Archive for the ‘Blood Studies’ Category

Why Doesn’t the Blood Create an Image?

July 13, 2014 80 comments

dry or wet, why not? Why not if teeth or tissue or hair does?

imageColin Berry asks an interesting question:

. . . The  reason for there being blood trickles down the hair is allegedly because the blood was imaged directly by a blotting paper effect prior to body imaging, so  ends up out of stereoregister with body image*. As I say, smart…

If that’s the case, then why isn’t there a double blood image, one set on the cheek,  as a subset of "body image" say, matching exactly the blood trails on the adjacent hair?

I repeat: if  dead protein like keratin, whether fibrous or not, and even mineralized tooth enamel can leave an image, then why not the distinctive cell debris and proteins of blood?  The  latter should remain in stereoregister with the fabric of the Shroud, right through the imaging process, regardless of where the "real blood" relocated due to relative shifting of corpse within Shroud.

It is a good question to ask of those who think the image was formed by a dematerializing body, perhaps even those who speak of any manner of radiation or energy creating the image: Why don’t we see a double-blood signature, one as real blood, one as ‘body image’, at least when out of stereoregister?

I like the question. It sort of supports my idea that the image, which I believe is somehow related to the Resurrection – an event I believe in – was not formed by a natural chemical reaction or by any form of energy that was the byproduct of a supernatural event. I know that sounds like I’m calling the image impossible. I know. But the Resurrection is impossible. The incarnation is impossible. Creatio ex nihilo is impossible. Right?

Scientists love unsolved mysteries. But they hate whacky people like me who suggest that the answers may be mysteries “all the way down,” at least before my morning coffee.

Stephen Hawking put it this way:

A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You’re very clever, young man, very clever," said the old lady. "But it’s tortoises all the way down!"

But then in The Grand Design, Hawking writes:

Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.

A spontaneous image? I like that. But what about the bloodstains? Is Colin on point with this; is it a valid objection to Jackson, et. al.? I like the question, so far. Now for coffee.

Everyone’s Own Facts

June 20, 2014 18 comments

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
– Daniel Patrick Moynihan

imageThe exception to that bit of wisdom from Senator Moynihan may be Shroud of Turin studies. It is not my intent to pick on Yannick Clément, in particular, but he just provided a useful illustration. Fact selection is a rampant problem when it comes to the shroud. We are almost compelled to ask, which facts are you using and why.  Yannick in a comment illustrates this:

Good enough for me means simply that I agree to consider something as a fact when two experts gets to the same conclusion while working independently of each other. One confirms the other in sum and that’s when we can take something for granted in science. Not before. In the case of the bloodstains on the Shroud, we can.

Just read the books published by Adler and Baima Bollone and you’ll see that the results of their analyses of the blood and serum stains (which was done with different tests, but which gave very similar results) was strong enough for both of them to claim that these stains are not made of something else than human blood and serum and even more, that these stains comes from a highly traumatized person, which is in total sync with the body image.

If that’s not good enough for some people, that’s good enough for me.

(bolded emphasis above is mine)

Is it good enough that John Jackson and his “team of research associates” and, separately, Alan Whanger found x-ray-like imaging on the shroud? Robert Siefker and Daniel Spicer have confirmed that:

There are images of teeth and bone structures associated with the face, as well indications of finger bones all the way to the wrist. . . . John Jackson and his team of research associates have observed these features and they are mutually confirmed by Whanger and other researchers.

The implication in the use of the word mutually is clear. They mean exclusively. Two experts have concluded the same thing. So, by Yannick’s definition, is this a fact?

Was it good enough that a consensus of experts at Valencia concluded that:

The body image is created by molecular change of linen fibres. There are also bloodstains. There is no body image beneath the bloodstains.

(bolded emphasis above is mine)

It took some squawking by other experts to get the above paragraph amended, something called by some the Valencia Compromise Parenthetical. It now reads on David Rolfe’s site:

The body image is created by molecular change of linen fibres. There are also bloodstains. There is no body image beneath the bloodstains. (For the avoidance of doubt, this characteristic does not exclude the possibility that the molecular change may have taken place in an impurity layer at the linen surface).

When is a fact a fact? Two people working independently and finding the same thing?  Really?

If we apply Yannick’s words, “that’s when we can take something for granted in science”  to other areas of science we can get ourselves in all sorts of trouble. Certainly, for a long time, experts working independently concluded that we lived in a static universe. James Jeans, Fred Hoyle and Albert Einstein, though they held different working views, arrived at similar steady-state conclusions. It would take others to dismantle the fact of a static universe. It would take Einstein admitting he was wrong.

Certainly in the field of evolution we can find independent experts concluding for irreducible complexity as evidence of a designer god. Can we say that working independently and concluding essentially the same thing, Michael Behe, Stuart Burgess, William A. Dembski, Phillip E. Johnson, and Stephen C. Meyer make Intelligent Design a fact? 

Note: We can even find two experts who will tell you James R. Schlesinger said what is attributed to Moynihan. And we can find two others that will tell you the opposite is true.

I don’t know what makes anything a fact when it comes to the Shroud of Turin.

Paper Chase: A Natural Stochastic Process May Explain the Coexistence of Bloodstains and an Image on the Shroud of Turin

June 14, 2014 15 comments

clip_image001The paper, THE MYSTERIOUS COEXISTENCE OF BLOODSTAINS AND BODY IMAGE ON THE SHROUD OF TURIN EXPLAINED BY A STOCHASTIC PROCESS by Giovanni Fazio, Yannick Clement and Giuseppe Mandaglio and published in Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry is now available online:

The presence of bloodstains certifies that a wounded human body has been enveloped in the Shroud of Turin and that most parts of this corpse came in direct contact with the cloth during the burial procedure. On the contrary, the ventral body image, by correlation between image intensity and cloth-body distance, shows codified information regarding the distance from which the cloth was versus the body at the time of the image formation. At first sight, this last statement seems to be impossible for a human corpse. Therefore, the coexistence of the bloodstains and the body imprints on both sides of the Shroud could be seen as unnatural, especially when we consider that a deterministic process as the UV radiation or the action of an electrostatic field (corona discharge), as well as manmade chemical and thermal treatment. These processes do not explain all the known characteristics of the body images (ventral and dorsal) because they do not distinguish the fibrils that must be yellowed from the ones that must retain the background colour. In this paper we prove that a natural stochastic process can offer a rational and scientific explanation that can account for all the known properties of these bloodstains and body images. However, another possible explanation that must be taken into account is a natural process involving the production of oxygen that yields a latent image.

Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry is an open access journal published by the University of the Aegean.

Garlaschelli and Borrini Study Flawed

April 7, 2014 47 comments

imagePaulette commented:

The study is flawed. Ever worked as an EMS? On sweaty, grimy, warm skin someone’s blood will run every which way, even in nearly horizontally rivulets. It flows. It gushes. It spurts. It mixes with sweat. I’ve been sprayed with blood from flailing limbs. Put a few drops of blood on your arm and jerk it hard to mimic a spasm. You can never reproduce violent outdoor traumatic blood flow on a body in pain with plastic tubing, air conditioning, calm and shower fresh skin.

Mike “Like”’d. So do I.

IEEE Shroud Conference Call for Papers Reminder

Authors should submit abstracts or draft manuscripts by May 9, 2014 in accordance with:


(and remember the call-for-papers deadline for the St. Louis Conference in April 15)

Concerning the absence of an image of the top of the head on the Shroud of Turin and the possible presence of blood in this area

March 5, 2014 277 comments

A Guest Posting by Yannick Clément

First, I would like to address the question of the possible presence of blood in the area located between the 2 head images on the Shroud. This has recently been asked by a blogger and it’s an interesting question. On that subject, here’s what can we find about that in the important study of the UV fluorescent photographs of the Shroud done by Miller and Pellicori of STURP:

“At C-D by 11-12 a SMUDGE RESEMBLING BLOOD is visible between the head images.” Note: This code comes from a graph they drew over the Shroud and this particular location is found between the 2 head images. I have looked at the Shroud Scope of Mario Latendresse to find this possible smudge of blood but I’m not sure at all where it is located. Some spots look a bit like bloodstains but, by experience, I know that those can well be weak scorches instead (those two items on the Shroud are showing a coloration under normal light that is nearly the same)… It would be nice to check the original UV fluorescent photos of Miller and Pellicori to locate this stain!

This is the ONLY possible bloodstain they detected (they don’t mention any other possible bloodstains in this particular area) and, when we read correctly their report, these researchers were not even sure that this stain was really composed of blood. In such a context, it is evident that it would need a chemical investigation by a blood expert through a sampling of this particular area to know if some blood is present there or not. I think the most prudent conclusion to draw from this is to assume that there is no confirmed bloodstain between the head images, at least for the moment.

On the other hand, if it could be confirm that this stain is composed of blood, this would probably be the only blood smudge that exist on the Shroud and I think it is truly possible that this could have happened at the time the body was placed inside the Shroud (probably in a central place inside the tomb) or during the transfer of the enshrouded body from a central place of the tomb to his final resting place (probably a stone bench carved inside a wall of the tomb). This would highly suggest that at least some blood clots were still partially humid at the time the body reached the tomb or were able to get re-humidified before the body reached the tomb…

Personally, I think Mario Latendresse’s hypothesis to explain the absence of a body image of the back of the head is still the most likely because it is the most simple and rational we can find, which is to assume that, at the moment of the image formation, the Shroud was loosely draped over the body (most probably without the use of linen strips to bind it around the body) and consequently, for this particular area of the top of the head, the cloth was not in direct-contact with the body at a distance that was far enough to prevent the formation of an image.

Such a hypothesis is consistent with Mr. Latendresse’s own conclusion versus the most probable configuration of the Shroud over the Shroud man’s body (link: and it is also consistent with a possible total absence of bloodstain in the area between the head images. And even if the potential smudge of blood detected by Miller and Pellicori would be confirmed one day as really being made of blood, the fact that such a stain could have well been caused by the enshrouding of the Shroud man or by the short transfer of his enshrouded body to a final resting place would not allow us to discard the hypothesis proposed by Mr. Latendresse.

And since Jackson et al. from STURP have conclude that no image was able to form at more than 3.7 cm from the body, then it is logical to assume that the cloth was probably located at 4 cm or more away from the top of the head. But here, we must be prudent since we still don’t know the exact mechanism that lead to the image formation and it is still possible that such a process was not able to work laterally (or if it was, it is possible that it was only working if there would have been a direct-contact between the cloth and the lateral parts of the body, including the top of the head).

Nevertheless, there is still one thing that bugs me a bit with this explanation and it is the probable position of the head, which seemed to have been bent toward the chest (which is the probable position it had at the time of the Shroud man’s death on the cross). Because of this, I think it’s a bit harder to believe the cloth would have been located away from the top of the head at the time of the image formation in the context of a shroud loosely draped over the body. To learn more about this, I think Mario Latendresse or someone else should try some cloth’s configuration experiments that would consider the most probable position of the Shroud man’s head, which appears to have been bent toward the chest, and see if some loose configuration of the cloth over such a head bent toward the chest can force it to be located at some distance from the top of the head (which is not necessarily 4 cm or more if the image formation process was mainly working in a radial way (mainly straight up and down from the body)). Note: In my opinion, I don’t think if that was the case, this would necessarily discard any natural process for image formation, especially if the energy transfer was not 100% radial.

To me, in the context of a bend head toward the chest, the only way Mario or someone else could obtain a configuration that would force the cloth to be located at some distance from the top of the head (not necessarily at 4 or more cm but at least not in direct-contact with it) is to assume the Shroud was somewhat stiff at the time of the burial of the Shroud man.

Note: Of course, this stiffness of the cloth would have been lost over the years, since it is pretty evident that the actual Shroud is not stiff at all. Such a lost could have been caused by the Shroud being kept in a damp place for some time at an unknown moment during its long history.

And you know what? This hypothesis of a stiff cloth at the time of the burial is truly possible! In fact, this had been proposed by German from STURP and was accepted as a true possibility by Rogers and Schwalbe in their STURP paper. Here what they wrote about that: “German proposed a model to account for this (note: the density gradation of the image) by postulating the Shroud as originally somewhat stiff either from pressing or possibly starching.”

Important note: If that was really the case and the original Shroud was fairly stiff because of starching (note: In Antiquity, starch was often put on the warp threads to protect them during the weaving of the cloth), this would have represented a very good context for the presence of a layer of starch (among other impurities) as proposed by Rogers later on to explain the chromophore of the image and the ultra-superficiality of the image. In fact, Rogers assumed that most of the thin layer of impurities was composed of starch that was left on the top surface of the cloth after his washing in saponaria and drying in open air, which was an operation done in Antiquity to remove most of the starch in order to render the cloth more supple. In the case of the Shroud, it is possible to assume that this washing operation would not have removed all the stiffness of the cloth after the weaving.

Of course, all I said here is hypothetical and theoretical. More researches need to be done in order to find what is the most probable answer for the lack of an image of the top of the head on the Shroud. Nevertheless, I hope that what I have exposed here can become the start of a new reflection for some people, especially those involved in Shroud research like Mario Latendresse.

In sum, the two important factors I would like those researchers to keep in mind (which are two things that are rarely consider, so it seem) when it’s time to evaluate what was the most probable configuration of the Shroud over the dead body are 1- The possibility that the original cloth was somewhat stiff. And 2- The most probable fact that the Shroud man’s head was bend toward the chest at the time of the image formation.

For me, those 2 important factors could well have played a huge role in the kind of image that have been formed in the two head regions (front and back), as well as possibly playing a huge role also to prevent the formation of an image of the top of the head. Of course, other potentially good solutions other than the one proposed by Mr. Latendresse the other day exists to explain this absence of an image there (like the idea of a second smaller cloth that could have been placed on top of the head of the Shroud man and inside the main Shroud during the burial procedure), but I still prefer the hypothesis of Mr. Latendresse, at least for the moment. Maybe some more researches on the most probable Shroud configuration at the time of the image formation could change my mind… Who knows? One thing’s for sure (and I’m sure Mr. Latendresse will agree with me because he already planed to do so): More research need to be done in that particular field of sindonology.

Last comment concerning those future researches: It would be nice to see, for the very first time, a researcher trying to determine what could have been the most likely configuration of the Shroud in the half portion of the cloth where we see the dorsal image. SUCH AN INVESTIGATION HAS NEVER BEEN DONE, NOT EVEN BY JACKSON AND HIS TEAM DURING THE STURP DAYS!

To my knowledge, the only researchers who have studied this question (but only in theory) are the Italian nuclear physicists Fazio and Mandaglio, who came to the conclusion in their paper entitled “Does an Iz correlation exists for the back-part of the Shroud body image?” (link: that “the attenuation effects are different in the formation of the back and front images.” In other words, for those 2 scientists, in the back region, the image formation was not able to colored fibers that were located as far as it was probably the case for the front side of the body (which have been estimated at 3.7 cm by Jackson and his team) and the reason why it is so is the possible presence of burial ointments in greater quantity, which would have created a sort of wall that would have prevent the image formation process (natural in their mind) to color fibers located at 3 or 4 cm from the body as it was probably the case on the front side of the body (if Jackson’s conclusion is correct). Personally, I disagree with such a conclusion (even if I really respect the work of those 2 scientists) because of the investigation done by Ray Rogers who conclude that there was probably no burial ointment present on the Shroud at the time of the image formation. I’ve done some personal exchange with Fazio about Rogers’ conclusion and he defend his conclusion by saying that it is possible that all the burial ointments that were present on the Shroud have been lost over time (note that this is the same hypothesis that was proposed by Pellicori back in the STURP days). Personally, I have a very hard time to buy such a hypothesis and prefer to think, like Rogers, that if no burial ointments have been found on the Shroud, it is most probably because none have been used during the burial of the Shroud man! If we use Occam’s razor principle with honesty, this is by far the most simple explanation.

And contrary to the conclusion of Fazio and Mandaglio, I think the most rational answer that exist to explain the difference in the maximal distance in which the image formation was able to color a fiber between the front and the back side is the probable fact that there was a smaller amount of energy (still undetermined) that have been transferred from the backside of the corpse to the back region of the cloth than what have been the case from the front side of the body to the front region of the Shroud. And if my idea could be scientifically confirmed one day, this would certainly represent a data that would push strongly in favor of an image formation that was natural and very mild (even milder under the body than what was the case over the body), especially if it involved a release by the corpse of post-mortem gases (Rogers) and/or of free radicals (Mills) and/or of lactic acid molecules (DeSalvo)… But of course, we’re not there yet.

Yannick Clément, Louiseville, Québec, Canada

Paper Chase: DNA Analysis and the Shroud of Turin: Development of a Shroud CODIS

January 21, 2014 3 comments

imageSTERA has just published another paper by Kelly Kearse, DNA Analysis and the Shroud of Turin: Development of a Shroud CODIS. This is Kelly’s fourth paper at This paper will certainly shape discussions about future research on the shroud.

Barrie Schwortz, in introducing the paper this morning on, writes:

once again, he has taken a very technical subject and made it interesting and understandable for everyone,”

Based so far on an early morning first read (the coffee is still brewing), I agree. More importantly, what do you think?


Since its development in the mid 1980s, DNA analysis has become a standard procedure utilized by law enforcement and legal systems in the forensic examination of human remains, and to help establish or exclude a connection to a crime scene. The recent progression of gene amplification and enrichment strategies, together with next generation sequencing techniques, have made the analysis of ancient and degraded DNA samples much more feasible than previously imagined. Human DNA has been isolated from the Shroud of Turin, although the results remain rather limited and controversial. Indeed, it is unknown if such DNA truly originates from blood cells present on the cloth or is the result of contamination from exogenous sources. Here, the potential and limitations of modern molecular biology techniques in the analysis of the Shroud of Turin are reviewed, including the evaluation of both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.


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