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Archive for September, 2015

“I am the ‘onliest’ one who can go, and I’m scared."

September 30, 2015 2 comments

Also, on shroud.com, read A PROFILE IN COURAGE by The Reverend Albert R. Dreisbach, Jr.
(A Speech delivered in Atlanta, Georgia during Black History Week)


Kim was mentioned yesterday. It’s time, I think, to dust off and repeat the dedication page of this blog:

The Reverend Albert R. ‘Kim’ Dreisbach, Jr.

April 27, 1934 – April 29, 2006

image

Kim died on a Saturday. The next day, at the Episcopal Church I attend[ed] in New York, 750 miles away from Kim’s home in Atlanta, the Eucharist was dedicated to Father Kim Dreisbach.

The Gospel …[that day] was Luke’s telling of the disciples encountering Jesus on the Road to Emmaus (24:13-35). It was fitting. I remember how Kim and I had discussed this passage on numerous occasions. He was certain that an understanding of this passage and the story of Thomas in the Upper Room were important to understanding the Shroud. I didn’t always agree with his interpretations but I cherished the opportunity to think these things through and argue with him.

"Read this story carefully," Kim said. "Jesus is telling the disciples on the Road to Emmaus to not merely believe what they perceive. The disciples had the facts right," he stressed, "but their eyes needed to be opened to the ‘truth’ revealed in the facts."

Kim, as a priest, scholar and friend, worked to do that for many of us: to open our eyes to truth. He did so with humor, scholarship, imagination, and the love of Christ.

I learned that you could telephone Kim anytime. Well — anytime, unless a Yankee game was on television, radio or the internet. Well — also, as I once learned, it was not advisable to call him if the Yankees had just lost a close game. But other than those times, Kim was always available and ready for discussion. And, invariably, he would follow up by sending long emails marked up with yellow highlighting, with copious quotations from numerous scholars, and with his own comments boldly typed in red.

Yesterday, by the time Kim got to the Atlanta airport, the Yankees had just clobbered the Blue Jays, 17-6. He certainly knew that and was probably telling every flight attendant, ticket agent and skycap all about the game. Kim was like that. He loved talking to everyday strangers about good news.

I remember sitting in a restaurant with him in Atlanta. Barrie and Russ probably remember, as well. There were about a dozen of us Shroudies at one long table. It wasn’t long before Kim was talking to perfect strangers at nearby tables, telling them about the Shroud. They were fascinated by him and what he had to say, just as we have been.

Kim loved jokes. And Kim definitely had strong opinions. I imagine a scene at the gates of heaven where three Shroudies have just arrived, Kim being one of them. They are in a waiting room, awaiting an admissions interview with St. Peter. The first one is ushered in. He remains for about an hour and then returns. The others turn to him and ask him what happened.

"St. Peter asked me to explain the Shroud of Turin to him," he said. "I tried. Then St. Peter explained it to me. I can’t believe how wrong I was."

The second Shroudie is invited in. She, too, is gone for about an hour. When she returns she tells the same story about how wrong she had been about the Shroud.

Then Kim is ushered in. An hour passes, then two, then three, four. Finally, after five hours, St. Peter comes out to the waiting room and sits down. "I just met with Kim," he says. "I can’t believe how wrong I was."

+ From the Book of Common Prayer that Kim so loved: "O God, the King of saints, we praise and magnify thy holy Name for thy servant "Kim" who has finished his course in thy faith and fear; for the blessed Virgin Mary; for the holy patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs; and for all other thy righteous servants, known to us and unknown; and we beseech thee that, encouraged by their fellowship, we also may be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; through the merits of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Categories: People

Congratulations, Barrie Schwortz

September 29, 2015 Comments off

imageAs he tells us on Facebook:

Last weekend while I was lecturing in Indiana, our front page counter broke the 5 million mark. I was wondering who out there might have been the one to see it reach that milestone when, to my surprise, I received the below frame grab from our good friend Rudi Berwanger in Germany. Thanks Rudi, for sharing that moment with us! In case you missed it, you might also want to read the article I posted last year titled “About That Counter…” at http://www.shroud.com/late14.htm#counter. (Note that the counter registers only those viewers who enter the website via the front page, so it only represents about 35% of our total actual visitors).

Founded by Barrie, shroud.com has had a long and important history as a primary source of information on the shroud since 1976. It is a go to publisher of shroud related papers and web pages. If you haven’t done so lately, visit the menu page and review the comprehensive General and In-Depth tables of contents. 

Categories: Other Sites

The Shroud of Canterbury

September 28, 2015 47 comments

imageLouis, in a comment, links to Raiders of the Lost Codex: Scholars Piece Together Ancient Bible by Matthias Schulz appearing in Spiegel Online International.

He then writes:

A bit off-track but worth reading.

What happens if the Turin Shroud is dated to the 1st century? Who will be its owner? Pope Francis, the Di Savoia royal family of Italy, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Istanbul (Constantinople), the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Syrian Orthodox, Chaldean, Greek Orthodox, Coptic, Armenian patriarchs of Jerusalem…. or the Saint James Vicariate in Jerusalem (Hebrew Speaking Catholics, under the Jewish-born South African Jesuit David Neuhaus) successors of Saint James, first bishop of Jerusalem, and a cousin of Jesus?

The monks at the Greek Orthodox Saint Catherine’s Monastery, at the foot of Mount Sinai Egypt, are now saying that Constantin von Tischendorf stole the pages from the Codex Sinaiticus, and many of these pages are scattered in different places. HRH Prince Charles is the President of the Saint Catherine’s Foundation.

Tischendorff has been called an “adventurer” and “thief”, he had a doctorate in philosophy and was a very good New Testament scholar.

Actually, based on the The Treaty of Brétigny, signed on 8 May 1360, the Shroud of Turin belongs to Queen Elizabeth II of England.  How do you not see that?

Categories: Article, History

More 3D Discussion

September 27, 2015 14 comments

The questions Hugh Farey raised yesterday about Ray Downing’s 3D work in a comment to The VP8 Cinderella Question reminded me of a previous posting of mine about Petrus  Soon’s 3D work. I decided to reprint it below. But first read The VP8 Cinderella Question and the comment Hugh made September 26, 2015 at 1:00 pm.

You might also find It is really, really time to rethink what we think about 3D useful before reading the following reposting from 2012.


— Published November 18, 2012 —

I certainly have real reservations about Petrus Soons’ 3D work. Any comments now?

imageimageYesterday afternoon, someone calling himself GonzoII posted a message at the Free Republic message board. It was the Abstract from Petrus Soons’ website that reads:

This website summarizes work connected with digitizing Shroud photographs taken by Giuseppe Enrie in 1931, enhancing the digitized images to improve details, translating the enhanced images “gray scale data into depth data”, generating a sequence of up to 625 images of each of these, and combining these images with a Holoprinter to produce holograms (3D images) of the Shroud. It also summarizes my study of these holograms and discovery of heretofore unseen details, which confirm many previous findings and reveal some suprises.

(Excerpt) Read more at shroud3d.com

Several comments followed; “Gave me chills! I believe!”, gives you the idea.

There is nothing new here. But it is a subject well worth revisiting. Here is what I posted just over two years ago. Not one person commented at the time. Maybe I was just too wordy. Maybe I just said what nobody wanted to hear. Maybe . . . maybe. Any comments now?

(October 10, 2010 posting follows):

The pastor of a large parish in New Orleans wrote to me by email:

I think this new 3D image is the most convincing scientific evidence yet for arguing that the shroud is authentic.”

imageI strongly disagree. The pastor is referring to the red-cyan anaglyph image of the Shroud that you can see only with red and cyan 3D glasses. Personally, I feel that this is a work of art, an artist’s impression of what Jesus may have looked like, expressed in 3D. It doesn’t prove anything any more than the animated 3D movie, “Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus”  proves that horses can fly. (Have I changed my mind since myfirst posting about the site? Yes.)

Here is what the pastor wrote:

The red/cyan anaglyph of the face from the Shroud of Turin at the website shroud3d.com is startling. Regrettably, the size of the image is reduced on the website. Fortunately it is done with HTML so you can grab the bigger sized jpeg and save it on your computer. Do so right away before they reduce the size on the server.Here is the link:

Note: I have replaced the pastor’s long link with a TinyURL. You can see a bigger image (800 by 921 rather than the web page size set to 484 by 545)  just by using the following link. Do save a copy of the image on your computer and buy some inexpensive 3D glasses. Read on:

http://tinyurl.com/245d6h2

It is, of course, pointless to save this image unless you have red/cyan 3D glasses. The shroud3d website does have stereoscopic images for those who have the proper viewing equipment. It also has a short video showing slow and slight rotation of the image. But these are poor substitutions for looking at an anaglyph with 3D glasses. The anaglyph is fantastic. It will knock your socks off.

imageI took the bigger image and inserted it into a PowerPoint presentation. It looks great on an eight foot screen. Now all I have to do is buy 3D glasses for an upcoming talk at my church. I found some paper ones for $25.00 per hundred. I also had a poster of the anaglyph jpeg printed at Staples. It works great, too.

I think this new 3D image is the most convincing scientific evidence yet for arguing that the shroud is authentic.

No! The anaglyph may not be very scientific, at all. And that is a major concern because the impression one gets from the website and probably most places this image is displayed is that it is scientific. It may be, but if so, how so.

imageI am not at all convinced that the data found in the Shroud’s image supports the anaglyph on the website. I’m not convinced that adjustments that were made to the images (there seem to be many) are scientifically warranted. If this is so, if I am right, then the final product, the anaglyph at shroud3d.com must be thought of only as a work of art. Nothing more!

Red and cyan 3D glasses that I ordered from Amazon.com ($4.70) arrived earlier in the week. I have since examined the anaglyph for hours. I was glad to learn from the pastor — one of this blog’s readers — that the full size image was available and I have studied it imageon a high definition 55 inch monitor. My first reaction was not unlike our friend above. Really, do order some 3D glasses at Amazon and prepare to be amazed.

My second reaction was that there was something wrong.

Bernardo Galmarini, “the 3D expert that produced the conversion from 2D to 3D,” writes on the shroud3d site:

I thought at first, that in this more scientific conversion, the hidden information in the Shroud (3D information in the gray-scale), would be a nuisance or obstacle to produce a human representation of the face, and that I would have to struggle continuously against this. Strangely enough, this hidden scientific information in the Shroud became the key and the basis for this work, reducing my artistic work to only softening the “holes” and deformities (caused surely by the passing of time) and the adapting to what this scientific version commands you to do: filling in and normalizing the “holes” or “dead areas” in the hidden information of the linen. For example: the areas without information in the forehead have been corrected following the surrounding gray-scale with coherent information and with a normal human forehead in mind. This process was helped by the fact, that the central zone of the forehead and the bony structure of the orbits contain very coherent information and that of course was taken as a guideline.

That statement lacks needed clarity. There are certainly holes and deformities. Why is not clear in most cases. It seems completely unjustified to speculate that these are caused by the passing of time. Without knowing how the image was formed, without knowing much about how the shroud was stored or displayed over many centuries, we shouldn’t make such guesses.

bandinginfaceExactly what are the holes and deformities? They have not been detailed on the website. The bloodstains certainly are a problem and to make adjustments for these is perhaps warranted. But what about other deformities? How is the problem of banding addressed? Banding, a variegated background pattern to the cloth, perhaps the result of how the thread of the cloth was bleached and having nothing to do with the passing of time, is certainly the single biggest deformity that exists. It gets peculiar treatment in this new 3D work. The left side of the face (our right) has been partially retouched to minimize the effect. The other side of the face is shaped as though there was no banding but the banding remains. Pictured here is an estimate of the banding in the area of the face.

At the bottom of the beard and the lower areas of the hair, darker areas that are not the result of banding are strikingly evident. These relatively dark areas don’t recede towards the background as expected for grayscale plotting. (You can’t see this without 3D glasses. Don’t even try.) What is the rationale for this obviously apparent artistic adjustment? Moreover, hair above the forehead pompadours frontward without grayscale tones to support it. This hair and facial hair treatment seems artistic.

The entire head and shoulders seem to be completely detached from the background. You can, with 3D glasses on, move your own head ever so slightly and see detached movement. (Again, you can’t see this without 3D glasses.) Galmarini speaks of “hidden scientific information,” presumably but not explicitly the grayscale. I can’t find any data in support of this phenomenon. It seems as though an artificial outline has been introduced around the human form. There does not seem to be any such outline on the Shroud. In fact, researchers, over the years, have noted this lack of outline because it is something that an artist, had an artist created the Shroud, would have certainly included. Interestingly, the areas of the lower neck and upper shoulders, though darker than the background, don’t recede into the background and don’t show detached movement. Most amazingly, the lower part of a prominent water stain above the face is now worn in the hair like a miniature yarmulke while the upper part of the stain adorns the background. This, to my way of thinking, strongly suggests the use of false outlines. What other reason can there be other than to enhance the 3D effect?

The most surprising thing is that the grayscale tones that to the untrained eye look like highlights and shadows, but that in fact become the basis for plotting three-dimensionality, remain in place in the plotted image. If you plot a three-dimensional object from the grayscale density you should have something that looks like a stone statue. Whatever highlights and shadows seem to exist in any resulting computerized virtual-reality image should only be from artificially introduced light placed at a calculated angle and distance in the virtual world. This is what the VP8 Analyzer does and what other software packages such as POV-Ray do. But in the anaglyph in question, it looks as though the original image was stretched like a thin film over the calculated shape. Original highlights, shadows and even herringbone twill patterns are there.

I’m willing to be convinced that I am wrong, that the anaglyph in question is scientific. I would actually like this. If this were so we would have something that is truly amazing. Clarity is needed, however. Specifics are required. I would like to see how much of this conversion to 3D is reproducible in a scientific sense and how much is "only softening the ‘holes’ and deformities."

In order to claim that the 3D images on this site are scientific the steps and procedures must be reproducible by others, at least in theory. Documentation is needed.

  1. We should know the software or algorithm used to plot the image including any variables or settings used.
  2. The terminology “hidden scientific information” should be clarified. It is essential to understand how plotting software uses this data.
  3. Expose higher resolution images for examination if the work was done in higher resolution. While this image may be 800 pixels wide, the resolution is no better than 72 ppi. Ordinary books carry pictures at four times the number of pixels per inch.
  4. We should be able to see, in anaglyph form for comparison, the unadjusted, scientifically plotted part of the project so that we can judge for ourselves just how much of the final product is by way of adjustment.
  5. All adjustments made should be explained and justified.

It bothers me to think that these images will be used, as the pastor suggests, in presentations to show the 3D characteristics of the Shroud. These images are certainly being displayed in churches, in exhibits and on the internet without the qualification that this is art and not science. If that is so, it is most unfortunate.

On the other hand, if these images are truly scientific, then the unexplained screams out to be explained.

Don’t get me wrong. There is 3D data in the Shroud’s images. It is the most important quality for knowing that these are not images formed by reflected light as a painter would envision or a camera would capture a human form. The 3D data is a quality that must be accounted for in any hypothesis attempting to explain how the images were formed, be it miraculously, naturally, by fakery or even as honest art. Indeed, this quality, treated scientifically without various forms of electronic manipulation, sooner or later, may suggest how the images were formed.

Categories: 3D

The VP8 Cinderella Question

September 26, 2015 15 comments

In my opinion, it is time to move on.  The VP8 moment was a truly historic moment, like when Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen placed his hand between a cathode ray tube and a screen covered with barium-platinum cyanide and saw the bones of his fingers. We don’t do X-rays that way any more. There is a lot of 3D investigation work that can be done with modern tools, such as ImageJ, and many excellent images of the shroud.

imageA reader asks:

The question has never been answered. Did the glass slipper fit Cinderella’s foot because it was the right size or because Cinderella’s fairy godmother had magical powers?

I have some questions about the VP-8 Image Analyzer. What are all those dials on the front of the unit?  Is there an operating manual?

What settings were used in creating the 3-D image of the shroud?

How was the image data manipulated within the VP-8 or its camera including electronic low or high pass filters, Gaussian filters, softening lens filters, an out-of-focus lens, etc.? Are there any control images such as calibrated gray-scales, cross-hair fine lines, dot patterns, intended to show lighting, camera angle and lens focus?  It is essential that control images be made with exactly the same VP-8 settings, lighting, camera angle and distance, focus and lens aperture.

Was the surface of the Shroud picture gloss or matte?  Was the lighting adjusted to avoid hotspots, etc.? Here again control images are important.

Has the VP-8 been used with other Shroud photographs since 1976? If so, can we see these along with documentation?

The problem with the Cinderella story is not that the slipper question was not answered. It was never asked.

For additional information, here is an excellent presentation, VP8 Image Analyzer & Shroud of Turin, in PDF format at the SEAM site.

I also refer you to an unnamed page at shroud.com written by Barrie Schwortz. It has some information. It refers to a gain control but doesn’t mention any other controls.

On May 1, 1997, I was fortunate to spend some time in North Carolina with my friend Kevin Moran, retired Senior Technology Specialist from Eastman Kodak’s Estek Products Division and a Shroud researcher since 1978. Kevin owns one of the two functioning original VP-8 units and was kind enough to welcome me into his home and spend the next 14 straight hours working with me to videotape "new" VP-8 images. Actually, the real thanks should go to his dear wife Anne, who put up with the two of us working until 4:00am!

I’d love to see the video tape.

This is also a Questions and Answers paper by Deacon Pete Schumacher, a VP- Engineer. Perhaps he can answer the reader’s questions. However, in my opinion, it is time to move on.  The VP8 moment was a truly historic moment, like when Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen placed his hand between a cathode ray tube and a screen covered with barium-platinum cyanide and saw the bones of his fingers. We don’t do X-rays that way any more. There is a lot of 3D investigation work that can be done with modern tools, such as ImageJ, and many excellent images of the shroud.

Categories: 3D

Everything We Know About the Shroud?

September 25, 2015 6 comments

imageAlan, a young 17 year-old reader, asks:

Would it be fair to say that your blog calls into question everything we know about the Shroud of Turin?

Well, there is a frontal image and a backside image of a man on the cloth.  I don’t think we can question that. Other than that, perhaps so.

However, rather than say, “calls into question,” which in popular usage seems to express doubt, I prefer to think that the blog seeks to reexamine our understanding of much that we know or think we know about the shroud.  Hopefully, then, each of us can better weigh each item of evidence before us by asking ourselves how valid it is, does it favor authenticity or the other way around, and how significant is it in the overall scheme of authenticity? 

At this time, I don’t believe enough evidence is sufficiently sound or that we know enough about how to evaluate what we have to be able to arrive at a definitive conclusion about the shroud’s authenticity. That is why I say that I think that the shroud is probably authentic. I may never know otherwise, at least not in this lifetime.

Categories: Reader Inquiry

Facebook: Barrie Schwortz on Indianapolis

September 24, 2015 47 comments

He reports on Facebook:

Last Saturday I gave two sold-out presentations at the truly amazing Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and got to see their beautiful National Geographic Sacred Journey’s Exhibit in person. The museum curators expanded the basic exhibit and added a lifesize replica of the Shroud, which you can see on display in the photo below. The exhibit runs until February 2016 and is definitely worth seeing. I’ll include a full report in our next website update. (See the September 3rd posting below for links). Photo ©2015 Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Other coverage in this blog includes:

Categories: Exhibition, Presentation
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