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Hi everyone. My name is Fr. Michael Denk, and I’m so blessed and pleased to interview Ray Downing, who sent me a beautiful book. It’s called Christmas in Idaho. I was delighted, first of all, when I got this package. I got it when I had COVID, which brought me so much joy. When I opened the book, it was absolutely spectacular! It is such a beautiful book and would be a wonderful Christmas gift. I know it’s always hard to find people a Christmas gift, but as you’ll see as we talk through this book, how beautiful it is. I think you might be encouraged to have this Christmas gift.

So, Ray, tell us a little bit about your experience here. I also wanted to show that you won several awards for this, so congratulations. 

Ray Downing: The words came from many different places. These places have no interest in religious places that are specifically interested in religious works, so we are very gratified that we had a huge audience. You send the book to these people, and they read it. They have thousands of books, but they’re looking at it, you looked at it, you feel encouraged that they put value to what you did. It makes you feel happy. 

Fr. Michael: I want to start with, I was reading up after this, but your experience with the Shroud of Turin. I think it will be fascinating to our readers as we begin because anytime I ever saw the Shroud of Turin online, it didn’t, I didn’t see anything. It didn’t make sense to me. I finally saw a replica of it in the Holy Land. They have a replica of it there, and I could see Jesus so clearly when I saw it. It was amazing. Most people will never see the real Shroud of Turin because it’s being preserved. You got to see it for quite some time.

Ray Downing: Well, I saw it basically through very high-resolution digital images because that’s what I work with. They won’t let you near the Shroud itself. A couple of people were allowed to do it in 1978. Nobody’s had that kind of access since. The Vatican now owns it. A family probably owned it in Italy, and now the Vatican owns it. They’ve done testing on it themselves. Nothing’s been published, but I know they have tested it since that group of scientists went and did what the church did, the investigation of it.

Fr. Michael: So, you did the 3D imagery. I’m now, in hindsight, realizing that they had recreated a statue from that. You’re the one that did the 3D imagery and kind of composition of that.

Ray Downing: It was a natural fit because I’m a 3D artist. I work in 3D computer graphics. I have an Emmy for individual achievement and a craft, which I’m proud of because many people are doing it these days. What happened is I had done a show on Abraham Lincoln where I wanted to have Abraham Lincoln come to life, almost alive again, experience, you know, and come to life and walk around the screen. There was a documentary being made by the History Channel, so I said, “This is what I’ve got.” I showed them the first pictures of Abraham Lincoln since his assassination. Him walking down the street and going upstairs, that kind of thing. They loved it. They just came out of all the offices and said, “Look what this guy did!” So, what I had in mind was to do Jesus. This is my segue into that. After that show was a success and I got an Emmy, somebody from the History Channel, an executive, came over and said, “What else you got? What are you doing?” I said, “I’m working on Jesus.” And he was like, “What!” and I said, “Well, this is the Shroud of Turin, and it has 3D information encoded. It’s virtually the only image with that type of information, and I’m using that information to see if I can get a face associated with the Shroud of Turin. Now nobody knows if the Shroud of Turin is the actual burial cloth of Jesus or not, but that information is there. I could use that, interpolate it, and go as far as I could in making it look like a real person.” That was a major hit for the History Channel.

Continue reading and enjoy more of the interview here