Shroud of Turin Facts

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No Paint: Skeptical Inquirer Is Wrong

Facts are facts. Other than perhaps some trace contaminates, there is no paint on the Shroud; at least nothing that would form a visible image.

In a letter to the editor of Skeptical Inquirer, regarding an article by Joe Nickell, chemist Ray Rogers wrote the following. This letter is very telling on this subject:

Dear Editor:

Joe Nickell has attacked my scientific competence and honesty in his latest publication on the Shroud of Turin. Everything I have done investigating the shroud had the goal of testing some hypothesis [Schwalbe, L. A., Rogers, R. N., "Physics and Chemistry of the Shroud of Turin: Summary of the 1978 Investigation," Analytica Chimica Acta 135, 3 (1982); Rogers R. N., Arnoldi A., "The Shroud of Turin: an amino-carbonyl reaction (Maillard reaction) may explain the image formation," in Melanoidins vol. 4, Ames J.M. ed., Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2003, pp. 106-113].

My latest paper [Rogers, R. N., "Studies on the radiocarbon sample from the Shroud of Turin," Thermochimica Acta 425/1-2, 189-194 (2005)] is no exception. I accepted the radiocarbon results, and I believed that the "invisible reweave" claim was highly improbable. I used my samples to test it. One of the greatest embarrassments a scientist can face is to have to agree with the lunatic fringe. So, Joe, should I suppress the information, as Walter McCrone did the results from Mark Anderson, his own MOLE expert?

Incidentally, I knew Walter since the 1950s and had compared explosives data with him. I was the one who "commissioned" him to look at the samples that I took in Turin, when nobody else would trust him. I designed the sampling system and box, and I was the person who signed the paper work in Turin so that I could hand-carry the samples back to the US. The officials in Turin and King Umberto would not allow Walter to touch the relic. Walter lied to me about how he would handle the samples, and he early ruined them for additional chemical tests. Incidentally, has anyone seen direct evidence that Walter found Madder on the cloth? I can refute almost every claim he made, and I debated the subject with his people at a Gordon Conference. I can present my evidence as photomicrographs of classical tests, spectra, and mass spectra.

Now Joe thinks I am a "Shroud of Turin devotee," a "pro-authenticity researcher," and incompetent at microanalysis. If he ever read any of my professional publications, he would know that I have international recognition as an expert on chemical kinetics. I have a medal for Exceptional Civilian Service from the US Air Force, and I have developed many microanalytical methods. I was elected to be a Fellow of a national laboratory. A cloud still hangs over Walter with regard to the Vinland map. Joe does not take his job as "Research Director" very seriously. If he thinks I am a "true believer," I will put him solidly on the "far-right" lunatic fringe.

Joe did not understand the method or importance of the results of the pyrolysis/mass spectrometry analyses, and I doubt that he understands the fundamental science behind either visible/ultraviolet spectrometry or fluorescence. He certainly does not understand chemical kinetics. If he wants to argue my results, I suggest that we stick to observations, natural laws, and facts. I am a skeptic by nature, but I believe all skeptics should be held to the same ethical and scientific standards we require of others."

Raymond N. Rogers
Fellow (Retired)
University of California, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos, NM, USA

  The scientific study of the Turin shroud is like a microcosm of the scientific search for God: it does more to inflame any debate than settle it.”

  And yet, the shroud is a remarkable artefact, one of the few religious relics to have a justifiably mythical status.

  It is simply not known how the ghostly image of a serene, bearded man was made.”

Scientist-Journalist Philip Ball
Nature, January 2005

Nature, that most prestigious of scientific journals, that once had bragging rights to claim that the Shroud was fake, responding to new, peer-reviewed studies that discredit the carbon 14 dating and show that the Shroud could be authentic.


  1. The Shroud of Turin is certainly much older than the now discredited radiocarbon date of 1260-1390. It is at least twice as old and it could be 2000 years old.  FACTS
  2. Though no one knows how it was made, the image is a selective caramel-like darkening of an otherwise clear coating of starch fractions and various saccharides.  FACTS
  3. The blood is real blood.  FACTS
  4. Much of what we think we see in the image is an optical illusion FACTS

Shroud of Turin Facts Check: 2005 Facts