Archive for the ‘Pareidolia’ Category

The Forger and the Coins: One in a Gazillion with 13 Zeroes

May 11, 2013 11 comments

clip_image001Yesterday, in his blog, Stephen Jones revisited the topic in a posting entitled, The Shroud of Turin: 2.6. The other marks (5): Coins over eyes. He concludes:

Finally, this is yet another problem for the forgery theory[§14]. A medieval, or earlier, forger would have had to imprint the tiny letters 1.3 mm (1/32 inch), four of which are barely visible, and the rest invisible to the naked eye, on linen, in photographic negative[123], when the very concept of photographic negativity did not exist until the early 19th century[124]. Moreover, these leptons were not identified as being coined by Pontius Pilate until the early 1800s[125], so even in the unlikely event the 14th century or earlier forger knew of these coins, he would have no reason to think they were significant.

But this is so only if you believe that the images of coins are there. I’ve spent years considering this question; I don’t believe they’re there. What people see, I think, is pure pareidolia. (see: Paper Chase: Why There Are Probably No Images of Coins, Lettering, Flowers and Whatnots on the Shroud of Turin). Unless Jones can prove the images of coins are there, he cannot legitimately say that a forger would need to “imprint the tiny letters.”

Jones, to his credit, tries to prove it. He is thorough. His posting is comprehensive with extensive notes and citations. Maybe its me. Can someone explain this to me?

Fifth, the probability that there is a lituus and one letter in the correct position over one of the eyes of the man on the Shroud is 1 in 1.827 x 106 x 6.1389 x 108[122] = 1.1216 x 1015, i.e. 121 with 13 zeroes after it. Therefore the evidence is very strong that there is an image of a Pontius Pilate dilepton minted between AD 29-32 over the right eye of the Shroud. This is true irrespective of whether there is over the left eye the image of one or two Julia leptons, minted by Pontius Pilate in AD 29; and despite the mistake of Filas and Whanger in not realising that since the lituus on the image of the coin in an Enrie 1931 negative photograph over the right eye of the Shroud has a reversed question mark shape, then the Pontius Pilate lepton coin which was the basis of that image must have a question mark shape.

Categories: Other Blogs, Pareidolia

And Now the Flowers

April 10, 2013 4 comments

clip_image001“Here is ‘2.6’,” writes Stephen Jones as he continues his series . . .

. . . The other marks (4): Plant images", which is part 15 of my series, "The Shroud of Turin." The previous post in this series was part 14, "2.6. The other marks (3): Dirt on foot and limestone." See the Contents page (part 1) for more information about this series.

As many of you know, I’m not a big believer in the plant images. I’m not saying they aren’t there; I’m saying I’m not convinced. I think they are a form of pareidolia.

I do think there are at least two “marks,” to use Stephen’s terminology, that look like petal flowers, above and to the right and left of the face — marks that artists might have interpreted as flowers.



Categories: Other Blogs, Pareidolia

Paper Chase: Why There Are Probably No Images of Coins, Lettering, Flowers and Whatnots on the Shroud of Turin

January 6, 2013 63 comments


. . . or even a second face on the back of the cloth . . .

Undoubtedly, “Perception of Patterns After Digital Processing of Low-Contrast Images, The Case of the Shroud of Turin” by Paola Di Lazzaro, Daniele Murra and Barrie Schwortz provides a long needed scientific clarity to an important subject.

The abstract reads:

We discuss the link between visual perception and the potentially misleading effect of software techniques for elaborating low-contrast images. In particular, we present the example of the stains embedded into one of the most studied archaeological objects in history, the Shroud of Turin.

We show for the first time that image processing of both old and recent photographs of the Shroud may lead some researchers to perceive inscriptions and patterns that do not actually exist, confirming that there is a narrow boundary line between image enhancement and manipulation.

I have frequently discussed the subject of pareidolia in this blog. This paper, however, provides the scientific explanations, lucidity and focus I could not achieve. Bravo! (One of my most recent postings on pareidolia was from last August, Les Fredette’s Crucifixion Nail: Why I am Skeptical About It).

This is the sort of thing that hurts the reputation of shroud science

December 23, 2012 2 comments

The first thing you notice is the headline that reads, “EXCLUSIVE: Newly Published Images of the Shroud of Turin.” That exact headline appears in dozens of blogs and so do the images. So much for exclusive. The second thing you notice is the gobbledygook. When I see words like “proprietary technology” in this context I immediately think of the proprietary cure-all formulations of snake oil sold by peddlers from the back of mule drawn wagons.

imageThis is the sort of stuff that hurts the reputation of shroud science. This notion that the eyes are sometimes closed and sometime open or that Jesus is pictured with King Herod on Jesus’ abdomen is extreme pareidolia mixed with a wild imagination using highly manipulated photographs: nothing more.

The exclusive article reads:

Ron Stewart has consulted with law enforcement and various museums, including the Brooklyn Museum, in regards to analyzing photos and actual artifacts with his proprietary imaging technology, which is called Infinite Macroscopic Microscopic Imaging (IMMI).   The IMMI technology is a proprietary technology that in part uses at least three different combined imaging technologies, known in scientific terms as :  ”Preliminary, estimated, and extremely advanced Deconvolution Wavelet Transforms”.  In layman’s terms this simply means: “when an image is distorted, blurred, and unclear, that in part these three combined technologies will bring the image into appropriate resolution, clarity, and focus,”.

Mr. Stewart  holds a Doctorate of Theology in World History ; Emphasis On Historical Archaeology, and also has a Ph.D. in Theoretics.  Additionally he holds a Bachelor degree in Electronics with a focus in Imaging and Photography.  The culmination of these various degrees has resulted in the development of his specialized form of imaging and analysis.  For more information on his images of the Shroud, please visit his website at’

Get me some documentation that explains how to really unblur a picture or get me a letter from the director of the Brooklyn Museum telling me that Stewart is on to something and I’ll give this some real consideration. Well at least I’ll look at the pictures again.

Coins on Eyes Issue Again

December 11, 2012 58 comments

imageMax-Patrick Hamon writes:

Please find attached a 6 page illustrated extract from my 2011 Totun research paper on the Turin Shroud coin-on-eyes issue by way of reply to Yannick Clément’s December 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm | #28 post

"Max, Max, Max… Can I remind you of one FACT concerning Barrie’s negative opinion about the whole question of the possible coins over the eyes ? He cleverly based his judgment on the profesionnal opinion express by Don Lynn at the beginning of the 1980s who was the true imagery expert of STURP (he worked on many important project for the NASA) and who analyzed the question in deep. Lynn was categorical about the FACT that it was scientifically impossible that so tiny coins letters could get imprinted on the kind of coarse threads of the Shroud in such a way that they could be readable… That’s the definitive argument that convinced Barrie that the whole coin thing is scientifically untenable. Barrie’s opinion is truly based on a real imagery expert and I hope you’ll finally realize that.".

The TRUE fact is Schwortz & Lynn’s opinion IS TOTALLY BIASED & MISLEADING as it is contradicted by metrologcal, optical and experimental FACTS: tiny partial ancient blood decals of 15 mm high letters in average CAN have been recorded on a 3:1 twill weave linen. as blood image resolution limit is ten times higher than that of the body image.

For the sake of GOOD archaeology and fairness of debate, thank you therefore for publishing in your blog this illustrated paper extract by way of reply to Yannick Clément.

It follows here:




AS A PRELIMINARY APPROACH, we shall use here a set of rhetorical questions to probe the optical and numismatic potential of the linen clothe in connection with the coin-on-eyes issue. Hopefully, the real quality of both arch sceptics’ and arch advocates’ main opinions and reasoning will emerge in the following and help the reader to judge for himself on more solid and objective grounds.

1/Are there any buttonlike protrusions over the eyes?


Figure 1 Somewhat rounded suspected areas on 1978 Tamburelli’s 3D reconstruction

From 3D reconstructions of a close up of the Shroud face, three eminent forensic medical examiners [namely Pr. Buckling, Pr. Baima-Bollone and Pr. Zugibe]1 and four computer science experts (among whom a 3D image analyst) [namely Mottern, Halarick, Pr. Tamburelli and Pr. Balossino]2 confirmed the finding, by the American physicist John Jackson3, of flat somewhat rounded foreign solid object imprints on the eye areas. Unless one can demonstrate the eight researchers’ intersubjectivity, this is a rather well established optical and “extra-anatomical” fact.

Actually the whole problem the Shroud researchers were facing was to correctly identify the said object imprints. In 1978, the late American theologian, Francis Filas, submitted a photographic enlargement (a third generation reversed photonegative copy) of the right eye area to the American professional numismatist and Greek classical coin expert, Michael Marx4.

clip_image004.clip_image006 clip_image008 Figure 2 Right eye area photonegatives flanking Pilate coin obverse side photograph taken under raking light

The latter could then identify the possible reading of “UCAI” – between 9.30 and 11.30 o’clock – as a fragment of the full Greek legend TIBEPIOY KAICAPOC, ″of Tiberius Caesar″, that appears on the obverse side of a small Roman colonial bronze coin 15.5-16mm in diameter minted under the authority of the prefect of the province of Judea, Pontius Pilate (26-36 CE).

Between 29-32CE, two small bronze coin types, a “dilepton” and a “lepton” featuring a “lituus” (short curved wand used by Roman priests to foretell the future) and a simpulum” (libation bail with angular shaft and handle) on their respective obverse side, were actually minted under the authority of Pontius Pilate. Both coin types bear the Greek legend TIBЄPIOY KAICAPOC, ″ [coins] of Tiberius Caesar ″.


Figure 3 Augur’s wand/Laurel wreath & Libation bail/Three ears of barley types

In the 80’s of the past century, some Shroud researchers who were neither professional numismatists, nor archaeological image analysts or cryptanalysts or even familiar with late ancient Greek alphabets, claimed to have found half a dozen lituus dilepta (Greek plural of dilepton) showing a rounded U (without a tail) substituted for an upsilon (Y) and a lunate sigma (C) for a kappa (K) by a die maker confusing his Latin and Greek in the legend TIBЄPIOY KAICAPOC.

2/ Are misspellings such as TIBЄPIOU CAICAPOC or TIBЄPIOY CAICAPOC really to be found on extant Pilate coins?

In actual numismatic fact, the claimed misspellings cannot be observed on any extant Pilate coins. They are only due to misreading inscription fragments on much worn out coins. This is pretty obvious from the following figure presenting the three alleged “best specimens”.


Figure 4 Misspelling or misreading specimens?

In spite of my deep respect for Filas’, Whanger’s and Moroni’s pioneering work5, their “coin legend misspelling theory” shall therefore be dismissed here as totally erroneous.

Actually the reading of the “UCAI”-like fragmentary tiny inscription on the right eye area from authentic (first generation) reversed orthochromatic film or slide copies of the Shroud face and 3D image enlargements can be specifically associated with the same reading “UCAI” embedded within the inscription KAICAPOC on tens of existing Pilate coins minted in the 16th, 17th and 18th regnal year of Tiberius. This is a spy numismatic detail. Here are a few examples:


Figure 5 Possible reading of “UCAI” on both 3D enhanced right eye area and extant Pilate coins

In the hypothesis the impression on the right eye area would have been left by an ancient coin 2/3 the size of an average fingerprint:

3/Would not the Turin Shroud’s three up, one down twill-weave linen fabric have been far too coarse to resolve the average 1.5mm high letters on such a small coin?

The Shroud thread count is 38 lengthwise (warp) threads of 0.14mm in average diameter and 26 widthwise (weft) threads of 0.25mm in average diameter woven into a measured one-centimeter square of the shroud fabric6.

The 0.5cm Shroud body image resolution limit should not be mistaken for the 0.5mm Shroud blood imprint resolution limit that is also the visual resolution limit. Now – and contrary to the body image – it should be here emphasized that the intriguing faint and very tiny faint brown letter-grouping-like patterns on the right eye area do appear photographically positive like the blood stains on the linen cloth. If we apply the Occam razor principle (i.e. if we try to give the simplest explanation to account for sharply defined appearance of the very tiny impressions), in the light of a funeral custom, it might well be the kind of incomplete decal or tell-tale sign a coin manipulated with blood-stained fingertips and placed over the right eyelid of the deceased is expected to leave on the internal upper side of a shroud soaked with a watery solution and pressed to the face. This has been demonstrated by experiments [Rodante’s and Moroni’s]7 (see figure 6) and just bypasses the theoretical objection that the threads would be too large to show this type of faint brown tiny letters on the Shroud face image.”


Figure 6 Colour photopositive (a) and reversed photonegative (b) of experimental blood decal of a Pilate coin ilate coin’s;5mm) eriuson.a dozen of Pilate coins? 1.5mm high inscription fragment on a non-stretched 3:1 twill-weave linen fabric soaked with a watery solution and black & white reversed photonegative of the Shroud right eye area (c)

Therefore metrologically, optically and experimentally speaking, nothing at all precludes a 1.5mm high letter resolution blood decal to have been left on the facial image by a Pilate coin 16mm± 0.5mm in average diameter.

4/ Can the reading of “UCAI” on the Shroud be a “mere figure in clouds” due to the photographic procedure, the computer processing or the variegations on the linen cloth?

If we take a glance at digitized 2D reversed photographic enlargements of the right eye area from 1931 Giuseppe Enrie’s, 1978 Vernon Miller’s and 2002 Gian Carlo Durante’s photo-negative of the Shroud face, the same letter-grouping-like shapes can be detected (though as if a little bit out of focus on both Miller’s and Durante’s compared to Enrie’s). This means it is not an artefact of a certain photographic procedure as it can be depicted by photographs shot in different techniques whether orthochromatic, traditional silver and extensive digital.


Figure 7 Photographic enlargement comparison of the right eye area from Shroud face reversed photonegatives

The letter images are not apparent on 1978 Schwortz’s and 1997 Durante’s Shroud face photograph just because of the use of two different lighting techniques. In 1978, Schwortz lit the Shroud from the front so as to minimize weave appearance to invisibility thus causing some already faint bloodstain patterns nearly standing out on the Shroud fabric to technically disappear from the photographs. In 1997, the “UCAI” sequence orientation happened to be nearly aligned with the incoming light direction thus causing a form of obfuscation from illumination to occur.

As far as 2D to 3D conversion by digital processing is concerned in terms of reduction in the weave pattern and increased sharpness of image, it must be noted that no additional graphic data can be found in a resulting 3D image from an authentic (first generation) orthochromatic film or slide copy, had not the graphic information been integral to the original 2D image8.


Figure 8 Digitized reversed photographic enlargement of the right eye area from: (a) authentic orthochromatic film copy; (b) Tamburelli’s digitized 3D image; (c) 3D visualization within a maximum 16 mm diameter area

The letter-grouping-like shapes are thus clearly distinguishable from the vagaries of the weave. If the reading of “UCAI” had really come from the banding, both vertical and horizontal, encroaching on the area of the right eye, or been a mere “figure in clouds” on 1931 Enrie’s, 1978 Miller’s, 2002 Durante’s Shroud face photographs and 1981 Tamburelli’s 3D reconstructions of the said area, how come then the same “figure in clouds” can be also seen – visually embedded within the inscription KAICAPOC as a spy numismatic detail – on tens of existing Pilate coins minted in the 16th, 17th and 18th regnal year of Tiberius (see Fig. 5)?

The photographic, eidomatic and numismatic evidence offers therefore a complete rebuttal against the “mere figure-in-cloud theory”8.

5/ Can Enrie’s black and white orthophotographs of the Shroud face taken eighty years ago on large glass plate negatives still yield usable and accurate information?

Besides mechanical squeeze and 3D scanning, it is common knowledge, among archaeological analysts and cryptanalysts that the best aids for deciphering purposes of 3D encoded ancient images and inscriptions invisible or almost invisible to the naked eye are applying false colour, 2D to 3D conversion and digital squeeze of photographs taken under appropriate raking light.

1931 Enrie’s Shroud face orthophotographs are not simply very aesthetic as some Shroud researchers would too hastily think. Mostly because of a longer time exposure under appropriate raking light and the use of specially designed filters which enhance local contrast, they did capture the finest details of the Shroud face image and haematic (or blood) imprints along with the characteristic weave pattern and the folds and creases of the linen fabric at scales 1:1 and 2:3. As such and regardless of 2008 HAL9000’s high definition digital photograph that should allow researchers* to analyze the Shroud in unprecedented detail, Enrie’s reversed negatives and positives are still the best candidates available so far (along with 2002 Durante’s digital photograph of the Shroud face as double or triple check) for detecting and studying any possible 3D encoded blood-stained coin tiny patterns embedded in the suspected image areas. Enrie’s photographs do yield usable and accurate information even more modern photographs fail to do. This is made pretty obvious with the photographic enlargement comparison of the right eye area from Shroud face photographs shot in different techniques (see Fig. 7).

Max, I know some people look at this and find it very convincing. I don’t. Is the cloth too coarse? Is the nature of the film inadequate? Maybe. I don’t know. My problem is perception. I suspect that some of us have different, indeterminable acceptance thresholds where I think I see becomes I see. 

Face of the Man of the Shroud of Turin Encoded in Sistine Chapel?

November 3, 2012 30 comments

imageThis appears in the Christian Newswire press release service. I can’t see that it has been picked up by anyone, even bloggers. So here it is. Enjoy.

I must admit, however, that I can’t see anything that I’m supposed to see in the referenced paper: The Face of the Man of the Shroud of Turin Is Encoded Within the Sistine Chapel Frescoes.

Is it just me or is this a case of seeing elephants in the clouds?

RALEIGH, N.C., Oct. 31, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — Investigative researcher, Philip E. Dayvault, of Raleigh, NC, discovered in 2003 that the Last Judgment fresco and a portion of the Ceiling fresco by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel contain the encoded, and "hidden in plain view," image of the face of the Man of the Shroud of Turin, the traditional burial cloth of Jesus Christ. This forensic conclusion is based on distinctive pattern recognition, the detection of identifying individual characteristics and a progressive overlay comparison of both images. It is also concluded, based on abundant forensic circumstantial, documentary and physical evidence, and coupled with logic and reason, that Michelangelo unknowingly painted the encoded image within the Sistine Chapel, and which contains individual characteristics consistent with those from the Shroud face. Michelangelo never saw the encoded image…it only became observable with the advent of photography in the early 1800’s; and then specifically with the first photograph of the Shroud taken in 1898 by Seconda Pia! However, exactly how the encoded image was made remains unknown. This new data is being released to commemorate the 500th-year anniversary of Michelangelo’s completion of the ineffable Ceiling in the Sistine Chapel on October 31, 1512, and also the presentation of the Ceiling to the people of Rome, and ultimately to the world, on November 1, 1512, All Saints Day.

Importantly, the two frescoes were painted at different times in history. The Ceiling, (not shown in this photo), extending down to the top of the "eye brows," was painted from 1508 to 1512; and the Last Judgment on the Altar Wall, depicting "the face" from the eyes-down, was painted from 1535 to 1541. During the interim years, there were three different popes, each of whom could have commissioned anyone to paint the Altar Wall. Michelangelo was in such pain and agony from painting the Ceiling that he didn’t "know" if he would be alive the next day, much less, 23 years in the future.

Dayvault, a former Special Agent and Physical Science Technician with the FBI, utilized the preferred and scientifically accepted forensic principles and methodologies for facial review and identification. This research involved painstaking comparisons and iterations of the two images. Slight scaling of the Shroud Face was required to accommodate for the parallax, focal distance and lens variations present in each available Sistine Chapel photograph. This incredible image, shown below via a Progressive Overlay Comparison, has been critically reviewed by several Shroud colleagues and a forensic expert who concur with Dayvault’s conclusions. Some of the numerous individual features include the "Epsilon-like," or "reversed-3," bloodstain image around Jonah (not depicted in this photo), the off-centered bifurcated beard, the eye orbits, the circular cheek wound, unique chin markings, etc.

For further information, please visit, or click the link below to view the ENCODED article,

Who are the several shroud colleagues?

Max Patrick Hamon replies to Charles Freeman

October 10, 2012 29 comments

REVISED: Maximage has asked me to publish a short PDF paper, Dormant archaeopareidolias of a most secret liturgical ritual, that helps make his point. I am glad to do this as I am for other active participants of this blog. This, as with papers by others, does not mean that I agree (or that I understand).

By way of an email to me, Max writes:

By way of a series of tongue-in-cheek and cynical comments, Mr Freeman asserted that “Clearly [I] have skills no one possesses” and asked me the reason “[w]hy [I] don’t […]assume [all relic historians] are ignoramuses [as far as the Image of Edessa is concerned] and spell out the Shroud history for [them] […]”.

Mr Freeman gives the impression that the sole archaecryptologist who takes early Cryptochristian’s, Nestorians’ and Knights Templar’s secret rituals seriously is ‘esoteric’ and so-called ‘conventional’ historians and Art historians can do without archaeocryptology.

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