Bad Friday (Jan 12, 2018): Expect new blogsite title shortly: “Is the Shroud of Turin really a supernatural selfie?”
Expect too a new tagline: Nope, not unless you’re a polemics-driven so-called researcher, or maybe just a born-again TV documentary maker!
Expect the first of 40 instalments later today, which hopefully will make for fairly easy reading for the most part, the remaining 39 to follow in leisurely additions over a 2 or 3 week period… When complete it will, optimistically speaking, add up to a reasonable summary of this retired science bod’s six years of Shroud research (no less) and hands-on modelling, leading finally to my Model 10 ( That’s – take a deep breath – Stage 1 frontal/dorsal imprinting – sans those otherwise problematical vertical sides naturally – from real human subject(s) using white wheaten flour or similar as imprinting medium onto wetted linen, then followed by Stage 2 thermal image development, then final Stage 3 rinse with soap/water to dislodge encrusted material.
That leaves behind the faint, fuzzy, arguably Shroud-like image. Chemical composition? Probably, though still to be proved conclusively, complex high molecular-weight melanoidins, being products of sugar caramelization, or, more likely, protein/sugar Maillard browning reactions. (Hat tip to STURP’s Raymond N. Rogers, even if some, myself included, find his proposed starch impurity/body-decay mechanism somewhat hard to swallow).
Yipee! My hypothesized supposedly ‘enigmatic’ melanoidin-constituted Shroud-like image chromophore now has some crucial supporting chemical evidence, albeit circumstantial for the time being (see posting immediately preceding this one).
But there’s much background material needing to be included too – the Shroud being a hugely challenging multi-disciplinary topic of interest. Thus the inordinate length, when complete, of this posting-to-be (and title too, I grant you, but there’s a reason: Google, for reasons best known to itself, never quotes from my current postings’ title, no matter how concise and/or carefully worded, so the title can, says he with a resigned sigh of despair, be made to earn its keep by serving as an upfront summary too).
It’s now the gloomy afternoon (UK time) of ‘Bad Friday’.
Before launching into this gently biting tirade against pro-authenticity Shroud so-called researchers, for whom the movable goalpost provides a fitting visual metaphor of their defensive strategy …
… there’s something else which is more important, more constructive that I need to flag up straightaway, still preoccupied as I am with a certain fixed immobile goalpost, so to speak – namely the precise chemical nature of the TS body image chromophore, still unidentified some 40 years post-STURP!
How can the Shroud image be tested chemically in a manner that is minimally destructive, i.e. requiring a microscope and just a few linen fibres only, such that the ‘chromophore’ (i.e. molecular grouping responsible for image colour) can be shown to be organic, i.e. carbon-based (in order to distinguish from Walter McCrone’s * widely published claim that it’s merely inorganic paint pigment) AND, moreover, to show that some, maybe all the red “blood” is similarly organic in nature, and not entirely ‘fake’ inorganic blood, e.g. one or other scarlet medieval paint pigments like cinnabar etc etc?
*Walter McCrone passed away some years ago, but his surviving research institute continues to actively promote his fatally flawed ‘just a painting’ claim..
Yes, I truly believe there’s an Agent X that can be used to ‘kill two birds with one stone’, one that has never, to the best of my knowledge been suggested previously, either by myself or anyone else.
It may take a few weeks, maybe longer, to lay my hands on a supplier of Agent X, but when I do, I confidently predict that it will bleach the colour of (a) my Model 10 flour imprints (b) whole blood or blood haemoglobin (c) Shroud image fibres – completely (d) Shroud blood stains (partially or completely, probably partially).
Anyone care to guess the name and chemical formula of Agent X? (Clue, chemical formulae don’t come much simpler!).
If correct, he or she will receive from me a free book token.
Please use the Comments on this posting to deliver your answer! Use a pseudonym if you wish, but a postal address will need to be supplied by email if correct. Caveat: no correspondence can be entered into!
Expect Instalment 2 of 40 next Monday at the latest. It will summarise my fierce objection to the TS being described as a “burial” shroud, for reasons that will be made crystal clear.
2nd of 40 instalments (Saturday 13 Jan)
In composing my position on terminology, in particular the huge liberty taken over the centuries with the description of the TS as a “burial shroud”, or simply “Shroud of Turin”, I’ve come to realize that new terminology is needed. To assist in focusing minds, let’s not beat about the bush. Here’s what I consider the revised terminology could and arguably SHOULD be.
The Dual-Image Man of Turin
Yes, one should simply focus on the presence of an historically unique double-body image per se, alluding to its ventral-v-dorsal aspects on that up-and-over single sheet of linen, NOT on the support medium, NOT on its presumed function – which presupposes authenticity not confirmed by the C-14 dating, NOT to current ideas as to how it was or might have been formed, or when.
The Shroud of Turin. No, I repeat: The Dual-Image Man of Turin!
Alternative suggestions invited: another book token to anyone whom I judge to outclass my own!
The successful recipient of the Book Token 2 will need to elicit a “Heck, why didn’t I think of that?” response on the part of yours truly …
Instalment 3: Sunday Jan 14
Woke up this morning to find over 40 visits to this site from somewhere in the US of A. Am glad to find someone’s interested in what I have to say so soon after posting, even if Google is slow to pick up on the fact!
Today’s instalment is really no more than a housekeeping detail, but I thought I’d throw in another little challenge (sorry, no book token prize this time).
Why did I describe McCrone’s ‘just a painting’ dismissal of the TS as having a fatal flaw? The answer can be found in this pdf from STURP’s Adler and Heller, both now sadly passed on. Here’s a screen shot of the relevant passage with some brilliant chemical detective work performed on minute sticky-tape fibres from the real Shroud (but also some self-contradictory and indeed faulty chemical logic):
Q.1: Why does the above destroy McCrone’s claim that the yellow/brown Shroud image chromophore is inorganic in nature (suggestive of artist’s paint pigment)
Q.2: Where is there a serious chemical error in the above passage?
Q.3: What do you think I saw last week when I tested alkaline peroxide on my yellow/brown Model 10 heat-treated flour imprints (as yet unreported on this site, being a late follow up to the ‘chemical’ posting immediately preceding this one, my having only discovered a few days ago the above pdf with its important – and hugely important – positive bleach test using alkaline hydrogen peroxide which Heller for some reason omitted to mention in his 1983 book).
Yup, science, correction, the scientific method (serial testing and objective evaluation of hypotheses) can only work if there’s a periodic clear-out of those that have outlived any usefulness they may have had originally and which no longer earn their keep as regards generating new data or new improved hypotheses.
Put another way, there has to be a ruthless clearing out of dead wood, not worrying too much about who gets hurt, or just ever so slightly miffed, in the process. That, if the truth be told, is what this posting (No 351 since I started to investigate the TS 6 years ago) is basically about – clearing out old wood. Top of the list has to be that dud oh-so-mistaken “just a painting” hunch-cum-persistent hangup, the one that so preoccupied the STURP team in 1978, the one that allowed Ray Rogers’ precious sticky-tape samples to be monopolized in their entirety (!) by a particle-obsessed microscopist for the best part of a whole year (!) before others, notably Adler, Heller, apparently Rogers himself, were allowed access to his compromised castoffs (! Yes, see Heller’s book to sample contamination) with which to perform a wider range of tests, discriminating chemical spot tests especially).
Meanwhile the McCrone Institute continues to this day to maintain its revered founder’s absurd ‘just a painting’ fixation, in spite of the chemical evidence (and much besides) notably from Adler and Heller, showing in simple fashion that it simply can’t be true, as shown in the cut-and-paste pdf above.
As I say, it really is time to clear out the dead wood , if only to assist with self-renewal (something at which the world of so-called sindonological research has shown itself to be spectacularly bad at doing – see last year’s Pasco proceedings if proof were needed ).
Being the New Year, now seems the right time to ring out the old, as an essential housekeeping preliminary to ringing in the new…
Er, did you know that Alfred Tennyson had added that last line? I didn’t, not until 5 minutes ago, looking for another image with which to brighten up this posting!
How appropriate! How very, very appropriate!
Instalment 4: Monday Jan 15
Time now for some plain speaking on what I regard as at best misinformation and, in all too many instances, probably calculated disinformation. I refer to the routine description of the TS as a burial shroud, even if qualified by additional words, like
“… considered by many to be the actual burial shroud of the crucified Jesus etc etc… ”
Read the Gospels, the first 3 synoptic ones especially, and it’s quite clear that Joseph of Arimathea’s “fine” or “clean linen” was a pre-burial shroud, used to receive the crucified body from the cross. While those three mutually corroborating versions do not tell us the fate of J of A’s linen after arrival at the tomb, the version of events in John provide no grounds for assuming that the single linen sheet used to transport a corpse in dignity from cross to tomb was the same as the more specialized linen “clothes” referred to later, left behind post-disappearance of the body with a separate face cloth. (No, I personally don’t buy into that contrived narrative that speaks of the face being covered with cloth while still on the cross with that fabric later placed in the tomb (having served its somewhat questionable original purpose) on account of its ‘bodily’ origin, i.e. conserving the life blood, sindonology being burst to overflowing with that kind of qualifying assumption).
Why you may ask is it so important to distinguish between a burial and pre-burial shroud? Under normal circumstances, if merely concerned with reconstructing the crucifixion narrative so as to arrive at a single coherent version, it wouldn’t. But that’s not the case. We are not talking about a mere sheet of linen, conjured up by Joseph of Arimathea either for single use (pre-burial transport shroud only) or dual use (that plus final burial shroud). We are talking about linen that bears an image, allegedly of the crucified Jesus, one that we’re told defies scientific explanation and can only be supposed to be supernatural in origin, notable a resurrection ‘snapshot’, for which there is no mention whatsoever in the bible anywhere, either by prophecy (Old Testament) or actual eye witness accounts, whether first or second hand.
What is intolerable, totally intolerable is the use of a distorted biblical account, emphasizing “burial”, with a persistent blindspot for pre-burial, being used to promote a particular supernatural version of image capture. How? By telescoping the time scale as to make it seem that the image could only have been acquired on the ‘third day’ which is then used in image-assisted positive feedback fashion to promote that same final supernatural version of events occurring within the tomb. (That is not to say it didn’t, but its credibility should be based either on the facts or faith alone, not on devious shifting of time scales to promote one version over another). What we are talking about is the need for intellectual honesty, as distinct from what can only be described as spin-doctoring via misleading use of language and terminology.
What is totally shoved out of the picture with that routine “burial” tag attached to “shroud” is an entirely different narrative, one based on the prime purpose of Joseph of Arimathea’s linen, one in which image-capture might then have occurred at least theoretically (whether historically or – more probably- in the eyes of medieval modellers with an eye to pilgrims and profit) BEFORE the body had even arrived at the tomb, i.e. via contact-imprinting, not just of blood but of another body fluid, one that could (conceptually at any rate) leave a surviving faint yellowish image still visible (just) centuries later. I refer to bodily perspiration, aka sweat.
Ah yes, sweat. That’s a term one encounters but rarely in the modern day sindonological literature that discusses ‘likely’ mechanisms of image capture, which is no mere accident or oversight I suggest. Indeed, come to think of it, it’s somewhat rare even to see mentions of Joseph of Arimathea, suggesting that the narrative-eliminating airbrush ( designed to remove PIT-VIBB from the picture, i.e. Pre-Interment-Transport- Via-Improvised ‘Body Bag’) has over recent decades played an even bigger role in the narrative-rehashing, spin-doctoring process. None of us is allowed to suppose that anything other than a burst of supernatural radiation from a temporarily-deceased body could possibly account for the ‘enigmatic’ TS body image (that 20th/21st century gift from modern ‘science’ benefiting from sustained media blitz). E.g:
Was it always thus? Did early observers of the Shroud, writing centuries ago, also display a blindspot for human sweat, and with it the assumption, whether articulated or not, for a body-imprinting process that could at least, theoretically speaking, have occurred in transit from cross to tomb, essentially pre-empting any explanation for the image acquired later, post-interment, via supernatural means. Answer: NO! Sweat WAS once mentioned in connection with the body image! See the two instances cited in a recent posting on this site, one early 16th century, one early 17th, both deploying that now seemingly embargoed s word.
Why should a feat of human artisan skill (two if one includes the genius of age-old linen manufacture from what at first sight might seem an unpromising source – green vegetation) be airbrushed out by those determined to bulldoze through via so-called ‘scientific argument’ what is essentially religious agenda? Science and religion are best kept in separate compartments – which does not prevent a free and frank exchange of views (as distinct from one attempting a surreptitious take-over bid for the other).
Repeat of earlier message: drop the term “burial shroud”. Better still, while awaiting a repeat of the radiocarbon dating on more central (though still image/blood-free) areas of the cloth, drop the term “shroud” as well. Refer to it, as suggested above, as the non-credulity-straining Dual-Image Man of Turin.
Instalment 5 tomorrow
It will ask what possible objection there can be in principle to imprinting-by-contact.
The above image of my own face, obtained by flour-water slurry imprinting alone (no further image development whatsoever), and posted to my sciencebuzz site – as long ago as mid-2015 will be given as evidence of much previous misinformation (which continues to this day) especially where the supposedly ‘impossible’ face with its angular nose is concerned.
Instalment 5, Tuesday Jan 16
Today’s offering is still focused on that spin-doctor’s description of the dual-image Man of Turin as a “burial shroud”, despite the biblical description of the ‘fine linen’ having been supplied direct to the cross in the first instance, NOT tomb, by Joseph of Arimathea.
Let’s start by flagging up a strangely neglected aspect of the ‘Shroud’ fabric (that term ‘shroud’ being acceptable to this investigator provided it’s stripped of the hugely misleading ‘burial’ tag), namely its remarkable state of preservation, even for one a mere 600-700 years old, far less the claimed two millennia! Yes, here below in red font is my ‘text for the day’ , the launch point for today’s instalment. It’s been culled from an internet site (English not first language but admirably summarised), one that is packed with useful information on the physical, chemical AND biological properties of retted flax fibre, more commonly known as “linen”:
“Effect of Micro Organism: Linen fiber is attacked by fungi and bacteria. Mildews will feed on linen fabric, rotting and weakling (sic) the materials. Mildews and bacteria will flourish on linen under hot and humid condition. They can be protected by impregnation with certain types of chemicals.”
Compare that with what Dr. Kittle Little had to say some 20 years ago on the subject of the ‘Shroud’ and its state of preservation:
“The description given by the STURP team of the linen of the Shroud was that it was in remarkably good condition – ” … it was supple, strong and felt almost like a new expensive tablecloth “.
and later, more specifically:
… although the Shroud was reported to be covered with mildew spores there were no mildew reactions, so that the fabric was unharmed.
How can that be? According to the ‘resurrectional incandescence’ school of sindonology, from which so much was heard at last year’s Pasco conference, the microbiologically-vulnerable linen must have enclosed a crucified corpse from late on the (Good) Friday to some time the following (Easter) Sunday. Even STURP’s Raymond N. Rogers considered that sufficiently long for an image to be created via non-supernatural means from gaseous products of putrefaction. Yet that allegedly same linen, now some 2000 years later, still looks, we’re told, almost as good as new, with no obvious signs, at least to the unaided eye, of mildew or any other biological contaminants.
Er, some sceptical or other uncharitable souls might think that the mildew-free nature of the ‘Shroud’ linen is the first ‘enigma’ that sindonologists, at least those fixated with the notion of radiation-mediated resurrectional image-capture on the ‘Third-Day’, should first address. Oh, and the absence of any detectable traces of biblical spices, ointments etc etc. Yes, near-pristine linen, apart from those burns holes.
Which leads us on to another source, nay crucial input of heat, extreme bug-destroying heat, admittedly lacking firm evidence at the present time, one that might account for the remarkable state of preservation … Forget the 1532 burns for now. Focus on those mysterious pre-1532 so-called L-shaped poker holes, portrayed by an artist on that 1516 so-called Lier copy of the ‘Shroud’. Might they provide a clue? How were those ‘poker holes’ acquired? Were they really poker holes or something else? Might they provide a clue to the astonishing state of Shroud preservation. Indeed, might they provide a clue as the manner in which the Shroud image was acquired, not in the 1st century CE, whether by natural or supernatural means, but in the mid-14th century, at the hands of a dedicated team of artisans, probably under direction from a celebrated knights’ somewhat over-generously staffed and endowed private chapel tucked away in a remote part of the French countryside, rolling Champagne country to be precise, he being ‘strapped for funds’ and looking for a new and hopefully lucrative source of income?
Instalment 6: Wed January 17
Five points that strongly suggest(ed) a role for extreme heat in genesis of the TS body image:
1. As discussed yesterday, one starts by citing the truly amazing resistance of the linen over the centuries to mildew, other fungal microbes and bacteria. Why? Original microbial spores killed off in initial heat-aided imprinting of the image (see my Model 10) with concomitant loss of volatile nitrogenous and other nutrients that deplete the roasted linen of nutrients for newly arriving spores. A final wash with soap and water (if deployed as in my Model 10) to leave that final faint, ghostly image probably assisted too in removing essential trace nutrients.
2. That golden ‘toasted’ look of image fibres one sees in the Mark Evans photomicrographs, with uneven distribution of colour (forget the so-called “half-tone effect”, which simply does not stand up to close scrutiny ) is suggestive of there having been some kind of additional imprint medium (more easily browned by heat than the linen’s own intrinsic cellulose) AND application of heat needed to develop optimal image colour in (or migrating from!) the added coating.
3. Brittleness, i.e. mechanical fragility of TS image fibres (thus making them easy to harvest on Rogers’ sticky tape) suggestive of there having been some kind of substantial damage to their mechanical integrity, maybe affecting the inner core of fibres, even if not easily visible under the microscope.
4. TS body image unaffected by the additional heat experienced in the 1532 fire, as pointed out by STURP’s keen-eyed Raymond Rogers, suggesting (in my view) that plain old heat played a role in initial formation.
5. Colour and spectral characteristics of the TS image fibres are said to be virtually identical with that of the scorch marks at margins of the 1532 burn holes (Gilbert and Gilbert, 1982), suggesting TS image is probably also some kind of ‘scorch’ (while no longer considered by this investigator to be a direct single-step, immediate-contact scorch from a hot metal template as proposed in Model 2).
More to come Friday (Instalment 7 of 40), asking:
“Why a contact imprint – why not some kind of photograph (or supernaturally-generated photograph) that can/could produce an image across non-contact air gaps? Was STURP project-leader John Jackson too quick to dismiss out of hand the notion of imprinting via physical contact only? Was his model-building defective, and indeed, despite first appearances, less than scientific? Was John Jackson the right person to be heading up a supposedly scientific, wholly objective assessor/arbitrator of the ‘authenticity’ of the TS – or someone pursuing his own religious agenda?
Change of plan: I’d originally intended to post Instalment 7 tomorrow, Thursday. But I need tomorrow to give a considered reply to an email from France regarding the manner in which the TS body image responds to 3D-rendering computer programs (on my list, naturally, as the subject of a future instalment).
On a different matter, it now seems abundantly clear that sindonology is scared stiff of the internet (as well it might be). One has only to see the manner in which it is scarcely used – and more generally not used, except, that is, for one-way, take-it-or-leave it communication.
Another brief digression:as noted a short while ago, this investigator/blogger has posted some 350 times on the subject of that ‘Dual Image Man of Turin’, the first at the tail end of 2011, it being, among other things (‘thermostencilling’ Model 1 with charcoal sensitizer) a frosty response to the ENEA claims that a pulsed uv laser was needed to model the ‘supernatural’ body image.
What if a huge cyber warfare electromagnetic pulse were to wipe 349 of my postings off the internet? Which one would I most want to survive?
According to the WordPress hit meter, someone somewhere visiting this site yesterday (probably US-based) linked to this posting on my sciencebuzz site from October 2014. It describes a shortcut that I took straight from Model 2 (one step scorchimg from hot metal template) to current Model 10 (two stage flour imprinting/oven roasting). Here’s a screen shot of the title page:
Having re-read this posting, with what I maintain to be genuine model-building science – as distinct from the pseudoscience alluded to in the title of this current posting – where preconceptions are first prettified and then served up as if science – then the above posting is without a doubt the one I’d want to survive. Just don’t ask why I bothered with Models 3-9 inclusive! That will remain my little secret…
Have decided on a strategy for responding to my French email. It’s taken a lot of searching through my image files to put together a dossier that says “Non, the 3D response of the TS body image to 3D-rendering computer software is NOT unique. It’s a feature common to all imprints (even some painted pictures!).
That started to become clear some 6 years ago when noting that the 1532 burn marks on the TS responded as well to ImageJ software as the body image itself!
The ludicrous overhyping of 3D, which continues to this day (as seen at Pasco), was to be part of this 40-point posting, without the prominence that it frankly no longer deserves, and that remains the case. Rather than bring it forward, I’ve hit on an alternative. The photo-archive will be posted to my sciencebuzz site, probably with a French language title in the next day or two. My respondent’s anonymity will be preserved until notified of the new posting…
Update: have just posted this my sciencebuzz site, which I hope will put an end to the ridiculous claims that the Shroud image possesses “unique 3D” properties (nothing could be further from then truth!):
Instalment 7: Friday Jan 19
We still hear the TS image routinely referred to as an “enigma”. Indeed, there’s a website called shroudenigma.com, owned by a key figure who probably did more than anyone else to popularise the ‘enigma’ idea back in the 70s, even before STURP put in its appearance. But is it an enigma?
Take a look at this portrayal of the Shroud dated 1608 (see Roman numerals at bottom). Would its first viewers have described the image you see as an “enigma”. If so, why? If not, what tag might they have chosen in its place?
One can only guess as to the first things that would enter the heads of first-time viewers, whether modern or early 17th century.
I know what probably went through mine, many years, nay decades ago.
- The two figures are life-sized, apparently of a naked or near-naked man, and appear on a sheet of linen, NOT canvas stretched on a frame.
- The figure on the left is a front view, that on the right a rear view, so one is looking at both sides of the same man.
- The images were thus obtained (or made to seem as if obtained) by enveloping the one man in the same up-and-over sheet of linen.
- There are fairly realistic-looking bloodstains in places that immediately tally with that of the crucified Jesus, e.g. at or close to one hand (from nail wound?), the head (from a crown of thorns?, the side (from lance wound?). There are also what appear to be a vast number of scourge marks.
- This is not a painting in the ordinary sense, given the brutal in-your-face portrayal of the crucified founder of Christianity. Yes, it is almost certainly a bodily imprint of the crucified Jesus, whether genuine or faked.
- The immediate impression (no pun intended) of it being an imprint, not painting, is backed up by additional evidence: the uniform monochrome colour, suggestive maybe of ancient yellowed bodily sweat, the incomplete imaging, with many gaps, the absence of sides, even the merest hint of sides, and the peculiar tone-reversed character that is indicative of imaging via direct contact between body and cloth. (Our pre-photography 17th century viewer would have recognized the characteristics of a tone-reversed imprint when confronted with one, despite not having the terms “positive” versus “negative” in his or her vocabulary.
- So there would have been no rush to describe the image as an “enigma”, not if it was quickly or indeed immediately perceived as a whole body imprint. The mere presence alone of that seemingly imprinted blood would make it seem obvious that the body image had been imprinted too, probably in the first instance from an abundance of body sweat, the presence of which would not be unexpected from a newly-deceased highly stressed victim of scourging and crucifixion.
- If the expensive herringbone weave is/was visible in the image, then a link would be made with Joseph of Arimathea’s “fine linen” (delivered the Gospels tell us first to the cross itself, not the tomb). That would immediately ring a bell: the legendary and much celebrated Veil of Veronica image was also an alleged sweat imprint onto a bystanders’s proferred cloth while Jesus was bearing his cross to the place of execution.
An analogous whole body IMPRINT (in still-moist sweat and fairly fresh incompletely clotted-blood ) onto J of A’s linen might therefore be deemed wholly credible (or cleverly simulated by someone setting out to fake an apparent ‘holy relic’, and doing so by actual spare-no-effort IMPRINTING, NOT via conventional artistic daubing from a paint palette which would have been immediately detectable).
Even that infuriated Bishop Henri de Poitiers referred to the Lirey Shroud, making its first recorded appearance in the mid-14th century as “cunningly” painted. (Beware those who omit that crucial qualifying adjective from their dreary ‘just-a-painting’ take on the Shroud body image).
In conclusion: NO, the Shroud would not have been tagged an “enigma”. There would and indeed was much speculation as to its genuineness, but few if any would have been in any doubt as to how the image was formed, whether onto J of A’s fine linen as genuine sweat and blood or as a modelled representation of that imagined image produced centuries later.
So why has modern man, or a sizeable contingent thereof, rushed to declare the above image an “enigma”? Why not a one-off curiosity, the product of direct imprinting, either with a natural imprinting medium like sweat, OR a cleverly contrived substitute that can be passed off centuries later as aged, yellowed sweat?
Incidentally, is there actual documentary evidence that 16th/17th century obeservers perceived the body image as one formed by sweat? Yes, there are at least two instances that can be cited…
More to follow tomorrow (Saturday)
Instalment 8: Saturday Jan 20
So how did the “enigma” tag come about? Why did not STURP (1978) not examine in detail the centuries-old “sweat imprint” supposition first (whether a real or simulated sweat imprint) choosing instead to gloss over and become fixated with allegedly new modern insights?
Having read John Heller’s 1982 book from cover to cover several times, detailing the influences that he and his fellow STURP team came under, ones that are apparent in the 1981 STURP Summary.
“We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man”
And you call that science?!!!!
There are two major ingredients to the late 70s/80s-onwards New Age thinking, kept alive by David Rolfe and many others similarly convinced, indeed fixated, by supposed Shroud authenticity, with a blind spot for ‘simulated sweat imprint’.
One is the input from pro-authenticity pathologist/coroner Robert Bucklin with that ‘autopsy’ of his conducted on a negative Shroud image – as if a real corpse. The other is the reception accorded to Bill Mottern’s VP-8 3D-renderings of the TS image, again enthusiastically set out in the Heller book.
Let’s deal with Robert Bucklin MD first:
Here’s a YouTube video- still captured from David Rolfe’s celebrated “Silent Witness” documentary from 1977 or thereabouts showing Bucklin about his work, having spread out a Shroud negative in a real autopsy room (how’s that for showbiz!) and writing an ‘official’ looking autopsy report in highly formal, indeed stilted language:
And here, from just a short while ago, is the same TV documentary maker, now Editor of the BSTS Newsletter, also owner of the ‘shroudenigma’ site (yes, that e-word again) displaying the same image in his local church, continuing to promote shroud authenticity with what can only be described as evangelical zeal:
I’ve spoken before, several times, about that nonsensical, indeed risible so-called “autopsy”, which is NOT even based on a photograph of a corpse, but a photograph of an allegedly ‘enigmatic’ image of an alleged corpse acquired by means that are still unknown for certain, and the subject of much fevered imagination ( notably from a scientist-scolding TV documentary maker especially) but certainly not via modern photography. I’ve protested loudly at Bucklin’s references to “wounds”, puncture marks’, “abrasions”, “swellings” etc etc which are totally speculative, given there are none of those even in the image that was before him, once the blood or “blood” stains are erased from the picture. See this image I published back in 2013, with (right) or without (left) the “blood”. Where are the wounds from which ‘real'(?) blood allegedly originated?
Late corrective: OK, so there’s a touch of artistic licence there. But I magnified the alleged ‘wound’ sites AND gave them extra contrast before deciding there was no evidence whatsoever of ‘wounds’ in the body image before deciding to erase the blood with a photoediting clone tool. In any case, given the ‘blood before image’ mantra, how could there be any imaging of wounds that might lie UNDER the bloodstains if the wounds (damaged skin) were imprinted or otherwise acquired AFTER the blood, as we’re told is the case?
That makes the entire autopsy exercise, billed as a detailed forensic examination by a world-class pathologist, a total waste of time from the word go, based as it was on bloodstains only that could have been painted ON TOP of an imprinting medium( flour, Model 10?) before pressing linen on top. That chronology then accounts for the ‘blood-before-image’ appearance under a modern day microscope, reported by Heller and Adler after deploying their (otherwise ingenious) blood-digesting reagent..
How can one have an autopsy when there are no wounds, not even in an image that was NOT even a modern-day photograph in the first instance? I’d put more trust in a dermatologist diagnosing a facial skin condition in Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” than I would in Robert Bucklin’s so-called forensic ‘autopsy’ on the Turin Shroud…
More to follow (maybe tomorrow, more likely Monday).
PS: Halleluja: I’m finally able, after 6 years of investigation via microscopy and model building, to reconcile the Walter McCrone claim for artist’s pigment (iron oxide) with my own Model 10 (flour imprinting). How? By taking a closer look at a particular Mark Evans (STURP) photomicrograph, one I flagged up some years ago as contradicting the so-called ‘half-tone ‘ effect, now with some additional – but not obligatory – assistance from a controversial Windows 10 photoediting filter (“Zeke”) that is splendid at accentuating any ‘bittiness’ in an image (NO, not artefactual as some aggressive doubters once claimed early last year on another site).
Yes, Walter McCrone was almost certainly right about the seemingly microparticulate appearance of the image chromophore, whether the result of solid particles or not, but probably wrong about the reasons! I hope to produce evidence in the fullness of time to back up the validity of my Model 10 (flour imprinting).
I fully expect sindonology to ignore it, as sindonology has ignored pretty well everything else I have published here and on other internet sites. Sindonology is essentially a closed shop (bar its periodic forays into the media with its latest ‘brainwave’, its latest tranche of pseudoscience).
Instalment 9, Sunday January 21
Here’s a real gem of an image which appeared in Thibault Heimburger’s critique of my Model 2 (direct scorching from a hot template). (It appears at the point in his pdf , page 15/24, when he displays some of the photomicrographs obtained by STURP’s Mark Evans from the actual TS. This one is described as “body image”. It contains a hugely interesting, and I suspect scientifically significant detail, one that – being easily overlooked- is not commented upon in the pdf.)
Notice the ‘bitty’ appearance of the pigmentation in the image fibres, more easily visible in some rather than others?
As indicated, there’s a handy filter provided with Windows10 which calls itself “Zeke” which as indicated yesterday I’ve found works well in in a purely operational sense to accentuate any “bittiness” in an image (but don’t ask me how it works!). Here’s the above image, before and after applying the Zeke filter.
Here’s the Zeke image on its own (needing all the enlargement it can get on a webpage).
What a pity Walter McCrone is no longer around to see the above image, and to hear my explanation – based on Model 10- essentially unchanged since 2014/15, for why it looks the way it does! Are you listening, all you pro-authenticity sindonologists? No, of course not… Perish the thought that any true-believer sindonologist would spare a second to hear a contrary view that fails to accord with their own ‘Enigma Variations’ (apologies to Edward Elgar).
Here’s a clue as to how Zeke works (though much more needs to be done):
One the left is is a simple graphic constructed with MS Paint, showing coloured dashes against a yellow background. On the right is the same image after applying Zeke.
Note the white border on the left side becomes grey. Note how the yellow becomes a yellow-grey. But note also that the yellow-grey does not abut completely onto the dashes, which are now surrounded by a faint ‘halo’ of the original yellow, maybe with a hint of grey only. In other words, Zeke creates an apparent highlighting halo by adding grey to general background, probably the denser image too, but NOT around the immediate periphery of the latter, in this case those simple dashes. In short, Zeke is in my view a valid photoediting tool, one that does not create image artefacts, one that merely creates a better contrast between image features and background, albeit via a rather clever indirect means that involves two-tone modulating of image-bordering background – not the image itself!
Instalment 10: Monday Jan 22
Here’s another test of Zeke, this time on a graphic with dots as well as dashes, unedited v default Zeke setting (mid-range 50/100) v max Zeke (100/100).
The halo highlighting effect is again visible, scarcely so admittedly at the midrange Zeke setting (probably on account of my different choice of colours) but clearly so at the max value. But there’s another, second effect of Zeke that acts to increase contrast, namely a darkened outline to each of the dots (missed earlier through using dashes only, and more easily visible on a laptop screen directly than in my screenshots above). Zeke seems to operate via a dual action to increase contrast between a dark image and a lighter background – both edge-accentuation AND creation of pale surrounding halo! But it’s only emphasizing what’s already present – not adding any new image entities. As such, I consider it a valuable photoediting tool, at least while we are restricted to STURP’s 40 year old images (not counting the later Halta Shroud 2.0 images downloadable to iPads which I personally cannot be bothered with, based on what one sees in the publicity handouts – clearly intended for the mass market, not serious image-investigators).
I shall spend the rest of the day doing two things:
1. Testing Zeke against more of Mark Evans TS body image photomicrographs across the whole range of slider settings (0-100)
2. Attempting to track down some of Walter McCrone’s photomicrographs of body image, the ones he claimed to be inorganic paint pigment, despite Heller and Adler’s bleaching result with either diimide or alkaline hydrogen peroxide. So far I’ve had no luck whatsoever in finding a single McCrone image (except for one on “blood”, similarly claimed to be entirely inorganic) despite trawling through any number of Google image files, which frankly I consider amazing, considering his surviving research institute continues to promote his 1978 claims (and there are no relevant images on that site either, despite the margin tab labelled ‘Shroud of Turin’).
I’ll only report back later today if I find anything of interest, better still, of likely or even possible scientific significance.
Oh dear, 40 years post-STURP, sindonology is still such a barren desert, offering little more than sightings of this or that on the far horizon, probably mirages in most instances. Where’s the real science for heaven’s sake?
Let’s not beat about the bush. There’s essentially zero interest these days in real scientific research where the TS concerned (not that there’e been anything significant these last 40 years since STURP scratched the surface).
Yup, my Model 10 – with its lowly flour imprinting and oven (or open-fire) roasting – is not the answer anyone wanted – even me if I’m honest. Why? Because it’s neither supernatural, nor scientifically gee whizz! It’s just an adaptation of homely bread baking technology. It tends to elicit the comment: “Er, is that it, then?”
It was the same 18 months ago when I delivered my conclusions on Stonehenge. When folk have been told constantly from the age of 6 that is was a Neolithic astronomical observatory or prehistoric cathedral, they don’t want later to be told by a jumped-up science blogger that it was simply a giant bird perch, one which allowed inland gulls (coaxed-in British ‘vultures’) to feel safe when pecking away at newly-deceased bodies (the first stage of ritual excarnation, aka ‘sky burial’, followed by much simpler cremation of largely de-fleshed bones).
Late insertion (March 2) – red font to distinguish from what was penned a while ago:
Have just concluded my current posting on that other site of mine with the following:
Here’s the link to a site called “25 Greatest Unsolved Mysteries Ever”.
Stonehenge is No.12 in the list. Here’s the accompanying photo. Please observe the caption!
Please sir, please sir. I know why!
Oh, and I have a solution for the Turin Shroud as well (No.11 in that “Unsolved” Mystery list). Shame that the world (or at any rate, the blogosphere) is indifferent to solutions that do not accord with long-held preconceptions!
Half the fun of science is to watch one’s own or other folks’ preconceptions turn into Sir Kenneth Clark’s “dissolving perspectives”, the process starting almost immediately after starting afresh with a blank sheet of paper and “unthinkable imaginings” (aka scientific hypotheses for the testing thereof)!
It’s not hard to see why scientists are so unpopular, at least in the UK (I can’t speak for the ROTW) , treated in the media and elsewhere as if they don’t exist. (Like when did you ever see a scientist in the story line of UK TV soap, making even a fleeting appearance?)
So what’s the point of my updating this summary of my own 6 years of research when there’s little or no sign of anyone taking the least bit of interest?
Why set myself these demanding time schedules for researching or writing this or that? Answer – none whatsoever. Sindonology is a secret garden, interested only in fashioning and evangelizing its own own publicity handouts, being not in the least bit interested, indeed, one suspects fearful and/or resentful, of genuine curiosity-driven research.
I said there would be 40 instalments to this current posting, and indeed hope and expect to deliver those in time. But the initial idea of delivering in daily instalments no longer makes any sense at all. I’ll now interleave research and reporting on a time scale that suits my own leisurely retired lifestyle.
The next 30 or so instalments may take a while to arrive – weeks, months, years even. Hopefully I’ll get an opportunity at some point to view the TS with my own eyes, preferably with the lid of the protective chamber opened, preferably with a hand lens – or better still, a customized, minimally-destructive research tool that is more diagnostic as to how the image was formed.
But I’m not banking on it. Sindonology only survives thanks to its careful cultivation of the notion of mystery , protected as ever by its carefully maintained veil of secrecy…
If I had to summarize sindonology in a few words (the sort that promotes authenticity, whether subtly or forcefully) it would be “wishful thinking dressed up as solid science”.
It’s the dressing-up this science blogger objects to. Science has enough difficulty as it is in getting its voice heard, much less respected, without chancers (photographers, engineers, lawyers, TV documentary makers, clerics etc) periodically popping in, adopting the disguise of “scientists”.
It generally takes a minimum of 3 years to train up a research scientist via a postgraduate doctoral program in order to progress to becoming a professional researcher, capable of working without supervision. Those of us who have undergone that training ourselves, and later, having supervised pre-doctoral researchers AND examined doctoral candidates in their final “viva voce” exams know why! Many fall by the wayside…
So please don’t expect any more additions to this posting for some time. Having said that, comments are, as ever, both invited and welcome, whether opposed to authenticity or not.
Au revoir (“till we meet again”) as our politely non-dismissive French neighbours would say.