Yup, I’ve been expressing bewilderment for months now as to why STURP’s Ray Rogers (left) thought there was hydroxyproline in human blood.
He cited the presence of hydroxyproline as crucial evidence against the Shroud blood ever having been heated, using that to dismiss any idea that the body image was a thermal imprint (scorch) – since that would have driven off the hydroxyproline.
Ray Rogers was a chemist, more specifically a thermochemist working on explosives. This retired biochemist-turned science -blogger was at a loss to understand him, given that hydroxyproline is a constituent of connective tissue, notably collagen, and that there is scarcely any worth speaking of in blood (except for a tiny amount from degraded collagen going back to the liver to be broken down).
Well, I think I can now retrace the events that led Rogers to go barking up the wrong tree. It came from re-reading Thibault Heimburger’s 2008 review of STURP research, where I came across the following:
” At least one of the blood samples (the “Zina thread” from the image heel) showed a strong peak for hydroxyproline at low temperature. This amino-acid is present in animal proteins including blood proteins or collagen.”
In other words, Rogers put some Shroud blood into his pyrolysis mass spectrometer, saw a sharp peak at a particular value, looked it up in the tables to find the only physiological metabolite known to have that precise mass was hydroxyproline (probably 4-hydroxyproline). Rogers then ASSUMED that hydroxyproline was a regular constituent of human blood. Had he consulted with biochemists, physiologists etc he would probably have been quickly disabused of that idea. Instead he must then have picked up on the use by the meat industry of hydroxyproline as a marker for meat that has not been heated and assumed he could use it as a marker for (un)heated blood. But as I say there’s simply not enough in blood – real uncontaminarted blood that is – for that to be possible.
Fast forward and we see Rogers deploy his HP argument against the idea that the body image on the Shroud could have been caused by scorching.
“ If the image were a scorch or any part of the Shroud had been heated enough to make significant changes in the rates of decomposition of any of its components, we would see changes in the structure of the flax fibers and blood. The blood still evolves hydroxyproline on mild heating, and the cellulose crystals are largely undistorted”.
Yes, the blood was giving off hydroxyproline alright, but it was not coming from human blood. Where was it coming from then? If we knew the answer to that we might have a better idea as to whether that really was human blood pure and simple on the Shroud – or mixed in with something else – of animal origin…
Well, I’ll now let you into a secret, dear reader. I think Ray Rogers realized his error in 2004, just one year before his sad demise from cancer, when he wrote the following:
“Incidentally, the pyrolysis/ms spectra of samples from apparent blood spots showed hydroxyproline peaks at mass 131, a pyrolysis product of animal proteins”
Note the words “apparent” and “animal” (my italics). That’s all. There were no other mentions of HP. Know what I think? Rogers was quietly flagging up that there was a substance of animal origin in those apparent blood spots, but didn’t want to go into any more detail, maybe because he realized that the blood on the Shroud was not entirely human blood. That would really have rained on the STURP parade would it not, recalling what it wrote in its executive summary in 1981:
“We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man.”
But that view can only have been based on the bloodstains, since the body image per se shows no (unequivocal) evidence of wounds. If the blood is not real human blood, or is accompanied by animal-derived products, then what price the STURP claim that the Shroud image is that of a “scourged crucified man”?
So where did the hydroxyproline come from? Those who have been following my recent postings will know that I am more and more enamoured of the idea (my own!) that the blood on the Shroud came from medicinal leeches fed on human blood.
The practical advantages of using leech digesta to fake human blood (Christ’s blood!) are numerous, especially as it keeps for months inside leeches in their state of postprandial torpor without any risk of clotting or putrefaction (thanks to the leech’s powerful anticoagulant and to their specialized digestive gut bacteria) . Blood – easily “paintable” blood- is always there on tap when needed. Just hoik another leech out of the water tank…
Hydroxyproline? Connective tissue? So where does that fit in? Look up “medicinal leech” in wiki, and one of the first things you will see is that leeches are choc-a-bloc full of connective tissue. It’s what gives them their rigidity.
So all one has to suppose is that harvesting of leeches for the purposes of “look-alike blood”, with a somewhat aged look, as indeed it would have after weeks or months of digestion inside the leech gut, needed nothing more than maceration (mashing them up) – connective tissue an’ all- so that what was applied to linen had loads of hydroxyproline, waiting for 20th century chemists to discover and misinterpret. Ah, but we 21st century biochemists are not fooled quite so easily, even if we are at an age when we qualify for a free bus pass and medical prescriptions.
Comments welcome – but I only answer them on this site, which insists on a modicum of courtesy. The kind of toxic comments that we see addressed to this retired science bod on other sites (like being called “hysterical” a day or two ago, simply for challenging the “blood first” dogma, or an “empty vessel” elsewhere) will simply not be tolerated.