Posts Tagged ‘John Jackson’

Who Proposed Ultraviolet?

July 9, 2015 21 comments

imageA reader writes:

I am confused. Facebook Pages by you, Barry (sic) Schwortz and Russ Breault featured an article that claimed that Giulio Fanti figured out that UV radiation is the only thing that comes close to making the image on the Shroud. I thought it was Paolo Di Lazzaro.

Yes and no.

Barrie, Russ and I were reporting the fact that the article, The Shroud of Turin and Technoscience, appeared in The National Catholic Register. I think it was mainly a service to our readers. Here is what the article you refer to says.

Then, in 2012, an Italian academic who had been studying the mystery of the shroud for years released what seems to be the best theory to explain the shroud’s image. Giulio Fanti, an Italian professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at Padua University, reports that the only technique to come close to reproducing the image on the shroud is ultraviolet radiation.

Paolo certainly did suggest UV at least a year earlier. But the explanation needs some nuancing and clarifying. Alan Boyle did a nice write up for NBC’s Cosmic Log in December of 2011. Here is a piece of it:

The Italian studies, conducted at the ENEA Research Center in Frascati, addresses a specific question in Shroud science: Could a burst of radiation have created the coloration seen on the linen? The answer is yes, although the results reported in the latest studies aren’t a perfect match. So does that mean the Shroud image could only have been created by the flash of a miraculous resurrection? The answer is no, despite what you might read on the Web.

Five years of tests

“Sadly, we have seen many claims spread in the Web made by journalist/bloggers that discuss the content of a paper they never read,” lead researcher Paolo Di Lazzaro told me today in an email. “It is obvious that a serious scientific work cannot prove any supernatural action. We have shown that the most advanced technology available today is unable to replicate all the characteristics of the Shroud image. As a consequence, we may argue it appears unlikely a forger may have done this image with technologies available in the Middle Ages or earlier. The probability the Shroud is a medieval fake is really low. In this sense, the Shroud image is still a scientific challenge.”

Di Lazzaro and his colleagues based their conclusions on five years of tests, using an ultraviolet laser apparatus and strips of modern-day linen. They blasted the cloth with UV at different power levels, and reported that they “achieved a very superficial Shroud-like coloration of linen yarns in a narrow range of irradiation parameters.” The best effect depended on laser pulses lasting less than 50 nanoseconds.

“These processes may have played a role in the generation of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,” the researchers report.

They don’t go so far as to claim a miracle. But the fact that UV laser blasters didn’t exist in the 13th century, let alone in Jesus’ day, strongly implies that they suspect something out of the ordinary was going on.


Over the years, Di Lazzaro and his colleagues have published a long list of studies, including peer-reviewed papers (see below). The latest studies were presented at a May conference in Frascati and published in November as an ENEA technical report (with a disclaimer saying that the contents didn’t necessarily express ENEA’s opinion). But they didn’t really get traction until this week, just in time for Christmas, thanks to a series of sensationalized British news reports.

Actually, we can go back further to a paper, Deep Ultraviolet Radiation Simulates the Turin Shroud Image. Paolo Di Lazzaro, Daniele Murra and Antonino Santoni of ENEA are listed as authors. So is Giulio Fanti from the University of Padua.  And Enrico Nichelatt. And Giuseppe Baldacchini.

imageJohn Jackson (pictured) should also be getting some credit here. As early as 1991, he was suggesting that ultraviolet radiation was a possible factor in the image’s creation. Here from a complete copy of John’s paper, An Unconventional Hypothesis to Explain All Image Characteristics Found on the Shroud Image  (published in its entirety by Stephen Jones on his blog):

Chemical Nature of the Image. Electromagnetic radiation that is absorbed strongly in air consists of photons in the ultraviolet or soft x-ray region. It happens that these photons are also sufficiently energetic to photochemically modify cellulose. Such photons are strongly absorbed in cellulose over fibril-like distances. Experiments performed by the author have shown that subsequent aging in an oven of photosensitized (bleached) cloth by shortwave ultraviolet radiation produces a yellow-browned pattern like the Shroud body image composed of chemically altered cellulose. Thus, I posit that radiation from the body initially photosensitized the body image onto the Shroud. This pattern would have appeared, if the radiation was ultraviolet, as a white (bleached) image on a less white cloth. With time, natural aging would have reversed the relative shading of the image to its presently observed state where it appears darker than the surrounding cloth (which also aged or darkened with time, but not as fast). This mechanism is consistent with (1) the observed lack of pyrolytic products in microchemical studies of Shroud fibrils expected from high-temperature cellulose degradation (in this case image coloring occurs by natural aging at ambient temperatures over a long period of time) and (2) the absence of substances in the image areas that chemically colored the cloth (Note that image coloration is produced onto the cloth only by radiation and without any extraneous chemicals).

Bottom Line:  The article in the National Catholic Register misrepresented the facts.

Note:  I don’t maintain a Shroud Facebook page It is an automatic echo of my blog postings. Unfortunately it is the only way some people see my blog and as a result they miss the discussion that follows.

Again: John Jackson to Discuss His 50 Years of Research

May 1, 2015 Comments off

In case you missed the announcement on April 13

In a posting on the San Antonio Shroud Expo Facebook page we learn that on May 2, 2015,  from 10:30am to 12:30pm, at the Convention Center in San Antonio (see poster below):

Dr Jackson, the leading Shroud researcher and Mastermind of STURP will do a conference about his 50 year research experience. Limited seating capacity. Reserve your ticket online starting the 14th of April, at

A user's photo.


Categories: Presentation Tags:

John Jackson to Discuss His 50 Years of Research

April 13, 2015 Comments off

You can order tickets starting today.

And this just in from a posting on the San Antonio Shroud Expo Facebook page. On May 2, 2015,  from 10:30am to 12:30pm, at the Convention Center in San Antonio (see poster below):

Dr Jackson, the leading Shroud researcher and Mastermind of STURP will do a conference about his 50 year research experience. Limited seating capacity. Reserve your ticket online starting the 14th of April, at

A user's photo.


Categories: Event, Presentation Tags:

The Coloradans

February 14, 2015 1 comment

(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 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.”

Future Testing of the Shroud

December 16, 2014 13 comments

Quick Reaction to In the Belly of the Beast

October 20, 2014 22 comments

“Whoa,” writes a reader in reaction to my Belly of the Beast posting. “Before you go slamming Dr. Jackson you need to look at the YouTube of him explaining the folds and the way the shroud was lifted out of the box. And read Dr. Jackson’s Foldmarks as a Historical Record at where you can see the photographs. You dumb s… “

I think I ran into a fan. The part you may want to see starts at about the 11:10 mark and runs to about 18:00.  It is a good explanation.  Watch it! I still believe that the fold marks must be confirmed. I still say it is not class 1 evidence.  (Link to YouTube). And I added in the link to the above mentioned paper.

Categories: Critical Summary Tags:

In the Belly of the Beast

October 20, 2014 17 comments

imageI was reminded during Bob Siefker’s presentation in St. Louis that John Jackson and the other authors of A Critical Summary of Observations, Data and Hypotheses – Version 2.1 assign significant importance to the raking light photographs of the shroud. So do I, but far less so. To my way of thinking:

  • the cloth was at times folded
  • the cloth was possibly folded in half along its length three times such that the face, and only the face, appeared on the outside. This, of course, lends credence to the term tetradiplon. It also comports with the idea that the shroud may have been stored folded in a reliquary with a grate, so as to show only the face.
  • the cloth may have been been an inspiration for the Man of Sorrows icons that show Christ rising out of a coffin-like container.

I have been giving this some thought. What did the Critical Summary actually say?

    Quoting from item L6 of the Critical Summary:

One of the tasks undertaken by the STURP team was to take raking light photographs of the Shroud. Linen has poor elasticity, explaining why it wrinkles so easily. Thus, linen cloth has sort of a memory that can reveal how the cloth has been folded (see item H 13.0,2). . . .

Okay. That seems probably so.

Jackson has studied the fold lines, some of which are as sharp as a straight edge and show discoloration as would be expected if folded over the edge of a wooden block or batten, as illustrated as "F” in the diagram below.

Words like “discoloration as would be expected if” sound speculative, not evidentiary. At least, it is not strong evidence.

Jackson’s team developed a computer program that maps prominent folds found on the Shroud related to the Man of Sorrows Icon.

That instantly bothered me. What sort of computer program maps fold marks on the shroud to hand painted icons? In what way? Moreover, to which Man of Sorrow Icon? Without an explanation this unfortunately sounds like the “scientists say” jargon we encounter in television commercials.  It’s like “ a computer programs says.”

Google suggests these icons:



The Critical Summary goes on to say:

These folds have been found to be consistent with the design of a lifting device that could have been used for raising the cloth.

imageConsistent with what design? This is an imagined lifting device. The point of this imagining may be to match the AD 1203 description of what Robert de Clari saw or to fit an account of “The Palace Revolution of John Comnenus by Nicholas Mesarites wherein we find

In [Constantinople’s Pharos] chapel Christ rises again, and the sindon with the burial linens is the clear proof.

I’d like to think there is some connection. I’d like to think this is all true. But the imagined device (click on the image on the right), while illustrative of a possibility, seems far too tentative to be in an evidence table.

So what are the fold marks really evidence of? How good is the evidence?

The authors of the paper have classified this as Class 1 Evidence which they define thus:

This rating is given to items of evidence that are firmly supported by empirical and/ or forensic research. To receive this rating there must be multiple corroborating research sources.

Yet when I look at the references I find only one paper by Eric Jumper and two similar popular books by Ian Wilson. Unfortunately Wilson uses material “deduced by Dr. John Jackson.” While not exactly a circular reference, it’s close. There is not much to go on.

Wilson goes on to say, “Although exactly how the cloth was made to rise is necessarily conjectural.” (The Blood and the Shroud page 157). Perhaps anticipating the problem some of us might therefore have, Bob Siefker said in his St. Louis talk:

Some people might not like the fact that we’ve rated this class 1 evidence but we’re in the heart of the belly of the beast. I’ve seen those folds. I’ve seen the marks. I’ve seen the razor thin nature of those folds where the “F” block is. I’m not only rationally convinced that the scheme is right, I’ve seen close evidence and had it very deeply explained to me. I’ve been very lucky to be in the belly of the beast, over here [pointing to], John Jackson.

So? Can I see the folds? Can anyone see the folds?  Are the photographs online? Can we examine the computer program’s logic? Without some illustrative photographs of the folds, without an explanation of what the computer program does, I’m thinking the entire item, L6, should be demoted.  Without some supporting evidence of a cloth-raising device being used, the speculative diagram should be removed. It is evidence of nothing.

What am I missing?

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