Déjà vu Squared

October 14, 2014

imageA reader of this blog who was in St. Louis on Sunday morning to hear Bob Siefker emailed me:

You didn’t provide a link to the [Critical Summary]. Nor did the conference site. I was able to find it by entering “google jackson shroud center.”

Oops! Here it is: A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses – Version 2.1

This same conference attendee noted:

Dr. Siefker’s chart evaluates ten hypotheses against a short list of only seventeen image characteristics. Dr. Siefker said of his paper was a utility for all of us. No it is not. It is a biased defense of Jackson’s theory and nothing more. Do you think people will find it methodically suspicious that only Jackson’s cloth falling hypothesis matches 100% of all image characteristics and that no other hypothesis comes close?

Suspicious? No. Disappointed in the methodology? Yes! See Déjà vu or what?

The folks at Colorado Springs want feedback. The second page of the summary states: “We welcome comments, but we can only consider those that are substantive and that are emailed directly to our website (via the Shroud Data tab).” But that tab merely asks people to send comments to an email address, ShroudFacts@gmail.com.

If the goal is progress in our understanding of the shroud, whatever the truth may be, then transparency and open dialog is called for. Today, newspapers, magazines and even highly respected journals welcome online comments in the clear. Authors mix it up with readers and offer clarifications. Readers mix it up with each other and many people benefit from the opinions of others.

If, on the other hand, the objective is controlled marketing of an idea then, fine, we-welcome-comments-but-we-can-only-consider-those-that-are-substantive-and-that-are emailed-directly-to-our-website will work for the authors of this paper.

Hmmm! Someone could put up a webpage for each characteristic, each hypothesis, each historical item and so forth, with an appropriate explanation, and invite discussion; make the labels match those in the paper so people could look it up in the paper. Hmmm!

The full paper is 106 pages, with lots of tables, making it a bit unwieldy. You might want to save it to your computer or better yet put up a copy on the Google Cloud. I also loaded up a copy on my Kindle. That works pretty well but the page numbers are messed up.

The paper is a locked up PDF so you can’t easily quote from it which is not a good idea for promoting ideas in this day and age. If you want to do some fair use quoting you will need to retype the material or OCR it (Microsoft Notebook works perfectly on whole pages).

Again, see Déjà vu or what?

Note:  I have corrected the spelling of Bob Siefker’s name in the email above rather than annotate the error with (sic). I carelessly repeated the error in my own comments and have corrected that as well.

Note 2: The URL for the Critical Summary was changed on October 19, 2014. This page has been updated.

  1. John Klotz
    October 14, 2014 at 6:17 am


    There was thing about the presentation of Jackson which I found really disconcerting. He claimed that it would take an enormous amount of “contamination” to have skewed the C-14 results.

    The problem is that the critics of the C-14 tests address was not “contamination” but the presence of a rewoven linen and repairs. Contamination might an appropriate description of the bio-plastic coating theory but it simply does not apply to the work of Ray Rogers and virtually every other commentator since the landmark Benford-Marino report of 2000.

    Rogers found THAT THE LINEN in the are was NEW because of substantial differences with the linen in the body of the Shroud. Also, it was dyed UNLIKE the linen in the main body of the Shroud. The cotton was present because the linen didn’t hold the dye and the cotton is what gave the patch color.

    Apparently Jackson had stepped out for coffee when Pam Moon of GB earlier gave an excellent presentation on new examinations of pictures of the underside of the Oxford sample that pretty conclusively demonstrated dramatic differences with the main body of the Shroud.

    What Jackson and the company want to do is throw the dice on a theory that will “prove” the Resurrection. There theory may even be correct. But to move that theory forward in a desperate attempt to “prove” the Resurrection is a fools errand.

    Perhaps I am being impolitic. But the search for truth is often impolitic.

    Frankly, Sunday morning’s highlight was the clash between Jack Markwardt and Dan Scavone about the early history of the Shroud. In case anyone wasn’t listening, Professor Scavone’s presentation which followed Markwardt’s had one item that seemed to verify Markwardt’s basic point: that an inventory of the Constantinople relics before 1204 listed two different relics: a Sudarium and a Sindone.

    That in no way is a critique of Professor Scavone who has been a lion in the study of Shroud history. The “debate” between Markwardt and Scavone is an honest one and mutually respectful.

    And OMG, Markwardt cited Charles Chapman. I was impressed.

  2. Max patrick Hamon
    October 14, 2014 at 7:36 am

    Re the “two different relics” listed in the inventory, most likely the Sudarium refer to the “headdress”/skullcap kept in Carcassonne, France and to the Sindon now kept in Turin.

    On July 29, 2014 at 3:47 I quoted from a research paper (I have had no time to complete so far) entitled “The Hungarian Pray Ms Illuminated Parchment Folio 28r Lower Ink Drawing Section: LUMEN PASCHALIS” (Or The Constantinople Sindon-Turin Shroud Camouflaged Into A Sarcophagus Box & Lid: An ‘Iconosteganalysis’), I wrote:

    Is the Turin Shroud the crux literaria of the Constantinople Sindon?

    Suffice it to syntactically piece together several corroborating 944-1207 CE testimonies and eyewitness descriptions, from Gregory Referendarius’ (Archdeacon of Hagia Sophia), to Nicholas Mesarites’ (overseer of the treasuries in the Pharos Chapel of the Boucoleon Palace of the emperors) via Robert de Clari’s (Fourth Crusade Picard knight), and a few others, to build a strong if not crucial evidence the Turin Shroud (TS hereafter) and Constantinople Sindon (CS hereafter) could be one and the same object. The literary synthesis reads:

    “[In the church of My Lady Saint Mary of the Pharos (“lighthouse”) in the Golden Imperial Palace of the Boucoleon in Constantinople and another church called My Lady Saint Mary of Blachernae], Christ ‘rise[d] again’ [then], and the sindon(1) with the burial linens [was] the clear proof. [This sindon] as white as snow from antiquity, [was] of linen, of easily obtainable material, remained uncorrupted and smell[ed] fragrant of myrrh. [It] def[ied] decay because, after the Passion, it [had] wrapped the elusive(2) dead naked body.

    [When] raised upright, not only the image of the glorious features of the Saviour’s face with dripping drops of blood shine[d] out but also the form and most noble stature of his entire body hanging down from the cross and embellished with drops of blood and water that make the liquid flow from his own side, could be plainly seen. This [was] not the art of the painter and the various beautiful colours, which provide a door for the mind to consider the original and depict images [that could possibly have depicted] the reflection of his appearance and size imprinted on [his sindon]. [So much so] the ‘not-made-by-hand’ image of Christ and G-od, draped with a white/pure linen cloth he had worn, was sufficiently in lieu of the vision of the Lord coming into the flesh to those who had not corporally seen him.

    After the city was taken, the French partitioned the relics of the saints and the most sacred of all, the sindon in which our Lord Jesus Christ was wrapped after his death and before his resurrection. We know the sacred sindon in Athens. [In this city] we saw with our own eyes the burial linen cloths found in the sepulchre.”

    This is strong historical evidence indeed and tends to prove the presence of the most famous contact-and-blood relic of Christianity at Constantinople prior to 1204.

    Notes: (1). – Also called sydoine and synne1 in old French; the latter for “sign” (Latin signum; Greek symbulos). (2). – Greek aperilepton, i.e. consistent both on one hand with G-od’s “un-circumscribed”, non coercive and loving, divine nature that has no shapes, is beyond description and the binds of Death cannot contain and, on the other hand, Yeshua’s “un-outlined”, evanescent nature of his own image on his sindon.

    • latendre
      October 14, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      Max: ““headdress”/skullcap kept in Carcassonne”. Isn’t rather the “Coiffe de Cahors” you are referring to?

      • Max patrick Hamon
        October 14, 2014 at 3:42 pm

        Hi Mario! Yes it is (typo again, still typing in haste).

  3. October 14, 2014 at 7:51 am

    I think ‘contamination’ in this case is extended to included any non-1st century material. If everything was as obvious as John makes out, then the problem would be resolved and the C14 date discredited by all and sundry, but unfortunately it isn’t. It is easy to calculate the amount of carbon which needs to be added to a 1st century textile in order to skew the date towards the 14th century, and none of Rogers’ discoveries come close. The easiest way would be to sprinkle soot on the cloth. As cloth is only about 40% carbon, and soot is 100% carbon, only a small amount would be required. I forget the exact proportion, perhaps about 15%, which unfortunately would be turn the cloth black. Adding a transparent or similarly coloured compound would be best, but, as the proportion of carbon in such a compound is so much less, a correspondingly greater amount would be necessary. As has often been shown, at least 60% of the fabric would have to be modern in order to produce the required skew. This has not been demonstrated by Rogers or anyone else. Jackson is correct on that point.

    With John’s latter five paragraphs, I am entirely in accord.

    • latendre
      October 14, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      100% carbon as a crystal structure, clear and transparent (think diamond), not really black. Yes, it is far fetched but theoretically possible.

      • October 14, 2014 at 12:27 pm

        Hardly, since the standard form of elemental carbon is graphite, which has a layered structure with fused benzenoid rings (a lattice of hexagons). Charcoal, the form in which organic material remains after charring, is microcrystalline graphite.

        Diamond has an entirely different structure, essentially a single giant molecule in which the bonding is tetrahedral, each C atom being bonded to 4 others. Converting graphite or charcoal to diamond requires high temperatures and enormous pressures. The first artificial diamonds were made by dissolving ordinary carbon in molten iron, then quenching instantly with water to achieve those enormous pressures (via the contraction of molten iron on cooling).

        Of course, I could be wrong on the detail, or not fully up-to-date on the fine detail, not being a chemist (the label usually applied to me on this site) but a more wide-ranging biomedical scientist (long since retired).

        Incidentally, I see that Alan Adler listed as a “biochemist” on Dr.Seifker’s updated Summary (current posting). No he wasn’t. He was an organic chemist specializing in porphyrins – something entirely different.

        • latendre
          October 14, 2014 at 1:15 pm

          Industrial production of diamonds require high temperature and pressure, as nature produces it, but carbon can form various other crystal like structure like graphene (which is transparent). Apparently, you can make some with a household blender: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/5859/20140422/graphene-mass-production-now-possible-says-irish-scientists-what-does-this-mean-for-the-technology-industry.htm
          So what would happen if you could produce quite a large number of these thin layers of graphene?
          Again, I point to a theoretical possibility.

        • October 14, 2014 at 1:21 pm

          Graphene is simply a single sheet off the graphite layer cake structure, either planar or re-formed to make tubules. It’s transparent on account of its thinness.

          The first graphene was made by an exceedingly hi-tech process. It involved stripping single layers off graphite with, er, sticky-tape.

      • Yannick Clément
        October 14, 2014 at 1:29 pm

        Quote : “Yes, it is far fetched but theoretically possible.”

        Comment : Just like me, Fazio and Mandaglio concluded that it is theoretically possible for a weak souce of natural energy coming from a fresh corpse to interract with the top-surface of a linen cloth like the Shroud and only yellow a portion of the “affected topmost fibers” in a visible way (thus causing the kind of discontinuous distribution of colored fiber that we see on the Shroud), especially if the chemical reaction is restricted to a thin and uneven layer of carbohydrate impurities that would be concentrated on the top-surface of that cloth… ;-)

  4. October 14, 2014 at 8:14 am

    In Windows, open the PDF and print to XPS. Then copy and paste to your hearts’ content.

  5. rschneider42
    October 14, 2014 at 8:31 am

    The French reweave theory is not “contamination” in the sense that John Jackson uses it, but “substitution” so his teetertotter diagram should show that possibility as a reduction in the 1st century material and a corresponding increase in the contemporary (likely 16th century) material. So the kinds of biases we could have are:
    1) Contamination (i.e. contemporary material added)
    2) Substitution (i.e. contemporary material swapped out for original material)
    3) Selective enrichment (i.e. mechanisms that increase C14 selectively)
    4) Irradiation, or
    5) Combinations of the above.

    All of these are in principle open to verification by testing. Bioplastic may be present as could contemporary material of other biological kinds that wasn’t subject to effective removal by the methods used by the labs. We know there are intrusives (i.e. substitution material) is the form of cotton and evidence of dyes and manipulation in the area. There could be some enrichment due to various natural radiation if the shroud was stored in locations subject to prolonged low level neutron flux, or perhaps (more speculatively) a burst of neutrons could have accompanied the resurrection and skewed the whole cloth and the sudarium as one paper at the conference simulated. The matter is not at all simple nor “one answer fits all” but it is subject to verification. You can hardly ask for more.

    • Louis
      October 14, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Ray Schneider has stated the facts correctly.
      Anoxie, Re:Roger’s contact + diffusion model, how nice! To what extent people can go…

      • anoxie
        October 14, 2014 at 4:01 pm

        Maybe you’ve never gone to this extent: the side bar of this blog.


        • Louis
          October 14, 2014 at 4:20 pm

          That is old news and the Maillard reaction was proffered as a possibility, Jesus body in the tomb baking like bread in an oven. Anything to get rid of the supernatural perhaps.

        • anoxie
          October 14, 2014 at 4:32 pm

          I was commenting on the resolution issue, illustrating how this chart is bogus.

          Baking? No, we are talking about ambient temperature.

          Anything else? More sarcasm to pour out?

        • Yannick Clément
          October 14, 2014 at 4:39 pm

          Louis, this is maybe old news, but old news that still need to be fully tested under good lab control. Rogers only did some preliminary tests. Some were good (like the coloring test he did with ammonia and a small old fashion sample) and some were not so good. Much more testing should be done to verify this great hypothesis in a complete way…

          You also say “Anything to get rid of the supernatural perhaps.” I prefer saying “Anything to get our feet back on the ground, where good science must remain.” Rogers knew that. Fazio and Mandaglio know this. Some others don’t, sadly…

  6. anoxie
    October 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    This chart is obviously bogus.

    • Louis
      October 14, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      Anoxie, Ambient temperature? Why would this happen only to Jesus body?

      • anoxie
        October 14, 2014 at 5:05 pm

        As a natural phenomenon, it would happen to any body.

        What is unique are the shroud’s conservation, the conditions surrounding the burial and the absence of putrefaction, whatever may be the cause.

        This is unique, very unlikely but still there to be contemplated and questionned.

        • Louis
          October 14, 2014 at 6:09 pm


  7. WmW
    October 14, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    There is nothing really new in the last 24 yrs. except this chart and a couple cites. See Stephen Jones at http://tinyurl.com/nedtsvg where he publishes Dr. Jackson’s whole 1991 paper as a blog post. He had permission. That paper was based on a March 1990 article in Shroud Spectrum International at https://www.shroud.com/pdfs/ssi34part3.pdf

    • Yannick Clément
      October 14, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      I think the historical “post-medieval radiocarbon dating” context (where all the pro-shroudies scientists were trying desperately to find a solution to push back the date to the First Century) had a lot to do with the writing of that particular paper. Unfortunately, this paper had a huge influence on all the nonsense supernatural hypotheses of image formation that came out afterward, up until this day…

    • anoxie
      October 14, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      WwW, the 1990 article was already bogus.

      In the last 24 years, Rogers came back and claimed that “diffusion does not mean diffuse”, and it is still correct (I won’t deal with Rogers’s theory limits here again, but keep in mind it is a contact + diffusion model).

      Tell me what is the resolution reachable through gaseous diffusion?

      Drawing a parallel with astronomy, the resolution depends on:

      1- the atmospheric turbulence// convection currents ; best in space (or now we use adaptative optics) // still atmosphere

      2- the length wave you’re looking at // the molecular weight of diffusing molecules

      3- the sensor // the reactive layer

      It can be millimetric for sure.

      This chart is bogus, but i’m just picking an item out of it.

      As said Albert Einstein quoted by Dr Jackson himself:
      “Common sense is the deposit of prejudice laid down in the mind before the age of eighteen. ”

      “Diffusion does not mean diffuse”
      Ray Rogers.

      • Yannick Clément
        October 14, 2014 at 2:53 pm

        And Resurrection of Christ does not mean “body of light” or “burst of light” or “corona discharge” or “burst of neutrons and protons”.
        Yannick Clément

  8. Louis
    October 14, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Yannick, I have only just now noticed the comment you addressed to me. Thank you. I told you on this blog why I would not exchange comments with you and demanded an apology for the insult you hurled at me. You did not respond. If you apologise I am willing to forgive and forget and make other amends.

    Please stop making those vicious attacks on other Shroudies, clergymen, Church doctrine and so on. You seem to be the pet “scientist” of some Shroudies, even protected by part of the “consensus”, but that will not help anyone, it will only make the realm of Shroud studies worse than it is. I guess you will understand the situation.

    • Max patrick Hamon
      October 15, 2014 at 6:24 am

      Methinks Shroud Studies and Research are mostly spoiled by forms of cronyism that divert the Shroud sphere’s attention away from good archaeology and toward pseudo-science.

    • Yannick Clément
      October 15, 2014 at 8:28 am

      I have already apologize to you, but you probably didn’t saw my post. It’s been a long time and I’m not sure where it is…

  9. October 14, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    It’s actually Robert W.”Siefker, not “Seifker”, the objectivity of whose now ‘updated’ review is still under scrutiny, and rightly so. At least let’s agree on how to spell his name.

  10. October 15, 2014 at 6:19 am

    Jackson’s name appears 104 times in 106 pages.

    • John Klotz
      October 15, 2014 at 6:23 am


      No one can say more in as few words as you do (or with as much irony).

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