The Dallas Meeting of
American Sindonology

Planning for the
Shroud of Turin
In the 21st Century

November 6 through 8, 1998
The Catholic Conference Information Center
Dallas, Texas

On Friday, November 6, 1998, an important Shroud meeting was held at the Catholic Conference Information Center in Dallas, Texas. The purpose of the meeting was so eloquently stated in the invitation sent to the attendees that I will include an excerpt here:

You are cordially invited to attend a milestone meeting of American sindonology. The year 1998 marks one hundred years since scientific research burst into being as the result of an historic discovery: Pia's negative. In America, sindonology eventually found dynamic leaders in Fathers Adam J. Otterbein and Peter M. Rinaldi.

Today, bereft of their guidance and encouragement, we stand on the threshold of the second hundred years. Our challenge is not only to perpetuate what they began, but to structure a unified purpose in the diversity of the many disciplines whose benefits accrue to our understanding of the Shroud. We can look ahead with confidence if together we can define the vision properly to the American community and the world.

There is an urgent need for American sindonologists to come together to discuss common concerns. There is not to be a single, commanding person nor a single sponsoring organization, but simply a willingness to work together, sharing and evaluating, so that through one another we find the strength and desire to go forward with the important work of the Shroud.

The letter was signed by Dr. Alan Adler, Rev. Frederick C. Brinkmann, Dr. Robert Bucklin, Dorothy Crispino, Thomas F. D'Muhala, Rev. Albert R. Dreisbach, Jr., Michael Minor, Richard Orareo, Isabel Piczek and Barrie Schwortz.

The meeting was conducted in an informal and relaxed atmosphere at a beautiful retreat center made available by the Catholic Diocese of Dallas. The family-like setting allowed researchers to meet and talk things over, listen to other viewpoints and appreciate each others' efforts and ideas. Formal presentations were made in a large, open air auditorium and a summary of each presentation is included below, along with some information about each presenter.

The meeting was very well organized and ample time was allotted for each speaker, with some added time available for several additional talks. Also present at the meeting but not making a presentation were a number of other Shroud researchers including Jack Markwardt, Gina M. Glick, M.D., Mary Hines, and Anne Moran. A special note of thanks should be given to Michael Minor, host of the meeting, and to his wonderful friend, Jo Pierce, who did much of the organizing and "legwork" singlehandedly. Thanks also to Larry Vrzalik, Mike's partner, for providing support and entertainment for the event and to Barbara Landregan, director of the Catholic Conference Information Center where the meeting was held, for her courtesy and hospitality.

Larry Vrzalik and Jo Pierce

I have attended many meetings in the 22 years that I have been actively involved in Shroud research, but very few ever rose to the level of quality I saw at the Dallas Meeting of American Sindonology. There was very much a "family" feeling at the meeting that I haven't felt since the early days of STURP, in 1977 and 1978. There was a great mix of people, both experienced sindonolgists and new researchers, and a good cross section of sciences were represented. There was a willingness to listen and an obvious deep respect for one another demonstrated by everyone at the meeting. It left everyone who attended feeling very hopeful that there is indeed a future for American Shroud research as well as for sindonology itself. In many ways, I felt especially pleased, in light of the paper I delivered in Turin this past June (The Role of the Internet in the Future of Shroud Research). In it I had concluded:

"Only one major obstacle remains in taking Shroud research into the 21st century with renewed vigor and success, and that is a willingness on the part of sindonologists worldwide to share their information and cooperate with each other."

This meeting clearly demonstrated that many others share the same views. As Isabel Piczek so aptly described, "The conference achieved everything we hoped it would. A feeling of great pride and enthusiasm filled everyone, clearly seeing that American sindonology has new goals and a new path, new research and strong unity."

'The Shroud of Turin: Unraveling The Mystery', the hardbound proceedings of the 1998 Dallas Meeting of American Sindonology, is now available. Internet viewers can order it online directly from the publisher at the following link: (Sorry. Link no longer available).

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Michael Minor, long time Shroud researcher and author of the book, "A Lawyer Argues For The Authenticity Of The Shroud Of Turin," was the host of the meeting and the Master of Ceremonies. In his opening statement, Mike welcomed the delegates and established the spirit of cooperation felt for the rest of the meeting.

 ISABEL PICZEK - Introduction and General Remarks

Isabel Piczek is an internationally reknown monumental artist and long time Shroud researcher. Many of her articles appear on the "Scientific Papers & Articles" page of this website. Isabel gave an inspirational introduction to the meeting that described the hopes and aims of future Shroud research.

 PAUL C. MALONEY - History of Shroud Research, A Summary: 1898-1998

Paul Maloney is an archaeologist and long time Shroud scholar and is General Projects Director for the Association of Scientists and Scholars International for the Shroud of Turin (ASSIST). He delivered a comprehensive presentation that summarized every important aspect of Shroud science of the last one hundred years. Everyone in attendance agreed that this excellent presentation is one of the best overviews of Shroud research ever done. I plan to include the full text of Paul's presentation on this website in the near future.

 REV. ALBERT R. DREISBACH, JR. - When There Were Giants in the Land: Sindonological Greats

Rev. Albert R. "Kim" Dreisbach, Jr. is a long time Shroud historian and scholar and the founder of the Atlanta International Center for the Continuing Study of the Shroud of Turin (AICCSST). In this presentation, Father Dreisbach detailed the heartrending struggle and victory of the two founders of American sindonology, Fr. Adam Otterbein and Fr. Peter Rinaldi.

 GILBERT R. LAVOIE, M.D. - Blood Transfer Theory

Dr. Gilbert Lavoie is a long term Shroud researcher and author of the recent book, "Unlocking the Secrets of the Shroud." (This book is available from directly from the "Website Store" page of this site). In his interesting presentation, Dr. Lavoie reviewed his theories on image formation and the transfer of blood from the man to the cloth.

 AUGUST ACCETTA, M.D. - Experiments with Radiation as an Image Formation Mechanism

Dr. August Accetta is reasonably new to Shroud research, and is the founder of the Southern California Shroud Center in Huntington Beach. His fascinating paper and slide presentation was one of the highlights of the meeting and explained his current research into image formation using radiation as the mechanism. Amazingly, he injected himself with radioactive materials and his body was scanned with a special device, yielding some very interesting results.

Here is a brief Abstract of his experiment:

If indeed a corpse created the image we see on the Turin Shroud, then the source of energy to create this image may have come from emitted biochemical bond energy. We have used a human model labeled with radioactive methylene diphosphinate to successfully reproduce some of the many Shroud image characteristics, such as borderless density shading, soft tissue and skeletal information, vertical alignment and non-contact imaging by capturing emitted radiation using a gamma camera and vertical collimator.
Conclusion: Some significant Shroud image characteristics can be best explained using an emitting radiation model. No other human model study we know of has approximated the Shroud image this closely.

 DR. DANIEL C. SCAVONE - Historical Research of the Shroud, Its Role and Importance

Dr. Dan Scavone, professor of history at the University of Southern Indiana, is one of the foremost Shroud historians, with many papers and articles to his credit (including several on the "Scientific Papers & Articles" page of this website). He summarized all of the major theories about the missing years in Shroud history and made suggestions as to the direction of future studies.

 WARREN S. GRUNDFEST, M.D. - Imaging Spectroscopy: A New Non-Destructive Method for Materials Analysis

Dr. Warren Grundfest is Director of the Laser Research and Technology Development Laboratory of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He is widely recognized as an expert in lasers and scientific/medical imaging and lectures regularly on the subject worldwide. He is relatively new to Shroud research, but has been an active supporter of the Shroud of Turin Website since its inception and serves as the Executive Producer of the Shroud of Turin CD-ROM. Dr. Grundfest's presentation was one of the highlights of the meeting, detailing a new, non-destructive imaging technology that could provide complete spectral data and chemical analysis for every point on the Shroud and make a significant contribution to the conservation of the cloth. A transcript of his presentation is being prepared and will be included on this page in the future.

 DR. ALAN ADLER - The State of the Shroud: Its Conservation - Now and in the Future

Dr. Alan Adler is a world reknown expert in blood chemistry and has been involved in Shroud research since 1978. He and his friend, the late John Heller, performed the chemical analysis of the blood samples taken from the Shroud by the STURP team during their 1978 examination and determined the presence of hemoglobin, porphyrins, bilirubin, serum albumen and other components of human blood. (See the references to their papers on the "STURP Published Papers" page of this site). Dr. Adler is the only American scientist serving on the Archbishop of Turin's Scientific Advisory Commission. As such, his presentation of the current state of the Shroud conservation effort was enlightening and filled with previously unknown details. We hope to include a more detailed transcript of his presentation in the near future as well.

 REV. WALTER M. ABBOTT, S.J. - Reflections

Rev. Walter M. Abbott is a famous Jesuit theologian and author. In his presentation, he provided a spiritual outlook on the Shroud of Turin and reflected on its significance to the world. At the close of the meeting, Father Abbott celebrated a beautiful mass for the attendees.


 ROBERT BUCKLIN, M.D., J.D. - Medicine and the Shroud: A History

Dr. Robert Bucklin has been a Shroud researcher for over fifty years. He has written countless articles dealing with the medical and forensic information on the Shroud and is one of the most respected sindonologists in the world. In his presentation, Dr. Bucklin provided an excellent summary of Shroud medical research from his expert perspective and also discussed the causes of death of Christ on the cross.

 REV. FREDERICK C. BRINKMANN, C.Ss.R. - Physical Archiving of the Esopus Collection - Goals and the Importance of a Repository

Father Fred Brinkmann is President of the Holy Shroud Guild, taking over the task of leading America's oldest Shroud organization after the recent passing of its founder, Father Adam Otterbein. Father Brinkmann is now curator of the Weunschel Collection in Esopus, New York, where the Guild is headquartered. It is one of the largest Shroud collections in the world and Fr. Brinkmann's presentation provided an update on the status of the archiving and other current activities of the Holy Shroud Guild. He also introduced Rev. Jack Kennington, new to Shroud research and charged with the responsibility of archiving the late Father Adam Otterbein's collection of Shroud materials and personal correspondence.

 REV. JACK KENNINGTON, C.Ss.R. - Physical Archiving of the Otterbein Collection at Esopus

Rev. Jack Kennington is relatively new to Shroud research, recently completing eighteen years of work in South America. He has now been given the task of archiving the massive collection of the late Fr. Adam Otterbein. Fr. Kennington reported that he has begun his work and presented a status report on its progress. With his able assistance in Esopus, researchers and scholars should find enhanced access to the materials in both the Weunschel and Otterbein collections.

 RICHARD ORAREO - Physical Archiving of the Boston Collection - Goals and the Importance of a Repository

Richard Orareo is the owner and curator of the Boston Collection, arguably the largest collection of Shroud books, materials and artifacts in the world. Richard has dedicated twenty-five years to building this unique collection and work is now underway to digitally archive the materials. Richard also presented an overview of the need to physically archive the materials in the future. He also presented some great insights into ways of building a collection and where to find Shroud materials.

 REV. ALBERT R. DREISBACH, JR. - Physical Archiving of the Atlanta Collection - Goals and the Importance of a Repository

Father Kim Dreisbach is the founder of the Atlanta International Center for Continuing Study of the Shroud of Turin (AICCSST). Over the years, he acquired a large collection, including a full Shroud exhibit, which he made available to the public at the Omni, in Atlanta for several years. Unfortunately, he lost his lease and CNN moved in, forcing the exhibit to close and be put into storage. Fr. Dreisbach's presentation reviewed his ideas for archiving and safe storage of these materials.

 KEVIN E. MORAN - Electronic Archiving: An Overview of Digital Technologies

Kevin Moran is an optics expert who worked for Kodak for many years. He has been an active Shroud researcher since 1978 and owns one of only two remaining functional VP-8 Image Analyzers. The VP-8 is the NASA device that detects the three dimensional information encoded in the Shroud image. (Kevin provided me with access to his VP-8 for production of "The Virtual VP-8" segment of the Shroud of Turin CD-ROM). In this presentation, Kevin provided an overview of the latest digital archiving technologies, demonstrated various storage media and described various archiving methods.

 MARC BORKAN - Electronic Archiving: Databases and Internet Technologies

Marc Borkan has been involved in Shroud research for a number of years and is often thought of as a "new" sindonologist. Yet his involvement goes back to an excellent, in-depth Shroud article he wrote for "Vertices," a school publication, while he was a student at Duke University in North Carolina. His first interest in the Shroud came as a result of being a student of Dr. Alan Whanger, now retired and Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, and founder of the Council For The Study of the Shroud of Turin (CSST) . Marc's presentation described the use of digital databases for archiving and the distribution of Shroud materials via the Internet. Needless to say, I was particularly pleased with Marc's presense and he and I immediately put our heads together and started fomulating future plans for this website.

 BARRIE M. SCHWORTZ - Electronic Archiving and Distribution: The Value of the Internet and CD-ROM Technology  (.pdf format) [22k]

I was the Official Documenting Photographer for the STURP team during their five day examination of the Shroud in October, 1978. I am also the host and webmaster of this website. My presentation started with an overview of the Shroud of Turin Website for those who had never seen it. Using a computer video projector (courtesy of Russell Breault), I was able to project the image directly from my laptop computer to a large screen. I demonstrated many of the website's features, including the use of the "Shroud Library" page to navigate the website. I was also very proud to demonstrate, for the first time ever in public, "The Virtual VP-8" Segment from the Shroud of Turin CD-ROM. This is the most dynamic and interactive portion of the disc, and allows each viewer the opportunity to manipulate the 3-D characteristics of the Shroud image. This moment was made even more exceptional for me when I discovered that Peter Schumacher, the designer of the VP-8 Image Analyzer, was in the room! I hope to include a transcript of my presentation on this page in the future.

 RUSSELL A. BREAULT - Education and the Shroud: For the Young and for New Researchers

Russell Breault has been lecturing on the Shroud for many years. An expert communicator (he is currently a vice-president at a major cable television network), Russell has taken on the task of educating young people about the Shroud. To that end, he has founded the Shroud of Turin Education Project (STEP), an organization dedicated to that task. Russ also produces a website which includes valuable background information about the Shroud and STEP. His presentation was one of the highlights of the meeting and demonstrated a number of innovative methods to teach the different branches of serious Shroud research to high school and college students. This lays the groundwork for stimulating the young minds that will become the sindonologists of the future.

 AUGUST C. ACCETTA, M.D. - American Shroud Centers - Shroud Center of Southern California

Dr. August Accetta is the founder of the Shroud Center of Southern California. Open to the public by appointment, the center houses an excellent exhibit that includes back lit lifesize color transparencies of the Shroud. Dr. Accetta provided an overview of the center and its activities, describing his excellent group of volunteers and researchers, along with his future plans to participate in and promote Shroud research.

 PHILLIP E. DAYVAULT - American Shroud Centers - CSST, Durham, North Carolina

Phillip Dayvault is the Director of the Council For The Study of the Shroud of Turin (CSST) and attended the meeting representing the CSST and Dr. Alan and Mary Whanger, the organization's founders, who were unable to attend. Phil has studied the Shroud for a number of years and works closely with the Whanger's in their ongoing research. His excellent presentation included an overview of CSST's recent activities and a look at the research currently being done by the organization in collaboration with Dr. Avinoam Danin and Dr. Uri Baruch of Hebrew University in Israel. The CSST is the curator of Dr. Max Frei's tape samples of the Shroud, taken in 1973 and 1978, and has recently completed a thorough analysis of the pollens found on the samples.

 REV. ALBERT R. DREISBACH, JR. - American Shroud Centers - Atlanta Center

Father Dreisbach discussed the Atlanta Center which remains active, in spite of the loss of its physical center. It still maintains a wide range of contacts and continues to be an intellectual and spiritual center of Shroud activities as Father Dreisbach continues his scholarly work in biblical and theological areas, his writing and his lecturing.

 DIANA FULBRIGHT - American Shroud Centers - The Shroud of Turin Center of Richmond, Virginia

Diana Fulbright is the Director of the Shroud of Turin Center in Richmond, Virginia, and her presentation gave a short overview of the organization. It was founded by Executive Director Bryan Walsh in 1997and has two goals: research and education. Historical research focuses on manuscripts and art of the first thousand years after the crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus, scientific research on the problem of image formation and archaeological research on the late second-Temple period. The educational purpose of the Center is to inform, educate and inspire an ever-widening audience. To that end, they are organizing and sponsoring a major International Shroud Conference on June 17-20, 1999.

 REV. ALBERT R. DREISBACH, JR. - Ecumenism and the Shroud

Isabel Piczek provided the best description of Father Dreisbach's final presentation of the meeting. "Father Dreisbach spoke about ecumenism and the call for and realization of unity. It was a grand talk as only Father Kim can do." I would add that it underlines the value and importance of Father Dreisbach's participation in Shroud research.

 DONALD LYNN - Comments On Shroud Research  (.pdf format) [7k]

Don Lynn is one of the original members of the STURP team. He was a key participant in the photographic and imaging experiments and was Imaging Project Manager on the Voyager, Viking, Mariner and Galileo projects while working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. He is now retired and is a founding member of the American Shroud of Turin Association for Research (AMSTAR). Don's presentation shared his thoughts on Shroud research and the future.

 MICHAEL MINOR - A Summary: Where Do We Go From Here?

Michael Minor, who graciously hosted and organized the event, summarized the meeting and what he believed we had achieved. He then introduced a very special guest, Peter Schumacher, the original designer of the VP-8 Image Analyzer, the device that allows us to detect and study the three dimensional properties of the Shroud image.

 PETER SCHUMACHER - The "Father" of the VP-8 Image Analyzer

Peter Schumacher is the original designer of the VP-8 Image Analyzer. His presence at the meeting was a wonderful surprise to everyone and provided a perfect ending to an already fantastic meeting. Pete was deeply moved by my presentation of "The Virtual VP-8" simulation from the Shroud of Turin CD-ROM and he and I did a lot of hugging that day. He gave an inspirational and emotional talk about Shroud research and its purpose. As Isabel Piczek so beatifully described it, "Few eyes remained dry. It was heart rending and a fine ending for one of the best conferences we ever had."


No formal meeting was held on Sunday, but attendees met in smaller groups to discuss Shroud matters and enjoy each other's company. This resulted in a relaxed, friendly and informal ending to a very exciting meeting.

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