History Channel Shroud of Turin Special

Here is a story from Fox News. The first ever 2–hour special on the Shroud airs March 30, 9:00pm ET/PT on History and History HD.

And here is the link at Fox News if the above YouTube does not work on your browser. http://video.foxnews.com/v/4125694/the-real-face-of-jesus

The Platonist Doesn’t Get It

He wrote:

the whole point of a miracle, of course, is that it cannot be scientifically proven.  And every miracle which does get subjected to scientific observation (say, the shroud of Turin), of course proves to be something quite, dully, mundane.

Go read his blog. Yes, we certainly have different religious beliefs. But, go read his blog. Why study. Why not learn what you can. Obviously, he has not really studied the Shroud. I’m not suggesting that he accept its authenticity. I doubt he would. But the Shroud, even without the need for miraculous explanations, is anything but mundane. It has an intriguing history and a wealth of science behind it. To study it poses extraordinary questions without adequate answers, at least so far. There is nothing mundane about.

The overall posting is good. I agree with much of what he says. By definition the Shroud is not a miracle. There may be a miracle at play, but we don’t know that for certain. And that means it is not mundane. Read: Why the judiciary is the only, frighteningly flimsy, barrier between us and a return to the Dark Ages. « The Platonist

The Shroud of Turin on Namse’s Blog

Over at Namse’s Blog is a well written article on the Shroud. It concludes:

These findings are of great importance, not only because they shed light on the 150 year gap, but mainly because they suggest the existence of the shroud in a historical date before the one indicated by the carbon 14 test of 1988.

Full posting: THE SHROUD OF TURIN « Namse’s Blog

Rod Dreher, the Crunchy Con doesn’t let us down

image

Here, from his widely read column:

Er, not so much. News today is that archaelogists have found a burial cloth from the time of Jesus, and its weave is significantly different from that of the Shroud of Turin. Do a Google News search, and see that the headlines are all trumpeting that this discovery probably disproves the authenticity of the Turin cloth. Really? Might Jesus have been buried in a different kind of cloth? Was there only one style of burial shroud in first-century Jerusalem? If this is the first cloth of its kind yet discovered, how do they know what is normative for that time and place? (This is a point made by the National Geographic article to which I’ve linked.)

To be sure, my faith doesn’t stand or fall based on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, but I am fascinated by it. To me, the most interesting fact about it is that the image of the man is three dimensional, suggesting it could not have been painted on, but rather came from a burst of energy emanating from the body.

In other Shroud of Turin news, a Vatican researcher has claimed (rather grandly) to have discovered the "death certificate" of Jesus of Nazareth, written into the Shroud. Excerpt:

The letters, barely visible to the naked eye, were first spotted during an examination of the shroud in 1978, and others have since come to light.

Some scholars have suggested that the writing is from a reliquary attached to the cloth in medieval times. But Dr Frale said that the text could not have been written by a medieval Christian because it did not refer to Jesus as Christ but as "the Nazarene". This would have been "heretical" in the Middle Ages since it defined Jesus as "only a man" rather than the Son of God.

Like the image of the man himself the letters are in reverse and only make sense in negative photographs. Dr Frale told La Repubblica that under Jewish burial practices current at the time of Christ in a Roman colony such as Palestine, a body buried after a death sentence could only be returned to the family after a year in a common grave.

A death certificate was therefore glued to the burial shroud to identify it for later retrieval, and was usually stuck to the cloth around the face. This had apparently been done in the case of Jesus even though he was buried not in a common grave but in the tomb offered by Joseph of Arimathea.

Here’s a link to a photo of the Shroud on which researcher Barbara Frale has highlighted what she believes are the letters.

Shroud of Turin proved fake? Really? – Crunchy Con

New Shroud of Turin Claims | Center for Inquiry

image Benjamin Radford is Managing Editor for Skeptical Inquirer magazine. He had written a fairly astute posting. It shouldn’t be ignored. While I don’t agree with his assessment on the Shroud, he is not out thumping recklessly, as we see in other skeptical blogs. Good for him. Now I would, also recommend reading Nickell’s book, but carefully.

Too bad about the last paragraph. It goes both ways, Ben. Are you tipping us off to an upcoming edition, the “March/April 2010 issue of Skeptical Inquirer,” nicely timed for the exhibition in Turin next spring?

I’ve emphasized some text in bold. But Ben, you know very well that the carbon dating is severely challenged. You know that there is significant history before the 1300s. You know better, as a free thinker, than to use the lack of evidence is evidence argument just like the folks who promote ID.

An Italian scientist and his team claim to have replicated the Shroud of Turin, believed by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus. Luigi Garlaschelli, a professor of chemistry at the University of Pavia, used linen identical to that on the famous shroud, made an impression over a volunteer’s face and body, and artificially aged the cloth with heat. The result is a fabricated shroud that closely resembles the Shroud of Turin, made with materials and tools available at the time of the shroud’s origin.

I wrote a column on the topic for LiveScience.com, clarfiying some of the claims (for example, while Garlaschelli’s new research is interesting and important, it does not by itself prove the Shroud is a forgery) and adding context to them (for example, directing people to Joe Nickell’s research and books on the Turin Shroud). I also discussed the reasons to suspect the shroud is not authentic:

Just because the Shroud of Turin could have been faked doesn’t mean that it was faked. To cast real doubt on the cloth’s authenticity, there would have to be other reasons–some corroborative evidence–to think the shroud is a forgery. In fact, the shroud had previously been carbon dated not to the time of Christ but instead to the 14th century—perhaps not coincidentally about the time when the first record of the burial cloth appears. If the Turin Shroud really is the most important holy relic in history, it seems odd that no one knew of its existence for 1,300 years. There’s another very good reason to suspect that the Shroud of Turin is a fake: the forger admitted it. As Joe Nickell, author of "Relics of the Christ," noted, a document by "Bishop Pierre d’Arcis claimed that the shroud had been ‘cunningly painted,’ a fact ‘attested by the artist who painted it.’"

More on this can be found in the March/April 2010 issue of Skeptical Inquirer.  It often seems that the "Shroudies" are among the most fervent of believers, and for many of them there is no evidence that would convince them the shroud is not real. For as often as skeptics are accused of having closed minds, it is often the believers for whom no evidence will sway their convictions.

New Shroud of Turin Claims | Center for Inquiry

Ethan the Freethinking Historian’s Attempt to Debunk the Shroud is Wrong

Let’s correct Ethan the Freethinking Historian. We’ll do so in bold. 

On Episode 30 of Radio Freethinker . . . we talked about the Shroud of Turin and some recent scientific tests that disproved its authenticity. (We’ll hold off on this because Ethan contradicts himself, further on down).

But before we go any further let’s discuss what the Shroud of Turin is. The shroud is a 14 x 3 foot piece of cloth with the image of a man who appears to have been killed by crucifixion. Supposedly, this is Jesus Christ and supposedly it’s stained with his blood, although the Catholic Church does not officially recognize it as authentic.
.
. .

Since then the shroud has been subjected to carbon dating and now the recent scientific experiments by Luigi Garlaschelli. . . .

What Garlaschelli did was prove that with materials available in Medieval Europe, one could leave such an imprint on a piece of cloth. Not really, but read on.

Now this does not prove the shroud is a fake (emphasis mine, contradiction his, and I agree), it was already proved a fake when it was carbon dated several times in 1980’s. It was only dated once in 1988. One sample was divided between three labs. It has now been proved (if Ethan can use that word, so can I) that the sample was from a mended area of the cloth containing old and much newer thread. Moreover:

  • The combined evidence from chemical kinetics, analytical chemistry, cotton content, and pyrolysis/ms proves that the material from the radiocarbon area of the shroud is significantly different from that of the main cloth. The radiocarbon sample was thus not part of the original cloth and is invalid for determining the age of the shroud. – from Thermochimica Acta, an international science journal, “Studies on the Radiocarbon Sample from the Shroud of Turin” by Raymond Rogers, January 2005.

Rogers work has since been confirmed by numerous chemists, including John Brown at Georgia Tech and Bob Villarreal at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The shroud was estimated to be no older than 1260, which would put it right in the period of time of pilgrimage and charlatans creating holy relics and then making a profit off them. Now, it is understood to be no later than 700 CE and perhaps earlier. Moreover, history reliably traces it back to 544 CE and there is some evidence that points back to at least the third century.

The only “controversy” was that scientist weren’t sure how the image was transferred to the cloth, which led some to proclaim that it could only be a real miracle. Actually, most scientist who have actually studied the image on fibers and thread from the shroud, under a microscope, believe that the image was formed by some natural process, possibly an amino/carbonyl reaction. Did some proclaim a miracle. Sure. That is to be expected. But the implication is misleading, not very freethinking.

However Garlaschelli proves that it was indeed possible, they placed a sheet over a volunteer and then rubbed it with a pigment containing traces of acid. Then the cloth was artificially aged by heating it in an oven and washing it, this process removed the pigment from the surface but left a fuzzy, half-tone image similar to that on the Shroud. After that you just have add some burn marks or blood stains to get the final product.

Similar in appearance but not similar chemically, physically, optically. It proves nothing except that some arts and craft method can be used to make something that looks like the shroud.

If there is a lesson to be learned, don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers.

Ethan the Freethinking Historian’s blog: Debunking the Shroud

Stephen Jones’ Take on the Garlaschelli Fake

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," Shroud.com, 7 October 2009. Emphasis original).

 

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

PZ Myers and the Shroud of Turin

pzm_profile_picMyers, who once asked readers of his blog to pilfer a consecrated host from a Catholic Mass (he called it a God Damned Cracker) so he could desecrate it, which he (thought he) did by nailing to a Quran and throwing it in the trash with coffee grounds, now writes:

I get thrown the miracle of the shroud of Turin on a regular basis — just last week someone confronted me with it, basically saying "A-ha! Jesus existed because there’s an old scrap of cloth with a face on it!" It doesn’t matter that I point out that it’s been dated to the 13th century, and was nothing more than a profit-making ‘relic’ for churches that would also hawk Jesus’s foreskin and John the Baptist’s pinky bone. They’d usually retort that it was not humanly possible to make the shroud, so it had to be a religious miracle.

Now I’ve got more ammo. The Shroud of Turin has been recreated, using simple medieval technologies. No magic, just acidic pigments.

I know, it won’t stop the kooks, but it’s still useful to know.

More ammo?  Kooks?

Myers is a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris. He writes one of the most fascinating and most popular evolutionary science blogs on the Internet. But he strays. He is vehemently anti-religious. When he strays he demonstrates a profound lack of knowledge about religion, an unparalleled fundamentalist-atheism agenda, and a knack to surrender all scientific principals.

Suppose some professor in Italy had claimed to find proof that the Theory of Evolution was wrong. Would Myers salute the claim without thinking. Of course not. And he shouldn’t. But this is just what he did with the claim that the shroud had been reproduced. It wasn’t of course. That has already been demonstrated. But Myers accepts the claim without any qualification.

I doubt very much that someone actually said, “A-ha! Jesus existed because there’s an old scrap of cloth with a face on it!" The absurdity is obvious.

Myers is a good writer about biology. He should stick to what he know.

Italian Fake Not 3D Encoded like the Shroud of Turin

It was widely reported in the media that the Italian Fake exhibited the same 3D aspects as the Shroud of Turin. You decide. Hint, the Italian fake is on the left. Find the nose. Parts of both cheeks protrude higher than the nose. It is hard to see that here but it has been confirmed with grayscale density measurement.

Of course, it could not have the subtle grayscale, given the method with which it was made. And if you are familiar with height-fields as used in computer graphics, you quickly realize it can not produce anything like the shroud image.

ItalianFake

The press merely reported what Dr. Garlaschelli said without, it seems, taking a look.

These images are courtesy of Prof. Giulio Fanti at the University of Padua.

Why the Italian Fake Does Not Reproduce the Shroud of Turin

Petrus Soons, a very gifted shroud scholar, has commented on the the Italian Fake. It is thoughtfully presented and warrants full consideration. 

In the last few days, a story appeared in the mass media that an Italian professor of chemistry at the University of Pavia (Italy), reproduced the image on the Shroud of Turin using materials and methods that were available in the 14th century, concluding that the experiment proves the relic was man-made. Basically, he used a linen cloth in scale 1:1, that was baked at 215 degrees C for 3 hours and then put it in a washing machine with water only. Then they put a person dirtied with RED OCHRE (IRON OXIDE) on the linen and corrected by hand the colored image. A chalk bas relief was used for the face printing, liquid tempera simulated the blood and sulfuric acid at 1.2% in water added with Aluminium and Cobalt modified the linen surface. An artificial aging was the final treatment before the pigment was washed. The final goal was to show that it was possible to create a fake in the 14th century.

Now, there is nothing new to this. In 1979, Walter C. McCrone (1916-2002), an internationally recognized microscopist and the director of the famous McCrone Associates Research Laboratory in Chicago, reported that the Shroud image was due to the application of RED OCHRE, also known as Venetian red (an earth color) a red artist’s pigment, which is a red IRON OXIDE, so probably Prof Garlaschelli took over this idea from Walter C. McCrone.

This theory was already disproved by the scientific STURP team (and others in the years after that) that conducted the investigations in 1978 on the Shroud of Turin.

Their conclusions were:

  • 1) Adler reported that the " straw yellow color" of the body image fibers does not match the color of any of the known forms of ferric iron oxides.
  • 2) Moreover, Adler reports that there is no correspondence of the body-only images to the concentration of iron oxide since the spectral characteristics of the body-only image are different from those of iron oxide.
  • 3) The colors of the fibers, due to iron oxide, is also precluded by the fact that oxidation or reduction converts the yellow fibers of the body-only image to a white color.
  • 4) Only rare particles of iron oxide are noted on the body-only image fibrils.
  • 5) Large amounts of iron bound to the cellulose of the Shroud (not iron oxide) and Calcium were both present throughout the Shroud. This is believed to be due to the ability of linen to bind iron and water by ion association during the retting process (manufacturing process by which linen is immersed in water during fermentation). AN ESTIMATED 90 PERCENT of the iron and calcium exist in this form bound to the cellulose of the linen, AND ONLY A SMALL AMOUNT IS PRESENT AS IRON OXIDE.
  • 6) X-ray studies of the body-only image do not contain enough iron oxide to show up on the X-radiographs.
  • 7) All of the iron of the Shroud, whether from iron oxide particles or from blood, proved to be 99 percent chemically pure, with no discernable MANGANESE, NICKEL, or COBALT.

The earth pigment, RED OCHRE (Venetian red), from either medieval or older sources that were being used, was contaminated with manganese, nickel or cobalt GREATER THAN 1 PERCENT!!!

The STURP team employed microprobe Raman spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy, optical and infrared spectroscopy, micro FTIR spectroscopy, pyrolysis mass spectroscopy, X-ray and a variety of microchemical tests on the fibrils, and came to the conclusion that there was NO ochre or other pigments, dyes or stains on the fibrils of the Shroud.

Prof Garlaschelli told Republica he didn’t think his research would convince those who have faith in the Shroud’s authenticity. " They won’t give up," he said. Those who believe in it will continue to believe."

Well, the reason why serious scientists do not believe Prof Garlaschelli’s work has been explained.

Prof Garlaschelli explains the absence of any traces of iron oxide on the original Shroud by stating that the pigment on the original Shroud faded away naturally over the centuries. This is not a statement that you would expect from a serious scientist. The spectroscopic investigations being done in 1978 would even show the slightest traces of iron oxide present on the Shroud and it is a little bit "unscientific" to state that they disappeared "naturally."

Another little detail is the fact that on the original Shroud there is no image under the bloodstains, proving the fact that there were two image formation processes. Direct contact for the blood proper and another image formation process for the image itself. Prof Garlaschelli added the "blood" (liquid tempera) later on top of the image that he had created. Under Ultra Violet fluorescence photography (not known of course in the 14th century), the blood on the Shroud shows a serum separation, visible as a lighter ring around a darker center, which is typical of post mortem wound exudate. This is not visible with the naked eye. The proposed artist from the 14th century could of course not have known this fact, so he could not create it either.

Petrus Soons M.D.
Volcan
Panama

Arts and Crafts Is Not Science

This is from Barrie Schwortz’ Shroud of Turin Website:

Science by Press Release? An Editorial Response by Barrie Schwortz

I was away from my office and in Los Angeles yesterday when the story broke in the media that an Italian professor had "reproduced" the Shroud using techniques that were available in the 14th century. Although I didn’t have my computer with me, my mobile phone rang again and again with friends calling to read me the story, so I heard the news almost immediately.

Upon my return late last night, my mailbox was flooded with e-mail, my answering machine was nearly full of messages and more than 20,000 people had visited the website since Tuesday morning. I finally was able to read the story myself at around 1:00 am.

Normally, I don’t respond to this type of story, since the media rarely publishes the rebuttals anyway and the stories usually disappear by themselves after only a few days. In the end, giving it any attention at all usually only helps the author of the article and garners even more publicity for him because someone is publicly disagreeing with him. However, since so many viewers have written me, I decided to write this brief response in which I am expressing my own personal opinions on this topic. That is why I titled it an "Editorial" Response.

Frankly, knowing that the Shroud will go on public display again in around 6 months, I am not very surprised to see this type of story coming out, along with its resulting media coverage. This seems to happen every time the Shroud is about to go on public display. Yet whenever a serious scientific article about the Shroud is published in a peer reviewed journal, there is barely a ripple in the popular media. And now, once again, someone claims to have "reproduced" the Shroud, "proving" it is a medieval forgery. They made their claims via nothing more than a press release and got instant global media coverage. However, that is NOT the way science actually operates.

The author who made these claims states that he will make the details available "next week." In the real world of science, a researcher must perform his experiments, compile his data, draw his conclusions, write a formal paper and submit it to a scientific journal for peer review. The work is then examined by other experts, usually of the same discipline, before it is accepted for publication (or rejected). The data must provide a sound basis for the claims and be there from the beginning. Not "next week." And certainly not made public via a press release!

Sadly, in reviewing the article, it is apparent immediately that the author knows very little about the actual Shroud of Turin. He is not the first to suggest that the Shroud image was produced by red ochre pigment (iron oxide). In fact, he is at least the fourth to have proposed this theory in the last 30 years. Of course, this issue was anticipated by the STURP team in 1978 and a number of highly sensitive tests were performed that determined there was not enough iron oxide on the Shroud to be visible without a microscope. Iron oxide does not constitute the image on the Shroud. They also determined the image areas of the Shroud contain no more iron oxide than the non-image areas. It is more or less evenly distributed across the entire cloth.

Obviously, if the image were made in the manner detailed in the article, we would still find thousands of particles of iron oxide embedded into the image fibers of the linen and these would be clearly visible with just a good magnifying glass. Yet the microscopy done directly on the Shroud in 1978 revealed no such thing. These particles just don’t go away on their own. STURP’s instruments could detect parts per billion (a very small amount) of any substance on the Shroud and ALL known paints and pigments (including iron oxide) were excluded by the data. Interestingly, iron oxide is also a by-product of retting linen and the minute quantities found on the Shroud were pure and most likely the result of the retting process. The iron oxide used in red ochre pigment has many impurities and is rarely if ever found in its pure form.

I have stated on more than one occasion that making images on linen is relatively easy. However, making images on linen with the same chemical and physical properties as the Shroud is another story. Considering the massive amount of scientific data that now exists about the Shroud of Turin, anyone making claims such as these must submit their work for careful scrutiny and comparative analysis before drawing such dramatic conclusions. That has not been done in this case. Anyone making such claims must create an image with ALL the same chemical and physical properties as the Shroud, not just a few, if they wish to be taken seriously.

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.

A proper, detailed scientific response to this press release is now being drafted by the online Shroud Science Group and I hope to publish an in-depth article by true Shroud experts addressing these claims in the near future.

However, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the press release also stated the researcher "received funding for his work by an Italian association of atheists and agnostics but said it had no effect on his results." This is an interesting statement from someone representing a segment of the skeptical community that has frequently charged the STURP scientists with religious bias, implying that their data was somehow flawed because some of them happened to be Christians! Until such time that the data is made available so it can be properly examined and compared to the known data about the Shroud, I will not take these claims very seriously. And neither should you.

Barrie Schwortz
7 October 2009

The Latest from Italy

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.