Future Testing of the Shroud

This is a long video. It’s open discussion at the 2014 conference in St. Louis. The topic is important: Future Testing of the Shroud moderated by John Jackson. Add your comments, below.

2014, A Good Year for Blogging

Hopefully, I will be adding a “What is Being Discussed and Questioned” page

imageIt has been a good year on this blog.  We will have achieved almost a million page views in 2014. I’m projecting 950,000 versus 553,885 for the previous year for a life of the site total of 2,740,000.  The number of unique, different people (browser fingerprints) visiting the site during the year will have jumped to about 375,000 compared to 167,894 for the previous year. 

Thank you, many of you, for suggestions on how to improve the blog.

imageProviding share buttons for users’ Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts on each and every top-level web page proved very beneficial. I am going to start providing similar buttons on all pages.  (I just noticed that the now gloriously redesigned Holy Shroud Official Website, sindone.org, has done the same thing on every page). 

Having certain information on each and every page proved popular with users. This included the search box and the TEDx talk by Barrie Schwortz. I’m adding the new 15 minute video by Russ Breault and, hopefully, early next year, a “What is Being Discussed and Questioned” page.  Links to various papers, interviews, etc. maintained in this blog’s storage space will soon be listed on a distinct catalog page.  I’m also adding a tip sheet for reader comments with easy to understand instructions for including hot links to images and videos from other websites. Comments are the never ending dialog and debate of ideas that makes this site useful and interesting; there have been 12,500 such comments this year.

We hit our stride in 2011 and doubled the number of page views in just three years. 2014 showed great growth. We won’t hit a million by year end but it will be close.image

WordPress only started counting unique visitors for full years last year. A visitor (a unique browser fingerprint) is only counted once in a calendar period such as a single year. The same visitor may be counted in each year, however. We will come close to 400,000 visitors by year end compared to 167,894 last year.image


Thanks, everyone.

Is Fluorescence Still in Question?

Which compels us to revisit Charring, fluorescence and image-forming
mechanisms. Beware Shroudology’s junk science and flawed logic…
on Colin’s blog

imageJonathan in Houston writes:

Before moving to Houston I worked as a tech in a crime and accident lab for twelve and a half years and I can tell you we found scorches on cloth so light you could not see them. Even so they fluoresced. We also found very visible scorches that did not fluoresce at all. So what Dr. Berry wrote about light and heavy scorching makes a lot of sense to me.  I do not recall anything about linen specifically and I do not know about the effects of age.  I wonder, is there a definitive study about the scorching on the Shroud? Did anyone quantify and chart fluorescence at the edges of different burn marks and beyond the edges of the burn marks?  Did anyone experiment with a control sample of untreated linen cloth that was not modernized for brightness or wettability?  Did anyone examine other ancient linen cloths that have been burned in places?  BTW I am not a chemist.

I think this recent comment by Colin Berry is what Jonathan is referring to:

image. . .  Polymerization may well be the key to understanding the basis to the fluorescence of the 1532 burn marks, and why (in passing) it’s a mistake to imagine that the TS cannot be a scorch through lacking fluorescence.

The fact that the 1532 burn marks still fluoresce almost 5 centuries later suggests the molecules responsible for the fluorescence are of relatively high molecular weight, almost certainly solids, or they would have evaporated away by now. Candidate molecules, if one is looking for uv fluorescence and high molecular weight, say 300 or greater, would be the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, containing fused aromatic ring systems (5 or 6 carbon). Are there mechanisms by which they could be formed in linen exposed to very high temperatures? Yes there are. Here’s the reasoning. The ultimate product from deep scorching of linen is black charcoal, i.e. microcrystalline graphite. While the latter is almost pure carbon, its graphene sheets are polycyclic aromatic in structure, ie. fused benzene rings, and there is no way they could be formed from cellulose etc of linen except via a polymerization process from low molecular weight monomers. But forming those monomers, whether furfural or some other product of pyrolysis, requires high temperatures, considerably higher than those needed merely to leave a scorch mark on linen.

Without labouring the detail, or going over old ground, the structure of the flax fibre is probably the key to understanding the difference between light scorching (no fluorescence) and heavy deeper scorching (intense fluorescence). Light scorches probably pyrolyse selectively the carbohydrates of the primary cell wall, notably the chemically reactive hemicelluloses. Heavy deeper scorches affect the cellulose in the core of the fibre, requiring a considerably higher temperature, and generating the monomers that are needed for polymerization on the graphite pathway terminating in charcoal that are responsible for intermediate uv fluorescence.

Take away message: it’s false logic or bad science or both to imagine that the fluorescence of the 1532 burn marks precludes heat as a mechanism for TS body image formation. Barrie Schwortz, Russ Brault and other pro-authenticity proslelytizers please note: your playing the ‘fluorescence card’ may impress your audiences, but they don’t impress this retired researcher who has experience of tracking fluorescent compounds as part of his research career, and knows rather more than you do about the complexities of the fluorescence phenomenon, and why it can never be used to prove or disprove a case if you know NOTHING about the chemical identity of the fluorescent species.

Which compels us to go over old ground and revisit Charring, fluorescence and image-forming mechanisms. Beware Shroudology’s junk science and flawed logic… on Colin’s blog wherein we read:

The non-fluorescent body image on the Shroud is a pale sepia colour.  It may or may not have been the result of mild scorching (I happen to believe it is a light scorch). But the fluorescent, heavily charred regions on the Shroud are the result the 1532 fire etc. There is no inconsistency whatsoever between these two findings. All that remains to be done is to offer an explanation as to why one fluoresces and the other does not, ensuring that it is a TESTABLE  and potentially FALSIFIABLE explanation, i.e. a SCIENTIFIC explanation.

Science Channel’s new Biblical Conspiracies series

ripped from the pages of speculative sensationalism

imageJoe Marino tips us off. After reading Joe’s note below, click on the image to the right to see a couple of back to back trailers of the show. The trailers may be all you need to see.

The Science Channel premiered a new series tonight (Sunday) called "Biblical Conspiracies."  One of the episodes was titled "Nails of the Cross."  The description from the Science website:  "Two nails were discovered in the tomb of the High Priest Caiaphas who, according to the gospels, sent Jesus to the Romans, who then sent him to the cross. Using high tech tools, scientists try to prove that these nails were used to crucify Jesus."

imageThis is a follow up documentary to the recent Simcha Jacobovici program that was on the Discovery Channel I believe, that also sought to prove that the nails may have been the ones used in Jesus’ crucifixion.  Many mainstream scholars dismissed his claims out of hand after that airing, but this program features a skeptic of Jacobovici who proves that the nails were, in fact, used in a crucifixion.  He found bone and wood on the nails.  Before it was proved to be wood (in an altered form), it was thought that it might have been the Shroud.  One other Shroud-related point is a depiction of how the nail may have nailed into wood and through the palm.  The program shows the use of a scanning electron microscope as well as many other scientific tests and interviews of various scientific experts.

There may be two interesting segments. Here is a link to the schedules for . . .

  • Nails of the Cross:  Two nails were discovered in the tomb of the High Priest Caiaphas who, according to the gospels, sent Jesus to the Romans, who then sent him to the cross. Using high tech tools, scientists try to prove that these nails were used to crucify Jesus.
  • Secrets of the Crucifixion:  A scientific investigation of 2,000-year-old bones may hold the key to the Crucifixion, revealing that the classical depiction of Jesus on the cross may be all wrong.

And then there is also . . .

  • Bride of God:  Gathering dust at the British Library is a 1500-year-old manuscript, written by an anonymous monk. After millennia of rumors, this seems to be the first solid written evidence that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.

And this is what the Science Channel calls science; it’s kind of like thinking that Ice Road Truckers and Ax Men are history on the History Channel.

Russ Breault: The Shroud of Turin in Fifteen Minutes

Russ Breault has just posted this. Do have a look.

Link to Video on YouTube

A New York Times One-Sip-of-Coffee Story

imageVictoria Shannon writes in the New York Times:

Millions of people make a pilgrimage to Mexico City around this time every year for the festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12, a Christian holy day and a national holiday in Mexico.

The object of their devotion is an Indian peasant’s cloak with the portrait of the Virgin Mary, which was said to have miraculously been imprinted on this date in 1531, after he encountered her apparition there.

The 4-foot-8-inch cloak has never been subjected to a complete scientific analysis the way the Shroud of Turin has. . . .

The rest of the story is meager, hardly worth the effort to click your mouse. It briefly mentions the microscopic pictures that one man thinks he see in the eyes of the image.  You are better off searching Google for <Our Lady of Guadalupe eyes>.

Is there an art historian in the house?

imageColin Berry did an interesting 3D rendering from the painting "Descent from the Cross with the Holy Shroud" or as it is sometimes called, “The Entombment of Christ” by Giovanni Battista della Rovere (c. 1575-c. 1640).  The question must be asked; how much has this painting been enhanced from the original? To what extents did this alter the 3D rendering. To see why we need to question this, look at the copy on the website of the Shroud Museum in Turin (see clickable thumbnails below).

The bigger question may be: how accurate is this popular web version (center below) as a useful indicator of what the shroud looked like in the early 17th century.  Should we not be using the photograph that is on the Shroud Museum website.

ImageJ Rendering from the Giovanni Battista della Rovere painting shown here in the center. The "Descent from the Cross with the Holy Shroud" or “The Entombment of Christ” by Giovanni Battista della Rovere painted about 1625, as it appears in many websites on the web. As it appears on the website of the Church of the Holy Shroud and the Shroud Museum where the painting is located. As photographed Nov 6, 2008. The web size is 2585×3396 meaning you can have a good close look.

imageNote:  Paul Vignon attributed the above painting to Giulio Clovio (1498–1578) and a different painting, shown here on the right, to Giovanni Battista della Rover.

Is there an art historian in the house?

Trip Advisor Considers Cathedral & the Holy Shroud a Place

The rating/booking service calls it Holy Shroud not Shroud of Turin; that’s interesting. Trip Advisor has identified 142 hotels for you. Think they gearing up for the 2015 exposition?


Press Release: Planned Film About Apostle Thaddeus

Many of those who believe that the Shroud of Turin is authentic,
also believe that there is a connection between the Shroud and the Apostle Thaddeus.
The Shroud will be featured in the movie.

Walker Cable Productions (Sourced from Assyrian International News Agency), December 11, 2014.

Lorenzo Lamas, 1980s heartthrob and star of the hit series "The Renegade," is set to portray the Apostle Thaddeus in an upcoming biblical epic. The movie will be produced by Walker Cable Productions, in Association with Executive Producer Billy Haido and filmed near San Antonio, Texas. The working title of the film is "The Acts of the Apostle Thaddeus."

Lamas said, "I have worked with Walker Cable Productions in several films on the course of the last several years and it is my understanding that they will be producing a film on the Apostle Thaddeus in the near future. Based on my former association with this company and the integrity of Sam Cable and Chuck Walker as friends and film makers, I have a strong interest in being involved in this project as an actor in the title role of Thaddeus. I find the script interesting and captivating and look forward to making this project a big success. I am thrilled to be working on Thaddeus, the new WalkerCable production. These are terrific guys and a wonderful production company that I have had the pleasure of working with many, many times in the past. So, if you have the opportunity to invest in a WalkerCable production don’t hesitate. You will not regret it. So, I am excited about being a part of this Christian movie. I think it is an important time for our society to embrace the Christian faith. I am looking forward to it."

"The Acts of the Apostle Thaddeus" tells the story of the Apostle Thaddeus evangelizing Mesopotamia and founding the Assyrian Church of the East and the Armenian Church. The story is based on the writings of the early church fathers and traditions of Assyrian Christians, who are the indigenous people of Mesopotamia. Along with Lorenzo Lamas and Walker Cable Productions, the production crew will include three Assyrian Americans, and at least six Assyrian Americans will be cast in major roles. This will enable these Assyrian Americans to learn about the art of film-making and perhaps launch their careers in either film production or acting. Being people who’s heritage the film is depicting, they bring with them an additional layer of accuracy and authenticity. The Assyrian American production team are from Strategic Entertainment.

The Assyrians are currently facing terrible challenges and persecution. They face the threat of genocide in their ancestral homeland by Islamic militants groups, perhaps the most recognizable being ISIS. These terrorist groups are actively trying to destroy the ancient Christian community founded by Thaddeus and Thomas.

Stephen Missick, associate pastor of King of Saints Tabernacle in Cleveland, Texas, is writing and producing the biblical movie that will dramatize the story of one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. The script is derived from the Bible and other ancient sources, such as the writings of the Early Church Fathers. The film is anticipated to be produced by WalkerCable, Productions of Conroe, Texas.

WalkerCable plans to begin filming in early 2015. Existing movie sets at the Alamo Village in Brackettville, Texas, as well as other areas around San Antonio, will serve as Biblical Lands.

"From the very beginning of the film industry, movies dramatizing stories from the Bible have been made. Many of these films are classics, such as Cecil B. DeMille’s "The Ten Commandments" and Charlton Heston’s "Ben-Hur." However, I want to do something totally different. I want to do something that audiences have never seen before" Missick said.

In this movie, Pastor Missick will be telling the story of the Apostle Thaddeus. According to early Church Historians, Thaddeus evangelized and established Churches in what are today Iraq, Iran and southern Turkey. The movie "The Acts of the Apostle Thaddeus" is about the Apostle Thaddeus, known among Assyrian Christians as Mar Addai, and the founding of the Assyrian Church of the East. The movie will be based on ancient Assyrian Christian literature, namely "The Doctrine of Addai" and "The Acts of the Apostle Mari." It is also based on other ancient sources, such as the writings of the early church historian Eusebius.

According to Pastor Missick, "The Acts of Thaddeus" tells the story of the origin of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Armenian Church. Pastor Missick describes the story of Thaddeus as a very fascinating one: "According to Church historians, Thaddeus was the groom at the marriage of Cana in Galilee, where Jesus turned the water into wine. There is also a connection between Thaddeus and the Shroud of Turin." The Shroud of Turin is an Icon kept in Turin, Italy that is believed to be the burial shroud of Jesus, and it bears an impression of the body of a crucified man. Many Shroud experts believe that the Shroud of Turin was known as originally known as the Image of Edessa, or the Mandylion. It said to have been brought to the Syriac king Abgar as a gift by Thaddeus. Missick says, "Many of those who believe that the Shroud of Turin is authentic, also believe that there is a connection between the Shroud and the Apostle Thaddeus. The Shroud will be featured in the movie."

Recent cinematic history has seen the resurgence of the Biblical Epic. "The Bible: TV Miniseries," "The Son of God, "as well as "Noah," have been very successful. In addition, faith-based films such as "God’s Not Dead" and "Heaven is for Real" have proven there is large an underserved market for films in the Biblical genre. Soon, Biblical epics such as "Exodus: God’s and Kings" and "A.D.: After the Bible" will arrive on both the big and small screens to serve these markets. This project is unique in that the story of Thaddeus and the founding of the Assyrian Church has never before been told in film.

For more information contact Stephen Andrew Missick, stephenamissick@hotmail.com, 281-592-4104.


Only the Shadow knows

The apparent 3D in the picture to the right was created by the arc of the sun.
The green color was photoshopped in for illustration purposes only.

imageA reader points out:

[Colin Berry wrote], “Takeaway message: there is no encoded 3D information in a photograph of the TS. There is merely a 2D image that has patterns of light or dark that can be computer-processed to give APPARENT relief. But if the original image was not created by photography, but by some other imaging mechanism, there is always the possibility that one will be fooled into thinking that a darker-than-average feature on the image represents high relief. It ain’t necessarily so. Different imaging models create different interpretations.”

He is right. Colin has shown one way that apparent relief can be generated that has nothing to do with shape. Dan, do you remember Nathan Wilson and his Shadow Shroud?  He showed another way to create a 3D image that had nothing to do with it.

How could I not remember Nathan.  We debated briefly on an ABC Radio program.  He got the better of me that day and made me look foolish.  Nice guy, though. And yes, you are right, he did demonstrate another way to generate apparent relief. Apparent is the essential word, however.

imagePersonally, I don’t think what we see on the Turin Shroud is only apparent relief.  I think it is real relief. I think the grayscale values (my preferred term for brightness, darkness, intensity, luminosity, shade, density, etc.) represent that. Regrettably, the only evidence I see for this is that it seems so. “It seems so” is one step lower on the evidence quality ladder than “I think I see.”  Moreover, I have no reason to think that the grayscale values of the shroud images represent distance between the outer surface of the body and facial hair and a burial shroud above and below it. My gut says it is so. Occam’s razor is a great temptation. But in the end there is really no evidence for the scene we imagine.  Could it not just as easily be distance from a hypothetical plane that intersects the body from head to toe, so to speak?  Or relative distance to some point in space? Those notions are harder to imagine because we can’t imagine an action-at-a-distance scenario for them. We have imagined a scenario to go with body to shroud distance. Well, sort of, maybe.

Speaking of imagined scenarios:  “John Jackson’s ‘Fall-through’ hypothesis for image formation belong to the class of hypotheses that invokes the action of photon radiation” (newest Critical Summary 2.1 out of Colorado, page 73). Are we to measure brightness in terms of distance or measure it in terms of time that the cloth spends falling through a mechanically transparent body?  And then  there is Frank Tipler’s hypothesis of dematerialization by electroweak quantum tunneling, in which a “proton plus electron goes to neutrino plus antineutrino.”  Is this a measure of anything that we can comprehend? Tipler, in his book, The Physics of Christianity implies it is distance by telling us that at the time of dematerialization of the body, the cloth is perfectly flat.

And of course we can’t imagine inexplicable non-process miracles; the touch of a hand or finger, a few spoken words, or a seeming unrelated unusual activity all serve as examples. In the New Testament Jesus changes water into wine, a woman is healed when she touches Jesus’ garment, Jesus feeds a multitude with five loaves of bread and two fish. Where is the process in these? What imagined actions are taking place.?  More recently, there is the apparition of Mary appearing to Juan Diego; Mary had arranged flowers in Juan Diego’s cloak and when later he opened his cloak in the presence of a bishop the flowers fell out leaving behind an image now known as Our Lady of Guadalupe. Perhaps the image on the shroud is the result of an inexplicable non-process miracle like that.

Or let’s just suppose Colin is right and the image we see was formed by a hot template. Could the resulting variations in grayscale values  have been caused by varying temperatures in a large piece of metal?

In 2005, Nathan Wilson, experimented with a method he devised, a method for creating an image similar to the shroud.  This isn’t to suggest that this was how the image was formed. But it does show that so-called brightness (grayscale) maps can be generated by other methods that are not formed by action at a distance and that do not contain real distance information. Wilson writes:

The image on the Shroud is dark on a light background. Previous theories had all attempted to explain how linen could be darkened without the use of chemicals, stains, or paints. Wilson wondered if it would be possible to lighten the already dark linen, leaving only a dark image behind.The simplest means of lightening linen, available to all men throughout time, is to bleach it with sunlight. Wilson believed that if an image of a man were painted on glass with a light shade of paint, placed over darker linen, and left beneath the sun, a dark image would be left on a light background. More importantly, he believed a dark and light inversion would take place, creating a photonegative. Wherever light paint had been used, the linen would be shaded from the sun and left dark and unbleached. Wherever the darker shade of linen had been left exposed, the sun would bleach the cloth light. In addition, it was also believed that because the sun would be exposing the linen from approximately one hundred and eighty degrees, a crude three dimensional image would be created.

How 3D-ish are the images?  Colin’s, as well?  Those of the shroud?

Wilson’s Results

Oil paint on glass, produced by David Beauchamp in roughly forty-five minutes while watching stand-up comedy. This painting was the most successful and was used to produce three different images on linen.

The first linen image created by Beauchamp’s window, exposed for ten days generally parallel to the sun’s path. The linen bears a negative image, dark on light (left), which becomes positive, light on dark (right), in a true photonegative.

The second linen image created by Beauchamp’s window, exposed for fifteen days generally perpendicular to the sun’s path. The lines are much harder than those in the first image.

The third and final image created by Beauchamp’s window, exposed for approximately one hundred and forty hours beneath a sunlamp. The stationary light source created an image flat and scattered.

Beauchamp’s parallel shroud (right), and the Turin Shroud (left) both topographically rendered.

The Turin Shroud rendered three-dimensionally. Shabby chic.

The Beauchamp parallel shroud rendered three-dimensionally. Shabbier chic.

Because maybe you wanted to know but probably didn’t

clip_image001The British tabloid Metro is reporting that John Lennon’s ‘Shroud Of Tourin’ to fetch £80,000 at rock auction:

His scribblings, doodles, and witticisms don’t set him out as a titan in the art community – but it doesn’t stop them from commanding large sums at auction.

Several of the former Beatle’s offerings are part of a musical memorabilia sale at Cooper Owen Musical Media Auctions next Monday.

Among them is a typically irreverent drawing on canvas titled Shroud Of Tourin, featuring a classic bespectacled self-portrait and a series of graffiti-esque slogans.

Copying the style of the religious icon the Shroud Of Turin – including being hard to see without close scrutiny – the work was done while Lennon was filming the 1967 movie How I Won The War.

Roger Bassett’s Clarifying Art

imageI once watched an art restorer working on a tiny spot of a damaged painting. He put down his brushes and tiny scalpels and capped the bottle of cleaning fluid he was working with. Motionless and silent, he just stared at the painting. Finally, after three or four minutes, he spoke. “I must figure out what the artist intended,” I remember him saying. “It’s art, not science. But its not my aesthetic; its systematic.”

Roger W. Bassett has “restored” (clarified) a portion of the shroud: the face. If he has indeed figured out what the artist intended, it is exciting. That artist, if the shroud is authentic, is God himself or a natural process. If not authentic then the original artist was . . . well . . .  an artist. That’s my take on it (and I think the shroud is authentic).

Roger’s St. Louis presentation, “Portrait” from the Turin Shroud: An Artist’s Study of the Shroud Image demands your attention:

It is important to note that due to the complexity of the shroud image this process of clarification is a continuing “work in progress”. What I am able to share with you today is hardly a finished work. There are areas where clarification was gained at the temporary expense of losing some clarity in other areas because for every adjustment made to any given area the perception of the surrounding areas is affected, thus affecting the interpretation of what is actually there. Some areas where data was retrieved by raising the luminosity, left some other areas over-exposed so that there are still corrections that need to be made, which when done will only further enhance the image with even greater accuracy. So having made this disclaimer, that there is much more work to be done, let me begin.

From one slide in the PowerPoint:

The narrow look to the face resolves itself as the areas of image drop-off are “equalized” to become a seamless transition into the other areas of the facial anatomy.



Remembering Ray Rogers at the St. Louis Conference

imageYou are going to want to read Remembering Ray Rogers by Barrie Schwortz. This is a short presentation. You can read all of  the PowerPoint charts in less than five minutes.

Barrie begins:

In the past few years, I have sadly witnessed a growing number of personal attacks impugning the integrity, character and credentials of the late Raymond N. Rogers, STURP chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratory. Although his research on the Shroud is empirically honest, is published in highly regarded peer-reviewed journals and speaks for itself, I believe it is time that the public get some background about the “other” Ray Rogers that he never revealed to the “Shroud crowd” himself. That is the primary purpose of this short presentation.

Barrie rounds out his talk with:

Ray would have welcomed the many critiques of his research that have been published in the ensuing years and would have defended the rights of those who disagreed with him to say so publicly, whether they were right or wrong.

In the end however, Ray was much more than the “mid-level scientist” that some of his most vocal critics have labeled him. He was a true leader that consistently demonstrated his knowledge, honesty and scientific integrity, not only in his chosen field of expertise, but in every facet of his research on the Shroud of Turin.

Anyone who says otherwise is simply wrong.

Thank you!

A quick note:  There is a link in one of Barrie’s charts to the NATAS (North American Thermal Analysis Society) Notes for their 2005 conference with an article by Jim McCarty. This link does not work but it did work until recently. You can still find the document in Google Cache. If you want it get it soon and put it away wherever you put your personal archives. The link to the cached copy is:  http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:rLqHesufw5cJ:natasinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/natasnotes-3723.pdf+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us.

The article on Ray Rogers is on page 16 of NATAS Notes.

Picture for Today


Click image for larger version

Official poster for "Reflections on the Shroud," as essay contest that the Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud of Turin is sponsoring. The aim is to promote emerging authors to spread their cultural contributions in the activities of the Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud Museum and the International Center of Sindonology the forthcoming Exposition according to the sponsors.

For details (in Italian) see Literary Contest on the Shroud: Reflections on the Shroud

Should we be rethinking the VP8 and 3D images?

Todd, a reader of this blog, just yesterday posted the following quotation from Peter Schumacher. It’s from a 1999 paper by Pete entitled Photogrammetric Responses From The Shroud of Turin.

The Shroud of Turin induces a [3D] result through photographic imaging that is unique, compared to all other photographic results taken from other objects of the same acknowledged period as the Shroud, of prior periods, and to the present day. It is the “data” existing on the Shroud of Turin, which induces the unique photographic results. Therefore, the Shroud image, itself, is unlike any other object or image known to exist. (Bracketed “3D” added by me for clarity)

imageThis obvious absence of evidence as evidence fallacy – call it what you want: argumentum ad ignorantiam, the black swan problem – has stood, it seems, since sometime after 1976, when (quoting from A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses – Version 2.1 by Bob Siefker, et. al.):

[John] Jackson, with the help of Eric Jumper (both on active duty and teaching at the U.S. Air Force Academy) used a VP-8 analog computer furnished by Pete Schumacher, an engineer with Interpretation Systems, Inc., to make a brightness map of the Shroud image.

Then they tried to do the same thing with photographs of people and objects. Pete tried. Others tried over the years. Everything else was distorted; no real 3D.  There was, among those who understood that a normal painting or photograph of a person or object contained brightness information that was representative of reflected light while the image on the shroud contained brightness information that was not that but rather seemingly spatial data, a sense that the argument was safe. It has been repeated and restated over and over by others.

“OK Hugh [Farey],” wrote Todd, “Maybe you can respond to this quote. I ask again that you provide published evidence to refute this claim.

As long as we continue to think of just regular paintings or photographs of people or normal objects – and we ignore the cries from the fallacy police – we are on pretty safe ground.  It cannot yet be refuted.

But Colin Berry didn’t do what others had done. He made a scorch of an object on cloth. And he found that that scorch behaved like (or pretty much behaved like) the image on the Shroud of Turin. Colin found a black swan and we couldn’t say any longer that all swans are white.

That is published evidence; it is published on Colin’s blog and reshown here. It is not a painting or a photograph of an object; it is a scorch.

If we continue to speak only of normal paintings and photographs we are still on safe ground. But we have to drop the idea that the shroud image is unique.  It isn’t.

Click on the images to see larger versions

While we are at it, maybe we can drop the other fallacy, namely that the 3D data represents body to cloth distance.  That has not been shown to be true.

Yannick Clément on Paul Maloney’s St. Louis paper

. . . the idea of a man-made forgery became completely obsolete . . .

One person who read Paul Maloney’s St. Louis paper was Yannick Clément (pictured with his guitar in photo supplied by him). What he wrote in an email to me is the reason I moved discussion of Paul’s paper up in the queue. But it also meant I had to delay sharing Yannick’s email until I read the paper. You should read Paul’s paper first. Then read Yannick’s additions, for that is what he offers us here:

imageIn the very long paper written by Paul Maloney entitled « Joseph M. Gambescia, M.D. and the Position of the Feet on the Shroud of Turin. The History of an Investigation. », which he presented at the recent St Louis conference, there is a very interesting list of what he called « Shroud’s anomalies » that represent, as he say, real problems for the painting hypothesis. This list can be found in pages 80 and 81 of his paper.

First, I want to say that I agree with Mr. Maloney that everyone of these « anomalies » are truly problematic for the painting hypothesis (except the second and fifth ones, for which I have serious doubts). But I think this list can be extended and I also think that such an extended list of « anomalies » must be seen as being good enough to discard not only the painting hypothesis for image formation but every hypothesis involving a forgery that would have been done with anything else than a real beaten, scourged and crucified corpse!

I’ll let you judge for yourself… Here’s the « anomalies » I would add to the list of « Shroud’s anomalies » described by Mr. Maloney in his paper:

1- The presence of serum stains surrounding most of the bloodstains and the kind of transfer that is responsible for these blood and serum stains (i.e. a transfer done from exudates of moistened blood clots instead of liquid blood) is enough to discard any idea of a forger who would have artificially created bloodstains on the cloth as a reminder of the bloody stigmata of Christ. Here’s what Alan Adler said about this issue in his book The Orphaned Manuscript: "We have shown by immunological tests that the blood is definitely primate blood, and that it must have been taken from the exudate of a clot at a certain point in the clotting process. An artist would therefore have needed the exudate from the wounds of a severely tortured man, or baboon, and he would need to take the substance within a 20-minute period after the clotting had begun, and paint it on the cloth with the serum edges and all the other forensic precision that we see there. I believe most reasonable people would conclude that it is simply impossible that an artist could have produced the blood imprints on the Shroud of Turin. Rather, it is logical to conclude, from the nature and characteristics of the bloodstains on the Shroud, that the cloth once enfolded the body of a severely beaten and crucified human being."

2- The fact that there are some missing parts in the body image (in the frontal as well as in dorsal image) is totally inconsistent with the idea of a forger that would have artificially crafted these body images in order to create a false relic of Jesus’ burial shroud with body images that would eventually been showed publicly to the faithful. Here’s some of these missing body parts: A) The thumb of the left hand is missing in the frontal image. B) Good portions of the feet are missing in both images (frontal and dorsal). C) The back of the knees are missing in the dorsal image.

3- Except for maybe one or two exceptions, Byzantine and Medieval artists have always depicted scenes of the Passion of Christ with some kind of cloth covering the groin, pelvic and buttocks areas, while on the Shroud, the image is showing a man completely nude.

4- The body image on the Shroud strongly support the hypothesis that the Shroud man had to carry only the patibulum of the cross instead of the entire cross, which is contrary to the vast majority of the artistic depiction of the bearing of the cross by Byzantine or Medieval artists.

5- The minute traces of aragonite dirt that have been found by the STURP team in a few « relevant » places like the heel or the nose for example are truly inconsistent with the idea of a forger using some kind of artistic or artificial technique to craft a false relic of Christ, because such traces of dirt (just like the serum stains surrounding most of the bloodstains by the way) would not have been visible for most faithful who would have look at the Shroud. On the contrary, these minute traces of aragonite dirt are consistent with the idea that the Shroud man would have walked barefoot on the way to his crucifixion.

6- Outside the image of the feet on the dorsal image, there is a clear mirror (or doubled) bloodstain that really seems to have been produced when the cloth was folded in that region. The idea that a forger would have wanted to artificially created such a mirror (or doubled) bloodstain in that particular region goes beyond any rationality, while such a strange feature truly have an « authenticity » signature.

7- The Shroud is a non-homogeneous cloth made of two distinct parts that came from the same original long piece of linen cloth. Such a cutting and later stitching is inconsistent with the idea of a forger who would have wanted to create a perfect relic of Jesus’ burial cloth that would have eventually been showed publicly to the faithful. On the contrary, this very odd feature truly have an « authenticity » signature.

That’s the 7 additional « Shroud’s anomalies » I wanted to add to Mr. Maloney’s list and I think that they are very relevant. In my mind, some of them, like the first one for example, are even more relevant than the ones he pointed out and especially the second and fifth anomalies he described, which are far from being proven. I think that once you take into account all the « anomalies » I described + those described by Mr. Maloney (even if we decide to left aside the second and fifth ones), the idea of a man-made forgery became completely obsolete and you don’t have too much choice to conclude that the blood and serum stains as well as the body image that we see on the Shroud MUST have been left there by some form of (probably natural) interaction between a real bloody and traumatized body and the cloth…

Of course, as I underlined in my paper entitled « Concerning the question of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin – Please don’t forget the evidence of the bloodstains, such a conclusion doesn’t completely discard the idea of a « natural » forgery done with the use of a real crucified body or the idea of the Shroud being the burial cloth of an anonymous crucified man other than Jesus, but it certainly lead to completely discard any scenario involving a forgery done with the use of some artistic or artificial technique… And this is true not only for the blood and serum stains, but also for the body image.

And when you understand that this is a real burial cloth that enveloped for only a short period of time a real crucified body showing all the bloody wounds of Jesus (as reported in the Gospels) and that such a gruesome burial cloth had been taken out of a tomb in order to be well-preserved (which is something that would have been considered a legal impurity for a Jew in the time of Jesus, not because of the bloodstains on the cloth, but because this cloth had been in contact with a dead body and which can explain, at least partially, why there are no traces of such an important Christian relic in ancient sources), it became obvious that the answer must be positive with a very high level of confidence (which I estimated quite ironically in the same way than the dating results of the C14 labs in 88, i.e. positive with 95% confidence). Effectively, after having analyzed the two possible scenarios that do not involve the body of Jesus of Nazareth (i.e. the scenarios #1 and 2 in my paper about the bloodstains evidence), I came to understand that those two were highly improbable and, honestly, I consider both of them to be very far-fetched (which explain the high level of confidence I just expressed in favor of the authenticity of the Shroud as being the real burial cloth of Jesus).

Yannick Clément, Louiseville, Québec, Canada

Paul Maloney’s St. Louis Paper (The Shroud is not a painting)

This list, then, and the complexity it represents, itself becomes a powerful argument
against the position that the Shroud was a painting.
No artist ever painted such a complex depiction of the Crucified.

imageMUST READ:  You are not going to be able to read this in twenty minutes. You can’t even skim it that quickly. This 81-and=then-some page paper, Joseph M. Gambescia, M.D. and the Position of the Feet on the Shroud of Turin. The History of an Investigation  by Paul C. Maloney is too important and two informative to to not be read carefully including the endnotes. Here is a sampling:

Page 4:

It was a dreary, rainy afternoon, April 7, 1980. I should have had the light on in my study but I didn’t because I was in a melancholy mood. Then the phone rang. I recognized that baritone voice on the other end of the line and knew I was talking to Hershel Shanks, founder and editor of the world’s largest circulating biblical archaeology magazine, The Biblical Archaeology Review, calling from Washington, D.C.

Hershel wanted me to write an article on the Shroud for the magazine. “But, Hershel, I don’t know anything about the Shroud of Turin!”

Page 9:

It is important here to insert here that Dr. Gambescia was not rejecting the work of the French physician, Dr. Pierre Barbet; he was actually building upon Barbet’s work. Neither was Dr. Gambescia rejecting the special interpretation of the arms and their attendant blood flows proposed by the late Mons. Giulio Ricci. His proposal, however, does suggest an interpretation different from that proposed for the blood flows for the feet than that offered by Mons. Giulio Ricci. It is this new interpretation that we are introducing for further research by the medical profession to be discussed alongside the earlier discussions for the feet. . . .

Pages 80 and 81:

A List of the Shroud’s Anomalies: Problems with the Painting Hypothesis

Finally, if it is argued that an artist did paint the original Shroud—as this view has most forcefully been argued by the late Dr. Walter C. McCrone in so many of his publications—the Shroud now becomes most unique. We may therefore conclude this paper with a convenient list of anomalies, as they would become if a singular artist painted the original:

1. Artists down through the ages have presented the Crucified wearing a crown of thorns. The Shroud shows the Man of the Shroud with a “cap” of thorns.

2. Artists have always depicted the Man of the Shroud with no rope holding the torso against the stipes of the Cross. The Shroud appears to support the view that a rope pulled the torso back to hold it against the upright (stipes) of the cross.

3. Artists have traditionally rendered the Crucified with nails through the palms of the hands. The Shroud shows them to be through the wrists.

4. Artists have long painted the Crucified showing the arms in a “Y” type of stance. But Mons. Giulio Ricci, who studied this in detail, shows that the right arm was likely bent at a right angle, whereas the left was in the “Y” position.

5. Artists have followed several different paths in rendering the feet. Sometimes they show the feet (especially in crucifixes) with the right foot up against the stipes of the cross, and the left nailed atop the right—all with one nail. At other times they have depicted the left against the stipes with the right atop the left foot—again, all with one nail. And sometimes the two feet are nailed side-by-side on a slanted platform (suppedaneum). This latter view is common in Eastern Byzantine, Greek, and Russian Orthodox crucifixes. Gambescia’s view would require two nails, one going through front of the ankle of the right foot to anchor it directly to the stipes, with the left foot nailed atop the center of the right using a single nail leaving the left foot free to swivel.

This list, then, and the complexity it represents, itself becomes a powerful argument against the position that the Shroud was a painting. No artist ever painted such a complex depiction of the Crucified. Yet, students of the history of art—interested especially in cladistics—can now actually see the Shroud as the beginning of a “tree of descent” where one can study just how the many painted views of the Crucified diverged over the centuries, influenced by various translations of the New Testament in conjunction with markings on the Shroud itself and the heavy pressure of tradition in numerous different geographical locales. But that would be the subject of another paper.

Taking comfort in significant endnotes:

Nevertheless, my request to Dr. Adler was precisely because of my concern regarding pareidolia. In my case, I wanted to be absolutely certain that the features discussed in this paper could be seen easily by the human eye. This problem is well illustrated in Ray Rogers review of Mark Antonacci’s book, Resurrection of the Shroud wherein he states:

With regard to other images on the Shroud, few of us can see them. "I think I can see" is not a substitute for an observation, and observations must be confirmed. When Fr. Francis Filas (deceased) claimed he saw the coins, lituus and all, he was looking at specific photographic prints. He had many prints produced at increasing contrast. Finally, all that was left was strings of dots. It took a numismatist who was familiar with ancient Roman coins weeks to "see" the lituus in those photographs. Your mind tries to make sense out of any "patterns" your eye can see. Psychologists have a lot of effort invested in studying such phenomena… It is dangerous to build a scientific theory on such shaky foundations. Your mind tends to see what it expects and/or wants to see. (Rogers’ review, p. 15, available at: http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/rogers.pdf).

The ever present danger of pareidolia and other related issues covered in this extensive endnote (including such problems associated with photo-lithography in the publication process; photo flipflopping [see 13.a below]; cropping, [see 13.a below] etc.) promoted my extreme caution when I asked of Dr. Adler this special favor to examine the Shroud in person in June 1997 to verify whether or not the markings that had been digitally enhanced were there and could be seen without digital enhancement. This footnote, then, not only covers pareidolia, but also other problems that are not technically defined as pareidolia.

A response to the Critical Summary presentation

A reader writes:

I was wondering if you were there when Robert Siefker dumped on you and your blog during his presentation in St. Louis. Do you have a response?

I was there. It was no big deal. It was friendly. I do have a couple of things to say, however, now that the video of Bob’s remarks are out these. (it’s not mandatory, but do check out 5:45 and 17:45):

Transcript (Bob Siefker):

If I tell [someone] about the Pray Manuscript or somebody just casually mentions it as evidence for the shroud . . . [he] goes to where to find out? Where would he go? He’d go to the Internet. And how many potential hits will he get on the Internet? When you pull up Google it says I’ve got how many articles related to this inquiry Go do Pray Manuscript.  There’s 2,300,000 different potential sites you can go to or indexes in their database for the Pray Manuscript. . . . Does that tell you maybe there’s controversy?

Two million, what? Going online a little while later, I got the following page counts from Google: 1,340 pages for Pray Manuscript and 3,840 for Pray Codex (with or without Hungarian thrown in). Remembering that the French call it Le Codex Pray, I realized the need to consider other languages. Overall, I got about 5,600 pages scattered among less than one thousand websites. That’s a far cry from 2,300,000. That’s not to say there isn’t controversy. There is. But Google counts are NOT indicative of it. Where did that idea come from? There are, after all, 13,100,000 pages about chicken soup.  Controversy?  Well, yes:  noodles versus rice.

But, yes, there is real controversy about the Pray Manuscript. We know this from reading my blog.

Back to the transcript (Bob Siefker):

And then you start drilling down. And then you go to Dan. Forgive me Dan, for a second. Then you go to Dan Porter’s blog and you say oh good, here’s a trusted source. I’ll inquire on Pray Manuscript and you get nine different articles or blog entries, and over 1100  postings, comments. And you start reading them. You’re going to go all over the board. And now you are a shroud neophyte. And now you are a shroud skeptic.  Because you can’t find any answers.

Skeptic? Is that bad? Sad? What? I was a shroud skeptic at one time and I’m glad I was. I remain a skeptic when it comes to many topics pertaining to the shroud, like the claims some make of seeing images of flowers on the cloth. Is that bad?

It should be clear to everyone who reads my introduction in the right-hand column of every one of my blog pages that I think the shroud is probably authentic. Moreover, if you read my postings about the Pray Manuscript you should see that I think it is an artistic interpretation of the burial and resurrection of Christ based on the shroud and the Gospel narratives. As such, I feel that the Pray Manuscript (Codex) is convincing evidence of the shroud’s existence more than a century before its first documented appearance in Western Europe. It is thus, also, convincing evidence that the shroud is older than the earliest date determined by carbon dating. But – and this is very important – in reading the comments of others, it should also be clear that some people disagree. Many who write those comments are well informed and highly qualified. There is a rational basis for their opinions. The fact that there is controversy is something that everyone learning about the shroud should be aware of when they weigh the evidence for themselves.

“Because you can’t find any answers,” Bob wrote as criticism.  Fair enough. Blogs aren’t logical to everyone. They are not like our familiar libraries with their now-electronic old-fashioned card catalogs. They are not like the books that fill those buildings. Nor are they like the online encyclopedias we have come to love and hate. Blogs don’t have the tables of contents or indexes that we are used to. But blogs can be very useful if we use search engines and take the time to read what people are writing.

“And now you are a shroud skeptic,” said Bob.  Really? I give people more credit than that. People don’t become skeptics because they can’t find answers. If anything it’s the other way around; people will believe all manner of things because of a lack of information.

Transcript continued (Bob Siefker):

So there should be a credible way. Dan’s blog provides a tremendous resource for the shroud community and those who have a grounding of some basis, but don’t ever tell a first person that you’ve talked about the shroud, oh go to Dan’s blog and you’ll learn about the Pray Manuscript. You just can’t do it.

imageWell, yes, you can. But it doesn’t happen. The reality of the Internet, like it or not, is that most people will go directly to Wikipedia. Or they may search for “Pray Manuscript” in a search engine and, surprise-surprise, they encounter Wikipedia’s article at the top of the results page. If they are a neophyte, that is where they will most likely begin. They will begin with Wikipedia.

It’s illustrative to see what Wikipedia says in the single paragraph that deals with the Shroud of Turin:

One of the five illustrations within the Codex shows the burial of Jesus. It is sometimes claimed that the display shows remarkable similarities with the Shroud of Turin: that Jesus is shown entirely naked with the arms on the pelvis, just like in the body image of the Shroud of Turin, that the supposed fabric shows a herringbone pattern, identical to the weaving pattern of the Shroud of Turin, that the four tiny circles on the lower image, which appear to form a letter L, “perfectly reproduce four apparent “poker holes” on the Turin Shroud”, which likewise appear to form a letter L. The Codex Pray illustration may serve as evidence for the existence of the Shroud of Turin prior to 1260–1390 AD, the alleged fabrication date established in the radiocarbon 14 dating of the Shroud of Turin in 1988.  (emphasis mine)

That’s it. And, actually, it is quite accurate and economically informative. It is not, however, sufficiently detailed for a careful evidentiary analysis. Moreover, the phrases “sometimes claimed” and “may serve as evidence” imply uncertainty. The phrase “supposed fabric” addresses a point of controversy with regrettably no elaboration. Indeed, we might say, all three phrases tell us there’s controversy.

There is controversy. That is a fact! Shouldn’t the neophyte know about that? Shouldn’t everyone know there is controversy?  Are some of us so afraid of someone becoming a skeptic that we don’t want them to see both sides of the story? The page about the Pray Manuscript in the Critical Summary suggests that there is no controversy whatsoever.

That, in part, is why I cannot recommend the Critical Summary to someone just learning about the shroud. It is inadequate for the task of introducing anyone to the codex. Don’t get me wrong; this document contains an excellent write up about it. I’m convinced that much of it is correct. But there are points I don’t agree with like Mechthild Flury-Lemberg’s opinion that the painter of the illustration in the codex  must have seen the shroud.

I don’t think I’m alone in wanting to know what others think. I’m sure that I’m not alone in wanting to know more.  The Critical Summary ignores that. The Critical Summary is simply too elementary and too much of a one-perspective proselytizing document. Go back to what Bob said in the first minute or so of his talk.

I didn’t become a skeptic because I couldn’t find the answers. I became convinced of the legitimacy of the Pray Codex and its importance as evidence of the shroud’s earlier provenance only after I examined both sides of the questions about the codex illustrations. The blog helps me do that.

Back to the transcript (Bob Siefker):

Barrie, that’s where you want your people to go next if we haven’t told the story about the Pray Manuscript in our document maybe.

I would like to agree. The problem with Barrie’s site (shroud.com) is that it doesn’t contain many of the latest papers. It doesn’t contain any real discussion about the topic. That is not a criticism. It is a statement about the changing nature of the internet.  Other sites, such as Academia.edu have become increasingly popular with authors because they can self-publish when they want to, revise papers without having to wait for update schedules and use social media. There are discussion facilities and direct connections to Twitter and Facebook.

Many other papers are published on conference sites or in journals.   It would be nice if shroud.com could be the one go-to site because it is a great site. More and more so, it doesn’t really matter where papers are archived.  It is all about how they are found and accessed.

Try this in Google:  <site:shroud.com “pray codex” OR “pray manuscript” filetype:pdf>.  Now try it without the site specific limitation. The counts are 34 and 506 respectively.  Academia.edu has 27 papers on just the Pray Manuscript. Why would you not want to at least consider those? (Note: OR must be uppercase).

There is another consideration. It pertains to peer review and the trend towards better review systems. But that’s a subject for another day.

When it comes to the shroud, I believe that every fact and observation, every ancient picture and document, every hypothesis and speculation, everything we think we know and think we don’t know must be questioned.

On the day after the conference I noted that one of the attendees had written to to this blog:

Dr. Siefker’s chart [in his paper] evaluates ten hypotheses against a short list of only seventeen image characteristics. Dr. Siefker said of his paper [it] was a utility for all of us. No it is not. It is a biased defense of Jackson’s theory and nothing more. Do you think people will find it methodically suspicious that only Jackson’s cloth falling hypothesis matches 100% of all image characteristics and that no other hypothesis comes close?

(click on image to see chart)

I went on to add:

The folks at Colorado Springs want feedback. The second page of the summary states: “We welcome comments, but we can only consider those that are substantive and that are emailed directly to our website (via the Shroud Data tab).” But that tab merely asks people to send comments to an email address, ShroudFacts@gmail.com.

If the goal is progress in our understanding of the shroud, whatever the truth may be, then transparency and open dialog is called for. Today, newspapers, magazines and even highly respected journals welcome online comments in the clear. Authors mix it up with readers and offer clarifications. Readers mix it up with each other and many people benefit from the opinions of others.

If, on the other hand, the objective is controlled marketing of an idea then, fine, we-welcome-comments-but-we-can-only-consider-those-that-are-substantive-and-that-are emailed-directly-to-our-website will work for the authors of this paper.

[ . . . ]

The paper is a locked up PDF so you can’t easily quote from it which is not a good idea for promoting ideas in this day and age. If you want to do some fair use quoting you will need to retype the material or OCR it (Microsoft Notebook works perfectly on whole pages). . . .

For these many other reasons, as well, I cannot recommend the Critical Summary to anyone, particularly “a shroud neophyte.”  But do have a look and try to keep an open mind.

What was the question?

Revisiting Shroud of Turin and physics of resurrection

clip_image001After uploading and posting Louis C. de Figueiredo’s Science and religion meet in Shroud research, a reader sent me an article by Julian Sheffield that appeared in Episcopal Café back in April of 2013*: Shroud of Turin and physics of resurrection.

It begins this way:

Mr. Fanti’s hypothesis cited in “Turin Shroud Going on TV, With Video From Pope” (New York Times, March 30), that the image on the Shroud of Turin resulted from “a very intense burst of energy” recasts the Shroud as a testament to Christ’s Resurrection, and not, as currently revered, a relic of Christ’s passion and death. This is a crucial reconception, one that makes sense of the scriptural record, and suggests that the morbid, and ultimately destructive, fascination of Christianity with the suffering of Christ is misplaced.

The scriptural record of the Resurrection of Christ has been interpreted as hoax, mass hypnosis, metaphor, and fact. While we live, none of us will know for sure which interpretation is closest to truth, but assuming arguendo that it contains fact, assuming arguendo that there is a God who became human in an extreme act of solidarity with humanity, the question of how it can be true demands to be explored.

*When Sheffield’s article first appeared in Episcopal Café, I posted Why Giulio Fanti Matters, That article, Shroud of Turin and physics of resurrection, warrants revisiting.

The Episcopal Café is an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.

St. Louis Theology Presentation by Russ Breault

imageI have not decided on the best way to view Russ Breault’s excellent talk, Theology of the Shroud (7 Secrets of the Sacred Shroud).

You can click on the PowerPoint chart to the right or you can watch the YouTube version below (starting at about a minute in).

You can do both, together, with windows.

New Paper on the crucifixion of the Turin Shroud man

clip_image001Giulio Fanti writes: “I am pleased to announce that a new paper on the TS has been published in Injury Journal [Volume 45, Supplement 6, Pages S142-S148 (December 2014), Update in Traumatology: The Italian Perspective].

The paper, How was the Turin Shroud Man crucified? is by M. Bevilacqua, G. Fanti, M. D’Arienzo, A. Porzionato, V. Macchi and R. De Caro. The full paper is available online at this time.

The abstract reads:

As the literature is not exhaustive with reference to the way the Turin Shroud (TS) Man was crucified, and it is not easy to draw significant information from only a “photograph” of a man on a linen sheet, this study tries to add some detail on this issue based on both image processing of high resolution photos of the TS and on experimental tests on arms and legs of human cadavers.

With regard to the TS Man hands, a first hypothesis states that the left hand of the TS Man was nailed twice at two different anatomical sites: the midcarpal joint medially to the pisiform between the lunate/pyramidal and capitate/uncinate bones (Destot’s space) and the radiocarpal joint between the radio, lunate and scaphoid; also the right hand would have been nailed twice. A second hypothesis, preferred by the authors, states that the hands were nailed only once in the Destot’s space with partial lesion of the ulnar nerve and flexion of the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumbs.

clip_image001With regard to the TS Man feet, the imprint of the sole of the right foot leads to the conclusion that TS Man suffered a dislocation at the ankle just before the nailing. The entrance hole of the nail on the right foot is a few inches from the ankle, and excludes a double nailing. The nail has been driven between the tarsal bones.

The TS Man suffered the following tortures during crucifixion: a very serious and widespread causalgia due to total paralysis of the upper right limb (paradoxical causalgia); a nailing of the left wrist with damage to the ulnar nerve; a similar nailing of the right wrist; and a nailing to both feet using one only nail that injured the plantaris medialis nerves.

The respiratory limitation was probably not sufficient to cause death by asphyxiation. Also considering the hypovolemia produced by scourging and the many other tortures detectable on the TS, the principal cause of death can be attributed to a myocardial infarction.

Given that this a Science Direct site, you may want to print a copy or put a copy in SkyDrive or Google Drive for future reference.

An interview with Giulio Fanti and more

“Well, corona discharge is a phenomenon which typically produces two superficial images
on both sides of a cloth exposed to such electric energy because the image formation is linked to the electric field variation in this area. I do not know of any other phenomenon capable of imprinting a doubly superficial image leaving the inner volume of the fabric as a non-image area.”
                                                            –Giulio Fanti

imageLouis C. de Figueiredo, in a comment on this blog, offered to send along some material about the subject of the doubly superficial image (second face):

I still have the old interview-article covering part of this topic in pdf and will send it to Dan later, leaving it to him to decide whether it should be uploaded. After having been advised from serious sources in the realm of Shroud studies that there is no second image, the decision was taken to store it for a while.

The shroud.com 1 December, 2014 update has put the latest interview-article on the “black list”, together with others that have had no peer review. I make it a point not to be anyone’s mouthpiece and do think that there should be explanations from whoever proffers any paper, whether scientific or historical.

Pictured:  Giulio Fanti, the subject of the interview.

At my request  Louis sent it along. Do read Science and religion meet in Shroud research by Louis C. de Figueiredo. Here is how it begins:

Professor Giulio Fanti teaches at the University of Padua and has been a member of technical teams of various International Space Missions. He is the author of the comprehensive and profusely illustrated book La Síndone, una sfida alla scienza moderna as well as more than a hundred papers published in Italy and in international journals. In 2004 he and a colleague, Roberto Maggiolo, discovered the faint image of a second face on the reverse side of the Turin Shroud using highly sophisticated image processing techniques. The discovery received wide attention after media reports and was published as “The double superficiality of the frontal image on the Turin Shroud” in the peer-reviewed scientific Journal of Optics A: Pure and Applied Optics, of the Institute of Physics in London. It did not, however, appear to have received due attention in Turin and, for that reason, may not even have reached the right desk in Rome.

One prominent Shroud scholar who has contested the finding is Professor Bruno Barberis, Director of the International Centre of Sindonology, however Fanti is only willing to entertain such opposition if it comes in the form of scientific proof against his published results. This need to transform claims into scientific findings was also seen by this author back in 2003, when told by Professor Avinoam Danin of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, another giant of Shroud studies, that he would only answer the doubts raised over the presence of Gundelia tournefortii pollen grains on the relic by Professor T. Litt if they came in published form.

It is thus obvious that there is a lot more to be done in the realm of Shroud studies, a new analysis of the Shroud being the topmost priority, conducted of course by all the well-known Shroud scientists, whatever their points of view. After all, it is not a question of faith versus the Turin Shroud. Meanwhile, efforts are being made to unravel the mystery and in the following interview Fanti makes an in-depth and up-to-date analysis of the current state of knowledge.

The bolding emphasis in the above quote is mine. Do read on.