Email of the day: Addressed to Yannick (& Barrie)

Paulette writes:

imageBut Yannick, dear scholarly friend, you know perfectly well that Colin Berry has addressed the bloodstain issue. Medieval monks used medieval Magic Markers (felt pens) from the firm of Leeches & More, Ltd. They waited 217 years after scorching the image with a hot brass statue produced by the Barbizon School of Post-Napoleonic Forensic Realism. The monks waited until Whizzo Scorch Remover was invented in order to fool future scientists into thinking there was no image beneath the bloodstains.  Of course most of the bloodstains were added by Barrie Schwortz and are copyrighted.

Seriously, Yannick, you make a very important point, and I agree.

Paulette was responding to this message from Yannick.

There’s a message I want to give to all the persons who could be tempted to believe the Shroud of Turin represent one form or another of clever artistic forgery. Reading Matt’s comment yesterday made me realized that there’s one MAJOR SCIENTIFIC TRUTH that I should have emphasized in my paper concerning the authenticity of the Shroud, but that I did not (or not enough). Here is this truth that is SO OFTEN FORGOTTEN : In order to explain the Shroud, one MUST take account of all the known and accepted data about the relic, AND THAT INCLUDE THE BLOOD AND SERUM STAINS PRESENT ON THE CLOTH !!!

Too often I see people proposing all sorts of artistic techniques to explain the body image but, AT THE SAME TIME, these people don’t offer any rational explanation whatsoever concerning the blood and serum stains !!! From a scientific point of view, this kind of acting represents a total lack of credibility and professionalism. In fact, this is purely unscientific to act like that… I’m sorry but the Shroud IS NOT just a body image !!! People tend to always forget that essential FACT. It is ALSO, AT THE SAME TIME, a blood and serum stained cloth !!! You can’t proposed an explanation that would only account for the body image without even considering the blood and serum stains… But unfortunately, almost all the skeptics out there do exactly what I just describe !!! I thought I made it clear enough in pages 9 and 10 of the English version of my paper, but I realized that it’s probably not the case.

So, I repeat it to make sure that anyone who’ll read this will remember it until the end of his life : Any image formation proposition SHOULD, AT THE SAME TIME, be able to explain rationally the blood and serum stains that are present on the cloth as well as the body image !!! It is scientifically forgiven to make a proposition for just one of these 2 main aspects of the Shroud of Turin ! You simply cannot separate one from the other. Both are linked together. In other words, every person who tries to explain the Shroud, SHOULD come up with a global explanation that would account rationally for EVERY ASPECTS of the cloth, including the blood and serum stains and not just the body image.

And please, don’t come talking to me about the “fact” that the blood and serum on the cloth don’t really come from a real tortured and crucified man, because this conclusion is one, if not the most solid that exist concerning this relic !!! And this aspect of the Shroud is well enough to understand that this cloth is a real burial shroud of someone who bled a great deal prior to his death (and even after death). In these conditions, I think that we should completely forget every proposal based on any kind of artistic technique and concentrate the debate on the 4 possible scenarios I proposed in pages 6, 7 and 8 of my paper. If we can do this, I firmly believe that the Shroud authenticity debate would gain much credibility and valor ! Why constantly losing our precious time in sterile debate about some kind of artistic forgery, while these options were set aside long ago. The STURP team drove the last nail in that coffin at the beginning of the 80s and even before, thanks to the work of Barbet and Vignon, among others, these options were already judged inadequate regarding the real nature of the Shroud (that include the blood and serum stains and not only the body image) !!!

And to be even more punchy, I leave the place to William Meacham ! Here’s what he wrote in page 47 of his book The Rape of the Turin Shroud : “These conclusions (note: Meacham talk about the FACT that the Shroud is not some artistic forgery and, on the contrary, that it is an authentic burial shroud of someone who was tortured and crucified) should now be considered WELL-DOCUMENTED ARCHAEOLOGICAL JUDGEMENTS, approaching the level of certainty if normal standards are applied, ESPECIALLY SINCE THEY AGREE EXACTLY WITH THE EVIDENCE FROM MEDICAL STUDIES.”

Once you realize that the Shroud is a real burial cloth of someone who suffered the same tortures than Jesus of Nazareth, as reported by the Gospels, there’s not too much options that is left on the table. In fact, I truly believe that there is just four and none of them involved some kind of artistic technique, even if one still involve a forger (see my recent paper, pages 6 to 8) !!!

It would be nice if this eternal debate about the authenticity of the relic could focus ONLY on these 4 options and disregard completely all the rest, especially those involving an artistic technique. If we really want to find the TRUTH (and not just our little truth), I don’t think we should lose one minute searching in a direction that was set aside by science long ago…

To conclude, I would like to give you a very clever quote from John Heller and Alan Adler that we can find in page 50 of Meacham’s book and that fits perfectly with my comment : “The multidisciplinary nature of these publications (note : they talk here about all the STURP papers), ranging from mathematics, physics and chemistry through biology and medicine, is part of the complex Shroud problem and MUST BE CONSIDERED IN ITS ENTIRETY FOR AN EVALUATION OF THE EVIDENCE.”

I think they could have add “and for an evaluation of any hypothesis of image formation.” !!! Meditate on that folks !!!

The value of blogs is being able to clarify. Thanks, Yannick. And thanks for the laugh, Paulette.

Sometimes, just sometimes, Colin Berry talks sense. But. But. But.

imageBy way of a comment, Matt wrote:

Do you know what? Sometimes, just sometimes, Colin Berry talks sense. Then he comes up with some ridiculous theories and thoughts that destroy any credibility he might have claimed.

His latest nonsense concerns the 1516 Lire copy. He presents an argument along the following lines. The Lire copy shows minimal blood stains, only discrete ones on the palms of both hands and the side wound. He presents an argument that essentially the blood stains were added to the shroud over time, and the Lire copy showing discrete wounds consistent with the Bible was an early stage in the progressive re-interpretation of the shroud to incrementally show more blood wounds. He even throws up his bizarre Lirey Badge theory again, arguing because we can’t see blood wounds on what amounts to a tiny metal crafted badge that there was no blood on the shroud in the 1300s. This is nonsense, because the scale is too small to reasonably show bloods wound, although it does show the blood across the bottom of the back of Jesus, which Berry inventively (I’ll always give him points for creating novel theories, even if they are nonsense) calls a chain.

Mr (sic Dr. is correct) Berry needs to get himself to a decent university library and educate himself in art history. There are at least two examples of epitaphios from 1200, and the 1300s respectively, that show Jesus with body wide wounds and flagrum marks (I might add very consistent with the positioning of marks on the Shroud, one of these even shows a wound on the wrist on the top hand, and none on the other), being laid out on a herringbone weave shroud. These provide very compelling evidence that the Shroud was in existence AT LEAST as early as 1200 (personally I believe the shroud goes back to the time of Christ, but for now let’s just deal with the middle ages)

In my opinion, an explanation for the differences in the Lirey copy from the shroud that is FAR more likely is that the Lirey copy’s differences are due to the artist wanting to show the hand wounds in accordance with conventional artistic depiction. Similarly representations of Jesus through the 1500s / 1600s were typically non-gory, hence the very limited and discrete depictions of key (in the sense of the Gospel accounts) bloody wounds. As I have stated here before, there is a limited period in German art from about the late 1300s to the late 1400s that shows Christ’s body heavily wounded, and one or two other curious examples, such as the epitaphios I mention above. Otherwise minimal and discrete wounds are the norm.

And then, in another comment, he adds:

Indeed other copies demonstrate “reinterpretation” of the shroud to suit their audience. For example, most copies show Jesus wearing a loin cloth, to protect His modesty. Obviously, His image on the shroud does not include a loin cloth.

Carlos (corneliotel) then adds (in Spanish with a Bing Translation):

A Colin Berry le sobra SAGACIDAD……pero le falta CONOCIMIENTO.

En 1534 el Papa Clemente VII ordenó al cardenal Luis de Gorrevod que verificara el estado de la Sábana Santa tras el incendio de 4-XII-1532.

La verificación se celebró el 15-IV-1534. Se abrió la caja-relicario que contenía la Sábana ( desde el incendio NO se había abierto al parecer por temor de que se hubiera destruído), se extendió sobre una mesa y 12 testigos que conocían bien la Sábana Santa, la habían tocado y mostrado al público antes del incendio, testificaron que era la misma Sábana que ellos conocían con anterioridad al incendio.

Y esa Sábana anterior al incendio de 1532 ( la copia de Lier es de 1516) ya MOSTRABA las manchas de sangre que nosotros conocemos.

Existe un precioso documento escrito por la Abadesa del convento de las clarisas de Chambéry, Louise de Vargin en que se relatan los hechos de la reparación de la Sábana y su descripción e incluso la interpretación de lo observado. Las monjas clarisas estuvieron en contacto permanente con la Sábana durante 15 días, si bien sólo 4 monjas podían tocar y remendar la Sábana ( entre ellas Louise de Vargin).

Este documento demuestra 2 cosas:

1.- La enorme IMPORTANCIA que tenía la Sábana Santa como RELIQUIA para la Iglesia Católica.

2.- La presencia de las MANCHAS de sangre en los sitios en que hoy las conocemos.

El precioso y extenso documento escrito por la madre Abadesa Louise de Vargin :


Colin Berry [ ? ? ? ] lacks knowledge.

In 1534 the Pope Clement VII ordered the Gorrevod Luis Cardinal that verify the State of the sheet Santa after the fire of 1532-XII-4.

The check was held 15-IV-1534. Opened the caja-relicario containing the Savannah (from the fire not had opened apparently fearing that had destroyed), spread on a table and 12 witnesses who knew well the shroud, it had played and shown to the public before the fire, testified that it was the same sheet they knew prior to the fire.

And this sheet before the 1532 fire (the copy of Lier is 1516) as showed the blood stains that we know.

There is a precious document written by the Abbess of the convent of the Poor Clares of Chambéry, Louise Vargin that relate the facts of the repair of the savanna and its description and even the interpretation of what was observed. The poor Clare nuns were in permanent contact with the Savannah for 15 days, while only 4 nuns could touch and mending the Savannah (including Vargin Louise).

This document shows 2 things:

1. The enormous importance that had the shroud as a relic for the Catholic Church.

2. The presence of the blood STAINS in the places in which today we know them.

The beautiful and extensive document written by the mother Abbess Vargin Louise:

Yannick Delights with Another Great Paper

imageYannick Clément writes (oh, what the heck, the whole letter, postscript and all. Do read it, postscript and all, and read the paper in your choice of language):

Hello Dan !

Since I know that you follow closely all that is written on your great blog, I’m sure you’re aware that I was working on a complete article based upon my recent open letter published on your blog some months ago. Because of the good reactions I get at that moment, and also because I noticed that the very good website of Pete Schumacher ( had published a link concerning this open letter, I thought it would be a very good thing if I could make a more complete work to really emphasize the fact that science have proven long ago, especially when we look closely at all the data coming from the bloodstains, that the Shroud COULD NOT be any form of artistic forgery.

So, now, after a very high amount of hours, the work is completed !!! I give you in an attach file the complete article (the English version) in PDF format. This time, the quality of the English is very good because I had the help of Andy Weiss, the webmaster of !!! I’m so glad that this article is in a very good shape concerning the English because I will have the opportunity to propose it for publication to all the known Shroud website on the internet. And the big news is this : have already publish it on their website !

Here’s the link for the English version

And here’s the link for the French version

And guess what ? In a near future, there will even be a Spanish version of the same paper on this website !!! Great don’t you think ???

That’s the main reason why I wrote you this email : Because I want to ask you kindly if you could just wrote a news about that and give those links for the English and French versions of my article… I’m 100% sure that you will help me to share this article (the best I’ve ever wrote about the Shroud) with the world !!! Thank you in advance for your very good support !!!

To conclude, I just want to say this : Have a nice reading of my paper and don’t be shy to comment it to me via an email and/or to comment it directly on your blog !!! I’m almost sure that you will really love it !!! And be sure that I did it with honesty and with passion !!! Now, I’ll wait for you to help me sharing this article with all the persons interested by the question of the authenticity of the Shroud !!!

Yan :-)

P.S. : In the news you can put on your blog about this article, it would be great if you, at least, can say that the main goal I had while writing this paper was, like I said in the beginning of this email, to emphasize the fact that science have proven long ago, especially when we look closely at all the data coming from the bloodstains, that the Shroud COULD NOT be any form of artistic forgery, but instead, it is a real burial cloth of a real tortured and crucified man who has bled a great deal prior to his death and who show all the stigmatas of Jesus of Nazareth during his Passion, as reported by the Gospels.

Yes, Blood on the Shroud Really Could Be Really Old

imageThibault Heimburger responds to "What is Colin thinking?" in Reality: Get Real Colin Berry

Here is the core of his thought : 

Personally I think it improbable that blood could survive relatively intact – ie. as a porphyrin-iron complex linked to a globin protein – for more than a century or two unless kept in very dry air (as is presently the case).  Alan Adler’s findings spoke of highly denatured, at least partially-chemically degraded rather anything remotely representing native blood.

Fungi and bacteria would gradually degrade the blood, the latter representing  a rich balanced source of nutrients. Even in “dry” rain-proof garages one can see  spots of black  or even pink mildew forming on one’s decorating cloths – there’s enough moisture in air to permit the growth of cellulase-secreting fungi – ones  that gradually break down tough cellulose fibres. Imagine how much easier it must be to effect biodegradation of proteins, sugars etc as exist in whole blood.

As he wrote proteins are much more fragile than porphyrins (heme).

But despite this fact, Collin apparently does not know that blood proteins on archaeological artifacts (mainly stone tools) are now widely studied using immunology.

Not only on centuries-old artifacts but on artifacts older than 10000 years BP.

Not only on clean artifacts "kept in very dry air" but found in contaminated soils

And more amazing is the fact that the researchers are able to provide species-specific signatures.

A good example among many others can be found here:

For a good synthesis (google books) : . . . [ edited and relinked with ]

At least, it means that the epitopes (parts of the proteins involved in the antigen-antibodies reactions) are still intact after thousands of years.

I will answer to some other claims of Collin regarding blood later. 

Excellent response.

Reality: Get Real Colin Berry

imageIn a Religion News Story (via the Huffington Post) Chris Lisee tells us that . . .

[Pictured: Arizona State University theoretical physicist Lawrence M.] Krauss says science isn’t trying to disprove God. Rather, data only have to offer an explanation for the universe that would make a divine creator redundant. When English physicist Peter Higgs proposed the Higgs boson in 1964, it helped codify an incomplete model of the universe. This model was shown accurate through experimentation culminating in July 4’s discovery.

Krauss said further experimentation will lead toward a "unified theory" of the universe that accounts for everything from quarks to galaxies.

"That’s the difference between science and religion," he said. "We don’t require the universe to be what we want — we force our beliefs to conform to the evidence of reality."

Others might say limit instead of force.  And then ask why and what. Then I think about the Shroud of Turin, which is such an extraordinarily different problem of “. . . conform[ing] to the evidence of reality."

And then I think about Colin Berry’s statement:

. . . Any real blood on the Shroud of Turin that still responds to tests for “blood”, e.g. porphyrins, albumins, physiological electrolytes (Na, K, Ca, Mg,P etc) is unlikely to be medieval blood, far less 1st century.

And I wonder if some scientists even know what reality is. Was the blood painted on recently? Is history part of reality? What is Colin thinking?

Oh, I know. It’s an “ad hom.” So sorry.

The One-Two Punch of the Year

imageColin Berry had written that, “Blood-grouping the Shroud of Turin [is] like trying to sort apples from oranges in the dark wearing boxing gloves.”

It was a useful image until Kelly Kearse responded:

As an avid fan of the sweet science [pugilism], I would point out that even in the dark it is really not that difficult to grasp a round piece of fruit while wearing gloves.  Once located, with a little practice you can clench it in between the thumb and the inside end of the mitt [I’ve done this personally with a water bottle many times, though with a least one eye open, I must admit].  You can always use two hands to trap it in between.  Then just lift it close to your nose and smell-or, take a bite…it’s not that easy to sort them out under such conditions, but certainly doable…

Why not carbon date the blood on the Shroud of Turin?

Colin Berry, in a posting entitled, “Blood-grouping the Shroud of Turin – like trying to sort apples from oranges in the dark wearing boxing gloves," writes:

You can do it one two ways, masterfully described recently by Kelly P. Kearse  (a self-styled “card-holding immunologist) with a gift for exposition on the Other Site. . . .

[ . . . ]

My own position at present (which could change in the light of new evidence) can be simply expressed. Any real blood on the Shroud of Turin that still responds to tests for “blood”, e.g. porphyrins, albumins, physiological electrolytes (Na, K, Ca, Mg,P etc) is unlikely to be medieval blood, far less 1st century. That’s not to say that real blood was not deposited on the Shroud at the time of its genesis by whatever mechanism, or whether that blood preceded the body image or not. Anything that tests as  intact non-degraded albumin, or still immunologically-competent “blood group AB”, assuming those tests are not ‘false positives’ (which they may well be) is probably of relatively recent addition.

The only thing that would convince me that blood stains, if real, support authenticity is radiocarbon dating.

Given there is still alleged blood on the Shroud that can, we are told, be detached as scrapings without damaging the linen, then why not test- date some blood immediately? Why were blood flakes not included in the original C-dating protocol anyway?