Monday, December 18, 2017

Obituary (1): Dr. Alan Duane Whanger (17 July 1930 - 21 October 2017)

© Stephen E. Jones[1]

This is part #1 of my promised obituary of Dr. Alan D. Whanger. Emphases are mine unless otherwise indicated. Because this post was going to be too long, I have split it into multiple parts. See part #2 and part #3. Below are links to the major headings in this part #1.

[About Whanger] [The Shroud] [1978 exposition] [Pantocrator, St. Catherine's, Sinai] [Polarized Image Overlay]

About Whanger [top] Alan D. Whanger was born on 17 July 1930 in Detroit, Michigan to Edgar and Catherine (Noel) Whanger, and died on 21 October 2017 at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina[2]. He is

[Right (enlarge): Dr Alan D. Whanger (1930- 2017)[3].]

survived by his wife of nearly 63 years, Mary (Whittle) Whanger, his two daughters, grand- children and great-grandchildren[4]. Whanger graduated as a doctor in 1956 from the Duke University School of Medicine[5]. After an internship and residency in General Surgery in Cleveland Ohio, and a diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in London, Alan and Mary served as missionaries with the United Methodist Church from 1961-1965 in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe[6]. In 1965

[Left: Mary and Allan Whanger in 2007[7].]

they returned to the United States, where Alan completed a residency in psychiatry at Duke from 1965-1968 and then a fellowship in geropsychiatry from 1968-1970[8]. He remained on the Duke faculty as a professor of psychiatry until his retirement in 1993[9].

The Shroud [top] Whanger's interest in the Shroud began in 1977 with his finding a book, "The Sacred Shroud," by Thomas Humber [Right[10].], in a local bookstore, with only a strange photograph on the cover[11]. Being an avid photographer Whanger bought the book and once home read it straight away[12].

1978 exposition [top] Up to then the Whangers knew nothing about the Shroud[13] and being Protestants they were sceptical of Catholic relics[14]. However, in the next year, 1978, there was an exposition of the Shroud in Turin, and they began to take note of the various news articles about the Shroud before, during and after the exposition[15]. They also followed the debates about the Shroud's authenticity, having no conviction, nor wish, either way in that regard, for the next year and a half[16].

Pantocrator, St. Catherine's, Sinai [top] The Whangers' interest in the Shroud was given new impetus in 1979 when a friend, James H. Charlesworth (1940-), then a Duke religion professor, returned from a research trip to St. Catherine's Monastery at Mt. Sinai with a photo-

[Left (enlarge): Sixth century (c.550) Christ Pantocrator from Saint Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, founded by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (r. 527–565), late in his reign, so it is believed this icon was donated by him at that time, i.e. c.550[17]. By my count this c.550 icon has at least eleven of the fifteen Vignon markings which are on the face of the Shroud [see 16Feb12].]

graph of a sixth century portrait of Jesus called the Christ Pantocrator[18]. A monk at the monastery told Charlesworth that the icon had been painted from the Shroud of Turin[19].

In 1981, Whanger developed his "Polarized Image Overlay" technique[20] (see next). The Whangers compared the face of this icon with the Shroud face and claimed they found "one hundred [and] seventy PC" (points of congruence-see part #2)[21]. In 1991 they revised this up to "well over 200 points of congruence"[22] and in 1998 they revised this up again to "over two hundred [and] fifty PC"[23].

Polarized Image Overlay [top] In 1979 Whanger began searching for a way to confirm if the monk's story (above) was correct, that the St Catherine's Pantocrator icon was painted from the Shroud[24]. Over the next two years, Whanger experimented using slide projectors to compare the face of Jesus on the St Catherine's Pantocrator icon with a Byzantine gold solidus coin minted in the reign of Byzantine Emperor

[Right (enlarge)[25]: A Justinian II gold solidus coin, cropped to show only the head and neck. By my count, Jesus' face on this 7th century Byzantine coin has at least twelve out of fifteen Vignon markings that are on the face of the Shroud [see 23Feb12]. See future below more on this coin.]

Justinian II (r. 685–695, 705–711)[26], super- imposed over a high quality Enrie 1931 negative photograph of the Shroud face[27]. In late 1981 Whanger decided to mask everything except the eye area of a photograph of the Justinian II gold solidus coin, and using two projectors superimposed that over a photograph of the eye area of the Shroud, and immediately he could see that both eye areas almost completely matched[28], but the projected images were blurred and made it difficult to determine which feature belongs to which image[29]. Then in December 1981

[Above (enlarge)[30]: Polarized Image Overlay: superimposing a projected polarized photograph of a coin over a projected polarized photograph of the Shroud face.]

Whanger hit on the idea of projecting the two images (icon or coin and the Shroud face), through polarizing filters at right angles to each other[31]. As Whanger explained:

"Polarizing filters are crystalline filters that render light rays essentially into one plane. When polarizing filters have their axes at right angles, almost all the light is blocked. Turning one of the filters to the same angle as the other lets a significant part of the light through. By viewing the projected images on a lenticular screen through a third polarizing filter which is rotated, one may see first one image and then the other in a highly controlled way so that accurate observations can be made on individual points to determine the similarity or dissimilarity"[32].

Continued in part #2 of this obituary of Dr. Alan D. Whanger.

1. This post is copyright. I grant permission to quote from any part of it (but not the whole post), provided it includes a reference citing my name, its subject heading, its date, and a hyperlink back to this page. [return]
2. "In Memory of Alan Duane Whanger," Cremation Society of the Carolinas, October 21, 2017. [return]
3. Ibid. [return]
4. Ibid. [return
5. Ibid; "About CSST," Council for Study of the Shroud of Turin, 2015. [return]
6. "In Memory of ...," 2017; "About CSST ...," 2015. [return]
7. Rogalski, J., 2007, "Fact or Forgery? Whangers Apply Test of Science to Shroud of Turin," DukeMed Alumni News, 10 November. [return]
8. "About CSST ...," 2015; "In Memory of ...," 2017. [return]
9. Ibid; Ibid. [return]
10. Humber, T., 1977, "The Sacred Shroud," [return]
11. Whanger, M. & Whanger, A.D., 1998a, "The Shroud of Turin: An Adventure of Discovery," Providence House Publishers: Franklin TN, p.3; Whanger, A. & Whanger, M., 1999, "The Real Date of the Shroud: The Visual Evidence," in Walsh, B., ed., 2000, "Proceedings of the 1999 Shroud of Turin International Research Conference, Richmond, Virginia," Magisterium Press: Glen Allen VA, pp.69-77, 70; Rogalski, 2007; "About CSST ...," 2015; "In Memory of ...," 2017. [return]
12. Whanger & Whanger, 1998a, p.3; Rogalski, 2007; "In Memory of ...," 2017. [return]
13. Rogalski, 2007. [return]
14. "About CSST ...," 2015. [return]
15. Whanger & Whanger, 1998a, p.12; Whanger & Whanger, 1999, p.70. [return]
16. Ibid. [return]
17. "Saint Catherine's Monastery," Wikipedia, 10 December 2017. [return]
18. Whanger, A.D. & M.W., "A Quantitative Optical Technique for Analyzing and Authenticating the Images on the Shroud of Turin," in Berard, A., ed., "History, Science, Theology and the Shroud," Symposium Proceedings, St. Louis Missouri, June 22-23, 1991, The Man in the Shroud Committee of Amarillo, Texas: Amarillo TX, 1991, pp.303-324, 306; Whanger & Whanger, 1998a, p.12; Whanger & Whanger, 1999, p.70; Rogalski, 2007. [return]
19. Whanger & Whanger, 1991, p.306; Whanger & Whanger, 1998a, p.12; Whanger & Whanger, 1999, p.70; Rogalski, 2007. [return]
20. Whanger, A.D., 1998b, "Knowing a Hawk from a Handsaw," BSTS Newsletter, No. 47, May/July; Rogalski, 2007; Whanger, A.D. & Whanger, M.W., 2008a, "Aspects of the Shroud in Botany and Related Art," in Fanti, G., ed., 2009, "The Shroud of Turin: Perspectives on a Multifaceted Enigma," Proceedings of the 2008 Columbus Ohio International Conference, August 14-17, 2008, Progetto Libreria: Padua, Italy, pp.140-144, 140. [return]
21. Whanger & Whanger, 1991, p.307; Rogalski, 2007; Whanger & Whanger, 2008a, p.140; Whanger & Whanger, 1998a, pp.17-20. [return]
22. Whanger & Whanger, 1991, p.307. [return]
23. Whanger, 1998b; Whanger & Whanger, 1999, p.71. [return]
24. Whanger & Whanger, 1998a, pp.13-14; Whanger, 1998b; Whanger & Whanger, 1999, p.70. [return]
25. Money Museum. Image no longer online. [return]
26. Whanger & Whanger, 1991, pp.308, 310; Whanger & Whanger, 1998a, p.16; Whanger & Whanger, 1999, p.70. [return]
27. Whanger & Whanger, 1998a, pp.8-9; Rogalski, 2007; Whanger & Whanger, 2008a, p.140. [return]
28. Whanger & Whanger, 1998a, p.16. [return]
29. Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, p.107; Whanger & Whanger, 1999, p.70. [return]
30. Whanger, A.D. & Whanger, M., 1985, "Polarized image overlay technique: a new image comparison method and its applications," Applied Optics, Vol. 24, No. 6, pp.766-772. [return]
31. Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson: Nashville TN, p.35; Whanger & Whanger, 1991, pp.306-307; Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, pp.42-42; Whanger, A.D., 1998c, "Radiation in the Formation of the Shroud Image - The Evidence," in Minor, M., Adler, A.D. & Piczek, I., eds., 2002, "The Shroud of Turin: Unraveling the Mystery: Proceedings of the 1998 Dallas Symposium," Alexander Books: Alexander NC, pp.184-189, p.185; Danin, A., Whanger, A.D., Baruch, U. & Whanger, M., 1999, "Flora of the Shroud of Turin," Missouri Botanical Garden Press: St. Louis MO, p.6; Ruffin, C.B., 1999, "The Shroud of Turin: The Most Up-To-Date Analysis of All the Facts Regarding the Church's Controversial Relic," Our Sunday Visitor: Huntington IN, p.106; Whanger & Whanger, 1999, p.71. [return]
32. Whanger & Whanger, 1991, pp.306-307. [return]

Posted: 18 December 2017. Updated: 15 August 2021.

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