Stephen Jones’ Take on the Garlaschelli Fake
Stephen Jones at The Shroud of Turin blog has offered us a compelling analysis of the dust up over the latest attempt to reproduce the Shroud of Turin and try to argue from that effort that the Shroud is a fake. This latest attempt is by Luigi Garlaschelli, a Researcher in Organic Chemistry, University of Pavia, Italy for a presentation to the Fifth World Skeptics Congress, 2004, Italy.
Italian scientist says he has reproduced the Shroud of Turin
Italian scientist reproduces Shroud of Turin, Reuters, Mon Oct 5, 2009 … ROME (Reuters) – An Italian scientist says he has
reproduced the Shroud of Turin, a feat that he says proves definitively that the linen some Christians revere as Jesus Christ’s burial cloth is a medieval fake. It is now over 20 years since a report in Nature, the world’s most prestigious scientific journal, declared that radiocarbon dating provided "conclusive evidence" that the Shroud was "mediaeval":
"The results of radiocarbon measurements at Arizona, Oxford and Zurich yield a calibrated calendar age range .. for the linen of the Shroud of Turin of AD 1260 – 1390 … These results therefore provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval." (Damon, 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, 337, p.614. My emphasis).
That there is still a need to "prove… definitively" that the Shroud is a medieval fake, is tacit acknowledgment by Shroud sceptics (i.e. true believers in the Shroud’s inauthenticity) that none of their previous `proofs’ of the Shroud being a fake hold water. And as we shall see, neither does this latest claim that the Shroud is a medieval fake hold water either.
The shroud, measuring 14 feet, 4 inches by 3 feet, 7 inches bears the image, eerily reversed like a photographic negative, of a crucified man some believers say is Christ. This is one of the tests that those who claim they have reproduced the Shroud must meet: it must be "reversed like a photographic negative." It is not enough to produce an image that is only superficially like the Shroud. It must be exactly like the Shroud in its uniquely important details – down to the microscopic level. I here predict that if this claimed reproduction of the Shroud is submitted for microscopic analysis, it will be shown to be unlike the Shroud, and therefore itself just a fake copy of the Shroud original.
But there is no need to even do that. There is a major difference between Garlaschelli’s description of how he made his shroud’s image (see below) and the image on the Shroud of Turin, that totally disqualifies Garlaschelli’s shroud from being a faithful and credible reproduction of the Shroud of Turin.
"We have shown that is possible to reproduce something which has the same characteristics as the Shroud," Luigi Garlaschelli,
who is due to illustrate the results at a conference on the para-normal this weekend in northern Italy, said on Monday. Note that Garlaschelli only claims vaguely that his alleged reproduction "has the same characteristics as the Shroud." Why doesn’t he say, "has the exact same characteristics as the Shroud"? Because he knows it doesn’t!
A professor of organic chemistry at the University of Pavia, Garlaschelli made available to Reuters the paper he will deliver and the accompanying comparative photographs. Superficially Garlaschelli’s photographs look very convincing. It may even be that he has produced the best reproduction of the Shroud yet. If it is, and it fails to withstand microscopic analysis (as I predict it will-if it is ever submitted for such testing, which I predict it won’t), that will be more evidence that the Shroud cannot be reproduced and therefore is the very burial sheet of Jesus, bearing the image of His crucified and resurrected body!
The Shroud of Turin shows the back and front of a bearded man with long hair, his arms crossed on his chest, while the entire cloth is marked by what appears to be rivulets of blood from wounds in the wrists, feet and side. The don’t just appear to be blood, they are blood!:
"Adler was asked how he could answer McCrone’s claim that there was no blood, but merely a mixture of red ocher and vermilion. Adler flashed on the screen the following table from our paper. Table 5 Tests confirming the presence of whole blood on the Shroud 1. High iron in blood areas by X-ray fluorescence 2. Indicative reflection spectra 3. Indicative microspectrophotometric transmission spectra 4. Chemical generation of characteristic porphyrin fluorescence 5. Positive hemochromogen tests 6. Positive cyanomethemoglobin tests 7. Positive detection of bile pigments 8. Positive demonstration of protein 9. Positive indication of albumin 10. Protease tests, leaving no residue 11. Positive immunological test for human albumin 12. Microscopic appearance as compared with appropriate controls 13. Forensic judgment of the appearance of the various wound and blood marks Then, after explaining each item briefly, Al said, `That means that the red stuff on the Shroud is emphatically, and without any reservation, nothing else but B-L-O-O-D!’" (Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," pp.215-216. Italics original).
Carbon dating tests by laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Tucson, Arizona in 1988 caused a sensation by dating it from between 1260 and 1390. That dating has to be wrong. For one thing (and there are many) the
Hungarian Pray manuscript (or codex) is dated 1192-95, or 65-68 years before 1260 the earliest possible radio- carbon date of the Shroud, yet it is obviously depicting the Shroud with its: 1. naked Jesus (otherwise unknown in the 12th century); 2. having his arms crossed in front; 3. hands with no thumbs; about
[Left: Burn holes on the Shroud of Turin depicted on the Pray codex of 1192-95: Daniel R. Porter]
to be covered by a shroud with 4. the same herringbone weave pattern; and 5. (the clincher) the same unique pattern of burn holes that are on the Shroud of Turin!
Sceptics said it was a hoax, possibly made to attract the profitable medieval pilgrimage business. If the "sceptics" were truly sceptical (and not just true believers in the Shroud’s inauthenticity) they would realise that it would take far less than the Shroud to make money in the gullible 14th century:
"Also is it not rather incredible that this unknown individual should have gone to so much trouble and effort to deceive in an age in which, as twentieth-century journalists have reminded us, a large proportion of the populace would have been very easily duped by a feather of the Archangel Gabriel or a phial of the last breath of St Joseph?" (Wilson, 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud," pp.58-60).
But scientists have thus far been at a loss to explain how the image was left on the cloth. Yes! But given that:
"The Shroud of Turin is now the most intensively studied artifact in the history of the world. Somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 scientific man-hours have been spent on it, with the best analytical tools available." (Heller, 1983, Ibid., p.219. My emphasis).
how can it be that "scientists have thus far been at a loss to explain how the image was left on the cloth"? How could an unknown medieval forger create only one work such that the advanced science of the 20-21st century has been "at a loss to explain how the image was left on the cloth"? That alone is proof (if one thinks about it) that no medieval (or any time) forger created the image on the Shroud.
Garlaschelli reproduced the full-sized shroud using materials and techniques that were available in the middle ages. That materials were available in the middle ages does not mean that someone then could have reproduced the Shroud. For starters it was not known the Shroud was a photographic negative until the end of the 19th century:
"The modern history of the Shroud might be said to have begun on May 8, 1898, when Secondo Pia was permitted to photograph the Shroud for the first time while it was being exhibited at the Cathedral in Turin. Pia was flabbergasted to find that his glass-plate photographic negative was turning out in the developing bath to show, in fact, a photographic positive image. The Shroud itself had somehow been stained in such a way that the body imprint on the cloth was a negative. This feature alone would seem to rule out the claim that the Shroud is an ancient or medieval forgery. What artist, centuries before, would have fabricated details that could only be discerned with the help of a nineteenth-century invention? And the photographic process, subsequently confirmed by the photographs taken by G. Enrie in 1931, brought out a wealth of hitherto concealed details." (Sullivan, B.M., 2005, "Reading the Shroud of Turin: How in fact was Jesus Christ laid in his tomb?," National Review, July 20, 1973, Reprinted March 24, 2005).
They placed a linen sheet flat over a volunteer and then rubbed it with a pigment containing traces of acid. Note the "rubbed it." That means the pigment and acid marks on Garlaschelli’s shroud’s image would have, like all known works of human art, directionality. But the Shroud of Turin has no directionality:
"Still further, the shroud image is nondirectional. Now if one is going to put paint on a cloth, one moves the hand from side to side. When one gets tired, one often starts moving the hand up and down. But even if one only moves from side to side all of the time, that is directionality. One cannot generally apply paint without directionality. If one uses a spray gun it still involves directionality. But there is no directionality on the shroud image." (Habermas, 1987, "Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?," p.119).
A mask was used for the face. … The pigment was then artificially
aged by heating the cloth in an oven and washing it, a process which removed it from the surface but left a fuzzy, half-tone image similar to that on the Shroud. He believes the pigment on the original Shroud faded naturally over the centuries. Note again "similar to" not "identical to"! And Garlaschelli’s "the pigment on the original Shroud faded" is a tacit admission by him that there is no pigment on the Shroud of Turin:
"We do not have to know how somebody could have painted it, but science is adept at finding paint when it is present. But first, if the scientists have come up with one major conclusion, it is that the shroud is not a known fake. There is no paint, dye, powder, or other foreign substance on the image fibrils that could account for the image. Microchemical analyses revealed no paints or pigments … A 1982 report from a team of scientists, released at a New London, Connecticut, meeting, states that, `No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found in the fibrils.’ [Press Release, The Shroud of Turin Research Project, 8 October 1981] So again, we could falsify the shroud if there was paint. But they have not found any … The shroud image does not appear to be painted at all." (Habermas, 1987, "Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?," p.119).
but there is pigment on his shroud. After all, what is Garlaschelli’s "fuzzy, half-tone image" if it is not a residue of the "pigment containing traces of acid" that he applied and then mostly washed off his shroud?
They then added blood stains, burn holes, scorches and water stains to achieve the final effect. Here is a major difference between Garlaschelli’s shroud and the Shroud of Turin. Garlaschelli "added blood stains" to his shroud after the image was created, but the blood on the Shroud of Turin is before its image, i.e. there is no image under its bloodstains (which fits the Shroud being Jesus’ and its image being imprinted by His resurrection):
"Our hypothetical artist obviously must have used blood – both pre-mortem and post-mortem. And he had to paint with serum albumin alongside the edges of the scourge marks. Since serum albumin is visible only under ultraviolet, not white light, he had to paint with an invisible medium. If an artist had painted the Shroud, the blood must have been put on after the images. We decided to check that point. We took some blood- and serum-covered fibrils from a body image area. If the images were there before the blood, and if we removed the blood, we could expect to see straw-yellow image fibers. We prepared a mixture of enzymes that digest blood and its proteins. When all the blood and protein were gone, the underlying fibrils were not straw-yellow; they were ordinary background fibrils. This was strong evidence that the blood had gone on before the images. It suggested that blood had protected the linen from the image-making process. Surely this was a weird way to paint a picture." (Heller, 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," pp.202-203).
Shroud experts Dr John Jackson and Dr. Keith Propp also made this criticism of Garlaschelli’s method, that on the Shroud of Turin, "the blood was on it first, then the body image came second" and "the blood contacted the shroud before the body":
"CNA spoke with Dr. John Jackson who runs the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado and is a physics lecturer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Jackson led a team of 30 researchers in 1978 who determined that the shroud was not painted, dyed or stained. He explained to CNA that based off the Reuters report as well as photos of Garlaschelli’s shroud on the internet, it appeared that it doesn’t exactly match the Shroud of Turin. Dr. Jackson first questioned the technique used by Garlaschelli’s team, taking issue with the method of adding blood after aging the cloth. Jackson explained that he has conducted `two independent observations that argue that the blood features on the shroud’ show `that the blood was on it first, then the body image came second.’ Dr. Keith Propp, a physicist who is also a colleague of Jackson’s, told CNA that while Garlaschelli’s shroud `does create an image that could’ve been done in medieval times,’ there are a many things that `are not consistent with what the actual shroud shows us.’ For example, he continued, we know that the blood contacted the shroud before the body `because there’s no image beneath the shroud.’ He added that this image pattern would be difficult to duplicate `because it would ruin the blood stains.’ " ("Experts question scientist’s claim of reproducing Shroud of Turin," Catholic News Agency, October 6, 2009).
Shroud photographer Barry Schwortz also noticed this major discrepancy (amongst others):
"It has been demonstrated scientifically that the bloodstains on the Shroud came from direct contact with a body and are all forensically accurate. It has also been shown that the bloodstains were on the Shroud BEFORE the image was formed since the blood and serum acted to inhibit the image formation mechanism. There is NO image under the blood and serum stains on the Shroud. However, to make this new `reproduction,’ the `blood’ was added (using a different pigment) AFTER the image was created. Obviously, it is much easier to add the blood to the image than to first create the blood stains and then create the forensically accurate image around them, which is exactly what a medieval forger would have had to do to duplicate the actual physical properties of the Shroud! Many of the bloodstains on the Shroud show a surrounding halo of serum stains that are ONLY visible with UV fluorescence photography. Also, the blood has been chemically analyzed and determined to include components of actual blood, NOT pigment."("Science by Press Release? An Editorial Response by Barrie Schwortz," Shroud.com, 7 October 2009. Emphasis original).
Excellent. Read the entire posting at The Shroud of Turin blog.