Oh, To Be Reminded of 2002 Again

imageBarrie Schwortz offers us a final report on the 2015 Shroud of Turin Exposition titled The 2015 Exposition – A Personal Report by Barrie Schwortz. I found this paragraph particularly interesting:

I have noticed that since the 2002 restoration of the Shroud, the Turin authorities have had certain difficulties in adjusting the lighting to portray the Shroud in its natural color when on public display. That may be because a whiter sheet was sewn to the back of the Shroud during the 2002 intervention, thus lowering the apparent contrast of the image itself. I discussed this with Bruno Barberis while in Turin and he explained that this year, to help compensate for this lowered contrast, the organizers tested and calibrated the spectral characteristics of the lighting used to maximize visual contrast in the image. However, this required using a portion of the visible spectrum that in part neutralized the yellow color of the cloth itself, making it appear more grayish in tone. To help restore the warm color appearance of the Shroud, the organizers chose to surround the cloth with a blue frame. Any art or photography student knows that doing so makes the object within the frame appear warmer in tone. There is no doubt that the Turin authorities approached this carefully and thoughtfully and made the best compromise possible between contrast and color, so that viewing the Shroud was a truly positive experience for everyone.

Oh, to be reminded of 2002 again.

Barrie Schwortz on Catholic Radio Indy

We learn from Barrie Schwortz on the STERA Facebook page that (click on the image)…


Barrie Schwortz, Colin Berry and Some Good Reporting in Fort Wayne

"Now I can see this will be my legacy," Barrie Schwortz said. "And that’s a gift. I’ve been given a great blessing in doing this work."

And Colin Berry commenting on the newspaper’s website, said “It’s refreshing to see one of STURP’s old hands, so to speak, still expressing a degree of caution
re the authenticity of the Shroud.”

imageYesterday, Fort Wayne’s Pulitzer Prize-winning broadsheet daily, The News-Sentinel, carried an excellent article by Kevin Kilbane (pictured with a tie). One gets the sense, however, that there is more than just excellent reporting and writing going on here; Barrie Schwortz, the subject of the story (pictured with the hat) is a marvelous spokesman for the shroud. He is so for the most convinced among us and the most skeptical, as well.

When Pope Francis visited and prayed before the Shroud of Turin on June 21, many people who believe the Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ thought the pope would declare it to be authentic.

Barrie M. Schwortz, whose official photos documented the first modern scientific examination of the Shroud in 1978, thought Pope Francis would be more restrained in his comments, and he was right.

clip_image001What if later research determines the shroud doesn’t contain the image of a crucified Christ, Schwortz explained during a stop Thursday night in Fort Wayne.


Schwortz, who is Jewish, has believed since the mid-1990s that the Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus. Through his website and speaking appearances, he sees it as his role to share the Shroud’s story with all those who couldn’t be there with the 1978 research team.

"Now I can see this will be my legacy," he said. "And that’s a gift. I’ve been given a great blessing in doing this work."

imageIt was also good to see our friend and new hand shroud researcher Colin Berry (pictured with neither tie or hat) commenting on the newspaper’s website. Because comments on newspaper websites often drift away quickly, I am repeating it in its entirety, here:

It’s refreshing to see one of STURP’s old hands, so to speak, still expressing a degree of caution re the authenticity of the Shroud. Yes, there is still much to be learned. STURP barely scratched the surface as to what the image is (sticky tape samples being the less damaging alternative to ‘scratching’ the surface!) as distinct from telling us what is not (definitely NOT a painting, despite attempts by some, notably historian Charles Freeman, to resurrect that notion with arguments that simply fail to address or do justice to decades of scientific investigation).

However, this Shroud researcher (3.5 years of testing different models) must take issue with a term employed here and pretty well every where else in the media, namely the description of the linen as a BURIAL shroud. I invite writer Kevin Kilbane and readers to go back to the Gospels and read what is said about Joseph of Arimathea and his arrival at the CROSS, not tomb, with fine linen. There is no indication that the linen was intended for use as a burial shroud (Nicodemus providing the wherewithal). It was merely for discreet and dignified transport from cross to nearby tomb. Once that is appreciated, then it greatly reduces the number of models that need to be tested, especially those that see the Shroud as having captured by some mysterious ‘photographic’ process the instant of Resurrection. Instead, one can view the image as a contact imprint, left in blood and PERSPIRATION. One then asks whether the Shroud bears a 2000 year old contact imprint, the body image being highly aged yellowed sweat, or a medieval attempt to reproduce what a then 1300 year old sweat imprint (plus blood) might have looked like.

My own preference is for the second of those. The current preferred model is one where a human volunteer is ‘painted’ from head to toe in a paste of flour and water and then overlaid with linen, gently pressed around contours, to leave a contact imprint. The imprint is then developed chemically, maybe with nitric acid to turn the imprint from white to yellow, or even by simple pressing with a hot iron!

Being an imprint explains the negative image, and even those ‘mysterious’ 3D properties revealed by modern computer software.

Do read the whole article, Shroud of Turin study photographer believes new technology possibly could answer some questions

Set Your DVRs

imageThis Sunday at 3:30 AM and again at 2:00 PM, EWTN will be airing a documentary featuring Russ Breault, Barrie Schwortz, Mark Antonacci, and Art Lind. It was filmed in St. Louis by Salt River Productions.

The Holy Winding Sheet
Exploring the Shroud of Turin

imageWhen Parker Dow, a high school senior at a Catholic school in St. Louis, began his investigation into the Shroud of Turin as part of his senior thesis, he was surprised to find out most of his friends had never heard of this cloth that virtually all experts agree wrapped the crucified body of Jesus Christ.  This hour long documentary follows Parker for six months as he meets four of the world’s leading experts to learn firsthand about the Shroud and how they have come to believe it is the burial cloth of Jesus.  This fascinating documentary traces the Shroud’s journey from Jerusalem to Turin, explores the controversial 1988 carbon testing which dated the cloth to the Middle Ages, and with real human blood detected on the cloth shows how the image of the crucified man could not have been faked.  The Holy Winding Sheet – Exploring the Shroud of Turin is a contemporary look at a mystery 2,000 years in the making

Colin Berry is not Seeing Red

Berry: Where did the story of the too-red blood originate?  Answer: from Adler and Heller

imageYou may have noted a comment by Charles Freeman. 

Well, we just have to disagree on the reality of the human blood. I am an independent scholar, formerly a Senior Examiner of the International Baccalaureate;s critical thinking programme, Theory of Knowledge, and thus used to looking at evidence or asking those who know.

I had the Heller/Adler papers read by a professor emeritus of physiology who said that their claims that this was blood were totally unconvincing. I show the bloodstains to any forensic expert i can find and they all say they have never seen dried blood that red.

So I am not working on the understanding that this is blood.

Why can’t the STURP tests be replicated 37 years on? Have they lost the tapes???

Caption:  Robert Downey Jr. telling Charles Freeman that everything looks too red.

Will we ever learn the name of any of Charles’ many experts du jour. But that isn’t the point.  The point is that Charles is playing the blood-is-too-red card, perhaps too carelessly, something that Colin Berry in one of his overly long, topic-drift postings picked up on. In fact, Colin, is challenging the very notion that the blood is too red.

Let’s see some of what he has to say by clicking in and scrolling down until you spot Charles Freeman’s name for the fourth time:

Er, which photograph(s) of the TS show the blood as "too red"? How come after 3 years of looking at TS photographs, I have yet to see them?

It can’t be the 1931 Enrie photographs, since they are B/W. It can’t be the 2002 Durante pictures, at least those that appear on Mario Latendresse’s Shroud Scope, since the colour of the blood in those  pictures is scarcely distinguishable from the body image, the entire look being a dull plum.

Durante 2002 (from Shroud Scope): blood too red?

(The first thing I do with Shroud Scope pictures is put then into MS Office Picture Manager and adjust brightness/contrast/midtone from 0,0,0 to -7/100/15 in order to get the blood looking redder). So which photos are Charles Freeman showing to his buttonholed experts? Maybe those Halta pictures on the iPad app, recently described (aptly methinks) as mere toys?

Blood too red? …

Or maybe the BBC’s earlier release in 2008 of Halta pictures that do show a rosy hue in places where it’s not expected, but in prominent areas of body image, not blood especially.

Halta image from BBC site (2008). Some pink coloration – but it’s mainly in the beard and other body-image locations.

Finally, let’s not forget the Turin custodians’ own site with a selection of TS views, essentially the same it would appear as those on Shroud Scope.No, the bloodstains do not look too red. Indeed, they do not look red at all.

Where did the story of the too-red blood originate?  Answer: from Adler and Heller, who said in writing the blood was too red, the porphyrin spectrum was atypical, and thus was born the "trauma bilirubin/acid methemoglobin" claim, …

Barrie M.Schwortz has been responsible over the years for proselytising the "blood abnormally red" description, and his admiration for Alan Adler’s pro-authenticity narrative-friendly bilirubin explanation. …

Misleading impression of ‘redness’ created by high magnification/strong illumination? RGB reference standards for comparison? Might the colours also have been digitally adjusted in a manner that accentuated redness?

That still leaves unanswered the question as to which photograph Charles Freeman showed to his forensic experts or emeritus professor of physiology. I shan’t bother asking him directly. I’ve wasted too much time already – putting innumerable points and questions to someone who persistently displays a blissful indifference to the hard facts – and getting back nothing useful in return.

Remember the fun days?  Anyone remember Let’s Talk Red Blood: Bilirubin, Saponaria officinalis and UV?  All those other people believing the blood is too red.  Colin wasn’t questioning it then, was he?

Audio of Barrie Schwortz on Coast to Coast

Someone with the handle Conflict April has posted a YouTube of Barrie’s radio interview on Coast to Coast. The audio only YouTube runs just over two and half hours.

Enjoy. YouTube Link

Barrie Schwortz to Appear on Coast to CoastRadio

clip_image001Barrie Schwortz tells us on the STERA Facebook page:

I have been invited to appear as the opening guest on the Coast to Coast AM radio program with George Noory on Saturday night, April 4, 2015. The live program airs at 1am – 5am EST / 10pm – 2am PST. The details should be on the www.coasttocoastam.com website by tomorrow.

Is Bilirubin Still Accepted as an Explanation for the Red Blood?

I was just about to post a link to an interview with Barrie Schwortz by Jim Graves that appeared in yesterday’s edition of The Catholic World Report when an email from one of this blog’s readers caught my attention.

“I just read the interview with Barrie Schwortz,” the reader wrote. “I thought the bilirubin explanation for the red blood was no longer accepted by scientists.”

Some scientists, I think.

Part of one of Barrie’s answers in The Shroud: Not a Painting, Not a Scorch, Not a Photograph reads:

For 17 years I refused to accept that the Shroud was authentic. The last argument holding me back was related to the blood. The blood on the Shroud is reddish, but blood on a cloth, even after just a few hours, should turn brown or black. I had a conversation with Alan Adler, a blood chemist, on the phone and I shared my reservation. He got upset and asked, “Didn’t you read my paper?”

He had found a high content of bilirubin on the Shroud, which explains why the blood on the Shroud is red. When a man is beaten and has had no water, he can go into shock and the liver starts pumping out bilirubin. It makes the blood stay red forever. It was the last piece of the puzzle for me. I had nothing left to complain about. Sometimes I wonder why I hadn’t asked Alan Adler that question 17 years before, but I guess I wasn’t ready for the answer back then.

Although this was the final evidence that convinced me, it is no one particular piece of evidence that proves the Shroud is authentic. The entirety of evidence indicates that it is.

Ray Rogers and Anna Arnoldi, in a paper, Scientific Method Applied to the Shroud of Turin: A Review, published on Barrie’s site in 2002 argues:

The warp of ancient linen was protected with starch during weaving and the finished cloth was washed in Saponaria officinalis suds. Saponaria is hemolytic, which could explain why the old blood stains on the cloth are still red. Diane Soran (deceased) of Los Alamos, tested hemolysis on Saponaria-washed cloth before we went to Turin. The blood is still red on those 25-year-old samples. Controls are black.

And didn’t Sam Pellicori discover that fibers inside a blood soaked thread were brown while the fibers on the outside were red? If so, does this not lend credence to the idea that the blood remained red due to a hemolytic agent such as Saponaria officinalis (Soapwort) instead of bilirubin.  Small amounts of dissolved soap might have ended up on the outer surface of the threads due to evaporation concentration.  As the cloth dried, moisture wicked its way to the surface to evaporate into the air. As the water made its way to the surface it would have carried with it dissolved starch fractions and saccharides. As the water evaporated into the air these chemicals were deposited as a thin coating on the outermost fibers of the thread.

Here is a sample of some of the postings on this blog that relate:

Ten Questions for Alan Adler by Kelly Kearse

Blood Clotting and the Strange Case of Brother Hirudo

Let’s Talk Red Blood: Bilirubin, Saponaria officinalis and UV

The Orphaned Manuscript and the Color of Blood

Was Adler’s Analysis Science?

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

How much bilirubin?

Now we are cooking with Sciencebod

If you want to fill up your weekend try this Google search: site:shroudstory.com bilirubin. You can also enter “Bilirubin” into the blog search box.

Note: The photograph is of Barrie Schwortz (CNS photo/Paul Haring). It has not been copied or directly posted here. This is an inline image that appears on The Catholic World Report.

Barrie Schwortz: Not a Painting, Photograph, Scorch or Rubbing

clip_image001Today’s Windsor Star tells of an exhibit about the Shroud of Turin now going on in Windsor, Canada. During the course of the exhibit, Barrie Schwortz gave several lectures. Rick Dawes, in writing the news article, Replica Shroud of Turin draws thousands of curious Windsorites, quotes Barrie saying:

“I got to be in the room with this piece of cloth for five days and nights, hands on,” Schwortz said. “We are the only ones in its history to be given that (sort of) access to it.

“We were there to determine how the image was formed, we failed in that (but) we were able to determine what it was not … it was not a painting, it was a photograph, it was not a scorch, it’s not a rubbing … those are all the conventional ways.”

Divine or artistic impressions aside, few definitive conclusions can be made about the shroud’s origin but Schwortz said the discussion is timely for Catholics during the season of Lent, leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

“There are a lot of stories of what was done to Jesus (on Good Friday) but this cloth documents it with complete forensic accuracy and it bears an image that modern science still cannot explain,” Schwortz said.

Note: The above image is a thumbnail image of a photograph appearing in today’s Windsor Star

Barrie Schwortz on the CNN Shroud of Turin Program

“My first impression was that the program’s content was more superficial
than the image on the Shroud!”  — Barrie Schwortz

imageBarrie has joined the ranks of many who are reacting unfavorably to the first episode of Finding Jesus on CNN. He has posted A Brief Review of the Recent CNN Documentary and Further Comments on the Medieval Photograph Theory on the shroud.com website:

I personally hate to write reviews of television programs and usually leave them for others to do, but after weeks of media hype and the controversy created after this program aired, I felt compelled to write a brief review of CNN’s latest “docudrama” on the Shroud of Turin, which premiered Sunday, March 1, 2015, as the first episode in their six part “Finding Jesus” series….

On the experts:

It was also interesting to see who the producers considered to be Shroud “experts.” It was good to see a few familiar faces, like Dr. John Jackson and Mark Guscin, who both appear in the program and who are well known as credible Shroud scholars. (Although Russ Breault was originally interviewed for the program, his comments were not included in the final edited version). However, most of the other “experts” were unfamiliar to me and I could find no evidence that any of them ever actually studied the Shroud themselves. Unfortunately, that happens frequently in Shroud documentaries.

On the carbon dating of the shrouud:

Even more frustrating, when discussing the radiocarbon dating, absolutely no mention was made by anyone of the credible scientific data that exists indicating the single sample chosen for dating was anomalous and not necessarily representative of the entire Shroud. Although that theory is controversial and not accepted by everyone, it was in fact the first research to challenge the radiocarbon dating in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Simply ignoring it does a great disservice to those who dedicated themselves to doing credible scientific research on the Shroud and it certainly makes it more difficult for those who are not as well versed to understand what we truly know. Based on all the e-mails and calls I received, its absence was certainly obvious to most of the viewers of this website, since that was the question they asked me the most.

On the medieval photograph hypothesis:

But the most frustrating part of the program for me was the considerable time spent resurrecting the long ago discarded proto-photography theory presented by South African art historian Nicholas Allen, who claims the Shroud is a medieval photograph. In 2000, I presented a paper at the Sindone 2000 Shroud Conference in Orvieto, Italy, titled, “Is The Shroud of Turin a Medieval Photograph? A Critical Examination of the Theory” that addressed Allen’s conclusions directly and presented a side-by-side comparison of his results to the image on the Shroud (something Allen never did). I then pointed out the dramatic differences between the two images and you can see them for yourself at the above link.

In addition, Barrie has added a section to the Late Breaking News page for 2015. It reads:

Now that several days have passed and many people have had the opportunity to view the CNN documentary, it is time to look at some reviews of the program. In fact, I received so many letters and phone calls that rather than try and answer them all, I decided to write my own review of the documentary, which you will find linked below. In addition, I am providing a link to a relevant article that addresses certain issues raised in the program and links to other online sources with reviews you might find interesting. So let’s get started:

This is just a small sampling of the many comments posted on various blogs and websites. If you do a little searching, I’m sure you will find a lot more.

The Coloradans

(Note this article is three years old but just surfaced in Yahoo as news).

“There’s only one answer: This cloth wrapped the body of Jesus.”  — Barrie Schwortz

imageIn Denver’s Westward, Patricia Calhoun writes: Jesus! Was the Shroud of Turin Created by a Supernatural “Flash of Light”?:

According to Vatican Insider, experts at Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development have concluded that what’s been billed as the burial cloth of Jesus Christ could not have been faked:

“The double image (front and back) of a scourged and crucified man, barely visible on the linen cloth of the Shroud of Turin has many physical and chemical characteristics that are so particular that the staining which is identical in all its facets, would be impossible to obtain today in a laboratory … This inability to repeat (and therefore falsify) the image on the Shroud makes it impossible to formulate a reliable hypothesis on how the impression was made.”

Their study involved a lot of technical use of laser lights — pulses in short-term duration — and also name-checks some of the research done by the Shroud of Turin Research Project headed by John Jackson, who led a STRP team of researchers to Italy back in 1978, and still runs the Turin Shroud Center in Colorado Springs. “It seems as though they’re cueing off a paper that I did about twenty years ago on image-formation mechanism,” Jackson says. “There’s some essential physics here. I’ve thought for twenty years that ultra-violet could create a vision.”


Jackson has been trying to solve that puzzle for decades….

“Coloradans have played an important role in Shroud research,” notes Barry Schwartz, publisher of the Colorado-based shroud.com. He was part of the team that went to Italy in the ’70s (he only moved to this state five years ago) and has done much of the photographic documentation.

The Italian research, he says, “further supports the scientific data that the image on the Shroud is neither a painting or art or a hoax from the medieval times to fool us.”

Jackson will continue to push for more proof of what, exactly, the Image is. “We keep pressing forward as best we can,” he says. “I would commend the Italian researchers. They’re trying to understand the shroud using a radiation model…I’m pleased that they’re using capabilities that they have to try to explore that type of a hypothesis.”

But Schwartz, who is Jewish and says he was “the biggest skeptic on the team,” is ready to make a more definitive pronouncement: “There’s only one answer: This cloth wrapped the body of Jesus.”

Shroud Presentations and Exhibition in Ontario in March

There will be several days of exhibitions and a number of presentations by by Barrie Schwortz during March at the Most Precious Blood Roman Catholic Church, 1947 Meldrum Road in Windsor, Ontario:

Weekdays – March 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th

  • 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Saturday, March 14th

  • 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • 6:30pm – 9:00pm

Sunday, March 15th

  • 1:00pm – 4:00pm
  • 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Tuesday, March 17th

  • 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • 6:00pm AND closing Mass at 7:00pm

Visiting Shroud Scholar:

      Barrie Schwortz, Founder/Editor of www.shroud.com


      35 Years of Shroud Science: A Personal Perspective

     March 12th and 13th

  • 10:00am, 1:00pm and 6:30pm

     March 14th

  • 1:00pm and 6:30pm
  • Barrie Schwortz, an Orthodox Jew, spends much of his time educating people that the Turin Shroud may well be an artifact of Jesus. An expert on imaging, he was the official documenting photographer for the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), the 1978 team that conduction the first in-depth scientific examination of the Shroud. In 2009, he founded the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association.His images have been seen on CNN, NBC, Discovery and learning channels, He has been published in Time, Life and National Geographic. He is the founder of the largest internet site of the Shroud. www.shroud.com

Further information & Group Seating: 519-982-3337

Barrie Schwortz’ Lecture Schedule for 2015

With the latest update to shroud.com, Barrie Schwortz has published his lecture schedule for 2015 as it currently stands. He writes:

My spring lecture schedule is dramatically abbreviated this year due to the upcoming public exhibition of the Shroud, as I will be in Turin for a few weeks in May and will need some extra time to prepare for that event. Consequently, I have scheduled a number of my lectures in the fall. Since viewers often write me asking where and when I might be giving Shroud presentations, I am again including my upcoming schedule in case I happen to be in your area. If so, please drop by and say hello. Please understand that many of the times and venues are still not finalized and are subject to change. I will do my best to update them before the events if possible. I also want to extend a special thanks to Prof. Tom Kerr, from the Art Department at St. John’s University, for creating and sharing with us the great sketch he made of my lecture at the university last year (see above). Thanks Tom!

To see Barrie’s schedule CLICK HERE or on the thumbnail image above.

Shroud.com Updated: 19th Anniversary of Website Today

I still marvel that 19 years have passed since
the site first went online in 1996 
— Barrie Schwortz

Barrie writes in the Late Breaking Website News! page:

Welcome to our 19th Anniversary Update! You may have noticed (if you entered through our Home Page), that we have replaced the black & white ventral Shroud photograph that has graced our front page for the past 19 years with a larger color photograph of the entire Shroud taken in 1978. We hope you like the new look.

This update includes some very important new materials. Not only have we included four more issues of Shroud Spectrum International (with only 2 remaining to complete the archive of 42 regular issues), but we have also included a new Author Index and Title Index to make researching the journal even easier for everyone. We have also included a new feature titled "From the Crispino Archives" that includes eight older Shroud articles going back to 1902 that Dorothy thought were important enough to have scanned by her friend Mark D. Williams, who created the indices, did the scanning and graciously shared them with us. This update also includes the latest (December 2014 #80) issue of the BSTS Newsletter and much more.

I still marvel that 19 years have passed since the site first went online in 1996. Each year I write this introduction to our anniversary update with the intention of saying something new and fresh, but every year I find myself coming back to the same theme: This website would not be possible were it not for the cooperation and participation of all of the researchers, historians, scientists and scholars in the world who have allowed us to publish their work over the years, our gracious donors whose contributions help fund our efforts and all of our loyal viewers (more than 940,000 of you in 2014) who visit the site regularly and read millions of our pages! You make our work truly satisfying and worthwhile. Thank You! – Barrie Schwortz, Editor

Here is the Update Table of Contents:

The above image, an inline thumbnail, is clickable.

Is Fluorescence Still in Question?

Which compels us to revisit Charring, fluorescence and image-forming
mechanisms. Beware Shroudology’s junk science and flawed logic…
on Colin’s blog

imageJonathan in Houston writes:

Before moving to Houston I worked as a tech in a crime and accident lab for twelve and a half years and I can tell you we found scorches on cloth so light you could not see them. Even so they fluoresced. We also found very visible scorches that did not fluoresce at all. So what Dr. Berry wrote about light and heavy scorching makes a lot of sense to me.  I do not recall anything about linen specifically and I do not know about the effects of age.  I wonder, is there a definitive study about the scorching on the Shroud? Did anyone quantify and chart fluorescence at the edges of different burn marks and beyond the edges of the burn marks?  Did anyone experiment with a control sample of untreated linen cloth that was not modernized for brightness or wettability?  Did anyone examine other ancient linen cloths that have been burned in places?  BTW I am not a chemist.

I think this recent comment by Colin Berry is what Jonathan is referring to:

image. . .  Polymerization may well be the key to understanding the basis to the fluorescence of the 1532 burn marks, and why (in passing) it’s a mistake to imagine that the TS cannot be a scorch through lacking fluorescence.

The fact that the 1532 burn marks still fluoresce almost 5 centuries later suggests the molecules responsible for the fluorescence are of relatively high molecular weight, almost certainly solids, or they would have evaporated away by now. Candidate molecules, if one is looking for uv fluorescence and high molecular weight, say 300 or greater, would be the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, containing fused aromatic ring systems (5 or 6 carbon). Are there mechanisms by which they could be formed in linen exposed to very high temperatures? Yes there are. Here’s the reasoning. The ultimate product from deep scorching of linen is black charcoal, i.e. microcrystalline graphite. While the latter is almost pure carbon, its graphene sheets are polycyclic aromatic in structure, ie. fused benzene rings, and there is no way they could be formed from cellulose etc of linen except via a polymerization process from low molecular weight monomers. But forming those monomers, whether furfural or some other product of pyrolysis, requires high temperatures, considerably higher than those needed merely to leave a scorch mark on linen.

Without labouring the detail, or going over old ground, the structure of the flax fibre is probably the key to understanding the difference between light scorching (no fluorescence) and heavy deeper scorching (intense fluorescence). Light scorches probably pyrolyse selectively the carbohydrates of the primary cell wall, notably the chemically reactive hemicelluloses. Heavy deeper scorches affect the cellulose in the core of the fibre, requiring a considerably higher temperature, and generating the monomers that are needed for polymerization on the graphite pathway terminating in charcoal that are responsible for intermediate uv fluorescence.

Take away message: it’s false logic or bad science or both to imagine that the fluorescence of the 1532 burn marks precludes heat as a mechanism for TS body image formation. Barrie Schwortz, Russ Brault and other pro-authenticity proslelytizers please note: your playing the ‘fluorescence card’ may impress your audiences, but they don’t impress this retired researcher who has experience of tracking fluorescent compounds as part of his research career, and knows rather more than you do about the complexities of the fluorescence phenomenon, and why it can never be used to prove or disprove a case if you know NOTHING about the chemical identity of the fluorescent species.

Which compels us to go over old ground and revisit Charring, fluorescence and image-forming mechanisms. Beware Shroudology’s junk science and flawed logic… on Colin’s blog wherein we read:

The non-fluorescent body image on the Shroud is a pale sepia colour.  It may or may not have been the result of mild scorching (I happen to believe it is a light scorch). But the fluorescent, heavily charred regions on the Shroud are the result the 1532 fire etc. There is no inconsistency whatsoever between these two findings. All that remains to be done is to offer an explanation as to why one fluoresces and the other does not, ensuring that it is a TESTABLE  and potentially FALSIFIABLE explanation, i.e. a SCIENTIFIC explanation.

The Neutron Conference

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.

New December 2014 update to shroud.com. Many St. Louis papers

imageThis latest update to shroud.com is a big one, particularly because of the the new St. Louis Conference page which already includes 36 papers and presentations.

Let’s do the ten-thousand view first. Later, we can pick and pull on some specifics and maybe examine each and every paper one at a time.

The easiest thing for you to do is to access the Late Breaking Website News: Updated December 1, 2014. Then from the top read down the page until you arrive at the a headline dated November 6.  That’s it; everything below that is old news.

I noticed some things, in particular:

1) First of all there is the new St. Louis Conference page. I imagine this will be the focus for most of us.

2) There is the wonderful news about SEAM’s new home. See Status Update on the New Mexico Shroud of Turin Museum in this blog.

3) I noticed Barrie mentioning “a growing trend by some Shroud researchers to post their papers and articles on Academia.edu, a website that provides a forum for researchers to publish their own work online.”

There was this warning from Barrie: “Just remember that many of these have not withstood the scrutiny of peer review so any claims they make or conclusions they draw have probably not been verified scientifically.”

Fair enough. That is true. But given the state of what sometimes passes for peer review these days with the many new and sometimes predatory open access and vanity journals, I’m not sure it is a big deal.  See:

It also raises a big question; is a conference paper a peer reviewed paper? I think many people think so. I don’t. 

Barrie Schwortz Dismisses Freeman’s Claims: It was the Science

It took nearly 17 years after our direct examination of the cloth before the
scientific evidence actually convinced me of the shroud’s authenticity.

— Barrie Schwortz

imageAs David V. Barrett reports today in the Catholic Herald, an Expert dismisses historian’s claim that Turin Shroud was made for medieval ritual:

. . . Schwortz, an expert in imaging and the official documenting photographer of STURP, dismisses Mr Freeman’s claims.

He told the Catholic Herald: “I have seen copies of the shroud (commissioned by the Savoy and other royal families) made by artists allowed to view the actual cloth that look very little like the shroud. It is not an easy image to reproduce. I have examined, studied and lectured on the shroud for nearly 38 years yet would have great difficulty in describing the image on the cloth in writing. So variations in early written descriptions or artistic copies doesn’t seem like very convincing evidence against authenticity. And there are many early coins and artworks that appear to have directly and faithfully copied the image on the shroud. Perhaps that is more a testament to the quality of the artists involved and the difficulties one encounters when attempting to duplicate the shroud’s image.”

Mr Schwortz referred to the scientific evidence that is “the basis for my opinion that the shroud cannot be an artwork. STURP’s data provided empirical evidence to that effect, although the sceptics of the world continue to deny it”.

He continued: “Remember that I am Jewish (not Messianic), and it took nearly 17 years after our direct examination of the cloth before the scientific evidence actually convinced me of the shroud’s authenticity. It was the science that did it.”

Important Update to shroud.com

imageBarrie Schwortz is reporting this morning, October 5, 2014, in Late Breaking Website News at shroud.com:

This update started off somewhat smaller than usual, since we were running out of time and wanted to get it online before the upcoming St. Louis Shroud Conference, which starts on Thursday evening, October 9, 2014 and ends at noon on Sunday, October 12, 2014. (Of course, we will include a full report on the conference in our next regular update). But new materials and information kept coming in and the update kept growing. Although still smaller than usual, this update includes some very important information, most notably, the first five issues of Shroud Spectrum International that were published AFTER the radiocarbon dating results were formally released in 1988. We think you will find the articles in these issues particularly interesting. Also included in this update are two important textile papers that further support the observation of repairs or reweaving in the 1988 radiocarbon samples, an update on the 2015 Shroud Exposition, links to a number of recently published books, papers and articles, a report on the Bari Conference and more.

Here is the Update Table of Contents:

Here are links to our recent In Memoriam and Special updates:

Look for an update to shroud.com maybe tomorrow

imageBarrie Schwortz writes on the STERA Facebook page:

Sorry for the long silence, but we are working hard to get as much as possible into the next website update, which will probably go online Sunday, October 5th, a few days before the upcoming St. Louis Conference. It will include 5 more issues of Shroud Spectrum International, conferences updates, more on the 2015 public exhibition, many new books, papers and articles and much more. See you then!

Spreading the Word on the St. Louis Conference

NOTE:  There are errors of fact in the quoted text below, that I copied directly from the church bulletin published on e-churchbulletins.com and reported out by Yahoo News, Google, and other search engines. I spoke to John Jackson this morning. He never was a lapsed Catholic, as Mons. Mitas wrote. I’m not sure that what is written about Barrie Schwortz (misspelled by Mons. Mitas) is correct either. I’m sure, as a read, the text, that the parish pastor intended to be laudatory.

John Jackson has subsequently written to me so that I may post the following:

I have been a Catholic man all of my life and am proud to be so.   I, therefore,  do not understand why I was characterized as a “lapsed Catholic” on this blog and personally reject such a characterization.

I have removed the factually incorrect text from the second paragraph and inserted ellipsis. I am unable to correct the source document and I would hope that it will be corrected by an official of St Angela Merici Church in Florissant. Otherwise it remains on the Internet, as is. When I read the words of a parish priest in a church bulleting who also writes that he has known John Jackson for several years, I took him at his word and assumed that he knew the facts. Moreover, I am certain he DID NOT mean to sound derogatory. And I don’t think he does. I’m sorry this caused so much consternation.

imageNews of the conference is getting around even in St. Louis area church bulletins. Monsignor Matthew Mitas, pastor of St Angela Merici Church in Florissant, Missouri, writes in this past Sunday’s parish bulletin:

On October 9-12, our archdiocese is going to receive a special treat. The international Shroud of Turin convention will take place in our own back yard. In 1978, a team of A-list scientists was given total access to this holy relic, long believed to the actual linen cloth in which the dead Body of our Savior was wrapped after He was taken down from the Cross. The team comprised believers, non-believers, anti-believers, skeptics, Christians, Jews, and just about any other kind of faith, agnosticism, or disbelief there is. But they were all true scientists, i.e., they were open-minded when it came to the facts and were willing to let the facts speak for themselves and present them in a disinterested, but forthright, manner.

Heading the team was Dr. John Jackson . . . and his head imaging expert and photographer was Baruch (Barrie) Schwartz . . .  Both . . . dedicated their lives to the study and promotion of the Shroud, and both are coming to St. Louis to make presentations on the latest research concerning the Shroud (including the “de-bunking” of the Shroud by the bogus carbon-14 test made a few years ago).

I’ve known Dr. Jackson for several years (and his wife, Rebecca, a Jew who came into the Church because of the Shroud) and met Barrie Schwartz on my recent trip to Colorado (he lives in the other Florissant, the one in Colorado). (I understand that there are only two cities on earth named Florissant.) Both men are faith-filled, exceedingly knowledgeable, and engaging in their presentations. They will be joined by other experts, too, so it should be a great weekend! I’ll give you more details as it draws closer.

Banding? Is it Real?

Can anyone explain how the image* on Colin Berry’s blog can begin to convince us that banding is not really all that real. Maybe you can understand what Colin is saying. Something about “bilateral symmetry.” If anything, it helps to convince me that there really is banding there. You really need to see it in its full size in Colin’s blog space so CLICK HERE.

Barrie Schwortz did some of the earliest technical work to show one optical illusion effect of the banding. (Use Google translation after obtaining the linked-to page in order to see it in English). It is well worth reading.

The left image shows vertical banding on the outside portion of each cheek that extends upward and downward well above and below the face, particularly so on the right side. The middle image shows the area Barrie chose to add +20 points (Photoshop calibration) of RGB luminance. The effect is immediately obvious in the right picture.


The banding is particularly obvious when shown with transmitted light. 


One day I received an email from Robert Doumax, an imaging expert in Bordeaux, France. He had created a Fourier transform filter to isolate both vertical and horizontal banding in the fabric of the shroud. His filter produced the bottom image of three below.

Subtracting one image from the other image produces a tentative, partial banding map:

* About the colorful ImageJ image.  It has not been copied, stored or reproduced in anyway. The thumbnail preview is like a window into Colin’s site. It is an inline link to Colin’s blog space. By clicking on the image you can see it in its full size on Colin’s site. Even so, the use of a thumb nail image is considered fair use. Wikipedia is a good place to being reading about this.

[A] pointer causes a user’s browser to jump to the proprietor’s server and fetch the image file to the user’s computer. US courts have considered this a decisive fact in copyright analysis. Thus, in Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc.,[6] the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit explained why inline linking did not violate US copyright law . . .

The thumb nail is too small to be a copyright concern. It is merely a graphical link.