[Right: Late Dr. John H. Heller, in Case, T.W., "The Shroud of Turin and the C-14 Dating Fiasco" (1996).]
Heller, John H. (1921-1995). M.D. Biophysicist. Professor of Internal Medicine at Yale. Established, and was a research scientist at, the New England Institute, Connecticut, where he worked with Alan D. Adler. Member of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), but not one of the original team who in 1978 examined the Shroud in Turin. Einstein was his "unofficial undergraduate adviser" at Princeton. Helped show that the bloodstains on the Shroud are real blood. Book: Heller, J.H., "Report on the Shroud of Turin" (1983). Papers: Heller, J.H. & Adler, A.D., 1980, "Blood on the Shroud of Turin," Applied Optics, Vol. 19, No. 16, 15 August, pp.2742-2744; Heller, J.H. & Adler, A.D., 1981, "A Chemical Investigation of the Shroud of Turin," Canadian Society for Forensic Science Journal, Vol. 14, pp.81-103.
"Back in their laboratory at the New England Institute, Dr John Heller and his colleague, research chemist Dr Alan Adler, the late Professor of Chemistry at Western Connecticut State University, examined under a microscope the spectrum of visible light transmitted from their sticky-tape samples of reddish brown-stained fibrils. Their results suggested that haemoglobin was a component of the colour. To further test their evidence they removed iron from the samples in an attempt to isolate a component of blood called porphyrin which, if present, would fluoresce red under ultraviolet light. This test revealed porphyrin - another sign that the stains are blood. Their further examination produced a particularly intriguing result After removing pieces of blood from the fibres, Adler saw that the fibres were white, not yellow, as were the rest of the fibres of the linen This meant the blood stains were on the Shroud before the image was formed, and there is no image in the area of the bloodstains - the blood somehow impeding the image formation, protecting the Shroud from the image-making process. [Heller, J.H., "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, 1983]" (Whiting, B., 2006, "The Shroud Story," Harbour Publishing: Strathfield NSW, Australia, pp.122-123).
"To the team who had been to Turin McCrone's findings simply did not make sense, so they were very relieved when a second opinion, from the Yale University chemist Dr John Heller and the Jewish-born blood expert Dr Alan Adler, produced completely different interpretations. As Heller and Adler showed, McCrone was correct that the Shroud indeed has iron oxide particles scattered across its surface. And, like him, they too found particles of vermilion and other artists' pigments. But they were emphatic that neither of these materials was responsible for the Shroud's `body' and `blood' images. The artists' pigments, for instance, are random, and quantitatively distributed no more strongly in the image than the non-image areas. Their presence is easily explained as mere strays left on the Shroud's surface from the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century practice of pressing freshly painted artists' copies against it to give them special holiness. Several painted copies of the Shroud bear inscriptions attesting to their having been deployed in this way, as in the case of one in Toledo worded: `This picture was made as closely as possible to the precious relic ... at Chambéry [i.e. the Turin Shroud] and was laid upon it in June 1568.' [Leone, D., "El Santo Sudario en Espana," Biblioteca Sindoniana: Barcelona, 1959, pp.47-56] According to Heller's and Adler's analysis, [Heller, J.H., "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin: Boston, 1983] and consistent with the 'on-site' observations, the Shroud's fibres which represent the `body' image have no identifiable substance added to them that might be responsible for this image. It is as if they have simply been degraded, or `aged', at those places where the imprint appears, in much the same manner that newspaper turns yellow when exposed to strong sunlight, except that the `yellowing' has occurred selectively, at strengths relative to the (theoretical) body's distance from the cloth at any one point." (Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, pp.73-74).
"The blood on the Shroud has been identified by the late Dr. John H. Heller as being mammalian, primate and probably human. Dr. Alan D. Adler, a research chemist who worked with Dr. Heller at. the New England Institute, even declared: `It is as certain that there is blood on the Shroud as it is that there is blood in your veins. The marks on the shroud are of exuded blood, belonging to a man who was tortured and crucified. It cannot be from the 14th century, but is much older and far more consistent with what we know of the crucifixion of Christ.' [New York Daily News, June 12, 1997] Professor Pier Luigi Baima Bollone reported in the, journal Sindon that by use of fluorescent antibodies he has demonstrated the presence of human globulins in the Shroud bloodstains, a fact confirmed by Adler and Heller. [Sindon, December 1981] Whereas the bodily images have a mist-like quality with no sharp lines, the bloodstains are richer and darker in color and have more precise lines. They also have a `halo effect' typically suggestive of the separation of blood and serum, which happens after the heart has stopped." (Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, pp.65-66. Emphasis original).
"Accordingly, for a second opinion the thirty-two sticky-tape samples were passed to the now late Dr John Heller of Connecticut, a professor of internal medicine and medical physics at Yale University, and to Heller's long-time colleague, research chemist Jewish-born Dr Alan Adler of Western Connecticut State University. Analysing under the microscope the very same sticky tapes that McCrone had studied, Heller and Adler specifically tried to find the iron oxide that both sides, from their different perspectives, were already agreed was present. They quickly found it, but the immediate surprise to them was that it was quite exceptionally pure. As they were already aware, most artists' pigments tend to be contaminated by impurities. Accordingly, they began badgering museums to be allowed to study their ancient textiles, immediately finding that these, too, often exhibited the same chemically pure iron. As they gradually determined, the answer to where this iron came from probably lay in the fact that when flax is retted, that is, soaked in water, during the linen manufacturing process, it draws up into itself iron, along with calcium and strontium, as trace elements from the water. As Heller and Adler reasoned, at the time of the 1532 fire this very fine iron probably migrated from where it had been taken up within the fibres and became washed to the edges of where the fire-dousing water had been splashed on the cloth. This was why it showed up at these edges under the X-rays and from there, with the Shroud's repeated handling, became lightly distributed all over the cloth. But they felt adamant that wherever this iron came from, it was not responsible for what the eye sees as the Shroud's body image. What, then, in Heller's and Adler's judgement could have created this image? After studying the body image under any and every variety of magnification, they came to the firm conclusion that it derived from nothing at all that had been added to the Shroud, in the manner that any conventional artist would have used. For instance, when they applied the tests for proteins by which McCrone claimed he had been able to identify an artist's use of a tempera binding medium, they found no evidence for such proteins. Instead, the impression they gained was that the image derives from something taken away. Thus, if high magnification photographs of body-image fibres are studied, some of these actually appear to show an eating away of the fibres, as if they have been aged, or degraded significantly more than their non-image-bearing counterparts... . STURP's Ray Rogers described the image just resting on the tops of the fibrils, and as there are fibrils in the off-image areas that look exactly like those that make up the image itself, this: `... suggests that what we are dealing with is some change in the chemistry of the cloth itself. It has been aged. For some reason, the fibrils that make up the image got older faster than the rest of the fabric.' [Rogers, R., in Sox, D., "The Shroud Unmasked," Lamp Press: Basingstoke UK, 1988, pp.67-8]" (Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, pp.80-81).
"Dedicated to the memory of John H. Heller, whose curiosity was aroused by the phrase `physics of miracles' in a 1978 Science article; whose exacting chemical analysis proved that the Shroud image could not be a forgery; and who passed into the hands of God on December 13, 1995. Requiescat in pace" (Case, T.W., 1996, "The Shroud of Turin and the C-14 Dating Fiasco," White Horse Press: Cincinnati OH, p.5).
"Case: Neither of you were original members of STURP, the Shroud of Turin Research Project composed mostly of American scientists, who investigated the Shroud in 1978, nor did you make the trip to Italy with the team. However, Dr. Heller's 1983 book, Report on the Shroud of Turin, is far-and-away the best piece of scientific writing I have read on the subject. What first piqued your interest in the Shroud? Dr. Heller: It's a mystery. It's an unanswered question that should lend itself to scientific verification. I read the article by Barbara Culliton in Science. Where she was talking about the physics of miracles. [Science, vol. 201, 21 July 1978]" (Case, 1996, "Interview with John H. Heller and Alan D. Adler," p.51. Emphasis original).
"Once the intransigence of McCrone's views was realized, the individuals invited by STURP to address themselves to these questions were physician Dr. John Heller of Connecticut's now defunct New England Institute, and more impressively, ebullient chemistry professor Dr. Alan Adler of Western Connecticut State University. Of Jewish parentage, and a noted specialist in the heme and porphyrin components of human blood, Adler became associated with the Shroud project at Heller's instigation, initially anticipating that the work might take him a mere couple of days. As time progressed, he found himself undertaking more than a thousand separate tests on the Shroud's body and blood image chemistry. As reasoned by Adler, McCrone looked down his microscope and pronounced only on the basis of optical criteria. But the only true way to understand the nature of the Shroud body and blood images is to study their chemical reactions under a variety of chemical treatments." (Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, p.89).
"BY FAITH, I am a Christian; specifically, a Southern Baptist. By profession, I am a scientist; specifically, a biophysicist. By genesis, I am a New Englander, with all the skepticism and conservatism of the breed. All this being the case, I have always felt that relics are nothing but flummery from the Dark Ages. In 1978, I had never heard of the Shroud of Turin, let alone seen a picture of it. When I did, I was surprised. I thought I would see something analogous to all the paintings and statuary of Jesus that I had ever seen. I had viewed Oriental portrayals of Christ in Japan and China, and black ones in Africa, a host of medieval and Renaissance forms in Florence and elsewhere in Europe, as well as Byzantine and modern versions. This was different. It was anything but artistic. In addition, everything was reversed. Its images were like photographic negatives, with black and white, left and right, reversed. The cloth was also very bloody, with the `nail holes' in the wrong place; they were in the wrists, not in the palms. There were large scorch marks and burn holes down both sides of the fabric. The man was nude, his hands folded over the groin. I did not know at the time that the photograph I was looking at had been enhanced; the actual images were so faint that they could not be seen from up close, but only at a distance of about one or two yards. Yet if one was too far away, they faded into the background of the cloth. I could not imagine a more unlikely object for veneration. Then I was shown photographic negatives of the Shroud, which made the human images become positive. This helped considerably by showing a man in a way familiar to our perception. However, now the blood was negative, or white, which detracted from the whole. To say I was still unimpressed would be an understatement. About a month later I read a report by Dr. Robert Bucklin, the deputy coroner and forensic pathologist of Los Angeles County. Dr. Joseph Gambescia, a pathologist in Pennsylvania, concurred in the findings. Forensic pathologists specialize in causes of violent death, and it was this report which first caused my eyebrows to rise a bit. I have, tucked far away in my background, an M.D., though I do not use it much. I had also spent eight years on the faculty of Yale University School of Medicine: two in pathology and six in internal medicine. The forensic report said (with some translation from the medical jargon): Irrespective of how the images were made, there is adequate information here to state that they are anatomically correct. There is no problem in diagnosing what happened to this individual. The pathology and physiology are unquestionable and represent medical knowledge unknown 150 years ago. That, I thought, is a remarkable statement." (Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, p.1-2. Emphasis original).
"At this point, I decided to carry out some gedankenexperiments. A favorite ploy of Albert Einstein's, gedankenexperiment literally means `thought experiment.' One attacks a problem by setting up a series of events and constraints, and then solves the problem in one's head, rather than in the laboratory. By a series of flukes, Einstein had been my unofficial undergraduate adviser. Once or twice every year, I would travel from Yale to Princeton to seek counsel. On one of those occasions Einstein told me that I should always remember that a gedankenexperiment requires a very small research budget." (Heller, 1983, pp.200-201).
"The Bloodstains ... The most important and conclusive work was done by John Heller and Alan Adler in their laboratory at the New England Institute. [Heller, J.H. & Adler, A.D., "Blood on the Shroud of Turin," Applied Optics, Vol. 19, 1980, pp.2742-2744] Heller and Adler examined several `sticky tape' samples which contained pieces of `bloodstained' fibrils. They looked at the spectrum of the visible light transmitted from these samples under a microscope, a test known as microspectrophotometry. The results suggested that hemoglobin was a component of the color. To further test this possibility, Heller and Adler removed the iron from the samples and tried to isolate porphyrin, a component of blood which fluoresces red under an ultraviolet light. Indeed, the substance which the chemists isolated from the samples fluoresced red under ultraviolet light. This confirmed that the substance was porphyrin, and thus strongly indicated that the bloodstained areas really were blood." (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1981, "Verdict on the Shroud: Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ," Servant Books: Ann Arbor MI, pp.78-80. Emphasis original).