Archive for November, 2014

The Raes samples that Rogers used had been switched?

November 30, 2014 10 comments

Tomorrow, we are expecting Thibault Heimburger’s paper from the St. Louis conference
on the chain of custody of Rogers’ C14 samples

HOWEVER, on the Holy Shroud Guild website, today, we read, “Gonella then said
that he had reason to believe that some or all of Raes’ samples had been switched
with materials not originally from the Shroud.”

imageGoogle spotted this NEW item on the HSG website yesterday. It is a short statement linked to a short questionnaire that, as such, has the appearances of being one big loaded question. (Google Cached Copy of Same)

The HSG hosted statement begins with this paragraph following an innocuous title that reads, Ray Rogers, Thermochimica Acta:

All researchers have an ethical responsibility to be factual when writing an academic or research paper for publication.  Publication journals are responsible for reviewing the submitted work or manuscript before being published.  The interdependence between researchers and journals is imperative. Each body has control over public opinion, legislation, funding, and resources. Unethical work that is produced based on authors’ biases or journals’ agendas will have a negative impact for everyone.

“Unethical work . . .  based on authors’ biases or journals’ agendas. . .” What is being implied? Let’s see:

Rogers argued that ­the fibers collected in 1988 testing were not representative to the main part of the cloth (Rogers, 2005).  The most important evidence Rogers’ possessed were the threads he obtained. Rogers explained, 

I received 14 yarn segments from the Raes sample from Prof. Luigi Gonella (Department of Physics, Turin Polytechnic University) on 14 October 1979. I photographed the samples as received and archived them separately in numbered vials. Some of the samples were destroyed in chemical tests between 1979 and 1982, but most of the segments have been preserved” (p.188). Rogers continues and explains, “On 12 December 2003, I received samples of both warp and weft threads that Prof. Luigi Gonella had taken from the radiocarbon sample before it was distributed for dating. Gonella reported that he excised the threads from the center of the radiocarbon sample. (p. 189)

Rogers’ manuscript successfully established ownership for the threads; however, what Rogers failed to offer was the chronological documentation pertaining to the threads. It is possible, Roger’s familiarity with the threads made him sedentary procuring the proper protocol producing the chain of custody. . . .


Dr. Nitowksi was an archeologist studying the Shroud’s image formation in Jerusalem during 1986. In her paper titled, Criteria for authentication: A procedure of the verification of the shroud samples, Nitowski writes,

On the evening of April 28, 1986, I and several of my companions returning from our Jerusalem testing relative to the Shroud of Turin, had supper with Dr. Luigi Gonella, and his family at their Turin apartment. Among other Shroud topics, Dr. Gonella and I spoke briefly about the Rogers Mylar tape samples on loan to Joseph Kohlbeck, my colleague, and currently in my possession. Included with those samples is a small glass vial labeled Raes Sample containing a 12mm long thread. I told Dr. Gonella that Kohlbeck had found it to be coated with starch by an iodine test. Gonella expressed amazement at this, since no one had reported such substance on the Shroud material previously. He then asked me if I knew for certain that the thread had a “Z” twist. I told him that I had not checked it. Gonella then said that he had reason to believe that some or all of Raes’ samples had been switched with materials not originally from the Shroud. (Personal archive collection of the Holy Shroud Guild, Nitowski, 1986) 

“Reason to believe?”

And there is this:

Rogers indeed received 14 yarn segments from the Raes sample from Gonella in 1979. However, Rogers never maintained them in his own custody prior to 1979, and some of the samples he received after 1979, he distributed to other scientist for further evaluations as documented in the letter by Dr. Nitowski. Notwithstanding, Rogers still may have found these threads suitable for his study. But in no way does that excuse the review process to do its due diligence and inquire detailed documentation concerning the threads. Even more questionable were the threads received by Rogers in 2003. In Rogers’ Thermochimica Acta manuscript, Rogers briefly mentions that is was Gonella who excised the threads before it was distributed for dating (p.189). What was never mentioned in Rogers’ Thermochimica Acta manuscript was by whom he received the threads from. . . .

Recently, Giorgio Bracaglia posted the following on The Holy Shroud Guild Facebook page:

By December I am planning to do a research survey with this audience. The topics will be about GMO (Monsanto) and Ray Rogers’ 2005 Thermochimica Acta manuscript. The articles are designed to represent faithfully only one perspective.Your task will be to read the two short essays (1/2 page each) and respond accordingly based on the readings. 5 questions in total for each topic.

This seems to be what he is talking about. It is almost December. There is a similar GMO paper, as well. It is interesting that the first paragraph of the GMO paper, which deals with the issue of ethical peer journalism, is identical, word for word with the article about Rogers’ paper.  So what is the GMO paper doing on the HSG website? 

Suggestion: Wait on, then read Thibault Heimburger’s paper from the St. Louis conference when it appears on, hopefully tomorrow. Then and only then answer the questions from the short questionnaire, in which you choose to disagree or agree by degree):

  1. There are clear evidences that the threads excised for the radio carbon data was representative to the cloth
  2. The radio carbon data performed on the Shroud in 1988, is flawed
  3. The request by Arch. Bishop Saldarini to have the unauthorized threads return has no influence on Rogers findings
  4. Raes samples excised in 1973 are viable evidence
  5. Rogers demonstrates enough provenance of the threads used for his research

Or not.

A Guest Posting by Joe Marino: If another C-14 test is ever done . . .

November 29, 2014 49 comments

At the recent St. Louis conference, there was an open discussion regarding future testing of the Shroud, with participation by Prof. Bruno Barberis.  Naturally, one of the topics discussed was another possible C-14 dating.

After hearing comments there and after rereading some material, especially Ian Wilson’s chapter "Carbon Dating:  Right or Wrong" in his 1998 book The Blood and the Shroud, I’m becoming more and more convinced that another C-14 test would be unwise and moreover, that the Shroud is simply not, and never has been, a suitable item to carbon date.

Wilson points out in his book (pp. 190-191) that in the 1960s, 2 Harwell lab scientists warned Vera Barclay, a British proponent of having the Shroud carbon dated, of pitfalls.

Dr. J.P. Clarke told Barclay,

There appears to be some doubt as to whether the carbon content of the material has remained constant over the years.  It would be an assumption of any dating that the addition of something at a date later than that of the fabrication of the Shroud.

P.J. Anderson told her: 

The history of the Shroud does not encourage one to put a great deal of reliance upon the validity of any C14 dating.  The whole principle of the method depends upon the specimen not undergoing any exchange of carbon between its molecules and atmospheric dioxide, etc.  The cellulose of the linen itself would be good from this point of view, but the effect of the fires and subsequent drenching with water . . . and the possibility of contamination during early times, would, I think, make the results doubtful.  Any microbiological action upon the Shroud (fungi, moulds, etc., which might arise from damp conditions) might have important effects upon the C14 content.  This possibility could not be ruled out

Wilson himself goes on to say: 

That such concerns have been far from eliminated by more modern methods is quite evident from a recent booklet by Dr Sheridan Bowman, Michael Tite’s successor as Keeper of the British Museum’s Research Laboratory, in which she lists the sorts of conservation and packing materials that archaeologists should avoid using when sending their samples for processing by a radiocarbon-dating laboratory: ‘Many materials used for preserving or conserving samples may be impossible to remove subsequently:  do not use glues, biocides . . . [etc.]  Many ordinary packing materials such as paper, cardboard, cotton, wool and string contain carbon and are potential contaminants.  Cigarette ash is also taboo.’  It is worth reminding ourselves here of the variety of already listed carbon-containing materials with which the Shroud maintains daily contact, e.g., a sixteenth-century holland cloth, a nineteenth-century silk cover – quite aside from the innumerable candles that have been burnt before it, the water that was thrown over it at the time of the 1532 fire, and so on.  And those are merely the events we know about.

One other excerpt worth noting here (pg 193):

Archaeologists, who routinely call upon radiocarbon-dating laboratories’ services, tend to shy from openly criticising the results they receive, even if they do not necessarily agree with some of them, but one who certainly has no qualms is Greece’s Spyros Iakovidis, speaking at an international conference in 1989:  ‘In relation to the reliability of radiocarbon dating I would like to mention something which happened to me during my excavation at Gla [in Boeotia, Greece].  I sent to two different laboratories in two different parts of the world a certain amount of the same burnt grain.  I got two readings differing by 2000 years, the archaeological dates being right in the middle. I feel that this method is not exactly to be trusted.’ [Italics in original]

Because of such opinions–and keep in mind the above ones are by people who actually used the C-14 technique, it was all the more unfortunate and detrimental that the C-14 test wasn’t at least done as one of many other tests at the same time.  Those other tests may have provided overwhelming evidence that the Shroud was from the 1st century, and since it’s not uncommon for C-14 dates to be disregarded in some instances***, there would not be as much ink being spilled on the Shroud C-14 results.

If another C-14 test is ever done, it will take a lot more background study, and hopefully it wouldn’t be done in isolation from other multi-disciplinary testing.

***Rogue dates are common in archaeology and geology . . . Such has been my experience as an archaeologist who has excavated, submitted and interpreted more than one hundred carbon 14 samples from Neolithic, Bronze Age and Early Historical sites.  Of these dates obtained, 78 were considered credible, 26 were rejected as unreliable and 11 were problematic.  I mention this merely to inform the non-specialist . . . —William Meacham, archaeologist, Centre of Asian Studies,University of Hong Kong, 2000

* * *


A warning about what we perceive

November 29, 2014 10 comments

Nell Greenfieldboyce, an NPR science correspondent, has an interesting article in one of the National Public Radio blogs. We should see it for its cautionary value to us when we look at the shroud.

These X’s Are The Same Shade, So What Does That Say About Color?,” she proclaims in the title. They are:


Nell goes on to write:

Mark Fairchild, who studies color and vision science at the Rochester Institute of Technology, says that even physicists get it wrong when they confidently assert that color is just a wavelength of light.

"My usual quick answer to that is I can take any wavelength and make it appear almost any color," says Fairchild.

That’s because color is not something out there in the world, separate from us.

"The agreed-upon technical definition of color," says Fairchild, "is that it’s a visual perception."

So don’t try to tell Fairchild an apple is red. He’ll say, no it’s not, technically — red is just your perception.

"I could change the color of illumination on that apple and make it look green or blue or something completely different," he says. "The redness isn’t a property of the apple. It’s a property of the apple in combination with a particular lighting that’s on it and a particular observer looking at it."

All three of those elements are critical to the idea of "red" or any other color, he says. "You have to have somebody looking at that in order to combine all that information and produce a perception."

Fairchild likes to tell this story:

One night, when his daughter was young, he and his wife decided to have dinner by candlelight. They fed their daughter first, and his wife served macaroni and cheese.

The table was set, the candles were lit. But his daughter took one look and recoiled from her food’s color.

"She started almost crying and getting very upset and yelling at us because we gave her the white macaroni and cheese and not the yellow macaroni and cheese," says Fairchild. "Her favorite is the yellow macaroni and cheese."

Because he studies color perception, Fairchild immediately realized what was going on.

"I said ‘Hold on, stay right there. I can magically turn it into yellow macaroni and cheese,’ " he recalls, "and I walked across the room and I flipped on the lights."

The mac and cheese in her bowl, it turned out was, indeed, yellow. But when it was only illuminated by the candlelight, which is very yellow, the light reflecting off her food had looked almost identical to the light reflecting off the white bowl.

"She just responded to what her eyes created there, the perception her eyes created," Fairchild says. "She thought it was white because it matched the bowl."

Categories: Science Tags:

Well written article on the San Antonio Shroud Expo

November 29, 2014 Comments off

imageIt may be old news to us, now, but it’s a story that needs to be improved upon. Abe Levy, a religion reporter  for the San Antonio Express-News does just that. He has written an excellent news piece that is both objective and comprehensive. It’s a good example for others:

Does the ancient linen wrapped around Jesus’ entombed body still exist?

And does it bear miraculous images of his face and wounds from the Crucifixion — enduring evidence of his divinity?

An exhibit that opened earlier this month in San Antonio chronicles the saga of this disputed cloth, the Shroud of Turin.

San Antonio is the second of 70 U.S. cities on this tour designed by Immersive Planet, a for-profit company founded two years ago and based in Brighton, Michigan, that designs theme parks and other venues and bought the rights to put on the exhibit.

It opened here Nov. 14 and continues through Jan. 25.

Whether the shroud is a hoax or genuine has been a matter of longstanding debate among historians, anthropologists, scientists and religious leaders.

The presentation takes an informative tone, posing questions and gently implying validity but avoiding direct conclusions to this end.

“Everyone has their path in life and perception of things,” said José Juan Garrigó, CEO of Immersive Planet. “If I can plant a little seed in your mind, I did something right. . . . Anything that could have a connection or be a part of the history of Jesus, it will be controversial.”

[ . . . ]

The Archdiocese of San Antonio is not affiliated with the display but will send an official to view it, said its spokesman, Deacon Pat Rodgers.

“Anytime someone speaks of the shroud, it piques people’s interest,” he said.

1958 Lecture of the Holy Shroud Guild By Fr. Otterbein

November 28, 2014 Comments off

You’ve Got To Laugh: a real sales pitch for a Besancon Shroud print

November 28, 2014 1 comment

imageYeah, that’s real inspiring! And it’s only $39.00 (click on picture for larger view)

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Categories: Art Tags:

The Makeshift Body Bag of Turin

November 27, 2014 186 comments

New angle on that much over-hyped Hungarian Pray Codex . . .

image“Please be content for now with another new claim,” writes Colin Berry. . .

the so-called Turin Shroud was never intended to represent the final burial shroud. It was a makeshift body bag used to transport Jesus from the cross to his final resting place, the rock tomb. It was simply to provide a dignified transport of a blood and sweat-soaked victim pending the final washing and anointing prior to final burial, probably in WINDING sheets. It was the body bag that received the sweat and blood imprint, NOT the final burial shroud enclosing a washed, anointed, perfumed body.

(I used the same picture, above that Colin used because it effectively makes his point).

imageColin extensively examines scripture to support this contention. And then from left field:

New angle on that much over-hyped Hungarian Pray Codex: might that be Jesus on an opened-out body bag in the upper picture, with the replacement snake-like linen for winding in readiness?

But as Colin notes:

I never imagined for one moment that I was the first to propose the ‘body bag’ hypothesis, in view of the Gospel accounts making clear that ‘fine linen’ was used for immediate transport from cross to tomb. And here’s a comment from David Mo that includes a French quote (my italics) making precisely  the same point. My immediate response follows:

Here is what David Mo wrote (translation by Google):

More interesting: "The other Shroud which also bears an imprint of Jesus Christ is the one body called the Shroud of Besancon. The painting is not so strong or if the features that distinguish the Shroud of Turin. This is what has been told to those who gave the history of the one and the other, that of Turin had been used to wrap the body bloodied at the descent from the cross, and that of Besançon had been used to bury him after he was washed & embalmed. " It was a common belief que la mark Shroud of Turin Was Made with blood.

Colin tells us that:

Ian Wilson no less has expressed views that chime with mine (my bolding)

Wilson concurs with this as a possible explanation: "Although this may have been a me re chin band, it implies a more substantial piece of linen, and an alternative interpretation is that it could have been the Shroud we know today. The root meaning ofsudarion is sweat cloth, and the Shroud may have been intended as a temporary wrapping to soak up the sweat and blood from the body prior to a more definitive burial, which would have taken place after the Passover Sabbath." (emphasis is Colin’s)

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