Inspired by Colin Berry’s Experiments with Lemons . . .

I decided to try some other fruits and vegetables. But seriously, I remember how pleased Ray Rogers would get when other scientists didn’t just speculate but did actual experiments which might eventually lead to an understanding of how the image was produced. Ray did so himself, as we know. I’m glad, once again, to see Colin doing likewise.

The following image is best seen at about five feet or more unless you want to see the fruits and vegetables up close. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).


Spreading the Word on the St. Louis Conference

NOTE:  There are errors of fact in the quoted text below, that I copied directly from the church bulletin published on and reported out by Yahoo News, Google, and other search engines. I spoke to John Jackson this morning. He never was a lapsed Catholic, as Mons. Mitas wrote. I’m not sure that what is written about Barrie Schwortz (misspelled by Mons. Mitas) is correct either. I’m sure, as a read, the text, that the parish pastor intended to be laudatory.

John Jackson has subsequently written to me so that I may post the following:

I have been a Catholic man all of my life and am proud to be so.   I, therefore,  do not understand why I was characterized as a “lapsed Catholic” on this blog and personally reject such a characterization.

I have removed the factually incorrect text from the second paragraph and inserted ellipsis. I am unable to correct the source document and I would hope that it will be corrected by an official of St Angela Merici Church in Florissant. Otherwise it remains on the Internet, as is. When I read the words of a parish priest in a church bulleting who also writes that he has known John Jackson for several years, I took him at his word and assumed that he knew the facts. Moreover, I am certain he DID NOT mean to sound derogatory. And I don’t think he does. I’m sorry this caused so much consternation.

imageNews of the conference is getting around even in St. Louis area church bulletins. Monsignor Matthew Mitas, pastor of St Angela Merici Church in Florissant, Missouri, writes in this past Sunday’s parish bulletin:

On October 9-12, our archdiocese is going to receive a special treat. The international Shroud of Turin convention will take place in our own back yard. In 1978, a team of A-list scientists was given total access to this holy relic, long believed to the actual linen cloth in which the dead Body of our Savior was wrapped after He was taken down from the Cross. The team comprised believers, non-believers, anti-believers, skeptics, Christians, Jews, and just about any other kind of faith, agnosticism, or disbelief there is. But they were all true scientists, i.e., they were open-minded when it came to the facts and were willing to let the facts speak for themselves and present them in a disinterested, but forthright, manner.

Heading the team was Dr. John Jackson . . . and his head imaging expert and photographer was Baruch (Barrie) Schwartz . . .  Both . . . dedicated their lives to the study and promotion of the Shroud, and both are coming to St. Louis to make presentations on the latest research concerning the Shroud (including the “de-bunking” of the Shroud by the bogus carbon-14 test made a few years ago).

I’ve known Dr. Jackson for several years (and his wife, Rebecca, a Jew who came into the Church because of the Shroud) and met Barrie Schwartz on my recent trip to Colorado (he lives in the other Florissant, the one in Colorado). (I understand that there are only two cities on earth named Florissant.) Both men are faith-filled, exceedingly knowledgeable, and engaging in their presentations. They will be joined by other experts, too, so it should be a great weekend! I’ll give you more details as it draws closer.

Guy Consolmagno on Science and Religion

imageDavid Freeman writing yesterday in the Science section of the Huffington Post, How A Vatican Astronomer Views The Science-Religion Divide:

In an interview with HuffPost Science editor David Freeman, Brother Guy [Consolmagno, S.J., astronomer and planetary scientist at the Vatican Observatory, pictured] said he believes the antagonism between scientific principles and religious faith exists mostly among fundamentalists.

"I mean fundamentalists on both sides," he said, "because there are also science fundamentalists. And what is a fundamentalist? It’s somebody who is clinging to the fundamentals of their truth because they don’t have the confidence or the faith in their faith to be able to say, ‘I’m settled, I’m happy with this, let’s see where it goes.’ Fundamentalism is a sign of fear."

The audio of the interview is available here.

Wikipedia Entry for Guy Consolmagno.

Secret Image Made With Invisible Ink

imageColin Berry, we discover by reading his blog, is experimenting with lemon juice and some other concoctions: the stuff of secret writing. Here he comments on September 29, 2014 at 1:09 AM

So, there’s a range of options available to our medieval relic-manufacturer, he with a gleam in his eye, having been tipped off re the invisible ink trick.

He could have done it my way, and impregnated the linen first with sugar solution, fruit juice whatever, and then using a heated template to imprint. That would explain the negative image, and indeed one might venture to suggest that a negative image was indeed the prime objective, if the aim was to simulate a sweat imprint.

However, there’s still more mileage in the invisible ink scenario since it does not preclude a painted-on image. While no fan of that idea, primarily because it calls for painting a negative image that might seem somewhat avant-garde, certainly for the medieval era, it has its merits. . . .

[ . . . ]

In fact the technique is so adaptable, so replete with possibilities for modifying this or that detail to achieve the most pleasing and ‘convincing’ end result that I confidently expect Occam’s Police to descend on me as soon as word leaks out from these otherwise private musings, warning me against multiplying entities unnecessarily.

Am I ready to announce to the world that the TS was (or could have been) produced by invisible ink technology, an application of parental pre-TV, pre-computer era stock-in-trade for entertaining children on a wet afternoon?

Nope, I need more time to potter around, . . .

Colin then comments more on September 29, 2014 at 9:23 AM

The lemon juice effect is so potent, sensitizing linen to a deep scorch that would be unobtainable in its absence, that I’m inclined to think that so major effect might very well be the key to understanding the nature of the TS image. But what is the chemical basis, if it’s neither sugar nor organic acid that is the scorch-promoting factor?

What is the chemical basis? Here is an elementary article in Scientific American: Invisible Ink Reveals Cool Chemistry: A Mad Science Room activity from Crazy Aunt Lindsey:

What happened to your invisible message?

What other liquids work well to make invisible ink that develops under heat? When you painted the lemon juice solution onto the paper, the carbon-based compounds were absorbed into the paper’s fibers. When you heated the paper, the heat caused some of the chemical bonds to break down, freeing the carbon. Once the carbon came into contact with the air, it went through a process called oxidation, one effect of which is to turn a darker color. Oxidation doesn’t always need heat to occur. Some fruits themselves can turn brown from oxidation. Think of an apple or pear slice that is left out on the counter for too long.

Quote for Today

From the web pages of

While we pride ourselves on being rational beings who can understand the way the world works, it is mysteries that really fire our imaginations and lay hands on our souls. Where facts may bolster feelings of control it is mysteries that make us feel alive. The power of mystery is evidenced in how we maintain interest in things like the Loch Ness Monster, the Bermuda Triangle, the shroud of Turin, the search for Kardashian talent, and Donald Trump’s hair.

It was a great quotation until we got to the examples.

Hello Mr. Zias

A Guest Posting by Yannick Clément
An Exchange of Emails with Joe Zias (Wikipedia Entry)

Hello everyone!

imageHere, I would simply like to share some precious and very pertinent informations I got from a real expert in ancient Jewish burial rituals who’s name is Joe Zias. Mr. Zias [Pictured]  is a well-known and well-respected Jewish archaeologist who also was the former curator of Archaeology and Anthropology for the prestigious Israel Antiquities Authority. I reached him recently via email to discuss with him about some topics related to the Shroud of Turin.

The first subject I wanted to talk with him concerns two hypotheses that have been proposed over the years concerning the possible use of flowers and/or plants during the burial of the Shroud man. These hypotheses propose that these botanical species would have been laid on the Shroud man’s body before the end of the burial procedure.

The first hypothesis is well known in the Shroud world and propose that some images of flowers are visible on the Shroud and that these flowers would have been present inside the cloth at the moment of the body image formation and, for an unknown reason (most probably related to the image formation process itself), would have been also reprinted on the cloth’s surface along with the body of the Shroud man.

The second hypothesis is less known, but have been proposed recently by the archaeologist Paul Maloney in a paper that was published on this blog. It is related to various microscopic debris of plants and flowers that he found in good quantity in some of Max Frei’s pollen samples. Mr. Maloney proposes the idea that these debris would have been left on the Shroud after the deposit of these botanical species on the body of the Shroud man before he was completely enveloped in the Shroud.

I always been very suspicious about the first hypothesis concerning the images of flowers on the Shroud (for the main reason that I don’t see how a natural image formation process could, at the same time, produce a body image AND some images of flowers on a linen cloth) and, after some reflection, I felt the same concerning Mr. Maloney’s own hypothesis.

But in order to better judge the potential validity of these two hypotheses, I decided to contact Mr. Zias (with who I have exchange some emails in the past) and ask him a pertinent question on the subject.

Here’s the email I sent him: “Hello Mr. Zias!

Recently, I read a hypothesis about the Shroud of Turin that I consider truly irrational and I just want you to confirm to me that my reasonning about that is correct.
Mr. Paul Maloney, a Professional archaeologist who study the Shroud since the 1980s and who is in possession of the Max Frei’ collection of sticky tape samples he collected from the Shroud in 1978, propose the idea that the fact that there are a high concentration of microscopic debris of plants and flowers in some samples, this means that they must have come from some deposits of plants and flowers directly on the Shroud at some time during its history.  So far, I have no reason to doubt such a reflection.  But the thing is that Mr. Maloney propose that such a direct deposit of plants and flowers on the Shroud could have happened during the burial ritual of the Shroud man…

That’s where I disagree, because I really think that the deposit of plants and/or flowers WAS NOT part of the common ancient Jewish burial ritual of the Second temple period.
Question for you:  Am I right about that fact?  I’m sure you know the answer!  Thanks in advance for taking 2 minutes to confirm me that I’m right about the fact that there was no deposit of plants and/or flowers on the corpse and/or Inside the burial shroud during the common Jewish burial ritual that was perform in Antiquity.  I know that this is still the case in modern orthodox Jewish burials, but I want to be certain that this was already the case in Antiquity…”

And here’s his short reply: “Shalom, you are absolutely correct on that point. Joe Zias”

Interesting don’t you think? As I said at the beginning of my post, the only goal I seek here is to share these precious information with all of you, because I know that they are very pertinent and come from someone who have no bias on the subject. After reading the confirmation of Mr. Zias that plants and/or flowers were not part of ancient Jewish burials, it’s now up to you to make up your mind about the 2 hypotheses related to the presence of plants and/or flowers inside the Shroud with the body. Personally, I’m now more convinced than ever that there was absolutely no botanical species present inside the Shroud and that all that was there was the bloody and unwashed corpse of the Shroud man and nothing else… If I’m right, this would be in total sync with a real partial burial done in haste, which would correspond exactly with the Gospel accounts! In sum, I can say that what seems to be flower images to some people is most probably a good example of the pareidolia phenomenon that has been described by Barrie Schwortz and Paolo Di Lazzaro in this paper.

And when it comes to Mr. Maloney’s hypothesis, I think the alternative hypothesis he mentioned in his paper, which have been proposed by a palinologist named A. Orville Dahl, is much more rational and viable! This scientist proposed the idea that these debris of flowers and plants came from an event that has not been documented and that could be related to a liturgical ceremony in which the Shroud could have been used as the Sacred cloth on the altar of a church. It is during that kind of ceremony that flowers and plants would have been laid on it and would have left some microscopic debris. Personally, I think it’s truly possible that such a religious event could have happened while the cloth was kept in Constantinople and it is even possible to assume that this could have been the inspiration for the “epitaphios” cloths used during Easter time by the Orthodox Church, which started to appear in the Byzantine capital around 1200 A.D. I also think that it’s also possible to link such a liturgical event with the L-shaped burn holes on the cloth, which could well have been produced during that kind of liturgical ceremony in which the Shroud could have been used as an altar cloth folded in 4 equal pieces. Effectively, the nature and the appearance of the burn holes makes it possible that they were produced by some small drops of a corrosive liquid (note: Al Alder thought this was the most probable scenario to explain these burn holes), maybe coming from the use of incense, or produced by some small drops of very hot wax coming from a candle.

Here, I must say to those who would still be tempted to believe in the presence of images of flowers on the Shroud or to believe in Mr. Maloney’s hypothesis that, if these proposal would be true, then we would have a good reason to seriously doubt the authenticity of the Shroud as the real burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth, because we know FOR A FACT that, historically, flowers and/or plants were NOT part of a common Jewish burial during the First century A.D.! And think about it : If the use of flowers and/or plants was not part of the normal Jewish burial ritual during the time of Christ, how in the world this would have been the case for his own burial, which was obviously done very partially and in haste?

Personally, I even doubts that some burial substances like aloes and myrrh (which traces has never been found by Adler or Rogers’ chemical investigations) could have been present inside the Shroud with the body, except maybe in solid form (maybe in powder). If that’s the case, it’s possible that this powder would have been placed inside some cloths (used as « bags ») and then disposed all around the Shroud man’s corpse inside the Shroud, which is an interesting hypothesis that was first proposed by doctor Pierre Barbet in his book about the Shroud and which, according to Barbet, would have been done basically for two reasons: 1- To retard a bit the decomposition process of the corpse. And 2- To remove bad smelling inside the tomb. And of course, this would have been done because those who did the incomplete burial of the Shroud man (this is a FACT) would have been well aware that they had to come back to the tomb later on to finish the job properly with a real anointment of the body. That was most certainly the main reason why the women needed to open Jesus tomb on Easter morning and the reason why they get there in a hurry very early was obviously to avoid facing a decomposed body and the very bad smelling that goes with it. But beside this possible presence of aloes and myrrh in powder inside the Shroud at the time of the image formation (which is a hypothesis that will probably never proven), I seriously doubt that there was any other thing, except for the dead and unwashed body of the Shroud man, still covered with blood and serum stains…

Now, after having exchanged some emails with Mr. Zias concerning the idea of flowers and/or plants that could have been used during the burial of the Shroud man, I decided to go further by asking him some questions in link with another well-known hypothesis concerning the possible presence of coins (often mentioned as being authentic « Pilatus coins » from Jesus era) over the eyes of the Shroud man.

Again, here’s parts of our exchange:

First, I send him this email: “Hello Mr. Zias!

Again, I need your knowledge on ancient Jewish burial practice! Along with the so-called images of flowers that some pro-Shroud guys said having seen on the cloth, they also claim that there would be images of coins over both eyes of the Shroud man and many of them goes further by pretending that these coins are Roman coins!

The only thing I would like to know is this : Does it was a common Jewish practice to put coins over the eyes of their deads during the burial ritual?“

And here’s the message he sent me: “It was never a Jewish custom and those coins that were found in the skull in Jericho were probably placed within the mouth, non Jewish Roman practice but in order to cover all bets we find it on rare occasion. Secondly, coins of Pontious Pilatis, sound like Monty Python. Joe Zias.”

Then, I send him the email: “In the case of the few coins that were found in ancient Jewish tombs, don’t you think, like me, that this is probably a pagan ritual done by some Hellenized Jews of that time?”
And here’s what he said to me: “Def. a roman pagan practice in which on occasion, Jews, in order to cover ‘all their bets’ placed coins in the mouth of the deceased.”

Then, I sent him this message: “Since we know that some Jews (many being from the upper class) were hellenized at the time of Christ, it’s not very surprising that archaeologists could find coins in Jewish tombs from time to time but, as you said well, this was surely not a common practice among Jews of that time…  I think it’s fair to say that, when it comes to ancient Jewish burial ritual, the use of coins is the exception that confirms the rule, right?”

And here is reply: “Absolutely correct, in most cases when coins were found colleagues believed they simply fell out of the pockets of those visiting or preparing the tomb. only exceptions were Jericho and the Caiaphas tomb where they were found in situ, the latter is a clear case of hypocracy as this was the tomb of the family of the high priest.”

Then, I asked him one more question: “1- Beside coins, was it a common Jewish burial practice in the time of Christ to cover the eyes of their dead with other things like buttons, pieces of ceramic, pieces of potery, etc. ?”

And here’s his answer: “During the period in question, Jews never used anything to cover the eyes of the deceased as the head was wrapped in a shroud.”

Again, as I said at the beginning of my post, the only goal I seek here is to share these precious information with all of you. And after reading what Mr. Zias had to say about that, it’s now up to you to make up your mind about the idea of a possible presence of coins or some other thing over the eyes of the Shroud man. Personally, I’m now more convinced than ever that there was absolutely nothing present over his eyes at the end of the partial burial procedure… And if the eyes seems to pop-up on the 3D photos, this could simply be due to one of these two natural reasons : 1- For some unknown reason, there would have been a release of a greater quantity of « energy » (which could well be post-mortem gases) in the region of the eyes versus the surrounding area, which would have caused a very high concentration of yellowed fibers there. Or 2- The eyes of the Shroud man were simply very swollen, maybe due to the intense beating he received (which is an hypothesis that have been retained by Mel Gibson when he shoot his movie The Passion of the Christ). This pathological state would have caused a direct contact between the eyes and the cloth, thus causing a very high concentration of yellowed fibers there.

In conclusion, to illustrate better my thoughts on these controversial subjects, I propose you a fictive interview I would make with a reporter:

First question : Do you think there are images of flowers on the Shroud?

My answer : Since the data coming from the Shroud convinces me of the authenticity of the cloth, I’m also convinced that there is no such thing on the cloth, because we know for a fact that, historically, flowers or plants were not part of the common Jewish burial ritual in the days of Christ. And since the burial of the Shroud man was done very partially and in haste, I don’t see why the people who did it would have lose time picking flowers outside the tomb! In sum, I would say that it’s not because some people are seeing some images of flowers that these things are really there on the cloth…

Second question : Do you think there are images of coins on the Shroud over the eyes of the Shroud man?

My answer : Same thing! Since the data coming from the Shroud convinces me of the authenticity of the cloth, I’m also convinced that there is no such thing on the cloth, because we know for a fact that, historically, the use of coins in ancient Jewish burial was truly exceptional and happened only in the case of Jews that were very hellenized, which was obviously not the case for Christ and his followers who were all pious Jews. So much in fact that, even after the Resurrection, they were still going in the Temple of Jerusalem and in synagogues to preach! We also know that, in pagan burial rituals, only one coin was normally used and placed inside the mouth of the dead person and not over his eyes. And we also know that because the dead Jews were all placed inside burial shrouds, there was no need for the use of some other material (like a piece of ceramic or something like this) to cover the eyes of the dead in the case they would open after death. In sum, since the burial cloth was already covering the entire body of the person, there was no need to put something else over the eyes to cover them! Again, it’s not because some people are seeing some images of coins on the Shroud that this is really what’s there…

I hope this post of mine will help some people to make up their minds better regarding these topics! That’s all for the moment… Stay tuned for more! J

imageYannick Clément, independent Shroud researcher, Louiseville, Québec, Canada

P.S.: I really think that those who have proposed these obviously wrong hypotheses should have done the same kind of “homework” I did before proposing them publicly! By getting in touch with a real expert in ancient Jewish burials, they would probably have come, just like me, to the evident conclusion that if the Shroud is authentic, there was most certainly no plants, no flowers, no coins and no other things like that present over the body or the eyes of the Shroud man when he was enveloped in that cloth… Interesting note on this subject: This is exactly what Ray Rogers did when he analyzed the nature of the image chromophore, which proves once again his high level of professionalism! Effectively, during his research on the subject, Rogers got in touch with Anna Maria Donadoni, who was a Conservator at the Turin’s Museum of Egyptology, in order to learn about the most common ancient method of manufacturing linen cloths and if such a technique could really produced a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities on the cloth’s surface, which would include traces of starch like the one detected by McCrone and by himself later on. It’s only AFTER having made this important check-up that he was confident enough to publicly propose an important change in STURP conclusion about the image chromophore, which is, as he said, probably not located inside the structure of the fiber itself but only in this kind of carbohydrate coating which is probably resting over a good portion of the topmost fibers on the cloth’s surface. That’s how good science is done! Obviously, in the cases of the 3 hypotheses I discussed in this post, we cannot talk about “good” science, but much more about “good” imagination!

John Jackson to Moderate Future Testing Discussions in St. Louis

The following conference update was posted today, September 28:

September Newsletter

Posted by St. Louis Shroud Conference Administrator on Sunday, September 28, 2014

imageThere is exciting news regarding the program: the Saturday evening open discussion about Future Testing of the Shroud will be moderated by Dr. John Jackson, Ph.D. co-founder of the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project team (STURP) that studied the Shroud in 1978.

Another option was recently added for transportation from and to the airport: see is a 10% discount if you make reservations online.

Regarding food options, the Drury site states "The Plaza dishes out a free Hot Breakfast every morning to all of its guests. Whether you’re a firm believer in biscuits and gravy or you’re a sausage and egg loyalist, you’ll find a wide assortment of delicious items. You’ll also find some savory items in our lobby where we serve popcorn and soda from 3-10pm daily and free hot food & cold beverages at the 5:30 kickback® every evening from 5:30-7pm."

The Drury also has a restaurant if a more elaborate dinner is desired. The hotel also sits right in front of a large mall, so attendees can find plenty of places to eat for lunches and dinners.

For the informal gathering on Thursday night, cookies, water, tea and soft drinks will be provided starting at 6 p.m. through 10 p.m.

Keep checking this site for any last minute updates.

Searching Stephen Jones’ Quotation Archives

imageRecently, as with the comments about dirt being in the knee and nose area of the shroud, people were looking for quotations in books and papers.  Google books is one place to look. There are many other places to search as well. One of those places is Stephen Jones’ quotation archives.

I have found that it helps to search Stephen’s archives, with Google, using three elements:

  2. "Shroud of Turin" (including quotation marks)
  3. Search argument (fewest possible words, generally avoid quotation marks)

Note: Putting the words “Shroud of Turin” into a Google search of Stephen’s archives is important because Stephen also collects quotations that promote creationism, etc. in the same place.


  1. Copy and paste: "Shroud of Turin"
  2. Add a single space and your search words (e.g. nose knees dirt – don’t use quotes)

Recent versions of browsers will let you enter this in the URL entry field if you have established Google as your default search engine.

BTW:  Stephen welcomes use of these archives but asks that you give him credit. Do so, please.


Why the Shroud is not a Painting

imageColin Berry explains*:

A medieval-provenance TS would never have been commissioned in the first place as a painting (from which pigment has subsequently been shed to leave a ghost image). Why not? Because of an obvious point that I omitted to mention – namely the double image (frontal v dorsal). It was clearly intended to represent a burial shroud, and one might even suggest that it’s the double-image and its appeal to the visual senses as having an up-and-over origin that makes it so iconic, even to modern eyes.

If one goes to the trouble of producing a life-size double image on up-market linen to represent the imprint left by a real person (no matter whom) then one does not employ a paint brush and artists’ pigments. The simplest medieval pilgrim would have spotted straightaway that he was looking at a painting, not a holy relic as billed.

Best explanation I’ve seen so far, at least in blogspace during the last few days. But then again, what does that leave. Thermal Imprinting?  Painting with lemon juice?  Non-brushstroke painting methods?  Photography?  Sun bleaching with glass templates?

There is something nobody has thought of. And maybe that something has nothing to do with faking a double image burial shroud. And since I don’t buy into any of the currently suggested naturally occurring chemical hypotheses or any of the “cosmic ray” image producing suggestions, I feel that we are, for now, nowhere except at a lot of dead ends. My gut still tells me it’s real.

* scroll down to September 26, 2014 at 2:45

New Video Ad for The 2015 Exhibition

imageI regret that I don’t understand Italian. Maybe I should make the effort to learn. There are many of us, however, and so I wonder if similar YouTube videos are planned in other languages. There is a small hint of the need at the video’s 4:46 mark seen in the screen shot here.

When will Google and Bing be able to translate voice and graphics text on the fly?

Anyway, Goggle can translate yesterday’s press announcement out of Turin about the video. You can watch it below.

"Come to the Shroud»  

The new video UPG and Young Salesians discover the reasons to participate all’ostensione 2015

"Come to the Holy Shroud" is the invitation in a very special way to young people for the next exhibition. An invitation that now extends over the network thanks to the video produced by the Youth Ministry of the Diocese in collaboration with the Salesian Youth Movement.

The images tell a brief history and significance of the Shroud, but above all, through interviews and commercials, explains the motives of those close to the Shroud … there already: young people, families, people with disabilities who have chosen to serve as volunteers during the exposition, because being a pilgrim and see that Face is a very concrete way to rediscover the reasons for their faith at the service of the brothers, as well as asking the motto of the exposition in 2015, "The Greatest Love."

The video was presented at the "start up" of youth ministry on 26 September, with Msgr. Nosiglia, and is broadcast on the "social" related all’ostensione.

The Metamorphosis and Manipulation of a Legend?

imageAndrea Nicolotti’s book, From the Mandylion of Edessa to the Shroud of Turin: The Metamorphosis and Manipulation of a Legend (Art and Material Culture in Medieval and Renaissance Europe) has finally been published in English. It was available in Italian in 2011. Andrea, who has commented in this blog on occasion, considers this to be a “revised and augmented edition.”

The price for the Hardcover edition is $124.00 at Amazon. The list price is $142.00.  (Please note that Amazon is reporting that the book has not been released even though the publication date is September 15th. Nonetheless, Amazon is accepting orders at this time).

A limited preview of the first chapter and the conclusion from the last chapter is available at The Table of Contents and Index are also provided.

The whet your appetite here are three paragraphs from the conclusion:

There is not a shred of evidence that the Mandylion of Edessa was a long shroud or that it showed the entire body of the crucified and wounded figure of Christ. Those who argue for the shared identity of the Shroud of Turin and the Mandylion of Edessa have based their arguments on evidence that cannot withstand close scrutiny. In order to argue for the authenticity of the Turinese relic, some have gone to great lengths. In so doing, they have approached the changing nature of the legends concerning this relic too simplistically. More-over, they have used evolving legends as if they were trustworthy historical sources, which is utterly unacceptable.

It is clear that the ultimate aim of the theory that identifies the Shroud with the Mandylion is to demonstrate that the Shroud of Turin has existed and can be documented since antiquity. But the first historical documents that mention the Shroud date to the fourteenth century, and the date obtained by radiocarbon dating places it between 1260 and 1390 CE. The history of the Shroud is the topic of my next book, but it is important to clarify that even if the Shroud was authentic and dated from the first century, it is a completely different object than the Edessean image.

We can therefore end this analysis by quoting the 1786 opinion of the Marquis Giovanni de Serpos, in regard to the reliability of that “sweet illusion” and the “birth of a devout imagination” in the legend of Abgar: “Everything so far narrated must be counted as mere fable.”

Order it today and Amazon will ship it the minute it becomes available. I look forward to reading this book and his next book on the history of the Shroud.

To be lost in a sea of trolls and spam

imageColin Berry tried to comment to the Jeff Schweitzer’s article, Ignorance Kills, the in the Huffington Post. Over at Colin’s site (and then scroll down to comment 75 or so) he restates the comment he tried to post:

Beautifully written article.

One small aside re the Turin Shroud (this commenter’s special interest on his sciencebuzz blog). It’s not so much ignorance and superstition that fuels the continuing interest and publicity. It’s agenda-driven pseudo-science. Shame on the media for not submitting each new press release re uv laser beams, corona discharges, radioactive emissions from earthquakes etc etc to a panel of appointed mainstream scientists before polluting first their own outlets then the search engines with this kind of self-serving drivel.


Unfortunately, the Huffington Post site asked him to log in to his Facebook account or create an account with Huffington Post before posting. Given the size of the Huffington Post and the number of troll comments and the amount of spam websites like that get, this is reasonable. I spend time every day blocking troll comments and spam comments trying to sell diet supplements, e-cigarettes, gambling sites and such. I do that just so comments can flow freely here. I’ve toyed with the idea of using passwords but have chosen to not do so.  Colin sees it differently:

. . . It is scandalous that one cannot respond to an MSM so-called "blog" (ha ha) without being served up as fodder to the likes of Facebook. . . .

Am I the only one to think that the MSM set out deliberately to kill citizen blogging in its early days (circa 2005 onwards) by drafting in its own journos and others to write MSM so-called “blogs”? Blogs they ain’t. (Blog being short for weblog, there being no log about it of there’s no personal or thematic interest, merely a series of disjointed pieces that are designed as click-bait for those who instal themselves on MSM Comments sections, using them as their own "blog" to browbeat others. Ring any bells?

Colin, if you want it your way then your comments will be lost in a sea of trolls and spam. And despite what you think, we do want to hear what you have to say. And so do the editors at the Huffington Post. Well, maybe not. But they are nonetheless trying to give you the opportunity in a reasonable way.

Jacksons to Visit Hanover, Pennsylvania in October

imageJennifer Wentz reports in The Evening Sun of Hanover, Pennsylvania, that Shroud of Turin experts prepare visit to Hanover area. Hanover is a town about 15 minutes east of Gettysburg:

A 42-square-foot piece of linen displayed in a cathedral in northern Italy bears the image of a man.

Is that man Jesus of Nazareth? That’s a question historians, theologians and scientists have debated for centuries.

In 1978, John Jackson led an in-depth study of the cloth, known today as the Shroud of Turin. His wife, Rebecca, has also devoted her life to its study.

These two scientists will come to Conewago Township on Oct. 18 to discuss their findings as part of a two-day seminar organized by Hanover residents Jess and Luz Socrates.  [ . . . ]

Shroud of Turin Conference

Oct. 17 from 3 to 9 p.m. and Oct. 18 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sacred Heart Basilica, 30 Basilica Dr., Conewago Township

$50, includes dinner on Friday and lunch on Saturday, or Luz Socrates at 717-873-3650

Why not use sweat if the objective is to make it look like sweat?

imageI’ve said it before, you are missing the best part of this blog if you are not reading the comments. For instance, Hugh Farey gave us his view of three alternative hypotheses in what is a comment to a comment on a comment in the posting, So Maybe it is a Painting After All.

Hypothesis One: The Shroud image could have been produced by the application of pigment, binder and medium, . . .

Hypothesis Two. The Shroud image could have been produced by the decomposition of a human body within which it was wrapped, the products of which, chemical, electromagnetic, or nuclear reacted with the cloth . . .

Hypothesis Three. The Shroud image could have been produced by a miracle. This cannot be tested. It cannot be refuted. It is not a scientific hypothesis. . . .

Do read Hugh’s comments in their entirety and all of the other comments in that posting.

Paulette commented. She was inspired to ask, “So where is Colin Berry in all this?”

Colin is commenting over on his own blog. “[H]ere’s a LINK that takes you straight to Comments,” he tells us. Once you get there, scroll down through 72 lengthy comments he has written in the last several days to the last two on September 24th. There we can read his reaction to Hugh’s comments:

Why paint in the negative? . . .

In fact, several features of the TS image may be considered give-away clues to a template having been used – the largely empty eye-hollows with no attempt to portray proper eyes, whether open or closed, . . .

If the TS had been intended to be a painting, even one from which the pigment has now flaked off, then why use blood to portray wounds? . . .

Free-hand painting makes no sense to me whatever. One does not paint a life-sized image onto linen (as distinct from canvas) of a naked man unless the aim is to simulate a REAL contact imprint left somehow by the corpse, whether as sweat (my preferred view) or as a miraculous flash or radiation (that more fanciful interpretation probably having arrived much later – possibly centuries). If the aim is to simulate a sweat imprint, one does NOT paint free hand. One imprints off a template.

Hmmm!  Why not use sweat on a body if the objective is to make it look like sweat on a body?

Anyway. This posting is really just a pointer to Colin’s thoughts and the other posting, So Maybe it is a Painting After All. That’s where comments should probably go so I have closed comments here for that reason. (You can also comment over at Colin’s blog, instead or as well).

Update: Reservations for Viewing the Shroud of Turin in 2015

imageFrom the Holy Shroud Official Site provided by the Diocese of Turin:

From december it is possibile to make an online reservation to attend the Shroud exhibition from 10 april to 23 may 2010.Reservations are required.

During the exhibition it will be possibile to enter the Cathedral without a reservation but then the Shroud will be only visible from a distance.

It will also be possibile to make a reservation directly in Torino at the "reservations area" you can find at the beginning of the exhibition route.

Mars, Weeping Mary and the Shroud

imageAn inner voice was pestering me as I read the article. How can I disagree? My inner voice wanted to know. I can’t:

Without an ability to reason critically, people believe in weeping statues of the Virgin Mary, the existence of a carved face on Mars, out-of-body experiences, and Christ’s image captured on the Shroud of Turin.

That is what Jeff Schweitzer had just written in the Huffington Post Science blog. I like Schweitzer’s postings. He is a marine biologist and a strong advocate of scientific skepticism. He served as a scientific advisor in the Clinton White House.  I don’t get around to reading him enough. This time I did, possibly because Google caught the reference to the shroud.

The title of the posting was Ignorance Kills; the following paragraph gives an idea of what it’s about but you should really read the whole posting; it will only take two or three minutes:

Scientific illiteracy is pervasive in the United States. Examples are depressingly easy to find. People opposed to irradiated food ignore the existence of more than 50 known strains of E. coli that can cause bloody diarrhea, kidney failure, and death. This is a typical case of poor risk-benefit analysis. People are duped by claims of harmful emissions from cell phones. Life-saving diagnostic x-rays are eschewed from fear of radiation, and vulnerable people are persuaded to rely on crystals and astrology for guidance. The public is unable to filter exaggerated claims by environmental groups (Alar in apples) from legitimate concerns like global climate change. This ignorance has deadly consequences; ask the parents of every child who died from a preventable disease, or farmers looking at starvation in the face of crops withering in a changing climate.

What does this have to do with the shroud? Nothing! Sometimes simple examples make for much better explanations than longer dreary narrative. Schweitzer stumbled, however.

It is true that without the ability to reason critically, you might believe that Christ’s image was captured on the shroud. I think that happens a lot. But it is unfair to compare the shroud to a carved face on Mars or weeping statues of Mary. The number of published peer-reviewed papers on each of the subjects might be a clue. Consider, too, the number of accomplished scientists and academics in many disciplines, all able to reason critically, who believe the shroud is authentic. You can, by reasoning critically, come to believe Christ’s image was captured on the Shroud of Turin.

So Maybe it is a Painting After All

imageHugh Farey writes in a comment:

The ‘shroudological’ concept of what a painting is, and what might constitute evidence for one, has changed a lot since the 70s. Why this should be I’m not sure – possibly because ‘Science’ trumped ‘Art’ when it came to authority in those days, and the scientists involved in the Shroud showed little evidence of knowing much about painting. There was much talk of ‘a painting would seep through the cloth and be visible on the back’ and ‘a painting always shows the directionality of brush strokes’ and ‘a painting always has shadows which show where the light was coming from’ and even, ‘a painting always has outlines,’ all of which seem rather naive, and fairly obviously to anybody who’d actually visited an art gallery, simply untrue.

They were on better ground in the search for pigment, although even here, they did not really know how much pigment could be sufficient, so that their arguments were not about whether there were any iron oxide particles, but whether there were enough to create an image. McCrone thought there were, and produced at least one experiment which appeared to demonstrate it. I do not know if it was challenged by any counter-experiments showing the opposite.

The scientists were on even better ground in their search for a colourless binder that would hold the pigment to the cloth. This, it could be reasoned, might remain even when most of the pigment had rubbed (or been washed) off. According to STuRP (Schwalbe & Rogers), McCrone’s chemical test for a proteinaceous binder (amido black) shows positive for any linen and could not have identified anything on top of it, while their own tests were more specific and definitely ruled out any protein on the image area. However they also ruled out any possibility of starch being the binder, a finding that was later retracted by Rogers, who decided he could find some after all. This suppported his ‘starch and saponin’ surface layer hypothesis, but could also support McCrone in his search for a binder.

Even lower, as it were, than the binder, would be any chemical deterioration of the cloth itself, caused by pigment, binder, or carrier, all of which had disappeared. Guarlaschelli’s painting hypothesis depends on this, I think, and chemically, has not been demonstrated to be untenable.

So, no, the painting hypothesis has not definitely been ruled out.

Click on the image to enlarge it


imageAs Barack Obama put it in his book, The Audacity of Hope:

There’s a wonderful, perhaps apocryphal story that people tell about Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the brilliant, prickly, and iconoclastic late senator from New York. Apparently, Moynihan was in a heated argument with one of his colleagues over an issue, and the other senator, sensing he was on the losing side of the argument, blurted out: “Well, you may disagree with me, Pat, but I’m entitled to my own opinion.” To which Moynihan frostily replied, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

The use of the word apocryphal was refreshing because the story may not be factually true. The quotation, with variations in wording, can be traced back to many people.

When it comes to the shroud, it seems, we should label every fact “perhaps apocryphal”. We can blame some of this on the media. We can also blame some of this on a tendency to mix religious opinions with facts.

Here is a story that appeared in the Niagara Falls Reporter, yesterday, September 23. It is about Jeffrey Skurka, pictured, who will be speaking . . .

. . . at the International Shroud of Turin Conference in St Louis, Oct. 9 – 12th.

He calls his presentation, "The Shroud of Turin and Nuclear Physics: Why the Radiocarbon Dating Results is Proof of the Resurrection!"

The newspaper’s reporter tells us about the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the shroud and then writes:

Soon, a dissenting view was heard from scientist R.N. Rogers of the Los Alamos Laboratories and the University of California. In a 2004 paper published by Thermochimia Acta, a leading platform for high quality, peer reviewed scientific papers, Rogers postulated that exposure to radiation at some time during its history could have skewed the radiocarbon date, and made the Shroud appear to be of much more recent vintage that (sic) it actually is.

Skurka’s own theory takes Rogers’ scientific paper one step beyond, theorizing that the act of Christ’s "resurrection to a glorified body," physically involved some sort of what we would call today a nuclear event. And that the effect of this on the cloth would result in a skewed radiocarbon reading.

Leading, a few paragraphs later, to this direct quote from Skurka:

But if my hypothesis is correct, I do know why the superficial body image is on the surface of the cloth. It was ‘Superparamagnetism’ just before the resurrection event that left a residual alignment of the unpaired electron spin in the hydrogen and possibly even the nitrogen atoms in the cloth. It’s also this Superparamagnetism which is responsible for the shrunken skulls of George Mott and Mary Reeser and is what gives my hypothesis credibility.*

This alignment of the electron spin is also what is giving the body image the properties of being like a hologram, which is normally created with constructive/destructive interference from the monochromatic light of a LASER, and the other optical anomalies known about the image.

* Read the whole article.

Link to an abstract of Jeffrey Skurka’s presentation for October 10.

A Bold Conclusion: the Blood, the Image, the Man

imageThat conclusion begins:

The present analysis of available scientific data obtained from the Shroud of Turin and the results of a few experiments allow the conclusion that the best explanation, and a consistent one, for the peculiar pinkish redness of the bloodstains on the Shroud is that authentic acid blood of a dead crucified person stained an authentic Jewish madder-dyed temple mantle during and after an authentic Jewish burial procession of a person whose dead body formed an image on and disappeared from the Shroud in an extremely delicate way before putrefaction. This delicate and timely disappearance of the dead body and the presence of a bloodstained image of what seems to be a first-century Jewish ornament of a Sanhedrin member indicate that this person most probably was Jesus Christ.

This is no small paper; call it a book. That one paragraph, above, is on page 230. The paper is rich with footnotes. Many (it seems like most) of the footnotes and the ten pages of the bibliography have hyperlinks. There are numerous images, graphs and diagrams.

imageThe title is: Authentic acid blood mordanted the madder-dyed Shroud of Turin pinkish red before image formation – Jesus was dead

The author is A.A.M. van der Hoeven. The PDF was installed on just yesterday, September 22, 2014. Adrie’s page on the site is HERE.

I’m one of those people who always reads the acknowledgments before I begin. How many names do you know?

The author wishes to express her gratitude to all people and institutions who kindly granted permission to use their published material. These are, in random order, the Commissione Diocesana per la Sindone, the Optical Society of America, Elsevier, Inc., Springer Science+Business Media, Russ Breault, Shroud of Turin Education Project Inc., the Infrared and Raman Users Group, the NIST Chemical Sciences Division, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Biocommunications Association, the American Chemical Society, the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc., Petrus Soons, John Wiley and Sons, Ltd., Russ Selzer, Thibault Heimburger, the Institute of Chemistry of the University of Tartu in Estland, Antonino Cosentino, the Royal Society of Chemistry, Paul Weyth, Mario Latendresse, Colin Berry, Louis L. Bispo.

She is also grateful to T.J. Egan, F.E.G. Guimarães, M.J. Melo, A. Boffi, and Varaprasad Bobbarala for answering her questions on the aqueous heme dimer, lignin fluorescence, alizarin and purpurin spectra, acid methemoglobin, and madder root extracts, respectively.

Now to read the paper.  Because it will take half a ream of paper to print it, I have put it onto my iPad and a Kindle reader so I can take it to Starbucks or wherever I am during the next few days.

If you do nothing else before you walk away from this posting, read the Table of Contents, below.

BTW: HERE IS AN ALTERNATE LINK to the paper on another site that seems a bit faster.

Image Note:  The caption reads, “Fig. 2.29. A part of the small of the back area of the Shroud in visible light (left) and UV light, showing fluorescence “slightly enhanced” (right).” A footnote tells us it is from T. Heimburger’s A detailed critical review of the chemical studies on the Turin Shroud: Facts and Interpretations, 2008, over at

Here is a peak at the Table of Contents:

    • 1. INTRODUCTION. 4
    • 1.1. Normal blood features. 4
    • 1.2. Special features of the bloodstains. 5
    • 1.3. Analysis in this paper 6
    • 2.1. Red color but no Soret band. 6
    • 2.1.1. Acid heme dimers. 7
    • 2.1.2. Heme-madder lake. 24
    • 2.1.3. Blood before image. 67
    • 2.2. Separate serum – UV-fluorescence halo on wrist 69
    • 2.2.1. Identification of separate plasma/serum.. 69
    • 2.2.2. No fluorescent “serum” scratches but dark images of stripes. 77
    • 2.2.3. Some “serum” margins possibly a tenting effect around … bloodmarks. 78
    • 2.3. No potassium signal in three X-ray fluorescence spectra of bloodstains. 80
    • 2.3.1. Postmortem blood is hyperkalemic. 80
    • 2.3.2. Vertical serum draining. 82
    • 2.3.3. Horizontally and vertically imprinted serum halos. 84
    • 2.3.4. Filter effect 89
    • 2.4. Few cells – hemolysate stains. 90
    • 2.4.1. Separate serum not red. 92
    • 2.4.2. Hemolysis mechanisms. 92
    • 2.5. Hydroxyproline in red particles on Zina-thread. 98
    • 2.6. High Na and Cl levels on reverse side. 99
    • 3.1. Myrrh and aloes – antibacterial and antifungal 101
    • 3.2. Saponaria – antibacterial and antioxidant 102
    • 3.3. Madder – antimicrobic, antifungal, insecticidal, antioxidant 103
    • 3.4. Leech saliva antibiotics. 104
    • 3.5. Mordant protects madder lake from degradation. 104
    • 4.1. Starch. 107
    • 4.1.1. Strippable sealing film.. 107
    • 4.1.2. Hot water washed out starch – blue fluorescence. 110
    • 4.1.3. FTIR spectra of Raes samples are similar to FTIR spectra…. 112
    • 4.2. Madder dye. 149
    • 4.2.1. Visible color and wet acid-base chemistry. 149
    • 4.2.2. Reflectance curves of clear areas – raw and absolute. 158
    • 4.2.3. Raw fluorescence scan background. 162
    • 4.2.4. Fluorescence photography. 166
    • 4.2.5. Image fluorescence. 174
    • 4.2.6. SEM-EDS analysis – smooth organic coating embedding particles. 178
    • 4.2.7. Microscopy – Red aluminum lake particles. 179
    • 4.2.8. Pyrolysis/Mass Spectrometry. 184
    • 4.3. Not pectin or microbial bioplastic coating. 186
    • 4.4. Not Saponaria. 186
    • 4.4.1. Acidichromism – not Saponaria. 188
    • 4.4.2. Fluorescence – not quite Saponaria. 188
    • 4.4.3. UV-vis absorbance – not Saponaria. 190
    • 4.4.4. Sugars – no Saponaria evidence. 191
    • 4.4.5. Solubility – not Saponaria. 192
    • 4.4.6. Color with iodine – not Saponaria. 193
    • 4.4.7. Effect on chelated iron – not Saponaria. 193
    • 4.4.8. Effect on image formation – not Saponaria. 194
    • 4.4.9. Lake colour with Al3+ and Ca2+ – not Saponaria. 194
    • 4.4.10. Heme-complex colour – not Saponaria. 195
    • 4.4.11. Relative reflectance of bloodstains – not Saponaria. 197
    • 5.1. Post-mortem heme dimer formation – …  199
    • 5.2. Blood drying on the body. 205
    • 5.3. Rivulets running across the Shroud. 207
    • 5.4. Pools of wet blood – brown bloodstains. 209
    • 5.5. Scourge marks. 210
    • 5.5.1. Very faint – not dense – not chemically tested – no spectra. 210
    • 5.5.2. No fluorescent serum scratches or serum borders. 214
    • 5.5.3. Only dorsal scourge marks on reverse side. 214
    • 5.5.4. Hyperfibrinolysis caused pink imprints but no smears before image formation. 214
    • 5.5.5. Other ways of scourge mark transfer 221
    • 5.6. Blood smears from hands of buriers. 223
    • 6.1. Authentic blood. 224
    • 6.1.1. Blood of a living, crucified person. 224
    • 6.1.2. Bilirubin. 224
    • 6.1.3. Prior UV-irradiation. 231
    • 6.1.4. CO-ligand from carbon monoxide gas. 232
    • 6.1.5. Saponaria-treated cloth. 232
    • 6.2. Painted-on bloodstains. 233
    • 6.2.1. ‘Cured’ blood paint – NO or CO.. 233
    • 6.2.2. Iron oxide particles in protein binder 237
    • 6.2.3. Iron-madder lake. 238
    • 6.2.4. Acid blood. 238
    • 6.3. Survey red color hypotheses. 239
    • 8. CONCLUSION.. 247
    • Bibliography. 250

Paper Chase: Kim Dreisbach in Dallas 2005

imageA paper by Fr. Kim Dreisbach archived in this blogspace was moved from one directory to another and thus links to it were broken. Barrie Schwortz tipped me off. It was good to be reminded about the paper:


A Comparison of Jesus’ burial shroud in John 20:7 (i.e. one among the othonia) & 12  testifying to His Resurrection and the face cloth of “Lazarus” (soudarion aka the Oviedo
Cloth ) in John 11 – a didactic narrative in which the latter serves as a “spy clue”
guaranteeing their own resurrection to members of the primitive Church.

by The Rev. Albert R. Dreisbach, jr.

Do read the paper. It contains gems like this:

Mozarabic Rite (6th century, Spain)

If one continues to wonder if Peter actually saw "images" on the Shroud, a confirmatory "Spy-clue" indicating same may well appear in the preface (i.e. illatio) of the Mozarabic rite for the Saturday after Easter:

"Peter ran with John to the tomb and saw the recent imprints (vestigia) of the dead and risen man on the linens. [Emphasis added.]

Pietro Savio translates vestigia as “imprints”, while Guscin indicates:

The first meaning can be quickly dismissed as totally inappropriate in the context, which leaves us with some kind of mark or sign of Christ, something clearly related to his death and resurrection. This would seem to suggest that Peter and John saw the blood (death) and the body image (resurrection). There is very little else that could be seen on the burial cloths.

As important as this definition may be, it would seem that "the" real key words for correctly deciphering this passage are the dead and risen man on the linens.

Samuel Johnson Meets His Match


imageIn a comment, Colin wrote:

It is unhelpful and unconstructive to judge the TS as a choice between authentic or non-authentic. It’s like deciding whether a stuffed swan one is about to see in a natural history museum is black or white – it could be either.

The rational and constructive way of viewing it is to ask whether the TS is a contact or non-contact scorch.

If it’s a contact scorch, then it’s fairly certain the image is man-made, using a heated template to imprint the image (which will of course be a negative, explaining what might otherwise seem peculiar at least from an artistic standpoint, being much more photogenic centuries later when Secondo Pia-era photography and light/dark reversal became practicable).

If it’s a non-contact scorch, then all options are open, pro-authenticity ones included, radiocarbon dating notwithstanding.

But while there are groups who promote their own preferred non-contact scenarios (laser beams, corona discharges, sugar-seeking putrefaction vapours, earthquake-releases of radioactive emissions etc) few if any of them are willing to generalize and say it’s a non-contact process that is being proposed, and that the image characteristics are consistent with, and can be modelled in the laboratory as a non-contact process with a qualitatively-different outcome from the simple, uncomplicated man-made contact one I favour.

In short, we see systematic evasion of the scientific essentials, the latter based on model-testing and evaluation. Not a pretty sight.

Some folk’s thinking might be described as pre-Renaissance. Indeed, there may well be a hankering for pre-Renaissance certainties, when everyone, the unwashed, uneducated classes especially, knew their place and did not dare to question their social and intellectual superiors.


So, is Colin redefining the word scorch to mean anything that “resulted in oxidation, dehydration and conjugation of the polysaccharide structure of the microfibrils of the linen itself* (or perhaps of an impurity coating on the microfibrils)?  Is that fair? Samuel Johnson did define the word as also meaning, “to be dried up.”

Are we to assume then, when Colin says all options are open for non-contact scorches, he means to allow, in addition to all-natural chemical processes, scorches produced from the imagined energetic or sub-atomic particle byproducts of miraculous events?  Is that fair?

Does ‘all options are open’ extend to the appearance of a scorch that might have miraculously appeared on the cloth without any chemical process taking place? By without process I mean something that was not at some time partly formed or forming as we might imagine water changing into wine in steps. By without process I mean without heat or chemical reaction. By without process I mean without the passage of time, as if a changed visual state could have been photographed by an unimaginably fast camera in only two frames, visually not there and then visually there.

If we are thus open to miraculous images that seem to be non-contact scorches and might not have involved a formation process, must we not also be open to miraculous images that seem to be contact scorches and might not have involved a formation process?

Frankly, if we allow for miracles, we are beyond the limits of science. I don’t see any difference between contact and non-contact in this context.

It would be fair to argue that I threw miracles into the mix and that was never Colin’s intent. Fair enough. But that doesn’t solve anything, does it? Are not the investigators of UV, for instance, contemplating miraculous causation in some way or other?  Is there a philosopher in the house? David Hume, where are you?

While I was writing this, Colin clarified his position of contact vs. non-contact. It is helpful, so here it is:

I use “contact scorch” to indicate there is no imaging except where template is in direct physical atom-to-atom contact with hot metal, ceramic, whatever. If there’s the slightest air gap, then there’s essentially no scorching, though a slight yellowing might just be possible from hot convected gases.

There are those who maintain that the TS image includes parts of the subject that could not have been in contact with linen. They have yet to convince this sceptic. All the important parts, i.e. raised relief, could or would be accessible, especially if linen were draped over template (whether bas relief or fully 3D) and then manually and forcibly impressed in and around important contours. The places most likely to get ‘missed’ are precisely those that appear as pale poorly or non-imaged areas on the TS (eye sockets, around the crossed hands, the gaps or even curvature between fingers etc.).

I use bas relief to imply something like the head on a coin with a little raised relief but much less in relative terms than the real live or dead subject, or a fully 3D representation of the latter (statue, bust etc). The wiki definition is OK seems OK for starters:

“Bas-relief is a type of sculpture that has less depth to the faces and figures than they actually have, when measured proportionately (to scale). This technique retains the natural contours of the figures, and allows the work to be viewed from many angles without distortion of the figures themselves.”

I believe the face (at least) of the TS image was imprinted from a bas relief (as incidentally did Prof Luigi Garlaschelli). The sharpish break in image continuity between cheek and hair on both sides is the give-away, suggesting there to have been a groove or trough in the template such that no imaging was possible in that gap. The idea that the break is just a banding effect in the linen, that the ‘missing’ image is retrievable with the right ‘enhancement’ with computer software etc, simply does not stand up to close critical scrutiny. That knob-twiddling-solves-all view is an example of what is known technically in boring old mainstream science as “pure tosh”.

* A Summary of STURP’s Conclusions

Lest the wrath of God descend upon them like a ton of bricks

Angel, in a comment directed at Colin Berry, wrote:

… I am not stating you haven’t spent an enormous amount of time and energy attempting to recreate a likeness that would disprove the Shroud image. That is commendable, although antithetical to Christian belief. Yet, it is your right, as a scrutinizing scientist….

How could Colin not reply, even if it meant breaking his umpteenth pledge to never again comment in this “insistently proselytizing pro-authenticity” blog. He states:

Angel: there’s nothing “antithetical to Christian belief” in being a sceptic where the TS is concerned. Ask the Vatican if you don’t believe me.

This philosophical badinage reminds of a humorous letter to the editor of Nature. From four years ago:

Strangest Quote Ever on the Shroud of Turin

imageCesare Emiliani, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Miami, world renowned geologist, known for his work on marine sediments and plate tectonics, in a letter to Nature following the carbon dating of the Shroud in 1988.

Religion is perfect and unchangeable, the work of God. Science is imperfect, and, I suspect, the work of the Devil. The two should never be mixed. The scientists who participated in the dating of the Shroud of Turin should repent and promise to never do anything like that again. Creationists are even more guilty, for they have been mixing science and religion for years and years.  They should abandon their evil practices forthwith, lest the wrath of God descend upon them like a ton of bricks.