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REACTIONS to the Emily A. Craig and Randall R. Bresee paper, "Image Formation and the Shroud of Turin," reprinted on your website from the Journal of Imaging Science and Technology, Vol. 38, No. 1, Jan.-Feb. 1994, 59-67.
FOREWORD: Isabel Piczek has written the classic rebuttal of this article. The following are merely some personal insights based on my reading and long-time familiarity with the Shroud of Turin. I ask for comments on any flaws in my understanding of Shroud science mentioned in my reactions.
Important to notice is that the "Tennessee solution" of the Turin image is the latest of dozens of other explanations. Before Craig/Bresee were numerous scholars and critics of the Shroud of Turin who never thought of or heard of carbon dusting and its Craig-Bresee variation, red oxide dust printing, to produce the yellow coloration of the Shroud's fibers. So many "solutions," each "so easy" as to make the lie of all the previous "solutions." But each previous "solution" was claimed with as much confidence by its proposers, who would expose the fakery of the Turin cloth (Nickell, McCrone, Schafersman, others). That "medieval forger" did something that modern experimenters cannot quite duplicate, but can only approach by means of a diversity of opinions.
REACTIONS: Their process claims only to "produce images exhibiting numerous features of the Turin cloth" and that "the dust transfer technique is able to form images more similar to the Turin cloth than any previously described technique."
Reaction. These claims are too modest. What we need is a technique or image-formation process that perfectly replicates all the difficult-to-replicate features of the Turin cloth's image. Their technique fails to do this and, to their credit, they do not even claim to do this.
59. "Because tools, materials, and concepts required to use the drawing technique have been available for centuries, we concluded that a 13th or 14th century artist could have created the image on the cloth known as the Shroud of Turin."
Reaction. Their argument is that because it was possible for an artist to create many features of the Shroud's image, then an artist did create it. Note that by elaborate trial and error experiments, attempting to COPY the existing Turin image, they achieved their best final offering. Their supposed original artist did not have this luxury. Further, medieval art's ideal was the same as that of ancient art: not originality, but mimesis, copying but improving on what had been done before. The Turin image is unique. It fits no genre or history-of-art style. It is the "Mother of originals." Giotto never did anything like it. If it is an artwork, it deserves page one of any history of Renaissance art, and we seek earnestly for other works in the same genre by the same anonymous master.
Isabel Piczek's comments about future inter-galaxy travel technology and materials being available now, but its achievement still far in the future effectively expose the weakness of their argument. Moreover, the ineptness of the 40-odd copies of THE Shroud made with reverence during the 14th-19th centuries, argues that artists-at-large did not, even so late, naturally utilize that very-well-known-even-in-the-Middle-Ages red oxide powder technique of approaching the qualities of the Turin image. Why did they not immediately see its aptness in making their copies? The only one of the copies having a remote propinquity to the Turin image is one produced by air brush technique in 1898. (See Fr. Fossati's series in Spectrum.)
59. They correctly state that "mass spectrometry, histological staining, ultraviolet fluorescence failed to detect the presence of collagen in important image areas."
61. "We used various powdered substances to produce images. . . . a mixtureof iron oxide and collagen. . . . Because collagen was reported to be present as a thin coating on the fibers of the Turin cloth, we held the linen fabric over a pan of boiling water to dissolve the collagen. . . .
62. For steamed fabrics some of the collagen dust dissolved and formed a thin coating on the surface of the fibers, which seemed to secure iron oxide dust onto individual fibers. In any case iron oxide and collagen were present only on the most superficial fibers of the fabrics, as reported for the Turin cloth."
Reaction. This combination of statements (pp. 59 and 61) is internally contradictory. They are homage to McCrone, who alone claimed the presence of collagen in a thin coating on Shroud fibers. Why else introduce it when the authors had already acknowledged (59) that collagen was absolutely not detected on the Shroud? Why introduce it only to have it steamed off? The claim that their experimental cloth had a thin coating of collagen (as McCrone) fails to replicate a crucial feature of the collagen-free Shroud.
61. "We found that three-dimensional information could be accurately represented in a dust transfer drawing . . . and areas that are lower are rendered with more dust."
Reaction. John Jackson has emphasized in every presentation of his discoveries on the Turin cloth that the darker image areas are not the product of darker color, but of more fibers in those areas being equally faintly stained. He emphasizes that microscopically one can see non-stained fibrils (not fibers) adjacent to stained fibrils in lighter image areas.
63. "This series shows that a correlation exists between color density and the amount of iron detected by x-ray analysis. In addition, these data show that color is detectable by the eye when the iron x-ray signal is too small to be detected by x-ray analysis over a 300mm X 300mm fabric area."
Reaction. In fact color detectable by the eye is a crucial point: The Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) team found just the opposite of the above statement. They detected by scientific instruments iron oxide on non-image areas which the eye could not see. Iron showed up in off-image areas in about the same degree as on image areas. Thus the iron cannot be the cause of the image one sees.
66. "... this paper show[s] that important image features of the Turin cloth can be satisfied with a dust drawing process."
Reaction. Again the authors make no claim to perfectly replicate the Turin image. This is just not enough claim or product for defining the image-formation process on the Turin cloth.
67. "However, it is impossible to satisfy simultaneously all observations reported for the Turin image, because many reported observations conflict."
Reaction. It is important for the authors to acknowledge, as they implicitly have done, that Nickell's and McCrone's theories did not solve the Turin image. Once that is acknowledged, then besides their procedures, so also must most or all of their premises and claims be discarded. It is these that have produced the "conflicting reported observations." Admitting this, omitting the erroneous reports of Nickell and McCrone, the authors now must satisfy all the corrected list of image features, the list STURP scientists have virtually unanimously asserted.
66-67. "Many works produced during the Middle Ages were said to include direct divine intervention. . . . legends about art miraculously wrought were especially appealing."
Reaction. True. But whatever medieval people thought about miraculous art, those we can see today are seen to be man-made. This argument of the authors is faulty.
67. Citing Frank Tribbe, the authors state: "The hypothesis that an artist could have created the image on the Turin cloth also finds support in historical accounts of the burial shroud of Jesus. Historians have counted more than 40 copies of the shroud during the 14th-16th centuries and point to the likelihood that other copies were made earlier."
Reaction. What historians have really counted are 40 copies of THE Shroud of Turin. Outside of the Turin Shroud, before or after, no faint, non-outlined, twin-imaged, head-to-head, front and dorsal, bloodstained*, naked, anatomically realistic, Christ image is known in art or in the literature about art. Most of all, one that inspired such stand-on-your-head difficulty to replicate.
* Detail: only one foot left a full bloodstain, half only of the other foot. This is realism centuries beyond Gothic. The bloodstains are composed of real human blood, proved by all juridically accepted immunological tests and by the fluorescence of blood-serum haloes around each bloodstain.
CONCLUSION: The authors may have achieved what they set out to do in their initial claims: They may have come closer than anyone before in replicating the Turin image. But they have not actually produced another Turin image, one that even opponents of Shroud authenticity who have cared to examine the Shroud agree must have come from a human corpse.
Daniel Scavone is a retired professor of history who has been a Shroud researcher for more than 20 years and has published many papers and articles on the subject. I thank him for sharing his insights.
Here is Emily Craig's response to Professor Scavone's comments (above).
I want to thank Daniel Scavone for his comments, and I want to thank Barrie Schwortz for the opportunity to present this response to those comments.
Response to FORWARD: What professor Scavone refers to as Isabel Piczek's "classic rebuttal" of this paper should be addressed first. Piczek claims to be one of the world's best figurative draftsmen, but like so many others, she is simply not familiar with carbon-dust drawing. She therefore apparently assumed that it is not an established drawing technique. Nevertheless, in her article (1) Piczek does correctly state that "The success of the described method incorporated in the Carbon Dust Transfer technique wholly depends on an initial drawing created by the use of carbon dust or iron oxide." As any traditionally trained medical illustrator will confirm, the carbon-dust drawing technique allows for the production of exquisitely detailed, accurate, continuous-tone drawings that appear photographic in quality. These drawing do not show a single brush stroke, and the technique can be used to accurately depict any pathologic condition as well as accurate normal human anatomy i.e. (2) (3) (4).
Response to REACTION 1: Our 1994 article addressed the question of image formation and we successfully demonstrated that the carbon-dust drawing technique can be used to successfully produce images that replicate all of these difficult-to-replicate features found on the Turin cloth.
- -The image shows no brush strokes or outlines
- -The image is faint, monochromatic, and homogenous
- -There is no "layering" of the image
- -Only the uppermost fibers of the threads are affected
- -The image does not appear on the backside of the cloth
- -The image appears as a negative (but is actually a topographical reversal)
- -The image is life-size and anatomically accurate
- -Any pattern of blood flow and/or wounds can be created
- -The image is encoded with accurate three-dimensional information
- -The image can be produced with materials and technology known for centuries
- -When iron oxide dust is used to create the body image, that body image is impervious to fire and water.
Nevertheless, Scavone apparently feels that we failed to replicate the features of the Turin cloth's image. Admittedly, we did not address the presence of blood in our original article, because we focused our work on the drawing technique. However, it is relatively easy to see that with a dust drawing, actual blood can be applied to the original drawing at any desired location. When the image is then transferred by contact to a piece of cloth, the blood contacts the cloth first and shields the cloth from the image-producing dry powder.
Response to REACTION 2: No illustrator or artist can exactly copy the work of another. Illustrators and artists cannot even exactly copy their own work! That is the reason that we made no attempt to copy the image on the Shroud of Turin. We used a live human model, and we employed a simple drawing technique to successfully produce images that duplicate the aforementioned image features found on the Turin cloth.
In reference to the technique of dust-drawing, Professor Scavone's skepticism regarding the artists-at-large who failed at their attempts to copy THE shroud during the 14th-19th centuries, is valid even for today's artists. Those who try to compare the image on the Turin cloth to some form of popular art are, in my opinion, committing a serious mistake. Just as someone would be committing a serious mistake by trying to equate carbon-dust medial illustrations from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to any kind of concurrently popular genre or history-of-art style. There is simply no comparison. And yet these carbon-dust drawings do exist, and helped educate thousands of physicians even though so-called fine artists were (and still are) totally unaware of the technique. The lines between art and illustration are not clearly defined, but limiting comparisons of the Shroud image to artists-at-large of the period, limits the scope of historic research.
The line between illustration and art must also be crossed to understand how someone can create an image with reversed topography without elaborate trial and error experiments. Most artists and illustrators create the ILLUSION of three-dimension in their drawings with the judicious use and placement of shadows, cast shadows, highlights, and reflected lights. In addition to correct scale, proportion, and perspective, these subtle variations in the degree of light and dark are what make a painted image look real to us, because they mimic the variations of light and dark that are actually seen in nature. The image on the Shroud of Turin has proved to be an enigma, because the image on the Turin cloth corresponds to the topographical relief of a human body, not the patterns of light and dark normally seen on a human body.
One can create a Shroud-like "reversed" pattern of light and dark on a human figure by simply reversing the normal lighting of a person's face and body. If this "reversed" pattern of illumination is then accurately duplicated in a drawing, that drawing will be correct topographically, and it will not approximate the normal appearance of that individual until it is seen in a photographic negative. In the case of the Shroud of Turin, an illustrator intentionally attempting to produce a religious icon (representing a biblical version of Christ and the effects of his crucifixion) could have fortuitously created a topographically correct "negative" image in a studio situation. If that artist's model was supine on the floor in a dark room with the only illumination being from candles on that floor, the appearance of the body would be totally reversed - light to dark- from that observed under normal lighting conditions. If the illustrator accurately drew what they saw under those lighting conditions, the resulting image would very likely contain accurate three-dimensional information, and would only appear life-like when viewed in a photographic negative.
In the same respect, a topographically correct "negative" image could also have been the fortuitous result of an attempt to visually document the actual appearance of Christ immediately after crucifixion. With the actual corpse for reference, someone could conceivably have produced an illustration that documented the size, shape and appearance of the victim as well as any wounds or patterns of blood flow observed on the body. By utilizing the dust-drawing technique we describe, one can create such a "portrait" using only candlelight for illumination, a single piece of cloth, and the most simple and primitive tools. This type of illustration can be done within a confined physical space, and can be completed in a few hours.
Response to REACTION 3: Our statement that "mass spectrometry, histological staining, ultraviolet fluorescence failed to detect the presence of collagen in important image areas" does NOT translate to an acknowledgement that "collagen was absolutely not detected on the Shroud" as Scavone alleges.
Most serious Shroud researchers are so polarized that neither side will ever agree to the presence or absence of specific imaging forming materials. That is the primary reason that we created experimental images using a variety of dry powdered materials, and we experimented with various treatments of the cloth after image transfer. The results of individual experiments varied, depending on the materials used and the treatment of the cloth after the image was transferred. Some materials were actually absorbed into the cloth fibers in the presence of extreme heat and humidity. Some created stains, which remained on the cloth even after the powder residues were removed. Some altered the makeup of the fibers themselves, leaving no trace of the image-making material. Some even formed what can be described as a "bioplastic" coating around individual fibers.
The point that we made is this. Any material which can be ground into a fine powder can be used to draw an image which can then be transferred to cloth. Since many reported observations regarding the materials used for image formation conflict, we admit that it is probably impossible to simultaneously satisfy everyone's personal opinions or observations regarding the materials used for image formation. However, our method of image formation can be utilized to satisfy all of the scientifically valid theories regarding image-formation.
Response to REACTION 4: John Jackson is correct, and I will repeat Scavone's comment here. "John Jackson has emphasized in every presentation of his discoveries on the Turin cloth that the darker image areas are not the product of darker color, but of more fibers in those areas being equally faintly stained. He emphasizes that microscopically one can see non-stained fibrils (not fibers) adjacent to stained fibrils in lighter image areas."
This is exactly the pattern of fibril (and fiber) staining that occurs in a dust-transfer image! Remember that the dust used for the initial drawing must be monochromatic. Never is a darker color used for a darker portion of the image. When a figure is drawn (to duplicate the appearance of a back-lighted corpse) the areas of highest relief are rendered with the greatest amount of dust, and the amount of dust used in the drawing is reduced in direct proportion to the lower topographical contours in the coronal plane. When a piece of cloth is pressed onto this drawing, the cloth will demonstrate a greater number of stained fibers (and fibrils) in the darker image areas. There will be non-stained fibrils adjacent to stained fibrils even in dark image areas. There will be a greater number of non-stained fibrils adjacent to stained fibrils in lighter image areas.
Response to REACTION 5: The Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) team actually found three types of iron on the Shroud: a) a cellulose bound chelated form, b) heme bound forms, and c) iron oxide [Fe2O3] (5).
The dust drawing technique would inherently allow microscopic particles of iron oxide dust [Fe2O3] to contaminate the entire drawing surface. The image becomes visible to the human eye only after there is a sufficient build-up of these individual particles of iron dust [Fe2O3] in the image areas. Pellicori (6) found that iron was present in the clear and body images at about 15mg/cm2. This is significant because our 1994 scientific study confirmed that the human eye could detect the presence of iron oxide on cloth at a level well below 5mg/cm2.
It is interesting to note that the color of iron oxide may change in the presence of moisture, and this change is reversible. It just so happens that the Shroud of Turin was kept in an atmosphere of pure nitrogen for some time immediately prior to the 1978 STURP studies.Question: Were any of STURP's studies controlled for possible changes in color due to changes in moisture?Question: Is it possible that the absence of moisture in the Shroud's present controlled environment can actually be contributing to the apparent reduction in image visibility?
Response to REACTION 6: Refer to the earlier response to REACTION 2 regarding our success at duplicating image features.
Response to REACTION 7: Refer to the earlier response to REACTION 3 regarding "conflicting reported observations". Why are only the STURP findings considered legitimate? And which of the STURP findings, regarding image formation, are not satisfactorily addressed in our 1994 paper?
Response to REACTION 8: As Scavone says, "whatever medieval people thought about miraculous art, those we can see today are seen to be man-made".
Response to REACTION 9:  Why would there be any need for additional faint, non-outlined, twin imaged, head-to-head, front and dorsal, bloodstained, naked, anatomically realistic Christ images?  Creating a dust drawing that replicates the appearance of a corpse is actually fairly simple for anyone willing to try. [*detail] If the "model" (in a studio or in the tomb) had a blood distribution pattern as described here, the illustrator would simply replicate what he (or she) observed.
CONCLUSION: Again, I would like to thank professor Scavone for his efforts and his request for clarifying comments. I would also like to encourage objective scientific experiments with the dust transfer method of image formation. It is a reproducible and testable hypothesis regarding image formation on the Shroud of Turin.
Emily A. Craig, Ph.D.
(1) Piczek, I. "Alice in Wonderland and the Shroud of Turin" reprinted at (www.shroud.com/piczek2.htm)
(2) Kelly, H. A. and Noble, C. P., GYNECOLOGY AND ABDOMINAL SURGERY, Volume I, Illustrated by Hermann Becker, Max Brodel and Others, W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia 1908, (example illustrations pp. 146, 154, 188, 197, 206)
(3) Kelly, H. A. and Noble, C. P., GYNECOLOGY AND ABDOMINAL SURGERY, Volume II, Illustrated by Hermann Becker, Max Brodel and Others, W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia 1908, (example illustrations pp. 337, 746, 753, 761, 801)
(4) Hughston, J.C., KNEE LIGAMENTS, Injury and Repair, Illustrated by Emily Craig, Mosby Year Book, Inc., St. Louis, 1993 (example illustrations, pp. 35, 45, 59, 254, 430)
(5) Heller, J. H., and Adler, A.D., A Chemical Investigation of the Shroud of Turin, Can. Soc. Forens. Sci. J., Vol. 14, No.3, 1981, pp. 81-103
(6) Pelicorri, S.F., Spectral Properties of the Shroud of Turin, Applied Optics, Vol. 14, No.3, 1980, pp. 1913-1920.
The debate continues with the following comments from the Rev. Albert "Kim" Dreisbach, world renown sindonologist and Shroud historian.
I was much impressed by Prof. Daniel Scavone's "dissection" of forensic anthropologist Emily Craig's highly implausible "theory" as to how the image(s) on the Shroud were "fabricated" by a first century "artist." While Prof. Scavone focused on the scientific and logically inconsistent dimensions of this hypothesis, I would choose to point out its religious and cultural limitations.
- The "fabrication" of such (an) image(s) would have required that the artisan remain in the tomb: a) after the beginning of the Sabbath; b) in violation of all proscriptions against any kind of labor on the Sabbath.
- Light years technically in advance of his or her fellow artists, this soul not only would have been skilled in the "double iron oxide transfer" method but also would have been prescient enough to have acquired both the powdered iron oxide and the second cloth needed for the transfer from the original "drawing" prior to entering the tomb.
- Possessing insights beyond those of an Einstein, this "artist" would have had to make the original "drawing" (Note: By candlelight and within two hours according to Dr. Craig) and then somehow transferred it to the original and expensive 3:1 herringbone twill linen burial cloth originally purchased by Joseph of Arimathea. This would have been necessary to obtain the real human blood marks on the burial linen which we know have no image(s) underneath them and thus were on the Shroud prior to any formation of the body image(s). Forensic pathologists still cannot account for the fact that none of these blood clots are smeared or broken, yet Craig's "artist" somehow was able to remove the original burial linen from the body without any such problem.)
- Dr. Craig's "theory" also fails to account for the fact that off-body blood stains found at the elbow and ankle show that the body was enveloped within the cloth and was thus three-dimensional. Once again Craig's hypothetical "artist" was able to remove the original burial linen from the body without disturbing any of these clots.
When all is said and done, Craig's ex post facto "theory" seems to be based on the a priori assumption that if a hypothesis can be conceived it can be verified by reality. In this particular instance as is so often the case, it just is not so. In the words of Scripture, when exposed to the light of day, this "theory" has "been weighed in the balances and found wanting" (Dan. 5:27).
The Rev. Albert ("Kim") R. Dreisbach
Rev. Dreisbach is the Executive Director of the Atlanta International Center for Continuing Study of the Shroud of Turin (AICCSST).
The following comments offer a completely different perspective on the debate. My sincere thanks to Danusha Goska, a Ph.D. candidate at Indiana University, for taking the time to submit them.
The shroud has been subjected to imaging analysis by NASA scientists, to carbon dating, and to analysis, performed by criminologists and botanists, of the pollen particles found on its surface. Forensic pathologists have analyzed the death depicted on the shroud. At least since Descartes, the West has come to regard religion and hard science as polar opposite disciplines. It is this very intersection of religion and hard science that intrigues, delights, and perhaps even threatens many, and attracts many to the Shroud story.
In truth, though, and perhaps counterintuitively, the hard sciences are limited in their ability to crack the mystery of the shroud. This sounds contrary-science has come to be understood as the source of definitive truth. In this case, though, hard science has failed to provide an answer that satisfies the demands of Ockham's razor.
William of Ockham (1285-1347/49), positied that, "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate;" that is, "Plurality should not be posited without necessity." In other words, Ockham's razor demands that, of two competing theories, the simplest explanation is preferred.
The shroud compels exactly because there is no simple or easy explanation. None of science's tests, including carbon dating, has changed that. None have produced a simple explanation that meets the demands of Ockham's razor.
One might argue, based on carbon dating, that the shroud is a simple forgery, dating from the middle ages. That theory is not best tested exclusively by hard science. Rather, insights from the social sciences and the humanities are necessary in cracking this mystery.
I am not a hard scientist. I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Folklore Institute at Indiana University. Folklore, like its fellow social sciences, has demonstrated that human expressive culture follows rules, just as surely as carbon decay follows rules. One does not need to be a social scientist to understand this.
Suppose an archaeologist were to discover, in an Egyptian tomb, a work of art that followed the aesthetic prescriptions of Andy Warhol's 20th century American portrait of Marilyn Monroe. Certainly, hard science would argue that ancient Egyptians possessed all the technology necessary to produce such items of expressive culture. Ancient Egyptians had pigments; they had surfaces on which to draw. Hard scientists might see no mystery in a pharaonic Warhol Marilyn.
A non-scientist would have every reason to find such a blase' attitude bizarre. Of course the ancient Egyptians could produce Warhol-like art. The fact is, though, that they simply never did. Ancient Egyptians, like all artists everywhere, followed the artistic mandates of their time and place.
True, art does change, but it changes organically, slowly, and after leaving vast bodies of evidence of change in intermediary forms. For example, as different as it is, art from Greece's Golden Age can be seen to have grown from Egyptian art, in intermediary forms like Kouroi figures.
The shroud is as much an object of wonder and worthy investigation, in spite of carbon dating, as would be an isolated pharaonic Warhol, or a rock song that had been composed during the period of Gregorian Chant, or a Hopi vase that someone somehow came to made during the high point of peasant embroidery in Czechoslovakia. Yes, in each case, technology was available to create these anomalous forms; however, as any layman might well point out, humans did not choose to use available technology in order to create anomalous forms.
There are two consistently unaddressed flaws in the arguments of those who contend that the shroud must be of medieval origin, created by contemporaneously available technology. The first flaw is that even if technology had been available to create an image with all the remarkable features of the shroud, there is no way to explain why an artist would have done so.
This question must be explored not via carbon dating, NASA imaging, or pollen tests, but, rather, by comparison with other relics from the medieval era. I have not seen research by experts in medieval relics that attempts to compare and contrast the shroud with comparable artifacts from the medieval era. Does the shroud look like other relics, or does it not? If, as I suspect is true, it does not look like other relics from that era, then it behooves anyone who argues for a medieval date to explain exactly why. Those who argue this position must tell us why the equivalent of a Warhol portrait has been found among Egyptian artwork where the laws of human expressive culture dictate that it plainly does not belong.
In the writings of church reformers like Erasmus and Martin Luther, one can read descriptions of medieval relics. In fact, many relics once popular in the medieval era can be visited even today. Reformers like Erasmus and Luther expressed open contempt at the gullibility of the Christian masses. Bones that were obviously animal in origin were treated as if the bones of some dead saint. Random chips of wood were marketed as pieces of the true cross; random swatches of fabric were saints' attire.
Why, in such a lucrative and undemanding marketplace, would any forger resort to anything as detailed and complex as the shroud? Why would a forger resort to an image that would so weirdly mimic photography, a technology that did not exist in the Middle Ages?
Well, one might argue, the forger created the highly detailed, anomalous shroud in order to thoroughly trick his audience. This argument does not withstand analysis. The relic market is profoundly undemanding. It was profoundly undemanding in the Middle Ages; it is barely more demanding today.
The Ka'bah of Islam, the millions of Shiva lingams found throughout the Hindu world, the venerated sites of Buddha's footfall or Buddha's tooth, the packages of "Mary's Milk" on sale to Christian pilgrims in Bethlehem, are all contemporary relics that attest to the willingness of believers to believe in items that might look, to others, like simple rocks or standard, store bought powdered milk.
The faith in relics is not limited to the large, world religions; New Age is similarly flush with relics of a provenance, that, to non-believers, may seem comical at best. For example, a speech well beloved by New Agers, titled "Chief Seattle's speech," has long been known to have been written by a white Christian man living in Texas. This knowledge has not stopped many New Agers from believing that the speech issued, miraculously, from Chief Seattle.
The shroud does more than not follow the simple rules of relic hawkers. The shroud not only does not follow the laws of the expressive culture of medieval relics, it defies them. For example, blood is shown flowing from the man's wrist, not his hands. It is standard in Christian iconography to depict Jesus' hands as having been pierced by nails. This was true not only of the medieval era, but also today. What reason would a forging artist have for defying the hegemonic iconography of the crucified Jesus? Anyone who wishes to prove a medieval origin for the shroud must answer that question, and others, for example:
Items of expressive culture are not found in isolation. They are not found without evidence of practice. If one excavates an ancient site and finds one pot, one finds other pots like it, and the remains of failed or broken pots in middens.
If the shroud is a forgery, where are its precedents? Where are the other forged shrouds like it? Where is there evidence of practice shrouds of this type? If the technology to create the shroud was available in medieval Europe, where are other products of this technology? Humankind is an exhaustively exploitative species. We make full use of any technology we discover, and leave ample evidence of that use. Given the lucrative nature of the forgery market, why didn't the forger create a similar Shroud of Mary, Shroud of St. Peter, Shroud of St. Paul, etc.? And why didn't followers do the same?
I'm not attempting here to prove the shroud to be genuine. I am insisting that hard science alone cannot tell us the full truth about the shroud, and that ignoring the obvious questions posed by the humanities and the social sciences leaves us as much in the dark about the shroud as ever.
I came across your website from my home in Norway. Congratulations on such a well-presented and fascinating collection of information! I'm fascinated by the Shroud, and would love to know the truth about it, but have no strong convictions one way or the other. However, I do have a comment on the sidebar by Walter McCrone to the "Debunking the Shroud - Made by Human Hands" article. In it he says:"The paint on the Shroud was dilute (0.01 percent in a 0.01 percent gelatin solution)."
I am a research chemist who works a lot with paints, and am amazed by this statement. Though McCrone, with his massive experience might be able to very roughly estimate the proportion of pigment to collagen present on the fibres as being of the order of 1 part in 10,000 (that is to say, 0.01%), to state this exact figure without any mention of the enormous error involved is really bad practice. And as for claiming it was applied as a 0.01% gelatin solution, well, it is quite simply IMPOSSIBLE to know this. You cannot, by any means known to science, tell by looking at dried gelatin what strength of solution it was applied from!!! To authoritatively present these wild guesses as "facts" looks like a cheap trick to "blind people with numbers" and makes me suspect his other arguments.
Keep up the good work. I look forward to receiving your e-mail bulletins.
Simon Dennington, Ph.D.
I thank Dr. Dennington for his observations and kind words.
I have taken some time to look through the very fascinating site you have created. I fully appreciate the time and effort that has gone into creating this site and I thank you for making it available. The opportunity to explore visually the image on the shroud, both from a distance and up close, is truly enjoyable.
However, all the scientists, past, present and future, have totally and completely missed the point. Whether or not the cloth is actually the true burial cloth of Jesus is unimportant. Science sees the cloth and must inspect it in the most minute detail. Yet if these same people would simply stand in the Cathedral in Turin and watch those people who come to view it, perhaps they might come to understand it's true value. Those people, and by extension all of us around the world who are interested in the shroud, realize that it is not important if the cloth is 2 thousand years old or 2 hundred years old. What is important is the faith that it inspires. The Catholic Church recognizes this as well. That is why they do not need to "officially" declare the Shroud to be genuine or a fraud.
Interestingly also, is the fact that at no time during it's known existence (unless I am not aware of it) no great miraculous powers have ever been ascribed to the Shroud. When you consider all the other relics in the Church and the miracles ascribed to them, the Shroud is merely a miracle in its existence. Certainly the image on it and the fact that it is a photographic negative may be a miracle but what is more amazing is that no one who has seen or touched it has been cured of any diseases etc. Perhaps then, the greatest miracle that can be associated with the Shroud is the miracle of inspiring a stronger faith in those who see it.
If you really want to discuss something, try this on for size: Maybe the miracle of the Shroud is being lost on the scientists studying it. Perhaps it really is Christ's burial cloth but He is playing with us, giving us false data, inconsistent theories etc. thus trying to show that faith is more important than science in some areas. After all, Jesus told his disciples: "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could tell this tree to uproot itself and plant itself in the sea." If you saw that actually happen, what would you study, the faith needed to move the tree or the actual moving of the tree?
Please continue to study the Shroud. Perhaps some day you may actually answer your questions. For those of us who believe, it will not make the slightest difference what science tells us. As the saying goes: "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice."
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Many people visit the website solely to fulfill a spiritual need, while many others visit strictly to satisfy their scientific curiosity. My goal has been to make available accurate information and quality material in a manner that allows everyone to regard the Shroud from their own personal perspective, whatever it may be. That is why I make no attempts to "interpret" the information for the viewer.
I wholeheartedly agree with your closing statement, which echos the views of Cardinal Ballestrero, the Archbishop of Turin at time of the 1978 exhibition and scientific examination. I might add however, that for those not as secure in their faith as you are, the Shroud may provide just the reason to pause and think about it, which makes it very valuable indeed.
Some remarks about the "camera obscura" theory of Prof. N. Allen:
The results of Prof. Allen in "De Arte" are indeed very good. About 1350, the technology to produce a shroud-like image was probably at hand. But we must wonder why it took Prof. Allen several days to obtain a reaction between silver salt and light? And here is where Prof. Allen clearly started to use MODERN knowledge. He used a bi-convex lens to pass ultraviolet radiation from the model to the linen. For a camera obscura, with a focal length of four meters, one may estimate a workable lens diameter of about 36 centimeters. A quartz lens does not behave like an optical lens, but like a burning glass, from which point Prof. Allen states quite correctly: "In this sense the Shroud is not so much a "photograph" as a "solargraph" and is in effect quite similar to a suntan. The direction of the sun is quite different at each different hour of the day, which means that all of the shadows of all body protuberances, especially the nose and the feet, must be deformed on the image."
In fact, the linen was SINGED by the ultraviolet radiation, which means that the image was created by heat. And in this regard, Prof. Allen, who studied STURP's findings from the examinations of the Shroud in 1978, really ought to know that the Shroud image is NOT made by any heat or radiation process. To check this out, one would only need to examine this singed linen under ultraviolet light and compare it with the results obtained by STURP's team members Marion and Roger Gilbert and Vernon Miler. While burn marks fluoresce reddish to yellow green in ultraviolet light, the Shroud's body image, along with the bloodstains do not fluoresce at all. It should also be recalled that Drs. Jackson and Jumper, in measuring the Shroud image's relative densities, with a microdensitometer, came to the conclusion that there had been a direct contact between some protuberances of the body and the Shroud. Also, that relative density is a function of the original body-to-Shroud distance.
So it is clear, that the Shroud cannot be a "solargraph".
Remy Van Haelst
Professor Allen responds:
Mr van Haelst makes a series of refutations apropos my work concerning the manufacture of the Sudaria Christi (Shroud of Turin).
He states, `But we must wonder why it took Prof. Allen several days to obtain a reaction between silver salt and light?’
My response: The ratio between time of exposure and photochemical degradation of the linen is dependant on the size of the lens/aperture in the camera obscura. In short, the bigger the aperture, the faster the exposure. In the case of the image on the Sudaria Christi it exhibits three-dimensional qualities which suggests an exposure lasting a minimum of one day (+/- 8 hours sunlight). Had the exposure been relatively quick, as is the case with modern film (which makes use of a latent image which is subsequently made visible by the use of a developer) the image on the Sudaria Christi would have been more noticeably lit from one source and would have exhibited little, if any, three-dimensional characteristics. If the readers would like to understand, visually, this phenomenon for themselves, I would suggest that they place a sculpture of a human face in a darkened room and that they illuminate it with a torch. Imitate the motion of the sun by passing the torch across the face from left to right and notice how the high points of the face (eg the forehead, bridge of the nose, nose tip, top lip etc) remain almost always visible, whilst areas such as the eyes, sides of the head, etc are not always illuminated. In the case of the image on the Sudaria Christi, the nose, cheeks, moustache, beard and forehead are more deeply `etched’ than the sides of the head, the eyes etc forming as it were a three dimensional `cast’ of the original subject. This only occurs when the original subject is placed in such a way as to receive equal morning and afternoon sunlight.
Mr van Haelst states, `And here is where Prof. Allen clearly started to use MODERN knowledge. He used a bi-convex lens to pass ultraviolet radiation from the model to the linen. For a camera obscura, with a focal length of four metres, one may estimate a workable lens diameter of about 36 centimetres’
I do not understand Mr van Haelst’s problem. Bi-convex lenses made from quartz date back to 1600 BC. I admit this is `MODERN’ if one considers that human kind has been involved in the business of discovery and invention since at least 25000 BC. As for a workable diameter of 36 centimetres, I do not understand in what context Mr van Haelst is speaking: Firstly, it is highly unlikely that thirteenth century culture could have produced such a large lens (although not impossible) but based on extant examples of lens production from 1600 BC to 150 AD, they should have been able to manage 5-6 centimetres. Secondly, I have already stated for the record that the lens I employed for the Shroud of Port Elizabeth was 16 cm in diameter. This was done in order that I could test various diameters from 2 cm up to and including 16 cm.
Mr van Haelst states `A quartz lens does not behave like an optical lens, but like a burning glass...’.
My response. Mr van Haelst’s meaning is not clear. If Mr van Haelst meant to say `A quartz lens does not behave like a glass lens’, then he is incorrect. Any transparent medium, including air, will allow for the transmission of radiant energy in the form of light waves. It is true that different mediums have different densities, which will affect the focal length of a particular lens, however, regardless of the medium, the `behaviour’ is identical in that light rays are bent by refraction.
If on the other hand, Mr van Haelst meant to say `A lens made from quartz does not behave optically, but acts like a burning glass’, he is confused, since any transparent medium ground to the correct optical form (eg a bi-convex lens) will act like a burning glass. For example, one may focus the rays of the sun through either a glass or crystal lens and set a piece of paper alight. I suspect that Mr van Haelst probably thinks this is how I made my images? If so, it would prove that he has not read my work very carefully. I am not focussing the rays which emanate directly from the sun but rather the rays of sunlight that have bounced off of a three- dimensional object (eg a corpse). It is this reflected sunlight which is focussed through a lens onto the linen and which forms an image. Because this reflected light is dependant on the primary source (which is the sun) and because the sun is moving across the sky from east to west, the reflected light varies in intensity according to the time of day. I have already explained this point in some detail already. The net result, is that like a suntan, the more prominent areas of the body such as knees, chest, upper arms, forehead, nose etc are generally more illuminated at any one time of the day than other less prominent parts of the body (eg, under the beard, between the legs, the side of the head etc). This is what I meant when I said the image is in effect similar to a suntan and NOT that the cloth is being fried by the focussed rays of a burning crystal. I am making a photographic negative not acting like some demented school boy burning ants with a magnifying glass. Surely Mr van Haelst must know how a camera works? The camera obscura works in the same way.
Mr van Haelst states ` The direction of the sun is quite different at each different hour of the day, which means that all of the shadows of all body protuberances, especially the nose and the feet, must be deformed on the image."
My response: The position of the sun is never constant, since it appears to be moving from east to west. However the direction of the rays of sunlight in relation to the sun are constant enough. Mr van Haelst has absolutely no working knowledge of making a shroud and yet proposes from his armchair to make the comment that `all body protuberances, especially the nose and the feet, must be deformed on the image.’ Please look at the Shroud of Turin, please look at the Shroud of Port Elizabeth, in both examples, their is NO deformation of body protuberances. What you will find however, on both the Shroud of Turin and the Shroud of Port Elizabeth is a spherical aberration caused by the curvature of the lens originally employed in their respective manufactures. It is for this reason that the hands are some 10% larger in scale than the feet and head. This has nothing to do with the position of the sun or the constancy of its illumination.
Mr van Haelst states that `In fact, the linen was SINGED by the ultraviolet radiation, which means that the image was created by heat’.
My response: No No No. The linen is not singed by ultraviolet radiation. The linen fibrils are `singed’ by oxidation caused by the release of free radicals from silver sulphate whilst being reduced by the presence of ultraviolet radiation. The radiation cannot cause the image directly. Its energy is carried over by means of an energy transfer, thus:
RADIATION -> REDUCED SILVER SULPHATE -> FREE RADICALS -> OXIDISED LINEN.
Once the silver sulphate is removed from the linen all that remains is the chemically induced scorch which appears as a faint sepia coloured negative image of the original subject.
Mr van Haelst states `And in this regard, Prof. Allen, who studied STURP's findings from the examinations of the Shroud in 1978, really ought to know that the Shroud image is NOT made by any heat or radiation process...’
My response. The spectral reflectance of the scorch areas (fire at Chambery in 1352) and the body image were very similar. In fact as a result of a series of infrared reflectance spectroscopy investigations made by J. S. Accetta and J. S. Baumgart in 1978 it was possible to compare the spectral features of selected Shroud features (ie areas of `bloodstain', body image, `pristine' linen and scorch and water marks caused by an accidental fire in 1532). In particular, it was found that no notable differences existed between the spectral features of the scorch marks and those areas of the linen which contained anatomical details of the image. Spectral comparisons made between linen areas and areas of moderate scorch exhibited similar features in the 3-5- and 8-14-æm bands. Indeed, it was discovered that there existed a conspicuous correspondence between image and scorch areas in both spectral bands. However, considering that the way the `scorch’ was produced in both cases was dissimilar (ie one was caused through a chemical reaction, the other by direct heat) it is no wonder that the while burnmarks fluoresce reddish to yellow green in ultraviolet light, the Shroud's body image, along with the bloodstains do not fluoresce at all.
Professor Nicholas Allen
It was interesting to peruse the bibliography of works produced by original members of the Shroud of Turin Research Project.
It almost sounds like STURP membership is supposed to be a positive feature of the various authors' backgrounds.
Don't you think you ought to mention *somewhere* that nearly all the STURP members were *also* members of something called "The Holy Shroud Guild"? This, just in case anybody might get the erroneous impression that STURP researchers were engaged in something like an unbiased, scientific search for truth about the shroud. Their predispositions in the matter make their results precisely analogous to the reports of tobacco's benign effects, as reported in research funded by The Tobacco Institute.
Thank you, Gerard J. Jendras
Thank you for your recent e-mail. I appreciate you taking the time to write although I am not sure what you are basing your assumptions on. As a member of STURP since 1977, I know each member of the team personally. I can assure you that few, if any, of the team were also members of the Holy Shroud Guild as you assert. There is no doubt that STURP was closely associated with the Guild, since it was Father Adam Otterbein and Father Peter Rinaldi, both of the Guild, who were instrumental in obtaining permission for STURP to perform their examination. However, to say that "nearly all" STURP members belonged to the Holy Shroud Guild is not only inaccurate, but totally erroneous.
One need only to consult the list of organizations that STURP represented to see the error in this assumption (see the "List of the STURP Team" on the "1978 Scientific Examination" page of the website). Los Alamos National Laboratories, Sandia Laboratories, the Air Force Weapons Laboratory, the Air Force Academy and NASA'S Jet Propulsion Laboratory (just to name a few), are all highly respected professional, scientific and military organizations with very serious scientists and researchers. Frankly, most of STURP's members were very deeply involved in America's nuclear weapons industry. To state that they were members of the Holy Shroud Guild is almost laughable. The team did have a number of members who were Christians, but there were also many who were openly agnostics and athiests. And a few, including myself, are Jewish. I happen to subscribe to the belief that, just because a man is a Christian doesn't mean that he can't do good science, even on the Shroud of Turin.
Frankly, I am disappointed with your comparison of STURP to the tobacco industy. STURP was not perfect. There is no question that they made many errors along the way. But they were the first group of scientists ever given such permission and the data they gathered on the Shroud of Turin is still the best information available on the subject to date. It is acknowledged as such and used by all serious Shroud researchers worldwide. I am sure that whoever provided you with your information was misleading you. Perhaps you should recheck your sources.
I hope you don't object to the direct tone of my response, but I feel the facts should be stated accurately. I thank you again for your participation and for sharing your thoughts with me.
I enjoyed my first visit to your fascinating site. In looking through it, I came upon the following paper by Dr. N. Allen:
"Verification of the Nature and Causes of the Photo-negative Images on the Shroud of Lirey-Chambery-Turin"
I wish to call your attention to the following statement copied from (Dr. Allen's article) and pasted directly into this message:
"The image as seen in Plate. 6 was produced by the actions of UV radiation (195-240 nm) 1, on a linen cloth sample (300 X 200 mm) saturated in a dilute solution of silver-nitrate (0.5%). This image (which took at least four days to form), was originally a dark purplish-brown colour (Plate. 5). After immersion in a dilute solution of ammonia (5%), this image appeared to lose much of its detail and simultaneously assumed its present straw-yellow colour (Plate. 6). However, when re-photographed (Plate. 7), the negative print reveals a highly detailed, positive image of the original subject (Plate. 4)."
The statement in question refers to the waveband in the ultraviolet Dr. Allen cites in his article "(195-240 nm)." IF I understood the process he describes correctly, the source of the ultraviolet to activate the silver nitrate was the sun. However, I can tell you, unequivocally, that this waveband does not reach the earth's surface because of very effective absorption by stratospheric ozone. The shortest wavelengths of sunlight able to penetrate to the Earth's surface are about 290 nm. Virtually all UV radiation below this wavelenth is very effectively absorbed by this atmospheric screen (luckily for us). Perusal of web sites (and the scientific literature) focusing on stratospheric ozone depletion will provide many references to support this statement. Both NOAA and NASA sites are easy to find. (A good starting point is NOAA's Climate Prediction Center: http://nic.fb4.noaa.gov). I should point out that I do not know if this waveband (195-240 nm)is essential to the chemical reaction involving the silver nitrate, as I am not a photographer, but if it is this waveband could not have come from natural sunlight under the conditions described. Perhaps the waveband cited is incorrect.
Keep up the good work. I intend to visit your site often.
Edward C. De Fabo, PhD
Resident Professor of Dermatology, George Washington University and
Chair of 3 international workshops reporting on Ultraviolet radiation
effects on biological ecosystems, including human health effects.
Professor De Fabo is trained as a photobiologist, with many years experience in ultraviolet radiation and its effects on biological systems and has published many articles on this subject. I wish to thank him for taking the time to draft such a thoughtful response and contributing to our knowledge. The link to Prof. Allen's paper can be found on the "Scientific Papers & Articles" page of the website. You might also wish to read the article titled, "Is The Shroud of Turin A Medieval Photograph," by Barrie Schwortz. A link to Prof. Allen's website is listed on the "Links To More Information" page.
Just a quick note to thank you for such a timely display of information concerning the terrible fire at the Cathedral of Turin. The inclusion of pictures from RAI Television in Italy helped to visualize the terrible damage done and the heroic efforts of the firemen.
God bless you!
Robert F. Hess
St. Francis Newsletter
Paradise, California, USA
I wish to thank Robert, and everyone else who took the time to write me about the fire article, and express my gratitude to all of you for your kind words. I was fortunate to have some great sources who kindly gave me updated information every few hours throughout that sleepless weekend. I agree that the RAI images really helped convey the intensity of the event and am very grateful to RAI for allowing me to use them.
I have written on several occasions and want to thank you once again for your kindness in answering my questions in the past. What is now bothering me, is the press release you posted today. I know from reading the Late Breaking News from several days prior that one of STURP's founders, Thomas F. D'Muhala... recently said that "We have barely scratched the surface" in regards to the Shroud. Now we have an Official Press Release saying that STURP has dissolved and that it had "successfully achieved it's purpose". What gives Barrie? I personally am still sitting on the fence as far as the Shroud is concerned, but as far as I'm concerned it ain't over till the fat lady sings, and I haven't heard a note yet!
Barbara G. Hughes
Thank you for your recent e-mail. Apparently, you are paying very close attention to the materials I put on the website, for you have asked a very good question indeed. Let me try and explain.
In 1978, a group of scientists came together and developed a plan for the performance of extensive, non-destructive testing of the Shroud of Turin. The group had hopes of getting permission to examine the Shroud and gather the data necessary to determine the formation mechanism and other properties of the image on the cloth. To that end, a full team was assembled and STURP was incorporated to provide a non-profit organizational structure for the group. Permission was ultimately granted and the team proceeded to spend 120 hours gathering a massive amount of spectral, radiographic, ultraviolet, infrared and photographic data, in addition to sticky tape samples of the Shroud to be used for various types of chemical analysis. As you probably know, hundreds of thousands of hours were spent reducing the STURP data, and 22 papers were ultimately published, all in refereed scientific journals. (See the List of STURP Published Papers accessible via the "1978 Scientific Examination" page of this website).
All STURP team members were bound by a formal written agreement that precluded the release of any individual data prior to the issuance of the team's official final report. And all of these agreements expired in 1981, at the time the STURP final report was issued. (You can find "A Summary of STURP'S Conclusions" taken directly from this report on the "1978 Scientific Examination" page of this website).
In essence, STURP actually accomplished its goals and completed its work by the end of 1981. Since then, it has retained its structure but has been basically inactive, although it submitted a new test plan to the authorities in 1985, but permission to perform those tests was not forthcoming. Although STURP updated its proposal periodically and individual STURP members stood ready to assist the Turin authorities when and if their expertise was needed, during the ensuing eleven years the call did not come. It should be noted that the authorities did state that the work completed by STURP stands as the officially recognized scientific data on the Shroud of Turin. More recently, the authorities stated that no further testing would be allowed, except in the areas of conservation and preservation of the cloth. In my view, these are well outside the areas STURP was originally formed to investigate and I believe the decision was made to dissolve STURP at this time, because no further purpose would be served by its remaining a legal entity.
However, this does not preclude any former STURP member from actively continuing with Shroud research in the future, either individually or as part of any new group. As this website hopefully demonstrates, there is still a strong, international interest in the Shroud by many scientists and researchers, and the work continues. Too many questions remain unanswered, and I believe that only qualified science, and perhaps even as yet undiscovered technologies, will finally give us the answers. Using your analogy, I agree that the "fat lady" hasn't even begun to sing. But perhaps STURP will be remembered as the "opening bars" of what someday emerges as a full fledged symphony!
I generally do not publish comments that come via unsigned e-mail, but I felt it was appropriate to reprint my answer to this one since it was returned to me as "undeliverable". Perhaps it will prompt the author to respond with a correct e-mail address and signature.
Your web page is devoted to the supposition that the Shroud of Turin is still controversial, in that, the truth is still unknown.
I think you are missing something here: The Shroud *is* a fake. Not just because I say so, but because carbon-dating *proved* it to be of Middle Ages origin. We have known this for at least ten years!
Are you wishing to continue the controversy by ignoring the facts? ...Or are you just not aware of the scientific findings?
Thank you for your recent e-mail to my Shroud of Turin Website. I appreciate your position and understand your point of view. Let me try and give you an honest answer:
You are right. In 1988, the Shroud was carbon dated to a medieval time period. I am well aware of the results, as well as all the other scientific research done on the Shroud in the last twenty years. I was a member of STURP, the team that performed the first in-depth scientific investigation of the cloth, and personally spent 102 hours in the room with the Shroud of Turin during the 1978 examination.
I, however, am not a scientist, but a professional photographer, and have to depend on the published science for my facts. As I write this, many scientists around the world are re-examining not only the carbon date of the Shroud, but of other dated linen cloths as well. The controversy exists because there seems to be evidence that linen can often yield an erroneous carbon date. Apparently, a recently discovered microbe was found to leave a "bioplastic" coating on linen fibers that may considerably alter the resulting carbon date. Another example of this is the ibis mummy, whose wrappings dated 1000 years younger than the mummy they wrapped, yet they were, without question, the original wrappings. Archaeologists are now re-examining many other dated cloths and more work needs to be done to determine the accuracy of carbon dated linen. In addition, other work has shown that the heating of the cloth in the 1532 fire may also have had some influence on corrupting the carbon dating results. (Ed. Note: I should also have mentioned that there is a belief by some researchers that the tested Shroud samples may have been taken from a patched and/or rewoven area of the cloth, and that the labs may have accurately carbon dated a medieval reweave.)
I expect that your first response may be skepticism regarding my answer, so I will tell you that even Dr. Harry Gove, inventor of the AMS radiocarbon dating process used to date the Shroud in 1988, said in his recent book "Relic, Icon or Hoax? - Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud", the microbe discovery is a "development that should be taken seriously" and "merits further detailed investigation". [p.308] (Ed. Note: See the "Website Bookstore" page for more information about this book).
Putting aside the carbon dating for a moment, you should know that there is NO other evidence to support a medieval forgery of the Shroud. None. In fact, the image on the Shroud has properties that cannot yet be reproduced with all our latest modern technology, let alone be created by a medieval forger. I am also well aware of the "new" theories that have permeated the media in recent years, each claiming to have "solved the mystery" of the Shroud. Frankly, it is just that sort of treatment by the popular and commercial press that, in part, convinced me to create this website. Most serious Shroud researchers just got tired of hearing inaccurate, misleading and even absurd information at every turn, while the actual science remained obscure.
I would pose the following question: If 99% of the evidence points one way and only 1% points the other, should we disregard the 99% in favor of the 1? Or do we re-examine the 1% to ensure its veracity? I personally feel that the question of the Shroud is an open one. Perhaps science will find a definitive answer in the future. So be it. I have no biases for the cloth, or against it. I am Jewish. But until someone can fully explain the properties of this enigmatic image, I will not consider the question closed.
I do not believe I am continuing the controversy by "ignoring the facts". I believe THE FACTS ARE CREATING THE CONTROVERSY. Understand that the public rarely has had access to these "facts". My information and opinions are based on an 18 year involvement with most of the active Shroud scientists around the world and a direct knowledge of, or even involvement in their work, and an intimate knowledge of all the facts as published in the scientific literature. It is ONLY that knowledge that keeps me involved. The carbon dating by itself is not enough to sway me against it, when every other bit of evidence makes me believe otherwise.
I hope I have answered your questions regarding the motives for my website. Perhaps you would be kind enough to include your name on your next response. I recognize that you are entitled to your opinion and I respect that. However, remaining anonymous makes me question YOUR motives. How about it?
First we should warmly congratulate you on this website. It is really a very useful tool for being continuously informed and updated about what happens around the Shroud. In our judgment it is the greatest and the most complete Shroud website on the Internet at present. Moreover we would like to congratulate you on the high quality images and on the wonderful idea of welcoming the comments of the site's visitors. We retain that Barrie M. Schwortz is one of the most suitable and qualified persons for this job having been one of those people that studied the Shroud directly and his willingness and his great care are still more extraordinary. We hope that this website will become an excellent means to develop the Shroud knowledge in the world, also considering the next two exhibitions in 1998 and in 2000. We place ourselves at your complete disposal for giving all the help we can to improve, if it's possible, the vast amount of data on this excellent website.
Ilona Farkas/ Emanuela Marinelli/Maurizio Marinelli Collegamento pro Sindone Rome, Italy
I am truly honored to have the Collegamento pro Sindone's participation, and flattered by their kind words. In the near future, this website will host a "Collegamento Pro Sindone" page that will include English translation reprints of articles from their excellent publication of the same name.
You can now visit the "Collegamento pro Sindone" page on this website.
I just reviewed the information that you have put into the Shroud site. I am very impressed and pleased that you have put so much effort into it and are creating a real quality set of information. Congratulations from one who has been there. I hope I can contribute something.
Don Lynn, Granada Hills, California
Don was a founding member and on the executive board of the Shroud of Turin Research Project, Inc., (STURP), and an important member of STURP's photographic and imaging team. He retired from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, where he was Supervisor of the Space Image Processing Group that brought us the images from the Viking, Voyager, Mariner and Galileo projects. Sadly, Don died on October 14, 2000.
It sure was a pleasure seeing your new website, outstanding in every way. We look forward to working with you on this very timely and critical endeavor. My wife, Mary, and Phil Dayvault, Executive Director, Council for Study of the Shroud of Turin, (CSST), join me in sending you our appreciation and best wishes.
Alan Whanger, Duke University
Dr. Whanger is a respected Shroud researcher and co-founder of CSST. He is the curator of the Max Frei tape collection, a set of sticky tape samples taken by the late Swiss criminologist during the 1978 Scientific Examination. (See Frei Photo on the 1978 Scientific Examination Page)
I was delighted when I visited your... site today, and I DEFINITELY plan on being a regular visitor. As you note, the high quality photos are truly worth the download time and will, in the end, enable many to see your site as the definitive area to review all evidence, papers and information on the Shroud.
I have had a keen interest in the Shroud for many years and, as a 40-year-old male who teaches high school Sunday school, I have used my copy of Dr. John Heller's book "Report On The Shroud of Turin," as well as a videotape of a recent TV show, "Mysteries of the Bible" on A&E Network to enlighten classes on the Shroud... Your web site is something I will likewise use as a tool for my high school youth, since they are "totally into" technology (can't wait for the Shroud CD), as well as their being able to objectively look at the Shroud and its unexplained origin.
One item I would like to see is an area on your page where various "Shroud Team Members" could place text files of published reports such as your article, "Mapping of Research Test Point Areas on the Shroud of Turin". Although it could prove to be dry reading for many, it would definitely prove to debunkers that men of science can, indeed, make objective study of such a hotly debated item.
This website now includes reprints of many scientific papers, as you suggested. Check out the article titled, "Is the Shroud of Turin a Painting?" It is a summary of the paper on the Shroud presented at the Rome International Symposium by Isabel Piczek, reknown monumental artist and theoretical physicist. I have also included a link to the McCrone Research Institute Shroud Page to let you review the work of Walter McCrone, noted microscopist who concludes the Shroud is a painting. The "Mapping..." paper you mentioned has also been added to the website. See the "Scientific Papers and Articles" page.
Your Shroud pages have some of the most impressive graphics I've found yet on the WWW, especially the ability to "magnify" selected portions of the Shroud. I added a link to your site from mine, with the comment "Very impressive graphics." I'm... a video writer-director and created a number of the "In Search Of" Leonard Nimoy TV mystery programs, and one of them was "In Search of the Shroud of Turin."
Seth Hill, Los Angeles, California
I must start by first congratulating you at your immense efforts in bringing what is no doubt one of the greatest mysteries of all time to the forefront of the world. Now everyone can at last get access to unbiased information, see for themselves the images of the Shroud and try and decide for themselves what it's all about! I suppose it is the very elusiveness of the cloth, even when exposed to 20th century technology that keeps me intrigued and wanting to find out more. Now, with this Shroud Homepage I at last have access to the latest developments on this curious cloth. I will follow it very closely and hope that the mystery of the Shroud will be solved in my lifetime!!
F. Ahmad, London, England
A brief comment... I imagine you've read the "Turin Shroud" by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince; if not, you may wish to. It is basically a virulent attack on the authenticity of the Shroud and the key findings of Dr. Jackson (John Jackson, co-founder of STURP) and others. Almost laughingly, it concludes that the Shroud is either a self image of Leonardo da Vinci created via an undocumented photographic discovery, or an image created by some sort of arcane mental telepathy in the middle ages. The book does however, directly attack some of the key findings of the STURP team and I am interested in reviewing the criticisms vs the facts further.
Jerry Keenehan Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania
Yes, I am familiar with the "Leonardo" theory put forth by the researchers you mentioned. However, I find it difficult to give any credence to "researchers" who first disregard all of the known science and historical facts about the Shroud. Particularly the FACT that the existence of the Shroud is well documented historically a full 97 years prior to the birth of Leonardo! Unfortunately, unbiased, accurate and credible Shroud data sources are often technical and obscure while those that claim "sensational solutions" to the enigmatic image have always provided rich fodder for the tabloid media. It is difficult indeed to find anything credible in those who publish their "research" in books and on television, rather than in scientific journals subject to peer review. It is one of the great frustrations of most serious Shroud researchers. I hope this website will help correct the problem.
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