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A Defense of Ray Rogers on the Image at the Thread and Fiber Level

“ . . . Direct comparison between image and non-image parts of the Shroud
show exactly the same amounts and types of radiation damage in the two
types of areas. This suggests that the image was not produced by any
mechanism that involved heat, light, or ionizing radiation.”  — Raymond Rogers


A Guest Posting by Yannick Clément*

Hello everybody!

I read the recent quote from Maria da Glóra Moreira on this blog, who said this concerning the Bari conference : “In our humble opinion there were actually few advances in Shroud investigation and one thing is for sure- EVEN IN LABORATORY EXPERIMENTS NAMELY WITH LASER TECHNOLOGY, CORONA DISCHARGE ETC. THE IMAGES OBTAINED ARE FAR FROM THE ORIGINAL.”

Comment: How can someone honest who have read carefully the conclusions of a chemist expert like Ray Rogers about the Shroud image can expect something else than this from these hypotheses that rely on a burst of intense energy, especially when it comes to compare their coloration results microscopically at fiber level?

In his writings about the Shroud, Rogers made it clear that all these processes will ALWAYS produce evident damages on the fibers’ surface, which are not looking at all like the surface of image fibers he analyzed (note: such a difference could probably be hard to detect for the eyes of someone who is not an expert in analytic chemistry like Rogers was). In sum, Rogers was clear about the fact that the image fibers from the Shroud do not presents the oxidative kind of damages these energetic processes ALWAYS caused. No matter if it’s located only in the primary cell wall of the fiber or not, these processes will ALWAYS cause damages that got a “signature look” that doesn’t look at all like the appearance of the colored fibers Rogers saw on the Shroud (and especially their surfaces), which got a signature look that strongly points in direction of a mild dehydration process happening at low temperature.

Here’s an important quote from Rogers paper “Scientific method applied to the Shroud of Turin – A Review” about that: “At high optical magnifications, up to 1000X, no coatings could be resolved on the surfaces of the image fibers; however, the surfaces appeared to be “corroded.” That observation suggests that a very thin coating of carbohydrate had been significantly dehydrated on the outer surfaces of the fibers.”

Here, it’s important to understand why Rogers put the word “corroded” between quotation marks… It’s because this term was used by Adler in a paper he wrote about the body image, which was not the best term that could have been used (remember that Adler, unlike Rogers, was not an expert in these types of surface damages). If we believe Rogers, the right term should have been “surface cracking”. Here’s another quote from Rogers’ book in which he explain this: “Surface cracking (“corrosion” as Adler called it) of the color can be seen, and flakes can be seen in the “ghosts” on the sampling tapes.” And here’s another quote taken from Rogers paper “Scientific method applied to the Shroud of Turin – A Review”, which explain why this kind of surface cracking point in direction of a dehydration process involving only a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities instead of an oxidation process of the fibers’ surfaces: “Dehydration causes shrinkage; therefore, any coating of carbohydrate impurities would “craze” during dehydration.”

And here’s another important quote coming from the 2010 paper “The Shroud of Turin from the viewpoint of the physical science” that was written by Emmanuel Carreira and which describe the kind of “damages” Rogers saw on the surface of the image fibers: “…the crystal structure of the flax image fibers was no more defective than non-image fibers.” And here’s a complementary comment by Rogers that come from another paper he wrote that is entitled “The Shroud of Turin: Radiation Effects, Aging and Image Formation”: “All parts of the Shroud are the same age, and all parts have been stored in the same location through the centuries. Therefore, all parts should have been exposed to the same kinds and amounts of (natural) radiation. Any additional radiation effects found in image areas would indicate excess radiation in that location. Direct comparison between image and non-image parts of the Shroud show exactly the same amounts and types of radiation damage in the two types of areas. This suggests that the image was not produced by any mechanism that involved heat, light, or ionizing radiation.”

So, what people needs to understand (and it’s very important when it comes to analyze any image formation hypothesis that is proposed to explain the Shroud image) is that, from the perspective of a real chemist expert like Rogers, the kind of damages all these high energy processes will ALWAYS causes on a fiber’ surface will NEVER look like the kind of surface cracking he saw on the image fibers he lifted himself from the Shroud’s surface in 1978. IN ROGERS’ MIND, THAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT SCIENTIFIC ARGUMENT AGAINST ALL THE IMAGE FORMATION HYPOTHESES INVOLVING A HIGH AMOUNT OF ENERGY AND/OR HEAT, LIKE CORONA DISCHARGE, BURST OF UV LIGHT, BURST OF PROTONS OR NEUTRONS AND EVEN A SCORCH. As he clearly said, the only radiation damages he could notice on image fibers was damages that were easily noticeable and which had been caused with time by natural radiations. And as he pointed out, these particular damages are exactly the same as what he saw on the surfaces of non-image fibers, which is a very important observation that many people tend to deny or forget in the pro-Shroud world, especially those in favor of an image formation process in direct link with the Resurrection of Christ…

In sum, for Rogers, all these energetic mechanisms should be discarded because the kind of damages they ALWAYS produced on the surface of a fiber is not the same as what he observed on image fibers taken from the Shroud, BUT ALSO because all these mechanisms are not able to produced a yellowing that would be restricted only to a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities, while leaving the underlying fiber completely free of any coloration and damages, as he was convinced in the case of the image fibers of the Shroud.

So, when we take into account ALL the pertinent data coming from the Shroud (including the very important fact that, as Rogers said, the crystal structure of the flax image fibers is no more defective than non-image fibers, the fact that the diimide reduction of color and the ghosts are leaving a colorless, clean and undamaged fiber behind, the banding effect that show a close correlation between darker threads and an image a bit darker and lighter threads and an image a bit lighter, the fact that starch and pectin deposits have been found on Shroud samples by Rogers and Adler, along with the fact that almost all the image color resides on the topmost fibers at the highest part of the weave, which correspond exactly to the results obtained by Rogers during his evaporation-concentration tests), I really think we should consider the scenario of a still undetermined low-temperature dehydration event that would have caused the yellowing of only a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities on a portion of the topmost fibers of the cloth (and which was most probably related to the biological state of the Shroud man’s corpse during the short time he stayed inside the cloth) as the most probable scenario to explain the Shroud image.

To conclude about Maria’s comment, I would say that unless someone can do coloration tests with linen samples made with the ancient method of manufacturing linen cloths (i.e. causing a concentration of carbohydrate impurities on the cloth’s top-surface) that would be submitted to various kinds of biological substances (i.e. various post-mortem gases, lactic acid , urea, etc.) maybe in association with heat and/or water vapor (which could have been released by the fresh corpse of the Shroud man) and also, why not, to various kinds of ancient known burial products (again, maybe in association with and/or water vapor), I’m afraid there will never be any coloration result that will ever come close to what we see on the Shroud, chemically and even physically speaking. And seriously, I think this has already been done concerning a possible release of post-mortem gases by the Shroud man’s corpse (at least in a preliminary way)!

Effectively, in his book about the Shroud, Rogers reports a coloration experiment he made with a linen sample made the old fashion way that he submitted to ammonia vapors for 10 minutes at room temperature and which he baked afterward to simulate ageing. Here’s what he wrote about the results he obtained: "Experimental manipulations of concentrations and one-dimensional migration of solutions, as in a large cloth, could produce the same front-to-back color separation and color density as observed on the Shroud. The fibers on the top-most surface are the most colored when observed under a microscope, and the color is a golden yellow similar to that on the Shroud (figure XI-5). The coating of Maillard products is too thin to be resolved with a light microscope, and it is all on the outside of the fibers. There is no coloration in the medullas: The color formed without scorching the cellulose (note from Yannick : when Rogers use the word "cellulose" in his writings, we must understand « the whole linen fiber » and in this particular case, Rogers is meaning that the color he obtained did not affected the structure of the fiber in any noticeable way). There is very little color on fibers from the middle of the back surface (figure XI-6). The color-producing saccharides had concentrated on the evaporating surface. Water-stained image areas on the Shroud showed that image color does not dissolve or migrate in water. Maillard products are not water soluble, and they do not move when wetted. As a peripheral, non-scientific comment, several Shroud researchers have wondered why there is no mention of an image on the "cloths" reportedly found in Jesus’ tomb. Assuming historical validity in the accounts, such a situation could be explained by the delay in the development of the Maillard reactions’ colors at moderate temperatures. No miracle would be required."

Personally, I believe this is the closest coloration result on linen that any researcher ever was able to produce at thread and fiber level. Of course, we’re not talking here of any kind of close reproduction of a body image on linen like the one on the Shroud (in fact, that was not at all Rogers’ goal when he made this experiment), but “only” of a close reproduction of the main characteristics of the image color at thread and fiber level, particularly when it comes to the extreme superficiality of the color and it’s concentration on the topmost fibers of the cloth at the highest part of the weave (which was pretty much what Rogers expected to obtain from his theoretical reasoning concerning what could happen when post-mortem gases come in contact with carbohydrate impurities). But in the end, what’s very telling is how quiet the reactions have been in the pro-Shroud world concerning this particular coloration result obtained by Rogers! And when I see all the publicity that was made around Di Lazzaro’s results with UV lasers (which were definitely DIFFERENT than what Rogers saw on his Shroud samples, no doubt about that) in comparison to this very interesting result obtained by Rogers (which is quite similar to what he observed on his Shroud samples and which would deserve to be done again by another researcher in order to confirm Rogers’ observations), that makes me wonder what’s going on in this pro-Shroud world…

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

P.S.: Concerning the stochastic hypothesis for image formation proposed by Giovanni Fazio and Giuseppe Mandaglio in Italy, I have to say that I’m now highly skeptical about this particular hypothesis IN THE FORM THEY PROPOSED IT. Effectively, the fact that they propose a coloration located inside the structure of the fiber itself is highly problematic in face of Rogers’ conclusions about the nature of the Shroud image and especially when it comes to the close correlation that really seem to exist between darker threads and an image a bit darker and lighter threads and an image a bit lighter and the fact that the color is almost completely restricted to the topmost fibers at the highest part of the weave, while the other “exposed” parts of the weave (i.e. the sections of the threads that start going down before they went under another thread) show almost no colored fibers at all, even though they were also “exposed” to the same “energy” that must have come from the corpse (or from its surface) in order to start the image formation process on the cloth’s surface, which eventually produced the body image. That’s why I now believe that the principal reason why, on the Shroud, there is a discontinuous distribution of colored fibers that exist in every parts of the body image (which is a well recognize fact since the STURP investigation and which includes sometimes bundles of colored fibers next to bundles of non-colored fibers, especially in the darkest zones of the image) is not the fact that there was a weak amount of energy involved in the image formation that would have caused a stochastic result of coloration at fiber level (even though I’m totally convinced that the image formation involved only a weak release of “energy” from the corpse’s surface or from the inside of the corpse), but instead the fact that there really was a thin and UNEVEN layer of carbohydrate impurities that was coating at least a good portion of the topmost fibers of the cloth, which would have been the only thing that a mild process of image formation (still undetermined) was able to yellow, at least partially, in order to produce the body image we see on the cloth. And if I say “at least partially”, it’s because I don’t completely reject the idea of Fazio and Mandaglio that such a mild process of image formation (involving most probably a weak amount of “energy”) could well have been able to yellow only a portion of the exposed fibers that were coated with carbohydrates impurities. In other words, like Rogers, I believe that the image chromophore is most probably located solely in a thin and UNEVEN layer of carbohydrate impurities residing on the top-surface of the cloth at the highest part of the weave and I think that this is possibly the only reason why there is a discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area, while I don’t completely reject the interesting idea that the amount of energy involved in the image formation process was so weak that it could well have been able to only colored a portion of the carbohydrate impurities it encounter after his release from the Shroud man’s corpse (or, more probably, from the corpse’s surface, which include the surface of the hair, beard and mustache). If this last scenario is true, that would mean that the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area would mainly come from the fact that the image color only resides in a thin and UNEVEN layer of carbohydrate impurities on the top-surface of the cloth, and also (but in a smaller proportion) to the fact that the amount of energy involved during the image formation process was so weak that it was not able to produce a visible color on the external surface of all the carbohydrate coated fibers it encounter. Now, concerning the extreme superficiality of the image and the fact that it is almost completely restricted to the topmost fibers at the highest part of the weave, I seriously don’t think these very odd properties can come from anything else than the very particular nature of the image chromophore, which most probably is located in a thin and uneven layer of carbohydrate impurities that was concentrated on the top-surface of the Shroud at the end of the manufacture of the cloth.


* Yannick in an email writes:

If you use the photo of me that I gave you recently, I think it would be a good thing to explain to people that this is me in a homemade studio during the recording of 3 songs of mine for a recent single of my old punk-rock band that I have decided to reunite after more than 10 years! And if you want, you can tell people that they just need to go to my website (www.yanmusik.com) in order to listen to those songs for free!

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