Home > History, St Louis 2014 > A Detailed Response to The Halo Study

A Detailed Response to The Halo Study

November 8, 2014

In my opinion the postulated and fitted halo is more a result of wishful thinking,
than careful, meticulous and objective analysis without preconceived ideas.  — O.K.

imageO.K. has written a detailed … response to Peter Schumacher about halo study (PDF format). It warrants your attention when considering Pete’s paper. O.K. concludes:

Contrary to Peter Schumacher claims, after analysing BW photos of the Shroud I see no compelling evidence (and definitely not "beyond any reasonable doubt") for the presence of the postulated halo around Shroud face. According to my analysis there are no significant differences of intensity in the region around the face, compared to other non-image, non-burn areas (even if some regions around the face appear minimally darker than average background), not to say about any circular-shape „halo” around the face. In my opinion the postulated and fitted halo is more a result of wishful thinking, than careful, meticulous and objective analysis without preconceived ideas.

This does not mean that I reject Wilson and others theory that the Mandylion transferred to Constantinople in 944 was actually the Shroud. In my view, the analysis of documentary evidence created after the transfer leaves practically no room for other conclusion. This is another topic, however. Yet also I think that the history of the Mandylion, as both concept and physical object(s), and its relation to the Shroud is far more complex than most researchers assume and current theories do not give full answers for all questions and issues.

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  1. Louis
    November 8, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Why waste time seeing things like halos in the Shroud image? I saw halos depicted on non-Christian images more than a decade ago. References to make things easy?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo_(religious_iconography)

  2. November 9, 2014 at 12:10 am

    OK, I noticed that the Halo proposed by Rev. Schumacher is lighter than the surrounding cloth which would match what happens to un-bleached linen. I remember going over this point with Hugh before, Bleached linen (Holland cloth) on the contrary would darken when exposed.

    • November 9, 2014 at 4:30 am

      Neither this,nor that way. I simply see no significant differences (whether lighter or darker) around the face, compared to other areas, not to say about any circular shape. I don’t know how they (Soons and Schumacher) observe it. They haven’t shown us any convincing chart (similar to mine) proving that the region around face is indeed lighter/darker than the rest of the cloth.

  3. daveb of wellington nz
    November 9, 2014 at 4:59 am

    Louis, As you indicate, the halo is a very ancient form of showing the aura or emanations from or around the head of those regarded as exceptionally holy, indicating their numinous quality, and there are all sorts of symbolism associated with it. The earliest one I saw on your Wiki ref was the Egyptian Ra of about 1200 BC. It would seem to have entered Christian art from Roman and Greek representations, such as the Sol Invictus.

    However in the case of the Shroud, I think there is an inference that a halo effect could result from the action of light or fading from its prior presentation in the form of a Mandylion. This could occur if the image was masked by a cloth covering leaving a circular hole to expose only the face, perhaps such as in some of the lattice-work images of the mandylion displayed in Ian Wilson’s 2012 Valencia presentation. If the mandylion was in fact ever displayed in this way then over time the exposed part of the cloth would fade leaving a nimbus effect.

    But as O.K. says, perhaps the alleged nimbus around the face of the Shroud image is only wishful thinking by those interested in promoting the Mandylion = Shroud hypothesis.

  4. Louis
    November 9, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    David, that’s right. It is wrong to impose on the Shroud influences from older images. I did learn to detect the aura with instruments while studying Parapsychology and it is also controversial, something to do with Kirlian photography, liquid in the body and so on. i think the halo, as you pointed out, was conceived to convey the holiness, luminous quality, of mythical figures.

  5. Louis
    November 9, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    A bit off-track but it is really worthwhile watching this rare documentary.
    After 40 years as an atheist an Australian university professor of philosophy moved to Egypt to become a Coptic monk in a monastery in the Egyptian desert:
    http://www.vox.com/xpress/2014/11/9/7177553/why-australian-atheist-philosopher-moved-to-egypt-became-coptic-monk

  6. November 10, 2014 at 8:02 am

    I wonder what your qualifications are, O.K., are you an imaging expert or do you have any qualifications or training that lend weight to your own work? Pete Schumacher is an imaging expert and it is this expertise that is exercised in discussing Dr. Petrus Soons’ observations. From the document: “While it is true that not everyone has a VP‐8 Image Analyzer system available to them; and, while they may not have all the images available to them that I used in this study; I am convinced that this evidence is conclusive and can be readily duplicated by anyone reasonably capable in the disciplines applied while using a variety of easily accessible tools and even some readily accessible images.”

    This work has nothing to do with the halos as discussed here – the word is used to shorten “circular shading”. I need to change the wording on the website to keep others from coming to the same erroneous.

    It has to do with a shading around the facial image on the Shroud which would link the Shroud with the Mandylion. Concerning the historical implications of the results of this study, he writes this: “Thus, the Mandylion and the Shroud of Turin are on[e] and the same. Therefore, the Shroud of Turin existed at a time in accord with the known history of the Mandylion. I defer to the considered works of Ian Wilson and other accomplished historians as to the impact of the results of this study, as I am not a historian.”

    • November 10, 2014 at 8:26 am

      Andy.

      No matter that Pete Schumacher is an imaging expert, but as Mario Latendresse rightly commented, nowhere in the paper nor presentation slides there is evidence for his claims. There is nowhere clear illustration showing that there is indeed a halo around the face on the Shroud.

      Pete Schumacher has written ” I am convinced that this evidence is conclusive and can be readily duplicated by anyone reasonably capable in the disciplines applied while using a variety of easily accessible tools and even some readily accessible images.” So as I consider myself “reasonably capable” in this field (at least I know a little bit in this topic) and have some “easily accessible tools” and images, I tried to verify Pete’s very bold (and significant,had it been true) conclusion. Unfortunately, I have found no basis for it -and should I had there been some.

      Look at those images. Can you see circular shading (“halo”) around the face? Can you see significant differences with other non-image areas on the cloth? Then draw your conclusions yourself. The fact that someone is allegedly an imaging expert, while he does not present compelling arguments for his conclusions, does mean nothing to me.

      And one another thing. If you go to the Soons page (http://shroud3d.com/findings/the-halo-around-the-head ), don’t get fooled by this image:
      http://cdn-3-service.phanfare.com/images/external/3644101_4771140_107855510_Web_3/0_0_3e21d636d0e97cc50a03de453b5017cd_1

      It is terribly bad lighted:

      That is unfortunately an example of very bad science.

      • anoxie
        November 10, 2014 at 8:50 am

        ” some readily accessible images”…

        this is the real crux of the matter. i don’t think basic data is suited to this analysis, and i don’t think both works methods are correct either to analyse background fluctuations.

        • November 10, 2014 at 8:52 am

          It is not that you can use every image you pick from the Internet -some are better, some worse. But there are some good images easily available, like scans from some books, that can be used for that analysis. Of course they do not have full qualities of originals, yet they are sufficient.

        • anoxie
          November 10, 2014 at 8:54 am

          Sufficient to proove the absence of fluctuation? no, you need an image lighted on purpose.

      • November 10, 2014 at 7:23 pm

        Thanks for your reply OK. I agree the writeup leaves much to be desired – it is not nearly specific enough in some cases. For example, I would like if he would have specified what disciples one ought to be “reasonably capable” in in order to duplicate and support or deny the assertions made by Dr. Soons. I assume I do not have the expertise to be able to duplicate his experiments. I wonder if some figure they are “reasonably capable” and aren’t and others figure they are not so and maybe are.

  7. November 10, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Sufficient to proove the absence of fluctuation? no, you need an image lighted on purpose.

    I don’t know what you mean anoxie. Image lighted on purpose? One could cynically reply that images Soons presents on his page are delliberately lighted on purpose, to show alleged (yet false) halo.

    • anoxie
      November 10, 2014 at 9:09 am

      I mean the major source of fluctuation of contrast on an image is the light source itself. If you don’t control the light source, how do you want to infer any conclusion on the contrast you see on a photograph?

      • November 10, 2014 at 9:14 am

        Exactly.

        • anoxie
          November 10, 2014 at 9:18 am

          But it works the other way round, if you don’t control the light source, you can’t quantify precisely the background fluctuation and see whether limited areas are beyond random fluctuation.

  8. November 10, 2014 at 9:23 am

    But it works the other way round, if you don’t control the light source, you can’t quantify precisely the background fluctuation and see whether limited areas are beyond random fluctuation.

    Yes, but my purpose was not to show whether the purported halo actually is or isn’t there. I could, and I wanted to say only that there are no evidence for Pete’s Schumacher claims. If there is some halo effect, than it is below at least my own methods of detection.

  9. November 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    OK, what image is this one “Gino Moretto’s Całun: Przewodnik, Wydawnictwo Salezjańskie 1998”? Pete used a scientific grade Schwortz transparency professionally back lighted.

    • November 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      It’s probably just Enrie.

      • November 11, 2014 at 8:25 pm

        Wasn’t the Enrie photo pushed contrast? This in and of itself would mean the image data was already altered. I wonder how many iterations the photo you were using went through. The more it goes through, the less you are testing the image and more you are testing distortions of the image.

        • November 12, 2014 at 5:14 am

          Yes, but even such photo should be enough to notice significant differences in “circular shading” (halo) area, compared to other non-image areas, had they been there. Notice that differences in brightness between various control areas are greater then between them and face region.

  10. Louis
    November 11, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    It is possible to accept the proposition if it is circular shading, not a “halo”. The circle, interpreted as a halo, is depicted on the battle standard of Ivan the Terrible and dozens of icons and manuscripts before the emperor’s period, apparently derived from the Mandylion.

    • November 11, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      It wasn’t claimed as a “halo”, but “circular shading”, Louis. I had just used the word halo as a shorthand, but that didn’t work out well since it seemed to lend confusion to the research, so I changed it.

  11. November 11, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Andy, did you say, “Pete used a scientific grade Schwortz transparency professionally back lighted.”?

    What image, specifically? All back lighted shroud images i have seen have a light source hot spot (a halo maker if ever there was one) and no visible image.

    See http://www.pinterest.com/pin/433682639087530356

    • November 11, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      Paulette, if you look at the document, you will see this: “The primary image used was the 1978 full‐size color image on Kodak Duratrans film purchased from Barrie Schwortz in 2009.” This would be the color photo. If there are any hotspots, you would have to direct that question to Pete. We are presently preparing the new space to move the museum into so he might not be able to respond adequately for a while. You can contact him from our website (click my name).

  12. November 21, 2014 at 12:54 am

    When OK does a complete study on multiple images, then he can come back and tell me what he thinks. Until that point, his 5 minutes are up.

  13. Max patrick Hamon
    November 21, 2014 at 7:57 am

    Reminder for OK:

    As early as 1994, both on high contrast enhanced orthochromatic and traditional silver Sindon overall photographs, I detected a vast nimbus-like shaped light discoloration all around the Turin Sindon face and cutting across the upper part of the chest (face centered i.e. unlike your two above illustrations).

    In 1998 I detected the same circular halo in situ cathedralis torinensis by standing at a distance between 15 to 30m away from the famous relic and called to witness a solicitor/attorney friend of mine who did confirm he could clearly see it too.

    The vast circular halo also appears on high 2002 Durante contrast enhanced extensive digital Turin Sindon overall photographs.

    • Max patrick Hamon
      November 21, 2014 at 8:01 am

      My question is: OK have you ever seen the TS in situ and stood at a distance between 15 and 30m away from the famous relic?

      • Max patrick Hamon
        November 21, 2014 at 9:21 am

        BTW I am not promoting the Mandylion = Shroud hypothesis, since I think there were TWO different relics: one touched up namely the (positive) Holy Face of the Holy Mandylion and the (negative) Holy Face of the Holy Sindon. Both were displayed in a latticed monstrance-like reliquary of silver-gilt with vast central circular opening.

  14. November 21, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    As early as 1994, both on high contrast enhanced orthochromatic and traditional silver Sindon overall photographs, I detected a vast nimbus-like shaped light discoloration all around the Turin Sindon face and cutting across the upper part of the chest (face centered i.e. unlike your two above illustrations).

    In 1998 I detected the same circular halo in situ cathedralis torinensis by standing at a distance between 15 to 30m away from the famous relic and called to witness a solicitor/attorney friend of mine who did confirm he could clearly see it too.

    Max, unless you show me a chart showing there is a significant difference in brightness of the face region (not based on the photo with over-illuminated face) showing there is significant difference from other background area, I cannot be convinced. And the same for Andy. No one has shown such chart so far -not even Pete Schumacher.

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