Pistacia fruits, Rhamnus thorns and the Halo around the head of the Man of the Shroud


An addition concerning new information obtained during 2009

A. Danin, P. Soons, A.D. Whanger and M.W. Whanger

Images of Halo



Intensive efforts took place to obtain and scan black and white photographic material of the Shroud made by Enrie in 1931 and Ultra Violet photographs by Vernon Miller (the Chief Technical Photographer of STURP 1978)). The aim of this paper was to continue our search for plant images. These plants may account for areas of partial blockage of 3D imagery. If they were between the body of the Man of the Shroud and the Shroud linen they may have blocked the 3D imagery, accounting for the dark areas on the face and neck. The first results of this search have been reported already by Danin (2008b). Various photographic materials were used in this enterprise and are noted here in our preliminary findings.



Second generation photos of the Shroud, shot by Enrie (in 1931) were used as background basis for mapping of Pistacia fruits (as discussed by Danin et al., 1999 and by Danin & Guerra, 2008) identified by the first author. The 2nd generation films were obtained by the 2nd author from Alan Whanger and scanned by the Dutch Holographic Laboratory in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Mrs. Or-El Aviram-Tzimmer at Photo Schwartz, Jerusalem printed the photos from electronic files at magnification of 46% of the real size. Thus the size of the prints of the Enrie photos was 200 cm long and 50 cm wide. For practical measures the 200 cm photo was divided in two; the ventral part became "photo 1" and the dorsal one "photo 2". We also printed the Vernon Miller's UV photos at 170% life size. The areas suspected of containing Pistacia fruits (cf. Danin et al., 1999) were marked on transparent cellophane sheet and manually transferred and marked on the 46% photos mentioned above. Prominent plant images of pairs and single thorns of Rhamnus (Danin 2006a) were drawn as well. After completion, the 46% photos with their cellophane overlay were photographed at the Dutch Holographic Laboratory. These photographs were then studied using the computer and were after that copied into a PowerPoint presentation and this increased the contrast of the images. It clearly revealed a lighter-colored circle around the head. In the small three images (Fig. 1b, 1c, 1d) on the right side of the large photograph (Fig. 1a) this lighter-colored circle shows up also



The number of large dark dots interpreted as Pistacia fruits, counted on the Shroud was around 2,600. They appear to be distributed at random (although no statistical analysis was done). We could not contradict the opinion presented by us in Danin et al., (1999) suggesting that the Pistacia fruits were "burial spices".
The finding of a pair of Rhamnus lycioides thorns at the anatomical right side of the head was reported earlier (Danin, 2006a). Two additional pairs were discovered now on the Shroud. The three pairs share an angle of 1500_1550 between the two thorns. Two other straight single thorns and the one which was already reported share the property of being sharp and have dark small dots on the lateral thorn surface. These are suspected of being the lateral buds, so typical of thorns of Rhamnus lycioides.
When preparing Fig. 1 for printing, the first author noticed, on the computer- screen, a circular discoloration around the head on the ventral part of the Shroud (Fig. 1a). After obtaining the prints that had intensified contrasts, the circular area was clearly visible, and once seen, it proved to be visible in other photos as well. The photo made by "PrintScreen", including the right side small photos, when matched with previous findings needs no explanation (Fig. 1b-d). Showing it to the 2nd author (P.S.) the latter stated that he did his investigation also on the 2nd generation digitized Enrie negatives in 2007 and 2008 and came to the conclusion that the diameter of the circle was about 51 cm. The center of the circle (Halo) was in the corner of the anatomical left eye. The first author measured (July 20, 2009) the 1:1 recently displayed photograph (facsimile) of the Shroud at the Permanent Shroud Exhibition in Notre Dame, Jerusalem. The size of the Shroud there is 435 cm X 110 cm. (Measurements by Barberis and Zaccone in 2002 resulted in measures: 442 x 113 cm). The distance between the centers of the eyes is 5 cm; the halo diameter is 57 cm. Taking any photograph of the ventral view of the Man of The Shroud, and increasing the contrast (on PowerPoint on a PC while keeping the brightness high), will result in the appearance of the lighter colored circular area around the head, as shown in Fig. 1.


Discussion and conclusions

The”Halo" around the head of the Man on the Shroud seems to be the most important bit of information revealed through the above observations. The "Halo" around the head of the man on the Pantocrator icon is reported already by Whanger & Whanger (1998). They measured the diameter of the circle on the 1:1 photo of the Pantocrator icon and reported it to be 17 and 5/8 inches (=44.8 cm) and noted it was slightly off center. Our measurements of the "halo" on the Shroud photos vary from 51 to 57 cm, which is not far from the size of the "Halo" on the Pantocrator icon.
The Whangers (1998) displayed several times the "Halo" of the Shroud in their book: in Fig. 2 of page 57, p. 73 upper photo, and the top left photo of p. 115 but without explanation. Using their Image Overlay Technique, the Whangers compared the image of the Man of the Shroud ("Mandylion" or "Mandylion/Shroud" in their text) and the Pantocrator icon. They found 250 points of congruence between the face of the Man in the two items. A court in the USA, considers two photos with 40-60 points of congruence as displaying the same person. If these criteria were used, it would appear that the two images are tightly linked.
Our findings on 2nd generation photographs of Enrie show the Whangers' Halo. The "Halo" appears to confirm that the Mandylion, source of the 6th century icon of the Pantocrator (cf. Whanger & Whanger 1998: p.13-22), originated in Edessa and, saved in the library of the St. Catherine Monastery in the Sinai Desert, displays the same person. The Shroud of Turin folded by eight (doubled in four) and known also as "Tetradiplon" was available to the artist who created the icon of the Pantocrator (cf. Whanger & Whanger 1998). We assume, that the reason for the circular area around the head on the Shroud being dis-colored in a different way than the rest of the Shroud is, because of the different aging of the fibers of that area. This area was exposed to diffused light for a much longer time than the rest of the Shroud. The "Halo" has become an important component in the Christian art according to Hardon's (1999) dictionary: "In Christian art a glow of light or ornamented circle is surrounding the head of Christ or one of the saints. It symbolizes holiness, the light of grace, and glory. (Etym. Latin halos; from Greek halos, a round threshing floor; disk; halo.)". Langmuir (2000) refers to the Halo as following: "There is one biblical metaphor which largely eluded early Christian artists: Christ as the Light of the World, the LUX MUNDI. (Luke 2:32 and John 8:12). They hinted at it; they identified Christ with pagan sun gods; they pictured him with a golden Halo, or clothed in the radiance and glitter of gold mosaic."
The comparison of the Pantocrator icon and the image on the Shroud linen makes them synchronous and connected by the Halo in each. It is known that the Pantocrator icon was given to the St. Catherine Monastery around 550 C.E. Because 550 C.E. is earlier than indicated by carbon 14 dating, the appearance of the Halo in this earlier work, confirms that there was some error in the procedure of the carbon 14 dating.


We thank Walter Spierings and Walter Bliek of the Dutch Holographic Laboratory, Eindhoven,the Netherlands for their photographic assistance. Thanks are due to Prof. Peter Raven, Dr. Anthony Brach, and Mrs. Valerie Whitworth for their help in the preparation of the manuscript.



Danin, A. 2006. The nature of thorny plants, the images of which are observed on the Shroud of Turin. CSST Newsletter 10 (2): 1-4.
Danin, A. 2008. Botany of the Shroud of Turin, an addition concerning new information after the 1999 report. CSST Newsletter Insert 12 (3): 1-4.
Danin, A. & Guerra, H. 2008. L'uomo della Sindone. Un botanico ebreo identifica immagini di piante della Terra Santa sulla Sacra Sindone. Edizioni ART, Rome, 88 pp.
Danin, A., Whanger, A.D., Baruch, U., & Whanger, M. 1999. Flora of the Shroud of Turin. Missouri Botanical Garden Press. 52 pp.
Langmuir, E. 2000. The Image of Christ. In: Catalogue of the exhibition "seeing salvation", the National Gallery in London.
Hardon, J.A. 1999. Modern Catholic Dictionary, Inter Mirifica.
Whanger, M.W. and Whanger, A.D. 1998. The Shroud of Turin, an Adventure of Discovery. Franklin, Tennessee, Providence House Publishers. 144 pp.

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