My problem with a petition that demands new scientific examinations of the Shroud is that it has the process backwards. The horse (the scientific team and procedures) is behind the cart (permission to proceed). Much has to be done before any permission from Turin or the Vatican can be obtained.
So begins an instructive posting, Examining and Preserving the Shroud of Turin, on John Klotz’s blog, Quantum Christ. It is a must read, so do so.
A central point of John’s posting is this:
I might add a comment about the non-intrusive – minimally intrusive problem of further scientific examination of the Shroud. I have an analogy: Central Park in New York City
From time to time many well meaning proposals have been advanced for projects believed to have immense public value for Central Park in NYC. It has been estimated, as I recall, that if everyone of them had been approved, Central Park would have been cemented over 5 times. The biggest of such projects that was built is the Metropolitan Museum of Art which is one of the great treasures of the United States . However, it does display incipient ant hill tendencies to push the boundaries of its site.
I would suspect, that if every well-intentioned person who desired just a tiny piece or more of the Shroud had received their desire, the Shroud would have disappeared long ago, probably before Secondo Pia was even born.
Preservation of the Shroud is not just the Church’s annoying demand – It is a demand of all humanity (whether some realize yet or not). Whether the controversial 2002 restoration was appropriate or not, the desire of the Church and Turin to first and foremost preserve the Shroud is absolutely correct. Therefore, what I would call the non-intrusive as opposed to minimally intrusive standard must be recognized. Perhaps a tiny exception for a truly minimally intrusive procedure might be made, and perhaps a definition of intrusive must be formulated.
We could do well to learn from STURP, not just what they accomplished in Turin and afterwards but how they developed, presented and obtained approval for a plan of non-invasive studies.
‘The concept that it should pass to a secular guardian such as the British Museum or the even the Smithsonian is simply unacceptable’. From John Klotz’s blog.
I am not sure what you mean by this, John. Do you think they will falsify the evidence? Perhaps there is a conservation lab in Italy ( and a lab specialising in ancient textiles is needed to ensure that there are trained people who know all about non-invasive techniques on these fragile items) who are all good Catholics and they will be acceptable to you.
I don’t mean to be modest, but satisfying me will not be the top item on anybody’s agenda. It is not a question of leaving it to “Good Catholics” Heller was protestant, Adler was Jewish. Contrary to the Sox-Gove propaganda STURP was not a group of fanatical militarist, religious fanatics. I venture to guess that most prominent lecturer on the Shroud today is STURP documenting photographer Barrie Schwortz. He was, and remains, a Jew.
Frankly, Charles, your previous remark about the character of Shroud students being evil really makes me question you bonafides as an impartial skeptic. The statement is balderdash.
Your faith in the good faith of scientists is blind. Do I think that scientists can lie and cheat? Yes, and on occasion they have. Then too, so can religious fanatics. I certainly would want a process that was open and science driven. We had that with STURP. That’s why I recommend as a template.
‘Frankly, Charles, your previous remark about the character of Shroud students being evil really makes me question you bonafides as an impartial skeptic. The statement is balderdash.’
I made it quite clear, and this for the third time, that that is what you can gather if you see how some contributors refer to their opponents. If you read some of the things said about me by commentators, you would really think I was some kind of nefarious character instead of a bone fide historian who has been genuinely trying to add to the debates despite my scepticism over the authenticity of the Shroud. I particularly objected to the way that research conducted by sceptics is challenged not on its own worth but on the grounds that the researcher has some kind of personal agenda that has skewed the results he or she has come up with.
That is why I made the satirical comment that everyone who seems to be involved in Shroud research seems to be some kind of evil character, well, at least according to their opponents!!
The trouble is that there are far too many people who have a vested interest for one reason or another in the present stalemate/impasse/gridlock/trench-warfare re radiocarbon dating. They know that folk, even the most sceptical regarding the world’s most celebrated relic, will reluctantly admit to the theoretical or even practical possibility of a repair patch having been inadvertently selected for testing (while marveling it could be done invisibly yet return a result that was 1300 years out). But they also know that the patch apologia would not work if 5 more sites, selected randomly (or semi-randomly to avoid visually or scientifically crucial areas) would not wash if the same medieval provenance were confirmed.
Am I the only one to think that we are seeing a “Stamp on Any Moves Towards Re-Testing” campaign getting into its stride – and that its leading lights are very happy that this site exists as a handy billboard for a drip-feed of 100 Reasons Why Re-Testing is Premature/Not a Good Idea/Fraught with Methodological Uncertainties/Bad for my Mental and/or Financial Equilibrium…?
Sometimes, I wish I could sleep longer at night. I get-up to try a warm cup of milk, then compulsively check my E-Mail, see Dan has posted from my blog and then I am not entirely gratified to discover that in the time it took for the milk to warm the skeptical critics are at it. As we used so in my adolescence: I wonder who put sand in their Vaseline.
By the way, I left out one person who apparently desired the Shroud and searched for it: Adolf Hitler. It was hidden in a monastery under the altar and when the Nazi’s came to monastery to search they found the monks praying around the altar and did not disturb them. They left emptied handed perhaps feeling it was a wild goose chase.
I am sorry Charles and Colin, but the Shroud is too important for the Church to surrender it to secular authorities. When it comes to my starting “a stamp on any moves towards retesting campaign” that is precisely what I am not doing. What I am doing is trying to show a path towards testing. However, it has to be non-intrusive.
You may balk at examining the reason STURP succeeded and look at the naked power play of the carbon labs that destroyed STURP participation as a model, but that is not going to be an appropriate model: Fool me once etc.
When it comes to corruption, the corruption of science represented by the carbon testing was gigantic fiasco. By the way, it was not Thomas de Wesselow who first called it that but at 4:441 EST, I am not going to check for the original use of the fiasco label.
Secular science flunked the carbon dating. In fact, it’s a template for how it can’t be done. When I publish my manuscript if I ever get it finished you will see why I can write that. Luigi Gonella every body’s fall guy for what went wrong, has stated that the labs blackmailed the Vatican by threatening a campaign saying the Vatican was protecting the Shroud form science. Financed in part by both the US and UK governments, the labs were a potent force. But, that is also for my manuscript.
“Secular science flunked the carbon dating.”
Nobody can say that with absolute certainty until the Shroud has been re-tested at a larger number of sites. Repetition of dubious measurements (or even non-dubious ones) is the essential modus operandi of science. One of the chief reasons for peer-review is not to check that findings are correct, and will stand the test of time (few if any papers submitted for publication can be judged instantly on that criterion) but simply to ensure that measurements are properly replicated with an indication of their statistical precision. The standard deviation often tells all (at a glance) yet no valid SD was possible (and should have been reported, unless heavily qualified) for the 88 testing, given it was essentially a single sample, non-randomly chosen.
Regard the 88 testing as a ranging shot exercise. It showed that AMS methodology is reasonably consistent between labs, using slightly different de-contamination procedures. Amend those procedures if necessary to take on board concerns re thymol, DDT etc etc. Just repeat it, and repeat it quickly, say in the next 12 months. But make sure that everything is totally transparent (with real-time web cam links etc), and no souvenir collectors/squirrel hoarders, least of all those who are Turin or Vatican insiders. Oh, and keep the British Museum out of the picture. We all know they are paid-up members to a man of the Richard Dawkins Foundation intent on demolishing what remains of Blake’s Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land, starting with cathedral closes and replacing with their concreted-over secular utopia,. Now whatever could have put that fanciful imagery into my head? (Just joshing).
“It was hidden in a monastery under the altar and when the Nazi’s came to monastery to search they found the monks praying around the altar and did not disturb them. They left emptied handed perhaps feeling it was a wild goose chase”.
The Story of Montevergine.
By the way John, why no mention of Prof Carlos Chagas for STRUPS demise? Instead you insist it was Dr. Gove who posioned the well for STRUP. The Pontifical Academy was one of the major force of STRUP’S demise. The Pontifcal Academy felt “dissed” during the 1978 examination. Collectivly, the real underlying issue was that it was an Italian relic and preservation of the Shroud was the most important priority for the Church, more so then the testing. And this time, the Pontifical Academy was going to make sure they have their say.
I’m a little late, but you are absolutely right. Chagas was convinced the Shroud was a forgery and worked hand in glove with the labs to destroy STURP’s access. Gove was such an egotist that when he wrote his memoir he didn’t realize the impact of what he was admitting. For example, that Micheal Tite the supposed guarantor of the labs procedures was a candidate to become head of the Oxford lab. Impartial?
John- sorry you had a broken night and we look forward to the great book when it is out. It is just that some of us are already into the day whether there is sand in our Vaseline or not (didn’t know that one!).
But seriously, the option of shutting up all scientific testing on the Shroud is a possible one to take and then everyone can go on arguing for another twenty-five years about the radio-carbon ‘fiasco’. De Wesselow said something about it being one of the greatest scientific frauds of all time. That showed he knew very little about the lively history of scientific fraud and sadly he never explained who was being fraudulent (you have the book, i binned mine, so perhaps you know) but he rather lost me there.
Meanwhile there are just so many areas of research that people could be getting on with in the archives in the cities of northern France. (Troyes has a lot still to explore.) I keep throwing them in. So Margaret de Charny said that her grandfather Geoffrey got the Shroud as ‘a spoil of war’. Some researchers have followed him to Smyrna but the war that he was actually fighting in the early 1350s when the Shroud is first documented was against the English in northern France. So was the Shroud originally among the loot taken from one of the collections of relics that are documented in northern France as coming direct from Jerusalem, even ‘the Lord’s Tomb’, in the second half of the first millennium? It is unlikely but these are the leads to be followed up.
Following an earlier discussion, if the thread in the Shroud is Z spun then it is unlikely (stress unlikely) to have been made in Palestine. So who, among those who think it is first century, is going to do the work on early first century trade within the Roman empire that might pinpoint its origins. There’s tons of new shipwreck evidence for trade. Certainly we have Greek imports to Judaea and the mainland Greeks seem to have used Z spin.
So go for it and let’s break this endless wrangling about test results that are long since passed their validity date. The Shroud is supposed to have had more tests done on it than any other artefact in history and yet there are major areas of research into its origins that seem untouched. Will your book actually say anything new so that we can move on a bit?
Fortunately, I think God will have the final say as to what may or may not happen. I believe that He is smarter than everyone and is ultimately in control, of everything, everywhere. Re-examination may get the green light, it might be sealed up tight with no access for the remainder of natural time. If re-examined and additional evidence in favor of authenticity comes forward, everything that everyone would like to see examined is done, verified, etc., there will still be skepticism, though as John points out, there would probably only be a few cm of cloth remaining, if any at all. If re-examined and authenticity is dealt a severe, definitive set of blows, there will still be those who will choose not to accept it. That’s the way it is.
If someone believes the cloth may be authentic, it is easy to understand why they become so invested in the details, it would represent one of the greatest physical treasures on earth. If one truly believes it’s false, however, where does this motivation come from-is there an overwhelming sense of responsibility to save the masses from a possible delusion or is it a more personal issue? To solve a great unknown? Is it just this particular cloth or what it may represent that stirs the emotions so?
Kelly. I have worked intensively on relic cults and I think that the number of people, especially in a Europe where we have grown up with such things, who believe that the Shroud is authentic are very few. The same goes for any other pre-medieval relic although I have a Roman archaeologist friend who confirmed that one of the several Holy Lances is indeed a Roman lance. So ‘saving the masses from a possible delusion’ is not really an issue because very few are deluded ( or not as the case may be) in the first place. The vast majority of those who believe the Shroud is authentic come from other climes.
In medieval times, the Shroud was never an important cult (one of the criticisms of it was that John would have mentioned the images on it in his gospel if they had been there on the original), it becomes one when the Savoys take it over and make it such a central theme of their royal prestige. In this sense its heyday was the seventeenth century when it was exhibited to vast crowds almost every year.
I like the Shroud as a subject because, despite it not being seen as important in its day, there are lots of issues surrounding the nature of its weaves, the actual history itself,the iconography of the Shroud and what it might actually have been if not originally a grave cloth. I am just hankering after some proper tests so that I can have more evidence to work from. So my ‘personal’ interest is as a historian who has specialised in relic cults, and sees some unresolved issues here that interest me. So I keep an eye on these debates and contribute when I feel i have something to offer (as in areas where i would like to see further research). Despite the odd snipe at me from some contributors, I congratulate Dan for keeping things as open as they are.
I will concede something that the Shroud world usually skips over. No matter how de Charny got it, it was on one level stolen property at some point. I believe I saw at one point but failed to note it, that Clement carefully cadged his approval of he Shroud so as not to approve of authenticty claims because the Church was still seeking reunion with Orthodox and a claim that it was an authentic artifact of Christ would engender Orthodox demands for its return. (Which would have by the way made in vulnerable to the Islamists armies who were on the move.) Do you have any thoughts on that.
I have a riff on Dawkins in my first chapter because he has a dim view of eye witness testimony and actually prefers solid circumstantial evidence. That’s because in archaeology-anthropology there are no eye witnesses.
Bias is usually a slur. However, I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but it is my opinion that the weight of the circumstantial evidence is authenticity. Can’t defend that in a few hurried, and often typo filled, comments on a blog. But I do not believe that the inability to draw a conclusion from evidence already offered is a disqualification if the mind is open.
By the way, by reason of the personal experiences of someone very close to me, I have observed the National Institute of Health (NIH) for two decades. There is fierce competition for grants. Is there fraud by some, you betcha. (Palinease for “You bet there is”) Fraud is NOT endemic. Pride is. the NIH has funded programs of ultimate value far beyond its budget.
Overall the NIH is grant program a most valuable and necessary component of US science and one of the bedrock for the US’s scientific and economic progress. You double betcha.
Let me say this once in sum. The carbon labs waged a determined effort to keep STURP out of the carbon dating process and to stop any further scientific tests if the carbon date was not within range of 30 CE. STURP had one function in the tests: to select the best sites for taking samples. Because STURP was excluded from the process, the worst possible site was chosen.
Surely you must realize that for carbon dating the sample must be typical of the entire object. It wasn’t. But those chapters are already written and I have to move on and not debate it further.
My work will speak for itself (if anybody gets to read it). Frankly, I am impressed by the support I’ve gotten. I even have permission from Elaine Pagels author of the Gnostic Gospels to use a long quote from her book (God bless the Internet). I’ll use it now since it is not original with me: It’s from Chapter Two, working title: The Story as Told.”
“Then she puts martyrdom in the context of Christ’s passion in words that echo Pasternak:
‘In its portrait of Christ’s life and his passion, orthodox teaching offered a means of interpreting fundamental elements of human experience. Rejecting the gnostic view that Jesus was a spiritual being, the orthodox insisted that he, like the rest of humanity, was born, lived in a family, became hungry and tired, ate and drank wine, suffered and died. They even went so far as to insist that he rose bodily from the dead. Here again, as we have seen, orthodox tradition implicitly affirms bodily experience as the central fact of human life. What one does physically—one eats and drinks, engages in sexual life or avoids it, saves one’s life or gives it up—all are vital elements in one’s religious development. But those gnostics who regarded the essential part of every person as the “inner spirit” dismissed such physical experience, pleasurable or painful, as a distraction from spiritual reality—indeed, as an illusion. No wonder, then, that far more people identified with the orthodox portrait than with the “bodiless spirit” of gnostic tradition. Not only the martyrs, but all Christians who have suffered for 2,000 years, who have feared and faced death, have found their experience validated in the story of the human Jesus.'”
Finally, show a little respect for those whose opinions differ from you. To paraphrase an old Bible belt hymn: We are all “poor wayfaring strangers looking for a way to go home.”
If you want further comment from me, E-Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org I simply can’t get involved in another 100+ item thread.
‘Clement carefully cadged his approval of he Shroud so as not to approve of authenticty claims because the Church was still seeking reunion with Orthodox and a claim that it was an authentic artifact of Christ would engender Orthodox demands for its return. (Which would have by the way made in vulnerable to the Islamists armies who were on the move.) Do you have any thoughts on that.’
Even if the Shroud came from Constantinople, which is disputed largely because there is no record of it having done so (the missing years), it was one of many thousands and certainly by no means the most prestigious. One has to remember that in the hierarchy the Cross and the Crown of Thorns ( that ended up in the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris) were higher up than the various shrouds that were around.
Even if the Schism between east and west had been settled (as was attempted in Florence in 1439) no local church would ever have surrendered up its relics, certainly not the French kings and other potentates who had the best ones! This is what gave a church or ruler status.
I think the real problem that Shroud researchers often have is to think that the Shroud was considered as important before the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when it got a powerful backer in the Savoys. Clement was probably overwhelmed with requests to have relics of all sorts proclaimed authentic and popes typically hedged their bets according to which kings or nobles they needed to please. Clement never saw the Shroud, he would have known that it was one of many shrouds, no one could tell where it had come from,and there was the problem of the unrecorded images- so I suspect that he just wanted to keep things calm!
Charles, Thanks. I don’t think you took my general comments as a veiled snipe, but, if even a little doubt may exist, that was not the purpose. I was just commenting in general. If I didn’t like rap music, I wouldn’t listen to it for 18 hours and gnash my teeth continually. Then get up the next day and do it again. I put on some Beatles and be done with it.
I agree that interest in the Shroud can include other subjects and put those in a context that one may have not reached by another route.
Dan does a great job at keeping it open. It is good to have different viewpoints at all extremes and in between, no matter where one’s personal beliefs on the matter fall. Smooth seas don’t make good sailors.
But what is folk kept popping up in the media, claiming that the origins of rap music (wherever) had been misattributed, and that is was really the Beatles who had developed it secretly as a sideline, and that there was an overwhelming body of evidence to back up that view (sadly excluding sworn statements from Paul and Ringo to say that they had been otherwise preoccupied at the time and were happy for others to take the credit).
It’s then less an issue of the motives of the sceptics, more one of of the motives of those who patiently and meticulously assemble their dossiers for public consumption, detailing the “overwhelming mass of evidence” sadly barring one minor detail – lack of acid-test corroboration.
While John Klotz may bemoan those slight incursions upon Central Park, NY, I personally think it looks a bit severe, at least from a helicopter pilot’s point of view. It could do with a wavy edge, here and there, even if requiring a slight incursion of still more bricks and mortar.
How about a modest-sized Institute of Experimental Sindonology Research, snuck in maybe between the Lake and the Reservoir, facing the Metropolitan Museum of Art across the Great Lawn?
There would have to be some operating ground rules, of course, like a total ban on hypotheses being instantly elevated to unassailable paradigms, but apart from that, everyone would be free to do their own thing.
I personally would be happy to volunteer my services on an expenses-only basis (including some discretionary side trips to the Caribbean and Hawaii during quieter periods) as scrutineer of all outgoing research publications and press releases, simply to ensure they conformed to the known laws of physics and chemistry and other such minor details.
“Before Elvis there was nothing” -John Lennon
“Rap music-mutually exclusive terms IMO, but to each his own” -Kelly Kearse
Lack of acid-test corroboration can be somewhat subjective, though even the most pro-authentic would welcome further corroboration if it could be provided.
You are one cool dude. Did you watch Band of Brothers on HBO? Do you remember the scene where they get a little break at a convent school and the sisters had the girls serenade them? Did you ever identify the song they were singing and what it became. The words changed but the beautiful melody was retained. Hint: it was one of Elvis’s biggest, and most romantic, hits.
Actually the French song was a lot sexier, but none the less beautiful. And it was used as an unsung love theme in Midnight in Paris (Or was Paris at Midnight) Any way, you know, the Woody Allen flick.
Thanks for compliment, John-I haven’t watched BOB, but have always heard good things abou it. I have been a fan of the King for years-I’m going to guess Are You Lonesome Tonight, originally O Sole Mio. I took a road trip to Graceland for my 50th birthday. Searched the shag carpet in the Jungle Room carefully for a stray pick that might be lodged there…no luck. I have read conflicting reports, but some say Elvis was reading a book about the Shroud (the Face of Jesus?), when he died.
I really enjoyed this whole thread and wanted to add my two cents worth regarding a few issues. First of all, regarding current complaints from pro-authenticity people regarding the events surrounding the 1988 dating: it’s safe to say that if the 1988 testing had come out 1st century, skeptics would still be complaining today about some of the things that went on such as the discrepancies in the sizes and weights of the samples. One of the most important scientific tests in all of history and they can’t even get the basic facts about the samples right? And that was just the beginning of the problems. The Shroud should have been tested in 1988 with the multi-disciplinary plan that STURP has proposed. No matter how useful C-14 is as a scientific tool, it is often inaccurate. With all of the mysteries of the origins of the Shroud and its known and unknown history, more should have been thrown at the Shroud, not less. If the Church was open enough to have allowed the 1978 testing, it should be open enough to allow further testing on the most important relic in Christianity, especially with all the controversy with the 1988 dating. While I suppose the Church would run the risk of alienating some Christians if further testing proved the Shroud not authentic, they could have such a positive effect on Christians if further testing did not disauthenticate it. And given all the scandals in the Church, you’d think they’d allow testing just to put the attention somewhere else. Regarding skeptics and agnostics about the Shroud, their comments, I think, help to force pro-Shroud people to think outside the pro-authenticity box, which can be rather small and compressed. Regarding Kelly’s: “Rap music-mutually exclusive terms IMO, but to each his own” and compliments about the Beatles: AMEN! And a question for another blog: why can’t McCartney ever come up anymore with some of the great songs he wrote as a Beatle? Regarding the book Elvis was reading when he died, I have a handwritten letter from the late Frank O. Adams, author of the book “A Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus,” who told me that Elvis had been reading his book, which was not totally on the Shroud, but contained a lot of material on it. “Now it’s time to say Goodnight…” (Lennon & McCartney from the fantastic “White Album”).
Now that I mentioned “Goodnight,” I can’t get the song out of my head (or “out of me head” as the lads might have said), I actually can’t get to sleep. So here’s another thought I had from the thread: another way of thinking about “the theoretical or even practical possibility of a repair patch having been inadvertently selected for testing” is that it wasn’t inadvertent at all. They ostensibly picked that corner for the sample because material from that corner had previously been taken and thus they wouldn’t have to cut from a pristine area. And since that corner had previously had samples removed (and was a corner always handled during exhibitions), it was an area that warranted repairs.
That sounds like an entirely realistic scenario to me, one implying no fraudulent intent on anyone’s part, merely a desire, at least on the part of the custodians, to accede to radiocarbon dating with least visual impact on the Shroud. It’s not difficult to imagine the kind of pressure that was placed, possibly at the 11th hour, on the three labs to accept that fudge, and make the best of a bad job, so to speak. As I’ve said before, the main anxiety of the labs was probably less to do with accurately dating the Shroud on first encounter, and more to do with the consequences of three labs reporting widely different results which would have diminished confidence in the AMS method generally, and have provoked all kinds of speculations as to which lab had done the best job, which the worst.
Presumably this is not the best site on which to launch a new petition to Pope Francis, one calling for an immediate re-dating of the Shroud of Turin, but I would nevertheless like to give Dan Porter first refusal, so to speak, before going it alone. Having said that, “going it alone” would probably mean approaching one or more learned societies first to seek an opinion on the science-based arguments we see here and elsewhere claiming that re-testing would be a waste of time. One of the best tips re experimental modus operandi that I acquired in the course of a PhD training (London University, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, 1972-1975) was from my Australian supervisor: “Just suck it and see”. What’s the polite and diplomatic Italian for “Just suck it and see”?
Ancient linen textiles are being worked on all the time in laboratories. Start with the people who have expertise in this area and know how to be non-invasive and work from there.
As I understand it, the STURP teams did not have a single member with experience of examining ancient textiles and how to take samples from them in a non-invasive way.
The 32 tapes are the only body of evidence on the Shroud outside Turin but it does not seem clear where they are , how they are conserved and who has access to them. It is STURP’s responsibility to come public on this if it wants to be taken seriously. If it can’t show that it knows how to look after these samples and that it has a transparent policy of allowing access (as any responsible museum would have) we will be back with the great Dead Sea Scrolls scandal.
“As I understand it, the STURP teams did not have a single member with experience of examining ancient textiles and how to take samples from them in a non-invasive way”.
Gove reminded Robert Dinegar of the above statement and nasty exchanges between the two commenced. Keep in mind Gove is also “dissed about his experince in 1978 since he felt he was kept out of the project. At this point, it wasn’t tough for Gove to side with the Pontifical Academy and add fuel to the reason to keep STURP out.
I’m still confused about what was dated in 1988. What exactly is the radiocarbon sample retained by the University of Arizona and that Jull examined ?
What about a minimally scientific testing on this sample ? (Different from the one done by Pr Jull)
To the best of my knowledge, this is it!
1) Small strip of shroud, about 8cm x 1.5cm, with ragged top and left edge.
2) Cut away top and left edge to leave uniform looking strip about 7cm x 1cm.
3) Cut this roughly in half. Reserve the left half.
4) Cut the other half in thirds. Unfortunately, one of these ‘thirds’ is smaller than the others.
5) Cut a sliver off the ‘reserved half’ to make up the missing weight.
6) Distribute A) The small third and the sliver to Tucson. B) and C) the other thirds to Oxford and Zurich.
7) Weigh each piece carefully, but do not record which way up the pieces were when they were cut, or from which end each lab’s piece came, so that it is almost impossible to decide later who got what from where…
A) 1) Tucson reserves its little sliver and cuts its bigger piece in two, reserving one of these ‘halves’.
2) Cut the remaining piece in four. Convert these four pieces into carbon pellets.
3) Test each carbon pellet twice to achieve BP dates.
B) 1) Oxford cuts its piece into three, and converts them all into carbon pellets.
2) Test each pellet six times to achieve BP dates.
C) (Much less certain about this). 1) Zurich cuts its piece in two.
2) One bit is subdivided into three, and each piece converted into carbon pellets for dating (how many times?)
3) The other bit is divided into two (or three and one bit kept back?) and these two bits conveyed into carbon pellets for dating (how many times?).
So, Tucson still have the “little sliver” and the “reserved half” of its other piece. The “reserved half” is Jull’s bit.
Oxford (email from Ramsay) say they have nothing.
Zurich is rumoured to have a bit reserved, but nobody knows…
Would anybody like to improve on this?
I mean the first round (C-14 dating) should be closed before thinking of the next one.
There is a serious suspicion concerning the sampling. Though, for 25 years, no physical or chemical analysis has been done on the radiocarbon sample retained by the University of Arizona ?
This is phrased as though STURP is still together-that was 1978 and some post-years-how would such a group take responsibility, when it no longer exists? Several of the key members are no longer living. The chain of custody of the Frei tapes is out there-as a historian this is a bit surprising, even a real Nowhere man like me knows the trail- there are even photographs, though some may be in Kodachrome-this doesn’t fall under the umbrella of STURP. The demands for access seem a bit much, like setting up a straw man so one can cry foul, and, of course, attach the word scandal. And If a group demands that they be given full access to specific artifacts related to president Lincoln so that certain matters can be settled once or for all, this, naturally, would be reasonable in everyone’s eyes, it would be immediately approved…It’s not like checking a book out of a library
So what happened to the 32 tapes ( and I know the problems/trail of the Frei tapes which were, of course ‘lifted ‘ separately and which many do not consider authentic anyway)? Rogers refers to the 32 tapes in his 2005 article. They are after all the only evidence outside the Jull radiocarbon sample that are, or were, available for more study and are as such valuable. There were apparently at least 8,000 fibres on them and they were especially important because they were taken from different parts of the image and non-image sections of the Shroud and so would allow further comparative tests to take place (if they were still available). I hope that they were not binned when STURP disbanded!
It is confusing as STURP is said to have officially disbanded in 1981 but they pop up again expecting to to be involved in the radiocarbon tests. So when did they actually disband and as I have said, how did they make provision for the conservation of the tapes when they did so?
Charles, the results Max Frei Sulzer obtained are in a list that was prepared by Professor Heinrich Pfeiffer,SJ and published in “The Shroud. The 2000-year-old mystery solved”,and there is more material, vacuumed off the Shroud during the controversial Restoration. Professor Avinoam Danin has defended the work done by Uri Baruch, then at the Israel Antiquities Authority, but no longer available for consultation since he left the government organ and moved to a different field.
Yes, I know that but I also have read the articles that cast critical light on the Frei samples and there is a lot of explaining as to why he found pollens that no other examination did and why so many were insect-borne anyway. It is only Kelly who referred to Frei- I was interested in the 32 STURP tapes as they contain potentially so much information. I don’t know what the actual legal agreement between STURP and the Savoys/Turin authorities stipulated but if the agreement was with STURP the Turin authorities missed a trick when they did not ask for the samples back when STURP disbanded. (Gilbert Raes sent his samples back when asked to do so- but, as we all know, that was not quite the end of the story….)
These are important issues but they are seldom clarified.
Agreed, so perhaps as things stand we will have to wait and see what the material vacuumed off the relic can tell us.
How can STURP pop up when they are disbanded? If you are referring to specific STURP samples, examined by specific members, again, I believe the information is not that difficult to follow-have you ever contacted anyone involved in any type of Shroud studies directly? A serious inquiry, not just writing on a blog to someone like me-Or read the books that are out there? Of course, “there’s a lot of explaining to do” about this and about that-it’s easy to write such generalized lines, but have you earnestly ever communicated with anyone directly?
Kelly, I am sure I have not read everything – most books about the Shroud are very repetitive and add nothing to our knowledge but perhaps John Klotz will make a break through. (Heller and Gove are the more readable and informative.)
Clearly whatever happened to the tapes on the disbandment of STURP they do not seem to have been made over to a public institution that could care for them and make them available for scholars to examine. This is a pity as if they have been kept in pristine condition and together, new tests would certainly add new information about the Shroud.
I once worked on a US led archaeological dig in Turkey. We were allowed to take materials out of the country for testing on condition that they were returned.I wish the same had happened here but clearly the deal was done otherwise and so we have a fragmented Shroud. No one here seems to mind much. (One of my first jobs when working as a ‘slave’ – I suppose ‘intern’ nowadays, in Rome, in 1966 was packing away gold fibulae from Etruscan tombs and I was taught how vital conservation and labelling was because one would never know who might one day want to examine the finds.) Even if I was granted access to the tapes I don’t have the expertise to do any new tests so I just made the enquiry as a matter of interest.
I do hope the wrangling about the radiocarbon dating can stop – we have passed the 25th anniversary. Even if the tests are declared invalid there is not a scrap of evidence from the tests done by the labs to date the Shroud to the first century so why go on about them, Even a patch, that no one who has examined the Shroud close-up ( e.g Flury-Lemberg) can see. might simply have been a sixteenth century repair of a cloth made two hundred years before.
The atmospheric palynologist, Dr. A. Orville Dahl, surveying the Frei tapes, pointed out that no less than 32 of the 57 pollens could only be deposited by insects – rather than blowing in on the wind as Frei suggested. Dr. Dahl put it cautiously when came to the conclusion that the pollen was not ‘due to wind-borne deposition but to human activity of some sort.’ I am not one for conspiracy theories but I admire his restraint!
If Dahl was implying the pollen was ‘planted’ by pro-authentists I’d love to read any fiction he’s published. Great imagination. And is it inconceivable that insects might have been the medium of transmission, not wind? A linen stained with blood and other organic matter, Gee I wouldn’t think insects might be attracted to that.
Who are these “many”? What is their number? It’s an easy word to use if you keep it on the general. What about samples examined by Baima Bollone, independent of STURP? These would not be considered authentic, then, one would gather?
Charles and Kelly:
The tapes were examined by Frei, Baruch, Maloney, Litt and so on and the controversy is ongoing. They are now in the hands of Dr. Alan Whanger, who acquired them from Frei’s widow. Since we do not know if and when these will be available for fresh examination, Turin could help since he is respected by them and they also have the material vacuumed off the relic during the controversial Restoration and this could be used for the purpose of comparison.
Kevin Moran, Observations by Microscopy of the Sticky Tape Samples Taken from the Shroud by Dr. Max Frei in 1978, British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter No 41 http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/n41part3.pdf , Optically Terminated Image Pixels Observed on Frei 1978 Samples http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/moran.pdf
There is no doubt that Frei tapes had been in contact with the Shroud. The large number of pollens compared to only a single speciman found on STURP tapes can be easily explained by the fact that STURP tapes had regulated minimal presuure (in order not to leave traces of glue on fabric), while Frei used ordinary tapes and much greater pressure. The STURP members (including Schwortz, read his interview with Górny) are envious about this up to this day.
The other fact are insinuations without evidence, spread by Nickell, Schafersmann and some other scoundrels after Frei’s death -utilizing the fact that dead cannot argue.
From shroud.com, “October 16, 1984: Dr. John Jackson and Tom D’ Muhala present Cardinal Ballestrero with proposals for further scientific work on the Shroud. They have quietly formed a new group called “STURP II” and enlisted the participation of many of the original team members. “. Of course, one can say STURP vs. STURP II, it’s the same thing-but it’s really not-historically, I think there’s a demarcation that helps to clarify
I’m still not sure exactly what the controversy is, if a bait & switch might have occurred or what, but specifically, which tests from the tape lifts or dust would be done? Is this reference to radiocarbon dating?
It is evident that Max Frei Sulzer was the victim of character assassination, that being one reason for the controversy. The other ones refer to differences in opinion among scientists, Professor Avinoam Danin having told me that he firmly defends the work done by Uri Baruch.
For more details, go to the second paragraph in
There are more lines on the topic in the article (no.7) “Shroud Studies bring Good News” in the link:
They had been, but they were performed by Arizona nad self-serving.
For me it is quite probable that the sample preserved by Arizona is actually part of the original Shroud, but which was not dated, so 1260-1390 does not apply here!
This is an optical examination, not a physical or chemical test as performed by the LANL.
Science is not psychiatry. If there’s a problem to do with the available facts or their interpretation, one does NOT seek closure. One moves on, and sees what can be reproduced, what cannot.
It’s 25 years since the radiocarbon dating, and a second visit to Turin is now long overdue, one that allows a randomised sampling (at least within permitted areas).
The next time someone on this site says we need to continue the post-mortem on 1988 or think up new sources of contamination etc is when I open a new draft document in Word entitled “Petition to Pope Francis”. I kid thee not.
Labs do not seek closure, actually.
Methinks you forgot to add the ;-). ;-)
More Seriously, scientifically, there is no failure, just positive or negative results.
i don ´t know the real content of this sample, no one does, but i think it deserves a proper examination.
“Scoundrels, character assassination”, it sounds like the work of blue meanies to me…
Thank you O.K. & Louis for the links
You are welcome, Kelly. Further to #39, I have the feeling that examination of the material vacuumed off the Shroud during the Restoration will confirm Max Frei’s findings.
I assumed you meant that the labs were primarily concerned with their own survival, and that the publicity from dating the Shroud would do their finances no harm. But as my dear wife sagely points out, a headline that read “Shroud really is 2000 years old” would surely have garnered more publicity, more funds than the anti-climax of an apparent medieval provenance, at least for the corner tested, making a refreshing change from all those “in cahoots with the Richard Dawkins tendency” bla bla.
But it’s no longer just water under the bridge. It’s water that has made its way down to the sea, circulating through various smelly places en route, and after 25 years has passed through any number of planetary water cycles. Time methinks to seek a fresh spring, with clean pure water…
Entering “Forensic palynology” in Google reveals that a leading UK Research Department in that very subject is situated less than 20 miles away from where I live. I shall attempt to strike up a discussion forthwith…
I am gratified that Dan’s referencing my blog started all this. All sides seem to be engaged in a serious dialogue. Nobody loses and everybody gains. God bless you all.
Incidentally, is anybody interested in some madder root experiments? I mixed some crushed roots up with water and boiled it, reducing the volume of water considerably, but not letting it boil dry. I then pipetted some of the liquid in drops on some linen. So far, terrific! The brown stain spread out a little and looked just the colour of dried blood, and, what a surprise, a yellow ‘serum’ spread out beyond the brown stain, exactly like a wound exudate on an injury-dressing. Very exciting. After it had dried – and would you believe it did the clot retraction thing to perfection, leaving a thicker rim and and a thinner middle – I looked at it with a UV light. Tragedy. The brown stain did not fluoresce, but the ‘serum’ ring did – bright pink! (Most unlike the alleged serum rings around some blood areas on the shroud.) Back to the drawing board. Still, I then washed my paint drips thoroughly, and the dark brown “blood” was washed away, leaving a much redder, but lighter, therefore pinkish stain. The yellow ‘serum’ ring is a little lighter, but still yellow. The whole thing now fluoresces pinkly as well.
I do not know if the pink fluorescence is long lasting, but if the C-14 sample corner fluoresces pink, then Rogers’s madder ideas may be better supported. Sadly, Miller and Pellicori omitted the corners altogether, and I don’t think there are any other UV pictures of it.
Interesting, Hugh. So would one be correct in thinking that, despite the reference to Rogers, your interest in madder has extended from its alleged use to produce yellow colour for an instant aged look in a mended area, to serving as a blood substitute (more touching up?). Certainly I’ve always thought of madder root extracts (alizarin and purpurin) as being more red than yellow or brown, so it’s interesting that you see pink after giving a rinse. Wasn’t it once maintained, at or shortly after the inquiry following the 1532 fire, that the Shroud had previously endured other insults, like being washed repeatedly AND boiled in oil – a bizarre test for image permanence! Hooray. It passed the audition, but adds yet another layer of complexity to the forensics.
Thanks also for the (no doubt) unintended humour in the last-but-one sentence. ;-)
Barrie has told me that in 1978 they weren’t concerned too much with the corner from which the samples were taken, of course not knowing it would become important 10 years later. He says that the late Vern Miller might have taken some photographs that could shed some additional light–Miller’s collection is now in the hands of Tom D’Muhala.
Heller’s book remains as one of my favorites, together with William Meachum’s, title notwithstanding, but I understand. I would also list anything by Fr. Rinaldi. The Heller book has some good narratives regarding the blood tests; today’s blood tests still evaluate the same thing-the presence of hemoglobin-bound iron. Blood really hasn’t changed during the past 30, or even 300, years.
DNA evaluation is now included in the current forensic techniques, but blood testing still involves the same one-two approach described in the book, chemical tests for Hb/Fe, followed by immunological tests-no disrespect intended to anyone, but it really doesn’t require a huge degree of technical skill to chemically analyze for the presence of blood, even that in dried bloodstains-field technicians do it all of the time, so do undergraduate forensic students. The arguments about Heller & Adler being too technically naive to test for the presence blood are ludicrous-hemoglobin is a porphyrin; Adler was a porphyrin specialist, for crying out loud. But anyway, just thought I’d slip that in there, it’s in the book. I know, I know, an open issue, no problem…
I would reiterate about considering contacting those directly involved in what specific areas of Shroud research you might be interested in, historical or otherwise. I believe we all learn from each other, even if our viewpoints are dissimilar.
“…blood testing still involves the same one-two approach described in the book, chemical tests for Hb/Fe, followed by immunological tests-no disrespect intended to anyone, but it really doesn’t require a huge degree of technical skill to chemically analyze for the presence of blood, even that in dried bloodstains-field technicians do it all of the time, so do undergraduate forensic students. The arguments about Heller & Adler being too technically naive to test for the presence blood are ludicrous-hemoglobin is a porphyrin; Adler was a porphyrin specialist, for crying out loud. But anyway, just thought I’d slip that in there, it’s in the book. I know, I know, an open issue, no problem…”
This comment of your really surprises me, Dr. Kearse. I could understand others less scientifically or technically qualified making it, but YOU????
Where does one start? How does one start?
Let’s just say that one would expect blood that was either 700 years old or 2000 years old to be extensively degraded, and not something that could be so easily identified as the kind of blood that is looked at routinely in modern crime forensics. OK, that’s speculative, maybe, but you surely don’t need me to tell you that Adler and Heller were hard pushed to characterize Shroud blood with standard test procedures. Those field kits only test for the first two stages of degradation as I recall, i.e.as far as hemochromes. But degradation was surely far more extensive, given the difficulty of getting blood stains, real or look-alike, into solution, requiring hydrazine and other harsh reagents as I recall, Then there was the atypical porphyrin spectrum, which then occasioned what was largely speculation on their part, i.e. biblical narrative-driven speculation (spectral shifts attributed with trauma-induced bilirubin (photo-labile) that some might consider would have been photo-oxidized away within in no time at all),. One might reasonably ask why they did not attempt a chromatographic separation and identification, e.g. by pyrolysis spectrometry.
Adler was a porphyrin specialist, I grant you, but you must surely agree that the approach and background of a synthetic organic chemist is entirely different to that of a haematologist dealing with semi-oxidized but relatively intact haems- check his Google Scholar for evidence of that. Best stop here, methinks, and wait for immediate reaction/feedback to my astonishment at the line you have taken.
The basic chemical identification of blood based on the presence of a heme group is the same in both cases-that’s what I was referring to, nothing more, than the bottom line. Field kits, hydrazine solubilized (aged), the initial chemical identification of blood in both contexts is heme/Fe. Immunological tests measure the primary blood components albumin, Ig, although more current tests include glycophorin, which can distinguish species readily. It think it gets advertised way too much that Heller & Adler were in way over their heads, not even able to troubleshoot at a first year graduate student level. The book version may be in narrative style, but such results were accepted & published in the scientific literature. Surely, the reviewers were much more scientifically & technically qualified than me. Regarding degradation, etc., of course aged blood is expected to be more degraded than fresh blood, but certain components can and do survive-blood has been identified on prehistoric tools, immunoglobulin has been detected in T. Rex digs, similarly ABO antigens in mummy remains. Hope this alleviates some of the astonishment… Shocker!
So it’s still hunky dory as regards the immunology. OK, if you say so, but the elephant in the room is still pirouetting, albeit on one foot instead of none…
As I say, Kelly, if you want to extract degraded or even minimally modified biomolecules of relatively small molecular weight, e.g. porphyrins or bile acids from what loosely might be described as gunk, you do not seek the services of a synthetic organic chemist, even if he is a porphyrin specialist. Why not? Because he’s not au fait with the problems of dealing with the biological milieu of proteins, lipids etc, of learning the little tricks that are needed to break attachments between your target molecule and the surrounding gunk, and then persuading that molecule, once free, to partition into an organic layer from which it can then be pipetted off and spotted straight onto a TLC plate and run against authentic standards.
My first years in research were spent having to acquire precisely these kinds of techniques, and had I encountered Alan Adler at coffee, shaking his head over his “ancient blood” problem, I’d have wasted no time in suggesting a certain fix, one I learned from the bile acid literature, and had successfully applied to bilirubin, and not just free relatively apolar bilirubin but its more polar conjugates (mono- and di-glucuronides).
What one does is exploit the fact that porphyrins and linear tetrapyrroles that originate from haemoglobin all have two propionic acid side chains that make them negatively charged organic anions, or partially anionic, in physiological buffers around about neutral pH. The trick is this. There’s a cationic surfactant called CTAB, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide, i.e. hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide, which you may have heard of, since it’s used to extract DNA from chloroplasts and other plant material. You add CTAB, and being cationic, it forms a tight association with you anionic porphyrins etc. You then add chloroform, methanol and buffer in the correct proportions to get two immiscible layers, i.e. a standard Folch extraction, and hey presto your CTAB-porphyrin associations from the aqueous to the organic layer. Take off that lower organic layer, maybe evaporate some surplus solvent with a puff of nitrogen, then as I say, run on TLC with a solvent of intermediate polarity, maybe with a dash of acetic acid to help split the CTAB-porphyrin associations. All you need is a uv lamp to detect the porphyrins as they migrate up the silica gel. You can then take them off with one of those gizmos attached to a vacuum line whose name I have forgotten, and when the removed areas of silica gel have dried you tap out the powder, elute off your purified porphyrins etc for analysis by glc-mass spec or whatever.
I and Don Ostrow were using this technology in the early 70s to track the fate of bilirubin in the phototherapy of neonatal jaundice. Alan Wotshisname at the Mayo Centre was doing the same thing to track the fate of bile acids in the enterohepatic circulation. Why on earth did STURP not take advice and tips from people dealing with biological material. Why did they recruit a synthetic organic chemist who, smart though he was, very smart by all accounts, was simply ill-equipped to deal with biological gunk?
I don’t know, I suppose you’d have to ask them, Adler seemed like a pretty good pick to me. Approaches are different-here at the US at this time of year, some rake their leaves…some mow…some use a blower…some a vacuum. I suspect there is even someone, somewhere using tongs. My hunch is that if you, yourself, had performed the tests with any and all of the above mentioned considerations & techniques, and had those results accepted and published in the scientific literature, there would be those that would take issue with the data. You & Adler at coffee, now we are talking…and here comes Rogers with some cinnamon buns
Yes, but suppose his experiments using hydrazine to solubilize had fouled up (as indeed they may have) and suppose mine with the CTAB had failed to extract porphyrins into the organic layer. I can still confidently state that the porphyrins are still there, in their same chemical state, waiting for a different approach. Could Adler have said the same, given that hydrazine is a powerful chemical reagent, with the properties of both base and powerful reducing agent?
There’s a certain metaphorical sledgehammer that springs to mind, one that horrifies squirrels, including your rampaging greys. Hydrazine is a chemist’s sledgehammer – not what you need in a physiological milieu.STURP messed up on its recruitment.There should have been biomedical analysts looking at blood, not synthetic organic chemists or dare I say it, a thermochemist concerned primarily with explosives testing. I repeat: STURP fouled up – big time. The least it can do now, to make amends, is to publish all of its chemical and other analytical findings and protocols to the internet, open access.
I’ll try and look in later, but have grandfatherly duties to attend to for the next 36 hours or so.
STURP no longer exists-the often raised challenges are like asking Neil Armstrong why he couldn’t have just grabbed a few more rocks on the OTHER side of the lunar module? Or trying to analyze & discuss Ali vs. Frazier III, a World Series game, or a particular cricket match, again and again. Comes a point where you have to look forward and focus the energy there-you can only look over your shoulder for so long. Is it reasonable to imagine that there is a lot of unreleased material in the STURP vault, enough for a box set? Exactly who would do this and why? Because people demand it? I don’t think it really works that way
Final thoughts-Adler & you are across the table from each other (Rogers has stepped away to reheat a few of those rolls-he knows you favor yours with a bit of a scorch)-the results are in, precincts are closed, no further testing allowed, data is what it is-Adler asks you point blank, “So, Colin, do you think it’s blood?”…
And what about those tests for an alternative, for paints/pigments, which were also accepted & published in the scientific literature, in your opinion were those fouled up as well?
And what about Baima-Bollone and his team? They also discovered blood independently of Heller & Adler, but for sceptics like Nickell, Schafersman, Collin and Charles the don’t even exist!
Groan (ancient biochemical provenance): You make the business of identifying blood sound as simple as testing for iron oxide. Well,. that’s how the haemoglobin marker for blood ends up eventually after centuries or millennia, but there is complex spectrum of changes along the way, each of which takes it further and further away from recognizable blood.
Just the changes in the first year alone can be progressive and subtle, requiring some 6 different techniques to monitor. See the recent paper by Bremmer et al (2012) “Forensic quest for age determination of blood stains”.
Repeat: “blood” is not something for which there’s a quick spot test, and you may need a battery of increasingly sophisticated techniques to be certain that an old stain used to be fresh human blood.(ancient biochemical provenance):
Identifying old blood, there’s also the track of showing it is just paint or pigment…You may need more sophsticated techniques to be certain that an old stain is bloody, though, if ID’ing blood is so difficult, what about the reverse then, a positive result showing the opposite? These types of tests were undertaken and published. Given the chemical & immunological results and the collective evidence on the scale of science, how would you reply to Adler at the coffee pot regarding the conclusion that it’s real blood Yes? No? I’m not sure?
Sadly, I would have to tell Alan Adler that he is not the person best equipped to pronounce on whether it is real blood or not – that so crucial a question should not have been left in so few hands, and that his resort to the bilirubin get-out to explain an anomalous spectrum was hardly in the best scientific traditions if linked to the biblical narrative, and a presumption of excess “traumatic” bilirubin. I would ask him to produce conclusive scientific evidence for the presence of any bilirubin in those bloodstains, much less an excess, pointing out gently that while he was known as a porphyrin specialist, (let’s avoid the e word, it being highly context specific) I was a bilirubin one, and not impressed by what I had seen thus far from his modus operandi.
Let’s not mince our words. The blood analysis was ill-thought out and frankly shambolic. There should have been initial experiments first on degraded blood of various ages, of various treatments designed to model advanced age, to find methods of retrieving the porphyrins etc in the native state. The deployment of ferocious agents like hydrazine was frankly incomprehensible. One simply does not do that in biochemistry and physiology.
Dr. Alan Adler was a serious scientist and knew what he had found on the Shroud. He was challenged by Walter McCrone, who was proved to be wrong when it came to the Vinland Map.
So what about Baima-Bollone, whose team is NEVER mentioned by the sceptics? He had much greater material at his disposal, the whole threads, not only tapes. And he also confirmed presence of the real, human blood. So we have two independent teams that concluded the “bloodstains” are real blood. If we count Garza-Valdes and Tryon, who examined the material taken illegally in 1988 we have three teams confirming real blood on the Shroud.
Blood vs Pigment: 3:0
Was letting the bilirubin question hang in the balance, just wondering if you felt equipped to make a direct, concise pronouncement to Adler Y,N, or IMS; Even with doubts and not connecting all of the doubts, one can hit upon a conclusion that is sound (i.e. the saga of the double helix twists & turns you referenced the other day). Someone eavesdropping around the corner might yell a follow up: Well is it paint or pigment then, Y, N, or IMS? Don’t worry, coffee break is winding to a close, we all must get back to our duties-I won’t keep queing up the same record, was just wondering. A quick refill cup to go and I’m off…
Was letting the bilirubin question hang in the balance, just wondering if you felt equipped to make a direct, concise pronouncement to Adler Y,N, or IMS; Even with doubts and not connecting all of the doubts, one can hit upon a conclusion that is sound (i.e. the saga of the double helix twists & turns you referenced the other day). Someone eavesdropping around the corner might yell a follow up: Well is it paint or pigment then, Y, N, or IMS? Don’t worry, coffee break is winding to a close, we all must get back to our duties-I won’t keep queing up the same record, was just wondering. A quick refill cup to go and I’m off…
Typo: “not connecting all of the doutbs” shoud be “connecting all of the dots”
At the risk of seeming evasive (one man’s non-committal response is another man’s evasiveness) I think the problem is this – that a porphyrin specialist was recruited to investigate the bloodstains, but made no attempt to extract the presumed protoporphyrin IX that should have been there if real human blood. As I have indicated, the methodology was available to do that, provided sufficient blood scrapings had been taken the pigments to be tracked visually or spectrallyon solvent extraction and subsequent tlc against standards, maybe with mass spec confirmation. (But neither Adler nor Heller went to Turin with STURP, so had no direct say in sample collection sufficient for needs).
Why use the services of a porphyrin specialist who did not accompany the team to Turin, and who made no attempt at physical isolation of the porphyin, relying instead on peaks and troughs in uv/visible spectra, and then attempting to explain away an anomaly by positing the presence of “trauma” bilirubin, betraying a lack of strict scientific objectivity. He was supposed to garner chemical evidence for authenticity – not assume authenticity as soon as the going got difficult.
So if you ask me whether it was real blood, I’m entitled to reply – “maybe, but not necessarily collected fresh from a crucified man with typical porphyrin spectrum, mineral composition etc”. Other scenarios are possible that are consistent with the radiocarbon dating’s medieval providence (but I’ll spare you the L word, having been content in the past to show how alternative scenarios are possible that might, just might, explain the anomalies).
Got it-it is Regarding Brother Hirudo and/or the L word. one can only imagine Adler’s verbal response to the invocation of a bloodsucker into the mix, particularly when caffeine is included…I, myself, thought it was quite imaginative-in all seriousness, do you think application was done in a single sitting or multiple touch-ups throughout the years, perhaps with co-cospirators? And was a template (body) for forensic accuracy necessary to copy from? .
Back on a full size keyboard, apologies for the typos, etc. I won’t paste in the quote (I put it in 2x by accident above)-a few things were inadvertently cut but not pasted in my response, added a few words to clarify. Here’s the intended version:
Got it-Regarding Brother Hirudo and/or the L word. one can only imagine Adler’s verbal response to the invocation of a bloodsucker into the mix, particularly when caffeine is included…I, myself, thought (the L idea) was quite imaginative (when first suggested)-in all seriousness, do you think application was done in a single sitting or multiple touch-ups throughout the years, perhaps with co-cospirators? And was a template (wounded body) for forensic accuracy necessary to copy from?
Finally, if maybe on the blood, then maybe on paint,pigment as well? Appreciate your patience.
At the risk of seeming evasive, and prompted by a hint from Thibault that I may have (had?) the wrong attitude (towards Shroudology? towards TH himself?) I have been reviewing the situation.
Yes, I do have the wrong attitude. I have been needlessly and shamefully uncharitable towards certain scientists who, faced with surprises in their researches, immediately reach for holy scripture for an answer, thereby opening the floodgates to new and exotic introductions into the canon that is Shroudology, or rather Enshroud-in-mystery-ology. We have them to thank for the bilirubin story, the impurity coating story et etc. My response – to match each biblical scenario with a non-biblical one (scorches, leeches etc) the latter often, says he, making a better fist of explaining those annoying little anomalies. But there are grandchildren’s breakfast needs to attend to right now, so I’ll spare you chapter and verse – or the non-biblical equivalent – like journal volume and page number.
Okay, I can be spared, no problem. Was just curious as to if there was anything in the canon or apocrypha works on the details of how Brother Hirudo went about it; and if there was a journal volume/page number detailing the characteristics of blood post-Leech, that is showing how blood might become atypical maybe blood.
“… the characteristics of blood post-Leech, that is showing how blood might become atypical maybe blood….”
Yes, Kelly, there is actually. It’s called hydroxyproline (HP), a breakdown product of collagen and elastin in connective tissue. Given there’s a lot of connective tissue in a leech that may have been extruded along with semi-digested blood (depleted in potassium and with an anomalous porphyrin spectrum) by our Brother Hirudo, looking for a handy look-alike non-clotting substitute for fresh blood, there’s actually quite a few aspects that could be said to fit a ‘wacky’ leech hypothesis.
But jump forward to the late 20th century, where an explosives thermochemist recruited to STURP as Chemical Director detects a hydroxyproline peak on his pyrolysis mass spectrum of Shroud “blood” , and what’s his response? Answer: to assume it’s normal to have HP as a major constituent of human blood (where’s the evidence?) and immediately to seize upon it as a handy way of bolstering a flimsy case against the Shroud image being a scorch, claiming that the heat would have driven off HP (despite it being a relatively-involatile high melting solid which he probably detected via its fragmentation pattern rather than improbably volatile molecular ion).
But there’s a long, long new posting that has just gone up on this site that has confirmed my long-held suspicions that anything one says about the hallowed Raymond Rogers and his peculiar blind spots in chemistry will be totally ignored, like my recent dismissal of his claims that thymol makes further radiocarbon dating a waste of time (bless!). I even provided an email address for the American Chemical Society, inviting folk here to get a second (and better-informed) opinion on what I consider to be generic eye wash rather than branded mouth wash. Yet all his outrageous claims that thymol would form chemical bonds with the cellulose of linen have been totally ignored, and his phoney chemistry endorsed as if unchallengeable fact. I am clearly wasting my time here.
Anyone who claims (like John Klotz) that I am a poodle barking at Great Danes could do a lot worse than consult Google Scholar, and check my credentials against those of Shroudie Land celebs (enter R.N.Rogers, A.D.Adler, J.H.Heller etc and compare with mine – C.S.Berry).
Thank you for the putdown, John Klotz. I had never thought of using Google Scholar to check names instead of topics until you made that poodle remark. I see no further point in being modest about my contributions to biomedical science when there are folk like you on the site, attempting to turn Shroudology into a scientific beauty contest, one in which biggest pair of tits (fake as often as not ) make the biggest impression on the panel of self-appointed judges.
Ah, yes, hydroxyproline-I believe that’s been discussed before. I was actually hoping for a journal reference or two with an evaluation of blood, pre-ingestion vs. post-ingestion, particularly showing that the atypical spectrum of maybe blood is recreated by vacationing in the gut of a leech. Is there data of an anomalous spectrum or just an assumption that the profile would be similar? I’m just asking. “Wacky” hypothesis? I thought it was pretty creative, particularly with the anti-coagulation angle-beats keeping a cage full of vampire bats on hand.
But, the blood is only part of the story-if it’s blood or maybe blood, there is an alternative. It could be something elseIf the blood tests were so botched, what about the tests to include/exclude the possibility that paints,pigments can account for the “bloodstains”?
I believe that 2nd question was posed by an eavesdropper in the coffee room (Heller? McCrone?) listening in to your conversation with Adler. In his book, Heller states that six tests were performed to evaluate the presence of blood, any one of which would be accepted in a court of law. He adds that together they were irrefutable. Sounds like a pretty strong statement. Apart from the book, their work was scrutinized and peer reviewed by other scientists, some of whom may have even made the club on Google scholar. Many would consider publishing in such peer reviewed journals as a pretty strong statement. The question came up because if one considers the tests for the presence of blood as inconclusive, what about the other tests that were done for an alternative? Should these also be categorized as incompetent, incomplete, etc.? There are two ways to approach the question. If it’s not blood, or even maybe blood, then can one definitely say that it is anything else or does it fall under the category of RBD, remains to be determined? Are there enough results from the tests that were performed & published to make a conclusive statement regarding this inclusion/exclusion of paints, pigments as a possibility? Or we will have to hold out for that STURP box set?
I shall have to respond to you in instalments, Kelly. Yes, I would like to do literature searches and/or original experimentation on what happens to the uv/visible spectrum of haemoglobin inside a leech gut, over the weeks and months it takes for the globin to be digested.
In an ideal world, I would also be able to organize immunological tests on Shroud bloodstains for the presence of leech antigens. Naturally, I shall not risk giving offence by offering you first refusal as Immunologist-in-Chief, to say nothing of destroying this site’s raison d’etre were the answer to be a positive (though I’ve no doubt the documenting of “false positives” in archaeo-immunology would keep the site ticking over for a few more months and years, embellished with claims that the metabolism and biochemical make-up of a leech is in fact remarkably similar to that of our own, making differential comparisons meaningless, and in any case, Raymond N.Rogers would have scoffed at the very idea of a convenience blood substitute, drawing on his extensive knowledge of chemical explosives…;-)
Interesting question if unique leech antigens from the gut would be present in digested blood meals, and would persist in aged bloodstains created from them. I think it might be a bit of a tough sell to get hunting for leech antigens moved to the top of the list, provided there was a list. Would need some connection to the data that’s already been collected, other than just HP-no need to rehash that here, its detection in blood has been gone over in the previous Hirudo thread-an atypical blood spectrum post-leech would make a stronger connection,
If Shroud bloodstains were tested and such antigens are there, then they are there, says this immunologist: the data is the data. Would take more than a bit of explaning to rationalize that one away. The false positive arguments always come down to inclusion & evaluation of the controls-these are as important as the test samples themselves,-without them, it’s difficult to make any firm conclusions.
Leech antigens? It depends on how the blood was harvested from leech. If it was done in a way that extruded leech tissue and their immunological markers, then the latter would have been initially intact,and any subsequent degradation would be no more or less severe than that of the blood cell markers. So if claims can be made that ABO blood group markers can survive centuries, allowing positive tests for AB etc, then surely the same could be said for leech markers.
The problem might be in choosing which leech tissue component to serve as marker, purifying it from a modern leech (hoping there are no species-specific problems) and then raising one’s antibody to it. But this is your area of expertise, not mine, being more inclined to think in terms of physical isolation of molecules, as distinct from tactile recognition by your immune sera with their miniaturized tunnel-vision search-and-destroy robots, they of the limited vocabulary (like “found” v “not found”, exterminate, exterminate etc ;-).
So, back to my more comfortable and better-fitting biochemist’s hat, here’s another suggestion. Given the leech secretes an anticoagulant that prevents ingested blood from clotting, then the fibrinogen of the blood should be intact, and may, just conceivably may, hang around at least for a while (assuming it’s not all strained off to the outside like the watery plasma in which case this idea is a non-starter). So one tests for the presence of fibrinogen in Shroud bloodstains. If the pro-authenticity ideas of Adler and those before him are true, i.e. that what we see is not whole blood, but serum exudates from bloodclots, then there should be no fibrinogen worth speaking of, although there might be FDPs, ie. fibrin degradation products for which there are separate tests.
Come to think of it, did Adler et al ever test for FDPs as another authenticity-promoting marker for real blood? I don’t recall any mention of those. Would a synthetic organic chemist/porphyrin specialist have known there are standard test kits available (I used them myself to monitor the health status of rats on a lifespan trial of dietary fibre). But that brings us back to the question of horses for courses… Adler is so often referred to in Shroudology as a “blood expert”. Not true, at least not in terms of published work.
“Unique” leech antigens was the phrase, this is in reference to potential protests that the make up is similar to our own, and since these are blood meals, you couldn’t just use any-expression would have to include the gut. It’s not really a claim that AB antigens can survive, they do, though I’m not really sure that’s a direct comparison to the putative leech antigens, one would suspect these (leech) would be protein-based, not carbohydrate based such as the ABO system. I am always careful to discuss the typing results on the Shroud as type AB as determined by forward typing-In my opinion, a conformation using molecular biology techniques would be an important extension/conformation.
Regarding Adler being a “blood expert”, it’s been discussed ad nauseum-hemoglobin is a porphyrin, he was a porphryin expert. One can decide on their own. These were professional scientists at professional institutions, it’s unfair to paint them out as clueless at the controls of a plane in a steep dive. Heller & Adler weren’t immunology experts, but they were able to set up & carry out a series of controlled antisera experiments, either through their own proficiency (easily believable to me) or with some consultation (happens all of the time in science as you know). You chime in on a variety of scientific areas (numerous) in various postings, which according to the Google Scholar club, there may not be a sufficient paper trail. What is one to make of that? Look objectively at the data, results, or comments, if it’s sound, it’s sound. One’s knowledge & experience can extend GS, no?
But enough of this bantering about blood or maybe blood-as I previously wrote, assume these blood tests, even though reviewed & accepted in journals by other Google Scholars, were so terribly botched that it’s only a maybe at best. What about that eavesdropper, who is asking about the alternative? Were those tests similarly in error?
Two quick responses. First, when looking for someone to service or reconstruct your valuable but falling-apart Model T Ford, would your first thought be to employ someone whose main expertise was to do with modern carburettors (or who says he specializes in black cars).
Second:if you are invited to referee a paper detailing tests on the Shroud of Turin, do you instantly reject it on the grounds that the data are non-quantitative, with no statistical replication, and for the most part spot tests involving colour changes that are possibly subjective, and in any case unrecorded (no video footage)?
I probably would not. But I will tell you this. If the author reported tests on sticky-tape fibres sampled from a “bloodstain” (that description being provisional and essentially under scrutiny) I would take umbrage at it being described as a coloured serum-coated fibre. I’d say that description was begging the question with its reference to “serum”, implying that previous interpretations of the “bloodstains” as serum exudates of blood clots were unproven hypotheses. Indeed, those previous assumptions were to some extent undermined by the curious absence of potassium in the stained areas, and by anomalous atypical haem spectra that had been explained away with assumptions about bilirubin being present, again with no convincing evidence that the light-sensitive bilirubin was present.
Personally this experienced referee would have sent it back for re-writing. (Btw: the Biochemical Journal once sent me a two-part paper (I and II) to referee from one of the world’s leading authorities on bilirubin. I went through both with a fine tooth comb, and gradually realized there was so much padding and repetition that the two papers could without much difficulty and no loss of essential content be condensed into one that was just over half the length, and less of a burden on both reader and journal. Later I got a personal letter of appreciation from the journal’s Editor, thanking me for the hard work and the keen eye. A year or two later when I ran into the author and told him that it was me wot dun it, he didn’t turn a hair, but neither did he offer to buy me a drink of his country’s excellent beer ;-)
If my Tin Lizzie were falling apart and in need of service, I’d first consult Google Scholar.
The cement is just about dry, the coffee has been reheated again & again. I think a carburetor specialist might give a similar answer as you have regarding tests for paint, pigment. Wonder if he could also check (& possibly adjust) the air pressure in the tires? And replace the brake pads? Would this be beyond his expertise/speciality?
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