Update: see the latest posting (20th Feb 2015) on my sciencebuzz site entitled:
On my sciencebuzz site right now (21st Feb 2015):
Update: see the latest posting (20th Feb 2015) on my sciencebuzz site entitled:
On my sciencebuzz site right now (21st Feb 2015):
Modelling the Shroud image: from heated brass crucifix (left) to 3D-enhanced light/dark reversed scorch image (right). Not 100% there yet, but arguably making progress.
The first recorded appearance of the TS was in the tiny French hamlet of Lirey, south of Troyes in 1357. Why then, one may ask, at that particular era of French history, given there’s no evidence of where it had come from? And why was the image so peculiar, quite unlike anything that preceded it (allegedly) or anything that followed (allegedly). Apologies for the expressions of doubt in parentheses. All will be explained shortly.
This science-oriented blogger now believes, after some 3 years of scientific and historical detective work, that there is a simple answer to both those questions. What’s more, there WAS a precedent for the TS image in the 14th century, at least conceptually, and there are modern day experimental models too, at least approximately. See my photograph above (taken just an hour ago).
Perhaps the easiest way to understand the TS is to go back seven years from 1357 to 1350. That was declared a “Holy Year” in the calendar of the Roman Church in Europe. What’s more, there was an existing ‘holy relic’ that had captured public imagination, one that has been described as the Church’s “central icon”. It was so valued, so revered that “wherever the Church went, the relic went with it” (according to Neil MacGregor , celebrated art historian and currently Director of the British Museum). As an old boss of mine was wont to say: “No mean slouch”.
Here’s a slightly edited passage from a book I’ve just discovered from googling. It’s entitled “The Templars and the Grail, Knights of the Quest” (by one Karen Ralls). The editing is designed to keep you in suspense , dear reader.
“Preserved in Rome as a matter of record since at least 1011 and venerated by pilgrims, the icon in question was seen publicly very rarely, but one of those rare occasions was in that Holy Year 1350- when it was displayed to a rapturous audience of pilgrims. It was the talk of Europe. Papal records show that in the jubilee years 1300 and 1350, many people were trampled in the rush to look upon the icon which was said to cure all ills, including leprosy.”
So what was this icon that has such enormous pulling power, and why?
OK, time to come clean: It was the fabled “Veil of Veronica”, a central feature of all that follows.
Here’s how the same Karen Ralls introduced the above section:
The well-known story of the lady Veronica tells how she compassionately wiped the face of Christ as he was carrying the cross through the streets of Jerusalem, on the way to his Crucifixion. It is said that as a reward for her kindness, an image of his face miraculously remained on the cloth. So powerful was the medieval cult that grew around scene, that the incident became the sixth of the fourteen Stations of the Cross. Yet ironically the story appears nowhere in the Gospels. The cloth, preserved as a relic, became known as the Veil of Veronica. Some historians have identified it with the Mandylion of Edessa, which disappeared in 1204 after the siege of Constantinople.
Present whereabouts of the Veil of Veronica? No one knows for certain whether the one that caused all the stir in 1350 still exists or not. The problem is the existence of many icons that claim to be it. But many look less like a sweat imprint on fabric, as originally described, even with some miraculous enhancement (we are told) . Instead they look more like artistic representations with common pigments (art historian Charles Freeman would love ‘em ;-)
There are at least six images in existence which bear a marked resemblance to each other and which are claimed to be the original Veil, a direct copy of it or, in two cases, the Mandylion. Each member of this group is enclosed in an elaborate outer frame with a gilded metal sheet (or riza in Russian) within, in which is cut an aperture where the face appears; at the lower extreme of the face there are three points which correspond to the shape of the hair and beard.
However, what matters for the purpose of this communication is not whether the Veronica that was on display in 1350 was genuine or not, or whether it was simply a sweat imprint, or an enhanced version of sweat, whether as a result of human art or divine intervention. It’s the medieval perception of the Veil as having ORIGINALLY been a sweat imprint of the face of Jesus onto some fabric proferred by a sympathetic bystander, while carrying his cross.
There must have been at least some who, viewing, or even hearing of the Veil, must have asked themselves: how can plain old perspiration (“sweat” in common parlance) imprint an image on cloth? What would it look like initially? What would it look like a day later, a week later, a century or millennium later? And among those people, might there be just one individual who then asked themselves an audacious question: could or might the process be simulated, or to put it baldly, faked? Could one pass off an entirely and audaciously man-made image as that of a divine sweat image? And if that were the case, what would be the most profitable way of doing that? Content oneself with producing a face imprint that was superior to that on the Veil, and claim that one had the “real” version, and that the one in Rome was the fake? Or avoid any such controversy and unpleasantness. Instead, marshall one’s technology to make an even more audacious claim, namely that one had not only an image that captured the face of Jesus, but that of his entire body! How could that be done? Was there a scenario from the New Testament gospels that might be adduced to back one’s claim?
Certainly there was, and it’s one that occurred just a day or two AFTER the crucifixion. It was the initial placement by Joseph of Arimathea of Jesus on a costly sheet of linen, conveniently with no reference at this stage to the body being cleaned of blood and other bodily secretions, notably sweat.
Already a plan for developing that germ of an idea was taking shape. What were the criteria that could be adopted first to produce a whole body imprint of the crucified Jesus that would pass muster, yet importantly pose no threat to the status of the Veil?
Here are a few:
1. The image must NOT be mistaken for anything but a burial shroud. A single image of the frontal side might be mistaken for some kind of painted portrait. Solution: imprint BOTH sides of the body, align them head to head making it seems as though a body had been first been laid on the lower half of a rectangle of linen, then the spare half at the top turned to cover the front surface, ie. with the body finally sandwiched between two layers of linen.
2. The image must look as if it were imprinted off a body, not a painted version thereof. Imprinting by contact, which can be modelled with one’s own hands, feet, face etc given a suitable “paint” leaves a distinctive incomplete image, because it only the highest relief that makes contact that can leave an image. Everything else – the lower relief, e.g. eye hollows etc must NOT be shown. In modern parlance we would say the image must resemble a photographic negative (although that term can be and indeed is a source of confusion). So too is the term “lack of directionality”. Both those terms (“negative”and “directionality”) will be will be discussed later in the Technical Appendix.
3. No sides to the body, on assumption that linen does not make good contact witjh sides if draped over loosely, and even if it did there would be a tendency for imaginary “sweat” to drip down under gravity. Similarly, no imaging of the top of the head, which is the same as a vertical “side”. But one is allowed to image the vertical soles of the feet on the dorsal image (see below) if it is assumed that linen had been pulled up and around by burial attendants.
4. .The body image should be a discoloration of linen, maybe difficult to make out, compared with conventional paintings, but not too hard. Make it yellow or pale brown to stand out against white linen.
5. Choose a weave that is receptive to one’s imprinting process. A twill weave (e.g. herringbone 3/1 weave) has more flat areas than a simple 1/1 criss-cross one.
6. Thei mage should have what artists would call form but no outline, to avoid risk of seeming to have been painted.
7.The image should be somewhat fuzzy, not sharp.
8. The image should seem highly superficial, i.e. not have an encrusted appearance that might be mistaken for applied pigment.
9. A body that leaves a sweat imprint would have been unwashed. If the image is to be seen as that of Jesus it must therefore have his blood from open wounds and scourge marks too.
10. It is sufficient to place blood in all the correct biblical locations. There is no need to create images of the broken skin itself, since it is only intact skin that sweats, not open wounds . So the scourge marks too must be imaged as blood, not sweat, which may be problematical but is not insuperable.
11. Hair is somewhat problematical. One cannot make the hair seem as if painted. One has to imagine how an imprint of sweat-sodden hair might look as if imprinted onto linen. It must have the same character as the skin imprint, and only be recognizable as “hair” by its overall shape and location.
12. The eyes must be closed. It is an image of a recently deceased man.
13. Feet are a problem. Does one terminate the dorsal imprint at the heel, as would be expected, thereby leaving an image lacking feet? Or does one image-imprint off a template as if the linen had been pulled up around the heels and pulled tight against the soles to capture those surfaces as well (creating an option for adding blood imprints too on soles of feet issuing from crucifixion nail holes)? Go for that latter option, since human intervention with enveloping a shroud around the feet is not inconsistent with the the 1st century rock tomb scenario and indeed serves to enhance it.
14. The chin and neck are also problematical. Cloth laid loosely over the frontal surface would tend to bridge from chin to chest, creating a detached floating head with no neck. But cloth that imaged the neck, as if it had followed all the contours would risk imaging the underside of the chin too, making the neck look too long. Some compromise is needed, to get some neck and not too much underside of chin. Maybe simulate a crease at the chin to suggest there had been pressure applied to the linen, manual, or maybe from having a ‘neck tie’ of some kind that would not itself be imaged.
15. Loin cloth? Problematical. How can it be imaged realistically if all it leaves is a sweat imprint, more or less imprinted? How could it be recognized as a cloth imprint as distinct from uncovered skin. Conclusion: there is no avoiding bare buttocks. Finer sensibilities must take a back seat. Maybe use scourge marks to partially disguise the private skin.
16. Frontal nudity? Use crossed hands to cover the genital area. Take liberties with human anatomy if ncessary (slightly overlong arms and fingers).
Overview: What we see here is the birth by degrees of an iconic image, one that is not strictly speaking a representation of a real person, but an imagined imprint of a real person from some kind of contact template, in which numerous assumptions and compromises have had to be made. Sure, the final body image with its blood additions looks reasonably realistic at first glance, but look more closely and one can see that it is idealized and, most importantly of all, tweaked to perfection (or as some might say, slight mperfection).
I have set out a possible scenario that led to the TS being fabricated as a rival attraction to the Veil of Veronica, indeed one that built on the established credentials of the Veronica as perceived by those at the time, and which later over several decades and centuries came to supplant the Veronica as the Church’s new “central icon” (to borrow Neil McGregor’s words re the 14th century Veronica).
Imaging mechanism? This posting has deliberately been kept free of mechanisms by which the “sweat imprint” was or might have been fabricated. That is deliberate. The idea mooted here regarding the aim and motivation for creating the TS image as a simulated sweat imprint should not be based or judges on practical, technological details of executing that objective. The latter have been extensively discussed previously by this blogger in well over 200 postings (a flavour of these has been consigned to my single opening graphic and a technical appendix that will follow in due course) They should be judged purely in terms of human motivation: why would a medieval artisan and his sponsors have wanted to go to all the trouble of creating an artefact that could be passed off as the genuine burial shroud of Jesus Christ? Which details would need have been got exactly “right” to achieve those ends. Which could have been slightly altered in the interests of practicality and artistic licence? The rest as they say is history (and appropriate technology).
I have as yet no clinching evidence, needless to say, and may never do so, but this new perspective, dare one say paradigm (as in “paradigm shift” this blogger having long nurtured an ambition to declare a paradigm shift, especially one of his own making) hopes there are enough anomalies accounted for re the otherwise perplexing TS image for these ideas to receive serious consideration.
Wish to know more? Comments invited, here or or my main sciencebuzz site.
Recent Shroud-related postings on sciencebuzz:
Technical appendix and image gallery
Here’s one route to simulating the TS image as a “sweat imprint” (there may well be others), This one is purely thermal (“contact scorch” onto untreated linen, but one could explore thermochemical imaging, onto pretreated linen, or possibly ones that are entirely chemical at room temperature, though less probable). Forget those radiation models – they are pseudo-science unless the precise wavelength range and image focusing/image-reception chemistry are specified).
Modelling the Turin Shroud: heat up a metallic 3D template of one’s desired subject.
Here’s an image needed to make a point elsewhere (on another’s site):
First there was scorching off a heated statue or bas-relief template, to leave a negative imprint on linen (see site banner above for modelling thereof).
(Apologies btw for the length of this posting, which will seem to go on, and on, and on: I’ll explain later. Clue: this site is STILL down at Page 12 or 13 of Google listings. Right, where was I? Ah, yes).
Then there was gradual shedding of the more strongly scorched fibres over many centuries to leave today’s barely visible image.
Yes, it could be as simple as that.
It could explain why the Shroud image is so scorch-like ( STURP in 1978 pretty well admitted as much) while, thanks to ageing, it now possesses some subtle characteristics (ultra-superficiality, half-tone effect etc) that are not easily reproducible in a new scorch.
So don’t just think about the making of the Shroud image (requiring a few hours or at most days). Think too about its gradual ‘unmaking’ , i.e degradation over centuries. Yes, sad, isn’t it? All things must pass, revered
relics icons included.
Please see my immediately preceding postings for the geekish details at the molecular, fibre, thread and fabric level.
If you’ve time to spare, look too at the 200+ postings before that. (Just kidding. My next task is to catalogue them so hopefully making it easier for folk to see how the case for scorching/image-degradation was gradually arrived at methodically, and some might think, far, far too slowly).
Nope. It wasn’t rocket science. It just required a knowledge of fairly basic physics, chemistry and botany. Oh, and a deep distrust of my fellow scientists.
Yes, it required an open, enquiring, probably sciency-kind of mind, along with the age-old maxim: “Take nobody’s word for it”, least of all that of fellow scientists.
(The world would be a somewhat dysfunctional and probably quite hazardous kind of place without scientific peer review).
See too my earlier posting on WHY the Shroud was fabricated in the first place, and a hint as to why it made its first documented appearance in approx 1356 in a small church in Champagne country approx. 200km to the south-east of Paris, founded by the knightly Geoffroi de Charny, Lord of Lirey, and his wife, Jeanne de Vergy.
The so-called Lirey Pilgrim’s badge is a vital part of the jigsaw (enter into your favourite search engine). So too was the recently discovered ‘Machy mould’ for a variant of the Lirey badge with that intriguing addition of the Veronica motif(?) and the ambiguous term SUAIRE (burial shroud being the conventional meaning, but “face wipe”, ad hoc or otherwise, being an intriguing alternative).
Late addition: “Face wipe” (suaire) is a genteel description for what, etymologically served as a “sweat cloth”. Think small sweat cloth (the Veronica Veil); think a post-mortem whole body-sized version thereof – the Shroud.
Afterthought: here in a nutshell is a summary of the ‘scorched fibre attenuation’ hypothesis (I’ll try to think of something snappier):
Stage 1: Production of an obvious scorch to represent a victim of slow roasting (prob.a Templar, but possibly St.Lawrence of Rome).
Stage 2: Deliberate attempt to attenuate the image by the various devices described by Lalaing (boiling in oil etc*), in order to reinvent as a whole body “sweat imprint” to trump the Veil of Veronica, then attracting hordes of pilgrims.
Stage 3: Addition of blood to leave absolutely no doubt that the image was that of the newly crucified Jesus of Nazareth is his burial shroud.
Stage 4: Natural attenuation of the image over centuries to render the image still fainter, acquiring subtle characteristics that render it more of an enigma to modern science.
Second thoughts (re naming): since this idea of mine is certain to create a bit of a tiff, then why not call it the TIFF hypothesis ( TIFF being an acronym: Thermal Imprint/Fragile Fibre). ;-)
It avoids use of the term “scorch”, which is not sufficiently specific as to mechanism of fibre coloration.
Let’s take a break.
Click on link above to see posting immediately preceding this one with the crucial ‘sciency’ stuff, like how the peculiar ‘half-tone’ effect may have arisen as a TWO-STEP process (initial scorching, followed by fracture and loss of the more brittle, more heavily scorched fibres to leave just the minimally scorched ones).
Postscript (added 19 March): on an entirely different aspect (possibly the subject of a future more detailed posting) I came across a “sindonological” site yesterday that attempts to dismiss the scorch hypothesis in just a few lines, by citing the problem of “image distortion”. That’s based on the argument that if you smear the face or torso of a volunteer with some kind of paint and then wrap the subject in cloth, the imprint is distorted and grotesque (the further from the midline, the greater the lateral distortion).
What that argument overlooks is one small but crucial detail regarding the Shroud image. The sides (and top of the head) are not imaged. So when one imprints off a head or torso, living or inanimate, there is no need to stray very far from the midline, certainly not to the falling away sides.
What’s more, recalling the details of my LOTTO procedure, used to create this site’s banner, one starts with the hot effigy horizontally laid out, one covers with the linen, which hangs freely at the sides, one covers with damp sacking or similar, and then pats gently all over. The patting is done mainly vertically, while moulding around any obvious prominences in the top plane like nose or folded hands etc. One does not pat the sides, which remain unscorched because the linen hangs vertically, with no contact pressure between fabric and template. The end -result is the imprinting off the most elevated planes only of the effigy. Whilst the latter may be 3D, the effect of light vertical patting is to make the imprint look as if it had come from a bas relief.
Note that the radiation exponents are forced to invoke ‘orthogonal projection’ of radiation, to explain lack of side imaging etc, and emanating from a dead body, for which there are simply no scientific precedents. No such qualifying assumptions, certainly not exotic ones, are needed in the contact scorch model. It is the patting down and moulding to topmost relief in the vertical plane, the areas that present resistance to the patter’s palms and fingers, that results in selective imprinting of the highest planes in the effigy i.e. that are square-on to the cloth. The result is an image that may show a little distortion, but probably slight and undetectable to most eyes, especially when one considers the faintness and fuzziness of the Shroud image generally.
Further postscript, added 20th March.
Someone is sure to raise the issue of fluorescence, as the occasion when Mr.Barrie Schwortz crashed in on a Troll Central posting to put me right on the subject.
“Sadly, that’s why I don’t post to blogs very often. I don’t have time to waste debating folks who simply choose to ignore the published science. They obviously have already made up their minds so why bother? Perhaps they have more time on their hands than I do, but I am not interested in arguing for the sake of argument. That is why I never try to convince anyone of anything. Frankly, I don’t really care what this gentleman thinks and will leave him in your and Dan Porter’s able hands.”
Such old world charm! Here’s a form of words I have just composed. It will have to do for now, at least until we have some molecular fingerprinting data on the mix of fluorescent species that are generated by scorching of linen under different conditions of temperature, oxygen access etc and their subsequent fate on storage etc.
“Uv fluorescence (or lack thereof): frequently cited by promoters of Shroud authenticity as a “killer argument”.”The 1532 scorch marks fluoresce under uv, the Shroud body image does not. Ipso facto, the image cannot be a scorch”.
How about: “ The 1532 scorches left holes in the cloth with elemental carbon round the edges of the hole. The body image did neither. Therefore the image cannot be a scorch”? Equally sound logic?
The 1532 fire caused high temperature pyrolysis, sufficient to degrade cellulose and produce compounds such as hydroxymethylfurfural, and probably aromatics too by condensation reactions. The temperatures required to produce a scorch on linen are not high enough to degrade cellulose, at least by brief contact. It is the more reactive hemicelluloses that are pyrolysed. The properties of the new chemicals formed (uv fluorescence etc) from hemicelluloses at low temperatures are different from those produced from cellulose at higher temperatures.”
Folk have asked why I don’t simply get hold of a uv lamp and make a start in filling in the huge gaps in our knowledge of scorching and fluorescence (similar to Hugh Farey’s studies reported previously on this site, with a greater focus on what’s happening at the molecular level).
But it would be more “kitchen lab” stuff, wouldn’t it, and easy target for the debunkers on Troll Central? There’s also an element of biohazard – my eyes have suffered enough in the past from previous exposure to lab-generated uv (a brief glance at burning magnesium as a chemistry teacher was enough to induce instant headache and nausea).
Here’s a hint as to what I would do if I had proper lab facilities. I would produce scorches at different temperatures and aerobic/anaerobic conditions. Reaction products (low MWt) would be leached with various combinations of solvents (chloroform/methanol/water), the extracts concentrated and run on TLC. Individual bands, fluorescent ones especially, would be eluted and then injected in a mass spectrometer for identification. The stability of any fluorescent properties would be studied, with exposure to air and other oxidants for different times, different temperatures.
Yet another postscript/afterthought
Here’s the tail-end of a sniping comment that appeared a few days ago on Troll Central (I’ve omitted the slander that precedes it, attempting to impugn my honesty):
“May be one day I’ll have the pleasure to study a paper from your investigations on chemical scorching of linen fibers proving that a Shroud-like image with ALL PROPERTIES LIKE THE ORIGINAL (namely microscopic, absence of medulla coloration, colored fibers side by side with non colored fibers, 3D encoding etc.) can be obtained by this method.”
Antero de Frias Moreira
(Centro Português de Sindonologia)
Well now, Dr. Moreira, that’s quite a tall order. Reproduce all properties, like the “original”? But we don’t have the original. We have it many centuries after it was formed. How are we supposed to know what aspects are original, and what are age-related.
Actually, I can tell you with almost 100% certainty what is original. It’s that twin-track scorched-in crease one sees at chin level (and a fainter one at the top of the head).
Those scorched-in creases have been the subject of two of my previous postings, the first over 2 years ago on my sciencebuzz site.
The only way I can see how they were formed was by pressing a hot template into linen, or pressing linen down onto a hot template, such that the fabric became creased due to flexure over the 3D relief of the template.
Or maybe you have a better idea? If so let’s be hearing it please. The onus is not only on we sceptics to explain ALL the features of the Shroud image. It’s on the authenticists too, especially those features that suggest the image is a non-natural, non-miraculous artefact.
Update: Monday 5 May
Yup, this blogger can still be followed on his ‘science buzz’ site. It’s general science-based, but still has postings now and again (and again and again…) on the ever-intriguing TS.
Monday 6th October 2014
Want to read more on this site, but don’t know where to start (you masochist you)?
Maybe this will help. It’s a listing of all my postings in rank descending order, according to the site host’s statistics package:
Here is a schematic representation of the arrow of time – and with it entropy – operating at the thread level in the Shroud (see previous posting for likely changes at the individual fibre level).
OK – much simplified. It’s reckoned there are something like 200 retted bast fibres in each of the Shroud’s linen threads. Will try and track down the reference.
If one imagines the first diagram to represent a new scorched-on imprint, say from a heated metal template, possibly/probably a bronze statue and/or bas relief to represent a cruelly- tortured man (Knight Templar*?) – one who could be mistaken for the crucified Jesus (especially after judicious applications of blood) and the last in the series above to represent how it might look after centuries of mechanical and/or other attrition – read wear-and-tear – then one has a ready explanation for some of the peculiar properties of the Shroud image. (You know, the ones that are routinely
trotted out reeled off by ‘sindonologists’ as evidence for how the Shroud image “cannot possibly be a scorch”).
Changes in the image at the individual fibre level were the subject of the preceding post, and the posting before that warned of a peculiar optical illusion operating at the fabric level in (what I dubbed the BROIL mirage – due to Back Radiation of Incomplete Light). “Incomplete” was a sciency way of saying “coloured” that made for a questionably better acronym. Ouch.
I’ll be back later to list some of those peculiarities, ones that I say are as much a reflection of plain-old entropy as of original thermal imprinting technology. The latter was no doubt “branding iron”- inspired, dreamed up by an imaginative medieval artisan, possibly a blacksmith with a mischievous and devil-may-care streak.
Oh, and I’ll have to add an extra diagram to represent the way the so-called half-tone effect gives a more intense image despite having end-stage pale yellow fibres only. Those more closely-spaced fibres would have originally been underneath a more highly scorched first stage.
* See my recently updated manicured and brushed-up idea ( pretty pictures as well!)
Light scorch to begin with. After ageing and associated fibre fracture and detachment, there remain only thinly dispersed yellow fibres in the top surface. Result: faint half-tone image.
Heavy scorch to begin with After ageing and more extensive fibre fracture/detachment, there are still many yellow fibres in the top surface. Result: a more intense half-tone image than above.
Afterthought: while I’ve said that this posting is addressed to events at the thread level, please note that there’s no suggestion that whole threads break off. It’s the more superficial, highly-scorched fibres of crown threads in the weave in immediate contact with the heated template OR IMMEDIATELY ADJACENT TO THEM that break off over time.
So what are those subtle and/or peculiar features of the Shroud image that are attributed to a unique 1st century event in a Palestine rock tomb, but which I say are more likely due to a combination of contact scorching followed by centuries of gentle, slow motion disintegration?
1. Ultra-superficiality at the individual fibre level, i.e. the alleged 200nm image thickness, is explained. Many fibres initially had thicker image layers, due to the zone of pyrolysis extending deeper into the core than the PCW. But those heavily scorched fibres, being mechanically compromised, have broken off over the centuries, leaving just those with highly superficial scorching with relatively unimpaired mechanical strength.
2. The ‘half-tone’ effect (always tricky to explain, whichever proposed mechanism (radiation, conduction, convection) is invoked – why should coloured fibres have immediate neighbours that are uncoloured?).
Attrition explains the half tone effect. Any fibre that has more than a certain degree of colour from scorching has broken off, leaving just the minimally coloured fibres, probably with scorching restricted to the hemicelluloses of the PCW.
3. Image fibres are weaker than non-image fibres, demonstrated by the fact that they were easier to strip off with Rogers’ sticky tape in the flying ’78 STURP visit.
4. Attrition might be one reason why Shroud image fibres are non-fluorescent under uv light, if it were supposed that fluorescence was conferred by chemical changes occurring at temperatures above those needed for superficial scorching only. But I think there are other, better reasons for explaining lack of fluorescence that have been set out previously on this site. Briefly, unless one knows the precise chemical nature of the fluorescent species – their volatility, their proneness to oxidation, polymerization etc – then I personally do not see why lack of fluorescence centuries after the initial image-forming process can be held as a serious objection to any proposed mechanism of image formation.Fluophores are usually low MWt substances with plenty of conjugated double bonds. It would be a remarkable fluophore that would survive in fabric for centuries. (Yes, I know the 1532 ‘scorch marks’ still fluoresce, but they are not just surface “scorches” – they are the margins of full-thickness burn holes, and have been far more heavily pyrolysed).
5. I don’t pretend to understand the ‘stochastic processes’ that G.Fazio and his colleagues say were necessary to obtain discrimination between image and background colour, nor the reason why that then requires a latency period of some decades for full image development. What I do know is there you will not find a single reference to post-production degradation of the image in the link to that 2013 paper above. One wonders whether the random factors that operate in degradation have been conflated with those that he imagines operate in the latency period. Mechanisms of image formation will always be somewhat conjectural. There is nothing conjectural about the phenomenon of age-related decay. I have only to look in the mirror to be reminded of that. No doubt the distribution of age spots and wrinkles would also fit a ‘stochstic model’ with a long latency period.
Feedback (from Elsewhere):
The three faces are a supposed time sequence – there seems little doubt that the Shroud image has been fading over the centuries.
The second row of images underneath is part hypothesis, part common sense. It relates fading to the loss of degraded linen fibres (regardless of mechanism of image imprinting, whether by mysterious radiation, or as I prefer to imagine (see site banner) by contact scorching from a heated bas relief metal template).
The first fibres to break off and be lost would be those that are degraded all the way to the central lumen of each fibre, with visible coloration of what Rogers described as the “medullas”, i.e. the interface between empty central lumen (“hole”) and secondary cell wall. Coloured “medullas” probably represent scorched remnants of the long-deceased flax cell membrane and cytoplasm.
Less degraded fibres, with degradation confined to the hemicelluloses of the outermost primary cell wall (PCW, dark brown) and thick secondary cell wall (SCW, yellow) would be next to fracture and detach.
The image we see today probably represents the population of minimally-degraded fibres, with damage to the highly superficial PCW only, with largely unaffected SCW cores.
The third horizontal row is an attempt to portray the shed fibres collecting in a heap.
Expect similar attrition, i.e. progressive flaking off, of the bloodstains, regardless of the origins of the blood.
The Shroud image is not frozen in time. It is subject to entropy like everything else in this world. Order proceeds to disorder, because there are more disordered than ordered arrangements, because random change is more likely to create disorder from order than vice versa, at least in open systems in which energy can dissipate.
More later on the implications of progressive image attrition on some misguided attempts to exclude proposed mechanisms of image formation, notably contact scorching.
As before, I am giving search engines, Google especially, no assistance in tagging this post (no image captions, no keywords etc) for reasons previously stated.
Back again (now 09.00 local time).
Some might consider this posting to be a statement of the obvious – even if the focus on events at the individual fibre level is a bit sciency (but then, I am a scientist, albeit long since retired). So why bother posting?
If the truth be told, I should have done this post two years ago. Then, on the scores of occasions when the sciency “200nm” card is played, I could have come back with this. The 200nm card, for the uninitiated is the one that was introduced to shroudology by the STURP team leader Raymond N.Rogers. He went to Turin in 1978, and pressed sticky tape onto various Shroud locations, and took them back to New Mexico to analyse. One of his memorable and much cited findings was that one that described how one could grab the end of an image fibre with forceps, and when one pulled, the coloured image stayed in the adhesive as a “ghost”. It was so thin one could not resolve it by light microscopy. Given the range of wavelengths of visible light, the mantra was born that the Shroud image layer is a mere 200nm to 600nm thick – amazingly thin. (Reminder: 1cm = 10mm; 1mm =1000micrometres; 1 micrometre=1000 nanometres).
Fast forward to Shroudie forums, and one is informed time and time again that no man-made scorch, at least off a hot solid template, could be so incredibly thin, and that one has to invoke some kind of radiation. (Cue uv excimer lasers, corona discharges, neutron bombardment from earthquakes and fracturing rock etc etc).
OK, so it’s a tall order (maybe) to create a 200nm thick scorch that never goes deeper into the weave. But it’s not a tall order if one is then allowed to come back a few centuries later when all the more deeply scorched fibres have broken off, leaving just those with the PCW scorched. Reminder: the PCW of flax/linen fibres is reckoned to be of the order of 100nm thick!
Oh, and 200nm is not so impossibly thin as to defy human comprehension. It’s the thickness of gold leaf that was used to illuminate medieval manuscripts, balanced on the end of a paintbrush by the master gilder.
One encounters other forms of the “impossibly-thin-to-forge” mantra. Like: “the image is restricted to the outermost fibres of each thread”. Well, it could seem that way centuries later, when what one is looking at are lightly coloured fibres that are now on the outside, but weren’t initially.
Or there’s the mysterious “half-tone effect”. That also comes with the anti-scorch mantra. All the fibres in the image are either a fixed intensity of yellow or are uncoloured. There are no in-betweens. What may seem like a darker image area is “simply” due to having a greater ratio of coloured to uncoloured fibres. Yes, I know. This is starting to get monotonous. What if there had been darker fibres to begin with, but being mechanically weaker they have simply broken off, leaving a population of stronger, weakly coloured fibres that can rejoice for ever after under the tag “half-tone” effect, anticipating 19th century photographic reproduction technology by several hundred years?
It’s implicit from what I’ve said so far that modern photography is of no help – we’ve arrived too late, that all the more intensely-scorched fibres will have detached a long time ago, leaving a homogeneous collection of yellow fibres, with nothing so undignified as a singed bristle in sight. Hmmm. I’m not so sure about that. While close-up photographs of the Shroud, at a magnification large enough to see individual fibres are as rare as hen’s teeth, there was one (under copyright protection) that one SSG member was able to liberate from another’s archive and insert in his anti-scorch pdf. Here’s a screen grab – justified here as being used for research/education purposes only.
Is it my imagination, or are there not hints of broken fibres in various locations that seem darker (“more heavily scorched”) than those that are still aligned with the threads. Could this be the smoking gun for my entropy focus? Are there more pictures hidden away in private archives that could be brought to bear on the crucial issue and, more importantly, chief mechanism of wear-and-tear?
Late edit: in fact I was looking at the same photomicrographs way back in October 2012 and arriving at the same conclusions re broken ends ends.
Back later (to discuss fluorescence and other issues that have been fashioned as weapons by the anti-scorch polemicists)
It’s over two years since this blogger/scientist picked up on a brief reference to the PCW and hemicellulose in linen fibres (Feb 13th 2012 to be precise, the second posting on this site) and quickly made a case for those two being the likely site for a faint and superficial 200nm thermal imprint by direct contact. By rights, in a sane and rational world, that hypothesis should quickly have edged out Rogers’ impurity coating (for reasons I don’t intend to enumerate now, but may do so in the next day or two). Yet here we are two years later with the same fixation with Rogers’ impurity coating being expressed on Misinformation Central. I use that M word advisedly, given the quaint belief over there that Rogers was advancing a serious hypothesis with his low temperature Maillard scenario. He wasn’t. It does not stand up to close scrutiny (again, the reasons can come later). What’s more, Rogers had a total blindspot for the PCW and its heat-sensitive hemicelluloses, and having argued (correctly) that cellulose was too resistant towards heat to be the prime target, and being clearly unaware of the botanical facts of life, like the PCW being external, really left himself nowhere to go except in the direction of dreaming up impurity coatings. But that’s no reason for the host of Shroudieland’s premier blog site and one of its Rogers’ disciples to continue to preach 24/7 the Gospel according to St.Raymond, and to fail to acknowledge the strength of the case for PCW as the image-receptive surface. Is it any wonder that this site, with its 200 postings that have consistently developed the PCW hypothesis continues to be virtually invisible in the search engines under (shroud of turin) when a highly tendentious and outdated version of events is still promoted and/or hankered after. My postings simply have the life sucked out of them when those cover versions appear in the Shroudie digest, and its quite clear from my flag counter that the same old broken records get played without visits here first to check what I have said in its entirety, instead of Daniel R.Porter’s spoon-fed milk-and-water version.
Rogers probably believed he was heading in the right direction, given the gap in his education (plant science). But for that other site to persist with his fantasy, and to close its eyes to the PCW thinking is something different altogether. I say its agenda-driven pseudoscience we are seeing over there. As I’ve said many times before, I heartily detest any kind of pseudoscience. What has real science (and this real scientist) done to deserve this kind of shabby dismissive treatment – one of being contained, neutralised, decontaminated. Maybe that’s the real raison d’etre for that site. It’s all about CONTROLLING THE INTERNET to allow the promotion of the Shroud and associated agenda elsewhere. It’s about fire-fighting, damage limitation etc etc.
Update: 10:23 from Mike M (Canadian pharmacist as I recall)>
“I think what comes out of CB post is simply an implied admission that his scorch hypothesis can’t replicate the superficiality at the fibre level… So it must be time (i.e. don’t ask me to replicate it because it happened over hundreds of years and I can’t replicate that) what about the real scorches on the shroud? Why are those still there, after the same time has passed and all the foldong and unfolding why are they still there, Full with Lumen discoloration, UV Fluorescence and transmitted light presence?”
First, let me say that I see no difficulty with selective scorching of the PCW, even if it is a mere 100nm, or a few multiples thereof. As I’ve said over and over again, one can have a scorch as faint and superficial as one wishes, since there are no theoretical of commonsense grounds for thinking that a scorch at the limit of visibility would penetrate deeper than the
But Mike M may not be aware of my thinking that the Mark 1 Shroud was made as a tribute to a roasted Templar, probably Jacques de Molay of Geoffroi de Charney, and there would have been no attempt to produce the exceedingly faint scorch we see today. That would hardly have been a crowd puller. So the original scorch was more intense, but has since become faint as a consequence of the more heavily scorched and thus more brittle fibres snapping off over time. There may have been proactive attempts to speed up that process in the early days when Mk1 Shroud was being reinvented as Christ’s burial cloth (see the references to boiling in oil, repeated laundering etc).
As for the “real” scorches on the Shroud, they weren’t done by an artist/artisan. They are the edges of burn holes where the entire thickness of the fabric has been charred. Sorry, not a fair comparison. The same goes for those other properties (fluorescence etc) – entirely different scenario, involving much higher temperatures in the 1532 fire.
The chief point is that one cannot go listing differences between modern scorches and proposed ancient ones, using them as evidence for or against scorching, without considering the effect of wear and tear. The latter is unavoidable, especially given the time scale, and, given the exotic nature of some Shroud image characteristics (“half tone effect”) one is entitled to seek explanations that involve not only the initial energy input, but the subsequent degradation too. Might it be the failure to consider ageing effects that explains why the Shroud has been regarded as an enigma for so long.
Update: 12th March am
Here’s a cut-and-paste of the abstract of that open-access 201o Fanti et al paper. (My bolding. What a pity that Raymond Rogers did not live to see it, or appreciate the importance of the PCW, especially its EXTERNAL location on plant cells, including those that have acquired a secondary cell wall.)
The “superficiality” of the Turin Shroud body image is a characteristic frequently described in scientific papers but too often in vague terms. Originating from a discussion among the members of the Shroud Science Group, this paper was compiled thoroughly describing the unique characteristics of the body image superficiality. This concept of superficiality is here described at the fabric, thread and fiber levels. At the fabric level, we show the importance of the geometry of the fabric. At the thread level, the very specific distribution of the color is emphasized. Finally, at the fiber level, we confirm that the color is a chemically altered layer about 200 nm thick found at the surface of the colored fibers (the inner part remains uncolored). We suggest that the chemical alteration that produced the discoloration is related to the primary cell wall of the linen fiber. The description of image superficiality here reported will be useful for the formulation of future hypotheses about the body image formation process.
To which this blogger would say “Amen” and simply add a few extra words to the end :
“… and subsequent fading via mechanical and/or other attrition.”
Update: Thur 13 March: It slipped my mind earlier to mention that Thibault Heimburger published an extensive and valuable collection of photomicrographs from the Mark Evans collection (STERA copyright).
See also this posting for more discussion and links:
This is essentially a repeat of yesterday’s posting, using a scorch image (off a crucifix) instead of that red marker pen.
I’ll let the pictures speak largely for themselves.
BROIL = Back Radiation Of Incomplete Light.
(OK, so filtered light, coloured due to certain missing wavelengths, has to be described somewhat unconventionally as “incomplete”. But there’s such a thing as acronymic licence, surely? Come on, say yes.)
In this instance the light passing through the scorch has emerged as yellow/brown, due to abstraction of its short-wave blue component by the pyrolysed carbohydrates. When linen is placed down on a white surface, most of that yellow light gets reflected/radiated back through the interstices to the viewer’s eye, creating a mirage of a heavier scorch on the reverse side than is really the case. Viewing the reverse side on a black surface allows one to compare the real v mirage-reinforced reverse-side image.
First, this shows how white light being transmitted through a scorch image is filtered. The filtered light, now yellow/brown as per scorch, creates a patch on the white background. Note the presence of a gap between fabric and paper. But when the linen is then placed back on the white paper, that yellow light then gets reflected back through the interstices of the weave.
It’s the back-radiation of filtered/coloured light that accounts for the anomaly you see in the above photo, where the colour of a reverse-side image appears to be mainly in the interstices of the weave, when viewing on a white background. Once could almost imagine that it was yellow or brown paper behind the fabric.
The moral is clear: if you think there is reverse-side scorching, especially from a faint top-side scorch, then always view against a matt black surface. Don’t be fooled by the BROIL- mirage. (Mirages, in the desert etc, are caused by refraction of light. This one’s caused by back-reflection/scattering, but it’s a similar idea of light playing tricks).
Caveat: it was necessary to choose a heavy front-side scorch from my collection in order to capture that transmitted yellow light on the backing white paper. Consequently there WAS some real reverse-side image that is not seen on lighter front-side scorches. Nevertheless, a sizeable difference in reverse side intensity was seen when comparing white (left) v black (right) background. Sorry, the images are not quite the same size for the purposes of strict comparability, but I maintain that occasional sloppiness and indolence is an essential prerequisite for staying power in science.
Once again, I’m giving Google no help in putting my ideas and images onto targeted searches under (shroud turin + additional term ), not while this site with its 202 postings languishes out of sight on Page 12 or 13 of (shroud of turin) returns, with priority being given to so many 9-day wonder stories. In fact, thanks to Google, stories that should be 9-day wonders hang around in top listings for 90 or even 190 days! Fix that algorithm, Google, or pay someone to manually mark up the sites that offer real content and long-term commitment, and mark down the flash-in-pan content. Don’t do evil. Don’t even do lazy robotic dysfunctional.
In fact, nothing in today’s posting will assist the Google algorithm in disseminating my content under various search terms attached to the end of (shroud turin). There will be no captions under images either. Why? Because this blog, despite its 200 or so postings to date is virtually invisible when one searches under (shroud turin) . In fact, it gets virtually no new visitors via Google, which is hardly surprising, given it’s presently on page 15 of returns. Yet flash in the pan stories – like that alleged AD33 neutron-generating earthquake in Palestine that not only generated the Shroud image (we are told) but threw the radiocarbon dating as well, still clog up the returns under (shroud turin).
So why should this (or other content-rich blogs) remain under the radar of the Google algorithm, except for more targeted searches (which then provide Google with opportunities for generating revenue with its paid-for advertisements)?
There is absolutely no point in spending time and effort writing and illustrating new postings while the world’s favourite search engine continues to discriminate against those who create the new content (albeit with rough edges at first, given that it is unfamiliar territory that is being explored).
Future posting here will provide the Google algorithm with little or no clue as to content. The title will be unhelpful, the pictures will lack captions, and I shall stop entering keywords. The posting itself will start with asking questions. (It goes without saying that the text will be expanded to keep the blog visitor-friendly.) If there’s interest, I may provide some possible answers later, much later, long after the Google crawler has lost interest and moved elsewhere in search of revenue-generating free-of-charge content.
Here’s the first in my new Google-unfriendly format.
Have a look at this picture (it’s just one of a series I had planned to show). Then ask yourself this question. Might the claims (or at any rate, some of the claims) that a scorch, even a faint one, ALWAYS results in reverse-side scorching be based on a trick of the light? I’ve used a red marker pen to model a mechanism.
The red asterisk has been drawn on the underside of the linen (with relatively little ‘soak-through) and the latter sits on a white or other light-coloured background.
Here’s a clue: the weave has miniature ‘portholes’.
Can anyone guess what one sees if viewed from the other side that might cause puzzlement when first encountered? What’s the relevance to shroudology?
Update: 10:00 London time (I’ve been told that Google does not like updates – that one gets penalized for adding to, or editing one’s initial post. Splendid. I will be making even more use of updates from now on).
I took another look at the snapshots in my “red asterisk” gallery this morning, and have to say, strictly entre nous, that they make a nice story, one with a clear take-away message. What will follow is I believe the reporting of a new effect, at least where the Shroudie literature is concerned. It’s one that anyone who refers in future to “reverse side scorching’ will need to be aware of, and know the elementary safeguard needed if they are to avoid false sightings.
Is it too soon to give the effect a name, or, better still, one of those clever acronyms?
Well, you know I’m dying to tell you now, rather than later. I call it the reverse side BROIL effect, or BROIL illusion, that term being chosen with scorches in mind, real versus ghost ones, as distinct from real versus ghost asterisks.
BROIL stands for:
B_ _ _ R _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ O _ I _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ L _ _ _ _
Meaning of the verb “to broil” (used mainly in the US, we Brits generally using “to grill”): to cook by exposure to direct heat.
There now. That was really too easy wasn’t it? So no answers on postcards please.
Latest instalment: 18:27 Sunday
Now let’s put the linen back flat on that white surface, with that red asterisk facing down, and look at the top side, i.e. opposite to the asterisk.
Note that the asterisk is clearly visible. Bleed through of red ink from the other side? That would probably be most people’s first thought, and was mine to begin with (until I started looking through a hand lens – about which more later).
Nope. It’s not bleed through, as this simple demonstration shows. Move the linen to a matt black surface. Now what do you see?
The case of the missing asterisk!
Let’s go back to the white background, and take a closer look.
Look where the colour is. It’s in the interstices (“holes” in the weave). How can holes have colour, one may ask?
Holes don’t have colour. Not only does that colour largely if not entirely disappear when viewed against a dark background, but holding the linen up to the light shows that the interstices are indeed still holes! So where’s the colour coming from?
So what’s going on you may ask, as I did just a day or two ago? The answer lies in that first photograph. Here’s another shot from a different angle.
Note the patches that suffused red light make on the white paper. Note the way that white light penetrates the weave to create separate spots.
Interpretation: ordinary visible white light penetrates the weave from the top side, unobtructed through the interstices, and obstructed by the fibres. As the white light passes through the red pigment on the underside of the weave, its green and blue components are absorbed. The remaining “incomplete”, i.e. chromatically filtered light, is red. If the background is black, that red light is absorbed, and no asterisk is seen on the top side. But if the background is light, something very interesting happens. The red light reflect/scatters off the white surface, and much of it can then exit freely through the interstices of the weave (“miniature portholes”). To the observer, there will be a pixellated ghost image of the asterisk, as if it were on the top surface. When examined through a hand lens. one gets the impression that the linen is on a red backing surface, which of course is not the case,
Ladies and gentlemen: I present you with an optical illusion that makes an underside image appear as a ghost on the upper surface. But not just any old ghost, not a grey ghost, but one that has the same colour as the image.
More to come (after I have repeated the experiment with a contact scorch instead of red marker pen). Let’s hope we get some good sunlight tomorrow to capture the filtered light on that white surface.
The BROIL illusion? Back-Radiation Of Incomplete Light.