imageA reader writes:

I was reading Colin Berry’s recent posting which makes an important claim, namely that it is impossible for the image to have been formed without heat. He reasons that the mechanical weakness of image fibers is evidence of this.

The posting, for those who would like to refer to it, is Checklist of reasons for thinking the Turin Shroud image represents a dried-on sweat imprint. Real 1st century or simulated 14th century?  The following paragraph is certainly what the reader is referring to:

It’s entirely impossible for the image to have been formed with no application of heat. I have a permanently-stained shirt from the time I helped clear an overgrown garden. There are plant saps that leave yellow stains that are absolutely permanent – which will not wash out, even with hot water and detergent. But my money’s on a thermal component. Why? Because of a little-remarked upon property of TS image fibres, namely their mechanical weakness. Why should that be, given the core of each linen fibre is predominantly tough old cellulose? That’s a possible lead I’m chasing up right at this moment.

The reader continues:

When I Googled <weakened image fibers on the Shroud of Turin> I discovered a paper by Robert Villarreal called THE ALPHA- PARTICLE IRRADIATION HYPOTHESIS: SOLVING THE MYSTERY OF THE SHROUD. He speaks of weakened fibers caused by alpha-particle irradiation. That causes heat.

I think the reader is referring to the program for the St. Louis Conference (to the best of my knowledge, the actual paper has not been published yet). Therein we read Bob Villarreal saying:

In a personal communication with Ray, he related to me that the fibers from the body image areas of the shroud seemed to be removed more easily than those from non-image areas. It was as if whatever process created the body image had in some way slightly weakened the shroud fibers at that point they became more friable. Ray was a physical and thermal chemist and not an analytical or radio chemist. If he had been the latter, he might have recognized that he had stumbled on to what caused the images on the Shroud. . . .

Okay! But I don’t think Colin Berry and Bob Villarreal are going down the same path with this.