Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and the Ghost of Roy Cohn

            From 2005 to 2014, Donald Trump's Campaign Director Paul Manafort was a political advisor to Ukrainian President Viktor F. Yanukovych who was staunchly pro-Russian. In 2014, Yanukovych was driven from office. Hand-written ledgers in the offices of Yanukovych's political party contain entries of $12.7 million in previously undisclosed cash disbursements to Manafort.

            When asked for comment about these entries Mr. Manafort stated that:

“The suggestion that I accepted cash payments is unfounded, silly and nonsensical,” Manafort said, adding that he never worked for the governments of Ukraine or Russia and that he stopped working in Ukraine after the October 2014 elections there."
            Mr. Manafort's response is an adroit non-denial denial. There is no indication in the ledger as to what the cash disbursements were for. The issue is whether cash was disbursed at his direction and, if so, for what purpose. Roger Stone is a longtime political operative and partner of Manafort.

            There is an incident in 1980 in which Stone was involved that illustrates just how evasive Manafort's non-denial may be. The basic facts of the incident were reported by Matt Labash in The Weekly Standard in a profile of Roger Stone.[i] Some underlying facts which fill in gaps of the story I can fill in from confidential sources in the Liberal Party which was the supposed object of a $125,000 cash bribe. It was gathered by Roy Cohn and delivered in an unopened valise to an attorney associated with the Liberal Party by Stone. The intent was to purchase the endorsement of the Liberal Party for John Anderson as an independent candidate for President.

            The Liberal Party did in fact endorse Anderson and the Anderson vote on the Liberal line allowed Reagan to carry New York with a plurality (not a majority of the vote).

            It is fairly clear that the attorney who received the bribe money was the late Ray Harding. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to charges that he had taken $800,000 for doing favors for Mr. Hevesi. He had acted as a sham intermediary for associates of the comptroller who were awarded lucrative contracts to manage the state’s $141 billion pension fund. He also had schemed to secure a State Assembly seat for Mr. Hevesi’s son.

            According to one source what Cohn and Stone were paying for was "garbage." The leadership of the Party was totally uniformed of the bribe. The vote occurred within two days of delivery of the cash to Harding.

            The reason the purported bribe was garbage was that the leadership had already decided to endorse Anderson because despite much lobbying by the Liberal Party, the Carter White House had been unresponsive to Liberal Party complaints about the outsourcing of US jobs to foreign countries. This was over a decade before NAFTA. The Liberal Party was actually the creation of New York City garment center unions. Saving NYC garment center jobs was paramount to those unions. Despite weeks of lobbying, the Carter Administration offered no support to the Union demands. The Anderson vote was foreordained before the Cohn-Stone $125,000 bribe.

            I have noted on occasion, that in my opinion the first and greatest politician of all time was Chanticleer,  the rooster who crows so that the sun may rise.

            Here's what this tale has to do with Paul Manafort and his non-denial denial: Did Roy Cohn receive a cash payment? Did Roger Stone receive a cash payment? They may have conspired to bribe the Liberal Party, but they both could argue they were only conduits for cash payments, not the recipients.

            The bottom line is this: Manafort's carefully worded denial tells us nothing and may be technically true. The issue might be to whom did he either deliver or direct the payments to? That might be something that keepers of the register would have wanted to keep secret.

            Hear the laughter? It's Roy Cohn's ghost.

[i] Matt Labash, "Roger Stone Political Animal," Weekly Standard, November 5, 2007

Monday, August 15, 2016

Putin's "fold em" moment

The NY Times which came in second to the Washington Post on the Watergate scandal just took the lead in what will become a race for the Pulitzer with a documented story on the financial interests and probable corruption of Donald Trump's Campaign Director Paul Manafort in his dealings with the Ukraine AND some hint of his relationship to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Yesterday morning, I posted about my concerns that the activities of Russian intelligence agencies posed a clear and present danger for the integrity of the November 8, 2016 US Presidential election. There is still danger for mischief without doubt but the Times story raises substantial issues of criminality for Manafort and ultimately Trump that may moot Putin's cleverest plans.

When it comes to the survival of US democracy I think an appropriate metaphor might be the Battle of Gettysburg (July, 1863) and Picket's charge when an over-confident Robert E. Lee gambled on an all or nothing attack on the heavily defended Union center. He lost his gamble. I remember a legend that after the Confederates were repulsed, Union commander George Meade rode the line horseback yelling "The Union is saved." 

Putin is a brilliant strategist intent on Russian world hegemony. He has bet the house on undermining the November 8, 2016 election in order to elect Donald Trump. Yesterday, I warned that the sky is falling. Now, given who Paul Manafort is, and Trump's reputed $700 million debt to the Russians, Hillary's lead in the polls will undoubtedly stiffen or rise. I doubt that Manafort will be making too many TV appearances. There is in the Times links to Putin's own finances. Perhaps it's time for Putin to heed the advice of Kenny Rogers. When it comes to the US Presidential election. "it's time to fold 'em"

Problems of electronic ballot security remain but today, reading the NY Times, my only thought is: The Union is saved!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

PUTIN and TRUMP: Will the American Dream end on November 8, 2016

I do not mean to sound like Henny Penny warning that the sky is falling, but it may very well fall on November 8, 2016 and effectively extinguish American democracy. It is under assault from two directions and like any good assault, there is strong evidence that the two prongs are acting in coordination.

One of those prongs is the campaign by Vladimir Putin to seek Russian world hegemony by supporting right-wing fascist groups. His first goal is to break-up and destroy both NATO and the common market of the European Union. The British BREXIT vote was a triumph for that policy.

It may never be possible to determine to what extent Putin intervened in the BREXIT referendum. However, actions of hackers linked to Russian intelligence attacking the Democratic Party raise an interesting question: to what extent did those same Russian intelligence assets intervene in the BREXIT vote. One problem is that there were no exit polls for the BREXIT voting on referendum day to give us a clue.

The sophistication and targeting of the Russian effort is illustrated by its focus on an individual who might not seem to be a prime target of Russian intelligence until you understand just what this individual was doing: investigating the connections of Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign director who in fact has strong connections to the Russian oligarchy that surrounds and enriches Putin.

Clear and Present Danger

The second prong is the Trump campaign whose director, Paul Manafort has known ties to Putin's Russian oligarchs. Trump last week claimed that the only way he would lose Pennsylvania would be if the Pennsylvania vote was stolen by Clinton. He urged his supporters to organize and watch the polling places to prevent "fraud." What's really odd, and thus disturbing, is the simple fact that according to the Real Politics index of polls, the last four polls in Pennsylvania have Clinton leading by double digits and the combine average for the last six polls is a lead of 9.6.

What's terribly disturbing is the make-up a large segment of Trump's shrinking voter base: armed militias and armed supporters of "The Second Amendment," who Trump says must protect us from a Clinton Presidency. The Supreme Court has remarked that the Constitutional right to free speech does not include "the right to falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater." Metaphorically, that is what Trump is doing.

One apparent object of the Russian hacking operation was Alexandra Chalupa. On May 4, 2016, she wrote a colleague at the DNC  that ever since she began collecting information on Trump campaign director Paul Manafort, she had been receiving daily security warnings from Yahoo that her personal account may have “been the target of state-sponsored actors.” Such notifications are routine when an internet or email provider suspects that a user may have been hacked or is likely to be hacked. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/25/fbi-suspects-russia-hacked-dnc-u-s-officials-say-it-was-to-elect-donald-trump.html

The combination of Russian intelligence operatives and Trump's strange claim that only fraud will prevent him from winning a state where he trails badly in the polls, auger badly for election day in Pennsylvania and probably other states.

I am afraid that the sky is falling, I might just be right. I only hope I am wrong.

Wiki Leaks posting on communication between Chalupua and the DNC

Re: You saw this, right?
From:ChalupaA@dnc.org To: MirandaL@dnc.org  Date: 2016-05-04 01:56 Subject: Re: You saw this, right?
A lot more coming down the pipe. I spoke to a delegation of 68 investigative journalists from Ukraine last Wednesday at the Library of Congress - the Open World Society's forum - they put me on the program to speak specifically about Paul Manafort and I invited Michael Isikoff whom I've been working with for the past few weeks and connected him to the Ukrainians. More offline tomorrow since there is a big Trump component you and Lauren need to be aware of that will hit in next few weeks and something I'm working on you should be aware of. Since I started digging into Manafort these messages have been a daily occurrence on my yahoo account despite changing my password often: [image1.JPG] Sent from my iPhone On May 3, 2016, at 10:50 PM, Miranda, Luis > wrote: http://www.politifact.com/global-news/article/2016/may/02/paul-manafort-donald-trumps-top-adviser-and-his-ti/ [SigDems]Luis Miranda, Communications Director Democratic National Committee 202-863-8148 – MirandaL@dnc.org - @MiraLuisDC

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Roy Cohn's Spirit infuses the Trump Campaign

Like Jacob Marley in Dickens's A Christmas Carol, Roy Cohn is dead and gone. Now his ghost is paying us a visit in the context of Donald Trump's candidacy for President. There are some differences. Marley's spirit sought to warn Scrooge to mend his ways; Cohn's spirit, in the form of his protégé Roger Stone, is the apparent advocate of the worst of Trump's rhetoric including his claim that the November election is rigged and threatening a revolution if Trump loses the rigged election. See https://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/08/05/trump-confidante-roger-stone-pushes-clinton-aide-911-conspiracy-claims-trump-views-rnc-chairman/212214

Roy Cohn is immortal. In Angels in America, the 1993 Pulitzer Prize winner for drama, the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg tells us so.

ETHEL ROSENBERG: You're immortal.
 ROY: I'm immortal. Ethel. (He forces himself to stand) 
I have forced my way into history. I ain't never gonna die.

Angels' America is a bleak surreal plain, where lost souls teeter on the brink of apocalypse. Cohn is a metaphor for the seductive, dark side of the American dream. Awash in intransigent denial, the playwright limns Cohn's audacious ego, cunning seductiveness, brutal transcendent power and helplessness against ravages of AIDS. It is a chilling, provocative portrait. 

As black as the playwright's perception may be, the reality of Cohn's life is darker still. His career embodies the confluence of two primeval forces of our day, organized crime and rabid anti-communism, into a single, swift current. Those forces manifested themselves in Las Vegas casinos, Havana gambling palaces, the Bay of Pigs, Dealey Plaza, Watergate and beyond. While Roy Cohn was not solely responsible for these events, or clearly a direct participant in all of them, so much of the current of his life runs through each of them, that the study of his life and power enlightens the causes and effects of many of the most significant events of our times.

There is an excellent posting this week which relate Stone's involvement with Trump's campaign. 

Another posting warns of Russian interference in our election process on Trump's behalf.

I would also recommend Wayne Barrett's Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, the Downfall, the Reinvention which has been updated and reissued for this campaign year. It's available in E-Book format or paperback on all major internet bookseller pages.

As Bob Dylan sang:

"You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing."

This is not a promo for my book Quantum Christ but you can find out about it at:

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Plot Against America

There is an old saying among loan sharks: I loan you $10 you owe me $10. I loan you $100,000, I own you.
Donald Trump and his various enterprises are indebted to the Russian oligarchy for millions of dollars. Donald Trump Jr. has remarked that they are disproportionately reliant on Russian money. That's because US banks won't deal with him after all Trump's bankruptcies. There is no question but that Putin is the "boss" of the oligarchs and gets a cut of their profits. The simple point is that Putin owns Trump.
Russian intelligence agencies have hacked into the databases of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. They have released through WikiLeaks items that embarrass the Democrats and Clinton with more to come.
What bothers me is not the embarrassing stuff. Trump can try to take all the advantage he wants from the Russian leaks. It's the potential for election day result tampering that bothers me.
Sometime ago when I was active as a Vice-Chair of NYS New Democratic Coalition (NDC) I ran across Dick Morris who was then a young Democrat Turk who master minded a takeover of the NDC on the Westside of Manhattan. They weren’t all bad and actually some of them were quite good. However, Morris became bipartisan and sold his talents to both Republicans and Democrats. He was a member of the Clinton administration until he became involved in a sex scandal, sharing state secrets with a prostitute.
Among his activities as I recall was helping to monitor the fairness of elections in the Third World. One of the checks they utilized was election day exit polls. If there were significant deviations between the polls and the announced results it was an indicia of fraud.
By the 2000 election, Morris having left the Clinton administration had become a straight Fox News expert. When there was a disparity between the Florida exit polls and the announced results, he attacked the accuracy of exit polls. We later learned that in just one area, West Palm Beach which was strongly liberal there was a butterfly ballot which confused voter and many more votes were counted for Pat Buchanan than might be expected - far more than Bush's margin of victory.
What really bothers me, is given the fact Trump is in Putin's pocket, and given the expertise of Putin's intelligence services in hacking, those areas of the United States where there is electronic voting with no printed ballot in the process, this election may very well be stolen iin those areas.
In NYS, we vote by marking a printed ballot and then having it scanned and the results recorded electronically. The printed ballots are a protection against fraud.
This weekend, Trump has acted very unusually. He made an appearance in Colorado on Friday but then cancelled an event scheduled for Florida on Tuesday. The odd thing about Colorado is that Clinton has scaled back some activities in Colorado, because her internal polls place her 10 points ahead and the resources may be better spent elsewhere. She and Kaine (and Bill and Ann) are busing through through battleground states PA and Ohio,
The Russian oligarchs own Trump. Trump has undercut US policy in the Ukraine and the Baltic states. He favors a virtual break-up of NATO. He has become Putin's puppet. I am afraid. I am very afraid.
On the other hand there is also FDR. "We have nothing to fear but fear itsel" - as long as we have the courage to act,
This is not a promo for my book Quantum Christ but you can find out about it at:

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Can Democracy survive the Internet?

I suppose I should be complimented. I seem to be getting a lot of hits on my blog from Russia. Somehow, however, when I check the stats from Google, the individual hits do not add-up. No doubt there are non-sinister reasons for this. Maybe.

However, there is an old saying: even paranoids have enemies. I have one in particular who quite skilled at Internet stalking. He is quite angry at me for my success in preserving a news stand site for an Indian imagrant that he wanted. I get these terrible comments for my page that I delete and do not allow to be posted. One of them claimed that a departed relative was burning in Hell.

Today there is story in Slate which really bothers me and I connect it to a Wiki-leaks story yesterday revealing hacked and embarrassing E-Mail from the Democratic National Committee. Then there is a story about how Putin intervened in European elections to aid ultra-right candidates Prime examples are Marie Le Penn in France and Berlusconi in Italy. Of course Berlusconi was ousted eventually and Le Penn has yet to win control but her influence is growing.

Putin is the new Stalin seeking to expand his influence. I do not think there is any limit to his ambition. One of his goals to break-up the unity of Europe (and the United States).  That seems to be okay with Trump.

The Wiki-Leaks release was clearly designed to drive disaffected Bernie Sanders voters away from Clinton.

Frankly, I'm scared. Saturday afternoon, I saw Tim Kaine get and deliver a knock-out performance in Miami when introduced by Clinton. While, I am bit to his left, he is supporting the Democratic platform to be adopted at the DNC and that is more than enough for now.

But, there is no question that Trump in his statements about the NATO and the Baltic states (Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia) is music to Putin's ears.

I have at times metaphorically tabbed Trump the Anti-Christ because of his blatant narcissism and his disdain for nuclear non-proliferation. It now seems clear that he is at best a tool for a real Anti-Christ, his pal Vladmir Putin.

Then there is story on why  all the Brexit vote wrong. When I first became involved in Bronx reform politics in 1969, I was told that "We have to win by 10% because anything less they steal."

We have become so dependent on the Internet. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
This is not a promo for my book Quantum Christ but you can find out about it at:

Friday, July 15, 2016

Empathy and Nice, FR

Events in Nice and Orlando and San Bernadino and …and …and the reaction to them bring to my mind a poem I first read more than six decades ago as a Freshman at Syracuse U. It's not the failure to react that bothers me, it's the cheap shots that some politicians make about terrorism without an ounce of sincere empathy. The Trump reaction: build a wall!, Ban Imigaion. It was the death of a US father and his 11 year old son in Nice that brought to my mind the Auden poem.
Yet, but as bad as some self-serving reaction to the events nothing can compare to the indifference, and even grotesque joy of the ISIS adherents to the suffering they impose on others.

Follow the link to see the painting.

About suffering they were never wrong, 
The Old Masters; how well, they understood 
Its human position; how it takes place 
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along; 
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting 
For the miraculous birth, there always must be 
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating 
On a pond at the edge of the wood: 
They never forgot 
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course 
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot 
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse 
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree. 
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away 
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may 
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry, 
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone 
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green 
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen 
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, 
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

Monday, July 4, 2016

For the Fourth of July: A Mystery and History solved

Maybe this is a little self-indulgent but a few weeks ago I heard a Shaker hymn in a Catholic Church which I found intriguing because it appeared to be the theme I remembered from long ago for a news program. Yesterday we sang it again and today I decided to solve the mystery. 

The theme as I heard it decades ago was played full symphonic. The first version I found today was sung by four young girls dancing and singing in front of a Melrose Church in 18th or 19th century costume. Having identified the source of theme I checked further and found that "Simple Gifts" was a theme adopted by Aaron Copeland for a movement for his  ballet " Appalachian Spring.  "Simple Gifts."  begins simply but he then reiterates it  five or six times, each time increasing in complexity until the last iteration goes full symphonic as I remembered from all those years long ago. It only takes a minute and a half  in toto..

This is the Fourth of July. Somehow I think to listen to this melody and how it developed into a majestic symphonic movement maybe   analogous to the remarkable development and growth of our nation.

Happy Fourth of July. We have come a long way but we have much farther to go.

Simple Gifts

Appalachian Spring

This is not a promo for my book Quantum Christ but you can find out about it at:

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Apocalypse is now!

While there may be some who read this who welcome the results of the BREXIT vote in the tenuously "United" Kingdom and/or support the erratic Presidential campaign of Donald Trump, the concurrence of BREXIT vote and Trump campaign is continuing evidence of the apocalyptic nature of our times where climate change threatens the extinction of humanity. Although he eschews the word "Apocalypse" Pope Francis has recognized the selfish instincts which threaten the survival of our posterity. The drought and fires in the western US and the epic floods in West Virginia are just two examples of what awaits humanities future.

The BREXIT vote in particular has drawn me this Sunday to one poem that has affected me deeply and guided my thoughts for decades: William Butler Yeats The Second Coming"  published in 1919.

"Things fall part" Yeats wrote. "the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world . . . The blood-dimmed tide is loosed … The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."

In my book The Coming of the Quantum Christ I wrote of an Apocalypse of Selfishness. Trump is the embodiment of selfishness. When a horrible massacre occurred in Orlando, Florida, Trump's first message did not reflect sympathy and concern for the victims and their families but how everybody was congratulating him for being right about the threat of Islam. He was actually in Scotland the day after the BREXIT vote "trumpeting" the beautiful amenities of his two Scottish golf courses until he was directed to the BREXIT, the results which has embraced. Indeed, Trump remarked that because BREXIT is devaluing the British Pound Sterling, his resorts will do well, The devaluation of the pound makes US dollars more valuable and will attract  more US visitors to Scotland.  He expressed no sympathy for British pensioners whose pensions will be devalued along with the pound.

Is it any wonder that I earlier asked tongue not entirely in cheek whether he was the Anti-Christ? Pope Francis has made it abundantly clear that in his view that selfishness is the driving force of climate change. On May 21, 2014, he lamented “If we destroy creation, creation will destroy us.”

Only by united, unselfish actions can we ameliorate the extreme result of climate change: the extinction of humanity. Trump and the BREXIT vote are material manifestations of selfishness in action. I read the last stanza of Yeats poem to be not an inquiry about Christ but the Anti-Christ:

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

This is not a promo for my book "Quantum Christ" but if you are interested:

Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando and the Masque of the Orange Death

It turns out there was another attack on the LBGT community thwarted yesterday in Santa Monica, CA. "20-year-old Wesley Howell reportedly traveled from Indiana to attack the Southern California LGTB event" There is a disturbing resonance with the Orlando attack. In his car were three AR-15 assault rifles with high capacity magazines. Yesterday on my Facebook page, I noted that there seemed to be an emerging pattern in the "lone nut" attacks that indicated inspiration from an ISIS standard operating procedure (SOP) is confirmed by different common threads and in this case far more important and deadly: the AR-15s and the high capacity magazines.

One doesn't have to be Sherlock Holmes to at least suspect that the fact that Howell was carrying three AR-15s may indicate a thwarted meeting with co-conspirators.

My main point is that we are going to hear a lot about what we can do to thwart the ISIS self-motivated terrorists. Frankly we had done something in the wake of the attempted Assassination of Ronald Reagan the Brady Bill. A key feature of the bill was struck by the Supreme Court. Because of the perceived power of the National Rifle Association no progress has been made in protecting the American public from gun violence. Congress even defeated an Obama proposal that gun sales to individuals on the terrorist watch list be banned.

In some states, like New York the sale of high capacity magazines has been banned. But New York is helpless to the importation of AR15s and high capacity  magazines from sister states.

The Orlando massacre will become an issue in the Presidential campaign. Donald Trump has already congratulated himself for his foresight in demanding an end to ANY Muslim entering the United States although the Orlando assassin was a native born American citizen. The problem with ISIS inspired lone wolf attacks is that the supply of disaffected individuals seeking a place in the sun who are native born US citizens while not unlimited is undoubtedly quite large.

It's time to ban high capacity magazines nation wide and adopt reasonable restrictions of assault rifles. Sales to individuals on the terrorist watch list must also be banned although any individual who feels unjustifiable denied a gun ought to have a right to appeal. One candidate for President (and I expect one sitting President) will raise that issue. Another candidate for President having pledged his fealty to the NRA will oppose any remedial gun control legislation. His claim will be that his Mexican wall and barring any Muslim immigration is the answer.

Except that's irrelevant to what happened in Orlando and might have happened in Santa Monica. For a relevant essay on the topic see Edgar Alan Poe and The Masque of the Red Death. Or maybe this time the mask is orange.

This is not a promo for my book "Quantum Christ" but if you are interested:

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Remembrance on the Invasion of Normandy

Today is the 72nd anniversary of the Normandy invasion. My cousin Billy Hundshamer didn't go ashore with the first wave but was killed a few weeks later in the hedge row fighting on the Cherbourg peninsula. Given the madness of the current Presidential campaign (or at least one major party candidate), you might you might be interested in a remembrance of mine posted decades ago about Billy and my family.
One error, my Aunt Pauline did not perform for Eleanor Roosevelt at the White House but at Hyde Park. God bless the United States of America

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Is Donald Trump the Anti-Christ?

In Chapter 16 of my book "the Coming of the Quantum Christ: The Shroud of Turin and the Apocalypse of Selfishness (Quantum Christ) I wrote:

Among the hymns sung Christmas is the French hymn Canitque Noel (O Holy Night). It captures the mystery of the night and its enduring message of Jesus birth in these words:

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘til he appeared, and the soul felt its worth.”

Chapter 15 identified the soul with the reflective consciousness described by Teilhard de Chardin. It also identifies “original sin” as selfishness, one of the driving forces of evolution. Before humanity evolved with a reflective consciousness, there was no sin. Metaphorically, the first sin was Cain’s murder of Abel, an angry selfish response to God bestowing favor on his younger brother, an honor that Cain thought should have been his.

The “sin and error” that the caused the world to pine were the bitter fruits of selfishness which, like the paths of glory, lead but to the grave. In Chapter 16, "The Triumph of Love," I opined that Christ was crucified because he preached unselfish love that the devotees of selfishness could not tolerate. In Chapter 17, I wrote that humanity faced possible extinction through an Apocalypse of Selfishness.
If the Apocalypse is upon us, and Christ is coming again, where you might ask is the Anti-Christ? Have we not heard his voice although some of you of conservative bent may object loudly. All I ask is that you choose your words carefully. There is so much at stake.

In Chapter 17, I specifically identified two Apostles of Selfishness. One was Friedrich Nietzsche, the other was Ayn Rand. One of the individuals who worshiped Ayn Rand was Alan Greenspan whose catering to the interest of Wall Street as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board was among the causes of the collapse of the economy circa 2007- 2008. Still, Greenspan is unrepentant about his opposition to regulation of the financial derivatives markets.

In his campaign for President, Donald Trump has exhibited narcissism that borders on the psychotic. He knows more about ISIS than the Generals. He believes he can deal on equal footing with the most despicable tyrants of our CURRENT time in North Korea and Russia. He would abrogate the agreement which is denying nuclear weapons to Iran. He would tear-up the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and would encourage Japan to arm itself with nuclear weapons. His tax plan if you read the fine print would in fact reduce taxes on the top 1% while gutting programs to aid the poor. Can anyone who finds God, in Christ, Moses or Bhudda actually applaud the already executed reductions of food stamps?

Trump is like the Pharisee who stood at the alter thanking God he was not like a tax collector who was in the back of the synagogue begging forgiveness because he was a sinner.
In my recent research I have dealt with the levels of existence. No matter how many ways you slice it, either way it begins and ends with what the scientists call a singularity which is a mathematical equation of infinite value. The easiest way to realize such an equation is one I learned in my high school Algebra class: divide one by zero. You can try it on your computer. Window has calculator that can handle it as much as it can be handled.

Some scientists limn a future Utopia where artificial intelligence surpasses human capacity. Perhaps that is ultimate selfishness. For I foresee that future not as utopian by dystopian. To understand what that means I reference two movies: Blade Runner and The Matrix.

Whatever your religious preference, be it Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or atheistic humanist, the way to Utopia is not selfishness but unselfishness. When you listen to Trump, you will not hear the voice of Isaiah which defines the Utopian vision for all humanity upon the Second Coming:
And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not liftup sword against nation, And never again will they study  war.

Pope Francis has called upon the world to shed its selfish exploitation of the poor and the environment. He is a Pope of All Humanity; Trump's campaign is grounded in selfishness and will lead only to the grave.

Sometime years ago, while riding the subway from Riverdale to Manhattan, I can across an article in the N.Y. Times speculating on gravity and other scientific problems. It appeared that contrary to the standard model, light could vary in speed.

I composed a little couplet, one line too long for a haiku:
Space being curved,
Time varying in speed,
Whom do we heed?

 As for me: "I ain't gonna study war no more."
I believe but I am not be totally sure that NY Times piece that "inspired" my couplet is this one: "New Directions in Physics: Back in Time," NY Times, August 21, 1990.

I was a consultant on a new video by David Rolfe, producer of the 1978 BAFTA award winning movie about the Shroud of Turin, Silent Witness. The new video is: A Grave Injustice: An investigation into The First Selfie. http://www.shroudenigma.com/ " It's free.

If you are interested in  Quantum Christ, you can read reviews and order a copy (Either E-Book, Kindle or four color hard copy at http://johnklotz.blogspot.com/2015_01_01_archive.html

The most extensive Internet resource which is https://www.shroud.com/
Its editor Barrie Schwortz was documenting photographer of the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project. If you have interest in the Shroud of Turin, it's the best place to start.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The First Selfie: Does the Shroud of Turin provide Scientific evidence of the Resurrection?

David Rolfe and Pam Moon have published on the web an intriguing video entitled Grave Injustice: An Investigation into "The First Selfie." ("Grave Injustice)  The video is narrated by James Phelps, better known to some as Fred Weasley of the Harry Potter films. The subject is the Shroud of Turin. The Shroud has been labeled the "First Photograph" by an historian. Is it also then the  "First Selfie?"

A. The first photograph - ever?

Given the fact that the first photograph is generally credited to Joseph Nicephore Niepce ("Niepce") in 1826, it would be a stretch to even credit the Shroud of Turin as the "first photograph." Yet that is precisely what Professor Gail Buckland has done.   If that is an acceptable tag for the Shroud, then tagging the Shroud as the "first selfie" is certainly appropriate. Let me explain why.

This is the story of a black and white photograph taken of the Shroud in 1898 that caused a religious, historical, and scientific controversy that persists to this day. Part of the controversy is that the subject of the photograph contains an image which is itself a negative image and appears as a positive image in photographic negatives of the Shroud. Sacre bleu!

In 1839, Sir John Hershel coined the word "photograph." It was a combination of the Greek word for light "photo" and the English word "graph" for a written depiction.  The process of producing photographs became photography. The principal instrument of producing photographs was the photographic camera. 

For more than 150 years, the principal method of taking and preserving photographs was a three step process that involved the capturing of an image of an object by a camera that recorded a negative image of black and white gradations of tone that were reversed. The printing of that negative to media reversed the negative image to positive and a true image could be printed. Color photos were subject to the same process. Until the advent of digital cameras in the mid nineteen-seventies that electronically stored images, that image to negative to positive process was the dominant mode of photography. 

For nearly 500 years, a piece of ancient yellowed linen cloth has been kept in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy and venerated as the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. If you were to measure the cloth in the ancient Assyrian metric system it would be 2 cubits by 8 cubits. Measured in the English system it is approximately 14 feet 3 inches long by 3 feet 7 inches wide. Measured in the modern metric system 4.4m by 1.1m. 

The most important feature of the Shroud is a faint, mysterious image front and back of a man who appears to have been a victim of crucifixion. Close examination reveals red stains that give the appearance of blood. A fire in 1532 caused holes and scorches that were repaired two years later and had been visible as white triangles with thin black edges that are the scorch marks. In 2002, the patches were removed in a controversial restoration of the Shroud.

Secondo Pia photographed the Shroud in 1898. He was astounded to discover that the body image captured on his photographic glass plate was not a "negative image" but a "positive" one. It could only mean that body image on the Shroud was a negative image. That was impossible. Unheard of! Pia was so startled by the positive image of Jesus in his photograph negative that he nearly dropped the glass plate.

In 1980, Professor Gail Buckland of Cooper Union, an expert on the history of photography, wrote concerning the Shroud image on the linen: "If it is authentic, then this is the first photograph of a man who lived almost two thousand years ago." Professor Buckland concluded that that image on shroud was a negative it: "[I]s a positive print of the shroud as it appears to the naked eye and resembles a photographic negative. ... [A]ctual photographic negatives taken of the shroud ... appear to be positive."

The following image on the left shows the face of the man in the Shroud as it appears in negative form on the Shroud. The image on the right is an actual photograph of the same face image on the Shroud. Because the image of the face on the Shroud is a negative, the photograph presents the image as a positive image. Note that red blood stains on the Shroud appear red but on the photograph they appear white. That means that only the body image itself was the negative image on the Shroud. The rest of the Shroud and its markings are natural colors and appear in negatives of photographs as a negative image.

Was Professor Buckland designation of the Shroud as the first photograph metaphorical – or is the image on the Shroud in fact a photographic negative? To understand why this is an insightful comment on the nature of the Shroud image and its importance, we must first have understanding of the history of photography. Whether the Shroud dates to circa 1355 CE when it was first exhibited in Lirey, France by French Knight Geoffrey I de Charney (hereafter "Geoffrey I") or circa 33 CE when Christ was crucified, it clearly was not created by a photographic camera. The first photographs taken by a camera date to the early nineteenth century.

Even if the Shroud wasn't Christ's authentic burial cloth, but a medieval forgery, it would still be at least metaphorically the "first photograph" because the Shroud with its image dates to no later than 1355 CE when it was exhibited in Lirey. There is ample evidence for the shroud's existence before 1355.

In 1453, Duke Louis of the House of Savoy had obtained the Shroud from de Charney's granddaughter. Eventually, it was permanently kept and closely guarded by the Savoy's in their capital, Turin where it was from time to time exhibited. 

In 1848, the Statuto established the House of Savoy as the royal family of Sardinia and ultimately all of Italy. In 1898, to celebrate the Statuto's 50th anniversary, King Umberto of Savoy authorized a public exposition of the Shroud at the Cathedral and Secondo Pia was designated to take the first photographs of the Shroud.

Was Pia in fact photographing the First Selfie? Was the selfie "photographer" the Deity, itself?

B. The Shroud and the Crucifixion

The Autopsies

When someone has died and there is a question about the cause of death, a medical expert will conduct an examination (autopsy) of the deceased's body and from the conditions (facts) observed draw conclusions about the circumstances of death. Those facts are scientific findings by scientists.

The autopsy is conducted by a qualified forensic pathologist who is a doctor and has training and experience in the conduct of autopsies, the analysis of the conditions observed and the determination of what those conditions mean.

As a matter of fact, the Shroud image possesses enough sharp detail to allow for just such an examination and has been examined by eminent qualified pathologists and scientists. Among them were Paul Vignon, Pierre Barbet, Robert Bucklin, Malcolm Cameron, Giuseppe Caselli, R. W Hynek, G. Judica-Cordiglia, Francesco La Cava, Hermann Moedder, Anthony Sava, David Willis, and Fredrick Zugibe.  Generally, they are in significant agreement as to the facts concerning of the man in Shroud: death by crucifixion in manner described by Scripture including a post mortem spear wound below his heart, the a cap of thorns, and nails being driven through his wrists. 

While they cannot directly answer the question of what happened to his body, they can identify the time period at which it parted company from Shroud. In fact, the image was formed in a microsecond, most likely at the time the Shroud and the time the body parted company 

The late Robert Bucklin, who performed thousands of autopsies in his career, appears in Grave Injustice. A complete report of an autopsy of the image on the shroud performed by him appears on the Internet at http://www.shroud.com/bucklin.htm

Doctor Bucklin concluded after a thorough examination:

“It is the ultimate responsibility of the medical examiner to confirm by whatever means are available to him the identity of the deceased, as well as to determine the manner of this death. In the case of Man on the Shroud, the forensic pathologist will have information relative to the circumstances of death by crucifixion which he can support by his anatomic findings. He will be aware that the individual whose image is depicted on the cloth has undergone puncture injuries to his wrists and  feet, puncture injuries to his head, multiple traumatic whip-like injuries to his back and postmortem puncture injury to his chest area which has released both blood and a water type of fluid. From this data, it is not an unreasonable conclusion for the forensic pathologist to determine that only one person historically has undergone this sequence of events. That person is Jesus Christ."

The scientific evidence of the crucifixion

There is available on the internet an excellent analysis by Pam Moon of the injuries inflicted on Jesus as described and/or predicted by scripture and the Shroud's physical evidence of their infliction on Jesus. http://www.shroudofturinexhibition.com/Shroud_of_Turin_exhibition/Biblical_Injuries_of_Jesus_1.html.

There are two important scientific observations that establish the time frame for the creation of the image: (1) the experts found that the image is in a state of rigor mortis and (2) there was no evidence of putrefaction by products staining the Shroud that result from the decay of the body. The two are related. Rigor mortis is caused by the stiffening of the muscles of the body in the position they were in at the time of death. Generally speaking the rigor mortis releases (relaxes) approximately 48 hours after death. That release is caused by the decaying (putrefaction) of body tissue including the muscles. The lack of putrefaction byproduct stains on the Shroud and the state of rigor mortis both indicate that the body image was created within 48 hours of death. That would be before three o'clock Sunday afternoon if the time of death was as scriptural accounts indicate Friday at 3:00 PM.

There is a positive feedback to the issue of the authenticity of the Shroud and the state of the body image. The presence of rigor mortis and lack of putrefaction stains indicate the image was formed by the body of a crucified man and the image would then probably place the time of it's creation at sometime before 3:00 PM Sunday. Scripture claims the body was discovered missing by Mary Magdalene shortly after daybreak on that Sunday. 
If the Shroud image is a forgery, the forger must have been one of the most learned persons of the Middle Ages, circa 1355.

As John Walsh wrote in The Shroud:

“Only this much is certain: The Shroud of Turin is either the most awesome and instructive relic of Jesus Christ in existence - showing us in its stark simplicity how He appeared to men - or it is one of the most ingenious, most unbelievable clever, products of the human mind and hand on record. It is one or the other; there is no middle ground.”  

C. The Skeptical fallacies: CNN loses Jesus

Teilhard de Chardin in The Phenomenon of Man anticipated a convergence of science and religion leading to a scientific analysis of the actions and direction of God in creating the existence that we know. Nowhere is that convergence more evident than in the study of the Shroud of Turin. There is a trio of intellectual disciplines that must be included in any analysis: Science, History and Theology. Any one who attempts to address the issue of the Shroud's authenticity who doesn't understand this trio is akin to one of the blind men describing an elephant: It's a snake, no it's a tree, no it's a wall.

Anyone seeking to comment on the Shroud must not just nod to the trio, he or she must develop some understanding of each as it relates to the Shroud. An unfortunate example of the blind men error is the first episode of CNN's "Finding Jesus" broadcast Sunday, March 1, 2015 that addressed the issue of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, was a concoction of largely blind men (and women) defining an elephant.

There were three principal elements in the skepticism expressed on the program that reflect the thrust of skeptical dismissal of the Shroud authenticity: (1) the carbon dating; (2) a fantasy that it could be a photograph created by medieval photographers; and (3) the lack of history of the Shroud prior to its first display in Lirey in 1355. Let's examine these skeptical claims in that order.

(1) Carbon dating

Art historian Thomas de Wesselow wrote this about the carbon dating of the Shroud:
"The carbon dating of the Shroud will probably go down in history as one of the greatest fiascos in the history of science. It would make an excellent case study for any sociologist interested in exploring the ways in which science is affected by professional biases, prejudices and ambitions, not to mention religious (and irreligious) beliefs."  

By calling it a fiasco, he may have understated his case. Grave Injustice explains how the carbon dating labs sabotaged the protocols for the carbon dating process and eliminated the plans for concurrent scientific examination by the Shroud of Turin Research Project ("STuRP).
STuRP conducted the only comprehensive scientific examination of the Shroud in 1978. STuRP proposed a new series of tests to the Vatican in 1982, which included carbon dating by seven laboratories including Oxford, Tucson and Zurich and four others.

Harry Gove was director of one of the seven labs: Nuclear Structure Research Laboratory at the University of Rochester. Gove was proud of his remarkable accomplishments but he was a man who in one observer's words: "Had an ego that arrived a half hour before he did." He wrote a memoir that included vivid description of the efforts by the C14 labs to exclude STuRP from any further examination in the process. His ego appears to have clouded his self-awareness of the process he was describing. For example he clearly documented a conflict of interest. Michael Tite was selected to referee the activities of the three C14 labs at the same time he was seeking an appointment at one of them (Oxford)  

There are five individuals who played central roles in debunking the carbon dating tests: Sue Benford, Joe Marino, Barrie Schwortz, Ray Rogers (with several scientist-associates) and Pam Moon. Sue Benford and Joe Marino were a husband and wife team who first developed the hypothesis that the corner of the Shroud had been subject to repairs by a method of invisible reweaving, obtained expert advice that they were correct and then reported the same to Shroud Conference in Orvieto, Italy. Schwortz published the results on the Shroud.com webpage and received an angry telephone call from Ray Rogers who angrily asked what he was doing publishing something from the "lunatic fringe" and that he could prove them wrong in "five minutes." Schwortz told Rogers that if he could do it, he would publish it on Shroud.com. Rogers did not call back in five minutes, it was several hours. His report was just two words: "They're right."

Rogers, who was suffering from end stage cancer, devoted the last three and a half years of his life to research and examination of fibers from the Shroud, including some from the sample area. He passed away in 2005.

There was controversy and skeptics who denied the validity of Ray's work. In 2014, Pam Moon obtained the copy of a picture of the Oxford sample and obtained expert opinions that verified the work of Rogers. The C14 tests were thoroughly rebutted – not for the quality of the C14 tests but because the samples were taken from the "worst possible place."

(2) The utter nonsense of the medieval photograph hypothesis

Barrie Schwortz was the documenting photographer of the 1978 STURP examination of the Shroud who would in 1996 establish the most widely used Shroud resource on the internet: Shroud.com. The genesis of Shroud.com occurred when a friend called him and said that he had read that the Shroud of Turin was a medieval photograph created by Leonardo DaVinci. That was absurd and its absurdity inspired Schwortz to create a web page so that there would be on the Internet a place where accurate information and materials could be made available

The absurdity of the photograph claim did not die however. For in the Finding Jesus CNN devoted substantial time to the work of South African art historian Nicholas Allen who claimed to have replicated the Shroud of Turin image by using a camera obscura and chemicals available in the Middle Ages. There were even several minutes of time devoted to reenacting how a group of conspirators might have done it. 

There is absolutely NO evidence that the record of the use of a camera obscura and photosensitive materials until the eighteenth century and it was not perfected until the nineteenth. In 2000, Schwortz published a detailed rebuttal of the Allen hypothesis including pictures of his "photographs."  http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/orvieto.pdf

Da Vinci has been tagged as the greatest genius in the history of humanity. He documented his ideas and discoveries in voluminous texts. Photography historian Josef Maria Eder credits him as being the true discoverer of the camera obscura.  There is no record of da Vinci or anyone else prior to the mid 1770's experimenting with photo sensitive chemicals and the camera obscura.

(3)The historical record of the Shroud

None are so blind as those that will not see.  Those that claim that there is no history of the Shroud prior to Lirey exhibition are clearly those that have eyes and will not see. 

The Pray Codex and the four burn holes.

There is a repetitious pattern of the four small burn holes on the Shroud that form an “L” that changes from right to left configuration twice, indicating that the Shroud was folded in four parts when the burning incident (whatever it was) occurred. The configuration is less distinct on the bottom layers.

There is in the National Library of Budapest a manuscript referred to as the “Pray Codex” named for Jesuit priest György Pray, who discovered it in 1770. It is the oldest example of Hungarian literature in existence and was produced circa 1192-1195 CE.  The Pray Codex is not a great work of art. However, it is an important marker in the history of the Shroud for it establishes the existence of the Shroud years before the earliest date allowed by the controversial 1988 carbon dating. 
©National Szecheny Library Budapest Hungary

In The Shroud, Ian Wilson described the Pray Codex and its significance in detail:
[N]ot only do we yet again see the awkward arm crossing, this time, most unusually, Jesus is represented as totally nude, exactly as on the Shroud. Again exactly as in the case of the Shroud, all four fingers on each of Jesus’ hands can be seen, but no thumbs. Just over Jesus’ right eye there is a single forehead bloodstain. Delineated in red, this is located in exactly the same position as that very distinctive reverse ‘3’-shaped stain on Jesus’ forehead on the Shroud that we noted earlier. Exactly as in the case of the Shroud, the cloth in which Jesus is being wrapped is of double body length type, the second half, as known from other versions of the same scene, extending over Joseph of Arimathea’s shoulder. If all this is not enough, the cover of what appears to be the tomb is decorated with a herringbone pattern in which can be seen four holes in an identical arrangement to the so-called ‘poker-holes’...”  (Emphasis added)

Detail of the burn holes from the Pray Code

The origin of the four burn holes is a mystery for others have discerned that they are not “poker holes.” It has been suggested that the Shroud was subjected to a trial by fire. Chemist Ray Rogers and others hypothesize that they may have resulted from burning incense having dropped on the Shroud at some point in time. Whatever that point of time is, the Pray Codex necessarily predated the time frame claimed by the labs which dated the Shroud to 1250 at the earliest.

In this enlargement of two of the burn holes on the Shroud, we can see the charred circle surrounding the hole and underneath the pattern of the Holland Cloth that was added as a backing to the Shroud circa 1534. It is not charred

.But the speculations are beside the point. Whatever the cause, there exists a distinct pattern of four holes set in a right angle in the Shroud that is roughly the shape of a knight’s move in chess that is repeated four times. The holes resulted from burning of some kind and upon close examination include smaller, secondary burn perforations. It appears that the Shroud was first folded length wise and then folded once again width wise. Also, the fourth and third layers are somewhat less distinct compared to the first two layers. 

The repetition makes perfect sense if the Shroud had been folded in four and something burned through the four layers   the lowest layer burn holes would not be as sharply defined as the first. Because the Shroud was folded, the angle is as two different orientations (left or right). The clearest burn holes appear on the dorsal (bottom) part of the image while those on the ventral (top) are less distinct. 

While the technique of the monk who drew the Pray Codex is not refined, his two representations of the set of four burn holes are consistent with burn holes on the Shroud. Many copies of the Shroud with the representation of the four burn holes do not indicate one important attribute of the burn holes – the charged edges of the burn holes.

Unless the artist had seen the Shroud, what are the odds that an ancient artist drawing a representation of Christ being entombed would draw a Shroud with burn holes that match the Shroud more than a century before the Shroud’s first public exhibition and decades before the earliest date allowed for the linen by the flawed carbon dating? Coincidence?

By themselves, the evidence of the burn holes may not be conclusive but it is certainly persuasive along with all the other circumstances of the Codex that the artist who created the Codex at some time must have seen the Shroud or a painting of the Shroud. No painted representation of the Shroud contains burn holes with actual charred edges. The painted representations of the Shroud are copies of an original or copies of copies. The holes in the Shroud are clearly real holes in the linen cloth encircled with a charred ring from the instrumentality that caused the burn holes. That original Shroud is the shroud now in Turin. The burn holes are the Shroud’s fingerprints. The "finger prints" on the Pray Codex predate the time period for the existence of the linen determined by the carbon dating. They are evidence of the Shroud's existence before 1260 the earliest time compatible with the carbon dating.

Coins and Icons

Other Evidence of the Shroud's existence before 1260 was marshaled by David Gibson and Michael McKinley in the printed version of their book Finding Jesus which was the basis for the CNN television series. Gibson and McKinley are the co-creators and consulting producers to the CNN Finding Jesus series. Multiple other sources place the Shroud in Constantinople not later than 944 CE. (Ian Wilson and Dan Scavone) and as early as early as 574 CE. (Jack Markwardt)

Both Markwardt and Wilson describe the dramatic change that depictions of Christ underwent in the sixth century. According to Markwardt:

"In the late sixth century, the portrayal of Jesus as a mature and bearded man suddenly achieved  ascendancy  over  all  other  depictions  of  him,  and  two  eminent  scholars, completely  without  any  reference  to  the  Turin  Shroud,  concluded  that  this  ascendant portrayal  derived  from  an  archetype  image.  Hans  Belting,  an  eminent  modern  art historian,  believes  that  this  archetype  was  selected  from  “a  convenient  repertory”  of extant Jesus images and that its unremarkable origin was concealed behind legends of miraculously-produced acheiropoietos [not made by the hand of man] images. On the other  hand,  the  estimable  eighteenth-century  historian,  Edward  Gibbon,  believes  that this   archetype   was   itself   a   recently-discovered   acheiropoietos   image   which   was propagated by Christians, desirous of establishing a standard likeness for Jesus, “in the camps and cities of the Eastern empire” This archetype is identifiable through artistic and textual evidence." 

The new artistic portrayal of Jesus depicted him as a mature and bearded man having parted hair flowing in two different directions, with one part coming to rest on a shoulder and the other disappearing behind his neck – one of hallmarks of the Shroud.

"With regard to art, the new “Pantocrator Type” portrayal of Jesus depicted him as a mature and bearded man having parted hair flowing in two different directions, with one part coming to rest on a shoulder and the other disappearing behind his neck. The most notable examples of such portrayals have Constantinopolitan roots, including an icon located in the St. Catherine Monastery" (Citations omitted) 

Byzantine Emperor Justinian II caused a coin to be minted, one face of which was a depiction of Christ that exhibited the same unique markings that appear on the Shroud. Note the flow of the hair in two different directions.

The Testimony of a French Knight

There is more: an eyewitness account of exhibitions of a linen shroud that is more than arguably the Shroud of Turin. The witness was a French knight who participated in a siege of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade which ended with the "Christian" knights looting Constantinople  and stripping it of all its cherished relics that could be carried away. Among them was the linen cloth that was the Shroud of Turin.

This is how Gibson and McKinley described it their book Finding Jesus:

"In 1203, a Flemish knight named Robert de Clari, fighting with the Fourth Crusade then camped in Constantinople, noted that a church within the city’s Blachernae Palace put on a very special exhibition every Friday. On display wasn’t just the holy image of the face of Jesus, but the actual cloth in which Christ had been buried. In 1205 de Clari composed a more detailed account: 'There was a Church which was call[ed] My Lady Saint Mary of Blachernae, where there was the shroud (syndoines) in which Our Lord had been wrapped, which every Friday, raised itself upright so that one could see the form (figure) of Our Lord on it, and no one either Greek or French, ever knew what became of this shroud (syndoines) when the city was taken [by the Crusaders].'" 

What happened to the Shroud after Constantinople was looted by the French? Wilson has favored the idea that it came into possession of the Order of the Knights Templar in France. The Order was suppressed in 1307 by French King Philip the Fair. On March 19, 1314, its Grandmaster, Jacques deMolay along with the Order's Master of Normandy Geoffrey de Charny were burned at the stake. That Geoffrey may have been related to the Geoffrey de Charny who was the documented owner of the Shroud in 1355. Others argue that after the looting of Constantinople by French knights during the Fourth Crusade it came into the possession of Orthon de ls Roche who eventually removed it to France. 

This is not a complete recitation of the reported history of the Shroud prior to 1532. Yet when someone baldy states that there is NO evidence of the Shroud's history before Lirey, he, or she, is simply, and demonstrably, wrong.

D. The Harry Potter, Magic and the Resurrection

“Who knew reality could be so mysterious? Why has this been kept such a secret? It’s fascinating. I want to find out more!” 
                                                                      James Phelps, 
                                                                      a/k/a Fred Weasley

There may be a mysterious synergy at work between Harry Potter and the Shroud. Harry Potter veteran James Phelps is the narrator of Grave Injustice, which begins with a clip from the recently released movie Risen. In the movie, Roman Tribune Clavius is tasked by Pontius Pilate to find the body of Jesus of Nazareth, which has disappeared from its tomb.. Tom Felton, who was Draco Malfoy in the Potter series, is an aide to Clavius.

Tom Felton, Joseph Fiennes with the shroud of 
Jesus a/k/a Shroud of Turin

Conservative Christians have been scandalized by the Potter series because they believe its emphasis on magic endangers the young to the influences of the Devil. Catholic reaction has been mixed, even drawing a favorable review from L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.

Those whose minds are straight-jacketed by what they believe science to be are missing where science is headed. Concepts such as Teilhard de Chardin's noosphere or Carl Jung's collective unconsciousness where once regarded with scientific disdain.  Now some scientists hypothesize  "Quantum information of the universe." Stuart Hameroff suggests that near death experiences are that when a person dies, the brain unload s its consciousness into the Quantum information of the universe but the information is recalled when life is resuscitated. Something like cloud computing. Are we not on the verge of the magical when we deal with such concepts?

When my adult son Michael lost his long struggle with kidney disease in 1977, I inaugurated my blog Living Free with a piece in which I used "event horizon" as a metaphor for death. It was entitled: Reflections on Mourning: Coping with the Ultimate "Event Horizon. I also used a quotation from Tennessee Williams to metaphorically analogize love to "Quantum Entanglement." I am not so sure it's a metaphor any more. 

Isabel Piczek is a physicist and an artist. She has described the Shroud image as an "event horizon." It is perhaps an image of the dead Jesus created in a nanosecond as He was entering new dimension or stage of existence that we call the Resurrection. 
The atheist or the committed agnostic will never accept the possibility of the Resurrection and reject it out of hand as magical thinking! Shroud scholar Russ Breault  asked the question in the video The Real Face of Jesus: "Is it possible that the 14 foot piece of linen cloth captured the greatest paranormal event of all time?"

Is the Shroud  scientific evidence of a magical event? So? What we don't understand we may reject, but that doesn't mean it is unreal just because it appears to be magical. 

Maybe the Harry Potter fans will understand.

Authories cited

Buckland, Gail. p. 146, The First Photographs, People, Places, and Phenomena as Captured for the First Time by the Camera (MacMillan, New York 1980)
Meacham, William, The Authentication of the Turin Shroud: An Issue in Archaeological Epistemology, http://www.shroud.com/meacham2.htm.
Walsh, John, Preface, xi-xii, The Shroud, (Random House, New York, 1963
De Wesselow, Thomas, The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection (p. 172). (Penguin Group New York, 2012) ( Cited hereafter as “de Wesselow”)
Harry E Gove. Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud (Kindle Location 3492). Kindle Edition.
Eder, Josef Maria, History of Photography , translated by Edward Epstein (Columbia Uniiversity Press, 1945)
De Wesselow, Thomas, The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection (Penguin Group New York, 2012) (p. 172).
Ian Wilson (2010-03-20). The Shroud (Kindle Locations 3409-3418. Random House UK. Kindle Edition).
Jack Markwardt, "Modern Scholarship and the History of the Turin Shroud," p. 24 http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/stlmarkwardtpaper.pdf
Gibson, David; McKinley, Michael, p. 219,  Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery: Six Holy Objects That Tell the Remarkable Story of the Gospels (St. Martin's Press. Kindle Edition 2015)
Cesar Barta,” Orthon de la Roche” BSTS News Letter, October 5, 2008 (http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/n67part6.pdf). Orthon de la Roche is a French knight who became Duke of Athens as a reward for outstanding services during the Constantinople sack. De La Roche was the great grandfather of Jeanne de Vergy, Geoffrey 1’s wife. If true, when Geoffrey I’s (and Jeanne de Vergy’s) daughter married Orthon de la Roche’s great grandson (reinforcing the blood-line ownership of the Shroud) and then moved the Shroud to the de la Roche castle, the Shroud was returned to a previous home

Ross Breault is President of The Shroud of Turin Education Project Inc.  and host of www.ShroudEncounter.com.  

Additional Resources

The Shroud of Turin Website
Barrie M. Schwortz, Editor

Cold Case: The Shroud of Turin
($3.00 fee to rent for 30 days).

David Hines
Shroud Knows Details of the Crime Scene 

de Wesselow, Thomas, The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection (Penguin Group New York, 2012)

The Coming of the Quantum Christ: 
The Shroud of Turin and the Apocalypse of Selfishness.
John Klotz
Information on purchasing:

Critique of CNN's Finding Jesus.
John Klotz