And Now Antonacci’s Test the Shroud Proposal is to be a Book

imageWe have some details about an upcoming book by Mark Antonacci thanks to some new information from Barrie Schwortz at The book, hopefully available this fall, is to be called Test the Shroud (At the Atomic and Molecular Levels). A promotional paragraph provided on the STERA site reads:

Mark Antonacci makes many prominent arguments in his landmark book, Test the Shroud. His accurate description of all the unique features on the Shroud of Turin allows him to convincingly argue that this is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus Christ. He presents a very testable hypothesis that particle radiation emanating from the dead, crucified body wrapped within this burial cloth caused its unprecedented, full-length body images, its still-red blood marks, its erroneous carbon dating and so many other unforgeable features. He even describes advanced scientific testing techniques that could be applied to this burial cloth, its human bloodstains and Jesus’ reputed burial tomb(s) that could demonstrate whether this unprecedented event actually occurred; when it happened; where it happened; the actual age of the Shroud; and the identity of the victim.

You might get some clues about the content of the book from the various articles at Mark’s

And there are these from this blog:

An Interview with Lind and Antonacci

Blowing the Antonacci Proposal to bits

Oh, To Be Reminded of 2002 Again

imageBarrie Schwortz offers us a final report on the 2015 Shroud of Turin Exposition titled The 2015 Exposition – A Personal Report by Barrie Schwortz. I found this paragraph particularly interesting:

I have noticed that since the 2002 restoration of the Shroud, the Turin authorities have had certain difficulties in adjusting the lighting to portray the Shroud in its natural color when on public display. That may be because a whiter sheet was sewn to the back of the Shroud during the 2002 intervention, thus lowering the apparent contrast of the image itself. I discussed this with Bruno Barberis while in Turin and he explained that this year, to help compensate for this lowered contrast, the organizers tested and calibrated the spectral characteristics of the lighting used to maximize visual contrast in the image. However, this required using a portion of the visible spectrum that in part neutralized the yellow color of the cloth itself, making it appear more grayish in tone. To help restore the warm color appearance of the Shroud, the organizers chose to surround the cloth with a blue frame. Any art or photography student knows that doing so makes the object within the frame appear warmer in tone. There is no doubt that the Turin authorities approached this carefully and thoughtfully and made the best compromise possible between contrast and color, so that viewing the Shroud was a truly positive experience for everyone.

Oh, to be reminded of 2002 again.

Colin Berry’s Long Running Investigation of the Shroud

imageI call your attention to Hugh Farey’s piece, LOTTO V. LUWU – A LONG RUNNING INVESTIGATION BY COLIN BERRY, appearing in the latest newsletter, issue 81, of the British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS).

The photograph is of Colin.

It begins:

For several years Colin Berry has been investigating ways by which the image on the Shroud could have been manufactured, and he has finally arrived at what he hopes is a satisfactory explanation. In many ways, though, the journey has been more valuable than the final achievement, as the variety and imagination of his experiments have enhanced our understanding of many of the characteristics of the Shroud, and demonstrated inaccuracies in long held beliefs.

And ends:

Although Berry says he has hung up his test tubes for the present, several loose ends are still available for tying up. Although Ray Rogers was convinced there was a thin starch coating all over the Shroud, Heller and Adler, in 1988, didn’t find any. And if the image relates, as the STuRP team suggested, only to the material of the Shroud and not to any coating or imprinting medium, then some interaction between the xanthoproteic events on the medium and the underlying linen should be investigated.

But you must read all of it.

Summer Update to

imageWe just heard from Barrie Schwortz a couple of hours ago. He writes:

We are happy to announce that our major Summer Update is now online! Just visit our Late Breaking Website News page for all the details.

This update leads off with the first eighteen issues of Rex Morgan’s Shroud News, a journal he published in Australia from 1980-2001. Over the next year or so, the entire 118 issue collection will be archived on

That is followed by a report on my invitation to speak at the 49th annual Jalsa Salana UK Convention in Hampshire, England, later this month, as a guest of theAhmadiyya Muslim Community, publishers of the highly respected 113 year old journal, The Review of Religions.

The update also includes the latest issue of the BSTS Newsletter, a final report on the 2015 Shroud Exposition, news of an upcoming exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis that will feature one of STERA, Inc.’s lifesize Shroud replicas, links to many new books, papers and videos, presentations from the May 2, 2015 Shroud conference in Turin, a selection of recent Shroud articles and interviews in the media and much more.

This update is another big one and should keep you busy through the summer, so watch for our major Fall Update in October or November….

More later. 

Another St. Louis Shroud of Turin Conference in 2018?

imageJoe Marino writes:

The website for the "Shroud of Turin:  The Controversial Intersection of Faith and Science,", held 9-12 October 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri, will be taken down in about 5 months, on or around 18 January 2015. This will not affect the accessibility of the papers and videos of the conference presentations, as those can be found at  The St. Louis conference site was mainly informational.  However, the forum in which comments about conference presentations could be made, will no longer be accessible.

Several people have asked if I knew when the next conference would be.  I’m currently not aware of any upcoming conferences, but the committee for the St. Louis conference is contemplating possibly holding another conference in St. Louis some time in 2018.  Any developments will be publicized at and .

Thanks, Joe.

3D of the Day: Imprinted in a Contact-Only Mechanism?




Suggesting that the image may be a contact image?

According to Colin Berry who rendered this in ImageJ:

(Techie stuff: the height setting on the z scale was kept at 0.1, i.e. its default setting, one that cannot be reduced, as my embedded B/W reference shows, given it has no 3D history ,having been constructed in MS  Paint. Minimal values were used for smoothing and lighting (10.0 and 0.2 respectively).

The Tease:

So what makes this image different from most others – like having those EYES!  Look carefully and you may see the ‘trick’ that was used – which some might regard as perfectly legitimate, exploiting another fixed feature of ImageJ, albeit one that you can work around (CLUE!)  and indeed was worked around.  Answer – will be given in 24 hours.

imprinted in a contact-only mechanism

From out of the strong came forth the sweet?

imageColin Berry tells us in his posting with the unwieldy title Is the Shroud of Turin really just 18 years short of its 2000th birthday? SEE THIS BLOG FOR A DAILY ACERBIC OVERVIEW OF CURRENT WRANGLING (currently 2015, Week 33):

This posting rep0rts what this blogger/retired science bod considers to be significant progress in modelling the “Shroud” image, so as to reproduce more of its allegedly  ‘iconic’ and/or “unique” properties (negative image, superficiality,  3D properties, fuzzy border, possibly even some of those so-called microscopic properties.


Topic 3: Here’s Dr.Positive (science bod) calling a certain Dr.Persistently Negative, he who dishes out his “science” as if medicine to treat disease. This is an important posting, probably the most important from my years of “Shroud” research, and it’s dedicated to the man with the  prescribing tendency.  Why? Because his negative nitpicking, from countless sniping  and indeed hostile comments and, especially his snipingg- from-cover pdfs, were what spurred me to switch from imprinting with flour paste/slurry to imprinting with dry flour. Check out these results for (a) that “Shroud” like fuzzy image by which he sets so much store (rarely if ever considering the effect of age-related degradation) and to (b) 3D properties (which he flatly claimed lacked 3D properties, unsupported by data, and which I demonstrated yesterday to be false).

First, the new improved fuzzy-look image, obtained using flour dust as imprinting medium, colour development with a hot flat iron*  or in  a hot oven, and a new 3rd stage (image attenuation by washing with soap and water).

(*Late addition: it’s probably the hot iron – its pressing action being responsible for the coloration being confined mainly to the crowns of the weave. Microscopy is in progress, but needs careful evaluation).


Tone -reversed negative of dry-flour imprint, 3D-rendered in ImageJ. Note the relative lack of distortion, compared with the wet-flour imprint in Topic 2.  Dr.Negative please note.

Not bad eh?  One is put in mind of that biblical quotation based on the bees around the deceased lion (“from out of the strong came forth the sweet” or words to that effect, even if the biology is suspect) …  from out of the negative came forth the positive…

Eh! But what say you all?


In the Judges 14 we find Samson travelling to the land of the Philistines in search of a wife. During the journey he killed a lion, and on his return past the same spot he noticed that a swarm of bees had formed a comb of honey in the carcass. Samson later turned this into a riddle at a wedding: "Out of the eater came forth meat and out of the strong came forth sweetness".

12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me now propound a riddle to you; if you will indeed tell it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes. 13 “But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Propound your riddle, that we may hear it.” 14 So he said to them,  “Out of the eater came something to eat,  And out of the strong came something sweet.”  But they could not tell the riddle in three days.

15 Then it came about on the fourth day that they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?16 Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me, and you do not love me; you have propounded a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not toldit to me.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told it to my father or mother; so should I tell you?” 17 However she wept before him seven days while their feast lasted. And on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,  “What is sweeter than honey?  And what is stronger than a lion?”  And he said to them,  “If you had not plowed with my heifer,  You would not have found out my riddle.”

19 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house. 20 But Samson’s wife was given to his companion who had been his friend.

Lightening Striking the Other Crucified Person in His Shroud

imageAcilius, in the Red Panther blog, wonders, Does the Shroud of Turin disprove the Gospels?

In April, I noticed a post on Rod Dreher‘s blog about the Shroud of Turin.  Mr Dreher had been impressed by a book, Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery: Six Holy Objects That Tell the Remarkable Story of the Gospels, by David Gibson and Michael McKinley, a companion volume to the CNN series of the same awkwardly punctuated name.  The other day, I saw that the Reverend Mr Dwight Longenecker, a former Anglican priest turned Roman Catholic, had also posted about the shroud, quoting at length from an article at National Geographic in which the shroud’s puzzling nature is explored.

Quoting Longenecker, Acilius writes:

De Lazzaro explained that the ultraviolet light necessary to reproduce the image of the crucified man “exceeds the maximum power released by all ultraviolet light sources available today.” The time for such a burst would be shorter than one forty-billionth of a second, and the intensity of the ultra violet light would have to be around several billion watts.”

The scientists shrug and say the only explanation lies beyond the realm of twenty-first century technoscience. In other words, the extraordinary burst of ultra violet light is not only beyond the ability and technology of a medieval forger. It is beyond the ability and technology of the best twenty-first century scientists.

He goes on:

What could explain all of this?  If no known technological process could have produced the image on the shroud, and the only unknown technological processes that could have produced it would be the result either of the greatest design fluke in history or of contact with visitors from outer space, perhaps we should discard the forgery hypothesis and turn next to a search for a natural process that could have produced the image.  There may in fact be such a process.  Lightning is an extremely energetic and poorly understood phenomenon; it was only in 2009 that it was discovered that lightning often produces significant amounts of antimatter in the upper atmosphere.  No one had expected to find this, and no one can explain it.  Bursts of ultraviolet radiation is a lot less exotic than appearances of antimatter, and so would be significantly less surprising as phenomena associated with lightning.

So, perhaps at some point in the middle decades of the first century CE in or near the city of Jerusalem the body of a man who had been scourged, jabbed in the side with a spear, mounted on a cross, fastened to that cross with nails through his wrists and feet, and subjected to a group of small puncture wounds on the forehead was wrapped in the shroud that has been on display in Turin for the last several centuries.  Before that man’s body was buried or entombed, it was struck by lightning, producing a burst of ultraviolet rays that created the image on the shroud.  This event, occurring in an urban area and centering on the body of a man whose gruesome death a crowd would have witnessed at most a few hours before, would certainly have been very much discussed.  One must suppose that people would try to find religious significance in it, and that in the course of those discussions many people would claim, whether truthfully or not, to have been associated with the man during his lifetime.

Perhaps the whole story of Jesus, as it has come down to us, grew from the reactions to this event.  Or perhaps the story of Jesus as we have it represents the conflation of several stories.  It is difficult to imagine that the man whose image is preserved in the shroud is not the man whose crucifixion is described in the Gospels, but not so difficult to imagine that stories about another man, who was also crucified in Jerusalem around the same time and who was well-known locally before his crucifixion as the leader of a new religious movement, would be combined with the story of the man whose crucifixion was followed by the spectacular event of a lightning bolt and the transformation of his burial cloth into the object we now see in Turin.


Nowhere in the New Testament does it say that Jesus’ body was struck by lightning after it was removed from the cross.  If the image on the shroud turns out to have been created by lightning, the evidence connecting it with first-century Jerusalem, the fact that its appearance in first-century Jerusalem would certainly have caused great excitement there, and the similarity of the wounds the man had to the wounds the Gospels attribute to Jesus makes that silence a tremendous obstacle to accepting the historicity of the Gospels, I would say a far bigger obstacle than any of the gaps or discrepancies of detail that New Testament scholars have yet uncovered.

All the other problems fade pretty quickly once you start thinking of the Gospels as what they originally were, a collection of liturgical resources more akin to a hymnal than to a biographical study.  The Gospels are series of pericopes, distinct passages designed to be read aloud or recited at particular moments in worship services.  So, for Christians, there seems to be a great deal at stake in the question of what precisely the Shroud of Turin is.  If the recent studies of it are all wrong, if the researchers have been led astray by their religious biases and it is after all a forgery from the Middle Ages, then the crisis is averted.  If the studies hold up, and if the image does prove to be the result of a lightning strike, do Christians have a way out?

A bit of speculation too far, I think. But it is thinking, and thinking is a good thing.

Including the Truth About the Shroud of Turin

imageFrom a fascinating articles three days ago in Forbes Life by Jim Dobson, Vatican For Sale: Very Wealthy Rent the Sistine Chapel, Dine with the Pope and Buy Secret Archives:

Beyond the Tower of Winds are rooms lined with 50 miles (roughly the length of the Panama Canal), filled with dark wooden shelves. Inside are hundreds of thousands of volumes (some almost two feet thick) filled with antiquated parchment. This is the Vatican secret archive, the most mysterious collection of documents in the world.

Among the historic documents are: Handwritten records of Galileo’s trial before the Inquisition; the 1530 petition from England’s House of Lords asking the Pope to annul Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon; letters from Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis during the U.S. Civil War; the papal bull excommunicating Martin Luther, and letters from Michelangelo including one where he complained about not receiving payment for his work on the Sistine Chapel.

Some of the more controversial, and much argued theories about hidden documents include; documentation of the Jesus bloodline; secular historical proof of Jesus’s existence, with correspondence between Saint Paul and Emperor Nero; secular historical proof via the same correspondence that Jesus did not exist; and contemporary depictions of Jesus (formal portraits of Jesus made by people who actually saw and depicted him in real life).

Many historians and scholars have also hinted the Church has hidden the existence of various Biblical relics, either the relics themselves, or reliable documentation as to their whereabouts, including the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, the True Cross, the truth about the Shroud of Turin, and many others.

Once, Napoleon had the whole of the secret archive transported to Paris. In 1817 it was eventually returned with countless documents missing. Private investors have speculated about what truly is available in the public sector, hidden for decades.

For now, the future of the Vatican is certainly changing forever. Many more opportunities will be unveiled in the coming year with fund raising efforts giving help to a lot of people less fortunate…. thanks to Pope Francis.

(emphasis mine)

Does Pope Francis Believe the Shroud is Real?

imageYesterday, Stephen Jones touched on the question:

As I pointed out … :

An `icon,’ in Roman Catholic theology is merely a humanly created representation of the real thing:

"ICON … from the Greek eikon meaning image, is a word now generally applied to paintings of sacred subjects or scenes from sacred histories" ("Icon," New Catholic Encyclopedia 2003. My emphasis)

as opposed to `relic’ which is the real thing:

"RELICS The material remains of a saint or holy person after his death, as well as objects sanctified by contact with his body." ("Relics," New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2003)"

So by continuing to refuse to confirm or deny that the Shroud is authentic, and in fact calling the Shroud an `icon,’ Pope Francis, and the Vatican, is sending a mixed message that the Shroud could be a fake. Pope Francis himself might well believe that the Shroud is a fake, but the Vatican, by its actions: 1) spending the equivalent of many millions of dollars protecting the Shroud; and 2) displaying it to many millions of people, clearly believes the Shroud is authentic.

"The shroud draws [people] to the tormented face and body of Jesus and, at the same time, directs [people] toward the face of every suffering and unjustly persecuted person." This is damming the Shroud with faint praise and reinforces that Pope Francis really does think (wrongly) that the Shroud is just another fake icon. But the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud is authentic, and therefore the image on the Shroud IS "the tormented face and body of Jesus"! Again, I am not being anti-Catholic in this but pro-truth and pro-Shroud (which is the same thing)! ..

Then, in responding to a comment by a reader, we added:

But I assume that the Vatican is trapped inside its policy not to confirm or deny that any of its relics are authentic, because then it would be under pressure to confirm or deny which of its many other relics are authentic, and the vast majority of them would be fakes.

The quotation that begins, “The shroud draws,” is from an article, Pope Francis Pope Francis praises Turin shroud as an ‘icon of love’ that appeared in The Guardian June 22, this year.

A Guest Posting by Yannick Clément

imageReflecting about the body image on the Shroud, I came up with what I consider to be a quite interesting reflection and I would like to share it with everyone. It takes the form of philosophical question: What if the image formation on the Shroud would be in the very same category as the apparition of life on Earth more than 3 Billion years ago, i.e. a wonderful event that came out of God’s will through the natural laws that he created and which science is still unable to fully explain today?

I think it can well be the case and, if it is so, I think we could still consider both events (the apparition of life and the Shroud image formation) as being “miraculous” in a way. Effectively, it’s not because an event happened through the natural laws created by God that it cannot be considered by us as “miraculous” in a way (or at least “wonderful” or “amazing”)…

— Yannick Clément, Louiseville, Québec, Canada

Tantalizingly Close Enough?

In The Imaginative Conservative, Fr. Dwight Longenecker summarizes the scientific work of Paolo Di Lazzaro (pictured) and his colleagues. The article is entitled The Shroud of Turin: Evidence for Everything? :

So what formed the image? The best description is that it is an extremely delicate singe marking. Italian physicist Paolo Di Lazzaro concedes in an article for National Geographic that every scientific attempt to replicate it in a lab has failed. “Its precise hue is highly unusual, and the color’s penetration into the fabric is extremely thin, less than 0.7 micrometers (0.000028 inches), one-thirtieth the diameter of an individual fiber in a single 200-fiber linen thread.”


They came tantalizingly close to replicating the image’s distinctive color on a few square centimeters of fabric. However, they were unable to match all the physical and chemical characteristics of the shroud image, and reproducing a whole human figure was far beyond them. De Lazzaro explained that the ultraviolet light necessary to reproduce the image of the crucified man “exceeds the maximum power released by all ultraviolet light sources available today.” The time for such a burst would be shorter than one forty-billionth of a second, and the intensity of the ultra violet light would have to be around several billion watts.”

As good a summary of De Lazzaro’s work as I have seen. But is tantalizingly close close enough?

imageWe’ve featured Fr. Dwight Longenecker many times in this blog. He is a graduate of Oxford University. He was an Evangelical Christian, later an Anglican priest and is now a Catholic priest.  He is the author of sixteen books and contributes to many magazines, papers and journals including Crisis, Integrated Catholic Life, National Catholic Register and Intercollegiate Review.

It is really, really time to rethink what we think about 3D

imageA reader writes:

I noticed with interest your article [Scientist Barrie Schwortz] with the excerpt from the CAN [=Catholic News Agency] story that quotes Dr. Barrie Schwortz saying that lights and darks on the image correlate to cloth to body distance. I agree with you, however, permit me this.

What Dr. Schwortz says is an unfortunate example of an assumption masquerading as a fact. He is repeating something that seems to have originated with Dr. John Jackson et alia around 1976. It has become one of the most often repeated statements about the Shroud’s image. Unfortunately it is not true. 

Dr. Colin Berry has clearly demonstrated that the lights and darks (lighter and darker shades) in a photograph of a death mask can represent three-dimensional information. [See ImageJ plot below].  When Dr. Schwortz says that photographs don’t have that kind of information, he is wrong. They might have it. And if photographs might have it, so can artworks such as paintings, relief rubbings and imprints. In the case of the death mask photograph, it was a matter of how diffused light played out on the shape of the face.

Dr. Berry also demonstrated the encoding of three-dimensional information in an image with thermal imprinting. In that case it seems to be the result of different amounts of pressure between a piece of linen and a hot statue. 

Clearly, no one should be telling a reporter, “photographs don’t have that kind of information, artworks don’t.” It simply is not true.

No one should tell a reporter, “The only way that can happen is by some interaction between cloth and body.” It simply is not true. 

And no one should tell a reporter there is a “correlation between image density – lights and darks on the image – and cloth to body distance.” It simply is not true.

In fairness to Barrie, I used to say those very same things about the 3D.  It is one of those many things about the shroud images that warrant reexamination and new thinking. The problem is bigger than what gets said in the press. It is believing possibly incorrect information and blinding ourselves to new avenues of thinking about the images. I still think the data is real 3D data.  I’m just NOT persuaded that cloth to body distance is a valid assumption.

Note 1:  Barrie is not a “Dr.” But by all rights, he is Dr. Schwortz in my book.

Note 2:  It was Joseph Accetta who proposed that the death mask photograph might contian 3D information. Colin confirmed it. This is discussed in an earlier posting, PowerPoint presentation put together by Joseph Accetta. It is too bad that Colin wasn’t in St. Louis when Joe Accetta was.



A superbly detailed exploration of the Image of Edessa

imageThat is how Hugh Farey, in a comment to another posting, describes Mark Guscin’s The Tradition of the Image of Edessa, a 400+ page PhD thesis recently published on a University of London website.

The abstract of this paper begins:

The Image of Edessa was an image of Christ, which according to tradition was of miraculous origin. It was taken from Edessa (mod. Sanliurfa, Turkey) to Constantinople in 944, and disappeared from known history in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. It generated, however, a vast amount of literature and hundreds of copies in churches all over the Byzantine world. This thesis is a study of the literature, paintings, icons and other aspects related to the Image of Edessa. It examines how it was used as a tool to express Christ’s humanity and for various other purposes, and how some of the related literature became completely decontextualised and was used as a magical charm, especially in the West….

The photograph of Mark is a publicity photo from ArcheBooks Publishing for his novel All the Diamonds in the World.

Russ Breault to Speak in Ludington, Michigan

imageWe learn from the Ludington Daily News (Western Michigan) that Russ Breault will be presenting Shroud Encounter at St. Simon Catholic Church this month.

Area residents and visitors will have two chances later this month to learn about the Shroud of Turin from an expert on the artifact who has attended all three public shroud exhibitions in Turin, Italy.

Russ Breault, who has been researching and lecturing on the Shroud of Turin for more than 30 years, will present Shroud Encounter at St. Simon Catholic Church at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22 and at noon Sunday, Aug. 23.

Comparing Colin Berry’s Methods to Those of Sam Pellicori

imageI spent considerable time in the car yesterday on Interstate 10 between Pensacola and Tallahassee. Just sightseeing; I had never seen the Florida Pan Handle. Lots of trees. Lots of rivers. Lots of time to think about…

Colin Berry’s 1) comparing his methods to those of Sam Pellicori (pictured):

My experiments match those of Pellicori’s almost down to the last detail, but with one crucial difference. My imprinting medium is macromolecular, indeed whole cell in size, namely the crushed endosperm of wheat grains (“white flour”) so greatly reducing the theoretical risk of “capillarity”, though I still have to do detailed microscopy.

2) Colin’s supposition that the shroud is meant to be thought of not as a burial cloth in the tomb but as a stretcher of sorts to transport the body to the tomb.

3) Colin’s strident distain for our all too frequent way of begging the question (he is right on this point, of course).

<!>  reminded me of a paper by Serge N. Mouraviev, published in Applied Optics in 1997 and now available as a reprint of The Image Formation Mechanism on the Shroud of Turin: A Solar Reflex Radiation Model (the Optical Aspect) at

Previous studies have shown that both images appear like rectilinear orthogonal projections of an unknown nature coming from the body and oriented in two opposite directions onto both halves of the Shroud such as would have been possible if the source of the image had had only two dimensions and been suspended between the flattened planes of both halves of the Shroud. Such a situation, which is scientifically untenable but helps us better understand the geometrical proportionality of the images, has been labeled the vertical alignment of the image and strongly speaks in favor of a radiational acting-at-distance transfer mechanism.xxi

On the other hand, the high resolution of the images [at least as good as 0.5 cm (Refs. 11, 16) or even approaching 0.1 to 0.2 cm (Ref. 22)] suggests rather a contact mechanism of transfer. But in that case the way the Shroud must have been laid on the body seems to require the formation of lateral images on both sides and of an uninterrupted transition between the image of the face and that of the back of the head with all the distorsions they involve.

The so-called tridimensionality implies a reverse correlation between the intensity of the shading and the estimated distance from the body, which indicates that only the darkest parts of the image could have been in direct contact with the body whereas other parts were acted upon at a distance.

Finally, note that the image itself was produced by some agent that left on the Shroud a superficial brownish degradation of the cellulose by oxidation, dehydration, and conjugation of the polysaccharide structure of the topmost microfibrils of the linen, changes that can be obtained by sulfuric acid or heat but usually at the expense of superficiality.12

Such are the main elements of the problem that led STURP to the conclusion that the image is “an ongoing mystery”.

3. Misleading Presuppositions

The contradictions just described — between vertical alignment and wrapping, full contact, partial contact and action-at-distance, the uniformity of both images, the gravitational asymmetry of the frontal and dorsal sides of the body, etc. — are the logical result of a number of tacit presuppositions none of which has been questionned so far.

Three are particularly important.

Presupposition 1. The images were produced by some chemical or radiant agent originating inside the body.

Presupposition 2. The images were formed while the body lay in the tomb.

Presupposition 3. Both images, the frontal and the dorsal, were produced simultaneously.

None of these presuppositions is substantiated by anything except the involuntary association of these images with the subsequent resurrection of Jesus, as described in the Gospels. In our opinion, resurrection is not a matter for scientific investigation, and the only assumption we are entitled to as scientists is that the images could be either a natural accidental byproduct of the burial procedure itself, not of the mysterious disappearance of the body, or a forgery (but, as stated, the hypotheses based on the latter assumption must cope with new problems and reject an important part of the available evidence).

Once we eliminate Presupposition 1, we no longer need to look for sources of energy, radiation, evaporation or whatnot inside the corpse of a dead man or try to understand how their pluridirectional diffusion or emission could have produced on a complex surface an image the optic quality of which requires either a focalizing lens or at least a beam of strictly parallel rays and a flat surface.

Once we eliminate Presupposition 2, we immediately identify the nature of those parallel rays. On a spring afternoon in the Middle East the whole atmosphere vibrates under the burning rays of the Sun. They could not have sprung out of the body, but they could very well have been reflected by it.

Eliminating Presupposition 3, we have solved once and for all the problem of alleged gravitational asymmetry between the frontal and the dorsal images. The rays of the Sun could not have reached the body on both sides at once, but nothing prevented the body from being turned over alternatively from front to back. And if so, there would have been no asymmetry.

Certainly this does not solve the main problem, and it even creates new ones, e.g., why both sides of the body were exposed to the Sun, but it clears up many sources of confusion.

Hence we have the following hypothesis. Both images were created by solar rays when and because the Shroud containing the body was exposed to the Sun, first face up, then face down (or the other way around). The rays were transmitted through the linen, reflected by the body and projected onto the inner side of the Shroud.

Could this lead to the formation and transfer of an image of the body onto the cloth such as what we have? This is the optical aspect of the problem. And if yes, how was this image imprinted on the linen? This is the photochemical aspect of the problem. Finally, what combination of circumstances could have created the unusual photochemical and optic conditions required to produce and record the image? This is the historical or, rather, philological (exegetical) aspect of the problem.

We answer the first question exhaustively in Section 4 (although without discussing in detail the concrete local effects on the accuracy of the image), suggest with others the most likely answer to the second question in Section 5, and try to reconstruct in Section 6, on the basis of the Gospels, the most probable sequence of events, acts, and motives that accidently created the necessary and adequate conditions for the images to be produced and recorded on the linen.

And there was this from Colin:

Coming next: my comment placed on shroudstory (though increasingly I ask myelf why I bother with that wet-blanket of a site, one that  persistently evades the detail, trotting out the cut-and-paste words of this or that ‘expert’ to say in effect “You’re wasting your time and ours chum”).

Wasting time? Not at all. Your ideas may in the long run be right. Or they may get us – together even maybe – going down new unintended paths of exploration and thought.

Scientist Barrie Schwortz

imageI was about to post something about Ann Schneible’s CNA Daily News article, How one skeptical scientist came to believe the Shroud of Turin (appearing also on the EWTN site, the Catholic Channel of Patheos and now at least 17 other blogs).

Bad headline, I thought.  Barrie Schwortz knows a lot about science, particularly about matters that pertain to the shroud. He explains it well. He gets it. He respects it. He works well with many scientists. But he is not a scientist.  Colin Berry will react strongly to calling Barrie a scientist. 

It’s not just the headline, however. It is clear that Schneible thinks Barrie is a scientist:

When it comes to testifying to this meeting point between faith and science, Schwortz is in a unique position: he has never converted to Christianity, but remains a practicing Jew. And this, he says, makes his witness as a scientist all the more credible.

I’m confident Barrie didn’t refer to himself as a scientist or imply that he was. I am sure also that Schneible did not, at a minimum, review the biographical sketch elements of her article with Barrie. She should have. 

It is otherwise a good article.  I disagree with my friend Barrie on some matters. In the following, that which appears in quotes is presumably a direct quotation:

This means “there’s a correlation between image density – lights and darks on the image – and cloth to body distance.”

“The only way that can happen is by some interaction between cloth and body,” he said. “It can’t be projected. It’s not a photograph – photographs don’t have that kind of information, artworks don’t.”

clip_image001I don’t share that opinion. I don’t agree that the 3D data (image density) necessarily indicates cloth to body distance.  It may. Nevertheless, it has not been proven. It is bad science to speak about cloth to body distance as though that was the only possibility. While I believe, for many reasons, that the shroud is really Christ’s burial cloth, I cannot go so far as to say that you can rule out art in some form as the basis for the 3D data (see Should we be rethinking the VP8 and 3D images?).  Moreover, it is absolutely wrong to say that photographs cannot have that property (See Good 3D from a conventional photograph).  Nor, do I think you can rule out some scientific or extra-scientific explanation that does not depend on cloth to body distance. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Some “real” scientists think the 3D data represents cloth to body distance and how should I know since I’m not a scientist but then again some “real” scientists think ….

Here is part of what Colin has to say:

There’s just one tiny fly in the ointment. Barrie M.Schworts is  and never has been a scientist. He was not recruited to STURP as a scientist, meaning there should not have been that reference to “fellow scientists”. He was recruited as a Documenting Photographer. Quite what’s in his portfolio of photographs is anyone’s guess, given the copyright restrictions that Schwortz has placed on his work, even that of fellow Documenting Photographer Mark Evans (thanks to Thibault Heimburger for getting some of those crucial Evans pix released, being the basis for most if not all the claims for the Shroud’s allegedly unusual microscopic characteristics).  Were it not for the photoarchive that appeared on Mario Latendresse’s Shroud Scope, based on the Durante 2002 photos, this blogger would have a mere tens or scores of postings only, not the hundreds he has accumulated over 3.5 years.

One wonders what a real scientist by the name of Barrie M.Schwortz in a parallel universe would have to say about the bowdlerized reference to the image’s 3D properties, making them out to be something near-miraculous, despite easily demonstrated with 2D imprints, even cartoons with no 3D properties. The latter are due to the way the differences in light v dark  on the xy plane are converted to imaginary height on a new vertical z axis….

But Colin, I must disagree with you on that cartoon you cite (see Colin Berry is up with an interesting posting about 3D enhancement).

When is a Sindon Not a Sindon?

For anyone wanting more information, I highly recommend 
Diana Fulbright’s 20+ page  paper on the subject,
A Clean Cloth: What Greek Word Usage Tells Us about the Burial Wrappings of Jesus.

imageOn reading the following on Colin Berry’s blog, it occurred to me that a bit of clarification wouldn’t hurt any of us. Colin writes:

Why does this blogger [=Colin] now refer to the Turin “Shroud”? Why not just Turin Shroud? Answer: because the single sheet of linen in Turin was intended by a medieval entrepreneur, into the business of providing “relics”, to represent that used by Joseph of Arimathea to retrieve the body from the cross and transport it to the nearby tomb. That single sheet “sindon” must not be confused with the linen clothes (plural) aka winding cloths or bandages, Greek “othonion” that were used for final interment as described in the book of John. In other words, Joseph’s linen, imagined by our medieval entrepreneur to have captured a sweat/blood imprint, was replaced by those “bandages”, and indeed there is an illustration in the Humgarian Pray manuscript of that changeover in progress.

Is that what the Pray Manuscript shows?  Hmmm? And there is this:

Conclusion: referring to the imprinted linen as the Turin SHROUD was probably the biggest semantic goof in history, and it’s had enormous consequences as regards the speculation that has grown up around the mechanism that produced the double image.

clip_image001Kim Dreisbach, once upon a time over at, clarified:

Students new to the study to the Shroud are sometimes confused by apparent inconsistencies in the description of Jesus’ burial cloth or cloths. In truth, the Bible – when read in Greek – uses a variety of terms to describe them.

The Synoptic Gospels use the word sindon in the singular to designate the Shroud (Matt. 27:59; Mk. 15:46 (twice); Lk. 23:53). Sindon appears only six times in all of the New Testament. In an anecdote unique to Mark, it is used twice in 14: 51-52 to describe the linen cloth left by an unnamed young man when he fled naked from the Garden of Gethsemane.

In Jn. 19:40, the Fourth Gospeller uses the word othonia [Gk.] (plural) to describe the linen cloths used in the Burial. Othonia, a word of uncertain meaning, but probably best translated as a generic plural for grave clothes. The same word is used by Luke or his scribe in Lk.24:12 what had previously been described as the sindon in Lk. 23:53. Note: vs. l2 (But Peter rose and ran to the tomb, stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths (plural) by themselves; and he went home wondering what happened.) does not appear in the most ancient manuscripts, but is added by later ancient authorities.

Next we discover (keirias) [Gk.] translated by the RSV as bandages in Jn. 11:44’s description of the raising of Lazarus. In actuality, linen strips used to bind the wrists and ankles and probably also used on the outside at the neck, waist and ankles to secure the Shroud to the body.

Finally we come to the word sudarion [Gk.] which is found in the canonical texts solely in John (11:44. 20:7) and Luke (l9:20; Acts l9:12). It is translated by the RSV as "the napkin which had been on his head" (Jn. 20:7) and earlier in 11:44 as the cloth with which Lazarus’ face was wrapped. Scholars like the late Dr. John A.T Robinson ( "The Shroud of Turin and the Grave Cloths of the Gospels") and J.N. Sanders regard it as a chin band going around the face/head for the purpose of keeping the corpse’s jaws closed. Certainly this appears to be the intent of the artist who drew the manuscript illustration for the Hungarian Pray mss, Fol. 27v, Budapest of 1192-95 which clearly illustrates that the Shroud’s full length image(s) were known in the 12th century. (See Ian Wilson, 1986, The Mysterious Shroud, Garden City, NY; Doubleday & Company, p.115. See also Bercovits, I. 1969, Dublin: Irish University Press. Illuminated Manuscripts in Hungary, pl. III.) .

imageFor anyone wanting more information, I highly recommend  Diana Fulbright’s 20+ page paper on the subject, A Clean Cloth: What Greek Word Usage Tells Us about the Burial Wrappings of Jesus.

Diana  has researched  the Shroud since 1980.  She formerly taught the History of Christianity and related languages at the University of Iowa and Biblical Studies and Hebrew at the Benedictine Abbey in Richmond.

From Constantinople to Lirey through the Sainte-Chapelle


Between the date of this exposition in 1203 and the first exposition of the Shroud of Turin
at Lirey around 1356, there is a 153-year gap.  . . .   This silence was simply due to the lack of knowledge and attention by the Latins to the most obscure relic in the Grande Châsse
at the Sainte-Chapelle. The Shroud of Turin was lying silently in a reliquary of the Sainte-Chapelle waiting to be discovered by a more attentive and humble group of clerics.

Mario Latendresse writes to inform us about a long posting he made “about the thesis of the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris, which would explain the transfer of the Mandylion from Constantinople to Lirey through the Sainte-Chapelle.”  He provides:

An Introduction  &

Full text of the arguments in favor of the thesis of the Sainte-Chapelle

Take the time to carefully read both postings. The following from Mario’s conclusion may whet your appetite.

It is almost certain that the reliquary of the Mandylion did reach the Sainte-Chapelle as part of the relics ceded by Baudoin II to his relative Louis IX, and it is very likely that the Mandylion was in its reliquary. The size of the Mandylion, which is a cloth, appears large because 1) the first inventory states explicitly that it is large; 2) the Golden Bull of 1247 as well as the first inventory of the Grande Châsse does not mention any portrait in the reliquary and all the late reliquaries mention an image at the bottom of the reliquary, therefore the cloth appeared large enough to hide that image; 3) because no image is mentioned in the first inventory and the Golden Bull, the cloth also appears folded; 4) the reliquary of the Mandylion was large enough to contain a folded cloth as large as the Shroud of Turin, as a matter of fact, it was just the right size to do so. It is also likely that the Mandylion disappeared from the Sainte-Chapelle between the early 14th century and the early 16th century based on the presence of a cloth mentioned in the first inventory and the Golden Bull although none are mentioned starting in the early 16th century.

In natural sciences, it is customary to formulate an hypothesis to compare it to the observations. It is also a process that is easy to do because once an hypothesis is well described, the comparison is systematic and simple. That same process can be applied to the inventories, which are mainly observations about the reliquaries and relics. In the following, we propose two opposite hypotheses about the Mandylion and its reliquary and compare them to the inventories to see which hypothesis is the most coherent. The first one is similar to Andrea Nicolotti’s hypothesis whereas the second one is based on the thesis that the Mandylion is the Shroud of Turin.


Between the date of this exposition in 1203 and the first exposition of the Shroud of Turin at Lirey around 1356, there is a 153-year gap. The thesis of the Sainte-Chapelle explains this silence without referring to a complex and obscure scenario. This silence was simply due to the lack of knowledge and attention by the Latins to the most obscure relic in the Grande Châsse at the Sainte-Chapelle. The Shroud of Turin was lying silently in a reliquary of the Sainte-Chapelle waiting to be discovered by a more attentive and humble group of clerics.

How and why the Mandylion was passed to Geoffroy de Charny has not been discussed. But we can already see that the appearance of the Shroud at Lirey occurred during the disappearance of the Mandylion at theSainte-Chapelle….

The photograph, above, is appearing through an electronic window into Mario website. CLICK HERE or on the photograph to see a full size version of it on his site. The caption reads:

An elevated baldachin on a platform at the same location where the Grande Châsse containing the relics of Constantinople were kept in the choir of the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris.

© Mario Latendresse. Photo taken 26 April 2015.

BYOB+ Exhibition of the Shroud of Turin in Toronto

clip_image001An unusual announcement of an exhibition of a replica of the shroud at the Reg Hartt: Hell’s Kitchen, The Public Enemy, The Cineforum in Toronto:

A Replica of THE SHROUD OF TURIN obtained from Barry Schwortz, the official photographer of the 1978 STURP team which examined THE SHROUD is now in Toronto at Reg Hartt’s THE PUBLIC ENEMY (aka THE CINEFORUM, HELL’S KITCHEN) , 463 Bathurst Street in Toronto. The setting is as far from foreboding as it gets. There is a BEER STORE across The Street. You are welcome to bring in a beer, a bottle of wine, some whiskey or, if you prefer, to go out back and smoke a little pot.

You can come by any day at any time between 12 noon and 10pm. Just call first to make sure we are here.


Sundays at 8pm for those who wish to see it I will be screening Barrie Schowrtz talking about The Shroud.

Photo:  From the Torontoist, Reg Hartt: activist, educator, civic prankster.

Interview with Mark Guscin

Russ Breault writes:

Here is an interview I did with Mark Guscin on the Sudarium.  David Alexander, now deceased, was a model for how the napkin was wrapped around a human head.

Remembering an Earlier Posting About The Seamless Robe

preposterous beyond scientific embarrassment.

Simageomeone just wrote:

I hope your are the right person to write.

On the blog "Shroud of Turin blog" there was an article on november 2, 2011 "A Reaction to Giulio Fanti’s Suggestion" there ist also a photo.

I’m part of a student group at University of Hannover, Germany planning an exhibition about a seamless shirt in Steinhude. For this would like to design a map of europe with all the seamless clothes we found during our research and we would like to use the pictures. Who has the licence of this photo and can allow us to use it?

My response was:

No, I don’t know who has the license for the photo. You might try doing a Google image search on tunique d argenteuil. From there you can try all the many websites who are using the image. Such is the nature of the internet.  Moreover (at least in the U.S.) the image may not be copyrightable just as photographs of the shroud are not according to the U. S. District Court for Southern New York which has held that exact photographic copies of public domain images could not be protected by copyright.

NOVERMBER 2, 2011. I’d forgotten about that posting. So, for a slow news day in August, here is a repeat:

A Reaction to Giulio Fanti’s Suggestion


A reader writes:

clip_image001With regards to the SSG posting about the Argenteuil robe and carbon dating by Giulio, I am speechless. Good grief.

In the Catholic Church there are two competing claimants to the title of the seamless robe or chilote of Christ. Legendary accounts of the robe at Argenteuil’s provenance has it being given by the Byzantine empress Irene to Charlemagne in the 9th century. In other words it came by way of Byzantium. The earliest extant written records go back only to 1195 and describe it as a child’s garment. We can’t know otherwise by looking at it because it was cut up into many pieces during the French Revolution and each piece was hidden away in a different secret location. Today only few pieces remain that have been seamed together. Some do claim that it is the seamless robe but there isn’t any good evidence for doing so.

A robe at Trier is an alternate claimant.  Like the Argenteuil robe it only has a certain documented history that goes back only to the 12th century, though legend takes it back to St. Helena. Over the years it has been repaired and patched so much that it is hard to tell what might be authentic and what might not be. It is as good a candidate as the Argenteuil robe.

The claims don’t end there. Allegedly, the robe, or at least some piece of it, is to be found in the Patriarchal Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta, Georgia, brought to that city by a Jewish Rabbi called Elias who bought the entire robe from a soldier who was present at the crucifixion. It is as good a story as any and I suppose it more likely true than the other stories. Portions of this robe are found at the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul in St. Petersburg, Kiev’s Sophia Cathedral and the Moscow Cathedral of the Dormition.

The Shroud of Turin, on the other hand, has a respectable history going back to the Hymn of the Pearl, the letters of Sister Egeria, the Mozarabic Rite, John of Damascus, the capture by Curcuas and the subsequent witness of Gregory Referendus and Constantine VII and the Pray Manuscript. All of this would be almost worthless information were it not for the distinct, still inexplicable image on the Shroud.

The Sudarium has a reasonably well documented history back to the seventh century. From bloodstains there are reasons to believe that these two cloths covered the same body at about the same time. The idea that they might have been forged, both or one or the other, to have such similar bloodstain patterns is implausible to anyone who traces their possible paths during the Medieval. The Shroud and the Sudarium have been carbon dated with very dissimilar results. There are valid reasons to doubts the correctness of those dates independent of their differences.

To throw the Argenteuil robe into the mix with the Shroud and Sudarium and claim that a series of undesirable radiocarbon dates suggest some supernatural aura attached to Jesus as a source of c14 rejuvenation is preposterous beyond scientific embarrassment.