Message from Mr.Barrie Schwortz, President of STERA Inc (The self-styled “Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc”)


Late addition (July 2019)

Please forgive this postscript, correction, “prescript”,  correction, intrusion, added many years later – based on some 350 and more postings here and elsewhere.

That’s including some 7 years of my hands-on investigation into image-forming techniques, chosen to be credible with simple, indeed crude, medieval (14th century) technology etc etc.

(Oh, and yes, I accept the radiocarbon dating, despite it being restricted to a single non-random corner sample, making all the oh-so-dismissive, oh-so-derogatory statistics-based sniping totally irrelevant – a ranging shot being just that me dears- a single ranging shot, albeit subdivided into three for Arizona, Oxford and Zurich).
Sindonology (i.e. the “science” , read pseudoscience – of the so-called “Shroud ” of Turin) can be simply summed up. It’s a re-branding exercise, one designed to pretend that the prized Turin possession is not just J of A’s “fine linen”, described in the biblical account as used to transport a crucified body from cross to tomb.

Oh no, it goes further, much further, way way beyond the biblical account. How? By making out that it was the SAME linen as that described in the Gospel of John, deployed as final “burial clothes”. Thus the description “Shroud” for the Turin Linen, usually with the addition “burial shroud”. Why the elision of two different linens, deployed for entirely different purposes (transport first, then final interment)? 
Go figure! Key words to consider are: authentic relic v manufactured medieval icon; mystique, peaceful death-repose, unlimited opportunity for proposing new and ever more improbable image-formation mechanisms etc. How much easier it is to attach the label “Holy” to Shroud if seen as final burial clothes, in final at-peace repose – prior to Resurrection- as distinct from a means of temporary swaying side-to-side transport in an improvised makeshift stretcher !
As I say, a rebranding exercise (transport to final burial shroud) and a very smart and subtle one at that . Not for nothing did that angry local Bishop of Troyes suddenly refer to a “sleight of hand” after allegedly accepting it when first displayed. Seems the script was altered, or as some might say, tampered with! It might also explain why there were two Lirey badges, not just one. Entire books could be written on which of the two came first… I think I know which, with its allusion (?) to the Veil of Veronica… yes, there are alternative views (the face above “SUAIRE” a visual link to the face-only display of the Linen as the “Image of Edessa” or as that on the then current “Shroud” per se.


Face shown  (left) on mid- 14th century Machy Mould (recently discovered variant of the Lirey Pilgrim Badge) above the word “SUAIRE” (allegedly meaning “shroud”). Inset image on the right: one version among many of the fabled “Veil of Veronica” image.  I say the two are related, and deliberately so, but this is not the time or place to go into detail.

No, NOT  a resurrectional selfie, but instead a full size version of, wait for it,  the legendary VEIL OF VERONICA , product of inital body contact – no air gaps- between body and fabric, but with one important difference. The Turin image was intended to look more realistic, less artistic.

How? By displaying a negative tone-reversed image implying IMPRINT (unless, that is, you’re a modern day sindonologist, in which case ‘resurrectional proto-photographic selfie” becomes the preferred, nay, vigorously proferred explanation assisted by unrestrained imagination, creation of endless pseudoscience etc etc, with resort to laser beams, corona discharges, nuclear physics, elementary particles, earthquakes etc etc – the list is seemingly endless! 
Welcome to modern day sindonology. 
Personally, I prefer no-nonsense feet-on-the-ground hypothesis-testing science, aided by lashings of, wait for it, plain down-to-earth common sense.

Start of original posting:

Message from Mr. Barrie M. Schwortz,  Official Documenting Photographer for the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) and now President of STERA Inc (described as a non-profit-making organization)

“We do not permit our high resolution files to be published on the internet.”


Why not, Mr. Schwortz? What are you afraid of?  That folk might see things in those images that could dispel some assiduously-promoted ideas about the Shroud of Turin as constituting some kind of “enigma”  (see the last sentence of your “Mission Statement” below).

Oh, and why do we read that:  “…during the ensuing thirty years, Mr. Schwortz has accumulated an extensive collection of  Shroud-related materials. These include, in addition to his own items, the collections of five prominent  Shroud researchers, now deceased, who placed their materials under his direct care and control, plus other
collections pledged but not yet received. “?

Why should any Shroud-related material be under your “direct care and control”, Mr. Schwortz, or for that matter an organization called STERA Inc of which you are President, and to whom one is requested to contact personally  re “licensing and copyright” issues?

Correct me if I am mistaken, but I thought you were appointed as Official Photographer to the STURP team, the latter  a largely self-appointed consortium one gathers. You were  not appointed as Museum Curator in perpetuity, deciding who can and cannot access and/or publish crucial Shroud images and other material …

Your first duty to “education and research” , Mr.Schwortz, is to place all  STURP-related material into the public domain. Nobody should have to go cap in hand either to you or to STERA, Mr.Schwortz, far less pay any licensing or copyright fees, no matter how “modest” you may consider them (noting you are coy as to your scale of fees).

You cannot proselytize the notion of a  science-defying  “enigma” while hindering access to information that might throw light on authenticity. Nor can you reasonably use that website of yours  (www. as a shop window for your squirreled-away archives, while stating categorically:  “We do not permit our high resolution files to be published on the internet.”

The photographs that you took of the Shroud may well be your personal property, Mr.Schwortz (though the Shroud’s custodians might well take a different view if challenged).  But no STURP investigator, living or dead, has (or had) the right to gift you their research findings.  Those findings should all be in the public domain. It costs nothing to post them on the internet. Please do that NOW Mr.Schwortz.  STURP investigators were given PRIVILEGED access to the Shroud, not personal and private access.  Any data they collected ought not to be hoarded as if your own , or STERA Inc’s private property. I repeat: IT SHOULD ALL BE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.

Mission Statement: (my italics): STERA (Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc)
The Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc., is dedicated to publishing fact-based information about the Shroud of Turin through its award-winning website, In addition  to this extensive online resource, the Association maintains a vast collection of scientific and historical  material crucial to the continuing study of the Shroud.
The Website:, founded January 21, 1996, is the oldest, largest and most extensive  resource of Shroud of Turin information on the Internet. It is responsible for disseminating a wealth of  data about the Turin Shroud in the form of peer-reviewed articles, historical documents, and invaluable  photographs, including micro, x-ray, ultraviolet and other specialized forms of photography. In its more   than fifteen years of continuous online publication, the website has reached over ten million viewers, and  is used as a library resource by professional investigators of the Shroud, as well as by teachers, students and interested public from all over the world. publishes articles presenting differing,  often conflicting views regarding the authenticity and origin of the Shroud written by investigators of   various scientific and religious backgrounds. The publisher maintains an unbiased site open to all  factually supported views.

The Museum and Library: The President of the Association, photographer Barrie M. Schwortz, was a  member of the international Shroud of Turin Research Project which was granted unparalleled and   unimpeded access in 1978 to perform the first ever in-depth scientific examination of the cloth in its  history. During the ensuing thirty years, Mr. Schwortz has accumulated an extensive collection of  Shroud-related materials. These include, in addition to his own items, the collections of five prominent  Shroud researchers, now deceased, who placed their materials under his direct care and control, plus other
collections pledged but not yet received. A continually increasing portion of these materials is now  available indirectly to the public via the website, and directly to qualified researchers on request. As the  process of curating and archiving continues, more and more of these extensive materials are being made  accessible.
The Center: The Association looks forward to establishing a Center where Shroud-related historical  artifacts, documents and other visual materials will be displayed in a museum-like setting for the benefit  of the general public, and where direct, physical access to these various items will be provided to research  scholars. Establishment of the Center is intended to ensure that these invaluable scientific and historical materials remain intact as a collection and are preserved for use by future generations of Shroud scholars,
enabling the work of understanding enigmas of the Shroud to continue.

About Colin Berry

Retired science bod, previous research interests: phototherapy of neonatal jaundice, membrane influences on microsomal UDP-glucuronyltransferase, defective bilirubin and xenobiotic conjugation and hepatic excretion, dietary fibre and resistant starch.
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1 Response to Message from Mr.Barrie Schwortz, President of STERA Inc (The self-styled “Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc”)

  1. leejay1985 says:

    I have those images from Barrie Colin .. They are not very good tbh. You can hardly see the weave/weft. When you zoom in it just becomes a jarble of pixels. They are good in the sense that it shows the true coloration. But with optic technology being what it was in the 70’s. The images Barrie took are nowhere near as revealing as say Durantes images or the 2008 Haltadefinizione images.

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