imageYannick Clément, in a very long winded comment repeated below, does have a point. Well several. But for your clarification, as you read it, I did talk with Barrie Schwortz yesterday. I can confirm that the experiment with the pig was not his idea and not his experiment. He was thrust into the situation, unaware, during the production of the documentary. He offered his comments and the rest was a matter of creative editing. As Barrie writes:

Watch for the next update on (due at the end of this month) for an article titled, “Behind the Scenes of a New Smithsonian Channel Shroud Documentary” in which I will give some details on the techniques the producers used for creating the program.

And now for Yannick’s comment:

After having seen the TV program, I have some good comments to make :

1- In the program, there are two huge historical mistakes : 1- The program seem to suggest that Geoffroy de Charny was some kind of an obscure knight when he became in possession of the Shroud, which is totally false. In fact, de Charny was one of the leading knight of all the kingdom of France when he build the Lirey church. And 2- The program tell us that de Charny claimed he get the Shroud during a crusade he made, which is also totally false. In fact, de Charny NEVER SAID A WORD about how and when he became in possession of the Shroud. It’s also very important to understand that de Charny never participate in the 4th crusade, which saw the Latin crusaders making the sack of Constantinople. This terrible event, which most probably lead to the transfer of the Shroud from that city to Europe, happened a century before de Charny’s time. The only crusade in which Geoffroy de Charny participated is the Smyrna crusade in 1346 and it’s highly improbable that he could have come in possession of the Shroud at that occasion, no matter what Ian Wilson and other “historians” can think.


2- Once again (history always seem to repeats itself), Garlaschelli and Allen didn’t said a damn word about their incapacity to reproduce the forensically accurate bloodstains and scourge marks we see on the Shroud. I think these guys should read carefully the paper I wrote concerning the evidence of the bloodstains (link : How in the world can they pretend having succeed to reproduced the Shroud, while at the same time, they completely failed to reproduced the bloodstains we see on the cloth with any kind of credibility whatsoever? Here’s a good question for them: How in the world someone in medieval time could have artificially produced the forensically accurate bloodstains and scourge marks we see everywhere on the Shroud, while it is a well-known fact that the exact Roman method of crucifixion was at the very least partially unknown at the time (the nails driven in the wrist instead of in the palms is just one example of this)? Obviously, in order to produce the bloodstains and scourge marks we see on the Shroud, a forger would have needed to scourge and crucified a real man with the exact Roman method of crucifixion. Not only did such a gruesome idea is ridiculous when you think that our medieval forger did not needed to go that far to produce a false Christian relic (some drops of animal blood in liquid form could have easily do the job), but it is also completely ridiculous to imagine that our forger would have wait until the bloodstains were completely or partially dried before placing his corpse inside the Shroud, while he would have been anxious to leave some clear bloodstains on the cloth in order to reproduce the stigmata of Christ. In sum, the simple fact that Garlaschelli and Allen were, once again, not able to reproduce the bloodstains and scourge marks we see on the Shroud is well enough to understand that their work is NOT a replica of the Shroud.

3- For those of you who pretend that Barrie’s experiment with the pig can be seen as some kind of proof that the Maillard reaction hypothesis is false or cannot, alone, pretend to explain the body image on the Shroud because he wasn’t able to get a clear image on his linen cloth, I have this important comment to make : Barrie did not baked his linen sample in the same way Garlaschelli did with his artistic image in order to reproduce ageing, which is why no image whatsoever could be seen on his linen cloth. If you read again the part of Rogers book in which he present the very good coloration result he obtained in a lab experiment he did with an old-fashion linen sample that was exposed for a time to ammoniac gases (this is, for me, the closest matching result ever obtained by anybody concerning the coloration of linen fibers like we see on the Shroud), you will note that he specifically said that it was only after he baked his linen sample to simulate ageing that a clear coloration could be seen at the surface of the cloth to the naked eye. I’m certain that if Barrie would have baked his linen sample, a visible image would have appeared on the cloth. I don’t pretend the image of the pig would have been as good as the body image on the Shroud (in fact, I’m sure it would not because of the conditions in which Barrie did his experiment), but I’m certain we would have seen a faint yellow coloration at the surface of the cloth that would have shown a pretty good chemical and physical match with many aspects of the body image we see on the Shroud. In sum, the fact that no image was clearly visible on the cloth right after Barrie’s experiment can be seen as another good confirmation of an hypothesis first described by Paul Vignon if I remember well (and backed-up by Rogers later on), which state that the image on the Shroud is most probably a latent image that only developed at the surface of the cloth after some time. Note that this probable fact can easily explain why there is absolutely no mention in the Gospels of a body image on the Shroud of Christ after the Resurrection. The probable fact that there was no visible image right after the event (pretty much like there was no clear image on Barrie’s linen sample), along with the probable fact that this gruesome and bloody burial cloth was hidden well soon after it was discovered and kept by the disciples on Easter morning is the most rational explanation for why there is no mention in the Gospels of a body image on the Shroud of Christ. In such a context of hiding, it’s very probable that the latent image only started to become visible to the naked eye many years after the Resurrection event, at a time when the cloth was most probably kept hidden in the dark, which probably mean that no one (not even those who were keeping it hidden) was able to noticed it on the cloth. This pretty funny situation could well have last for many years, decades and even centuries after the Resurrection… All this reflection of mine is true of course only if the Shroud is truly the authentic shroud of Jesus-Christ. In the end, when it comes to the body image we see on the Shroud, it’s very probable that the disciples of Jesus were not able to distinguish any clear image on the cloth on Easter morning, no more than Barrie was able to distinguish any clear image on the linen cloth he used for his experiment. Time is a very important factor in the production of a Maillard image coming from the close proximity of a linen cloth made the ancient way and a fresh corpse and, in the case of Barrie’s experiment and also in the case of the disciples of Jesus on Easter morning, there was not enough time that had been spent for a clear image to get formed on their cloths. In my mind, Barrie’s result can truly been see as another clue that tend to back-up the hypothesis of a latent image that come from a natural image formation, which imply, at least for a part that remain to be know, a Maillard reaction at the surface of the cloth… The main problem that remains to be solved is, of course, the question regarding the very high resolution of the image. That’s why more researches that involve a Maillard reaction (like the one done by Barrie) are truly needed to get closer to the truth regarding the Shroud image. And it’s important to understand that such researches will need to be done in the future with some baking of the linen samples to simulate ageing and to clearly see an image at the surface of the linen cloth.

4- Obviously, Barrie’s experiment with a pig and a tiny linen sample left in open air is very far from having reproduced the most probable environmental conditions that were present inside the tomb when the image formation process was active. For this reason, any image result that can come out of this kind of experiment cannot be consider as a proof of anything. In my mind, the only good result obtained by Barrie that can be consider seriously versus the Shroud image (and it’s a huge one) is the fact that he was able to prove that if we take a linen cloth made with an ancient method that leave a carbohydrate layer at the surface of it and we place it over fresh corpse for more than 24 hours, a Maillard reaction will start, which will lead to the coloration of some fibers that look pretty much like we see on the Shroud. This is great because that tend to confirm Rogers’ claim that “when amines and reducing sugars come together, they will react. They will produce a color. This is not a hypothesis: this is a fact. A cloth with crude starch on it (note that Rogers could also have said : “a cloth with a carbohydrate layer on it” and that would also have been correct) will ultimately produce a color, if it is left in close proximity to a decomposing body.” Barrie’s experiment show that Rogers was right about that, which lead me to this conclusion : It’s very hard for me to believe that the body image we see on the Shroud had nothing to do with a Maillard reaction that came from the close proximity of an ancient linen cloth with a fresh and tortured human corpse. Important note: I don’t pretend that a Maillard reaction, in the way described by Rogers, is the only thing that lead to the apparition of the body image on the cloth, but I’m almost certain that it took some part in it (probably a huge part).

5- I don’t think the linen sample used by Barrie for his experiment was treated with some starch in the way described by Rogers in his book. It’s important to note that, for Rogers, the impurity layer of carbohydrates that caused a Maillard reaction at the surface of the Shroud was mostly composed of starch, along with other residues (like some residues of saponaria and probably also some polysaccharides residues that were extracted from the primary cell wall during the retting of the flax plant). It would be a very good idea for a researcher to do another experiment like the one done by Barrie but, this time, with a pre-treatment of the linen cloth with starch. If we believe Rogers, such an experiment would give an even better result than the one obtained by Barrie… And, this time, I hope the researcher who would do this kind of experiment would think of baking his sample after the time of exposure. There’s no doubt in my mind that he would get an image on his cloth. The question is: Could such a natural image show a high resolution? In fact, the real question is this: Under which environmental, biological and linen cloth conditions a Maillard image could present a high resolution like the one on the Shroud? Since we’re almost sure now that a Maillard image would eventually developed at the surface of a linen cloth made with the ancient method if this cloth is placed over a fresh corpse, THAT’S THE REAL QUESTION THAT REMAIN TO BE ANSWERED.

6- Garlaschelli said something like this in the program: “Those who doesn’t accept the validity of the C14 dating result will not accept also my theory of image formation.” I would like to remind Mr. Garlaschelli that even if the C14 dating result of 1988 is wrong and the Shroud is much older than this, that doesn’t necessarily mean it cannot be a forgery done during the first few centuries of Christendom (let say before 500 A.D. and the first apparition of the Pantocrator icon) with the use of a real scourged and crucified corpse. It will forever be impossible for science to clearly and definitely state who the Shroud man really is. Because of this fact, there will forever be an openness (even though this openness doesn’t appear to be very probable) for a natural forgery scenario that would have been done with the use of a real crucified body. Also, there will forever be an openness (very tin nevertheless) for a scenario involving the burial shroud of a real crucified man other than Jesus of Nazareth that was accidentally looking like the Jesus of the Gospel.

7- I hope everybody who will watch this program will understand that if the Maillard reaction hypothesis for image formation proposed by Ray Rogers and partially tested by Barrie Schwortz is correct, THAT DOESN’T MEAN THE SHROUD IS SOMEONE ELSE THAN JESUS AND/OR THAT HIS RESURRECTION NEVER HAPPEN.

All right. That’s all for the moment…