I’m sorry that I have not been a direct part of the discussion on Dan Porter’s valuable blog. Unfortunately, I have been working for my oldest son in State College, PA and time and resources have not been available to me to conduct extensive research to respond to the many important observations offered by the participants.

On May 18, 2013 Giorgio paid me a great compliment by stating that I was President of ASSIST. I thank him for that kindness but, in fact, I am not now, nor have I ever been the President of ASSIST. That honor belongs to Dr. Frederick T. Zugibe, M.D., Ph. D. who, though now retired from his position as Chief Medical Examiner of Rockland County, New York, is still President of ASSIST. I can see how the error came to be because in my position as General Projects Director of ASSIST I have often been in the public eye, working for ASSIST.

Yannick Clement, also on May 18, listened to my presentation available on Russ Breault’s site (of my paper read at the Columbus, Ohio conference on Aug. 14-17, 2008) and wonders why the findings of Alan Adler, John Brown and Ray Rogers have not been the subject of greater discussion since my presentation hints that such components as those found in the “Raes Corner” may be present throughout the Shroud”. Later, however, he listened again to my presentation and correctly recognized that my view was actually a support for the invisible reweave approach; he goes on to say “It’s important to note that this could also have been caused by the numerous manipulations and the numerous folding and unfolding of the cloth over the centuries—I’m surprise[d] that Maloney did not talked about that possibility in his speech because, in my mind, this is the most probable one.” Actually, while that is a possibility, I don’t think I can place any of these specific scenarios on a sound provable basis. Let me explain: For example, I am not able to present any evidence to show the presence of madder rose “throughout the Shroud”; I only know of just the two STURP sticky tape samples studied by McCrone (i.e., tape 3 AB and 3-CB—both of which came from the dorsal end of the Shroud and over near one of the 1534 patches on the “side-strip” side of the cloth). I still view these examples provided by McCrone as trace contaminants, a point I think McCrone himself was using to show that the Shroud was in an artist’s studio. 3-AB is an off-image tape sample very near the image margin but which cannot be solidly placed on the image area itself. 3-CB, however, apparently is on a blood-flow across the back, just below the 1534 patch also on the “side-strip” side of the cloth. Can any of these "contaminants" be used to prove either McCrone’s point or mine? (Please see the link to the file of the McCrone-adapted photograph at the end of this missive.

My Columbus paper was not a discussion of the “contaminant” problem, but was wholly devoted to discussing the radiocarbon dating problem—especially as the sample(s) taken on April 21, 1988 for testing by 3 laboratories came from the “Raes Corner” area of the Shroud. What was the nature of that corner compared to the nature of the rest of the Shroud? It is, therefore, perhaps appropriate for me to address the broader concept of “contamination”. McCrone gave one interpretation of the madder rose; I offered a different one. However, I cannot scientifically “prove” that either the artist’s studio or the weaver’s workshop is the actual context for demonstrating a scientific concept. The problem is a difficult and knotty one: this is because we need to distinguish between “signal” and “noise” to firmly ascertain the difference between proposed scenarios. The presence of the contaminants–by themselves–may confuse the issues.

Over a period of some seven years, I have been compiling a pictorial atlas of the many kinds of particles and fibers and other trace “contaminants” that can be found on the 26 Max Frei sticky tapes which he took from the image side of the Shroud in October of 1978. This compilation is still in progress–now approaching more than 90 pages. I have taken perhaps some 7000 Kodak transparencies using first an E. Leitz microscope with a camera mounted on top and then a Nikon Optiphot microscope to obtain these views. I wish to emphasize that I have not used any kind of spectrometry or chemical testing to ascertain the physical identity of the individual particles or fibers. I have largely employed the very same techniques as Walter McCrone and Eugenia Nitowski using my own eyes to create a kind of “informal” identification of the material I found. I was never able to “see” anything I thought might be specific evidence of madder rose on linen fibers as a “contaminant”. I did, however, see variously dyed cotton but these may actually have originated from the clothing of visitors who came to see or study the Shroud. Or maybe they were devotees who simply touched a piece of cloth to create what we call a “brandeum” to obtain by transfer the holiness of the Shroud.

Thus, while I suggested the weaver’s workshop in my 2008 Columbus, Ohio paper, I don’t think that is the only possible explanation for such contaminants. Members of STURP took note that the room in which they conducted their 1978 exam of the Shroud had paintings on the walls and ceiling of that room and when trucks trundled by on Turin’s busy streets it was completely plausible to think that tiny particulates drifted down on the cloth surface.

But one should also not forget the important studies of the True Copies marvelously gathered together by the late Don Luigi Fossati and published in Shroud Spectrum International (SSI, no. 12, September 1984, pp. 7-23 and no. 13, December 1984, pp. 23-39) noting that there is documentation that at least 52 True Copies were laid cloth to cloth and image to image on the original. Can the medieval formulae yield to such sloughing off to leave traces on another cloth? The True Copies are clearly paintings and these could have left traces of their pigments on the Turin Shroud. To test this hypothesis, I requested that Dame Isabel Piczek, with the help of Dr. Robert Koehler in Los Angeles (magnanimously arranged for us through the kind efforts of the late Dr. Robert Bucklin) and over a period of several weeks tested various formulae spanning the medieval recipes for pigment mixing (See Theophilus, On Divers Arts, Dover Publications, New York, 1963 [Originally written ca. A.D. 1100]). She took swaths of linen and placed them against dried painted samples and then, using the microscope, determined that–in her words to me in a phone call "They slough off like mad!!!"

I have also attached the McCrone map which he published in "Judgement Day for the Shroud" (p. 79) but my attachment here was actually a scan taken directly from a glossy McCrone sent me. This would give the public a clearer view of (generally) where the two STURP tapes were taken. However, I have not had the time to compare McCrone’s drawings of tape samples superimposed on the Shroud with the actual documentation photographs taken in 1978 by Barrie Schwortz. There may be a problem of interpretive accuracy on the part of McCrone, who simulated the shape of the tapes, with the actual markings of the original sample sites which were indicated by round magnetic markers (laid down by Dr. Tom D’Muhala, I think), not by rectangular "tape-shaped" markers. Moreover, the original tapes were stretched across a clear plastic "rail" by Ray Rogers for transit from Torino to the United States so that the fibers would "hang down" and not be vitiated by the adhesive on the tape. McCrone, however, adhered them directly to microscope cover slips which were then, in turn, taped to a microscope slide, so he could view them with ease beneath his microscope. But the few STURP slides I personally saw showed tape samples which were much shorter (not more than maybe several centimeters in length) than could have been stretched across the plastic rail and I am tempted to believe that someone (McCrone??) actually cut them shorter for convenience of handling. In this process could other extraneous materials have accidently "contaminated" the original STURP samples? Did McCrone conduct this process in a "clean room"? It would be difficult to state unequivocally that this did or did not happen to the STURP slides in McCrone’s possession and, unfortunately, Walter is no longer amongst the living to have him detail his process.

Thus, I think a very profitable study could be made of such “contaminants” and this might be very informative about the past history of the cloth. But at this point in time I am unable to provide a solid scientific footing to “prove” that the trace contaminants bearing madder rose actually came from a weaver’s workshop.

The full size file is at http://shroudstory.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/scan0002.jpg

Regards to all,


General Projects Director, ASSIST