the Shroud’s existence from the 13th to the 1st century is to prove, beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt, that the 1988 radiocarbon date of the Shroud as "mediaeval … AD 1260-1390" must be wrong. . . .

I don’t have any issue with this. The historical list will be useful. In my mind, it challenges the carbon dating better than anything. It will be interesting to crawl through each item and get everyone’s opinions. How solid is this event, how good is that occurrence?

Stephen continues.

. . . And then the questions are, "how could a 1st century cloth (absent fraud) carbon- date to the 13th-14th century?"

Why absent fraud? Why not other possibilities?

. . .  I will document how courts decide, on the basis of improbability, that a scientific fraud must have occurred.

That will be interesting. Just fraud? Might courts find something else isn’t right? By courts is he thinking of a proxy for informed public opinion?

And then:

And then, having proved beyond any reasonable doubt that there must have been fraud in carbon-dating the 1st century (or earlier) linen of the Shroud to 1325 ±65, I will re-present the evidence for the fraud having been perpetrated by a computer hacker, whom I will tentatively identify.

Will this be the same person he has already not-so-tentatively named? Evidence, this time?

Thinking the 1988 Carbon Dating Outweighs the Other Evidence Is Absurd

“Carbon dating alone, whether in its 1988 form or
some improvement upon it, isn’t enough.”

imageJason Engwer has delivered a significant and thought-provoking analysis in Triablogue, Weighing The Shroud’s 1988 Carbon Dating

Meacham to Farey upon a whirlwind:

[William] Meacham wrote nearly a decade ago. There have been some significant developments since then. In his book, Meacham discussed Ray Rogers’ 2005 article that undermines the 1988 carbon dating results. Further research since then has corroborated Rogers’ findings. For some examples, see here. A study published in 2010 by Marco Riani, et al., for instance, found significant heterogeneity in the section of the Shroud tested in 1988. In 2013,Giulio Fanti and some other researchers published the results of some dating tests they ran on alleged fragments of the Shroud. All of their dating methods showed a pre-medieval date.

On the other hand, Timothy Jull, a member of the University of Arizona lab that tested the Shroud in 1988,published an article in 2010 that cast doubt on Rogers’ findings. In 2013, Hugh Farey wrote an article that discusses problems with the reweave hypothesis (the view that the section of the Shroud tested in 1988 contains some more recent threads woven into the original cloth during a repair, so that the more recent threads would distort the carbon dating).

Mark Oxley has written an article criticizing Jull’s piece. For some initial reactions to Farey’s article, see the thread here. In that thread, Thibault Heimburger says that he’s noticed some problems with Farey’s article and suggests that he’ll be writing a response to it.

I think Jull and Farey make some good points that significantly weaken the reweave hypothesis. The reweave hypothesis still seems to be the best explanation of the evidence, but now by a smaller margin. We have to leave the door wide open to other possibilities.

Wringing answers from the unknown:

How would the artist or forger know how to portray a Roman crucifixion victim so accurately? Why would he repeatedly and accurately depart from how Jesus was portrayed in the large majority of medieval depictions (a nail wound closer to the wrist than the palm; wounds from a thick cap of thorns rather than a thin wreath of thorns; etc.)? Why are so many characteristics of the Shroud inconsistent with the interests of an artist or forger? Why would an artist or forger brilliant enough to produce such a masterpiece go about introducing his work to the world in such an ineffective manner? Geoffrey de Charny was a relatively low-level figure in the society of his day. The modest status of the Shroud around the medieval timeframe suggested by the 1988 carbon dating is incongruous with what an artist or forger brilliant enough to produce the Shroud would be likely to do with it. And why would an artist or forger include a close-up depiction of Jesus completely nude and uncovered on his back side, something that the vast majority of people seem to find objectionable even in the more sexually libertine cultures of our day (how much more so in a medieval context)? Why and how would an artist or forger include so many details that can’t be seen by the naked eye (in an age without microscopes and other such devices)? Why would an artist or forger display his genius in the Shroud, but nowhere else? Why don’t we see comparable displays of genius from the same source around the same time? Why is the Shroud such an isolated object that stands out so starkly from the medieval context?

The notion that the 1988 carbon dating alone equals or outweighs all of the evidence cited above for an earlier date is absurd. The 1988 dating of one small piece of the cloth, from such a poor area for that sort of testing, can’t bear the weight that’s so often placed upon it. I would argue that even if further carbon dating would produce the same or similar results, the evidence for an earlier date would still weigh more. Carbon dating alone, whether in its 1988 form or some improvement upon it, isn’t enough. There has to be more. That’s how good the evidence is for an earlier date.

Do read the entire posting Weighing The Shroud’s 1988 Carbon Dating at Triablogue.

* Whirlwind? In this sense, yes, borrowing some words from the conflicted Anne Rice:

Very few beings really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds — justifications, confirmations, forms of consolation without which they can’t go on. To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.

Good Chemistry Questions

imageA reader who is a high school chemistry student writes:

In Rogers’s book on page 78 I read that “Image color can be chemically reduced with diimide, leaving colorless fibers.”  I’ve seen this mentioned on several websites and I’ve read that the image does not respond to ordinary bleaching.

My teacher and I looked it up in Wikipedia. Neither one of us can understand what it says.

What does it mean?  What does it rule in or rule out? 

Good questions? I just looked up reductions with diimide in Wikipedia and I could not understand it either.

New Book: The Templar Mandylion

imageThere is a new book out. It’s called the The Templar Mandylion: Secret story of Turin ShroudThe Templar Mandylion: Secret story of Turin Shroud by Franck Gordon. Amazon sells it for the Kindle. No other editions seem to be available.

Description at Amazon:

The body of a man strangely vanished a long time ago. This man left behind him historical and physical clues about his existence. This is one of the greatest enigmas of our time.

Editorial Review by the author as it appears at Amazon:

During my life, I have devoted my hobbies to do research on archaeological, religious and scientific enigmas. Intrigued by all that is mysterious and unusual, it is with a mind of engineer that I analyzed unexplained mysteries and impossible objects found on our planet.

imageThere is several years ago, while I was preparing my Templar Saga, I discovered a « Templar Mandylion » in Britanny. This historical and religious mystery still remains unsolved to date. Is it the « Baphomet » venerated by the Templars and which led them to the stake? I tried to explain this mystery in my book « Le Code Templier » and during a lecture made in the chapel of Sainte-Marie du Menez-Hom, near the site of my discovery.

For many years I presented my ideas during lectures on the subjects of my research: Worldwide Genealogy and Huge Databases, Camera Obscura and Shroud of Turin, Templar Mandylion and Baphomet, Popol-Vuh and Terraforming of planets, moons, etc… I explained all these topics, and many others, in novels and essays such as the Mormon Case, the Templar Code, the Templar of America, the Templar Mandylion, and the Popol-Vuh. I propose now all these works in book exhibitions, at the end of my lectures or on the web.

I would like to warmly thank my readers for their comments posted on the web, or received by e-mail or by letter. Come on Cirac website in the Book Club that I created with the help of writers, journalists, publishers and booksellers. You’ll found authors, books, lectures, articles, and also a lot of ideas.

I believe that the Franck Gordon is a nom de plume for SSG shroud researcher François Gazay.

I’m not suggesting that you do not buy the book. But first you may want to read Relations of a Breton Calvary with the Shroud and the Templar Knights by François that was presented at Dallas 2005. And when you go over to Amazon, click on Look Inside. BTW, I do find this subject fascinating.

CNN’s Jesus Code: Six Objects Connected to the Biblical Jesus

Coming to the old Larry King time slot

imageBREAKING: Jon Creamer of Televisual Media UK tells us about an upcoming six-part series on Jesus:

Nutopia is to make a ‘forensic’ drama doc about the life of Jesus in a six-part commission for CNN called Jesus Code.

Jesus Code will look at “forensics, biblical archaeology and forgery, exploring their connection to the real life of Jesus by questioning the authenticity of sacred relics.”

The show will use drama reconstruction and interviews with scholars to re-examine six objects connected to the Biblical Jesus.

Executive Producer, Ben Goold (The Story of US, Mankind, The British) said “These are compelling and astonishing stories of relics such as the Turin Shroud and the True Cross that not only capture the imagination, but also offer real revelations about one of the most important figures in human history.”

Jesus Code will be produced by Nutopia in association with Paperny Entertainment. Filming will start in October in Europe, the US, North Africa and Middle East.  Executive Producers are Ben Goold for Nutopia and Lynne Kirby for Paperny Entertainment and it will be distributed internationally by DRG.

Jesus Code forms part of CNN’s new documentary strand in the ET 9pm primetime line-up.

Rodney Ho of The Atlanta Journal Constitution gives the story a bit more punch with a bit less detail as part of a story on 9 p.m. time slot that Larry King occupied for a quarter century and Piers Morgan attempted to fill. The story is mostly about the big guns CNN is bringing into the hour: Mike Rowe (‘formerly of Discovery’s “Dirty Jobs’), Lisa Ling (formerly of “Our America with Lisa Ling”) and John Walsh (formerly of Fox’s ‘America’s Most Wanted”). And the icing on the cake:

Finally, how could the most famous man in history have left almost no trace behind? Bringing the most compelling artifacts together for the first time, The Jesus Code will take viewers on a thrilling high-stakes journey through forensics, biblical archeology and forgery in history, exploring the evidence of Jesus’ existence by questioning the authenticity of sacred relics.

Let’s see, six relics?  (1) Shroud of Turin, (2) True Cross, (3) Holy Grail ???, (4) Veronica’s Veil ???, (5) Seamless Garment ???, (6) ???.