Home > Paper Chase > Clarification of the Stochastic Process Paper

Clarification of the Stochastic Process Paper

June 16, 2014

imageYannick Clément wants to clarify some points about the paper, THE MYSTERIOUS COEXISTENCE OF BLOODSTAINS AND BODY IMAGE ON THE SHROUD OF TURIN EXPLAINED BY A STOCHASTIC PROCESS discussed HERE. What follows is an email he sent last evening. Following that is a summary that he also sent:


Thank you for your post on the blog that inform people of the publishing of the MAA paper I wrote with Fazio and Mandaglio! Well done!

Concerning what I said to you Friday about the fact that, even though the title of our paper can suggest otherwise, we are not willing to discard the hypothesis proposed by Rogers for the image formation on the Shroud in the form he wrote it, it’s important to understand that we still think an alternative scenario involving the release of a smaller quantity of postmortem gases than what he thought, which would have started a stochastic event of coloration on the top-surface of the Shroud, is more probable and we also think the possibility is quite high that this kind of stochastic event could have been started by some other forms of weak energy released by the corpse of the Shroud man, other than the postmortem gases proposed by Rogers (especially the heavy amines). That’s why our main conclusion mention this: “In our opinion, the bloodstains formation was followed shortly thereafter by a transfer of a little quantity of energy that was released by the dead body in direction of both parts of the cloth (ventral and dorsal parts), which triggered a stochastic process that produced, after some time (e.g. a few decades), a yellowing of some fibrils on the cloth’s surface.”

This precision is important to understand…

And on a more general note, I just want to point out that the main conclusion of our paper is the fact that, on a theoretical level, the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the Shroud’s image area can only be explained by a chemical process of oxidation and/or dehydration that must have involved only a very small amount of energy during a mild and natural event that most probably happened at normal temperature.

And, for us, such a weak amount of energy could only have produced two possible results:

1- A stochastic event of coloration that could have come from various possible natural sources (i.e. thermal diffusion from the corpse, postmortem gases released by the corpse or by some biological products (like urea and/or lactic acid) left on the skin and hair because of the abundant sweat of the Shroud man, a release of singlet oxygen atoms from the corpse, etc.), which would have lead to the formation of a latent image on the top-surface of the cloth that would have only be clearly visible years or even decades later. (note: this is the scenario that, me, Fazio and Mandaglio are favoring the most to explain the Shroud’s image).

2- An event of coloration coming from the release of postmortem gases by the corpse that would have produced Maillard reactions in the layer of impurities resting on the top-most fibers of the cloth, just like it was described by Rogers (i.e. a non-stochastic event that would involved a yellowing reaction of the layer of impurities EACH TIME these impurities would have come in contact with the amines released by the corpse), which would also have lead to the formation of a latent image on the top-surface of the cloth that would have only be clearly visible years or even decades.

Here, it’s important to note that, theoretically speaking, it’s much easier for the scenario #1 (stochastic event) to explain the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area than it would be for the scenario #2 and Rogers was fully aware of this when he wrote in his book about the Shroud: “However, identification of a probable chemical process does not explain one of the perplexing observations on the Shroud, the discontinuous distribution of the color on the top-most parts of the weave.” But as I wrote myself in my paper entitled “Raymond N. Rogers’ observations and conclusions concerning the body image that is visible on the Shroud of Turin” (http://shroudnm.com/docs/2013-01-10-Yannick-Clément-Reflections-on-Ray-Rogers-Shroud-Work.pdf), such a statement by Rogers doesn’t mean that the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers observed in the image area cannot be compatible with a natural mechanism for image formation that would involve a chemical process like the Maillard reaction he proposed before his death in 2004. To me, this quote from Rogers only means that, in order to explain properly this discontinuous distribution of the colored fibers, at least one more factor other than a chemical process like a Maillard reaction must have been active during the image formation process. For example, this additional factor could have been the presence of an uneven and very thin layer of impurities on the top-most fibers of the cloth (which would have render only a portion of those top-most fibers suitable to get easily colored) and/or a much smaller amount of energy involved in image formation process than what Rogers thought (note: this last possibility would place Rogers’ hypothesis in scenario #1 instead of #2, because it would mean that a much smaller amount of postmortem gases were involved in the image formation event, which would have lead to a stochastic result of colored fibers).

It should be noted that the possibility of a chromophore of the image residing only in an UNEVEN (this word is crucial) layer of carbohydrate impurities that could have produce a thicker coating of impurities on bundles of fibers that are adjacent to bundles of fibers that are coated with much less impurities as well as bundles of fibers that maybe are completely free of any impurities (which is a possibility that, unfortunately, we did not mentioned in our paper) can be seen as a possible answer for the good questioning that was emitted by Thibault Heimburger on your blog (when he said: “the colored fibers are not randomly colored.In a colored thread, there are BUNDLES of colored fibers adjacent to bundles of uncolored fibers.”). I think the possibility that an UNEVEN layer of carbohydrate impurities could be the only chromophore of the image give the two scenarios I mentioned more credit in the light of Thibault’s observation… Note also that this possibility of a chromophore residing only in an uneven layer of impurities can fit with Rogers’ hypothesis (scenario #2) as well as with a stochastic event of coloration (scenario #1) if such an event affected only the layer of impurities described by Rogers (which is truly possible, especially when we take into account THE FACT that such a layer of carbohydrate impurities is much easier to yellow than the structure of the linen fiber itself, including the PCW).

In the end, after we (i.e. me, Fazio and Mandaglio) took into account the fact that, on a theoretical level, the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the Shroud’s image area can only be explained by a chemical process of oxidation and/or dehydration that must have involved only a very small amount of energy (e.g. scenarios #1 or #2), we were able to state categorically that all the image formation hypotheses involving an important amount of energy (like the ones proposed by Fanti, Di Lazzaro, Jackson, Moran, Rinaudo, etc., and even the one that will be proposed in St-Louis by Villareal, which involved a release of alpha particles) must be discarded because they cannot rationally explain the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the Shroud’ image area. This lead me to conclude that this kind of discontinuous distribution of colored fibers is certainly the aspect of the image that can be seen as the most important “deal breaker” for all these image formation hypotheses. Effectively, in all these cases, the amount of energy would have been too high to produce a stochastic event of coloration or to only colored the top-most fibers of the cloth that were coated with enough carbohydrate impurities, without affecting also the structure of the fibers underneath those impurities, as well as the other top-most fibers surrounding those heavily coated fibers.

I really think you should post this present email on your blog in order for people to understand more easily the heart of our MAA paper (as well as offering an interesting response to Thibault’s questioning). Thank you in advance for doing this…

[ . . . ]

Yan J

P.S.: Concerning the possibility that, on the top-surface of the Shroud, there is an UNEVEN layer of carbohydrate impurities, which would have been the only thing colored during the image formation, I remind the readers of your blog to read carefully the footnote #163 of my paper “Raymond N. Rogers’ observations and conclusions concerning the body image that is visible on the Shroud of Turin” (http://shroudnm.com/docs/2013-01-10-Yannick-Clément-Reflections-on-Ray-Rogers-Shroud-Work.pdf), which reads: “In his paper entitled An Alternate Hypothesis for the Image Color (2001), Rogers reported an evaporation-concentration experiment he made with a cotton nap and a dye solution and described the result like this: “The photomicrograph shows that the main concentration of dye on the top surface appears on the fibrils of the nap that are pointing straight up and on the top-most surfaces of the threads.” This is a clear indication that when an evaporation –concentration phenomenon is active inside a cloth, it normally produces an uneven layer of impurities that concentrate mostly on the top surface of the cloth, thus giving us a possible explanation for the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area of the Shroud (as well as the extremely superficial aspect of the image). Effectively, starting from this result obtained by Rogers, we can presume that, after the active phase of the image formation process (which was most probably mild), only a portion of the coated fibers located on the top surface of the cloth (i.e. the ones that were coated by a thicker layer of impurities) were able to get colored enough to help produce the body image that we see on the Shroud, because the amount of impurities, in their case, would have been sufficient to produce such a result. Notice also that Rogers reports the same kind of evaporation -concentration experiment with dye in his book “A Chemist’s Perspective on the Shroud of Turin”, while mentioning that the degree of dye concentration can be variable even between two adjoining fibers (see quote #114), which confirms very well this personal interpretation of the previous quote coming from his paper entitled An Alternate Hypothesis for the Image Color (2001).”

SUMMARY

There is a true possibility that the answer to the Shroud’s image formation can be found in BOTH a stochastic event that involved only a very small amount of energy released by the corpse (i.e. a natural event that happened most probably at normal temperature) AND the presence of a UNEVEN layer of carbohydrate impurities that coated the top-most fibers of the cloth and which would have been the only thing that was affected by that stochastic event, which was so mild that it provoke the oxidation and/or dehydration of only a portion of the most coated fibers on the top-most part of the cloth (while not affecting at all the structure of the linen fiber itself, as well as not affecting in a visible way the other top-most fibers, even if some of those fibers were directly adjacent to those that became yellowed), thus leading to the formation of a latent image that became fully visible only years or even decades later.

  1. Hugh Farey
    June 16, 2014 at 8:14 am

    At the risk of unleashing another 2000 words, I wonder Yannick would like to address the main problem with his paper, which is that in spite of its title, it does not resolve the blood/image dichotomy at all. The blood, it declares, is a contact process; the image, it declares, is related to cloth/body distance. Since the intensity of the image in the areas around the bloodstains is variable, then those areas represent both contact and variable distance colouration processes. This is contradictory. Any chance?

    • Thibault HEIMBURGER
      June 16, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Hugh, you wrote:
      ‘ Since the intensity of the image in the areas around the bloodstains is variable, then those areas represent both contact and variable distance colouration processes.’

      Can you give us examples of the first part of your sentence.

      I’ll explain my reasons later.

      • Hugh Farey
        June 16, 2014 at 6:44 pm

        Hi Thibault, you might look at the ‘scourge marks’ down the back of the legs. in some places the image is well defined, in others virtually absent, and there is a range of stages in between. If the bloodstains are all contact prints, then the image should be of equal (and maximum) intensity around each one, for Yannick’s “co-existence explained” to make any sense.

  2. Chris
    June 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    I am partial to the naturalistic process theory. I think any naturalistic theory has to explain why there is no side image though. I’m not sure any of them do now.

    • Hugh Farey
      June 16, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      I think the best of them postulate a kind of wall of bags of myrrh and aloes all around the body, after it was laid on the shroud, so that it was effectively covering a kind of elevated bas relief.

    • daveb of wellington nz
      June 17, 2014 at 12:02 am

      Chris: See Mario Latendresse paper “The Turin Shroud Was Not Flattened Before the Images Formed and no Major Image Distortions Necessarily Occur from a Real Body”. I think the URL is latendre@iro.umontreal.ca . You need to see his slides at:
      http://www.sindonology.org/papers/latendresse2005aSlides.pdf

      Mario considers that the Shroud was loosely draped over the body and his experiments with a volunteer show that there’d be little image distortion. If you measure the distance over the top of the head on his Shroudscope, then it seems that the cloth had to be wrapped quite firmly and closely over the head, so that the top of the head had to be masked somehow, perhaps with a cloth, or else the imaging process had to be constrained to act vertically only for some reason.

      Max PH is insistent that the burial shroud was wrapped tightly following the prescribed burial ritual, but then you have the problem of no side image. John’s gospel account says Nicodemus brought 100 Roman pounds of herbs and burial spices, and they must have been put to some use. They might have been placed along the sides of the body, and then Max can have his tight wrapping together with image formation which could then be orthogonal. The gospel accounts say the tomb was in a garden, and it was spring, so maybe there could have been some fresh floral packing as well. Danin and others have asserted they see images of various flowers, others say they don’t see them.

      The rational authenticist position should be first to pursue a naturalistic explanation before resorting to miraculist explanations; but the experimental work necessary for it has never been pursued to any proper conclusion, only theoretical speculations and minimal experiments.

    • Chris
      June 17, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      Hugh and Dave, thanks. Interesting theories and definitely stuff worth pondering.

      One of the things I wonder about though is how can we determine tight wrap versus a loose draping. Some of the blood stains suggest a tight wrap (or even a close wrap) without anything else in there – take that elbow bloodstain for instance. I recall reading something recently from another post where that blood stain maps to the man’s elbow if the shroud was wrapped around him. One would have to assume that there would not be anything else in there. The other thing is the bloodstains in the hair. Seemingly they map to the sides of the face? It would suggest, if that were true, that the shroud had to be wrapped tight at some point but then loosened and draped loosely for the image formation process.

      One possibility is that Joseph had helpers and they were the ones who had to physically take the body into the tomb and lay it in the shroud. Maybe they were doing this while Joseph was getting other burial supplies to put in the tomb in anticipation of a later, fuller burial. Perhaps they weren’t all that familiar with what Joseph had in mind given the time constraints and so while waiting for him to arrive wrapped the body rather closely thinking they were helping and that Joseph would just carry in the burial stuff and lay it next to the body (on the floor or something) instead of placing it around the body. Joseph then comes in with the stuff and wants to give Jesus a modicum of respect with regards to burial ritual but doesn’t have time to do anything other than just lay the stuff closely against the sides of his body and drape the shroud over everything. After all he’ll be back after the Sabbath to finish the job. And having those spices there might help with the inevitable stench from the decaying corpse. I can’t imagine that would take all that long and it might be long enough to allow the blood transfer to happen and then the image formation could happen over the period of the next 48 or so hours.

      Pure speculation on my part but in any scenario I think for a naturalistic process theory to work you’ve got to have both a tight wrapping and a loose draping if those facial and elbow bloodstain mappings are correct.

      • Hugh Farey
        June 17, 2014 at 1:40 pm

        This dichotomy is one of the biggest objections to a natural origin for the Shroud as we know it. Explaining it satisfactorily is possibly the holy grail of the authenticist viewpoint, just as explaining how to achieve the image artificially is the holy grail for the non-authenticist.

      • Chris
        June 17, 2014 at 2:52 pm

        Hugh, yeah, it’s tough to explain. It may be even simpler than we’ve imagined. Thinking about it some more it may just be that the body was wrapped tightly in the shroud right off the cross, then transported in some fashion to the tomb where it was unwrapped, spices laid aside it and the top draped over to await the final burial.

      • June 18, 2014 at 12:35 am

        Chris wrote: “Pure speculation on my part but in any scenario I think for a naturalistic process theory to work you’ve got to have both a tight wrapping and a loose draping if those facial and elbow bloodstain mappings are correct.”

        The proposed scenario of a tight wrapping by Lavoie on this subject cannot have happened because you would have a vertical misalignment of the bloodstains vs the image. See paper
        http://sindonology.org/papers/latendresse2005a.pdf

        There is no need for a tight wrapping to explain the bloodstains in the facial area: Lavoie did not present any argument that such bloodstains cannot have been transferred from the hair and I do not see how such an argument can be made.

        As for the bloodstain near the elbow, it can be explained by the blood dropping from the elbow towards the ground and forming the blood line and droplet stain we see on the Shroud.

        Hugh Farey wrote: “This dichotomy is one of the biggest objections to a natural origin for the Shroud as we know it. Explaining it satisfactorily is possibly the holy grail of the authenticist viewpoint…”

        I think this is explainable along the line of the paper cited above.

      • Yannick Clément
        June 20, 2014 at 4:58 pm

        Here’s a reply to Mario’s comment about the bloodstain near the elbow:

        I don’t want to start an old debate that we once had on this subject, but I sure want people who will read your comment to know that an alternative explanation still exist, which has been described by me in the recent paper that was published in the MAA journal. Here’s the part of that paper I’m talking about: “In fact, the presence of blood, serum and bile pigments are the result of a direct-contact mechanism between a real wounded human body who died by crucifixion and the linen cloth, which had been used to cover it (see Items xi through xiii). It’s important to understand that some of these biological stains could have been formed on the cloth by temporary contacts during the burial procedure (for example, during the probable moving of the enshrouded body from a central place inside the tomb to his final resting place on a stone bench carved in a wall of the tomb), while others (representing certainly the major part of the bloodstains) are the result of a permanent contact between the corpse and the cloth (e.g. direct-contacts that were maintained after the end of the burial procedure). And it should be noted that the very probable fact that some bloodstains were formed by temporary contacts during the burial procedure could explain why some bloodstains on the Shroud are offregister with respect to the anatomical details of the body images (Item xv).”

        Such a scenario can explain at least as good as yours why there is a bloodstain off the right elbow of the Shroud man’s body image.

  3. anoxie
    June 16, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    “even though the title of our paper can suggest otherwise”

    Great, second chance, what should be the title of this article ?

  4. daveb of wellington nz
    June 17, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Chris: John’s gospel account of the burial Jn 19:38-42 is the one with the most detail. Key points made seem to be: a new tomb close to crucifixion site and in a garden; Nicodemus bringing 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes; took the body of Jesus, wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths; following the Jewish burial custom; it was Day of Preparation; tomb close at hand they laid Jesus there. What one makes of all that still leaves much room for ambiguity.

    From “following Jewish burial custom” and “tomb close by” I think Max would argue that most of the burial rite would be carried out, including tight wrapping and other certain rituals, and that there was ample time to do this. Others would argue the opposite, that the point seems to be made that it was Preparation Day which that year would fall on the sabbath, so it was especially sacred, and maybe the author is hinting that there wasn’t time for the full rites, and that allows the cloth to be loosely draped.

    I recently came across a paper (maybe on this site), I forget the details, but it was suggested that the body was tightly wrapped and was lain horizontal, but that the image was formed with the body vertical (e.g. round (not flat) buttocks) and the cloth at that stage was loosely draped. I think the author was probably suggesting a miraculist explanation for the image rather than some naturalistic process.

    You pays yer money, and you makes yer choices! Essentially not enough known!

  5. Hugh Farey
    June 17, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Or the body was horizontal, but hovering in mid-air, with the shroud hovering above and below it. (John Jackson, I believe)

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