More Coverage on the St. Louis Conference

imageSheila Frayne Rhoades has a write up on the conference in the local Chesterfield Magazine Network. (Chesterfield is the St. Louis suburb where the conference will take place).

According to Chuck Neff, former St. Louis TV news reporter and executive producer of Salt River Production Group, one of the conference’s sponsors, the local conference is particularly significant.

“In light of the public exposition of the Shroud in 2015 (in Turin), this St. Louis conference stands to be an incredible hallmark of discovery from a noteworthy gathering of many of the world’s leading experts on the Shroud,” Neff explained. “I find it not only interesting, but extremely exciting that so many international Shroud experts would be making their way to St. Louis, to talk about what some describe as the biggest mystery on the face of the earth.”

The four-day conference is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased in advance on the conference website ( and at the door.

Presenters include Joseph G. Marino, conference chairman; Mark Antonacci, founder and president of Resurrection of the Shroud Foundation, a conference co-sponsor; and Barrie Schwortz, the official documenting photographer during the first scientific examination of the Shroud in 1978, among many others.

[ . . . ]

The conference will feature presentations on image formation and C-14 (radiocarbon) dating as well as the physics, chemistry, history, archaeology, iconography and theology of the Shroud.

Pictures for a Sunday Morning

The Shroud of Turin replica on display at St. Maria Goretti Church in Hatfield,
Pennsylvania, Sunday evening Sept. 14, 2014. Photos by Susan Keen.
CLICK HERE or on the photo to see several pictures.


Accommodations for Special Pilgrims in 2015

imageA Bing translation from

. . . people who live in suffering and young people will be the main «players» the next exposition of the shroud. To accommodate adequately and comfortably sufferers and their carers Health Pastoral of the Diocese of Turin, together with the Organizing Committee, is preparing a series of services: reception places for those who made the pilgrimage to the Shroud during the day, and hospitality locations for stops in Turin . . .

You can also try Google or learn Italian.

Time Out Productions presents Russ Breault

This 28 minute interview was published on YouTube yesterday:

According to the description at YouTube:

Time Out Productions presents Russ Breault of on the Shroud of Tourin.
RUSS BREAULT has been researching and lecturing on the Shroud of Turin for over 25 years. His presentation makes use of over 150 superb images and unfolds like a CSI investigation. The audience is riveted as each clue is revealed and becomes another piece of a grand puzzle as the mystery of the Shroud is explored. Carefully designed to be educational and entertaining, Mr. Breault delivers a dynamic, fast-paced experience. His highly acclaimed presentation is called THE MYSTERY OF THE SHROUD.

Mr. Breault has captivated hundreds of audiences from New York to Hawaii. College and university presentations include Duke, Auburn and West Point along with hundreds of church events. He has been a guest speaker at scientific societies including the American Chemical Society.

Mr. Breault has appeared in numerous national shows and networks including ABC, CBS, The History Channel and many other local programs.

Paper Chase: Uncovering the Sources of DNA on the Shroud

imageGiulio Fanti has most kindly allowed me to republish a recent paper from the Bari conference. The paper is:

ATSI 2014 – Uncovering the Sources of DNA
of the Turin Shroud

by G. Barcaccia, G. Galia, A. Achilli, A. Olivieri, A. Torroni
and G. Fanti.

The last sentence reads:

Our experimental findings and additional clues pose a further difficulty to those who postulate a central European origin and a historical interval corresponding to the Middle Ages of the Relic.

Also see:  Surprising Paper out of Bari: Plant DNA Studies on the Shroud of Turin

Eusebius on the Discovery of the Holy Sepulchre

Will Oswald writes:

imageThe Church of the Holy Sepulchre constructed 327-330 AD. Eusebius provides a description of what was seen when excavation of the tomb was complete and those individuals present saw. It sounds like a human figure like the Shroud of Turin has.

In his book, The Life of Constantine Book 3 Chapter 28, Eusebius wrote about the discovery of the Holy Sepulchre:

This also was accomplished without delay. But as soon as the original surface of the ground, beneath the covering of earth, appeared, immediately, and contrary to all expectation, the venerable and hollowed monument of our Saviour’s resurrection was discovered. Then indeed did this most holy cave present a faithful similitude of his return to life, in that, after lying buried in darkness, it again emerged to light, and afforded to all who came to witness the sight, a clear and visible proof of the wonders of which that spot had once been the scene, a testimony to the resurrection of the Saviour clearer than any voice could give.

Follow the link here Eusebius of Caesarea

and then find “Most Holy Sepulchre” in the text or scroll down roughly 3/5 of the way.

In a follow up email, Will adds:

Also, when I looked at pictures inside the Edicule there appears to marble on top of the bench where Christ’s body must have been laid.

I wonder if the marble was lifted up we could see a blood stain that matches the blood stain on the shroud. I doubt anyone would lift the marble to check…but someday I believe it should be done since it would not permanently damage anything.

New Textile Report

imagePam Moon sends along a link to a new report: Consideration to the Uniformity and Effects of the Fabric in the Shroud of Turin by © Donna Campbell MA, Technical Design, Thomas Ferguson Irish Linen. It begins:

This is an interim report requested by Pam Moon, a researcher on the Shroud of Turin.

Using photographic images found on the Oxford University website, this report examines the
uniformity and effects within a small sample taken from the Shroud of Turin.

Permission has been given by Professor Ramsey at Oxford University to use these images for this report.


This analysis of the Turin Shroud fabric sample has been approached independent of any outside influences or research. I have used the images of the fabric sample at the above website as a source of information to be considered and documented as I see it. With no preconceived ideas, my interpretation of the Shroud sample is drawn from my expertise in the design of linen fabric and the technical application of the woven architecture. The ideal analysis could only be done on the actual fabric sample.

[ . . . ]

In the conclusion, at about page 16, we read:


Yarns break during weaving. The success in identifying these breaks and fixing depends on the skill of the hand weaver. However, there are signs in the Shroud sample that direct the notion of mending or reweaving of the actual woven fabric. Many of the following considerations are not evident in the control samples.

  • The stitch like forms on the more bias direction of the fabric (Fig. 20). These forms are not apparent in the control samples.
  • Consideration to the black thread and its function (Fig. 22, 23 and 24). The suggestion that the thread could have been used to reinforce the fabric. No such thread is obvious in the control samples.
  • There is disruption in the weave pattern located at one side of a pick. This disruption sits along a contour of linear staining (Fig 20 indicated by the blue markers). It is unusual that the whole pick is not effected in the same way.
  • The difference in two sections of the sample that have a noticeable change in the size of spacing between the interlacement (Fig 16). This could suggest the use of different yarns.
  • At the location of a heavy stain and buckle, there is an extreme contrast in the tension and distortion of the weave noticeably on the warp face side (Fig 15). A contributing factor could be the manipulation of mending.
  • A patchwork of staining in the form of rectangular linear shapes (Fig 18) that does not
    conform to the staining on the control samples.

[ . . . ]

Colin Berry: OK, I’ve made a start on that Di Lazzaro pdf

Misquoting STURP?

Until social media came along, Shroud of Turin conference papers did not get
much public scrutiny. Are comments like these below the way of the future for conferences?

imageDeep down in the comments to a drawn out, rambling posting in Colin Berry’s Science Buzz blog, Colin takes on Paolo Di Lazzaro for a paper he presented at ATSI Bari. To read it in the raw click on Let’s move things along one easy step at a time – making life as difficult as possible for those who leech off other people’s content and scroll down to the comments dated September 16 and 17 wherein Colin writes:

OK, I’ve made a start on that Di Lazzaro pdf (36 pages!).

Already I am appalled at the liberties he has taken in his quoting, or rather misquoting, of the 1978 STURP report.

Here’s what he says:

Main findings of STuRP The Shroud is not a painting, no pigment, any directionality, not a scorch

Wrong. The STURP summary does not use the word "scorch" at all.

However, it does describe the coloration as due to surface chemical modification of the linen carbohydrates themselves via oxidation, dehydration and conjugation reactions, and helpfully points out that such changes can be the result of thermal OR chemical treatments, which in most people’s books would be described as "scorches", to distinguished from applied pigments etc.

Paolo di Lazzaro is entitled to reject scorching by whatever means if he so wishes (though his laser beam -induced coloration is surely another type of "scorch"). What he is NOT allowed to do is claim that STURP specifically rejected scorching. STURP did no such thing.

The image encodes cloth to body distance, and it is present in both contact and non contact areas.

The STURP summary makes no mention whatsoever of cloth-body distance.

Cloth-body distance is a model-dependent variable, based usually on loose draping of linen over a human subject. STURP did not propose (far less embrace) that model.

The reference in the STURP summary to the capture and encoding of 3D information has possible explanations that do NOT obligatorily require any postulates re ‘cloth-body’ distance.

[ . . . ]

At one point, Colin quotes Paolo thus: “Energy carried by short-wavelength radiation breaks chemical bonds of the irradiated material without inducing a significant heating (photochemical reaction)”.

And then comments:

This is a massive over-simplification, and even as a generalization simply cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

The majority of substances in our everyday lives can be exposed to sunshine, and can be expected to absorb some or all of its uv component WITHOUT undergoing chemical reaction. It’s (fortunately) a minority of white substances that tan (human skin being a notable exception, where there is a protective mechanism operating that involves melanin pigment) and it’s a minority of yellow substances that quickly bleach (yes; let’s not forget bleaching: uv tends to bleach, not yellow and exposure to sunshine was once used, notably in Holland, for large scale bleaching of new linen). It is a minority of uv-susceptible molecules that have given sunshine its bad press, and one is right to flag up the dangers of excessive uv exposure where humans and their crops are concerned, but to reiterate: while a lot of uv light is absorbed, chemical reaction is by no means automatic.

Yes, the First Law of Photochemistry states that for a photochemical reaction to occur, radiant energy of some kind or other must first be absorbed. But the converse is NOT true: radiant energy can be absorbed without necessarily producing chemical reaction. The energy of the uv CAN be dissipated safely in other forms, notably as thermal energy (producing a rise in temperature). So what does PDL have to say re thermal effects of his chosen instrument of TS image-formation at-a-distance, i.e. ultraviolet radiation. More to come.

More to come? We can hardly wait.

Are we getting a taste of the treatment St. Louis papers will get with an online commenting system to be provided by the conference organizers? Probably. With or without such facilities, social media is here to stay and papers will be publically challenged as never before. I think it’s a good idea.

Five Things: The Shroud of Turin Made Number Three

It seems to me that you could combine 4 and 5.

imageAngela Mueller has penned “5 things you don’t need to know but might want to” in the St. Louis Business Journal. Those five things:

1. Gone Girl:  Missouri may get a sneak peek of "Gone Girl," the thriller starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike

2.  UPS: The shipper plans to hire up to 95,000 seasonal workers to help deliver holiday packages

3.  Shroud of Turin: “A local expert on the Shroud of Turin, the piece of linen believed by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus, is planning an international conference focused on the Shroud to be held in Chesterfield next month.”

image4.  Free Coffee:  In an effort to perk up its sales in the U.S., McDonald’s is offering customers free small coffees.

5.  Drive Thru Funeral Home:  Paradise Funeral Chapel in Saginaw, Michigan, has a new drive thru window so people can "view their loved ones from the convenience of their car."

Let’s Agree to Agree?

imageA reader writes:

It is important that the shroud community stick together and speak with one voice. Let’s agree to agree for a change. Please stop attacking people like Mark Antonacci and Stephen Jones who are working so hard to convince non-believers that the Shroud is authentic. Did you see what Stephen said about you?  He is right, you know.

I’ll paraphrase much of the quotation the reader sent along and quote a small, salient part of what Stephen, himself, said. You can read the entire comment series HERE:

A commenter, Bippy123, expressed his hope that Giulio Fanti will offer up more information about his dating tests and let us know about the peer-reviewed journal to which he has submitted his work. Stephen replied that he knows nothing about this because in not reading “Dan Porter’s blog” he misses out on a lot of shroud news. But . . .

. . . the upside of saving time and not being character-assassinated by anti-authenticists on Porter’s blog (while Porter does nothing to restrain the assassins-presumably because he enjoys it!), outweighs the pro-authenticist news I temporarily am missing out on.

Assassins? I enjoy it?

“You should block negative comments,” the reader suggested. As for Mark Antonacci, he wondered, “What will you say when he is proven right? Will you have the [courage] to admit you were stupid?”

Dear reader, who are you? This is a joke, right?

The Tour of Nine Replicas Continues

The Reporter News in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, offers a headline, a picture and a photo caption:

The Headline: Faithful turn out in Hatfield to see a replica of the Shroud of Turin

The Photo Caption:  Anna Marie Parsons leans down to touch a replica of the Shroud of Turin on display at St. Maria Goretti Church in Hatfield on Sunday evening. Pope Benedict XVI approved nine replicas of the Shroud of Turin and then individually blessed the cloths. Each cloth was sent on tours all around the world.

An Interview with Lind and Antonacci

It was supposed to be an interview about the St. Louis conference.

imageInterviewer: . . . What have you been able to prove?

Dr. Arthur Lind: “Well, I could definitely prove that if … neutrons radiated the shroud, and many people believe that neutrons were emanated during the resurrection, the radiocarbon date would be altered and changed to a younger date . . .”

And then Mark Antonacci discussed his proposal for testing the shroud; you know that petition of his.

Remember when Mark said (Many of World’s Religious Problems Could be Resolved by Molecular and Atomic Testing on the Shroud of Turin):

If, on the other hand, it did not provide such proof, it would not mean that the Shroud is a fake – it would simply mean that this particular hypothesis is incorrect. If unfakable and independent evidence was obtained to confirm this hypothesis however, it could actually be used to analyze the central premises of various religions throughout history and in our world today.

Objective and independent evidence does not exist to prove the central premises of any other religion, agnosticism or atheism. In contrast, the Shroud of Turin could provide thousands of unfakable items of scientific and medical evidence to prove the central premises of Christianity. This new, incomparable evidence could lessen or remove the underlying bases for many of the world’s ongoing wars and conflicts. The world has everything to gain and nothing to lose by the proposed molecular and atomic testing of the Shroud of Turin. (emphasis mine)

[ . . . ]

Unfakable? Time to repeat a posting from last November:

Blowing the Antonacci Proposal to bits

or is it particles?

imageColin Berry writes by way of a comment:

. . . All someone has to do is sneak a mixture of ordinary beryllium and americium-241 (present in domestic smoke alarms) into the cabinet housing the Shroud. That mixture then emits neutrons (half life approx.10 days) and before you know what the Shroud will then be impregnated with radioisotopes such as chlorine-36 and calcium- 41 that Antonacci and his pressure group (if invited in with their scanners) could later proclaim to the world as proof that the Christian story based on Resurrection is proven – and a lot more besides (he reckons, see below ) as to the mechanism of resurrection.

You think I’m exaggerating?

See Antonacci comment from this site in September: (my bolding)

Please study the keynote address, which can be found on I’m not trying to be self-congratulatory or subjective, but these procedures could test every explanation for the Shroud’s radiocarbon dating and answer all the mysteries surrounding the Shroud. If the Shroud linen cloth, blood and other particles on it were examined at the molecular and atomic level, you could also collect enough new information that scientists could analyze this data for many years to come. I will be further updating this proposal, as well.

And on the Petition site:(my bolding)

A leading hypothesis published in Scientific Research and Essays in 2012 asserts that particle radiation was emitted from the length and width of Jesus’ dead body while he was wrapped in the Shroud, and it was this “event” which caused the unique images on the cloth. Molecular and atomic testing could prove that hypothesis to be true. ……

…..If unfakable and independent evidence was obtained to confirm this hypothesis however, it could actually be used to analyze the central premises of various religions throughout history and in our world today.

Objective and independent evidence does not exist to prove the central premises of any other religion, agnosticism or atheism. In contrast, the Shroud of Turin could provide thousands of unfakable items of scientific and medical evidence to prove the central premises of Christianity. This new, incomparable evidence could lessen or remove the underlying bases for many of the world’s ongoing wars and conflicts. The world has everything to gain and nothing to lose by the proposed molecular and atomic testing of the Shroud of Turin. . . .

David Goulet responds:

Would the sabotage you are mentioning lead to ‘unfakable’ evidence? If there is a way to skew the evidence then doesn’t this demonstrate the evidence is indeed fakable? And now that skeptics like yourself are aware of the possibility of sabotage, this would undermine authenticity claims based on said testing.

For myself, I share your fear. There is a segment of Christianity that pushes a Christian triumphalism and the Shroud could be be exploited by them. The thought that Christians would use the Shroud to proselytize turns my stomach. It has been called the Silent Witness…that is exactly how it should be seen. If God wanted it to preach he would have added audio to it.

Hmmm, that makes me wonder… could there be audio properties encoded in it? Who needs flowers and coins when you could have music and soundbites. :)

The Antonacci proposal is probably dead.

Well, I was certainly wrong about that last sentence.

Press Release: Bishop Michael Sheridan to Be Keynote Speaker St. Louis Shroud Conference

Contact: Joe Marino, conference chairman, 614-477-1480; Mark Antonacci, Resurrection of the Shroud Foundation, 636-938-3708

imageST. LOUIS, Sept. 15, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — In Turin’s Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, a famous burial cloth is kept. On this burial shroud is the image of a man. The identity of the man in the Shroud and how his image was formed is one of the greatest mysteries of all time. Many believe this Shroud to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. Others think it an elaborate hoax. On October 9-12 in St. Louis, international experts will gather to present and discuss the latest discoveries on this famous burial cloth, the Shroud of Turin.

The conference, entitled "Shroud of Turin: The Controversial Intersection of Faith and Science," will be held at the Drury Plaza Hotel in Chesterfield, a western suburb of St. Louis. More than thirty Shroud experts, or sindonologists, from around the world will be presenting information. Among the group of distinguished speakers is The Most Reverend Michael John Sheridan, Bishop of the Diocese of Colorado Springs. His presentation, "Science and the Mysteries of the Shroud," is currently slated for Saturday, October 11.

The St. Louis Conference is the first Shroud Conference to be held in the United States since 2008. Conference chair and sindonologist Joe Marino says, "I’m particularly excited that we have many new presenters since the last conference." Speakers come from such diverse fields as archeology, physics, iconography and theology. Other special speakers include Bruno Barberis, Director of the International Center of Sindonology in Turin; artist Veronica Piraccini; and biologist and teacher Kelly Kearse.

The conference begins on Thursday evening, October 9, with a presentation from renowned Shroud lecturer, Russ Breault and concludes on Sunday morning October 12, with presentations from historian and attorney, Jack Markwardt. A complete list of speakers and a tentative program can be found at the conference website

The conference is sponsored by The Resurrection of the Shroud Foundation and the Salt River Production Group. Anyone with an interest in the Shroud is welcome to attend. Registration details can also be found on the website.

Now Available: Two ATSI Bari Papers on ENEA Frascati Website

clip_image001The following two papers have been discovered:

1)  Shroud-like coloration, conservation, measures and image processing
A survey of experiments at ENEA Frascati
by Paolo Di Lazzaro Daniele Murra

2)  Le misure dei ricercatori dell’ENEA di Frascati sulla copia della Sindone di Arquata del Tronto (giugno 2014) A report about recent measurements on a copy of the Shroud found in Arquata del Tronto (Ascoli Piceno, Italy) by P. Di Lazzaro, A. Danielis, §, M. Guarneri, M. Missori, D. Murra, V. Piraccini, V. Spizzichino, S. Bollanti (this paper does not appear to be in the conference proceedings given to attendees)

Late Update: These two papers may also be found on the Paolo Di Lazzaro page at

Thank You, Joe Marino

imageAs the St. Louis conference rapidly approaches, it is good to be reminded about a previous shroud conference that was largely, wonderfully well organized by the same person organizing St. Louis: Joe Marino. Barrie Schwortz nicely does this on the STERA Facebook page.

As you may already know, there is a major Shroud conference being held October 9 -12, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri, and we hope to see many of you there. The event is being organized by STERA, Inc. board member Joe Marino, who also served as organizer (with the late Sue Benford) of a highly successful conference held in Columbus, Ohio in 2008. Here is a link to the Ohio Shroud Conference page of our website where you will find links to abstracts, presentations, papers and the official conference website, in case you missed it:

A couple of fast links, vis-à-vis 2008, as well:

The 2008 Conference Papers: Titles, Authors and Links

2008 Keynote Address by Rex Morgan: THE SHROUD: AN ETERNAL CHALLENGE 

It takes a lot of work to organize a conference. Thanks, Joe.

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*

imageHello 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

Continue reading “A Defense of Ray Rogers on the Image at the Thread and Fiber Level”

Mystery is never ever proof of anything

imageThis morning, as my mind wandered while I walked the dog, I was reminded of something in another blog – as it turns out –  more than four years ago; Miracles, Mystery and Science in the Lewis Crusade blog. John C. Hathaway, the writer of that blog had found that I had written:

Mystery is unavoidable. For instance the images [on the shroud] are a mystery. And mystery can be seductive. If we are not careful, unanswered questions can lead to god-of-the-gaps thinking. All too easily some of us who are religious can be lulled into thinking that because something lacks an explanation it must be miraculous. Such thinking is bad science, bad theology and bad philosophy. Mystery can point us towards common sense. Mystery can challenge us to find answers. But it is never ever proof of anything.

He had responded thus:

This got me to thinking.  We often make a big deal about proving “science can’t explain it” when we talk of miracles.

Yet C. S. Lewis argues in Miracles that most miracles are really a “speeding up” of nature, not a violation of it.  God made the laws of Nature, and He doesn’t arbitrarily break His own rules.

I’ve always been a big fan of Lewis. But I’ve never really bought into this. How do miracles and the laws of Nature relate?

I guess I still believe in miracles that are miracles. And I believe that maybe there are mysteries that must always be mysteries. It needs more thought. Unfortunately, the dog was ready to go home. He is the boss.

Surprising Paper out of Bari: Plant DNA Studies on the Shroud of Turin

imageAt Bari, quite a few people were surprised by a paper that was not in the final program (as published on the website) and not included in the proceedings of the conference given to attendees. The three-page paper was “Uncovering the Sources of DNA in the Turin Shroud” by G. Barcaccia, G. Galia, A. Achilli, A. Olivieri, A. Torroni and G. Fanti.

I will seek out a link or try to get permission to include the paper in this blog so that everyone can read it. In the meantime, here is the concluding paragraph sent to me me by two different attendees:

In conclusion, results from this study are consistent with the presence of several plant species according to cpDNA barcodes and distinct human mtDNA haplogroups. Overall DNA data were compared with historical information to verify whether the geographic areas of origin and distribution of land plant species (embryophytes) and human mitochondrial haplogroups are coherent with the proposed temporal and spatial paths of the Turin Shroud. Our experimental findings and additional clues pose a further difficulty to those who postulate a central European origin and a historical interval corresponding to the Middle Ages of the Relic.

from, as explained earlier in the paper:

… pollen grains, cell debris and other minuscule organic specimens, such as plant-derived fibers and blood-like clots found into the dusts sampled in the Turin Shroud by STURP Members. In particular, the dust particles analyzed in this study belong to different filters of the back of the Turin Shroud, also corresponding to the areas face, hands, buttocks and feet.

A Reason to NOT DO More Scientific Testing on the Shroud

imageHugh Farey writes in another thread, A Report on the Bari Conference:

Bishop Marcello Sanchez Sorondo [pictured], the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences emailed me with these words:

The opinion of the PAS is that in order to do something scientific, another test should be carried out but since the institutions that carry out these tests are rather anticlerical, the PAS currently thinks that it would not be prudent to reopen the matter until other scientific identification systems are devised.

Although not in any sense an official statement of policy, it does suggest that at present the Vatican does indeed lack confidence in scientists’ open-mindedness, if not their expertise.

I have taken the liberty of reformatting and emphasizing part of Hugh’s comment.

Here is a Wikipedia entry for Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo.

Article on the Sudarium of Oviedo

imageHarrington A. Lackey writes in Ezine about The Sudarium of Oviedo: The Other Linen in Christ’s Tomb:

According to John’s Gospel, when the tomb was found empty on the third day, not only was the linen that covered His body found, but there was a "napkin, that was upon Jesus’ head, separate from the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself." (20:7). The original Vulgate Bible calls it a "sudarium" which translates to "sweat cloth" in Latin. This piece of linen measures about 2.5 feet length * 1.8 feet height.

[ . . . ]

Jesus could not breathe because His arms were stretched out and up on the cross. Also, His feet were nailed, so He could not pull himself up in order to breathe. As a result, His lungs filled with edema which caused asphyxiation. There are also stains of blood surrounding these two large ones. All of this blood covered the entire face due to the blood from the crown of thorns still on His head. There was so much blood on His face that when His body was taken down from the cross and set down inside the tomb, the cloth was mostly blood-soaked. The blood on Jesus face covered about half of the cloth’s surface. It was tossed aside like a dirty rag before preparing Him for burial.

There still is some confusion about the Sudarium, with some skeptics arguing that a sudarium would have prevented the image on the Turin Shroud and others arguing that the burial shroud would not have been used to cover Jesus’ head at all because of the use of a sudarium.

A Report on the Bari Conference

imageMaria da Glóra Moreira of the Centro Português de Sindonologia writes:

We have attended Workshop on Advances in Turin Shroud Investigation and we were surprised by the few number of persons in the room of Bari’s University where the Conference was held.

Actually there were no more than 40 persons including speakers, which was later explained to us by the fact that the Conference was not opened to the general public, and we regret the absence of American and English scholars as speakers.

We were disappointed by Professor Bruno Barberi’s statement that he didn’t know when Vatican would grant permission for new tests on the Shroud ( in 2012 Valencia Shroud Congress he opened the possibility of new tests in a near future although he asserted that it would be  Pope’s decision).

How can real advances in Shroud of Turin scientific investigation be achieved without new tests?

Nevertheless there were some interesting presentations in the scientific field of image namely a new project of Shroud scanning by Professor Nello Balossino, and description of laboratory experiments by Professors Giovanna de Liso, Lattarulo, Giulio Fanti and Paolo di Lazzaro.

There was also a weird presentation by Professor Valery Shalatonin from bielorussian Minsk University describing the detection of an electric field around a real size replica of the Shroud and it’s biological effects-this was indeed very interesting and a brand new issue.

Outside the scientific field a new historiographical and philosophical approach about Jesus resurrection and the Shroud was presented by french philosopher and historian Professor Tristan Casabianca.

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

To summarize, although a bit below our expectations it was not worthless going to Bari

The above is being shared with everyone with Maria da Glória’s kind permission.

The proceedings of the conference have been distributed to attendees as a single, 137 page PDF file. I am seeking permissions or links to make this available to everyone, if that is possible. There are some fascinating papers in it. Stay tuned.

What’s with the wind noise and the big stick?

Hat tip to Joe Marino

This has to be the most unusual skeptical YouTube I’ve seen on the subject of the shroud’s authenticity. Don’t worry, it is only two minutes long.

Did he just say it is easier to fit a round peg in a round hole?

Hat tip to Joe Marino