Press Release: Bishop Michael Sheridan to Be Keynote Speaker St. Louis Shroud Conference

September 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Contact: Joe Marino, conference chairman, 614-477-1480; Mark Antonacci, Resurrection of the Shroud Foundation, 636-938-3708


imageST. LOUIS, Sept. 15, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — In Turin’s Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, a famous burial cloth is kept. On this burial shroud is the image of a man. The identity of the man in the Shroud and how his image was formed is one of the greatest mysteries of all time. Many believe this Shroud to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. Others think it an elaborate hoax. On October 9-12 in St. Louis, international experts will gather to present and discuss the latest discoveries on this famous burial cloth, the Shroud of Turin.

The conference, entitled "Shroud of Turin: The Controversial Intersection of Faith and Science," will be held at the Drury Plaza Hotel in Chesterfield, a western suburb of St. Louis. More than thirty Shroud experts, or sindonologists, from around the world will be presenting information. Among the group of distinguished speakers is The Most Reverend Michael John Sheridan, Bishop of the Diocese of Colorado Springs. His presentation, "Science and the Mysteries of the Shroud," is currently slated for Saturday, October 11.

The St. Louis Conference is the first Shroud Conference to be held in the United States since 2008. Conference chair and sindonologist Joe Marino says, "I’m particularly excited that we have many new presenters since the last conference." Speakers come from such diverse fields as archeology, physics, iconography and theology. Other special speakers include Bruno Barberis, Director of the International Center of Sindonology in Turin; artist Veronica Piraccini; and biologist and teacher Kelly Kearse.

The conference begins on Thursday evening, October 9, with a presentation from renowned Shroud lecturer, Russ Breault and concludes on Sunday morning October 12, with presentations from historian and attorney, Jack Markwardt. A complete list of speakers and a tentative program can be found at the conference website www.stlouisshroudconference.com.

The conference is sponsored by The Resurrection of the Shroud Foundation and the Salt River Production Group. Anyone with an interest in the Shroud is welcome to attend. Registration details can also be found on the website.

Now Available: Two ATSI Bari Papers on ENEA Frascati Website

September 15, 2014 3 comments

clip_image001The following two papers have been discovered:

1)  Shroud-like coloration, conservation, measures and image processing
A survey of experiments at ENEA Frascati
by Paolo Di Lazzaro Daniele Murra

2)  Le misure dei ricercatori dell’ENEA di Frascati sulla copia della Sindone di Arquata del Tronto (giugno 2014) A report about recent measurements on a copy of the Shroud found in Arquata del Tronto (Ascoli Piceno, Italy) by P. Di Lazzaro, A. Danielis, §, M. Guarneri, M. Missori, D. Murra, V. Piraccini, V. Spizzichino, S. Bollanti (this paper does not appear to be in the conference proceedings given to attendees)

Late Update: These two papers may also be found on the Paolo Di Lazzaro page at Academia.edu

Thank You, Joe Marino

September 14, 2014 Leave a comment

imageAs the St. Louis conference rapidly approaches, it is good to be reminded about a previous shroud conference that was largely, wonderfully well organized by the same person organizing St. Louis: Joe Marino. Barrie Schwortz nicely does this on the STERA Facebook page.

As you may already know, there is a major Shroud conference being held October 9 -12, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri, and we hope to see many of you there. The event is being organized by STERA, Inc. board member Joe Marino, who also served as organizer (with the late Sue Benford) of a highly successful conference held in Columbus, Ohio in 2008. Here is a link to the Ohio Shroud Conference page of our website where you will find links to abstracts, presentations, papers and the official conference website, in case you missed it: http://www.shroud.com/ohioconf.htm

A couple of fast links, vis-à-vis 2008, as well:

The 2008 Conference Papers: Titles, Authors and Links

2008 Keynote Address by Rex Morgan: THE SHROUD: AN ETERNAL CHALLENGE 

It takes a lot of work to organize a conference. Thanks, Joe.

Categories: St Louis 2014 Tags:

A Defense of Ray Rogers on the Image at the Thread and Fiber Level

September 14, 2014 24 comments

“ . . . Direct comparison between image and non-image parts of the Shroud
show exactly the same amounts and types of radiation damage in the two
types of areas. This suggests that the image was not produced by any
mechanism that involved heat, light, or ionizing radiation.”  — Raymond Rogers


A Guest Posting by Yannick Clément*

imageHello everybody!

I read the recent quote from Maria da Glóra Moreira on this blog, who said this concerning the Bari conference : “In our humble opinion there were actually few advances in Shroud investigation and one thing is for sure- EVEN IN LABORATORY EXPERIMENTS NAMELY WITH LASER TECHNOLOGY, CORONA DISCHARGE ETC. THE IMAGES OBTAINED ARE FAR FROM THE ORIGINAL.”

Comment: How can someone honest who have read carefully the conclusions of a chemist expert like Ray Rogers about the Shroud image can expect something else than this from these hypotheses that rely on a burst of intense energy, especially when it comes to compare their coloration results microscopically at fiber level?

In his writings about the Shroud, Rogers made it clear that all these processes will ALWAYS produce evident damages on the fibers’ surface, which are not looking at all like the surface of image fibers he analyzed (note: such a difference could probably be hard to detect for the eyes of someone who is not an expert in analytic chemistry like Rogers was). In sum, Rogers was clear about the fact that the image fibers from the Shroud do not presents the oxidative kind of damages these energetic processes ALWAYS caused. No matter if it’s located only in the primary cell wall of the fiber or not, these processes will ALWAYS cause damages that got a “signature look” that doesn’t look at all like the appearance of the colored fibers Rogers saw on the Shroud (and especially their surfaces), which got a signature look that strongly points in direction of a mild dehydration process happening at low temperature.

Here’s an important quote from Rogers paper “Scientific method applied to the Shroud of Turin – A Review” about that: “At high optical magnifications, up to 1000X, no coatings could be resolved on the surfaces of the image fibers; however, the surfaces appeared to be “corroded.” That observation suggests that a very thin coating of carbohydrate had been significantly dehydrated on the outer surfaces of the fibers.”

Here, it’s important to understand why Rogers put the word “corroded” between quotation marks… It’s because this term was used by Adler in a paper he wrote about the body image, which was not the best term that could have been used (remember that Adler, unlike Rogers, was not an expert in these types of surface damages). If we believe Rogers, the right term should have been “surface cracking”. Here’s another quote from Rogers’ book in which he explain this: “Surface cracking (“corrosion” as Adler called it) of the color can be seen, and flakes can be seen in the “ghosts” on the sampling tapes.” And here’s another quote taken from Rogers paper “Scientific method applied to the Shroud of Turin – A Review”, which explain why this kind of surface cracking point in direction of a dehydration process involving only a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities instead of an oxidation process of the fibers’ surfaces: “Dehydration causes shrinkage; therefore, any coating of carbohydrate impurities would “craze” during dehydration.”

And here’s another important quote coming from the 2010 paper “The Shroud of Turin from the viewpoint of the physical science” that was written by Emmanuel Carreira and which describe the kind of “damages” Rogers saw on the surface of the image fibers: “…the crystal structure of the flax image fibers was no more defective than non-image fibers.” And here’s a complementary comment by Rogers that come from another paper he wrote that is entitled “The Shroud of Turin: Radiation Effects, Aging and Image Formation”: “All parts of the Shroud are the same age, and all parts have been stored in the same location through the centuries. Therefore, all parts should have been exposed to the same kinds and amounts of (natural) radiation. Any additional radiation effects found in image areas would indicate excess radiation in that location. Direct comparison between image and non-image parts of the Shroud show exactly the same amounts and types of radiation damage in the two types of areas. This suggests that the image was not produced by any mechanism that involved heat, light, or ionizing radiation.”

So, what people needs to understand (and it’s very important when it comes to analyze any image formation hypothesis that is proposed to explain the Shroud image) is that, from the perspective of a real chemist expert like Rogers, the kind of damages all these high energy processes will ALWAYS causes on a fiber’ surface will NEVER look like the kind of surface cracking he saw on the image fibers he lifted himself from the Shroud’s surface in 1978. IN ROGERS’ MIND, THAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT SCIENTIFIC ARGUMENT AGAINST ALL THE IMAGE FORMATION HYPOTHESES INVOLVING A HIGH AMOUNT OF ENERGY AND/OR HEAT, LIKE CORONA DISCHARGE, BURST OF UV LIGHT, BURST OF PROTONS OR NEUTRONS AND EVEN A SCORCH. As he clearly said, the only radiation damages he could notice on image fibers was damages that were easily noticeable and which had been caused with time by natural radiations. And as he pointed out, these particular damages are exactly the same as what he saw on the surfaces of non-image fibers, which is a very important observation that many people tend to deny or forget in the pro-Shroud world, especially those in favor of an image formation process in direct link with the Resurrection of Christ…

In sum, for Rogers, all these energetic mechanisms should be discarded because the kind of damages they ALWAYS produced on the surface of a fiber is not the same as what he observed on image fibers taken from the Shroud, BUT ALSO because all these mechanisms are not able to produced a yellowing that would be restricted only to a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities, while leaving the underlying fiber completely free of any coloration and damages, as he was convinced in the case of the image fibers of the Shroud.

So, when we take into account ALL the pertinent data coming from the Shroud (including the very important fact that, as Rogers said, the crystal structure of the flax image fibers is no more defective than non-image fibers, the fact that the diimide reduction of color and the ghosts are leaving a colorless, clean and undamaged fiber behind, the banding effect that show a close correlation between darker threads and an image a bit darker and lighter threads and an image a bit lighter, the fact that starch and pectin deposits have been found on Shroud samples by Rogers and Adler, along with the fact that almost all the image color resides on the topmost fibers at the highest part of the weave, which correspond exactly to the results obtained by Rogers during his evaporation-concentration tests), I really think we should consider the scenario of a still undetermined low-temperature dehydration event that would have caused the yellowing of only a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities on a portion of the topmost fibers of the cloth (and which was most probably related to the biological state of the Shroud man’s corpse during the short time he stayed inside the cloth) as the most probable scenario to explain the Shroud image.

To conclude about Maria’s comment, I would say that unless someone can do coloration tests with linen samples made with the ancient method of manufacturing linen cloths (i.e. causing a concentration of carbohydrate impurities on the cloth’s top-surface) that would be submitted to various kinds of biological substances (i.e. various post-mortem gases, lactic acid , urea, etc.) maybe in association with heat and/or water vapor (which could have been released by the fresh corpse of the Shroud man) and also, why not, to various kinds of ancient known burial products (again, maybe in association with and/or water vapor), I’m afraid there will never be any coloration result that will ever come close to what we see on the Shroud, chemically and even physically speaking. And seriously, I think this has already been done concerning a possible release of post-mortem gases by the Shroud man’s corpse (at least in a preliminary way)!

Effectively, in his book about the Shroud, Rogers reports a coloration experiment he made with a linen sample made the old fashion way that he submitted to ammonia vapors for 10 minutes at room temperature and which he baked afterward to simulate ageing. Here’s what he wrote about the results he obtained: "Experimental manipulations of concentrations and one-dimensional migration of solutions, as in a large cloth, could produce the same front-to-back color separation and color density as observed on the Shroud. The fibers on the top-most surface are the most colored when observed under a microscope, and the color is a golden yellow similar to that on the Shroud (figure XI-5). The coating of Maillard products is too thin to be resolved with a light microscope, and it is all on the outside of the fibers. There is no coloration in the medullas: The color formed without scorching the cellulose (note from Yannick : when Rogers use the word "cellulose" in his writings, we must understand « the whole linen fiber » and in this particular case, Rogers is meaning that the color he obtained did not affected the structure of the fiber in any noticeable way). There is very little color on fibers from the middle of the back surface (figure XI-6). The color-producing saccharides had concentrated on the evaporating surface. Water-stained image areas on the Shroud showed that image color does not dissolve or migrate in water. Maillard products are not water soluble, and they do not move when wetted. As a peripheral, non-scientific comment, several Shroud researchers have wondered why there is no mention of an image on the "cloths" reportedly found in Jesus’ tomb. Assuming historical validity in the accounts, such a situation could be explained by the delay in the development of the Maillard reactions’ colors at moderate temperatures. No miracle would be required."

Personally, I believe this is the closest coloration result on linen that any researcher ever was able to produce at thread and fiber level. Of course, we’re not talking here of any kind of close reproduction of a body image on linen like the one on the Shroud (in fact, that was not at all Rogers’ goal when he made this experiment), but “only” of a close reproduction of the main characteristics of the image color at thread and fiber level, particularly when it comes to the extreme superficiality of the color and it’s concentration on the topmost fibers of the cloth at the highest part of the weave (which was pretty much what Rogers expected to obtain from his theoretical reasoning concerning what could happen when post-mortem gases come in contact with carbohydrate impurities). But in the end, what’s very telling is how quiet the reactions have been in the pro-Shroud world concerning this particular coloration result obtained by Rogers! And when I see all the publicity that was made around Di Lazzaro’s results with UV lasers (which were definitely DIFFERENT than what Rogers saw on his Shroud samples, no doubt about that) in comparison to this very interesting result obtained by Rogers (which is quite similar to what he observed on his Shroud samples and which would deserve to be done again by another researcher in order to confirm Rogers’ observations), that makes me wonder what’s going on in this pro-Shroud world…

Yannick Clément, independent Shroud researcher, Louiseville, Québec, Canada

Read more…

Mystery is never ever proof of anything

September 13, 2014 11 comments

imageThis morning, as my mind wandered while I walked the dog, I was reminded of something in another blog – as it turns out –  more than four years ago; Miracles, Mystery and Science in the Lewis Crusade blog. John C. Hathaway, the writer of that blog had found that I had written:

Mystery is unavoidable. For instance the images [on the shroud] are a mystery. And mystery can be seductive. If we are not careful, unanswered questions can lead to god-of-the-gaps thinking. All too easily some of us who are religious can be lulled into thinking that because something lacks an explanation it must be miraculous. Such thinking is bad science, bad theology and bad philosophy. Mystery can point us towards common sense. Mystery can challenge us to find answers. But it is never ever proof of anything.

He had responded thus:

This got me to thinking.  We often make a big deal about proving “science can’t explain it” when we talk of miracles.

Yet C. S. Lewis argues in Miracles that most miracles are really a “speeding up” of nature, not a violation of it.  God made the laws of Nature, and He doesn’t arbitrarily break His own rules.

I’ve always been a big fan of Lewis. But I’ve never really bought into this. How do miracles and the laws of Nature relate?

I guess I still believe in miracles that are miracles. And I believe that maybe there are mysteries that must always be mysteries. It needs more thought. Unfortunately, the dog was ready to go home. He is the boss.

Surprising Paper out of Bari: Plant DNA Studies on the Shroud of Turin

September 12, 2014 18 comments

imageAt Bari, quite a few people were surprised by a paper that was not in the final program (as published on the website) and not included in the proceedings of the conference given to attendees. The three-page paper was “Uncovering the Sources of DNA in the Turin Shroud” by G. Barcaccia, G. Galia, A. Achilli, A. Olivieri, A. Torroni and G. Fanti.

I will seek out a link or try to get permission to include the paper in this blog so that everyone can read it. In the meantime, here is the concluding paragraph sent to me me by two different attendees:

In conclusion, results from this study are consistent with the presence of several plant species according to cpDNA barcodes and distinct human mtDNA haplogroups. Overall DNA data were compared with historical information to verify whether the geographic areas of origin and distribution of land plant species (embryophytes) and human mitochondrial haplogroups are coherent with the proposed temporal and spatial paths of the Turin Shroud. Our experimental findings and additional clues pose a further difficulty to those who postulate a central European origin and a historical interval corresponding to the Middle Ages of the Relic.

from, as explained earlier in the paper:

… pollen grains, cell debris and other minuscule organic specimens, such as plant-derived fibers and blood-like clots found into the dusts sampled in the Turin Shroud by STURP Members. In particular, the dust particles analyzed in this study belong to different filters of the back of the Turin Shroud, also corresponding to the areas face, hands, buttocks and feet.

A Reason to NOT DO More Scientific Testing on the Shroud

September 11, 2014 21 comments

imageHugh Farey writes in another thread, A Report on the Bari Conference:

Bishop Marcello Sanchez Sorondo [pictured], the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences emailed me with these words:

The opinion of the PAS is that in order to do something scientific, another test should be carried out but since the institutions that carry out these tests are rather anticlerical, the PAS currently thinks that it would not be prudent to reopen the matter until other scientific identification systems are devised.

Although not in any sense an official statement of policy, it does suggest that at present the Vatican does indeed lack confidence in scientists’ open-mindedness, if not their expertise.

I have taken the liberty of reformatting and emphasizing part of Hugh’s comment.

Here is a Wikipedia entry for Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo.

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