Holy Yet Cursed Medieval Well Unearthed in England

Holy Yet Cursed Medieval Well Unearthed in England

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Archaeologists working in England have excavated a holy well dated to the Medieval period. Local legends speak of pilgrims bathing in its waters to cure their eye and skin diseases. However, a later urban myth also linked the well to a more sinister story and claims that the site is cursed.

The shallow spring is known as St Anne’s Well and it is located between Rainhill and Sutton St Helens, near Liverpool. Science Alert says the well was built to honor Saint Anne, the Virgin Mary’s mother, “who had a cult following in Britain during the late Medieval Period (1066-1485 AD).” Local legends say that St Anne had bathed in the well, providing the waters with healing powers.

Saint Anne with Mary as a child. (Renardeau/ CC BY SA 3.0 )

It is generally believed that 12 monks were living in a priory near the holy well before Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. "The well attracted numbers of pilgrims, necessitating the building of a small three-roomed structure around the well and the custodianship of two of the monks," Jamie Quartermaine, an archaeologist who supervised the dig said.

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A structure built around the Dupath Well in Cornwall / Kernow. (1912)

Local folklore states that the steward of a neighboring landowner named Hugh Darcy argued with the prior, Father Delwaney, about access to the well and land boundaries. The two men got into a heated argument at which point Darcy apparently told Delwaney that the prior would likely not hold his important position much longer, before stomping back toward his master’s estate.

Soon thereafter the monks were apparently removed from the priory by the king’s men. On their way out they passed by the holy well where Father Delwaney saw Hugh Darcy (who seemed to be awaiting them and to have had an “understanding” with the commissioners taking the monks away). The prior was angered by Darcy’s appearance and possible role in the loss of the monastery and he said: “The curse of the serpent be on thee, thou spoiler of the Lord’s inheritance, thy ill-gotten gains shall not profit thee, and a year and a day shall not pass ere St. Anne thy head shall bruise.” Not long after placing this curse on Darcy, the prior fainted and then died.

The story continues by saying that Darcy wasted no time in gaining access to the farmlands around the holy well and tearing down the building made for the pilgrims who visited it. Although things seemed to be going smoothly at first Darcy “could not get rid of the strange foreboding of coming evil.” Three months later his son died of a mysterious illness and soon after he suffered heavy financial loss. The legend ends with Darcy disappearing after a night of drinking. His body was allegedly found beside the well where his head was crushed in.

It is probable that the story is nothing more than an urban myth, but it is true that eventually the holy well had fallen into disuse and was filled with earth. Before it was excavated, St Anne’s Well had “just a patch of barren grass and a couple of stones” marking its location in a large field. [Via Historic England ] The holy well was known about for years by local archaeologists and the property owner and it was on the “Heritage at Risk Register” since 2010.

St Anne’s Well as it appeared in 2015. ( Historic England )

As Jamie Quartermaine, told Discovery News “When we first got to the well we found that there was very little indication of it on the surface, but after excavation it was found to be in reasonable condition.”

Oxford Archaeology North carefully worked to unearth the legendary feature, and two days later they excavated the large sandstone well. Historic England reports that St Anne’s Well measures almost 2 x 2 meters (6.6 x 6.6 ft.) and has three steps which led to the pool where the pilgrims would have bathed.

The well during excavations. ( Historic England )

Historic England says that works were completed on the holy well with the team repairing some of the fallen stones and setting up a wooden perimeter to protect it from soil filling it in again and possible damage from farm machinery.

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Members of Rainhill Civic Society and Merseyside Archaeological Society with the repaired holy well. ( Historic England )

As the website Seomra Ranga points out, “holy wells are places of popular religious devotion where people come to pray and leave simple offerings. Holy wells invariably tend to date from pre-Christian times, during which they served as a form of natural religion in which the well was held to be sacred.”

Often, said wells are actually springs which have been provided with a special significance in local folklore and have specific legends associated with them. The importance of the sites can be linked to the global reverence humans tend to have for water - especially when it is clean or pure.

St. Brigid's well, Near Buttevant, County Cork, Ireland. (Alison Cassidy/ CC BY SA 3.0 )

Another holy well was found in January 2016. It was discovered in the basement of Australia House, the nation’s diplomatic mission, in London. As Mark Miller wrote in his article for Ancient Origins, the well dates back about 900 years. It is one of the few holy wells that can still be accessed in the city.

Two interesting points of interest about this well are its association with theater and the clean water it is said to still provide. As High Commissioner Alexander Downer told ABC. “They were used for ceremonial purposes and plays were performed around the well. And as a result of that this part of London evolved as an area where theatres were built.” Mr. Downer also said a medieval monk wrote about the well, describing it as “sweet, wholesome and pure.”

Australia House. (Richard Rogerson/ CC BY SA 2.0 )

And more recently, Duncan Howitt said he drank a cup of the water about seven years ago. “He was encouraged by a colleague from the Canadian High Commission who had an interest in history when a group of about five people went into the basement. Howitt called the water “fresh and clear. Better than tap water.”” [ Via Ancient Origins ]

English Historical Fiction Authors

In every historical era, including today's, we can look towards people of great celebrity, "superstars" for lack of a better term, who rose from poverty and common obscurity to the heights of fame, power or fortune. In today's world, most of these renowned "superstars" are royalty, entertainers and athletes, with occasionally a politician or major religious figure or two. They fill the traditional and social media, with the paparazzi chasing their every move. We just can't get away from these people, even if we want to.

Celebrity "superstars" influence our cultural mores to the very core, for the good and for the bad. Was it always this way?

During the reign of King Henry VIII, a few "superstars" who rose from the depths of poverty came center stage, most notably Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex. Remarkably, a woman joined Cromwell's ranks, eclipsing his popularity most undoubtedly, for in an age where religion reigned true and omens, portents, predictions, legends and ancient prophecies held huge significance, one of the Tudor Era's greatest and most cherished celebrity "superstars" stepped forward -- Elizabeth Barton, the Holy Maid of Kent.

Born in obscurity, Elizabeth Barton's life as a celebrated English woman began with what at the time was considered by all Roman Catholics an awe-inspiring trance and God sent miracle. While working as a servant in a Kent household, Barton became seriously ill -- some today might surmise epilepsy, while others might assume delirium or psychosis. Incredibly, she began to speak in rhyming prophecies.

After sharing her vision of a nearby chapel, Elizabeth Barton was taken there and lain before a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As astounding as this sounds, the woman remained there in a trance for a week. Upon awakening, Elizabeth Barton began prophesying again, predicting the death of a child living in her household, and as detailed by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in a letter to Archdeacon Hawkins, "speaking of many high and godly things, telling also wondrously, by the power of the Holy Ghost as it was thought, things done and said in other places, whereas neither she was herself, nor yet heard no report thereof."

Soon afterward, she was questioned by a special commission established by then Archbishop William Warham. They determined her trances, visions and prophecies genuine, and a "star was born". At least a thousand people took to the road, processing to the little chapel, and like Jim Morrison's grave, the Ford Theater, the town of Bethlehem, and the shrine of St. Thomas Beckett, it became a place of pilgrimage.

Elizabeth Barton's illustrious or infamous career, depending on one's point of view, then began in earnest. Admitted to St. Sepulcre's nunnery in Canterbury, she professed her vows, and her trances, prophecies and clairvoyance continued and increased unabated.

Sister Elizabeth’s messages of warning and predictions of the future were reported to the world outside her cloistered community by a group of priests close to the convent, and her fame and celebrity rose to the highest zenith of Tudor society. Legitimized as filled with the Holy Spirit by the likes of Archbishop William Warham and Bishop John Fisher, who both met with the "Holy Maid of Kent", Sister Elizabeth Barton became exceptionally acclaimed throughout the realm, respected for her piety and marveled for her Godly giftedness.

At the height of her celebrity and positive regard, Sister Elizabeth held audience with Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Sir Thomas More and King Henry VIII -- her popularity rivaling the King himself. With this type of fame and notoriety, why did this remarkable woman become merely a footnote in history? Well, her visions and prophecies took an ominous turn, focusing on the King's desire to annul his marriage to the great Roman Catholic Queen Catalina de Aragón in favor of the Reformist "usurper" Lady Anne Boleyn.

Antique Large Folio Copper Plate
Published 1793-1806 by R. Bowyer, London,
for "The History of England. " by David Hume

Sister Elizabeth Barton, whether truly filled with the Holy Spirit, arrogant, self-righteous, courageous, bold, stupid or insane -- take your pick -- wrote directly to His Holy Father and spoke frankly to both Cardinal Wolsey and the King. To Wolsey Sister Elizabeth warned that if King Henry abandoned his wife the realm would be left in peril. Then Sister Elizabeth frankly warned the King that if he chose to marry the Lady Anne Boleyn, he would reign a mere seven months thereafter, with the Princess Mary eventually ruling the realm. Now chew on that for a minute. This nun told King Henry VIII TO HIS FACE that his death loomed if he carried forward with his plans. What was she thinking?

Well, amazingly the King chose to ignore her, and Elizabeth Barton, Holy Maid of Kent, went about her way, holding several meetings with Queen Catherine's closest courtiers and others taking on her cause. Still, King Henry VIII showed considerable and uncharacteristic restraint, even after as this potentially apocryphal story goes: Sister Elizabeth Barton gained access to the King and the then Marquess of Pembroke in a walled up garden at the abbot of St Augustine's, Canterbury. There she told them both that should they marry, within one month he would no longer be the reigning monarch, dying a villain's death. Though Sister Elizabeth was yet again spared the King's wrath, his patience was beginning to wear thin.

As King Henry proceeded with his plans to marry Anne Boleyn secretly, Thomas Cranmer was named Archbishop of Canterbury after William Warham's death. Soon after his consecration, Cranmer declared the King's marriage to Catalina de Aragón null and void, and his marriage to Anne Boleyn legitimate.

Obviously, seven months later, King Henry still reigned supreme -- at least two major prophecies easily proven invalid. Still, the "Holy Maid" maintained her prestige within the kingdom, revered by the majority of English subjects.

Sister Elizabeth met secretly with the papal envoy in Canterbury, going so far as to proclaim a prophecy for His Holy Father, declaring that should he ever approve an annulment for King Henry, that God would plague him.

Still able to hold her credibility with high ranking Roman Catholics a month after Anne Boleyn became Queen of England, Sir Thomas More paid "the Holy Maid of Kent" a visit at Syon Abbey. What they discussed is lost to history, as they met alone and neither wisely chose to tell the tale. Cautious as always, More told those who inquired, namely Thomas Cromwell, that he merely sought her prayers. Per Thomas More in a letter to Cromwell, "We talked no worde of the Kinges Grace or anye great personage ells, no in effecte, of anye man or woman but of her selfe, and my selfe".

When later supporters of Sister Elizabeth fell like dominoes all around her, More was able to wiggle free, namely because in an age before of photocopying and copy/paste features, he had the presence of mind to keep a copy of a letter sent her way, one that conveniently advised her to stay out of the King's affairs.

Finally, in the summer of 1533, Thomas Cromwell "expressed his concerns" about Sister Elizabeth Barton to King Henry, who finally commanded that Cromwell, assisted by the Archbishop, investigate the "Holy Maid". With that, and most likely long before, Sister Elizabeth Barton came into the view of the men who would be her ultimate undoing, the highly placed and reformist courtiers of the King, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and the King's Secretary, Thomas Cromwell.

Make no mistake about it. Cranmer and Cromwell viewed the popular and nearly universally acclaimed Elizabeth Barton, the "Holy Maid", as a major threat to their reformation efforts. Per Cranmer, "Truly, I think she did marvelously stop the going forward of the King's marriage by reason of her visions."

More practically, Cromwell likely saw what for him was a wonderful opportunity, the chance to bring down the entire Roman Catholic leadership Cranmer had no ability to manage, because with her fall would come theirs -- starting with the most troublesome and problematic of them all, Bishop John Fisher. Like a episode of Cagney and Lacey or a scene from Bad Boys' Mike and Marcus, Cranmer and Cromwell, affectionately sometimes labeled quite appropriately "The Tudor Odd Couple", used their customary "good cop/ bad cop" interrogation style to wear down Sister Elizabeth.

Call me skeptical. With only reformist leaning hostile sources to work with, it's impossible to know with any accuracy what went down, but after seemingly sympathetically listening to Sister Elizabeth fill with the Holy Spirit for several meetings, witnessing trances and visions unfold, and unable to sway her views, the Archbishop handed over the reigns to the King's Secretary.

Suddenly, under the watchful eye of Cromwell and his agents, Sister Elizabeth "confessed" that she was a fraud. As the Archbishop writes Archdeacon Hawkins, "And now she hath confessed all, and uttered the very truth, which is this: that she never had vision in all her life, but all that ever she said was feigned of her own imagination, only to satisfy the minds of them the which resorted unto her, and to obtain worldly praise: by reason of the which her confession, many and divers, both religious men and other, be now in trouble, forasmuch as they consented to her mischievous and feigned visions, which contained much perilous sedition and also treason, and would not utter it, but rather further the same to their power."

Cromwell, not satisfied that she fall alone, interrogated several of her followers. Subsequently, the "Maid of Kent" and her supporters were made to do public penance at St. Paul's Cathedral and Star Chamber, further writing most likely forced confessions detailing their deceptions and fraudulent actions.

Star Chamber, from a British Gazette drawing in 1836

After passing a conveniently timed Parliamentary Act forbidding the foretelling of a monarch's death, a ploy Cromwell and King Henry would use again to trap those opposed to the King's supremacy, in January 1534, a bill of attainder for treason was filed against Elizabeth Barton, Holy Maid of Kent and thirteen of her supporters, among them Bishop John Fisher and Sir Thomas More.

With the exception of More, all others were condemned to imprisonment and forfeiture of all they owned to the Crown. After all, from a legal standpoint anyone arrested via attainder was guilty without trial and legally dead. Who needs worldly goods?

Elizabeth Barton, Holy Maid of Kent, and five priests who supported her paid the ultimate price on April 20, 1534. Taken from the Tower, they were all lashed tightly onto wooden planks, their wrists tied together as if praying. These wooden hurdles, hitched onto horses, were dragged five miles across London's streets to Tyburn.

The once acclaimed and universally beloved "superstar" Elizabeth Barton, Holy Maid of Kent, was the most fortunate of the group. After confessing to be a "poor wench without learning", she was hanged.

The five priests were then murdered in turn, the remaining men witnessing the death's of those killed before them. Condemned to a traitor's death, they were hanged until half-dead, revived and then their penises chopped off and stuffed in their mouths, their stomachs then cut open and their intestines tossed in a cauldron of boiling water. This not sufficient, their hearts were cut out and waved in their faces. Long dead by now, their heads were chopped off, parboiled and stuck on poles lining London Bridge.

Such was the cruelty of the 16th century, and such were the lengths the ruling regime would go to silence and force English Roman Catholicism's capitulation and bring down the Tudor Era's most revered "superstar" celebrity.

This 17th-Century Conspiracy May Explain the Oak Island Money Pit

It sounds pretty convincing&mdashand there's even some hard evidence to back it up.

Could this complicated theory involving a 17th century plot to overthrow the king of England be behind the Oak Island mystery? It sounds pretty convincing&mdashand there's even some hard evidence to back it up.

Anyone familiar with the History Channel series The Curse of Oak Island knows the mystery well. But for those who haven&rsquot yet heard the tale, buckle your seatbelts.

Oak Island is in Nova Scotia, and the mystery in question is a legend that there&rsquos big treasure buried there. Since the 19th century, explorers have tried to locate the loot. And some interesting artifacts have been unearthed. But the main treasure has never been found&mdashand remains a mystery even to these explorers. Theories say that the island could be home to a massive pirate treasure, the Holy Grail, Shakespearean manuscripts, or the Ark of the Covenant.

Not only is there a mystery, but there&rsquos also a curse, hence the name of the History Channel series. Legend says that seven men will die searching for the treasure before it is found. To date, six men have died.

Now, there&rsquos endless theories to what type of treasure could be on the island&mdashand how it got there. But The William Phips Theory has many convinced, with hard evidence supporting the claim. The theory was recently broken down by writer and history buff Hammerson Peters on his YouTube channel. The video sources much of its information from the book Oak Island and Its Lost Treasure, which first presented the convincing conspiracy.

The theory, as presented by the Peters, goes something like this: William Phips was a successful 17th century explorer with his expeditions funded by the English. When King James II came into power in 1685, the Catholic king was wildly unliked by the Protestant majority, including political leaders and aristocrats. Simply put, they wanted to overthrow him.

An enemy of King James II, who fled to Holland when the king came to power, convinced the King William III of the Netherlands, who was Protestant, to join forces with the English to overthrow King James II. All King William III needed money to fund the war.

Here&rsquos where the treasure&mdashand Phips&mdashcomes in. In a previous expedition funded by English aristocrats, Phips found a Spanish shipwreck loaded with treasure. He and his crew recovered about $4 million in today&rsquos currency on their first loot of the wreck. Upon his return to Englad, the rogue Protestants convinced Phips to go back with an increased crew from Holland and gain more treasure to fund the invasion. After all, Phips had his own problems with King James II, who wouldn&rsquot let Massachusetts self-govern even after Phips gifted him boatloads of treasure.

After looting the wrecked ship a second time, the crew from Holland sailed back to the Netherlands with silver coins to fund the invasion, which was successful in overthrowing King James II in 1688. But Phips and his crew went to hide the rest of the treasure for safe keeping on Oak Island. There, his crew dug the infamous Money Pit. Theory has it that while digging, an underground cavern gave way, flooding the pit with water&mdashand leaving the treasure in a precarious and unretrievable state.

Phips and his men sealed the Money Pit, and went to inform England of the big problem. Secret engineering squads were deployed to the island many times, but couldn&rsquot retrieve the treasure. By the 1750s, the British Crown decided if they couldn&rsquot have the treasure, no one could. The British then booby trapped the island, creating shafts and flood tunnels modern day explorers have since discovered. But the treasure still remains untouched.

Now, that&rsquos a pretty legit theory&mdashand modern-day discoveries on the island, many of which have actually been found on the The Curse of Oak Island series, back it up. There&rsquos the discovery of a 16th or 17th century pick axe, proven to be from England. Then there&rsquos several pieces of wood discovered in the series, all of which have been carbon dated from the late 1600s to the early 1700s. There&rsquos also the two human bones discovered in season 5, one of European dissent and one of Middle Eastern dissent, both carbon dated from the late 1600s to the mid 1700s. Not only that, but core samples from the Oak Island swamp indicate human activity took place somewhere between 1674 and 1700.

A full breakdown of the theory in substantial detail is available in Peters&rsquo YouTube video. But you have to admit, it sounds pretty convincing.

Eustace the Monk: one of medieval Europe’s unholiest holy men

He maimed, he murdered, he lied, he double-crossed. Eight centuries after Eustace the Monk died supporting a massive French invasion of England, Sean McGlynn profiles one of medieval Europe's unholiest holy men.

This competition is now closed

Published: October 8, 2020 at 12:43 pm

Eight hundred years ago, one of the most hated men in England met a grisly end. As the battle of Sandwich – fought off the Kent coast on 24 August 1217 between the English and French navies – reached its bloody conclusion, Eustace the Monk was on the deck of his ship, vigorously swinging an oar around him as he tried to fend off his English enemies. A contemporary writer describes how he “knocked down a good number… some had their arms broken, others their head smashed in… another had his collar bone shattered”. But Eustace’s luck was about to run out. Soon he was overwhelmed by his foes – and, after attempting to escape, he was dragged on deck and decapitated.

Eustace’s severed head was fixed on a spear and paraded around the southern ports of England to reassure their residents that this fearsome pirate was finally dead. The people celebrated his bloody demise long and lustily. But why? How had a former Benedictine monk become reviled for his lust for loot and violence? And what was a man who had once dedicated his life to the service of God doing throwing his weight behind a French invasion of England?

Eustace was born around 1170, son of Baudoin Busket, a lord of the county of Boulogne on the northern coast of France. Though Eustace started his early adult life as a knight, the call of the sea proved strong, and he soon mastered the skills of seamanship through extensive travels. According to The Romance of Eustace the Monk – a poem penned by an anonymous author who enthusiastically embellished fact with fiction – Eustace soon turned up at the Castilian city of Toledo. This was a notorious centre of black magic, where, we’re told, he learned the dark arts of necromancy in a cave. For the chroniclers, it was as if the devil himself had become Eustace’s mentor. But then something entirely unexpected happened: Eustace became a monk.

Farting, not fasting

We can’t be sure why Eustace chose to join the Benedictines at the monastery of St Samer near Boulogne. But one thing’s for sure: if ever anyone was ill-suited to the reflective life of this holy order, it was Eustace. No sooner had he joined the monastery than we’re told that he was performing “many devilish acts”. He encouraged the brothers to eat when they should have been fasting, curse “when they should have been reciting the office”, and he urged them to “fart in the cloister”. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t long before he left (or, more probably, was ejected from) the Benedictines. But from that moment on, his epithet was sealed: he would always be known as Eustace the Monk.

For all his capacity for mischief, Eustace clearly had some talent, for next he landed a job as seneschal (administrative officer) to the powerful Count of Boulogne, Renaud de Dammartin. But it seems that Eustace was soon up to his old tricks again as he was accused of financial impropriety. Fearing prison, Eustace fled and began a new career, this time as a bandit.

Taking to the forests around Boulogne, Eustace sustained himself through brigandage and a thirst for revenge against the count. Here the legend really takes off. Eustace and his men engaged in a series of outrageous escapades – robbery, lightning raids, dramatic escapes – as they pursued the former monk’s vendetta against the count.

There is very much a Robin Hood element to the tales told of Eustace, not least in the proliferation of disguises he employed. At one point in the Romance, he takes on the garb of a leper with a clapper (bell) to trick Count Renaud into giving him money as charity. He also, we’re told, bound up one of his legs to play the part of a one-legged beggar, again deceiving the count into handing money over – before promptly jumping onto one of the count’s horses and riding off “with his crutch hanging down”.

On another occasion, Eustace dresses up as a woman and approaches one of the count’s young knights. “Let me get on this horse and I will give you a f***,” he says. The knight is keen to pay for the indecent proposal, so Eustace entices him further, declaring: “I will teach you how to use your bum.” As the man lifts Eustace’s leg, Eustace “let out a fart”. Needless to say, this story ends with Eustace stealing the knight’s horse.

But there’s a dark side to these humorous tales. When Eustace captures five of the count’s men-at-arms, he cuts off the feet of four of them, telling the fifth to convey a message to the count. The knight does so and, as the chronicle wryly tells us, does “not forget his trotters”. Blacker still is the episode in which Eustace seizes one of the count’s spies – a young boy – and forces him to hang himself without even the opportunity to make his confession.

England’s cunning ally

By now, Eustace’s cunning and cruelty had earned him quite a reputation in the environs of Boulogne. Soon he would be making waves on the other side of English Channel too. For, by early 1206, he had started working for King John of England.

Eustace picked an opportune moment to ally himself with the English king, for John was in the middle of a bitter struggle to wrest the duchy of Normandy back from the French. By supporting John’s campaign, Eustace would propel himself from the forests of northern France onto the international arena.

John no doubt recognised Eustace’s maritime ability and, seeing the potential for a pirate to inflict havoc on French shipping in the Channel, gave him command of, according to one source, 30 galleys.

It wasn’t long before Eustace was using these vessels to devastating effect. His force of English, Flemish and French sailors seized Sark, one of the Channel Islands, and set up a pirate base, from where they launched a series of raids against the French seaports.

At first it seems that John and Eustace got on famously. Not only did the king grant Eustace land in Norfolk (and possibly a palace in London), he also turned a blind eye to the monk’s side-line in private profiteering. Eustace’s pirates terrorised ships of all nations in the Channel – and that included English ones. In doing so, he earned himself a notorious reputation in the ports and towns on England’s south coast – so much so that, if he wanted to land in England (to conduct business, or to visit his wife and daughter), he first had to gain a safe-conduct pass to do so.

But soon Eustace would be looking for new employment once again, because sometime between 1212 and 1214, he and John fell out. There are a number of potential reasons why their relationship hit the rocks. Money was possibly a factor. The chronicler known as the Anonymous of Béthune relates that, when Eustace failed to repay a debt of 20 marks to John, he and his wife were imprisoned. According to the Romance, the king had Eustace’s daughter, at the time John’s hostage, “burned, disfigured” and “killed”.

John’s perennial mistrust of those whom he deemed to have grown too powerful may also have contributed to the dispute. Perhaps the king was fearful of Eustace’s semi-independent position in the Channel Islands, and distrustful of his intentions. This would explain the king’s decision to order a naval assault on Sark, in which many of Eustace’s men were taken prisoner.

But the principal bone of contention between king and monk was probably Eustace’s old enemy Count Renaud of Boulogne. In 1212, the count decided to switch sides in the Anglo-French war and throw his support behind John. It appears that John welcomed him with open arms. Renaud’s lands were a huge boon to the king – assets well worth putting Eustace’s nose out of joint for.

Whatever the reason for John and Eustace’s contretemps, by early 1215 the ever-opportunistic Eustace had switched sides in the war and presented himself to the French court. Just as John had once been quick to realise the potential in employing Eustace’s talents against the French, so the French king, Philip Augustus, was keen to make use of Eustace’s knowledge of the Channel and his inside information on English military organisation. The Romance reports the first meeting between the two men: “You are not big, but small, yet you are so brave and bold,” Philip reportedly told his slippery new ally. “You know a great deal about guile and cunning and do not need a cat’s grease to help you.”

Eustace was appointed Philip’s admiral for the Channel, and now – with the war against England entering a dramatic new phase – embarked upon the most intense and spectacular military chapter of his career. In May 1216, Prince Louis, heir to the Capetian throne in France, invaded England, quickly seizing half the country and receiving the homage of up to two-thirds of England’s barons.

Eustace played a major role in the French invasion, ferrying troops and supplies across the Channel. In the spring of 1217, he was to prove his worth to the French campaign once more, dramatically breaking through an English blockade of the coastal town of Rye and rescuing Louis, who was trapped there.

Caught at sea

A few months later, Louis needed Eustace’s help once again. Having suffered a defeat at the battle of Lincoln in May 1217, the French prince found himself holed up in London, desperately needing the monk to provide the supplies and reinforcements he required to continue waging his campaign. Eustace set sail for England in August but, on the 24th, his fleet was intercepted and annihilated by the English at Sandwich – a defeat that would ultimately force Louis to return to France with his tail between his legs (for more on the battle, see our box, right).

According to the chronicler Roger of Wendover, when Eustace faced his end on the deck of his flagship, the last words he heard were: “Never again in this world, wicked traitor, shall you deceive anyone with your false promises.”

It was a fittingly bloody end to a violent life. Although the Romance focuses on his escapades as an outlaw, it was in his role as a pirate and an admiral that Eustace made his most telling impact on 13th-century Europe. It was certainly not in his role as a monk.

Dr Sean McGlynn is lecturer in history at Plymouth University. His next book is Medieval Generals (Pen and Sword) and he is planning a book on Eustace.

8 Letta the Doll

A quick Google image search of &lsquoReal Annabelle haunted doll&rsquo or &lsquoreal Robert the haunted doll&rsquo throws up the rather disappointing result of two, rather plain-looking kids&rsquo toys. Their reputation is what terrifies, as well as their ascension to the top of horror pop culture. Letta, on the other hand, looks utterly monstrous.

Legend has it that this awful looking thing was made for a little gypsy boy over 200 years ago. Unfortunately, (probably in a fit of blind terror) the boy drowned, his soul becoming trapped forever inside the creepiest looking doll ever made. What are the chances, eh? Letta now resides in Australia, going on tours around the land down under with its owner, Kerry Walton. [3]

Galileo, Telescopes and the Medici Court

In 1609 Galileo built his first telescope, improving upon a Dutch design. In January of 1610 he discovered four new “stars” orbiting Jupiter—the planet’s four largest moons. He quickly published a short treatise outlining his discoveries, “Siderius Nuncius” (“The Starry Messenger”), which also contained observations of the moon’s surface and descriptions of a multitude of new stars in the Milky Way. In an attempt to gain favor with the powerful grand duke of Tuscany, Cosimo II de Medici, he suggested Jupiter’s moons be called the “Medician Stars.”

“The Starry Messenger” made Galileo a celebrity in Italy. Cosimo II appointed him mathematician and philosopher to the Medicis, offering him a platform for proclaiming his theories and ridiculing his opponents.

Galileo’s observations contradicted the Aristotelian view of the universe, then widely accepted by both scientists and theologians. The moon’s rugged surface went against the idea of heavenly perfection, and the orbits of the Medician stars violated the geocentric notion that the heavens revolved around Earth.


The shroud is rectangular, measuring approximately 4.4 by 1.1 metres (14 ft 5 in × 3 ft 7 in). The cloth is woven in a three-to-one herringbone twill composed of flax fibrils. Its most distinctive characteristic is the faint, brownish image of a front and back view of a naked man with his hands folded across his groin. The two views are aligned along the midplane of the body and point in opposite directions. The front and back views of the head nearly meet at the middle of the cloth. [16]

The image in faint straw-yellow colour on the crown of the cloth fibres appears to be of a man with a beard, moustache, and shoulder-length hair parted in the middle. He is muscular and tall (various experts have measured him as from 1.70 to 1.88 m or 5 ft 7 in to 6 ft 2 in). [17] Reddish-brown stains are found on the cloth, correlating, according to proponents, with the wounds in the Biblical description of the crucifixion of Jesus. [18]

In May 1898 Italian photographer Secondo Pia was allowed to photograph the shroud. He took the first photograph of the shroud on 28 May 1898. In 1931, another photographer, Giuseppe Enrie, photographed the shroud and obtained results similar to Pia's. [19] In 1978, ultraviolet photographs were taken of the shroud. [20] [21]

The shroud was damaged in a fire in 1532 in the chapel in Chambery, France. There are some burn holes and scorched areas down both sides of the linen, caused by contact with molten silver during the fire that burned through it in places while it was folded. [22] Fourteen large triangular patches and eight smaller ones were sewn onto the cloth by Poor Clare nuns to repair the damage.

The first possible historical record of the Shroud of Turin dates from 1353 or 1357, [12] [23] and the first certain record (in Lirey, France) in 1390 when Bishop Pierre d'Arcis wrote a memorandum to Pope Clement VII (Avignon Obedience), stating that the shroud was a forgery and that the artist had confessed. [24] [25] Historical records seem to indicate that a shroud bearing an image of a crucified man existed in the small town of Lirey around the years 1353 to 1357 in the possession of a French Knight, Geoffroi de Charny, who died at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. [12]

Some images of the Pray Codex are claimed by some to include a representation of the shroud. However the image on the Pray Codex has crosses on what may be one side of the supposed shroud, an interlocking step pyramid pattern on the other, and no image of Jesus. Critics point out that it may not be a shroud at all, but rather a rectangular tombstone, as seen on other sacred images. [26] A crumpled cloth can be seen discarded on the coffin, and the text of the codex fails to mention any miraculous image on the codex shroud.

There are no definite historical records concerning the particular shroud currently at Turin Cathedral prior to the 14th century. A burial cloth, which some historians maintain was the Shroud, was owned by the Byzantine emperors but disappeared during the Sack of Constantinople in 1204. [24] Although there are numerous reports of Jesus' burial shroud, or an image of his head, of unknown origin, being venerated in various locations before the 14th century, there is no historical evidence that these refer to the shroud currently at Turin Cathedral. [27]

The history of the shroud from the 15th century is well recorded. In 1453 Margaret de Charny deeded the Shroud to the House of Savoy. In 1578 the shroud was transferred to Turin. Since the 17th century the shroud has been displayed (e.g. in the chapel built for that purpose by Guarino Guarini [29] ) and in the 19th century it was first photographed during a public exhibition.

In 1532, the shroud suffered damage from a fire in a chapel of Chambéry, capital of the Savoy region, where it was stored. A drop of molten silver from the reliquary produced a symmetrically placed mark through the layers of the folded cloth. Poor Clare Nuns attempted to repair this damage with patches. In 1578 Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy ordered the cloth to be brought from Chambéry to Turin and it has remained at Turin ever since. [30]

Repairs were made to the shroud in 1694 by Sebastian Valfrè to improve the repairs of the Poor Clare nuns. [31] Further repairs were made in 1868 by Princess Maria Clotilde of Savoy. The shroud remained the property of the House of Savoy until 1983, when it was given to the Holy See.

A fire, possibly caused by arson, threatened the shroud on 11 April 1997. [32] In 2002, the Holy See had the shroud restored. The cloth backing and thirty patches were removed, making it possible to photograph and scan the reverse side of the cloth, which had been hidden from view. A faint part-image of the body was found on the back of the shroud in 2004.

The Shroud was placed back on public display (the 18th time in its history) in Turin from 10 April to 23 May 2010 and according to Church officials, more than 2 million visitors came to see it. [33]

On Holy Saturday (30 March) 2013, images of the shroud were streamed on various websites as well as on television for the first time in 40 years. [34] [35] Roberto Gottardo of the diocese of Turin stated that for the first time ever they had released high definition images of the shroud that can be used on tablet computers and can be magnified to show details not visible to the naked eye. [34] As this rare exposition took place, Pope Francis issued a carefully worded statement which urged the faithful to contemplate the shroud with awe but, like his predecessors, he "stopped firmly short of asserting its authenticity". [36] [37]

The shroud was again placed on display in the cathedral in Turin from 19 April 2015 until 24 June 2015. There was no charge to view it, but an appointment was required. [38]

The Shroud has undergone several restorations and several steps have been taken to preserve it to avoid further damage and contamination. It is kept under laminated bulletproof glass in an airtight case. The temperature- and humidity-controlled case is filled with argon (99.5%) and oxygen (0.5%) to prevent chemical changes. The Shroud itself is kept on an aluminum support sliding on runners and stored flat within the case. [ citation needed ]

The Gospels of Matthew, [39] Mark, [40] and Luke [41] state that Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the body of Jesus in a piece of linen cloth and placed it in a new tomb. The Gospel of John [42] refers to strips of linen used by Joseph of Arimathea.

After the resurrection, the Gospel of John [43] states: "Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus' head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen." The Gospel of Luke [44] states: "Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves."

Although pieces said to be of burial cloths of Jesus are held by at least four churches in France and three in Italy, none has gathered as much religious following as the Shroud of Turin. [45] The religious beliefs and practices associated with the shroud predate historical and scientific discussions and have continued in the 21st century, although the Catholic Church has never passed judgment on its authenticity. [46] An example is the Holy Face Medal bearing the image from the shroud, worn by some Catholics. [47] Indeed, the Shroud of Turin is respected by Christians of several traditions, including Baptists, Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Orthodox, Pentecostals, and Presbyterians. [48] Several Lutheran parishes have hosted replicas of the Shroud of Turin, for didactic and devotional purposes. [49] [50]

Devotions Edit

Although the shroud image is currently associated with Catholic devotions to the Holy Face of Jesus, the devotions themselves predate Secondo Pia's 1898 photograph. Such devotions had been started in 1844 by the Carmelite nun Marie of St Peter (based on "pre-crucifixion" images associated with the Veil of Veronica) and promoted by Leo Dupont, also called the Apostle of the Holy Face. In 1851 Dupont formed the "Archconfraternity of the Holy Face" in Tours, France, well before Secondo Pia took the photograph of the shroud. [51]

Miraculous image Edit

The religious concept of the miraculous acheiropoieton (Greek: made without hands) has a long history in Christianity, going back to at least the 6th century. Among the most prominent portable early acheiropoieta are the Image of Camuliana and the Mandylion or Image of Edessa, both painted icons of Christ held in the Byzantine Empire and now generally regarded as lost or destroyed, as is the Hodegetria image of the Virgin Mary. [52] Other early images in Italy, all heavily and unfortunately restored, that have been revered as acheiropoieta now have relatively little following, as attention has focused on the Shroud.

Vatican position Edit

In 1389 the bishop of Troyes sent a memorial to Antipope Clement VII, declaring that the cloth had been "artificially painted in an ingenious way" and that "it was also proved by the artist who had painted it that it was made by human work, not miraculously produced". In 1390 Clement VII consequently issued four papal bulls, with which he allowed the exposition, but ordered to "say aloud, to put an end to all fraud, that the aforementioned representation is not the true Shroud of Our Lord Jesus Christ, but a painting or panel made to represent or imitate the Shroud ". [53] However, in 1506 Pope Julius II reversed this position and declared the Shroud to be authentic and authorized the public worship of it with its own mass and office. [54]

The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano covered the story of Secondo Pia's photograph of 28 May 1898 in its edition of 15 June 1898, but it did so with no comment and thereafter Church officials generally refrained from officially commenting on the photograph for almost half a century.

The first official association between the image on the Shroud and the Catholic Church was made in 1940 based on the formal request by Sister Maria Pierina De Micheli to the curia in Milan to obtain authorization to produce a medal with the image. The authorization was granted and the first medal with the image was offered to Pope Pius XII who approved the medal. The image was then used on what became known as the Holy Face Medal worn by many Catholics, initially as a means of protection during World War II. In 1958 Pope Pius XII approved of the image in association with the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus, and declared its feast to be celebrated every year the day before Ash Wednesday. [55] [56] Following the approval by Pope Pius XII, Catholic devotions to the Holy Face of Jesus have been almost exclusively associated with the image on the shroud.

In 1936, Pope Pius XII called the Shroud a "holy thing perhaps like nothing else", [3] and went on to approve of the devotion accorded to it as the Holy Face of Jesus. [57]

In 1998, Pope John Paul II called the Shroud a "distinguished relic" and "a mirror of the Gospel". [58] [59] His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, called it an "icon written with the blood of a whipped man, crowned with thorns, crucified and pierced on his right side". [3] In 2013, Pope Francis referred to it as an "icon of a man scourged and crucified". [3]

Other Christian denominations, such as Anglicans and Methodists, have also shown devotion to the Shroud of Turin. [48]

In 1983 the Shroud was given to the Holy See by the House of Savoy. [60] However, as with all relics of this kind, the Roman Catholic Church made no pronouncements on its authenticity. As with other approved Catholic devotions, the matter has been left to the personal decision of the faithful, as long as the Church does not issue a future notification to the contrary. In the Church's view, whether the cloth is authentic or not has no bearing whatsoever on the validity of what Jesus taught or on the saving power of his death and resurrection. [61]

Pope John Paul II stated in 1998 that: [62] "Since it is not a matter of faith, the Church has no specific competence to pronounce on these questions. She entrusts to scientists the task of continuing to investigate, so that satisfactory answers may be found to the questions connected with this Sheet." [63] Pope John Paul II showed himself to be deeply moved by the image of the Shroud and arranged for public showings in 1998 and 2000. In his address at the Turin Cathedral on Sunday 24 May 1998 (the occasion of the 100th year of Secondo Pia's 28 May 1898 photograph), he said: "The Shroud is an image of God's love as well as of human sin . The imprint left by the tortured body of the Crucified One, which attests to the tremendous human capacity for causing pain and death to one's fellow man, stands as an icon of the suffering of the innocent in every age." [64]

On 30 March 2013, as part of the Easter celebrations, there was an exposition of the shroud in the Cathedral of Turin. Pope Francis recorded a video message for the occasion, in which he described the image on the shroud as "this Icon of a man", and stated that "the Man of the Shroud invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth." [36] [37] In his carefully worded statement Pope Francis urged the faithful to contemplate the shroud with awe, but "stopped firmly short of asserting its authenticity". [37]

Pope Francis went on a pilgrimage to Turin on 21 June 2015, to pray before, venerate the Holy Shroud and honor St. John Bosco on the bicentenary of his birth. [65] [66] [67]

Sindonology (from the Greek σινδών—sindon, the word used in the Gospel of Mark [15:46] to describe the type of the burial cloth of Jesus) is the formal study of the Shroud. The Oxford English Dictionary cites the first use of this word in 1964: "The investigation . assumed the stature of a separate discipline and was given a name, sindonology," but also identifies the use of "sindonological" in 1950 and "sindonologist" in 1953. [69]

Secondo Pia's 1898 photographs of the shroud allowed the scientific community to begin to study it. A variety of scientific theories regarding the shroud have since been proposed, based on disciplines ranging from chemistry to biology and medical forensics to optical image analysis. The scientific approaches to the study of the Shroud fall into three groups: material analysis (both chemical and historical), biology and medical forensics and image analysis.

Early studies Edit

The first direct examination of the shroud by a scientific team was undertaken in 1969–1973 in order to advise on preservation of the shroud and determine specific testing methods. This led to the appointment of an 11-member Turin Commission to advise on the preservation of the relic and on specific testing. Five of the commission members were scientists, and preliminary studies of samples of the fabric were conducted in 1973. [12]

In 1976 physicist John P. Jackson, thermodynamicist Eric Jumper and photographer William Mottern used image analysis technologies developed in aerospace science for analyzing the images of the Shroud. In 1977 these three scientists and over thirty other experts in various fields formed the Shroud of Turin Research Project. In 1978 this group, often called STURP, was given direct access to the Shroud.

Also in 1978, independently from the STURP research, Giovanni Tamburelli obtained at CSELT a 3D-elaboration from the Shroud with higher resolution than Jumper and Mottern. A second result of Tamburelli was the electronic removal from the image of the blood that apparently covers the face. [70]

Tests for pigments Edit

In the 1970s a special eleven-member Turin Commission conducted several tests. Conventional and electron microscopic examination of the Shroud at that time revealed an absence of heterogeneous coloring material or pigment. [12] In 1979, Walter McCrone, upon analyzing the samples he was given by STURP, concluded that the image is actually made up of billions of submicrometre pigment particles. The only fibrils that had been made available for testing of the stains were those that remained affixed to custom-designed adhesive tape applied to thirty-two different sections of the image. [71]

Mark Anderson, who was working for McCrone, analyzed the Shroud samples. [72] In his book Ray Rogers states that Anderson, who was McCrone's Raman microscopy expert, concluded that the samples acted as organic material when he subjected them to the laser. [73] : 61

John Heller and Alan Adler examined the same samples and agreed with McCrone's result that the cloth contains iron oxide. However, they concluded, the exceptional purity of the chemical and comparisons with other ancient textiles showed that, while retting flax absorbs iron selectively, the iron itself was not the source of the image on the shroud. [18]

Radiocarbon dating Edit

After years of discussion, the Holy See permitted radiocarbon dating on portions of a swatch taken from a corner of the shroud. Independent tests in 1988 at the University of Oxford, the University of Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology concluded with 95% confidence that the shroud material dated to 1260–1390 AD. [74] This 13th- to 14th-century dating is much too recent for the shroud to have been associated with Jesus. The dating does on the other hand match the first appearance of the shroud in church history. [75] [76] This dating is also slightly more recent than that estimated by art historian W. S. A. Dale, who postulated on artistic grounds that the shroud is an 11th-century icon made for use in worship services. [77]

Some proponents for the authenticity of the shroud have attempted to discount the radiocarbon dating result by claiming that the sample may represent a medieval "invisible" repair fragment rather than the image-bearing cloth. [24] [78] [9] [6] [79] [80] [81] [82] However, all of the hypotheses used to challenge the radiocarbon dating have been scientifically refuted, [10] [5] including the medieval repair hypothesis, [6] [7] the bio-contamination hypothesis [9] and the carbon monoxide hypothesis. [10]

In recent years several statistical analyses have been conducted on the radiocarbon dating data, attempting to draw some conclusions about the reliability of the C14 dating from studying the data rather than studying the shroud itself. They have all concluded that the data shows a lack of homogeneity, which might be due to unidentified abnormalities in the fabric tested, or else might be due to differences in the pre-testing cleaning processes used by the different laboratories. The most recent analysis (2020) concludes that the stated date range needs to be adjusted by up to 88 years in order to properly meet the requirement of "95% confidence". [83] [84] [85] [86]

Material historical analysis Edit

Historical fabrics Edit

In 1998, shroud researcher Joe Nickell wrote that no examples of herringbone weave are known from the time of Jesus. The few samples of burial cloths that are known from the era are made using plain weave. [25] In 2000, fragments of a burial shroud from the 1st century were discovered in a tomb near Jerusalem, believed to have belonged to a Jewish high priest or member of the aristocracy. The shroud was composed of a simple two-way weave, unlike the complex herringbone twill of the Turin Shroud. Based on this discovery, the researchers stated that the Turin Shroud did not originate from Jesus-era Jerusalem. [87] [88] [89]

Biological and medical forensics Edit

Blood stains Edit

There are several reddish stains on the shroud suggesting blood, but it is uncertain whether these stains were produced at the same time as the image, or afterwards. [90] McCrone (see painting hypothesis) believed these as containing iron oxide, theorizing that its presence was likely due to simple pigment materials used in medieval times. [91]

Skeptics cite forensic blood tests whose results dispute the authenticity of the Shroud, and point to the possibility that the blood could belong to a person who handled the shroud, and that the apparent blood flows on the shroud are unrealistically neat. [92] [93] [94]

Flowers and pollen Edit

A study published in 2011 by professor Salvatore Lorusso of the University of Bologna and others subjected two photographs of the shroud to detailed modern digital image processing, one of them being a reproduction of the photographic negative taken by Giuseppe Enrie in 1931. They did not find any images of flowers or coins or anything else on either image. [95]

In 2015, Italian researchers Barcaccia et al. published a new study in Scientific Reports. They examined the human and non-human DNA found when the shroud and its backing cloth were vacuumed in 1977 and 1988. They found traces of 19 different plant taxa, including plants native to Mediterranean countries, Central Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Asia (China) and the Americas. Of the human mtDNA, sequences were found belonging to haplogroups that are typical of various ethnicities and geographic regions, including Europe, North and East Africa, the Middle East and India. A few non-plant and non-human sequences were also detected, including various birds and one ascribable to a marine worm common in the Northern Pacific Ocean, next to Canada. [96] After sequencing some DNA of pollen and dust found on the shroud, they confirmed that many people from many different places came in contact with the shroud. According to the scientists, "such diversity does not exclude a Medieval origin in Europe but it would be also compatible with the historic path followed by the Turin Shroud during its presumed journey from the Near East. Furthermore, the results raise the possibility of an Indian manufacture of the linen cloth." [96]

Anatomical forensics Edit

A number of studies on the anatomical consistency of the image on the shroud and the nature of the wounds on it have been performed, following the initial study by Yves Delage in 1902. [68] While Delage declared the image anatomically flawless, others have presented arguments to support both authenticity and forgery.

The analysis of a crucified Roman, discovered near Venice in 2007, shows heel wounds that are consistent with those found on Jehohanan but which are not consistent with wounds depicted on the shroud. Also, neither of the crucifixion victims known to archaeology show evidence of wrist wounds. [97]

Joe Nickell in 1983, and Gregory S. Paul in 2010, separately state that the proportions of the image are not realistic. Paul stated that the face and proportions of the shroud image are impossible, that the figure cannot represent that of an actual person and that the posture was inconsistent. They argued that the forehead on the shroud is too small and that the arms are too long and of different lengths and that the distance from the eyebrows to the top of the head is non-representative. They concluded that the features can be explained if the shroud is a work of a Gothic artist. [25] [98]

In 2018 an experimental Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (BPA) was performed to study the behaviour of blood flows from the wounds of a crucified person, and to compare this to the evidence on the Turin Shroud. The comparison between different tests demonstrated that the blood patterns on the forearms and on the back of the hand are not connected, and would have had to occur at different times, as a result of a very specific sequence of movements. In addition, the rivulets on the front of the image are not consistent with the lines on the lumbar area, even supposing there might have been different episodes of bleeding at different times. These inconsistencies suggest that the Turin linen was an artistic or "didactic" representation, rather than an authentic burial shroud. [99]

Image and text analysis Edit

Image analysis Edit

Both art-historical, digital image processing and analog techniques have been applied to the shroud images.

In 1976 scientists analysed a photograph of the shroud image using NASA imaging equipment, and found that the shroud image has the property of decoding into a 3-dimensional image. [100] Optical physicist and former STURP member John Dee German has noted that it is not difficult to make a photograph which has 3D qualities. If the object being photographed is lighted from the front, and a non-reflective "fog" of some sort exists between the camera and the object, then less light will reach and reflect back from the portions of the object that are farther from the lens, thus creating a contrast which is dependent on distance. [101]

The front image of the Turin Shroud, 1.95 m long, is not directly compatible with the back image, 2.02 m long. [102]

If Jesus' dead body actually produced the images on the shroud, one would expect the bodily areas touching the ground to be more distinct. In fact, Jesus' hands and face are depicted with great detail, while his buttocks and his navel are faintly outlined or invisible, a discrepancy explained with the artist's consideration of modesty. Also, Jesus' right arm and hand are abnormally elongated, allowing him to modestly cover his genital area, which is physically impossible for an ordinary dead body lying supine. No wrinkles or other irregularities distort the image, which is improbable if the cloth had covered the irregular form of a body. For comparison, see oshiguma the making of face-prints as an artform, in Japan. Furthermore, Jesus' physical appearance corresponds to Byzantine iconography. [103] [104] [105]

Hypotheses on image origin Edit

Painting Edit

The technique used for producing the image is, according to Walter McCrone, described in a book about medieval painting published in 1847 by Charles Lock Eastlake (Methods and Materials of Painting of the Great Schools and Masters). Eastlake describes in the chapter "Practice of Painting Generally During the XIVth Century" a special technique of painting on linen using tempera paint, which produces images with unusual transparent features—which McCrone compares to the image on the shroud. [106]

Acid pigmentation Edit

In 2009, Luigi Garlaschelli, professor of organic chemistry at the University of Pavia, stated that he had made a full size reproduction of the Shroud of Turin using only medieval technologies. Garlaschelli placed a linen sheet over a volunteer and then rubbed it with an acidic pigment. The shroud was then aged in an oven before being washed to remove the pigment. He then added blood stains, scorches and water stains to replicate the original. [107] Giulio Fanti, professor of mechanical and thermic measurements at the University of Padua, commented that "the technique itself seems unable to produce an image having the most critical Turin Shroud image characteristics". [108] [109]

Garlaschelli's reproduction was shown in a 2010 National Geographic documentary. Garlaschelli's technique included the bas-relief approach (described below) but only for the image of the face. The resultant image was visibly similar to the Turin Shroud, though lacking the uniformity and detail of the original. [110]

Medieval photography Edit

According to the art historian Nicholas Allen, the image on the shroud was formed by a photographic technique in the 13th century. [111] Allen maintains that techniques already available before the 14th century—e.g., as described in the Book of Optics, which was at just that time translated from Arabic to Latin—were sufficient to produce primitive photographs, and that people familiar with these techniques would have been able to produce an image as found on the shroud. To demonstrate this, he successfully produced photographic images similar to the shroud using only techniques and materials available at the time the shroud was supposedly made. He described his results in his PhD thesis, [112] in papers published in several science journals, [113] [114] and in a book. [115] Silver bromide is believed by some to have been used for making the Shroud of Turin as it is widely used in photographic films. [116]

Dust-transfer technique Edit

Scientists Emily Craig and Randall Bresee have attempted to recreate the likenesses of the shroud through the dust-transfer technique, which could have been done by medieval arts. They first did a carbon-dust drawing of a Jesus-like face (using collagen dust) on a newsprint made from wood pulp (which is similar to 13th- and 14th-century paper). They next placed the drawing on a table and covered it with a piece of linen. They then pressed the linen against the newsprint by firmly rubbing with the flat side of a wooden spoon. By doing this they managed to create a reddish-brown image with a lifelike positive likeness of a person, a three-dimensional image and no sign of brush strokes. [117]

Bas-relief Edit

In 1978, Joe Nickell noted that the Shroud image had a three-dimensional quality and thought its creation may have involved a sculpture of some type. He advanced the hypothesis that a medieval rubbing technique was used to explain the image, and set out to demonstrate this. He noted that while wrapping a cloth around a sculpture with normal contours would result in a distorted image, Nickell believed that wrapping a cloth over a bas-relief might result in an image like the one seen on the shroud, as it would eliminate wraparound distortions. For his demonstration, Nickell wrapped a wet cloth around a bas-relief sculpture and allowed it to dry. He then applied powdered pigment rather than wet paint (to prevent it soaking into the threads). The pigment was applied with a dauber, similar to making a rubbing from a gravestone. The result was an image with dark regions and light regions convincingly arranged. In a photo essay in Popular Photography magazine, Nickell demonstrated this technique step-by-step. [25] [118] [note 1] Other researchers later replicated this process.

In 2005, researcher Jacques di Costanzo constructed a bas-relief of a Jesus-like face and draped wet linen over it. After the linen dried, he dabbed it with a mixture of ferric oxide and gelatine. The result was an image similar to that of the face on the Shroud. The imprinted image turned out to be wash-resistant, impervious to temperatures of 250 °C (482 °F) and was undamaged by exposure to a range of harsh chemicals, including bisulphite which, without the gelatine, would normally have degraded ferric oxide to the compound ferrous oxide. [119]

Instead of painting, it has been suggested that the bas-relief could also be heated and used to scorch an image onto the cloth. However researcher Thibault Heimburger performed some experiments with the scorching of linen, and found that a scorch mark is only produced by direct contact with the hot object—thus producing an all-or-nothing discoloration with no graduation of color as is found in the shroud. [120]

Maillard reaction Edit

The Maillard reaction is a form of non-enzymatic browning involving an amino acid and a reducing sugar. The cellulose fibers of the shroud are coated with a thin carbohydrate layer of starch fractions, various sugars, and other impurities. The potential source for amines required for the reaction is a decomposing body, [73] : 100 and no signs of decomposition have been found on the Shroud. Rogers also notes that their tests revealed that there were no proteins or bodily fluids on the image areas. [73] : 38 Also, the image resolution and the uniform coloration of the linen resolution seem to be incompatible with a mechanism involving diffusion. [121]

Images of coins, flowers and writing Edit

Various people have claimed to have detected images of flowers on the shroud, as well as coins over the eyes of the face in the image, writing and other objects. [122] [123] [124] [125] [126] [127] [128] [129] [130] However a study published in 2011 by Lorusso and others subjected two photographs of the shroud to detailed modern digital image processing, one of them being a reproduction of the photographic negative taken by Giuseppe Enrie in 1931. They did not find any images of flowers or coins or writing or any other additional objects on the shroud in either photograph, they noted that the faint images were "only visible by incrementing the photographic contrast", and they concluded that these signs may be linked to protuberances in the yarn, and possibly also to the alteration and influence of the texture of the Enrie photographic negative during its development in 1931. [95] The use of coins to cover the eyes of the dead is not attested for 1st-century Palestine. The existence of the coin images is rejected by most scientists. [131]

Radiation processes Edit

Some proponents for the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin have argued that the image on the shroud was created by some form of radiation emission at the moment of resurrection. [132] [133] [134] However, STURP member Alan Adler has stated that this theory is not generally accepted as scientific, given that it runs counter to the laws of physics. [132] Raymond Rogers also criticized the theory, saying: "It is clear that a corona discharge (plasma) in air will cause easily observable changes in a linen sample. No such effects can be observed in image fibers from the Shroud of Turin. Corona discharges and/or plasmas made no contribution to image formation." [73] : 83

Holy Yet Cursed Medieval Well Unearthed in England - History

Herbert W. Armstrong
Good news 1957

A MERICA has strayed so far away from her God that she does not realize what blessings could be hers if she served Him, and what doom is soon to strike because she rejects Him, while professing to worship Him!

The nation today does not know that serving and OBEYING the ways of God is THE WAY, and the ONLY way, that leads to increasing and perpetual prosperity, peace, and happiness.

America does not know that God's Laws are for OUR GOOD, OUR PROTECTION. America's false shepherds teach the people that God's Laws are bad for us. Therefore these false preachers have led the nation into unhappiness, discontent, suffering, and headed it into chaos and toward DOOM!

The Great Apostasy

America does not know, because her false preachers of organized religion have not told her, that God made a SECOND COVENANT with our own national people Israel (the Jewish people we all understand are from Judah the American and British are racial ISRAEL) just prior to entrance into Palestine back in the days of Moses, 40 years AFTER, and IN ADDITION TO, the Covenant made with them at Mt. Sinai. And because we are breaking this covenant today, we are DOOMING our nation to DESTRUCTION!

Forty years after the making of the Old Covenant, just before Israel entered Palestine -- just before Moses' death -- God Almighty made a Second Covenant with our forefathers, THE TERMS OF WHICH ARE BEING CARRIED OUT ON OUR PEOPLE TODAY.

At that time, God said of our people: "O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments ALWAYS, THAT IT MIGHT BE WELL WITH THEM AND WITH THEIR CHILDREN FOREVER!" (Deut. 5:29).

Then God commanded Moses to send the people to their tents, while Moses alone stood before God . "and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them . Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Eternal God hath commanded you, THAT YE MAY LIVE, AND THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU" (Deut. 5:31-33).

"Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Eternal your God commanded to teach YOU, that ye might do them (chapter 6:1).

Thru the remainder of the Book of Deuteronomy are written the commandments and statutes and ways which would produce national and individual BLESSINGS, if followed, and national and individual CURSES if neglected, ignored, or disobeyed.

These are the ways of Moses which the original true Christian Church, in the days of the twelve apostles and of the apostle Paul, observed so carefully, as long as authentic New Testament history continues. After some 30 years of New Testament history, the record of the New Testament Church is almost a blank for almost a hundred years. When, at last, rays of historic light give us glimpses into the activities of the Church, we find a Church VASTLY CHANGED.

A Second Covenant

As the Gentiles came into the Church, especially in the second, third, and fourth generations, they brought with them their pagan customs, ways, and beliefs. Thus paganism began mixing into Christianity. Soon the pagans professing Christianity greatly outnumbered those who held fast to the original TRUTH of Jesus Christ, of the apostles, and of Paul.

By 148 A.D., for example, only the churches of Asia Minor, raised up by Paul, continued to keep the Passover. All others, pagan dominated, had substituted the pagan spring festival in honor of the goddess Easter.

By 198 A.D., only two churches publicly kept the Passover, and a hundred years later this and the other true New Testament Church practices were forbidden by law, and prevented by the state police!

And it is from THIS paganized apostasy that today's so-called "Christianity," of organized religion has degenerated. People born into today's perverted world, reared in churches PROFESSING to be true New Testament churches, ignorant of what happened in those early years, suppose, erroneously, that the churches of this day are the true churches of Jesus Christ! But PROPHECY says that long before our day they would turn away their ears from the TRUTH, and be turned to FABLES! This has happened.

Our land is filled with FALSE PREACHERS, today, just as Jesus foretold. Many of them, themselves, are deceived -- yes, many sincere, but DECEIVED!

So our people today do not know that the nation is suffering, and facing DOOM, because it is living in flagrant violation of A SECOND COVENANT which God made with our people forty years after the covenant at Sinai!

It fills most of the Book of Deuteronomy. First, as recorded in Deut. 6:3-5: "Hear, therefore, O Israel (today America, Britain, etc.) and observe to do it that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily . Hear, O Israel: The Eternal thy God is one Eternal. And thou shalt love the Eternal thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."

That is the FIRST and the most important precept, which America breaks today. No one will claim that our people as a nation loves the true God quite that much!

Space here does not, of course, permit quoting all the words of this Law and this Second Covenant STILL IN FORCE AND EFFECT TODAY! It fills most of the Book of Deuteronomy. Read it yourself. But we shall hit the high-spots, and quote a number of outstanding points.

"Beware, lest thou forget the Eternal . Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you" (6:12,14). America doesn't realize it or admit it, but AMERICA -- AND BRITAIN, TOO -- HAVE FORGOTTEN ISRAEL'S GOD!

America is deceived and doesn't know it. She is embracing a religion falsely called "Christianity" which in true fact embodies the essential beliefs, philosophies, customs, and ways of the religions of the pagan gods of Moses day!

Regarding other races and nationalities, "Thou shalt make no covenant with them . neither shalt thou make marriages with them" (Deut. 7:2-3). America made herself the ally of godless, heathen Russia. America is falling victim today to the Communist propaganda of MIXING THE RACES, contrary to God's commands! God Himself scattered the races at the tower of Babel. God decreed they shall remain SEGREGATED until the end of this world, and the coming of Christ.

Communism stands for amalgamation of the races, until there will be but one race again. They disseminate this propaganda among the Negroes of America. Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt has fallen under this delusion, and other public leaders have started a trend in America which makes segregation, which GOD COMMANDS, appear to be sinful and evil, and which makes a mixing of races, which GOD CONDEMNS, appear to be Christian and good! This has nothing to do with race superiority or racial DISCRIMINATION. God condemns racial discrimination, but COMMANDS racial segregation. There's a vast difference! Today people confuse the two as though they were the same!

Why We Have Diseases

"If ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them . thou shalt be blessed above all people . and the Eternal will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt upon thee" (Deut. 7:12,14-15).

"Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong . There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the Eternal your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all . Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse a blessing IF ye obey which I command you this day" (Deut. 11:8,25-28).

"Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man WHATSOEVER IS RIGHT IN HIS OWN EYES" (Deut. 12:8). America violates that command above all. By teaching that sin is doing what is contrary to your own conscience, the preachers lure the people AWAY from the laws and commands and ways of God, and teach them to do WHAT IS RIGHT IN THEIR OWN EYES. This, which God condemns, is made to appear to be righteousness, and Christian. But by condemning the laws of God, they make God's true ways appear to be evil! This is America's RELIGION today! AND AMERICA IS UNDER A DIVINE CURSE!

"Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing" (Deut. 14:3). Then follows the list of the clean and unclean meats. The list is also given in Lev. 11. Yes, this, too, was one of the CONDITIONS to good health, national peace, prosperity, and individual happiness and joy. But the preachers tell you that's all done away. They tell you to eat pork, ham, bacon, oysters, clams, crab, and all the other foul, filthy, unclean animals. And GOD'S LAW which is inexorable, takes its toll! The people are sickly and diseased, restless, discontented, full of fears and worries, unhappy and suffering, and now facing national captivity in war! The assurances of the false prophets CAN'T PREVENT THE CURSES hitting our people for disobedience!

Also in the laws of this covenant are the commands on TITHING. The FIRST tenth of every person's income belongs to God, not to the individual, and is to be paid to God's minister. Under the Old Covenant priesthood (Sinai) the tithes were paid to the Levites, then God's ministers. Under the New Covenant, the Priesthood being changed to the spiritual ministry of Jesus Christ, a CHANGE (not an abolishing) is made in the tithing law, so that today everyone is directed to pay God's tithe to the truly called ministers of Jesus Christ (Heb. 7). But in Deut. 14:22-27, is written instruction for a SECOND tithe, that is, a second tenth of income, to provide expense money for God's true people to attend God's festivals--the Passover and Pentecost in the Spring, and the Feast of Tabernacles in the Fall -- at whatever place GOD shall designate. Not one American out of a hundred thousand has ever so much as HEARD of this second tithe, today! Those who practice it are greatly blessed.

But the nation is under a divine CURSE!

Then there is yet a third tithe, once every three years, to be given to the widows and orphans as God's insurance program.

Other Laws Add Blessings

"At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release . Every creditor that lendeth unto his neighbor shall release it he shall not exact it of his neighbor, or of his brother, because it is the Eternal's release" (Deut. 15:1-2). Yes, these ways which God commanded seem rather STRANGE, don't they? People don't DREAM of the blessings they lose because they ignore them!

"Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto the Eternal thy God. Seven days (following Passover) shalt thou eat unleavened bread seven weeks (thereafter) shalt thou number unto thee . and thou shalt keep THE FEAST OF WEEKS (Pentecost) . and thou shalt REJOICE before the Eternal thy God . thou shalt observe the feast of Tabernacles seven days . . and thou shalt REJOICE in thy festival" (Deut. 16:1,3, 9-11, 13-14). People today don't even know what the month "Abib" is. It is God's first month of the year, but it is not the same as the pagan January. It begins in the spring, when new life is budding forth in nature. But the nation has deserted God's calendar, and accepted the pagan calendar. The people look on God's holy days as "Jewish holidays," have forsaken them which God enjoined FOREVER, and taken up, instead, with the pagan holidays.


Next, chapter 18, comes instruction against fortune-telling astrology, séances. Yet America and England are full of that today. In chapter 22:57 women are commanded not to wear clothing which pertains to men. But it's the STYLE to disobey God. In chapter 23:19, "you must never exact interest upon a loan from a fellow-Israelite (a fellow American or Britisher today) . From a foreigner you may exact interest." In chapter 24:14 is a command against employers underpaying employees, or holding back their wages, and in 25:13, a command for giving full measure, honest weight -- a full money's worth in any transaction.

What Is Prophesied to Befall Us!

Go thru this entire Book of instruction, BINDING ACCORDING TO ITS SPIRIT AND INTENT ON US TODAY, and you'll see our people do EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE in every case!

Once we see these things thru the mind of God, the sins and ways and customs of our people today are shocking -- APPALLING! That's how they appear to God. Our people are insolent, stiff-necked, rebellious, going their OWN way, and like dumb sheep going to the slaughter.

Finally, chapter 28, "IF ONLY you will listen carefully to what the Eternal your God orders, mindful to carry out all His commands which I enjoin upon you this day (40 years after Mt. Sinai covenant), then the Eternal your God will lift you HIGH ABOVE ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH, and all these blessings shall come upon you. You shall be blessed . foes who attack you the Eternal will rout before you they may assail you all together, but they shall fly before you in all directions. The Eternal will command you to be blessed in your barn and in every enterprise to which you put your hand. IF you obey the orders of the Eternal your God AND LIVE HIS LIFE, so that when all nations on earth see you are owned by the Eternal, they may stand in awe of you. The Eternal will make you OVERFLOW WITH PROSPERITY .

"BUT IF you will not listen to the voice of the Eternal God, "All these curses shall come upon you and pursue you . . till you are destroyed . these curses shall be a mark and portent UPON YOU AND YOUR DESCENDANTS FOR ALL TIME . He will put AN IRON YOKE upon your neck till you are destroyed." (Compare with Isa. 47:1-6, speaking of the DAUGHTER of ancient Babylon -- the European Fascists of TODAY putting a yoke on America's neck and Jer. 30:7-8, where that yoke is finally broken and removed by Christ at His second coming.) "The Eternal will bring on you a nation from the far ends of the earth, swooping like a vulture.

"The Eternal will inflict on you and your descendants [our people today] amazing plagues, severe plagues and prolonged, diseases sore and prolonged He will bring back upon you the diseases of Egypt [cancer, heart-failure, T.B., etc.] . You shall enjoy no ease . the Eternal will give you an anxious mind suspense, you shall be afraid [fear and worry] by night and by day, unable to have any confidence in life . " (Deut. 28:1 to the 29th chapter).

"SUCH WERE THE TERMS OF THE COMPACT which the Eternal ordered Moses to draw up with the Israelites in the land of Moab, IN ADDITION TO the Compact which He had made with them at Horeb" (Deut. 29:1).

Because Abraham did obey God, and keep His commandments, God STOOD BOUND to bring all these blessings upon our people. In Lev. 26 you will read how, thru Moses, God promises these blessings for Israel of that day IF they would follow His orders and live HIS WAY. But if they rebelled and refused, then they were to be driven into national captivity, and the promised blessings withheld 2520 years (seven times). That happened. The 2520 years expired shortly after 1800 A.D.

ALL THESE GREAT NATIONAL BLESSINGS CAME TO BRITAIN AND AMERICA, beginning 1803 A.D. We have been privileged to enjoy them, not because we have kept God's ways, but because Abraham did (Gen. 26:5). But now God has fulfilled His promise to Abraham.

And now, from here, America is to be blessed, or cursed ACCORDING TO HER OWN DEEDS. And America today is breaking every order of God's compact, and already beginning to suffer EVERY CURSE listed as a penalty. GOD SAVE AMERICA! God help America to WAKE UP, and COME TO HER SENSES!


How YOU Personally May Escape

The destruction will come from the place we least expect. Not Russia, but from Germany, and a united Europe -- the Europe we are helping today.

If you hear ministers DENYING this coming doom, assuring the people of PEACE, telling them to do that which is right in their own eyes, and that God's commands are done away, just read Jer. 23:16-17, 31-32, and Ezek. 34:1-10, and I John 2:4.

God help this nation to UNDERSTAND. But YOU -- you, personally, whose eyes God has opened -- if YOU will remain true to God, forsaking your own way and the ways and customs of the people, repenting, and seeking God thru Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, giving your very self to HIM, dedicating your life to Him, and to live by every word of the Bible -- You CAN DELIVER YOUR OWN SOUL FROM THE TRIBULATIONS AND THE PLAGUES TO COME!

Christ died to deliver you from the curse of the law! He paid the penalty of your sins in your stead. Now you can receive the BLESSINGS of the law if you continue in obedience!

"WATCH ye therefore" -- yes, WATCH world events fulfill prophecy -- "and PRAY ALWAYS, that ye may be accounted worthy to ESCAPE ALL THESE THINGS that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21:36). So warned AND PROMISED, Jesus Christ!

Are Werewolves Real?

The werewolf phenomenon may have a medical explanation. Take Peter the Wild Boy, for instance. In 1725, he was found wandering naked on all fours through a German forest. Many thought he was a werewolf or at least raised by wolves.

Peter ate with his hands and couldn’t speak. He was eventually adopted by the courts of King George I and King George II, and lived out his days as their “pet” in England.

Research has shown Peter likely had Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, a condition discovered in 1978 that causes lack of speech, seizures, distinct facial features, difficulty breathing and intellectual challenges.

Other medical conditions that may have encouraged werewolf-mania throughout history are:

  • lycanthropy (a rare, psychological condition that causes people to believe they’re changing into a wolf or other animal)
  • food poisoning
  • hypertrichosis (a rare, genetic disorder causing excessive hair growth)
  • rabies
  • hallucination, possibly caused by hallucinogenic herbs

Throughout the centuries, people have used werewolves and other mythic beasts to explain the unexplainable. In modern times, however, most believe werewolves are nothing more than pop culture horror icons, made famous thanks to Hollywood’s 1941 flick, The Wolf Man.

Still, werewolves have a cult following, werewolf sightings are reported each year, and werewolf legends will likely continue to haunt the dreams of people throughout the world.

Watch the video: London Series. Qu0026A σχετικά με τη ζωή στο Λονδίνο (July 2022).


  1. Gogal

    What entertaining message

  2. Manny

    Everything, I'm getting married on November 15. Congratulate me! Now I will rarely come to you.

  3. Chase

    It's a pity that I can't speak now - I'm late for the meeting. But I'll be free - I will definitely write what I think.

  4. Kedric

    Bravo, this brilliant phrase has to be precisely on purpose

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