Late addition (November 15): this site is now under reconstruction. As the new title indicates this site, started in early 2012 with over 400 postings now aims primarily to cater for journalists needing or wishing to separate fact from fantasy.
(My journalistic credentials? What, apart from being News Features editor of “Redbrick”, the award-winning University of Birmingham tabloid newspaper back in the early 60s? As for the rest, please don’t ask… 😉 )
The present posting below is the last in the old investigative model-building format. Expect the first in my new polemical mode in the next day or two.
The new header image hopefully demythologizes the Shroud body image. Simply wet one’s hand, press it onto a dark fabric to get a negative (tone-reversed) image – a simple model of the Shroud body image (a yellowed image on lighter-coloured linen). That simplest of contact images responds well to 3D- rendering (ImageJ software).
Alternatively, one can digitally reverse the tones in the initial negative image to get a more life-like, correction – deathly white Caucasian – representation of one’s hand, the resulting pseudo-positive image also responding to the 3D-rendering software.
No, that famously negative (tone reversed) TS image does NOT have “unique” encoded 3D properties, a palpably untrue ‘mantra’ shoved repeatedly in our faces since the late 1970s. What’s more, its negative tone-reversed image is simply explained by it being a body IMPRINT, formed by a contact-only mechanism.
Here’s a preview of the graphic I’ve prepared to head up the first posting in polemical mode:
Earlier addition (October 20) : this is not the first posting on this site to have “simulated sweat imprint” in its title. I did an earlier one with those same three words in the title as long ago as November 2014 – nearly three years ago!
I referred to my posting, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as representing something of a ‘paradigm shift’, not only for me personlly (having previously been hung up on the idea that the TS was a scorch imprint off a hot metal template – Model 2) but for sindonology too – having failed to find the concept of a simulated sweat imprint i.e.of medieval manufacture – anywhere in the literature.
Response: I was instantly criticized by one of sindonology’s elder statesmen for deploying that term ‘paradigm shift’, though reasons were not given.
However, give the ZERO RESPONSE from sindonology to the arrival of a brand new ‘take’, i.e. concept, these last three years and indeed longer (starting early 2014 in fact) I now feel fully vindicated and justified in claiming to have introduced a ‘paradigm shift’.
It hardly speaks well of sindonology as a supposedly academic discipline, indeed a self-styled branch of ‘science’ if/when it continues to ignore a significant new addition to the world of ideas. I’ve invited comments to this open-access site, one that typically gets 20-30 visits a day from all over the world. So far, there’s been one only. Hopefully there will be more in the coming days and weeks. However, there seems little point in continuing to post new content unless or until sindonology wakes up to the presence of the ‘simulated sweat imprint’ concept, nay paradigm in its own back yard.
Rest assured I will continue to do hands-on research with a view to improving the performance of my current Model 10 (use of white flour imprinting medium to simulate an ancient, dried-on, yellowed sweat imprint), and plan new postings. But the first priority is to elicit feedback, whether positive or negative. One cannot be expected to operate in a vacuum, especially if/when one suspects that the vacuum is no accident – that mainstream sindonology is deliberately pretending I do not exist.
End of late ‘pre-script’.
Summary: STURP tested body image fibres from the Shroud of Turin for natural body biochemicals (see 1981 Summary) and failed to detect any. Yellowed body sweat was accordingly eliminated as the image chromophore, and said to be contraindicated on numerous other grounds e.g. lack of dried capillary fluids, no cementation of fibres, plus a barrage of highly dubious claims against any kind of contact imprinting based on assumed air gaps between body and ‘loosely-draped linen’ (biblical authenticity being taken for granted), totally inaccurate claims re the body image having “unique 3D properties” etc etc. The entire area of contact-imprinting was totally abandoned, starting in the 1980s, and the rush began towards imaging via radiation and other pseudo-science. More than 35 years later, sindonology still finds itself in the grip of ‘resurrectional incandescence’ as the mechanism of imaging, as was recently seen from the program of the recent International Shroud Conference in July at TRAC, Pasco, Washington State, sponsored by two confirmed ‘radiationists’ giving themselves a shop window and captive audience for what can only be described as semi-religious fervour dressed up as theoretical physics. Conventional mainstream science, as practiced by this Shroudie investigator of nearly 6 years standing (currently testing and evaluating his flour-imprinting/simulated sweat Model 10) is simply ignored as if it did not exist. Resurrectional incandescence cannot be regarded as sound scholarship for as long as it essentially excommunicates all contrary non-authenticity model building – to say nothing of years of detailed experimentation. The latter has been reported here and on other sites (Dan Porter’s retired site especially) since early 2012 in real time, open to all for comments and criticism (a far cry from much overhyped ‘peer-reviewed’ publications, especially those in researcher-billed-for open-access journals where little if anything is known about the identity or fitness-for-purpose of the referees.
More to follow. Expect to see some 20 reasons listed over the coming days for regarding the Shroud body image as a simulated sweat imprint of medieval manufacture, starting with two early documented references to bodily sweat (and of course blood as well) in the early 16th and 17th centuries from distinguished figures in the Roman Catholic hierarchy, one of them canonized. Their commonsensical words are now scandalously ignored, thanks to sloppy 20th century so-called science, read wishful-thinking sci-fi fantasizing, STURP’s included, nay, STURP’s especially.
Something similar happened to STURP, circa 1983, but worse, much worse. STURP not only left the tracks but went clean over the side of a cliff…
Yes, STURP began its journey so well, but ended by going over a cliff side. John Heller’s 1983 book “Report on the Turin Shroud” shows precisely how, why and when that disastrous turn of events took place. (One has to read to a few pages from the end to see the author himself reject contact-imprinting – although to his credit he also distances himself from fanciful radiation, quite unlike any other radiation known to physics, able to align itself with the Earth’s gravitational field to give collimated orthogonal projection to explain sharp imaging (allegedly) across air gaps! Sound of Einstein turning in his grave…).
Expect next instalment tomorrow, October 10, pm (UK time). Comments, preferably short, preferably relevant, are welcome.
Tuesday October 10
Newsflash: The Fall issue of STERA’s shroud.com has just appeared, inside of which is Hugh Farey’s last Newsletter (No.85 ) for the BSTS, his place as Editor now being taken by Shroud (pro-authenticity) TV documentary maker David Rolfe. I normally provide links to Shroud-relevant sites, but decline to do so in this instance. Linking to others’ sites, whether pro- or anti-authenticity, has to be a two-way affair. If not, one is assisting others’ positions in those crucial search engine rankings while getting no quid pro quo (or vice versa).
Nuff said on that score. Now back to the business of the day:
More on that book by John Heller MD, taken from the end of the book (Page 209 onwards):
Extract 1 of 2
“Sam Pellicori, a champion of the body contact hypothesis, had done some interesting experiments. In three separate experiments, he had placed oil, lemon juice, and perspiration on his fingers. Then he placed linen on top of his hand and pressed it gently to his flesh. He then placed the cloth samples in an oven at low temperature to produce an accelerated ageing effect. In each case there was indeed a yellowing of the contact area. He had brought the linen samples with him. The team examined them and, although there was a surface effect, several of us insisted that we could see some capillarity in several of the fibrils, which is not the case on the Shroud. We all agreed with Sam that the torso of the man had had to be in contact with the Shroud, or the transfer of the scourge marks would not have appeared as they did. For example there were many such lesions that were invisible in white light and could be seen only in the UV. However, the recessed areas of the face could not have been in contact with the cloth, as proved by the VP-8 images and the Shroud-body distance data. Pellicori agreed that that was still a problem for his hypothesis. It was not a problem but the problem …”
(we’ll skip the next 7 dispensable sentences re the role of hypothesis and generalization).
Extract 2 of 2:
“How were the images of the man conveyed to the linen? Virtually the only mechanism left was radiation, which we then examined.”
Here we see John Heller finally displaying his true pro-authenticity colours, or at any rate epiphany moment just 6 pages before the end of the book, having previously projected himself as an objective commentator on that key question. No, radiation was NOT the only mechanism left if proper consideration had been given to medieval forgery scenarios, and uncritical resort had not been taken to Jackson’s modelling studies with loosely-draped linen. They also presupposed authenticity, generating Jackson’s erroneous conclusion that there could, indeed had to be imaging across air gaps (which is NOT the case in forgery scenarios where linen can and probably was manually pressed down onto body relief). Cue ‘resurrectional incandescence’, later fine-tuned by Jackson as his ‘collapsing cloth’ hypothesis.
In short, Heller and fellow STURP-team members, having taken immediate exception to Sam Pelllicori’s naturalistic model of sweat-imprinting, indeed appearing to snuff it out without wasting a further second, failed to consider the alternative of non-naturalistic, i.e. simulated sweat-imprinting that did not require the human body’s own biochemicals.
That was an omission of monumental proportions, given the build-up and prestige accorded to that 35-strong team of diverse high-powered specialists who were supposed to be totally objective, detached, SCIENTIFIC, testing ALL feasible hypotheses, not just their own pet theories.
If one is seeking the point at which science turned into pseudoscience, when STURP’s train left the tracks, proceeding merrily over a cliff side, gravity-assisted like that faux Jackson radiation, then one need look no further than Heller’s homespun advocacy combined with uncritical support of Jackson’s biased unscientific modelling, both wedded to authenticity, as distinct from keeping it constantly under critical review. Neither could be bothered to engage in detailed ‘what-if’ modelling that began by pre-supposing medieval simulation (aka ‘forgery’) as well as, or instead of 1st. century authenticity.
It’s not as if Sam Pellicori, for all his commendable ability to fasten onto essentials, was the first to flag up “sweat imprint”. How about this section of an essay from the late and gifted Shroud historian Dorothy Crispino, detailing the immediate aftermath of the 1532 fire that came close to destroying the Shroud.
The Report of the Poor Clare Nuns, 1534
(link to Dorothy Crispino)
In April of 1534, Pope Clement VII sent his envoy, Louis Cardinal Gorrevod, to make an official recognition of the Shroud and have it repaired (ed., following the 1532 Chambéry fire).
Card. Gorrevod knew the Shroud well. For over four decades, he had been intimately associated with the Savoy family, and profoundly devoted to the Shroud. Many times, his hands had held it at expositions and ceremonies. It was he who first suggested that the image was formed by sweat and blood. And it was he who, in 1506, successfully intervened with Julius II to grant Carlo III’s petition for a liturgy and feast of the Shroud.
On the 15th of April, 1534, a Wednesday, Card. Gorrevod sent word to the Sisters of St. Clare that they were to undertake the delicate task of mending the Sheet.
Or how about this personal letter which Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva (later St.Francis) sent from Annecy to his close friend, one Jane (later St.Jane)Frances de Chantal, a Mother Superior or similar in 1614:
Annecy, 4 May 1614
Whilst waiting to see you, my very dear Mother, my soul greets yours with a thousand greetings. May God fill your whole soul with the life and death of His Son Our Lord! At about this time, a year ago, I was in Turin, and, while pointing out the Holy Shroud among such a great crowd of people, a few drops of sweat fell from my face on to this Holy Shroud itself. Whereupon, our heart made this wish: May it please You, Saviour of my life, to mingle my unworthy sweat with Yours, and let my blood, my life, my affections merge with the merits of Your sacred sweat! My very dear Mother, the Prince Cardinal was somewhat annoyed that my sweat dripped onto the Holy Shroud of my Saviour; but it came to my heart to tell him that Our Lord was not so delicate, and that He only shed His sweat and His blood for them to be mingled with ours, in order to give us the price of eternal life… (ed. with still more references to sweat).
Francis, Bishop of Geneva
Can there be any doubting that the Shroud was seen all those centuries ago as a sweat/blood imprint, with no indications that I’m aware of that it was ever seen as anything else? Why think otherwise? Wouldn’t the pilgrim to Lirey, approx 1355 give or take, casting eyes for the very first time on Geoffroy de Charny’s mysteriously acquired Shroud immediately conclude that he was looking at some kind of imprint, certainly in blood, and probably therefore in some other bodily secretion as well, one that had left behind a faint scarcely visible yellowish body imprint of a man. Now then, what might that other secretion be? Could it possibly be divine perspiration, i.e. SWEAT? If so, was it real sweat – or a clever rendition thereof on linen of what approximately 1300 year old sweat from 1st century Palestine, dried and yellowed, might look like?
Next instalment, tomorrow, Wed Oct 11. It will discuss the link between the Shroud and Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’, deployed in the first instance as an imprint-acquiring TRANSPORT (not burial) shroud. Would so quickly-acquired an image in sweat and blood (en route from the site of crucifixion to a nearby rock tomb) be likely to be 1st. century authentic? Or, seen through the modern eye, aided by photography and image-processing, to say nothing of the disputed radiocarbon dating, is it simply ‘too-good-to-be-true’ and more prudently judged to be of medieval provenance – an ingenious simulation? My own take on this should be clear. Why so few other takers?
Wed Oct 11
Here’s today’s text. (Yes, what follows might seem like a sermon. Yes, I guess it IS a sermon of sorts, arguably a long-overdue one, with no disrespect intended to the dead, merely a respect for the SCIENTIFIC FACTS!).
The chunks of text (blue font) are taken as before from the 1983 “Report on the Turin Shroud” by the late John Heller MD (1921-1995). It’s from quite early in the book (pages 38/39) but already the keen-eyed observer (well, me at any rate) may see the shoddily ill-designed pre-STURP locomotive showing ominous signs of erratic behaviour with intimations of later derailment. That was soon to be realized post-STURP with engine driver Jackson’s precipitate plunge over cliff edge.
(Why “ill-designed”? We’ll come back to that later. Suffice it so say, yet again, that STURP’s prime focus should have been on that negative tone-reversed image, not its absurd and misdirected PRIMARY goal of disproving a conventional painted image, what in contemporary internet jargon was a “straw man” hypothesis if ever there was. Since when has a negative image been conventional in the world of medieval or even current illustrative art?…)
Incidentally, re the above link, , here’s a note of caution for those concerned about accurate chronology. Don’t be misled by the 2014 date on that Jackson pdf: see the footnote where it states the first appearance of the paper was in September 1989 – just 6 years after the appearance of Heller’s book, or some 8 years after the appearance of the STURP team’s “sorry, we’re still totally mystified by the TS body image” summary (while totally taken in with Robert Bucklin’s laughable, nay hilarious “autopsy” on a 1931 B/W photograph of the TS, the one where he sees “wounds”, “abrasions”, “puncture marks” etc etc. as if viewing a real corpse, or even a photograph of a real corpse, as distinct from a faint centuries- old vanishingly-faint image captured via an totally unknown process, ignorant of whether natural or forged).
The extract begins by describing John Jackson’s first contact with Bill Mottern (physicist, Sandia Laboratories, Albuquerque). It was ostensibly in the first instance to discuss colour filters, but was quickly overtaken by Mottern’s keenness to show off his gee-whizz 3D-rendering VP-8 machine. That if you ask me was the blackest day in the entire history of sindonology, taking the attention away from the REAL ISSUE – namely the NEGATIVE tone-reversed IMAGE, viewed with or without Bill Mottern’s computerized and largely IRRELEVANT box of artefact-generating tricks
… Jackson made contact with Bill Mottern, a Sandia physicist. Mottern had a set of Wrattens (colour filters) but he had something else as well. That “something”, by coincidence, put the whole project into global high gear. It was a VP-8.
(Skip some sentences)
Jackson had never heard of a VP-8, but when he drove over to Sandia, he took photos of the Shroud with him.
(Apparently Shroud as-is ‘negatives’ and tone-reversed (pseudo-) positives as well, that aspect having been sadly neglected throughout the entire book – about which more later – MUCH MORE!)
“Why,” he (Bill Mottern) suggested, don’t we put the photos of the Shroud into the VP-8?”
All in all, it should have been a stupid waste of time, for a flat photo will, and can, only give a warped picture.
(But it’s not a primary photo – it’s a photo of the Shroud image, which itself is/was not a photo, though precisely what it is anyone’s guess (‘impactograph’ simulated sweat imprint?) If an imprint, then a photo of an imprint that has even overhead illumination creating light but no obvious patches of shade, would NOT behave like the kind of photo to which Heller refer, and indeed the misleading kind with patches of light and shade which he includes as a plate in his book – more later)
They placed the Shroud photo in the VP-8 and twiddled the dials, focus and rotation. Suddenly both men saw, swimming up from the electronic fog of the screen, a perfect three-dimensional image of a scourged, crucified man.
(Show my 3D-rendered ImageJ renderings of scourge mark blood as a protest against the entirely unhelpful inclusion of blood into a discussion of body image?).
Impossible! Ridiculous! Outrageous! Yes. It was there. The two scientists just stared.
The positive photograph of the man in the Shroud had the appearance of a two dimensional face. The VP-8’s three dimensional image was as stunningly different from the photograph as a statue is from a painting. The long hair, full beard and mustache, the serenity on the face of a badly battered, crucified man, came alive, giving Jackson and Mottern the eerie impression that they were gazing at an actual face of a man, not at a painting or a sculpture.
Finally, Jackson took a deep breath. “Bill,” he said, “do you realize that we may be the first people in two thousand years to know exactly how Christ looked in the tomb?”
(Note ref to “tomb”).
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Where does one start? What’s the first step in restoring a semblance of order to a train crash?
This blogger/investigator has zero experience in putting clocks back to pre-disaster state-of-affairs. But since others are not doing it, or showing any inclination to do so, whether in the peer-reviewed domain or even informal blogosphere, then I guess the task falls to me, thankless though it is.
Order of business? Start with the negative, tone-reversed image, and reasonable hypotheses that can- or should- have been been entertained – notably by STURP – to account for what surely has to be seen as the defining characteristic of the Shroud body image. Then look at the manner in which the debate was hijacked by those allegedly “unique” 3D properties. No, not properties, but entirely predictable pre-programmed response in computer software specifically designed to elicit PSEUDO- 3D response where it may or may NOT (in reality) exist initially.
Sindonology should by rights have put its house in order years, nay decades ago – and not going expecting retired scientists like myself to go reversing its spectacular train crash. OK, so the latter was the work of a frightfully-senior initiator, aided and abetted by top members of STURP no less way back in the 20th century.
But others have now picked up the baton and foolishly followed in their footsteps to this day (like that hugely self-indulgent Pasco conference in July, with prime organizers pushing their imaging -via-outburst of subatomic nuclear particle fantasy, or as I prefer to call it, “imaging via resurrectional incandescence”, oh-so-conveniently generating an allegedly erroneous, excessively young radiocarbon-dating age we’re asked to blithely – and uncritically accept. Yup, an ingenious but desperate attempt – if ever there was – to keep their pro-authenticity show, correction, TRAVELLING CIRCUS, on the road).
Sindonology (the mainstream pro-authenticity kind) has never lacked ingenuity. It’s a kind of metaphor one might say for the human condition (correction – one acutely fascinating (though somewhat unsettling) facet of the human condition that habitually resorts to high-IQ pseudoscience in order to press its case).
Sindonology? All life is there, warts an’ all – as much a source of fascination to we ‘slow-to-judge-life-as-we-find-it’ observers as the Shroud enigma itself…
But there comes a time when thoughts – in this instance some 6 years in the making – begin to crystallize…
Conclusion, albeit sad to say: sindonology, is 95% wishful thinking aka bullsh*t, given it’s become a vast repository of pseudoscience.
That’s thanks largely, indeed almost entirely, to that priming intervention by STURP, officially the Shroud of Turin Research Project. Or, as this profound sceptic recently rechristened it, unflatteringly, acronymically redesignated it, a vast input of Space-Age Technology-Unleashing Religious Propaganda…
Thank you authenticity-proselytizing John Jackson (“PhD”- military academy). Thank you (to a lesser extent) the rather-more-subtle, late convert-to authenticity -courtesy-of- medical- and- computer-generated pseudoscience – John Heller MD (RIP).
Sorry about that. Someone had to say it…
Thursday October 12
Have just re-read Heller’s book from cover to cover, this time not looking for what’s there, so much as looking for what’s NOT there. A growing suspicion has been amply confirmed. There’s scarcely any mention of the negative, tone-reversed image. Where there is, usually in passing, scattered here and there throughout some 220 pages, it displays no curiosity whatsoever for this unusual feature. Worse still from a scientific standpoint, it attempts to pass it off as a trifling detail, namely as some kind of concomitant of John Jackson’s blinkered model-building (which in turn plays down cloth-body “contact” , instead talking up his entirely hypothetical imaging across air gaps which Heller later refers to as if established fact.
That is one truly bizarre omission, especially as the negative image does get briefly spotlighted on Page 1 of the book, Chapter 1 (Title: “The Physics of Miracles?” Ouch! ).
“In 1978, I had never heard of the Shroud of Turin, let alone seen a picture of it. When I did, I was surprised. I thought I would see something analogous to all the paintings and statuary of Jesus that I had ever seen… (Skip sentence re other portrayals from history and worldwide).
This was different. It was anything but artistic. In addition everything was reversed. Its images were like photographic negatives, with black and white, left and right, reversed. The cloth was also very bloody…” (My bolding)
As I say, bizarre – to flag up a distinctive feature of the TS body image, one that when reversed, as done initially by Secondo Pia in 1898, produces a spectacular result, an image with near-photographic quality, arguably with some additional hard-to-pin-down allure (sometimes described as serene, luminous, ghostly etc), and fail in 220 pages to give that negative image the attention it deserves. Instead we see a fixation with the so-called “3D properties” in Mottern’s VP-8 which I say, from years of hands on experience with its modern day equivalent (ImageJ) are 100% artefactual, the result of digitally re-mapping 2D image density (acquired by goodness knows what process) to an entirely artefactual man-made impression of vertical relief.
I’ll return later today with a brief summary of what I would wish to say to John Heller, were he still alive, regarding the likely origin of the negative tone-reversed image. It will feature a neologism I introduced here yesterday: “impactograph”. Yes, the TS is not a photographic negative (Stephen E.Jones please note) or indeed any kind of photograph, protophotograph etc that required visible light or indeed any other kind of electromagnetic radiation or stream of subatomic particles etc etc. It’s almost certainly an “impactograph”, the result of interposing an imprinting medium between cloth and body (or bas relief), applying manual pressure to capture an imprint off the flatter more elevated planes only, NOT the sides, followed by a secondary image-development step that converted the imprinting medium to a faint yellow chromophore, probably with conjugated double bonds, probably a melanoidin (on that I’m in agreement with the late Raymond N.Rogers – it’s a polymeric melanoidin, bleachable with Adler and Heller’s diimide reagent which selectively hydrogenates C=C double bonds).
Why go to all that trouble? See title of this posting, with its reference to an entity I unleashed upon the bored, indifferent, know-all world of sindonology back in November 2014: the simulated sweat imprint. Those early custodians and viewers of the Shroud mentioned here, from the 16th and 17th century, probably recognized an IMPRINT when they saw one, conscious of and unphased by an imprint’s tell-tale reversal of light/dark tones seen in a conventional painted image.
Two positive images, one photographic, the other pencil-drawn versus the tone-reversed TS negative image.
Instead, they briefly- and in my view correctly- interpreted the body image as a sweat imprint.. whether real or simulated.
John Jackson tried to kid us there was a “simple and global mathematical relationship” connecting image intensity with presumed length of (entirely imaginary) air gap between recumbent body and loosely draped linen. Shame there was not a shred of evidence or even theoretical physics for imaging across an air gap. Pseudo-science does not get much worse than this! What Jackson was doing, needless to say, was dreaming up his preconception first, then arranging the evidence to fit, which is about as far removed as one can get from the scientific method. But then what can you expect from someone who flaunts his scientific so-called “doctorate” awarded by a military academy (which should have confined itself to awarding military ranks).?
Jackson (and those who followed) should have experimentally modelled not just pro-authenticity “loosely draped linen” if investigating a contact model, but linen that was forcibly impressed against a recumbent body to close up all but the most-difficult-to-access hollows and crevices in a medieval ‘simulation’ scenario.
Too many sindonologists’ insistence on seeing only what they want to see, of ignoring or spurning anything and everything that fails to conform to their blinkered view, while professing to be “scientific”, flaunting their supposed research qualifications, is a major insult to genuine science. Shame on the new BSTS Newsletter editor (David Rolfe) for having previously followed them around with his movie camera, attentive to their every word, treating those words as if gold dust…
I’m hoping that someone will point out the anomaly of the supposed ‘negative tone-reversed image’ of the Shroud face shown earlier. Be prepared for an unconventional opinion regarding a facial feature that is not skin (hint hint).
“Impactograph”? Neologism? Oops – I was deploying that term well over 3 years ago. See this posting on Dan Porter’s retired site, with its link to a discussion on another of his postings.
Friday October 13th
(Noting the date, it’s just as well I’m not superstitious by nature!)
In passing, am I the only one to think that (the amazingly youthful-looking) Professor Christopher Ramsey of the Oxford University continues to be hideously misquoted, most recently by STERA’s front man – Barrie M.Schwortz in his current (October) shroud.com update?
Ramsey has made it clear that he cannot conceive of any mechanism whereby the 1988 radiocarbon dating (1260-1390) could be wrong by some 1300 years (which considers and rejects among other things Jackson’s carbon monoxide theory, having himself failed to find a scrap of experimental evidence to back it up). Ramsey – a committed Christian btw- ends his statement with these charitable words (my bolding):
” There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow and so further research is certainly needed. It is important that we continue to test the accuracy of the original radiocarbon tests as we are already doing. It is equally important that experts assess and reinterpret some of the other evidence. Only by doing this will people be able to arrive at a coherent history of the Shroud which takes into account and explains all of the available scientific and historical information.”
Now compare with Barrie Schwortz’s truth-bending words in his current (October 2017) shroud.com update:
This issue also marks the last issue from current Editor Hugh Farey, who is retiring from the position he has held since December 2013 and handing it over to long time BSTS member, David Rolfe. David is best known in Shroud circles for his films on the Shroud which include The Silent Witness, the BAFTA-winning production from 1978 which introduced so many to the subject for the first time. His second film for the BBC in 2009 – Material Evidence – included Prof. Christopher Ramsey, Head of Oxford’s Radio Carbon Center, who conceded, memorably, that in the light of the new evidence and the lack of any substantive explanation for the Shroud’s image, the C14 should be looked at again.
Ramsey has conceded nothing! He’s merely noting the existence of a powerful lobby, seeking any and every opportunity to dispute and discredit his data, not just on radiochemical grounds, but highly suspect so-called ‘historical ‘ evidence. In short, he was merely being polite and civilized in ending his statement in the (overly?) accommodating the way that he did.
Late insertion (14 Oct): see also this posting on Dan Porter’s site from as long ago as December 2011 asking why Ramsey had ‘changed his mind’ and whether it was due to failing to find evidence to back up the C-14-O hypothesis.
Incidentally, where in the whole of recorded history pre-1355 (first recorded appearance of the Lirey-displayed TS in the written record, tallying needless to say with the radiocarbon dating) is there a single image of the iconic two-fold dorsal/frontal head-to-head configuration of a crucified man?. There isn’t needless to say, since it doesn’t exist… The TS is almost certainly a simulated sweat imprint onto a mid-14th century mock-up of Joseph of Arimathea’s fine linen, intended to rival, nay trump, the immensely-lucrative pilgrim-attracting Veil of Veronica. Indeed, one suspects the Veil provided the inspiration for the imprinting-technology – an initial “sweat” imprint drying, yellowing and morphing into something rather more impressive and eye-catching – while retaining a modicum of credibility as ‘authentic’. But that is/was only the case if there’s perceived to be simultaneous imprinting of newly-shed blood and sweat. It loses all credibility if the body image is attributed not to sweat but to ‘resurrectional incandescence’ days after the clotting and drying of the blood, unless, that is, one suspends all critical judgement and buys into one or other of the various re-bleeding/remoistening scenarios
Sorry to repeat myself, which I’m forced to do for reasons I’m minded shortly to address.
Moving on, I was reading (Christian) Hugh Farey describing (BSTS Newsletter No.85) his position on the TS (pro-Resurrection/anti-authenticity) vis-a-vis that of (Jewish) Barrie Schwortz’s (anti-Resurrection/pro-authenticity).
Late addition: Hugh Farey’s words verbatim:
The following weekend sees this year’s Jalsa Salana, the annual
gathering of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Hampshire, UK,
which itself looks set to become a minor Shroud convention of its own.
Half a dozen experts are due to attend, including Barrie Schwortz, whose
pivotal role in Shroud studies not only includes STERA and shroud.com,
but the deliciously ironic fact that as a Jew he believes in the authenticity
of the Shroud, but not in the Resurrection, while I believe in the
Resurrection, but not the authenticity of the Shroud. The other Christians
believe in both the authenticity and the Resurrection, while the
Ahmadiyya Muslims don’t think Jesus died on the cross. I doubt if a
similar variety of opinions will be found in Pasco.
It occurred to me that what we see there are just two of four possible overlap areas in one of those handy Venn set theory diagrams (5 if one includes a background grey area for total DON’T KNOWs!).
Where do you stand, dear reader?
A= pro-authenticity/pro-Resurrection (John Jackson, Giulio Fanti, Paolo di Lazzaro, Stephen E.Jones etc etc)
B = anti-authenticity/pro-Resurrection (Hugh Farey, Christopher Ramsey)
C = pro-authenticity/anti-Resurrection (Barrie Schwortz)
D = anti-authenticity/anti-Resurrection (moi and millions of other free-thinkers who refuse to be brain-washed, especially by the likes of Group A true-believers who persistently abuse the scientific method and/or principles)
Saturday October 14: there’s another significant, generally well-informed sindonologist who could be mentioned in that Group A – namely Thibault Heimburger MD. But he seems to have disappeared from view – his most recent comment on this site – one of many – being February of last year! Has anyone heard from him of late? Has he maybe given up on the Shroud? That would be a shame – he being a rare example of a pro-authenticity sindonologist who at least until some 20 months ago was prepared to interact with the likes of me and fellow sceptics. It makes a welcome change from the more typical sindonologist (Barrie Schwortz, Mark Antonacci, Giulio Fanti etc etc) who tries to pretend one does not exist! That’s not restricted to pro-authenticity scientists, mind you – Professor Luigi Garlaschelli never responds to my emails, sent to his listed Milan address.
It is counterproductive to scientific progress, needless to say, to operate as if contrary voices with contrary ideas, repeat IDEAS, do not exist. Science is essentially about the world of ideas – not people and their good or bad points… Isaac Newton was for the most part a pain in the butt in his dealings with fellow scientists, but still had a few useful things to say…
Sunday October 15
I’m realizing that my abject failure to get recognition for what I consider a simple and coherent theory for the TS – a scientific alternative to the fanciful pseudo-science alternatives that dominate the media – is lack of a memorable shorthand name or tag. What’s in a name? Everything, one suspects. Coin a memorable name, and that’s probably half the battle where achieving visibility is concerned.
But what tags have been suggested thus far? Just a handful, by me alone, and no one else. But “simulated sweat imprint” or “impactograph body image” don’t really do the business, do they?
Time to put on one’s thinking cap, and come up with a snazzier alternative. Suggestions invited.
The first outside suggestion has just been provided at the breakfast table (from spouse):
1. The Truth.
2. The MOTSI model (Miss-Out-The-Sides Imprinting model)
3. The PXBF model (Pre-Xerox Body Fax model)
4. The CAGI model (Create A Good Impression model)
But acronyms are better if they spell a real word, preferably with some connection or mere connotations with the given subject?
5. As per: the TRIFLE model (Topical Relief Imprinted, Flour/Linen Enabled)
6. The FRIGHTFUL model (Forget Resurrectional Incandescence, Ghostify Human Topography, Flour Upon Linen)
7. The FOSSIL model (Flour-Obtained Simulated Sweat Imprint – L-ementary my dear Watson)
8. The NONSCIFI model (The No–Nonsense Scattered- Inventively Flour- Imprinting) model
9. The ICONIC model (Imprinting, Contact Only, No Image Cinematography)
Well, the problem now seems clear – namely the inability to express in a few words the essence of what’s being proposed, and/or to do so in a manner that is not instantly yawn-provoking.
Yes, how can an explanation for the TS as a product of medieval inventiveness, intended to reconstruct in material terms a particular brief narrative of the Gospels – namely Joseph of Arimathea’s collection of a crucified body from the cross to a place of burial – possibly hope to compete for attention with the notion that the body image only arrived later, after bloodstains – in a miraculous flash of resurrectional radiation.
It can’t, obviously, and pro-authenticity advocates of imaging-via-resurrection know it.
All they have to do is to carefully drip-feed the media, month by month, year by year, with their own agenda-promoting narrative, and scrupulously avoid giving so much as the slightest reference to more mundane, down-to-earth explanations for the TS, mine included. Chief culprits? Do I really need to name names? Most are US or Italy-based.
Welcome to the 21st century, where control-freak fanatics attempt – and largely succeed -in exercising mind-control over the gullible and impressionable, keeping their tawdry little pseudo-science show on the road.
They know the media will lap up each and every one of their sensation-seeking pronouncements.
Monday October 16
Hugh Farey’s replacement as Editor of the BSTS Newsletter (David Rolfe) is introducing an online forum, but apparently for subscribers only (shame it’s not open to all, but ours is not to reason why). So I’ve submitted my application which provides two years membership for a very reasonable £20. It asks one to say a little about oneself, how one came to be interested in the Shroud etc etc. I’m taking the liberty of reproducing my short submission here (blue font):
I have maintained my specialist Shroud website, http://www.shroudofturinwithoutallthehype.wordpress.com since Feb 2012, reporting hands-on modelling of the TS body image in real time.
Hugh Farey did a report on my investigations in a BSTS Newsletter up to and including Model 9 in June 2015. Current Model 10 is a variant of Model 9, using solid white flour as imprinting medium onto wet linen instead of flour slurry onto dry linen, and using a hot oven (including its infrared radiation) for thermal development of the flour imprint in place of nitric acid.
I believe the TS body image to be a simulated sweat imprint of medieval design and manufacture, the technology having probably been inspired by the legendary Veil of Veronica. I am frankly amazed (and indeed appalled) that what I consider to be a commonsensical interpretation of the TS has achieved virtually zero penetration of sindonology, excluding the brief mention in Hugh Farey’s report. There be something rotten in the state of sindonology if it cannot bring itself to acknowledge the existence of an hypothesis, nay comprehensive theory, one that ticks so many boxes.
Here’s a C&P of what Hugh wrote in 2015 (BSTS no.81). (My bolding)
LOTTO V. LUWU
A LONG RUNNING INVESTIGATION BY COLIN BERRY
For several years Colin Berry has been investigating ways by
which the image on the Shroud could have been manufactured, and he
has finally arrived at what he hopes is a satisfactory explanation. In many
ways, though, the journey has been more valuable than the final
achievement, as the variety and imagination of his experiments have
enhanced our understanding of many of the characteristics of the Shroud,
and demonstrated inaccuracies in long held beliefs.
His exploration began with the idea that the image on the cloth
was essentially a scorch, produced by the imposition of a hot statue. The
image was described as looking very scorchlike by almost all the scientists
of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STuRP), although its failure to
fluoresce under ultraviolet light, unlike the marks of the known scorches
from the 1532 fire, led them to reject scorching as a valid hypothesis. Berry,
however, investigated whether there might not have been a process which
could produce a scorch which didn’t fluoresce, and began work using
heated horse-brasses, and later a brass crucifix picked up in a French street
market. He soon discovered that, contrary to accepted credo, it was easily
possible to scorch only one side of a linen thread, and even only one side
of a flax fibre, and began to quantify the distance at which heat radiation
was essentially ineffective. This proved to be very small, much less than
the 4cm or so required by the hypothesis that a life-sized statue could
have been the heat source, but he also showed that difference in contactpressure
produced difference in scorch intensity. He demonstrated that
almost any scorch will produce both an effective ‘negative’ image, and can
be converted into a ‘3D image’ using similar software to that of the
famous VP-8 Image Analyser, demolishing any miraculist claim that only
the Shroud was capable of such effects.
Along the way, Berry, whose principal research job has been into
dietary fibre, explored exactly what components of a flax plant cell (such a
cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin or lignin) were likely to be most easily
discoloured by heat, and how it might be transmitted through and along a
fibre. He also experimented with methods of producing the most
‘realistic’ image, as simply laying a hot model on cloth, or even simply
laying a cloth on a hot model, had not been satisfactory. To ensure a good
image, good contact is required, and some form of soft underlay or
overlay is needed for the cloth to mould slightly around the model. This
led to Berry’s two designs to test: LUWU (Linen Underneath the model,
With an Underlay beneath the linen) and his currently preferred LOTTO
(Linen On Top, Then Overlay).
Although all this led to numerous peripheral investigations,
including attempts to scorch linen in oxygen-free environments, the
fluorescence problem remained, so Berry turned his thoughts towards
chemical, rather than thermal, scorches, rather as Luigi Garlaschelli
hypothesised when he painted a shroud with a small percentage of
sulphuric acid in the pigment carrying medium. Tests involving various
acidic extractions from pomegranate rind in conjunction with possible
mordants like alum were not very satisfactory, so Berry turned his
attention to nitric acid instead.
Alongside all the chemistry, Berry was considering the rationale
that might lie behind a forger’s technique. If the image was a scorch, it
may have been an attempt to represent an image made by a man who had
been burnt to death, such as the Templar Jacques de Molay, and if it was a
chemical imprint, it may have been an attempt to represent the action of
sweat on an enveloping sheet. The word ‘suaire’ on one of the Lirey
pilgrimage badges, and the legend of Veronica’s ‘sudarium’ were
indications that this was not unreasonable. He also wondered if, since
there were certainly other ‘authentic’ burial shrouds already in existence,
this one might have been an attempt to represent the one Christ was laid
in as he was lowered from the Cross. There is some biblical justification
for this, and it was certainly used as an apologia for the existence of at
least two ‘shrouds’ in later centuries.
Covering a live model in acid was always likely to be unpopular,
so Berry now proposes a two-stage model, in which something
representing sweat is imprinted, colourlessly, on cloth, and the image
developed on the cloth with nitric acid. To get the best impression, it turns
out that a more viscous medium than sweat itself is required, so Berry
experimented with various things such as milk, egg-white and starch
before settling on a slurry of flour and water. This can be smeared over a
volunteer and the linen cloth applied, LOTTO, to achieve the imprint. If it
was appropriately viscous, the flour would not touch anything but the
crowns of the threads, as observed on the Shroud. The cloth can then be
heated with an iron to develop the image, or treated with nitric acid,
which turns the gluten in flour yellow in a xanthoproteic reaction.
The full story of Colin Berry’s research is quite difficult to follow
on his two websites, but he has recently assembled it all at https://
shroudofturinwithoutallthehype.wordpress.com/ to which readers are
directed if they want to find out more about his ideas, his experiments, his
conclusions, and his answers to opponents. His other site is http://colinbsciencebuzz.blogspot.fr.
Although Berry says he has hung up his test tubes for the present,
several loose ends are still available for tying up. Although Ray Rogers
was convinced there was a thin starch coating all over the Shroud, Heller
and Adler, in 1988, didn’t find any. And if the image relates, as the STuRP
team suggested, only to the material of the Shroud and not to any coating
or imprinting medium, then some interaction between the xanthoproteic
events on the medium and the underlying linen should be investigated.
Tuesday October 17
Up until now, I’ve been largely content to argue the positive aspects of my ‘simulated sweat imprint’ model while awaiting responses from (curiously) mainstream ideas from sindonology based on ‘resurrectional incandescence’. But apart from that one article over 2 years ago in the BSTS Newsletter and a few postings on Dan Porter’s retired shroudstory site (which I overlooked to mention yesterday) there’s been nowt but a deafening silence (that’s despite that so-called International Shroud Conference at Pasco, Washington State in July).
So what’s this non-person supposed to do next? Make a direct approach to the media? I tried that once, approaching the chief reporter of a UK national newspaper who called on me earlier out-of-the-blue for assistance with a different matter of scientific/medical interest . Sticking point (nay, road block: he said I’d need to do a full-size modelling of the TS if he and his paper were to provide publicity! I mentioned David Rolfe as a possible source of finance and logistic back-up (recalling his Enigma Challenge to Richard Dawkins) and heard no more. Later I mooted the idea of a possible partnership with Professor Luigi Garlaschelli on the International Skeptics Forum to repeat his ‘powder frottage’ modelling using student volunteers with my white flour as imprinting medium instead of his acidified metal oxides etc , but that and later emails regrettably elicited zero response. Maybe I should have got my English translated into Italian ( I did start by apologizing!)!
(Good, isn’t it, that his compatriot Italian Government employees at ENEA can discolour linen with their uv excimer lasers, but despite admitting an actual image as distinct from faint discoloration was beyond the capabilities of the technology, have the UK media spellbound? The same media sets the bar much much higher for me when I come along, hat in hand, proposing homely medieval instead of 21st century technology!).
I was approached a couple of months ago by a Spanish language publication, asking for a summary of my model in relation to others. I duly obliged, receiving thanks for doing so. The initial October publication date was postponed for ‘logistical reasons’ and November, possibly December suggested in its place. For now it’s a matter of waiting, with no idea as yet what the reporter’s copy will say and not say.
For now I have no alternative than to challenge the ‘radiationists’ more directly on what I consider the more obvious weaknesses of their hugely unrealistic model. There are I believe serious inconsistencies between theory and results (notably the vertically UPWARDS emitted/collimated radiation needed for obtaining the frontal body image) reliant we are told on imaging across air gaps and ‘encoded distance information’ in contrast to imprinting by physical contact ONLY needed for the dorsal image from a recumbent subject under loosely-draped linen. So how come the frontal and dorsal images look so similar, BOTH giving a 3D response in Image J, not just the frontal one with sizeable air gaps we’re told, the dorsal one largely without, assisted as it is by body weight (Stephen E.Jones please note)?
My own preference is to stay positive, pressing home – or merely drip-feeding- the advantages of my own model. But that becomes impossible when one finds one’s message almost entirely airbrushed out of existence by the vast majority of authenticity-proselytizing sindonologists who see one as the ‘enemy’, not a fellow scientist. Pasco (to say nothing of STERA’s so-called research ‘updates’ on its twice-yearly refreshed shroud.com site) to say nothing of the excessively clubbish, some might say furtive MO of the self-styled ‘Shroud Science Group’ have left me in no doubt whatsoever as to the real message-proselytizing nature of the defiant sindonological public relations machine.
Whole body imprint? The trickiest part of the anatomy to imprint onto linen is the face, thanks to the angular relief. But it can be done, at least on a good day, as I showed back in May 2015 when using Model 9 (nitric acid vapour as developing agent).
Yes, here’s an imprint from that posting (skip the initial section using the hand) of my own face, before and after light photo-editing:
(Btw: I have neither a beard nor moustache. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Never interpret an ‘impactograph’ as if it were a photograph!)
Frankly I see absolutely no reason why the Models 9/10 flour imprinting technology developed by this investigator/blogger should not be able to generate a whole body imprint of comparable quality to that on the TS.
OK, so I used wet flour slurry rather than powdered dry white flour – which gives a sharper image with better defined edges,
and I used a chemical developing agent for the above image, rather than heat.
Late insertion: No! I’ve just taken a close look at that May 2015 posting. Amazingly those photos you see above were taken BEFORE colour development with nitric acid. In other words there was sufficient colour in the flour imprint alone to give a visible negative image of my demonic countenance, allowing one to enhance the contrast just a little, and then immediately upload to the 3D-rendering program. In other words, the ‘old’ Model 9 data dredged up for this late addition to the posting is to my mind still highly relevant to current Model 10, the only difference being the physical state of the flour and linen (to do with which has the additional water initially!).
But those are practical details. I have no strong attachment one or other aspect of technology: what matters is the principle – imprinting from a real person (or inanimate bas relief or statue ) via physical contact under applied manual pressure, using an innocuous organic imprinting medium that can be developed at leisure in a separate second step to give the requisite faint yellow colour. How much longer does one have to wait for the obvious merits of my contact model to be recognized by those radiation-obsessed proponents of resurrectional incandescence? But it’s no longer about the science and technology, is it? It’s about the message, and our mass media are letting them have a field day, Correction – serial field decades, virtually unchallenged….
PS. I never did check out that flour slurry imprint of my face in ImageJ, to see if it responded to 3D-rendering. Answer: yes it does!
Here’s a variant on the above, more highly cropped:
OK, so it’s not the most sophisticated of 3D-results. It used flour paste, not dry flour powder.
What’s more, it was a completely DIY job, no outside help, requiring me to spread dry linen over a cushion, and then forcibly press my face down ( LUWU as distinct from LOTTO mode, with no precision manual patting of linen onto face – just passive brute-force imprinting in a single ‘take’ that among other things deforms the problematical nose).
But as stated already, it’s the principle that counts – there’s no, er, earthly reason why simple technology, available in the 14th century, should not reproduce the main features of the TS body image (colour, negative character, 3D-responsive etc etc).
I say the problem (or as some would say ‘enigma’) as to how the TS acquired its body image is largely solved (well, in principle at any rate).
Wednesday October 18
Congratulations to those few who have made it thus far in the posting, which is already way, way too long (it happens, blog postings being living things that occasionally evolve way beyond the initial plan, even assuming there was one).
Probably best I stop here, and await feedback, hoping I get some, before pondering what to do next. Frankly I consider the ball to be in The Other Court (mainstream pro-authenticity sindonology). How much longer can the latter continue the way it does, year in, year out, pushing its miraculist notions, feeding its titbits to the media, kidding itself and the rest of humanity that conventional science can never hope to explain the Shroud?
Oh, but it can (provided one’s willing to remove those rose-tinted spectacles supplied gratis by sindonology’s activist clique).
Comments invited (though I can’t guarantee to respond to all of them)…
Added October 27: Symmetrical “poker holes” graphic needed for Comments (click tab at end of this posting|): culled from the internet (saves me having to duplicate it myself, and the source is worth a read, if only to witness pro-authenticity thinking in full swing).
Added October 28: today’s plan for modelling of the 4 symmetrical sets of burn holes to reproduce the rapid fall-off in damage to linen. (Needed for Comments)
Flour imprints will be allowed to air dry before folding the linen as shown to prevent cross-contamination (shown yesterday to work as well as my previous heating of imprints on undried linen ). Face 1 will be closest to the heat source (modern fan oven with infrared-emitting element substituting for charcoal fire, at least for now!). Faces 2,3 and 4 are progressively further away from the heat source (though Face 4 will be receiving more convected hot air than the inner protected faces 2 and 3).
Added October 29
Also needed for Comments – serial step-wise photographs from yesterday’s imprinting off an oil-smeared, flour-sprinkled plastic figurine (“Incredible Hulk”)
- Figurine; 2. Oil-smeared, then flour sprinkled from above; 3. Shake off surplus flour 4. First stage pre-washed flour imprint after 60 mins in fan oven at approx 160 degrees C
Added November 1, 2017
And here’s how I think the “bloodstains” were added, at least in principle, in two separate stages, separated by decades, perhaps centuries.
A = flour- dusted subject; B = addition of trickle(s) of a treacly slurry of reddish clay/water to represent Mark 1 blood; C = appearance of flour imprint with Mark 1 “blood” after heat-processing over charcoal fire (clay “blood” unchanged); D= final touched up imprint, with brighter red blood (or, more probably, passably-authentic blood substitute) dabbed carefully onto original clay imprint.
See this link to the 10 page pdf by Prof.G Lucotte’s impressive and exhaustive microscopy performed on a Shroud sticky-tape blood sample supplied to him from the 1978 samplings (by “Riggi de Numana”). See the reference to reddish clays being a major contribution to the red-brown colour of the particular sample (right eye brow) , the same colour we’re told as ALL the bloodstains!
November 12, 2017
Have just been re-reading a Paolo Di Lazzaro paper from 2015 (one of those open access communications – free of charge, but questionable re the thoroughness of ‘peer review’).
Here’s a photomicrograph from that paper with an attached claim that I’ve been pondering for quite some time with ever increasing scepticism – fuelled by my own model system, my own microscopy/
Am I the only one to see the serious methodological shortcoming in the above ‘experiment’ with what is described as a ‘mechanically damaged’ fibre (how seriously damaged???).
What should PDL have done instead? Clue: view the “TS” (short for something other than Turin Shroud, something to do with microscopical technique…).
Yes, if one really wants to know where the colour is in relation to the outermost layer of the fibre (the PCW, i.e. primary cell wall) AND the inner layers too (S1, S2 layers of the secondary cell wall) one does not, repeat NOT, rely entirely on the kind of image and methodology displayed above!
Ever heard of a microtome, wax-embedding, transverse sections etc Dr.Di Lazzaro?
See this posting of mine from Jan 2013!
End of lecture (shorter I hope and/or less insufferable than the ones I get periodically from Dr.High-and-Mighty PDL).