John Jackson Presentation at a Roman Catholic in 2002

Joe Marino writes: “Just found these on YouTube and don’t think I’ve seen previously.  Each part about 60 minutes.”

New to me, too. Great find!

In case you need them, here are the URLs:

Everyone’s Own Facts

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
— Daniel Patrick Moynihan

imageThe exception to that bit of wisdom from Senator Moynihan may be Shroud of Turin studies. It is not my intent to pick on Yannick Clément, in particular, but he just provided a useful illustration. Fact selection is a rampant problem when it comes to the shroud. We are almost compelled to ask, which facts are you using and why.  Yannick in a comment illustrates this:

Good enough for me means simply that I agree to consider something as a fact when two experts gets to the same conclusion while working independently of each other. One confirms the other in sum and that’s when we can take something for granted in science. Not before. In the case of the bloodstains on the Shroud, we can.

Just read the books published by Adler and Baima Bollone and you’ll see that the results of their analyses of the blood and serum stains (which was done with different tests, but which gave very similar results) was strong enough for both of them to claim that these stains are not made of something else than human blood and serum and even more, that these stains comes from a highly traumatized person, which is in total sync with the body image.

If that’s not good enough for some people, that’s good enough for me.

(bolded emphasis above is mine)

Is it good enough that John Jackson and his “team of research associates” and, separately, Alan Whanger found x-ray-like imaging on the shroud? Robert Siefker and Daniel Spicer have confirmed that:

There are images of teeth and bone structures associated with the face, as well indications of finger bones all the way to the wrist. . . . John Jackson and his team of research associates have observed these features and they are mutually confirmed by Whanger and other researchers.

The implication in the use of the word mutually is clear. They mean exclusively. Two experts have concluded the same thing. So, by Yannick’s definition, is this a fact?

Was it good enough that a consensus of experts at Valencia concluded that:

The body image is created by molecular change of linen fibres. There are also bloodstains. There is no body image beneath the bloodstains.

(bolded emphasis above is mine)

It took some squawking by other experts to get the above paragraph amended, something called by some the Valencia Compromise Parenthetical. It now reads on David Rolfe’s site:

The body image is created by molecular change of linen fibres. There are also bloodstains. There is no body image beneath the bloodstains. (For the avoidance of doubt, this characteristic does not exclude the possibility that the molecular change may have taken place in an impurity layer at the linen surface).

When is a fact a fact? Two people working independently and finding the same thing?  Really?

If we apply Yannick’s words, “that’s when we can take something for granted in science”  to other areas of science we can get ourselves in all sorts of trouble. Certainly, for a long time, experts working independently concluded that we lived in a static universe. James Jeans, Fred Hoyle and Albert Einstein, though they held different working views, arrived at similar steady-state conclusions. It would take others to dismantle the fact of a static universe. It would take Einstein admitting he was wrong.

Certainly in the field of evolution we can find independent experts concluding for irreducible complexity as evidence of a designer god. Can we say that working independently and concluding essentially the same thing, Michael Behe, Stuart Burgess, William A. Dembski, Phillip E. Johnson, and Stephen C. Meyer make Intelligent Design a fact? 

Note: We can even find two experts who will tell you James R. Schlesinger said what is attributed to Moynihan. And we can find two others that will tell you the opposite is true.

I don’t know what makes anything a fact when it comes to the Shroud of Turin.

Anticipating the Conference: Charles Madder on Ray Rogers’ Archives

Charles Mader  |  10-Oct-14  |  6:30-7:00 pm


As a professional colleague and friend of Raymond Rogers at Los Alamos while he was alive I was asked by his wife, Joan Rogers, to recover after he died the files from his inoperative personal computer which contained details of the Shroud studies he described in his book ‘A Chemist’s Perspective of the Shroud’ and interesting interactions with members of the Shroud community and the data bases he generated studying the Shroud.  The files were recovered and shared with Barry Schwortz to include as part of the STERA, Inc archive.

Click on the title to read the full abstract. Click here for the conference home page.

Hathos Warning

imageAt least three readers of this blog have informed me that the article by Wahlid Shoebat included an embedded YouTube video that featured Barrie Schwortz.  In my posting about Shoebat, I had been so focused on the controversy surrounding him that I missed the video altogether (see Walid Shoebat on the Shroud of Turin).

One of the readers was shocked by the source of the video so I decided to examine this video simply called Shroud of Turin Update. It does indeed feature Barrie. The image on the right is from the title screen at about the one minute mark. I would love to know who produced it. Anybody?There is no identification in the video other than a Sword of God logo in the upper right corner . The YouTube page tells me it was, in fact, published by Sword of God on April 26th, this year.

I doubt that Sword of God is the original publisher. Here is why:  Sword of God claims to have published (uploaded) 116 videos. When I look at the list it seems obvious that many of them if not most of them are from other video publishers. They seem to have been copied and republished, perhaps with some editing.  Facilities from YouTube make it possible to splash that Sword of God logo.

imageWhile nosing around, I found this complaint from Sword of God:

It’s been brought to my attention that YouTube isn’t showing all the new uploads to my subscribers. Also having a issues with YouTube not showing all comments being made in videos.

It could be because the videos violate YouTube’s acceptability criteria. It could also be that some of the videos were taken down due to copyright complaints under the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17).  (In either case, that little red not-so-smilely replaces the play button). It wouldn’t surprise me if many of the Sword of God videos fall into those categories.  You can see the list of 116 videos. Those that actually work are a hodgepodge of good and bad stuff. It  includes a lot of Prophesy in the News (PITN) video, Russ Breault on PITN, L.A. Marzulli on the alien agenda (that is, aliens from space) and so forth.

Hathos Warning: It is obvious that Sword of God is picking out videos that fit his/her/their worldview and republishing them. And that leads me to this awful video: Satan in the Vatican? part 1. The first one and a half minutes is all you need to watch to get the idea. The implication of any association of these hateful views with the the shroud nauseates me. It is not a single example, either.

Sword of God has a right to express his/her/their point of view. They have the right to quote content under Fair Use provisions of the law. That includes video. They do no have the right to copy whole segments of video and republish it as though it was their own.

If you are interested, you can follow some links. From YouTube go to their website. Click on Prophecy Update. Ignore donations and the store and hover on More while clicking on About.

I really don’t like to see a Shroud of Turin video being shown under the Sword of God logo

Revisiting: The Turin Shroud Image is not a Scorch

Thibault Heimburger recently commented:

I do not think that the image formation process is a stochastic process. . . . In addition, I completely disagree with Colin. I repeat: the distribution of the image color is not consistent with any kind of scorch, even if one takes into account ageing etc.. This has been shown in :

imageLeading Colin Berry to reply:

Nothing is “shown” unless opened up to debate. Pdfs do not open up to debate. Criticizing others via pdfs is a means of evading both online counter-criticism or more formal peer review.

Personally speaking, I can scarcely be bothered to read pdfs any more – they occupy a nether world between public and private domain, and at best qualify as vanity publications in my mind.

Huh?  PDFs “. . . at best qualify as vanity publications”?  Really?  Almost every article I read in Nature, International Weekly Journal of Science is a PDF document. Is that a vanity publication in anyone’s mind? As one might expect, Nature pondered the question of using PDF files for its articles. They report, “So far, scientists have shown a strong preference for the portable document format (PDF) version of individual articles. . . .” And so they and nearly every ethical journal use PDF.

On this blog, I will use the PDF format when it makes sense to do so. A 23 page article makes sense.  It would not make sense to clog a blog page with that much content. It slow down page loading. It hampers debate; comments are a mile away down the page.

On April 17, I announced Thibault’s paper, The Scorch Hypothesis: New Experiments, April 2014. There were thirty comments and it is significant to note that about half of them were not from Max and none of them were from Colin.

Perhaps we need to revisit this topic. So HERE IS THE PDF. And right below this sentence is space for debate. Over to you Colin.

Catching Up: Yannick to Hugh, Anoxie and All of Us

imageHere’s a reply by Yannick to one of Hugh’s comments :

Hugh, I think you completely pass over page #4 of our paper in your reading! If you would go there, you will find this pretty good explanation for the questioning you raised in your comment : « 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). Here, it is necessary to add a comment: in spite of the vast amount of solid data obtained by different experiments and analysis done by blood chemists and medical or forensic experts, there are still self-styled scientists who denied such a fact (personal note : we should have add  a precision here to state that the fact in question is the fact that the bloodstains on the Shroud really comes from a real human being), which is incredible, especially when we consider that this is one of the most unquestionable facts regarding the Shroud! These people should know that science has nothing to do with personal opinions. »

And a reply to Anoxie:

I have decided to write a reply to Anoxie’s claim that it’s impossible for the Shroud image to be related to a stochastic phenomenon. His comments needed a reply and here it is :

Anoxie, on the contrary to what you claimed in the last few days, the characteristics of the body image on the Shroud (especially the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area, which is a well-documented FACT) are not at all inconsistent with the idea of a stochastic process of coloration involving the release of a small quantity of energy (most probably biological and happening at normal temperature) from the corpse of the Shroud man.

Why can I be so sure about such a conclusion? Simply because this is EXACTLY the kind of result we must expect from a stochastic event!!! In other words, the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the Shroud’s image area CAN be explained by a stochastic event of coloration because such an event will always produced a uneven, non-homogenuous and unpredictable result, just like we see in the image area!

And by the way, you said that the key to the Shroud’s image is “a varying threshold”… Have you thought about the possibility that the real key could be a second stochastic event instead that would have happened well before the image formation (i.e. an evaporation-concentration phenomenon that would have happened at the time of the drying of the final cloth in open air, after its weaving)? Effectively, when we consider all the available data, along with Ray Rogers’ work and hypotheses, I think there’s a real possibility that the main factor that lead to the kind of image we see on the Shroud (i.e. an extremely thin image composed of yellowed fibrils, which show a discontinuous distribution) could have been the presence on the top-surface of the cloth of a very thin AND UNEVEN layer of carbohydrate impurities (the possible uneven aspect of it can be considered as a stochastic result), which was the only thing that was able to get colored by the image formation process.

And if this is true, then we have to conclude that such a process of image formation must have been very mild, because it would have only been able to produce a visible yellowing in this thin layer of impurities, which is the kind of substance that would be easier to get colored by a chemical process than the structure of the linen fibers itself. And when we consider such a fact, we must assume that the quantity of energy that would have been involved during such a mild process of image formation was most probably low, which is the kind of scenario that is truly consistent with the idea of a stochastic event of coloration.

Considering all this, I don’t think anyone can claim that the image on the Shroud had nothing to do with a stochastic event, while in fact, it is truly possible that it had something to do with not just one but two stochastic event (one being the release of a small amount of energy – still unknown – by the corpse and the other being the evaporation-concentration phenomenon that could have happened at the time of the drying of the final cloth in open air, producing a very thin and uneven layer of carbohydrate impurities on the top-surface of the cloth).

I have submitted this idea to Fazio and he think it’s interesting… It is possible that, in a near future, we write together another scientific paper to describe such a hypothesis of image formation in details… Note that, to my knowledge, no one has ever proposed such a “two stochastic event” hypothesis before in the context of the Shroud’s image formation.

That’s it Dan! Now, I would like you to post this reply under Anoxie’s recent comment that begin with “Actually I think the shroud is consistent with AM screening…” (link to the page: In sum, I would like you to post this reply to him in the same manner than you agreed to post another reply of mine under Hugh’s comment of yesterday concerning the image and bloodstains…

Since I’m blocked from posting personal comments on your blog, you’re my only hope that Anoxie (and everyone else) can read this message!!! As usual, I count on you!!! I THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR DOING THIS!!!

And here is a clarification of a clarification:

In the « P.S. » of my long email of yesterday, I was referring to quote #114 of my paper entitled “Raymond N. Rogers’ observations and conclusions concerning the body image that is visible on the Shroud of Turin”. In fact, there is a mistake there and the quote I would like people to read is #115 instead (and especially the personal note I wrote following this quote).

Here it is: “Rogers is referring here to some lab experiments he did to analyze the evaporation concentration phenomenon in the context of the washing and drying of a linen cloth. For that kind of experiment, he used a colored dye to have a better look at the resulting concentration of “impurities” on both surfaces of his samples of cloth. In his book, Rogers give us a good example of that kind of experiment, along with the results he recognized: “The phenomenon can be demonstrated with a simple experiment. Prepare a dilute solution of food coloring, and divide it into two parts. Add a drop of liquid detergent to one part. Cut some squares of white cloth that are about 10 cm on a side. Saturate cloth samples with one or the other of the solutions. Mark the samples for identification. Lay some saturated samples of cloth on smooth, non-absorbent surfaces (e.g., a sheet of plastic). Lay some samples on dry sand in the sun. Hang some samples from a line. Let the liquid evaporate. Different types of cloth will show different degrees of concentration of the dye on the evaporating surfaces, even on different adjoining fibers. It is possible to get dye concentration on both surfaces, while leaving the interior of the cloth white.”

The part I’ve underline and put in bold is the one that proves that the probability is good that there really was an UNEVEN and thin layer of carbohydrate impurities on the top-surface of the Shroud, which could have been the only thing colored by the image formation process, thus offering a pretty good explanation for the observation mentioned by Thibault Heimburger on your blog concerning the fact that, in the image area, there are sometimes bundles of yellowed fibers right next to bundles of uncolored fibers. And as I said, this kind of explanation can fit with Rogers’ Maillard reactions hypothesis, as well as our hypothesis of a stochastic event of coloration.

In sum, the observation reported by Thibault lead me to conclude that the best thing that can explain the image formation on the Shroud is not only a stochastic event that involved a very small amount of energy and which happened probably at normal temperature (or the kind of event described by Rogers), but a stochastic event (or the kind of event described by Rogers) that would have colored only a thin and UNEVEN layer of carbohydrate impurities that was coating a portion of the top-most fibrils (some with a thin coating that was thicker than some others with a very thin coating, while some others had no coating at all) on the top-surface of the Shroud, thus causing the yellowing of only a portion of the top-most fibers that were coated with some carbohydrate impurities while leaving the rest uncolored. And in the end, it’s only the fibrils that were oxydized and/or dehydrated by the stochastic process (or by the kind of event described by Rogers) and that were coated with a minimum amount of impurities (undetermined) that really took part in the formation of the visible image…

In other words, in order for a particular fiber to become visibly yellowed and thus, to take an active part in the formation of the image, it needed probably two things:

1- A stochastic event involving only a small amount of energy (which could have been compose of postmortem gases and/or heat and/or singlet oxygen atoms and/or urea (or ammonia) and/or lactic acid released by the corpse or some other biological substances and/or some volatile burial product(s) that could have been put all over the body) or a non-stochastic event involving the release of postmortem gases in the way described by Rogers. One of these two events would have contributed to oxydized and/or dehydrated the carbohydrate impurities residing on-top of that particular fiber, while leaving the structure of that fiber intact.

2- A minimum amount of carbohydrate impurities (undetermined) on-top of that particular fiber in order to produce enough yellowing to become visible on the surface of the cloth through the stochastic event or the non-stochastic event that are described above. Note: such a minimum amount of impurities would only have been present on an undetermined percentage of the top-most fibers of the cloth (and probably also only present over just a section or some sections of those coated fibers, instead of being present over the entire length of those fibers; to be convinced of this, please that a good look at the great microphotograph of a PARTIALLY colored fiber that was taken by Rogers and that is available on the STERA bank of images).

To me, this would offer a good explanation for the observation reported by Thibault.

Again, I think you should post this present email as a complementary comment to the one you already posted on your blog.

I wrote all these comments for one single reason: to offer people interested by our paper some more precisions concerning the way me, Fazio and Mandaglio are understanding the nature of the Shroud image and the most probable way it got on the cloth.

Thanks for posting this email, along with the comment of mine your already posted (in the same topic)…  I really think this is an important addition to make…  I count on you for this since I know you always help me with such a clarification thing.  In order to help you, I give you the same email in a Word document in attach…

And you can be sure that this will be my last addition.  I think I’ve said it all!!!  Just let me know when this additional comment will be added on your blog.  THANKS!

The Manoppello: This little cloth cannot be further ignored in Shroud research!

imageO.K. sends along an addendum to his recent paper, Shroud of Turin & Manoppello Image Comparison & 3D analysis: Or the magic of ImageJ.

So now, enjoy Addendum: Shroud of Turin & Manoppello Image Comparison & 3D analysis: Or the magic of ImageJ continues in which he drives home the point:

For now I leave aside further discussion about Manoppello, it’s possible authenticity, and relation to the Shroud and Veil of Veronica. The final conclusion is: This little cloth cannot be further ignored in Shroud research! (emphasis his but reduced in size by me)

Saint Jesus?

imageRoberto Scalese of (Boston Globe) tries his hand at defining a relic while writing, Why is a Vial of Pope John Paul II’s Blood Coming to Boston this Weekend?

For the uninitiated, relics are a big deal in Catholicism. According to the Catholic Education Resource Center, there are three classes of relics. First class relics are from the actual body of a saint. Like this vial of John Paul II’s blood. Then there are second class relics, which are objects used by a saint. Picture a frock or scepter. Third class relics were touched by a saint. The Shroud of Turin is probably the most famous third class relic, even if its authenticity is in doubt.

Saint Jesus?  Which saint touched the shroud?  Joseph of Arimathea?  Or should it be what saint instead of which, implying many more?

According to Scalese, the John Paul II Shrine in Washington, D.C. puts it this way:

Here we need to pause for a moment. Perhaps in our technological age, the whole idea of relics may seem strange. Remember, all of us treasure things that have belonged to someone we love—a piece of clothing, another personal item, a lock of hair. Those “relics” remind us of the love we share with that person while he was still living and even after death. Our hearts are torn when we think about disposing of the very personal things of a deceased loved one. Even from an historical sense, at Ford’s Theater Museum for instance, we can see things that belonged to President Lincoln, including the blood-stained pillow on which he died. More importantly, we treasure the relics of saints, the holy instruments of God.

Didn’t we try our hand at this when the pope called the shroud an icon? To my way of thinking the shroud is a all-classes relic of Christ, plain and simple. So, too, the Sudarium of Oviedo is all-classes. So, too, a small cloth with the blood of Christ at the Basilica of the Holy Blood at Bruges in Belgium is such a relic. Of course, questions abound.

Anticipating the Conference: Robert Villarreal on an Alpha-Particle Image

Robert Villarreal   |  10-Oct-14  |  4:00-4:30 pm  &  4:30-5:00 pm

image[. . . ] Based on results from the Shroud of Turin Research Project scientists, the following pertinent criteria are offered:

1. The body images were straw-yellow colored that did not vary significantly in either shade or depth.

2. The yellow color indicated a series of defects that gave a monochrome color only on the top-most crown on the microfibers.

3. There was no yellow color on the base of the microfibers.

4. Where one fibril crossed over another, there was a white spot on the underlying one. Some microfibers looked like yellow and white candy canes, the white areas resulting from one thread crossing over another and protecting the underlying area from the image making process.

5. There was no image under the blood areas. The blood must have shielded or absorbed the alpha-particles from striking the linen cloth.

6. The image was directionless; this would require very high resolution of < 15 microns or the width of a microfiber.

7. There was no sign of capillary action (no liquids), diffusion or vapors.

8. The images were 3-Dimensional and negative images.

9. There was no adhesion between fibers and no fibers were matted together.

10. There was no meniscus visible in image areas.

11. The shroud cloth had been through the retting process because of the even distribution of very pure Ca, Sr, and Fe due to an ion-exchange process.

[ . . . ]

16.  With the recognition that he died on the cross, Jesus was lowered from the cross quickly and Joseph of Arimathea and perhaps Nicodemus and others and brought him down Mount Golgotha to a nearby garden tomb that belonged to Joseph and had never been used. He was quickly cleaned and groomed and placed on a stone workbench where they covered him with a single linen cloth and sealed the tomb with a great stone. The extent of the preparation of the body was not revealed. But after about 36 hours later on Sunday morning, the stone was rolled back. But Jesus’ body which had attracted much Rn222 that on radioactive decay irradiated the cloth for about 36 hours. The fluency of alpha-particles would have created an image on the cloth of the body of Jesus. The flax and fluency of alpha-particles from Jesus’ body to the linen cloth must have been sufficient to generate the visible image on the cloth. This unique situation makes the shroud image unique to Jesus in placement, timing, and completion. According to radiochemistry this was about the right fluency time for the cloth to body distance was <4cm there was an image formed but when greater than 4 cm there was no image formed. Experiments conducted by the author showed that the mean free path of a 5.49 MeV alpha-particle is about 4-5 cm in air. This is in exact agreement with the Alpha-Particle Irradiation Hypothesis as described in the main paper.

Jesus seemed to have prearranged this entire scenario.

Click on the title to read the full abstract. Click here for the conference home page.

Photomicrographs and Stochastic Imaging

imageColin Berry in his blog tells us that Thibault Heimburger is correct – Shroud photomicrographs lend no support to the notion of a ‘stochastic’ imaging mechanism.  Colin writes:

So where does Thibault Heimburger MD, Paris-based French physician and member of the Shroud Science Group enter this story? Some might be surprised to find his views being favourably received on this site, given there is so much on which we differ, notably the contact scorch hypothesis (one that TH rejects). But that does not mean he’s wrong – or right- on everything, far from it, as my follow-up to a recent comment on his on will now show.

TH appeared on the recent thread, the latter flagging up the presence of a Fazio et al  paper recently published in Mediterranean Archaeology and ArchaeometryHe queried the claim (or supposition?) that yellowed  fibres were randomly distributed across Shroud image-bearing regions, stating that they could appear together in bundles  . . . . Were that correct, it would deal a devastating blow to any theory that required the coloured fibres to be randomly distributed (though occasional clumping is not totally ruled out, albeit being of low expected frequency).

You are going to want to read Colin’s posting. Now we just need to hear from Thibault.

imageNote about the image:  The above image is ME-29, a 64x photomicrograph of a part of the nose area by Mark Evans. CLICK HERE or on the picture to enlarge it to 1088 by 770. Because I am hot-linking to the image as it is stored in Colin’s blog, it appears as a properly proportioned rectangle. For some reason it has been distorted into a 320 by 320 square in Colin’s blog (not that this seems to make any difference for the purpose at hand).  According to the gallery of images, the original size is 2940 by 1984.

Clarification of the Stochastic Process Paper

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” (ément-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” (ément-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).”


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.

Anticipating the Conference: Jack Markwardt on the History of the Turin Shroud

Jack Markwardt  |  12-Oct-2014  |  8:30-9:30 am


. . .  A suggestion that the Turin Shroud is to be identified with the famous sixth-century Image of Edessa has, rightly or wrongly, been rejected by several leading experts in Byzantine history and Syriac studies on the grounds that the Edessa icon was merely a painted object and that the single textual reference to it having been an acheiropoietos (not made by human hands) image was the invention of agenda-driven, eighth-century iconophiles. Nevertheless,  . . .   In this paper, the author, drawing substantially upon the work of modern scholarship, recounts the movements of the imaged cloth which would ultimately become the Shroud of Constantinople, accounts for the extended periods of its historical obscurity, and documents the fact of its existence many centuries prior to the earliest radiocarbon birth date ascribed to it in 1988.

Click on the title to read the full abstract. Click here for the conference home page.

Warning: The Sunglasses Will Win You Over as The Old Fart Rants About the Shroud of Turin

Hat tip to Joe Marino for this one.

imageYou might want to watch all nine minutes.  It is a lot of Joe Nickell-ism-like ranting concluding with it would have been strips of cloth not a single cloth. And then his summary. You could skip to about 6:50 and save yourself from much of the hypnotic effect of the blue sunglasses (transcribed before a second cup of morning coffee)

. . . Such an image on the shroud could not possibly have been missed by any witnesses. It would be fresh, bright and clear as it would ever be. It is absolutely ludicrous to believe that the image of Jesus, burned into his burial shroud, something which would have been seen as nothing short of miraculous, the holy grail of tangible, physical evidence, which would prove the physical resurrection of the son of God, the very basis of Christianity itself, would not even get a mention in the Gospels.

[ . . . ]

Peace and love, everybody. That’s where it’s at.

Anticipating the Conference: Neutrons Released from Resurrecting Jesus?

Robert Rucker  |  11-Oct-2014  |  11:30 -12:30 am


A computer code called MCNP is used in the nuclear industry for analysis and design of nuclear reactors, radiation detectors, radiation shielding, and criticality safety.  In this study, MCNP was used for a detailed analysis of neutron absorption in the shroud.  This study is based on the hypothesis that a very small fraction of neutrons in the body of Jesus were emitted from the body as it disappeared in the resurrection.

[ . . . ]

4.  The Sudarium of Oviedo has been carbon dated to about 750 A.D.  MCNP results indicate that a piece of cloth placed anywhere on 28% of the area of the right or left bench in the tomb would have a C14 date between 700 and 800 A.D.  This would explain the C14 date for the Sudarium.

Click on the title to read the full abstract. Click here for the conference home page.

It’s Art, Not Science

imageDaveb, just last evening, wrote in a comment:

I personally see no hope of convincing those who swallow camels and strain at gnats and are predisposed against authenticity, no matter what proofs might come to light! it is too much of a challenge for their world-view. There is no other ancient object for which an explanation can readily be found, but one. And they yet cry “ignorance is no argument of proof!” Make one! Too difficult!

It reminded me of a recent conversation with a friend.

Him:  You say on your blog that you think the shroud is probably real.

Me:  Yes.

Him:  So how do you think the image was created?

Me:  I have no idea. I have never seen a hypothesis I liked.

Him:  Why, because it couldn’t work or because it didn’t fit your faith paradigm?

Me:  I like to this it is simply because it could not work but to be honest it is both.

Him:  So why do you think it is probably real?

Me:  Because I don’t think it is fake.

Him:  Okay but in science that is a fallacy. It is an appeal to ignorance.

Me:  But we are not talking about science.  This is a history of art problem.  We’ve looked. Admittedly, the focus has been European artistic methods and we need to look more for possible methods coming from the Middle East, even maybe Asia and Africa. It has been what, several decades or more than a century that we have been looking for a way that the images could have been manmade. Only a scientist would call that an appeal to ignorance.

Him:  But scientist are working on ways.

Me:  Art forms are not the product of scientific endeavor.  These scientists are more like Van Gogh or Monet than Einstein.  In the end a new art form that probably never existed isn’t going to make the shroud “improbably” real. Showing how it could have been made is not unlike an appeal to ignorance.  It’s art, not science.

Anticipating the Conference: Giulio Fanti on SSG

Giulio Fanti |  10-Oct-2014  |  8:30-9:30 pm


The group is composed of several academics from around the world, researchers, scholars and it has the advantage of presenting a remarkable multidisciplinary, necessary for Shroud studies.

In 2005 the group published a paper on the characteristics of the Shroud, to be considered for the study of the body image formation (Ref. 1). In 2008 it organized an " International Conference – The Shroud of Turin : Perspectives on a Multifaceted Enigma ," in Columbus, Ohio.

Many interesting results about the Relic have been obtained from the rich discussion of SSG and from the work of SSG members. Among them it must not forgotten the “Doubly superficiality” body image (Ref. 2); the first dating after the 1988 radiocarbon results made by R. Rogers (Ref. 3) who demonstrated that the Shroud is much older than the Medieval date obtained in 1988; the mechanical and opto-chemical dating (Refs. 4, 5) that determined a date of the Shroud (33 B.C. ±250 years at 95% confidence level) compatible with the age in which Jesus Christ lived in Palestine; some new hypotheses of body image formation like those of the author and of Paolo Di Lazzaro (Refs. 6, 7).

Click on the title to read the full abstract. Click here for the conference home page.

ImageJ Used to Compare the Shroud of Turin and the Manoppello Image

imageAs a guest posting, O.K. has put together an intriguing image-ladened paper, Shroud of Turin & Manoppello Image Comparison & 3D analysis: Or the magic of ImageJ.  

Jumping to near the end:

Suppose for a moment that both the Shroud and the Manoppello are authentic relics of Jesus. Being so different, they provide complementary information.  The monochromatic Shroud with it’s 3D properties provides a model Jesus outlook. It is essentially like an old sculpture. It provides information about shape of the object, but no other information like skin, eyes, hair colour.

But what [that] model needs is texture. And Manoppello, if genuine may provide it!

It is wonderfully fun to see how powerful ImageJ can be.


Paper Chase: A Natural Stochastic Process May Explain the Coexistence of Bloodstains and an Image on the Shroud of Turin

clip_image001The paper, THE MYSTERIOUS COEXISTENCE OF BLOODSTAINS AND BODY IMAGE ON THE SHROUD OF TURIN EXPLAINED BY A STOCHASTIC PROCESS by Giovanni Fazio, Yannick Clement and Giuseppe Mandaglio and published in Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry is now available online:

The presence of bloodstains certifies that a wounded human body has been enveloped in the Shroud of Turin and that most parts of this corpse came in direct contact with the cloth during the burial procedure. On the contrary, the ventral body image, by correlation between image intensity and cloth-body distance, shows codified information regarding the distance from which the cloth was versus the body at the time of the image formation. At first sight, this last statement seems to be impossible for a human corpse. Therefore, the coexistence of the bloodstains and the body imprints on both sides of the Shroud could be seen as unnatural, especially when we consider that a deterministic process as the UV radiation or the action of an electrostatic field (corona discharge), as well as manmade chemical and thermal treatment. These processes do not explain all the known characteristics of the body images (ventral and dorsal) because they do not distinguish the fibrils that must be yellowed from the ones that must retain the background colour. In this paper we prove that a natural stochastic process can offer a rational and scientific explanation that can account for all the known properties of these bloodstains and body images. However, another possible explanation that must be taken into account is a natural process involving the production of oxygen that yields a latent image.

Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry is an open access journal published by the University of the Aegean.

Anticipating the Conference: Ken Stevenson on Biblical Hermeneutics in Shroud Study

Kenneth Stevenson  |  11-Oct-2014  |  8:30-9:00 am


From the time that I had the awesome privilege to edit the Proceedings of the 1977 U.S. Conference of Research on the Shroud of Turin, I have argued as often as I can for the inclusion of fields of research other than hard core sciences alone. Since the Shroud does not exist in a technical “vacuum” so to speak, it is my contention that history, art, Jewish tradition and customs and most importantly the Scriptures have a vital role to play in arriving at the “whole truth” about this most enigmatic relic.

[ . . . ]

The most significant area that remains untapped is the Scriptures themselves. At the Ohio Conference, where I presented, "White Linen White Paper" I continued to stress the need to expand research into these important areas. Since that time, I have been using Biblical Hermeneutics to study any and all references that have a connection with the Shroud. Taken in conjunction with Jewish customs and traditions a hidden purpose for the Shroud clearly emerges which could give the Shroud a proper place not only in terms of Christianity, but also in terms of Judaism: specifically the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy. Finally a pattern emerges in the New Testament which points strongly to a first hand knowledge of the Shroud and some of it’s characteristics that correlates to these same Biblical passages.

Click on the title to read the full abstract. Click here for the conference home page.

The Beat Goes On

imageYou can read the latest, [Stephen Jones’] theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker #5. I don’t know what to say.

Even though my theory at this early stage is entirely circumstantial, lacking as yet a `smoking gun’, by a process of elimination of "the impossible," my theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker, "however improbable" it may seem to be, "must be the truth" . . .

Stephen then goes on to explain that the Arizona physicist Timothy W. Linick (1946-1989) may not have necessarily worked with a former KGB agent named Karl Koch by explaining he could have issued a software update to the other labs in Oxford and Zurich or (presumably for he doesn’t really say) another KGB agent could have entered the laboratories clandestinely to install the code in the control console computers. He then promises more in installment number 6 (which because some confusing reorganizing of his original posting is probably by now installment 14 or 15).

There is some interesting material about the carbon dating tests.

Anticipating the Conference: Ray Schneider with a Larger Perspective for Dating the Shroud

Raymond Schneider  |  10-Oct-2014  8:00-8:30 am


When the Carbon 14 (C14) dating of the Shroud of Turin result was announced in 1988, the tests concluded that the shroud was woven of flax whose age was estimated to be between 1260 and 1390 A.D. This result flew in the face of many expectations of authenticity but was welcomed by many as revealing the shroud to be simply inauthentic and it was then popularly heralded as a "fake." However, this rush to judgment contradicted most of the science and scholarship previously invested in the shroud. It is perhaps a measure of the respect in which C14 dating is held that the finding tended to discredit the earlier work, yet it is a questionable scientific practice to vest one kind of result with such weight as to completely discount the results of a large body of prior work. The present paper seeks a larger perspective by providing an objective account of as many factors as possible to put the issue of dating in a more complete balance. Both the positive and negative evidence for authenticity from a variety of historical, archeological, religious, and scientific domains is presented.

Click on the title to read the full abstract. Click here for the conference home page.

Navy Seals at the Battle of Gettysburg? A Picture of the Shroud in 1036?

If it is the shroud perhaps it explains the poker holes

imageIs this what is now known as the Shroud of Turin being carried through the streets of Constantinople.?

(Click on the picture for a larger view)

Pam Moon writes:

. . .

Last year I spent a lot of time with the Madrid Skylitzes and I wondered if you would be interested in the image which doesn’t fit at all.

It is one of the finest images in the Madrid Skylitzes and the one every google search picks up.

But it is the equivalent of of putting a modern day company of Navy Seals into a picture of the Battle of Gettysburg. 

The army in the image is the Varangian Guard (pg 16/17) It doesn’t fit – it is 160 years out of date. 

Is the image actually of the Shroud in the 1036 exposition through the streets of Constantinople which has been redacted by a later copyist to make it fit a wrong part of history?

If it is perhaps it explains the poker holes on the Shroud?

Pam has put together a paper, The Shroud of Turin in Constantinople? Paper I: An analysis of the L Shaped markings on the Shroud of Turin and an examination of the Holy Mandylion and Holy Shroud in the Madrid Skylitzes .   Take the time to read it. It is quite fascinating.