Might flour-power have been used create the enigmatic “Shroud” of Turin body image? A retired FMBRA flour scientist says …

Back in January 2012 this investigator set out to model the Shroud of Turin body image, using known scientific principles. (He thinks he may have succeeded!)

Imprint of this blogger's hand using new 3-stage technology, starting with dry flour as imprinting medium.

Imprint of this blogger’s hand using new 3-stage technology, starting with dry flour as imprinting medium.

It was in response to the claim by Paolo Di Lazzaro and his colleagues at Italy’s government-run ENEA research institute that the image was too superficial, allegedly as thin as 200nm to be explainable with known science, and that resort to exotic uv laser beams was needed to begin to understand the ghostly image. Well,  a superficial 200nm image would place it on the primary cell wall  (PCW) of linen fibres certainly one might think, making it difficult to model with classical forms of input energy. Or maybe not … Maybe the image is not on the PCW (see later).

The first two years of the project were spent investigating direct contact scorches from a heated metal effigy of the human form. That preoccupation was sustained by a theory, nay hunch, that a scorched-on image of a naked man with no obvious flesh wounds per se (ignoring bloodstains) might not necessarily represent that of a crucified man, but that of someone slow-roasted at the stake, namely Jacques de Molay, Templar Grand Master, thus despatched in Paris in 1314. It was also possible to make contact scorches fainter and more subtle than previously claimed, and to show that they were not only negative imprints but had 3D properties too (sorry, but 3D properties in imprints have no mystique).

Direct scorch imprint (old technology!) onto linen from heated brass crucifix (left) to give negative image. Response to 3D rendering in ImageJ (centre). Combination of tone-reversal -to restore positive image- and 3D-rendering (right). So let's be hearing no more about the 'profoundly mysterious' negative ND 3D properties of the Man on TS. They are the expected properties of any contact imprint.

Direct scorch imprint (old technology!) onto linen from heated brass crucifix (left) to give negative image. Response to 3D rendering in ImageJ (centre). Combination of tone-reversal -to restore positive image- and 3D-rendering (right). So let’s be hearing no more about the ‘profoundly mysterious’ negative ND 3D properties of the Man on TS. They are the expected properties of any contact imprint.

That approach changed dramatically with the new insight gained from the recently recovered Machy mould, with its Veronica-like motif) that the TS image might have been intended to represent a contact imprint left by a recently crucified man,  not only in blood but SWEAT also, the latter being the faint body image.

That idea tallied with the biblical account which describes the fine linen of Joseph of Arimathea being used to receive the body of Jesus from the cross, and then used, possibly stretcher-like to transport to the nearby rock tomb (as depicted in so much medieval (?) art).

See website caption. Medieval? Renaisssance? Who determined the cut-off point?

See original website caption (www.michaeljournal.org/shroud.htm)  Medieval? Renaisssance? Who determined the cut-off point?

Now discarding my art historian hat, and proceeding to don the biblical scholar one, let it be known that the New Testament account in the book of John gives no support to the idea that J of A’s linen was ever used, or intended to be used as the final burial shroud, and indeed there is a strong indication that a different source of fabric, supplied by the oh-so-Jewishly orthodox (?) Nicodemus blokey  was used for that purpose.

That then suggested an entirely different approach on the part of a medieval entrepreneur, namely to SIMULATE /mimic a highly aged sweat imprint of a dead man, full length, with a head to head frontal/dorsal configuration to make immediately clear to the viewer/pilgrim that the image was a body imprint, not a painting, thus accounting for the otherwise peculiar negative “tone-reversed’ properties first restored to a normal “positive” by Secondo Pia with silver-salt photography.

The real eye-opener: Secondo Pia's demonstration that the Ts image was a negative that could be restored to a positive using pre-digitsl photo-processing. The impact of the positive was and still is stupefying, but only because (?) it was being seen for the first time (party pooper interlude).

The real eye-opener: Secondo Pia’s demonstration that the TS image was a negative that could be restored to a positive using pre-digital era silver salt  photo-processing. The impact of that ghostly and serene positive was and still is stupefying, but only because (?) it was being seen for the first time (party pooper insertion).

Late insertion: as a sideline to the “hot template” scorch hypothesis, this blogger experimented briefy in October 2014 – almost a year ago- with an alternative “cold template” hypothesis,  one that could equally well have been applied to a REAL human subject – using oil and white flour to get the imprint that was then developed in a hot oven. He should have stayed with that, and not have been put off by crumbly, easily detachable imprints that were nevertheless remarkably detailed!  It was what’s underneath that mattered!

How might an ancient sweat imprint have been modelled? Initial experiments focused on acids, chosen for their ability to etch or colour linen, first sulphuric acid (H2SO4) which was unsuitable unless dangerously concentrated, then nitric acid (HNO3). While the latter had little effect on linen per se, it became effective if linen was impregnated with any substance that contained protein, turning it yellow via the so-called xanthoproteic reaction. It was quickly discovered that a slurry of white flour in cold water made an effective imprinting medium, the colour of which was then “developed” akin to pre-digital era photography using nitric acid vapour or solution as “developer”.

See this blog’s (outdated) banner above, which will need to be replaced  when  I’ve an hour to spare with the thermochemical  mid-14th- state-of-the-art technology (purely chemical development being oh-so- Spring 2015- fashion).

cropped-new-composite-red-lettering1.jpg

It was then discovered that roasting in an oven served equally well if not better than nitric acid to develop the flour imprint, probably via Maillard browning reactions between proteins and reducing sugars in the flour (note the crucial and possibly novel role of protein in the process). A further improvement was made by imprinting off the human form using DRY white flour onto pre-wetted linen, moulding the latter to body contours. As before, the wet linen and its imprint could be transferred to the oven for colour development. A final optional stage was introduced, namely to wash the roasted linen in soap and water so as to remove encrusted material leaving just a faint and arguably more TS-like image. Using dry powdered flour made that image impressively “fuzzy” and as with earlier scorch images it was negative and showed usually predictable 3D properties (hardly surprising when one learns how the  “3D-rendering” software works). What’s more, colour was localized predominantly on the highest parts of the weave, the so-called crown threads, as seen in the TS. That is explainable in the imprinting model as the result of flour particles attaching to the highest part of the weave, and remaining there during the development process. But did it match the peculiar microscopic properties reported for the TS?

Two in particular stand out in the much cited  STURP (1978, Mark Evans) “photomicrographs” – which scarcely warrant that description, however, being weave and threads in close-up with individual fibres difficult to discern.  One is the so-called two-tone effect, with two types of fibre only: uncoloured versus fully coloured, with no in-betweens. Second are the image discontinuities, where colour can stop abruptly on a particular thread and even fibre. Both those characteristics are seen in the latest flour-imprint model.

Indeed it’s been possible to account for them too, if it’s assumed that the flour-imprint ‘weeps’ its natural oil (1.5%) in the oven and that the oil plays a role in colouring the fibre. The natural oil being limited in amount explains the discontinuities and maybe half tone effect as well. Adding extra vegetable oil promotes faster colour development.

Migrating hot oil hypothesis to account for discontinuities in TS fibre coloration and possibly the so-called 'half-tone' effect too.

Migrating hot oil hypothesis to account for discontinuities in TS fibre coloration and possibly the so-called ‘half-tone’ effect too.

Further evidence in support of the model? Much will depend on where the image is located. Is it really on the most superficial PCW? In the present model, there’s another possibility. Linen has an unusual lignified layer in the outer part of the  (much thicker and tougher) secondary cell wall (SCW) immediately below the PCW.

Credits to follow shortly

Credits to follow shortly

Might the combination of heat and oil produce colouring in the S1, either of the lignin, the surrounding carbohydrate or both? Interestingly one sees no discrete coloration of fibres when cotton replaces linen. It is interesting, maybe significant, that cotton is a much purer form of cellulose with essentially no lignin. (Late addition: lignin was flagged up by BSTS Editor Hugh Farey as long ago as late 2012 as a neglected constituent of linen fibres, one that needed to be considered as possibly being the ‘real’ image chromophore on the TS, not carbohydrates).

Do I think the “Shroud” (quote-unquote) of Turin is a medieval flour imprint?

Ah, I’m glad you asked me that. Here’s my answer, in a single word (sorry, have exceeded my self-imposed 1000 word limit).

Postcript (first of two): got to wondering what folk might discover through googling “FMBRA” and my surname (“meegling”)  in the title. Came across this job ad in New Scientist from 1988!

Amazing what's preserved for posterity on the internet!

Amazing what’s preserved for posterity on the internet! I simply entered (fmbra berry). Search terms in yellow… FMBRA  of Chorleywood, Hertfordshire,UK no longer exists as such, having been merged with another research institute to become CCFRA (Chipping Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association). Its prime function now is to survive and pay this blogger’s monthly pension cheque.

Second postscript: added 30 Aug 2015

Having just modified/updated this blog’s title and credo, I got to thinking about what one might use to replace the banner with its now superceded ‘nitric acid’ technology. It has to be something that fits into a letter-box shaped template, ideally 940 x 198 pixels says WordPress. The first thought was a cut-and-paste horizontal TS image, frontal v dorsal, that being nice and rectangle-box friendly. But that’s such a cliche. Might one be able to MODEL that image, albeit on a small scale? Brainwave. Why not model it with the same brass crucifix that was used above in the now-abandoned direct scorching technology (heated metal scorch) and adapt it to fit the new flour imprinting procedure.  How?  Why didn’t I think of it before? Smear vegetable oil on the both front and rear sides of the crucifix, then dust both sides with dry flour, then wipe any oil/flour from the top of the head, then place rear side down onto the lower half of a vertical rectangle of  wet linen with some soft underlay to imprint the rearside/dorsal image.  Then turn the top end of the linen over the head and proceed to imprint the frontal/ventral image. Isn’t that exactly how the imprinting could have been done with a real person?  What’s more it helps to see how the frontal and dorsal images come to be so-well spaced and aligned if done in a single operation as suggested. One simply has to make sure that corners are properly superimposed, left and right, in the doubled-over linen before proceeding to press cloth onto the contours of the “subject”. Inevitably there will be some who will think I’m reverting to a metal-template model. That’s a risk we’ll have to take.

I had resolved to cease practical experimentation, given how it makes one an easy target for the sour-puss back-biting tendency of sindonology, but I’ll make this one exception, since if it works, the end-result should make an excellent banner for this blog, as well as conveying some subtleties of technique, like use of oil (previously flagged up for both theoretical and practical reasons) and the two modes of imprinting (previously tagged LUWU – Linen Underneath With Underlay- and LOTTO (Linen On Top Then Overlay) that can both be deployed to achieve synchronized double-imprinting.

Third postscript: 12:00, 30 August 2015

Dry-flour imprints onto wet linen from an oil/flour coated plastic template, the imprints then oven-roasted and seen here pre-final attenuation stage (soon to be washed in soap and water to leave a fainter, fuzzier, arguably more TS-like image).

Contact imprints onto wet linen(top)  and wet cotton (bottom)  from an oil-smeared/flour -dusted plastic template. The imprints were then oven-roasted and are shown here pre-final attenuation stage (soon to be washed in soap and water to leave a fainter, fuzzier, arguably more TS-like image).

Well, this result did not take long to obtain, using the latest homely, low-tech, medieval-friendly technology (nope, no uv excimer lasers were used in the making of this image).  A before v after sequence of photos has been used to create the new banner (just added) that replaces the previous ‘nitric acid’ technology shown earlier.

That completes this posting. I shall now move back to my sciencebuzz site.

My sciencebuzz site, going since August 2009/ homepage, This screenshot was from 31 Aug 2015

My sciencebuzz site, going since August 2009.
This screenshot was from 31 Aug 2015

where the next posting will show all the stages in producing the above image, before (above) and after the final image-attenuation step, the latter still homely and low-tech, namely washing in soap and water. That removes the high-intensity surface pigments  (probably Maillard products formed by high-temperature reaction between flour proteins and reducing sugars), leaving the much more subtle wash-resistant image that I suspect is NOT on the surface of the fibres (i.e, not on that PCW above) but in that mysterious lignified layer directly underneath the PCW, namely the outermost, first formed (S1) layer of the SCW.

End of posting.

Colin Berry

(contactable at sciencebod01@aol.com)

30th August 2015

Posted in contact imprint, FMBRA, medieval forgery, Shroud of Turin, sweat imprint, Turin Shroud | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is the Shroud of Turin really just 18 years short of its 2000th birthday? SEE THIS BLOG FOR A DAILY ACERBIC OVERVIEW OF CURRENT WRANGLING (currently 2015, now Week 35)

Topic 8: This one is about the subtelty of the image formed on linen using my latest flour-imprinting technique, i.e. dry flour onto wet linen, followed by brief oven roasting to bring up the orange-brown image, followed by washing with soap and water.

To show how subtle it is, and why it strains the resources of my microscope to display it, I will take you through a series of steps using the microscope. I had originally intended to do it with the final attenuated soap-washed image, but a indicated earlier, that was too super-subtle, making a rod for my own back. What you see now are fields from paler areas on the unwashed linen. Oh yes, I decided to take a look at cotton as well, for reasons to be discussed later, but that can wait for now.

xx 10x objective lens. Top illumination only (optimal). Optimal focus (!)

xx
10x objective lens. Top illumination only (optimal). Optimal focus (!). Note the pale-yellow brown image fibres, a tiny proportion of those in the entire thread.

As above with a tiny clockwise adjustment of the focus wheel, increasing the distance slightly between linen and lens. Now totally out of focus!

As above with a tiny clockwise adjustment of the focus wheel, increasing the distance slightly between linen and lens. Now slightly out of focus! Discrete image fibres now hard to discern.

Slight anticlockwise turn of the focus wheel. Image now totally out -focus. So the first image was optimally focused, as indeed are all microscopic images displayed on this site, even if they look blurred. That is the fault of the microscope, lacking as it does depth of field, when viewing a 3D entity (such as linen). View single fibres instead? It's been trield, see earlier topic, and introduces a whole new range of problems, especially inability to distinguish pale image from non-image fibres, plus the birefringence of isolated fibres generally.

Slight anticlockwise turn of the focus wheel. Image now totally out -focus. So the first image was optimally focused, as indeed are all microscopic images displayed on this site, even if they look blurred. That is the fault of the microscope, lacking as it does depth of field, when viewing a 3D entity (such as linen). View single fibres instead? It’s been trield, see earlier topic, and introduces a whole new range of problems, especially inability to distinguish pale image from non-image fibres, plus the birefringence of isolated fibres generally.

Illumination? Here's the unilluminated specimen. No image fibres visible.

Illumination? Here’s the unilluminated specimen. No image fibres visible.

Here's the same field with illumination from below. Again, no image fibres visible. Test after test has shown that the light source needs to be above the specimen to detect the faint colour of image fibres.

Here’s the same field with illumination from below. Again, no image fibres visible. Test after test has shown that the light source needs to be above the specimen to detect the faint colour of image fibres.

So maybe folk will now appreciate why this investigator makes free (but cautious) use of photoediting to ‘bring up’ the image fibres better, in a manner that avoids, or tries to avoid, introducing artefacts. (The latter can be avoided to some extent by working at low or intermediate magnification when there are familiar things in the field of view that can be used as benchmark references – that kind of precaution being second nature to those with a lifetime in research).

So let’s take that first optimally (top-illuminated) field and enter it into MS Office Picture Manager.

Here it is with maximum saturation (100) in the Color Slide control. Not surprisingly the image fibres are now easier to spot.

Here it is with maximum saturation (100) in the Color Slide control. Not surprisingly the image fibres are now easier to spot. There is also  a pink glow (possibly enhancement of slight fluorescence) that is interesting, in view of the BBC’s Halta image responses, but that can wait for another day. The saturation was then restored to zero, and  chnages made to Brightness, Contrast and Midtone value. Experience has taught me to start with the last of those, moving to minimum setting (-100). One doesn’t need to know how or why it changes the image – regard it as an empirical research tool for making known images more prominent and easier to see.

Midtone value -100. This is a good setting for seeing faint yellow images.

Midtone value -100. This is a good setting for seeing and strengthening faint yellow images.

Here the midtone has been kept at -100, and the contrast moved to its maximum value (100). The image fibres now look exceedingly prominent, but there's a lot of ancillary changes that are less desirable.

Here the midtone has been kept at -100, and the contrast moved to its maximum value (100). The image fibres now look exceedingly prominent, but there’s a lot of ancillary changes that are less desirable.

Finally. here are some 'optimized' settings found by trial and error that 'dramatize' so to speak the image fibres without too much distraction elsewhere.

Finally. here are some ‘optimized’ settings found by trial and error that ‘dramatize’ so to speak the image fibres without too much distraction elsewhere.

Next step. Last night I said on the vexatious shroudstory site that I would be putting up pictures of what happens when one imprints onto cotton instead of linen. I said that I had made a prediction based on the knowledge that cotton is closer to pure cellulose having, among other things, less lignin, and knowing lignin (an unusual variety thereof) is known to be present in flax bast fibres (the raw material for linen manaufacture) that there would almost certainly be differences at the microscopic level if I imprinted with flour onto cotton. Who’s to say the image colour on the TS, AND on my image fibres, is not on the lignin, not the cellulose as generally, and some might think RASHLY assumed. Just because cellulose is the major component does not make it necessarily the prime target for ultraviolet, whether beamed from a laser or not, especially  uv of highly specific wavelengths as generated by excimer lasers.

Given the flak this blogger has received from all directions, some for incautious use of contrast (allegedly), some from an individual who says I should be viewing individual fibres at high mag with his sticky tape method (tried but didn’t work with faint flour imprints) and, to cap it all, the insult from that publicity-hungry photochemically-illliterate show-0ff Dr. Paolo Di Lazzaro, accusing this investigator, 14 years his senior, and equally-well qualified (at least) of not knowing how to use the focus control on a microscope,  that his trained students could do better, I have decided to withhold all photomicrographs that might be seen as controversial, where my microscope or technique could be used in attempt to undermine my credentials as a “Shroud” investigator. (That’s such as it is, not being a member of Di Lazzaro’s secretive “Shroud Science Group” nor having any ambition  to become one). This blogger detests secret gardens. Science should be out in the open, just as Shroudie conferences should routinely schedule time for questions.  Instead I shall take one more look at my gallery of pictures obtained with cotton, taken through exactly the same steps described above for linen, and then write a description of the result in words. It will be appended here later in the day. Watch this space, anyone who’s stayed the course thus far.

It’s now 11:00 UK time, and I’ve just taken another look at the fainter regions of the unwashed, oven-roasted flour imprints of my own hand onto COTTON.  At the gross level (i.e. macro, unaided eye) there is a yellow-brown image, which the uninitiated observer might assume would look the same under the microscope as the similar-looking one on linen. But it doesn’t. It looks totally different. Linen has those discrete coloured fibres, a minority among those that are still very white. In other words, the linen model bears a close resemblance to the so-called half-tone effect seen on the “Shroud” body image. The cotton does NOT show those discrete image fibres. Indeed it difficult if not impossible to see anything that might be described as an image fibre, since there are honey-coloured patches only between clumps of the imprinting medium (still adhering since the cotton was not washed). It’s tempting to propose that the mechanism of imaging with cotton is diffuse, maybe affecting parts of the bulk cellulose, whereas that with the linen is primarily discrete, affecting something on or within the linen fibre that is absent from cotton. The prime suspect has to be lignin, which the Day et al paper of 2005* stated to be underneath the PCW, ie in the S1 layer of the SCW.What’s more, that lignin has an atypical composition, with a high proportion, some 25%  of so-called H-type monomer (hydroxyphenyl groups), high that is in comparison with the major site of lignin in the stem, namely the water-conducting central xylem tissue. The bast fibres of flax help support the phloem, ie. nutrient-transporting cells, though that’s not to say that support is necessarily the only role for that lignin.

*Cut-and-paste of abstract:

Planta. 2005 Oct;222(2):234-45. Epub 2005 Jun 21.

Lignification in the flax stem: evidence for an unusual lignin in bast fibers.

Day A1, Ruel K, Neutelings G, Crônier D, David H, Hawkins S, Chabbert B.

Author information

Abstract

In the context of our research on cell wall formation and maturation in flax (Linum usitatissimum L) bast fibers, we (1) confirmed the presence of lignin in bast fibers and (2) quantified and characterized the chemical nature of this lignin at two developmental stages. Histochemical methods (Weisner and Maüle reagents and KMnO(4)-staining) indicating the presence of lignin in bast fibers at the light and electron microscope levels were confirmed by chemical analyses (acetyl bromide). In general, the lignin content in flax bast fibers varied between 1.5% and 4.2% of the dry cell wall residues (CWRs) as compared to values varying between 23.7% and 31.4% in flax xylem tissues. Immunological and chemical analyses (thioacidolysis and nitrobenzene oxidation) indicated that both flax xylem- and bast fiber-lignins were rich in guaiacyl (G) units with S/G values inferior to 0.5. In bast fibers, the highly sensitive immunological probes allowed the detection of condensed guaiacyl-type (G) lignins in the middle lamella, cell wall junctions, and in the S1 layer of the secondary wall. In addition, lower quantities of mixed guaiacyl-syringyl (GS) lignins could be detected throughout the secondary cell wall. Chemical analyses suggested that flax bast-fiber lignin is more condensed than the corresponding xylem lignin. In addition, H units represented up to 25% of the monomers released from bast-fiber lignin as opposed to a value of 1% for the corresponding xylem tissue. Such an observation indicates that the structure of flax bast-fiber lignin is significantly different from that of the more typical ‘woody plant lignin’, thereby suggesting that flax bast fibers represent an interesting system for studying an unusual lignification process.

PMID:

15968509

[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Topic 7: Well, I tried the recommended technique with the sticky tape, and it didn’t work for me. Maybe the microscope is too basic, or maybe the technique needs more intense scorches, as per the Mark 1 model (imprinting off hot metal templates). Reminder: the new model imprints of a real human subject, one who has been coated with plain flour – now dry, not paste – and then using WET linen to get the imprint. That is then developed in a hot oven, taking just a few minutes, and the resulting bold image is then washed with soap and water to get what I call the final attenuated image that is closer in character to the “Shroud” of Turin.

So where do we go from here – in the quest to get better close up pictures of image fibres, with a view to seeing precisely where the image resides – on or in the fibres (present results suhggesting the latter)? There’s a technique this blogger developed during the R&D for Mark 1 scorching that will now be resurrected. it’s actually quite pretty (though I say it myself) so I will now proceed to describe it step-by-step, and hopefully, by the end of the day, be able to show some new microscopic images, up to inyermediate ,magnification (highest magnification on my microscope being a waste of time when one can no longer see the image colour, when the images are poorly resolved, when there are no reference points within the tiny field of view making it all to easy to be mistake artifacts for real images).

Here’s a series of pix which I’ll upload as a batch, and then add captions at leisure in the next hour or two.

1.

1. Final attenuated soap-washed image (left) compared with bold image as it appears straight from the oven (right).

2.

2. Here’s a handy way of observing threads and occasional surface fibres- by pulling threads from the centre of the weave to as to view warp or weft cross threads with lots of surrounding space.

3.

3. Here’s the appearance under low power. This method is good for looking at the transition zone between coloured v uncloured threads,

4.

4 Here’s a pulled thread, again showing the transition zone.

5.

5. Here’s another method, which is to strip threads from a cut edge of the linen, again with alternating bands of image v non-image.

6.

6. Here’s the piece de resistance. Provided the pulled thread is long enough, one wets the end, and then rolls the thread between thumb and forefinger so as to gradually unspin the fibres.

7.

7. One needs to explore a range of option for obtaining the best view. Here I am using a black background with overhead illumination. The latter can be usefully supplemented on occasions, eith with daylight from a window or using a hand-held lamp at different angles.

Back shortly (it being 09:00 on Aug 27, 2015)

It’s now 09:30. Here’s a preview of what relatively low-power microscopy can achieve, using the teasing-out technique described (though photoediting helps to enhance the salient features):

Image fibre in apposition with non-image

Image fibre in apposition with non-image (low mag, 4X objective lens). Note the extreme faintness of the coloration (which is why this work is such a challenge, with no easy remedies, far less panaceas). Let’s see how that coloration can be enhanced without producing gross or misleading artifacts.

Here's the same at greater magnification (10x objective lens( still without enhancement.

Here’s the same at greater magnification (10x objective lens( still without enhancement).

Here's the same picture, with the colour saturation slide moved from 0 to 100 in MS Office Picture Manager.

Here’s the same picture, with the colour saturation slide moved from 0 to 100 in MS Office Picture Manager.

Here's the same after making major adjustments to midtone value and contrast.

Here’s the same after making major adjustments to midtone value and contrast. Note the ‘solid-looking’ nature of the colour. Does the coloration in this model  really reside on the most superficial PCW (200-600nm thick?) as claimed for the “Shroud”?

I’ll b back later with more photomicrographs on image fibres, probably as Topic 8 to go on top of this one.

Topic 6: Want to see something truly amazing? The current experiment is to compare linen v cotton as the fabric for receiving the model “Shroud of Turin” imprint. But there were two samples of cotton in the house – a thin one, as used for pillow cases, and a thick close-weave one, bought in France as a decorator’s cloth for protecting furniture.

I could scarcely believe my eyes when the imprint onto the thick cotton came out the oven. It was a bas relief of my hand!

A bas relief imprint - totally unexpected!

A bas relief imprint – totally unexpected!

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? The “Shroud” is thick linen. Would thick linen behave like thick cotton? Was the original “Shroud” of Turin a semi-3D image.

Let’s put that bas relief imprint into ImageJ and see how it behaves!

Topic 5:

New revised, updated edition!

New revised, updated edition!

Topic 4:  Curiosity-driven  yellow-tailed ant can’t understand why he (or she)  keeps seeing the underside of blue-tailed ant (and vice versa).

ants on mobius strip blue v yellow

But yellow-tailed ant is not willing to accept that as the natural order of things, simply the world ‘the way it is’.  Yellow-tailed ant has an  IDEA, which develops into a model, a SCIENTIFIC model, one that is testable.

Yellow-tailed ant puts down some red paint.

ants on mobius strip blue v yellow with red paintYellow-tailed ant then looks a while later at the underside of blue ant and notes that blue ant is leaving a trail of red footprints, as indeed are all the other ants.

Yellow ant is a rather unusual ant. Yellow ant not only has curiosity about the peculiar world in which he finds himself. Yellow ant is not content simply to express ideas and opinions about why the world is the peculiar way it is and immediately expect every other ant  to believe him. Yellow ant sets up an experiment to test his ideas. Yellow ant is what’s known as a “scientist”.

From earlier:

Hello again folks. It’s now Day 3 of Week 35, and this is Topic 3 – a follow-on from yesterday’s Topic 2 (see below). Yes, microscopy is still in progress on my modelling of the “Shroud” of Turin by imprinting my hand,  coated with dry white flour onto wet linen, then heating in an oven to develop a strong orangey-brown negative image (yup, negative, with 3D properties) and finally attenuating the image by washing in soap and water and finally drying.

The only trouble is that I have still to do the experimental work. It involves taking sticky tape samples from my flour-imprinted images, and viewing them under high magnification in order to compare with certain images in a certain pdf that shall remain nameless (for reasons that will be discussed later, except to say that I disapprove strongly of that format when there’s no facility for attaching a comment. Indeed, I consider it an abuse of internet). Sticky tape has proved problematical to this investigator in the past, but it has one thing in its favour – namely the ability to see colour at high magnification, provided the illumination is right – and that’s an aspect where my recent new technique of deploying a hand-held torch might help).

Hopefully there will be something to post here by the end of the day.

It’s now 15:15 UK time, and for the last four hours this investigator has been struggling to get the ‘recommended technique’ to work (a) with his very basic microscope and (b) with his attenuated image samples.

Chief problem? It’s difficult to distinguish between image and non-image fibres as one increases the magnification. They all start to look the same. At the highest magnifcation (40X objective lens multiplied by the magnification of the USB sender (?)) the fibres all look pale and ghostly, and the tiniest movement of the focusing wheel produces weird effects due to fibre birefringence. There had to be some modification of usual microscopic technique as well. Instead of back-lighting, which reduces all images to B/W, wiping out any faint coloration, I have had to place a matt black background under the microscope slides, and view with top illumination only – that of the microscope’s built-in lamp, but often needing to be supplemented with a hand-held LED lamp.

Sticky tape sample of mixed fibres (mixed image and non-image).

Sticky tape sample of mixed fibres (mixed image and non-image).

Viewing the sticky tape under the microscope, top magnification, matt black backround with overhead lighting, supplemented on occasions with a hand-held LED lamp.

Viewing the sticky tape under the microscope, top magnification, matt black backround with overhead lighting, supplemented on occasions with a hand-held LED lamp.

So much for the difficulties. Here is my ‘best’ result, the others not worthy of reporting, and being ‘best’ may not be typical.

Faint brown image fibre stripped off linen with oven-roasted then attenuated flour-imprint image.

Faint brown image fibre stripped off linen with oven-roasted then attenuated flour-imprint image.

As above, after applying maximum colour saturation.

As above, after applying maximum colour saturation.

As above, after then reducing midtone value to near-mimimum, increasing contrast with minor change in brightness.

As above, after then reducing midtone value to near-mimimum, increasing contrast with minor change in brightness.

Here are the three steps in a single graphic:

“As is” result on left with the two further stages of image enhancement described above.

Here's the result when one does the same with uncoloured fibres - essentially no change.

Here’s the result when one does the same with uncoloured fibres – entirely different response.

Interpretation: I have tried the recommended ‘sticky tape’ procedure. It was hugely problematical for the reasons stated, but the result gives no reason for withdrawing the previous claim (suggestion?), namely that the image produced in the new model system may reside on the SCW, not the PCW, and the same might therefore be true for the “Shroud” image, given the close correspondence between TS and the new model system (especially the halftone effect and discontinuities).

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Topic 2 – a follow-on from yesterday’s Topic 1 (see below). Yes, microscopy is still in progress on my modelling of the “Shroud” of Turin by imprinting my hand,  coated with dry white flour onto wet linen, then heating in an oven to develop a strong orangey-brown negative image (yup, negative, with 3D properties) and finally attenuating the image by washing in soap and water and finally drying.

Yes, I’m not only persevering with my simple and very basic microscopy techniques. I’m forever tweaking them with a view to enhancing a particular effect described earlier –  one in which the final attenuated colour seems to be inside the linen fibre, not right on its surface.

Btw: this long-in-the-tooth investigator is a stubborn old goat. Once he’s found a good spot on which to stand on the perilous rock face of exploratory science, one with a new and arguably superior vantage point, he’s not going to let another old, or not-quite-so-old goat try barging in, claiming the spot as his own, saying that he’s really far better qualified to occupy the new vantage point, especially as he can then tell others where to look, and not be distracted by parts of the scenery which are deemed to be irrelevant.

To business:

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Still taking samples from the attenuated flour imprint. Other linen samples scattered around.

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This was the conventional illumination that was optimum for spotting coloured fibres – from above, using th microscope’s own inbuilt, fixed angle lamp.

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Once an interesting fibre has been spotted, the fixed lamp is switched off, and this hand-held high-intensity lamp then used to find the optimum illumination, tested through 360 degrees and high versus low angle (here relatively low).

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Here’s a gallery of 22 pictures, all from the same field of view, with different angles of illumination, and different types of photoediting in MS Office Picture Manager.

Observations are still in progress on that particular specimen, presently viewed with the intermediate level of magnification (x10 objective). I have no great desire at present to use the x40 lens (see reasons later). Meanwhile here are my 3 model-friendly favourites:

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1st: a particular fibre that has been illuminated from a low angle from the “north- west” approx, then given max colour saturation, then given max contrast.

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Second: It’s the same as above, but without the final contrast.

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Third: it’s the same as above, but without the extra saturation. In other words it’s the “as-is” output from the microscope’s USB attachment as seen on screen  before photoediting.

The interpretation bit comes later. Time to take a break.

Original preamble to the week’s new posting:

Hello folks. It’s now Monday of Week 35 in my new blogging format, where I shall be posting Topic by Topic. This is Topic No 1. Later ones will be added on top, so as to be easier to find when flagged up elsewhere (notable Dan Porter’s shroudstory site which, for all its faults, and oh boy are they many, is needed to give this blogger a bridge to Google rankings – thanks to its funny old algorithm).

Let’s cut straight to the chase. One of the Usual Suspects on the shroudstory site, he with an exceedingly high opinion of himself, has attempted to rubbish this blogger’s microscopy. Never mind the details for now. This investigator, with three previous scientific models under his belt, all published in peer-reviewed journals (1972, 1974-78, 1986-90), is always prepared to take criticism on board and improve his experimental technique, including that of microscopy. I’ll first put up some new images generated by my latest flour-imprinting model, using a small modification of technique, one that backs up my previous claim that an image does not have to be on the primary cell wall (PCW) but may be on the layer immediately underneath (details later).

Note the vertical image fibre from flour imprinting, as seen under the microscope with its own top-illumination.

Note the vertical image fibre from flour imprinting, as seen under the microscope with the new illumination technique (side-lining  that of the microscope with its fixed-angle top-illumination mode).

Now see it photoedited under the minimal value for midtone value, WITHOUT any adjustment to contrast.

Now see it photoedited under the minimal value for midtone value, WITHOUT any adjustment to contrast.

Now see it with maximum contrast.

Now see it with maximum contrast.

Now see it on the same cumulative settings with a small decrease in brightness.

Now see it on the same cumulative settings with a small decrease in brightness.

What do we see here? I say we see an image fibre in which the pigmentation is not on the most superficial layer, ie. the primary cell wall (PCW), but is actually inside the fibre. Where? As proposed earlier, the image may reside in or on a little known lignified layer that lies directly beneath the PCW, namely the S1 (the first formed secondary cell wall).

How were these images obtained? Answer, by deploying a slight change in microscopic technique flagged up earlier on  the shroudstory site.

Practical details will follow later in the day.

Practical details: here’s an image that appeared early on in the posted that preceded this one (Topic 2) with its original caption:

From this blogger's recent photoarchive: Left: a typical imprint of his hand using a wet flour slurry, followed by heating (hot iron). Right: a much fuzzier more TS-like image obtained by imprinting with dry flour onto wet linen, followed by heat treatment (oven) and final washing with soap and water for that iconic ghostly-look. The cut-out sample was for microscopy.

From this blogger’s recent photoarchive: Left: a typical imprint of his hand using a wet flour slurry, followed by heating (hot iron).
Right: a much fuzzier more TS-like image obtained by imprinting with dry flour onto wet linen, followed by heat treatment (oven) and final washing with soap and water for that iconic ghostly-look. The cut-out sample was for microscopy.

It’s the one on the right that is relevant – the image one obtains with the more recent flour-imprinting technology (dry flour powder this is, not wet slurry, imprinted onto wet linen). But it’s the final attenuated image -after washing  with soap and water – not straight from the oven. It’s the image I regard as having the closest resemblance to thje TS – faint, fuzzy etc.

So today I retrived that image, and cut more pieces from it to look more closely at the microscopic features, ones that have previously been reported here to bear an uncanny resemblance to the TS ( half-tone effect, discontinuities etc).

Here’s the same image,re-photographed  this morning,  being steadily snipped away for microscopy:

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Yes, the attenuated image- an imprint of this blogger’s fingers – is faint – as per TS! That’s because it was washed with soap and water after the oven-roasting stage.

How to get optimal imaes from top-illuminated linen fibres?

Answer; dispense with one’s microscope’s own fixed position light source.

Microscope with external LED light source (hand held, variable angle) for optimal illumination.

Microscope with external LED light source (hand held, variable angle) for optimal illumination.

Switch it off completely. use a hand-held light source that can be beamed through 360 degrees until one finds the optimum angle for whatever one happens to be looking at.

More to follow:

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

Is the Shroud of Turin really just 18 years short of its 2000th birthday? SEE THIS BLOG FOR A DAILY ACERBIC OVERVIEW OF CURRENT WRANGLING (currently 2015, Week 34)

Topic 9: Why are some of the thread crossover junctions coloured in the  Shroud body image zones, in addition to crown threads?

32x Photomicrograph of the Shroud of Turin showing Image at the small of the back. Note coloration in some junction areas as well as the better-known crown threads.

32x Photomicrograph of the Shroud of Turin showing Image at the small of the back. Note coloration in some junction areas as well as the better-known crown threads.

The above has had a little added contrast. Here’s the ‘as-is” image from Mario L’s site:

32x Photomicrograph of the Shroud of Turin showing Image at the small of the back

32x Photomicrograph of the Shroud of Turin showing Image at the small of the back

An experiment with lycopene-enriched sunflower oil offers a possible answer.

This experiment was prompted by a curious feature in the Mark Evans microphotographs. It’s not just the thread crowns that are coloured – easily explainable in a contact-only imprinting model – but some of the recessed areas of the weave where one thread dips down under another, herafter called the junction areas. Might this anomaly be explained in this blogger’s ‘oil-seepage’ model?  There are two sources of oil to be considered: oil that is intrinsic to the flour imprinting medium, i.e. endogenous oil, approx 1.5% by weight, but there’s another source that needs to be considered – exogenous oil. That’s the fancy name for additional oil that may have been used to get better imprinting (already demonstrated by showing that one gets faster and more intense development of colour in the oven when there’s vegetable oil as well as flour). There’s another practical reason for using oil. Instead of dusting skin with dry flour only, one first smears oil over the skin, then dusts with flour, and then inprints onto the wet linen. The film of oil is a way of ensuring a more even coating of flour on the skin, quite apart from its beneficial effect on image devolopment in the hot oven.

As mentioned earlier, one would like to colour up the vegetable oil in some fashion, but there would be a delay in ordering, say, Sudan Black (a fat-soluble blue-black dyestuff), and there’s the small matter of it being suspected to be a carcinogen. As a rough-and-ready alternative, I have used the oil-soluble  lycopene of tomato paste, responsible for the res colour of tomatoes, as marker. Lycopene is a hydrocarbon carotenoid, C4H56. All one has to do to get red vegetable oil is to mic tomato paste and water, add the vegetable oil, then bring to the boil. One then takes off the orange oil that floats on the surface.

Tomato paste, before boiling with water and sunflower oil.

Tomato paste, before boiling with water and sunflower oil.

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End-result: lycopene-coloured vegetable oil

A number of combinations of flour +/- lycopene oil and lycopene oil+/- flour were tested in the standard procedure of imprinting onto wet linen and then placing in a hot oven.

Here’s an intermediate stage in the oven-heating:

Intermediate stage: best colour development in the lycopene oil/flour micture. Sample removed for microscopy before returning to oven.

Intermediate stage: best colour development in the lycopene oil/flour micture. Sample removed for microscopy before returning to oven.

Here’s the final appearance after a further few minutes in the oven:

Highly intense coloration in the oil/flour area while the flour-only control has scarcely started to colour. Also interesting is the colour in the oil-only imprint. Is that entirely due to the lycopene? What is the distribution of colour under the microscope? Are there resemblances with the

Highly intense coloration in the oil/flour area while the flour-only control has scarcely started to colour. Also interesting is the colour in the oil-only imprint. Is that entirely due to the lycopene? What is the distribution of colour under the microscope? Are there resemblances with the “Shroud” body image (or parts thereof)?

Microscopy results to follow in the next hour or so.

Back again (17:00) having been preoccupied with shroudstory’s coverage of this posting and the usual crop of highly judgemental and/or agenda-driven comments. (All that matters where this investigator is concerned is establishing the facts re the ‘enigmatic’ body image, it looking  increasingly explicable – albeit ingenious in its directness and simplicity – with each passing hour).

Here are 4 photomicrographs showing what my lycopene-coloured vegetable oil did to linen fibres in the thread cross-over junctions. Thanks goodness for contrast-enhancement, since the effect might otherwise have been easily overlooked.

“As is” left; added contrast (right).

“As is” left; added contrast (right).

“As is” left; added contrast (right).

“As is” left; added contrast (right).

Time now to go and have another peep at the shroudstory site. Will be back later this evening to ask whether the above  experiment achieved its objectives, namely to cast light on the reasons for the TS body image being in the cross-over junctions as well as thread crowns, and whether oil – endogenous or exogenous – might have played a role in the coloration at that unexpected location.

Interpretation: since oil alone is capable of producing colour at the junction areas, lower in the weave than the crowns, it is maybe appropriate to flag up a further development of the flour imprinting hypothesis. So far, the crown colration is pictured as having two components. The  first is the prominent orange colour one sees on removeal from the oven, which is provisonally regarded as a Maillard reaction product (confirmatory evidence required). However, that is too intense to be a model for the TS image. For that, one has to attenuate the image, e.g. by washing vigoroulsy in soap and water to dislodge the encrusted orange material. One is then left with the fait, fuzzy TS-like image. But that is not necessarily on the surface of the fibres. It might be inside, as previously suggested, and while its precise chemical nature is conjectural, the halftone effect and discontinuites have led this investigator to think it may be due to migration of something from the heated flour when it becomes very hot, possibly the endogenous lipids (oils and melted fats, phospholipids etc). Given they are minot components of white flour, typically 1.5% by weight, the coloration is confined to the crowns. So what about the junction coloration one sees on the TS? Since that can be modelled with exogenous vegetable oil, it  is tempting to see that as a prior evidence that exogenous oil was used in addition to flour to produce the body image. It’s not difficult to imagine the subject being given a light smear with oil first in order to assist with more even adhesion of  flour to skin before the imprinting onto wet linen. The oil has the added advanatge of accelerating the image colpour formation in the linen. Why the jubnction location? Probably a response to gravity. As the linen heats up and the water evaporates, the fibres become drier, and the oil can then begin to sink to the lowest point in the weave. It then enters the fibres and wicks up the channels inside, possibly the central lumen, thought that’s of very small bore. There’s the new alternative  to consider, namely a lignin-enriched S1 layer in the outer part of the secondary cell wall, immediately below the PCW. might that be the true location of the TS image, whether the thermal development of colour was reliant on trace amounts of endogenous oil, or larger amounts of exogenous oil?

Addendum: 18:22

Here’s a new microphotograph, obtained just a few minutes ago on a single excised thread from a flour-only imprint onto wet linen:

Left:

Left: “as-is”. Right: some added contrast. Note the coloured image fibres, which this investigator says have brown interiors with uncoloured outer coats.

I shall post this image to shroudstory as a riposte, and say that the next step is to tease those threads apart in order to view what clearly and unequivocally will be separate fibres, where there can then be no confusion between fibres and spaces between fibres.

Topic 8: switching to higher magnification microscopy – tending to  confirm one’s suspicions that the image colour is UNDER the primary cell wall (PCW), not a coloration of the PCW per se.

A short while ago, this blogger/investigator was exulting over the fact that the imprints of his fingers made with white flour onto skin first smeared with vegetable oil confirmed a suspicion that oil had a part to play in image formation.  The images appeared faster in the hot oven. What’s more, the image fibres were more easily visible under the microscope – being of variable and often bolder intensity (no  wishy-washy halftone effect!).  That alone made the revised model more credible.  Nothing beats a prediction confirmed!

A decision was made to concentrate on that oil-supplemented system to explore further with the microscope under higher power – the extra magnification and bolder/darker images making it easier to see where precisely the colour was located in individual fibres. (Model systems have their uses – even if ‘pushing the envelope’ somewhat!).

Well, here’s another finding that has this blogger thanking his good fortune, or heading off down a blind alley (only time will tell, but it should be clear ny now that wherever possible – and much to the chagrin of some – I tend to use a model-based approach when doing science, believing it to generate more useful data in a shorter time, even if the initial model has later to be abandoned in the light of the new data).

“As image” faint yellow image fibres, flour/oil imprint onto wet linen, microwaved.

Now look at the same image with maximum contrast, looking especially in the yellow rectangle. can you see what I can see?

As above with maximum contrast.

As above with maximum contrast. Note the coloured fibre highlighted. Note the coloration lies beneath a glossy reflective layer(PCW?) that is uncoloured!

Late addition (Sunday 23  Aug ): have just been told by Thibault Heimburger that there are two fibres inside the rectangle, that the brown region is background.

In fact this blogger studied a sizeable number of images, using gradations of contrast to arrive at his decision that structure one sees is a single fibre, albeit a ‘fattish’ one (image fibres vary enormously in diameter). The brown cannot be background because it frequently shows fine structure that is typical of linen fibres, notably those nodes, aka dislocations. Here’s another image from my archive that makes the point better perhaps than the one above.

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Note the ‘fine structure’ in those brown areas. They are not background. They are the pigmented inner zone of individual fibres that have glossy reflective outer coats, probably uncoloured PCW.

Image on the most superficial part of the linen fibre, i.e, the primary cell wall?  Image in the central lumen of narrow bore? I think not. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I’d say the image, i.e. yellow or brown coloration,  was just under the PCW.

Now why would that be? Cue image-receptive LIGNIN present in the S1 layer (first-formed secondary cell wall, after the PCW has been completed, to be found  immediately underneath the PCW) ? Yes, it’s a long shot I know, but this location for the image layer would seem to tick a lot of boxes. Listing those boxes and ticking them might take some time – days rather than hours. Please bear with me.

Addendum: Saturday 22 Aug 22:10

Am now getting the hang of using the microscope with the x10 objective. It’s a question of knowing where to look, and thius is where the oil-supplemented model comes into its own, acting as a ‘souped-up’ version of the flour only model.

Here’s a new feature that hopefully illustrates my point. When one looks at the cross-over points (warp over weft or weft over warp) in the oil-supplemented model one sees heavily pigmented fibres emerging a short way from the junction, and then ceasing abruptly, i.e. showing the famous ‘discontinuity effect”. Increasing the contrast appears to support the previous suspicion, namely that the pigment is INSIDE the fibre, not just a coloration on the surface.  But is that effect visible in the FLOUR-ONLY model? Yes, it is, as the following pictures show, but without the lead from the oil-supplemented model it would probably have been overlooked, or passed off as a trick of the light.

flour +oil-supplemented (left) verus flour only (right).

Flour + oil-supplemented (left) versus flour only (right). “As is” photomicrograph, x10 objective lens.

Here’s the same photo, with added contrast:

Oops. Inavertently deleted. Will restore shortly.

TOPIC 7: Moving to higher magnification  (and poorer resolution).

Have just posted this comment to shroudstory.com, after composing the section that follows:

Comment to shroudstory re lignin, laser beams etc

Comment to shroudstory re lignin, laser beams etc

All this investigator’s photomicrographs of image fibres from model “Shroud” studies have been obtained using the lowest power objective lens (x4) on his bargain basement micoscope, and captured on screen via a handy USB attachment that replaces the objective lens. I’ve been reluctant to display images at higher magnification (using the x10 objective lens) on account of the poor resolution – which is less a criticism of the microscope, but more a statement of the formidable problem of viewing whole linen fibres with their highly light reflecting/refracting properties that make it difficult to make out internal structure, apart that is from those peculiar and distinctive nodes that give linen fibres their distinctive bamboo-cane like appearance.

However, I’ll depart from previous practice and show a couple of pictures through the x10 objective of the imprints obtained from dry flour/wet  linen in last’s night’s brief exploration of the microwave oven (which gives essentially the same results as the conventional oven) to show where the ‘seeping oil’  hypothesis is heading. (Reminder to one or two self-styled experts on all matters scientific and/or medical: hypotheses are for generating ideas for new experiments, and not to be regarded as dangerous heresies).

More to follow. (This blogger reports results and interpretation – right or wrong – in real time).

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Dry flour/wet linen imprint after microwave oven heating. Left: “as is” image. Right: with maximum contrast

As above, different field from same sample of heated linen.

As above, different field from same sample of heated linen.

Where is the coloration on these fibres? On the outside? Or maybe underneath the primary cell wall? Is it premature to suppose that the image is on the primary cell wall? Is there anything else that might have acquired colour, maybe not quite so superficial, in the course of the imprinting/heating stage.

Here’s the title page of a paper that might, just might, hold the answer to linen coloration by (a) the chemistry taking place in the current model system (b) yellowing of linen on ageing, exposure to light etc (c) possibly even Di Lazzaro’s uv laser-pulses.

The focus is on lignin, the stuff that reinforces cellulose to make woody stems in shrubs and trees, but is present too in flax peripheral bast cells that are associated with the nutrient-transporting phloem cells ( NOT the more central woody water-transporting xylem tissue). Lignin is a highly resinous, water-repellent i substance.Chemically it is a polycyclic aromatic polymer.  caveat. Caveat: the paper, which I tried to buy at great expense from the publishers but gave up on the intrusive registration system, is about the location of lignin in flax, not linen post-retting, and some of the lignin is in the matrix material that binds fibres together. Retting digests the pectins and other fermentable carbohydrates, separating individual fibres. But there’s still lignin present WITHIN the fibres, according to the paper’s abstract. What’s more, it in the S1 layer, the first formed secondary cell wall that is immediately underneath the PCW. Suppose it was this lignin, not the PCW, that was the target for yellowing in my model system (maybe the TS too?).  Note the way that Rogers’ guesstimate of 200nm for the image layer thickness, which Di Lazzaro not unreasonably identifies with the PCW (rejecting as I do Rogers’ impurity “starch” coating) has been widened now to a range, extending in some communications up to 600nm! Might Rogers’ image layer that was left behind in the hydrocarbon adhesive on his Mylar sticky tapes have been more than just PCW? Might it have been PCW plus a lignified zone of the outermost (S1) secondary cell wall.   Is that what we are seeing in those photomicrographs above – coloration that may be skin deep, but not in the most superficial PCW, but a little deeper.

So on needs to consider mechanisms by which colour can extend along a fibre. If the coloration is highly uniform, as suggested by the ‘halftone’ effect in “Shroud fibres, then the ‘seeping oil’ hypothesis needs further consideration and testing. If on the other hand there’s a decreasing gradient of image intensity along the fibre, at least in model systems,   there would be no need to invoke the seeping oil hypothesis (which at least earned its keep in predicting the faster browning of the flour imprints that were oil-supplemented). The model system with such a gradient would leave open a role for simple heat conduction along fibres from a hotspot, explaining the gradient (the further from hotspot the cooler).  So a bit more careful microscopy is needed, keeping in mind more than one hypothesis for explaining the model system. What a pity we have only the Mark Evans pix, 8 in particular,  to assist with modelling, their showing for the most part fibres in bundles only, i.e. whole threads, though with an interesting exception that will be re-examined. Confusing, isn’t it? What will the experts make of it all, one wonders? What’s their working model? Oops. One’s not supposed to ask that…  Expect to wait a long time for an answer, or to be lectured on one’s cussedness

TOPIC 6: Idea for tomorrow’s experiment: introduce a little oil at the imprinting stage:

There’s something very odd about the coloration of the “Shroud” fibres at the microscopic level. It’s to do with (a) the unifomity of coloration between different fibres (b) discontinuities on coloration, i.e. a sudden loss of coloration on particular fibres and (c) the coloration affecting the entire circumference of each fibre (we’re told). The model studies to date reported here with the dry flour/wet linen imprinting seem to match at least two of those characteristics , i.e. (a) and (b) . Who knows, maybe (c) too if I make an effort to view each fibre in the round, maybe by using high magnification on coloured fibres that have separated – or been separated – from neighbours in a thread.

What on earth could have caused those weird characteristics?

Migrating hot oil hypothesis to account for discontinuities in TS fibre coloration and possibly the so-called 'half-tone' effect too.

Migrating hot oil hypothesis to account for discontinuities in TS fibre coloration and possibly the so-called ‘half-tone’ effect too.

Well, an idea occurred to this blogger a few minutes ago, and what’s more it’s testable after a fashion, so much so that it will be performed tomorrow and the result reported on the end of this Topic, whichever way it goes.

The idea? Plain white flour from wheat has a small amount of lipid (approx 1.5%) . The latter is the collective terms for fats (solid at ordinary temperatures) and oils (liquid).  If my memory serves me well, the lipid of flour is entirely oil, or nearly so.

How’s that oil likely to behave when a flour imprint on linen is placed in a hot oven? My guess is that as it heats up,  its viscosity will decrease. It will become runnier, and start to spread. But it has nowhere to go except the surface  (sub-surface? interior?) of  each fibre, first spreading the short distance around the circumference and then starting to migrate/track  along the length of the fibre until a point is reached when it’s spread as far as it can go. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? As that film of oil gets hotter it will start to “fry” the carbohydates and proteins causing a faint and even coloration, due to the limiting amount of oil in any one place. As for the mechanism of coloration, well that’s anyone’s guess. It might be a Maillard reaction between protein and reducing sugars (there’s about 1.5% of those in white flour). It might be a caramelization of sugars, needing no protein, or it might be some kind of reaction between oil and flour. Irrespective, the mechanism is not the issue right now. What matters is testing the hypothesis. But how?

There are ways of de-fatting foods, notably by organic solvent extraction, but I’m  not equipped to do that at home. However, there’s another approach, which is to introduce a little extra oil into the system, and see if  one gets more coloration of fibres relative to untreated controls.

Experimental plan: I will smear a thin film of oil onto half of my hand, then coat the entire hand with flour, and then imprint onto linen, and then pop into the oven. Will the oil-coated half then proceed to brown faster than the control, and if so, will its appearance under the microscope give support to the proposed mechanism? We shall see. Watch this space (tomorrow, Thursday Aug 20).

REPORTING BACK!

It’s now Thursday am, and a small scale pilot to test my prediction based on the ‘hot oil’ hypothesis has just this minute been completed. I’ll show a few photos first to show what was done and then the macro-level result.  (Anyone with half an hour or less to spare can do this at home to see if they get the same result!).

Sunflower oil was chosen for the first test (it was that or olive oil).

1. Sunflower oil was chosen for the first test (it was that or olive oil).

Taking an imprint using dry FLOUR and sunflower OIL onto wet linen (labelled C). Note controls on left (FLOUR only, labelled A, and OIL only, labelled B)

2. Taking an imprint using dry FLOUR and sunflower OIL onto wet linen (labelled C). Note controls on left (FLOUR only, labelled A, and OIL only, labelled B)

Taking a peep inside the oven. Yes. the combination of FLOUR and OIL is browning faster, exactly as predicted. In fact, it was removed from the oven ahead of the controls, since I did not want it excessively browned, given that microscopy needs to be done on an optimally-browned sample.

3. Taking a peep inside the oven. Yes. the combination of FLOUR and OIL is browning faster, exactly as predicted. In fact, it was removed from the oven ahead of the controls, since I did not want it excessively browned, given that microscopy needs to be done on an optimally-browned sample.

Here are the three test specimens side by side.

4. Here are the three test specimens side by side.

Interestingly, even the OIL only control (centre) shows a pale-yellow discoloration, more than would be expected from the intrinsic yellow colour of sunflower oil. It will be interesting to see how it looks under the microscope, alongside the paler  fibres from C. Might the half tone effect be attributable to migrating oil, as per hypothesis? It’s all starting to look very promising.

Back to the microscope: will show a selection here later in the day.

Time now 08:15 in the UK. I’m reporting results as I get them in real time. Here’s B (OIL only control) under the low power microscope. Note the faint yellow patch, distinct from white fibres.

Close up of yellow discoloration produced by roasting an imprint of my fingers on wet linen using vegetable oil only as imprinting medium.

5. Close up of yellow discoloration produced by roasting in hot oven an imprint of my fingers onto wet linen using vegetable oil only as imprinting medium.

The same as above, given maximum contrast in MS Office Picture Manager.

6. The same as above, given maximum contrast in MS Office Picture Manager.

Now let’s take a look at the other control, FLOUR only, still as is (not soap-washed as per final attenuation step), and see if that shows the expected appearance, based on my recent experiments, i.e. selective coloration of the thread crowns.

Reporting back: 08:35

FLOUR only control (still to be washed) with gummy resinous-looking imprint, largely though not exclusively confined to the crowns of threads.

7. FLOUR only control (still to be washed) with gummy resinous-looking imprint, largely though not exclusively confined to the crowns of threads.

Fine. So the FLOUR only control is broadly in line with expectations. (It will be washed later and re-photographed to show the fainter image that survives).

Now for the interesting part: the FLOUR with added VEGETABLE OIL. Back once more to the microscope.

Time now 10:20. Have spent the last hour or two amazed at the variety of new detail in the FLOUR/OIL photomicrographs. In fact there’s so much to see that it would be a mistake to try and summarise it here. I shall be content to display a few fields that make a point.

Here’s one for starters:

Singleintensely-coloured fibre in the FLOUR/OIL imprinted linen showing a discontinuity.

8. Single intensely-coloured fibre in the FLOUR/OIL imprinted linen showing a discontinuity.

Yes, one of the most striking differences in the oil-supplemented flour imprints is the much greater range of colour intensities, i.e. no “halftone” effect. It’s esay to spot high-intensity fibres like the one above, and then to spot those discontinuities that exist (as above). Is this surprising? Hardly. The model accounts for the half-tone effect in unsupplemented flour as the due to there being limiting amounts of oil, that present in natural wheat grain endosperm and thence white flour. There’s enough to ‘bleed out’ of flour particles and track along linen fibres, producing a faint yellow coloration, but not enough to produce an intense one. When there’s no shortage of oil, as in the oil-supplemented system, it’s then possible to exceed greatly the halftone level of coloration. Note however that discontinuities still exist.

Well now, that didn’t take long: three samples processed,  examined and reported on.

Here’s the present state of play:

Experimental test of the 'hot seeping oil' hypothesis: end of Stage 1. The next step is to wash the samples with soap and re-examine under the microscope (cut outs for the completed first stage post-oven/ pre-wash microscopy can be seen, shaped-coded so as to avoid mix-ups).

9. Experimental test of the ‘hot seeping oil’ hypothesis: end of Stage 1. The next step is to wash the samples with soap and re-examine under the microscope (cut outs for the completed first stage post-oven/ pre-wash microscopy can be seen, shaped-coded so as to avoid mix-ups).

Where are we at? Close to the finishing line would be my guess as regards the body image. It can be accounted for as a dry flour imprint onto wet linen that seeped its natural flour oil (1.5% approx by weight) during oven roasting, causing the hot oil to track along individual linen fibres producing yellow half-tone coloration with discontinuities when/where oil was limiting. It is not impossible that imprinting of the TS body image was carried out, as here, using  flour supplemented with a small amount of added vegetable oil or some other lipid-like or lipid-rich material.

Here’s a reminder of an image from a recent posting, showing a reasonably close resemblance between image fibres in the standard dry flour model (no added oil) and the TS. That’s at the final attenuated stage (after vigorous washing with soap and water).

:Left: image fibres from a dry flour imprint of this blogger's hand onto linen, takem throug 2 heating stages, the first with a hot iron, the second with a hot air oven, followed by washing with soap and water Right: Mark Evans photomicrograph, code ME16;

Left: image fibres from a dry flour imprint of this blogger’s hand onto linen, taken through 2 heating stages, the first with a hot iron, the second with a hot air oven, followed by washing with soap and water
Right: Mark Evans photomicrograph, code ME16;

Let’s look now at a half dozen or so views of the oil-supplemented model at a compable soap-washed stage, with a very faint image. All are shown “as is” versus high contrast.  I shall add captions later, allowing visitors to this site to form their own judgement.

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Update: 22;30 Thurday Aug 20

Posted this to shroudstory a few minutes ago:

Comment to shroudstory site re new dry flour/wet linen thermal imprinting model

Comment to shroudstory site re new dry flour/wet linen thermal imprinting model

Experimental testing of the ‘migrating oil’ hypothesis, i.e. attempts to falsify?

Have scarcely begun to think about that as yet, having been preoccupied with developing it, i.e. building it up. No doubt there will some who will be only too keen to knock it down for me!

There are ssme very simple things that could be done if this blogger had access to lab facilities (sadly he doesn’t). More on that later.

Note of caution: the schematic diagram shows the oil being wicked away from the reaction zone on the outside of fibres. That’s an entirely unjustified assumption. Linen fibres have a central lumen, which in 3D represents a cylindrical hollow core. Who’s to say the hot oil is not wicked away along nature’s capillary tube, cooking the fibre as it does so from the INSIDE?

Something one might try is substituting a microwave oven for an ordinary electric fan oven (if uv excimer lasers then why not microwave ones?  ;-) One would place a wet flour imprint onto linen first and microwave. The radiation acts by making water molecules spin. The water gets hot and evaporates. Prediction: the oil in the flour will then seep out and track along the fibres, possibly a little outside the imprinted area (check with microscope). Then repeat the experiment with some added vegetable oil.  is there greater migration out of the imprint area?  Then find something that is coloured and fat-soluble that can be dissolved first in the oil, and used as a visual marker. See where the colour goes, and whether it shows (a) discontinuities and (b) a half-tone effect.

Update Friday 21:00

Have just tried out the microwave as an alternative to the conventional oven (to see whether the mode of heating is critical or not – targeted agitation of water molecules versus a blanket of warm air). Upside: reproduced the coloration with flour versus flour/vegetable oil. What’s more, a quick look at the flour sample shows the concentration of colour on thread crowns:

Effect of microwaving a dry flour imprint, no added oil, onto wet linen.

Effect of microwaving a dry flour imprint, no added oil, onto wet linen. “As is” left, high contrast right.

Downsides: the three samples were not heated evenly, with one side of the flour or flour/oil imprint being well toasted in appearance, the other scarcely affected. This is presumably due to (a) the highly directional nature of the wave guide hardware and/or (b) a lack of reflecting surfaces on a linen sample to ‘smooth’ the flux of incident radiation via multiple reflections.

There was also no visible coloration of the OIL ONLY control.

The possibilty of using microwaves as an agent for targeting the water  (internal heating so to speak) seemed attractive initially from a research standpoint, being easier to meter the input energy with a simple on/off switch, but that would seem the only advantage, more than offset by the uneven heating. back to the fan oven.

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TOPIC 5: Step by step guide to modelling the “Shroud” body image, starting with dry white flour and wet linen. Some microscopy for good measure.

Coat skin with dry white flour.

1. Dust skin liberally with dry white flour.

2. Drape pre-soaked linen (20 mins in warm water) over had. Pat down firmly with free hand, to imprint the top surface of hand only (not the sides).

2. Drape pre-soaked linen (20 mins in warm water) over hand. Pat down firmly with free hand, to imprint the top surface only (not the sides).

Appearance of hand after peeling back the linen. Most of the flour has been transferred to the linen as a contact-imprint.

3. Appearance of hand after peeling back the linen. Most of the flour has been transferred to the linen as a contact-imprint.

The imprint is difficult to see in an as-is photograph. It's visible when one adds max contrast.

4. The imprint is difficult to see in an as-is photograph. It’s visible when one adds max contrast.

The imprint was divided into two, one half going straight into a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees C approx. the other being allowed to partially dry in air before similar oven-heating.

5. The imprint was divided into two, one half going straight into a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees C approx. the other being allowed to partially dry in air before similar oven-heating.

The imprint becomes a golden-brown colour very quickly in a pre-heated oven (5 -10 mins). This slide shows the as-is versus high contrast image.

6. The imprint becomes a golden-brown colour very quickly in a pre-heated oven (5 -10 mins). This slide shows the as-is versus high contrast image.

7. Samples cut out for microscopy, before the next step (washing with soap and water to attenuate the image). Autocorrected photo (MS Office Picture Manager)

7. Samples cut out for microscopy, before the next step (washing with soap and water to attenuate the image). Autocorrected photo (MS Office Picture Manager)

8. Appearance og imprint under microscope before (left) and sfter added contrast (right). Note the selective coloration of the crowns of threads as per

8. Appearance of imprint under microscope before (left) and after added contrast (right). Note the selective coloration of the crowns of threads as per “Shroud” body image, in this instance due entirely to physical contact between flour particles and the raised parts of the weave of wet linen.

10. First stage imprint (from oven) now washed thoroughly with soap and water, using a kneading action to remove the detachable brown crust, leaving resistant underlying image.

9. . First stage imprint (from oven) now washed thoroughly with soap and water, using a kneading action to remove the detachable brown crust, leaving resistant underlying image.

10. Back to the microscope to view the final attenuated image.

10. Back to the microscope to view the final attenuated image. Samples are viewed under top illumination only (thus black interstices).

11. Final attenuated image from imprinting with dry flour onto wet linen. Seen here as-is (very faint, as expected, and indeed required of a TS model, but TS-like confinement of most colour to crowns is clear.

11. Final attenuated image from imprinting with dry flour onto wet linen.
Seen here as-is (very faint, as expected, and indeed required of a TS model, but TS-like confinement of most colour to crowns is clear.

12. As above with added contrast.

12. As above with added contrast. These fibres still look too gummy. The linen needs a second wash.

13. Here's another view of the threads and fibres in the washed attenuated image. Left: 'as is' (scarcely visible); Right: with extra contrast.

13. Here’s another view of the threads and fibres in the washed attenuated image.
Left: ‘as is’ (scarcely visible); Right: with extra contrast.

Almost there for the current Topic. I may add a few more microscope fields in a day or two, especially those where one can see individual fibres that have detached partially from their neighbours in the thread bundle.

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TOPIC 4  Brief holding reply to Don’s comment on shroudstory.com

don shroudstory the blood problemThere’s one thing about which you can be absolutely certain Don. Despite seeing the “Shroud” as having a medieval provenance, making its first clearly-documented  appearance at Lirey, mid 1350s, this blogger does not imagine for one moment that the conjoint image we see today comprising blood and body image is necessarily the one the first cohorts of pilgrims saw. Indeed, the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge ought maybe to be seen as representing a Mark 1 body image, now largely if not completely disappeared, with few if any bloodstains, including scourge marks initially.

The 1516 “Lier copy”  shows bloodstains – notably the lance wound site, nail sites in hands and feet etc, but note the absence of those intricate trails on the forearms, the ones which, on the TS, have an almost stencilled-on look (!).

Pre-1532 Lier copy of the TS (1516), low v high contrast.

Pre-1532 Lier copy of the TS (1516), low v high contrast.

One has to look closely at subsequent events in the “Shroud’s” history to see where there may have been opportunities to refurbish or otherwise “improve” on the initial Mark 1 image, including further additions of blood, whether real, simulated, or a mixture of both.

There was an opportunity to do that in the immediate aftermath of the 1532 fire. Click to enlarge.

Note carefully the reference to the “canonical investigation” that occurred in 1534, as clear an indication as one could ask for that the post-fire TS looked suspiciously different from the pre-fire version. Note too the surprise expressed by the Poor Clare nuns at the vivid appearance of the “blood”. Hmmm.

If as I now strongly suspect, the initial body image was achieved using dry white flour, then there is  no reason why the same material could not have been used for “touching up” purposes, with or without simultaneous application of blood. It’s the heat development step that is the problem, at least where the accompanying blood is concerned, but the “blood first/image second” chronology suggested by Adler/Heller (if true) becomes less of a problem if blood had been applied on top of a highly faded Mark 1 body image, the latter then being refurbished with  fresh flour or some other source of  additional yellow pigmentation so at to retain an apparent  “blood first”  appearnce relative to predominantly Mark 2 body image 450 years later when STURP arrived to collect its sticky tape samples.

Detailed description of the most recent dry-flour imprinting experiment (producing those long-awaited  colored crowns),  originally flagged up as in-the-pipeline Topic 4, will now be Topic 5. Expect it to appear,  probably as staggered instalments, during the next 24 hours.

TOPIC 3: How was the Mark 1 flour-imprinting model arrived at? Why the sudden switch to the Mark 2 version (dry flour onto wet linen)?

From this blogger's recent photoarchive: Left: a typical imprint of his hand using a wet flour slurry, followed by heating (hot iron). Right: a much fuzzier more TS-like image obtained by imprinting with dry flour onto wet linen, followed by heat treatment (oven) and final washing with soap and water for that iconic ghostly-look. The cut-out sample was for microscopy.

From this blogger’s recent photoarchive: Left: a typical imprint of his hand using a wet flour slurry, followed by heating (hot iron).
Right: a much fuzzier more TS-like image obtained by imprinting with dry flour onto wet linen, followed by heat treatment (oven) and final washing with soap and water for that iconic ghostly-look. The cut-out sample was for microscopy.

Here’s part of a comment that appeared early May on shroudstory. It was placed by a retired engineer who makes no secret of his antipathy towards science and scientists:

Colin has now been attempting to reproduce the properties of the image for some three years, with indifferent success only, although I applaud his perseverance. Might we suppose that a less chemistry-informed artisan would have struck it lucky any sooner? (See too the latest expression of smug superiority).

Good question, despite the edge. Given the current model uses a simple commodity – white flour – which incidentally WAS available to well-off folk in medieval times –then a modern-day “artisan” with no chemical background might well have suggested it, and everything in these last dozen or so postings could have been common knowledge for centuries. But it didn’t happen. Why not? Could it be that artisans with no scientific background have much better things to do with their time than attempt to reproduce the TS image? Why am I bothering? It was the claim from Di Lazzaro, based on his lasers, that the TS image was far too subtle and superficial ever to be reproduced – implying a supernatural event. That was a challenge to science, one guaranteed to provoke at least a few into action, those who look at an image and think: is it really as non-reproducible as we are led to believe? It is hardly surprising that science and scientists, having thus had the gauntlet slapped across the cheek, responds with the approach that comes most naturally, which in this instance is that of the biochemist with a grounding in chemistry and physics: an attempt to tackle the problem at a fundamental, molecular level and (hopefully) reasonably systematic programme of research, leaving no stone unturned, a far cry from the hit-and-miss approach of an artisan who sees the project simply as an exercise in cookery.

So what led this investigator to return to flour as an sensitizing agent. Yes, there was a brief dabble in Ocober 2014, and earlier ones with other organic material – lemon juice, glucose, starch etc etc ). The focus was on what I termed “thermosensitizing agents” in the very first week of posting back in January 2012, including a brief nod towards Maillard chemistry (i.e. non enzymatic browning reactions).

Having worked for 12 years at the Flour Milling and Baking Research Association as it was then called may have had a subliminal guiding influence. Certainly I do not equate white flour with pure starch as do so many of the diet ‘experts’ in the media. White flour  from typical soft-milling European wheat, excluding the hard durum varieties, typically has about 8-9% protein, and it was that protein that was the cause of some interest in April/May this year. I had been checking out sulphuric acid, suggested  as a possible imaging agent, maybe as a contaminant in medieval imprinting inks etc (see J.Accetta) and getting nowhere. Why sulphuric? Why not nitric acid? That stains the skin yellow – due to the so-called xanthoproteic reaction with protein. Nitric acid produces only a faint discoloration of linen. Might it give a stronger TS-like colour if the linen is pre-coated with a source of protein?

That’s when white flour re-entered the thinking – through following a chemical route – one for which I make no apologies re the time taken. If white flour was so obvious as an imprinting medium – flour note, NOT starch – then why is this blogger the first it would seem to be using it?

Yes, it was that switch from sulphuric to nitric as suspected chemical developing agent (still shown in the banner above) that put the focus first on protein sources in general, and then on white flour in particular. Why? Because it also has useful physical as well as chemical properties. It’s a good imprinting medium in the context of skin to linen. As a slurry in water, it spreads easily to make a thin layer, the linen adheres amazingly well to the coated skin, and when the linen is pulled back most of the flour paste transfers to the linen as an imprint. Initially that imprint was developed in nitric acid to get the yellow colour. Then limewater was found to work, but it had to be hot. Maillard reaction between reducing sugars and protein? That was the cue to try heat alone – e.g. by pressing a hot iron onto the imprint, and that worked too, although my severest critic claimed the border of the image was too sharp to be considered a model for the TS. In fact it didn’t take long to appreciate that the hot iron stage, while problematic in a practical sense (medieval folk were unlikely to have anything comparable to the modern-day electric iron in terms of temperature control) there was a crucially important role for it where “selling” the model was concerned. The hot iron could account for one of the most cited aspects of the Shroud’s microscopic features – the confinement of coloured fibres largely – though not exclusively- to the crown of the threads, i.e. the highest part of the weave. All that was needed was a reasonable assumption that pressing an iron onto linen results in contact with those crowns only, assuming the applied pressure was not excessive. If the linen had been coated first with flour paste, air-dried and then pressed, it was not unreasonable to suppose that the image would appear as a pattern of dots, due to coloration of flour that received most conducted atom-to-atom heat through being situated on the crowns. Flour that had settled at lower levels in the weave might escape being browned, and could be washed out leaving just the microscopically-mottled distribution of crown colour which the unaided eye, viewing at the gross level, would perceive as continuous and unbroken.

Cue now the switch to using dry flour, straight from the bag, as imprinting medium. The use of solid powder in TS modelling is of course not new. Garlaschelli’s “frottage” technique with metal oxides, e.g. iron ochre, is perhaps the best known. But he covered his volunteer student subject first with protective linen, then applied the powder, rather like the technique of brass rubbing. It’s a technique guaranteed to produce a negative image, certainly, and one this blogger briefly tried, but found it difficult to master or get a satisfactory result. It was decided to use dry flour in exactly the same way as the slurry, almost as it dry paint powder, i.e. to sprinkle it DIRECTLY onto the anatomy to be imprinted (possible in view of non-toxicity, and easy to wash off) distributing with brush or fingers until an even distribution had been obtained (uneven distributions could be investigated later, e.g. to see if 3D properties can be engineered). But there was a problem. Dry flour does not transfer well to dry linen. Solution? Simple: use WET linen instead. There’s an immediate advantage from doing it that way, i.e. dry flour onto wet linen. The resulting imprint might be predicted to have a fuzzier border. That indeed proved to be the case, and no time was lost in reporting that. There were additional less obvious advantages of imprinting with dry flour. There’s a lower risk of getting an image with the lateral distortion that some armchair critics of contact-imaging seem to think is unavoidable and thus huffily dismissing the technique from consideration in favour of radiation models etc. With wet slurry one can always paint the highest parts of the relief only such that linen can be moulded to skin without fear of picking flour from unwanted parts, notably the sides and thus preventing any lateral distortion at source so to speak. But that option is easier said than done, and my critic was quick to point out lateral distortion in an image that he cut-and-pasted from this site to shroudstory. Substituting powder for slurry virtually excludes any possibility of lateral distortion. Why? The reasons need not detain us: one has only to look at the imprints obtained with powde, like the one that was tone-reversed Second Pia- style which Dan Porter displayed on shroudstory: there is no obvious lateral distortion. The simple technique of dusting with flour, then draping with wet linen, applying firm vertical pressure to the highest relief, was enough to see to that.

But what does one do to the fresh imprint to develop the colour? There are options that had to be addressed, and indeed are still under study. Does one let it dry and set first? Does one try to fix it with dry heat first, e.g. by pressing with a hot iron until it becomes visible, or indeed attempt to use prolonged contact with a hot iron as the means for maximal colour development? What about the non-image areas that gradually acquire a faint but uneven scorched appearance?

There was a rationale for applying a hot iron first. Why? Because that could ensure there was some preferential colouring of the crowns of the threads, needed to reproduce that well known characteristic of the TS image. But an ironing step alone often failed to produce a conspicuous image – not in itself a liability, thinking of the faintness of the image in Turin (though it could be argued that much of that was the result of ageing) but because a final washing stage was considered necessary to remove excess crusted-on flour, leaving a faint ghostly superficial image. Yes, one is making no attempt to conceal the fact that any attempt to start with something as ‘crude’ as a flour imprint needs a final image-attenuation step to achieve the ghostly look, one that is modelled at present by washing with soap and water. (There is a fallback position if that is not sufficient to ensure credibility, which is to boil in water). Anyone who thinks these treatments are unthinkable need only read Lalaing’s account from (insert date) of the way then TS image was “tested”, e.g. “boiling in oil” which though exaggerated may well have been done, not for the reason stated, but as part of a medieval modeller’s own attempts to achieve his own goal, not to match an existing artefact, but to re-create what an ancient body imprint as sweat and blood on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen might look like centuries later.

We have finally reached the last crucial question that was asked, was put to the test, and found to give the predicted answer. Could the ironing step be omitted in the dry flour-imprinting model? Was it realistic to imagine that particles of dry flour transferred under firm pressure from skin to wet linen might attach to the crowns of thread in preference to lower parts of the weave? The answer was a tentative YES! The flour particles would transfer to the first part of the linen with which they make contact, and being whole cells (crushed endosperm of wheat grains) and large in relation to conventional imprinting media might reasonably be supposed to stay put, and resist being dissolved by the surrounding water. Cells and their macromolecular stored granules of starch and protein do not dissolve in cold water.

That was the hypothesis under test yesterday (Aug 17). The very first sample taken from an oven-roasted dry flour imprint onto wet linen did indeed show a preferred tendency for coloration of the high crowns. There is still much work to be done in checking if that field of view is typical or not. Be that as it may, this blogger would maintain that a single image alone that shows the specific coloration of crowns in a system that did NOT require the application of a hot expanse of flat metal to linen means that crown coloration can be accounted for, at least in principle, simply by pressing wet linen with its corrugated weave with ridges and grooves onto a powder-coated subject. (It’s occurred to me in writing this that one could do experiments using fine carbon (soot etc.) that would give a convincing demonstration of the ability of the crown threads to selectively sequester/trap/harvest fine particles).

With each passing hour and day, the flour imprinting model seems to have more and more going for it. In its latest guise – imprinting with dry flour onto wet linen – one has, if not killed, then at least ruffled the feathers of two birds with one stone: image fuzziness AND preferential crown coloration. Taken with the earlier observation of what looks tantalizingly like that so-called halftone effect at individual fibre level (one I prefer to call two-tone, or dual-tone) I would confidently predict that the quest to model the TS image will soon be over bar the shouting (the latter having already started).

TOPIC 2: Taking stock of the new dry flour/wet linen model; responding to some negative feedback.

Yesterday, this blogger/investigator reported an important new finding when it was barely an hour old. Given the finding was not a chance one but predicted from new thinking, and given it offered a new explanation for a long-standing conundrum – why is the Shroud image confined mainly to the most superficial part of the threads – the so-called crowns – it was considered important to share that information. There was also the small matter of claiming priority before someone else does (sorry, but scientific research and its reporting is, always has been and always will be competitive). However it seems one may be moving too fast for one of my harshest critics on the shroudstory site, he of the cruise missile launching pdf tendency. His pained question: “Why was I now using wet linen?” suggests that the new Mark 2 strategy with dry white flour has not been understood. As for the suggestion that I should have fully documented the Mark 1 model before switching to Mark 2, one might be forgiven a wry smile. It was the same critic constantly pointing out a perceived fault with the Mark 1 technology, and indeed its predecessors, the Mark 0, Mark -1 etc etc.,  namely that it produced an image with too sharp a border, that led this blogger to realize there was a simple expedient that could produce and explain the fuzzy border demanded – switch from imprinting with wet flour slurry onto dry linen, to imprinting with dry flour onto wet linen. I assumed that posting images of the new Mark 2 “fuzzy border” images would be sufficient to make obvious the rationale for the Mark 2 model, and one could then use the new model to make the crucial “crown thread” prediction and quickly perform the test, reporting as I did yesterday the successful outcome and making no secret of my sense of triumph ( I have been researching the TS image since Dec 2011, and recognize a breakthrough when I see one).

I shall post this as Topic 2, then spend a short time composing and posting Topic 3: that will explain how and why Flour Model 1 (wet flour slurry/dry linen) became Model 2 (dry flour/wet linen), and how that switch allowed for a new explanation for crown thread imprinting without needing the intial pressing of the fresh imprint with a hot electric iron that was considered obligatory in the Mark 1 version, which has now been dropped (though it may be re-introduced later for different reasons). Confusing, isn’t it? But then we are discussing an artefact whose image has eluded explanation over many decades of study. Did anyone seriously imagine the final answer was going to fall out quickly, and that if or when it did it would be capable of being communicated in one or two simple sentences? There is still much that is unexplained in the new Mark 2 model, namely the mechanism by which a chemical reaction that starts in an acquired coating can communicate itself to the underlying fibres on an apparently all-or-nothing basis (the so-called half tone effect) so as to leave a faint but resistant image (resistant that is to vigorous washing with soap and water). When Topic 3 has been posted, later this morning, I shall then compose Topic 4 to explain everything that was done experimentally yesterday (and more importantly – not done – like NO ironing) to confirm the prediction of crown thread coloration in the new Mark 2, dry flour/wet linen model. In fact that experiment is still far from complete, it having generated 4 variant imprints that still await microscopical examination, so a Topic 5 will be appearing later this week to complete the reporting of yesterday’s experiment.

TOPIC 1: Are we nearly there yet, after some 43 months of twists, turns and blind alleys? Yes, I do believe we are – namely in sussing out  how the “Shroud ” of Turin might have been engineered by a medieval entrepreneur as the ultimate in holy icons. So ultimate in fact that many to this day see it as a holy relic (the real thing!) despite constant reminders from Popes (well, some at any rate) to view it as an icon – an aid to faith, not a prop.

So what gives with the confidence from this particular researcher who’s normally reticent about making any kind of over-statement?

Answer: this photomicrograph obtained just an hour ago.

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Left: flour imprint of this blogger’s hand onto wet linen, followed by a few minutes in a preheated oven. Right: the same after adjustment of brightness/contrast/midtone value in MS Office Picture Manager.

Note the localization of the coloration to the highest points of the linen weave – the so-called crowns.  That is a key characteristic of the “Shroud” body image – one that has proved very difficult to reproduce in model systems except by contact-scorching off a hot metal template – a model this blogger has explored in detail  (2+ years!) but found lacking in a number of crucial aspects that need not concern us for now.. What caused the change of approach? Answer: the clues from the Lirey Pilgrims’s badge or rather its Mark 2 (?) version  – the so-called Machy mould-  namely that the “Shroud” of Turin was meant to be seen as a blood AND  sweat imprint, real or simulated left by the crucified body of Christ on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen, used to transport the body from cross to tomb and NOT intended as the final burial Shroud (thus my use of “Shroud” rather than Shroud).

What you see above is probably not the final image pigmentation we see today, being a precursor stage. There are grounds for thinking (see postings preceding this one) that the above coloration was deliberately attenuated to make it fainter and more ghostly.

This comparison between model and “Shroud” accompanied the previous posting (original caption).The “hot electric iron’ or medieval equivalent  is no longer needed: simply pressing wet linen against a flour-dusted hand gives preferential attachment of the imprinting medium to the crowns of the weave.

Left: image fibres from a dry flour imprint of this blogger's hand onto linen, takem throug 2 heating stages, the first with a hot iron, the second with a hot air oven, followed by washing with soap and water Right: Mark Evans photomicrograph, code ME16;

Left: image fibres from a dry flour imprint of this blogger’s hand onto linen, takem throug 2 heating stages, the first with a hot iron, the second with a hot air oven, followed by washing with soap and water
Right: Mark Evans photomicrograph, code ME16;

It’s an end-stage step that can be modelled simply by washing thoroughly in soap and water. See the photomicrograph that concluded the previous posting (under the concluding Topic 13).

For now I shall post this long-strived for result, and return later in the next few days explaining how the image for the above microscopy was produced, and how it was initially processed to get the above result. We will then follow its progress through the final attenuation step and see how the final image compares with that of the “Shroud” in the Mark Evans photomicrographs.

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Is the Shroud of Turin really just 18 years short of its 2000th birthday? SEE THIS BLOG FOR A DAILY ACERBIC OVERVIEW OF CURRENT WRANGLING (currently 2015, Week 33)

This posting rep0rts what this blogger/retired science bod considers to be significant progress in modelling the “Shroud” image, so as to reproduce more of its allegedly  ‘iconic’ and/or “unique” properties (negative image, superficiality,  3D properties, fuzzy border, possibly even some of those so-called microscopic properties.

(See previous posting for the scepticism about some of the features described as “microscopic”, which might be more accurately described as mere enlargements of macroscopic properties that reveal no new structure).

I shall be using the new format adopted in that last posting, namely to post as a series of mini-topics, presented in reverse chronological sequence, i.e. most recent at the top where it is easier to find. Sorry if one finds that quirky, but it’s proved the only sure way for getting the Google algorithm to spot this site in the internet jungle, i.e. organizing it in a way that gets repeat visits to the one posting and a respectable ranking in a (shroud of turin) search profile – at least for “past week”, “past month” etc.

 Topic 6: Here comes the crucial test of the new model: how do my linen fibres compare with those of the Turin “Shroud” under a low power light microscope?

This a difficult topic to report on a blog, given the welter of detail that has to be addressed,and given the need to be scrupulously non-partisan in the choice of field for comparison. On the other hand there are a mere 8 Mark Evans microphotographs cited as showing the claimed microscopic properties of the “Shroud”,  covered in the posting that preceded this one (see last added Topic 13 at top of posting) whereas there’s an infinite number that can be generated by modelling. There comes a point where one simply has to bite the bullet – and put up a single comparison that offers the reader (to say nothing of this blogger) an easy introduction. One will then start to flesh things out in more and more detail. It could take days, it will more probably take weeks.

So here’s the first plate for your attention: click on image to enlarge.

Left: image fibres from a dry flour imprint of this blogger's hand onto linen, takem throug 2 heating stages, the first with a hot iron, the second with a hot air oven, followed by washing with soap and water Right: Mark Evans photomicrograph, code ME16;

Left: image fibres from a dry flour imprint of this blogger’s hand onto linen, taken through 2 heating stages, the first with a hot iron for pressing, the second with a hot air oven, followed by washing with soap and water
Right: Mark Evans photomicrograph, code ME16;

Interpretation?

There are fairly uniformly coloured fibres in the model system (lef).  They are not dissimilar from those in the “Shroud” right. The model fibres constitute a much smaller proportion of the total, but that was probably the result of a deliberate decision to produce as faint an image as possible, consistent with still being able to see it (details later). What we see in the model fibres is consistent with the peculiar so-called “half-tone effect” claimed for the Shroud, though it has to be said that occasional dark fibres (darker than above) can be seen here and there in other fields – though if more damaged and brittle they might tend to break off with time, leaving the paler  honey-coloured fibres we see above.

There’s a second feature in common with “Shroud” fibres – a preference for coloration on the highest points in the weave, i.e. the crowns.  It’s not exclusive to the crowns, but that is the case with the “Shroud” too.  However, one should not set too much store by that similarity, since the first of the two heating steps – pressing with a hot iron –  was deliberately deployed with a view to producing the crown fibre coloration. It’s noteworthy that the effect could be produced using solid flour – one might have expected the fine particles to fall into the lowest parts of the weave!  Oops. Forget I said that (the flour particles are transferred from dusted skin using WET linen, so there’s an additional mechanism that favours imprinting onto the superficial crowns! Maybe I don’t need that pre-ironing step after all.  Maybe the harvesting of flour onto wet linen is sufficient to get the crown-imprinting!  Might the wetting of linen cause the threads to swell, temporarily closing up the interstices of the weave, keeping the flour from penetrating the weave -which would be difficult enough anyway the instant the flour becomes wet).

More to come – much more.

The next task is to show the changes in the microscopic appearance at each stage of the modelling.

 Update: Monday Aug 17

Oops, it’s now Week 34, time to start a new posting under this new presentation.  By way of signing off from this Week 33 posting, here’s a quick postscript to the possibility flagged up in red. I did a test 3 days ago in which the dry-flour imprinted sample was oven-roasted first.  It did NOT get the initial hot iron. Fortunately I still have the samples before and after final washing. Yes, there’s clear evidence under the microscope of preferential coloration of the crown threads. In other words, the technique of imprinting dry flour onto wet linen would seem to be sufficient in itself to account for the “contact scorch look”, the false friend that  sent this blogger down the road of direct contact-scorching with heated  brass crucifixes  and other inanimate and unwieldy templates for the best part of two years or more. Upside: lots of experience with using ImageJ in a manner best suited to contact imprints that may or may not have genuine 3D information, needing to be carefully differentiated  from the pseudo-3D that is embedded in ImageJ’s easily-overlooked default z=1.0 setting. (Some might consider that ImageJ should come with a health warning!).

Blogging strategy for the next few days? Design and carry out new experiments that incorporate all the latest thinking,  comparing carefully one or both heating stages, testing and comparing linen that is very wet or just damp  for its flour pick-up powers,  and looking careully for the methodology that delivers  (a) optimal selectivity for the crowns in comparison with Mark Evans pix and  (b) best demonstration of uncolored v uniformly coloured fibres, with no intermediate shades between the two,  which some describe as the ‘half-tone effect’. Incidentally,  the latter is an unhelpful  and somewhat misleading term in my opinion and best avoided – I prefer “two-tone effect” thereby removing the TS image  entirely from the context of 20th century dot-matrix ink-printing technology.

Topic 5.

Look carefully at this graphic, rotate screen through 90 degrees. The answer to those "eyes" is here, for those with eyes to see, how may not need to read my welter of words and explanation.

Look carefully at this graphic, rotate screen through 90 degrees. The answer to those “eyes” is here, for those with eyes to see, who may then not need to read my welter of words and explanation.

 

So how were those eyes obtained in Topic 4? Let’s look first at how ImageJ produces its 3D effect, on simple 2D diagrams with no 3D history. One is then in a better position to see how it can be best utilized for exploring images that may have a 3D history (though whether that enhances the 3D effect still further is a moot point, as we shall see).

In keeping with the ‘reverse chronology’ reporting on this site (new additions going on top) Topic 5 is in two parts, 5A – processing the “Shroud” image in ImageJ, and 5B – processing schematic diagrams with the same software. 5B will be posted first (approx 11:15 UK time without captions, the latter added at 5 minute intervals) and 5B later today, probably mid-afternoon).

Topic 5B: So how ere those eyes “revealed” (or artefactually imaged?). Topic 5B below explains the theory, which is to do entirely with the settings AND orientation of the side illumination in ImageJ that comes from the LEFT.

Let’s look at what happens when one progressively illuminates the brow ridge and eye sockets of the Man on the “Shroud”, either in the conventional upright position OR rotated through 90 degrees (which places the long axis of the brow ridge at right angles to the light source, casting a stronger more prominent shadow, and with it a greater 3D-enhancing effect – albeit artefactual NOT real.).

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Brow ridge, upright v rotated through 90 degrees, from Shroud Scope (added contrast)

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As above, uploaded to ImageJ. Lateral lighting (from left)  set at 0.1.

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As above, lighting increased to 0.2. Laptop screen has to be rotated to see effect on the rotated image.

 

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Lighting increased to 0.31. Rotate laptop to see increasing difference between the two images.

 

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Lighting now at 0.4

It’s a bit of a nuisance to have to keep turning one’s laptop to see the growing difference in the way the two images respond to increased illumination. So here are the restored upright versions of the right -hand images. Note the gradual appearance of “eyes” as illumination was increased from ABOVE, ie at right angles to the long axis of the brow ridge, creating an increasing zone of shadow in the eye socket below.

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Now you know how those “eyes”were generated in ImageJ – simply by altering light intensity AND direction!

 

Topic 5B.  Double-click to enlarge images.

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Fig 1: Here’s an entirely home-made schematic diagram (thank you MS Paint) in which the superimposed rectangles or solid circles have been given graduated shades of colour or grayscale. Let’s see how they behave in ImageJ.

 

Fig 2:

Fig 2: Here they are uploaded to ImageJ. The only change to default settings so far is to “smoothing”, raised from 0 to 5 (to suppress the ‘needle forest’ effect of applying 3D to unsmoothed pixels). Note the position of the pointer at 0.5 on the z scale. That is the software’s default setting. It cannot be reduced, important for what follows. This blogger rarely if ever increases the z scale either, to do so introducing (additional) height artefacts.

 

Fig.3:

Fig.3: This  screen display  has exactly the same settings as Fig.2, but with a crucial difference. The pointer has been used to tilt the display slightly (top end into the screen) . An important property (and constraint) of ImageJ is revealed. The software generates a default 3D-rendering to ALL inputs, as seen by that non-zero setting on the z scale right. The “inbuilt” default 3D is not insignificant either, as seen from that conical (comical?)  “3D” B/W target, despite it having NO 3D history.

Fig.4:

Fig.4: The lighting value has now been increased to 0.6, with NO OTHER CHANGE.  Observe first the additional 3D effect, especially obvious on the vertical rectangles. Why is that? It’s because the lighting in ImageJ, crucial to its 3D-rendering over and above the elevation provided by the default z setting, comes from the left. That is a second default setting, one that cannot be altered. Which figures respond best to the unilateral illumination? Those with their long axis edge-on (left) or those with their long axis normal (90 degrees) to the incident “light”.

 

Fig.5:

Fig.5: Tilting the display slightly gives a little extra 3D-appearance to the horizontal figures on the left, but not much. It is still the vertical ones that are most conspicuous, being oriented at right angles to the incident light, creating a shadow on the long sides instead of the short ends. There’s clearly a take-away message here to be applied when uploading an image of unknown origin, one that may or may not have real 3D information (whether or not that is credible). Never be content with an upright presentation. Always test the effect of rotating the figure through 90 degrees, and maybe intermediate angles, especially where there are features that have a dominant long axis, psst like the brow ridge in the TS that spans both eyes.

 

Fig.6:

Fig.6: Here’s an intermediate value for rotation, approx 45 degrees, combined with some tilt to give a bird’s eye view.  The lighting has been returned to zero. There is just a hint of “3D-ness” due to that default z setting, but for conspicuous 3D rendering one has to use that lighting control, which is the CRUCIAL one in ImageJ.

Fig.7:

Fig.7: here’s the same oblique vantage point as above, but with lighting raised to its maximum value. Note the way that the rectangles on the left would be easily overlooked, but for their small ends now in shadow. Note the prominence of the other 2, thanks to maximal shadowing along their long axes.

I’ll be back in a couple of hours, showing what happens when one uploads the TS face from Shroud Scope into ImageJ with its prominent brow ridge, beneath which are the eye sockets, and see how that ‘long axis’ behaves when one (a) alters the intensity of the lighting and (b) the orientation of the image, relative to the incident “light” coming (ALWAYS!) from the left… Look carefully at what appears and/or disappears in the eye sockets. Real or artefactual? Always assume artefactual, unless one has strong grounds for suspecting otherwise. End of Topic 5B.  Topic 5A (TS image) will be added on top later.  First some uv exposure – there being a rare glimpse of the golden orb in the sky.

Topic 4: Here’s an image of the Man on the Turin “Shroud” with features you’ve maybe never seen so clearly before. This one has EYES and LIPS (or patterns of pixels on your laptop screen that could be mistaken for eyes and lips).

 

Shroud Scope image, minimally processed

Shroud Scope image, minimally processed

As the caption states, the image was obtained using the splendid Shroud Scope, and then minimally processed in ImageJ.

(Techie stuff: the height setting on the z scale was kept at 0.1, i.e. its default setting, one that cannot be reduced, as my embedded B/W reference shows, given it has no 3D history ,having been constructed in MS  Paint. Minimal values were used for smoothing and lighting (10.0 and 0.2 respectively). 

So what makes this image different from most others – like having those EYES!  Look carefully and you may see the ‘trick’ that was used – which some might regard as perfectly legitimate, exploiting another fixed feature of ImageJ, albeit one that you can work around (CLUE!)  and indeed was worked around.  Answer – will be given in 24 hours.

In passing: the nose and surrounding area has given me an idea as to how the ‘awkward’ face could have been imprinted in a contact-only mechanism without resort to a metal or plaster  bas-relief (Garlaschelli), at least in the latest  flour dust model. Clue: cartilage is more malleable (“bendy”)* than either tin or lead,  and let’s not forget that our imprinting medium flour can be dabbed on and off dry linen with a brush or swab or similar.

*  “deformable” might  have been a better term- as one Michael V. now FRS mathematician, demonstrated on this blogger’s nose circa 1959, having sneakily crept up behind during one of  Mr.Tanner’s riotous chemistry lessons to deliver a (probably well-deserved) karate chop, requiring corrective surgery many years later …

Topic 3: Here’s Dr.Positive (science bod) calling a certain Dr.Persistently Negative, he who dishes out his “science” as if medicine to treat disease. This is an important posting, probably the most important from my years of “Shroud” research, and it’s dedicated to the man with the  prescribing tendency.  Why? Because his negative nitpicking, from countless sniping  and indeed hostile comments and, especially his sniping- from-cover pdfs, were what spurred me to switch from imprinting with flour paste/slurry to imprinting with dry flour. Check out these results for (a) that “Shroud” like fuzzy image by which he sets so much store (rarely if ever considering the effect of age-related degradation) and to (b) 3D properties (which he flatly claimed lacked 3D properties, unsupported by data, and which I demonstrated yesterday to be false).

.First, the new improved fuzzy-look image, obtained using flour dust as imprinting medium, colour development with a hot flat iron*  or in  a hot oven, and a new 3rd stage (image attenuation by washing with soap and water).

(*Late addition: it’s probably the hot iron – its pressing action being responsible for the coloration being confined mainly to the crowns of the weave. Microscopy is in progress, but needs careful evaluation).

Imprint of this blogger's hand using new 3-stage technology. startin with dry flour as imprinting medium.

Imprint of this blogger’s hand using new 3-stage technology. starting with dry flour as imprinting medium.

Here’s the same after applying Autocorrect in MS Office Picture Manager:

With Autocorrect

With Autocorrect

… and here, skipping several stages, but still deploying the image-processing techniques flagged up yesterday in Topic 2, is a side- by -side comparison of the excised re-oriented   hands on the  “Shroud” with the now fuzzier powder-based model.

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Note the two benchmarks added to the model imprint (2D reference markers with no 3D history, but showing some ‘apparent’ 3D properties due to the non-zero default z scale setting that cannot be set to zero.

Here’s a close-up of the model imprint after performing a Secondo-Pia style tone-reversal (“positive” to “negative”) in ImageJ.

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Tone -reversed negative of dry-flour imprint, 3D-rendered in ImageJ. Note the relative lack of distortion, compared with the wet-flour imprint in Topic 2.  Dr.Negative please note.

Not bad eh?  One is put in mind of that biblical quotation based on the bees around the deceased lion (“from out of the strong came forth the sweet” or words to that effect, even if the biology is suspect) …  from out of the negative came forth the positive…

 

Postscript: there’s a tiresome individual on Dan Porter’s shroudstory site (not seen for a few days) who pops up regularly whenever this blogger produces a new idea, saying that it’s simply his ideas that have been recycled (that’s a charitable description). One of his favourite ploys to undermine my credentials is to quote an idea floated on my 6th posting in January 2012, related to Model 1 (“thermostencilling”) which involved the use of mummified monks, as on display in Brno, Czech Republic

The mummified monks of Brno.

The mummified monks of Brno.

(admittedly not my finest hour, as it required them being heated, but maybe not excessively if the linen had been impregnated with a thermo-sensitizing material). If he reads all that posting (unedited, as is the case for all my postings) he sees ideas  there, influenced no doubt by Ray Rogers,  that foreshadow what’s here, notable the use of starch or reducing sugars or fruit juice to render the linen better able to capture an image. Indeed, Maillard reactions even get a mention. I returned to that approach much later,  October of last year,  sprinkling dry flour onto linen before imprinting with a heated metal template.

From October 24, 2014 - testing white flour as a thermosensitizer (it worked!).

From October 24, 2014 – testing white flour as a thermosensitizer (it worked!).

The latter was even coated with flour and tested (poor adhesion!). Now why didn’t I think of coating myself with the flour, thus getting away from the major drawback of the simple contact scorch hypothesis, namely that it required  a metal template (heavy, cumbersome etc) instead of a real person?

_________________________________________

 Topic 2: response to new comment from Dr.Relentlessly Negative, and a side-by-side comparison of 3D response of TS hands versus my own flour-imprinted hand (wet slurry technique).

Here’s Dr.Negative’s response to Topic 1 below:

“This “over-dogmatic MD” knows since many months or years that any kind of 2D input gives a 3D response using ImageJ.
This is is the problem, not the solution..

I will explain that in detail after your instalment.”

Once again, I disapprove strongly of the way he uses  and abuses Dan Porter”s site. He’s been allowed to use it as a permanent billboard for two pdfs (see margin) specifically attacking my ideas over a long period of time, with no facility there for responding to his haughty criticism, the latter based for the most part on some poorly-designed experiments. Now, and not for the first time, he’s playing cat-and-mouse, now- you-see- me, now-you-don’t,  in the comments on that site.

I’ve just done a comparison, as carefully controlled as possible, of the 3D response of the disputed imprint of my hand against the TS hands. See caption for details:

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Since the 3D response in ImageJ on default z cale setting depneds almost entirely on the shadowing effect created by virtual illumination from the left, it was considered important to have all the fingers in the vertical plane. That required rotation of each of the two hands of the TS image (taken from Shroud Scope and used ‘as is’ i.e. without any photoediting. Note as before the use of  embedded entirely 2D-generated  benchmarks, each showing a small entirely artefactual 3D response, placing a question mark over the validity of all the images above as having captured any real 3D information from their subject at the instant of image capture.

and here’s the same again, with the optimized settings that were used in ImageJ.

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Note the crucial settings: smoothing 10.0, Lighting 0.5, z scale 0.1 (minimum default value).

Well, I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I see no grounds for thinking that my model imprints are appreciably worse (or better) than those of the TS., at least for the hands. One can argue endlessly about whether a particular 3D enhancement is real or apparent, but one thing’s for certain. One’s conclusions are more firmly based  in hard reality when knowing the history of the input image, albeit a crude model system with flour paste. How can one hope to arrive at any hard and fast conclusions when the history of the TS body image is UNKNOWN, far less claim that it has a uniquely superior response to 3D-rendering when the above two results prove otherwise? As for those who hound one on this and other issues to do with the TS, my policy is simple – progressive disengagement. One discusses the science as equals, or not at all.  There are no grounds for presumptions of superiority merely because one has been researching it longer than the other. It’s the quality of the data, OLD and NEW that matters, and the unbiased interpretation of that data, where preconceptions have to be put to one side, if only temporarily.

I recently discovered where the “cherry jam” hyping of the TS 3D response started. It was way back in 1983 (possibly earlier by as many as 4-5 years).  Watch this space for a cut-and-paste.

Yup, here’s a prime, dare I say crass example of sloppy, slapdash science being used to sustain  a major claim, namely that the 3D properties of the “Shroud” are exceptional in comparison with all other images. Note the sample size of 1 used for the “all other images” category:

 

Colour plates from Heller's book, 1983

Colour plates from Heller’s book, 1983. Note the grotesquely over-hyped captions. Some might think the lower image compares very favourably with the “Shroud”. The distortion is only to be expected, given a photograph, influenced by light direction, is being compared with an image (almost certainly an imprint) that is generally referred to as having no directionality, light playing no part in the imprinting  process. Shadows are bound to result in distortion when uploaded to 3D-rendering programs, whether analogue (the above VP-8) or digital (e.g. ImageJ).

(Late addition: the captions may be hard to read in places: here they are (with totally unscientific cherry jam’ highlighted in red.

Upper of the two photos: A VP-8 image taken from the instrument’s cathode ray tube. The three-dimensional attributes of the VP-8 Shroud images cannot be reproduced by any artistic endeavour (Copyright: 1978, Vernon D. Miller)

Lower of the two photos:  A VP-8 of a photo of William Ercoline. Note the gross distortion of all features and the two-dimensional quality of the VP-8 – both characteristic of a VP-8 taken from a 2D surface. The only exception is the Shroud. (Copyright: 1978, Vernon D. Miller)

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Topic 1: there’s unfinished business from use of what I now call the 2 stage  ‘wet imprinting’ technology, using a slurry of white flour in cold water as imprinting medium, followed by heat treatment to develop colour. Once that’s been attended to, this posting will then go on to describe a new 3 stage process that is a dry-imprinting procedure, using a dusting of dry flour onto the human 3D template (or part thereof – this blogger’s hand). The third stage (which is bound to create controversy)? Answer: image attenuation. But first things first.

Here’s one of two highly irritatingly SIMPLISTIC and/or  INACCURATE comments placed on a recent shroudstory posting by a certain well known sindonologist (see comments bemeath the imported graphics from this site). . He’s medically qualified, and sadly, like so many medics who engage with scientists, quickly comes across as over-prescriptive (yes, they don’t so much propose their ideas as PRESCRIBE them as if medicine. Woe betide you if you refuse the medicine. You then become a cancer that has to be attacked with a Powerful Drug – Fiction  (pdf for short). More about the abuse of the prescribing pad  later – a sore point with this blogger.  Yes, pdfs have a role to play, but not for sniping from cover (no facility for posting a reply!). As for wikipedia’s quaint idea that an unrefereed pdf is authoritative, a peer-reviewed publication in all but name, words fail me. Wikipedia need to  engage more with real people in the real world, at least where highly controversial topics are concerned – namely interactive  sites where ideas can be challenged in the open.

Anyway, here’s part of one of the 2  comments. I’ve highlighted one of its three claims in red – the one that is simply untrue.

“Regarding your experiments, I agree with your approach.

But, for now the results are not convincing (see my previous message).
1) the imprint of you fingers shows sharp borders, contrary to the shroud.
2) No 3-D, contrary to the Shroud
3) Distortions, contrary to the shroud. We need much more.”

It was accompanied by a cut-and-paste of this image from my recent wet-imprinting researches:

 

Flour-slurry imprint of my hand, after colour development with a hot iron, except for forefinger on left. The blue-white stripes are the ironing board.

Flour-slurry imprint of my hand, after colour development with a hot iron, avoiding all but the tip of the forefinger onthe  left. The blue-white stripes are of course the ironing board.

Now please bear with me while I take our medic through half a dozen or so tutorial steps in using the best known 3D-rendering program (ImageJ) which I happen to know is his choice as well as my own (being freely downloadable and very user-friendly).

Did he even bother to check out my imprint?  He doesn’t say (a real scientist, engaging rather than prescribing,  who understands the scientic ethos would have done so).

If he had, it’s a fair bet his laptop screen would have looked initially like this:

Flour imprint uploaded to ImageJ, initial default settings

Flour imprint uploaded to ImageJ, initial default settings

However, that is not how it would look on this blogger’s screen. Spot the new addition:

Note the internal reference, a 2D diagram constructed in MS paint of solid concentric circles, with a steady increase in image intensity towards the centre. ImageJ on default settings. Note the value on the z (apparent height) scale. It is not zero, but 1.0. It cannot be set below that value.

Note the internal reference, a 2D diagram constructed in MS Paint of solid concentric circles, with a steady increase in image intensity towards the centre.
ImageJ on default settings. Note the value on the z (apparent height) scale. It is not zero, but 1.0. It cannot be set below that value.

If one tilts the diagram to get an oblique view of that internal standard, one sees something that I suspect not many people know about.

Note that the internal standard now appears in 3d, despite having no 3D history, despite ImageJ being in default settings. That is because there is some 3D rendering that cannot be removed, and it has to be regarded as "apparent" 3D, even if one's input image is suspected, or assumed to have some "real" (though questionable) 3D properties).

Note that the internal standard now appears in 3D, despite having no 3D history,  and despite ImageJ being in default settings. That is because there is some 3D rendering that cannot be removed, and it has to be regarded as “apparent” 3D, even if one’s input image is suspected, or assumed to have some “real” (though questionable) 3D properties).

Now let’s try enhancing beyond the default 3D. How should one do that? One could be forgiven for thinking that the appropriate control to alter first would be the z scale setting (“height”). One would be wrong in making that assumption, as the following use of lighting and smoothing controls demonstrates. Again, please bear with me, because this is important. The z control will be the last to be tested.

Which does one alter first – smoothing or lighting? Answer: the smoothing, not because it has much effect on its own, but because it’s needed to ‘de-digitalize/de-pixellate-3D-wise the displayed images in order to make the result look realistic. If the smoothing setting is not increased first, one is faced with a ‘needle forest’, the result of 3D enhancement of unsmoothed pixels, as this next result shows:

 

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Lighting (lateral illumination from the left) has been increased, but the smoothing should have been increased first to avoid the needle forest.

This is the same as above, after first increasing the smoothing t0 a modest value (20) sufficient to avoid the needle forest 9one shoulld aim for the lowest setting, since excessive smoothing results in loss of crisp 3D response, whether real or apparent.

This is the same as above, after first increasing the smoothing t0 a modest value (20) sufficient to avoid the needle forest. One should aim for the lowest setting: excessive smoothing results in loss of crisp and progressive  3D response, whether real or apparent.

Note that we now have some unmistakeable 3D imaging of the fingers, and that it was  the result of altering the lighting/smoothing only. No twiddling was necessary with the z control. Image J can elicit 3D purely from assuming that increasing image intensity represent height, and modelling the effect of shining light from one side to create shadows and apparent 3D. The software is using the image intensity map alone, i.e. there was no addition of extra z value to produce the result.

So how come my critic can state so categorically that there is no 3D effect, when there are two 3D effects – a minor one from default settings and a more pronounced one from  virtual IT-generated lateral lighting, needing no further increase in z? Why is he  (yet again) setting himself up as the final authority on matetrs where there are no a priori grounds for thinking he knows more than I do, and indeed probably knows a great deal less (this blogger having done dozens of postings based on ImageJ)

Now let’s finally test the effect of increasing the gain control on height, i.e. the z control. Look carefully at what it does to the internal reference:

The z control produces a dramtic effect on the 2D reference, despite having no 3D history. The z control might be useful to exaggerate 3D character to make it more apparent, but it's action has to be regarded as entirely artificial, though favouring a 2D image that has a smooth gradient of image intensity in one or other direction, which the imprint clearly lacks, given its origin as a simple imprint from a fairly flat region of the anatomy (the back of hand, excluding the curvature between the fingers that escapes imaging).

The z control produces a dramatic effect on the 2D reference, despite having no 3D history. The z control might be useful to exaggerate 3D character to make it more apparent, but it’s action has to be regarded as entirely artificial, through favouring a 2D image that has a smooth gradient of image intensity in one or other direction That’s something the real image of my fingers clearly lacks, given its origin as a simple imprint from a fairly flat region of the anatomy (the back of hand, excluding the curvature between the fingers that escapes imaging).

Conclusion: my wet flour imprint, given 2nd stage colour development, shows a very respectable 3D response in ImageJ. One can argue as to whether it’s a “real” 3D response, coming from a 3D template, through lacking any obvious mechanism for capturing 3D information. It’s for that reason that this blogger now routinely includes the internal reference as a reminder that  3D rendering must never be assumed to have required either a 3D template, or a relief-sensitive mechanism of image capture, or both.

So was the 3D response one sees above entirely due to promotion of image intensity in step with that of the internal benchmark  reference, or might it have been additionally favoured by the imprinting procedure?  I was starting to address this tricky question when an alternative imprinting procedure came to mind, prompted by another criticism from our perennial critic, namely that the image of my fingers shows “sharp borders”.  Might the technique be modified to address that complaint?  Is the model being faulted less for its science, more for its technology, indeed “arts and crafts” aspects?  That will be addressed in tomorrow’s instalment to this posting  (2nd topic). Thanks to those who have stayed the course so far…   Full marks for perseverance.

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Is the Shroud of Turin really just 18 years short of its 2000th birthday? SEE THIS BLOG FOR A DAILY ACERBIC OVERVIEW OF CURRENT WRANGLING ( currently 2015, Week 32)

The aim is a maximum of 15 entries per week, generally 2 per day. The primary source will be mainly the current postings and discussion on Dan Porter’s shroudstory site (a reversal of the previous oh-so genteel predator-prey relationship,  ho ho ;-)

Beware the cherry pickers who select facts helpful to their case, studiously ignoring the rest. Most of all, be aware of the purveyors of home-made “CHERRY JAM” (seemingly wholesome-looking preserve, but based on home-grown selected fruit, i.e. preconceptions). See previous posting for more on that “cherry jam”.

Some of the biggest names in sindonology are/were cherry pickers and/or covert or blatant manufacturers of cherry jam.

Table of contents (to date) in reverse chronological order. (That which comes last will be displayed first).

13th topic: Are the so-called “microscopic” properties of the “Shroud” image fibres really microscopic, or mere close-ups of macroscopic properties?

12th topic: demonstrating the speed with which hypochlorite bleach destroys the new model chromophore made by heating a white flour imprint (modelling you know what).

11th topic: is there a better name for the so-called “Shroud” of Turin? YES!

10th topic. Google seems to  like my new style of posting!

9th topic: how did explosives safety-testing expert  Raymond N. Rogers come to be coopted to STURP?

8th topic: Bother (tinged with relief): someone got there before me (sweat imprint hypothesis) – more than 30 years ago!

7th topic: More on the Gospel’s use of two terms for linen. Which fits sindonology’s “Shroud”?  Is sindonology playing fast and loose with terminology, so as to suggest (without biblical authority) that Joseph of Arimathea’s “fine linen” was  intended and used as final burial garment?

6th topic.  Spotlight on scientist Barrie.M.Schwortz

5th topic: Whose book in the early 1980s might be said to have undermined the “tradition” of regarding the Shroud simply as an “imprint” formed on the linen used to receive a body from the cross, of manufacturing cherry jam?

4th topic: an altogther different explanation for why the man on the Shroud has fingers but no thumbs. No pathology needed in the medieval modelling narrative.

3rd topic: The mysterious Gematria. How does it work?

2nd topic: Why does this blogger write “Shroud” instead of Shroud?

1st topic: Why did obscure little Lirey  near Troyes, France, came to host the first undisputed appearance of the “Shroud” double-image in European history?

STOP HERE FOR LATEST TOPIC

This week’s 13th topic

It’s rare for this blogger/retired scientist to start a topic with the final conclusion. But I’m making an exception on this occasion, to spare the reader having to plough through hundreds of words, wondering where they are leading.

Here’s a pointed conclusion: for those of us interested in modelling the “Shroud” body image at the microscopic as well as macroscopic level. Forget about those terms that are bandied around – half-tone effect, striations, discontinuities etc – all based on feigned detachment, unguided by any

See below for the full-size enlargement, with caption: "Half-tone effect"? You CANNOT be serious.

See below for the full-size enlargement, with caption: “Half-tone effect”? You CANNOT be serious.

model. Be content to show that your photomicrographs match the general look that one sees in the Mark Evans pictures. And what is the model that best suits that general look? Answer – contact imprinting off a template (human or inanimate  bas relief or both).  Yes, that forbidden word: contact.  Look carefully at the Mark Evans pictures of the body image. Then look at the rust imprint on the Shroud.  Spot the resemblance. Seek and ye shall find (imaging by contact, concentrated but not exclusive to the crowns of the weave  – specifically the warp threads of the herringbone weave, each of which passes over 3 weft threads – the highest points in the plane of the weave). But don’t take my word for it. Keep an open mind.

In attempting to model the so-called “Shroud” of Turin, one can be fairly certain of beiing challenged in short order to produce evidence that one’s model has microscopic characteristics that match those of the “Shroud”. In fact, the faster one ticks off the ‘macroscopic’ features like colour, negative image, 3D-properties, water-resistance, lack of reverse-side image etc the faster comes the demand to address the microscopic. That’s odd in a way, since one would have expected the first question to be “Is your image as superficial as that of the “Shroud”, or “Is it as superficial as Di Lazzaro’s laser-scorch?”. Why is that one wonders? Might it be because one ‘s response might be “No, first you give me precise physical measurements for image layer thickness, and whether or not that includes the PCW, a hypothesized impurity layer or both”. Beware mantra-like intonations of the “200nm Shroud image layer” that in reality means that Ray Rogers couldn’t see it  in his microscopic examination of ghost images left in his sticky-tape samples, or at any rate when attemping to view them edge-on.  Thus was born the 200nm galloping guesstimate.

Anyway, the topic being addressed today is a tricky one, VERY tricky, and for the same reason as that allegedly superdupersuperficial image layer – namely that the closer one looks, the more it becomes a dissolving perspective. So today’s posting will be constructed in short instalments, with much laborious cutting-and-pasting which I prefer to do online. Please bear with me. I expect to have this Topic 13 complete by late afternoon, UK time. Watch this space.

The original plan was to do a critique – with positive v negative impressions- of the 2010 paper by Fanti et al (with many Shroud Science Group members comprising al. But that approach has been abandoned for reasons that will be made clear later. Better in fact to go back to this document that appeared in 2005 with an even longer and impressive line-up of leading sindonologists.

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What did it have to say about those microscopic properties?

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It makes references to 3 key “microscopic” features:

  1. discontinuities ( “discontinuous distibution ” of colour)
  2. “striations”
  3.  coloured fibres immediately adjacent to non-coloured ones – an either/or effect which is abbreviated in shroud literature, some say misleadingly so, to the “half-tone” effect.

That list makes reference(mercifully) to just 8 Mark Evans photomicrographs, all conveniently numbered (Me 2, ME 08,ME 14, ME 16, ME 18, ME 25, ME 29) which are now all available full size (not just thumbnails) on Mario’s site, having appeared with little fanfare in January 2014. Quite how Mario is able to liberate these crucial pix from the copyrighted STERA archive is anyone’s guess.His pro-authenticity credentials of which he makes no secret probably helps. Or maybe he’s blackmailed  STERA Prezzy Barrie M.Schwortz  with a long-lens photo of the latter munching on a ham sandwich at a Saturday garden party in the company of a back-slapping Walter McCrone. There’s no crime in speculating…   ;-).

Anyway: time to display the 8 cited Evans photomicrographs, without captions to start with (bar a summary of  Mario’s labelling re magnification and location). The latter will only appear after this blogger has, yet again, tried to decide what each shows or, more importantly, does not show.

Click on photos to enlarge:

ME-02 32x Body Image (Eye)

ME-02 32x Body Image (Eye) First impression: cannot see anything that I would describe as  microscopic features. For a start  one is looking at threads, not separate fibres. It’s impossible to be certain what individual fibres look like.  Even if there were, there’s insufficient contrast.  Everything looks so washed out – an effect of centuries of ageing perhaps (or deliberate post-production attenuation)? Let’s put this photo into MS Office Picture Manager and adjust contrast, brightness etc.

As above, after applying 10,100.-60 in MS Office Picture Manager

As above, after applying 10,100.-60  (brightness/contrast/midtone) in MS Office Picture Manager.That’s better. Click to enlarge. Half tone effect? Not so one would notice, quite the contrary in fact. Striations? More like a patchy distribution of colour. Discontinuities? If that means a sudden cut-off in colour – then yes, though one sees that in another Evans picture (not shown) which has acquired a  patchy rust imprint from an ancient metal tack.

..

ME-08 32x Small of the back

ME-08 32x Small of the back. As before, I see nothing of “microscopic” significance whatsoever in this photo. Let’s up the contrast as before, making minor adjustments to brightness etc.

..

As above, with additonal contrast etc

As above, with additonal contrast etc. Half tone effect? Where? Striations? Certainly a stripey apperarance, such as one sees on rust imprints (see later). Discontinuities? Yes, but only due to a general patchiness in image distribution – hardly a microscopic feature with any real significance given one is looking at bunched fibres, i.e. threads.

ME-14 32x (Nose)

ME-14 32x (Nose). This one is by far and away the best so far on account of the extrusion of separate fibres. Yes, the individual fibres have much the same colour intensity, but without some uncoloured ones in the bundle as well, it’s hardly appropriate to refer to a half-tone effect. Let’s look at this one with added contrast (below).

..

As above with added contrast. etc.

As above with added contrast. etc. Why should there be such a hight concentration of dark fibres in that one region while fibres are so pale elsewhere. It’s suggestive off a local anomaly – but hardly a “microscopic feature” worthy of being singled out for special attention.

ME-16 32x  (Foot)

ME-16 32x (Foot). There’s obviously some patchy colour distribution that is worth exploring at high contrast

..

Abobe with high contrast etc.  It's better than some we have seen, but hardly making the case for a hlaf-tone effect. To be certain of an either/or effect one would need to take a thread with a mixed population fibres, uniformly coloured v uncoloured, tease out the individual fibres, cut them into approx. standard length and then line them up side by side, alternating between the two types. The observer could then be asked to judge if there were two and only types. Without doing that experiment it is fanciful to suppose that this and other photos seen so far display a half-tone effect.

As above with high contrast etc. It’s better than some we have seen, but hardly making the case for a half-tone effect. To be certain of an either/or effect one would need to take a thread with a mixed population of fibres, uniformly coloured v uncoloured, tease out the individual fibres, cut them into approx. standard lengths and then line them up side by side, alternating between the two types. The neutral observer could then be asked to judge if there were indeed two and only two types. Without doing that experiment it is fanciful to suppose that this and other photos seen so far display a half-tone effect.

ME-18 6.3x  (Foot)

ME-18 6.3x (Foot)

..

As above, added contrast'. What's this picture doing in a gallery of pix supposedly to show microscopic features? Move along folk. Nothing to see here.

As above, added contrast’. What’s this picture doing in a gallery of pix supposedly to show microscopic features? Move along folk. Nothing to see here.

ME-20 32x (Eye)

ME-20 32x (Eye). Again, it needs contrast if one’s to interpret it.

..

As above. It shows the striation very well, too well maybe? Why? if one has striation in a narrow band, adjacent to fibres occupying roughly the same width, but having weak colour as distinct from no colour, then how can one hope to sustain the claim for a half-tone effect? One cannot. There is no half-tone effect. There can be gradations of image colour between one fibre and another. The  striations we see here are due to a narrow band of high-image intensity fibres.

As above. This one does show the striation quite well, too well maybe? Why? If  one has striation in a narrow band, adjacent to fibres occupying roughly the same width, but having weak colour as distinct from no colour, then how can one hope to sustain the claim for a half-tone effect? One cannot. There is no half-tone effect. There can be gradations of image colour between one fibre and another. The striations we see here are due to a narrow band of high-image intensity fibres.

Late addition: part of the above picture enlarged, with some loss of defintion, naturally:

Half tone effect? You CANNOT be serious!

Half tone effect? You CANNOT be serious!

ME-25 50x  (Heel)

ME-25 50x (Heel)

..

As above, with added contrast. There's nothing here that we have not seen so far.

As above, with added contrast. There’s nothing here that we have not seen so far. What it does show – not uniquely – is something that has been apparent in all the pictures, namely  a preferential but not exclusive location of yellow image on the horizontal warp fibres (75% of the total) that lie slightly higher than the vertical weft fibres. This is strongly indicative  of a contact imprinting mechanism, but one that is perhaps a little more subtle than that produced by pressing hot iron onto untreated linen (as per the simple one-stage scorch model).  Might one be seeing the ‘smoothing’ effect of an applied  liquid imprinting medium  (‘gooey’) that comes between hot template and linen?

ME-29 64x  (Nose)

ME-29 64x (Nose)

As above, with contrast. So finally, here we are, at the eighth and last of the evans photomicrographs that are supposed to make the case for the presence of distinctive microscopic properties, diagnostic of

As above, with contrast.
So finally, here we are, at the eighth and last of the Evans photomicrographs that are supposed to make the case for the presence of distinctive microscopic properties, diagnostic of “Shroud” fibres, one that any modeller must reproduce if wishing to be taken seriously. Does it show anything we have not seen so far?  I say it doesn’t. What’s been lacking so far is a sighting of anything distinctive under the microscope that is totally unexpected at the macroscopic level, e.g. like looking at snow (simple H2O) and seeing complex six-sided crystals, like seeing a dust-like bloom on grapes and seeing yeast cells under the microscope. One might say that the micrographs are hugely unenlightening and why? Because the interpretation has been divorced from any historical context, like this or that  proposed mechanism of imprinting.  Conclusion: one has to model likely contexts if one wishes to stand any chance of interpreting the fairly non-descript features we have seen in these 8 photos.

Overview: there’s a general supposition that a a model-free description of a system is bound to be more objective than one that relates to a particular model. What we see above gives the lie to that comfortable but flawed position.

Here’s another picture from the Evans archive that illustrates my point:

Also from the Turin

Also from the Turin “Shroud”: Note the similarities and differences between this and the preceding 8 photomicrographs.

If the previous 8 pictures have noteworthy “microscopic’ features, then so does this one.  There is some evidence of striation and discontinuities in the distribution of pigment. there is also a preferential location on the horizontal warp threads. One could be forgiven for thinking that this image was formed by a contact process, but with a difference: it’s a better more perfect distribution of pigment than before. In short, it’s too good. It’s too suggestive of an image that was formed by contact.  Indeed it is. It’s the rust imprint left on the “Shroud” by round tacks, used to pin the fabric to a frame. It follows that its appearance under the microscope does not show evidence of microscopic structure. What we see is macroscopic structure seen close up that is not revealing anything that is unique. An “objective” report of the microscopic findings would be fairly useless and unhelpful to say the least, were there no history of the specimen. It would imply complexity that was apparent rather than real.

Overall conclusion: there aren’t micoscopic properties of the”Shoud” image as such. Under the typical range of magnification in the Mark Evans pictures, one merely sees close ups of the fibres, whose appearance is a function of whatever macroscopic process produced the image. That appearance is, broadly speaking, consistent with imaging via  a contact process. Thare are no unique distinguishing features between one image fibre and another: the so-called half-tone effect is not self-evident in the 8 cited pictures and in all probability does not exist, there being apparent variation in image intensity between fibres, though difficult  to prove without having data for individual fibres.

So next time I’m told that my modelled images must have the macro- AND microscopic properties of the “Shroud”, my reply will be that the appearance under the microscope need only be consistent with that of a contact imprinting process, one favouring whatever threads lie highest in the plane of the weave  (warp threads in the case of the “Shroud”).

Last two topics on this posting tomorrow. One will relate how Alan D.Adler (“blood expert”) came to be recruited to STURP (though neither recruiter nor recruit made it to Turin to see the “too red” blood with their own eyes).

Change of mind. Putting together the ‘microscopy’ was like being back at work, albeit with a self-imposed deadline to meet, achieved after some 10 hours of work (+cleaning the car). Methinks I’ll draw a line under this, the first in my new 1 week-at-a-time posting style and have me a good old-fashioned day of rest. Come Monday, there should be a new posting with a near identical ‘umbrella-style’ title, aiming again to add two snippet-style entries per day.    Late insertion: Nope, on second thoughts, let this posting stay as the current one for at least a week, possibly longer, since adding a new one will simply take this site back to oblivion in Google’s crazy blogger-unfriendly algorithm. Yup, that’s it. Take a rest, take a holiday!

My new format blog has now appeared  in a  Google search of (shroud of turin) under the  “past year” for the first time this week, being currently page 4 and rising.  Pity I didn’t think of it a long time ago. The format suits my style and pace – eschewing as it does the “look-at-me” impression that can be created by closely-spaced new postings, all with the obligatory eye-catching title. Yup. expect this format to continue for a while to come, until there’s nothing more that can usefully be said that hasn’t been said before.

Am thinking of getting the microscope out again, and taking a close look at the model imprints from white flour at thread and fibre level. However there will be no attempt to report in real time, given the many different ways the ‘new’ technology can be deployed to give a final image that is almost anywhere on the spectrum between bold and scarcely visible. Those who attempt to ridicule on the basis that this or that image from this site doesn’t look anything like the (centuries old) TS please note. Your simplistic and carping criticism that has pretensions to being scientific is seen for what it is, namely anti-scientific, and will be politely ignored.  Monitoring the effect of those many variants at the microscopic level will be a challenge. Who knows: I may even discover a genuine half-tone effect that I would then attempt to properly document instead of foisting with indecent haste onto the public domain …

Final entry (13th) onto this Week 32 posting now concluded.  Thirteen is the sceptic’s lucky number!

This week’s 12th topic

This blogger posted a link to shroudstory a few days ago to that surprising result I obtained with domestic bleach when applied to the new model imprints (white flour + hot iron). (Chemical aside: why surprising? Because STURP said the “Shroud” image retained its colour after testing a large number of chemicals: only the rarely encountered and unstable  diimide (HN=NH) generated by an in situ reaction between hydrazine, H2N-NH2 and hydrogen peroxide, H2O2 in boiling pyridine was able to bleach the TS image.)

Effect of thick bleach solution on roasted white flour imprint. Bleaching of both imprint and the discoloured background linen.

Effect of thick bleach solution on roasted white flour imprint. Bleaching of both imprint and the discoloured background linen.

Commentator piero then asked how long it took to obtain that bleached area you see on the right. Reply: bleaching starts immediately, but it may take 20 to 30 minites to totally decolorize very brown areas.

After suggesting how bleach might serve as a chemical probe for the still mysterious Shroud chromophore (by inserting Cl-35 and Cl-37 atoms into its stucture – natural chlorine being an approx 3:1 mixture of those two isotopes and analyzing the products with mass spectrometry), piero came back with a long comment,  most to do with his high hopes for a particular surface-scanning technique with an AFM probe, right at at the end of which was this:

Tail  end of piero comment

Tail end of piero comment

It’s the final para in the yellow box that is of interest (am still trying to get the meaning from the first part – English is not piero’s first language). He’s expressing surprise and indeed doubt that bleach could work so fast. Good.  It shows there’s someone else out there with a genuine scientific disposition, albeit with worrying signs too of geekishness  but don’t take that too personally piero – the best scientists need to call on their inner geek from time to time.

I promised piero some results from a new test with bleach which was done late yesterday afternoon on a new flour imprint of my hand, including my watch face in the photography. Here are the results from 9 consecutive photos in strict time sequence:

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Fig.1 (left): new hand imprint from heated white flour; Fig.2 (central): imprint draped over support, commercial bleach (approx.5% NaOCl) in background; Fig 3 (right ) time on watch at start, before adding bleach.

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Fig 4 (right): three drops of bleach added, appearance at 43 seconds; Fig.5 (centre): after another 34 secs; Fig.6 (right) : after another 3 mins. Bleaching essentially complete!

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Fig.7 (left): bleached area held up vertically with window in background giving light from rear; Fig 8 (centre) approx 4 mins later. Bleach has run and is now acting outside the initial area; Fig.9 (right); final appearance approx 1 hour after start.

Time now to see what’s in all those new comments on shroudstory that have appeared overnight. If  they are anything like the stream of insults or imperious putdowns that appeared yesterday, I may simply ignore them, and get busy with Topic 13 – a tricky one- to do with the so-called “microscopic” properties of the “Shroud” image. I have been harbouring  doubts as to whether they really are microscopic in the sense of showing fine structure that is invisible to the naked eye (or under a low power hand lens). They may simply enlarge macroscopic structure and thus be dependent upon imprinting macro-level technique – in which case they may have been over-hyped. We shall see, once the relevant Mark Evans pictures from MarioL’s superb sindonology site have been extracted from the archives and displayed.

This week’s 11th topic

This blogger has been racking his brain, or such parts of it that still manage to intercommunicate through accumulated swathes of useless information, for an alternative name for the Turin “Shroud”. Why?  Because there is no biblical support for thinking that a length of fine linen (herringbone weave) would have been used, or intended to be used as a burial shroud, if  as one reasonably infers, it corresponds with Joseph of Arimathea’s linen (sindon)  deployed initially at the cross, then for transporting Jesus to tomb, there to be replaced with an entirely different linen (othonion/othonia). When I say “corresponds” there is no intended bias towards a pro-authenticity model, i.e. 2000 year old “Shroud” or one that is based on medieval modelling (a ‘fake’ shroud).

Surfing the murkier aspects of shroudology this morning (don’t ask) I came across this passage:

Most have heard of the Shroud of Turin that is believed to be the death cloth of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Read more at: http://tr.im/QyYS3

Well well, it’s auto-attached its URL to my cut-and-paste. OK, so the provenance is acknowledged by default.

“Death cloth”!  That’s it – neat, simple, non-committal as regards biblical chronology. Some might object to the air of finality that might be implied by that term “death”, to which the reply is: “Read your bible, go forward a page or two”.

Death cloth- yes, a bit ghoulish maybe. But isn’t that the overwhelming first impression the viewer gets – a ghoulish representation of a flayed and bloodied man bearing multiple blood flows. 1st century Jewish burial practices aside – real or imagined – the idea that fine linen would be deployed at the base of the cross  to envelop such a ravaged corpse and finally, after transport to rock tomb, be used as final shroud, without cleaning up (yet applying oils and spices all the same) seems inherently improbable. The TS was NOT the burial shroud .It was at best a  dispensable pre-burial shroud,  NOT a burial shroud, later replaced by a clean one, probably supplied by nifty Nicodemus along with his instantly conjured up 100lbs of aloes and myrrh.  So, to avoid confusion, to say nothing of deliberately misleading people as to the manner in which the body was transported and prepared for interment, why not call it a DEATH CLOTH for heaven’s sake (or for less celestial, more down to earth considerations).

This week’s 10th topic

This blogger used to have a regular moan at the low priority given personal blogs (worse for this WordPress site than his other Google-owned sciencebuzz site hosted on Blogger. Several suggestions were made, few if any of which appealed (not wishing to organize my life and site to suit the ever encroaching octopus-like Google that once admitted it “wanted to know everything that was on our home computers”). Briefly this site made page 10 as I recall of a Google search under (Shroud of Turin) and I stopped bothering about it and the other search engines. The truth will out, as they say, even if it takes months, years even, rather than days.

So imagine my surprise yesterday when, out of curiosity, I re-entered (shroud of turin) and used the time selector. There was nothing under “last 24 hours”, but there we were, under “Past week” with one of our graphics (that recent picture of Sam Pellic0ri, admittedly harvested by shroudstory giving it double exposure) staring me in the face. Indeed there were two entries for this site – home page and this specific posting. see the highlighted areas on this screenshot.

Google (shroud of turin) with 'last week' filter

Google (shroud of turin) with ‘last week’ filter

What’s more, we are starting to appear under the “Past month” filter. Last night it was bottom of page 2. This morning it had moved up a couple of places.

So what are we doing right that we weren’t doing before, right that is by the Google crawler?  Answer: keeping the same posting going, updating it with new information from other sites, linking to those sites, and having them link back to one. In other words, one becomes a nexus of web links that was not the case previously when constantly putting up new posts, none of which had time to acquire critical mass before being replaced by another. Google can count, but can’t weigh, and even in its counting capacity, it sees only one thing at a time from a particular site, not the accumulated output from multiple postings.

Is one’s content spotted in this new format, if not relying say on the eagle-eyed Dan Porter to spot and use it (regarding which I’ve made no secret of mixed feeling)?  it would appear so, given that “Carlos” on Porter’s site spotted an error with the position of hands in that modelling experiment described below, which incidentally I’ve rectified on that site, having first used a Spanish-English online translation to find what was wrong (one hand was too low – the pincer thumb should have been used to grip the wrist of the other hand – not the thumb).

This week’s 9th topic:

Raymond N.Rogers: his name is almost synonomous with STURP, and his ideas on the image being on an impurity layer, one he described as Pliny era (1st century)  “crude starch” maybe accompanied  by natural detergents – herbally-derived saponins – dominate the Shroudie literature to this day. Raymond N.Rogers for many is the chemical guru who somehow managed to marry Shroud authenticity with basic down-to-earth chemistry, eschewing miraculous imprinting, invoking instead plain old post-mortem processes (the smelly variety)

But his cv/resume – especially published work under Google Scholar- provide little or no clue as to how he came to be selected as STURP’s chemistry team leader. It’s something this blogger has puzzled for years, especially as it was doctorate-free Mr.Rogers (i.e. no formal training in research methods – not necessarily an impediment as regards doing good research, but hardly good window-dressing either).

It’s through reading John Heller’s book that that I’ve suddenly become aware of why Rogers was (or may have been)  chosen.

Ray Rogers makes an early appearance in Heller’s book – page 6. Right at the top of the page we read:

Two names -Walter McCrone and Ray Rogers – were familiar to me.

Then, lower down, after the passage on McCrone, we read (my bolding):

“Because of his work on explosives, Ray Rogers was an eminent expert in thermal effects”.

There’s a lot more one  could quote, all of it suggesting that Ray Rogers was your man if there are effects of heat/fire to be considered, like the one in 1532 that produced the conspicuous burn holes and those crude patches. Maybe folk thought he might have something useful to say about the effects of that fire (an unplanned ‘experiment’) on the neighbouring blood and image. Alternatively his “thermal expertise” might assist in understanding the mysterious Shroud image itself, which might to some eyes  (mine at any rate) seem to have a scorch-like appearance. One could do worse, right. than recruit/coopt an  “eminent expert in thermal effects”. He’d know all about the damaging effects of heat, on organic material especially, like linen, would he not?

There’s just one tiny problem, which only becomes apparent when one takes a look at his published work.

Example of Rogers' published work on DSC (1966), it being a physical technique, not open-ended chemistry.

Example of Rogers’ published work on DSC (1966), it being a physical technique, not open-ended chemistry.

His experience with thermal effects was the result of harnessing a technique called differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to monitor the status of chemical explosives on storage. No. its nothing to do with heat coming out from incendiary or explosive material. It’s to do with inputting metered amounts of heat and monitoring the small thermal changes associated with ordered/disordered crystalline (or semi-crystalline) structure that one sees on a plot of heat evolved or absorbed with temperature. (Melting absorbs heat, crystallization releases it). (Late addition – all wrong – see below).

Here’s a typical DSC plot:

The peaks and troughs represent phase transitions in crystallinity

The peaks and troughs represent phase transitions in crystallinity

Rogers was deploying a technique that had more to do with physics than chemistry, and subtle physics at that to do with crystalline order.  (All wrong – see below). DSC just happened to be a handy way of monitoring changes on explosives storage that might provide an early-warning of spontaneous detonation tendency (that’s my hunch – admittedly based on guesswork and a little chemical intuition).

Late addition: have been doing some further reading. DSC is and was pioneered by Rogers and others to monitor the kinetics of decomposition of ‘energetic materials, i.e. propellants, explosives etc, so it was in fact chemical reactions (not mere physical transitions)  that were under study, albeit tiny amounts of material to avoid sending the lab and its staff sky high. Here’s the introduction to a paper in Thermochimica Acta ( a journal which Rogers help found and whose first paper was authored by Rogers) that gives a flavour of how DSC is used to measure energy of activation (the kick start energy needed to get chemical reactions over the initial energy hump):

Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) is often used as a
characterization technique to determine the thermal behavior of
energetic materials (EMs). As new organic EMs are formulated, this
is an important test to determine thermal stability and ignition
temperature.

Notwithstanding the relevance and value of DSC to the ‘energetic materials’ industry, understandably keen on its own survival and that of its customers (the military etc) it seems more than likely that Rogers was recruited on the basis  of a misunderstanding – or at any rate a mislabelling of his area of expertise. That being the case,  he did like most of us do when faced with a challenge that exceeds our knowledge and experience – he improvised. He did a pretty good job of that, at least where the analytical spadework was concerned that went into the 1981 summary. It’s post 1981 where things began to go off track – where ideas took root that lacked for hard analytical data – notably the conviction that there was a coating of “crude starch” on the Shroud, so crude as to behave more like sugar than starch, indeed chemically reactive so-called reducing  sugar – able to give yellow or brown Maillard reaction with any free amines that happened to be knocking about. Rogers’ source of amines? Putrefaction gases and vapours from a corpse, capable of imprinting images across air gaps. Yeah, right. best we stop there.

This week’s 8th topic:

What is it they say about there being nothing new under the sun etc? Yesterday I shortcutted to near the end of John Heller’s book (arrived through Amazon the day before yesterday whose service for us researchers just gets better and better!). I could scarcely believe my eyes. There were all MY ideas (or so I thought) set out in one compact paragraph – the “Shroud” image being a contact-only imprint (heresy in some quarters), that one could model the process, maybe as a pro-authenticist but equally well as a medieval forger, and that it might take a two-stage process – initial imprinting, followed by accelerated colour development to get a yellow or brown end-result.

Who was the kindred spirit from all those years ago? Is he still alive (unlike so many of the STURP team).  Yes, he too was a member of STURP,  whose name cropped up a year or two ago in discussion with Hugh Farey about scorch fluorescence.

Heller’s book has a photo plate of the man in question. It’s copyrighted of course, but I’m inserting it here for research (non-commercial) reasons.

That's the larger-than-life (now sadly passed on) Alan D Adler in the foreground, blue top, as he was in 1978. But who is that behind him, also bearded, in the check shirt?

That’s the larger-than-life (now sadly passed on) Alan D Adler in the foreground, blue top, as he was in 1978. But who is that behind him, also bearded, in the check shirt?

Answer: it’s Sam Pellicori, who I’m pleased to say is still very much alive, as a quick search – and this LinkedIn profile shows:

Sam Pellicori - as he is now.

Sam Pellicori – as he is now, some 35 years on maybe, assuming the picture is fairly recent. Cheer up Sam. Your gut instincts  re contact-only imprinting from 1978,  kicked into the long grass by your over-perfectionist collaborators,  may well prove finally to have been correct.

Coming next: my comment placed on shroudstory (though increasingly I ask myelf why I bother with that wet-blanket of a site, one that  persistently evades the detail, trotting out the cut-and-paste words of this or that ‘expert’ to say in effect “You’re wasting your time and ours chum”).

Oops. Too big to do a screenshot. So here it is as cut-and-paste (hopefully most typos now corrected):

August 5, 2015 at 5:09 pm

Am not sure what prompted the comment from Stan Walker MD, but it’s an opportunity to make a point. Until recently I’d assumed that the two-stage imprinting model, using a real person as template, flour paste as imprinting medium, and any one of at least 3 developing agents, was entirely original thinking. Not so: here’s what John Heller wrote towards the end of his 1983 book (well written, except for the flyleaf that he hopefully did not see and approve):

“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 aging 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 of the Shroud.”

My experiments match those of Pellicori’s almost down to the last detail, but with one crucial difference. My imprinting medium is macromolecular, indeed whole cell in size, namely the crushed endosperm of wheat grains (“white flour”) so greatly reducing the theoretical risk of “capillarity”, though I still have to do detailed microscopy.

If this model is only approximately corrrect (and it’s gratifying to know that Pellicori, a STURP team investigator was thinking along exactly the same lines 30 years ago) then the science and technology were well within the capability of a medieval forger if needing only white flour paste and a hot iron or oven (not nitric acid as initially suggested). What’s more there’s a clearly stated rationale for doing it the way suggested – namely to simulate an ancient sweat imprint left on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen/sindon en route from cross to tomb, pre-empting any notions of fancier imaging mechanisms (laser uv light, neutrons etc) occuring on winding(?) cloths/othonia much later, or due to miraculous events that are non-reproducible in the laboratory – and thus a scientific dead end, no pun intended.

This blogger does not do scientific dead ends, and places great emphasis on having a coherent narrative from start to finish. But the technical details – like ringing all the changes with imprinting technique, oven temperatures etc – he prefers to leave to others. What concerns me is scientific feasibility – not reproducing every tiny detail of the Shroud image. There’s no compelling need to re-forge a forgery. One need only show that the science is feasible and credible, requiring no lasers etc. Naturally, I can only speak for myself. I can’t speak for those convinced that the Shroud is beyond known science.

This week’s 7th topic

It’s back to the 2nd topic regarding the confusion over which of the two types of linen in the Gospel accounts was present at the time of image imprinting. Dan Porter has flagged up my posting, but done so in a most desultory way, omitting the main thrust of my argument regarding the appearance of both types in the Luke account (though I was pleased to see that Kim Dreisbach picked up on its significance over and above the scant references elsewhere to sindon v othoni, an antidote to some of his other biased remarks. Dan’s omission makes my posting look insubstantial  but then it’s clear from Porter’s other comment this morning that he sees me as a lightweight. That does not stop him cutting-and-pasting my research and  in-depth analysis, while rarely giving any of his own, so I shan’t be losing any sleep over his persistent attempts to portray me as an innocent abroad.

If you want to see sloppy scholarship, typical of sindonology, so-called scholarship that constantly begs the question, then take a look at the Diana Fulbright paper he cites, especially the photographc that accompanies the Porter posting (Fig 1 from Fulbright).

Look at Fulbright’s text, then look at the caption to Fig. 1. What one sees is a totally circular argument that “begs the question”.

“The body of Jesus. as a Jew of a religious family, would have been wrapped in a long sheet and tied with strips of cloth at the neck, at the wrists and feet, and at the torso, and as here, at the knees. (Figure 1)

Oh dear. Never mind the quality. Just feel the circularity..

Oh dear. Never mind the quality. Just feel the circularity..

Caption to Fig.1

” Body wrapped .according to the custom of the Jews. (Based on forensic analysis of the image on the Turin Shroud.)

Dreisbach too resorts to circular argument, to “begging the question” when deploying the term sindon as a synonym for “Shroud” in the same sentence.

“The Synoptic Gospels use the word sindon in the singular to designate the Shroud (Matt. 27:59; Mk. 15:46 (twice); Lk. 23:53).

For “Shroud” read “Joseph of Arimathea’s linen. The whole purpose of discussing the meaning of sindon v othonia is to find which is the “Shroud”. It’s a nonsense to prejudge the issue as Dreisbach has done.

Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

This week’s 6th topic.

Here is a article that has just appeared on EWTN News on STURP scientist Barrie M.Schwortz. I have highlighted in red all the words that refer to science, indicating how keen the article, interviewer and interviewee are for you to know regarding BarrieM. Schwortz’s scientific credentials. Some might think  I should have chosen a different colour, having used red to flag up ‘cherry jam‘. More on that later.

The Shroud of Turin has different meanings for many people: some see it as an object of veneration, others a forgery, still others a medieval curiosity. For one Jewish scientist, however, the evidence has led him to see it as a meeting point between science and faith.

“The Shroud challenges (many people’s core beliefs) because there’s a strong implication that there is something beyond the basic science going on here,” Barrie Schwortz, one of the leading scientific experts on the Shroud of Turin, in an EWTN News.

Admitting that he did not know whether there was something beyond science at play, he added: “That’s not what convinced me: it was the science that convinced me.”

The Shroud of Turin is among the most well-known relics believed to be connected with Christ’s Passion. Venerated for centuries by Christians as the burial shroud of Jesus, it has been subject to intense scientific study to ascertain its authenticity, and the origins of the image.

The image on the 14 feet long, three-and-a-half feet wide cloth is stained with the postmortem image of a man – front and back – who has been brutally tortured and crucified.

Schwortz, now a retired technical photographer and frequent lecturer on the shroud, was a member of the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project which brought prestigious scientists together to examine the ancient artifact.

As a non-practicing Jew at the time, he was hesitant to be part of the team and skeptical as to the shroud’s authenticity – presuming it was nothing more than an elaborate painting. Nonetheless, he was intrigued by the scientific questions raised by the image.

Despite his reservations, Schwortz recounts being persuaded to remain on the project by a fellow scientist on the team – a NASA imaging specialist, and a Catholic – who jokingly told him: “You don’t think God wouldn’t want one of his chosen people on our team?”

And Schwortz soon encountered one of the great mysteries of the image that still entrances its examiners to this day.

He explained that a specific instrument used for the project was designed for evaluating x-rays, which allowed the lights and darks of an image to be vertically stretched into space, based on the lights and darks proportionately.

For a normal photograph, the result would be a distorted image: with the shroud, however, the natural, 3-D relief of a human form came through. This means “there’s a correlation between image density – lights and darks on the image – and cloth to body distance.”

“The only way that can happen is by some interaction between cloth and body,” he said. “It can’t be projected. It’s not a photograph – photographs don’t have that kind of information, artworks don’t.”

This evidence led him to believe that the image on the shroud was produced in a way that exceeds the capacities even of modern technology.

“There’s no way a medieval forger would have had the knowledge to create something like this, and to do so with a method that we can’t figure out today – the most image-oriented era of human history.”

“Think about it: in your pocket, you have a camera, and a computer, connected to each other in one little device,” he said.

“The shroud has become one of the most studied artifacts in human history itself, and modern science doesn’t have an explanation for how those chemical and physical properties can be made.”

While the image on the Shroud of Turin was the most convincing evidence for him, he said it was only a fraction of all the scientific data which points to it being real.

“Really, it’s an accumulation of thousands of little tiny bits of evidence that, when put together, are overwhelming in favor of its authenticity.”

Despite the evidence, many skeptics question the evidence without having seen the facts. For this reason, Schwortz launched the website http://www.shroud.com, which serves as a resource for the scientific data on the Shroud.

Nonetheless, he said, there are many who still question the evidence, many believing it is nothing more than an elaborate medieval painting.

“I think the reason skeptics deny the science is, if they accept any of that, their core beliefs have been dramatically challenged, and they would have to go back and reconfigure who they are and what they believe in,” he said. “It’s much easier to reject it out of hand, and not worry about it. That way they don’t have to confront their own beliefs.”

“I think some people would rather ignore it than be challenged.”

Schwortz emphasized that the science points to the Shroud being the burial cloth belonging to a man, buried according to the Jewish tradition after having been crucified in a way consistent with the Gospel. However, he said it is not proof of the resurrection – and this is where faith comes in.

“It’s a pre-resurrection image, because if it were a post-resurrection image, it would be a living man – not a dead man,” he said, adding that science is unable to test for the sort of images that would be produced by a human body rising from the dead.

“The Shroud is a test of faith, not a test of science. There comes a point with the Shroud where the science stops, and people have to decide for themselves.”

“The answer to faith isn’t going to be a piece of cloth. But, perhaps, the answer to faith is in the eyes and hearts of those who look upon it.”

When it comes to testifying to this meeting point between faith and science, Schwortz is in a unique position: he has never converted to Christianity, but remains a practicing Jew. And this, he says, makes his witness as a scientist all the more credible.

“I think I serve God better this way, in my involvement in the Shroud, by being the last person in the world people would expect to be lecturing on what is, effectively, the ultimate Christian relic.”

“I think God in his infinite wisdom knew better than I did, and he put me there for a reason.”

That’s 20 references to science in the one article. Some might think that Barrie M.Schwortz and his interviewer want us to be in absolutely no doubt that Barrie M.Schwortz is a scientist. Am I being unfair? Some might think so. but wait a minute. i’ve overlooked to give the the title of that article.

How One Skeptical Scientist Came To Believe in the Shroud of Turin.

There’s just one tiny fly in the ointment. Barrie M.Schworts is  and never has been a scientist. He was not recruited to STURP as a scientist, meaning there should not have been that reference to “fellow scientists”. He was recruited as a Documenting Photographer. Quite what’s in his portfolio of photographs is anyone’s guess, given the copyright restrictions that Schwortz has placed on his work, even that of fellow Documenting Photographer Mark Evans (thanks to Thibault Heimburger for getting some of those crucial Evans pix released, being the basis for most if not all the claims for the Shroud’s allegedly unusual microscopic characteristics).  Were it not for the photoarchive that appeared on Mario Latendresse’s Shroud Scope, based on the Durante 2002 photos, this blogger would have a mere tens or scores of postings only, not the hundreds he has accumulated over 3.5 years.

One wonders what a real scientist by the name of Barrie M.Schwortz in a parallel universe would have to say about the bowdlerized reference to the image’s 3D properties, making them out to be something near-miraculous, despite easily demonstrated with 2D imprints, even cartoons with no 3D properties. The latter are due to the way the differences in light v dark  on the xy plane are converted to imaginary height on a new vertical z axis. Barrie Schwortz is not a scientist. Barrie Schwortz is a celebrity, certainly, but for all the wrong reasons. Barrie Schwortz is a purveyor of cherry jam. This blogger wishes to have nothing to do with Barrie Schwortz  and his ilk with their peddling of  cherry jam i.e. pseudo-science. I’ve now stopped highlighting science in red. This blogger is a retired scientist. He knows real science when he sees it, one who can spot immediately the pseudo-science that is promoted in the media, the article above being a prime example. that article had no business promoting Barrie M.Schwortz as a scientist.  Were I a US citizen, I would be writing to that country’s equivalent of the UK’s Royal Society, urging that action be taken against those who pose as scientists in the media, while damaging real science with their cherry jam.

Late addition: Friday Aug 7. Have just posted this corrective to a spin-off article under my Disqus registration.

Pray for Conversion of Jewish Scientist Who Defends Holy Shroud

ColinB

ColinB 8 hours ago

Mr.Barrie M.Schwortz was a Documenting Photographer for STURP, and now, 37 years on, travels far and wide with his slide show, pushing his pro-authenticity line. Yes, he’s familiar with the scientific arguments, albeit out-of-his depth on the detail. One thing’s for certain: Schwortz is a technical photographer, not a scientist, despite those 20 references to “science” in the original article.

<b>Colin B</b> (retired scientist/documenting photographer – of grandchildren growing up).

This week’s 5th topic

In the coming days, maybe weks, I’ll be quoting passages from a certain book that appeared in the early 1980s, one that has “Shroud of Turin” in its title. Never mind for now who wrote it. What interests me are the first few words on the flyleaf, two of which I have highlighted.

“For many years intense controversy has raged around the Turin Shroud. Tradition has it that this ancient piece of material was wrapped around Christ’s body when he was taken down from the cross, and to this day it bears the faint but inescapable imprints, front and back, of a full length human figure. Over the years there has been much speculation as to how the image was formed, with skeptcis saying it’s a clever forgery and believers calling it a miracle.”

Did anybody challenge that at the time? Did anyone protest that was a travesty, that the Shroud of Turin was not used until after the body arrived at the tomb, that the image was not necessarily an imprint, implying it was formed by contact alone, that an entirely different imaging process took place, one that could operate across air gaps, one that could be related to high energy radiation emanating from a corpse undergoing  resurrection, or even, less magically, one undergoing post mortem decomposition, producing gases?

There’s no hint in that fly leaf that the notion of the Shroud imprint as a contact imprint being formed on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen challenged received wisdom in any way, that while there might be speculation about miracles, there were no conceptual difficulties where imprinting sooner rather than later, i.e. at the cross, was concerned. Yet here we are, over 30 years later, with this blogger repeatedly saying precisely what you see above – the “Shroud” being used to receive the body from the cross, and quickly acquiring an imprint from that body (real, or more probably as a result of medieval modelling) and what happens? It’s as if he had stood up at a meeting of Alcoholic Anonymous and said: “Hello, I’m Colin, and I like a glass or two from time to time”.

So what’s happened to make the received wisdom of the eafrly 80s become politically incorrect, or the theological or wacky pseudoscience equivalent thereof? The answer lies in the last of the three paragaphs on that flyleaf. We’ve all heard of a “bitter-sweet” experience. Well, that flyleaf, with the above quoted para coming first, made it a sweet-bitter experience.

“In this fascinating scientific detective story, xxxxxxxxx describes how , step by step, their tests forced them to conclude that the material itself is ancient, that the image conforms in every way to that of a man who has been crucified in the Roman manner, and that the blood stains are indeed human blood. They are convinced that the Shroud is not a forgery. The implicatiosn of this remarkable conclusion make this a book of extraordinary significance.

So who you may ask was the author (identity replaced above with crosses) with that ringing endorsement for authenticity? Not a member of the STURP team surely, given that its 1981 summary appearing a few moons earlier made no such claims,? The latter merely that the image had not been painted, but offering no explanation as to how it was formed, beyond being intrinsic to the fibres, probably as a result of chemical action.

If one knew who did make that claim for “authenticity”, proposing no mechanism, and thereby implying it was something far more subtle and less obvious than imprinting by contact, and not necessarily onto Joseph of Arimathea’s linen at the cross, then one might start to understand why the received wisdom of para 1 quickly morphed into something altogether more exotic having occured in the tomb. In other words, the process of embellishing the narrative to become what I now call ‘cherry jam’ was starting to occur in the arly 1980s, hot on the heels of the STURP summary that should have nipped such wild speculation in the bud surely. But not if that bud was one of many bursting forth on the bare wood of a tree, a particular tree, Prunus avium, aka the sweet cherry.

So the writer of that book could not possibly have been a STURP team member, could he, a model of reticence where the 1981 Summary was concerned, but quickly making the case for authenticity just two years later (yes, the book appeared in 1983)?. Think again dear reader. Think about bare wood, cherry blossom, cherry fruit and finally cherry preserve a progression occuring in the space of two years or less.

The author? Dr. John Heller no less, a medically-qualified biophysicist and yes, a leading and much cited member of the STURP team. It’s usual to read references to “Adler and Heller” or even just Adler alone, as if Heller were the junior partner.  Not so, not when one looks at the chronology. Later today, I shall quote verbatim from Heller’s book, describing how Alan D.Adler came to be recruited to STURP.  Be prepared for a surprise.

PS: Here’s a link to the 1981 STURP conclusions.

They say the “Shroud” is not a painting, they say the mechanism of image is not known. Nowhere do they state that the image cannot be of medieval origin. The word “forgery” is never used.   So what business did a STURP team leader have in saying of his collaborators:  “they are convinced the Shroud is not a forgery”. If that were the case, why did they not say so in the Summary, instead of writing a bland report, and then proceeding to hype it?

This week’s 4th topic

Dan Porter’s shroudstory site did a cover of a posting on this one regarding Robert Bucklin MD,  STURP’s consultant pathologist. My posting was ostensibly about how his celebrated, or as I would say, notorious AUTOPSY report was based on looking at photographs of the “Shroud”, not the real ‘icon’ that is in Turin. Not many people know that, as Michael Caine was given to saying. This site tries to tell it the way it is. (Expect something soon on how  Alan D. Adler,  a physical/organic chemist specializing in  porphyrins, came to be recruited to STURP and was immediately re-branded as a world expert on blood!).

Be that as it may, it did not take long for the comments to focus on those hands with fingers and no thumbs, and once again  we saw the site descend into ‘cherry jam’ speculation about nails that cause flexure of thumbs, and whether that’s the result of mechanical damage to nerves or not. Needless to say, my original point is missed, namely that Bucklin and the rest of us are looking at a photograph of the “Shroud”.That does not entitle one to view the image on the “Shroud” as a photograph of a corpse. What if it’s not a photograph? What if it’s something entirely different, like, say, a contact imprint? If the latter, was the template a live or dead human being? Naturally, one likes to think it was live. Might there be evidence from the absence of those thumbs that the subject was live? Yes, I think so, but don’t expect it to be given much weight in the cherry jam speculation that dominates the postings and discussion on shroudstory.

Here then is the alternative ‘medieval modelling’ scenario which you won’t find elsewhere, bar those occasional papers from Prof Luigi Garlaschelli which have had a profound influence on this blogger’s thinking.

I believe the template was alive, and here’s why. Creating a notional sweat imprint to represent the body image called for a naked male (loin cloths would be hugely problematical). That required hands to be crossed over groin. But that is not a natural position for hands – they tend to slide down as one relaxes, and that’s the last thing one wants if taking an imprint, where the hands need to be kept in exactly the same place for the several minutes needed for imprinting. How can they be held in place? Answer: this set of pictures, taken just an hour ago, using my wife as volunteer, shows what’s needed:

Bring angles between thumbs and forefingers A1 and A2 together. the thumb on A2 will curl around the back of thumb on A1 to LOCK the hands together.

Bring angles between thumbs and forefingers A1 and A2 together. The thumb on A2 will curl around the back of thumb on A1 to LOCK the hands together.

.

As above, nearly in locked position.

As above, nearly in locked position.

Now for the important part: the lower thumb is now used as pincer to get a firm grip on the other thumb., a grip that has to be maintained during imprinting to avoid a 'blurred' image.

Now for the important part: the lower thumb is now used as pincer to get a firm grip on the other thumb, a grip that has to be maintained during imprinting to avoid a ‘blurred’ image.

Finally, here are the two locked-together hands, roughly as seen on the

Finally, here are the two locked-together hands, roughly as seen on the “Shroud” body image. Note how the thumbs are out of sight, explaining why it’s the  fingers only that are visible. No need to invoke flexure of thumbs due to nail injury – there are NO visible nail “wounds” anyway in the body image, merely one bloodstain that is on the wrist, at the site of an  alleged invisible exit wound. not the palm.

This week’s 3nd TOPIC. Ever heard of the mystical Gematria? How come it can keep giving the same number 1128 for “Shroud of Turin” and lots of variants on that phrase?

This blogger had never heard of Gematria until yesterday, but thanks to a colourful character on shroudstory called David Hines, commenting on shroudstory, I do now, and have to say I’m impressed- but for all the wrong reasons, like knowing a little more about the use to which quirks of probability and statistics can be used and abused. (I’m still trying to suss out the flaw in the tortoise-and-hare paradox, you know, the one that says if the totrtoise is given a head start, the hare can never catch up: when the hare closes the initial gap, the tortoise has moved on a bit.When hare closes the new admittedly smaller gap, the tortoise has again moved on…)

What Dave was keen to demonstrate is that the number 1128 has a mystical significance, one that is linked to the “Shroud of Turin” -or as I now prefer to say: pre-Sabbath dispensible Shroud of Turin, as modelled by a medieval artisan. Sorry, I digress.  if you’re numerophobic, don’t worry. Gematria is easy. You simply line up all the letters of the alphabet in order, then give them a value, starting with A=1, B=2, C=3 etc.  You then write a word or phrase, add up the scores of all the letters, then multiply the total by 6 (don’t ask me why).

So for “Shroud of Turin” it is:  (19 + 8 + 18 + 15 + 21 + 4) + (15 + 6) + (20 + 21 + 18 + 9 + 14) =  (85 + 21 + 82) = 188. Multiplied by 6 we get the ‘magic’ number 1128. Why magic? Because one can write all sorts of short phrases that may (or may not!) be assoicated in one’s mind with “Shroud of Turin”, and when one scores them one finds they too add up to 1128 exactly. We are asked to believe that this is not accident, that it is proof that Someone or Something is signalling a presence through our language (or rather, a few select languages, English, the modern-day lingua franca being one of them).

To save time, I’ll now cut and paste Dave’s original comment re Gematria, and the replies I’ve posted, explaining how I think, correction KNOW it works. It ain’t rocket science. It’s merely an interesting demonstration of the Law of Averages, as it relates to letter frequency in typical written English, arising from a long alphabet in which more/less frequently used letters are fairly randomly distributed, and in putting phrases that use at least half the letters of the alphabet (give or take).

First instalment of Dave's initial long but intriguing introduction to English Gematria.

First instalment of Dave’s initial long but intriguing introduction to English Gematria.

2nd instalment of Dave's comment

2nd instalment of Dave’s comment

This blogger's initial response to Dave.

This blogger’s initial response to Dave.

followed by this PS:

Postscript

Postscript

Dave came back. It was another long comment that didn’t really add much to what he’d already said. So to keep this posting a reasonable length, here’s my (FINAL) reply. Sorry about the mischievous asides (though relevant to the “Shroud”)

Reasons why English Gematria can keep delivering the same numerical answer (at least for some inputted phrases, not others).

Reasons why English Gematria can keep delivering the same numerical answer (at least for some inputted phrases, not others).

This week’s 2nd TOPIC.

Why does this blogger now refer to the Turin “Shroud”? Why not just Turin Shroud? Answer: because the single sheet of linen in Turin was intended by a medieval entrepreneur, into the business of providing “relics”, to represent that used by Joseph of Arimathea to retrieve the body from the cross and transport it to the nearby tomb. That single sheet “sindon” must not be confused with the linen clothes (plural) aka winding cloths or bandages, Greek “othonion” that were used for final interment as described in the book of John. In other words, Joseph’s linen, imagined by our medieval entrepreneur to have captured a sweat/blood imprint, was replaced by those “bandages”, and indeed there is an illustration in the Humgarian Pray manuscript of that changeover in progress.

So why am I raising it again here? Answer: until today I had somehow got it into my head that the bandages/othonion did not get a mention until John. But in perusing an English/Greek bible today I find that’s not the case, that in fact BOTH types of linen are mentioned in Luke in consecutive chapters.

Luke Chapter 23

Luke Chapter 23, verse 53: linen written as sindoni (Gk)

Now compare with the following chapter:

Luke 24, verse 12:

Luke 24, verse 12:. We now have “linen BANDAGES” which appears as “othonia” in Greek, NOT sindoni. A single long linen sheet (sindon) supplied by Joseph of Arimathea was NOT intended to be cut into strips/bandages for winding around the corpse. The latter was supplied separately. the Turin “Shroud” is not a shroud. It was for retrieval/transport purposes only.

Conclusion: referring to the imprinted linen as the Turin SHROUD was probably the biggest semantic goof in history, and it’s had enormous consequences as regards the speculation that has grown up around the mechanism that produced the double image. I say it’s the result of a medieval project designed to simulate the sweat/blood imprint acquired during transport from cross to tomb in Joseph of Arimathea’s linen. It is NOT an imprint acquired on final burial clothes (winding strips) in the pro-authenticity narrative whether miraculously or naturally. Sorry, but the body was no longer in J of A’s linen so late in the proceedings if one reads the Gospels closely (in Greek as well as English). Horses for courses. Linens (different) for corpses, pre and post arrival at the intended final resting place, one for transport, loose, the other for final interment after application of ointments, spices etc (wound tightly).

This week’s FIRST TOPIC.

It places the spotlight on this comment that appeared a few minutes ago on shroudstory.

xx

xx

It makes a fundamental error that one sees over and over again, namely to imagine that because Lirey, the location of the first known appearance of the “Shroud” in recorded history, was and still is a tiny village, it  must ipso facto have been geographically remote (“provincial backwater”) and historically insignificant except for the Shroud. Nothing could be further from the truth.

First the geography:

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That’s about 13 miles from Troyes, the regional capital of rolling Champagne country, generally east of Paris, an easy day’s walk. Troyes is approx. 180km (110 miles) on a main route east of Paris.

Troyes itself has that magnificent cathedral (St.Peter’s and St.Paul’s) constructed between the 13th and 17th centuries. Here’s one its famous stained glass windows from our period of interest (14th century):

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xx

But there’s something else that put Lirey on the map, something that existed before the “Shroud” put in its first recorded appearance as that iconic ‘double-image’.  Lirey was country seat  (manor in English) of one of the most powerful and influential men in mid-14th century France, close confidante of the King (John II “The Good”), and said to be the prime mover in creating the short-lived Order of the Star. Who?  Geoffroi de Charny, he whose coat of arms appears on the Lirey Pilgrims’ badge, alongside those of his formidable wife (widowed in 1355) Jeanne de Vergy.  Lirey-the-Obscure?  Nothing could be further from the truth, as the piqued protests addressed to the Pope in Avignon,  not just from one but TWO consecutive bishops of Troyes were made against the public display of the allegedly “genuine” Shroud, first by Bishop Henri de Poitiers, then by his successor Pierre d’Arcis, writer of the famous d’Arcis memorandum.

More to come on this FIRST ENTRY later (including captions and attributions for the photos). New entries will be added to the top, i.e. reverse chronological order, as in the good old weblogs (Mark 1 blogs) of yesteryear that were intended, as here, to be seen as diaries, not manifestos.

As I said, more to come (from shroudstory):

xx

xx

Response (apols for typos):

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New site under construction – shroud2ndstorey, building on shroudstory…

When complete, this blogger expects be moving in shortly to the new 'upstairs' on the existing building, and will be taking a keen interest in what's happening downstairs. Expect to hear occasional clumping of heavy boots from upstairs.

When complete, this blogger expects be moving in shortly to the new ‘upstairs’ on the existing building, and will be taking a keen interest in what’s happening downstairs. Expect to hear occasional clumping of heavy boots from upstairs.

“Downstairs” is  Dan Porter’s shroudstory.com, needless to say.

Watch this space. New additions will go ON TOP above the double separator line below, i.e.  in reverse chronological order.

Topics to date:

15th entry (final): preview of next new-look posting, Week 32, 2015.

(Scroll down to the next red text below).

14th entry: Re those alleged appearances of the “Shroud” during the first “1300 years” of its supposed pre-Lirey existence.

13th entry: “Nobody ever got rich …”

12th entry: Wackypedia

11th entry: my comment posted to shroudstory.com, regarding its ‘New Age capitalism’

10th entry: one of sindonology’s most egregious examples of ‘cherry jam’, and from a STURP team leader no less.

9th entry: more promotion of “cherry jam” pseudoscience by a serial browbeater running amok on shroudstory.com

8th entry: my newly discovered historical link between Joseph of Arimathea and sweat (not just blood) of  Jesus.

7th entry: “Cherry jam” – my shorthand term for pseudoscience that is driven and reinforced by preconceptions.

6th entry: Repudiating the absurd and baseless claim of plagiarism made on shroudstory site.

5th entry: re fatuous charges of plagiarism from commentator on the shroudstory site.

4th entry: more on Robert Bucklin MD.

3rd entry: Rogers and Arnoldi, specifically their deeply flawed Maillard model

2nd entry: More on Robert Bucklin MD and his pro-authenticity leanings.

1st entry: Robert Bucklin MD

15th (and last) entry on this posting, 06:30, Monday 3 Aug

Will shortly be starting a new posting, more correctly a series of generic postings, each individually date-stamped.

Title (generic): Is the Shroud of Turin really just 18 years short of its 2000th birthday? See this blog for an informed digest of current wrangling (2015, Week 32)

The aim is a maximum of 15 entries per week, generally 2 per day. The primary source will be mainly the current postings and discussion on Dan Porter’s shroudstory site (a reversal of the previous oh-so genteel predator-prey relationship ;-)

Beware the cherry pickers who select facts helpful to their case, studiously ignoring the rest. Most of all, be aware of the purveyors of home-made “cherry jam” (seemingly wholesome-looking preserve, but based on home-grown selected fruit, i.e. preconceptions).

Some of the biggest names in sindonology are/were cherry pickers and/or covert or blatant manufacturers of cherry jam.

14th entry: 16:50 Sunday 2 Aug

Here’s an example of the kind of comment one sees repeatedly, namely that there’s irrefutable evidence that the Shroud image was being referred to in history centuries before its first definitive display at Lirey, france, circa 1355.

xx

xx

Nope. The only evidence that some of us would regard as irrefutable is that which shows the Shroud as a double-image, head to head – in other word the iconic configuation that is unique to the Shroud. This blogger has never seen a single representation of the crucified Jesus in that head-to-head frontal/dorsal configuration that predates the Lirey pilgrims’ badge. So kindly cease blathering on, trotting out this mantra,  insulting our intelligence, all you archaeo-pre- medieval Shroud spotters. You are seriously boring. Remember: the 1355 display was just 600 or so years ago, a mere 30% of its age were the Shroud really  2000 years old.  There would have been some kind of back-story. Do you seriously imagine that an iconic double image could have been preserved for 1300 years or so without its distinctive appearance entering the individual or collective consciousness of th0se who wrote or painted or sketched?

13th entry: 14:00 Sunday 2 Aug

Still, the Shroudie roadshow grinds on its relentless way, brought to you this time by Russ Breault Inc, in association with shroudstory.inc.

xx

xx

Note the phrase “for how the napkin was wrapped around   human head”. Who needs subjunctive tenses like “might have been wrapped around etc…”?

The business of promoting a narrative is far too important to be compromised by those tedious subjunctives. Nobody ever got rich by overestimating the intelligence of the average, er, er, sorry, have momentarily forgotten how it ends…

Actually, Russ seems a decent kind of guy who doesn’t ‘over egg the pudding’ as we say. It’s the pudding this blogger objects to – not the egg content.

See this report by Mark Guscin on the Sudarium of Oviedo. Better still, don’t, it being the kind of ‘cherry jam’ that passes for science in ‘sudariumology’ as well as sindonology.

Sample: “There are smaller bloodstains at the side of the main group. It would appear that the sudarium was pinned to the back of the dead man’s head, and that these spots of blood were from small sharp objects, which would logically be the thorns that caused this type of injury all over Jesus’ head.”

Don’t you just love that term “logically” (which I have bolded) ? The starting point for logic is supposed to be a premise, clearly stated, that is a statement of belief which may or may NOT be fact. There is no premise to be seen in that Guscin report or the so-called “medical investigations”  he quotes centred on a blood-stained cloth of unkown provenance. Instead we see the word “cross” suddenly slipped in (my bolding):

“The cloth was not wrapped entirely round the head because the right cheek was almost touching the right shoulder. This suggests that the sudarium was put into place while the body was still on the cross. The second stain was made about an hour later, when the body was taken down. The third stain was made when the body was lifted from the ground about forty five minutes later. The body was lying at the foot of the cross for about forty-five minutes before being buried. The marks (not fingerprints) of the fingers that held the cloth to the nose are also visible.”

As I say, this is not sound scholarship. It’s not any kind of scholarship. It is preconception-promoting cherry jam, from start to finish, dressed up as medical science …

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12th entry, 08:50 Sunday Aug 2

The alternative wikipedia - for those of a more imaginative disposition

The alternative wikipedia – for those of a more imaginative disposition

Comment placed on shroudcock-and-bullstory site

Comment placed on shroudcock-and-bullstory site

See comments thread on Cherry Jam posting for what did occasion the unseemly mirth and jollity.

Continue reading

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Here’s an updated version of my ‘iconoplastic’ modelling of that Turin so-called “Shroud” (probably a misnomer).

It attempts to reprise what almost certainly began life as an ingenious medieval thought experiment focused on a certain blank sheet – before receiving and enveloping the body from the Cross – Joseph of Arimathea’s linen. It in turn took the initially imprinted image of the face of Jesus on the legendary Veil of Veronica as its model to emulate, nay eclipse. Jumping forward to the 21st century, here’s an imprint of the writer’s hand, made using medieval technology (plain white flour, water, linen and a hot metal smoothing iron).

Left: as-is imprint, no photoediting. Right: same, after adjustments to contrast, brightness and midtone value.

Left: as-is imprint, no photoediting. Right: same, after adjustments to contrast, brightness and midtone value.

Above, after roasting slowly to 220 degrees Celsius max. Unroasted control linen (left).

Above, after roasting slowly to 220 degrees Celsius max. Unroasted control linen (left).

Version 2/2 (17 July 2015), replacing all previous versions (not displayed).

This is a very crude first draft. The reason for publishing  now is two fold. First, I need a URL to give a friend who is preparing a summary of this blogger’s 3.5 year research on the so-called Shroud (more about that “so-called” later). Second, it will convey from the word go that this posting is to be seen as a work in progress, one to which I expect to be returning to again and again to tweak and update,  always leaving just the most recent version (a departure from previous practice where I have left early postings unchanged, given the nature of this site as an investigator’s journey, with no set end date, no likelihood of ever reaching firm conclusions, given the one-off, untouchable nature of the artefact in question, housed in its secure glass case under argon gas)

So here’s a cut-and-paste from file of what I composed yesterday, probably with typos, missing verbs etc. with many images to be inserted at the indicated places. I am calling this Version 2, having spent the last hour editing. Apologies if you are an early finder (unlikely if relying on Google!).  Look back again tomorrow, though it may be Version 3 or 4 you are then looking at, with no idea what preceded it, given some initial thoughts  may have been rephrased or scrubbed.

  1. The Turin ‘Shroud’ was not in fact intended to be a shroud, assuming that term to mean burial shroud. It was a medieval (approx mid 14th century) attempt to cash in/capitalize on the celebrated Veil of Veronica’ How? By simulating on a larger scale the capturing of an image of Jesus by brief contact between skin and cloth. But there was a problem. The Veil of Veronica carried an image of Jesus in life, albeit scourged, crown of thorns, carrying a cross, though artists felt free to enhance the image as to make it more attractive. There was arguably no room for a second image of Jesusas he was in life, human life that is, least of all a rival to the Veil that itself had no biblical authority. And appearing with no back story. Solution?

    Legend of the Veil of Veronica. Jesus, en route to Calvary, stops to wipe his face with cloth provided by the lady bystander. An image is left on the cloth, maybe natural, at least initially due to imprinting of sweat and blood,  maybe not.

    Legend of the Veil of Veronica. Jesus, en route to Calvary, stops to wipe his face with cloth provided by the lady bystander. An image is left on the cloth, maybe natural, at least initially due to imprinting of sweat and blood, maybe not.

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2. Solution: look for another opportunity/occasion/episode/moment/ when the body of Jesus made contact with cloth, but one that did have biblical authority that might compensate for the lack of a back story. There was indeed an opportunity, but one that needed to be handled delicately, because it was post-mortem. When? The accounts in Matthew, Mark and Luke of Joseph of Arimathea obtaining permission from Pilate to remove the body of Jesus from the cross for interment in a nearby rock tomb. Joseph of Arimathea purchased ‘fine linen’ into which then body of Jesus was placed. Here was our entrepreneur’s opportunity to  spring on the world a darker Mark 2 version of the Veil of Veronica – not just the face, but the entire body – both sides!

They say one picture is worth a thousand words. In this instance, 10,000, at least, many of them my own. Picture variously attributed, e.g.  Giulio Clovio (1498-1578)

They say one picture is worth a thousand words. In this instance, 10,000, at least, many of them my own. Picture variously attributed, e.g. Giulio Clovio (1498-1578)

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  1. Who was the prime instigator? Who had the resources, the motivation to pull off so audacious as undertaking? First known owner of the TS, whose widow placed it on public display, shortly after his death at the battle of Poitiers, was the celebrated knight, Geoffroi de Charny. De Charny was a close confidante of the King of France, John II, aka John the Good (he was highly religious). Together, at Geoffroi’s suggestion we’re told,  the two founded the chivalric and highly exclusive Order of the Star which some have suggested was an attempt to recreate some of the mystique of the oulawed and cruelly disbanded (1307-13) Knights Templar. Maybe, maybe not. But one’s thing is for certain. Geoffroi de Charny was no obscure knight, despite his home base being a tiny hamlet (Lirey) on the outskirts of Troyes in rolling Champagne country. He had patronage, resources, influence, and a strong religious faith. It is not inconceivable that the ‘Shroud’ was intended to serve a ceremonial role in Star rituals, not necessarily seen by insiders as the genuine Jospeh of Arimathea cloth – more a facsimile, a club or semi-secret society’s totem so to speak, so good that it could be mistaken by outsiders for the real thing- at least by repute.

    John the Good of france, instituting the Order of the Star, 1352. Geoffroi de Charny, first recorded owner of the

    John the Good of  medieval  France, instituting the Order of the Star, 1352. Geoffroi de Charny, first recorded owner of the “Shroud” is probably among those in attendance on the right, the Order having been his idea.

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  1. Back to the Bible and J of A: perform a thought experiment to show how an image of the crucified Jesus might have been formed on his linen. Decide what to include, what to exclude. More importantly, devise a mechanism of imaging involving an unwashed body, shiny with sweat and blood that could be seen as realistic, NOT artistic. The answer could not have ben simpler: go for a body imprint. Front of body, as if linen had been laid on top? Rear of body, as if linen had been underneath? Answer: both. Imagine the linen had been used to envelope the entire body. How? By spiral wrapping? No, that would not leave a recognizable image when unwound. Instead, imagine the body had been laid out on the lower half of the linen, and the top half then turned around the head, to create a double body imprint. When the body is subsequently removed for burial (in different linen) there would then be an intriguing dual image: two body images, head to head, immediately recognizable to the viewer as that which would be left by the subject placed in an up-and-over length of linen, then asking; who, when, how? Supply further clues to QUICKLY answer those 3 questions. The image must be a narrative without words. The narrative is well known. The image must support and reinforce that narrative.

    The celebrated Lier copy of the

    The celebrated Lier copy of the “Shroud” (1516). Shown here because it preceded the Chambery fire of 1532, so appears as it may have looked to the artist before acquiring all those disfiguring burn holes. Very faint, monochrome image, note –  clearly of an IMPRINT (note missing low relief) and thus hardly consistent with the original being “just a painting”, despite this skilfully executed copy being one!

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  1. Details of the thought experiment: getting it right, getting it consistent, getting it credible, achieving an image that is neither attractive nor repulsive, one that instils wonder, fascination, devotion, belief.

It will be a contact imprint in (a) blood and (b) sweat. The blood will be real blood, or a blood susbstitute that looks real, but better keeping properties, clot free etc .The sweat cannot be real. A substitute needs to be found that imprints well and has the right colour to suggest aged sweat. One could try a yellow dye, but that might not look realistic. Better maybe to imprint with something that is colorless or white, and then treat to make it go yellow. When and where to add the blood?

Anyone can instantly tell the difference between a photograph of the sole of a foot, and an imprint thereof (

Anyone can immediately tell the difference between a photograph of the sole of a foot, and an imprint thereof (“footprint”) if only that the imprint is less complete. Some folk have difficulty with the idea that a footprint is also a tone-reversed negative, the latter term being  handy even when there’s been no photography, mere imprinting. The “Shroud” image is a tone-reversed negative,  NOT a photograph. but a contact imprint.

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6. An imprint does not look like a portrait. It has a peculiar quality, which in modern terms we call a negative image. In other words, normal tones are reversed. Parts that are highest relief look brightest in a photograph or well-painted portrait through receiving more light than those that are recessed. In an imprint those lightest parts look darker, and darkest parts look lighter. Dos that matter in an image that is to be promoted as that left by the real Jesus on J of A’s linen?

Answer: yes and no. Yes, because it’s unfamiliar, somewhat unattractive, has gaps where there’s been no contact. No, because the very tone-reversed nature makes clear that it’s NOT a painting, that it’s an imprint, and that imprints can be left by bodies, living or dead. Maybe the starkness of an imprint can be made less so by achieving a slightly-blurred, soft focus quality that conveys a ghostly and haunting quality. On balance, the tone-reversed image can be said to be superior to a conventional image. Indeed, combined with the double body image, it might even come to be seen as iconic. Much depends on the details, the fine details, the little touches, the internal consistency. What should be included? What excluded?

As-is

As-is “Shroud” image top. Tone-reversed negative below, looking for all the world like a photographic positive. Does that make the “Shroud” image a tone-reversed negative? Yes. Does it make it a photographic negative? No.

Previous banner on this site, showing how scorch imprints, i.e. NOT photographs on linen, respond in the same way as the

Previous banner on this site, showing how scorch imprints, i.e. NOT photographs on linen, respond in the same way as the “Shroud” to tone-reversal, then looking more like a photograph of the original template, in this case a brass crucifix.

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7. Checklist of features for inclusion/exclusion,

(a) crown of thorns – exclude. It would have been removed by J of A. Would not leave a sweat imprint. Use bloodstains to indicate presence of thjorns.

(b) head hair. Include. Might leave an imprint if saturated with sweat ( a mixture of water and oily secretions)

(c) facial hair: include

(d) eyes. Exclude. They lies in hollows.

(e) ears? Exclude. Why? Because there must be no imprinting of the sides of body. Why not? Lateral distortion.

(f) loin cloth: exclude. Crossed hands for modesty.

(g) feet: tricky! Careful thought needed. Much depends on how linen is draped, presence of absence of tension, tying etc. Get the detail right.

(h) scourge marks. Include, but in blood, not body image. Why?

(i) nail wounds: include (blood, not body image)

(j) lance wound: include.

(k)

A taster of the real thing - the feet on the

A taster of the real thing – the feet on the “Shroud”, still faint and poorly defined, despite some photo-enhancement, relative to other features, notably the face. F1 and f2 are frontal feet, D1 and D2 dorsal.
Why the fuzziness? Why are the dorsal feet (one especially) better imaged than the frontal feet. One needs to consider the likely mechanism of imaging in a 14th century ‘thought-experiment’ model, designed to emulate the Veil of Veronica, especially in a contact-only model, where bridging of linen between extremities means loss of contact and failure to imprint. Even where there is contact, the degree of manual pressure applied to make linen mould to body contours can result in better or worse imaging that may seem to compromise a contact-only model. All images need to be scrupulously examined.

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8. Imprinting procedure (draft):go for two-stage process: offers far greater versatility, in that an innocuous substance can be used to coat the subject, and the imprinted linen then exposed if need be to harsher treatments to develop the colour.

Feasible model (works in small scale pilot tests): use flour/water slurry as imprinting medium. Why?

Secondary development: chemical, thermal, thermochemical. Chemical: cold nitric acid. Thermal: hot iron, maybe a hot oven.Thermochemical: hot limewater. No shortage of options. Good for artisans. Bad for 21st century researchers.

There’s a quick and simple way of producing a “Shroud” like imprint of oneself. I call it the “Blue Peter” method, since anyone can do it at home. Here’s one we made earlier in six simple steps.

1 (left): make a thin slurry of plain white flour and water. 2 (right): paint onto skin.

1 (left): make a thin slurry of plain white flour and water. 2 (right): paint onto skin.

3.(left) Press linen onto painted hand. 4 (right): peel back linen to obtain, at this stage, a scarcely-visible imprint.

3.(left) Press linen onto painted hand. 4 (right): peel back linen to obtain, at this stage, a scarcely-visible imprint.

5. (left) Allow the imprint to dry in air. Then press with iron directly on its highest temperature setting (

5. (left) Allow the imprint to dry in air. Then press with iron directly on its highest temperature setting (“linen”).
6.(right) Developed “Shroud”-like image after applying heat. The forefinger (left) was not ironed, serving as a comparison.

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  1. How will the linen be displayed? Hung vertically? Held up horizontally? Permanent support rods? Removable support rods? Laundering? Side strip (selvedge): curious.

Images: Display of TS by clerics, selvedge on shroud,

10.Launch and marketing. After death of Geoffroi at Battle of Poitiers, defending his King, bearer of the royal standard (“Oriflamme”). Why? King captured, held to ransom! Cautious initially. Lirey Pilgrim’s medallion Mark 1. Figure not obviously Jesus-like (but not surprising if there is no cross, no blood, no loin cloth etc. but crucifixion tools shown in margin – pincers, nails etc. Mark 2: bolder. Incorporation of what arguably is a Veronica motif. Link now made with the earlier imprint. Calamity: the display is banned. Not surprising in view of Pierre d’Arcis account of what his predecessor as outraged Bishop of Troyes thought about reports reaching him. Ban lasted 30 years. Only allowed on condition that each display is accompanied by announcement stating that the ‘Shroud’ was not genuine.

Lirey Pilgrims' badge (Cluny museum). Cast in lead alloy. Approx 1355. Dredged up from R.Seine, Paris in late 19th century along with hundreds of other mementos of pilgrimages cast in river at a particular spot over centuries.

Lirey Pilgrims’ badge (Cluny museum). Cast in lead alloy. Approx 1355. Dredged up from R.Seine, Paris in late 19th century along with hundreds of other mementos of pilgrimages cast in river at a particular spot over centuries.

Mould for presumed Mk2 Lirey badge found a few kilometres down the road at nearby Machy. Note the new addition: a  Veronica-like motif above the (reversed) letteringn that spells SUAIRE (face cloth in French) or as some would say, an alternative word for

Mould for presumed Mk2 Lirey badge found a few kilometres down the road at nearby Machy. Note the new addition: a Veronica-like motif above the (reversed) letteringn that spells SUAIRE (face cloth in French) or as some would say, an alternative word for “linceul” meaning burial shroud.

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10 points. That should be sufficient.

What about those gee whizz ‘radiation’ models one may ask? What about them?

The First Law of Photochemistry states that light must be absorbed for photochemistry to occur. This is a simple concept, but it is the basis for performing photochemical and photobiological experiments correctly. If light of a particular wavelength is not absorbed by a system, no photochemistry will occur, and no photobiological effects will be observed, no matter how long one irradiates with that wavelength of light.

Anyone proposing a radiation-based theory MUST  (a) state the wavelength of the radiation and (b) the chemical species (chromophore) that is capable of absorbing that particular wavelength.

Be wary of those who try to sidestep the First Law by telling you that their radiation source is hugely intense and monochromatic, or a type of radiation unknown to physics. There is no escaping the First Law. No absorption means no photochemical reaction, no localized heating, no coloration. That applies to ALL electromagnetic radiation, from long wavelength radio waves  though microwaves, infrared, visible, uv, x rays to  the highest frequency/energy short wavelength gamma radiation.

Intense sources, e.g from a laser, may simply target a trace component that wouldn’t normally  be sufficiently energized to produce  coloration. Trace components of linen that come to mind as normally overlooked  chromophores, but more readily energized molecule for molecule than cellulose, would be lignin and other phenolicss with aromatic ring structures, absorbing moderately in the blue end of the visible spectrum and the near uv.

Whinge: we’re told that the EU is losing patience with most people’s default search engine – Google- for favouring its own sites, and thus discriminating unfairly against others. I too am losing patience. This posting would have been invisible on Google, but for my linking to it from sciencebuzz, my Blogger-hosted site, owned by, guess who? Yes, Google. In other words, it’s not this posting that gets listed, but the Google Blogger site that linked to it. The EU is said to want the Google search algorithm to be made public. I second that. Google needs to be made accountable. It also needs to be viewed as a ‘constructive monopoly’ and made to behave in a transparent fashion – or risk being forcibly broken up.

This posting is now spotlighted on Dan Porter’s shroudstory site, but is still not searchable directly under Google. That organization gives this blogger the creeps (like when I enter “iconoplastic” into the search, knowing that it will assume I meant “iconoclastic” and then ask “Did I  mean iconoplastic”, or when the first set of returns score out my carefully selected tags, throwing back totally irrelevant listings. Is it  something in the water (west of the Rockies, that is)?

Update: 23:15, 18 July

An appreciative comment to this posting has appeared on the new shroudstory posting. But there’s one tiny (and not infrequent) error:

“However I saw nothing there mentioning vanillin, another possible UV target.”

Vanillin is not a separate component from lignin. In fact it’s not even a component of  flax or linen. It’s a degradation product of lignin, derived from oxidation, side-chain shortening (loss of 2 carbons)  and detachment starting with one particular  monomer in the complex resinous polyphenol that is lignin, ie. coniferaldehye. See my earlier posting on the subject, this site.

Ray Rogers no less described and discussed vanillin as though it were a preformed component of lignin that gradually reduced with age. Nope: as the lignin oxidizes, the vanillin is newly formed, and being a relatively small molecule, gradually evaporates away, being responsible for the distinctive aroma of old lignin (the ability to detect it by smell being a sure sign that molecules are escaping into the air).

Update Sunday July 19

Methinks it’s time this plodding old science bod jumped aboard the gee whizz bandwagon, hopefully to attract worldwide publicity, or even the attention of Google. But how? Brainwave (wavelength unspecified): might there be a region of the electromagnetic spectrum that nobody’s properly investigated so far, maybe one where I could instal a state-of-the-art machine in my otherwise humble home lab. Financing? Crowd sourcing? Seems a lot of trouble – I’ll try sweet talk and my wife’s teacher’s pension first.

The science? Yup, the boring old science? Well I won’t say too much about that just yet, knowing how folk are put off by the boring old science. Science isn’t the most cooperative of the disciplines either when one has an idea one wants to sell to the media. But I’ll give a clue. There were two splendid pdfs published some 10 years ago, scandalously ignored by sindonology, from one Bernard Power (a meteorologist as I recall so easily dismissed). He identified a region of the em spectrum that looked highly promising for those seeking a gee whizz radiation mechanism to explain the ‘Shroud’ image.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

power image formation attenuation radiation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What’s more it had big words in it, like Attenuation and Collimation. Well, I’ve done a little reading around as one does, being a boring old science bod, and find there’s a strangely neglected target chromophore in linen that could be energized specifically by Power’s air-attenuated radiation. It’s a highly superficial film of sequestered H-bonded dihydrogen monoxide, comprising some 8% typically of the core cellulose of linen. It can be blitzed and volatilized by the radiation source I and my new friend Bernard have in mind, producing superheated vapour that might then produce a faint discoloration of linen fibres.  I can see the photographs in the Independent or Sun now, with my name and research institute attached (for which I’ll have to think up some anonymous initials, if only to impress Charles Freeman for whom ‘home lab’  wins no admiring glances from the blue-rinse ladies at the Captain’s table!).  To think a major cryptochromophore of linen can be specifically targeted and energized by radiation emanating scientifically, or failing that, miraculously from a radioincandescent black body emitter (possibly white body too) ) is hugely gobsmacking – I can scarcely  contain my excitement.

Scientific principle: to energize the target molecules in such as way as to send them into tumble-mode. One picture is worth a thousand words:

Spinning molecules - a spun-out fantasy beckons.

Spinning molecules – a spun-out fantasy beckons.

Sneak preview of the ENEA technology (Exceedingly New Exciting Apparatus).  Maintenance guide 1 Foot Part  2 Screw Part  3 Hinge, bottom  4 Washer, nylon Part 5 Base assembly  6 Holder, fuse  7 Fuse, 15  8 Screw  9 Screw  10 Motor, blower 11 Plate Part  12 Screw Part  13 Rectifier, h.v.  14 Power cord  15 Clamp Part  16 Nut/washer  17 Capacitor, h.v.  18 Bracket Part  19 Transformer, h.v.

Sneak preview of the ENEA technology (Exceedingly New Exciting Apparatus). Maintenance guide
1 Foot Part
2 Screw Part
3 Hinge, bottom
4 Washer, nylon Part
5 Base assembly
6 Holder, fuse
7 Fuse, 15
8 Screw
9 Screw
10 Motor, blower
11 Plate Part
12 Screw Part
13 Rectifier, h.v.
14 Power cord
15 Clamp Part
16 Nut/washer
17 Capacitor, h.v.
18 Bracket Part
19 Transformer, h.v.

The big question mark: will the energized molecules be around long enough to produce the desired discoloration of linen? (We’ll worry about the tedious business of producing an image later). Might they escape too quickly? We wouldn’t want to end up with something that looked half-baked now, would we? ;-)

Is this really supposed to set pulses racing in the world of sindonology? Gee whzz? Or gee swizz?

Is this really supposed to set pulses racing in the world of sindonology? Gee whizz? Or gee swizz?

Oops. Seems I’ve overlooked to mention the region of the em spectrum for which Bernard Powers saw possibilities (which he elaborated in detail, with attention to ‘hotpsots’ on linen fibrils). It is of course the microwave region, lying between infrared and radio waves. The Argos catalogue is doing a good deal right now on microwave ovens. Expect this boring old science bod to re-enter gee whizz sindonology in a big way, once he gets those cellulose-bound water molecules (dihydrogen monoxide, H2O) spinning.

Update: Monday July 20

Have just been re-reading Ian Wilson’s splendid pdf for the BSTS on the Machy mould, the key this blogger believes to understanding the instant impact and success of the Lirey “Shroud” (so successful that its display was banned for 30 years but not before 1 and probably 2 pilgrims’ badges had entered circulation). But there’s one disappointing aspect regarding Wilson’s article. Here’s the engraving that intoduces his article:

xxx

Note the refererence to badges displayed on hats , one with a Veronica face to show a visit to St. Peter’s in Rome. That is Wilson’s only reference to the Veronica, despite what follows in his article re the inset face of Jesus on the Machy mould above the word SUAIRE (face cloth/burial shroud).

Here’s a close-up of those badges, with the Veronica circled in each case.

Veronica badges

Veronica badges

But further on we get this:

“Disembodied face of Jesus” linking to Wilson’s controversial ideas re the Image of Edessa having been a framed version of the “Shroud” showing face only, excluding any mention of a more probable explanation, linking the face to the celebrated Veil of Veronica, a must-see icon for medieval pilgrims that Wilson himself acknowledged in his introduction.

Sorry Ian, but I see that inset motif as an image of Jesus in life, arguably with eyes open, not closed, and indisputably a positive, not negative image (highest relief lighter, not darker).  As such it was intended to represent the face on the still living face on the Veil of Veronica, NOT the tone-reversed imprint of the crucified post mortem Jesus on the so-called Shroud, whether the one in Lirey, or the same as Ian imagined it centuries earlier on display in Edessa as a vignette. (Yes, the Veronica image was conceptually a negative in the first instance, being an imprint, but artists quickly chose to ignore that, even assuming they were aware of the mechanics of imprinting in the first place).

So why go the the bother on engraving that face on the Machy Mould, which may or may not have been present on the Lirey badge (bearing in mind it’s damaged and incomplete)? That has been the subject of previous postings here, focused on Jeanne de Vergy’s skilful marketing ‘launch’ that was the first Lirey exposition – too successful in fact – recalling the furious response from Troyes bishop Henri de Poitiers that resulted in a 30 year ban on expositions. (Charles Freeman describes the first “Shroud” exposition as a “flop”: perhaps folk can now see why I prefer my history to come from his bete noire Ian Wilson, despite my disagreeing profoundly with his “Edessa” narrative,  Wilson knowing the difference between use and misuse of words).

Update: Monday 20 July

The pie-in-sky image hypothesis that won’t go away – the one that depends on thinking and best-case-scenario experimentation that should never have got past the journal referees : nope, not gee whizz radiation models, but Raymond N.Rogers’ ‘naturalistic’ alternative, one formed by putrefaction amines from a corpse reacting with a starch impurity coating to give Maillard reaction products.

I don’t intend to repeat the reasons why that scenario is simply make-believe chemistry – the kind that proves the old adage ” a little knowledge is dangerous”.  But havingencountered today still more undeserved paeons of praise for the sadly deceased Ray Rogers, thoughts turned yet again to that “starch impurity coating” assumption. the analytical evidence for such a coating is virtually zilch, and such as exists is based on little more than anecdotal evidence with spot test reagent (in one instance an inappropriate one, designed to test for something else). but ev en if there were an even coating of starch that was evenly distributed, and backed up with impeccable data, would that allow for a Maillard reaction, one that went at environmental temperatures?

Maillard reactions do not occur with starch. They occur with degradation products of starch – namely reducing sugars such as glucose, maltose, oligomeric dextrins etc.  How readily does starch break down to generate reducing sugars?

This paper provides an answer.

Even in strong hydrochloric acid (1M hydrolysis (

Even in strong hydrochloric acid( 2.2N)  hydrolysis (“lintnerization”) of starch is slow, requiring many days (15 in the abov epaper!) at ordinary temperatures.

Where on earth did folk get the idea that Raymond N.Rogers  has/had to be regarded as the last word on all matters chemical?  Rogers’ writings are littered with over -simplication and frank errors. It’s time he was viewed as a generally competent chemist, acquainted with a wide range of literature. But he was frequently out-of-his-depth, and never was that shown more clearly than his proposals for “Shroud” image formation via reaction between putrefaction amines and “starch”, the latter NOT being synonymous by any stretch of the imagination with reducing sugars.  If he thought that starch played a crucial role, then why did he not take a leaf from the Adler/Heller book and test the effect of exposing “Shroud2 image fibres to a specific starch-digesting enzyme, e.g. alpha-amylase, comparable to the protease tests to investigate blood/image relationships?  (Proteases digest proteins; amylases digest starch).

Update (still July 20).

STURP told us next to nothinjg about the chemical nature of the “Shroud” image, which was hardly surprising, given that sampling was restricted to those sticky tape tests. (Shame though that some of the effort that went into showing it was not a painting (wasted where a certain book-writing historian is concerned) did not go into telling us something positive about the image characteristics. However, one thing we were told (of interest to those of us trained in organic chemistry) was that the image coiuld be bleached by a certain highly reactive reducing agent called diimide (NH=NH). The latter is not just any old reducing agent. It is highly specific in itas action, hydrogenating -enes and presumably conjugated dienes to the saturated compound, and thus an agent par excellence for destroying chromophores (since colour in organic compounds frequently depends on the presence of those C=C double bonfds, singly, or more often conjugated ( -C=C-C=C-).  Significance? Some,  but limited. The sepia colour of the “Shroud” image is presumably due to ORGANIC carbon-based  chemicals, and not to inorganic comounds like iron oxide (McCrone) or assorted inorganic  paint pigments.Carbon-based dyes are not excluded however.

So is it only that somewhat exotic diimide that bleaches the “Shroud” image, OR modelled versions thereof? What about plain old bleach (sodium hypochlorite, NaOCl)?

Answer: NO, as this quick test showed, using the image of my hand from earlier in this posting, one that I presume, correctly or incorrectly, is a Maillard reaction product (possible but less probably with some caramelised carbohydrates too).

Effect of thick bleach solution on roasted white flour imprint. Bleaching of both imprint and the discoloured background linen.

Effect of thick bleach solution on roasted white flour imprint. Bleaching of both imprint and the discoloured background linen.

Halleluja. We have a quick test for showing if my flour paste model is wrong.  if the “Shroud” image is NOT bleachable with sodium hypochlorite, then my model is WRONG. How many other models are capable of being tested and shown wanting? How many get traction and mileage, year after year, for the simple reason they are difficult to test, being hedged around with some many qualifying assumptions and/or other intangibles, as to be essentially untestable? Both Rogers’ “starch impurity” model and the radiation ones might be said to fit that description.

Note however that the roasted linen outside the image area was also bleached. What about a plain old contact scorch, from pressing hot metal against linen, with no white flour? In other words the Mark 1 scorches studied on this site until the ‘simulated sweat imprint’ hypothesis came along, requiring a change of tactics.

Scorch impints from heated horsebrasses exposed to bleach solution (two locations)

Scorch impints from heated horsebrasses exposed to bleach solution (two locations)

Note the bleaching of the images below the plastic beaker (left) and between the two more intense scorches (right).

So the bleach test, while handy, does NOT discriminate between a direct contact scorch, obtained by pressing hot metal onto linen, and the more subtle kind that one obtains in the new two-stage imprinting prcedure that uses flour paste to imprint off a real person, followed by thermal, chemical or thermochemical development of the image.

Update: Tuesday July 21

Ah, but do the imprints in the flour/water model have the required set of so-called ‘microscopic’ features, matching those of the “Shroud” (you know, like those oft-cited “discontinuities”)?  Everyone of course knows what’s meant by “discontinuities”, don’t they? Speak up if you don’t know or aren’t sure what a discontinuity is? Do I hear a lone voice? Why yes. It’s sounds a bit odd, being filtered through bone, but there’s a reason for that. It’s my own voice. Yes. I have to confess that I haven’t the faintest clue as to what is meant by a discontinuity in the “Shroud” image at the fibre level. I think I know what it is as the thread level, but what it is at the individual fibre level, and whether or not that is the same or differentf rom a discontinuity at the thread level I  frankly haven’t the faintest clue. I guess I could try and track down the Pellicori and Evans paper of 1981 in “Archaeology” from which the “discontinuity” concept apparently started,  being the one usually quoted. See this Introduction from a Rogers pdf, for example:

Note the importance that Ray Rogers (RIP) attached to those

Note the importance that Ray Rogers (RIP) attached to those “discontinuities” in “Shroud” image fibres, citing a paper by fellow STURP team members, Sam Pellicori and Mark Evans.

But from the little one can glean from the open literature, i.e. that which is not behind expensive paywalls, the prospects of getting a definitive answer do not look at all promising. Why not? Well, this patch of weeds seems as good a place as any to start (might as well cultivate one’s own long grass than be kicked into someone else’s).

I’ll be back later to explain in more detail. For now, let’s insert a corrective. The “outstanding characteristic” of the image on the “Shroud” is NOT the “discontinuous distribution of colour on the surface”. It is the negative, i.e. tone-reversed image. There is a simple explanation for that negative image. It’s a contact image. If the contact is made with a weave that has “crowns”, ie. high points where one thread loops over another, then one expect discontinuities due to abrupt transitions from contact to non-contact. Maybe those “discontinuities” are not so mysterious as Rogers and others seem to suggest. Maybe they are not really  a microscopic feature of “Shroud” fibres at all, but a macroscopic one of “Shroud” threads (even if easier to see under a low power binocular microscope than a hand lens or unaided eye). Does that Rogers pdf above provide any clues as to which of those two is in the frame – threads or fibres?

It would appear from a shroudstory posting, one in which Dan Porter tackled Ray Rogers directly on the issue of his and others terminology (“pixels” etc) that Rogers’ view on “discontinuities” were based on the photomicrographs of STURP’s Mark Evans. One in particular, labelled ME-29″ was cited:

Verbatim quote from Dan Porter (my bolding)

On the facts used for the analysis, Ray wrote:

A29) “The color of the image-areas has a discontinuous distribution on the entire facing surface (Pellicori and Evans, 1981).” Before making assumptions on the basis of this statement, please look at the photomicrograph of the tip of the nose that Mark Evans took (ME-29).

Here’s what I suspect to be a crucial screenshot from the same posting, the source of all repeated references, nay Chinese whisperings, to those “microscopic discontinuities” at the fibre(?) level.

From shroudstory (see link in above text)

From shroudstory (see link in above text)

Photomicrograph? Yes (x64). But apart from a hint of fine structure within the individual fibres (e.g. the so-called growth nodes, but poorly resolved due to internal reflection and refraction) there’s really nothing about distribution of image colour that cannot be obtained using a good x10 hand lens (as I have just this minute confirmed by looking at my own linen imprints). And what does that image above tell us about “discontinuities at the microscopic (fibre?) level”? Answer: nothing. Nothing whatsoever. What we see above are bunched fibres in entire threads. Apart from one or two detached fibres (where colour distribution CANNOT be seen at this level of magnification) one is looking at entire threads. Any particular distribution of colour, continuous or discontinuous, can only be described at the level of whole THREAD. Since the whole thread can be seen with the naked eye, assisted with a hand lens, one is NOT entitled to refer to discontinuities at the microscopic level, implying directly or tacitly that those discontinuities exist at the fibre level. To make that claim one would need to tease out the individual fibres, and then examine at high magnification under a phase contrast microscope.

Am I splitting hairs (or fibres)? it would be nice to say yes and move on. But I am not, and for reasons that will now be set out. The misattribution of a thread effect to individual fibre level, with its apparent switch from macroscopic to microscopic, is and has been the source of much confusion in the “Shroud”literature, and it’s hard not to escape the view that it’s been part of an attempt to promote one or other pro-authenticity model. How? Why? Because the crucial image characteristic – its negative character – implies a contaact mechanism. But contact is not easily accommodated within pro-authenticity models. Consequently, the image negativity – a macroscopic character – gets sidelined.  A  macroscopic characteristic like discontinuity of image on threads, thread CROWNS especially, is noted but quickly shunted into the microscopic sidings (thanks to x64 magnification -OK for macroscopic threads but too small for near-microscopic fibres). Even if there were clear discontinuities seen in individual fibres it would mean nothing is the result of a contact imprinting across the highest ie. crown threads. that is a macroscopic, not microscopic effect.

If one googles for those two m words, one will find this pdf review paper from G.Fanti et al with them in its title.

There is much of value in that paper, notably the much-neglected brittleness of “Shroud” image fibres (hardly consistent with Rogers’ impurity coating model) but there is no, repeat NO attempt to justify the term “microscopic”. Again, it’s based it would seem on those low magnification Mark Evans enlargements of Shroud weave at the thread lvel, where the term “photomicrograph” becomes hugely misleading.

What did Rogers himself have to say about contact models? Look carefully to see whether his remarks referred to the entire gamut contact models,existing or still to come, or just one that was easily shot down, or seemingly so.

Go to a different Rogers pdf, and immediately under  Fig.22, a Mark Evans ‘photomicrograph’ (yes, our old friend ME-29 again) we read this:

4)  Scorching by contact with hot irons, statues, etc., must be ruled out, because heat flow by conduction penetrates a cloth. Different colors can be seen as a function of the depth into the cloth, and fibers are colored through their entire diameter. The medullas of scorched fibers are colored. The Shroud image is entirely different.

Needless to say, there is m0re than one way of imprinting a scorch directly onto linen that could restrict thermal effects to the most superficial layer (notably the approx.200nm thick primary cell wall, PCW, an entity with a distinctive chemical composition, with a preponderance of reactive hemicelluloses). The mere fact that “scorching”, ie. pyrolysis, caramelization etc is an endothermic,  heat-abstracting process means the template cools as soon as it makes contact with the fabric. There are many other ways of minimizing the depth of scorch, e.g. by coating the fabric with some kind of thermal buffer,e.g. chalk, having a damp umderlay etc etc. One could even overlay with a sacrificial layer of fabric, cheap cotton maybe, designed to take the brunt, reducing the heat that conducts to the linen underneath. But there are more subtle ways of imprinting an image, as shown by the current model, using a flour/water mixture that is ironed at a temperature that does not appeciably affect linen  per se, but high enough to initiate Maillard-type browning reactions. Rogers (in common with virtually all pro-authenticity investigators) clearly did not wish to be detained for one second longer than necesaary by anything as crass and downmarket as a contact-imaging process. The victim in all of this is the paramount characteristic of the “Shroud” image, the negative image, implying imaging by contact, preferential imaging of the crowns of the weave, and a series of discontinuities at the level of threads, probably fibres too. But the ‘tunnel vision’ that fixes on any model except imaging by contact has resulted in the elevation of “discontinuity” to cult status for entirely spurious reasons –  an implied microscopic effect at fibre level that is in reality a macroscopic effect at thread level – an entirely predictable signature of imaging BY CONTACT, producing that NEGATIVE IMAGE.

Where modelling the “Shroud” is concerned, there are those who wish to turn it into a beauty contest, with a preponderance of part-time  theologians on the judging panel. Reminder: this site has a URL that reads turin-shroud-without-all-the-hype. Yup, this is the place for hype-free science. This site has no ambitions to be an entrant in a beauty contest. Cold hard facts are its stock-in-trade.

In short, if anyone should ever challenge this blogger, as they have done previously, with the pointed question: “What about the microscopic properties?”, my reply will be: “Do tell us about the microscopic properties. Do provide a photomicrograph so we all know what you are talking about, assuming, that is,  you know what you are talking about, and not simply intoning a mantra you’ve picked  up from one or other theologically-slanted shroudoscopic website.”

Wednesday July 22

Summary: the “Shroud” image is a negative. It’s a negative because it’s an imprint. But it’s not an imprint onto a perfectly plane surface like printer paper. It’s an imprint onto a weave in which some parts of some threads are higher than others. So one expects to see discontinuities in the imprint corresponding with loss of contact at points where warp threads loop under weft threads and vice versa. The first  task of any objective microscopist, examining a negative imprint on a woven material, and seeing “discontinuities” should have been to identify those discontinuities that are natural and expected accompaniments of printing onto the weave. Simply lumping all discontinuities together (assuming without evidence there are discontinuities unrelated to weave) and referring to them as though an enigmatic  microscopic property of the “Shroud” image, one that presents a huge and possibly insurmountable challenge to anyone attempting to reproduce them, is an example of a strange and thankfully rare anatomical conversion of living tissue to copper/zinc alloy (known in common parlance as “having a brass neck”).

10: 25: Latest example of deep historical analysis from Charles Freeman, commenting on the shroudstory site:

“However, we have no evidence that the Lirey shrine attracted any of the elite and it was quickly suppressed until Geoffrey the Younger managed to find a way of exhibiting the Shroud with official ( papal) approval in the 1390s.”

Er, no. The whole point of putting an item on public display, producing a medallion as take-away souvenir, is not  ostensibly to attract the elite (who would probably have had a private viewing beforehand that went unrecorded in the annals of French history). The idea is to attract ordinary folk (albeit those with time on their hands, and the financial resources to be self-supporting on long cross-country hikes excluding those who relied on begging). Yes, ordinary folk, with money in their pockets, sufficient to purchase that medallion, and probably other items (indulgences?) too, and not just scores of ordinary folks, but hundreds, maybe thousands of them per annum.  Or at any rate, that was the business model, no doubt, until the Church imposed its ban. That income would have come in handy for the relic’s owner, the newly widowed Jeanne de Vergy, her husband having been killed at the Battle of Poitiers, 1356. There’s also the small matter of his King (John II) who he was personally defending having been captured by the English at the same battle and then held to ruinously expensive ransom. Was the instant display of the “Shroud” a response to one or more of these new financial pressures one wonders? Freemam’s “elite” was a distressed elite. Does he not appreciate that?

Update: 20:00

This blogger has already been accused of plagiarizing Rogers’ ideas (in seeing a role for Maillard reaction products, albeit between reducing sugars and proteins of white flour, and needing an excesdeingly hot iron to get the colour). Well, I’m about to make things even worse for myself – by narrowing the gap between my medieval model and the pro-authenticity 1st century tomb scenario of Rogers. It involves volatile amines, those fishy smelling things with the general formula R-NH2 (primary amine)  where R is an alkyl group, e.g. CH3, C2H5, or, if a secondary amine, R-NH-R’, or a tertiary amine,  R-N(R’)-R”. What you may ask!  We know where the amines are implicated in the Rogers’ model (putrefaction of a corpse).  How can amines be implicated in a white-flour model?

Well, it’s a long shot, but here we go.  The yellow-brown image has been described here as a Maillard reaction product, formed between reducing sugars and proteins. But there’s a problem. The “Shroud” image was tested by Adler et al for protein – none were found.  But my image appears to have two components – an outer one that looks and feels thick, and can be reduced by washing, brushing etc, and a more resistant one that survives those treatments, and seems more like an intrinsic part of the linen fibres. What might have happened to produce the latter.  Well, there’s a little protein in linen fibres, and one might propose that had reacted with reducing sugar, and that the Maillard product formed had failed to react as protein. But one instinctively dislikes qualiofying assumptions. Might there be an alternative explanation? Yes, there is. The most superficial part of the linen fibre is the PCW, and that comprises hemicellulose as a major constituent. Hemicelllulose has a lot of pentose sugars, which are chemically reactive,  more so than the hexose sugars of starch and cellullose, and known to enter freely into Maillard reactions. Maybe the linen provided the sugar for the Maillard reaction. But where did the amine come from? It might have been the protein of the flour or linen, especially the epsilon amino group of lysine (not involved in peptide bond formation). But there’s an intriguing alternative. Enter volatile amines. When one adds cold  limewater to white flour there’s an immediate strong fishly odour. So there’s an amine precursor there that is easily released by alkali. Maybe it’s released by heat also, even at lower pH closer to neutrality. Maybe it’s that amine that reacts with the pentose sugars of the linen PCW to produce the ‘resistant’ image that survives washing etc, and that does NOT test positive for protein.

What might be the source of the free amine? Am not sure. It might be glutamine, with terminal -CONH2. It might be polar secondary or tertiary amine groups of phospholipids (lecithin, phosphatidylethanolamine etc).  Much food for thought (maybe a few experiments can help reduce the search options).

Update: Friday 24  July

One of the occupational hazards of attempting to develop a model for the “Shroud” based on medieval technology is the flak that draws from the Raymond Rogers fan club. The fact that he’s sadly no longer with us, able to respond to one’s comments and criticsim does not help. Any criticism made of his work and ideas is treated with outrage: “How dare you attack someone who is no longer able to defend himself”.  But that’s to miss the point entirely. It’s not the man himself who’s primarily in the frame. It’s his ideas. Of course, it doesn’t help if those ideas are based on what one regards as inappropriately designed experiments, where it takes the eye of a fellow (bio)chemist to spot the liberties that have been taken to achieve a highly publicized result.

Do I exaggerate? Am I being unfair? To answer that, let’s return to a posting that appeared almost 3 years ago on Dan Porter’s shroudstory site (I was reminded of it forcibly today, but let’s not bother with the circumstances, involving as they do the troll who I commented on earlier). Here’s a screen shot of the second half:

Rogers' model system. Note carefully the ingredients. Note carefully the use of excess ammona.

Rogers’ model system. Note carefully the ingredients. Note carefully the use of excess ammonia.

It’s an experiment that Dan Porter describes as a “success”. Did he bother consulting a chemist before making that judgement?

It was NOT a success at all, if intended to show that a Maillard reaction can occur between starch and ammonia at room temperature as a model for the Turin Shroud. Note first that it did not use starch, which we are told was an impurity coating on the linen. It used “dextrins” which are  highly degraded starch,  more sugar than starch. That substitution, easily overlooked because Rogers makes no attempt to justify it, gets around the small difficulty that Maillard reactions require reducing SUGARS. Starch is not a reducing sugar. Nor does it easily “fall apart” to make reducing sugar. Google “lintnerization”. It gets worse. Saponins have been added as well. Why? Because the linen is now said to be impregnated not only with starch (pity about the absence of analytical data) but with saponins too (they were used as a kind of soap see in the 1st century AD). Saponins (again, no analytical data) that just happen to have lots of pentose (5-carbon) sugars in their carbohydrate polymers. Pentose sugars are chemically more reactive than 6-carbon sugars like glucose or highly degraded starch. Pentose sugars react more readily than hexose sugars to give Maillard reaction products.  But it doesn’t end there. Note Rogers’ choice of “putrefaction amine”, the simplest amine of all – ammonia- a highly volatile gas, half as light as air. Note that his mixture of degraded starch and saponins was exposed to ammonia gas for 24 hours. We are supposed to be impressed that he demonstrated a Maillard reaction at room temperature. What’s easily overlooked is that excess ammonia raises pH, and that Maillard reactions that are normally sluggish at room temperature are greatly assisted by an alkaline pH. So on three counts – degraded strarch, saponins and alkaline pH – we see Rogers’ so-called Maillard reaction being assisted by dubious means, of no proven relevance to a 1st century tomb.  To cap it all, we are given no evidence that the yellow colour was in fact a Maillard product. It may have been, it may not – some supporting data was needed before ASSUMING it was a Maillard product and not (say) a product from exposing saponin or sugars to alkali and oxygen. Why were there no controls?

Those who try to pitch me against Raymond N.Rogers should take careful note of the kind of science that supported his attempts to provide experimental evidence in support of his Maillard hypothesis. No, that experiment you cite was NOT a success  Dan Porter, but it needs a chemist’s eye perhaps to see why. With no disrespect to  a dead man, I say it’s time to cease playing Rogers’ findings as if a trump card, and in fact to see many of his findings for what they are: deeply flawed, unable to stand up to close scrutiny. “Shroudology” will make no progress while the Rogers’ findings are considered sacrosanct and above criticism.

Note too by the way the absurdity of claiming that Rogers found starch on the STURP samples (he didn’t) while his model requires reducing sugars that would require highly degraded starch that would no longer give a positive test for starch (e.g. a blue-black colour with iodine).  Good, isn’t it?  Day after day we see one Rogers ‘groupie’ banging on endlessly that Rogers DID find starch (no he didn’t) and another Rogers’ groupie insistent that Rogers’ Maillard model is the correct one, despite unfavourable thermodynamics at low temperature/ordinary pH,  requiring reducing sugar, not starch.  Why does Dan Porter allow this self-contradictory, self-defeating nonsense to continue, month after month, year after year. Why does he allow his site to be ruled – and ruined – by this kind of fanaticism that is blind or indifferent to the facts?

Update: I have just returned to that Rogers paper that Dan Porter quoted as showing that a Maillard reaction can occur at room temperature, provided one’s willing to wait 24 hours. It’s accompanied by that photograph, showing a STRONG yellow colour, despite the text saying the low temperature gave “a very light colour”. There’s a simple reason for the discrepancy. Dan Porter did not quote the full passage. He stopped after the first sentence below, leaving off the second sentence that I have shown in bold:

“The sample was then treated for 10 minutes with ammonia vapour: a very light colour
could be observed on the top surface after standing 24 hours at room temperature. To increase the reaction rate, a sample was treated at 66 ºC for a few minutes (Figure 2 above).”

In other words, the striking result, the one Dan Porter calls a success, the one in the photograph (Fig.2)  was NOT the very light colour, one whose lightness we can only guess at. The photograph shows the result at a kinetically and thermodynamically more favourable 66 degrees C. Quite what the relevance that temperature was to a 1st century tomb is anyone’s guess.

That experiment of Rogers was frankly fudged to give the desired result.  This researcher despises fudged demonstrations. What we see above is pseudo-science. This is the kind of “science” that assorted trolls and fanatics are so keen to promote on Porter’s site, and the site’s owner let’s them do it, year after year after year.

And how was Rogers’ able to substitute dextrins, i.e. highly degraded starch, made commercially by heating starch with strong acid, or digesting with amylase enzymes, for intact starch? Simple. He refers to his dextrins as “crude starch”.That is taking one enormous liberty with words. When one extracts starch from a planr source, one may use the term “crude starch” to imply there are non-starch contaminants, e.g protein or cell wall material. To describe  the starch as crude to imply that it is partially degraded to low molecular weight dextrins, simple sugars  with reducing properties, as needed for Maillard reactions. etc  is quite simply appalling. If Rogers were here today, I would tell him to his face that he was at least deceiving himself if he imagined that linen initially impregnated with “crude starch” would supply the “reducing sugar” needed for his Maillard reaction, with or without prior ageing of the manufactured fabric. Starch does not, as I said earlier, easily fall apart. The glycosidic linkages in starch are strong and not easily broken.

If starch is kept dry, it will remain intact indefinitely (this blogger has a 60 yearold home-made photo album which used flour paste as adhesive – most of the photos are still where he stuck them). If it’s allowed to get wet, then it’s a different matter – moulds and bacteria will use the starch as a carbon source, secreting amylase enzymes to degrade it to simple sugars. Starch does not degrade of its own accord. “Linerization” of starch, i.e. hydrolysis to dextrins and simple sugars requires hours of even days of exposure to strong hydrochloric acid (see screenshot earlier in this posting).  Rogers so-called “crude starch”, i.e. more sugar than starch, is pure fantasy. No wonder he had to buy in “dextrin” from a commercial source.

Update: 15:20  July 24

Message to Dan Porter: this blogger is a retired professional biochemist. If anyone doubts my professionalism, then they must come to this site under their real name and be prepared to argue the science in detail. What I am not prepared to tolerate is having my science cut-and-paste to your site site for a cowardly individual, operating under a pseudonym, to attack my professionalism, usually with no attempt to address the detail. That is trolling. You have no business using my content, while allowing a troll to operate freely and unhindered on your site.  If you wish to use my material, then eject the troll from your site, or ban her from commenting on my material. If you wish to allow the troll to carry on as usual, attacking my professional credentials, then kindly stop using my material. In short, observe comm0nsense netiquette.

Update: 23:45 July 25

It didn’t take much searching to confirm that starch that is kept dry is a highly stable material, surviving millennia:

Book on role of ancient starch in archaeology

Book on role of ancient starch in archaeology

The idea that starch ‘falls apart’ with time to make what Rogers called “crude starch”, conveniently a source of reducing sugar for his Maillard reaction, is a complete fiction. Rogers may be some people’s chemical guru. He is not mine. His Shroud reseacrh is riddled with serious errors and/or blind spots and a serious deficiency of strict scientific objectivity.

Here’s a handy tutorial answer on the “strength” of glycosidic linkages in starch v cellulose. On close reading, one sees that it’s not really strength that differs, but accessibility of the bonds to hydrolytic enymes. The glycosidic linkages in the helical chains of amylose (linear starch) and/or in non-linear amylopectin (between the branch points)  are more accesssible than those in the extended chains of cellulose that interact more strongly to create H-bonded fibres.

Here’s a useful graphic from the above link, comparing cellulose (left) with its beta (1,6) glycosidic linkages with those of starch (right) with alpha (1,6) linkages. Note the difference in secondary structure (sheet v helix).

cellulose v starchUpdate, Saturday July 25 (this blogger’s 45th wedding anniversary)

Am feeling a tad more forgiving today, so let’s itemize those 4 fudge factors (fudge, note, not fraud as misreported by Dan Porter) in rank order.

1. Slipping in the saponins. We’ll forgive him that

2. Excess ammonia generating highly alkaline pH.  We’ll forgive him that too, but alarm bells are ringing.

3,  Highly raised non-physiological temperature  (66 degrees C) pre- or post-mortem for Fig 2.  Naughty naughty.

4. “Crude starch”,  a totally misleading description for commercial part-hydrolysed (sugary) starch. Outrageous. But then one has to say, more in sorrow than anger, that he was a chemist straying into biochemistry, treading water, increasingly out-of-his-depth!!!!!!

Update: gold dust is quite a rare commodity, in science, same as everywhere else. The natural tendency is to eke it out, mixing with something else that will disguise the paucity of the rare metal. Diluent? Bullsh*t has near-perfect properties as a diluent, being highly adherent, while allowing brief glimmers of the good stuff if viewed from the right angle, under good illumination. Scientists differ as to the maximum content of bullsh*t that passes muster. Some say a maximum of 5% (this blogger subscribes to that school, or used to at any rate when grant-renewal time came around). Some say that in skilful hands one can get away with 25-30% bullsh*t or even higher.

Further update: call me old-fashioned if you like, but I resent deeply having my chemical/biochemical credentials attacked on a third party site by someone operating under a pseudonym who recently described herself as a “chemist”. If she’s a real professional chemist, as she would have us believe, then her behaviour on that site is TOTALLY UNPROFESSIONAL. Come out from under your cover, come to this site under your real name, and debate the science IN DETAIL  What you are doing at present is acting as just another tedious and irritating internet troll, using your anonymity to launch personal attacks. You make it impossible for this blogger to contribute to that site is a calm frame of mind.

I repeat: you are trolling. Why does the site owner permit that, while constantly looking to this site to provide content?

Update: Sunday:  There is also haranguing, not as serious as trolling. Yannick Clement on Dan Porter’s site is in full-haranguing mode with a string of consecutive comments that I don’t intend to answer there, or reproduce here. I’d simply say this, not mincing my words:

Here is a link to the “scientific method” – just one of several that could have been chosen:

http://teacher.nsrl.rochester.edu/phy_labs/appendixe/appendixe.html

Search it for “expert” and you will not find a single mention. The term “expert” has no useful role to play in science, its relevance being to consultancy where an instant opinion is required that may not immediately give the right answer, but is less likely (hopefully) to give the wrong one.

The closest the article comes to “expert” is this passage, one that Yannick should consider carefully before launching any more of his naive and ill-informed attacks on this experimentalist:

 My italics:

 “Recognizing that personal and cultural beliefs influence both our perceptions and our interpretations of natural phenomena, we aim through the use of standard procedures and criteria to minimize those influences when developing a theory. As a famous scientist once said, “Smart people (like smart lawyers) can come up with very good explanations for mistaken points of view.” In summary, the scientific method attempts to minimize the influence of bias or prejudice in the experimenter when testing an hypothesis or a theory.

Rogers’ experimental design for a Maillard reaction was heavily influenced by bias towards a 1st century provenance, to the extent of introducing reactants that were largely or entirely a matter of conjecture (degraded  ‘sugary’ starch, saponins, large quantities of  ammonia gas” and extending the temperature far beyond the range that is physiological, pre- or post-mortem.

Rogers achieved much in the course of his long career, especially as regards the application of DSC and mass spectrometry to safety evaluation of chemical explosives, but that Maillard model was not his finest hour.  Some might think the sooner that experiment is forgotten the better. The sooner Yannick Clement stops his hero worship of Ray Rogers, the better too for all concerned. There is no role for hero worship and/or infallible so-called experts in science.

Further update: Sunday:

From ‘Thermodynamics of hydrolysis of oligosaccharides’ (1991)

“The enthalpies of hydrolysis of two different samples of amylose were 1062 +/- 20 and 2719 +/- 100 kJ mol-1, respectively.”

See also this link to a pdf for confirmation that starch hydrolysis is endothermic.

This demonstrates what this blogger has been saying, namely that the hydrolysis of starch to simple sugar is endothermic (positive value for delta H). It’s little wonder that it requires heating with strong mineral acid for hours, days even.  Yet Raymond Rogers promulgated the idea that a starch coating on linen (conjectural!) could be assumed to break down spontaneously to reducing sugars, sufficient to give a Maillard reaction in the environmental range of temperature (despite Maillard reactions typically needing elevated temperatures of 100 degrees and greater to proceed at a reasonably brisk rate). Despite renewed protests on my part this morning the lady  troll is back on Dan Porter’s site, claiming I have “shamelessly distorted” Rogers’ Maillard model, in other words making yet another character attack, and still Dan Porter sits idly by while this continues. The reasons why Rogers was wrong, and spectacularly so, is for the kind of reason set out above – he imagined or assumed chemical changes that simply do not occur. Repeat: starch is a highly stable polymer. It requires enzymes or drastic chemical treatment to degrade starch. Rogers conceded himself in that Maillard paper that there was no colour when he used ordinary plain starch. It needed highly degraded starch, purchased from a chemical supplier as “dextrins”, i.e. low molecular weight sugary substances – making the model INADMISSIBLE. This blogger is not shamelessly distorting. He is telling it the way it is.

Afterthought: to those with a biochemical background, the idea that starch breakdown is endothermic may seem counter-intuitive. One is accustomed to thinking of biosynthesis as a process requiring energy (usually in the form of ATP, so the reverse process would release energy, i.e. be exothermic, not endothermic). The contradiction is probably accounted for as follows: the early stages of starch biosythesis,  the making of maltose, triose etc will be endothermic. But as the growing chain gets longer and more starch-like, it will then undergo internal H-bonding interactions to form helices etc, the process being exothermic. The latter release of heat will not usually be reckoned in the overall energetics if simply summing the energetics of each stepwise addition of a glucose unit.  So the overall process of starch synthesis will not be as endothermic as one might think, and indeed is probably exothermic, making the reverse hydrolysis endothermic, as measured by two different experimental groups in the above links. I will try to dig out some more on the energetics of starch hydrolysis, though it seems to be a neglected topic in the literature searched so far.

It’s also not terribly clear what’s meant by “per mole”. Per mole of what? Amylose, with a huge and probably unknown molar mass, or per mole of polymeric glucose,  reckoned as C6H12O6, or anhydroglucose (C6H10O5), recalling that starch can be represented as (C6H10O5)n? It’s probably one or other of those monomer units, approx molar mass 160, but it would have been nice to have had that specified as the basis of calculation.

Still Sunday:  setting the record straight (posted to shroudstory):

Despite the knocking copy from Paolo Di Lazzaro, Thibault Heimburger and others, this blogger was content to stick with the direct scorch from a heated metal template model for the best part of two years. Why? Because the claims of reverse side imaging, excessive image contrast simply did not tally with experimental results, provided one observed sensible temperature control, brief contact time, moist underlays etc. The chief downside was that it needed a statue or bas relief, when a real person would have been preferable.

The sea change in thinking came with the discovery of the Veronica-like motif on the Machy mould above the word SUAIRE, suggesting that the “Shroud” had been modelled as a sweat imprint on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen. That was the signal to think in terms of a two-stage process. First, find a proxy for body sweat (white flour paste!) that could be smeared on a real person, then imprinted onto linen. Second, develop that negative imprint in a way that produced a yellow-brown colour. That proved possible, first with cold nitric acid, then with hot limewater, and then simply with a hot iron, presumably as a result of Maillard or caramelization chemistry.

So while the initial scorch model was abandoned, there’s a sense in which I’ve returned to it, but with a major improvement. Direct scorching requires a higher temperature, with the risk of excessive scorching, whether that materialized or not with careful temperature control. In contrast, development of a flour imprint can be done with or without thermal treatment. If thermal, as with a hot iron, one can use a temperature, obtained by trial and error, that causes browning of a flour imprint with absolutely no risk whatsoever of scorching linen per se, certainly not on the non-imprinted parts of the linen.

I make no apology for abandoning the Mark 1 scorch model, ie. for changing my mind, switching horses, call it what you want. It’s in the nature of science to refine models and occasionally abandon them. The crucial point, as indicated, was to view the “Shroud” as a simulated sweat imprint. Did anyone suggest that previously, and say that the negative image was immediately accounted for? If they had, then I missed it. If one has to have one’s own eureka moment in order to explore a new line of investigation, then I would say there’s no shame in having previously pursued a different one, especially when one ends with what might be described as a scorch imprint Mk2 hypothesis, two stage rather than single stage, using a real person not a statue. Others may disagree, to which my response is: “Then show me YOUR model and say why it’s better.”

What’s yours, Thibault – or are you still too busy looking for things to criticize in mine, preparing with Dan’s help to pdf me into submission?

……………………………………

What I didn’t mention in the above comment was that white flour had featured earlier in the Mk 1 scorch model, but in the dry state. I reported that one could sensitize linen to scorching at a lower temperature by sprinkling flour onto it before scorching with a hot template. Link to post: Modelling the Shroud of Turin image with a flour-assisted Maillard reaction (October 2014).

Here’s a result from that posting:

Flour-assisted scorching, October 2014, prior to current 2-stage model.

Flour-assisted scorching, October 2014, prior to current 2-stage model. Flour is more sensitive to scorching than linen, a finding exploited in the new model.

Update: July 27

So why have I waited all this time to blow the whistle on Rogers’ fanciful Maillard hypothesis, full of chemical make-believe? Answer: I haven’t. I was making exactly the same points over 3 years ago on Porter’s site, May 21st,  2012, and have done so subsequently. e.g. on the unfavourable thermodynamics (even assuming that ammonia and reducing sugar are/were really present).

Link

Look at the comments. Look at the obfuscating hero worship of that windbag of a  Rogers’ groupie, he with the initials  YC.  Look at the attempt to portray Rogers as the infallible starch expert. Look at his attempts to write off this blogger as a nonentity.  (The blogger in question was too restrained or modest to tell him t0 google (dietary fibre resistant starch) and spot the citation classic on ‘resistant starch’ at the top of  page 1 of returns with well over 400 mentions in the literature, or to suggest that he do a comparable search in Google Scholar for starch papers by Raymond.N.Rogers.

Dan Porter claims to welcome real science. But look at the graphic he placed on that paper. Look how he allowed YC to filibuster the site, making out Rogers as a saintly scientist, making out his critics as having one or other character defect. No, it wasn’t trolling, more  verbal assault bordering on diarrhoea.

What a mucky site. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. It’s high time Dan Porter cleaned up that site of his in a way that allows the science to be heard and not instantly set upon by assorted trolls, groupies and fanatics.

Further update:

Another hero-worshipped figure is “STURP member” Robert V. Bucklin (pathologist), currently being discussed on shroudstory. I’ve stated previously my first reaction on reading his “mock autopsy report” in which he imagines the body to be laid out on a marble slab while he circles around with his clipboard making notes.  Nor shall I repeat what I said about the stilted Victorian language, the formality, the pomposity. I was told off severely on shroudstory for my levity. So let’s stick to the facts, shall we.

First, look at the list of STURP team members on shroud.com, noting carefully which names lack an asterisk, meaning they did NOT go to Turin, but worked on material supplied to them. Note that Bucklin’s name does NOT have an asterisk. That means he did not see the Shroud image itself, but must have been working from photographs. So much for that mock formal autopsy report. But whose photographs? Why is there no photograph shown on Bucklin’s “autopsy” report, so we can see precisley what he was looking at? Why is the reader left to assume that a key STURP team member, chosen for his pathology credentials, had seen the actual  Shroud image and bloodstains with his own eyes when he clearly had not?

One thing’s for certain. He did not have access to the high quality ‘as-is’ Durante 2002 pictures that we have available at the click of a key from Mario Latendresse’s  Shroud Scope.

Had he done so, he might not have made that bizarre claim that there are no scourge marks on the arms, with an opportunity (one of many) for inserting a pro-authenticity message about the victim having his arms “above his head” during scourging.

Shroud Scope. See scourge marks on arms, especially those on viewer's right.

Shroud Scope. See scourge marks on arms, visible especially  on viewer’s right where there’s better separation from bloodstains.

Here’s the concluding passage from Bucklin’s report. Note the scientific objectivity…

It is the ultimate responsibility of the medical examiner to confirm by whatever means are available to him the identity of the deceased, as well as to determine the manner of this death. In the case of Man on the Shroud, the forensic pathologist will have information relative to the circumstances of death by crucifixion which he can support by his anatomic findings. He will be aware that the individual whose image is depicted on the cloth has undergone puncture injuries to his wrists and feet, puncture injuries to his head, multiple traumatic whip-like injuries to his back and postmortem puncture injury to his chest area which has released both blood and a water type of fluid. From this data, it is not an unreasonable conclusion for the forensic pathologist to determine that only one person historically has undergone this sequence of events. That person is Jesus Christ.

As far as the mechanism of death is concerned, a detailed study of the Shroud imprint and the blood stains, coupled with a basic understanding of the physical and physiological changes in the body that take place during crucifixion, suggests strongly that the decedent had undergone postural asphyxia as the result of his position during the crucifixion episode. There is also evidence of severe blood loss from the skin wounds as well as fluid accumulation in the chest cavities related to terminal cardio-respiratory failure.

For the manner of death to be determined, a full investigation of the circumstances of death is necessary. In this case, it would be determined historically that the individual was sentenced to death, and that the execution was carried out by crucifixion. The manner of death would be classed as judicial homicide.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Priceless. nay, hilarious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and brought to you by STURP no less!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Afterthought: yes, there’s that 4th category of commentator that is tolerated (some might say encourgaed) on Porter’s stite: the serial browbeater, endlessly claiming that black is white and white is black, and woebetide anyone who says otherwise. The serial browbeater is immune to reason or logic, and totally indifferent to the facts.

Tuesday 28 July

Have just posted this comment to shroudstory. (Nope, it won’t alter in the slightest anyone’s thinking re authenticity – merely elicit still more special pleading, still more qualifying assumptions, more haughty lectures etc etc , but no matter, this blogger is frankly beyond caring where that site is concerned):

July 28, 2015 at 1:56 am

“Take the name of Jesus out of this and not one person on this Earth would be debating the credibility of the pathologists report”

Correction. At least one person would (me). For a start, it’s hard enough drawing conclusions re 3D anatomy, injuries etc from observing a faint and fuzzy 2D image. When you don’t know how the image was formed, why are you even inviting pathologists to comment, given their training and experience is with real cadavers on mortuary slabs?

That’s not including another overlooked detail – namely that Robert Bucklin, while described as a member of STURP, did not make the trip to Turin, so did not see the “Shroud” with his own eyes. That so-called autopsy report of his must have been based on one or more photographs, though you wouldn’t know that from reading it. Whose photographs? They certainly weren’t those of Durante (2002) which we can all of us view on Shroud Scope. Had they been, Buckley could not have got away with stating there were no scourge marks on the arms, and making deductions that assumed authenticity re biblical-era scourging (arms above head).

I despair of this travesty of science, brought to us by Robert Bucklin (and others!) who time and again were prepared to abandon scientific objectivity in their attempts to fill in for us the details of the biblical narrative.

Furher update: despite Robert Bucklin lacking an asterisk against his name in the list of STURP team members (see earlier) indicating that he did not accompany the team to Turin in 1978, we read this in his 2001 Obituary on the shroud.com site:

“I am deeply saddened to hear that our tall, gentle giant of the “Silent Witness,” Dr. Robert Bucklin, passed away. I first met him through Fr. Peter Rinaldi in Turin, Italy, in October 1978. As we walked together through the streets of Turin, Bob said, “The man on the Shroud is proof that He was dead and that a living G-d brought back His body and made the imprint on His Shroud. That is my private opinion.” And I agreed.

  1. David Alexander
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Posted October 6, 2001

Was he there, or wasn’t he? And if he was there, did he do his “autopsy” on the real “Shroud” or on  photographs (see below)?

Even if he was in Turin, one has to ask why he in particualr was selected as “pathology expert” given his conviction in 1978, ahead of the inconclusive 1981 STURP Summary,  that the image on the cloth was that of Jesus himself. That was bound to have coloured his judgement, something abundantly obvious from that so-called “autopsy” report.

We then read this from historian Ian Wilson in the same 2001 obiturary (my bolding):

With the death of Dr. Robert Bucklin on September 19, the Shroud world has lost one of its most distinguished and gentlemanly medical specialists.

Never has the medical case for the Shroud’s authenticity been more succinctly and more convincingly conveyed to the widest possible audience than by Robert Bucklin for David Rolfe’s award-winning cinema and TV documentary Silent Witness. Via life-size negatives of the Shroud laid out in his Los Angeles laboratory as if these were an actual crucified body, Bucklin explained the wounds of crowning with thorns, scourging and crucifixion with such gentle authority and matter-of-factness that the scenes involving him were arguably the most powerful single contributor to the documentary’s winning of a BAFTA award. Personally, I will never forget his quiet, clinical explanations of the terrible injuries. Or his calm gazing direct at the camera to conclude with heart-melting emphasis: ‘The markings on this image are so clear and so medically accurate that the pathological facts which they reflect concerning the suffering and death of the man depicted here are in my opinion beyond dispute.’ Such authoritative assessment by a seasoned medical specialist, talking about the very basics of the subject from within his own field of professional expertise, represents the very life-blood of what Shroud research should be all about.

With characteristic modesty, Robert Bucklin, in his paper for the 1993 Rome conference, personally assessed his then four decades of Shroud research work as ‘a mere drop in the bucket compared to the continuing highly technical work that continues to be done.’ But if there is any validity to the now increasingly recognised efficacy of homeopathic medicine, Robert Bucklin’s ‘drop in the bucket’ was, in truth, a most subtly mighty one.

Ian Wilson
Excerpted from an upcoming article in the BSTS Newsletter

That confirms that Bucklin did work from photographs. But that was probably a year or more earlier than the STURP visit to Turin, whether he was there or not. It’s clear that he was involved in the making of David Rolfe’s “Silent Witness” (which did not as I recall involve a privileged viewing of the Shroud).  Might Bucklin have written his “autopsy” based on photographs at the time of Silent Witness, or, at any rate, before the 78 STURP visit to Turin?

(Although the film appeared in 1978, it was made the year earlier according to Rolfe’s own Enigma site)

Was that autopsy the one that went into the STURP archives, even if written pre-1978,  maybe the previous year, and possibly unaffected by anything its author may or may not have seen with his own eyes if really in Turin? The person who could tell us would be Barrie M.Schwortz, STURP’s Documenting Photographer, President of STERA and owner of the shroud.com site, but I don’t suppose he reads this site…  If Robert Bucklin was in Turin in 1978, and got to see the “Shroud” with his own eyes, then that list of names (with and without asterisks) needs correcting.

Update: Tuesday 28 July 11;40

Following up on the “Silent Witness” lead,  I have just discovered this 10 minute clip from the film with Dr.Robert Bucklin performing his “autopsy” report.

Video still:

Pathologist Dr,Robert Bucklin as he appeared in Rolfe's

Pathologist Dr,Robert Bucklin as he appeared in Rolfe’s “Silent Witness” (1978) performing a virtual autopsy on a B/W photograph of the Turin Shroud (with tone reversal).

It comes as no surprise to see that he was working from photographs. No, not the as-is photographs like those of Durante (2002) that came later, but what appears to be the 1931 Enrie ‘negatives’. It seems ever more likely that Bucklin’s so-called “autopsy” report, one that we’re given to believe was ostensibly part of the STURP investigation,  was in fact nothing of the sort, and could not have benefited from any of the new photography of Barrie Schwortz, Mark Evans or other documenting photographers. It just gets worse…

Update: 12:16

Have just posted this comment to the shroudstory site:

Slow news day? Not on my site…  Were you aware that STURP’s Robert Bucklin MD, consultant pathologist, was in fact doing his virtual biopsy a year before STURP’s trip to Turin (which Bucklin may or may not have joined, depending on whose account one believes), so was NOT done on the “Shroud” itself but on PHOTOGRAPHS. What’s more, the photographs used were long-in-the-tooth 1931 Enrie negatives, as this video still from David Rolfe’s “Silent Witness” shows, made in 1977 (released in 78) a year before STURP.
Link to the above video still:

How many people reading Bucklin’s autopsy would realize it was NOT based on the “Shroud” itself, seen in natural colour with his own eyes, but a B/W negative on which he claims to see “wounds” etc and much else besides? One suspects that Bucklin’s “autopsy report for STURP was written well before the STURP descent on Turin, so could not have benefited from the new photography done by Barrie Schwortz, Mark Evans and other documenting photographers, far less the far superior imagery we now have from Durante (2002) on Shroud Scope.

Given the autopsy relied entirely on ancient photographs, why was ‘true-believer’ Bucklin(his own admission) selected as official STURP pathologist? Why weren’t the same photographs sent to other pathologists for their opinion?  The more I learn about STURP and its largely self-selected  personnel, the less I like.

Update: Wednesday July 29th

I’m told this posting is too long. Dan Porter specifically says his computer is beginning to belch smoke, or words to that effect.  Yet the WordPress sitemeter says there are lots of visits specifically to this posting by title (i.e. not merely to the site’s Home Page), so there’s some interest out there in one of more of the motley collection of issues being addressed here.

So what’s the solution? Let’s rephrase that. What’s the problem? The problem as ever is in fact with that gent whose name has just been uttered, more correctly that site of his and its ethos and modus operandi. Yes, he does raid this site for content, often before I’ve even had time to proofread (I compose directly having no great affection for MS Word). Within minutes of the thoughts of Cogitating Colin appearing on his site (ever lengthier chunks of C&P with little or no attempt on DP’s part to discuss or evaluate) , the Usual Suspects appear – of which I’ve so far identified 4 main types: the trolls, the fanatics, the groupies and the serial browbeaters. (There’s a 5th one too I’ve just realized – the professional obfuscator who detests black and white, who insists on turning everything into a melange of greys). Posting a comment to that site is a lottery – which of those 4 or 5 will be first to descend  in an attempt to suppress by ridicule, sniping, derision, mockery, repeated charges of ‘plagiarism’ (yes!). Let’s not mince our words. Dan Porter’s light touch moderation has allowed his site to become a writhing nest of adders. One only visits now to show one is uncowed, still keeping calm, still carrying on as usual.

It should of course be possible to stick a copyright sign on one’s content and have that respected. Thanks to the Wild West internet, that is not an option. Netiquette would be an alternative – to eschew straight cut-and-paste -and summarize the gist of a posting, with a few selected quotes – not entire paragraphs . A suggestion to site regulars that a visit by the quoted author to clarify this or that should not be seen as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to turn on the aggro, attempting to distract from the task in hand, attempting to drive them off the site.

Solution? None that I can think of (believe me I’ve tried) – mere sticking plasters. I may shortly return to a format tried once before – the archaic reverse-chronology weblog – where I respond to what appears on Dan Porter’s site by way of feedback here, not there, new content appearing at the top, time and date-labelled. Folk can take it or leave it – but at least they know that I’m not ignoring what appears elsewhere, and am always ready to engage in civilized debate. That format proved unworkable while I was still in experimental mode. But I’ve made a policy decision, so to speak, to call a halt to my modelling, knowing as I do that the results are rarely if ever judged on strictly scientific criteria (and I’m not prepared to be part of an aesthetic beauty contest affecting to be concerned purely about the science – Thibault Heimburger of the hostile pdf tendency please note).

Note I am not expecting folk to post comments here – we all of us recognize the attraction of a multi-visitor public forum over one-to-one chat on a private blog. But the problem as ever is the largely unpoliced nature of that forum which necessitates having to adopt defensive measures, if only to preserve one’s sanity.

Afterthought: yes, that’s it, that’s the answer. Instead of Dan Porter acting as heterotroph towards this site, I’ll ‘heterotroph’ (new verb) on his,  one step higher on the food chain, ho, ho.  Now why didn’t I think of that earlier????? I just need a new posting, starting the way this ex-autotroph, born-again neophyte-heterotroph intends to continue.

Note: autotrophs create their own food, using seemingly invisible raw materials and energy sources (e.g. CO2 gas, sunshine) that they derive from surrounding air and soil.

Heterotrophs consume the ready-made organic food created by autotrophs.

End of posting.

Link to new posting.

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