Archive for the ‘St Louis 2014’ Category

Remembering Ray Rogers at the St. Louis Conference

December 10, 2014 16 comments

imageYou are going to want to read Remembering Ray Rogers by Barrie Schwortz. This is a short presentation. You can read all of  the PowerPoint charts in less than five minutes.

Barrie begins:

In the past few years, I have sadly witnessed a growing number of personal attacks impugning the integrity, character and credentials of the late Raymond N. Rogers, STURP chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratory. Although his research on the Shroud is empirically honest, is published in highly regarded peer-reviewed journals and speaks for itself, I believe it is time that the public get some background about the “other” Ray Rogers that he never revealed to the “Shroud crowd” himself. That is the primary purpose of this short presentation.

Barrie rounds out his talk with:

Ray would have welcomed the many critiques of his research that have been published in the ensuing years and would have defended the rights of those who disagreed with him to say so publicly, whether they were right or wrong.

In the end however, Ray was much more than the “mid-level scientist” that some of his most vocal critics have labeled him. He was a true leader that consistently demonstrated his knowledge, honesty and scientific integrity, not only in his chosen field of expertise, but in every facet of his research on the Shroud of Turin.

Anyone who says otherwise is simply wrong.

Thank you!

A quick note:  There is a link in one of Barrie’s charts to the NATAS (North American Thermal Analysis Society) Notes for their 2005 conference with an article by Jim McCarty. This link does not work but it did work until recently. You can still find the document in Google Cache. If you want it get it soon and put it away wherever you put your personal archives. The link to the cached copy is:

The article on Ray Rogers is on page 16 of NATAS Notes.

Yannick Clément on Paul Maloney’s St. Louis paper

December 8, 2014 10 comments

. . . the idea of a man-made forgery became completely obsolete . . .

One person who read Paul Maloney’s St. Louis paper was Yannick Clément (pictured with his guitar in photo supplied by him). What he wrote in an email to me is the reason I moved discussion of Paul’s paper up in the queue. But it also meant I had to delay sharing Yannick’s email until I read the paper. You should read Paul’s paper first. Then read Yannick’s additions, for that is what he offers us here:

imageIn the very long paper written by Paul Maloney entitled « Joseph M. Gambescia, M.D. and the Position of the Feet on the Shroud of Turin. The History of an Investigation. », which he presented at the recent St Louis conference, there is a very interesting list of what he called « Shroud’s anomalies » that represent, as he say, real problems for the painting hypothesis. This list can be found in pages 80 and 81 of his paper.

First, I want to say that I agree with Mr. Maloney that everyone of these « anomalies » are truly problematic for the painting hypothesis (except the second and fifth ones, for which I have serious doubts). But I think this list can be extended and I also think that such an extended list of « anomalies » must be seen as being good enough to discard not only the painting hypothesis for image formation but every hypothesis involving a forgery that would have been done with anything else than a real beaten, scourged and crucified corpse!

I’ll let you judge for yourself… Here’s the « anomalies » I would add to the list of « Shroud’s anomalies » described by Mr. Maloney in his paper:

1- The presence of serum stains surrounding most of the bloodstains and the kind of transfer that is responsible for these blood and serum stains (i.e. a transfer done from exudates of moistened blood clots instead of liquid blood) is enough to discard any idea of a forger who would have artificially created bloodstains on the cloth as a reminder of the bloody stigmata of Christ. Here’s what Alan Adler said about this issue in his book The Orphaned Manuscript: "We have shown by immunological tests that the blood is definitely primate blood, and that it must have been taken from the exudate of a clot at a certain point in the clotting process. An artist would therefore have needed the exudate from the wounds of a severely tortured man, or baboon, and he would need to take the substance within a 20-minute period after the clotting had begun, and paint it on the cloth with the serum edges and all the other forensic precision that we see there. I believe most reasonable people would conclude that it is simply impossible that an artist could have produced the blood imprints on the Shroud of Turin. Rather, it is logical to conclude, from the nature and characteristics of the bloodstains on the Shroud, that the cloth once enfolded the body of a severely beaten and crucified human being."

2- The fact that there are some missing parts in the body image (in the frontal as well as in dorsal image) is totally inconsistent with the idea of a forger that would have artificially crafted these body images in order to create a false relic of Jesus’ burial shroud with body images that would eventually been showed publicly to the faithful. Here’s some of these missing body parts: A) The thumb of the left hand is missing in the frontal image. B) Good portions of the feet are missing in both images (frontal and dorsal). C) The back of the knees are missing in the dorsal image.

3- Except for maybe one or two exceptions, Byzantine and Medieval artists have always depicted scenes of the Passion of Christ with some kind of cloth covering the groin, pelvic and buttocks areas, while on the Shroud, the image is showing a man completely nude.

4- The body image on the Shroud strongly support the hypothesis that the Shroud man had to carry only the patibulum of the cross instead of the entire cross, which is contrary to the vast majority of the artistic depiction of the bearing of the cross by Byzantine or Medieval artists.

5- The minute traces of aragonite dirt that have been found by the STURP team in a few « relevant » places like the heel or the nose for example are truly inconsistent with the idea of a forger using some kind of artistic or artificial technique to craft a false relic of Christ, because such traces of dirt (just like the serum stains surrounding most of the bloodstains by the way) would not have been visible for most faithful who would have look at the Shroud. On the contrary, these minute traces of aragonite dirt are consistent with the idea that the Shroud man would have walked barefoot on the way to his crucifixion.

6- Outside the image of the feet on the dorsal image, there is a clear mirror (or doubled) bloodstain that really seems to have been produced when the cloth was folded in that region. The idea that a forger would have wanted to artificially created such a mirror (or doubled) bloodstain in that particular region goes beyond any rationality, while such a strange feature truly have an « authenticity » signature.

7- The Shroud is a non-homogeneous cloth made of two distinct parts that came from the same original long piece of linen cloth. Such a cutting and later stitching is inconsistent with the idea of a forger who would have wanted to create a perfect relic of Jesus’ burial cloth that would have eventually been showed publicly to the faithful. On the contrary, this very odd feature truly have an « authenticity » signature.

That’s the 7 additional « Shroud’s anomalies » I wanted to add to Mr. Maloney’s list and I think that they are very relevant. In my mind, some of them, like the first one for example, are even more relevant than the ones he pointed out and especially the second and fifth anomalies he described, which are far from being proven. I think that once you take into account all the « anomalies » I described + those described by Mr. Maloney (even if we decide to left aside the second and fifth ones), the idea of a man-made forgery became completely obsolete and you don’t have too much choice to conclude that the blood and serum stains as well as the body image that we see on the Shroud MUST have been left there by some form of (probably natural) interaction between a real bloody and traumatized body and the cloth…

Of course, as I underlined in my paper entitled « Concerning the question of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin – Please don’t forget the evidence of the bloodstains, such a conclusion doesn’t completely discard the idea of a « natural » forgery done with the use of a real crucified body or the idea of the Shroud being the burial cloth of an anonymous crucified man other than Jesus, but it certainly lead to completely discard any scenario involving a forgery done with the use of some artistic or artificial technique… And this is true not only for the blood and serum stains, but also for the body image.

And when you understand that this is a real burial cloth that enveloped for only a short period of time a real crucified body showing all the bloody wounds of Jesus (as reported in the Gospels) and that such a gruesome burial cloth had been taken out of a tomb in order to be well-preserved (which is something that would have been considered a legal impurity for a Jew in the time of Jesus, not because of the bloodstains on the cloth, but because this cloth had been in contact with a dead body and which can explain, at least partially, why there are no traces of such an important Christian relic in ancient sources), it became obvious that the answer must be positive with a very high level of confidence (which I estimated quite ironically in the same way than the dating results of the C14 labs in 88, i.e. positive with 95% confidence). Effectively, after having analyzed the two possible scenarios that do not involve the body of Jesus of Nazareth (i.e. the scenarios #1 and 2 in my paper about the bloodstains evidence), I came to understand that those two were highly improbable and, honestly, I consider both of them to be very far-fetched (which explain the high level of confidence I just expressed in favor of the authenticity of the Shroud as being the real burial cloth of Jesus).

Yannick Clément, Louiseville, Québec, Canada

Paul Maloney’s St. Louis Paper (The Shroud is not a painting)

December 8, 2014 1 comment

This list, then, and the complexity it represents, itself becomes a powerful argument
against the position that the Shroud was a painting.
No artist ever painted such a complex depiction of the Crucified.

imageMUST READ:  You are not going to be able to read this in twenty minutes. You can’t even skim it that quickly. This 81-and=then-some page paper, Joseph M. Gambescia, M.D. and the Position of the Feet on the Shroud of Turin. The History of an Investigation  by Paul C. Maloney is too important and two informative to to not be read carefully including the endnotes. Here is a sampling:

Page 4:

It was a dreary, rainy afternoon, April 7, 1980. I should have had the light on in my study but I didn’t because I was in a melancholy mood. Then the phone rang. I recognized that baritone voice on the other end of the line and knew I was talking to Hershel Shanks, founder and editor of the world’s largest circulating biblical archaeology magazine, The Biblical Archaeology Review, calling from Washington, D.C.

Hershel wanted me to write an article on the Shroud for the magazine. “But, Hershel, I don’t know anything about the Shroud of Turin!”

Page 9:

It is important here to insert here that Dr. Gambescia was not rejecting the work of the French physician, Dr. Pierre Barbet; he was actually building upon Barbet’s work. Neither was Dr. Gambescia rejecting the special interpretation of the arms and their attendant blood flows proposed by the late Mons. Giulio Ricci. His proposal, however, does suggest an interpretation different from that proposed for the blood flows for the feet than that offered by Mons. Giulio Ricci. It is this new interpretation that we are introducing for further research by the medical profession to be discussed alongside the earlier discussions for the feet. . . .

Pages 80 and 81:

A List of the Shroud’s Anomalies: Problems with the Painting Hypothesis

Finally, if it is argued that an artist did paint the original Shroud—as this view has most forcefully been argued by the late Dr. Walter C. McCrone in so many of his publications—the Shroud now becomes most unique. We may therefore conclude this paper with a convenient list of anomalies, as they would become if a singular artist painted the original:

1. Artists down through the ages have presented the Crucified wearing a crown of thorns. The Shroud shows the Man of the Shroud with a “cap” of thorns.

2. Artists have always depicted the Man of the Shroud with no rope holding the torso against the stipes of the Cross. The Shroud appears to support the view that a rope pulled the torso back to hold it against the upright (stipes) of the cross.

3. Artists have traditionally rendered the Crucified with nails through the palms of the hands. The Shroud shows them to be through the wrists.

4. Artists have long painted the Crucified showing the arms in a “Y” type of stance. But Mons. Giulio Ricci, who studied this in detail, shows that the right arm was likely bent at a right angle, whereas the left was in the “Y” position.

5. Artists have followed several different paths in rendering the feet. Sometimes they show the feet (especially in crucifixes) with the right foot up against the stipes of the cross, and the left nailed atop the right—all with one nail. At other times they have depicted the left against the stipes with the right atop the left foot—again, all with one nail. And sometimes the two feet are nailed side-by-side on a slanted platform (suppedaneum). This latter view is common in Eastern Byzantine, Greek, and Russian Orthodox crucifixes. Gambescia’s view would require two nails, one going through front of the ankle of the right foot to anchor it directly to the stipes, with the left foot nailed atop the center of the right using a single nail leaving the left foot free to swivel.

This list, then, and the complexity it represents, itself becomes a powerful argument against the position that the Shroud was a painting. No artist ever painted such a complex depiction of the Crucified. Yet, students of the history of art—interested especially in cladistics—can now actually see the Shroud as the beginning of a “tree of descent” where one can study just how the many painted views of the Crucified diverged over the centuries, influenced by various translations of the New Testament in conjunction with markings on the Shroud itself and the heavy pressure of tradition in numerous different geographical locales. But that would be the subject of another paper.

Taking comfort in significant endnotes:

Nevertheless, my request to Dr. Adler was precisely because of my concern regarding pareidolia. In my case, I wanted to be absolutely certain that the features discussed in this paper could be seen easily by the human eye. This problem is well illustrated in Ray Rogers review of Mark Antonacci’s book, Resurrection of the Shroud wherein he states:

With regard to other images on the Shroud, few of us can see them. "I think I can see" is not a substitute for an observation, and observations must be confirmed. When Fr. Francis Filas (deceased) claimed he saw the coins, lituus and all, he was looking at specific photographic prints. He had many prints produced at increasing contrast. Finally, all that was left was strings of dots. It took a numismatist who was familiar with ancient Roman coins weeks to "see" the lituus in those photographs. Your mind tries to make sense out of any "patterns" your eye can see. Psychologists have a lot of effort invested in studying such phenomena… It is dangerous to build a scientific theory on such shaky foundations. Your mind tends to see what it expects and/or wants to see. (Rogers’ review, p. 15, available at:

The ever present danger of pareidolia and other related issues covered in this extensive endnote (including such problems associated with photo-lithography in the publication process; photo flipflopping [see 13.a below]; cropping, [see 13.a below] etc.) promoted my extreme caution when I asked of Dr. Adler this special favor to examine the Shroud in person in June 1997 to verify whether or not the markings that had been digitally enhanced were there and could be seen without digital enhancement. This footnote, then, not only covers pareidolia, but also other problems that are not technically defined as pareidolia.

St. Louis Theology Presentation by Russ Breault

December 6, 2014 3 comments

Revised St. Louis Conference Videos

December 3, 2014 3 comments

imageClick on the button with the picture of The Arch
to access to the list of videos

Russ Breault writes:

The videos from the St. Louis Conference have all been re-edited for sound.  All the original YouTube videos with bad audio have been deleted.  All new links have been created.  You can watch them either from or from Barrie’s conference page at:

Also, all previous videos from the 2008 Ohio State University, 1993 Rome and 1991 St. Louis conferences have all been converted to Youtube as well.  So for anyone who had problems streaming these before, you should not have any problems now.  Go to to see all the conferences. 

The "News" tab on this site now links to Dan Porter’s blog.

Watch for more content in the weeks ahead.  I will announce when available.

The Neutron Conference

December 2, 2014 5 comments

imageBarrie Schwortz writes in A Personal Report on the 2014 St. Louis Conference:

So was it a great conference or only a good one? We do have the 2008 Columbus Conference (the last one held in America) to compare to, and there were some problems with this conference that did not occur in 2008. Probably the single biggest complaint by the attendees was the extremely full schedule each day, with 20 papers delivered on Friday and 17 on Saturday. This left virtually no time between presentations for any discussions or questions from the other attendees. In Ohio in 2008, fewer papers were presented and consequently, a Q & A session was scheduled once or twice during each day of the conference. In St. Louis, only one such session was scheduled for the entire event, on Saturday evening, and it did not begin until about 9:00 p.m. Considering that the presentations started that morning at 8:00 a.m. and only one hour each was allocated for lunch and dinner, the audience had already spent about 10 hours in the room that day before the Discussion Session even began! In spite of all that, thanks to the true dedication of the attendees, it was still one of the highlights of the entire conference.

In all fairness, I was not on the organizing committee that reviewed and selected the papers and not party to their decisions, but I am sure they simply wanted to include as many of the papers submitted to them as possible. Unfortunately, that made for some frustrating moments and a rather tiring event, but one that was certainly well worth the effort. To help mitigate the lack of discussion issue and address some of the criticisms that came afterwards, the organizers promptly added an interactive Discussion Forum page to their website where questions or comments could be posted and discussed with conference authors. Under the circumstances, I believe that was an excellent solution.

Neutron conference? Yep!

I was trying to wake up during breakfast on Sunday morning after only five hours of sleep, when I overheard the following remark from a nearby table: “I am suffering from an overdose of neutron radiation!” I actually laughed out loud and immediately wrote it down so I could remember it and share it here with you! This was obviously a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the large number of radiation related papers that had been presented at the conference over the previous two days. I thought it was a brilliant remark (or at least it seemed brilliant at 7:30 a.m.)!

Neutron conference?  Yep, squared!

[There was] a presentation on another radiation theory of image formation from Robert Rucker, in this case, claiming neutron radiation released from Jesus’ body during the Resurrection created the image. Naturally, this was well received by some in the audience, but not by everyone.

It was a bit too neutrony for my taste. But do read Barrie’s Personal Report on the Conference. There was much more to the conference.

Paper Chase: The origin of Rogers’ Raes and C14 samples by Thibault Heimburger

December 1, 2014 5 comments

In view of the suggestion yesterday in a paper by Giorgio Bracaglia that The Raes samples that Rogers used had been switched it seems like a good time to examine the St. Louis presentation by Thibault Heimburger, The origin of Rogers’ Raes and C14 samples along with his PowerPoint Presentation.

Here is a chart that addresses that very point:


Here is the concluding PP chart from Thibault’s talk:


*The paper at HSG has been locked up with a password. Apparently and unfortunately, it was not supposed to have been released.

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