Interesting Discussion About the Percussio Blow and Barbet

image… taking place in the comments to Oy vey! We’ve got a problem?

  1. Click into  Oy vey! We’ve got a problem?
  2. Scroll down to daveb of wellington on  August 29 at 11:44 pm
  3. Any comments you have should go there, not here. This is just a pointer.


Colin Berry’s and My 3D Plotting Problems

Having said all this, I do doubt Colin can get good, shroud-like 3D from his flour-power model.
I am willing to be proven wrong.

A reader from Baltimore writes:

If you look at the illustration “3D-rendered image of plastic toy” on Colin Berry’s other blog you can see that he is incorrectly using ImageJ and as a consequence drawing false conclusions. He is using the image he is plotting as the texture.  In effect he is plotting on a plot.  That is a big, big NO NO.   That he is doing so is obvious when you  look at dark areas on the arms and legs that rise to the level of adjacent bright areas.  It is also obvious because of the color we see. The best texture to use is #808080 for all pixels. Some perspective would also be helpful.

Is it a no-no?  I wonder.

The image, shown below, can be found at  Is a high energy laser beam really needed to model the Turin Shroud? Maybe those Italians should have tried pizza ingredients first, and a hot oven…:



Yes, I must say I agree that there is a problem here. I see it and I’ve been thinking about it for nearly a day now.  I still need to do some experimenting to understand this better. But I do see that plotting without loading a texture and allowing the software to use the image itself as the texture (which seems to be the default) will lead to erroneous interpretations. 

Colin follows the image in his blog with this paragraph.

Yes. one can enter 2D diagrams with no 3D history, like those concentric circls above, and they show a comparable 3D response (top left) to that of the model image OR the TS. Why is that? Look at the z scale next to the red arrow. It is on its default MINIMUM setting of 0.1. The software sets that non-zero default setting, meaning that ANY image one enters that has any kind of intensity gradient, simple stepped ones included, produce a 3D response.

What in the world is Colin saying that is not fully obvious? Back in November of 2013, I noted that:

Ray Rogers used to point out that a drop of ink on a filter paper would look like a mountain when plotted the same way (e.g. VP-8).  Colin Berry is right that scorch marks and holes on the shroud produce 3D images; the scorches, obviously, are not spatial information.

Colin continues that paragraph of his, writing:

The latter is entirely artefactual unless one has evidence to the contrary. This investigator knows of no evidence to suggest that the so-called "3D properties" of the TS image are any different from those of contact imprints generally.

Colin may be right, at least to some degree. If he will post the base images (or send them to me) I will plot them with a neutral texture. If  he has a paint program he can create  his own; just create a rectangle the size of the image with a middle gray background, say RGB 128/128/128. 

I’m looking at the following image I plotted with ImageJ and wonder if I did it right.  Did I use a proper neutral texture or did I use the image as the texture? Look at the color. I probably made the same mistake. See Teaser of the Day (#3): Why many state that the Shroud is a 3D image.

I just installed Windows 10 and ImageJ won’t work for me. So be patient as I figure out what is wrong.



Having said all this, however, I do doubt Colin can get good, shroud-like 3D from his flour-power model. I am willing to be proven wrong.

Show Me. Prove It.

If scientists are gradually losing their position as high priests of society,
generations educated in a system governed by the scientific method still carry the
burden of doubting Thomas. Although faith does not rest on scientific evidence, unbelievers
continue to clamor "Show me," "Prove it."

imageMUST READ:  Republished, yesterday, August 29, 2015, in the English edition of the Russian Orthodox internet portal, Pravosvie Ru, The Shroud of Turin: A Mystery Across the Ages warrants your full attention:

On this day, the Church celebrates the icon of the Savior "Made Without Hands" -the prototype of which is believed to be an image of Jesus Christ’s holy face, left on a cloth used to cover His face at burial after the crucifixion. An exhaustively researched and highly interesting article by Fr. Alexy Young, Nun Michaila, and Mary Mansur was published a number of years ago in the periodical, "Orthodox America" ​​on the Shroud of Turin and the Holy Napkin. We present it today in the spirit of the present feast.

Science, although not incompatible with faith when properly understood, has more often served to reduce the wonders of nature to molecular conglomerates than to awaken man to the infinite wisdom and power of God as reflected in His creation. Because it acts to unlock the mysteries of nature, science has long been cast in the role of a protagonist by those seeking to destroy the stronghold of faith. Historian Lewis Spitz writes:

"The scientific revolution, which made its first giant strides in the 17th century, has won such a total victory through its apparent domination of nature that the Western mind has virtually capitulated to its truth."

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.    (Heb. 11:1)

If scientists are gradually losing their position as high priests of society, generations educated in a system governed by the scientific method still carry the burden of doubting Thomas. Although faith does not rest on scientific evidence, unbelievers continue to clamor "Show me," "Prove it." Ultimately the case rests on the question of Christ’s Resurrection. While there is not, and can never be, a scientific test for the resurrection of Christ, skeptics have used the lack of material evidence in their favor. Is it not providential that today, in this age of science’s hegemony, they are being challenged by a mysterious piece of cloth, the Shroud of Turin, believed by many to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ?

To say that the Shroud is a challenge to hard-line materialists is not to say that the debate over its authenticity is neatly divided between believers and unbelievers. Not at all….

Read the full article, which leads to this interesting Conclusion:

As Orthodox Christians, do we need the relic of the Lord’s Shroud? As far as the fullness of the Faith, "given once and for all to the saints," is concerned, we do not. The image on the Shroud adds nothing doctrinal to what has already been revealed; neither does it take anything away. Had it not survived Apostolic times, as some think, our faith in Christ and His Church, the Ark of Salvation, would be the same. Nor do we seek after signs and wonders to confirm our faith in Christ. On the other hand, the Shroud provides a visual document of something that the Evangelists describe in only a few terse words: "They crucified Him,"

In the image on the Shroud there unfolds before our very eyes the story, the process of indescribable suffering, those physiological processes which took place in the human Body of Christ. This is all precisely documented on the Shroud, attesting to our Lord’s humanity and at the same time revealing His divine power, for He arose as God, rising in such a way as to leav e all the evidence imprinted upon the Shroud and miraculously undisturbed,., containing a providential meaning which is not being revealed."

The late Archimandrite Constantine (Zaitsev), an eminent Church writer who wrote these words, was so impressed by the powerful testimony of the Turin Shroud that he urged the widespread dissemination of this "discovery," which he said "lies with the conscience of each faithful Christian soul who becomes acquainted with it." [53] What precisely is the value of the testimony offered by the Shroud?

All in all it is a startling medical documentary of what was described so briefly in the Gospels. Dr. John Heller biophysicist

The Russian bishop-saint, Tikhon of Zadonsk (1724-1783)–as so many spiritual directors–was alarmed at the cold-hearted insensitivity of people, at the callousness, indifference, and wordliness of the average soul, joined to complete love of self. In our own day, most pastors would add to this list the soul-killing sin of self-righteousness and "zeal not according to knowledge," which stems from the Luciferian sin of pride.

As a spiritual remedy, the Saint urged people to "keep in your house a picture of the passion of Christ, look at it often and with reverence …. the whole deepest content of the Gospel is portrayed in the passion of Christ and incites us to imitation."[54] To imitation of what?

St. Tikhon observed that "God descends to the humble as waters flow down from the hills into the valleys." And it was this awesome humility of the Lord on the Cross that St. Tikhon wished his spiritual children to imitate. But how to find humility? In union with all Orthodox Fathers, St. Tikhon taught that each individual must seek to know himself as he really is, without self-deception. Seeing thus his own wickedness, he must then consider "the suffering of Christ, the magnitude of whose love and suffering surpasses our understanding."[55] Christ’s example of humble obedience "even unto death" inspired this Saint to instruct his spiritual children to "remember often, especially during the night, the suffering of Christ. It will kindle in you love for the Sufferer; this love will preserve you from sin. Meditate upon His Passion …. The suffering Christ is like a saving bock from which we learn…repentance, faith, devotion to God, love of our neighbor, humility, meekness, patience, detachment from worldly vanities …" [56]

What is it, then, to follow Christ? To do good and to suffer for the sake of the will of God… to endure all, looking upon Christ Who suffered  St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

St. Tikhon was not here introducing some novelty into Orthodox piety or theology, It must be made perfectly clear that he was not suggesting the use of imagination–a common element in Western spirituality–in order to create dangerous emotions that lead to "prelest" or spiritual deception. St. Tikhon understood that the Son of God suffered not just a death such as might come to any man, but a terrifying emptying of His divinity joined to an unimaginable physical, mental, and spiritual agony that we cannot comprehend.  But we can, even with sinful eyes, gaze upon it, as those who put the Lord to death stood by and watched and some, like the blessed Centurion, even confessed Christ. The image on the Shroud vividly tells us, in ways that words often cannot, what unutterable suffering was endured for our sake, and the high price with which cur souls were ransomed from eternal death.

And then there is the cry in a scientific  age, “My Lord and My God!”:

Together with this universal significance which applies to all Christians at all times, the Shroud may also be said to be uniquely relevant to our 20th century, in which science has had such a powerful voice. Some believe that this image was encoded on the fibers of the cloth like a time capsule intended specifically for our materialistic age, when only the tools of modern science could begin to decode or unlock its secrets, when belief in God would be so weak or non-existent that even faith in science would testify to "the things of God."

There is a poster, plastered on walls in the Soviet Union, which shows a smiling astronaut flying through space. The caption reads: "There is no God," For individuals raised under the forced domination of ‘scientific-atheism," the inability of scientists to disprove the Shroud does not go unnoticed. And there is reason to believe that the scientific evidence in favor of the Shroud’s authenticity has been instrumental in opening doors to faith behind the Iron Curtain. (A report on the Shroud, written by a scientist in the Soviet Union, is said to be circulating there in Samizdat.)

We, too, in the free world, have been greatly influenced by the scientific-materialist outlook. And it seems that now, at a time which many believe to be the 11th hour, the suffering yet serene face looking at us from the Shroud confronts us with the REALITY of Jesus Christ. Can it be that in this age of diminishing faith, when even believers are crying out "Lord, help Thou my unbelief," the Lord in His mercy has condescended to reveal Himself to men in a special way, that seeing they might believe and exclaim with Thomas: "My Lord and my God!"

Risen, the Movie, Featuring the Shroud

note the epsilon on the forehead

imageGlimpses of the shroud at about the 0:50 and 1:18 marks in this trailer for the upcoming epic movie of the first forty days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of an skeptical Roman Centurion charged by Pontius Pilate to investigate rumors of a risen messiah and find the missing body of Jesus in order to prevent an uprising in Jerusalem.

Directed by Kevin Reynolds and starring Tom Felton, Joseph Fiennes, Cliff Curtis, Peter Firth, Risen is scheduled for release January 22, 2016 by Sony Pictures Releasing.  TRAILER LINK  (Hat tip to David Goulet)

Hat tip to David Goulet

Is Pope Francis Walking On the Mystical Side?

imageAnthony Faiola, writing in the Washington Post, tells us that Pope Francis embraces the mystical side of the Catholic Church:

To many, the first Latin American pope is a reformer, a man determined to lead the Catholic Church into a new age of enlightenment.Yet as Pope Francis prepares to make his first official trip to the United States, his papacy is also proving to be one of apparent contradictions. Perhaps the biggest: A pope who has become the darling of intellectuals, even atheists, is also fully embracing some of the most fervent forms of worship within the Catholic Church.

Far more than his predecessor, Francis has thrust himself into the contentious world of so-called popular devotions — including the mystical celebration of holy relics, such as the blood, bones and clothing of saints, as well as the adoration of the Virgin Mary through processions and other rites. By doing so, Vatican watchers say the pope is effectively endorsing a more ardent and mysterious brand of Catholicism that is popularly practiced — especially among the poor — in his native Latin America.

Critics, however, say the pope may be flirting with superstition. Also citing his constant mention of the devil and explicit backing of exorcisms, some say he risks undercutting his image as a 21st century moral leader in tune with the times.

“The danger is that popular devotion becomes all too important, that we seek to elevate ourselves by touching a body part or a cloth touched by a saint,” said Vito Mancuso, a Bologna, Italy-based theologian and author. “We would be moving backwards, almost to idolatry.”

The incident in Naples, where Francis caused a stir with the blood of Saint Januarius, marked only one in a long list of recent papal devotions to relics and other mysterious artifacts. In June, for instance, the pope “venerated” the Shroud of Turin, praying before the cloth believed by some to be the burial garment of Jesus Christ despite disputed tests that have carbon dated it to centuries after the crucifixion.

The pope made no official claim about the shroud’s authenticity. But his personal charity has sent at least two busloads of homeless Romans to visit the shroud, and the pope additionally taped a special video message celebrating it.

“Let us listen to what it wants to silently tell us, across death itself,” the pope says in the message. “The sole and ultimate word of God reaches us through the sacred shroud.”

On the other hand, we considered, Does Pope Francis Believe the Shroud is Real?

What is mystical?  Idolatry?  Superstition? And all this by degree?

Congratulations, Barrie Schwortz

More coverage of Barrie Schwortz at the Jalsa Salana UK convention

Barrie writes on the STERA Facebook page:

I am just back from England where I attended the 2015 Jalsa Salana UK convention as a guest of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. This was the first time I had ever spoken at a Muslim event and it far exceeded my expectations. I was welcomed with love and respect and treated as a brother. I plan to write a detailed article about the event for our next update but wanted to give you some info in advance. Click the photo below for a World Religion News article about the event. Here is a link to the brief comments I made on the closing day to more than 10,000 people!

And that probably wraps it up until Barrie does a promised summary on the next update.

You may reassure Mr. Berry

imageIf you are relatively new to this blog, you need to know this:  When Dr. Colin Berry first entered the fray of shroud research he rather wildly characterized other researchers in offensive ways; remember, three years ago, Of Infrared Herrings and Mickey Mouse Science: Berry Criticizing Di Lazzaro?

Colin has since then cooled his rhetoric, but not completely; witness the recent back and forth of comments with Barrie Schwortz in Oy vey! We’ve got a problem? 

Knowing this explains the quoted characterizations in Paolo Di Lazzaro’s response to a question by Colin. I raised it in this blog and pointed to Colin’s blog in Have we all been looking in the wrong place?

Paolo’s response:

Dear Dan and All,

thank you for pointing out this piece, which describes amateurish attempts.

You may reassure Mr (sic) Berry that this "bunch of jokers" at Enea which is doing "MIckey Mouse science" has looked at the right place, recognizing the main photo-chemical reactions and chromophores possibly involved in the laser-coloration mechanisms, as detailed in several peer reviewed papers, notably in [Superficial and Shroud-like coloration of linen by short laser pulses in the vacuum ultraviolet*]

And… no, sorry, none of the "deductions" of Mr Berry reported in your blog are justified by his out-of-focus images shown in your blog. It is evident Mr. Berry is not trained in microscope imaging. Our students can do a better work.


Why did I insert sic in the above response?  It is Dr., not Mr. Dr. Colin Berry describes himself in one of his blogs thus:

Colin Berry, aka sciencebod, is a retired PhD researcher/teacher/academic who has worked in industry, medical schools, schools, food and biomedical research (mainly in the UK, but also in W.Africa and the United States). He’s best known for his work on RESISTANT STARCH, recently described as "the trendiest form of dietary fibre". See also his specialist Shroud of Turin blog on

Dr. Paolo Di Lazzaro, a senior researcher at the ENEA Research Centre of Frascati, has posted an English language Curriculum Vitae at

* I inserted the title into Paolo’s email and left the URL as he had it.

YouTube of Barrie Schwortz at Ahmadiyya Annual Convention


At YouTube:

Published on Aug 24, 2015:  Presentation given by Barrie Schwortz founder of and a member of the team that carried out research on the Shroud in 1978. Presentation was given at The Ahmadiyya Annual Convention 2015 in Alton, Hampshire UK.

Rizwan Shabir uploaded this to YouTube and for some reason blocked embedding; so when you click on the image you will be taken to YouTube.

Another article on the Jalsa Salana UK Convention

image… warrants our attention. It is from Catholic Herald: Turin Shroud replica displayed at Ahmadiyya Muslim convention in Hampshire by Carolyn Wickware:

Barrie Schwortz, a leading expert on the Shroud, spoke at the event

More than 30,000 Muslims gathered in Hampshire this weekend to hear Barrie Schwortz, an Orthodox Jew, discuss the significance of the Shroud of Turin, a Christian artefact.

The Jalsa Salana UK Convention is run by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which believes the Shroud of Turin bears the image of Jesus, alive in the tomb after his crucifixion.


In the Jewish tradition, to which Mr Schwortz adheres, Jesus and his mission are completely rejected.

While most Orthodox Muslims believe Jesus was a righteous prophet, who was never crucified and, instead, ascended bodily to heaven, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes he was crucified but survived after his friends restored him to health with healing ointments and herbs.

Simon Brown Video of Barrie Schwortz at Jalsa Salana UK

Simon Brown has posted the following 36 minute YouTube entitled, Barrie Schwortz carefully confesses to the Muslim faith he believes Jesus died part 2 Q&A. It includes video of Pam Moon and Hugh Farey answering questions, as well.

The YouTube page includes this culturally insensitive description:

I Simon Brown was there and filmed Barrie Schwortz testifying this important fact and was concerned they may crucify us on the spot when they listened to Barrie Schwortz saying this that goes against their faith. Praise God we all made it back alive.


Interesting Article on the Turin Shroud Museum

clip_image001You want to read Leanne Ogasawara’s CABINETS OF WONDER: THE SHROUD OF TURIN & THE MUSEUM OF JURASSIC TECHNOLOGY at 3 Quarks Daily:

This small museum is run by the Confraternity of the Most Holy Shroud, an order founded in 1598 to promote the devotion and worship of the shroud. It was absolutely grueling to get there, walking across Turin in a blazing heatwave and then having to wait till they finally re-opened the museum after their long afternoon break. It was incredibly hot and from the street, you couldn’t see the church (where the famous replica is kept) so we were never sure if we were in the right place.

She: Are you sure this is it? It doesn’t really look like a museum

He: Well, I am just going by that sign over the door

So, we waited drinking warm coke without ice in an airless cafe on the corner. When finally the doors creaked open, we found ourselves in was really the quirkiest museum I have ever been in–so quirky, in fact, that it immediately called to mind the Museum of Jurassic Technology in LA! I still can’t decide which is quirkier.

Like the "Cabinet of Curiosities" in LA, the Turin Shroud Museum immediately strikes one as a kind of hodgepodge collection of artifacts, blending actual relics of historic significance along with other hard to explain items that must have simply struck the confraternity’s collective fancy. Also like the Jurassic Museum, there is a striking combination of science and myth. That is to say, one steps in off the street to find themselves in a Borgesian world.  (It could always be worse, right?)

The shroud itself is kept elsewhere and only on view once in a great while (we had missed the last showing by only a few weeks).


Despite the fact that we were both enormously prone to disbelief–my astronomer, because he thinks of himself as a scientist; and me, because I am a devotee of Umberto Eco and have learned quite a lot about the ins and outs of the medieval relic trade… still, would you believe, I became incredibly moved and broke down and cried after I left the place?


For me as a visitor of the shroud museum, it didn’t matter whether the shroud dated from the Christ’s death or whether it is a fabulous Medieval creation (which I think is the case based mainly on the carbon dating results, but I will never know, will I?) It simply didn’t matter because the museum was not there to persuade but rather existed to exhibit a centuries-old collection of artifacts related to the holy cloth that was brought from Chambery to Turin in 1578.

As I mentioned, in all the museum literature the image of the man seen in the shroud was always referred to as "the man of the shroud" and what one sees in graphic detail is the absolutely gruesome way this man died. Beaten to a pulp, he was then tortured to death–and it can all be "seen" in the relic. It’s all there, from the nail wounds, the blood from his head and swollen cheek to the horrible postmortem injury to the side. Every drop of blood in the fabric speaks of brutality. And walking through the exhibits, contemplating the final hours of a man who was brutally beaten, whipped and then crucified–made to die slowly (maybe in front of his mother) one simply could not help but draw to mind the tremendous suffering going on in the world today–things we know about but turn away from. If it didn’t happen to a man called Jesus of Nazareth, we know it happened to others since it was an ancient form of the death penalty practiced across the Roman empire, among other places. And this kind of cruelty continues today.

Funny; a photo in the story is from the old SEAM museum in New Mexico.

Here is a good video of the museum in Turin:

Oy vey! We’ve got a problem?

imageA reader writes:

Greetings, Mr. Porter,

I just read your piece  [Pictures of the Day] … Standing room only for talk by Barrie Schwortz at Jalsa Salana United Kingdom yesterday….

I would like to give some input, and perhaps you’ll have some answers.  The question of how the images, on both the ventral and dorsal sides of the Shroud were made, is still considered a mystery.  By the way, I’m not a scientist.  But I do remember what "dorsal" and "ventral" mean." *:D big grin

I have what might be an answer.  But first, a tiny bit of background.  For a short while, I befriended Barry Schwortz, the photographer that was hired by STURP, in 1978, to photograph ever square centimeter of the Shroud.  When I say, "For a short while," I do not mean to suggest that Barry and I had any problems.  We did not.  In fact, we corresponded very well.  It’s just that we just happened to lose contact.

Anyway, you can check with him on the following, if he remembers.  Once, I asked him the following question: "Barry, has there ever been a test conducted, on the Santa Sindone, that would determine whether or not the blood on it was pre-mortem blood, or post-mortem blood."  He answered, "Well, I can’t answer that, but I am certain, of course, that they would have conducted such a test.  But, I’m going to be having lunch, in Turin, with Dr. Adler, and I’ll ask him."

So, he did have lunch with Dr. Adler, in Turin.  Eventually, he got back to me, through email, and said that he was very surprised at Dr. Adler’s response.  Dr. Adler told him that, no, no such test had ever been performed on the Shroud.  That is very hard to believe.  And Barry was as surprised, of course, as I was.  But, this was coming from the horse’s mouth, so to speak–Dr. Adler, a prime and important member of the STURP team.  There would be no reason that he would state that no such test had been performed, if that had not been the case.

How did I know to ask such a question?  Hey, just thinking, that’s all; wondering.  I barely knew if there was any such thing as "post mortem" blood, but the thought came to me, so I pushed it forward.

Now, I am aware that, in the literature, one reads, for example phrases like, "The pre-mortem and post-mortem blood on the Shroud…" and one assumes that, since the statement was made, matter-of-factly, that tests were actually done.  But, were they?  Or has it just been assumed, all these years since STURP, that post-mortem blood exists on the Shroud?

I am aware, because I read his book, that Dr. Heller proved, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that the stains on the Shroud are blood stains.  I was just looking for that book, in my library, but I can’t find it.  I might have made the mistake of loaning it out to someone.  Anyway, I do not recall Dr. Heller, in that book, saying a single word about post-mortem blood.

Now to the point.  And this is a point that would be very uncomfortable for those who believe in the doctrine of Christianity.  But, if we’re talking about science, and following where the science goes, and what it reveals, then we cannot allow doctrines to interfere with science…Can we?

Now if, indeed, no post-mortem blood exists on the Shroud, and it has simply been assumed, by the scientists, including Heller, that the Shroud contains post-mortem blood [Hang with me, here!!], then would our conclusions regarding the scientific results of studies on the Shroud change?

If STURP began its scientific studies with the idea that "The Man of the Shroud," as he is sometimes called, was dead when the Shroud was draped over him, might that affect how STURP interpreted scientific results?

So, now I’ll get to the point: If we assume that "The Man of the Shroud" was not dead, but was merely unconscious; that is, that he did not die as a result of his ordeal; and if we assume, as a consequence of that first assumption, that the only blood stains on the Shroud are pre-mortem blood stains, might we then be able to explain how the images were made on both sides of the Shroud?

I’m not a scientist, as I said before.  But I do know one thing: Dead people and live people are…ahem…different.  Dead folks do not breath.  Dead folks, that I know of, do not emit uric acid from their skins [except maybe for a while after death??].  Dead folks do not sweat.  Dead folks do not produce heat [Well, maybe they do, but I don’t think so].  The oxygen, in the air, that interacts with the skin of dead folks, interacts differently [doesn’t it??] than oxygen that interacts with the skin of live folks.

You may be aware that a new study has concluded that oils were on the Shroud [I can send you that if you’re interested, although you might know of this study], contrary to what was concluded by STURP.  And those oils were burned off in 1532, at the fire, which is why STURP found no oil residue.

Now, if we assume that the Biblical account is true, and that Nicodemus brought "100 pounds" of aloe and myrrh to the burial site; and if we further assume that those substances were administered to "Jesus," not because he was dead, but because he was alive; and if we further assume that the substances were administered for the purpose of healing his wounds, then might we also have to re-visit the scientific studies, to determine:

1. What was the effect of those substances on the Shroud?

2. What was the effect of the interaction of those substances with the uric acid, sweat, and heat that "Jesus’" alive body was producing?

Could anything had been burnt, within the open and airy tomb, that would have helped the healing–some kind of ancient, medical practice?  And if some healing substance was burnt, would the smoke from the substance have added to the combination of sweat, uric acid, heat, and oxygen that, together, could somehow have created the images on the Shroud?

Years ago, I contacted the Shema Israel International Burial Society, and I asked them the following question.  Was the application of aloes and myrrh a part of ancient, Jewish burial practices?  Answer?  No.  You can ask them yourselves.  Just Google.  They told me, in email, that no such practice existed, amongst Jews of that time, as part of the burial ritual of a human body.  So, why would Nicodemus have taken "100 pounds" of aloes and myrrh there?  Perhaps for the purpose of healing "Jesus’" body, since both of those substances are healing substances.

I hope you get my point.  By the way, I have been told that the test that determines post or pre-mortem blood is called the gas chromotography test.  If that is true, then it would be interesting to find out of that test was performed.

Now, I have one more thing to say, and this is a bit uncomfortable.  Could any of the STURP scientists have been influenced by religious doctrine, thus drawing conclusions about the scientific results that were skewed because of the influence of those doctrines?  Drawing the conclusion, for instance, that there exists post-mortem blood stains on the Shroud?

I was highly disturbed when I read this statement by Dr. D’Muhala, one of the STURP team members:

Where Do We Go From Here?

Editor’s Note: Tom D’Muhala was a founding member of STURP and was President of the organization from 1978 to 1996.

View on Preview by Yahoo

That is VERY disturbing.  You will see what I’m referring to, if you read all of it.

One more thing, and you can verify this with Barry Schwortz.  Barry told me that, when they first entered the room where the Shroud was, in order to begin their scientific study, a couple of the scientists were wearing crucifixes.  Barry, without hesitating, pointed out to them that this was highly inappropriate, and that if it ever got leaked to the news media that members of the STURP team of scientists were performing their scientific studies on the Shroud, while wearing a visible sign of belief in a religious doctrine, then if STURP concluded that the Shroud was genuine, critics, cynics, atheists, and just the general public would believe that the results were not credible.

Am I suggesting that there has been some hanky-panky?  I have no idea.  And I have no way to prove that any of the STURP scientists were operating in any way that was not at the highest professional level.  But, STURP people are just that–people.

Could the STURP team have discovered that there exists only pre-mortem blood on the Shroud?  And then, fully understanding the ramifications of 2 billion Christians potentially being informed that Jesus Christ did not die on the cross "for the sins of the world," but survived that ordeal [as did happen, by the way, sometimes, as is recorded by the Jewish historian of that time, Flavius Josephus]?

This sounds like a suspense novel, I know.  But, I can easily imagine that, in the wee hours of the night, while the STURP team was diligently studying the Santa Sindone, one of them looked up at the others, and said, "Oy vey!!  We’ve got a problem.  It’s clear that whoever this cloth covered was very much alive.  There is no sign of death on this cloth."

I can very well imagine a discussion–a deep discussion taking place as to whether or not their findings should be revealed.  Recall the beginning of Dr. Heller’s book, in which he stated that when he was first asked to be on the STURP team, his first thought was that he did not wish to be involved with something that could turn out to be controversial, since it involved the most important religious figure in human history, Jesus Christ.

But, what attracted Heller was the science.  So, he agreed.

Well, I apologize to have taken so much of your time (assuming that you read this entire note).  Of course, it may be that post-mortem blood does exist on the Shroud, and that that fact was scientifically proven.  But, in truth, I have my doubts.

Thank you for your email. My friend Helmut Felzmann likes to remind me that forensic experts in Spain, Great Britain and Germany agree with him that Jesus survived crucifixion and recovered from his wounds. Perhaps he will join the discussion as he has in the past on this blog. Helmut has a website at

I must draw your attention to comments by Hugh Farey in Have we all been looking in the wrong place?

You might also refer to these prior postings in this blog:

History Remembered: The First International Conference on the Deliverance of Jesus Christ from the Cross

Did Jesus Survive the Crucifixion?

You might try: for more postings.

Again, thanks for your email. Oh, bye-the-way, I cannot imagine a discussion like the one you imagine. I think it is simple conspiracy theory. Sorry, but that is what I think.

Could Google Shape Beliefs About the Shroud of Turin?

indeed, to control a wide variety of opinions and beliefs

imageThis article, How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election, appearing in Politico invites a question: Why stop with politics?

Research I have been directing in recent years suggests that Google, Inc., has amassed far more power to control elections—indeed, to control a wide variety of opinions and beliefs—than any company in history has ever had. Google’s search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20 percent or more—up to 80 percent in some demographic groups—with virtually no one knowing they are being manipulated, according to experiments I conducted recently with Ronald E. Robertson.

  • For more on those experiments see The search engine manipulation effect (SEME) … in PNAS, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

The question is, to what extent might Google be shaping religious beliefs, even beliefs about the Shroud of Turin?  I’m not saying that if that is so it is intentional. I’m not even suggesting that a scientifically-oriented Silicon Valley mindset permeates algorithms.

But hasn’t this been the sort of thing we have voiced about journalists? Food for thought!

Have we all been looking in the wrong place?

Are Di Lazzaro’s laser-generated pulses of uv radiation
actually targeting that S1 lignin, not “cellulose”

Colin Berry, looking through a microscope sees something. We’ll get to that. But first, parenthetically, he informs us know:

(sorry about the poor resolution,” he says in parentheses, “but that’s probably due to the cylindrical 3D light-reflecting/bending geometry of linen fibres).


He goes on:

See the link to a paper reporting from detailed microscopy – light and electron microscope- that some of the lignin of flax bast cells (as used for linen) is not only inside the fibres, but in the S1 layer that would put it just below the PCW.

When Colin writes, “See the link…” I think he is referring to Lignification in the flax stem: evidence for an unusual lignin in bast fibers. We find that in his blog. Colin continues:

Have we all been looking in the wrong place? Are Di Lazzaro’s laser-generated pulses of uv radiation actually targeting that S1 lignin, not “cellulose” as claimed, generating hot spots that may then cook what’s around them? First Law of Photochemistry: light – regardless of wavelength or how generated – has first to be absorbed by one or more chromophores for there to be any chemical reaction – which would include faint yellow/brown coloration. So the first priority of photochemists (I can’t speak for laser physicists) is to identify your chromophore. Uv light is far more likely to target an aromatic compound like lignin, albeit as a minor constituent of linen, than a non-aromatic carbohydrate like cellulose.

Have we all been looking in the wrong place? That’s one question. It’s a good one.

Another one comes to mind.  Colin didn’t ask this. I am. At what point is increased contrast more detrimental than helpful by introducing exaggeration, blocking detail and creating image artifacts? At what point does reliance on increased contrast cross the line between science and pseudoscience?

National Geographic Sacred Journeys Exhibit in Indianapolis

This expands on the material announced on Barrie Schwortz’ update

imageThe Archdiocese of Indianapolis informs us on it’s website: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to offer ‘National Geographic Sacred Journeys’ exhibit, including Shroud of Turin replica and lecture

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, 3000 N. Meridian St., will host “National Geographic Sacred Journeys,” an exhibit recreating places, spaces and events of various faith traditions around the world, starting on Aug. 29 and lasting through Feb. 21, 2016.

Among the recreated places and spaces are:

  • The Western Wall of the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
  • The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, site of Jesus’ crucifixion in Jerusalem.
  • The Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
  • Tepeyac Hill and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
  • Allahabad and Sangam at the confluence of three rivers sacred to Hindus at the Ganges River in India.
  • Bodh Gaya, birthplace of Buddhism.
  • Caves in the bluffs along the Dead Sea in Qumran, Israel, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and more.

Among the artifacts featured are fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls from Qumran, a large rock from the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a replica of the Shroud of Turin, and more.

The exhibit is included with general admission.

Coinciding with the exhibit will be two lectures by Shroud of Turin expert Barrie Schwortz. The lectures will take place at the museum on Sept. 19. The 11 a.m. lecture is recommended for ages 10 and older. A second lecture at 2 p.m. will last longer with scientific information geared toward adults. The lectures are free with museum admission, but require advance registration through The Children’s Museum website at

Pictures of the Day

Standing room only for talk by Barrie Schwortz at Jalsa Salana United Kingdom yesterday.



Thanks to David Rolfe for sending these along. 

Food for Thought: An Important Paper on Radiocarbon Dating

imageLouis had recommended an important paper on Radiocarbon dating, Does Radiocarbon Provide the Answer? by Uwe Zerbst and Peter van der Veen.

I found it to be very informative for understanding the Bayesian approach to interpreting radiocarbon data. But is there anything in it that might impact the accuracy of the shroud’s dating? That seems unlikely in any significant way, at least to this non-scientist.

The aim of the present paper is not a detailed discussion of the radiocarbon evidence of specific archaeological periods, or even individual sites and strata, but a more general view on whether the scientific methodology, as it presently stands, can really be used conclusively. Despite dissenting claims, the authors will demonstrate that there still is a conflict between the archaeological and radiocarbon based time scales, even if elaborate Bayesian statistics are used. The authors discuss possible reasons for this.

Nonetheless, I’m glad I worked my way through it. It was not an easy read for this non-scientist.

Close to the finishing line or the starting line?

clip_image001A reader writes:

My reading of things is that STuRP tried a few ways to try and create the image. Finding none, they declared the image a scientific mystery. The unfortunate consequence of this was a tendency of apologists for the faith to stupidly declare that modern science could not reproduce the image. The failure of STuRP only means that no one has yet found a way. It means nothing more, unless, of course, there was a miracle.

I have been reading Colin Berry’s blog posting about testing a method of coating a human subject with flour and imprinting an image onto a wet cloth which is then cooked in an oven. It is ingenious and possibly correct. Maybe modern science can find a way that does not count on a miracle. That means that a medieval craftsman might have been able to create the image on the Shroud. It does not mean that he did.



Philosophically, at least, this serves to remind us that there may be many other ways of producing the image that no one has yet thought of.  At least one of those methods might be a phenomenon of nature in the tomb. One might be the consequence of the byproducts of a miracle.  One might be an arts and crafts method.

Colin’s ingenious work warrants examination:

There’s something very odd about the coloration of the “Shroud” fibres at the microscopic level. It’s to do with (a) the unifomity of coloration between different fibres (b) discontinuities on coloration, i.e. a sudden loss of coloration on particular fibres and (c) the coloration affecting the entire circumference of each fibre (we’re told). The model studies to date reported here with the dry flour/wet linen imprinting seem to match at least two of those characteristics , i.e. (a) and (b) . Who knows, maybe (c) too if I make an effort to view each fibre in the round, maybe by using high magnification on coloured fibres that have separated – or been separated – from neighbours in a thread.


Where are we at? Close to the finishing line would be my guess as regards the body image. It can be accounted for as a dry flour imprint onto wet linen that seeped its natural flour oil (1.5% approx by weight) during oven roasting, causing the hot oil to track along individual linen fibres producing yellow half-tone coloration with discontinuities when/where oil was limiting. It is not impossible that imprinting of the TS body image was carried out, as here, using  flour supplemented with a small amount of added vegetable oil or some other lipid-like or lipid-rich material.

The End if Near

imageJohn Klotz has an interesting piece over on his blog, Living Free. He calls it simply Apocalypse Now:

For most of my life, from time to time, I have seen cartoons in magazines satirizing street corner prophets of an apocalypse. The usual caricature is of a scruffy man, in a shabby robe with a long scraggly beard carrying a sign which reads “The End is Near” or some such.

Well, it’s early morning and I am not carrying a placard as I start this piece. I am in a robe (bath) but I don’t have a long beard although I am as of yet unshaven. I don’t have a placard but I do have a blog and a computer. However, I have just read a piece on the web from the morning New York Times by Thomas Friedman, and so here’s my message: “The End is Near.”

Four years ago I began work on my book The Coming of the Quantum Christ. At the very end of my introduction, I described Science as being both Christ and Anti-Christ and raised the question of whether the scientific study of the Shroud of Turin could be the “Coming of a Quantum Christ.” It was a rhetorical question. By the time …

Now you are hooked. You must read it.

New Book on the Shroud of Turin

imageThere is a new book out as of yesterday. It is by Simon Brown. It’s called Evidence of the Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. So far it is only available in large print paperback format (there is no Kindle or e-book format that I can see). The price in the U.S. is $9.98. The description at Amazon is brief:

We will examine, inspect, survey and scrutinise all the fact’s by the best experts and scientist on the planet, the evidence of the greatest relic yet discovered in world history, what was very possibly left behind in the tomb of Jesus owned by Joseph of Arimathaea, and known as the most famous historical object in ancient history, called: The Shroud of Turin, as told in THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 20.

There is a lot more on the cover if you can read it (click on the picture) and on Simon Brown’s website:

What and who is in this book?

Nothing But, Facts, Proof, evidence, 100’s of links to Peer Reviewed scientific papers & articles, by the best researchers in the world.

100’s? Peer Reviewed? Well, some, anyways. Incidentally this list is cloned from Brown continues:

I have added research by Lt. Dr. General Ray Rogers, America’s finest Scientist who was against the Shroud, until his new research converted him.

Lt. Dr. General?  Is that a British convention to mix it up like that?  It is on the cover of the book that way, as well. Oh, Rogers was neither, by-the-way. Brown continues:

A Jewish man who has now become the greatest expert on the Shroud of Turin: BARRIE SCHWORTZ of

Raymond J. Schneider P.E., Ph.D. Associate Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Information Technology at Bridgewater College.

RUSS BREAULT who has been researching and lecturing on the Shroud of Turin for over 25 years. His presentation makes use of over 150 superb images and unfolds like a CSI investigation. Mr. Breault delivers a dynamic, fast-paced experience. His highly acclaimed presentation is called THE MYSTERY OF THE SHROUD: A Multi-Media Encounter or simply… Shroud Encounter!

Ancient languages translator and historian Mark Guscin, B.A. M.Phil., Expert on the ”SUDARIUM” OF JESUS. (Face cloth).

This book Includes research by Peter Shumacher, the inventor of the NASA VP-8 Image Analyzer.

NASA?  Check out VP8 Image Analyzer at Wikipedia. It goes on and on and concludes with this admonition:

As Christians we know that our mission is to intercept those who are sadly heading for the Gates of Hell and each one of us need to be aware of the urgency of the hour in saving our ‘neighbour’….

Well, I guess that is one way of putting it. Not my way, exactly.

Who is Addai?

from newly published papers at

imageIf you are fascinated by historical theory, like I am, read, FROM JERUSALEM TO EDESSA – THE SHROUD AND THE FAMILY OF JESUS:

Semitic name Addai, abbreviation for Adonija, does not derive from a person of the New Testament. It is necessary to wait until Eusebius – secondary source compared to the Doctrina (Illert 2007: 20) – to identify him with Thaddeus, one of the twelve Disciples (Matteo 10,3 / Marco 3,18) (HE I 12,3). According to the Doctrina, Addai came from “Panea, at the springs of Jordan River” (Howard 1981: 42s). The position against the conjecture that this is a reference to the Gospels is supported by the different name used in the Bible. As a matter of facts, it mentions the place as Caesarea Philippi (Marco 8,27 / Matteo 16,13). Because of this detail, Theodor Zahn’s position is still convincing. He presumes that «since it is totally impartial, this should be considered as a trustworthy tradition through the first, or one of the first, preachers of Christian faith in Edessa» (1881: 369). A significant role into the Doctrina is played by James the Brother of the Lord (Howard 1981: 22-25. 34s).

Yet there is a pre-existent source connecting James with Addai. According to the First Apocalypse of James, the Brother of the Lord had instructed Addai. The Gnostic apocryphal text in Coptic language brought to us, that we know also from the recently (re)published Codix Tchacos, contains Jewish-Christian translations and can be dated back to the 3rd century (Brankaer/Bethge 2007: 114-117; 84s). Richard Bauckham assumes that there had been a mission of the Family Members of the Lord towards East (1990: 66-70) and that Addai, before the year 70, had relations withJerusalem. Richard Bauckham also gives the Apocalypse of James for sure (2008: 265). Also M. L. Chaumont considers the Mission of Addai a verified historical fact (1988: 14-16), but, like Adolf von Harnack (1924: 681), he places it in a later period of time, around the year 100.

Why Not Luigi Garlaschelli?

What is that on Luigi Garlaschelli’s left shoulder?

imageA reader writes from the “front porch of my old Kentucky home:”

In reading through some of the newly published material on the STuRP (sic*) site, I found the paper by Paolo Di Lazzaro interesting for its introduction. We read on the first page, “none of techniques tested can simultaneously reproduce its main features, from the 3-D property to the coloration depth, to the resolution of the spatial details. The conclusion was that the image on the Shroud of Turin is not the result of the work of an artist or forger.”

Time, however, did not stand still. The latest testing was by Professor Luigi Garlaschelli of the University of Pavia. According to Reuters, Garlaschelli, claimed that he and his team “have shown it is possible to reproduce something which has the same characteristics as the Shroud.”

You would think that would be mentioned in the paper.

Well, no.  The examples were fine for the purpose of the paper. And Garlaschelli didn’t come all that close, anyway.  But maybe his method came closer than many of the methods mentioned by Jackson, Jumper and Ercoline and listed by Paolo; for that is who and what Paolo is talking about in his paper.

Maybe Colin Berry should be mentioned as well.  Scroll down a few postings to Colin Berry’s Long Running Investigation of the Shroud. You can also click on the picture of coloration by Colin to access Colin’s blog. Compare that to the coloration photograph in Paolo’s paper.


For the record, here is a relevant extract from Paolo’s Shroud-like coloration of linen by ultraviolet radiation:

In 1984, two organizers of the STuRP (Shroud of Turin Research Project), Jackson and Jumper, along with Ercoline published a paper entitled "Correlation of image intensity on the Turin Shroud with the 3-D structure of a human body shape" [1]. In this long paper (26 pages!) that I consider one of the most important works published by STuRP members, the authors describe in meticulous detail the creation of a gallery of images on linen fabrics using all the techniques potentially able to create a Shroud-like image. Note that this paper was published four years before the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud, and the authors, unaware that the cloth was woven in the Middle Ages, tested all the possible techniques, ancient and modern, not only those potentially available to the alleged medieval forger.

A list of techniques tested in this article include:

o Direct contact (a statue and a person coloured by inks, or chemicals, or powders, then draped by a linen cloth);

o Thermal colouration (bas reliefs heated in a furnace and placed in contact on both dry and wet linen); o Visible light (faces covered with phosphorescent paints imaged on contoured sheets of a photographic film);

o Electrostatic field; o Vapourgraphy (ammonia vapours on plaster face diffused on linen);

o Artists (professional artists, certified forensic with documented experience in realistic monotone imagery shade a Shroud-like face on linen, first free hand, then with anchor points);

o Hybrid mechanisms (different combinations of two or more techniques among those mentioned).

Jackson, Jumper and Ercoline compared the results of the above attempts with the macroscopic and microscopic features of the Shroud image, and argued that none of techniques tested can simultaneously reproduce its main features, from the 3-D property to the coloration depth, to the resolution of the spatial details. The conclusion was that the image on the Shroud of Turin is not the result of the work of an artist or forger.

* That would be the STERA site, more commonly known as