Sindonology’s 10 biggest mistakes …



Can/must do better, sindonology than your performance thus far…


Here,  dear reader,  is what this retired PhD scientist considers to be sindonology’s 10 biggest mistakes.  Assembling this list has taken some 7 years of investigation, reported  (uniquely?) to the internet as a real time LEARNING CURVE, here and elsewhere.

It required  well over 350 postings and thousands of internet-posted comments to arrive at my  final solution  (“Model 10”) to the so-called “Shroud enigma”.  Better late than never! 

 Oh, and it’s neither a “Shroud”   – if intended to mean BURIAL shroud –  whether genuine or medieval imitation thereof – nor an enigma. No,  not any more, not according to my final Model 10, that was arrived at in 2015,   with sincere apols  for the wordy unveiling, and  since checked out carefully these last three years and more.

Why the negative title, negative 10-point message on this, my final posting?  Answer?  7 years of posting non-negative messages have got me nowhere, absolutely nowhere, such is the defensive back-to-the-wall nature of ‘sindonology’ subsequent to the  cold-water douche of the 1988 medieval dating.   However, give me a little time, and I may append a short summary at the end of this posting, setting out in condensed form the numerous lines of hard facts and arguments that support this investigator’s final Model 10. In the meantime, there’s my expanded margin comments that hopefully address many, indeed most of the essential issues. (biblical, historical, image characteristics, chemical etc etc).




1. Mistaken assumption that Secondo Pia’s discovery of the negative image via photography implies that ‘photography’ was required for initial image capture.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. There’s nothing weird and wonderful about negative images. Simple contact imprints (like muddy footprints on a white tile floor) are negative images, where dark tones on a light background replace light ones on a  darker background.

Here’s a simple experiment anyone can do, a closer analogy to the Linen of Turin. All it needs is a wet hand, some dark fabric, a camera, and 3D-rendering software, e.g. ImageJ, freely dowloadable from the internet.

Negative v positive images, my wet hand

From this site’s  recently deleted banner: Left: a negative image of my hand; Right: the same after tone reversal, now a positive. Were these images obtained via photography in the first instance? Answer?  NO! They were obtained by contact imprinting – wetting of the hand, followed by pressing onto a dark fabric to obtain the initial negative imprint. Photography and software-mediated tone-reversal came later. 


2. Mistaken assumption that the response of the body image to 3D-rendering software implies pre-existing “unique encoded 3D infomation”.

site banner 4 hand imprints

AGAIN, FROM THIS SITE’S  PREVIOUS (NOW  DELETED)  BANNER:   SEE THE WAY BOTH THE NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE IMPRINTS OF MY WET HAND RESPONDED TO 3D-RENDERING WITH IMAGEJ SOFTWARE:  1. The negative image pre-3D   2. The same negative image after 3D rendering ; 3.  The tone-reversed positive pre-3D;   4. The same positive image after 3D rendering.  RING ANY BELLS? 

What price that  “unique encoded 3D” as repeatedly claimed for the Turin Linen body image?  Certain sindonologists (who ought to know better)  seem to have forgotten something where the  scientific method is concerned, like the need to perform CONTROL experiments so as to exclude the influence of other variables, whether instantly visible or not. (Think of science as  being like crossing a minefield,  gently waving a mine detector ahead of one.)

Continue reading

Posted in Shroud of Turin, sindonology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Please excuse this pot-boiler of a posting …

Once again, this site has disappeared completely from Google rankings (under a “shroud of turin” search), and it happened, bizarrely,  “overnight”.

One can only speculate as to reasons – which might be legitimate – albeit puzzling in the suddenness if truly determined purely by algorithm, i.e. non-human agency.

This poster is a retired scientist, and scientists operate via hypothesis/testing. So I’ll start with the following hypothesis.

It’s been a while (approx. 5 weeks)  since I last posted. Maybe the  Google algorithm’s been altered to make it unforgiving on those who fail to post at more frequent intervals. (No, not at the top of my list of hypotheses, but  for now the least ‘judgemental’).

But what can I say by way of new posting that I haven’t said already,  these last 7 years in some 350 and more postings, either here or on other’s sites (notably Dan Porter’s revived shroudstory site in recent weeks)?

Answer? Now’t if the truth be told.

So here’s the pot-boiler referred to in the title. It’s a cut-and-paste of part of a comment I left just yesterday on the Porter site.


…  Oh, and unless or until those who attack the radiocarbon dating as erroneous for one reason or another take steps to get it repeated, then the term “Shroud sceptic” is wholly unwarranted. The default label should be “radiocarbon sceptic”, with us alleged “sceptics” re-labelled as promoters of a 14th century origin (while curious to know precisely how the subtle tone-reversed image was created in a pre-photography era).

I say that Lirey clerics watched bread browning in an oven, and hit upon an idea for trumping the then-celebrated Veil of Veronica that was attracting vast numbers of (paying) pilgrims. “Let’s simulate a second imprint” they said, “not just the face, but the entire body, front and back. Let’s check out the Gospels for a pretext (like, you know, Joseph of Arimathea and his “fine linen”, deployed as a means of concealing and transporting a crucified body, still damp with sweat and blood.”

They were successful – beyond their wildest dreams- at least until those party-pooper radiocarbon daters came along in 1988.

How much longer must we wait for a repeat of the C-14 dating, checking out a wider range of locations on the linen, needing (probably) no more than a few excised threads here and there, well clear of body image or bloodstains?”


Will it do the trick of rendering this site visible once again to that Google algorithm? Or do we have to start looking for more sinister forces at work, either within or without that otherwise impenetrable black-box that calls itself  Google?

Oh, and while on the subject of Google and its mysterious MO, I’m not in the least bit worried about the uninformative, yawn -provoking choice of title for this posting. Why not? Because Google rankings totally ignore the titles I give each new posting. They give the site’s title, certainly, and they give some or all of the tagline that accompanies that title. But they totally ignore the posting title, thus removing at one fell swoop any new message one is attempting to place and/or promote online.

Google is what is known proverbially a wet blanket,  at least where we private bloggers are concerned. But then it’s not the only wet blanket where ‘sindonology’ is concerned.

Oh no!  (Don’t ask…)

Update, Day 2 (March 21, 2019)

Still no listing  of this site in the  default ‘Any Time’ returns under (shroud of turin).

But we do appear if one clicks on Tools, then Past 24 hours (which I don’t suppose many folk do, bar bloggers like myself who need to keep tabs on what’s new):

google shroud of turin last 24 hrs march 21 19

Will the site appear in 6 days under “Tools/Past Week”, or in 30 days, under “Tools/Past Month”, or in 364 days under …  oh, never mind, this is getting monotonous, indeed faintly ridiculous.

What on earth are you playing at Google? You have near-permanent installations on Page 1 under default  Any Time Returns like one, or even  (this morning) two entries from a UK tabloid newspaper (i.e. The Express, with mere secondary reporting of other people’s ideas).

express page 1 returns google shroud of turin march 21 19

Yet  you can summarily eject long-established sites like this one overnight from more modest placements (typically anywhere between pages 5 to 10).

Are you really expecting us to believe that your listings are determined entirely by pre-programmed algorithm when they display this degree of volatility – to say nothing of baffling arbitrariness?

You need to re-invent yourself, Google. Try introducing some principles, indeed, published guidelines into your otherwise senseless  MO.

Update, Friday March 22, 2019

This latest posting has indeed appeared under Google listings (shroud of turin) for both Past Week (Page 1 of returns) and Past Month (Page 2). But it’s not on Past Year, nor it specifically, or the site in general, under Any Time listings.

Back again (still Friday). Has anyone previously made a link between  the Turin Linen and the short-lived “Order of the Star” established by King John II of France at the suggestion, we’re told of, guess who?  Yes, first documented owner of the Linen, Geoffroy de Charny, Lord of Lirey!

Well, I just have, the last day or two, on Dan Porter’s shroudstory site, using the Comments facility. Expect to see  of copy/paste of the new idea here in short instalments quite soon.  Goodness knows why I’m the first (it would seem)  to  have made  what,  to me  at any rate, seems so obvious a connection!


March 20, 2019 at 6:14 pm

As I mentioned briefly in an email reply to Dan, just the other day, Jim, there’s an entire dimension that is missing from continuing current debate regarding 1st century authenticity versus medieval fabrication.

I’ll spare you the finer details, and simply provide a link and brief summary for now:

It concerns the short-lived Order of the Star (apologies to French visitors for the anglicization), said by the above wiki entry to have been founded in 1351.

Who was the inspiration for its creation in concert with King Jean II of France? Why, none other than history’s first documented owner of the Turin Linen, namely Geoffroy de Charny.

Why was the Order short-lived? Because de Charny died at the Battle of Poitiers 5 years later, bearer of the Royal Standard, fighting and defending his KIng, the latter captured and held to ransom. But 1356 was also the approximate time of the first public display of the Linen, maybe by de Charny’s widow, Jeanne de Vergy (both man and wife’s heraldic coats of arms appearing on the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge)

How come so high-profile an owner of the Linen can be so downplayed, eclipsed by all the assumptions of 1st century authenticity, when it’s so easy to conceive of alternative mid- 14th century reasons for its existence (like serving briefly (maybe?) as a ceremonial centrepiece for the newly-formed Order, with echoes of similar religious totems having been used by the earlierTemplar Knights at their secretive gatherings. Income from public displays may also have been part of the thinking (given the Order intended tio provide pensions for its members, to say nothing of meeting some of the costs of regalia, body armour, weaponry etc etc).

See also the splendid historical work that was done many years ago by the late Dorothy Crispino, relating to the manner in which King Jean !! assisted his close lieutenant/confident de Charny in acquiring the financial wherewithal to found that generously staffed (overstaffed?) private chapel on his Lirey estate, with hints that there may have been changes of use that could be linked to acquisition (or as I prefer to think, fabrication) of the Linen.

Best I stop here, except to re-iterate that sindonology has barely scratched the surface where the de Charny/King Jean II/Order of the Star connection is concerned.

One hears of conclusions being arrived at with indecent haste. The haste may not be indecent where sindonology is concerned, but I personally find the fortuitous blind spots to be of truly gobsmacking magnitude.

  • March 22, 2019 at 4:29 am

    PS: To those who say that any new and ingenious means of creating the image would not have remained a secret for very long, then I suggest the following. Re-read what I wrote 2 days ago on that powerful consortium of (a) G de Charny, his King and the Lirey chapel. The read the potted history of the Linen supplied on

    Note the way that references continue to be made to the Lirey canons claiming ownership for well over a century after de Charny’s death, specifically 1473 and 1482. Note how their claim must have been at least partially recognized, given the reference to late payments of “rent” to the Savoy custodians. Note too the King also steps in at one point claiming ownership! Yet those same canons acquiesced to early demands from the Pope to remove the Linen from display for some 30 years post de Charny’s death in 1356,

    That history begins with a brief reference to de Charny having reportedly acquired the Linen on his travels in Constantinople. That would hardly explain the Lirey canons’ prolonged claims of ownership or for agreeing to read out denials of authenticity when subsequently re-displayed.

    One need hardly say there is an explanation for all these otherwise puzzling aspects of the Linen’s early recorded history. De Charny did not acquire it in Constantinople. It was fabricated on his Lirey estate, probably by the generously staffed team of clerics in his own Monarch-subsidized private chapel, probably with the original intention of being used as a devotional centrepiece by members of the newly founded Order of the Star.

    All that came to naught with the death of de Charny and the capture and ransom of his King. That left the Lirey canons as legal custodians in all but name, but willing, at least initially, to allow de Charny’s widow to assume nominal ownership. Renewed displays in the late 14th century began to re-generate a stream of income, no doubt supporting both de Charny’s widow (albeit remarried) and the continued existence of the private chapel.

    Given this background, how likely is that the word would leak out as to how precisely the relic, correction, icon was created? It’s just about conceivable that given a Papal ruling against authenticity, there would or could have been a demand for multiple icons, all displaying the same life-size double body image etc etc. But if those same canons were still earning a decent income from continued display of the Mark 1 creation, how willing would they have been to allow competitors to muscle in with multiple look-alike copies? I would estimate the probability at somewhere between 0 and 1%, especially when renewed claims and beliefs in authenticity were increasing steadily, year by year, decade by decade…

    • March 22, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      Oops. I wrote:

      “Note how their claim must have been at least partially recognized, given the reference to late payments of “rent” to the Savoy custodians.”

      Wrong way round! That should have been ” late payments or rent FROM the Savoy custodians TO the Lirey canons.”

      Incidentally, by way of postscript, there’s an additional sliver of evidence linking the Linen to the both the Lirey canons and the Order of the Star (via G de Charny).

      Take a look at the somewhat puzzling line from the history sequence on (supplied by the celebrated Ian Wilson no less!):

      1349: … Geoffrey de Charny, a French knight, writes to Pope Clement VI reporting his intention to build a church at Lirey, France. It is said he builds St. Mary of Lirey church to honor the Holy Trinity …

      So why call it “St.Mary of Lirey church” if it’s to honour the Holy Trinity? Why not call it “Holy Trinity Church”?

      Now go to the wiki entry on G de Charny’s “Order of the Star” – see above link – (which he co-founded with King Jean II) and one gets a possible, some might say, probable answer: (My bolding)


      In French the order was initially called les Chevaliers de Nostre Dame de la Noble Maison (“the Knights of Our Lady of the Noble House”). In Latin the order was referred to in early documents as consortium seu societatem militem Beate Marie Nobilis Domus apud Sanctum Odoenum prope Sanctum Dyonisium in Francia (“the knightly company or society of the Blessed Mary of the Noble House at Saint-Ouen near Saint-Denis in France”) …

      In other words, G de Charny, Lord of Lirey, did NOT intend to name his private chapel after the Holy Trinity (goodness knows where that idea came from!). He intended it to be named after the Holy Mother AND PROCEEDED TO DO SO!

      Why? Because that was to be the person whose hallowed name was to be central to the planned Order of the Star, singled out in its full title!

      As for the reference to Constantinople, right at the start of Ian Wilson’s “undisputed history”, words fail me!

      March 20, 2019 at 6:14 pm

      As I mentioned briefly in an email reply to Dan, just the other day, Jim, there’s an entire dimension that is missing from continuing current debate regarding 1st century authenticity versus medieval fabrication.

      I’ll spare you the finer details, and simply provide a link and brief summary for now:

      It concerns the short-lived Order of the Star (apologies to French visitors for the anglicization), said by the above wiki entry to have been founded in 1351.

      Who was the inspiration for its creation in concert with King Jean II of France? Why, none other than history’s first documented owner of the Turin Linen, namely Geoffroy de Charny.

      Why was the Order short-lived? Because de Charny died at the Battle of Poitiers 5 years later, bearer of the Royal Standard, fighting and defending his KIng, the latter captured and held to ransom. But 1356 was also the approximate time of the first public display of the Linen, maybe by de Charny’s widow, Jeanne de Vergy (both man and wife’s heraldic coats of arms appearing on the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge)

      How come so high-profile an owner of the Linen can be so downplayed, eclipsed by all the assumptions of 1st century authenticity, when it’s so easy to conceive of alternative mid- 14th century reasons for its existence (like serving briefly (maybe?) as a ceremonial centrepiece for the newly-formed Order, with echoes of similar religious totems having been used by the earlierTemplar Knights at their secretive gatherings. Income from public displays may also have been part of the thinking (given the Order intended tio provide pensions for its members, to say nothing of meeting some of the costs of regalia, body armour, weaponry etc etc).

      See also the splendid historical work that was done many years ago by the late Dorothy Crispino, relating to the manner in which King Jean !! assisted his close lieutenant/confident de Charny in acquiring the financial wherewithal to found that generously staffed (overstaffed?) private chapel on his Lirey estate, with hints that there may have been changes of use that could be linked to acquisition (or as I prefer to think, fabrication) of the Linen.

      Best I stop here, except to re-iterate that sindonology has barely scratched the surface where the de Charny/King Jean II/Order of the Star connection is concerned.

      One hears of conclusions being arrived at with indecent haste. The haste may not be indecent where sindonology is concerned, but I personally find the fortuitous blind spots to be of truly gobsmacking magnitude.

      • March 22, 2019 at 4:29 am

        PS: To those who say that any new and ingenious means of creating the image would not have remained a secret for very long, then I suggest the following. Re-read what I wrote 2 days ago on that powerful consortium of (a) G de Charny, his King and the Lirey chapel. The read the potted history of the Linen supplied on

        Note the way that references continue to be made to the Lirey canons claiming ownership for well over a century after de Charny’s death, specifically 1473 and 1482. Note how their claim must have been at least partially recognized, given the reference to late payments of “rent” to the Savoy custodians. Note too the King also steps in at one point claiming ownership! Yet those same canons acquiesced to early demands from the Pope to remove the Linen from display for some 30 years post de Charny’s death in 1356,

        That history begins with a brief reference to de Charny having reportedly acquired the Linen on his travels in Constantinople. That would hardly explain the Lirey canons’ prolonged claims of ownership or for agreeing to read out denials of authenticity when subsequently re-displayed.

        One need hardly say there is an explanation for all these otherwise puzzling aspects of the Linen’s early recorded history. De Charny did not acquire it in Constantinople. It was fabricated on his Lirey estate, probably by the generously staffed team of clerics in his own Monarch-subsidized private chapel, probably with the original intention of being used as a devotional centrepiece by members of the newly founded Order of the Star.

        All that came to naught with the death of de Charny and the capture and ransom of his King. That left the Lirey canons as legal custodians in all but name, but willing, at least initially, to allow de Charny’s widow to assume nominal ownership. Renewed displays in the late 14th century began to re-generate a stream of income, no doubt supporting both de Charny’s widow (albeit remarried) and the continued existence of the private chapel.

        Given this background, how likely is that the word would leak out as to how precisely the relic, correction, icon was created? It’s just about conceivable that given a Papal ruling against authenticity, there would or could have been a demand for multiple icons, all displaying the same life-size double body image etc etc. But if those same canons were still earning a decent income from continued display of the Mark 1 creation, how willing would they have been to allow competitors to muscle in with multiple look-alike copies? I would estimate the probability at somewhere between 0 and 1%, especially when renewed claims and beliefs in authenticity were increasing steadily, year by year, decade by decade…

        • March 22, 2019 at 1:10 pm

          Oops. I wrote:

          “Note how their claim must have been at least partially recognized, given the reference to late payments of “rent” to the Savoy custodians.”

          Wrong way round! That should have been ” late payments or rent FROM the Savoy custodians TO the Lirey canons.”

          Incidentally, by way of postscript, there’s an additional sliver of evidence linking the Linen to the both the Lirey canons and the Order of the Star (via G de Charny).

          Take a look at the somewhat puzzling line from the history sequence on (supplied by the celebrated Ian Wilson no less!):

          1349: … Geoffrey de Charny, a French knight, writes to Pope Clement VI reporting his intention to build a church at Lirey, France. It is said he builds St. Mary of Lirey church to honor the Holy Trinity …

          So why call it “St.Mary of Lirey church” if it’s to honour the Holy Trinity? Why not call it “Holy Trinity Church”?

          Now go to the wiki entry on G de Charny’s “Order of the Star” – see above link – (which he co-founded with King Jean II) and one gets a possible, some might say, probable answer: (My bolding)


          In French the order was initially called les Chevaliers de Nostre Dame de la Noble Maison (“the Knights of Our Lady of the Noble House”). In Latin the order was referred to in early documents as consortium seu societatem militem Beate Marie Nobilis Domus apud Sanctum Odoenum prope Sanctum Dyonisium in Francia (“the knightly company or society of the Blessed Mary of the Noble House at Saint-Ouen near Saint-Denis in France”) …

          In other words, G de Charny, Lord of Lirey, did NOT intend to name his private chapel after the Holy Trinity (goodness knows where that idea came from!). He intended it to be named after the Holy Mother AND PROCEEDED TO DO SO!

          Why? Because that was to be the person whose hallowed name was to be central to the planned Order of the Star, singled out in its full title!

          As for the reference to Constantinople, right at the start of Ian Wilson’s “undisputed history”, words fail me!


See also my posting from 3 years ago, with its references to de Charny’s  Lirey private chapel etc, with an appreciation of the late Dorothy Crispino’s detailed and thorough historical researches:


Oh, and here’s a comment I placed on the same site yesterday, on a different aspect, giving just one reason for thinking the image on the Turin Linen is ‘too good to be true’. It concerns those 372 scourge marks (yes, 372!) which we’re told are entirely blood-imprinted, with no contribution from the body image:

March 21, 2019 at 2:52 pm

Reply to Robert Siefker

Eloquent indeed, Robert. But eloquence cuts no ice where hard, unsentimental science is concerned.

Should you want graphical evidence that the conjoint blood/body image on the Turin Linen is a fake, then take a close look at this image, supplied in the pro-authenticity Fanti/Faccini paper:


Well, here’s a couple of clues:

While the radiation-mediated ‘supernatural’ school of body imaging desperately tries to assure us that the body image was NOT a contact imprint, there’s rarely if ever any attempt to make the same case for the blood stains.

But ‘blood stains’ we’re told include the 372 scourge marks. Blood (including scourge marks) arrived before the body image we’re told (Adler and Heller).

Scourge marks we’re told were acquired via a whip with metal pellets attached to the tips of a flexible whip-like Roman flagrum.

Would it be possible to leave whip-imprinted markings confined to frontal and dorsal sides of the body, with no signs of any ‘curl around’ injury to (non-visible) SIDES of body, made apparent in ‘cut-off’ imprints on the visible frontal and dorsal surfaces?

I say no, regardless of the explanation for that ‘two-fold’ body image that omits any view of the sides (which I attribute to body imaging via contact, avoiding the sides).

Now take a look at that conjoint blood/body image, focusing on the scourge marks alone. Do you see any evidence of interrupted (“short”) scourge marks, suggestive of incomplete image due to a cut-off on account of curl-around on the sides?

I don’t. All the scourge marks look essentially complete.

Why? Because an imprinting medium was first applied to both sides of a real human body (probably live volunteer, medieval era, probably Lirey cleric), then “scourge marks” applied with an imprinting tool coated with blood (more probably blood substitute) restricted to the visible body imprint, failing to imprint partially close to body sides.

Then, and only then, there was conjoint imaging onto pressed-down linen, giving ‘complete’ scourge marks, with no evidence of partial, interrupted ones close to the cut-off margins of the body imprint.

(I may try to put my case more concisely at a future date, maybe with a couple of visible aids to get across the idea of ‘partial’ cut-off scourge marks close to the edges of the body imprint).

Good try, you Lirey clerics. Indeed brilliant, in so many respects. But you failed the realism test.. Your scourge marks were too good, too complete, too neat, too uniform, too stereotyped, too stylized, too artistic…


Update, Saturday March 23, 2019

Wow, it’s hard to credit, some might consider a gross deformation of cyberspace, the equivalent of a black hole running in reverse to create a new galaxy, well, asteroid at any rate.

But it’s happened. Yes, this site has reappeared in Google listings!

reappeared google p7 march 23, 19

What can I say?

Best, I say nothing. At least there’s the revived Porter site on which I can continue to articulate so-called “sceptic” views that otherwise get scarcely a look-in there, or scarcely an  audience here, thanks in the latter instance  to the perverse and fickle nature of the world’s favourite search engine.

“Engine”?  It’s made to sound like an inanimate machine, immune from human intervention, except that is for its initial programming.

Ha,ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha …..

Sunday March 24, 2019

Below is a long comment that I placed on the shroudstory site. It’s concerning the role of statistics in reporting of science.

I could have said more, much more. Why?  I’ll spare you a welter of detail, except to say this. I did a first degree in a science subject (biochemistry) which included a number of subsidiary subjects (chemistry, botany, German) but statistics was not one of them. It was clearly not seen as de rigeur by my University, nor in all probability by many others. My first paid employment was not in laboratory science but commercial research (commissioning market research, analysing and presenting its findings etc). My employers wasted no time in packing me off to day release and evening classes in statistics, and rightly so, given the research was always based on small but random samples taken from a large population.  Statistical significance testing was crucial. When I returned to laboratory-based research (at a medical school) one of the memorable features was seeing  colleagues park themselves in front of a particular computer console, usually with a frown on their faces. Why?  Because it was loaded with a particular statistics software package: they were “writing up” their findings for peer-reviewed publication. They knew well enough what was “significant” and what was not, through repeating experiments over a period of time in which variations would be introduced to exclude possible interferences of one kind or another. Were those data reported?  Generally no! Why non?  Because peer-reviewed journals invariably insisted on reporting of standard deviations, significance tests etc. So no, they would not accept what was already in one’s laboratory notebook.  All the key experiments had to repeated several times by oneself or a technician, simply to impose standard conditions such that each experiment was an identical replicate, capable of generating those means and standard deviations.


In short, the statistics was ‘icing on the cake’, inserted for the most part to maintain appearances, preventing one from exploring new areas of interest. Invariably I found those colleagues knew next to nothing about statistics theory – they were merely hitting keys on that ‘statistics laptop’

But now we have a ludicrous new paper appear (behind a paywall) one that attempts to dismiss the radiocarbon dating, performed on a corner of the Turin Linen,  apparently  not on grounds of there being a single sample (which excludes any meaningful statistical analysis), not on scientific grounds , but, guess what?  Answer:  on statistical grounds (that the data from the corner sample, divided  equally with two extra snips and shared between 3 labs, failed a “statistical homogeneity test”.

Takeaway message:  statistical analysis depends on random sampling. The 88 radiocarbon analysis made no attempt at random sampling across the entire Linen – nor on the corner cut-out shared between 3 laboratories.

So the new paper that concludes the exercise failed a crucial test of statistical homogeneity is like saying  that night-time fails the sunshine test.

You couldn’t make it up!  What kind of  alleged respected journal agrees to publish that kind of totally irrelevant statistically holier-than-thou garbage?

I’ll say no more for now, and leave you dear reader with what I chose to say, albeit  less forcibly on the Porter site:

Here’s a link to the relevant posting.

March 23, 2019 at 12:35 pm

Statistics (especially when testing for ‘homogeneity’ within data), hardly has us all on the edges of our seats . Yet here we are being asked to pay to see what it has or has not revealed regarding the Linen and its surviving content of C-14!

Why bother at all with statistics – which is, after all, a separate discipline from science?

Answer: because it allows conclusions can be inferred regarding an entire ‘population’ derived from taking a sample.

Yes, in the real world, one generally has to be content with taking mere samples, not supposedly commonsensical “representative” ones but ones taken entirely blind, i.e. hit-and-miss RANDOM ones , then applying “confidence tests” that are based on the supposition of TOTAL randomness of sampling!

Yes, let’s be in no doubt as to the bottom line where statistical confidence testing is concerned. Random sampling is the ONLY WAY one can have any degree of confidence (NOT absolute certainty) whether low, intermediate or high, in the validity of final conclusions about the population, if based merely selecting small samples.

So let’s be brutally honest with ourselves, and cease making rods for our own backs: any statistically- sound dating of the Linen would have needed RANDOM samples from the entire linen or at any rate, image and blood-free regions). But we all know that did not and could not happen in the case of a ‘holy icon’ or, as some prefer to believe, authentic relic. So, yes, not surprisingly, the decision was made to restrict sampling to a corner region (that pesky real world intruding yet again!), not a random sample.

Indeed, the single corner sample was further divided with two further cuts into 3 side-by-side (non-randomly divided/allocated) sections for each of the 3 labs. (That’s as distinct, say from dividing into divided into 30 equal size fragments, distributed at random between 3 labs. So, non-random sampling of the Linen AND non-random division of the single sample! Who’s idea was it to deploy a statistical bulldozer to demolish the 88 dating? Er, let me guess….

Best then to view the 1988 dating as a preliminary ranging shot.

Realistically speaking, the primary purpose was NOT to yield a final gold-standard answer. It was to see how PRELIMINARY answers would compare from 3 different, entirely independent labs, each deploying its own preferred decontamination clean-up procedure and other differences. (Yes, a third source of non-homogeneity!).

So why the intrusion of high falutin data homogeneity tests?

It’s as if one had purchased an off-the-peg jacket at a cheap department store, then felt obliged to take it back because one’s next door neighbour, working for a made-to-measure outfitters, observed over the garden fence that too much cuff was showing (then presenting a bill for his professional advice)!

Simple eye-balling of results says that all 3 labs came back with a date somewhere between the mid 13th and late 14th century! That suggests to me that while the non-existent statistical design was less-than-ideal, sob, sob, reflecting the intrusion of extraneous considerations, the actual methodology was reasonably reproducible, probably basically sound. Indeed the answers, even with the modest degree of scatter around mean, were in my humble view remarkably consistent. The ranging shot exercise had served its purpose with minimal disfiguration to the Linen.

OK, so there were inhomogeneities where data spread was concerned, with the possibility of SMALL but significant numerical trends across the width of that corner sample (but NOT based on random sampling so therefore statistically OTT). But that doesn’t justify a rejection of the entire data, far less the bad-mouthing of the personnel involved, some of it bordering on slander or even libel. What it does suggest is the need for a return visit, 30 years later, with ever-more sensitive methodology, able to deal with single excised threads, say, that doesn’t leave disfiguring gaps in the fabric.

So why hasn’t there been a return visit? Answer: take a look at the Discussion Forum, led by STURP’s John Jackson in October 2104 at St.Louis.

Skip the first 20 minutes, then pay especial attention to what’s said either from JJ or the floor between 20 and 30 mins (shame about the poor sound quality). Note the intrusion of the word “dangerous” (like the suggestion that any re-run would “dangerous ” were it to return the same answer, albeit more statistically sound. First priority, we’re informed, must be to determine the scientific basis whereby a 2000 year old linen can seem some 13 centuries younger “than it really is” So listen folks. Let’s not rush into things. Let’s take our time – years, maybe decades… In the meantime we can continue to pour cold water on the 88 dating, largely though not entirely on a failure to snip away anywhere and everywhere all over the Linen.” Yeah, right…

To which I say: data collection must take precedence, albeit preliminary ranging-shot data first, then checked and re-checked. (It’s called science, tedious, boring, repetitive hands-on science ).

Interpretation, nitpicking, eye-rolling, tearing hair out in frustration, one’s own or others’, aerial castle-building, rewriting the laws of physics, throwing toys out of pram etc etc … all these can and must wait till later…

First let’s confirm that the initial data were not a statistical fluke due to possibly atypical sampling location. Are we looking at sampling error? Or are eternal optimists angling for the intervention of a a mind-boggling supernatural phenomenon – based on the claim of shoddy statistics – when statistics were if the truth be told sidelined, indeed ignored from the outset?

Please, let’s request that Turin consent to a re-run of the C-14 dating before wasting any more time on our internet websites – and especially behind- paywall, reach for your-credit-card… statistical print-outs. Let’s cease the never-ending nitpicking over a non-random sample (which rendered number-crunching homogeneity and other significance-testing largely, nay ENTIRELY irrelevant from the word go).


Further update (still Sunday March 24)

Here’s a screen shot of the (current) posting on the shroudstory site, regarding that ghastly new publication, still trying 30 years post the radiocarbon dating to destroy its usefulness and credentials on  irrelevant statistical grounds:

shroudstory, casabianca, marinelli et al


Authors?  I confess to recognizing just one of the 3 authors, namely the second (self-styled Professor Emanuela Marinelli)


Self-styled? Most certainly, if used outside her home country (Italy) in an journal based in Oxford UK.  Why do I say that?

See this MSN article where we see the “Prof” Marinelli laying into her anti-authenticity fellow countryman  Luigi Garlaschelli.  (a genuine prof’ as I recall).  Observe especially the parts I have highlighted in yellow and red!


Appendices  (graphics etc needed for insertion elsewhere, notably that Porter site)


Appendix 1

wilcox detective world 30 years google search cropped

Appendix 2

J of A wiki

Appendix 3

antonacci v shroudstory radiation


Appendix 4

st louis 20 to 30 mins esp 26 sat Oct 11 2014

Appendix 5

bang head

Appendix 6


frozen shroud











Posted in Shroud of Turin | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s causing Air Sindonology to nosedive and crash? Vapour alone from an empty fuel tank? Or trying to fly on a heaven-sent source of mystery radiation?


Let’s start with an analogy, shall we?  It’s  a famous plane crash that took place in Iceland, 1973, The wreckage remains to this day as a tourist attraction, still attracting speculation as to precise causes..

biteoficeland dc3 wreck

No, that’s  not me on top. I have my own “plane wreck” to visit and re-visit.. The wreck  I visit  is called  Air Sindonology.

funiceland plane wreck

Here’s a close-up view of the  Iceland  plane wreck

iceland famous air crash

Here’s a tourist guide to the Iceland plane wreck.  (Think of this site as a tourist guide to  the  equally celebrated wreck that is Air Sindonology!)

And here are a few words from the internet that accompany a tourist guide to the Iceland plane wreck.

Sólheimasandur, Iceland

The epic plane wreck on the black beach in South Iceland
In 1973 a United States Navy DC plane ran out of fuel and crashed on the black beach at Sólheimasandur, in the South Coast of Iceland. Fortunately, everyone in that plane survived. Later it turned out that the pilot had simply switched over to the wrong fuel tank.


Sad to say, I can’t be as succinct in describing the wreck that is Air Sindonology.  It will need a sizeable number of numbered points. But the parallel with the Iceland plane wreck is interesting.  Why?  Because both crashes were arguably due to the same reason –  switching over to the wrong fuel tank, real  for the US Navy DC3 above, while metaphorically speaking for Air Sindonology!

Numbered points

1. Stop calling it a “shroud“. Read the bible, the first 3 Gospels especially setting out the intervention by “Joseph of Arimathea and his “fine linen”. Forget “shroud”, with its burial connotations. Think simply “retrieval linen”,  i.e. retrieval from cross to tomb, whether genuine, or more likely, a medieval mock-up (“simulation”). “Burial” and its connotations ( invariably with quick fast-forward to Resurrection on the Third Day) supplied the wrong kind of fuel.
2. Think “Veil of Veronica” mode of imprinting, where one focuses on end -result, a recognizable image, more specifically imprint, indeed negative tone-reversed imprint. (Ring any bells?). No need to dwell just yet on details like imprinting ingredients, mechanism, resemblance to subject etc.
The Veil of Veronica association could be considered the right kind of fuel that allows lift-off and keeps one airborne.

3. Yes. Veil of Veronica :ante mortem ‘captured likeness’ (FACE only)
J of A’s retrieval linen, aka TS, post-mortem ‘captured likeness’ (ENTIRE UNCLOTHED BODY).

4. If a retrieval linen, then the double image, faint, negative, bloodstains  etc is almost certainly one formed by actual physical contact, whether real or modelled. Contact-imprinting – the right  kind of fuel, or should be if wishing to get airborne and stay airborne.
5. Think of the linen NOT in terms of Resurrection, or even  Rogers‘naturalistic’ post-mortem decomposition products etc.

Wrong kind of fuel. Think of it as a sweat/ blood IMPRINT. Right kind of fuel.

6. Forget about imaging across air gaps (based on assumption of  authenticity assuming/fixated  loosely draped linen) and then drop wacky unscientific ideas about the negative image being the result of supernatural proto-photography via radiation. Wrong kind of fuel.
7. Claim for imaging across air gaps  (!) failed to take proper account of  a  more credible medievally-devised imprinting where the linen is manually pressed against a body, reaching shallow recessed relief, e.g. sides of nose, not just the prominent bridge of nose and/or other ‘high points’ of body relief.

8. OK, so let’s drop the notion that body image is some kind of photograph, read wrong kind of fuel,. So let’s move on, and take a close and deeply sceptical look at the claim that the body image is confined entirely to the outermost layer of the linen fibres (PCW, a mere 200 nm thick), allegedly much too superficial to be man-made (!).

Er, where’s the hard evidence for that claim? See previous posting for answer.  Answer: zilch, one big fat zero.

Oh, and since when has man been incapable of generating superficial layers? (Ben Franklin showed how to do it in the 18th century – simple put a drop or two of oil onto the surface of a pond!)

Answer (briefly summarised): nowhere to be found! Much verbiage, much “suggestion” but not a shred of hard evidence, just postulates pretending to be established fact. Read: wrong kind of fuel.

Pseudoscience (the wrong kind if fuel) is alive and well,   unashamedly so in the case of sindonology.

9:  See recent evidence from a model system  (my  Model 10!)  that faint fuzzy images may at first glance look superficial to the unaided eye but need not be. Appearances can be deceptive.  Look at them under the microscope and be prepared for a surprise.

See preceding posting.

8549 zoom cropped in MS paint

Model 10 image pigment INSIDE linen fibres, best seen in cut ends!


Analogy: a suntan may look superficial, despite being 5 layers deep in the outermost layer of skin (epidermis):

partial sun tan


tech-sun3 stratum basale

Yes, the  protective melanin pigment responsible for a sun tan is in that deepest layer – the stratum basale –  NOT nearly as superficial as might be supposed.


Again, see previousposting


Interlude comment: some folk getting this far may wonder why, of all the mishaps involving aircraft, I have chosen this particular one.

Well, here’s a tiny clue. It involves the US Navy, which has a  training academy in California that awards  its own academic doctorates “(PhD degrees!” no less).  Yes, really!  Talk about usurping the longstanding institutions of the civilian world.  Talk about the unacceptable face of the US of A!

So what’s so special about the US Navy and a particular aircraft owned by the US Navy that was launched in the 1970s, but  then quickly ran intoi trouble, with the pilot trying alternatives to conventional science-based fuel?

Ever heard of  the House That Jack Built?  Yes, you probably have.

But have you heard about the “house”, correction, sindonological aircraft that Jack’s son built?    Shame it  tried to fly on substitutes for real fuel, like  Rogers’ vapour, like  Jack’s son own uv radiation, whether supplied from the Sun, or something even Higher    😉

No quick return to Planet Earth you realize, flying as it does in the upper reaches of the stratosphere.

Guess what?  It’s ever so gradually  falling out the sky as we speak! Fuel problem?

Thursday Feb 14

Here’s a Valentine’s Day greeting card to my followers. Actually, it’s a plate from Mark Antonacci’s 2000 “Resurrection of the Shroud”  (the title betraying the author’s supernaturalist stance!).

getImage lateral distortion used by antonacci CROPPED

It introduces the topic, dare I say  needless distraction of, guess what?

Yes. What you see is a ‘worst case scenario’  (WCS) , namely that so-called lateral, aka ‘wrap-around’ distortion which from the early days of STURP  was used to rule image-imprinting via direct contact out of contention (followed in short order by those radiation-based photography models that allowed imaging across air gaps).

Yes,  that hideous WCS is the result of allowing the linen to make contact with the sides of the head, together with some accompanying imprinting mechanism. Then you do indeed get wrap-around distortion (WAD). Why? Because the linen is removed and laid flat after imprinting. Imprinting of sides – if allowed to happen, means one gets “lateral distortion” – the making the image too wide, and totally hideous and non life-like (which has been dubbed Agamemnon’s mask).

My response? Irrelevant – totally  and utterly irrelevant, not to say grossly misleading. Why?

Look at the TS double body image! One of its most noteworthy features is it showing square-on frontal and dorsal views only, NO sides (no top of head either). One might as well be looking at cardboard cut-outs. Leaving aside the implications (that one’s looking at contact imprints, somewhat stylized one might think, that are tone-reversed negatives- NOT paintings, NOT photographs) how can there be lateral distortion due to ‘excessive-imaging’ of sides if the IMAGE HAS NO SIDES (for whatever reason)?

So what caused that imprinting monstrosity which legal attorney Antonacci chose to highlight in his book you might ask? Was it a real unavoidable result? Or, less charitably, was it one deliberately contrived to present a worst case scenario (WCS) as if real – indeed unavoidable? Are we seeing the technique of the attorney at work, intent on demolishing an opponent’s case using techniques that are the antithesis of the scientific method, the latter at least attempting to display an open enquiring mind, freed if only temporaily of preconceptions?

Invoking that “lateral distortion” as clincher argument against imprinting could be seen as springing a leak in Air Sindonology’s main fuel tank, such that 40 years later the aircraft is still gently gliding earthwards, without the least sign of concern on the face of the air crew

Might there be a way of avoiding WAD, one that’s not rocket science ? Why yes – like NOT allowing the linen to make contact with the sides! Alternatively, don’t apply imprinting medium to the sides. It then doesn’t matter a jot if the linen makes contact with the sides! Avoiding the WCS of wrap-around distortion ain’t rocket science – it’s merely requires commonsense and a minor modification of practical technique.

In my Model 10, white flour is sprinkled onto the subject from above, settling on the horizontal relief, with scarcely any attaching to vertical sides. After shaking off excess flour, the coated subject is then draped with wet linen, and the latter pressed against the coated subject by pressing down vertically, avoiding the sides.


Interlude:  Oh yes, one final word about our arch-authenticity-promoting  Mark Antonacci, he of the no-holds-barred defence/prosecution tendency.

Am I the only one to think that  the cover design of his 2000 books was – how can I put this delicately – BANG OUT OF ORDER.

compare cover of antonacci book with full rovere painting

Book cover left, with title obscuring a crucial detail on the 17th century Rovere painting, the full picture being shown on the right.


Yes, it’s to do with the artist’s hint as to the  manner AND  timing of image acquisition, with no hint that timing was postponed till “Resurrection”.   Instead,  the artist seems to be saying, correctly in my view,  that an image might have been acquired in the process of deposition from cross and/or subsequent transport to tomb, in Joseph of Arimathea’s makeshift linen  sling/stretcher –  NOT on the Third Day.


Stop Press (Feb 16)

Here’s are two snapshots taken in the last half hour, with the very first attempt to model the Turin Linen body image (more specifically, faintness and  diffuse nature  thereof) using an inflated  white balloon (“PCW”) and pipe cleaners (a mix of coloured and uncoloured to represent “microfibrils”). See Commenst for details – copied also to Dan Porter’s site.


Used white v coloured pipe cleaners , either laid side by side, or twisted around each otrher


Both types (parallel v twisted) are now inside the balloon, photographed with mainly transmitted light from above,  The coloured ends are easily seen because they touch the sides of the balloon (ignore).. But note the vague diffuse yellow coloration around the pipe cleaner where they don’t touch the balloon. And that’s just  two  modelled “microfibrils” inside a PCW sheath (skin of balloon)  each with only partial coloration










Appendix 1 (image required for posting elsewhere)


colour v b and w imagej 3D



Appendix 2 (as above, needed elsewhere)

final labelled




Appendix 3


TS + warning cropped


Appendix 4

science buzz first posting



Appendix 5


hand imprint model 10 in oven reverse side IMG_8384


Appendix 6

3D hand 10 March 19


Appendix 7

3. correlation is not causation




Appendix 8

1. fanti fig 14 cloth body distance


Appendix 9


intermediate 2


Appendix 10


3d fingers for lee



Appendix 11



candy mice


Appendix 12

final for dan's magic



Appendix 13


reply to yannick RIP, july 2012






Appendix 14












Posted in 1973 plane crash, Iceland,, Sólheimasandur,, Shroud of Turin | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Can you spot the new entry on Dan Porter’s shroudstory site (despite the shutters coming down 3 years ago)?

before and after shroudstory site


What you see  on the left is a screen grab of Dan Porter’s long-retired site, taken this morning. On the right is the same Home Page as it now looks.

Notice any difference?

Here’s a tiny clue:


shroudstory new addition feb 8, 2019 cropped highlighted


Here’s a link to the pdf

So who’s this “Dr.Colin Berry” one wonders? What’s he said or done to bring Dan out of a well-earned retirement?

Joking aside, here’s the first of 2 emails I sent Dan this morning, after getting a preview of his 25  page pdf:

Thanks Dan
Have just done a lightning read of your splendid pdf – touching on so many aspects – scientific,religious  and  philosophical. Few will doubt the length of the incubation period – not just the last 3 years you have been absent from the scene, but the many years that preceded that with your long internet presence in one form or another, 
This is not the time to do a line-by-line analysis – and I don’t feel any compelling need to do so, given that nothing you have  written grates on my sensibilities as a retired scientist, concerned I have to say  less with the question of authenticity (having had a religious upbringing), but more to do with the use and abuse of science (or should one say “science” ?)..  I’ve condensed the key issue down to a couple of words these last  few days: it’s the difference between a “postulate” and a “hypothesis”. Postulates are bandied around in sindonology as if hypotheses. But hypotheses have a special meaning in science. They are not just ideas that enter one’s head out of the blue, that can be tossed into a discourse as if adding support to an argument, merely through plausibility or consistency with existing facts. Hypotheses  (scientific hypotheses) are or should be the starting  point for long, patient, model building exercises, where ‘falsification’ (ghastly term) takes centre stage, each new model being seen as provisional until a better one comes along (thus my 3+  year progression between 2012 and 2015  from Model 1 to Model 10!).
Just two specific points. First, I am now appalled at the description of the TS as a “burial shroud” with references to separate head and body covering. Indeed I’m so appalled, I think the term “shroud” needs to be abandoned entirely. Reading the accounts of Joseph of Arimathea’s deployment of a single sheet of linen (“clean”, “fine”)  it should be renamed the “Retrieval Linen” or maybe “Deposition Linen” since its primary purpose was dignified transport from cross to tomb, without the slightest hint that it was intended as final burial shroud. Seen in those terms an authenticity-favouring narrative would see the “TS” as a sweat/blood imprint acquired in brief transport from cross to tomb, with no attempt to link with resurrection from the dead. My own preference sees it as a medieval simulation (“mock up”) of a means of transporting an unsightly victim of crucifixion. The John account refers to entirely different replacement linen, with two pieces of linen, one for body, a separate one for head.  
There are a number of hints that post 14th century observers likewise interpreted the TS as a product of bodily sweat/blood imprinting, i.e. imprinting via physical contact only, no need to ‘postulate’  supernatural ‘selfies’ via self-generated radiation,  but I’ll spare you the details.
There’s something else that caught my attention, but best I send this first, and then re-read and deal with separately (and briefly). 
Anyway, welcome back to the fray, if only a temporary look-in. I’m sure folk will be interested to hear your overall well-rounded take on an artefact that continues to challenge and fascinate in equal  measure.
Kind regards to you and your family
and here’s the second:

Yes, just a quick PS to this morning’s email Dan.

” Superficiality. And now, Colin, you are similarly challenging the superficiality of the image. What took you so long? 
Yes, I’ve been asking myself the same question. What took me so long?

Answer:  Ray Rogers had ruled out changes to the major constituent of linen fibres (cellulose)  and then had the truly ground-breaking idea of an imported extra addition, i.e the starch impurity coating.  When I came to do my initial experimenting with direct scorching (Model 2) I realized

that there was an apparent blind spot in Rogers’ thinking. He seemed to be treating linen as if pure cellulose. There was no recognition of the PCW versus SCW  botany, and the fact that the PCW has not just cellulose (short chain) but xyloglucans as well, aka pentosan sugars, which are known to be more reactive chemically than highly ordered long-chain cellulose. So for a while I was receptive, correction  over-receptive to the ideas expressed in the 2010 Fanti et al review, namely that the body image was confined to the superficial PCW, (not Rogers’ starch impurity coating)  given its supposed chemical susceptibility to modifying agents from outside.

It was only later, when trying to imprint off cold unheated templates (metal horse brasses etc initially, later human anatomy) that I came to realize the amazing ability of powders to give imprints of almost photographic quality (tone-reversed negatives too!)  and quickly seized on the value of white flour as imprinting agent, especially as, on roasting of oil/flour-imprinted linen, it generated the same end-products identified by Rogers as the likely image chromophore  (Maillard browning products that quickly turned to solid high molecular weight melanoidins).
Now take a leaf from  Alan Adler’s thinking, namely that chromophores can/might enter fibres as low molecular weight liquids, and then become entrapped solid (what he called the “khaki” effect).  An entrapped chromophore, inside a highly reflective PCW, may escape attention if one fails to cut a transverse section of one’s fibre (as seems to be the case).  Fail to spot the lurking chromophore inside one’s SCW and hey presto, you preach a fallacious  PCW-only location, God-given if one’s attempting to invoke the supernatural, but inviting other interpretations if one’s trained in old-fashioned microscopy (always do LS and TS at the same time, to get a crude 360 degree view). 
Sorry about the waffle, but there you have it, if not in a typical nutshell, maybe one more head-banger coconut size.
It was Rogers’ apparent blind spot for the PCW that first enamoured me to the suggestion that it was the PCW only that carried the  allegedly ultra-superficial” body image. It wasn’t until  Model 10 came along, mid 2015, , with its role for a briefly liquid chromophore capable of penetrating  the SCW cores of linen fibres, that the possibility dawned on me of a non-superficial location of body image.  That has since been confirmed by microscopy of cut-edges (partway towards TS sectioning).  If the TS body image is also non-superficial, then it’s back to the drawing board with image-forming mechanism (with radiation selfies probably going out the window in short order, and the focus on LIQUIFIED chromophores – if only briefly – as in a medieval hot oven  or over an open fire with glowing charcoal embers ( maybe responsible in passing  for those so-called ‘poker holes’?).
I look forward to seeing the  long-awaited  epilogue  to your  Dec 2015 “farewell” on your shroudstory site, Dan.  All the best Shroudie books etc have epilogues….
Kind regards
2nd instalment (Feb 9, 2019)
Wow! Woke up this morning to find that Dan Porter has not only added that new pdf to his site (needing keen eyes to spot). He’s also, overnight (my overnight here in the UK) added an entirely new posting and it’s devoted to, guess what?  Answer: this fellow crumblie (just 2 years behind Dan, age-wise) and his latest modelling discovery (a body imprint that may at first sight look like it’s superficial, but ain’t –  hidden away as it is within the SCW cores of linen fibres \(it’s anyone’s guess if that’s the case with the TS – despite beign trumpeted for years as having an ultra-superficial body image, confined to the outermost PCW, a mere 200 nanometres thick).
Nuff said for now. Here’s another screen grab, of Dan’s new posting on his, er, resurrected shroudstory site.
dan porter new posting shroudstory site reopened


Expect further instalment – like (finally) a  high magnification picture  (x400)  of  those non-superficial Model 10 image fibres taken via conventional microscopy, i.e. illuminated from below, such that it is properly illuminated (top illumination allowing low magnification only, due to light obstruction by high power objective lenses a mere mm or so from the specimen).  The trick, as will be seen, is to keep the viewed cross-section of imprinted linen as small as possible, so as to allow maximum passage of that illumination from beneath!

There’s a knack: deploy the humble “Kirby hair grip” (thanks to daughter for leaving one in the house, Mrs.Berry not using them):





This is the top-illumination set up used previously, applied to the grip-supported image thread. But it can also be illuminated from beneath, to get a better of idea of where the image chromophore is located within individual linen fibres (like the SCW cores, best seen at cut ends as distinct from being outside, looking in…!).


Now switch to illumination from below:

IMG_8543 illum from below.jpg

Light intensity on  viewed specimen’s cut edge  now much greater


And here’s the sight that greets one’s eyes (though maybe not all eyes out there in mantra-intoning sindonology, if true for TS image fibres too!)


8549 zoom cropped in MS paint.png

Note how the image chromophore is best seen at the CUT ENDS only of image-fibres (obtained with flour-imprinting, i.e. my Model 10) NOT in the approach to those cut ends, viewed through the  PCW. It would seem that the PCW is highly reflective, concealing what’s inside, even a dense pigment derived from white flour via roasting of imprinted linen. Might  the TS body image be the same, i.e. NOT ultra-superficial as claimed, but  hidden away inside the SCW cores of image fibres?


Update (still Saturday)

There’s been a new but tiny addition to that new posting on Dan’s site.  Look at my latest screen grab. Can you see it?  Don’t strain your eyesight!

dan latest posting 2 comments highlighted


Update, Feb 10

Here’s yet another screen grab from the resurrected shroudstory site. It’s one of a number of comments I placed yesterday:

comment placed dan site 99% certain plus clarity

Sorry about the size. The takeaway message  was that I have recently assembled a long, long list of characteristics of my Model 10 image that closely match those of the TS image. Yes, some 17 thus far …

I shall be listing them here, one by one in the next day or two. Here’s the first 15

Here’s the 17, as promised. But one or two more have sprung to mind. Expect them to appear shortly…

  1. Negative (tone-reversed) image, consistent with imprinting via contact. (Wrong to assume that a negative image can only be created by photography)
  2. Image responds to 3D-rendering software. (But then so does any image that has steps or gradations of image density, the so-called “unique  encoded 3D characteristics” of the TS image  reflecting failure to run proper controls).
  3. Image colour. (Any shade one wishes between faint yellow and dark brown, depending on how long one roasts the Model 10 flour imprint).
  4. Image fuzziness. (No sharp boundary between image and non-image, the result  of imprinting with a solid powder – white flour, as distinct from liquid ink etc
  5. Directional image characteristics (frontal v dorsal images only, lacking sides or top of head), reflecting a desire on part of medieval artisans to achieve an imprinted look, assured by sprinkling of imprinting flour from above, and pressing linen against flour coated body from above).
  6. Absence of lateral, aka ‘wrap-around’  distortion, claimed by some to be an inevitable outcome of imprinting  of a body via direct contact. (Deployment of imprinting medium and imprinting pressure from above only means little or no contact/imprinting of the sides of the subject, thereby excluding possibility of lateral distortion.)
  7. Ease of bleaching colour, e.g. with alkaline hydrogen peroxide, which works on both the TS image fibres and those from Model 10.  ( ‘Bleachability’ fits with Rogers’  proposal that the image chromophore is organic in nature – more specifically a product of sugar/amino Maillard reactions – which should by rights have immediately ruled McCrone’s inorganic iron oxide paint pigments out of contention).
  8. Image non-fluorescent under uv (and indeed tending to quench any fluorescence from the linen itself).
  9. Water-resistance of image. (The final Model 10 image is that which remains after vigorous washing of the imprinted/roasted linen with soap and water, the image chromophore appearing to be well and truly incorporated within the threads and fibres of the linen).
  10. Image durability. (The Model 10 imprints made back in mid-2015 look as good now as they did when freshly prepared).
  11. Aged look of background linen – non-image areas – could well be a consequence of colour-development of a flour imoprint by ageing.  (Even a well-known proponent of authenticity has stated that the colour of the linen is more consistent with effects of heat than genuine ageing).
  12. The well known “poker holes” might well be a non-intended result of roasting the flour-imprinted linen over glowing  red-hot embers
  13. No obvious signs of imprinting with a liquid medium, such as capillary migration, and readily explainable if the imprinting medium were a powdered solid, albeit onto wet linen.
  14. However, claims for a faint reverse side image, at least for head and hands, can be accounted for. (Think a briefly liquified chromphore, exuded from heated white flour, penetrating the cores of linen fibres, able to traverse the width of linen, appearing faintly on the opposite side.
  15. Apparent image superficiality (at least for those who have not bothered to look at cross-sections of image fibres under the microscope).  A highly reflective primary cell wall may well prevent one seeing image chromophore that has penetrated the underlying secondary cell wall, subject of the current posting, at least when viewed under the microscope with intense illumination.
  16. Peculiar microscope properties of the TS body image, e.g. so-called half-tone effect, with all image fibres of same intensity of coloration, image discontinuities, striations etc. (These can be accounted for, at least in principle, if it is assumed that the image chromophore is initially in a liquid state, penetrating and colouring the interior of image fibres, able to migrate a short distance only before turning solid  –  Rogers’ proposed final melanoidins being of  high molecular weight.
  17. McCrone’s “microparticulate” image chromophore, misidentified as an inorganic artist’s paint pigment, can be accounted for in Model 10 by assuming that the end product of Maillard reactions in the heated flour imprinting medium are the melanoidins proposed by Raymond Rogers.
  18.  Starch contamination?  (Rogers claimed there was evidence (his own? others’?) for traces of starch contamination on the TS, supporting his ‘starch impurity’ hypothesis. Washed Model 10 imprints show tiny sparkles of reflected light, which might well be starch granules derived from the flour imprint, while noting that there may well be enough free reducing sugar in white flour to generate Maillard reactions without needing to invoke breakdown of starch to reducing sugars).
  19. (in preparation).  Image fibre fragility. (Rogers and others found that image fibres were easier to strip off the TS body image areas with his Mylar adhesive tape than non-image fibres. But why, if the body image, and accompanying  changes in chemical composition were restricted to an incredibly thin PCW sheath, a mere 200nm in thickness, with the major part of the linen fibre, ie. SCW core unaffected? I have just done a ‘strippability’ test on Model 10-imprinted linen, with 5 applications of sticky tape to the same area. Result: all 5 tapes removed non-image fibres, but image fibres appeared mainly in the first and second strips, with scarcely any in the last 3, suggesting strongly that My Model 10 image fibres are also weaker, more brittle, more fragile than non-image fibres.  Caveat: one could argue that my results  are  less about fragility, more about degree of  image fibre superficiality. I doubt it, but more experimentation  is needed to address that possibility.


Update: July 14, 2019

Clicked on the shroudstory site this morning to find this:

New shroudstory home page 14 july 19


Bit of change, eh? White space rules OK! But why?

Decided to send this email to one of sindonology’s VIPs (naming no names) as a rider to an earlier conversation:

Have you clicked on Dan Porter’s recently David?
It has been radically simplified in its look, losing much ‘presence’. Why? We are not told,  and for all I know, it’s merely a temporary WordPress glitch.  But I suspect I know why. Dan is signalling that he has finally jacked it in as a blogger. (Maybe he’ll say as much  shortly, maybe not).
Hopefully he’ll  continue to keep the site visible, with its invaluable discussions from the past, once one has stripped out the clutter.
But that reminds me of something. Back in late 2015, shortly after announcing his 3 year retirement, Dan  suggested someone else might like to take over the site. Alaska Shroud Stacey Reiman expressed brief, qualified interest, which came to  nothing (she didn’t want to moderate, merely host) and I declined (not being blogmeister material).
Following on from my previous email,  might I ask if you have considered taking over from Dan?
I’ll leave it there for now, but if in a week’s time or so, there’s no further explanation from Dan, and no response, positive or negative from you, I may decide to put up a new posting, setting out the suggestion here for a change of ownership or at any rate management, throwing in your name for good measure. (That’s not to be seen as a gesture of approval for your stance or strategy, merely a realistic recognition of the status quo).







Appendix 1  (images required for responding to Comments – not for this posting as such)

From Fanti et al (2010)


superficiality at fiber level Fanti et al + contrast

Appendix 2

Mark Evans photomicrograph, image fibres, foot

(supplied by Mario Latendresse on his site)

32x Photomicrograph of the Shroud of Turin showing Image (Foot)


Appendix 3

galaxy washed x100 versu mark evans foot ME-16

Left: Model 10 imprint from Galaxy Warrior , washed. Right: Turin Linen body image (foot, Mark Evans, ME 16)

Appendix 4

question mark

Appendix 5

jim carney 2015 edited


Appendix 6

(screen shot from wiki entry “comfort zone”)




Appendix 7

two comfort zones


Appendix 8


Model 10 cross s v 2010 review schematic.png



Appendix 9

seawall analogy with non-transparent lignin

Appendix 10

black cotton expt


Appendix 11


low v high mag image, sello, sciss, x400 mag

image 9703 image fibre stub stereo substage illum



Appendix 12 (ink, new linen, then water-wash)


IMG_9838 cropped plus clarity etc


Appendix 13

1. image25 from dan's site with psst



Appendix 14

2. -full-rovere-painting


Appendix 15


3, Antonacci title-obscured and cut-down version




Posted in Shroud of Turin | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Turin Shroud: think “medieval whole body powder imprint”. STOP PRESS: body image maybe not so superficially photograph-like as claimed!

Preamble (added last): this posting was written as 12 instalments, intending to focus on POWDER imprinting. Suddenly, with the 8th instalment, it transformed into something else  –  a realization that the supposed ultra-superficiality of the TS body image – pointing we’re told to a supernatural origin –  had scarcely a single solid fact to back it up.  It then quickly transpired that my Model 10  – flour imprinting – has the body image somewhere else entirely. 

final pre post zoom

Left: the arrow points to a THREAD that is displaying a cut edge, i.e. much needed transverse section.  Why the speckled appearance?  Right: enlargement, showing that it’s the SCW cores of some but not all  individual FIBRES that contain the  dense pigment, probably  Maillard-derived melanoidin,  the latter possibly having  penetrated via this investigator’s proposed reticular network of capillary channels  existing between the MICROFIBRILS.

No, not on the surface PCW (primary cell wall) but hidden away, out of sight, deep within the  microfibril-packed core of the SCW (secondary cell wall).  Oh dear: has sindonology got it entirely wrong with its ‘out-of-this-world  ultra-superficial’ body image?

I’ve changed the site’s tagline, at least temporarily, to flag up the new insight on Google Search  rankings, which  unhelpfully ignores one’s new posting TITLES,  namely a probable NON-SUPERFICIALITY of the TS body image. The previous one read:

“Time to get real! It’s an ingenious medieval modelling of how a sweat imprint left on an impromptu linen STRETCHER might look after 13 centuries of ageing and yellowing  (+ identifying bloodstains)!

I may or may not re-install it later.


It’s exactly 7 years ago to the day that I produced my first posting on the Shroud of Turin. It was placed on my sciencebuzz site, created some 2 years earlier in 2009.

thermostencilling sciencebuzz dec 30 2011

Thermo-stencilling? What’s that you may ask?  Well, these days it gets scarcely a mention from this blogger, being “Model 1” (my latest – and hopefully final one – being “Model 10”).

Each time I look at Model 1 (thermo-stencilling) I kick myself. Why?  Because the image was drawn freehand with the aid of a  charcoal stick (I later painted with a charcoal slurry in water).  The quickie sketch (or later ‘painting’) was then held close to a source of radiant heat. The latter was preferentially-absorbed by the opaque charcoal, the charcoal heated up, the highly localised heat scorched the linen in immediate contact with the charcoal. Hey presto, a scorched-in image appeared when the thermo-sensitizing charcoal was washed away:

three steps in thermostencilling - Model 1, Dec 2011

Left:  crude charcoal sketch; Centre: sketch held close to incandescent light bulb – deployed as modern day source of radiant heat, more convenient than outdoor barbecue or similar; Right: central part of sketch visible as a scorched-on image after washing out the charcoal.

Yes, success in terms of producing a fuzzy Shroud-like discoloration of the linen, which could be loosely described as a scorch. But what was the big mistake – the one that if spotted and corrected  might have led straight from Model 1 to Model 10, skipping the 8 intermediates?  Answer: I should have passively IMPRINTED off a template (whether inanimate bas relief template or even real human anatomy),  thus ensuring a NEGATIVE (tone-reversed) image, thereby duplicating the chief, some might say iconic aspect of the Shroud body image, namely that seemingly-precocious NEGATIVE TONE-REVERSED IMAGE.

But I wasn’t the only one to overlook that tiny detail. Oh no. Others before me (as good if not better in terms of research credentials and/or writing skills) made the same  oversight.

Let’s look first at forensic anthropologist Emily Craig  (in passing, a fellow PhD)  and see what she and her co-worker said, way back in 1994. I  do strongly recommend a close reading of her paper.

emily craig

More to follow later today…

2nd instalment (still Dec 30):


What our Emily Craig did was to deliberate, indeed FOCUS, on the surprising negative image (which so many sindonologists  instantly seize upon as a “photograph”).

(Focusing on key features is what science is all about – as distinct from skirting the subject!)

Emily C tried to reproduce it , as if cleverly intended  by a medieval artisan to represent an bodily IMPRINT  – front and rear as a negative image – but (importantly)  executed  via painting or drawing as distinct from  1st century IMPRINTING. In other words, she excluded real imprinting  as the medieval means for representing an IMPRINT, choosing instead to substitute a less demanding artistic version!  Shame (though I fully understand your reluctance to go the final mile ..)

Oh, how close you came, Emily, way back in 1994!  I raise my hat to you .

I only wish I had come across your perceptive approach sooner -despite you failure to ‘go for broke’ on the medieval modelling .

Did it never occur to you that the latter  may have been  ‘realistically’ executed’ via real imprinting (not painting)? Reason?   To dispel  all doubts  on the part of medieval viewers that what they were looking at was a genuine (1st century) IMPRINT as distinct from an artist’s inferior 14th century imitation thereof

Sadly, your  thinking, Emily, pre-21st  century,  went way over the heads of those who set themselves up  in the current 21st as self-appointed, mind-controlling ‘internet-based filters’ :

Yes, though I hesitate to say it, see the somewhat dismissive, derisory  response you received  from Dan Porter, the self-appointed all-knowing blogmeister on the site, just 2 or 3 months after I began posting on the TS, back in 2012.

Did a medieval artist use Emily Craig’s technique to create the Shroud’s image?

(Yes Dan had many positive qualities, but genuine receptiveness to new ideas, new thinking, was not one of them). You deserved better, Emily…

More to follow, much more…

Third instalment (Monday Dec 31, 2018)

I shall return to Emily Craig shortly. I shall be quoting some of her perceptive observations regarding  one or other finely ground powder as a medium par excellence for generating images (albeit via brushing and powder transfer in her instance, as distinct from my preferred deployment of powder as a pure IMPRINTING medium, with no need for brushes or similar).

But first, this seems a good moment to report the results of two recent experiments from my home ‘laboratory’, both using those oh-so-fit-for-purpose powders.  Two were selected. First I used  powdered charcoal (elemental carbon) as used by Emily, not because  either I or she for that matter considered it was deployed to create the TS image, but because the image provides a highly visible example of what can be achieved with a powder – any powder – whether the result is immediately visible or not pending further colour development.

As I say, my speciality  post-Model 1  has been imprinting, not drawing or painting. So what to deploy as 3D template?  Human or inanimate? I chose the first.  Fingers or face? Again, I chose the first (the face presents difficulties, as noted in previous postings, but which  it has to be stressed are by no means insurmountable, given the optimal choice of imprinting medium, imprinting technique etc which we shall return to later).

Here’s the result I obtained using dry  powdered charcoal to imprint an image of my fingers onto damp linen, and then uploading to ImageJ software to convert the tone-reversed negative to a pseudo-positive (in essence a modern-day repeat of Secondo Pia’s celebrated photo-processing via silver-salt photography from 1898)

1. charcoal pre versus post inversion

Left: imprinted fingers using  powdered carbon; Right:the same after tone-inversion with Image J

Note the absence of  (bogeyman) lateral distortion on the two central fingers where there was no possibility of any wrap-around effect. Lateral distortion is confined to the left hand  side of the index finger  (but could have been simply avoided, merely by wiping imprinting agent off the side of the finger before imprinting, or merely keeping the linen away from the side. Where there’s a will there’s a way…)

What do you think thus far, dear reader?

Would you not agree that there’s an almost photographic quality to my charcoal imprints, albeit as negative Shroud-like image initially, easily tone-reversed with appropriate graphics software ?

Would you not concur with my view that the above images provide ample support for Emily Craig’s advocacy of finely-powdered solid  as an image-generating medium!#

Yes, the above images both  respond after a fashion to 3D-rendering software. But let’s leave that hugely over-hyped aspect of the TS body image  (and blood, and 1532 scorch!) till later. Indeed, let’s ignore the fatuous  3D  preoccupation for another occasion, given it’s primarily a function of 20th century computer software, whether analogue or digital,  given moreover that it’s NOT an expression of “uniquely encoded” information according to some wild and undisciplined agenda-promoting imaginations…

4th instalment (still Monday Dec 31)

Here’s a passage from the  1994 Craig and Bresee paper, showing an admirable ability to avoid  getting too wedded to one or other technique, i.e. being willing to cast a wide net.

The bolding is mine:

“Several hypotheses that have been proposed attempt to explain image formation as
involving oxidation and dehydration of cellulose to produce yellow-colored fibers. Of
the many ways to achieve this change, the most likely mechanism has been proposed to
involve transfer of a substance that either produces the image directly by oxidation/
dehydration or acts of as a catalyst that sensitizes the cloth to image development later through another process such as heating.”

But what if the added substance itself changes colour on heating, such that it’s not necessary, and indeed mistaken, to imagine that the linen fibres themselves have themselves been chemically altered.

That was my thinking back in October 2014. I had been scorching images directly from heated metal templates (e.g. horse brasses) onto linen, and got to wondering if the template really needed to be heated. Might it be possible to IMPRINT cold metal (or even human anatomy) onto the linen, and then heat the linen instead to obtain a coloured imprint. But what to use as imprinting medium, and how best to apply it to the template in such a way that it still transferred easily to the linen.

Here are images from my October 2014 posting (which to the best of my knowledge have never been picked up on elsewhere, such is the ‘them-and-us’ nature of  Establishment sindonology with its  down on non-authenticity narratives!):

flour imprint horse brass

Left: a horse brass, first given a light smear of vegetable oil, then dusted with white flour. Right: after pressing the dusted horse  brass onto linen (dry), then heating the  imprinted linen.

Why did I not drop everything and pursue this promising new approach?  Answer: I hesitate to say it, but I  had imprinted onto DRY linen to obtain a image that easily flaked off. Now why didn’t I think of substituting damp for dry linen?  That simple solution to the obtaining a firmly attached image, one that would resist washing, did not occur to me for several months, and even then took a while to become a routine feature of my current Model 10 (i.e. flour imprinting from oil-smeared human anatomy onto damp linen!). You live and you learn, the months and years slipping away as one’s learning curve  hopefully ascends…   At least  Ican show a learning curve, albeit painfully slow. Can Establishment sindonology with its  claimed ‘supernatural selfies’, partially modelled we’re told with their Government-supplied uv excimer laser pulses and the like say the same?

So how does white flour perform as imprinting agent, without having to heat the linen to  render it visible?  I needed to perform a separate experiment to be able to show the result in this my current posting. How?  Simple: imprint my hand onto black-coloured fabric, having first smeared it with vegetable oil, then dusted with flour.

Here’s the result:


2 flour pre versus post inversion

Left: flour imprint of fingers onto dampened black fabric (not linen); Right: tone-reversed pseudo-negative


No, the quality is nowhere near as good with the white flour, lacking much detail. But then the quality of the charcoal imprints shown earlier could be said to be vastly better than that of the TS body imprint.  My money is on white flour (or something very similar) as the medieval choice of imprinting agent, with second-stage heating followed by washing to produce the straw-yellow body image.  (Bloodstains , either with simulated or real blood, or a combination of the two applied at different stages in time, have been discussed in an earlier posting, so need not detain us for now).

5th instalment (still Dec 31)

Now we get to the 64,000 question – is there a way of discriminating between the two models flagged  up – one  of them proposing a medieval origin, the other an authentic 1st century provenance? (Let’s leave aside the radiocarbon dating, which Establishment sindonology has done its level best to turn into a veritable can of worms – and largely succeeded! Why no rerun with new sampling sites etc?  Best not to ask…).

One might at first sight think that identifying the straw-yellow image chromophore, either as chemically-modified cellulose or similar OR a Maillard browning product, might be the answer. But it would not, at least not of itself. Why not? Because while Establishment sindonology- promoted chemically-modified cellulose (even prematurely as in the STURP Summary where speculation largely substituted for hard fact) it is not ruled out in medieval terms (my Model 1 thermo-stencilling also generated scorched linen, given there was nothing else present apart from elemental carbon).  Maillard browning products?  Yes, they are the chemical species that can account for the image colour in my Model 10 – derived from thermochemical interaction between reducing sugars and amino groups in white flour. But let’s not forget that Maillard products, aka ‘melanoidins’  made an earlier appearance in Shroud literature, namely via Raymond N.Rogers’  pro-authenticity  but non-supernatural diffusion model, where the ingredients for a Maillard reaction were supplied by (a) a proposed starch-coating on the linen fibres derived from  Roman-era flax spinning/weaving technology  supplying , he stoutly maintained, reducing sugars when and where needed (?) and, further,  (b)  gaseous decomposition amines derived from a dead and decomposing corpse.


6th instalment (still Dec 31)

There’s another means that, at least at first sight, could or should allow one to discriminate between an image obtained entirely by contact, as distinct from unscientific supernatural means (like that fanciful imaging across air gaps from self-generated radiation!). If  one is imaging via contact only, with variable contact pressure from variations in 3D relief generating a false impression of  dimishing image intensity from increasing separation distance, then applied manual pressure can be deduced in the obligatory contact situation.  Ought it not then to be possible, maybe via modelling, to detect a different signature for use of applied manual pressure, forcing linen to make contact with relief, as distinct from natural draping of linen that relies upon gravity only?

Maybe, yes, in principle. But one can forsee all kinds of difficulty in practice, given one can only guess at the precise ‘moulding -to-contours’ technique deployed.

This approach maybe needs to be consigned to the back shelf, at least for now. Might there be a more promising one that should take priority?

7th instalment, New Year’s Day, 2019

So much for what has been done, especially the valuable though sadly neglected input from our forensic expert and her gentleman colleague.

Starting today I intend now to focus on what must now be done to test their oh-so-valuable POWDER -derived image proposal. Maybe then we’ll be in a position to appreciate better the true genius that underlies the Turin Shroud – HUMAN genius! Others too of course have experimented with powder in the past – Joe Nickell, Luigi Garlaschelli and others.  Am I the first to modify the hypothesis, substituting an organic powder (white flour) for inorganic ones like iron oxide etc, one moreover that conveniently generates a TS-like straw yellow chromophore when heated, but unlike inorganic oxides etc is still capable of being  bleached (e.g. with Adler and Heller’s diimide, hydrazine or alkaline hydrogen peroxide? (Yes, that bleaching action should have consigned Walter McCrone’s “iron oxide” chromophore fiction to oblivion: it’s yet another sad reflection on mainstream sindonology that the crucial opportunity was missed to nip it in the bud, and by two of STURP’s main personalities no less..)

While on a critical note, why has Establishment sindonology airbrushed Joseph of Arimathea and his “fine linen” out of the picture? (By ‘fine linen’ I refer to that supplied in the first 3 Gospels (namely to transport the crucified Jesus from cross to tomb)?  Was it not separate, less expensive linen that was referred to in the final Gospel (John)  deployed as final burial shroud?   In short, there’s been a confusion between “shroud” as a term for transport ‘body bag’, pardon the modern nomenclature,  and “shroud” as burial  garment. To refer to the first as a “burial shroud” merely because it  and its contents was delivered to the door of a tomb is at best an unhelpful ambiguity of terminology…#

Late insertion: I’m pleased to see that Petri Paavola in Finland shares my views on the almost universal misinterpretation  (at least in mainstream sindonological circles) of the account in the final Gospel, supposing the linen referred to there as othonia (plural) is J of A’s fine linen, described differently in the first 3 Gospels as sindon (singular), i.e. single sheet, never intended for use as final burial shroud.

If I were asked to state the major failure on the part of Establishment sindonology, what would it be?

Answer: the failure of STURP to recruit a range of scientific specialists, drawn from the entire scientific, repeat SCIENTIFIC, spectrum, from physics through to chemistry, through to biology, and then to physiology, medicine and its subdisciplines.

Had that happened, a specialist in botany at the microscopic level might have come in, saying “Look, you underestimate the complexity of flax-derived linen, even at the so-called “elementary fibre” level? Are you not aware that flax fibres are themselves highly complex? So kindly stop referring to the PCW (primary cell wall) as if that’s where the story starts and ends where acquisition of ‘superficial’ TS body image is concerned.

It’s a lot more complicated than that. Do your homework. Read up on what lies beneath the PCW! No, it’s not a cylindrical core of solid cellulose as you seem to imagine! Oh no!


fig 4.13b aslan flax microfibrils


8th instalment, Jan 2, 2019

Here’s a screen grab of an influential review that appeared in 2010 under multiple authorship, featuring several of the sindonological Establishment’s big names:

microscopic and macroscopic characteristics

At first sight it appears authoritative, and indeed is, as far as it goes. But compare what the review has to say about the microscopic structure of linen threads and fibres with the SEM  cross-sectional photograph above.  Did the review go far enough? Did it maybe present a hopelessly over-simplified view of the internal structure of an individual linen fibre? Did it make a single reference to the existence of microfibrils within fibres?  (Answer: NO on all counts). Did the authors prove beyond all doubt that the TS image layer is confined to the superficial PCW (primary cell wall) of the image fibre, with no possibility of it penetrating deeper?  What if the image chromophore  had been briefly liquid, e.g. at a second stage thermal processing designed to elicit colour in an organic powder coating, maybe oil-assisted? What if that liquified chromphore had penetrated beneath the PCW into the microfibrillar interior of linen fibres, and then been rapidly wicked away  at least partially via capillary channels between those microfibrils?  Might that account for the claimed ‘half-tone’ effect and ‘image discontinuities’ as I proposed back in 2015?

aug 21 2015 flour oil model on shroudstory


Is the TS image really as superficial as claimed in the above review, with its accompanying ‘take home story’ that anything so superficial as 200nm could not possibly be the product from a medieval workshop or artist’s studio?

9th instalment, still Jan 2

Many moons ago, I raised on this site a conundrum that was bothering me. Ray Rogers observed that it was easier to strip off image than non-image fibres from the surface of the TS with his Mylar sticky tape. But why? Why should image-bearing fibres be more brittle, more fragile if the chemical modification  is confined to the highly superficial PCW only? It doesn’t make sense! There is an explanation if the interior of the fibre is involved. Imagine an exudation of liquid containing endogenous flour oil, added exogenous vegetable oil and Maillard products, the latter initially low molecular weight, but rapidly polmerizing to high molecular weight melanoidins. Briefly, the exudate is liquid, and can thus penetrate the interior of fibres, being wicked away via capillary channels between packed microfibrils.

Then what? As the high MWt melanoidins form, there’s an inevitable inescapable  phase change (from liquid to solid) making the interior of each fibre glass-like and thus brittle.

Hey presto we have an explanation for the fragility, the ease of fracture of those image-bearing fibres.

10th instalment (still Jan 2)

I have just this minute taken some scissors to one of my archived Model 10 specimens (flour-imprinted linen, oven-heated, unwashed) in order to get a 1-2mm thick cross-section that will lie flat on a microscope slide. The cut sample was then illuminated from above, and examined under my binocular microscope at  x100 magnification (x10 for both eye piece and objective lenses).

It did not take long to see what I was looking for. By way of getting a quick snapshot, a hand-held digital camera was placed over one of the two binocular eyepieces (no, far from ideal – I’ll be plugging in a laptop later to capture the image on-screen).

Here’s the result, before v after further magnification:

IMG_6587 lightly edited 2

Model 10 flour imprinted linen fibres – cross-sectional view

fibre cross section lightly edited, magnified

As above, with further magnification.

Do you see what I see, dear reader? Where’s the image colour? Confined to the PCW (superficial primary cell wall) OR dispersed throughout the entire cross section of each fibre, i.e. within and/or between scores of microfibrils, the latter too small to see under my light microscope?


11th instalment, Jan 3, 2019

Six years have passed since this blogging  Shroud investigator began to express deep misgivings about the so-called superficiality of the Shroud body image.

Here’s a link to an early posting:

It was taken up with interest by Dan Porter on his now-retired shroudstory site, esepcially when Adrie van der Hoeven became interested:

Important aspect of flax fiber microstructure and Rogers’ “ghosts”

Without access to the Shroud, and, equally bad, if not worse, given the paucity of published photomicrographs of TS image fibres (despite STURP’s 5-day visit in ’78!) there seemed no point in trying to pursue those doubts to one or other conclusion.

That has now changed. My Model 10 (flour imprinting) has supplied a handle, given it has been able to account for so many curious aspects of the TS body image (not just the negative image but microscopic properties too) .  Yesterday’s photomicrograph could be said to to crystallize those doubts into near certainty that the TS body image is NOT superficial, far from it, that it penetrates the interior of image fibres, assisted no doubt by the complexity of what lies within that core, previously treated by sindonology as if a cylinder of solid, undifferentiated secondary cell wall cellulose. Oh not it’s not! Think microfibrils! Think capillary channels between those microfibrils  capable of wicking away transient liquid entities (accounting for those claimed  ‘half-tone’ effects, image discontinuities etc

Here’s a New Year exercise for gluttons for punishment. Call up that “microscopic/macroscopic” review paper referred to earlier on this posting. Enter “superficial” into a search (ConF), then examine each and every of the many references to “superficial”. Then ask yourself this. How many of those references refer to hard supporting evidence for superficiality, and how many are merely conjectural or hearsay evidence? How many transverse section photographs are supplied which one might think would be needed to sustain a case for the image layer being highly superficial, more specifically restricted to the primary cell wall)?  Answer: one big fat ZERO! To put it crudely, have we been sold a pup?  Yes, I do believe we have and say it’s time the “superficiality” dogma was examined afresh,  without preconceptual baggage and in detail. OH, and let’s be seeing some TRANSVERSE SECTIONS of individual fibres please. Is the  image colour really confined to the PCW only when viewed without a PCW interposed between eye and pigmentation?

Reminder:  yesterday, I started with a Model 10 flour imprint that was easily visible as a fuzzy brown stain-like image. But when one pulled out individual threads, and examined them individually  under the microscope under different lighting conditions, different magnifications, the colour, as noted in the past, was scarcely visible.  Bizarre! How could that be, one might ask?  It was only when I took the cross-section (a pair of scissors sufficed) that the colour appeared – as multiple solid colour dots within the CORES of individual fibres!

You live and you learn. At least some of us do – those with a proper scientific background and training. Shame the same cannot be said of the many sindonologists with no real background, especially those who posture as if “scientists”, who challenge scientists to account for this or that claimed anomaly (or preconception), and then proceed to ignore those of us who rise to the challenge, who attempt to supply answers. What do we get? Answer: put-downs and name calling, as often as not (“avowed sceptic” and worse).

It’s high time sindonology put its house in order, and began to separate the real science from the morass of pseudoscience that has intruded over the years and  indeed decades. Science is about critical testing of one’s ideas, possible preconceptions included. Science is NOT about promoting preconceptions with resort to scientific terminology as mere gift-wrapping (pseudoscience by any other name).


12th instalment, still Jan 3

Here’s a short passage from that “superficiality” review:

“Further evidence for the superciality of the TS body image is demonstrated by the transmission photograph made by the STURP photographer B. Schwortz shown in Figure 1. Rather than radiation reected from the surface of the cloth, the photo depicts the radiation transmitted by the TS through the water stains, scorches, blood, and body image. In the transmission photograph those marks which permeated the TS remain evident, but the body image disappears almost completely demonstrating its extreme superciality.

Fanti et al. : Microscopic and macroscopic characteristics of the Shroud of Turin image superficiality
J. Imaging Sci. Technol. Jul.-Aug. 2010040201-2
That interpretation offered by STURP’s Documenting Photographer was an entirely reasonable one: it’s not difficult to see why its had so many takers , given that said photographer went on to become President of  STERA (The Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association) with the premier website on the internet reporting 4 times a year, invariably preaching its pro-authenticity message.
But note the single word that I’ve highlighted in red. In no way did Schwortz’s interpretation constitute a “demonstration”.  It was an interpretation, a hunch, a pat answer, no more, no less.
But let’s not beat about the bush: there could realistically be any number of explanations, other than Shwortzs’s,  linked maybe to internal complexity of the fibre substructure, playing any number of tricks with reflected versus transmitted light.
So was that how the “image superficiality” dogma got started, simply because the image is only visible when viewed from the front with reflected light, disappearing when viewed in transmitted light?  Or might it have been those poorly characterized so-called  “ghosts” that Ray Rogers said  remained attached to his sticky tape when the rest of the image fibre – said then to be minus colour – was plucked away with forceps? (There are one or two pictures of image fibres and ‘ghosts’ available in a Thibault Heimburger pdf from 2008 – which however carries  a copyright symbol but give no clue as to precise whereabouts in the literature, bar a 2004 pdf from Roger’s himself, a year before his passing)
Either way, there was no rock solid foundation for “image superficiality” that I can see,  “image superficiality” being more by way of solemnly intoned never-to-be-questioned mantra.  But no, I don’t claim infallibility: so do please let me know if I’ve missed anything important – though I doubt it somehow… having been through that “superficiality” review with a fine-tooth comb.  The only thing I find superficial are the references to supposed image superficiality, not only at fabric and thread level,  which I don’t dispute, but at fibre level too –  WHICH I DO INDEED DISPUTE, given the absence of proper scientific back-up!
 Will STERA’s President give space on his website to my microscopy, shown above, and maybe revise his opinion re image superficiality?   And what about the multiple authors on that superficiality review?  Will they too revise or retract?  We shall see…
Omens for openness and fairmindedness are not auspicious where mainstream sindonology is concerned, but let’s not be too hasty in our judgement on this occasion…
Here endeth my New Year’s posting (don’t expect another any time soon!).
Comments as ever welcome  – assuming they are tolerably civil and informative.
Postscript: added 17th Jan 2019:
Today’s captured image (current ongoing  experiment comparing rates of ink migration in threads versus separated fibres). It’s needed to respond to one of several points raised by Piero I. in a comment  attached to this posting  just yesterday.
img_7460 selected two egg cup expt 17 jan,19
What does it show?  Answer: there is migration of ink (red from left eggcup, blue from right)  along linen threads (partially unspun to create wider capillary channels) but both inks comes  to a halt (well, almost, but not entirely) when they meet totally unspun threads with separate fibres. There’s a tiny amount of migration along individual fibres, but it needs a hand lens or microscope to see it.
Late addition: 23 Jan 2019
This page from a “middle man” serving the needs of the publishing industry (“Ingenta”) is required for my planned comment, correction, PROTEST, presently in preparation:
ingenta fanti 2011
Note the way that the price of the Fanti article is given in dollars, despite Ingenta being UK based (Oxford). Note the way there is no suggestion one can settle up in sterling, or euros for that matter. Exchange rate costs?  (“We buy at bla bla, we sell at bla bla”). Sure, it’s only a small sum, but it’s the principle … Ah,  yes, but we’re dealing with the internet, where principles play an ever-decreasing part….
Postscript (24 Jan 2019)
Here, belatedly from Stacey Reimann’s Alaska-based Shroud site, is a listing of the highest number of comments  – 100 or more – placed by particular individuals  mainly, but not exclusively, on Dan Porter’s  shroudstory site, up until  its closure, that is,  in December 2015.  This blogger/investigator was surprised to find himself third in the list –  but this site was one of the ‘others’ surveyed, t’other being Stephen Moore (sic).  😉
Sadly there are two recent RIPs (bolded, neither  I have to say my favourites, but then 99% of  Shroudies,  for the most part  anti-medieval man-made !) are – or were-  on my list of favourites. (Having said that, both occasionally made some good points.  Condolences to their nearest and dearest).
Name/ number comments
max_patrick_hamon 6757
louis 3380
colin_berry 3309
yannick_clément (sadly RIP, 2018) 3060
hugh_farey 2909
daveb_of_wellington_nz 2803
o_k 1643
charles_freeman 1447
ron 1147
david_goulet 1086
piero 1050
john_klotz (sadly RIP, 2018) 951
anoxie 882
dan 690
kelly_kearse 633
david_mo 599
jesterof 529
thomas 522
thibault_heimburger 498
mike_m 486
anonymous 440
matthias 440
stephen_e_jones 401
gabriel 400
andy_weiss 391
angel 387
sampath_fernando 319
mario_latendresse 275
paulette 274
nabber 252
andy 226
anniecee 218
dave_hines 206
phpl 178
andrea_nicolotti 176
chris 175
carlos 164
russ_breault 158
john_green 151
david_roemer 148
gian_marco_rinaldi 143
joe_marino 143
rick 121
giorgio 120
matt 119
barrie_schwortz 112
jmarino240 109
annette_cloutiér 108
dcn_andy 103
paul 101
Thanks for doing the statistical search, Stacey….
Late addition (Jan 27, 2019)
This image, captured yesterday, is need for a new comment I’ve just placed on this posting (which starts with a copy of my email to Hugh Farey)
circled img_8001 reflective starch granules query

Final postscript on this “blog”  short for “weblog” . This humble, informal “blog” is now to become an outlet,  not just for my experimental findings, gathered in kitchen and garage,  but for OPINION, indeed CONCLUSIONS. The latter are based on the findings (7 years of reporting research) through  my systematic progression through Models 1 to Model 10)

Taster of what’s to come?  Here’s  a 16th century’s artist’s take  (De Rovere) on the manner in which the body image was acquired on Joseph of Arimatheas’ lien, brought to the cross (not tomb, note, but CROSS).


Giovanni_Battista_della_Rovere photoenhaned


Then compare with the book cover picture on the 2000 “Resurrection  of the  Shroud” by legal attorney, Mark Antonacci (professing to focus on the “”science”)  Antonacci (professing to focus on the “”science”)

antonacci resurrection of shroud


Yes, there you have pro-authenticity shroud-defending (nay, evangelizing)’ ‘shroudology’  (or, as it likes to describe itself, sindonology in a nutshell.

Show the bits you like, conceal the ones you don’t, substitute your own message (“Resurrection”) and call it “science”.

Since when have legal attorneys had a training in science  (like the 7 years it took this investigator to acquire first his Bachelor’s degree |(BSc), then his Master’s degree (MSc), then his doctorate (PhD) in science)? Seems anyoone these days can claim to be  a scientist, merely by deploying scientific terminology.

Most scientists  (real scientists) are far too preoccupied with their own research interests to bother with the kind of   trivia that passes for science on the internet, mass media etc. The latter get an easy ride…




Posted in latest research,, Shroud of Turin, Turin Shroud | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

No, Mr. Barrie M. Schwortz. STURP did NOT “provide an example that future Shroud researchers can use to carefully plan their own work”. STURP showed how not to plan or execute objective, ISSUE- RELEVANT science-based research!

Prequel (added Nov 6, 2018):  Have just discovered that my targeted criticisms of the 1978 STURP initiative were voiced way back in May 2015 on my now long-in-the-tooth      science buzz site.

(That site having been started in 2009, some 3 years prior to this one).

So why did I fail to recall it?

Answer: apart from this 74-year old’s increasing senility,   cue intermediate-term memory loss  (short term probably close on its heels),  it’s probably because they were tacked onto the end of an otherwise highly experimental, hands-on posting. It was  to do with the details of Model 6  (then deploying a chemical means – nitric acid – to develop the yellow colour of a flour imprint, subsequently replaced by heat).

That diversion into STURP’s alleged shortcomings  would now be lost in the mists of time. However, yesterday I perchance came across the scathing  (ill-considered?)  reception given  by Dan Porter in May 2015 on his  long-retired site to those candidly-stated views of mine regarding  STURP and much else besides (given this site is/was a real-time account of scientific, experiment-based research in progress, from start – Model 1-  2011 – to finish,  Model 10 –  2015- possibly, dare one suggest unique in the history of the internet ? )…


Dan Porter May 2015 STURP

(I don’t suppose Dan is reading this, but if he is, then here’s a belated reply, given I chose not to respond to his posting).

I stand by every word I wrote in 2015 regarding STURP – a hopelessly mismanaged project if ever there was, lacking direction and focus (except for that banal ‘just a painting’ obsession, showing a  blind spot for the largely self-evident conclusion that should have been drawn by any researchers in full command of their scientific faculties, specifically from the negative, i.e. light/dark -reversed body image – namely an IMPRINT, indeed CONTACT IMPRINT, hardly a free-hand painting, far less, as   STURP-leader Dr. John Jackson’s  would have us believe, a 1st century internally- body-generated supernatural radiation-generated Resurrectional ‘selfie’).

Shame the Gospels provide no hint of such an event having occurred!

(So why did the Risen Christ bother to re-make  contact with his disciples  “on the road to Emmaus etc”  to show he was still of this world, displaying wounds on hands etc to the Doubting Thomas etc.  prior to the final Ascension  (the latter surely a more credible scenario for a flash of body-consuming radiation – NOTE:  Ascension not Resurrection?)

Site banner?  See Appendix.


End of prequel:  original posting starts here

Let’s begin with a cut-and-paste from a comment by the Editor of , i.e. Barrie M.   Schwortz, perhaps better known as President of STERA (Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association). Schwortz was  previously 1978 STURP’s Documenting (not to be confused with separate Scientific) Photographer.  It was on his June 2018 Newsletter, shortly to be updated we’re told by an October 8 (to commemorate the controversial STURP’s 40th Anniversary|)

barrie m schwortz june 2018

It’s the final highlighted sentence that is the subject of this current posting. Apols for the size. It reads:  “I think you will find it enlightening as it clearly demonstrates the thoroughness and care that STURP exhibited in planning their research. It creates a benchmark and provides an example that future Shroud researchers can use to carefully plan their own work”.

How’s that for a photographer attempting to tell current follow-up scientists (like myself!)  how to do their job, attempting to make good the numerous shortcomings of the 78 visit to Turin, laden down with shiny gee-whizz hardware !

Such presumption of superiority!  Such arrogance!

More to follow (oh yes, much, much more!). It’s time for this retired  biomedical scientist/Shroud investigator (the latter of some 7 years standing) to tell it the way it is.

(My studiously-ignored Model 10  – some 6 years in the making – may get a brief look-in.  But that’s not the primary purpose of the exercise, which is now largely to put an unflattering  spotlight on sindonology’s  largely pro-authenticity promoting,  and all-too-often anti-authenticity-sniping  modus operandi!).

Foretaste: let’s be clear about one thing.

STURP got it completely, and I mean COMPLETELY  wrong as regards that defining  NEGATIVE , i.e. tone-reversed body image, one  which it largely ignored.  Indeed, it failed in its 1981 Summary to make a single mention of the term “imprint” – the production of which guarantees a 100% negative image –  choosing instead to focus on consciously artist- directed “paint” and “painting”.  ( Merely a painted image? That’s what one refers to  currently on the internet as an easy-to-knock- down  “strawman’ target”.)

If you think I’m overstating my case, dear reader,  then ask yourself this question. What’s the most defining  characteristic of the TS body image , as discovered in the last 120 years, at least initially, pre those  supposedly  “unique 3D characteristics”? Yes, it’s surely the negative, tone-reversed character, as shown by Secondo Pia in 1898.

Now search for “negative”in the STURP 1981 Summary. How many mentions?  Yes, dear reader:  zero, absolutely zero !   And you’ll find scarcely any mentions either in the ‘definitive’ account of the STURP Project, penned by John Heller in his 1983 book, except briefly at the start and at the end.

Why not? Someone kindly explain to me why not, given the reams of pro-authenticity speculation generated  these last 120 or so years by that ‘negative ‘ image , in particular,  supposed proto-photography via supernatural radiation’,  the TS body mage being a “photograph” you realize.

I always thought there was something not quite right, not quite transparently scientific  about STURP and its  limp 1981 conclusions…   It’s not so much what STURP said, as what it didn’t say….

More tomorrow …

Saturday October 6

Today I shall content myself with displaying two items:

First, a screen shot of STURP’s 1981 Summary, taken from the site:


summary of sturp conclusions 1981

Second: a modified version thereof, as I believe it should have been written, with my additions etc shown in bold blue, AND highlighting in red those sentences, of parts thereof, which I consider should not have been there, being unsupported or indeed opposed by the limited or selective scientific data.


A Summary of STURP’s Conclusions

Editor’s Note: After years of exhaustive study and evaluation of the data, STURP issued its Final Report in 1981. The following official summary of their conclusions was distributed at the press conference held after their final meeting in October 1981:

No  EASILY IDENTIFIABLE ARTISTS’ pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found on the fibrils. X-ray, fluorescence and microchemistry on the fibrils preclude the possibility of paint being used as a method for creating the image BUT THAT DOES NOT EXCLUDE THE POSSIBILITY OF IMPRINTING WITH AN AS YET UNKNOWN IMPRINTING AGENT, NATURAL or MAN-MADE. Ultra Violet and infrared evaluation confirm these studies. Computer image enhancement and analysis by a device known as a VP-8 image analyzer show that the image has unique, three-dimensional information encoded in it. Microchemical evaluation has indicated no evidence of any spices, oils, or any biochemicals known to be produced by the body in life or in death BUT THAT WOULD NOT PRECLUDE A SIMULATED, i.e.  “FAKED” BODY SWEAT IMPRINT, SEEMINGLY YELLOWED WITH AGE. It is clear that there has been a direct contact of the Shroud with a body, which explains certain features such as scourge marks, as well as the blood. However, while this type of contact might explain some of the features of the torso, A NUMBER OF US CONSIDER it is totally incapable of explaining the image of the face with the high resolution that has been amply demonstrated by photography.

(ed. I resisted the temptation to strike out the next three sentences, which some might consider are too imprecise, arguably airy-fairy, and ought really to be in a footnote).

The basic problem from a scientific point of view is that some explanations which might be tenable from a chemical point of view, are precluded by physics.

Contrariwise, certain physical explanations which may be attractive are completely precluded by the chemistry.

For an adequate explanation for the image of the Shroud, one must have an explanation which is scientifically sound, from a physical, chemical, biological and medical viewpoint.

(ed. moving on…)

At the present, this type of solution does not appear to be obtainable by the best efforts of the members of the Shroud Team. Furthermore, experiments in physics and chemistry with old linen have failed to reproduce adequately the phenomenon presented by the Shroud of Turin. The scientific concensus  (sic) BY SOME BUT NOT ALL MEMBERS OF THE TEAM is that the image was produced by something which resulted in oxidation, dehydration and conjugation of the polysaccharide structure of the microfibrils of the linen itself. Such changes can be duplicated in the laboratory by certain chemical and physical processes. A similar type of change in linen can be obtained by sulfuric acid or heat. OTHERS AMONG US ARE PREPARED TO ENTERTAIN ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATIONS, NOTABLY THE IMAGE HAVING BEEN FORMED ON AN IMPURITY COATING , POSSIBLY STARCH. However, there are no chemical or physical methods known which can account for the totality of the image, nor can any combination of physical, chemical, biological or medical circumstances explain AS YET the image adequately.  MODELLING OF IMPRINTS, PROBABLY WITH SIMULATED RATHER THAN REAL BODY FLUIDS, MAY POTENTIALLY OFFER AT LEAST ONE PROMISING DIRECTION FOR FUTURE RESEARCH.
Thus, the answer to the question of how the image was produced or what produced the image remains, now, as it has in the past, SOMETHING OF a mystery, OR AS SOME OF US PREFER TO SAY “YET TO BE DETERMINED”.

We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real OR SIMULATED human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist – AT LEAST NOT ONE THAT WAS EXECUTED FREEHAND WITH PAINT AND BRUSH (WHICH WOULD NOT PRECLUDE AN IMPRINTING PROCEDURE) . The blood stains are composed – OR AT ANY RATE SHOW THE PRESENCE – of hemoglobin and also give a positive test for serum albumin. The image – AS WELL AS BLOOD THAT SOME CONSIDER  “TOO RED” – is an ongoing mystery and until further chemical studies are made, perhaps by this group of scientists, or perhaps by some scientists in the future, the problem remains unsolved.


Note the inexplicable absence of a key descriptor of the Shroud body image: namely NEGATIVE, as in “negative, tone-reversed image, demonstrated by Secondo Pia in 1898”.

Extraordinary.  Truly extraordinary, which some some, myself included, might think  reprehensible.  It’s like describing a London double-decker bus, omitting to mention that it’s bright red, visible from afar.

oxford street london

“Bus?  Show me where. I see no bus” (anonymous member of STURP team)

Is it any wonder  then that there’s no mention either of the term “IMPRINT”, when STURP could not even bring itself to say “NEGATIVE”.


Penguins displaying STURP’s 360° view

Come to think of it, the term “negative image” gets only a passing mention or two  in John Heller’s 1983 book “Report on the Shroud of Turin”. Why?  Why???  WHY?????????  (I think I know why!).

And you, Mr. Barrie M.Schwortz,  have the brass neck to hold up your STURP enterprise and its over-wordy, largely negative conclusions, posing more questions than they answer,  to present day scientists as a model of scientific good-practice? 

More, maybe tomorrow, dear site visitor  (Monday at the latest).

Sunday October 7, 2018

If I had to summarise the numerous failings of STURP in just a few words,  (no easy task!)  what would they be?

Here’s my first attempt.

STURP, or rather its  managerial Godfathers, weren’t merely content to proselytize their own  ideas. They tried prematurely to convert initial hypotheses to grand theories and then self-evident fact,  like cloth-body distance being a determinant of image density,  then proceeding to set ground rules for others.

One does not have to look far to find evidence for what I have just stated. It’s there in the STURP Summary, it’s in Team Leader John Jackson’s published work, it’s in John Heller’s book, it’s in the output from Italy’s ENEA researchers (Government employees!) etc etc

Let’s not mince our words. What we see (and is easy to document) is not just science. (Indeed, there are far too many instances where objective science has been deserted). It’s attempted MIND-CONTROL to varying extents, which even infected non-scientist Barrie M.Schwortz back in  February 2012. See the comments he left about my Model 2 (direct scorching from a hot metal template) on Dan Porter’s site.


Did you really think that was science, Mr.Schwortz, to go declaring that “unlike the TS body image, all scorches fluoresce under uv” ?  How many different types of scorch did YOU test Mr.Schwortz?

Come to think of it, how many types of scorch did STURP’s scientific recruits test? How many has anyone tested under uv (apart from myself – oh, and ex-BSTS Newsletter Editor Hugh Farey – these last 6 years)?

The answer, as far as I can tell, is zilch!

So, without a single shred of experimental evidence, basing their claims entirely on a reported weak pinkish fluorescence around the scorched fringes of full-thickness burn holes left by the 1532 fire (i.e.  NOT experimental scorches, produced under controlled experimental conditions) we see Barrie Schwortz attempting to dismiss not just “scorches” but thermal imprinting generally without a SINGLE SHRED OF EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE TO BACK UP THEIR CLAIMS. Instead, there’s a HAUGHTY DISMISSAL OF A NEW LINE OF ENQUIRY –  JUST ONE OF MANY IN MY CASE – CLEARLY AN ATTEMPT TO ‘NIP NON-AUTHENTICITY THINKING FIRMLY IN THE BUD’.

Yet it’s thermal, or indeed any kind of  IMPRINTING which offers an immediate explanation for the tone-reversed NEGATIVE image, the feature that STURP and others chose to  consign to near-oblivion. It can also explain response to 3D-rendering software (no, not unique to the TS, far from it, as anyone with MS Paint can show with intial 2D images that have solid colour!). Oh, and much else besides, but let’s not waste any more time in repeating oneself endlessly, only to be contemptuously ruled out of order by BS and his post-STURP successors).

Despite all of this, Barrie Schwortz would have us believe that STURP was a model of good science, one to be adopted we’re told  by  present day investigators, 40 years later. Yet all we have seen from pro-authenticity sindonology these last 40 years is a succession of ever-wilder hypotheses, invariably citing fictional radiation, earthquakes, corona discharges etc etc with no back-up data worth speaking of! Call that science?

More to follow, like a quote from Heller’s book, showing his dismissal of thermal imprinting in a few lines without a shred of experimental back-up. (Even legal attorney Mark Antonacci’s  later ‘Resurrection of the Shroud” (2001)  managed to cite some experimental  allegedly anti-imprint evidence, even if science-wise it was totally OTT and irrelevant!).

Back again…

See this slightly abridged passage from Page 203 of Heller’s 221 page book (with thermal imprinting strangely book-ended with acid-induced coloration!):

“Heat can cause the same kind of oxidation as sulfuric acid, but any heat source radiates in a diffuse manner, and cannot account for the resolution or the three-dimensionality seen in the features of the face of the man in the Shroud or the microprecision of the color on the crests of only the straw yellow fibrils.”

(omit short passage)

“There were a few other really strange ideas, such as hot statues, bas reliefs and so on, suggested by non-scientists, but these had long since been examined and rejected, because they could be ruled out – both theoretically and experimentally”.

John  Heller’s admirably candid first-hand account of the STURP enterprise had much to commend it (despite his not accompanying STURP to Turin). But that passage I’ve cited was NOT laudable science by any stretch of the imagination.  Some might say it was casual and contemptuous dismissal,  unbacked by a single shred of illustrative experimental data.

What’s the point of penning a book –  supposedly with a science focus –  if one omits to provide at least a page or two on the relevant (or even supposedly irrelevant) hard science, point by listed point?

Call that science, Mr.Schwortz, with STURP’s biophysicist John Heller MD pre-emptively dismissing  a major line of enquiry, while  depriving the reader (who’s shelled out hard cash for his book) of a single detailed reason?

Let’s look briefly now at Mark Antonacci’s longer references to the possibility of imprinting-by-contact  (as distinct from fanciful imaging across air gaps):

More to follow…

Back again.

Hooray. Antonacci’s account of ‘Direct-Contact Theories’ starts near the top of Page 63, and continues until halfway down Page 68.

This  posting cannot hope to do justice to the entirety of what he has written (and was not intended for that purpose anyway).

But to give a flavour of his style of exposition –  streets ahead  one might add on what we have just encountered – AND to register some new thinking of mine on the hitherto unrecognized subtleties and potentialities of  imprinting-by-contact  (depending amongst other things on choice  by  fakers  I hasten to add – of imprinting medium and how it’s deployed)  I’ll annotate the first few paragraphs from  Antonacci’s refreshingly detailed ‘take’ on imaging-via-imprinting.

More to follow

From Antonacci:

“A leading proponent of direct-contact theory, STURP scientist Sam Pellicori, suggests the image might have developed not from diffusion but from the cloth coming into direct contact with a body covered in perspiration;body oils; and/or liquid solutions of myrrh, aloes, or olive oil. No traces of these types of organic liquid substances (or any others) have been detected on the linen.”

Here we see the spotlighted author  displaying the same blind spot as that shown by Heller, namely failure to consider a SIMULATED sweat imprint, seemingly yellowed with age, of MEDIEVAL FABRICATION. The latter could have deployed an image-formation technique that did not necessarily need to use runny liquids, but instead an imprinting medium of stiffer consistency, one which was subsequently altered by heat to generate the desired straw colour, thus defying simple chemical analysis (as would be the case if  amino-carbonyl Maillard reactions  were to generate insoluble, chemically-complex high-molecular weight melanoidins, as first proposed by STURP’s Ray Rogers (albeit too late to get a mention in that 1981 STURP Summary!).

From Antonacci:

“A fundamental problem with all direct-contact theories can be demonstrated in a simple experiment by rubbing charcoal over a person’s face and then draping cloth over it. The resulting image will possess no three dimensional information, appear grossly distorted, and bear scant resemblance  to a human face.”

So there will be a photograph in the book, right, one that shows the result of doing that precise charcoal imprinting with an obliging volunteer?

But no, there’s not (WHY NOT?)  Why is one expected to part  with hard cash for yet another pro-authenticity Shroud-book whose author  can’t be bothered to perform a simple experiment of his choosing, who expects the reader to go spreading charcoal over a friend or family member (with no mention of how easy or difficult it will be to wash off afterwards)?

I for one was not willing to deploy charcoal,  certainly not on my face, and I doubt whether a single reader out there has done so, which means that Antonacci’s claims regarding no 3D response, barely recognizable  human face etc have to go unquestioned. Here’s what we see time and time again in the sindonology literature – being expected to take an author’s “severe criticism” on trust, not being allowed to exercise our own visual judgement from photographs or other data, or maybe able to improve on what’s shown.

No, I was not willing to use charcoal. But some years ago I used Nutella chocolate/hazel nut spread – a crude, rough-and-ready imprinting medium-  showing that  the Shroud’s ‘spindly fingers’, far from being evidence of imaging  via internally-generated soft x-rays (thank you for that Dr. August Accetta) were explainable by imprinting, where a stronger more intense image is obtained from flesh that overlies the slimmer non-compressible central bone!

So how would Nutella perform on my own face (later easily washed off) ? Would the result be barely recognizable as a face, with no 3D-response whatsoever in ImageJ or other 3D-rendering software?

Here’s the result, dear reader.  Judge (initially) for yourselves. I’ll be back tomorrow with my own interpreation and evaluation.

nutella face before v after inversion and 3D for BLOG

Left: initial  imprint of my own face; sorry about the excess of Nutella! Right: after light/dark inversion in ImageJ, followed by 3D-enhancement. Note the prominently imaged, albeit flattened nose and nostrils and discernible lips.

Late addition (October 10): I have just imprinted all 4 fingers of my left hand onto dry v wet linen using powdered charcoal. The result, both before and after light/dark inversion and 3D rendering is truly spectacular.  It shows how effective a fine powder can be as imprinting medium.  I’ll display the result if anyone’s interested, but I mean GENUINELY INTERESTED, not merely trying to score pro-authenticity points.  (I’m only here for the experimental modelling, i.e. the science, not to respond to sniping and point-scoring).

What the pro-authenticity brand of sindonology, beginning with STURP,  has done is to enclose contact-imprinting  within a  barbed-wire-enclosed firing range, labelled “ENTER AT YOUR PERIL, EXPECT TO  BE SHOT ON SIGHT”.

And its present-day chief spokesman has the nerve to tell us that STURP represented science at its very best, a model for us Johnny-come-latelys to emulate.

Did it heck!

STURP was many things, some creditworthy, some not, depending on which of its 30+ participants you choose to select.

The notion that, overall, STURP represented science at its best could not be further from the truth.

STURP was infected from the word go with  starry-eyed pro-authenticity bias , one that wasted no time in attemptinmg to sideline or wrongfoot  the perceived opposition.

STURP, 40 years ago,  and even today, displays the unacceptable face of agenda-driven American free-enterprise…

make america sane again

Newsflash (October 8, 2018)

We interrupt this programme to bring you this newsflash (OK,  let’s not go wild: newsglimmer maybe). Here’s a cut-and-paste :

It has just appeared on’s commemorative issue  marking the  40th anniversary of STURP. See under Internet.

[Editor’s Note: I received an e-mail from avowed Shroud skeptic Colin Berry on May 30, 2018, which included a link to a compilation web page of his research on the Shroud. Frankly, I did not respond to his e-mail nor did I include the link in our June 21, 2018 website update. Shortly thereafter, I received a comment from and had a written exchange with David Goulet, one of our viewers on our Facebook page. With his permission, I am reprinting it below, since it explains why I was initially hesitant to include the link to Colin’s web page.]

  • David Goulet – Robust update! However I would like to recommend that, perhaps at next update, you give a nod to Colin Berry’s website and ongoing experiments that provide a possible man-made narrative for the Shroud. I know Colin is not the most popular Shroud investigator but his research is compelling. His is, imo, the one non-authentic hypothesis that bears serious consideration. If reason is to serve faith, then we must challenge our assumptions and Colin’s site is a place to do that. To ignore the incredible amount of scientific modelling and research he has undertaken would be a disservice to the Shroud.

  • STERA, Inc. – I will certainly consider it for our next update. However, Colin didn’t win himself any friends by launching unprovoked ad hominem personal attacks against other researchers (including me) on a regular basis when Dan Porter’s blog was still active. Disagreeing with a researcher’s conclusions or results is how science advances and is perfectly acceptable, but personal attacks, particularly on deceased researchers who are no longer alive to defend themselves, crosses the line. Sadly, Colin crossed that line regularly.

  • David Goulet – Acknowledged and I appreciate the reticence given his antagonism. My main concern though is that regardless of Colin’s demeanor his science modelling continues to be compelling and innovative. There may be aspects of his work that may even provide insights for pro-authentic researchers – for those with the patience to sift through his site and deal with his truculence.

  • STERA, Inc. – Fair enough. May I quote this exchange? You made a convincing argument and I’d like to publish it with the link.

  • David Goulet – Of course. Thx.
  • Shroud of Turin Without All the Hype – This is the link to Colin’s web page.
Posted October 8, 2018

I’ll say no more for now, except to remind Mr.Barrie M.Schwortz that one cannot go suppressing criticism of what one perceives as faulty, far less hugely misleading so-called science including in some instances  leading figures in STURP simply because they are no longer with us. None of us are immortal. Mortality is a fact of life,  a terminal feature of the so-called “human condition”…

Criticizing their hasty conclusions and/or prognostications  in no way  constitutes what BS describes as “ad hominem” attacks. Indeed it’s arguably an ad hominem  attack upon myself  from BS to claim I’m the one guilty of making ad hominem attacks!

BS needs to look in a mirror! See  for example the way he refers to Professor Luigi Garlaschelli, spotlighting his areligious  (“atheist”) take on  life and the Universe, one that is shared by hundreds of million others on the planet!  I too, btw,  regard myself as a (closet) atheist, but consider that largely irrelevant when science is contantly challenged to account for the “mystery”, the “enigma” of the Turin Shroud!   (I say the Shroud is a simulated sweat imprint: no, not a real 1st century sweat imprint, but a 14th century SIMULATED sweat imprint,  that being a simple science-based message that even now, sindonologists for the most part attempt to stifle or suppress). It’s science and its alleged limitations that is the issue – at least for me. Which is why 7 years of being largely ignored and/or shunned by those ‘challengers of science’ is especially disreputable, showing their true colours some might think, using the TS (partly) as a means of taking a swipe at science and scientists. 

PS: thanks to  Canada-based David Goulet (keen sindonology observer as well as  gifted writer – being author of the interesting funeral parlour-focused “Looney Tombs” ) for his positive take on my approx. 7 year program of  Shroud research.  

Now back to, er,  my critique of Mark Antonacci’s critique (of imprinting-by-contact).  More to follow.

Yes, returning to Antonacci (still Page 63 of his 2001 book)…

“STURP scientists Jackson, Jumper and Ercoline attempted to reproduce direct-contact models capable of matching the image characteristics found on the Shroud (ref). They used a plaster mold of a face that was treated with different combinations of liquids and oils at different temperatures and draped with linen representing the Shroud. The experiment identified identified several weaknesses in the direct-contact theory. When the cloth was draped over the face mold that had been coated with in, two different types of shading effects were produced. An image was imprinted only where the cloth and face made contact; no impression was left if the cloth and face were separated by space. Yes, as discussed in Chapter 3, the Shroud body image was imprinted even where there must have been some distance between the cloth and body (for example the sides of the nose).”

The last-but-one sentence is 100% CORRECT! Yes, whether using a real face OR  that plaster model one cannot expect to get an image UNLESS there is physical contact.  One cannot imprint across air gaps. That is common sense, thus far acknowledged by Antonacci in a modelled system We now move onto the final sentence – kindly fasten your seat belts…

Repeat:  “the Shroud body image was imprinted even where there must have been some distance between the cloth and body (for example the sides of the nose”.

Really? How can you be so certain, Mr.Antonacci?  Have you tried imprinting off a real face by direct-contact, either with your charcoal, or as did above with Nutella spread?

When I say “imprinting”, I don’t mean simply laying a sheet of linen on top, the default position so beloved of pro-authenticists. I mean imprinting in a medieval context, where the linen is FORCIBLY applied to the face or other parts of the body, to be certain of getting a WELL-DEFINED image ( a scenario you briefly consider in your next paragraph).  Under applied pressure you DO get imprinting of the sides of the nose. Why?  Answer: the nose FLATTENS under applied pressure, or veers to one or other side, bringing  one or both sides into contact with the linen. But there’s a price to pay .. . one gets  a somewhat distorted image of the nose, being either flattened or pushed to one side, one or other side of the fairly rigid nasal septum.

But hold on a minute. Haven’t we read something about the nose of the Man on the Shroud looking not quite right? Where was that now?

The ‘flat’ nose in a 3D-enhanced image from Shroud Scope aroused interest on Dan Porter’s site way back. See this link. 

But there was an earlier reference to a distorted nose, from a coroner/pathologist no less – STURP’s celebrated if somewhat over-theatrical Robert Bucklin MD (who performed mock-autopsies, dressed in mortuary gear –  on TS photographs – see David Rolfe’s ‘Silent Witness’ documentary (googleable).   Let’s look out his exact words, shall we? Here they are, not from Bucklin’s 1997 autopsy report (about which the less said the better!) but from the earlier report which John Heller quote on Pages 2 and 3 of his 1983 book:

“The man has been beaten about the face, there is a swelling over one cheek, and he undoubtedly has a black eye. His nose tip is abraded, as would occur from a fall, and it appears that the nasal cartilage may have separated from the bone.”

Well, well, well!  The image of the man on the face IS distorted we were told, way back in 1983, possibly earlier by the authenticity-promoting Robert Bucklin MD. (You ain’t seen nothing yet – read his 1997 “autopsy”, performed as if on a real person, or even a photograph thereof, as distinct from an image of unknown means of production, with blood, or “blood” but no unequivocal imaging of wounds, not even in the so-called “scourge marks”. !

But Bucklin’s true-believer interpretation needless to say centred on pre-Crucifixion beating, without a single thought being given to a medieval forgery scenario, one in which linen was pressed up against the nose and face, distorting and flattening the nose, and maybe other facial features too.

Far from being an insuperable problem where imprinting-by-contact is concerned, the nose provides us  with a tell-tale forensic signature of a MODELLED pressure-imprinting scenario! But not one using a rigid plaster cast! Oh no, it has to be a real DEFORMABLE face, a real deformable NOSE!  So forget all the (overhasty?) claims from Luigi Garlaschelli, Hugh Farey and others that the nose and/or other angular features of the face make imprinting off a real face too difficult, nay impossible. Not so, as I showed back in 2014, using Model 10 (flour imprinting) and relying on nothing more than photoediting software (MS Office Picture Manager!) to intensify the faint natural yellowish-brown  tinge of white flour:

new 3D highly cropped

Yes, white flour  slurry beats Nutella as imprinting agent any day (or powdered flour onto wet linen as an alternative – discussed earlier on this site). Note the slight distortion of the nose, a signature of contact-imprinting under strong applied pressure.

We now get to the part of the Antonacci take on contact-imprinting where the waters get well and truly muddied. How?  By a mixing up of “3D response” and “image distortion”, aspects which in my view should have been kept, at least initially in two entirely separate watertight compartments, failure to do which has done a huge amount of damage to the case for non-authenticity/medieval provenance. To say this investigator is severely rattled by the misinformation, started by John Jackson, further perpetuated by any number of commentators, in and outside of STURP, would be an understatement to say the least. Future historians could do a lot worse than look closely at what follows…

The starting point is this picture from Jackson et al, one which Antonacci displays on Page 64 of his book:

getImage lateral distortion used by antonacci CROPPED

Fig 41, Page 64, “The Resurrection of the Shroud” by Mark Antonacci, 2000,

Here’s Antonacci’s accompanying text on Page 63:

“When the investigators pressed the cloth onto those surface points where contact was not made during the natural draping over the face mold, the resulting image was grossly distorted (see fig.41).” 

That refers to the image on the left, prior to attempted 3D-rendering.

That passage is followed by this one, referring to the image on the right:

The VP-8 analysis of the direct-contact photographs yielded even more pronounded image distortions (fig.42) which means that direct-contact models cannot produce the correct three-dimensional information.

Gulp!  More to follow…  much more. It’s not so much what it says, as what IT DOESN’T SAY! Sorry, but science (unlike legal advocacy) does not take kindly to truncated arguments that omit crucial information. It’s just one more symptom/manifestation  of agenda-driven pseudoscience!

So what does it fail to say? Answer:  it omits to mention that part of a 3D rendering, whether from a face or plaster mold, that is called the SIDES!   It omits to mention “lateral distortion” by name, it omits to mention that lateral distortion is entirely avoidable by a simple expedient – at least in a  medieval simulation of a 13 centuries old sweat imprint: don’t imprint the sides, that way you avoid lateral distortion!

Are the sides of the face or body visible on the body image of the TS? Answer – NO! A resounding NO!

So let’s be absolutely clear shall we about why that last quoted passage from Antonacci  is wrong- spectacularly so. Yes, there is image distortion? And why? It displays lateral distortion? Why? Because the fabric was (a) allowed to make contact with the sides of the mold and (b) the sides of the mold transferred the imprinting agent onto the linen. Result – a distorted image when the imprinted linen was laid flat. But is that the same as saying that the imprinted image failed to respond to the 3D-rendering software? Answer: NO. Compare the image on the right with that on the left and one sees that, despite the lateral distortion, there WAS a 3D response! Look especially at the “hair” on the right, and what does one see? One sees a mountain range in miniature.

It’s not just Mark Antonacci who conflated 3D with lateral distortion. John Heller did exactly the same in his book. Go to the page of photos facing Page 83, and what does one see? One sees a photo with the following caption:

“A VP-8 of a photo of William Ercoline. Note the gross distortion of all the features and the two-dimensional quality of the VP-8 – both characteristics of a VP-8 taken from a 2-D surface. The only exception isthe Shroud.”

Wrong, wrong, WRONG!

Yes, the photo of William Ercoline does show distortion, but it also shows a positive response to the 3-D rendering software.

Why? Because any image with variations in image intensity will respond to 3D software, because that’s what the software does – it promotes 2D image intensity wherever it finds it to apparent 3D, simply by creating an imaginary third (z axis)  to initial x and y axes  and creating a needle-forest of height bars in place of 2D pixels. (The forest is later smoothed out, given artificial shadowing etc).

Why the distortion?  Because photos, paintings etc already contain an impression of 3D by means of angled light illumination, real or imagined by the artist, in the form of shadowing. But the software has no means of distingushing between image and shadow – both get elevated on account of their additional image intensity. Forget all the semantic nonsense that intrudes by use of the term “encoded information” Yes, the software may have a computer at its heart in order to process the multitude of pixel intensity information, but it’s not there to decode, merely to re-display in a new re-mapped form with that third imaginary z axis  (aka coordinate), one that merely takes what it finds with no attempt at  “decoding” far less  intelligent “interpretation”.

So, to summarise: image distortion in 2D renderings, 3D or both, can take at least one or both of two different forms (there may be more).

The first is from shadowing in photographs and paintings becoming elevated as if image, when it’s not. Solution: avoid photographs and paintings. Use IMPRINTS instead (and I say the TS body image is an imprint, not a photograph – or radiation-generated proto-photograph – and certainly not a painting.

The second is from lateral distortion, from attempting to imprint off the sides as well as the flatter frontal planes of face and body. Solution? Don’t. Either keep the linen clear of the sides, or apply one’s imprinting medium to the frontal planes only, keeping the sides uncoated. It then doesn’t matter if the linen makes contact with the sides.

How to ensure that frontal planes only receive imprinting medium? Answer: this investigator discovered two ways. The first, used that flour imorint of my face above, was to make a slurry of flour in water, and paint it onto the parts one wants imaged.

The second, more subtle, is to sprinkle  dry powdered flour  from ABOVE the recumbent subject as imprinting medium (maybe smearing the subject first with oil to act as weak adhesive) such that flour settles on the frontal (more or less horizontal) planes only, failing to settle on the more vertical sides. Then imprint onto WET linen. Each method has its pros and cons (about which more later).

So what are the prerequisites of an image that renders it responsive to 3D software?  Does it require imaging from a real life 3D entity (regardless of mechanism?).

As long ago as Feb 2012, when this investigator was evaluating imaging via direct scorching (from hot metal template) he found that simple items with scarcely any 3D relief (an aluminium pencil sharpener and a metal African bas relief trinket) gave a pronounced response with ImageJ.

pencil sharpener, ghana trinket scorch imprint, pre post 3D

“Encoded” 3D, items uniquely responsive to 3D software? Oops, no, the Turin Shroud body image claims that title! Mustn’t muscle in…

What about input images that have no 3D history whatsoever? Do they respond to 3D-rendering software? Surely not…

1. stars with increasing brown      stars optimized 3D in imagej

Still 2D – a graphic with no 3D history whatsoever?

No, it’s now gloriously 3D, and for very simple reasons. The 3D-rendering software converts image intensity to height on a new imaginary vertical axis. Any input with variable image intensity does likewise. No “encoded 3D information” is needed. No decoding of “encoded 3D information” is needed.

Yet as recently as that Pasco conference last year, we were being told how the TS body image was “uniquely responsive” to the VP-8 image-remapping software. No, it’s not, and it’s high time that bit of misinformation ceased being put about, year after year, long after the basic proposition was conclusively disproved, by myself and others.

See the response to one of my postings on the Porter site, the one where I showed that a Model 10 flour imprint responded much the same to ImageJ software as the TS body image from Shroud Scope. Talk about galloping mumbo-jumbo!

Question: how do the results of  3D-rendering compare if computer-generated  graphics are compared side by side with imprints from bas relief templates or fully 3D ones?

Answer: it may be there somewhere in my 7 years (approx) of archives. But what’s the point of experimenting further when one is a non-person where pro-authenticity promoting sindonology is concerned? Why waste more time that I have already.

No, I shan’t. Instead I’ll  take a leaf from that same body of opinion, going briefly  into full-speculation mode, not bothering with anything so tedious as experimental modelling.

Can flour imprinting (my Model 10) deliver  a degree of subtlety that is maybe superior to those alternatives lacking any 3D history?  Yes, I believe it can, at least in theory, and here’s how. It’s that ability to capture an image of the nose (prominent) AND an image of lower relief  (forehead, lips etc) contrary to received wisdom that provided a clue.

More to follow…

Right then, white flour imprinting agent is superior to Nutella. Why?  There are several factors that could be listed. Like how easy is it to spread an evenly  thin layer over the subject to be imprinted.

(Variations in thickness, if translated into random differences in transfer onto linen would clearly make a nonsense of 3D-rendering, given the latter depends critically on variations of image density that reflect the subject’s  real 3D relief).

White flour can be used to give a thin even layer, whether painted on as a slurry (and spread out evenly) or, better still, coated with sprinkled flour, the excess then being shaken off.

Now let’s move on to the final factor, the one I suspect accounts mainly for the superiority of dry white flour, applied to wet linen. It’s to do with differential pressure.

Try this quickie experiment. Press the palm of your hand across your face, compressing your nose sifficiently to feel hand pressure on cheeks, forehead etc.  Notice anything?

Note that the pressure on the protuberant nose is greater, considerably greater, than that on the lower relief. The answer is obvious. The force needed to compress/flatten the nose reduces the force on the lower relief!

Here we have what I believe to be the explanation for the spuriosu (and totally unscientific) cloth-body distance factor introduced  early on by John Jackson, accepted uncritically by others. It supposed a loosely-draped with air gaps, but apparent imaging across those postulated gaps, leading to the fanciful idea of imaging via some kind of radiant energy. Not so. The cloth was not loosely draped in our medieval scenario. It was firmly pressed against the subject. closing many (but not all) air gaps.

But some relief was better imaged than other, despite physical contact in all cases. How?  By the higher relief making the first contact with the linen-  leaving  a more intense imprint than lower relief, the latter partially protected from application pressure by the higher relief.

In short we have a contact-only imprint model, but one that incorporates the notion of differential application pressure (and subsequent efficiency/inefficiency of medium transfer) due to increasing difficulty to apply pressure to progressively lower relief.

One needs a shorthand to summarise the proposed phenomenon, one of graduated protection with depth from applied manual pressure, creating subtle differences in image intensity, ones that reflect the subject’s own 3D relief, while not preventing a basal 3D imprint as might be seen with  simple, shallow bas relief.  As I say – subtle, not all or nothing as might be expected from a contact-imprinting model, but one that is nuanced, highly nuanced.

Here’s superlonghand for starters (well, one has to start somewhere):

Contact-only imprinting, but pressure-variable transfer of medium, due to difficulties of access to lower relief on account of subject’s linen-impeding higher 3D relief.

Shorter hand:

Partially obstructed, pressure-modulating contact-only imprinting.

Alternative shorthand?

Contact-only imprinting, but pressure-sensitive for both voluntary and unavoidable anatomical reasons.

Alternative shorthand?

Pressure (not distance) dependent, image-density-variable/obligatory-contact  imprinting (no air gaps).

Or:  Contact-only imprinting, with pressure and image intensity attenuation arising from template-variable physical 3D-hindrance.

Or:  Template 3D-induced pressure-variable image attenuation in direct contact    imprinting. 

Or:  Pressure-variable contact imprinting, with imprint-intensity nullified or attenuated – by template-specific 3D geometry

More to follow…

Image intensity is the same for frontal and dorsal surfaces (cited by pro-authenticity camp as supporting imaging via radiation.  Imaging by contact, we are told, would make the dorsal side image more intense – if imprnting-by-contact where the mechanism of imaging).

There’s a simple answer to that argument, cited several times before on this site. TWO volunteers were used for the imprinting, both recumbent, head to head, one face up, the other face down. Both were ‘floured-up’, then covered simultaneously by the same single sheet of wet linen. Both had the linen manually pressed DOWN onto their bodies, yo generate the frontal and dorsal images simultaneously.

Why have one face down? Why not face up, and press the volunteer’s body down into the linen? Answer: in that configuration, previously called ‘LUWU’ on this site – Linen Underneath With Underlay – there is no opportunity to exercise fine manual control over the imprinting process – it becomes entirely passive, with everything out-of-sight. Better to deploy the  ‘LOTTO‘ confhguration for both frontal and dorsal imprinting – Linen On Top, Then Overlay.  (Overlay optional with LOTTO, less so with LUWU ). It’s also easier to get the two images properly aligned when there are two cooperative individuals, following instructions to edge this way or that until both are perfectly aligned on the long axis.

More to follow

Tuesday October 9

So how should STURP have set about its self-appointed task, it wishing to be seen as scientific, deploying all the 13 process skills of true science (as distinct from merely accruing data with no defined goals or hypotheses worth speaking of?)

First, it should have paid scant attention to that “just a painting” write-off. That can and should have been excluded largely on the basis of the negative tone-reversed body image. Artists do not paint negative images, unless deliberately wanting to portray the ‘look’ of an imprint, in which case they might just have well imprinted rather than painted (especially given the pointers to the “real” Joseph of Arimathea linen, with full-sie naked human body, front v back, no sides, realistic-looking bloodstains in ‘all the right places’  etc etc).

Properly thought through, the aim should have been to set up an alternative credible hypothesis if wishing to face sceptics square-on : not “just a painting” but “just an imprint”. Ay, there’s the rub, as Shakespeare put it.

STURP’s team leader John Jackson  wasted no time in interpreting, some might say explanation-pre-empting  the image characteristics as those produced not by contact-imprinting, but via some kind of mysterious hitherto-unknown-to-science proto-photographic imaging across air gaps, via undefined collimated, gravity-aligned electromagnetic radiation.  (Yeah right, call that science, John Jackson PhD?  Is that what they taught you with at that doctorate-awarding naval academy?) Sceptics were immediately faced with the near-impossible task, not of systemtically seeking evidence to clinch an imprinting mechanism, but of  near-impossible evidence to DISPROVE Jackson’s fanciful religion-inspired thinking!  To think that STERA’s President holds up the STURP enterprise as  model for good science!  Methinks you should have stuck to the documenting photography, Mr. Barrie M.Schwortz, instead of telling modern day scientists how to do their job. We don’t tell you how to take your photographs?

Is there anything STURP could have done, or indeed did so, to make the best of a bad job – to get the real  and RELEVANT hypothesis-driven science on the road, if only tentatively? Answer: YES, in both cases. A start was made, one that is much neglected indeed largely overlooked in so much of the current sindonological literature. And guess what – it used photography – not documenting photography but scientific photography.  It was a hugely promising start, given what it revealed about the Shroud body image – at the microscopic level! Thank you STURP’s Vernon D.Miller and fellow “Scientific Photographers”.  It could have been used as a basis for scientific modelling, to be done both before  (especiallly BEFORE!) or after the actual 5 days spent by STURP in Turin. It can even be done today, once we clear out sindonology’s  accumulated clutter of “just a painting” or “supernatural radiation” notions built on their subsiding foundations of sand over 40 odd years.

More to follow  tomorrow – with concrete proposals for that much-needed MODELLING of the peculiar Shroud image characteristics – the so-called ‘half-tone effect’, the “image discontinuities”, the “striations”, the ‘second face’ effect, the image-fibre fragility, the identification of the image chromophore et etc etc.

Expect to see a proposed central role for “radiochemical markers’  for both linen AND non-linen components, final destinations tracked by means of autoradiography!!!!

PS:  have so far merely hinted at the major (?) proposition being launched, namely that what previously has been seen as a all-embracing cloth-body distance factor is in fact something entirely different that was overlooked by Jackson and others  namely a  resistance or obstruction  to lower relief by first encountered higher relief. That then impacts not only on the map of 2D-imprinted image intensity, but on any subsequent attempt at 3D-rendering

Is there a way of testing that proposition experimentally?

Yes, I do believe there is.  Hopefully,  MS Paint and ImageJ between them might supply an answer (albeit provisional for the time being). Time now to charge up an ancient largely-retired laptop in the spare room with its downloaded Image J software, MS Office photoediting (for brightness/contrast control) etc. Hopefully there will be something to show for my labours tomorrow.

Be afraid, John Jackson. Be very afraid.  Well, mildly discombobulated anyway, given that largely-impenetrable thick skin, nay carapace of yours.  (No, we don’t mince our words on this site) .

Science (real  ‘tell-it-the-way-it-is-science’ that is ) works via targeted and systematic discombobulation of those folk, scientifically qualified or otherwise, who stick stubbornly and rigidly  year in, year out, decade in, decade out – to their quaint outdated notions as to how the real  (allegedly miracle- interrupted) world operates.

Yes, more tomorrow…  Comments as ever welcome…

Wed October 10th 2018

On second thoughts I think it better to end this posting here, and keep the subtleties of pressure-sensitive/body contour responsive contact-only imprinting for another occasion.

(That’s imprinting with white flour onto wet linen – my Model 10 – NOT with super-sticky Nutella spread onto dry linen I hasten to add)!

Hopefully I’ve said enough to make clear that the air-gap invoking cloth-body distance model of Jackson and others in its countless guises is not by any means the only show in town, and indeed should have been run out of town decades ago. Why?  For being shamelessly and outlandishly unscientific. Raymond Rogers, STURP’s chemical team leader, said as much…

Pro-authenticity sindonology is currently raising my blood pressure, as might already have become apparent.

three sindonologists

Look carefully:  if you’re very observant, you might just be able to spot the three sindonologists in this picture

Time now for me to take an extended break from its incessant undermining of science as I, a retired experimental, model-building, model-testing scientist, understand the term (see that link cited earlier to science’s  13 process skills!).

Science, correction, pesudoscience, ought never to be deployed as a propaganda weapon, used to promote this or that ideology… It  cheapens and debases science.

Au revoir (but assuredly not adieu).

Concluding message to the President of the Shroud of Turin (so-called) Education and Research Association from what he refers to as this  ‘avowed shroud sceptic’ :

The Shroud of Turin is simply a medieval attempt to mimic the kind of body imprint (sweat and blood) that might have been left by the crucified Jesus on Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’ en route from cross to tomb.

Where the take-away message is concerned, nothing more needs to be said. Everything else is detail.

The Shroud of Turin is simply a medieval ‘fake’ memento  of something that the Bible states took place some 13 centuries earlier. It’s a ‘faked’ souvenir, no more, no less.

Now then, what was the real purpose of Stonehenge and Silbury Hill (returning to  what was this investigator’s secondary, now primary interest)?

No, I won’t supply a link, not being in the business of self-promotion.This retired scientist is merely attempting to quash fatuous speculation, establshing the real facts, such as are presently available.

Message to Vatican:  Time now to invite a STURP Mark 2 (40 years post STURP Mark 1) –  with more scientists, fewer technologists.

I’d be happy to be part of the team…


  1. Screen grab of the following 2014 Abstract added today, Nov 4, 2018.

G Fanti 2014 Dozen years of SSG

It’s needed to supplement the comment I placed on the end of this posting yesterday regarding the somewhat narrow focus when analysed in terms of word counts.

2. Site banner: see how a simulated sweat imprint (my wet hand pressed down onto dark fabric) responds magnificently to 3D-rendering computer software (ImageJ) before and after tone-reversal (negative back to positive image). Remind you of anything? Like those supposedly “unique”  and “encoded” 3D-properties of the Shroud of Turin body image?

For a more realistic aged/yellowed sweat imprint, see the many postings on this site since 2014 obtained with the aid of my Model 10 (imprinting off  parts, notably head and hands, of a real body (mine!) onto linen with white wheaten flour, followed by heat-development of the image to generate carbon-based and thus bleachable straw-coloured melanoidins via Maillard reactions between wheat proteins and reducing sugars).

Postscript (added Dec 20, 2018)

Here’s a photo I took a few yards from our hotel two weeks ago on the Maipo river valley,  western-fringe-of-Andes,  approx. 1 hour drive SE from Santiago, capital of Chile. Delicious scenery, wot?



Important postscript (added Dec 27, 2018)

As flagged up several times these last few months, this long-term investigator of the Shroud (7 years anniversary in 3 days’ time ) has been holding off from posting new material these last few months (let’s not dwell on the reasons!). Suffice it to say I’ve been deliberating at length on how best to convey the message that has formed, nay crystallized,  in my mind these last 7 years, starting with my Model 1 (“thermostencilling” with charcoal) posted on my sciencebuzz site on Dec 30, 2011.

Back in October, I suddenly realized what I’d overlooked to do, back in 2011 (see  “Late addition, October 10”   this posting,  highlighted with red font). Had I done it, there’s a real possibility I could have jumped straight from Model 1 to current Model 10.   Drat! I should have IMPRINTED with charcoal (NOT painted!).

I now have (finally!) a handle, not only on resolving the enduring  ‘enigma’ of the  Shroud in research terms, but conveying the essence of the oh-so-simple solution! Expect a posting (maybe preliminary) on the 7th anniversary  of my baptism-by-charcoal this coming Sunday (Dec 30, 2018). In the meantime, here’s the key image that will be displayed prominently:


charcoal imprint - dry v wet linen l v r 10 oct 2018

The key buzzword? Why,  POWDER (as in powder imprint) of course!

Probable title of my next posting:

“Turin Shroud: simply a one-off medieval powder imprint. ( So, please, let’s now draw a line under decades of pseudoscience.)”


Further reading:





Posted in Shroud of Turin | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Here’s one good reason for thinking the Turin Shroud to be a medieval fake – namely that ‘cardboard cut-out look’, with frontal v dorsal views of body only – NO SIDES!


Site banner (wet hand imprint, showing immediate response of both the negative and tone-reversed  ‘positive’  images to commercial 3D-rendering software):  see end of posting (also in red)

Summary (this posting): the Turin Shroud is essentially a contact imprint off a whole adult male body, fabricated on to high quality linen to simulate that supplied by Joseph of Arimathea  as per first 3 Gospels  (Matthew, Mark, Luke) to transport the crucified Jesus from cross to tomb (acquiring its  iconic sweat/blood imprint on the way). Ignore the account of John (which skips the initial transport phase from cross to tomb). 

But there’s a crucial qualification needed in this (new?) narrative: note the word “essentially”.  No, it’s not a 100% real-body imprint. It’s had cosmetic additions (addition of  “artificial” head hair and neck especially, otherwise missing from a pure body imprint).

Why? Because a 100% imprint might turn off (or at any rate befuddle) first-time pilgrim viewers, descending on the remote hamlet of Lirey in the 14th century.  The imprint-only image was considered too direct, too brutal in its simplicity. It needed those cosmetic additions to make it more viewer-friendly, more instantly recognizable –  and acceptable – as that of the founder of Christianity between cross and tomb, between crucifixion and Resurrection.

No, the image was not intended to represent a resurrectional ‘selfie’, generated by a flash of supernatural  body-emitted radiation. That is late 20th/early 21st century fantasy, based on misinterpretation of image characteristics (e.g. negative image, responsiveness to 3D-rendering computer software, continuing ignorance of  and indeed indifference to the chemical nature of the image chromophore) to say nothing of stubborn rejection of the radiocarbon dating.)

Now to business, to the nitty-gritty:  here in brief outline is why I consider the absence of sides to the body image (i.e. frontal v dorsal images only) to essentially rule out authenticity.

(This posting is a cut-and-paste from the  Comments section of the previous posting.  It evolved over several days as a considered response to a question put to me by a first-time visitor to this  site – Shroud-blogger  Stacey Reiman of Anchorage, Alaska.  It was clearly not the answer she was expecting  on account of my decision to focus on a single (much neglected in my view) feature of the Shroud body image – namely the lack of sides. Oh well, you win some, you lose some).

1. Imaging of frontal and rear sides only (no sides) is easily modelled using a variety of templates, human or inanimate. See numerous postings on this site, using plastic toys of differing size (up to approx half human scale), my hand, even my own face :


my face,non-gel flour slurry imprint, nitric acid dev, not inv then 3d then cropped

The early claims from Jackson and others that imprints taken from 3D objects show grotesque lateral distortion simply have not been encountered, and for very good reasons (the linen is not allowed or able to make contact with the sides, either through placing the recumbent subject on a flat surface – which prevents linen from draping vertically down the ‘falling-away- sides’ of the subject – or – as above –  by selective application of an imprinting medium – painted (liquid) or sprinkled (solid) on the frontal v dorsal surfaces only, not on the sides).

2. Imprinting via obligatory physical contact makes sense in a biblical context, whether real or medieval simulation, if one imagines Joseph of Arimathea’s linen used as a transport stretcher, as indeed displayed in much early art (“Descent from the Cross”) .

rovere 1625 from shroudstory

Cut-and-paste from the above link (shroudstory, Dec 2014) showing association in early 17th minds between deposition of the newly crucified Jesus into Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’ and the creation of a body image. (The blue image to the left is from this site, showing how even the painted double-body image in the same picture responds to 3D-rendering in ImageJ (eliciting much sound and fury in the previous day’s Comments on the Porter site!)


The use of “fine linen” (upmarket herringbone twill) makes sense in the transport situation where the body is still visible to spectators, needing discreet concealment, buit arguably less so in the context of later burial shroud, especially if the latter was a ‘winding cloth’ as per Gospel according to John.

3. Claims that imaging by contact should not be entertained due to claimed imaging across air gaps – provided those gaps are no greater than 4cm approx – involve modelling in a pro-authenticity context, one where linen is draped loosely over a recumbent body. They do not do proper justice to a medieval forgery scenario, one in which linen is manually pressed into the recessed parts of the body as well. There are other reasons too that can be adduced in the context of forgery where there can be conscious control over what is to be imaged versus what is not, either through choice of locations as to where or where not imprinting medium is to applied (or not applied) , or through use of a brush post-imprinting, loaded or unloaded with imprinting medium, to supplement or even remove the latter prior to final colour development (by whatever means, thermal, chemical or both).

4. Attempts to account for lack of sides in terms of ‘imaging via radiation’ , with the qualifying assumption that the radiation is only able to travel vertically from subject to linen (i.e aligned with gravity) are simply unscientific, as is any subsequent ‘mathematical’ modelling of such gravity-constrained radiation. Gravity is far too weak to affect any conceivable kind of electromagnetic radiation, especially radiation energetic enough to chemically modify linen carbohydrates so as to leave a yellow image.

5. The commonsensical interpretation of a faint negative (tone-reversed) image, deposited along with fresh-looking bloodstains on linen, is a SWEAT IMPRINT from contact with a naked body, whether in an authentic scenario or medieval simulation thereof. The imprint may be near-invisible initially, but have become yellowed and thus more visible with centuries of ageing.

6. STURP team members ruled out sweat-imprinting in an authentic context through inability to see any signs of liquid capillary spread in the linen fibres. But if John Heller’s account is anything to go by, there was no consideration given to a medieval forgery scenario, one that merely SIMULATED an aged sweat imprint, without needing to deploy artificial “sweat” or indeed any kind of liquid. Anything that left a final faint yellow stain on the linen would have sufficed: that could have involved use of a solid, as distinct from liquid imprinting medium. I have obtained Shroud-like imprints via solid flour dust imprinting onto wet linen, followed by thermal or chemical development to convert the Stage 1 flour imprint to Stage 2 faint yellow or yellow-brown stain, especially convincing after a final wash with soap and water to remove surface encrustation, leaving just faint yellow residue, presumably solid (microparticulate) polymeric Maillard products ( aka melanoidins, using the inspired Ray Rogers’ nomenclature).

7. Alleged 3D properties of the Shroud body image are a total irrelevance. My flour imprints also show 3D response in appropriate 3D-rendering software, as indeed do virtually any imprints, including those with no 3D history whatsoever. It is the software that produces the 3D effect, largely artefactual (which is not to say that imprinting off a 3D template does not produce additional subtleties in the “3D” rendering as is only to be expected (through better imprinting of more raised superficial contours than ones that are semi-recessed, but still amenable to the probing pressure-applying fingers of a medieval artisan engaged on contact- imprinting).

8. Real or simulated imprint?
The absence of any hint of sides (including top of head – which is also a “side” in a manner of speaking – is strongly suggestive of medieval simulation, rather than real 1st century “accidental” imprinting. Why?

Consider absence of top of head first. Suppose the top of head had been imaged. Yes, fine for authenticity, but think how that would look in practice – with two heads fused together, making them look less like separate views of the same head at least at first sight. So a decision was made to leave the top of head from the imprint making it an easier-to-interpret ‘double-body- imprint’. Few medieval pilgrims would have bothered to inquire anyway, one suspects, and had they done so, been given some kind of pat, pre-prepared answer that would have allayed suspicions of forgery.

So why the absence of any hint of sides for the rest of the body, making the image less like that of an easy-on-the-eye painting, and more viewer-unfriendly by virtue of the tone-reversed negative character? Answer: because the image had to be INSTANTLY recognizable as a crude unflattering IMPRINT, not a meticulously-executed medieval painting (Charles Freeman please note!)

But imprints, well-defined ones at any rate, are created by application of PRESSURE . It is that pressure that gives/generates the severe cut -off between horizontal and vertical planes, i.e a clear demarcation that eliminates the impression of life-like roundedness at the edge of an image of face or body. Put more simply, the TS body image is more comparable to that of a line cartoon ( albeit with solid colour infill) than is the case with the softer edge of a modern-day photograph (or arguably most paintings) where the meeting point between horizontal and vertical planes is more blurred, i.e with a transition zone that is neither obviously horizontal nor turned-through- 90 degrees- vertical.
( Yes, this passage is of necessity ‘wordy’, attempting as it does to distinguish between two kinds of image – one that is simple and idealized – ‘cardboard cut-out like’ and another which supplies hints to real-life 3d-ness through deliberate avoidance of abrupt transitions between one relief plane and another – keeping an essential ‘soft fuzzy edge’.

But it attempts, successfully or otherwise, to convey the reason for regarding the no-sides TS body image as both deliberately-intended and subsequently engineered – in order to convey an INSTANT impression of, guess what? – yes, forceful IMPRESSION. But while manual pressure is/was used in a forgery workshop to generate the imprint-like character, that was not the conclusion that those artisans wished the medieval pilgrim to imagine. Oh no. The applied impression was not from applied manual pressure. It was from the force of GRAVITY acting on linen from the WEIGHT of a body suspended/supported in a linen stretcher.

But hold on a minute. That body weight can be easily grasped as sufficient to generate the dorsal image. But what about the ventral image, where there’s no force of gravity worth speaking of – merely the weight f the linen? Doesn’t that invite expressions of doubt that the double body image was acquired ‘accidentally’ during 1st century transport between cross and tomb? How does one explain away a ventral imprint that is for all intents and purposes of approx the same level of image intensity? Should it not have been made less intense, i.e. by medieval artisans applying less pressure, or less imprinting medium?

There is no simple answer to that question, none at any rate that I can think off. No doubt the radiation-invokers will have a field day, claimimg that their imaging burst of radiation was the same intensity upwards as well as downwards.

9. But there is an ‘out’ from this seeming visual illogicality. It’s those scourge marks, allegedly 372 of them, evenly distibuted over the entire body surface, both sides, except for the face. Why so many, one might ask, sufficient surely to cause clinical shock and death even before arrival at the cross? And why are the scourge marks entirely BLOOD imprints, we are told, with no signature whatsoever in the body image?

Might it be that our medieval forgers made a decision to discard 100% realism re the intensity of the frontal v dorsal body image, given that would have made the less appealing dorsal image more conspicuous than the frontal (it being practically easier to keep both the same, albeit BOTH faint, neither terribly conspicuous). Then create a distraction from the faint body image by adding those 372 scourge marks as images in red blood, distracting from the body image, making it likely that few if any would spot, far less see fit to comment on the equal intensities of the background body images, i.e. ventral v dorsal.

Put more simply we have a rationale for the arguably excessive number of scourge marks – they serve to distract from one of the several instances of an exercise of ‘artistic licence’, designed to keep the first impression of the TS one in which immediate visual impact and mental challenge are the crucial considerations, even at the expense of strict credibility, as judged through a cold 20th/21st century forensic eye.

There are other instances one can cite where artistic licence has been given free rein. Examples?

10. Another instance that can be cited is the imaging of a “neck” joining head and torso. Shoulld it really be there, or not?

More to follow…

Expect a further 5 aspects pertinent to “no sides” and “contact imprinting only” to appear soon, on this same comment, under the following topic headings:

(10- Neck)

There’s a lot I could say about the neck anomaly, my having flagged it up as a curious and indeed tell-tale feature as far back as Feb 2012 ( re that prominent ‘scorched-on’ crease mark on which sindonology has rarely commented):

But why bother? Based on past performance these last 6 years and more, sindonolology (as it likes to call itself, as though an academic discipline) won’t bother to respond, certainly not to any points this retired scientist makes. Why not? Because I’m not a member of their ‘secret garden’ see (like that so-called mysterious “Shroud Science Group”” that lurks behind its closed doors….

Briefly summarised, and put more simply:

Sindonology, if the truth be told, is a perversion of plain logic, science and scholarship.

More to follow (summarily) regarding: :

11. Feet – differential imprinting re upper v lower surfaces
12. Closed eyelids
13. Bony fingers, maybe elongated, maybe not
14. Head hair, beard, moustache
15. Nose, reason for exceptional imaging of sides

I say “summarily”. Why bother with the detail? Detail is wasted on closed ears, closed minds, agenda-driven certainty…

11. Yes, those feet, with soles of feet part of the body image (plus bloodstains) with scarcely any imaging of the upper sides., Why should that be the case.? Customary answer (pro-authenticity sindonology): it’s the result of rigor mortis causing profound muscle seizure, the soles of the feet being pulled into line with the legs. Leaving aside the improbability of that happening (try doing it voluntarily!) that would surely bring the upper surface into alignment with the shins of the leg too.

There’s an alternative explanation. Our medieval simulators (aka forgers, fakers etc) wanted to plant an additional visual clue to the use of Joseph of Arimathea’s sheet of fine linen as a stretcher, for which purpose the lower free end of the linen was turned up around the soles of the feet. But the upper surface of the linen failed to make contact with the upper sides of the feet. Why? Because the linen was stretched taut between topsides of ankles and tips of toes, in other words, failing to make contact with the skin.. No contact, no imaging.

Shhh. Don’t mention the “stretcher” scenario to mainstream sindonologists. They don’t wish to hear any talk of imaging having occurred en route to the tomb. It’s imaging via ‘resurrectional incandescence’ (supernatural radiation) or nothing! Yawn…

12. Closed eyelids (?)

I have alreadty shown, contrary to received wisdom, that it’s fully possible to imprint off a real human face, provided one does not mind a nose that is flattened and/or bent to one side as a consequence of applied manual pressure (see this posting). Bu then the nose of the Man in the Shroud IS bent and flattened, is it not, especially apparent in those 3D-renderings?

But if one did imprint off a real face, there’s another downside: it would be difficult to imprint the eyes/eyelids, given they lie at the bottom of bony hollows . Sure, one could just omit the eye itself, making for an even more realistic “imprinted” look (as distinct from friendlier artistic portrait).

But my flour-imprinting procedure (“Model 10”) offers a simple solution. After imprinting the face, with empty eye hollows, simply load a brush or even finger with more flour, and dab into the centres of each hollow. Hey presto, one has one’s “eyes”.

Be warned however – centuries later your makeshift “eyes” will be confidently identified as tiny coins from the Roman era (like 1st century, coinciding with the rule of that Pontius Pilate!). The combination of weave pattern on the linen and pareidolia will provide sufficient evidence of design and lettering to sustain your case at the podium of one sindonological conference after another – yet more ‘compelling’ proof of authenticity… 😉

13. Ah yes, those peculiar fingers – so spindly, so bony-looking. 

For a 20th century explanation, see the heroic experiment that August Accetta MD did on himself, injecting a gamma-radiation emitter (a short-lived technetium isotope) and capturing an image of himself on sensitive film.

Might there be a more down-to-earth explanation, like, you know, contact imaging.

There’s a simpler way of modelling bony-lookign fingers, one that requires no more than a tub of Nutella, as I reported a few years ago.

Yes, imprinting off the human form works best over bony parts, where the flesh encounters resistance, and is less able to simply absorb and dissipate the applied pressure.

So the apparent thinness of the fingers, with spaces between them even when the fingers are non-splayed, is easily explained as a predictable consequence of imprinting technology.

Might those bony fingers have been intended by our medieval simulators to serve as yet another clue for those 14th century pilgrims descending on Lirey that they were looking at aa passive IMPRINT( “a genuine one you understand, dear pilgrim !”) of the crucified Jesus onto J of A’s linen stretcher, NOT a conventional artist’s portrait. (Since when has additional and realistic looking blood been used in portrait-painting?)

14. Head hair, beard, moustache

Here’s a 3D-rendering I did some years ago of the Man on the TS using ImageJ software (using carefully chosen settings – normalised against an experimental scorch imprint):

It’s tone-reversed i.e. negative- to- positive. What’s of special interest is the black region that separates cheeks from hair (which would be white and thus image-free on the initial negative iimage).

In other words, there’s a lack of continuity between cheeks and hair. So who’s to say that cheeks and hair were not produced at separate imprinting sessions, 1 and 2 ? Might the face have been imprinted first (and if so how?) and the hair, correction “hair”, maybe added later?

Why do it that way?

Answer: becaause it’s hard to see how genuine hair can be imprinted, unless there’s something substantially solid behind it, like bone. But that’s hardly the case for hair on the sides of the skull, where the bone is side-on to the hair, not directly behind.

Even the “hair” on a quickie charcoal sketch of the TS face responded to a combination of tone inversion and 3D-rendering with ImageJ software, as I showed back in May 2012!


Tentative conclusion: the “hair” at least was not imprinted off a real head of hair. It was imprinted off a bas relief that was placed around the previously-imprinted head. Indeed, the head itself may also have been “fake”, itself another bas relief, as others before me have suggested.

Head hair visible  (just!) on the so-called ‘second face’ (opposite side of linen)? Maybe – see this image from Mario Latendresse’s site.

Durante-verso-face second face

Circumstantial evidence perhaps for an imprinting mechanism that is different – and slightly more efficient – than that for the face itself?

For now I try to keep an open mind as regards the nature of the head, pre-hair, as to whether real or bas relief. But as indicated I reject the main reason given for a bas relief head, namely that the nose and other facial angularities make it impossible to imprint off a real face.

Not so. Crucial angularities, like the nose, deform and flatten under applied pressure, features which are said to be discernible also on the real TS. Indeed, they are immediately interpreted by pro-authenticity sindonologists, (or by some at any rate) as evidence of pre-crucifixion torture at the hands of Pontius Pilate’s mocking soldiery.

Beard? Moustache? One cannot help but wonder if they are created by inexpert dabbing on of additional imprinting medium (e.g. white flour) onto chin and upper lip, given their blotchiness and incompleteness. Indeed, some may be entirely artefactual. I personally acquired a suggestion of beard and moustache after imprinting my face using wet flour slurry, assisted admittedly by a pre-shave stubble which acted as trap for the medium (see the posting).

15. Nose, commented-upon imprinting of sides of nose especiallly (by Thibault Heimburger and others as evidence against imprinting by contact)

See my comment from November of last year, following evidence from Gérard Lucotte and his microscopists in Paris for the presence of “osseous remains” (read bone!) on the face of the Man on the TS.

See also this posting on the shroudstory from 2015, with mention of the unexpectedly flat nose of the Man on the TS, responding poorly to 3D-rendering.

To summarize: the TS image was intended to be quickly perceived as a body imprint: the combination of fresh-looking bloodstains on a yellowed body image were together intended to signal that the linen was Joseph of Arimathea’s linen, imprinted soon after crucifixion, probably en route from cross to tomb.

But that description alone does not allow one to say with confidence whether the imagery is authentic 1st century or a medieval simulation thereof. So what does, if anything?

Answer: it’s the simplification and doctoring that is the giveaway. Simplification? Faint, negative image, front and rear sides of body, not so much as a hint of sides, nor top of head, making for the uncompromising ‘cardboard cut-out’ appearance, intended to signal IMPRINT at very first sight. Yes, first impressions DO count!

But the imprint had to be subtly doctored to render the image a little more appealing to the eye, less a gross assault on the senses How? By adding a neck, given that would be missing from a simple imprint. Why? Because a detached ‘floating’ head would almost certainly have attracted negative comment, or merely puzzled and confused. Head hair also needed to be added, but again in a manner that could be surmised to have been acquired via imprinting, even if improbable in practical terms. Thus the lank, rigid appearance of the head hair bordering the left and right cheeks.

The TS image is best viewed, then, as a cunning blend of technology (primarily) but tempered here and there with those cosmetic additions. It’s that dual nature, one suspects –  in essence a manicured imprint – that explains why the image has defied easy interpretation over so many centuries, and indeed fazed the STURP team in 1978, who concluded it was still a mystery.

Overview: a crude contact-imprint, the appearance of which is softened by some crucial cosmetic additions, might arguably be deemed at least semi-artistic. To which I say NO! There is nothing in the least bit artistic about the image of the Man on the Turin Shroud. It was designed to shock via its brutal realism. No, not to enchant or enrapture, but to sustain, indeed reinforce religious belief (while mentally disarming and stunning those pesky sceptics into silence?) …


Added Sat 8th September, 2018

Have just been made aware of this recent paper  in Academia by the author himself (there being no listing anywhere on past or current Google search under (shroud of turin) – why not Google?)

hugh farey medieval shroud academia


See  mine and Hugh’s comments on this posting.

Added Sun 9th Sept, 2018

Image-analysis enthusiast LeeJay has just sent me the following  B/W image derived from the Durante 2002 portfolio, but of that faint and indistinct so-called ‘second face’ on the opposite side of the TS linen.

LeeJay second face Durante 2002

(I had to change the file type from tif to png to make it acceptable to WordPress software)

The image (make of it what you will dear reader)  was accompanied by this description which I’ve copied from Lee’s posting to the Comments:

leejay1985 says:

Hi all 🙂 In the last few weeks i have been doing a bit of messing about with a high res image of the reverse side of the turin shroud .. I focused mainly on the face area and tried a few different processing techniques. I can safely say that i believe there is a faint image of certain parts of the face. I cant upload the images to this site so if anyone is interested then let me know and i will use a 3rd party file sharing site to upload the images. I have quite a few with different filters,processing algorithms etc that i used. The results are interesting 🙂


The question I find myself asking, even now, concerns the fairly prominent hair, or should i say “hair” (a crucial determinant some might think in deciding whether the ‘second face; is real or not)?  Is it really hair one is seeing, or just the bleed-through of some or all of those extensive bloodstains one sees on the hair, image-side? A B/W picture makes it even harder to decide than the  the Durante 2002 colour-version of the ‘second face’ supplied on Mario Latendresse’s site.

Further addition (pm, Mon 10th Sept):

LeeJay, aka LeeJones, mentions the Enrie 1931 image acquired pre-digital photography, using a silver salt emulsion, and its exceoptionally good defintion (agreed).

Here’s my quickie 5 minute job at putting  the two side-by-side, at approx same level of magnification:

leejay image second face v enrie 1931

Would I be correct in thinking that what goes through to the opposite side is not just one component (blood, not surprisingly) but the more prominent features of the body image (nose etc) that would have imprinted better by virtue of greater impact pressure against the linen in a 3D-imprinting situation (i.e. from a real person’s angular face, not a mere bas relief)?  Hugh Farey please note (not that I regard real body v bas relief as a crucial issue when it comes to deciding on authenticity or even means of fabrication! The crucial issue is imprinting versus the alternatives, like “just a painting”  or ‘selfie’ image from pro-authenticity flash of resurrectional incandescence.

Added Tue 11th Sep 2018

Why is this piece of discredited work still being promoted, such that it is currently on Page 6 of Google returns under a (shroud of turin) search.

mccrone google listing page 6, 11 sep 2018

While on the subject of the mysterious Google, why has this site now disappeared totally from the same listings (until recently showing up anywhere between Pages 7 and 12)?

Might we be seeing the work of those SEOs (who email me from time to time, offering to get this site promoted to the top of search engine  listings)?

Added Thur 13th September, 2018 (image needed for current comments attached to this posting).

Here’s the title page from a splendid specialist paper on flax fibres (presumably relevant to linen derived therefrom via retting)

SEM flax fibre paper, 2018



Here’s an approximate cross-section of a single (damaged) fibre obtained with SEM:

microfibrils inside flax fibre top mag with x2.5 in Paint

Note the microfibrils densely packed within the fibre, the presence of which is normally hidden from view by the outer sheath we call the PCW (primary cell wall). Sindonology talks a lot about the image chromophore being confined  (allegedly) to the PCW, though rarely if ever any mention of the underlying microfibrils, and the capillary channels between them and never (as far as I’m aware) the display of the kind of cross-sectional view we see above.

Added 14th September, 2018

Have managed to track down a view of the front cover of this month’s edition of

Más allá de la Ciencia

(Spanish magazine), the one I mentioned earlier with the Isabela Herranz-penned summary of current Shroud research (including  a brief summary of this blogger’s 6 years of modelling plus mugshot!)

mas alla septiembre 2018 sabana

Later today:

Thanks to HF for a link to a PhD thesis with more splendid SEM views of quasi-cross-sections in 3D, one  that show the multitude of microfibrils inside each flax/linen fibre (which I say  simply cannot be ignored when discussing TS image chromophore thickness given likely intra-fibre penetration below and beneath the outer PCW sheath)

Here’s an especially good view:

fig 4.13b aslan flax microfibrils


Note the scale for 1 micrometre (1000 nanometres). Yup, that’s roughly as expected if the PCW is approx 200nm thick, i.e. a tiny fraction (<10%)  or thereabouts of the fibre diameter. But is the image chromophore really confined to that PCW, when there’s so much complexity underneath, notably horizontally-running microfibrils AND  their associated capillary channels, capable of wicking away any (momentarily) liquid chromophore precursors generated by my Model 10’s  proposal for a thermal Stage 2 processing of a Stage 1 flour imprint?

Update, 2nd October, 2018

Just back from delightful Jerez, in the south of Spain (the 14th visit to Spain by this Hispanophile and wife these last 40 years!).  Met up with feisty freelance journalist Isabela Herranz in Madrid.  Her article for Mas Alla, mentioned previously on this posting,  is still on the newstands:

mas alla jerez newstand 30 sep 18


Recognize a particular face and name  (one of several) that appears on Page 25?     😉


mas alla colin berry et al


Word of advice to travellers: don’t use Iberia Airlines (unless you’ve purchased a  multi- subcategory “Priority Boarding” ticket).

IMG_4313 Iberia Priority


Don’t be deceived by Iberia’s so called “Group 1” ticket  – NOT in the above list – which virtually guarantees cattle-class treatment to holders at the otherwise unsegregated boarding gates at both Jerez pint-size airport AND Madrid’s Terminal 4.

Back to topic: yes, yours truly assisted Isabela in the production of her article (which also features Dan Porter’s now retired shroudstory site).  Ano Cero (also partly visible on the above newstand) rejected her first article (“too sceptical”), and sadly there wasn’t space in the Mas Alla article for Isabela’s specially-commissioned one-off flour imprint of my hand, obtained with Model 10, before and after 3D enhancement.

(Better than the Sunday Times, which refused some 2 years back to publicize my Model 10 unless I was willing to provide a whole-body imprint – though that was the least of its Chief Reporter’s shortcomings, given other issues we needn’t go into!  As for the ST’s so-called “Science Editor” , words fail me…).

Oh well, you win some, you lose some (but in my experience invariably LOSE where the UK’s appalling anti-science – or,  at best, science-blind MSM – are concerned).

Thank heavens then for the Isabela Herranzs of this world, thank heavens for Continental Europe (shame however about the language barrier).

Moving on: arriving back from a late-summer/early autumn holiday break, mentally -refreshed, so to speak, I’ve started to give thought to my next posting.

Maybe a  listing of reasons that support  my Model 10  (flour imprinting, followed by thermal development of yellow/brown colour)?

I thought initially I might be able to give 2 , maybe 3 compelling  reasons …

Am currently up to 23!   (Maybe some more compelling than others).

But there’s no point in proactive posting on a Web-forum,  supposedly more user-friendly than the peer-reviewed journals and their paywalls,  unless there’s feedback.

I shall wait for feedback  – whether positive or negative, days, weeks, months if necessary…

So it’s over to you, dear reader.   Is  (or is not?)  the Shroud of Turin a medievally- produced simulated sweat/blood  imprint of the newly crucified  Jesus onto Joseph of Arimathea’s linen?  Was the intention  to trump the then celebrated Veil of Veronica (face-imprint only) as a pilgrim-attracting money-spinner – if only briefly successful to begin with?

I say it was.  But I’m open to alternative suggesions (provided, that is, respect for the facts, as distinct from wild preconception-based fantasy,  gets a look-in).

PS: that list of reasons in favour of the image being a heat-treated flour imprint is now at 29, up from the 23 cited above!


October 4, 2018

Hey! Look what I’ve discovered, on Dan Porter’s shroudstory site from December 2011!


joe nickell comment dec 2011


Unbelievable!  Almost 7 years have passed since the colourful (and hugely perceptive) Joe Nickell pointed out a major omission from the Shroud data base, namely the absence of a simple image fibre CROSS-SECTION, aka transverse section.

Yes, here we are, 7 years later and STILL no transverse section (at least that I’m aware of).  Yet image ultra-superficiality, based on nothing more that  ‘views from the outside, attempting to see what’s inside’ have become the stock-in-trade of those claims for  a non- forgeable, supernaturally-generated pro-authenticity message.

As I say  – unbelievable – displaying a total dereliction of the scientific method (where  no microscopy can be considered complete without a simple, look-inside TRANSVERSE section).



Site banner: see how a simulated sweat imprint (my wet hand pressed down onto dark fabric) responds magnificently to 3D-rendering computer software (ImageJ) before and after tone-reversal (negative back to positive image). Remind you of anything? Like those supposedly “unique”  and “encoded” 3D-properties of the Shroud of Turin body image? For a more realistic aged/yellowed sweat imprint, see the many postings on this site since 2014 obtained with the aid of my Model 10 (imprinting off  parts, notably head and hands, of a real body (mine!) onto linen with white wheaten flour, followed by heat-development of the image to generate carbon-based and thus bleachable straw-coloured melanoidins via Maillard reactions between wheat proteins and reducing sugars). 




Posted in Shroud of Turin, shroud of turin, | Tagged , , , , , , | 28 Comments