Home > News & Views > A Hung Jury on the Pray Manuscript

A Hung Jury on the Pray Manuscript

February 14, 2015

A teacher in Indianapolis writes:

imageI conducted an experiment with 12 high school students.  I gave the group one large picture of the Shroud (as it is, not tone reversed into a positive image) and an enlargement of the weave pattern that I did not describe other than to say it was the weave pattern of the Shroud. I also gave them a copy of the Hungarian Pray Manuscript drawing. I asked them if they thought it was inspired by or derived in part from the Shroud of Turin. They were given thirty minutes to discuss this question among themselves. I listened and tried to not show any expression on my face.

This is not a scientific experiment. The population is too small. There are no controls.  Students were not interviewed.  The only criteria for selection was that the student had not heard of or seen a picture of the Hungarian Pray Manuscript and that they had heard of the Shroud of Turin even though some of them were not sure what it was. Two, other students, not selected for this experiment, thought that a shroud was part of an automobile’s cooling fan, which it is.

After only three minutes a majority of the students decided that the weave pattern was symbolically depicted in the HPM. I recognize that bias caused by the photograph of the weave pattern played a role in this identification. There was no other way.

They all spotted the mark on the forehead and the crossed hands.  It took several minutes to spot the four holes in an L-shape pattern. Eight of the twelve thought the holes were meaningful.

They never mentioned the nude body on the Shroud or the HPM. Nor did they notice the absence of thumbs.

At the end of thirty minutes, nine students were sure the HPM portrays the Shroud and Jesus as seen on the Shroud. That is how they put it, which was better than the “inspired” or “derived” wording I used.  Two students remained unconvinced but remained open to the possibility. One student was certain that any similarities were merely coincidental because, “We found things because we were looking for things.”

I’m convinced.  And I know about the absence of thumbs.  I like the wording: “[T]he HPM portrays the Shroud and Jesus as seen on the Shroud.”

  1. Paul
    February 14, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    in a civil trial all that is needed is a majority vote for a verdict

  2. Thomas
    February 14, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    On balance I also think the HPM images portray the Shroud.
    the high chest is also interesting

  3. Ron
    February 15, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Not mentioned; The other 3 students were blind ; )

  4. February 15, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    I’m not part of that hung jury.

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