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Watertight Evidence

December 13, 2015 42 comments

imageJust this morning Charles Freeman was writing in a comment:

… I shall not be the first nor the last to say that this was originally a painted linen. MacCrone, of course, and then we have the late and lamented expert on painted linens, Caroline Villers, who talks of the Shroud as ‘one of the best-known surviving medieval images on a textile support’….

And just this morning the Duluth News Tribune ran this letter from one of its readers, Kenneth L. Johnson, a retired chemist who was trained in microscopic analysis by Dr. Walter McCrone at the McCrone Research Institute in Chicago.

On Nov. 1, the News Tribune published an article headlined, “Shroud of Turin mystery deepens.”

The mystery to me is how this subject continues to get press coverage. In the 1970s, Dr. Walter McCrone examined a portion of the shroud that was purported to contain dried blood. He found no blood, but he did find red ochre and vermillion paint particles. Dr. McCrone, who literally wrote the book on the analysis of microscopic particles (“The Particle Atlas,” published in six volumes from 1973 through 1979), was eminently qualified to conclude that the shroud was a 14th century painting. The “scientists” who refuted his work had no qualifications to perform the analyses on which they claimed to rely.

In fairness to Charles, he writes:

I have had several responses that say that my views are plausible or that i seem to be on the right lines so I can only sow seeds . One day I hope some expert will come up with the watertight evidence!

I, too, would like watertight evidence.  But I doubt it will be what Charles hopes for.  Colin Berry has certainly demonstrated how weak Charles’ argument is.  I also doubt, even with watertight evidence, that the belief it is a painting will ever fade – no pun intended, Charles.

Categories: Image Theory

Important New Paper on the Carbon Dating Samples

December 9, 2015 66 comments

Pam Moon has just published a significant paper, The presence of dye in the 1988 radiocarbon date samples of the Shroud of Turin. Pam nicely footnotes the title with:

This paper came out of an online conversation with Joe Marino and Paul Maloney, with additional input from Bill Meacham, Professor Emanuela Marinelli and Barrie Schwortz. I am deeply indebted to them for sharing their knowledge, wisdom and advice.

That says a lot. So go read this paper carefully.

Great pictures and careful analysis:

imageThere is very little data about the samples tested by Oxford, Zurich and Arizona: no chemical analysis has been published and most of the photographic evidence is not sufficiently detailed. However, further evidence of encrustation is visible in the Oxford photographs.14 Below is a comparison of the 3 samples tested at higher magnification (the Shroud, Thebes and Nubia). There is a density of encrustation coating Shroud sample p2574_9 which is not present on the other two samples. The “frosty” 6 contaminant is also not present on the Mark Evans image of the Shroud.15 As ‘the "frosty" coating is almost certainly a plant gum in the Raes sample’ 6 it is likely to be a plant gum in the Oxford sample.


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The Blood is Red Because

December 1, 2015 12 comments

hitherto unnoticed details …  experiments … and more

An exciting paper by Adrie A. M. van der Hoeven, Cold Acid Postmortem Blood Most Probably Formed Pinkish-Red Heme-Madder Lake on Madder-Dyed Shroud of Turin has just been published in the Open Journal of Applied Sciences (published 30 November 2015).

The abstract reads:

imageThe Turin Shroud was extensively scientifically investigated in 1978. In its pinkish red bloodstains, normal features of human blood were found, but also seemingly anomalous ones. In the present study, hitherto unnoticed details of the data are presented, Shroud data and more modern reference data are compared, and the results of a few experiments with linen, madder dye and blood are shown. It turns out that the Shroud’s ‘anomalous’ data are strong consistent evidence that its bloodstains contain acid heme-madder lake, of which the heme derived from cold acid postmortem blood and the madder had been applied to the Shroud at manufacture. It implies that the bloodstains were formed on the Shroud before the still not reproduced body-image was. Several other ‘red-color’ hypotheses for the Shroud’s bloodstains are discussed and dismissed.

Taken from the conclusion:

The anomalous features of the Shroud’s bloodstains, instead of being evidence against their authenticity, turn out to be very strong evidence for their authenticity…

This, too:

A few experiments confirmed that much serum can drain from human blood on a cold surface and that human blood is able to form pinkish stains on starched and madder-dyed linen that remain pinkish while simultaneously formed bloodstains on pure linen turn brown. New scientific investigations on the Shroud of Turin with more modern methods and techniques may further corroborate these conclusions.

 

Note:  You can download the PDF from the above link.

Categories: Blood Studies, Paper Chase

Fr. Matthew Pittam on Relics

November 23, 2015 6 comments

imageWhen have you ever read about the carbon dating of the shroud in which no mention was made about the results?

The University of Oxford is to become a world leading centre into the study of religious relics following the launch of a new department. This ground-breaking centre, based in Keble College’s Advanced Studies Centre, is to be composed of computer and medical scientists as well as historians, classicists and theologians. Such an interdisciplinary approach builds upon work that has been undertaken by the university’s archaeological school since the 1980s.

Past achievements within the university have included the dating of the shroud of Turin, which involved study in three laboratories and the radiocarbon accelerator unit. This new unit is the first time that such a wide-ranging field of experts has been brought together in this way.

Not that there is anything wrong with that; this article is not about the shroud but … As a new centre to study relics opens in Oxford, Fr Matthew Pittam takes a look at some more unusual examples in the Catholic Herald:

  • The head of St Catherine of Siena – San Domenico Basilica Siena, Italy
  • The Holy Prepuce (Christ’s foreskin) – stolen in the 1980s
  • St Antonius’s body – Church of San Marco, Florence, Italy
  • Blessed John Henry Newman – The Oratory of St Philip Neri, Birmingham, UK
  • The hand of St Francis Xavier – Gesu, Rome

Well, I hope Oxford is not planning to test the foreskin.  It has gone missing, since 1983. 

Fr. Pittam concludes his article:

I remember a friend telling me how he had retrieved relics from a presbytery bin when the parish priest had disposed of them in the early 1980s. This just shows how relics have been regarded by many more recently.

Hopefully, the new Oxford Centre for the Study of Relics will help further advance and promote the use of relics in the Church and encourage us to think afresh about their importance. Whilst studies will undoubtedly identify some relics as counterfeit or misidentified, others may be confirmed as originating from the time and place where the holy person lived. It will certainly give the veneration of relics more credibility.

Three Questions About The Reweaving Hypothesis

November 22, 2015 67 comments

imageA reader asks:

Is there any confirmation that Raymond Rogers actually analyzed the 1988 Sample when he determined it was interwoven with dyed Cotton? How exactly do we know he received this from Gonella?

Also, did Joe Marino and Sue Benford ever have access to the 1988 sample? How could they have confirmed it was a reweaved sample if they were kept at individual universities?

Has anyone ever responded to this supposed refutation of the reweave theory titled The Invisible Mending of the Shroud, the Theory and the Reality.

HERE are a few postings in this blog dealing with the subject. Just scroll down the page. If you want to see the comments, click on the title or the word comments.

(linking in email edited by me)

Categories: Carbon 14 Dating

Nevertheless, the images are real enough!

November 13, 2015 46 comments

imageOur resident Kiwi, daveb of wellington nz, of late, has been mentioning Giovanna de Liso, repeatedly, as we continue to struggle with an explanation for the images on the shroud  He has been talking about de Liso since at least April of 2013. Most recently — like a couple of hours ago — in a comment to Because I Don’t See It, he wrote:

I have yet to see a satisfactory explanation of how or why Giovanna de Liso obtained her Shroud-like images from her 12 years of seismic experiments. A protegee of Giulio Fanti, I cannot believe that she faked them. However, neither Fanti nor anyone else has come with what to me might be a satisfactory explanation. She claims that she only ever obtained images under very specific conditions, including the detection of radon! Nevertheless, the images are real enough! […]

And, Hugh Farey, our resident 60/40 skeptic, quickly responded:

Daveb is quite right about the possibilities of geological explanations; they just haven’t been explored or quantified sufficiently for anything much to be said about them. Yet. […]

That woke me up this morning. I realized it is time to read or re-read, as the case may be, Shroud-like experimental image formation during seismic activity by Giovanna de Liso. 

The abstract reads:

Seismic oxidative phenomena on vegetal structures and ferromagnetic rocks, occurring only along parallel surfaces to the ground, led me to verify experimentally if, naturally, in conjunction with earthquakes, it is possible to form images with a 3D character similar to Turin Shroud image, of objects placed between the two edges of linen cloths folded in two and soaked with different solutions. Some similarities with the Shroud image were obtained only on ferromagnetic rocks, during seismic radon emission, with electrostatic discharges and geomagnetic variations, in agreement with Lattarulo s theoretical hypothesis.

Why did I not pay more attention when the paper was included in the Proceedings of the International Workshop on the Scientific approach to the Acheiropoietos Images in Frascati in 2010? Did it then seem too much off-the-wall?  And now, not?

Categories: Image Theory, Paper Chase

Psychological Influences in Seeing Inscriptions on the Shroud of Turin

November 11, 2015 15 comments

… the normal psychological processes underlying perception of writing, and the tendency of these processes to produce illusory perceptions, should be an essential consideration when addressing the existence of religious inscriptions on religious artifacts such as the Shroud of Turin.


In sum, the aim of this research has not been to question the authenticity of the Shroud or the presence of images of a human body and face. Instead, our focus has been the claims made concerning the existence of religious inscriptions which many believe cast crucial light on the provenance of this important artifact.


imageOn October 28, 2015, PLoS ONE, a peer-reviewed, open access journal, published Seeing Inscriptions on the Shroud of Turin: The Role of Psychological Influences in the Perception of Writing by Timothy R. Jordan, Mercedes Sheen, Lily Abedipour, and Kevin B. Paterson. (You can also access this article from the U.S. National Library of Medicine
at the National Institutes of Health)

Do access the article and read it. It is well done. 

Abstract:

The Shroud of Turin (hereafter the Shroud) is one of the most widely known and widely studied artifacts in existence, with enormous historical and religious significance. For years, the Shroud has inspired worldwide interest in images on its fabric which appear to be of the body and face of a man executed in a manner consistent with crucifixion, and many believe that these images were formed in the Shroud’s fibers during the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. But, more recently, other reports have suggested that the Shroud also contains evidence of inscriptions, and these reports have been used to add crucial support to the view that the Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus. Unfortunately, these reports of inscriptions are based on marks that are barely visible on the Shroud, even when images are enhanced, and the actual existence of writing on the Shroud is still a matter of considerable debate. Here we discuss previous evidence concerning the psychological processes involved generally in the perception of writing, and especially when letters and words are indistinct. We then report two experiments in which the influence of religious context on perception of inscriptions was addressed specifically, using an image of woven fabric (modern linen) containing no writing and with no religious provenance. This image was viewed in two different contexts: in the Religious Context, participants were informed that the image was of a linen artifact that was important to the Christian faith whereas, in the non-religious Neutral Context, participants were informed that the image was of a simple piece of linen. Both groups were told that the image may contain faint words and were asked to report any words they could see. All participants detected words on the image, and indicated that these words were visible and were able to trace on the image the words they detected. In each experiment, more religious words were detected in the Religious Context condition than in the Neutral Context condition whereas the two contexts showed no effect on the number of non-religious words detected, indicating that religious context had a specific effect on the perception of illusory writing. Indeed, in the Neutral Context condition, no religious words at all were reported in either experiment. These findings suggest that images of woven material, like linen, inspire illusory perceptions of writing and that the nature of these perceptions is influenced considerably by the religious expectations of observers. As a consequence, the normal psychological processes underlying perception of writing, and the tendency of these processes to produce illusory perceptions, should be an essential consideration when addressing the existence of religious inscriptions on religious artifacts such as the Shroud of Turin.

Categories: Paper Chase, Science
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