M. Sue Benford and Joseph Marino


M. Sue Benford is a registered nurse, health care researcher, and Executive Director of a non-profit biomedical organization in Ohio. Her education is diverse, from the in-depth study of religion to pursuing scientific testing of unexplained paranormal phenomena, e.g., the Shroud of Turin, pyramid energies, alternative healing energies, crop circles, and Spontaneous Human Combustion.

Benford's experiences with psychic phenomena are responsible for the redirection of her life into the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment.  In 1997, she contacted Fr. Joseph Marino, a Benedictine Monk and Catholic Priest at a St. Louis Abbey. Their divinely inspired meeting, and subsequent joining as life partners, served a research liaison that is credited with uncovering vital information leading to the authentication of the Shroud and, quite possibly, proving the existence of the soul. 

       Benford' s newly-released book entitled STRONG WOMAN: Unshrouding the Secrets of the Soul is a real-life transformation story full of hope, strength, encouragement, and inspiration that culminates in the understanding that there is much more to our existence than meets the eye.  Visit Benford and Marino's website for more information: www.unshrouding.com.

Their work with pyramids is best explained in the excerpt below from Sue's book.

Excerpt from STRONG WOMAN: Unshrouding the Secrets of the Soul by M. Sue Benford.

On March 5, 2001, I built a pyramid using standard poster quality cardboard.  My miniature pyramid measured 10 cm high with sides 15.7 cm. and a four-sided base of 9.5 cm each.  I placed a dull Exacto-knife razor blade on top of fresh, unexposed Kodak Ultra-speed dental film. I decided that the dental film, securely encased in protective coverings, might produce the charged particle tracks that DelaWarr had recognized on his glass plates. I positioned the edge of the razor blade so that it was facing West. The pyramid itself was positioned so that the walls faced true North, South, East and West while the corners aligned with NW, SW, etc. 

On March 7, 2001, I added a 3 cm high cardboard box platform in the center of the pyramid.  I then placed the X-ray film and razor blade on top of this platform, which was positioned in the center of the pyramid. 

According to DelaWarr, ". . . an ordinary. . . photograph of a person would act as a 'link' for tuning-in to him, though not such a good link as a blood specimen or a sputum slide." (Day/DelaWarr, 1956;  66).  Would it be possible to use a Shroud of Turin photograph to get an actual image of the person on the cloth or maybe something else connected to that person? To test this, on March 8, 2001, I decided to build a second pyramid according to the same specs I used on 3/5/01.  This time, however, I included a simple 1 by 1.5 inch real looking Shroud-face photograph (the negative version) and laid it on top of clean, dry linen provided to me by the late Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) chemist, Al Adler.  I put the photograph face down on the cloth then put both (linen and Shroud picture) on top of a fresh, unexposed Kodak Ultra-speed dental film (white, smooth side of plastic film packet against the linen).  All three objects - film, linen and picture - were laid on top a 3 cm high cardboard box inside the pyramid.  The Shroud face was aligned to face West.  The pyramid was positioned so that the walls faced true North, South, East and West while the corners aligned with NW, SW, etc.  The final "ingredient" was to focus intense "thought" on the apparatus demanding that an image appear.

On March 15, 2001, I developed the film underneath the razor blade in the first pyramid.  It had been in the pyramid for 10 days and had been undisturbed for 8 of those days.  I followed the standard instructions for manual developing of dental X-rays, which were included on the packaging sent by Kodak.  Incredibly, I could see a faint image of the razor blade in the upper right hand portion of the film.  But even more incredibly, I also noticed the image of a strange "fetal" image in the bottom left corner of film.

Where did this "fetal" image come from? Did it possess any of the known characteristics of a fetus (either a real one or the etheric DelaWarr fetus)? I sent the image of the "fetus" to optical physicist, Robert Kersten, for his evaluation.  I also asked him to determine whether or not the image had any of the 3-D spatial encoding characteristics of the Shroud and the DelaWarr images. He commented that this image looked very similar to the one he had been shown from the DelaWarr book of the 3 mo. old fetus.  He also noted that this fetus differed from DelaWarr's in that it appeared to have an umbilical cord and placental sac attachment. More astounding, it also had spatial encoding characteristics.

Next, I developed the X-ray from pyramid 2 that was under the Shroud picture. The resultant image had an odd stream of "capillaries" throughout the film.  When fully fixed and dried, it looked like the outline of the Shroud picture but with no discernible features.  Even more interesting, the linen, which had also in the pyramid for a week, had two small yellowish-brown streaks!  The small darkened areas looked very similar to the discolored fibers on the Shroud itself.

I attempted to replicate the same experimental results with several pieces of linen but, no matter what, I could not get any additional discolorations on the cloth.  Dental X-rays left in the pyramids, however, consistently produced what appeared to be some kind of charged particle tracks - similar to what repeatedly appeared on DelaWarr's glass plates. 

In order to find out what particle made these tracks, I sent several X-rays to numerous leading particle track experts for identification. I purposed did not tell the scientists what I had done to create the tracks so that their reviews would be objective.  The "blinded" reviews I obtained came from experts at The Ohio State University Nuclear Engineering department, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Argonne Labs, and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).  Dr. Walter Fountain, of NASA writes, "The 'images' on these three X-ray film samples do not have characteristics consistent with nuclear track images in either a macroscopic view or a microscopic view that are familiar to our knowledge and experience. . . We are convinced, after detailed microscopic examinations . . .that the images referred to by you as 'dots' and 'tracks' were not caused by the passage of nuclear particles through the films." (via emails 5/9/01 and 5/10/01).  The OSU engineers, the Argonne staff and RIT, reached the same conclusions. The tracks I had captured were of an "unknown" origin.

An important observation was made by Dr. Richard Hailstone of RIT who noted, "I have not seen these 'dots' on films before.  Since they can be seen without magnification they are much larger than the specks we see in our samples where a transmission electron microscope operating at 7500-10,000 times magnification is needed. As they do not appear in the background we can presume they only appear when the film is exposed and processed." (via correspondence of 5/8/01)  Dr. Hailstone explained in a follow-up e-mail that, "If the dots are silver they should be bleached back to silver ions in a [fixing] bath." (via e-mail 5/11/01).  This implies that a chemical alteration occurred in the surface emulsion changing the chemical structure of the impacted silver compounds.

I took the X-rays to OSU for testing with their high-tech scanning electron microscopic (SEM). The results demonstrated that the exposed region (with dots and tracks) contained trace amounts of sulfur, magnesium and aluminum; whereas, the background region contained only the expected carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. Whatever caused the dots and tracks on the X-rays seems to have also created some differences in the basic chemistry of the emulsion. 

The experimental linen sample was taken to The Ohio State University MARC Lab on March 27, 2001 to determine the chemical nature of the discolored fibers using the SEM. What the tests showed was that in every instance where discoloration was found on the linen, what appeared to be crystalline calcium deposits also were present.  Mineralogists at OSU have since determined that these crystals were calcite (calcium carbonate). Amazingly, these calcite crystals are literally "growing" out of the fibers.  They have stems rooted in the surface of the fiber.  Dr. Jim Downs, an OSU mineralogist has hypothesized that a dehydration process was responsible for driving the calcium from solution and into a growth process as calcite.  This seems a likely explanation. 

Finding calcite in the experimental sample's discolored regions is particularly pertinent when considering the Shroud image. Data from the measurements taken of the Shroud in 1978, revealed nearly twice as much surface calcium in the image areas of the Shroud as in the "pristine" area of the cloth (Morris, Schwalbe, London, 1980; 44). Ironically, Shroud skeptic and microscopist, Dr. Walter McCrone, may provide some significant information about the existence of calcite crystals on the Shroud.  One of his SEM images demonstrated the same rooted calcite crystal on a Shroud fiber as on my experimental linen sample. The Shroud image was also known to be due to a dehydrating process of the surface starch impurities.

Numerous X-rays from both pyramids revealed the same characteristic dots and tracks as were noted in the previous experiments using both the Russian axion generator and the mental-intention only protocols.  These latter experiments included several people of varying ages (7 years to 46 years).  In one series of experiments, I asked each person to lightly touch a fresh dental X-ray to his or her forehead while holding a simple thought to "place something on film." They were to keep the thought in their mind for one minute. The experiment was repeated over a dozen times with similar results.  In each test, small areas of dots and tracks were produced on the developed films that matched the pyramid tracks.

On April 15, 2001, I contacted optical physicist and imaging expert, Dr. Bruce Maccabee, regarding the presence of the various images and tracks seen on the X-rays.  Dr. Maccabee was well known for his interpretations of presumed UFO photographs.  He was trained to discern the truly unique from the simple mistakes often leading people to wrong interpretations of their photographs. He responded that, "It seems to me you are reporting images that are similar to those created by Ted Serios many years ago. . . images created without use of optics, as in an ordinary camera . . . A film image is a film image.  How it got there is not necessarily determinable from the image itself. You are using dental film.  This is black and white, I believe.  It would appear that some sort of penetrating radiation is causing the chemical change in the film which allows for 'fixing' of an image (non-chemically changed film chemical is washed away).  Have you tried this with Polaroid film?  You can get single sheet pieces of film that are used in Polaroid camera back attachments to cameras . . .The film adapter has, built in, a pressure roller system that causes the development of the film to any light, you would NOT pull the thick paper cover from the film, but rather would put the target of interest on or near the film just as you do with the dental film. After the 'exposure' you would simply pull the film piece out of the holder and allow for development." (via email, 4/15/01) 

During the months of April and May 2001, I purchased a 545 Polaroid film holder that uses single 4 x 5 inch film and several packages of Polypan 53 type film.  I followed Dr. Maccabee's suggested protocol while using a original positive photograph of the Shroud face.  The face was placed on top of the film holder, with film inside, while I simply thought about putting the face on the film.  Numerous trials by myself produced nothing but, when I asked Joe, my boyfriend, to help me with the experiments, we were able to produce three faint face-like images.  One looked more like the regular Shroud face while one looked like a "Byzantine" coin image of Jesus. 

To get some crucial third-party validation, on May 16, 2001, I sent the most recognizable face photo to imaging specialist Brooks Corl, at the Polaroid corporate headquarters, without disclosing the methodology used or that the face used was the Shroud's.  In an e-mail response back to me  after his evaluation, he writes, "Yes, I guess I can see the trace of a 'face' you are referring to . . Considering even the fully developed image is mottled and not fully saturated, I think we should consider the possibility that your radiation source is either too weak or of a 'marginal' wavelength that it doesn't fully or easily penetrate the 4 x 5 film envelope." (via email, 5/16/01)

One day in late April, I pulled the original experimental linen sample from its secure plastic bag to observe the discolored fibers.  What I observed was that the remaining discolored spots on the front of the sample were now gone but, incredibly, a large "figure 8" discolored area had now materialized on the back of the small sample! The sample had been securely tucked away in total darkness since the testing at OSU a month earlier.  No one had touched it nor had it seen the light of day.  This discolored area looked even more like the discolored fibers on the Shroud than had the previous smaller streaks.  (Numerous tests on the discolored fibers, including a one-to-one comparison with actual Shroud image fibers by former STURP chemist, Dr. Ray Rogers, have showed a remarkable correlation between my sample and the Shroud image.  More details can be found in the book.)