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Keyword: ‘post-mortem’

Oy vey! We’ve got a problem?

August 24, 2015 133 comments

imageA reader writes:

Greetings, Mr. Porter,

I just read your piece  [Pictures of the Day] … Standing room only for talk by Barrie Schwortz at Jalsa Salana United Kingdom yesterday….

I would like to give some input, and perhaps you’ll have some answers.  The question of how the images, on both the ventral and dorsal sides of the Shroud were made, is still considered a mystery.  By the way, I’m not a scientist.  But I do remember what "dorsal" and "ventral" mean." *:D big grin

I have what might be an answer.  But first, a tiny bit of background.  For a short while, I befriended Barry Schwortz, the photographer that was hired by STURP, in 1978, to photograph ever square centimeter of the Shroud.  When I say, "For a short while," I do not mean to suggest that Barry and I had any problems.  We did not.  In fact, we corresponded very well.  It’s just that we just happened to lose contact.

Anyway, you can check with him on the following, if he remembers.  Once, I asked him the following question: "Barry, has there ever been a test conducted, on the Santa Sindone, that would determine whether or not the blood on it was pre-mortem blood, or post-mortem blood."  He answered, "Well, I can’t answer that, but I am certain, of course, that they would have conducted such a test.  But, I’m going to be having lunch, in Turin, with Dr. Adler, and I’ll ask him."

So, he did have lunch with Dr. Adler, in Turin.  Eventually, he got back to me, through email, and said that he was very surprised at Dr. Adler’s response.  Dr. Adler told him that, no, no such test had ever been performed on the Shroud.  That is very hard to believe.  And Barry was as surprised, of course, as I was.  But, this was coming from the horse’s mouth, so to speak–Dr. Adler, a prime and important member of the STURP team.  There would be no reason that he would state that no such test had been performed, if that had not been the case.

How did I know to ask such a question?  Hey, just thinking, that’s all; wondering.  I barely knew if there was any such thing as "post mortem" blood, but the thought came to me, so I pushed it forward.

Now, I am aware that, in the literature, one reads, for example phrases like, "The pre-mortem and post-mortem blood on the Shroud…" and one assumes that, since the statement was made, matter-of-factly, that tests were actually done.  But, were they?  Or has it just been assumed, all these years since STURP, that post-mortem blood exists on the Shroud?

I am aware, because I read his book, that Dr. Heller proved, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that the stains on the Shroud are blood stains.  I was just looking for that book, in my library, but I can’t find it.  I might have made the mistake of loaning it out to someone.  Anyway, I do not recall Dr. Heller, in that book, saying a single word about post-mortem blood.

Now to the point.  And this is a point that would be very uncomfortable for those who believe in the doctrine of Christianity.  But, if we’re talking about science, and following where the science goes, and what it reveals, then we cannot allow doctrines to interfere with science…Can we?

Now if, indeed, no post-mortem blood exists on the Shroud, and it has simply been assumed, by the scientists, including Heller, that the Shroud contains post-mortem blood [Hang with me, here!!], then would our conclusions regarding the scientific results of studies on the Shroud change?

If STURP began its scientific studies with the idea that "The Man of the Shroud," as he is sometimes called, was dead when the Shroud was draped over him, might that affect how STURP interpreted scientific results?

So, now I’ll get to the point: If we assume that "The Man of the Shroud" was not dead, but was merely unconscious; that is, that he did not die as a result of his ordeal; and if we assume, as a consequence of that first assumption, that the only blood stains on the Shroud are pre-mortem blood stains, might we then be able to explain how the images were made on both sides of the Shroud?

I’m not a scientist, as I said before.  But I do know one thing: Dead people and live people are…ahem…different.  Dead folks do not breath.  Dead folks, that I know of, do not emit uric acid from their skins [except maybe for a while after death??].  Dead folks do not sweat.  Dead folks do not produce heat [Well, maybe they do, but I don’t think so].  The oxygen, in the air, that interacts with the skin of dead folks, interacts differently [doesn’t it??] than oxygen that interacts with the skin of live folks.

You may be aware that a new study has concluded that oils were on the Shroud [I can send you that if you’re interested, although you might know of this study], contrary to what was concluded by STURP.  And those oils were burned off in 1532, at the fire, which is why STURP found no oil residue.

Now, if we assume that the Biblical account is true, and that Nicodemus brought "100 pounds" of aloe and myrrh to the burial site; and if we further assume that those substances were administered to "Jesus," not because he was dead, but because he was alive; and if we further assume that the substances were administered for the purpose of healing his wounds, then might we also have to re-visit the scientific studies, to determine:

1. What was the effect of those substances on the Shroud?

2. What was the effect of the interaction of those substances with the uric acid, sweat, and heat that "Jesus’" alive body was producing?

Could anything had been burnt, within the open and airy tomb, that would have helped the healing–some kind of ancient, medical practice?  And if some healing substance was burnt, would the smoke from the substance have added to the combination of sweat, uric acid, heat, and oxygen that, together, could somehow have created the images on the Shroud?

Years ago, I contacted the Shema Israel International Burial Society, and I asked them the following question.  Was the application of aloes and myrrh a part of ancient, Jewish burial practices?  Answer?  No.  You can ask them yourselves.  Just Google.  They told me, in email, that no such practice existed, amongst Jews of that time, as part of the burial ritual of a human body.  So, why would Nicodemus have taken "100 pounds" of aloes and myrrh there?  Perhaps for the purpose of healing "Jesus’" body, since both of those substances are healing substances.

I hope you get my point.  By the way, I have been told that the test that determines post or pre-mortem blood is called the gas chromotography test.  If that is true, then it would be interesting to find out of that test was performed.

Now, I have one more thing to say, and this is a bit uncomfortable.  Could any of the STURP scientists have been influenced by religious doctrine, thus drawing conclusions about the scientific results that were skewed because of the influence of those doctrines?  Drawing the conclusion, for instance, that there exists post-mortem blood stains on the Shroud?

I was highly disturbed when I read this statement by Dr. D’Muhala, one of the STURP team members:

Where Do We Go From Here?

Editor’s Note: Tom D’Muhala was a founding member of STURP and was President of the organization from 1978 to 1996.

View on Preview by Yahoo

That is VERY disturbing.  You will see what I’m referring to, if you read all of it.

One more thing, and you can verify this with Barry Schwortz.  Barry told me that, when they first entered the room where the Shroud was, in order to begin their scientific study, a couple of the scientists were wearing crucifixes.  Barry, without hesitating, pointed out to them that this was highly inappropriate, and that if it ever got leaked to the news media that members of the STURP team of scientists were performing their scientific studies on the Shroud, while wearing a visible sign of belief in a religious doctrine, then if STURP concluded that the Shroud was genuine, critics, cynics, atheists, and just the general public would believe that the results were not credible.

Am I suggesting that there has been some hanky-panky?  I have no idea.  And I have no way to prove that any of the STURP scientists were operating in any way that was not at the highest professional level.  But, STURP people are just that–people.

Could the STURP team have discovered that there exists only pre-mortem blood on the Shroud?  And then, fully understanding the ramifications of 2 billion Christians potentially being informed that Jesus Christ did not die on the cross "for the sins of the world," but survived that ordeal [as did happen, by the way, sometimes, as is recorded by the Jewish historian of that time, Flavius Josephus]?

This sounds like a suspense novel, I know.  But, I can easily imagine that, in the wee hours of the night, while the STURP team was diligently studying the Santa Sindone, one of them looked up at the others, and said, "Oy vey!!  We’ve got a problem.  It’s clear that whoever this cloth covered was very much alive.  There is no sign of death on this cloth."

I can very well imagine a discussion–a deep discussion taking place as to whether or not their findings should be revealed.  Recall the beginning of Dr. Heller’s book, in which he stated that when he was first asked to be on the STURP team, his first thought was that he did not wish to be involved with something that could turn out to be controversial, since it involved the most important religious figure in human history, Jesus Christ.

But, what attracted Heller was the science.  So, he agreed.

Well, I apologize to have taken so much of your time (assuming that you read this entire note).  Of course, it may be that post-mortem blood does exist on the Shroud, and that that fact was scientifically proven.  But, in truth, I have my doubts.

Thank you for your email. My friend Helmut Felzmann likes to remind me that forensic experts in Spain, Great Britain and Germany agree with him that Jesus survived crucifixion and recovered from his wounds. Perhaps he will join the discussion as he has in the past on this blog. Helmut has a website at

I must draw your attention to comments by Hugh Farey in Have we all been looking in the wrong place?

You might also refer to these prior postings in this blog:

History Remembered: The First International Conference on the Deliverance of Jesus Christ from the Cross

Did Jesus Survive the Crucifixion?

You might try: for more postings.

Again, thanks for your email. Oh, bye-the-way, I cannot imagine a discussion like the one you imagine. I think it is simple conspiracy theory. Sorry, but that is what I think.

Categories: Blood Studies

Swipe of the Day

July 15, 2015 7 comments

Take that, Charles Freeman

From Colin Berry’s posting entitled, The Turin so-called Shroud: stunningly successful realization of a 14th century thought experiment?


Colin’s caption:

imageNotre Dame Cathedral Paris, built 1163-1345. That’s just the inside. One wonders how the unsophisticated  medieval mind as portrayed by Charles Freeman, so easily confused we’re told between one image and another,  pre- verus post-mortem, could have been capable of producing this.

It’s easy. Some people, even today, are confused between negatives and positives, etc. Nonetheless, point taken.

Categories: Art

Extreme Blogging

June 28, 2015 18 comments

“ENEA, effectively demonstrated, by "the scientific method," the miracle
of the Resurrection of Christ!”

“if it’s possible to reproduce the ‘look’ of that image, with its imprint features,
then it almost certainly IS an imprint.”

Two blogs. Two image hypotheses. Two crash-cymbal conclusions just this week past:

FIRST from Colin Berry’s blog posting That Man on the Turin Shroud: the mystery may finally be solved – at least in principle. The image of hands crossed at the wrists was experimentally produced by Colin.

imageHow the image came to be:

Let’s stop beating about the bush shall we ? The image of the man on the Turin Shroud is an imprint (not a painting as Charles Freeman would have us believe), I repeat,  an IMPRINT. It’s a contact imprint, to be more precise (no physical contact, no image)….

This posting focuses on just one feature of the Shroud image which is consistent with the view that the image is a contact imprint. I then make what some will see as a bald assertion, namely that if it’s possible to reproduce the ‘look’ of that image, with its imprint features, then it almost certainly IS an imprint.

The onus would then be on others who think otherwise, who have their own hypotheses, or as often or not fantasies as to how the image was produced, to do what I (with some assistance from my wife)  have done this morning, namely to model their ideas experimentally. If they cannot, or will not do that, then their ideas are unscientific, and need  detain this scientist no further.


… I say the Turin shroud is a medieval fake, produced by a simple two stage procedure: imprinting with an organic substance (which may well have been white flour, which has convenient adhesive properties)followed  by second stage colour development (thermal in this posting, though chemical development is also feasible – see previous postings which used nitric acid or limewater).

Oh! The radiocarbon dating:

… this blogger did not set out with the intention of disproving the Shroud’s authenticity (or proving its non-authenticity). There was no need for that, given he accepts the radiocarbon dating,  warts ‘n’ all, and feeling the onus is on those who reject it to press for re-testing. No, his research, starting December 2011, was a response to Paolo Di Lazzaro and others who claimed that the TS image characteristics, notably superficiality, could or would never be reproduced in a laboratory.

A bit more on why it took so long:

If the model were that simplistic, this retired researcher, who also has a record of research and modest achievement, would not have needed 3.5 years to conceive of it. The trouble with arriving late to an active area of research is the deadweight of ‘received wisdom’ that in many instances has hardened into rock-solid dogma. It’s hard not to be influenced by the big cheeses of Shroudology who descend onto websites to say one is barking up the wrong tree, that such and such was discounted decades ago, that one should "go acquaint oneself with the literature". In fact the current model incorporates many existing ideas – from Ray Rogers, Luigi Garlaschelli, Hugh Farey and Joe Accetta. But the key aspect was the realization that the body imprint was intended to represent ancient yellowed sweat, that it was not intended to represent a product of post-mortem putrefaction, nor a miraculous image imprinted by a flash of highly energetic radiation, of a type unknown to science, a signature of  resurrection, or as some would have us believe, a love-letter to modern man (that being the case, why the ‘wrong’ answer for radiocarbon dating?).

SECOND from Stephen Jones’ blog posting Shroud of Turin News – June 2015

imageHow the image came to be (with a bit of scripture-in-the-lab to help Di Lazzaro):

… There is no evidence that Jesus’ resurrection was a nuclear event, that produced a neutron flux. There is, however evidence, in The Transfiguration (Mt 17:1-2; Mk 9:2-3; Lk 9:28-29), where Jesus’ "face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light," "his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them," that Jesus’ resurrection (implied by Lk 9:30-31 where during The Transfiguration "Moses and Elijah … appeared in glory and spoke of his [Jesus’] departure [Gk. exodus] which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem") produced intense light which imprinted His image on the Shroud….ENEA, using "the scientific method," effectively demonstrated that "a miracle" occurred in the imprinting of the image of a "whole human figure," front and back, on the linen of the Shroud! And since the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud man is Jesus, ENEA, effectively demonstrated, by "the scientific method," the miracle of the Resurrection of Christ!

Oh! The radiocarbon dating:

… 1) the overwhelming weight of the evidence is that the Shroud is authentic, i.e. 1st century; 2) the probability of the Shroud being 1st century, yet having a radiocarbon date of 13th/14th century is "about one in a thousand trillion’"; 3) the 1260-1390 radiocarbon date must be the result of some type of fraud; 4) a form of fraud that was rife in the 1980s was computer hacking; and 5) there is much evidence that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker, allegedly Arizona physicist, Timothy W. Linick….

A bit more on Stephen’s could-have/would-have hacking conspiracy theory:

In 1988 the Shroud was radiocarbon dated by three laboratories in Arizona, Zurich and Oxford, all using the same then new Accelerator Mass Spectroscopy (AMS) method. The very first run of the first laboratory to date the Shroud, Arizona, returned the date "1350 AD," which was uncritically accepted by all those present. That "1350 AD" date was leaked to the media by a Rev. David Sox while the carbon dating was still in progress at the other two laboratories. AMS pioneer Prof. Harry Gove (1922-2009, the unofficial leader of the Shroud’s carbon dating, by a process of elimination concluded that the primary leaker was "someone who was present at Arizona during the first measurement." Later it was discovered that "Timothy Linick, a University of Arizona research scientist" was quoted in Sox’s 1988 book on the carbon dating as hard-line anti-authenticist. So Linick must have been in communication with Sox about the carbon-dating, despite having signed a written undertaking "… not to communicate the results to anyone … until that time when results are generally available to the public." So the inference is irresistible that Linick was the source of the leak of Arizona’s very first "1350 AD" date to Sox. In 1989 the journal Nature reported that "the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval … AD 1260-1390". But this must be wrong because the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud has existed well before 1260 (e.g. the Pray Codex) and indeed all the way back to the 1st century. The midpoint of 1260-1390 is 1325 ±65 years, and as Shroud sceptics were quick to point out, 1325 `just happens’ to be only just before Bishop d’Arcis [falsely – see above] claimed that the Shroud was painted in the 1350s. But given that all the other evidence overwhelmingly points to the Shroud being authentic and therefore first century, as Prof. Gove pointed out, the probability that the Shroud is first century, yet has a radiocarbon date of between 1260 and 1390, is "about one in a thousand trillion". So the 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Shroud must be the result of some form of fraud. A form of fraud which was rife in the 1980s was computer hacking, as documented by Clifford Stoll (1950-) in his 1989 book, "The Cuckoo’s Egg." And according to Gove’s eyewitness account of the AMS radiocarbon dating process of the Shroud at Arizona, and presumably at the other two AMS laboratories, "All this was under computer control and the calculations produced by the computer were displayed on a cathode ray screen." So a hacker, allegedly Timothy W. Linick (1946-89), who on 4 June 1989 was found dead of "suicide in very unclear circumstances," could have written and installed a program on Arizona’s AMS computer, and then had it installed on Zurich and Oxford’s AMS computers (e.g. by the confessed hacker for the KGB, Karl Koch (1965–89)). Linick’s alleged program substituted the Shroud samples’ first (or early because of irremovable contamination) century date for computer-generated dates, which whencalibrated, combined and averaged across the three laboratories, yielded a bogus date about 1325. Which `just happened’ to be about 30 years before the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history at Lirey, France in c.1355. That the Shroud samples’ dates were computer-generated is supported by Table 2 of the 1989 Nature paper, which admitted:

"An initial inspection of Table 2 shows that the agreement among the three laboratories for samples 2, 3 and 4 [non-Shroud controls] is exceptionally good. The spread of the measurements for sample 1 [the Shroud] is somewhat greater than would be expected from the errors quoted."

But this is impossible given that the Shroud and control samples at each laboratory were all on the one ~26 cm (~1 inch) diameter carousel wheel and rotated through the one caesium ion beam within minutes of each other. If there was something technically wrong with the dating process at a laboratory, the controls and Shroud samples at that laboratory would wrongly agree and disagree with the controls and Shroud samples of the other two laboratories. But that the agreement across the three laboratories in the dates of the non-Shroud control samples was "exceptionally good" shows that there was nothing technically wrong with the dating itself, which must mean that the Shroud samples’ dates were not real but computer-generated. Koch is not essential to my theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker, as Linick could have acted alone. But that both Linick and Koch (who need not have known each other) were involved in hacking the Shroud’s radiocarbon date for the KGB is supported by the fact that Linick died of "suicide in mysterious circumstances" on 4 June 1989 and Koch’s inexplicably burnt body which was made to look like suicide, had been publicly identified by the German police only a day earlier on 3 June 1989!

Is there some way to put these two in a room together and tell them they can’t come out until they agree on everything.

Categories: Other Blogs

I think HE sees?

November 19, 2014 11 comments

Just in case you were wondering about the Machy mould being discussed in The Conspiracy of the Faux-Sweat Imprint, here is some more information. These images,above, are  from Colin Berry’s blog (in fact we are looking at them there through something of a wormhole in the way you can structure things on the web).

Tell me: do you see the image on the left? Are HIS eyes open? Compare the face on the left to the image of a face elsewhere on the mold of someone holding the shroud.

It helps to see the size of this thing. Here is a picture of  Alain Hourseau, the owner of the mold, holding it in his hands.

And finally here, below, is a good picture of the whole mold. Is that face from one of the Veronicas? Again, I ask: are the eyes open? Is this a case of I think I see too much?

Me thinks so! And does it really matter?

BTW: It was Colin back in February who wrote this healthy swipe:

That was in the mid-1350s, accompanied by at least two promotional pilgrims’ badges’  The first and better known lead/tin one in the Cluny museum, dredged up from the Seine in 1855,  without any obvious Christ-like figure, and the (later?) revisionist version (see Ian Wilson’s pdf  in the BSTS Newsletter on the Machy mould) that has the added Veronica- style in vivo motif of Christ’s face as an additional inset image above the word SUAIRE ( signalling a “sweat-imprinted face cloth” and no doubt attempting to suggest, even subliminally, that the entire Shroud image was likewise a sweat imprint, albeit post-mortem).

The surplus-to-requirements and source or confusion face and label on the Machy mould above "SUAIRE" (left) and one contender (right) for title of surviving Veil of Veronica (from wiki entry for latter), i.e. the Holy Face of Jaen.

The surplus-to-requirements and source or confusion face and label on the Machy mould above “SUAIRE” (left) and  just one several similar images that could have chosen  to represent the Veil of Veronica, the one shown here described as a 14th century “copy” ,  entitled the ‘Holy Face of Jaen’.

What better way than piggybacking, seen with the addition of a motif of the famed pilgrim-attracting Veil of Veronica  (Fr. Le voile de Véronique)  with its alleged imprint of the face of Jesus en route to Calvary, imprinted we are told in sweat.  Contrary view (or a prioriassumption): Mario Latendresse describes it as “the face of the man on the Shroud”.

Categories: History, Other Blogs Tags: ,

Hello Mr. Zias

September 29, 2014 225 comments

A Guest Posting by Yannick Clément
An Exchange of Emails with Joe Zias (Wikipedia Entry)

Hello everyone!

imageHere, I would simply like to share some precious and very pertinent informations I got from a real expert in ancient Jewish burial rituals who’s name is Joe Zias. Mr. Zias [Pictured]  is a well-known and well-respected Jewish archaeologist who also was the former curator of Archaeology and Anthropology for the prestigious Israel Antiquities Authority. I reached him recently via email to discuss with him about some topics related to the Shroud of Turin.

The first subject I wanted to talk with him concerns two hypotheses that have been proposed over the years concerning the possible use of flowers and/or plants during the burial of the Shroud man. These hypotheses propose that these botanical species would have been laid on the Shroud man’s body before the end of the burial procedure.

The first hypothesis is well known in the Shroud world and propose that some images of flowers are visible on the Shroud and that these flowers would have been present inside the cloth at the moment of the body image formation and, for an unknown reason (most probably related to the image formation process itself), would have been also reprinted on the cloth’s surface along with the body of the Shroud man.

The second hypothesis is less known, but have been proposed recently by the archaeologist Paul Maloney in a paper that was published on this blog. It is related to various microscopic debris of plants and flowers that he found in good quantity in some of Max Frei’s pollen samples. Mr. Maloney proposes the idea that these debris would have been left on the Shroud after the deposit of these botanical species on the body of the Shroud man before he was completely enveloped in the Shroud.

I always been very suspicious about the first hypothesis concerning the images of flowers on the Shroud (for the main reason that I don’t see how a natural image formation process could, at the same time, produce a body image AND some images of flowers on a linen cloth) and, after some reflection, I felt the same concerning Mr. Maloney’s own hypothesis.

But in order to better judge the potential validity of these two hypotheses, I decided to contact Mr. Zias (with who I have exchange some emails in the past) and ask him a pertinent question on the subject.

Here’s the email I sent him: “Hello Mr. Zias!

Recently, I read a hypothesis about the Shroud of Turin that I consider truly irrational and I just want you to confirm to me that my reasonning about that is correct.
Mr. Paul Maloney, a Professional archaeologist who study the Shroud since the 1980s and who is in possession of the Max Frei’ collection of sticky tape samples he collected from the Shroud in 1978, propose the idea that the fact that there are a high concentration of microscopic debris of plants and flowers in some samples, this means that they must have come from some deposits of plants and flowers directly on the Shroud at some time during its history.  So far, I have no reason to doubt such a reflection.  But the thing is that Mr. Maloney propose that such a direct deposit of plants and flowers on the Shroud could have happened during the burial ritual of the Shroud man…

That’s where I disagree, because I really think that the deposit of plants and/or flowers WAS NOT part of the common ancient Jewish burial ritual of the Second temple period.
Question for you:  Am I right about that fact?  I’m sure you know the answer!  Thanks in advance for taking 2 minutes to confirm me that I’m right about the fact that there was no deposit of plants and/or flowers on the corpse and/or Inside the burial shroud during the common Jewish burial ritual that was perform in Antiquity.  I know that this is still the case in modern orthodox Jewish burials, but I want to be certain that this was already the case in Antiquity…”

And here’s his short reply: “Shalom, you are absolutely correct on that point. Joe Zias”

Interesting don’t you think? As I said at the beginning of my post, the only goal I seek here is to share these precious information with all of you, because I know that they are very pertinent and come from someone who have no bias on the subject. After reading the confirmation of Mr. Zias that plants and/or flowers were not part of ancient Jewish burials, it’s now up to you to make up your mind about the 2 hypotheses related to the presence of plants and/or flowers inside the Shroud with the body. Personally, I’m now more convinced than ever that there was absolutely no botanical species present inside the Shroud and that all that was there was the bloody and unwashed corpse of the Shroud man and nothing else… If I’m right, this would be in total sync with a real partial burial done in haste, which would correspond exactly with the Gospel accounts! In sum, I can say that what seems to be flower images to some people is most probably a good example of the pareidolia phenomenon that has been described by Barrie Schwortz and Paolo Di Lazzaro in this paper.

And when it comes to Mr. Maloney’s hypothesis, I think the alternative hypothesis he mentioned in his paper, which have been proposed by a palinologist named A. Orville Dahl, is much more rational and viable! This scientist proposed the idea that these debris of flowers and plants came from an event that has not been documented and that could be related to a liturgical ceremony in which the Shroud could have been used as the Sacred cloth on the altar of a church. It is during that kind of ceremony that flowers and plants would have been laid on it and would have left some microscopic debris. Personally, I think it’s truly possible that such a religious event could have happened while the cloth was kept in Constantinople and it is even possible to assume that this could have been the inspiration for the “epitaphios” cloths used during Easter time by the Orthodox Church, which started to appear in the Byzantine capital around 1200 A.D. I also think that it’s also possible to link such a liturgical event with the L-shaped burn holes on the cloth, which could well have been produced during that kind of liturgical ceremony in which the Shroud could have been used as an altar cloth folded in 4 equal pieces. Effectively, the nature and the appearance of the burn holes makes it possible that they were produced by some small drops of a corrosive liquid (note: Al Alder thought this was the most probable scenario to explain these burn holes), maybe coming from the use of incense, or produced by some small drops of very hot wax coming from a candle.

Here, I must say to those who would still be tempted to believe in the presence of images of flowers on the Shroud or to believe in Mr. Maloney’s hypothesis that, if these proposal would be true, then we would have a good reason to seriously doubt the authenticity of the Shroud as the real burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth, because we know FOR A FACT that, historically, flowers and/or plants were NOT part of a common Jewish burial during the First century A.D.! And think about it : If the use of flowers and/or plants was not part of the normal Jewish burial ritual during the time of Christ, how in the world this would have been the case for his own burial, which was obviously done very partially and in haste?

Personally, I even doubts that some burial substances like aloes and myrrh (which traces has never been found by Adler or Rogers’ chemical investigations) could have been present inside the Shroud with the body, except maybe in solid form (maybe in powder). If that’s the case, it’s possible that this powder would have been placed inside some cloths (used as « bags ») and then disposed all around the Shroud man’s corpse inside the Shroud, which is an interesting hypothesis that was first proposed by doctor Pierre Barbet in his book about the Shroud and which, according to Barbet, would have been done basically for two reasons: 1- To retard a bit the decomposition process of the corpse. And 2- To remove bad smelling inside the tomb. And of course, this would have been done because those who did the incomplete burial of the Shroud man (this is a FACT) would have been well aware that they had to come back to the tomb later on to finish the job properly with a real anointment of the body. That was most certainly the main reason why the women needed to open Jesus tomb on Easter morning and the reason why they get there in a hurry very early was obviously to avoid facing a decomposed body and the very bad smelling that goes with it. But beside this possible presence of aloes and myrrh in powder inside the Shroud at the time of the image formation (which is a hypothesis that will probably never proven), I seriously doubt that there was any other thing, except for the dead and unwashed body of the Shroud man, still covered with blood and serum stains…

Now, after having exchanged some emails with Mr. Zias concerning the idea of flowers and/or plants that could have been used during the burial of the Shroud man, I decided to go further by asking him some questions in link with another well-known hypothesis concerning the possible presence of coins (often mentioned as being authentic « Pilatus coins » from Jesus era) over the eyes of the Shroud man.

Again, here’s parts of our exchange:

First, I send him this email: “Hello Mr. Zias!

Again, I need your knowledge on ancient Jewish burial practice! Along with the so-called images of flowers that some pro-Shroud guys said having seen on the cloth, they also claim that there would be images of coins over both eyes of the Shroud man and many of them goes further by pretending that these coins are Roman coins!

The only thing I would like to know is this : Does it was a common Jewish practice to put coins over the eyes of their deads during the burial ritual?“

And here’s the message he sent me: “It was never a Jewish custom and those coins that were found in the skull in Jericho were probably placed within the mouth, non Jewish Roman practice but in order to cover all bets we find it on rare occasion. Secondly, coins of Pontious Pilatis, sound like Monty Python. Joe Zias.”

Then, I send him the email: “In the case of the few coins that were found in ancient Jewish tombs, don’t you think, like me, that this is probably a pagan ritual done by some Hellenized Jews of that time?”
And here’s what he said to me: “Def. a roman pagan practice in which on occasion, Jews, in order to cover ‘all their bets’ placed coins in the mouth of the deceased.”

Then, I sent him this message: “Since we know that some Jews (many being from the upper class) were hellenized at the time of Christ, it’s not very surprising that archaeologists could find coins in Jewish tombs from time to time but, as you said well, this was surely not a common practice among Jews of that time…  I think it’s fair to say that, when it comes to ancient Jewish burial ritual, the use of coins is the exception that confirms the rule, right?”

And here is reply: “Absolutely correct, in most cases when coins were found colleagues believed they simply fell out of the pockets of those visiting or preparing the tomb. only exceptions were Jericho and the Caiaphas tomb where they were found in situ, the latter is a clear case of hypocracy as this was the tomb of the family of the high priest.”

Then, I asked him one more question: “1- Beside coins, was it a common Jewish burial practice in the time of Christ to cover the eyes of their dead with other things like buttons, pieces of ceramic, pieces of potery, etc. ?”

And here’s his answer: “During the period in question, Jews never used anything to cover the eyes of the deceased as the head was wrapped in a shroud.”

Again, as I said at the beginning of my post, the only goal I seek here is to share these precious information with all of you. And after reading what Mr. Zias had to say about that, it’s now up to you to make up your mind about the idea of a possible presence of coins or some other thing over the eyes of the Shroud man. Personally, I’m now more convinced than ever that there was absolutely nothing present over his eyes at the end of the partial burial procedure… And if the eyes seems to pop-up on the 3D photos, this could simply be due to one of these two natural reasons : 1- For some unknown reason, there would have been a release of a greater quantity of « energy » (which could well be post-mortem gases) in the region of the eyes versus the surrounding area, which would have caused a very high concentration of yellowed fibers there. Or 2- The eyes of the Shroud man were simply very swollen, maybe due to the intense beating he received (which is an hypothesis that have been retained by Mel Gibson when he shoot his movie The Passion of the Christ). This pathological state would have caused a direct contact between the eyes and the cloth, thus causing a very high concentration of yellowed fibers there.

In conclusion, to illustrate better my thoughts on these controversial subjects, I propose you a fictive interview I would make with a reporter:

First question : Do you think there are images of flowers on the Shroud?

My answer : Since the data coming from the Shroud convinces me of the authenticity of the cloth, I’m also convinced that there is no such thing on the cloth, because we know for a fact that, historically, flowers or plants were not part of the common Jewish burial ritual in the days of Christ. And since the burial of the Shroud man was done very partially and in haste, I don’t see why the people who did it would have lose time picking flowers outside the tomb! In sum, I would say that it’s not because some people are seeing some images of flowers that these things are really there on the cloth…

Second question : Do you think there are images of coins on the Shroud over the eyes of the Shroud man?

My answer : Same thing! Since the data coming from the Shroud convinces me of the authenticity of the cloth, I’m also convinced that there is no such thing on the cloth, because we know for a fact that, historically, the use of coins in ancient Jewish burial was truly exceptional and happened only in the case of Jews that were very hellenized, which was obviously not the case for Christ and his followers who were all pious Jews. So much in fact that, even after the Resurrection, they were still going in the Temple of Jerusalem and in synagogues to preach! We also know that, in pagan burial rituals, only one coin was normally used and placed inside the mouth of the dead person and not over his eyes. And we also know that because the dead Jews were all placed inside burial shrouds, there was no need for the use of some other material (like a piece of ceramic or something like this) to cover the eyes of the dead in the case they would open after death. In sum, since the burial cloth was already covering the entire body of the person, there was no need to put something else over the eyes to cover them! Again, it’s not because some people are seeing some images of coins on the Shroud that this is really what’s there…

I hope this post of mine will help some people to make up their minds better regarding these topics! That’s all for the moment… Stay tuned for more! J

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

P.S.: I really think that those who have proposed these obviously wrong hypotheses should have done the same kind of “homework” I did before proposing them publicly! By getting in touch with a real expert in ancient Jewish burials, they would probably have come, just like me, to the evident conclusion that if the Shroud is authentic, there was most certainly no plants, no flowers, no coins and no other things like that present over the body or the eyes of the Shroud man when he was enveloped in that cloth… Interesting note on this subject: This is exactly what Ray Rogers did when he analyzed the nature of the image chromophore, which proves once again his high level of professionalism! Effectively, during his research on the subject, Rogers got in touch with Anna Maria Donadoni, who was a Conservator at the Turin’s Museum of Egyptology, in order to learn about the most common ancient method of manufacturing linen cloths and if such a technique could really produced a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities on the cloth’s surface, which would include traces of starch like the one detected by McCrone and by himself later on. It’s only AFTER having made this important check-up that he was confident enough to publicly propose an important change in STURP conclusion about the image chromophore, which is, as he said, probably not located inside the structure of the fiber itself but only in this kind of carbohydrate coating which is probably resting over a good portion of the topmost fibers on the cloth’s surface. That’s how good science is done! Obviously, in the cases of the 3 hypotheses I discussed in this post, we cannot talk about “good” science, but much more about “good” imagination!

A Bold Conclusion: the Blood, the Image, the Man

September 23, 2014 16 comments

imageThat conclusion begins:

The present analysis of available scientific data obtained from the Shroud of Turin and the results of a few experiments allow the conclusion that the best explanation, and a consistent one, for the peculiar pinkish redness of the bloodstains on the Shroud is that authentic acid blood of a dead crucified person stained an authentic Jewish madder-dyed temple mantle during and after an authentic Jewish burial procession of a person whose dead body formed an image on and disappeared from the Shroud in an extremely delicate way before putrefaction. This delicate and timely disappearance of the dead body and the presence of a bloodstained image of what seems to be a first-century Jewish ornament of a Sanhedrin member indicate that this person most probably was Jesus Christ.

This is no small paper; call it a book. That one paragraph, above, is on page 230. The paper is rich with footnotes. Many (it seems like most) of the footnotes and the ten pages of the bibliography have hyperlinks. There are numerous images, graphs and diagrams.

imageThe title is: Authentic acid blood mordanted the madder-dyed Shroud of Turin pinkish red before image formation – Jesus was dead

The author is A.A.M. van der Hoeven. The PDF was installed on just yesterday, September 22, 2014. Adrie’s page on the site is HERE.

I’m one of those people who always reads the acknowledgments before I begin. How many names do you know?

The author wishes to express her gratitude to all people and institutions who kindly granted permission to use their published material. These are, in random order, the Commissione Diocesana per la Sindone, the Optical Society of America, Elsevier, Inc., Springer Science+Business Media, Russ Breault, Shroud of Turin Education Project Inc., the Infrared and Raman Users Group, the NIST Chemical Sciences Division, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Biocommunications Association, the American Chemical Society, the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association, Inc., Petrus Soons, John Wiley and Sons, Ltd., Russ Selzer, Thibault Heimburger, the Institute of Chemistry of the University of Tartu in Estland, Antonino Cosentino, the Royal Society of Chemistry, Paul Weyth, Mario Latendresse, Colin Berry, Louis L. Bispo.

She is also grateful to T.J. Egan, F.E.G. Guimarães, M.J. Melo, A. Boffi, and Varaprasad Bobbarala for answering her questions on the aqueous heme dimer, lignin fluorescence, alizarin and purpurin spectra, acid methemoglobin, and madder root extracts, respectively.

Now to read the paper.  Because it will take half a ream of paper to print it, I have put it onto my iPad and a Kindle reader so I can take it to Starbucks or wherever I am during the next few days.

If you do nothing else before you walk away from this posting, read the Table of Contents, below.

BTW: HERE IS AN ALTERNATE LINK to the paper on another site that seems a bit faster.

Image Note:  The caption reads, “Fig. 2.29. A part of the small of the back area of the Shroud in visible light (left) and UV light, showing fluorescence “slightly enhanced” (right).” A footnote tells us it is from T. Heimburger’s A detailed critical review of the chemical studies on the Turin Shroud: Facts and Interpretations, 2008, over at

Here is a peak at the Table of Contents:

    • 1. INTRODUCTION. 4
    • 1.1. Normal blood features. 4
    • 1.2. Special features of the bloodstains. 5
    • 1.3. Analysis in this paper 6
    • 2.1. Red color but no Soret band. 6
    • 2.1.1. Acid heme dimers. 7
    • 2.1.2. Heme-madder lake. 24
    • 2.1.3. Blood before image. 67
    • 2.2. Separate serum – UV-fluorescence halo on wrist 69
    • 2.2.1. Identification of separate plasma/serum.. 69
    • 2.2.2. No fluorescent “serum” scratches but dark images of stripes. 77
    • 2.2.3. Some “serum” margins possibly a tenting effect around … bloodmarks. 78
    • 2.3. No potassium signal in three X-ray fluorescence spectra of bloodstains. 80
    • 2.3.1. Postmortem blood is hyperkalemic. 80
    • 2.3.2. Vertical serum draining. 82
    • 2.3.3. Horizontally and vertically imprinted serum halos. 84
    • 2.3.4. Filter effect 89
    • 2.4. Few cells – hemolysate stains. 90
    • 2.4.1. Separate serum not red. 92
    • 2.4.2. Hemolysis mechanisms. 92
    • 2.5. Hydroxyproline in red particles on Zina-thread. 98
    • 2.6. High Na and Cl levels on reverse side. 99
    • 3.1. Myrrh and aloes – antibacterial and antifungal 101
    • 3.2. Saponaria – antibacterial and antioxidant 102
    • 3.3. Madder – antimicrobic, antifungal, insecticidal, antioxidant 103
    • 3.4. Leech saliva antibiotics. 104
    • 3.5. Mordant protects madder lake from degradation. 104
    • 4.1. Starch. 107
    • 4.1.1. Strippable sealing film.. 107
    • 4.1.2. Hot water washed out starch – blue fluorescence. 110
    • 4.1.3. FTIR spectra of Raes samples are similar to FTIR spectra…. 112
    • 4.2. Madder dye. 149
    • 4.2.1. Visible color and wet acid-base chemistry. 149
    • 4.2.2. Reflectance curves of clear areas – raw and absolute. 158
    • 4.2.3. Raw fluorescence scan background. 162
    • 4.2.4. Fluorescence photography. 166
    • 4.2.5. Image fluorescence. 174
    • 4.2.6. SEM-EDS analysis – smooth organic coating embedding particles. 178
    • 4.2.7. Microscopy – Red aluminum lake particles. 179
    • 4.2.8. Pyrolysis/Mass Spectrometry. 184
    • 4.3. Not pectin or microbial bioplastic coating. 186
    • 4.4. Not Saponaria. 186
    • 4.4.1. Acidichromism – not Saponaria. 188
    • 4.4.2. Fluorescence – not quite Saponaria. 188
    • 4.4.3. UV-vis absorbance – not Saponaria. 190
    • 4.4.4. Sugars – no Saponaria evidence. 191
    • 4.4.5. Solubility – not Saponaria. 192
    • 4.4.6. Color with iodine – not Saponaria. 193
    • 4.4.7. Effect on chelated iron – not Saponaria. 193
    • 4.4.8. Effect on image formation – not Saponaria. 194
    • 4.4.9. Lake colour with Al3+ and Ca2+ – not Saponaria. 194
    • 4.4.10. Heme-complex colour – not Saponaria. 195
    • 4.4.11. Relative reflectance of bloodstains – not Saponaria. 197
    • 5.1. Post-mortem heme dimer formation – …  199
    • 5.2. Blood drying on the body. 205
    • 5.3. Rivulets running across the Shroud. 207
    • 5.4. Pools of wet blood – brown bloodstains. 209
    • 5.5. Scourge marks. 210
    • 5.5.1. Very faint – not dense – not chemically tested – no spectra. 210
    • 5.5.2. No fluorescent serum scratches or serum borders. 214
    • 5.5.3. Only dorsal scourge marks on reverse side. 214
    • 5.5.4. Hyperfibrinolysis caused pink imprints but no smears before image formation. 214
    • 5.5.5. Other ways of scourge mark transfer 221
    • 5.6. Blood smears from hands of buriers. 223
    • 6.1. Authentic blood. 224
    • 6.1.1. Blood of a living, crucified person. 224
    • 6.1.2. Bilirubin. 224
    • 6.1.3. Prior UV-irradiation. 231
    • 6.1.4. CO-ligand from carbon monoxide gas. 232
    • 6.1.5. Saponaria-treated cloth. 232
    • 6.2. Painted-on bloodstains. 233
    • 6.2.1. ‘Cured’ blood paint – NO or CO.. 233
    • 6.2.2. Iron oxide particles in protein binder 237
    • 6.2.3. Iron-madder lake. 238
    • 6.2.4. Acid blood. 238
    • 6.3. Survey red color hypotheses. 239
    • 8. CONCLUSION.. 247
    • Bibliography. 250

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

September 14, 2014 24 comments

“ . . . 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

Read more…

The Colin Berry Dislocated Shoulder Theory

May 10, 2014 12 comments

imageColin Berry writes on his Science Buzz blog, Suddenly, it’s discovered that one of "Jesus’s" arms on the Turin Shroud is dislocated. Now there’s a surprise. Colin even touches on the possibility that a suggestion by him led to the dislocation theory:

Alternative narrative? This blogger suggested many moons ago that the TS image was imprinted as a scorch onto linen by a medieval-era artisan from a heated life-sized bronze of the crucified Christ. But there was a problem. The arms of  the latter were still in crucifixion mode. They  needed to to be sawn off and re-positioned, hands over groin, to make the image look respectably post-mortem, modesty-protecting, those hands acting fig-leaf fashion  ‘down there’ so as not to offend the ladies.

Crucified Christ? Maybe. Or there again, maybe a latter-day Templar knight, like, hint, hint, a falsely-condemned martyr  (Jacques de Molay? Geoffroi de Charney?), liquidated in Philip IV of France’s purge of the order, involving initially the  lengthy imprisonment (7 years), spasmodic  torture and – finally – execution on a  Seine island in the centre of gay Paree by slow-roasting over coals in 1314.

If one’s to be considered a scientist (as distinct from an agenda-driven apologist for the Christian faith – or at any rate one variant thereof) one cannot ignore alternative scenarios, least of all those that fit the radiocarbon dating (1260-1390).

My title ("Now there’s a surprise"). What made our sindonologist friends suddenly discover a "dislocated arm at the shoulder"? Not by any chance the suggestion that one or both arms of an existing bronze template had been detached and re-positioned so as to make a more convincing template?

It is a relatively good posting up to the point where Colin dislocates his own shoulder trying to pat himself on the back.

Categories: Image Theory, Other Blogs

Comment Promoted: Another hypothesis about the image formation

March 20, 2014 15 comments

imageTristan Casabianca writes in a comment:

Another hypothesis about the image formation process has just been published in a peer-reviewed journal : Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology : Tattoli, Tsokos, Buschmann, “Could the Shroud of Turin be an effect of post-mortem changes?”

You can have a free access to the first two pages.
(parental discretion advised)

imageYou will probably need to click on the “Look Inside” button from within the publications website to see the first two pages.

Categories: Image Theory

Concerning the absence of an image of the top of the head on the Shroud of Turin and the possible presence of blood in this area

March 5, 2014 277 comments

A Guest Posting by Yannick Clément

First, I would like to address the question of the possible presence of blood in the area located between the 2 head images on the Shroud. This has recently been asked by a blogger and it’s an interesting question. On that subject, here’s what can we find about that in the important study of the UV fluorescent photographs of the Shroud done by Miller and Pellicori of STURP:

“At C-D by 11-12 a SMUDGE RESEMBLING BLOOD is visible between the head images.” Note: This code comes from a graph they drew over the Shroud and this particular location is found between the 2 head images. I have looked at the Shroud Scope of Mario Latendresse to find this possible smudge of blood but I’m not sure at all where it is located. Some spots look a bit like bloodstains but, by experience, I know that those can well be weak scorches instead (those two items on the Shroud are showing a coloration under normal light that is nearly the same)… It would be nice to check the original UV fluorescent photos of Miller and Pellicori to locate this stain!

This is the ONLY possible bloodstain they detected (they don’t mention any other possible bloodstains in this particular area) and, when we read correctly their report, these researchers were not even sure that this stain was really composed of blood. In such a context, it is evident that it would need a chemical investigation by a blood expert through a sampling of this particular area to know if some blood is present there or not. I think the most prudent conclusion to draw from this is to assume that there is no confirmed bloodstain between the head images, at least for the moment.

On the other hand, if it could be confirm that this stain is composed of blood, this would probably be the only blood smudge that exist on the Shroud and I think it is truly possible that this could have happened at the time the body was placed inside the Shroud (probably in a central place inside the tomb) or during the transfer of the enshrouded body from a central place of the tomb to his final resting place (probably a stone bench carved inside a wall of the tomb). This would highly suggest that at least some blood clots were still partially humid at the time the body reached the tomb or were able to get re-humidified before the body reached the tomb…

Personally, I think Mario Latendresse’s hypothesis to explain the absence of a body image of the back of the head is still the most likely because it is the most simple and rational we can find, which is to assume that, at the moment of the image formation, the Shroud was loosely draped over the body (most probably without the use of linen strips to bind it around the body) and consequently, for this particular area of the top of the head, the cloth was not in direct-contact with the body at a distance that was far enough to prevent the formation of an image.

Such a hypothesis is consistent with Mr. Latendresse’s own conclusion versus the most probable configuration of the Shroud over the Shroud man’s body (link: and it is also consistent with a possible total absence of bloodstain in the area between the head images. And even if the potential smudge of blood detected by Miller and Pellicori would be confirmed one day as really being made of blood, the fact that such a stain could have well been caused by the enshrouding of the Shroud man or by the short transfer of his enshrouded body to a final resting place would not allow us to discard the hypothesis proposed by Mr. Latendresse.

And since Jackson et al. from STURP have conclude that no image was able to form at more than 3.7 cm from the body, then it is logical to assume that the cloth was probably located at 4 cm or more away from the top of the head. But here, we must be prudent since we still don’t know the exact mechanism that lead to the image formation and it is still possible that such a process was not able to work laterally (or if it was, it is possible that it was only working if there would have been a direct-contact between the cloth and the lateral parts of the body, including the top of the head).

Nevertheless, there is still one thing that bugs me a bit with this explanation and it is the probable position of the head, which seemed to have been bent toward the chest (which is the probable position it had at the time of the Shroud man’s death on the cross). Because of this, I think it’s a bit harder to believe the cloth would have been located away from the top of the head at the time of the image formation in the context of a shroud loosely draped over the body. To learn more about this, I think Mario Latendresse or someone else should try some cloth’s configuration experiments that would consider the most probable position of the Shroud man’s head, which appears to have been bent toward the chest, and see if some loose configuration of the cloth over such a head bent toward the chest can force it to be located at some distance from the top of the head (which is not necessarily 4 cm or more if the image formation process was mainly working in a radial way (mainly straight up and down from the body)). Note: In my opinion, I don’t think if that was the case, this would necessarily discard any natural process for image formation, especially if the energy transfer was not 100% radial.

To me, in the context of a bend head toward the chest, the only way Mario or someone else could obtain a configuration that would force the cloth to be located at some distance from the top of the head (not necessarily at 4 or more cm but at least not in direct-contact with it) is to assume the Shroud was somewhat stiff at the time of the burial of the Shroud man.

Note: Of course, this stiffness of the cloth would have been lost over the years, since it is pretty evident that the actual Shroud is not stiff at all. Such a lost could have been caused by the Shroud being kept in a damp place for some time at an unknown moment during its long history.

And you know what? This hypothesis of a stiff cloth at the time of the burial is truly possible! In fact, this had been proposed by German from STURP and was accepted as a true possibility by Rogers and Schwalbe in their STURP paper. Here what they wrote about that: “German proposed a model to account for this (note: the density gradation of the image) by postulating the Shroud as originally somewhat stiff either from pressing or possibly starching.”

Important note: If that was really the case and the original Shroud was fairly stiff because of starching (note: In Antiquity, starch was often put on the warp threads to protect them during the weaving of the cloth), this would have represented a very good context for the presence of a layer of starch (among other impurities) as proposed by Rogers later on to explain the chromophore of the image and the ultra-superficiality of the image. In fact, Rogers assumed that most of the thin layer of impurities was composed of starch that was left on the top surface of the cloth after his washing in saponaria and drying in open air, which was an operation done in Antiquity to remove most of the starch in order to render the cloth more supple. In the case of the Shroud, it is possible to assume that this washing operation would not have removed all the stiffness of the cloth after the weaving.

Of course, all I said here is hypothetical and theoretical. More researches need to be done in order to find what is the most probable answer for the lack of an image of the top of the head on the Shroud. Nevertheless, I hope that what I have exposed here can become the start of a new reflection for some people, especially those involved in Shroud research like Mario Latendresse.

In sum, the two important factors I would like those researchers to keep in mind (which are two things that are rarely consider, so it seem) when it’s time to evaluate what was the most probable configuration of the Shroud over the dead body are 1- The possibility that the original cloth was somewhat stiff. And 2- The most probable fact that the Shroud man’s head was bend toward the chest at the time of the image formation.

For me, those 2 important factors could well have played a huge role in the kind of image that have been formed in the two head regions (front and back), as well as possibly playing a huge role also to prevent the formation of an image of the top of the head. Of course, other potentially good solutions other than the one proposed by Mr. Latendresse the other day exists to explain this absence of an image there (like the idea of a second smaller cloth that could have been placed on top of the head of the Shroud man and inside the main Shroud during the burial procedure), but I still prefer the hypothesis of Mr. Latendresse, at least for the moment. Maybe some more researches on the most probable Shroud configuration at the time of the image formation could change my mind… Who knows? One thing’s for sure (and I’m sure Mr. Latendresse will agree with me because he already planed to do so): More research need to be done in that particular field of sindonology.

Last comment concerning those future researches: It would be nice to see, for the very first time, a researcher trying to determine what could have been the most likely configuration of the Shroud in the half portion of the cloth where we see the dorsal image. SUCH AN INVESTIGATION HAS NEVER BEEN DONE, NOT EVEN BY JACKSON AND HIS TEAM DURING THE STURP DAYS!

To my knowledge, the only researchers who have studied this question (but only in theory) are the Italian nuclear physicists Fazio and Mandaglio, who came to the conclusion in their paper entitled “Does an Iz correlation exists for the back-part of the Shroud body image?” (link: that “the attenuation effects are different in the formation of the back and front images.” In other words, for those 2 scientists, in the back region, the image formation was not able to colored fibers that were located as far as it was probably the case for the front side of the body (which have been estimated at 3.7 cm by Jackson and his team) and the reason why it is so is the possible presence of burial ointments in greater quantity, which would have created a sort of wall that would have prevent the image formation process (natural in their mind) to color fibers located at 3 or 4 cm from the body as it was probably the case on the front side of the body (if Jackson’s conclusion is correct). Personally, I disagree with such a conclusion (even if I really respect the work of those 2 scientists) because of the investigation done by Ray Rogers who conclude that there was probably no burial ointment present on the Shroud at the time of the image formation. I’ve done some personal exchange with Fazio about Rogers’ conclusion and he defend his conclusion by saying that it is possible that all the burial ointments that were present on the Shroud have been lost over time (note that this is the same hypothesis that was proposed by Pellicori back in the STURP days). Personally, I have a very hard time to buy such a hypothesis and prefer to think, like Rogers, that if no burial ointments have been found on the Shroud, it is most probably because none have been used during the burial of the Shroud man! If we use Occam’s razor principle with honesty, this is by far the most simple explanation.

And contrary to the conclusion of Fazio and Mandaglio, I think the most rational answer that exist to explain the difference in the maximal distance in which the image formation was able to color a fiber between the front and the back side is the probable fact that there was a smaller amount of energy (still undetermined) that have been transferred from the backside of the corpse to the back region of the cloth than what have been the case from the front side of the body to the front region of the Shroud. And if my idea could be scientifically confirmed one day, this would certainly represent a data that would push strongly in favor of an image formation that was natural and very mild (even milder under the body than what was the case over the body), especially if it involved a release by the corpse of post-mortem gases (Rogers) and/or of free radicals (Mills) and/or of lactic acid molecules (DeSalvo)… But of course, we’re not there yet.

Yannick Clément, Louiseville, Québec, Canada

The Science of Logical Forensics

December 3, 2013 11 comments

imageStephen Jones has provided a lot of detail in his latest post, The Shroud of Turin: 3.6. The man on the Shroud was crucified. He certainly provides plenty of citations (100 in all) and I have left them in the few paragraphs (or parts of) that I have repeated below.

There is a lot to question here; for instance how can we really know that his legs were not broken. My take is that we can only, at best, state that there is no obvious evidence that the legs were broken.

Have a look.

On Abrasions:

Abrasions on the shoulders of the man of the Shroud, particularly on the dorsal image of the right shoulder[10], indicate that he carried a heavy object[11], such as the transverse beam of a cross[12]. This must have occurred after he was scourged because the scourge wounds are underneath the shoulder abrasions[13]. But if the crossbeam had been in direct contact with the scourged shoulders, the lacerations would have widened, but on the Shroud, they have kept their shape[14]. This is consistent with the man on the Shroud carrying his cross under which was a garment protecting his scourge-wounded shoulders[15], as we saw that the gospels of Matthew and Mark recorded.

On Carrying the Crossbeam:

The man on the Shroud has cuts to both knees, especially to his left knee, indicating an unprotected fall onto a hard surface[17]. A Roman crucifixion victim was made to carry the horizontal crossbeam tied to his outstretched arms and placed across the back of his neck[18]. Which meant that when he fell, which would have been often in his scourged-weakened condition under the heavy weight of the crossbeam, on the uneven, climbing path to the crucifixion site[19], he could not protect his face from the impact of the fall[20]. This explains why the man on the Shroud’s nose is swollen, displaced and had been bleeding[21]. It also explains why the nasal area of the Shroud contain a high concentration of ground particles and dust[22].

On Being Nailed to the Cross:

The man of the Shroud was nailed to a cross[27]. He has a bloodstain on the back of his left hand, which overlays his right hand, showing that his hands were pierced by nails through his wrists, not through his palms[28]. This is anatomically accurate as French surgeon Dr. Pierre Barbet (1884–1961) demonstrated, that nails through the palms would tear through by the weight of a man’s body on a cross[29]. The man’s left foot appears to have been forced over his right foot and both fixed to the cross by a single nail driven through the insteps[30].

On Having Died on the Cross:

The man on the Shroud is dead[43]. He has a swollen abdomen which indicates he died of asphyxiation, the way crucifixion victims died[44]. Also, the body of the man on the Shroud is in a state of rigor mortis, in which the muscles stiffen, keeping the body in the position it was immediately prior to death[45]. Signs of rigor mortis on the Shroud man include: his head is bent forward, the chest and abdomen are "frozen", and his whole body is rigid and stiff, occupying some of the positions it did on the cross, especially his left leg[46]. Further evidence that the man on the Shroud was dead is the post-mortem blood flows, especially from the chest wound[47]. If the man’s heart had been beating the blood would have spurted out onto the cloth, instead of oozing out as it did[48].

On His Legs Not Broken:

The legs of the man on the Shroud are not broken[52].This is despite the crurifragium, the breaking of a crucifixion victim’s leg-bones with a heavy mallet[53], to hasten his death[54], because he could no longer use his legs to raise himself up to breathe [56], being the norm in Roman crucifixions[57]. As we saw above, Jehohanan’s legs had been broken and the Gospel of John records that the Roman soldiers broke the legs of the two robbers crucified with Jesus, to bring about their immediate death(Jn 19:31-32)[58].

On the Lance Wound:

The man on the Shroud was speared in his right side[61]. Clearly visible on the Shroud is a lance stab wound in the man’s right side together with an effusion of blood and clear fluid[62]. The wound is on the left-hand side of the Shroud image but because of mirror reversal it was in the right side of the man of the Shroud[63]. The wound and its bloodstain is immediately adjacent to one of the triangular-shaped burn marks from the fire of 1532[64] (see "part 12"), yet miraculously[65] was not covered by it[66].

The image is taken from Stephen’s blog. The caption reads: "G. Ricci, `Crucifixion,’ sculpture in wood according to research carried out on the Holy Shroud"[3].

Categories: Other Blogs, Science

Thoughts on the newly published paper by Ray Rogers (REVISED)

September 4, 2013 43 comments


The following is a REVISED guest posting by Yannick Clément,
a regular commenter on this blog.

I would like to express some thoughts about the « new » paper from Rogers that was recently published on Barrie Schwortz’s website. Here they are:

1- On the contrary to many Shroud researchers who have proposed in recent years their “theories” (mostly supernatural hypotheses related to the Resurrection of Christ) concerning the image formation, this “new” paper from Rogers (entitled “An Alternate Hypothesis for the Image Color”) clearly show that this great scientist had no preconceived ideas about what would have been the main “reactive agent” (or “catalytic compound” as he said) that initiated the formation of the image on the cloth. Effectively, this “new” paper clearly shows that, when he wrote it in 2001, Rogers had not found out yet the Maillard reaction hypothesis (including the idea that some post-mortem gases were the main “catalytic compounds”) he would proposed later on (in 2002) and he was, for the moment, favouring the presence of skin perspiration (sweat) and/or skin secretions, including skin oils (which are biological substances that were tested by Samuel Pellicori of STURP and which can produce a coloration on linen that show a very similar spectral results than what we see on the Shroud), as the most probable “catalytic compounds”, which could have initiated, with the help of heat released by the dead body, a caramelization process of a portion of the top-most fibers on the top surface of the cloth. This shows how science should work (i.e. always keep following ALL the pertinent data and observations in order to develop a rational hypothesis and adjust it along the way if necessary) and how science should NOT work (i.e. never start with a preconceive notion of what MUST have been the cause of a phenomenon (in this case, it is the formation of the body image on the Shroud), in order to avoid the strong temptation of considering only the data and observations that can possibly “fit” with your preconceive idea (and even inventing some more), while leaving aside all the other data and observations (or modifying their most probable meaning), which can be truly problematic to your hypothesis. Unfortunately, in the Shroud world, I’ve seen many researchers (including many “scientists” searching to build up an image formation “theory”, as well as many “historians” searching to build up a “theory” to explain the ancient history for the Shroud) falling right into that trap over the years and this is another reason why sindonology is seen by a good portion of the scientific community as a big joke. Note: You can find a very interesting summary of many coloration experiments made by Pellicori of STURP (including the one made with perspiration (sweat) and skin oils) in a paper entitled “Spectral Properties of the Shroud of Turin”, which he published in 1980 in Applied Optics. He also talk about the hypothesis he developed after these experiments in a paper entitled “The Shroud of Turin Through the Microscope”, which he published in 1981 with Mark Evans of STURP in the journal Archaeology.

2- After the reading of this “new” paper from Rogers, it’s quite evident that the “impurity” hypothesis he proposed for the question of the image chromophore was the corner stone and also the starting point of his whole hypothesis for image formation and that was still the case when he proposed his Maillard reaction later on. For Rogers, the probable presence of a thin and uneven layer of impurities on the top surface of the cloth was the most probable explanation for two of the most “mysterious” characteristics of the image, i.e. the discontinuous distribution of the colored fibers in the image area and the very superficial aspect of the image, which affected only the top-most fibers on the surface of the cloth. So far, I can say that I’ve never read a better, simpler and more rational hypothesis for the image chromophore than Rogers’ own hypothesis. In fact, I can honestly say that I’ve never read another hypothesis for the image chromophore (not even the primary cell wall hypothesis proposed by Fanti and al. in 2010) that have succeed to convinced me that it could really offer the same kind of simple and rational explanation for the discontinuous and very superficial aspect of the image.

3- In this “new” paper, we can find a very important description of an evaporation-concentration experiment made by Rogers, which clearly show that such a natural process normally produce an uneven layer of impurities on the top-most fibers of a cloth, which is the main reason why Rogers thought that this kind of impurity layer was the best explanation for the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area. This particular evaporation-concentration experiment was made by Rogers with a cotton nap and a dye solution and here’s how he describe the result:

The photomicrograph show that the main concentration of dye on the top surface appears on the fibrils of the nap that are pointing straight up and on the top-most surfaces of the threads.

This is a clear indication that when an evaporation-concentration phenomenon is active inside a cloth, it normally produce an uneven layer of impurities that concentrate mostly on the top surface of the cloth, thus giving us a possible explanation for the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area of the Shroud (as well as the extremely superficial aspect of the image). Effectively, starting from this result obtained by Rogers, we can presume that, after the active phase of the image formation process (which was most probably mild), only a portion of the coated fibers located on the top surface of the cloth (i.e. the ones that were coated by a thicker layer of impurities) were able to get colored enough to help producing the body image that we see on the Shroud, because the amount of impurities, in their case, would have been sufficient to produce such a result. It should be noted that, in his book about the Shroud, Rogers talk about a similar evaporation-concentration experiment that can be made to evaluate the kind of concentration of impurities that can be produced by such a natural process, but he didn’t mention the fact that the experimental result clearly shows that the layer of impurities located on the top surface of the cloth is uneven, thus offering a very good explanation for the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area. That’s why this section of Rogers’ “new” paper is, in my mind, very important. It’s so important in fact that it can be use to completely discredit the main “anti-impurity” argument that we can found in the 2010 paper entitled “Microscopic and Macroscopic Characteristics of the Shroud of Turin Image Superficiality” that was written by Fanti, Di Lazarro, Heimburger and some others. Effectively, in this paper, the authors, who tried to push their primary cell wall hypothesis, clearly wrote that Rogers’ hypothesis versus the impurities was unable to explain the discontinuous distribution of the body image on the Shroud. Now, I think that this “new” paper from Rogers can offer them a pretty good reason to completely rethink their conclusion versus his “impurity” hypothesis, which really seems to be the real and only chromophore of the body image. One thing’s for sure: In the light of what we found in this “new” paper from Rogers, it’s fair to say that such an “anti-impurity” argument, which involves the discontinuous aspect of the image fibers, is completely false. And, to be honest, I found it quite funny that they dared to use this kind of argument in a try to discredit Rogers’ hypothesis, while, at first sight, this discontinuity of the colored fibers really seems much more problematic for their own chromophore hypothesis (i.e. the primary cell wall, which is found in every fibers, no matter their location inside the cloth, and not only for those located at the top surface of the cloth).

4– It’s also important to note that because it is a proven fact that a dehydration of ONLY a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities located around a linen fiber is almost impossible to achieve with any sort of energetic radiation, and because all the data coming from the Shroud (especially the fact that the bloodstains were not affected at all during the image formation) strongly suggest that the image formation was very mild, I’m almost sure that this is why Rogers became convinced that a totally natural process (which he was still seeking to fully determined at the time of his death) was really what have caused the formation of a very faint image on the cloth. In sum, the strong conviction of Rogers that the body image color must only reside in a thin and uneven layer of carbohydrate impurities, which would be completely independent from the entire structure of the linen fiber (including the primary cell wall of the fiber) is the most important thing that lead him to conclude that the image formation process was most certainly totally natural. I think it’s fair to say that, in Rogers’ mind, the most probable nature of the image chromophore (i.e. an impurity layer) was the most crucial data to consider when it was time for him to determine the particular nature of the image formation process (i.e. natural and very mild or supernatural and much more “strong” because it would be related to some form of energetic radiation). And here’s the most relevant statement made by Rogers to explain why a thin layer of impurities as the image chromophore should automatically lead to the conclusion that the image formation process must have been natural and very mild:

I studied the chemical kinetics of the impurity materials and conclude that it was improbable that the impurities had been scorched by heat or any radiation source: the crystal structure of the flax image fibers was no more defective than non-image fibers. It would take very good temperature control specifically to scorch impurities without producing some defects in the cellulose.

We can find this particular quote in the paper The Shroud of Turin from the viewpoint of the physical science published by Emmanuel Carreira in 2010.

5- This “new” paper of Rogers really shows that, in order to find a viable hypothesis for the body image, he first tried hard to find a rational explanation for the discontinuous and the very superficial aspect of the body image, which he finally found in the probable presence of a thin and uneven layer of carbohydrates impurities located mostly over of the top-most fibers at the surface of the cloth (made primarily of starch and possibly also of saponaria residues, along with maybe some substances that were extracted from the primary cell wall of the fibers during the retting process). Then (AND ONLY THEN), he tried hard to find what would have been the most logical “catalytic compound(s)” that could have interacted with this probable layer of impurities in order to dehydrate these impurities enough to produce a visible coloration, while, at the same time, trying also hard to find what would have been the most logical transfer mode(s) between these “catalytic compounds” and the thin layer of impurities. It’s very interesting to note that this “new” paper prove that Rogers changed his mind about the question of the most probable “catalytic compounds” along the way (but without changing his mind about the fact that the transfer mode should have included a diffusion process), most probably because he ended up finding some irreconcilable problems between his first hypothesis (skin perspiration and/or skin secretions, first proposed by Pellicori of STURP) and some data and observations coming from his intensive study and probably also because he found out that a fresh tortured corpse could truly released some post-mortem gases (ammonia gas and possibly also some heavy amines) before the appearance of the first liquid of putrefaction, thus offering him a viable alternative hypothesis for the “catalytic compounds” issue. It’s crucial to note that these steps followed by Rogers during his research are the RIGHT STEPS any good scientist should follow in the case of the Shroud image (i.e. first try to explain and define the image chromophore in the light of all the data and observations available (including the discontinuous and very superficial aspect of the image) and then (and only then) try to find the most logical “reactive agent” that could have interacted with it in order to produce an image with the same chemical and physical characteristics as the one on the Shroud, while also trying to find the most probable interaction mechanism(s)). Unfortunately for the credibility of Shroud science, this is not what often happened in the Shroud world, where many “scientists” often proposed image formation hypotheses (mostly supernatural in essence and related to the Resurrection of Christ) without trying first to define the image chromophore, while taking into account, among other things, the discontinuous and very superficial aspect of the image. To me, it’s like a magical way of thinking that can be summarized like this:

We don’t know how the burst of energetic radiation we proposed (whether it be a corona discharge, a burst of UV light, a burst of protons, neutrons, etc.) could have produced an image with these very particular characteristics but that’s not a problem, because our hypothesis is related directly to the Resurrection event, which is, in essence, a supernatural event that we can’t define and test in a lab. Because of that, it is totally conceivable (for those who believe in the Resurrection of Jesus!) that such a supernatural event could have caused that kind of “mysterious” image on the cloth, which shows a discontinuous and extremely superficial aspect. At first sight, it is totally illogical that the burst of energetic radiation that we proposed could have caused the very same kind of discontinuous and highly superficial image everywhere on the cloth (no matter if the cloth was in direct contact or if it was located at a few centimeters away from it and no matter if the cloth was located over or under the body), but since this is directly related to the Resurrection of Christ… Anything is possible!

This is exactly the kind of magical thinking that lies quietly under most of the supernatural hypotheses that have been proposed over the years… Of course, those who proposed them will never said it publicly as clearly as I have done, but nevertheless, this is the kind of thinking on which the supernatural hypotheses they proposed is resting and I have absolutely no problem putting an “unscientific” tag over it. Note: even if he didn’t specifically said the same thing as I have just written concerning the magical thinking “syndrome” that pollute the Shroud world these days, we can still found a glimpse of that kind of magical thinking in a public statement made in 2010 by Paolo Di Lazzaro concerning his supernatural hypothesis for image formation involving a burst of UV light, when he said this in an interview:

Though significant, our results allow the recognition of a photo-chemical process capable of generating a Shroud-like coloration, but still do not make it possible to formulate a certain and practicable hypothesis on how the Shroud image was formed: for example, if we consider the density of radiation that we used to color a single square centimeter of linen, to reproduce the entire image of the Shroud with a single flash of light would require fourteen thousand lasers firing simultaneously each on a different area of linen. In other words, it would take a laser light source the size of an entire building.

Here, it should be noted that, in this statement, Di Lazzaro doesn’t even addressed the question of how in the world could he or anyone else succeed to reproduce the discontinuous and highly superficial aspect of the Shroud image (which is the same everywhere on the cloth) with one single flash of light that would be released partially from a source located in direct contact with the cloth and partially from the same source located at some distance from it (up to maybe 4 cm), while at the same time, avoiding to produce a coloration in areas located at more than 4 cm from the source of energy??? Now, if this is not a good example of the “magical thinking” I described earlier, I don’t know what it is!!! Effectively, in the case of Di Lazzaro’s hypothesis (as well as in the case of most if not all the other supernatural hypotheses), it’s only by thinking that the Resurrection could have produce such a feat (even if we don’t know how) that his whole proposal can still stand-up (but only in the eyes of those who believe in the Resurrection of course)!!! On the contrary to such magical thinking, Rogers’ hypothesis versus the “reactive agent” and the way it was transfer to the cloth is totally compatible, theoretically speaking, with his hypothesis concerning the image chromophore, without ever having to rest on any supernatural event or process. Because of this, his whole hypothesis concerning the image formation on the Shroud can truly be considered as being 100% scientific, on the contrary to most (if not all) of the hypotheses involving a supernatural burst of energy at the time of the Resurrection of Christ. Final note: This doesn’t mean that Rogers was right on everything regarding the image on the Shroud, but that surely mean that he followed the right steps in order to propose a RATIONAL explanation (which still need to be fully explored and tested) that took into account EVERY data and observations that were available to him. Concerning this, it should be noted that, on the contrary to most researchers, Rogers had the opportunity to spend 5 days and nights with the Shroud in Turin and, consequently, he was certainly better placed that these guys to know all the pertinent facts regarding the image that we see on this cloth…

6- After having seen the main steps followed by Rogers to build his image formation hypothesis, it’s very interesting to note that these kind of steps followed by Rogers during his research are exactly the same as the ones followed by two italian researchers named Fazio and Mandaglio in their own inquiry about the Shroud image, proving without doubt their professionalism as scientists and the potential value of their conclusions. Effectively, it’s only after they analyzed with great care the characteristics of the image (especially the discontinuous distribution of colored fibers in the image area) that they were confident enough to propose two possible natural mechanisms (thermal radiations from the dead body and/or a gaseous diffusion like the one proposed by Rogers) that can account for such an image. It’s important to note that, for these two scientists, as well as for Rogers, a natural image formation was really what was fitting the best with the kind of very particular characteristics of the body image on the Shroud. The fact that they performed their research in total independence versus the one made by Rogers and, nevertheless, they came up with conclusions very similar regarding the nature of the image formation (even if they differ versus the exact location of the image chromophore), this speaks very loud to me and should have been considered by the Shroud world with much more care and interest than what I have noticed since the publication of their articles about the Shroud. Note: the most important paper they published about the Shroud image is: G. Fazio and G. Mandaglio, Stochastic distribution of the fibrils that yielded the Shroud of Turin body image, Radiation Effects and Defects in Solids, Vol. 166, No. 7, July 2011 ( My guess is that their conclusions, just like the ones of Rogers, are not as fantastic and fabulous as most people wants!

7- This “new” paper from Rogers also indicate that, when he wrote it in 2001, he was already thinking, on the contrary to Pellicori’s conclusion, that a diffusion process must have been active inside the cloth in order to produced the kind of 3-D information that are encoded in the body image of the Shroud. For Rogers, the kind of natural and biological process he was favoring back then (i.e. which would have been initiated by the presence of perspiration (sweat) and/or secretions on the skin of the Shroud man’s corpse) could not have happened in the way it was described by Pellicori (i.e. with a transfer mode involving only direct-contacts between the cloth and the numerous body parts that left their imprint on it), but could only have happened with a combination of transfer modes including both direct-contact and diffusion instead. Important note: After he did more studies and reflections on the subject, it seem that Rogers became totally convinced that the “catalytic compounds” that were responsible for the dehydration of the colored fibers were not the ones tested by Pellicori but post-mortem gases instead (like ammonia gas, along with maybe some heavy amines) that would have been gradually released by the enshrouded corpse. One of the main reason for this change of mind of Rogers concerning the most probable “catalytic compounds” that initiated the image formation process on the Shroud can be found in these two statements he made in his book about the Shroud: 1- “No fibers in a pure image area were cemented together by any foreign material and there were no liquid meniscus marks. These facts seemed to eliminate any image-formation hypothesis that was based solely on the flow of a liquid into the cloth. This also suggests that, if a body was involved in image formation, it was dry at the time the color formed.” 2- “Body fluids (other than blood) did not percolate into the cloth.” In light of these two statements, it really seems that Rogers, after 2001, became totally convinced that no sweat or secretions could have come in contact with the cloth after the Shroud man’s body had been placed inside the Shroud for the reason that the data coming from the Shroud were strongly suggesting that his corpse was dry at the time of his entombment. That’s most probably why he started to look for some other “catalytic compounds” and found out that post-mortem gases could offer a very good alternative.

8- Finally, this “new” paper from Rogers can truly be helpful to understand how complex the image formation probably was. Effectively, this paper shows quite clearly that, in Rogers’ mind, there were probably three major conditions that must have been fulfilled in order for a particular fiber to become colored, which are: 1- For a fiber to become colored, it must have been located in the immediate vicinity of the body surface, at no more than a few centimeters. The estimation made by the STURP team was that such a fiber must have been located at no more than 4 cm from the body, while Mario Latendresse estimated that after 2 cm, the image formation process had probably lost nearly 80% of its coloring capacity. 2- For a fiber to become colored, it must have been submitted to a minimal amount (still undetermined) of “catalytic compounds” (in Rogers’ mind, this means that a minimal amount of post-mortem gases must have come in direct contact with such a fiber and for probably a minimal period of time that is also undetermined). 3- For a fiber to become colored, it must have been coated with a minimal amount (still undetermined) of carbohydrate impurities. In Rogers’ mind, this impurity layer would have been primarily composed of starch, along with maybe some residues of saponaria, pectine, hemicellulose, etc., and all these substances would have come from the different “manufacturing” steps (retting of the flax plant to produce the threads, covering of the threads with starch to protect them during the weaving, bleaching of separate hank of yarns, washing of the final cloth with saponaria and final drying in open air, etc.) that were done to produce the linen cloth. These three conditions described by Rogers in his writings are very important to understand because it shows how complex the image formation process would have been if his image formation hypothesis is at least partially correct. And along with these three major conditions, which were all crucial, in Rogers’ mind, for the production of a color on top of the fibers that composed the Shroud image, it is also possible to think that other particular conditions were most probably important also for the production of a coloration (dehydration) around some fibers located at the surface of the cloth. Here’s some of them: 1- The amount of heat that was released by the dead body after it was placed inside the Shroud, which is still undetermined (Rogers really thought that this could have been another important factor in the color production). 2- The kind of temperature and humidity that were present inside the tomb and inside the Shroud during the short time that the corpse was lying inside of it, which is still undetermined. 3- The amount of time the body stayed inside the cloth, which is still undetermined. 4- The environmental condition(s) in which the cloth had been kept and preserved before the body image appeared completely at the surface of the cloth (this could have taken many months, years or even decades), which is still undetermined. These are just some possible factors that could have had an impact on the production of a coloration (dehydration) at the surface of the cloth. Of course, other factors can still be proposed…

In conclusion, I would simply say this: No doubt, this “new” paper from Rogers constitutes a real historical finding, which can help us to understand the high level of scientific professionalism with which Rogers did his inquiry versus the Shroud image. In consequence, this paper can also help us to realize the poor scientific value of the work done by some other “scientists” versus the Shroud image… And in the end, I think we can really see this particular paper as being the genesis of the Maillard reaction hypothesis Rogers has developed later on and, as such, it truly helps to understand all the main steps he took (in the correct order, scientifically speaking) during the building of his personal hypothesis regarding the body image on the Shroud. I hope this long sharing of thoughts will help some readers to understand better the professionalism of Rogers regarding his inquiry versus the Shroud, as well as the great potential value of his personal hypothesis.

Categories: Image Theory, News & Views

Guest Posting: Challenging Frederick Zugibe on Washing of the Body

July 28, 2013 218 comments

Guest posting by Yannick Clément

Hi folks!

In a recent post, I brought in a new and, I believe, very strong argument that goes against the hypothesis developed by Doctor Frederick Zugibe who claim that a partial washing of the body prior to the deposit of the body inside the Shroud was responsible for the presence of all the scourge marks on the cloth. You can read this post of mine here:

First, I want you to watch closely this screenshot I’ve taken from the Shroud Scope, which show a portion of the lower back region of the Shroud man that we can see in the dorsal image on the Shroud : 

(Note: You may click on the picture to enlarge it).

Shroud_Portion of the dorsal view in positive with measurements

(Note: You may click on the picture to enlarge it).

On this picture, you can see two very precise imprints of scourge marks (the quality of these bloody imprints is very good) that are located at about 13.3 mm and 17.6 mm from the border of an evident post-mortem blood flow in the lower back region.

First, I want to categorically stated this: Pellicori and Miller made a very good study of the UV fluorescence photos of the Shroud that were taken in Turin by STURP in 1978 and they were clear about the fact that almost every single scourge mark on the cloth was showing an halo of clear serum around them. Among other things, this observation can be seen as a very solid indicator that all the scourge marks on the cloth were caused by the same blood transfer process. Because almost all the scourge marks are showing the same precise dumbbell-like shape, the same presence of halos of serum around them, the same color, etc., there is no good reason to think that these scourge marks on the Shroud were caused by more than one single blood transfer process. Also, it is important to understand that the blood flows that we see below the side wound and the numerous blood flows that we see in the lower back region in the dorsal part of the Shroud have been caused by the post-mortem blood (probably mixed with a clear liquid) that came out after the lance blow to the chest and before any possible washing of the body. Finally, it’s important to understand that these post-mortem blood flows eventually came down on the rib cage and across the lower back region and that such a post-mortem bleeding was considered to be unclean by the Jewish Law and therefore, could not be washed away during the burial procedure. These facts are very important to consider for my challenge.

Barbet, Adler, Lavoie and others medical experts concluded that these scourge marks were caused by a transfer of exudates of still moistened (Adler and Lavoie) or re-moistened (Barbet) blood clots on the cloth by a direct contact between the corpse and the Shroud during the burial procedure, while others, like Zugibe that we just see, believed these particular stains were caused by a partial washing of the Shroud man’s body (especially in all the areas where we see some scourge marks on the cloth, i.e. the chest, the back, the buttocks and the legs).

In sum, Zugibe claimed that a rapid washing of the body would have been enough to remove the dried blood clots that would have been present over all the scourge wounds, with the result of producing an oozing of post-mortem blood from the re-opened wounds. It is this oozing of post-mortem bloody material that would have caused, by direct contacts, all the precise imprints in the form of a dumbbell that we see in many places on the cloth, once the partially washed body would have been placed inside the Shroud. For more information about that, see: Here’s a short summary, written by Zugibe himself, which you can find in this paper: “The act of washing would then cause an oozing from each of the wounds thereby accounting for the imprints at their locations consistent with those on the Shroud.”

So, if Zugibe was right, that would mean that the rapid washing of a portion of the body would have included the area immediately adjacent to the numerous post-mortem blood flows in the lower back region of the Shroud man that we can see on the picture below, because in this zone, there are a number of evident scourge marks, including the ones I pointed out with a black arrow, which are located at about 13.3 mm and 17.6 mm from the border of one of these post-mortem blood flows (note again that these blood flows were considered unclean and cannot have been washed during the burial procedure).

After this introduction, here’s my argument again (which is also my challenge to all the defenders of Zugibe’s hypothesis): How in the world does the person who did this rapid washing (remember that it if the Shroud man is Jesus, this would have been an hasty burial) could have dared to wash the immediate region surrounding the post-mortem blood flow (including the area located at less than 2 cm where we see a very evident scourge mark on the picture below), while we know for a fact that it was strictly forbidden for a Jew to remove or even disturb the post-mortem blood that would have stuck to the skin of the dead person? Can you imagine the risks of disturbing this particular post-mortem blood flow? Remember that such a washing would have been done with a sponge or something like this in a very rapid manner… As I said in my previous post, in such a context, we should expect the person who did the washing to have take care of not disturbing all the post-mortem blood flows by not washing the areas surrounding these stains, which would have caused a sort of “buffer zone” around each of these blood flows that would have been free of any washing, with the expected result of leaving undisturbed all the possible dried scourge wounds present there, thus preventing any imprint of these dried wounds on the cloth. But on the contrary, that’s not at all what we see on the Shroud, especially in the lower back region where there are many scourge marks that are immediately adjacent to some post-mortem blood flows…

Again, if Zugibe’s hypothesis was right, that mean the rapid washing would have included the immediate region surrounding the post-mortem blood flows on the lower back, because we can see many scourge marks in this area that are very close to these blood flows. Seriously, does that sound credible and rational to you in the context of a Jewish burial that would have been done in a way to prevent any disturbance of the post-mortem blood that was still present on the corpse because it was considered impure by the Jewish Law? One thing’s for sure: Not for me! This idea of a very precise (almost surgical) washing in this zone is quite simply ludicrous to me.

I prefer by far my own hypothesis, which is mainly based on Doctor Pierre Barbet’s own ideas on the subject. For a summary of my hypothesis, see: Note that, unlike Zugibe’s hypothesis, mine is totally consistent with the presence of these scourge marks in the immediate region surrounding the post-mortem blood flows on the back and can explain them very easily in a totally rational and credible manner…

And if you think otherwise, then you will have to rationally explain to me how a rapid and partial washing done in haste could have been performed so precisely that it was able to remove the supposed dried blood clots that were covering all the scourge wounds, including those that are located at about 13.3 mm and 17.6 mm from the border of a post-mortem blood flow (see picture below) without touching and disturbing this particular post-mortem blood flow? Also, you will have to rationally explain to me why someone performing such a rapid and partial washing would have dare to wash the immediate surrounding area where there were some important post-mortem blood flows that had, legally, to stay on the skin of the Shroud man (up to just 1 or 2 cm away from one of those post-mortem blood flows)? Why taking such a risk of breaking the Law for a washing of the body that would have been only partially done anyway?

Additional argument: I would like to add another very strong argument that goes against Zugibe’s hypothesis, which is the fact that evident traces of dirt have been found by STURP in the knee area on the Shroud, which is a region where we can find some scourge marks. So, if a washing would have been done there, while eventually causing the imprints of those scourge marks, it’s pretty evident that no traces of dirt like this would have been found in this area. The fact that such traces of dirt have only been found there (along with some more traces in the ankle area) is a solid indicator that these areas had been stained during the walk the Shroud man did between the place where he was scourged and the place of crucifixion (most probably caused by one or many fall(s) to the ground during the time he was carrying the horizontal beam of the cross). Note that if such a dirt staining had occurred after the washing and before the deposit of the body inside the Shroud, there would certainly have been many others areas of the body that would have been stained in the same way and therefore, others traces of dirt would had been found elsewhere on the Shroud. That’s why I consider this particular dirt stain in the knee area as another very good argument that goes against Zugibe’s partial washing hypothesis. In fact, this particular argument just reinforce the first one concerning the presence of some scourge marks very close to a post-mortem blood flow… Also, it is important to note that the presence of a such a dirt stain in the knee area can be explain very well and rationally by my own hypothesis. Effectively, the presence of some dirt stains near some scourge wounds was surely not enough to prevent the transfer of these scourge wounds if the blood clots over them were still humid or if they had become re-moistened at the time the body was placed in the Shroud (or shortly thereafter)…

In the end, when we use the Occam’s razor principle while considering the presence of these scourge marks in the immediate vicinity of some post-mortem blood flows, along with the finding of evident traces of dirt in the region of the knees where there are some scourge marks, I think it’s fair to say that my own hypothesis can offer an explanation that is far more credible, rational and easy to believe than the one proposed by Zugibe. Note that I don’t say this because I think I’m better than anyone else. No. In fact, I only say this because I truly and honestly believe my hypothesis is much more rational, especially when we take into accounts the important facts I just gave you.

Final note: If you don’t agree with me and want to give me a rational explanation for the presence of some scourge marks in the vicinity of a post-mortem blood flow in the lower back region and the presence of some scourge marks in the knee area where there was traces of dirt, in the context of a partial and rapid washing of the body during the burial procedure, fine! I want to hear your thoughts. But I just hope you won’t use wild speculations to do so! Remember that Occam’s razor hate wild speculations!

Blood Clotting and the Strange Case of Brother Hirudo

April 4, 2013 263 comments

– A special posting by Kelly Kearse –


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The idea has been proposed that the bloodstains on the Shroud of Turin are the result of application of the blood meals of the medicinal leech, Hirudo Medicinalis, using a felt-tipped pouch. The identity of this illusory forger remains unknown, but has been suggested to be an overzealous medieval monk. For the purpose of discussion, we’ll call him Brother Hirudo. While many may view this idea so preposterous that it warrants no further consideration, this suggestion will be examined below with the focus on maintaining an objective evaluation of the specifics of this proposal. When a hypothesis is put forth, it is predictable that others will raise questions regarding the scientific merit of such ideas. This is standard operating procedure for scientific inquiry. Inflammatory rhetoric and insinuations regarding personal character should not be a part of the equation; it is destructive and takes the focus off of the science. A brief discussion of the procedure of blood clotting is introduced, followed by several specific, key questions regarding the basis of this hypothesis.

Blood clotting

There are four major components important in the clotting of blood: i) platelets, ii) red and white blood cells, and iii) a group of molecules collectively termed clotting factors, which include iv) fibrin, a molecule that forms a meshwork or web, joining all of the above together into a blood plug. When a tear in a blood vessel occurs, platelets first become activated and begin to adhere to the walls of the opening. Unless the tear is very small, platelets by themselves are not sufficient to stop blood flow. Various clotting factors are stimulated to reinforce the platelets, the main one being fibrinogen, which is converted to fibrin, creating a fibrous web that functions as a type of glue. Other cells, such as red and white blood cells may become trapped within the web and help fortify the clot.

The medicinal leech (Hirudo Medicinalis) begins feeding on human blood by

attaching itself to the skin and piercing the outer layer with a set of three blades, arranged at an angle to each other. Leeches contain a natural anticoagulant, or blood thinner, termed hirudin that interferes with the conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin (discussed above) that precludes the clotting of ingested blood. As the leech feeds, the watery portion of blood, the serum, is excluded to maximize the intake of red blood cells. Digestion of blood meals is extremely slow. Leeches may take up to several months to digest imbibed blood. Morphological preservation of erythrocytes ingested by leeches has been observed for up to 18 months.

1. Could the anatomical precision of bloodstains be accurately portrayed using leech-ingested blood applied with a felt stylus?

On average, the human body contains approximately 5 liters or 5000 ml of blood. A person may lose up to 10-15% of total blood volume (500-750 mls) without experiencing any major symptoms. (For those who may not regularly use the metric system, 16 oz. is equivalent to approximately 470 mls or 1 pint). A single leech may consume as much as 15 mls of blood in a feeding. Thus, Brother Hirudo would not have needed to expend tremendous effort to collect a sufficient volume of blood for the task. Moreover, there is no reason to assume that blood collection had to be restricted to a single event.

It has been suggested that the image on the Shroud of Turin shows no obvious, unequivocal evidence of wounds, which would be consistent with the requirement for application of bloodstains. However, various medical specialists would disagree (Barbet, 1963; Bucklin, 1997; Zugibe, 2005; Svensson, 2012; Svensson and Heimburger, 2012), asserting the presence of a major post-mortem wound on the right side of the body and puncture wounds located in the left wrist and middle of the right foot. The forensic accuracy of the bloodstained patterns on the Shroud has also been noted by numerous medical doctors and specialists spanning multiple decades, many of which are listed in the introduction of Y. Clement’s 2012 article “Concerning the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin: please don’t forget the evidence of the bloodstains!!!” For instance, Barbet noted that the blood flow follows a furrow between two extensor muscles of the forearm; others have discussed the gravitational flow of blood from the elbow and off the foot.

Is it reasonable to assume that someone like Brother Hirudo would have the knowledge to include such precise detail when creating the bloodstains on the Shroud? Relatedly, is it feasible that such clearly marked edges of the bloodstains could be achieved by delivering leech-sourced blood through a felt applicator, together with the use of a set of templates? Even the most open-minded scientific reviewer might struggle here.

The bordering area surrounding many of the bloodstains exhibits a halo of sorts, which is only visible under ultraviolet light (Miller and Pellicori, 1981; Jumper, et al., 1984). The medical doctor G. Lavoie, a specialist in internal and occupational medicine, has noted that such halos demonstrate the blood marks of the Shroud had exuded serum (Lavoie, 1998). Moreover, these data are consistent with the previous detection of blood serum proteins on Shroud bloodstained fibers by both chemical and immunological methods. It is unclear how application of leech-ingested blood might be considered here, as a paucity of blood serum would be expected in such mixtures since exclusion of serum occurs in the initial phase of leech feeding (see above). Considering that Brother Hirudo may have been visionary, foreseeing the use of uv analysis in the future, he might have set aside sufficient serum to decorate such wounds, using an additional set of specialized templates.

2. Is the presence of hydroxyproline in blood samples sufficient evidence of leech involvement?

Mass spectrometry is among the most powerful methods that exist for the identification and characterization of small amounts of substances present within a sample. To this end, pyrolysis (heating) coupled with mass spectrometry was performed on samples from the Shroud, having the primary goal of the sensitive detection of impurities (e.g. painting materials and sebum), (R. Rogers, 2008). A blood-spotted ( “Zina”) sample taken from the heel area was shown to emit hydroxyproline following treatment with low-temperature. These results helped to define an upper limit on the highest temperature the blood on the cloth was exposed to, as related to suggestions the Shroud was at one time boiled in oil (Rogers, 2008); also towards Rogers’ refutation of photons of particular wavelength playing a role in image formation (Rogers, 2008).

A tenet of the leech hypothesis is that hydroxyproline is not a regular constituent in human blood, that there is scarcely any worth speaking of. Moreover, as hydroxyproline is known to be present in connective tissue (collagen) of animals, including leeches, this can account for the hydroxyproline signal at m/e 131.

While true that hydroxyproline does not represent a principle component of human blood, its scarcity may be overhyped here. Hydroxyproline can be detected in normal human blood serum using simple immunological techniques that do not approach the sensitivity of mass spectrometry (ELISA kits, see and for examples). Using HPLC (high pressure liquid chromatography) methods, serum levels of hydroxyproline may be evaluated in patients as a measure of liver and renal function (E. Kucharz, Rom J Intern Med Oct-Dec; 32: 271, 1994; Inoue, et al. Analyst Apr. 120: 1141, 1995; Inoue, et al., Biol. Pharm. Bull. Feb 19: 153, 1996). The clinical significance of a hydroxyproline-containing protein in human plasma was reported by Carwile LeRoy and Sjorerdsma as early as 1965 (J. Clin. Investigation 44: 914, 1965). It is not a given that the presence of hydroxyproline is indicative of contamination by animal protein, i.e. leeches. Perhaps it is an oversimplification, but has it also been considered that the sample taken from the heel area could contain trace components (hydroxyproline) of abraded skin? Or that the sample might have been contaminated by exposed skin during its collection and handling? Analysis of multiple blood areas would help determine if this finding were unique to this particular area of the cloth, and further validate the detection of hydroxyproline in Shroud bloodstains.

3. What are the colorometric and chemical properties of leech-ingested human blood?

One of the main issues that is raised regarding the involvement of someone such as Brother Hirudo, is what is known regarding the properties of leech-ingested blood?

Other than trying to imagine how someone might have gotten around the problem of using normal blood subject to clotting, what empirical evidence is there that the appearance of the bloodstains is telling of leeches? This raises some interesting points as to what may be known regarding the properties of leech-ingested blood that is put to further use. For example, when expelled, does such blood eventually clot upon drying? If so, what are the kinetics and what is the appearance of such bloodstains? Have any spectrophotometric studies ever been performed to compare normal vs. leech-ingested blood to evaluate the oxidation state of hemoglobin that is present? Such information could help establish a preliminary basis for further consideration of this novel idea.

Concluding Remarks

I do not have a satisfactory explanation for why the blood on the Shroud of Turin has a red appearance. I would like to know. I am not convinced that bilirubin is the answer. I am not sure I completely understand the proposed effect(s) Saponaria treatment might have. I am willing to consider the involvement of other possibilities that involve some type of conversion of chemical bonds, by natural or even supernatural means. Leeches? It’s a creative idea, I’ll admit, but I need a lot more to go there. When I was a teenager, we used to wade out to up above our waist to use a pitchfork to remove lily pads that had overgrown on our neighborhood lake in the summer. The average leech count on each laborer was easily in the mid-thirties, upper torso to bottom toe, dorsal and ventral. I guess that’s why our dads sent us out to perform the task while they “held down the fort.” Of course, Brother Hirudo would have anticipated as much.

Whatever the pathway, the coloration of the bloodstains on the Shroud must have a definable, molecular basis. Further characterization of the chemical nature of the blood is central in any effort to define the basis for the resultant color. It is reasonable that more could be learned by careful examination of older (unrelated) blood samples. Others may argue that because this situation is totally unique, such comparisons will eventually become futile; even so, perhaps important knowledge could be gained before eventually is reached. Finally, any evaluation of blood coloration should be considered in the context of adhering to/binding the fibers of the cloth; this is an important variable, which should be part of the matrix. It is also one of the most challenging. The coloration of the bloodstains is an interesting scientific question, regardless of where one stands on possible mechanisms involved in image formation, or even on the proposed age of the cloth.

Other essays and postings by Kelly Kearse:


Guest Posting by Kelly Kearse: Distinguishing human blood from that of other species

Guest Posting by Kelly Kearse: Whose DNA is it, anyway?

Positive for AB is not the same as AB positive

MUST READ: Cloning the man on the Shroud of Turin

Just how old is the AB blood type?

MUST READ: A lot of old blood types as AB: Not Exactly

Shroud of Turin Around the Blogs

March 7, 2013 Comments off

clip_image001Stephen E Jones continues his series (be sure to see his contents page for more in this wonderful series0:

Here is "2.6. The other marks" (2), which is part 13 of my series, "The Shroud of Turin." The series was originally titled, "The Shroud of Jesus?" but I have retitled it "The Shroud of Turin" so that my posts in this series are more easily found using a search engine. The previous post in this series was part 12, "2.6. The other marks" (1)." See the Contents page (part 1) for more information about this series, .

As explained in my previous post, by "other marks" I mean those significant marks on the Shroud of Turin which are not wounds (see "2.4. The wounds") or bloodstains (see "2.5. The Bloodstains"). In that previous post I covered the burns and water stains. In this post I will cover the `poker holes’, the dirt on the man’s foot and in particular the limestone in that dirt. Again the order in which they are presented is from the most to the least obvious (not necessarily from the most to the least important). (Bold mine)

imageColin Berry, by way of a most unusual picture caption, updates us some more on his planned letter to the Royal Society:

Colin, above, he say (being a free agent): My letter to Sir Paul Nurse PRS will go into the post by the end of the week. It will focus, at least initially, on just two carefully-selected and crucial questions regarding the TS where I consider that the UK’s premier scientific society could play a useful and clarifying role: 1. Which arrived first on the linen : blood or image (as already discussed) – a test of authenticity entirely independent from radiocarbon dating 2. Can heavily media-promoted hypotheses based on any kind of electromagnetic radiation, such as those of John Jackson, Paolo Di Lazzaro, Luigi Fanti, August Accetta and others be safely dismissed as unscientific, or in some cases pseudoscience, through their disregard for established principles of physics and chemistry. (If others wish to make similar approaches to their own learned societies then that is fine by me.) (Bold mine)

clip_image001[6]John Klotz offered us a must read posting, Evidence and the Shroud of Turin in his blog Living Free. We mentioned this yesterday, but it merits mentioning again.

There is no authentic doubt about the Shroud once it is established that it is a linen cloth that once enwrapped the body of a crucified man who was scourged, beaten, nailed to a cross and his side pierced with a post-mortem (after death) spear wound. There is even evidence that he carried the cross-bar on his shoulders and walked through streets that had limestone stone dust compatible with the streets of Jerusalem. There is also evidence that he fell and because he was carrying the cross-bar, he couldn’t break his fall, injuring a knee and the tip of his nose.

The accumulation of facts is overwhelming. The question that nobody has ever answered, given the circumstances is: If not HIM, who?

imageOther, mostly Catholic blogs are beginning to talk up the upcoming Holy Saturday TV-only exhibition. The story is being picked up from CWN, ANSA, STERA and this blog. For instance, Catholic Culture reports:

Before his resignation took effect on February 28, Pope Benedict XVI authorized a television broadcast that will display the Shroud of Turin.

On Holy Saturday, March 31, Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia will lead a liturgical ceremony that will include a public display of the Shroud. The ceremony will be telecast and made available worldwide.

The last broadcast images of the Shroud were carried by the Italian RAI network in 1973. The last public display of the Shroud was in May 2010. Pope Benedict was among the 2 million people who came to venerate the Shroud during that exposition.

Categories: News & Views, Other Blogs

On the Topic of Bloodstains: Picking up Threads of Useful Discussion

February 19, 2013 71 comments

imageIn one thread of discussion, Hugh Farey questions much of the correctness of Stephen Jones’ summary of the bloodstains on his shroud blog:

Bloodstains. As usual, the “obvious” turns out to be almost the exact opposite. While few (perhaps none) of Stephen Jones’s observations are incontrovertibly incorrect, even fewer (perhaps all) are utterly unchallengeable.

Let’s take a few, probably in no particular order.

1) The two different angles of flow on the forearms correspond to the two different angles at which they were suspended on the cross. If this is so, then that pattern was maintained after the blood dried, the body was removed from the cross, transported to the tomb and ended up being transferred to the shroud, without being rubbed or washed off…

2) unlike the dribbles of blood which would have descended from the spear thrust, which have mysteriously disappeared, to be replaced by the randomly directed dribbles we see today, zigzagging around below the wound and flowing from one side to the other of the shroud. From one side to the other at least twice, or possibly from one side to the other and back again. There is no pooling of blood in the middle, as might be expected from a shroud carrying a body – so how did it dribble across? Presumably it was before the body was placed on top, and dried so quickly that the body did not smudge or distort it all as it was laid down.

3) It is easy to find pictures of people who have suffered head traumas. Do they have clean, stain-free hair, with a handful of well defined dribbles placed on the surface, as we see on the shroud? Nothing like. Blood, people seem to forget, starts at the scalp, and oozes its way through. If Jesus’s hair was matted with blood, it did not transfer to the shroud at all. Curious. Some people have suggested that the blood came from the sides of the face when the cloth was wrapped around the head (but nothing was transferred from the hair), and then the shroud was realigned to receive the image of the hair. If it is hair, and not a packing of spices.

4) There have been quite convoluted attempts to distinguish between bloodflows that occurred during crucifixion and dried, bloodflows from wounds reopening as the body was taken down, and bloodflows from wounds reopening as the body was laid in the shroud. Also between wet, dry and re-wetted blood, and even venous and arterial. They are not based on the colour or appearance of the blood, but entirely on its position on the shroud, taking it for granted that the flows must be genuine and attempting to explain the inconsistencies. Nothing wrong with that, but the premise is not proved thereby.

5) The flogging marks. These are very neat and tidy, as if the body had been washed clean, and then new exudates had seeped from the wounds onto the cloth. But if it wasn’t washed (see above for ‘crucifixion’ flows), then where is all the mess?

6) The serum. The bloodstains are certainly not surrounded by neat rings of serum under UV light. One prong of the wrist stain has a kind of halo, the spear wound has a rim, and there is an interesting pattern on the big foot stain. Much of the blood is completely without serum.

7) The Oviedo cloth, to be sure, is not inconsistent with a seriously injured head. In fact it is so heavily marked it is not inconsistent with almost any assembly of serious head wounds. To claim it is a perfect match of blood and fluid stains is wholly unjustified.

I could go on, but these will be enough, I hope, to encourage people who might otherwise have swallowed Jones’s article whole at least to go back to a photo of the shroud (not that absurdly miscaptioned image which graces Jones’s posting) and see for themselves whether these inconsistencies don’t need answering.

Max Patrick Hamon responds:

Hugh, why don’t you tell (late) Prs Bucklin, Baima-Bollone, Zugibe and Cameron are very poor forensic medical examiners when it comes to the Shroud image? Don’t you mistake Jones’ most awkward review of the blood stain issue and the true forensic science behind most of it.

Hugh writes back:

While I wouldn’t dream of telling your famous quartet of forensic pathologists their business, I note that they have studiously refrained from telling me mine. Either they have not addressed the issues I have raised, or they have disagreed with each other in their explanations. The question of pre- and post-mortem bloodflows, whether the body was washed or not, the position of the hand wound, the cause of death – on no single one of these are all four scientists agreed. They are scientists, and I’ve no doubt would all attribute their varied conclusions to the fact that they were working from a photograph of a sheet rather than a dead body, but varied their conclusions are, for all that. My inconsistencies remain unexplained.

And in response to a series of comments in another thread, Hugh writes:

A pool of blood at the small of the back seems so natural and convincing that it would argue quite strongly for authenticity if in fact it existed at all, which it doesn’t. There is no pooling of blood in the small of the back. I would recommend that people actually look at the shroud, but alas, even when they do people tend to see what they expect rather than what is there. If the body, with side wound reopened and dripping with lots of blood, was laid gently, being held by a couple of people maybe under the arms and knees, on a flat sheet, would two neat little rivulets of blood trickle across the sheet from one side to the other, and then immediately dry so as not to get smudged? Or would the twin trickles flow from the chest wound across the back of the body itself, not dripping onto the sheet at all, and then dry so perfectly that they didn’t smudge at all when it was laid on the sheet? Or did the trickles of blood cleverly make their way across the body along the top of the arch of the back (warped by rigor mortis), in defiance of gravity, so that by not touching the cloth they didn’t get smudged? In which case how did they arrive on the cloth?

So: Matthias. Well done for at least trying to envisage what might have occurred, but your experiment appears to have demonstrated the likelihood of something that is not represented on the shroud.

And Ron: Who has “concluded” that the trickles occurred after the body was placed on the shroud, and upon what evidence? A ‘conclusion,’ after all implies some sort of decision making process rather than an instant impression.

And other readers: Check again. There is no pool of blood in the small of the back, is there?

Matthias demurs:

Hugh – I’d like you to explain why you think there is no blood on the small of the back. To my eyes at least there is a thin horizontal trail that looks to be of similar colour to the other alleged blood stains on the shroud. If the other similar coloured stains are indeed blood (I’m assuming they are) then I can’t see why the trail on the small of the back might not be blood. Then to the left and right of this thin trail are bigger stains.
Rather than Ron’s conclusion that this blood comes from the side wound, I think its highly likely that the stains to the right and left of the small back trail have come from the underside of the forearms. If you mimic the shroud figure’s pose like I did you will naturally see that blood would flow down the from the wrists on the underside of the forearms and collect around the hip area, possibly then trailing off across the small of the back.

Hugh – I’d be interested in your thoughts and why do you conclude that this isn’t blood? Is this because you think the other apparent blood stains on the shroud are not in fact blood either? Or do you think the other stains are blood but these ones aren’t????

Again I don’t understand why a forger would / could have gone to this level of detail.

And . . .

Credit and Thanks: I tip my hat. The picture shown above is from ShroudScope. It was extracted by Colin Berry who also made useful and informed adjustments to the contrast and brightness of the extraction.

Categories: Blood Studies, Other Blogs

History Remembered: The First International Conference on the Deliverance of Jesus Christ from the Cross

October 12, 2011 Comments off

Zia H. Shah, today, in The Muslim Times blog reports on some history from 1978, the year of STURP:

imageHeld at the Commonwealth Institute
Kensington High Street, Kensington, London

On June 2nd through 4th, 1978

The First International Conference on the Deliverance of Jesus Christ from the Cross attracted more than 1,500 researchers from all over the world. This Conference was organized by The Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, UK and was attended by Ahmadis, Christians, Buddhists and members of other faiths. The conference was addressed by the Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, Hadhrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih III (Huzoor).

In May 1977, I read in the papers that throughout the year 1978 various Christian organizations would research the ‘Shroud’ and in this regard very many seminars would be held. The Holy Shroud is a sacred garment in which Jesus Christ was wrapped after he had been taken off the cross. This sacred shroud is safely lodged in a church in Turin in Italy. It seems significant that, when it was photographed for the first time in the middle of the 19th century, someone noticed that the hands and feet had been injured and blood stains from his ribs were visible. According to the belief of the Ahmadis,this is an image of Jesus Christ. The dripping, trickling or oozing of the blood on the cloth is clear proof that when Jesus Christ was wrapped in the Shroud, his heart was still pumping and he was alive. Obviously, blood does not drip, trickle or ooze from a dead body. This is a very wide subject and very many books have been written on it.

On perusal of the reports of the Shroud in the newspapers and as the year 1978 was chosen for research I wrote to Huzoor and suggested that perhaps advantage could be taken of this happening and may the British Jamaat be permitted to hold an International Conference on the subject of: ‘The Deliverance of Jesus from the Cross’. I requested that Huzoor should also participate in the conference. Huzoor liked the proposal and granted permission for the Conference to be held and he promised to personally participate in it. He also sanctioned the necessary expenditure to be incurred in this connection. For further consultations, I was asked to visit Rabwah for a week. Accordingly, I reported at Rabwah in 1977 and in the presence of Wakeel ul Tabshir Huzoor gave me detailed instructions. He approved the proposed programme for the conference.

The statement, “Obviously, blood does not drip, trickle or ooze from a dead body,” is simply incorrect. Just the opposite is true. Fred Zugibe and other medical examiners completely disagree with the contention that there is no post-mortem blood flow. There is just less because the heart is no longer pumping. Blood does flow out of corpses due to gravity, pressure on soft tissue, and body movement.

This is old news, of course, now being repeated in The Muslim Times. Here is some information from a wikispace page maintained by some members of the Shroud Science Group (SSG):

This discussion started, when around 1950 a person called Hans Naber started to proclaim the message that Jesus did not die on the cross . . . . He reasoned this firstly by a direct message of Jesus Christ and secondly by the fact that there was too much blood on the Turin shroud and corpses do not bleed, at least not so much. Read here the whole story (in German).

Naber was very active, published several books by himself, but he was heavily battled against and has even been sentenced for fraud (2 years jail), but the German press and the church authorities simply ignored him. In 1969 the Turin Cardinal Pellegrino summoned a commission of experts, unnoticed by the public, to examine Nabers hypothesis, with the result that Naber was wrong and the man under the shroud was truly dead.

But the idea was born and others, like Holger Kersten (“Jesus lived in India”, sold in more that 1 million copies – German 1983, English 1987, “The Jesus Conspiracy” 1992/1995 or Rodney Hoare (“The Turin shroud is genuine”, 1984/94), Gerhard Kuhnke (Rom und das Grabtuch, 2004) and Helmut Felzmann (“Müssen Christen anders glauben”, 2005) continued in this paradigm.

Others like the forensic scientist Frederick Zugibe insist that the man under the shroud (Jesus) of course was dead (“The crucifixion of Jesus – A forensic inquiry”, 2005).

Source: The First International Conference on the Deliverance of Jesus Christ from the Cross

Categories: History, News & Views

Is the Shroud of Turin a Fake?

October 16, 2009 2 comments

Russ Breault writes:

There have been numerous attempts to replicate the Shroud. Another one was announced recently by an Italian scientist presenting at a paranormal conference. It appears to be just the latest version of many such attempts and was funded by the Italian Association of Atheists and Agnostics.

As of this writing all the details of their image are not yet available. According to press reports, they took a volunteer, covered him in red ochre pigment along with a mild acid solution. The body was wrapped. After leaving an imprint from the ochre it was heated to simulate aging and then washed to remove the pigment. The result is an image that looks Shroud-like. The claim is that by using materials available during the Middle Ages, it proves the Shroud is a medieval fake. Is that the case?

One of the things proven by numerous tests is that pigment is not responsible for the image. We won’t know what they have really achieved until they make samples available to be analyzed under a microscope. The problem with all such attempts that use reverse engineering to re-create a Shroud-like image is that it is not a credible argument. We can make an artificial diamond that looks real, but it is still not an authentic diamond. Making something that looks like the Shroud does not prove it is a medieval fraud.

The qualifying criteria are very specific. The image must be so superficial that it penetrates only the top two microfibers, about the depth of a single bacterium. There can be no coloration beyond the crowns of the fibers and no image on the side of the fibers or under the fibers. For this we need a microscope to validate. The image must demonstrate to be an accurate negative image and also possess accurate distance information where parts of the body still reveal an image even though not in direct contact with the cloth of distances up to 4 cm. However this is only half the problem. There are two sets of images: body image and blood image.

Interestingly, there is no image under the blood meaning that the order of events is blood first followed by image. This is the correct sequence if authentic but nearly impossible for an artist. As such, according to the article, they added blood after the image was already created. That fact alone invalidates their claim.

Another interesting fact is that the blood on the Shroud is not painted blood. They didn’t just go out and kill a goat and paint the blood on the cloth. The blood chemistry is very specific. It is blood from actual wounds. We do not see whole blood, we see blood clot exudates, blood that oozed out of the wound. There are very few red blood cells because they appear to be on the body forming the clot. We see blood components such as bile, bilirubin, heme, serum but not whole blood. Some blood flowed before death but most after death. The side wound and the blood that puddled across the small of the back are post-mortem blood flows…blood that flowed after death and show a clear separation of blood and serum. Even the scourge marks on the back reveal a distinctive halo effect under UV light, where the blood contracted leaving a ring of clear blood serum. There is also evidence of gravity, that these wounds were inflicted while the body was upright. The blood also has a high bilirubin content which would have been released into the blood under conditions of severe stress. Bilirubin has a bright red color which also explains why much of the blood on the Shroud still has a reddish tint instead of turning black which generally occurs with old blood.

There is more evidence on the part of forensic specialists and coroners that indicate a body was in the Shroud and the body died from the wounds that stain the cloth. How the image got there is anyone’s guess but one thing is for sure, the blood was on the cloth before the image. This one fact alone negates this recent claim of successfully faking the Shroud image.

Russ Breault is a lecturer and researcher on the Shroud of Turin. He has participated in numerous international conferences and is President of the Shroud of Turin Education Project, inc. He conducts multi-media presentations at colleges, univeristies and churches across the country including Auburn, West Point and Duke. He has addressed the American Chemical Society and has appeared in numerous national documentaries.

Is the Shroud of Turin a Fake?

Stephen Jones’ Take on the Garlaschelli Fake

October 11, 2009 2 comments

stevej01 Stephen Jones at The Shroud of Turin blog has offered us a compelling analysis of the dust up over the latest attempt to reproduce the Shroud of Turin and try to argue from that effort that the Shroud is a fake. This latest attempt is by Luigi Garlaschelli, a Researcher in Organic Chemistry, University of Pavia, Italy for a presentation to the Fifth World Skeptics Congress, 2004, Italy.

Italian scientist says he has reproduced the Shroud of Turin

Italian scientist reproduces Shroud of Turin, Reuters, Mon Oct 5, 2009 … ROME (Reuters) – An Italian scientist says he has

[Above: The face of the Shroud (L) compared with Garlaschelli’s shroud’s image (R): Reuters]

reproduced the Shroud of Turin, a feat that he says proves definitively that the linen some Christians revere as Jesus Christ’s burial cloth is a medieval fake. It is now over 20 years since a report in Nature, the world’s most prestigious scientific journal, declared that radiocarbon dating provided "conclusive evidence" that the Shroud was "mediaeval":

"The results of radiocarbon measurements at Arizona, Oxford and Zurich yield a calibrated calendar age range .. for the linen of the Shroud of Turin of AD 1260 – 1390 … These results therefore provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval." (Damon, 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, 337, p.614. My emphasis).

That there is still a need to "prove… definitively" that the Shroud is a medieval fake, is tacit acknowledgment by Shroud sceptics (i.e. true believers in the Shroud’s inauthenticity) that none of their previous `proofs’ of the Shroud being a fake hold water. And as we shall see, neither does this latest claim that the Shroud is a medieval fake hold water either.

The shroud, measuring 14 feet, 4 inches by 3 feet, 7 inches bears the image, eerily reversed like a photographic negative, of a crucified man some believers say is Christ. This is one of the tests that those who claim they have reproduced the Shroud must meet: it must be "reversed like a photographic negative." It is not enough to produce an image that is only superficially like the Shroud. It must be exactly like the Shroud in its uniquely important details – down to the microscopic level. I here predict that if this claimed reproduction of the Shroud is submitted for microscopic analysis, it will be shown to be unlike the Shroud, and therefore itself just a fake copy of the Shroud original.

But there is no need to even do that. There is a major difference between Garlaschelli’s description of how he made his shroud’s image (see below) and the image on the Shroud of Turin, that totally disqualifies Garlaschelli’s shroud from being a faithful and credible reproduction of the Shroud of Turin.

"We have shown that is possible to reproduce something which has the same characteristics as the Shroud," Luigi Garlaschelli,

[Left: Luigi Garlaschelli, Researcher in Organic Chemistry, University of Pavia, Italy: Fifth World Skeptics Congress, 2004, Italy]

who is due to illustrate the results at a conference on the para-normal this weekend in northern Italy, said on Monday. Note that Garlaschelli only claims vaguely that his alleged reproduction "has the same characteristics as the Shroud." Why doesn’t he say, "has the exact same characteristics as the Shroud"? Because he knows it doesn’t!

A professor of organic chemistry at the University of Pavia, Garlaschelli made available to Reuters the paper he will deliver and the accompanying comparative photographs. Superficially Garlaschelli’s photographs look very convincing. It may even be that he has produced the best reproduction of the Shroud yet. If it is, and it fails to withstand microscopic analysis (as I predict it will-if it is ever submitted for such testing, which I predict it won’t), that will be more evidence that the Shroud cannot be reproduced and therefore is the very burial sheet of Jesus, bearing the image of His crucified and resurrected body!

The Shroud of Turin shows the back and front of a bearded man with long hair, his arms crossed on his chest, while the entire cloth is marked by what appears to be rivulets of blood from wounds in the wrists, feet and side. The don’t just appear to be blood, they are blood!:

"Adler was asked how he could answer McCrone’s claim that there was no blood, but merely a mixture of red ocher and vermilion. Adler flashed on the screen the following table from our paper. Table 5 Tests confirming the presence of whole blood on the Shroud 1. High iron in blood areas by X-ray fluorescence 2. Indicative reflection spectra 3. Indicative microspectrophotometric transmission spectra 4. Chemical generation of characteristic porphyrin fluorescence 5. Positive hemochromogen tests 6. Positive cyanomethemoglobin tests 7. Positive detection of bile pigments 8. Positive demonstration of protein 9. Positive indication of albumin 10. Protease tests, leaving no residue 11. Positive immunological test for human albumin 12. Microscopic appearance as compared with appropriate controls 13. Forensic judgment of the appearance of the various wound and blood marks Then, after explaining each item briefly, Al said, `That means that the red stuff on the Shroud is emphatically, and without any reservation, nothing else but B-L-O-O-D!’" (Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," pp.215-216. Italics original).

Carbon dating tests by laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Tucson, Arizona in 1988 caused a sensation by dating it from between 1260 and 1390. That dating has to be wrong. For one thing (and there are many) the

[Right (click to enlarge): The Hungarian Pray Manuscript and the Poker Holes: Daniel R. Porter]

Hungarian Pray manuscript (or codex) is dated 1192-95, or 65-68 years before 1260 the earliest possible radio- carbon date of the Shroud, yet it is obviously depicting the Shroud with its: 1. naked Jesus (otherwise unknown in the 12th century); 2. having his arms crossed in front; 3. hands with no thumbs; about

[Left: Burn holes on the Shroud of Turin depicted on the Pray codex of 1192-95: Daniel R. Porter]

to be covered by a shroud with 4. the same herringbone weave pattern; and 5. (the clincher) the same unique pattern of burn holes that are on the Shroud of Turin!

Sceptics said it was a hoax, possibly made to attract the profitable medieval pilgrimage business. If the "sceptics" were truly sceptical (and not just true believers in the Shroud’s inauthenticity) they would realise that it would take far less than the Shroud to make money in the gullible 14th century:

"Also is it not rather incredible that this unknown individual should have gone to so much trouble and effort to deceive in an age in which, as twentieth-century journalists have reminded us, a large proportion of the populace would have been very easily duped by a feather of the Archangel Gabriel or a phial of the last breath of St Joseph?" (Wilson, 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud," pp.58-60).

But scientists have thus far been at a loss to explain how the image was left on the cloth. Yes! But given that:

"The Shroud of Turin is now the most intensively studied artifact in the history of the world. Somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 scientific man-hours have been spent on it, with the best analytical tools available." (Heller, 1983, Ibid., p.219. My emphasis).

how can it be that "scientists have thus far been at a loss to explain how the image was left on the cloth"? How could an unknown medieval forger create only one work such that the advanced science of the 20-21st century has been "at a loss to explain how the image was left on the cloth"? That alone is proof (if one thinks about it) that no medieval (or any time) forger created the image on the Shroud.

Garlaschelli reproduced the full-sized shroud using materials and techniques that were available in the middle ages. That materials were available in the middle ages does not mean that someone then could have reproduced the Shroud. For starters it was not known the Shroud was a photographic negative until the end of the 19th century:

"The modern history of the Shroud might be said to have begun on May 8, 1898, when Secondo Pia was permitted to photograph the Shroud for the first time while it was being exhibited at the Cathedral in Turin. Pia was flabbergasted to find that his glass-plate photographic negative was turning out in the developing bath to show, in fact, a photographic positive image. The Shroud itself had somehow been stained in such a way that the body imprint on the cloth was a negative. This feature alone would seem to rule out the claim that the Shroud is an ancient or medieval forgery. What artist, centuries before, would have fabricated details that could only be discerned with the help of a nineteenth-century invention? And the photographic process, subsequently confirmed by the photographs taken by G. Enrie in 1931, brought out a wealth of hitherto concealed details." (Sullivan, B.M., 2005, "Reading the Shroud of Turin: How in fact was Jesus Christ laid in his tomb?," National Review, July 20, 1973, Reprinted March 24, 2005).

They placed a linen sheet flat over a volunteer and then rubbed it with a pigment containing traces of acid. Note the "rubbed it." That means the pigment and acid marks on Garlaschelli’s shroud’s image would have, like all known works of human art, directionality. But the Shroud of Turin has no directionality:

"Still further, the shroud image is nondirectional. Now if one is going to put paint on a cloth, one moves the hand from side to side. When one gets tired, one often starts moving the hand up and down. But even if one only moves from side to side all of the time, that is directionality. One cannot generally apply paint without directionality. If one uses a spray gun it still involves directionality. But there is no directionality on the shroud image." (Habermas, 1987, "Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?," p.119).

A mask was used for the face. … The pigment was then artificially

[Above: The front body of the Shroud (L) compared with Garlaschelli’s image (R): Reuters]

aged by heating the cloth in an oven and washing it, a process which removed it from the surface but left a fuzzy, half-tone image similar to that on the Shroud. He believes the pigment on the original Shroud faded naturally over the centuries. Note again "similar to" not "identical to"! And Garlaschelli’s "the pigment on the original Shroud faded" is a tacit admission by him that there is no pigment on the Shroud of Turin:

"We do not have to know how somebody could have painted it, but science is adept at finding paint when it is present. But first, if the scientists have come up with one major conclusion, it is that the shroud is not a known fake. There is no paint, dye, powder, or other foreign substance on the image fibrils that could account for the image. Microchemical analyses revealed no paints or pigments … A 1982 report from a team of scientists, released at a New London, Connecticut, meeting, states that, `No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found in the fibrils.’ [Press Release, The Shroud of Turin Research Project, 8 October 1981] So again, we could falsify the shroud if there was paint. But they have not found any … The shroud image does not appear to be painted at all." (Habermas, 1987, "Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?," p.119).

but there is pigment on his shroud. After all, what is Garlaschelli’s "fuzzy, half-tone image" if it is not a residue of the "pigment containing traces of acid" that he applied and then mostly washed off his shroud?

They then added blood stains, burn holes, scorches and water stains to achieve the final effect. Here is a major difference between Garlaschelli’s shroud and the Shroud of Turin. Garlaschelli "added blood stains" to his shroud after the image was created, but the blood on the Shroud of Turin is before its image, i.e. there is no image under its bloodstains (which fits the Shroud being Jesus’ and its image being imprinted by His resurrection):

"Our hypothetical artist obviously must have used blood – both pre-mortem and post-mortem. And he had to paint with serum albumin alongside the edges of the scourge marks. Since serum albumin is visible only under ultraviolet, not white light, he had to paint with an invisible medium. If an artist had painted the Shroud, the blood must have been put on after the images. We decided to check that point. We took some blood- and serum-covered fibrils from a body image area. If the images were there before the blood, and if we removed the blood, we could expect to see straw-yellow image fibers. We prepared a mixture of enzymes that digest blood and its proteins. When all the blood and protein were gone, the underlying fibrils were not straw-yellow; they were ordinary background fibrils. This was strong evidence that the blood had gone on before the images. It suggested that blood had protected the linen from the image-making process. Surely this was a weird way to paint a picture." (Heller, 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," pp.202-203).

Shroud experts Dr John Jackson and Dr. Keith Propp also made this criticism of Garlaschelli’s method, that on the Shroud of Turin, "the blood was on it first, then the body image came second" and "the blood contacted the shroud before the body":

"CNA spoke with Dr. John Jackson who runs the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado and is a physics lecturer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Jackson led a team of 30 researchers in 1978 who determined that the shroud was not painted, dyed or stained. He explained to CNA that based off the Reuters report as well as photos of Garlaschelli’s shroud on the internet, it appeared that it doesn’t exactly match the Shroud of Turin. Dr. Jackson first questioned the technique used by Garlaschelli’s team, taking issue with the method of adding blood after aging the cloth. Jackson explained that he has conducted `two independent observations that argue that the blood features on the shroud’ show `that the blood was on it first, then the body image came second.’ Dr. Keith Propp, a physicist who is also a colleague of Jackson’s, told CNA that while Garlaschelli’s shroud `does create an image that could’ve been done in medieval times,’ there are a many things that `are not consistent with what the actual shroud shows us.’ For example, he continued, we know that the blood contacted the shroud before the body `because there’s no image beneath the shroud.’ He added that this image pattern would be difficult to duplicate `because it would ruin the blood stains.’ " ("Experts question scientist’s claim of reproducing Shroud of Turin," Catholic News Agency, October 6, 2009).

Shroud photographer Barry Schwortz also noticed this major discrepancy (amongst others):

"It has been demonstrated scientifically that the bloodstains on the Shroud came from direct contact with a body and are all forensically accurate. It has also been shown that the bloodstains were on the Shroud BEFORE the image was formed since the blood and serum acted to inhibit the image formation mechanism. There is NO image under the blood and serum stains on the Shroud. However, to make this new `reproduction,’ the `blood’ was added (using a different pigment) AFTER the image was created. Obviously, it is much easier to add the blood to the image than to first create the blood stains and then create the forensically accurate image around them, which is exactly what a medieval forger would have had to do to duplicate the actual physical properties of the Shroud! Many of the bloodstains on the Shroud show a surrounding halo of serum stains that are ONLY visible with UV fluorescence photography. Also, the blood has been chemically analyzed and determined to include components of actual blood, NOT pigment."("Science by Press Release? An Editorial Response by Barrie Schwortz,", 7 October 2009. Emphasis original).


Excellent. Read the entire posting at The Shroud of Turin blog.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Latest from Italy

October 7, 2009 Comments off

We should not be surprised that someone again has shown how a similar-looking, shroud-like image might be made. Prof Garlaschelli of the Italian Committee for Checking Claims on the Paranormal. It is the buzz all over the Internet. Here is one version:

Holy find Shrouded in doubt
New York Post Tue, 06 Oct 2009 03:42 AM PDT
ROME — An Italian scientist says he has reproduced the Shroud of Turin, a feat he claims proves definitively that the linen some Christians revere as Jesus Christ’s burial cloth is a medieval fake. The shroud bears the image, eerily reversed like…

Whoa. It isn’t even close. Here is a story from the Catholic News Agency (CNA):

Colorado Springs, Colo., Oct 6, 2009 / 09:27 pm (CNA).- An Italian scientist is claiming to have re-created the burial cloth believed to have covered the crucified body of Jesus, called the Shroud of Turin.  However, CNA spoke with experts who maintain that there are still several major differences between the new shroud and the ancient one.

According to Reuters, Luigi Garlaschelli, an organic chemistry professor at the University of Pavia announced that he and his team “have shown it is possible to reproduce something which has the same characteristics as the Shroud.”  The scientist plans to present his findings at a conference on the paranormal this weekend in Italy.

The Shroud of Turin is considered by many to bear an image of the face of Jesus Christ. Made of herring bone linen, the shroud is nearly four feet by 14 feet and bears faint brown discolorations forming the negative image of a crucified man.

The shroud’s positive image, revealed by modern photography, shows the outline of a bearded man.  While skeptics contend that the shroud is a medieval forgery, scientists have been unable to explain how the image appeared on the cloth.

Garlaschelli and his team, who were funded by an Italian association of atheists and agnostics, created their image by placing the linen over a volunteer before rubbing it with a pigment called ochre with traces of acid.

The linen was then “aged” by heating it in an oven and washing it with water.  Reuters reports that the team then added blood stains, burn holes and water stains to finalize their product.

CNA spoke with Dr. John Jackson who runs the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado and is a physics lecturer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.  Jackson led a team of 30 researchers in 1978 who determined that the shroud was not painted, dyed or stained.  He explained to CNA that that based off the Reuters report as well as photos of Garlaschelli’s shroud on the internet, it appeared that it doesn’t exactly match the Shroud of Turin.

Dr. Jackson first questioned the technique used by Garlaschelli’s team, taking issue with the method of adding blood after aging the cloth.  Jackson explained that he has conducted “two independent observations that argue that the blood features on the shroud” show “that the blood was on it first, then the body image came second.”

Dr. Keith Propp, a physicist who is also a colleague of Jackson’s, told CNA that while Garlaschelli’s shroud “does create an image that could’ve been done in medieval times,” there are a many things that “are not consistent with what the actual shroud shows us.”

For example, he continued, we know that the blood contacted the shroud before the body “because there’s no image beneath the shroud.”  He added that this image pattern would be difficult to duplicate “because it would ruin the blood stains.”

Another area concern for the scientists is the three dimensionality of the shroud. 

Propp explained that while Garlaschelli’s cloth does have some aspects of light and dark to create a three-dimensional perspective, “it’s nowhere near as sophisticated as the shroud” and that “it misses out on the accuracy and subtleties that are in the actual image.”

Dr. Jackson from the Turin Shroud Center also touched on the same point, saying, “The shroud’s image intensity varies with” the distances in between the cloth and the body.  While he admitted that the images of Garlaschelli’s shroud on the internet look authentic, when taken from a 3-D perspective, “it’s really rather grotesque.”

“The hands are embedded into the body and the legs have unnatural looking lumps and bumps,” he explained.

Jackson noted that he or his colleagues would be open to testing the Garlaschelli shroud or any other “idea about the shroud relative to the scientific characteristics that have been documented in respect to the shroud,” however to do so they would need “more detailed information about what was specifically done.”

Garlachelli’s technique has also received criticism from other experts.  One scientist from the Shroud Science Group, a private forum of about 100 scientists, historians and researchers provided CNA with some of the critiques made in the forum.

One English-speaking expert explained that the blood used on the Shroud of Turin is not whole blood.  “They didn’t just go out and kill a goat and paint the blood on the cloth.  The blood chemistry is very specific,” he said explaining that the blood is from “actual wounds.”

He added that most of the blood on the shroud flowed after death. “The side wound and the blood that puddles across the small of the back are post-mortem blood flows,” he said, adding that blood flowing after death “shows a clear separation of blood and serum.”

Propp added, “In some ways, it comes out better than most others I’ve seen before.  Still there are too many things – the shroud is more than just the image.”

Jackson also pointed out that Garlaschelli’s findings have yet to be peer reviewed.  What scientists need “to do is present their work for publication before their peers.”  

He explained that any person can conduct his or her own research, but it doesn’t matter whether or not the author believes his or her hypothesis was proven. In the end, what the scientific community decides “upon seeing and reviewing the work” is what counts, he said.

Pope Benedict has announced that the Shroud will be open for public viewing in 2010 and that he is planning to visit the image at some point during its exposition.

The Catholic Church has not taken an official position on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin.

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