| The image of the man on the Shroud is made up of pale yellow discolourations, or
stains on the cloth. The image is not delineated by any line. It is more like in an
impressionist painting, where the identity of the image comes from the juxtaposition of
patches of colour. With the Shroud, the closer you get to the image, the harder it is to
discern. A certain distance is necessary to see it. These yellow marks are invisible on
the rear of the cloth.
The image they form appears strongest where the cloth was in contact with the body, and then diminishes rapidly with the distance of the cloth from the body. There is no visible image between the elbows and the chest, nor between the hair and the face. No image of the lateral sides of the hips nor of the lateral sides of the legs.
Examination under a microscopic reveals further surprising facts. First of all, there is no sign of particulate colouring matter : no paint, pigments, glue, etc. The colour is due only to the yellowing of certain fibres in the linen threads at the very surface of the cloth. Secondly, the yellow colour is a monochrome. The intensity of yellowness does not come from variations in the colour of the fibres, but from the quantity of fibres stained per square millimetre or square centimetre. A mathematical relationship has been established between the intensity of the yellow colour (number of yellowish fibres per unit of area), and the distance that separated the Shroud from the body. The shorter the distance, the greater the amount of yellowed fibres. This unique, mathematical relationship made it possible to plot on a computer, a 3D model of the body that was in the Shroud. This tridimensionality as it is called, only applies to the front face of the body, because at the rear, the weight of the body has largely flattened the distances between the body and cloth.
Under the pinkish stains, there is no image. These appear to have occurred prior to the formation of the yellow stains.
In the immediate vicinity of the scorched areas, the aspect is the same. There is therefore no alteration due to heat. It is the same in the areas that were soaked by water when the fire was extinguished in 1532. The water carried dust and carbon to the periphery of the stain, but did not alter the colour of the fibres. The colour is therefore not soluble in water.
Chemical studies confirm that the yellow colour is not due to yellow pigments or dyes, but caused by a change in colour of the flax fibres resulting from oxidation and dehydration of the cellulose macromolecules (the main constituent of the flax fibres). This phenomenon is something like the colouration of sugar during caramelisation, for cellulose is formed by polymerisation of glucose (a well known sugar).
Testing for metal ions in the cloth revealed only iron, calcium and strontium. Their concentration is no greater in the yellowed fibres than in the non yellowed fibres, which suggests that they played no role in colouring the fibres. These three metal ions are evenly distributed all over the surface of the cloth. (Except for iron which is more concentrated where the pinkish stains occur).
The presence of calcium, strontium, and the
general background iron, are explained by the processing of the raw flax plant to liberate
the fibres. In this process, the flax plants are soaking in water to dissolve the gums and
pectins that glue the fibres together (a process sometimes referred to as
"retting"). It has been discovered that the flax fibres act like an ion exchange
media, and absorb, onto their surface, cations (e.g. Ca++, Sr++ and Fe+++) from the water.
The yellow traces do not penetrate the cloth. They are only on the surface fibres. Therefore, if the Shroud had been a fake, the paint used by the forger would have had to have been an almost dry colour, devoid of any solvent that would have been sucked by capillary attraction into the fibres. We see no trace of solvent being drawn into the capillaries. In addition, as mentioned above, no trace of pigments have been found. No signs of pigment and no signs of solvent means no sign of paint.
The yellow stains are not due to a paint, but due to the oxidation of flax fibre.
The yellow traces are not delineated by any line, but are made up of numerous micro-points of monochrome, pale yellow colour. The intensity of the colour is determined by how many of these microscopic coloured dots occur per square millimetre or square centimetre. The overall structure of the image can only be understood from a distance of several scores of centimetres. The supposed forger would therefore have laid on the shroud, using a paint with neither pigment nor solvent, using a microscopic instrument with a tip a few microns wide, a tip which he could not see, since the microscope was only invented at the end of the 17th century, and lay his "colour" on microfibres, that were 2.5 microns thick, and that he also could not see! No, that idea is impossible.
I am therefore convinced, that the Shroud could not have been painted by a forger, even one of genius, before 1357, nor of course afterwards since it is historically earlier than this date. I am convinced the Shroud is not a painting.
As far as the tridimensionality of the image is concerned, no other photograph in the world is known to exhibit this phenomenon. We are incapable, at the present time, of reproducing a tridimensionality effect with photos of other complex shaped objects. With the Shroud, the light or other radiation would have had to have come from the body itself, and we cannot explain how a medieval forger could achieve this effect. Was the image caused by light, or some other sort of electromagnetic radiation, that emanated from the body itself, and whose intensity was related to distance from the body? No one knows what scientific process was at work here, and no one can explain this.