Comment promoted: what are we to make of the second face on the reverse side of the Turin Shroud?

This comment was supplied by Matt a couple of days ago:

Good day Colin, I’ve been reading your blog and you’ve revealed things to me I never knew about the shroud given all the hype that’s out there. Just wanted your opinion on something. What do you make of the “second face” on the reverse side claim. I’ve heard even some pro-shroud people deny it. Do you have a post about it? Thanks.

From the Independent, April, 2004:

Independent April 2004 second face on Turin Shroud


Here’s my immediate (stalling!) reply:

Hello Matt.

No, I’ve never addressed the claim for partial  obverse reverse-side  images as yet, notably face and hands, feeling as I do that I needed to be better informed as to the nature of the topside image first. When I say images, I mean ones that can or cannot be seen with photographs alone, rather than those problematical computer-aided reconstructions reported by Giulio Fanti and his team.

Mario Latendresse put a couple of photos up on his site a while ago. I’ve taken the face, shown first “as is” and then after photoenhancement in my unsophisticated MS Office Picture Manager, using just the 5 controls in brightness and contrast.



Durante-verso-face duplicate -45,100,-50,30,-100


What do you reckon Matt? Is there an image on the opposite side of the linen or not? Mario says there’s not…

(There’s probably no point our discussing THAT claimed image unless agreed on whether there really is one or not!).

PS: Beware: the photoedited one has also been left/right reversed, unlike the ‘as is’. Apols for that (it was done for future use, when comparing with topside image).

Matt came back with this:

Well if there is no image, where is the hair coming from unless the front image isn’t as superficial as they’re saying?  It’s hard for me to believe a lot of the pro-shroudies given the spurious nature of a lot of their claims. I saw your comment on Dan Porter’s site about the graphite background and the picture of the red painting on linen. Could this be a light phenomena? assuming the images are as superficial as they say. In any case, I’m convinced that the shroud is a fake. I think the image of the hair may come from the outlines of the painted blood and perhaps some oil substance staining through which adds to the paredolia.

In the big picture I think this is the last thing Christianity has seeing that they’ve lost when it comes to creationism, geocentrism and Adam and Eve. Seeing that all these things have been debunked. I think the shroud will follow.

What say you?


I replied with this (having to postpone for now comment on the “graphite and red painting” which has slipped my memory):

Yes, the pro-authenticity folk in general (Mario L a notable exception – see his site) seem to be relaxed about an image that is on both faces of the Shroud, albeit exceedingly faint on the obverse side, yet say there’s nothing in between! That takes quite a bit of explaining, wouldn’t you say, and I don’t recall seeing any attempts as yet to come up with a cogent explanation?

I have one, and it’s tentative, so am pleased to see your thinking is at least partly along the same lines.

Yup, we’re talking about OIL.

My flour imprinting works best when there’s vegetable oil present, not just to attach flour to the skin initially, but to help colour development in the oven too.

The oil helps to ‘micro-fry’ the particles of flour, which then proceed to turn brown due to Maillard reactions.  A small surplus of oil then acts as a liquid vehicle, allowing that cocktail of yellow/brown Maillard products to penetrate the weave of the linen. The likely route for capillary migration is the narrow channels BETWEEN the fibres, as can be easily modelled with ink ( I did a clip for YouTube back in 2015 , enter “dynamic penetration of ink” into your search engine), so the brown cocktail can get from one side of the linen to the other INSIDE the threads, out of sight, and then, if there’s sufficient, proceed to stain the opposite face where they emerge.

So why an image (of sorts) on the opposite face, rather than a mere oil stain?

Maybe the Maillard cocktail deposits solid polymeric highly-pigmented melanoidins on its short journey. The latter attach strongly to the fibres, so that the migrating oil gets cleaner and cleaner, finally scarcely visible in the cloth, leaving the pigmented image on the obverse side roughly the same shape and size as the topside, but not exactly the same (which might explain Fanti’s curious finding that the main and subsidiary image were not quite identical in his computer-assisted imaging).

Thanks for the interest Matt. Let me know if you have any further insights. Right or wrong they are all grist to the mill.


Thanks for the appreciative reply,  Matt, and for giving this  Shroud investigator an opportunity to finally grasp – after 5 long years – that particular nettle as regards the reverse-side face!   Feel free to call in again – anytime. Informed comment is especially welcome.

If I have any afterthoughts on that reverse-side face, I’ll tack them on the end here in the coming days or weeks.

Comments invited. ( Warning:  the site’s WordPress host requires me to vet a contributor’s first-time comment before it can appear. Thereafter they are displayed immediately).

Monday 20th March 2017

Rapid but short-lived transport of Maillard products also accounts for the peculiar  characteristics of image threads  and their fibres as seen under a low power microscope (see Mark Evans photomicrographs).


Yup, I refer to (a) the so-called half-tone effect and (b) abrupt discontinuities in fibre coloration.

The half-tone effect (an unhelpful – and probably over-simplistic term in my view) is shorthand for saying there are – or may be – only two kinds of image fibres  – coloured (full tone) and uncoloured (no tone) – with no in-betweens.  (Think of it as akin to the use of binary numbering  (o, 1 only ) in digitized imaging).  Discontinuites refers to the presence of cut-offs in coloration  along certain fibres for no obvious reasons.

Both these effects are explicable if it’s assumed that there’s a limited supply of hot, briefly-liquified  Maillard reaction products from the heated flour imprint that migrate rapidly for a short distance only along and between the fibres of linen threads. That results in even-staining of some but not all fibres (half-tone effect) with abrupt cut-offs in coloration (discontinuities) when the supply of liquid from the superficial thermal zone is exhausted.

Update : 17:00 hours, UK time, March 20

Here I am,  some 36 hours after posting, and STILL the major search engine has failed to spot this latest posting.

Had I posted it on my sciencebuzz site (Google -hosted) it would have appeared almost instantly!

Oops. Mustn’t  be seen to have a down on the internet Google giant, must I?

Nope. Microsoft’s Bing site  also fails to show it in its first 20 listings under a (shroud of turin ) search. (But then  Microsoft’s Bing has NEVER listed this site – to the best of my knowledge.

There’s something distinctly rotten (or at any rate, PC-obsessed) in the Stateside search engines  –  Google, Bing etc, something  we Brits and Europeans have to be content with, no local alternatives being available.

Musn’t offend your Stateside  Catholics, must we, Google, Bing etc?

PC-obsessed , ideas-stifling Stateside PC rules OK?  (Or should that be  multi-billion $ e-commerce income ?).

Update: Tuesday 21st March, 2017

07:30: Have just used the Feedback facility on Bing to send the following message:

Here’s a link to my specialist Shroud of Turin site.

It has been running for more than 5 years, has well over 400 postings, advances new models and theories, yet continues to show up NOWHERE in your listings under a (shroud of turin) search. It’s currently listed on Page 5* of returns.

Why are you effectively censoring me, preventing my original research and ideas from reaching Bing searchers? Is it because my views are anti-authenticity? Is it because you are keen to spare the feelings of those whose religion predisposes them to favouring authenticity? Since when has it been the job of a search engine to protect anyone from the real world?


s of t page 5 google- old post still listed 48 hrs after posting second face



Yahoo?  I’ve just searched the first 20 pages of Yahoo under (shroud of turin). No listing for this site, confirming previous experience over the years. Why not?  Who knows?

What I do know is that there was no mechanism for sending the same message to Yahoo as the one I sent Bing earlier this morning.  (There was a word limit – unannounced upfront!). What I did find was a page that invited me to “submit” my site as if Yahoo were doing me a favour  (nope, it’s web site creators who are doing YOU a favour, Yahoo) but that would require “registration”.

So I went back to the Suggestions tab, ignoring all the copious blurb about what they want and don’t want, and sent this short sweet message:





Update, Tuesday 15:00

Hey ho. Google has finally spotted this latest posting, which (for all its faults) says a lot more for Google than it does for the deeply-suspect Bing or Yahoo.

google page 4 listing of new post 21 march pm s of t search


Thank you Google. You came through for me (at last!).

Update: Thursday March 23

But there’s a downside to the world’s favourite search engine where this site is concerned, but it needs a sharp eye to spot it.

Search for (turin shroud) on Stateside (enter if outside mainland USA, “ncr” specifying “no country redirect) and here’s what you will  currently see – or something very similar:

google dot com turin shroud see page 5 my site 23 march 17


Yup, that’s this site, shown 3 entries down on Page 5 of returns.

So what would you expect to see if you had entered (shroud of turin), which I suspect a majority of folk will do, with or without the unnecessary “of”.  You would expect to get a similar or identical result, yes?

Well, you don’t. You will get the same result as the one I discovered and announced many months ago. You will find NO RETURNS FOR THIS SITE, at least on the first two dozen pages or so, even assuming the search engine allows you to access so many pages.

Yup, this site is invisible Stateside to anyone searching (shroud of turin) Stateside – which according to this site’s flag counter is where most of the interest in the Shroud resides –  way , way above my own largely Shroud-indifferent country (UK)

I’ve sent one final, despairing email to the search engine, using its Feedback facility, attaching my name and email address, asking it to correct this anomaly forthwith. If there’s no reply by the end of the day, I’ll reproduce the email here, and then think about acting on my threat to devote a full posting to the iniquity of being deprived of clicks, readers and  page-ranking by the perverse nature of what I’ve described above.

At least I get a listing of sorts, which is more than one can say for  Bing and Yahoo (see earlier), those two blights on the blogosphere who continue year after year to display their hugely suspect  -and I assume partisan – blind spot for this site. (Yahoo I’ve discovered currently lists 5 or 6  different postings from  a rival pro-authenticity  Australia-based Shroud blog scattered throughout the first 20 pages of returns  – which basically says all one needs to know about its impartiality and professionalism).

It’s now 2100 hours on Thursday March 23.  I’ve jusr rechecked the page rankings on Stateside No change. If one searches under (turin shroud) this site appears on Page 5. If one searches under (shroud of turin) my sciencebuzz site appears on Page 18, but this site appears NOWHERE. That’s despite logging a complaint many months ago. Nothing’s been done. Is it any wonder this site has near zero impact in the USA, since most folk there probably make “shroud” the first word in their search.

Here’s a copy of the communication that Google received from me first thing this morning UK time via its feedback facility:

Hello Google

Yet again, I see my UK-based site listed on Stateside under (turin shroud) but curiously and perhaps significantly NOT under (shroud of turin).

This is at best bizarre, but it’s also deeply worrying, indeed suspicious, since you are depriving me of searchers and readers, which then means I don’t get the Stateside ranking that I believe my site deserves after hundreds of postings over 5 years.

I’ve made this same complaint to you before, via this Feedback facility and online, but nothing has been done.

I’ll wait 24 hours, and if I’m still not listed on under (shroud of turin) then I’ll make a separate posting of this strange anomaly on the part of your allegedly algorithm-driven search engine. I shall be flagging up my strong suspicion of ‘dirty tricks’ by those who attempt to influence Google listings and rankings – Stateside especially – under (shroud of turin) but who have carelessly it seems overlooked the alternative (turin shroud) – arguably a smoking gun.

Please deal with it NOW, not next week or next year!

Colin Berry, UK


Update: Friday March 24

Have discovered that this, my latest posting,  DOES appear on a Stateside search under (shroud of turin) but not under the default “Any Time”. One has to specify “Past week” or “Past month”, accessed via the Tools tab (which I suspect few general users ever deploy).

So the crawler and algorithm are picking up the existence of this site, and displaying it briefly, albeit to the cognoscenti wanting to know what’s new, but filtering it off from the main “Any Time” shop window.

Well, I’ve long suspected that Google goes in for window-dressing , correction, BIG correction, window-EXCLUSION, on entry-level searches, giving the lie to any suggestion that page rankings are determined purely by an algorithm  (at least an algorithm that is responsive to objective criteria only, making no value pre-judgments as to likely ‘mass  appeal,  special-interest appeal’, outside interest  credit-card flashing appeal  etc.).

Google etc claim to be search engines, not mere e-commerce trade directories, so should perform as such, and indeed should be made to do so,  via regulatory agencies, at least when ranking sites beyond their own shores, regardless of where those rankings are displayed!

In short, this site, MY site,  is being partially-discriminated against, failing to appear when a Stateside  searcher enters (shroud of turin) into his or her default-setting My own countrymen and women in the UK face no such filter. Big deal!

I accuse you Google of cyber-colonialism. You are wilfully  preventing my site from receiving Stateside attention and visitors  which I believe it warrants after 5 years and hundreds of postings. Indeed, I would be saying the same if my site were brand new! The Shroud of Turin is of international interest, whether seen from a religious or scientific perspective. No one should be denied the right to know what is being thought and said  online by folk in other countries that contributes to the worldwide debate.

As others have been saying in recent days in regard to other more serious matters to do with your modus operandi,  Google, notably your placing  UK taxpayer-funded ads onto anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi YouTube videos, it’s time you cleaned up your act, across the board.

I repeat: it’s time you cleaned up your act, Google, across the board. (As for Bing and Yahoo, words fail me).


Monday 27th March 2017

See this link to a BBC scrutiny of the mighty Google, and the way it has come not only to dominate search, but what folk are allowed to see and not see:

Just google it: How one company came to dominate search

Here’s a choice passage that says it all:

Trying to figure out how to please Google’s algorithm is rather like trying to appease an omnipotent, capricious and ultimately unknowable god.

You may say as long as Google’s top results are useful to searchers, it’s tough luck on those who rank lower – and if those results stop being useful, then some other pair of students at Stanford will spot the gap in the market and dream up a better way. Right?

Maybe – or maybe not. Search was a competitive business in the late 1990s. But now, it may be a natural monopoly – in other words, an industry that is extremely hard for a second entrant to succeed in.

The reason? Among the best ways to improve the usefulness of search results is to analyse which links were ultimately clicked by people who previously performed the same search, as well as what the user has searched for before.

Google has far more of that data than anyone else. That suggests the company may continue to shape our access to knowledge for generations to come.

See also in today’s Telegraph:

Professor Brian Cox: Can science survive in our post-truth world?

Answer: no, not when California’s control freaks are allowed to rig their search engines to get the e-commerce friendly “look” they want.

Opening para’ (my italics) :  In our post-truth universe, where facts kowtow to personal belief, where does that leave science? Professor Brian Cox thinks carefully before saying: “It is important for people in my position – by which I mean scientists that have some sort of public voice – to say that not all opinions are equal.” The 49-year-old physicist, TV presenter and all-round cheerleader for rational thought has seen long-held facts under fire of late. Last week, basketball supremo Shaquille O’Neill expressed his view that the Earth is flat;  Donald Trump’s former rival, now colleague, Ben Carson says he doesn’t believe in the Big Bang. ..


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

Might those be flecks of congealed wheat gluten one sees on the Turin Shroud? Evidence for unique one-off white flour imprinting?


Shroud Scope:  vertical face-only image (chosen for maximal resolution) after applying additional contrast in MS Office Picture Manager. What are the solid flecks, both on and off the body image?

So what are those flecks (circled?). Read on for a possible answer, one that is TESTABLE, given (hopefully) cooperation from the Turin custodians and the Vatican.

Late addition: here’s a ‘clean’ view of the lower half of the above field at maximum magnification in Shroud Scope (see blue scale on left):

top mag 2 right half face, -25,85,25,100.png

Again, note the abundance of red-brown flecks, especially numerous on, but not exclusive to, the more heavily imprinted  areas (nose, cheek, upper lip).  “Homogeneous body image” as so often stated? Hardly. Traces of imprinting medium (roasted flour)?

Introduction to those visiting this site for the first time: based on some 5 years of almost non-stop, hands-on research this retired biochemist has finally, with his ‘Model 10’ provided an explanation for the  ‘enigmatic’ Shroud of Turin double- body image. I believe it to be a flour-imprint taken from one (or more probably two) human volunteers that was oven-roasted to produce a surface encrustation of yellow or brown Maillard reaction products, aka melanoidins. (See Appendix for a list of the 9 models that preceded Model 10).

What was the aim? It was an attempt by a medieval French knight (Geoffroy de Charny, Lord of Lirey), a close associate of his monarch King John the Good (both founders of the short-lived Order of the Star) probably using de Charny’s hired clerics in his private Lirey  (King-financed) chapel to  simulate an ancient (“newly discovered”)  body image of the crucified Jesus in sweat and blood onto an imagined  facsimile of Joseph of Arimathea’s “fine linen”.

The linen was then vigorously washed, leaving mainly BUT NOT EXCLUSIVELY a faint, fuzzy ghost image.  This investigator believes  the latter to have been formed by a coloured cocktail of LIQUID exudation products  released at high temperature that seeped/migrated from the encrustation into the most superficial surface fibres – and narrow channels between those fibres. But that does not account for the ‘bittiness’ that one sees above under high magnification, i..e. of  randomly scattered fine particulate material. What might those particles represent? Might they provide an important clue as to the mechanism of imprinting, specifically the nature of the man-made imprinting agent?

See the banner on this site, showing a roasted flour imprint from a plastic figurine before and after that final washing. It’s quite difficult, in fact, to remove all traces of the solid surface encrustation so as to leave just the fuzzy ghost image. It requires a vigorous scouring action of one surface against another, with lots of soap and water. Yes, I too have examples in my archive of  image-imprinted linen of adhering particles of   proteinaceous wheat gluten. Why do I say “gluten”? There’s a simple experiment that can be done with flour dough to get acquainted with the peculiar properties of gluten, the major storage protein of wheat.

Mix up some white flour and water in a bowl to get a stiff dough. Then take a fistful, and knead under water. Watch the water go cloudy as the starch granules are washed out.

(See technical appendix with photos at end for details).

Finally one is left with a rubbery, water-insoluble ball of wheat gluten, comprising mainly protein. It’s a highly unusual protein on account of its viscoelastic properties, allowing it to trap CO2 and air bubbles from yeast fermenation during baking to get a well-risen loaf etc.  So if one uses white wheaten flour as an imprinting agent with the deliberate aim of developing colour in the oven as a consequence of Maillard reactions between reducing sugars and proteins, then at the final washing stage one can expect  any unchanged starch and soluble proteins to be washed out of the reaction mixture, but appreciable amounts unchanged (or partially modified) gluten to remain attached to the fabric, being hard to dislodge. So my money is on those flecks in the above photograph being mainly gluten. How could one test whether or not those flecks on the Shroud really are gluten?

Wheat gluten has a preponderance of proline and glutamic acid residues, i.e. amino acids in peptide linkage, so all one has to do is ‘hoover’ the surface of the Shroud, harvesting surface particles for analysis. In fact, that was done (controversially) at the start of the millennium. I’m not certain if the Durante photograph from Shroud Scope above was taken before or after hoovering. Irrespective one has to hope that the surface detritus that I ascribe to gluten is still there for analysis, or if not, has been retained (I seem to recall there being some suggestion that was the case).

For ‘hoovering’ there’s a handy gizmo whose technical name I’ve forgotten that I used to use as a  photochemical ‘bilirubinologist’ back in the early 1970’s It’s a glass bulb with an internal fritted glass disc that acts as trap for fine particles. One end is connected to a vacuum line, the other is open and bevelled to allow it to be used as a vacuum attachment.

So one hoovers up those flecks, one then hydrolyses any trapped protein down to free amino acids which can then be identified with a suitably sensitive chromatographic procedure. Note that recovery via ‘hoovering’ is essentially non-destructive. All that’s needed now is an invitation to scientific specialists like myself with an interest in the Shroud to make a return visit to Turin,  STURP Mk2. This time the team should travel not just with high-tech equipment  but with ideas, with hypotheses (and I don’t mean that dreary ‘just a painting’ hypothesis which should have been consigned to the rubbish bin as soon as Adler and Heller discovered the image was bleachable with diimide, meaning it was organic (i.e. carbon-based), not red ochre or some other solid artist’s pigment).

Is there any evidence from the historical record that the Shroud has ever been exposed to a vigorous washing procedure (whether accurately recorded or not)? Yes. See this entry provided by Ian Wilson for the history section on

April 14, 1503 Good Friday: Exposition of the Shroud at Bourg-en-Bresse for Archduke Philip the Handsome, grand-master of Flanders, on his return from a journey to Spain. The Shroud, which has been specially brought from Chambéry, with great ceremony, by Duke Philibert of Savoy and Duchess Marguerite, is exposed on an altar in one of the great halls of the Duke’s palace. Savoy courtier Antoine de Lalaing records of the events of that day: “The day of the great and holy Friday, the Passion was preached in Monsignor’s chapel by his confessor, the duke and duchess attending. Then they went with great devotion to the market halls of the town, where a great number of people heard the Passion preached by a Cordeilier. After that three bishops showed to the public the Holy Shroud of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and after the service it was shown in Monsignor’s chapel.” Lalaing adds that the Shroud’s authenticity has been confirmed by its having been tried by fire, boiled in oil, laundered many times ‘but it was not possible to efface or remove the imprint and image.’

What about higher magnifcation photomicrographs. like those taken in 1978 by STURP’s Mark Evans (released into the public domain much later via the good offices of Thibault Heimburger).

Here one has to beware. It would be all too easy to claim that any solid particle represented this or that (e.g. e.g. travertine aragonite, specific we’re told to Palestine etc etc). Let’s not go down that road. To qualify as a possible fleck of gluten, a close companion of a Maillard body image, was must rigorously exclude anything that looks too angular, like a mineral particle, or the wrong colour (grey,  black etc). So one’s basically looking for flecks that are are the same colour as the body image, maybe more intense, and essentially gummy and amorphous in appearance, i.e. non-angular. With those qualifications, once can indeed see presumptive evidence for the presence of what I have described as ‘gluten flecks’ in at least one of the limited number of fields presented in the Heimburger monograph. I have labelled them this time with yellow rectangles.


Have I been selective in my reporting? It was after all a higher resolution face-only view from Shroud Scope. It was after all the best of the few Mark Evans photomicrographs available online.

Late insertion (Jan 8): I had deliberately excluded a second image from Thibault Heimburger’s pdf with a selection from Evans/STERA collection – taken from the nose area – feeling it did not fully meet my own strict criteria for deciding which flecks could be gluten as distinct from mere ‘dirt’ etc. However, I have just discovered the same image on Barrie M.Schwortz’s gallery of pictures from the 78 STURP visit to Turin. Here are the two side by side, Thibault’s first.


Not only are the ‘bits’ more easily visible on the right (the image having greater colour saturation at least) but appear confined largely to particular image-bearing zones. That picture on the right I consider to be of MAJOR IMPORTANCE, were there to be more like it, maybe not yet in the public domain. Why? Because it suggests strongly that whatever the image-forming mechanism, it deposited not just  evenly-distributed straw-colour chemicals to the linen, but PARTICULATE material too. That could well provide a major  clue as to imprinting technology, namely that the imprinting medium was itself particulate, or partly so. My Model 10 specifies the nature of those particles – namely plain white flour – while requiring the presence of two liquids as well – vegetable oil as agent assisting adhesion to skin,  and water  as agent assisting transfer of flour from skin to linen.

See Technical Appendix 4 to see my attempt to further improve the visibility of those flecks on the Evans ‘tip of nose’  body image

Next step – in order to allay suspicions of selectivity – not unknown in sindonology –  was to go back to Shroud Scope, and select, almost at random, two close-up views of the legs at approx knee level (give or take), one frontal, one dorsal, both taken from the lower resolution whole body image.They were then magnified (thanks Mario) and then given extra contrast in MS Office Picture Manager. Both fields I’m relieved to say (reporting as I do in real time, stream-of-consciousness style) gave an abundance of those gummy red-brown ‘gluten flecks’ as I believe they are, based  on 5 years of experimental model building.

(Late note: Any  reference made to colour, e.g. “red-brown” as in the preceding sentence is of course to screen colour only, not actual real-life colour as would be seen if the Shroud were to be viewed in daylight. I shall be adding another technical note to the Appendix in the next day or two on the subject of screen colour, and how (and why!) it changes when one adjusts contrast (especially) in one’s photoediting program.)


Shroud Scope, added contrast, frontal Durante, knee/thigh region. Note abundant ‘dark blobs’ not only in image region, but intervening gap region too (light vertical band).


As above, but dorsal view, Shroud Scope Durante, at shin level. Again, note the abundant scattering of dark blobs, ascribed here to ‘gluten flecks’ that failed to be washed out from a roasted flour imprint by virtue of their stickiness and insolubility in water.

OK. So let’s summarize, shall we? The Shroud of Turin body image, and indeed surrounding areas, is not just the faint, fuzzy, homogenous image as commonly stated. It’s in fact highly heterogeneous, with tiny scattered blobs of a material roughly the same colour as the image itself. No one to the best of my knowledge has commented on it previously, far less attempted to explain it.

I  say those blobs represent insoluble gummy wheat gluten, remnants from a flour-imprinted/heat developed image.  It failed to wash out  completely in the final image-attenuation step, one using vigorous abrasive washing with soap and water in an attempt to dislodge a surface encrustation. The latter was intended by Lirey’s team of medieval knight-employed cleric/artisans  to leave just a faint fuzzy ‘ghost’ image, one that could be passed off as a yellowing centuries-old, sweat-imprint of the crucified Jesus onto Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’ in transit from cross to tomb.

It was, quite simply, the most brilliantly conceived and executed confidence trick in history, one that has stood up to decades of detailed scientific exploration. But the latter was generally not model-driven, bar some attempts by a handful of folk like myself (Sam Pellicori, Luigi Garlaschelli, Joe Accetta etc).   Yup, where others lead, I have simply followed.  In the case of STURP it relied too much on modern instrumentation, with scarcely anything by way of new ideas.  Indeed, there is evidence  with the 34-strong mainly US-based STURP team of too much agenda-driven,  authenticity-promoting “science”.

It’s time to call time on the supposed ‘enigmatic’ Shroud of Turin. It is not enigmatic, merely ingenious (with technology developed and subsequently well-protected by a Templar-like elitist order centred on a medieval monarch  – John II (The Good) of France and his close-knit entourage of knightly associates, all sharing a highly developed religiously-disposed mindset and mission).

Yes, one could loosely describe the Shroud of Turin as a “forgery”. But knowing as little we do about the motives of its 14th century fabricators, notably the highest in the land, it might be better to regard it as least provisionally as an imaginative reconstruction of  a bodily imprint, namely of the crucified Jesus of Nazareth no less, on Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen, used to receive the body from the cross, for transport to the tomb.

Whether intended as the final burial shroud, or serving as such, is a matter of speculation, though the account of the final Gospel (John) would suggest it had been replaced by fresh linen “clothes” (plural) Gk. othonia, with a separate facecloth.

I do not believe the Shroud of Turin to be authentic, but instead a 14th century simulation  of a bodily imprint of the crucified Jesus onto J of A’s linen.  Call it a fake or hoax if you wish. I prefer to keep an open mind as to motive.

But I’m always receptive to new ideas. So let’s be hearing those genuine new and original ideas, whether pro- or  anti-authenticity.  Shame then that receptiveness to new ideas can never be said  to define most modern-day sindonologists, determined as most of them are to push their pro-authenticity agenda,  never missing an opportunity to promote their mystique- engendering pseudoscience.

Technical section

Technical appendix 1: wheat gluten isolation by simple water-washing of flour dough.


Approx 240 g of stiff flour dough was weighed (left), then kneaded thoroughly under water with several changes to wash out the starch granules (note cloudy wash water). The final mass of sticky wheat gluten was reweighed (lower right) . It was approx.25% of the original, as is, but containing as it does far more water, a more accurate figure, measured on a dry weight basis, would have been approx. 12% or less of the original. In short, despite the above appearances, gluten is a minor constituent of white flour, the major one being starch (typically 80% approx).

Technical appendix 2: photoediting technique. Contrast/colour changes, with no new  imaging artefacts


Real straw, with improvements in contrast from left to right using a  commercial photoediting program.

What colour is the body image on the Shroud? Answer – anyone’s guess, except for the privileged few who have seen it with their own eyes.  Even then the colour seen may be misleading if seen under artificial rather than natural daylight.

Yes, we’re told the colour is “straw”, though quite what that means is anyone’s guess. Pale yellow? Yellow with a hint of grey or brown? Who knows?  One could go to the site of STURP’s Documenting Photographer – Barrie M.Schwortz – and look at the photograph he uses as his banner. Yellow? Pale yellow?  Certainly not a pure yellow, more a yellowish-greyish-brown, not unlike a picture of real straw I found on internet image files, shown above “as is” (first on left).

But if one’s looking for the fine detail within an image, especially magnified images where there begins to be a loss of resolution, then colour/hue is no longer of paramount interest. It’s contrast that becomes important, with the important proviso that any changes one makes to contrast (which I’ll define later in RGB terms) do not generate image artefacts.

In fact they don’t – as shown in the 4 pictures of real straw above. There’s a steady improvement in contrast as one goes from left to right, admittedly with artefactual colour changes for which no apology is made or is necessary, becoming progressively more yellow, but with NO NEW IMAGE ARTEFACTS.

Picture 2, 2nd from left,  is what one sees when applying Autocorrect in my MS Office Picture Manager.

Picture 3, third from left,  used the settings that I reported here well over  4 years ago when restoring contrast to Mario Latendresse’s Shroud Scope images (-7,100,15 is Brightness, Contrast and Midtone value respectively).

Picture 4, furthest right,  uses (-25, 85,25,100), i.e. Brightness, Contrast, Midtone and a 4th control that selectively lightens the lighter tones.

This investigator now has to refresh his memory on what he discovered and reported in late summer, 2015, when exploring changes in RGB composition that accompanied changes in contrast. See tail end of posting, where this graphic appeared:

pie chart

Highly schematic representation of what decreasing contrast does in terms of total RGB value (max 255,255,255) and % composition. Reducing contrast reduces total (R+G+B) and produces a strictly unit-for-unit shift from (R+G) to blue, which is equivalent to yellow to blue in additive colour mixing.


Left: additive mixing of computer screen red and green (as  light-emitting pixels, note, not absorbing pigments) gives YELLOW. Right: contrariwise, mixing of light-ABSORBING pigments works by a different principle, i.e. one of subtractive mixing, where red and green do NOT combine to form yellow, but become black due to total light absorption.

The first of the two colour graphics above was intended to show what happens to RGB balance and final additive colour/hue when one reduces contrast. Read from right to left for what happens when contrast is INCREASED. In essence, the contrast changes with coloured images  involves some intermediate hues becoming more blue, and other more yellow (red+ green in additive colour mixing).

Appendix 3: here’s the full list of the 10 models I have tested since December 2011, as promised in previous posting:

1. Thermostencilling ( the one and only radiation model, quickly dismissed as impractical).

See this from Dec 2011:
2. Scorching off a heated metal template, with nothing else apart from linen. (Finally abandoned for mainly practical reasons, but it gave valuable insights into the 3D properties of thermal imprints).

See this from Nov 2013.
3. As above, with coatings, notably white flour (a forerunner of the final Model 10). I had initially tested starch, glucose etc , surprisingly with little success. it may have been this which sowed the idea that there needed to be something else present. Ray Rogers’ focus on Maillard reactions helped, substituting protein for his volatile putrefaction amines.

See this from Oct 2014:
4. Wet imprinting with natural dyes, notably tannins, with added viscosity agents, essentially as described by Joe Accetta.

See this from March 2015
5. Sulphuric acid, flagged up by any number of previous investigators – Luigi Garlaschelli, Joe Nickell, Hugh Farey (private communication) , the idea being that acids might have etching/discoloring effect on linen. Result: negligible discoloration, profound weakening of fabric at ordinary temps, no obvious coloration without applied heat.

See this from April 2015:

6. Substitution of nitric  for sulphuric acid, first with plain linen, then flour-coated linen  (another forerunner of final model 10). Probably the most informative experiment of all, assisted by critical input from Adrie van de Hoeven, inasmuch as protein was implicated as a potential source of image chromophore, focussing initially on the traces of protein intrinsic to linen, then moving onto extraneous sources of protein coating, then finally dispensing altogether with nitric acid as developing agent, and replacing with oven-heating to produce Maillard reactions. (Yes, an echo there of Rogers, but in his pro-authenticity thinking, he had perforce to introduce some less probable sources of amino nitrogen and reducing sugars (decaying corpse and 1st century technical starch or soap coatings as a somewhat improbable source of reducing sugars).

See this from May 2015:
7. Quicklime. A longshot, using the thermochemical reaction between CaO and water as source of in situ heat, but quickly abandoned.

See this from June 2014:
8. Lemon juice, with ascorbic acid (not citric acid) as the active ingredient – basically invisible ink methodology.  Probably operates via a Maillard reaction between (a) a constituent 4- carbon reducing sugar – threose – derived from thermal decompostion of ascorbic acid- and (b) amino compounds.

See this from October 2014:
9. Imprinting with flour slurry then oven-roasting. Criticized for giving imprints that were too well-defined at edges.

See this from June 2015:
10. Imprinting with dry flour onto wet linen. Fuzzier imprints, negative, 3D response in ImageJ software, right thread and fibre properties at the microscopic level – i.e. halftone effect, discontinuities etc. Eureka!

See this from Aug 2015:

Appendix 4:


Left: Evans/STERA photomicrograph as it appears in the Barrie M.Schwortz photogallery from the 78 STURP expedition (Plate 78/102) with flecks on image area barely discernible. Right: after photoediting in MS Office Picture Manager (Brightness =-50, Contrast = 100, Midtone value = 60, Light tone adjustment =60).  Flecks now more easily discernible, especially within the two image areas highlighted in blue.

Here’s a close-up of the larger of those two blue rectangles:


Note the flecks! What price the so-called ‘homogeneity’ of the Shroud body image?

Here’s the smaller of those two blue rectangles in close-up:


Yes, it’s those ‘flour-fingerprints’ again – admittedly a provisional identification, pending access to the Shroud armed with a miniaturized ‘hoover’ for harvesting surface debris. Yes, we’re now seeing pixellation at this level of magnification.

Afterthought: there may be flecks of fibrous wheat bran as well as blobs of cooked gluten!

Appendix 5 (started Jan 11, 2017): The following words  (italics) appeared in an Appendix at the back of a 328 page book, no fewer than 16 years ago! Does anyone recognize the source and the author (the latter still highly active in promoting Shroud authenticity, and dare one say mystique)?

“Let’s review the unusual characteristics that would have to be accounted for by a medieval forger in any credible explanation of the how the body images, blood marks, and other features were created on the Shroud of Turin. Any forger responsible would have to have been able to:

(There then follows 33 bullet points no less that extend for at least two and a half pages!

Well, I’m not ready to name names just yet (let’s keep personalities out of this for now). What I shall be doing is taking each of those 33 bullet points, one at a time, in the order given, and stating why I consider my flour-imprinting model meets all the challenges for the body image, and maybe some of those for the blood (though blood has not been this investigator’s chief concern thus far). I’ll divulge the name of the author later, and give a brief mention to his current high-profile activities in sindonology.

OK, let’s begin shall we, with bullet point 1: My replies are in blue.

1.   Encode the image on only the most superficial fibrils of the cloth’s threads.

The use of a SOLID imprinting medium (finely powdered white flour) essentially explains the superficiality of the Shroud image, notwithstanding the presence of some accessory liquid ingredients. Yes, there’s a light smear of vegetable oil on the skin before sprinkling with flour from above, and water-soaked linen is then draped over the skin and pressed firmly down to transfer flour efficiently from body contours to linen. But after a few minutes in a hot oven, one has solid flour particles with a mere trace of veg oil attached to dried-out linen. The oil probably assists in ‘microfrying’ the flour particles to a liquid cocktail of relatively low molecular weight yellow Maillard reaction products that then migrate a short distance into the linen fibres via capillary action. It’s the short-range nature of that migration, probably accompanied by chemical cross-linking and condensation of the initial Maillard products to high molecular weight resinous melanoidins that accounts for the extreme superficiality of the Shroud body image.
The intensity of the image (both before and after washing) is under human visual control, controlled  by varying the amount of oil and flour, and especially the time and temperature of the crucial oven-heating step that generates the final  negative (light/dark-reversed) ‘thermograph’.

2.  Transfer an image so low in contrast that it fades into the background when an observer stands within 6 feet of it.

Why should a faint, ageing straw-coloured centuries-old image, one that is hard to discern against a similarly ageing and thus yellowing linen background, be any more or any less likely to be the product of medieval manufacture? One could discuss the factors that make the background linen acquire a yellow coloration – starting with the initial oven-heating step (though the subsequent washing removes some of the colour) – all focused on the carbohydrate polymers of linen – celluloses, hemicelluloses etc.- not forgetting the non-carbohydrate polyphenolic lignins. One could then discuss the general tendency for coloured organic compounds, however formed, to fade with age, on account of atmospheric oxidation, exposure to light etc. So the image gets fainter, the background darker, with inevitable loss of contrast and ease of visibility. But these as I say are mainly age-related effects that tell us nothing about provenance – whether 1st or 14th century.

The radiocarbon dating (1260-1390) may be vociferously disputed and rejected, but if as claimed it’s the result or repair via invisible reweaving at the single sampling site chosen – a ill-judged decision surely thrust upon the 3 radiocarbon labs – then there’s a simple answer: go back and date a wider range of locations. Until that happens, the present dating should remain the default position. The ball is in Turin’s court, so to speak.

3   Create an image that is pressure-independent so that both frontal and dorsal body images are encoded with the same intensity, even though the dorsal side of the cloth would have had the full weight of a body lying on top of it.

This is just one instance one could cite of an anti-authenticity argument starting with a pro-authenticity assumption, namely that the imprinting of the Shroud’s double image occurred exactly as per the Gospel account. In fact, our polemical author even uses that image of the Deposition of the crucified Jesus direct from the Cross to Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’ on the front cover of his book! (We’ll ignore for now the part of that painting that was left out – or rather obscured by the book’s title!).


Credits to follow shortly

But he and many others within sindonology appear to have forgotten something. A forger does or did not need to duplicate the biblical account in order to achieve a ‘facsimile’ of the desired end-result. He was free to depart from the biblical account, and what’s more, he almost certainly did so for some very compelling practical reasons.

This investigator has spent months, nay years, experimenting with different ways of presenting linen to a  3D ‘subject’ (ranging from hot or painted metal to flour-coated hand) to determine the most practical means of obtaining an imprint.  Conclusion: laying linen on top and patting down onto the surface relief as by far and away the method of choice, compared with pressing down into linen. Why? Because one can see whether or not the wet linen is moulding to the desired relief or not, both by sight and by feel. Conversely, when pressing down one has no idea what is happening underneath, out of sight. There could be trapping of multiple creases without one knowing it until too late. So one imprints both frontal AND dorsal sides with a linen-draped-on-top mode.  But that is not easy if imprinting off a single subject. It requires two separate imprinting sessions, and there’s a risk that the two images would not be correctly aligned on the long axis of the linen. Solution?  Simple.

Here’s a clue. It’s the complete picture from above, including the ‘missing’ double-imprint.


I’ve labelled the frontal imprint as A, in blue, and the dorsal imprint as B.  Why do that if they are both from the same person? Answer: they aren’t, or rather weren’t!

I say that TWO DIFFERENT ADULT MALES WERE USED, of approximately the same height and build, whom I have called A and B.

A had his frontal surface smeared with oil, then dusted with flour, and then instructed to lie down FACE UP on the floor.  B then had his dorsal  surface oiled and dusted  and was instructed to lie FACE DOWN  on the floor, head to head with A. The two were then carefully positioned so as to be on the same long axis, with the desired distance between the two heads. Then a length of wet linen was  draped over BOTH subjects A and B simultaneously.  The team of  artisans then got to work, patting the linen down onto both A and B at the same time, applying approximately the same degree of imprinting-pressure.

4. Use an image-forming mechanism that operates uniformly regardless of what lies beneath it, i.e. over diverse substances such as skin, hair, and, possibly, coins, flowers, teeth, and bones.

The flour imprinting technology works equally well with metal (horse brass, 3D brass crucifix etc), with plastic (see banner) and with human skin (my hand). The reason for the versatility is the first step – rubbing a thin smear of oil onto the subject. Oil adheres and spreads evenly on most surfaces, and then serves as a weak adhesive for the light sprinkling of flour.

While I can’t speak for flowers (?),  teeth and bones on a human subject assist the imprinting process through providing a rigid non-deformable support for softer more malleable skin.

5. Encode the thousands of body image fibrils with the same intensity.

The flour-imprinting/ thermally-induced Maillard reaction model provides an immediate explanation for the so-called half tone effect, discontinuities etc. Indeed I believe it’s the first and only attempt to do so. The final ghost image that remains after washing represents a highly superficial intrusion into the surface fibres of a hot LIQUID cocktail of Maillard reaction products which stain evenly on their short migration.

6.Create an image that is not composed of any particles or foreign materials of any kinds with the individual joints of its individual fibrils remaining distinct and visible.

The proposed LIQUID exudate from the browning flour is clearly non-particulate.

Why attempt to exclude foreign materials, notably the flour and oil? Where is the hard evidence that the image is chemically-modified cellulose?  I personally know of none. Ray Rogers, STURP’s lead chemist also favoured the idea of the image residing on an acquired surface coating (starch) and indeed the involvement of Maillard browning reactions, even if the detailed chemistry is different from what is proposed  here.
7. Create an image that is not soluble in water, remains stable when subjected to high temperatures, and does not demonstrate signs of matting, capillarity, saturation, or diffusion into the image-forming fibrils.

The flour imprinting model generates a faint, fuzzy shroud-like image that survives the final washing with soap and water. The yellow/brown pigment – assumed to be high MWt melanoidins formed via Maillard reactions – appears to be strongly bound to the fibres of the linen, and would have detached and been removed by the wash water had that not been the case. It is of course stable to high temperature, having been formed via application of high temperature.The small amounts of liquid escaping from the roasting flour into the most superficial fibres are insufficient in volume to generate signs of capillary spread, matting etc that would be seen with higher volumes of liquid .efflux.
8. Encode an image that lacks any evidence of two-dimensional directionality.

Brush-free imprinting via direct contact between coated subject and wet linen will leave no evidence of the kind of directionality that might be detectable in conventional paintings (brush strokes etc)  or in photographs (angled lighting, shadows etc.).
9. Compose a yellowed body image out of chemically-degraded cellulose with conjugated carbonyls that has resulted from processes associated with dehydration and oxidation.

Chemically-degraded cellulose?  Conjugated carbonyls?  Dehydration? Oxidation?

Yes, I know these notions are all flagged up in the STURP final Summary, but read John Heller’s book and one finds these ideas are what might be described as armchair chemistry.

To appreciate better the nature of the Shroud body image, one has to take the hard science – provided by Adler and Heller – namely the ability of diimide  (NH=NH) to bleach the image, in contrast to other reducing and oxidizing agents tested (ascorbic acid, hydrogen peroxide etc) and focus on the unique properties of diimide, compared to other reducing agents, namely its ability to hydrogenate -C=C- double bonds, the latter NOT NECESSARILY HAVING  ARISEN AND CONFERRED COLOUR TO THE LINEN VIA OXIDATION REACTIONS ONLY. Maillard reactions between reducing sugars and amino groups  resulting in unsaturated double-bonds need also to be considered, as Ray Rogers appreciated.

10.  Encode the front and back full-length images on cloth of a real human being in rigor mortis.

Rigor mortis? It’s said one has to stand 6 feet back from the Shroud, simply to discern the boundary between image and background linen. So how one might ask has the conclusion of rigor mortis been arrived at? 

Rigor mortis gets an early look in when one reads the book in question – Page 32 in fact: 
Page 32: “Further evidence of the man’s death on the cross is found in the numerous identifications of rigor mortis apparent on the Shroud image (ref 65);
(…. intervening passage on the phenomenon and temporary nature of rigor mortis)

When looking at the back of the man’s legs and feet we see that his left leg is raised slightly and that both feet, especially the right one, are flat and pointed down. For the lower extremities to have remained in such an awkward position indicates that rigor mortis set in while the man remained crucified (Ref 68). Moving up the back of the man we notice that the thighs,buttocks and torso are not flat, but instead are stiff and rigid.If rigor mortis had declined and the muscles had relaxed, these parts of the body would appear flatter and wider (ref 69). On the frontal image we see the chin drawn in close to the chest and the face turned slightly to the right. For the head to remain in this position inside the burial cloth without rotating further to the side requires the presence of rigor mortis (Ref 70). The man’s expanded rib cage is a sign of asphyxia, and the enlarged pectoral muscles drawn in toward the collar bone and arms provide evidence that the man had been pulling himself up to breathe. (ref 71). That these parts of the body remained in such positions further indicates that the onset of rigor mortis occurred while the man hung suspended. (ref 72). Rigor would also maintain the thumbs in the positions held during the crucifixion. (ref 73).
How can one tell whether the musculature in a 2D image is “stiff and rigid”? Eye of faith?
“Awkward position of feet”. No, not awkward, merely a reflection of the manner in which imprints were taken from two different people, one face up, the other face down. In the face- up mode, a conscious decision was made to omit any imprint of the soles of the feet, and indeed scarcely any of the top sides too. In the face- down mode a conscious decision was made to imprint off the soles of the feet. These decisions may have had an arbitrary basis, the crucial thing being to imprint soles of feet off one or other configuration, but not both!
What we see here is a blitz of serial supposition that frankly begs the question. In order to convince us that the Shroud is a real image of the crucified Jesus we are assailed with detailed interpretation that presupposes the very thing we’re told is backed by anatomical and other evidence. It was quickly recognized that feet would be awkward, given the prior decision to have the heads meet at the midpoint. That required a simulation of how feet – frontal and dorsal- might look if imprinted onto the two free ends of the linen. 

When someone is carried stretcher-style in a sagging sheet of linen, with buttocks at the lowest point, and soles of feet abutting onto a steeply ascending stretch of linen, then the logical place for imprinting the feet is on the DORSAL  image, even if the complete imprinting of those soles looked  ‘awkward’ not only to modern-day sindonologists, but to the first cohorts of uninitiated pilgrims descending on Lirey in the droves circa 1355. So what of the top surface of the feet? Logic dictates that with no gravity-assistance for imprinting, there would be little or no imaging of the tops of the feet, and that dear reader is precisely what one sees, or rather  does not see. So while ‘rigor mortis’ is one possible explanation for the allegedly awkward posture, an agenda-driven one that attempts to preempt the narrative, there are other explanations provided one’s prepared to keep an open mind. 

Jan 15: On re-reading I see I have not explained the above as neatly and concisely as I would have wished. Let’s try again. There are two aspects to consider in any ‘forgery’ model. The first is what scenario regarding the crucified Jesus the forgers wished to convey. The second was deciding how best to achieve that in practical terms.Scenario? The transport of Jesus from cross to tomb, such that his sweat and blood-laden body left an imprint on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen. The feet, correction, soles of feet, would betray an important clue. They would be well-imprinted, unlike the tops of feet that would be scarcely if at all imprinted. Why?  Because a body transported face up on the linen would have soles of feet in contact with the linen, whereas linen would bridge the space between shins and tips of toes, such that tops of feet left no imprint.

Practical realization of the desired scenario? It’s already been suggested that a separate second subject was used to imprint the dorsal surface, that subject lying down on the floor face down, and having linen draped over his back, then pressed down.  That posture automatically exposes the soles of the feet, allowing easy imprinting of the same. In other words, both aim and realization were easily achieved, giving selective imprinting of the SOLES (not uppers) of the feet.

Tomorrow (or Monday) I shall address John Jackson’s  so-called “Cloth Collapse Theory”, the next point that is addressed (or rather proselytized) in the quoted book, and show how it derives from faulty reasoning re contact imprinting of the face and hair. I shall be disputing the claim that face and hair are out of stereoregister, based on “wrongly situated” bloodstains in the hair.

Jan 16

Reading two pro-authenticity books in detail has finally caused scales to fall from eyes. I now know where the blame lays for the invasion of  Shroud-obsessed pseudo-science into the public domain. It comes from a profession whose approach to anything related to the human body might fairly be described as prescriptive (for better or for worse). All will be revealed tomorrow. Be ready for some plain speaking. It’s time to tell it the way it is.

Jan 17 2017

11. Incorporate specific effects of a draped cloth that fell through a body region – such as blood marks displaced into the hair, motion blurs at the side of the face and in the neck/throat region and below the hair, along with elongated fingers.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.  Here we see in-your-face, no-holds barred, take no prisoners rampantly, out-of-control sindonology .  

One could simply respond by pointing out that the “draped cloth” starter is a hugely misleading over-simplification. Draped over whom or what?  Pressure applied (medieval scenario) or not? Contact between cloth and  vertical sides or not? Imprinting if contact with sides or not?

Without a pause to consider all the alternative option, our author leads us straight from “draped cloth” into John Jackson’s ‘cloth-collapse’ theory, a quite astonishing and self-indulgent splurge of unscientific mumbo-jumbo, coming as it does from someone with a PhD in Physics (plus a BA in Religion!).  

The  so-called ‘cloth-collapse theory’  starts innocuously enough on p 218 of the book that is currently being scrutinized. Here’s the opening paragraph. 
Dr.John Jackson, one of the founders of STURP who has studied the Shroud images for more than twenty-five years, proposed a method of image formation that accounted for more image features than any method had previously. After many years of studying the cloth and its images and participating in numerous experiments testing the many methods proposed to explain the Shroud’s images, Jackson concluded that “we seem to have a situation where the set of observables is so restrictive that all hypotheses posed thus far must be excluded … often on the basis of multiple objections. (Ref 38)

It’s the next paragraph which this researcher is tempted to describe as a near- silent bombshell. Note the early introduction of the descriptor “Dr”, with no attempt to distinguish between the earlier “Dr”applied to John Jackson, and that applied to the newcomer, a hugely important omission in my opinion, one that will be shortly be pressed home strenuously and at length, believing as I do that I have put my finger on all that is wrong with sindonology, revealing the roots of the rampant pseudoscience.
Here’s the next paragraph:
Jackson was the first to incorporate into a proposal the findings of Dr.Gil Lavoie, who first explained why some of the blood marks on the head of the man in the Shroud had been displaced into the hair. Lavoie illustrated in Figs 137-139 that the blood marks now seen in the hair all originated on the sides of the man’s forehead and face. Lavoie placed a cloth over the Shroud’s facial image, then traced the blood marks and cut them out of the cloth. He then draped the perforated cloth over a human face to clearly demonstrate that, when the Shroud was first placed over the man, these bloodmarks rested on the sides of his forehead and face. Only when the cloth was subsequently straightened or flattened did the location of these blood marks extend into the hair. While previous studies we’ve discussed showed that the blood marks and body images have been encoded somewhat differently, Dr.Lavoie and his associates demonstrated that the Shroud was in two different positions at the time these blood marks and body images were encoded (Ref 39).

18th Jan 2017

The Lavoie experiment

As described in the book (I have yet to see the investigator’s own account – apparently in his own book) it purports to demonstrate that the blood and body image were formed by entirely different mechanisms at different times, such that the two are out of stereoregister (apologies for the jargon, acquired elsewhere).

Put more baldly, we see blood in the wrong place on the body image, or at any rate, certain blood, namely blood that appears to be on the hair.  But isn’t, or rather wasn’t, we’re assured.

That is a bold conclusion, based as it is on one experiment using a human volunteer, so one needs to scrutinize closely that experiment to be certain that the conclusions are valid.
Lavoie maintains (not hypothesizes!)  that the blood one sees on the hair, blood that appears to have run in longish rivulets, was NOT actually on the hair, but the skin, specifically cheeks, i.e. side of face.

Certainly there are valid grounds for thinking that real blood from scalp wounds in a pro-authenticity scenario (“crown of thorns”) would not have run down the surface of the hair in trickles as on skin – it would have remained trapped, causing hair to matt. So how could blood on cheeks appear to be blood on hair?
The answer we are told is due to curvature of the face, cheeks being sides rather than frontal plane, and because linen was draped loosely over both sides, allowing blood on cheeks to become imprinted onto the curved linen.

Later the body image became imprinted too, but by a different mechanism that did not rely on physical contact alone, but one involving some kind of action at a distance that was aligned with gravity. That produced an imprint of the face that was narrower than would be the case for a contact imprint, more akin to a ‘photograph’ such that when the linen was later laid flat, the blood and body images were out of stereoregister. Instead of blood appearing on cheeks, it appeared ‘misleadingly’ to be on the vertical strands of hair framing both sides of the face.
We are not asked to take this on trust. We are provided with an experiment performed (a) with a photo of the Shroud, and (b) with a human volunteer to see how such a alleged misalignment can/could have occurred due to the’wrap-around’ effect of imprinting blood specifically, while a more exotic, unexplained mechanism operated in the case of the body image that did NOT produce the same lateral distortion.
Photos are provided in the book.

It all looks very scientific, backed up as it is with hands-on experimentation, which has clearly impressed a lot of folk, the book author included and indeed John Jackson we are told. But is it scientific? Does it really proceed  sequentially from hypothesis to experimentation to valid test of the hypothesis.

I say it does not. For a start, there is no mention at the outset of any hypothesis. We are given the pro-authenticity scenario as if given fact, with no mention of alternative scenarios, notably medieval manufacture. We are told that blood was of course on the cheeks initially, and left to assume that is self-evident.

Well, that may be true in a pro-authenticity scenario, but is certainly not the case for forgery, where there may have been pressing reasons -as much  artistic as medical or scientific – for showing blood on hair so as to imply that the wound sites from which the blood emanated were in the scalp, i.e. from the crown of thorns, rather than in the cheeks.
The shifting of blood imprint from cheek to hair is then used to introduce two concepts, but only one of which is experimentally demonstrated, namely the so-called lateral distortion/distension that accompanies imprinting off a 3D subject onto 2D linen, aka the ‘wrap-around effect’. But that is accompanied by a second concept, slipped in almost Trojan Horse style under the cover of contact imprinting of blood, namely a non-contact imprinting mechanism for the body image that “explains” why the blood appears to be in hair, despite the fact that on the TS the blood IS seen in the hair,making any other location entirely speculative, regardless of so-called supporting experimentation.

In other words the experiment serves merely to support and promote a proposed mechanism – but cannot by any stretch of the imagination be said to demonstrate that mechanism, not when alternative scenarios are ignored.  If the truth be told, the experiment is not really scientific. It is advocacy, designed to promote a particular preconception, making that preconception appear to be self-evident, generating entirely predictable experimental outcome, when in reality it is forcing the reader to share the experimentalist’s own preconceptions, blotting out alternative scenarios. It is experimentation designed to support PRESCRIPTION, so it comes as no surprise to find that Dr.Lavoie’s background is medical rather than strictly scientific. What we see might be described as a microcosm of so much of ‘sindonology’ – namely tunnel vision, special pleading, a begging of the question.

What was lacking was any willingness to play the role of Devil’s Advocate, to propose a hypothesis that the TS might have been the work of medieval forgers who had intended the blood to be on the hair, and then seek evidence for or against that proposition?
Evidence for? If blood from sides appears to be shifted further from mid line of the body image, then would not other blood marks be similarly shifted? What about the lance wound in the “side” – which sindonologists never question – it being the biblically correct location. What if that too is out of stereoregister, and was really a lance wound in the front? Any takers? Nope, I didn’t think so.

If the blood really was on the cheeks, then why show it as elongated trickles that are detached from hairline and indeed well below the presumed origin in scalp from above? I say the medieval artisans intended those trickles to be on the hair, not the cheeks. But that’s scientific hypothesis – not medical prescription.

19th Jan

Yes. medicosindonology has a lot to answer for the pseud0-scientific means by which it has promoted shroud authenticity. That’s especially Stateside where the medical profession is elevated to near God-like status (MD= Minor Deity), and maybe Italy too. My chief complaint as indicated is the PRESCRIPTIVE manner in which ideas are thrust upon the public domain as if the last word on the matter, inviting no criticism. Of course it’s not only the medical profession that is responsible for the endless stream of Shroud-smitten hype: it serves merely as the spearhead.

(More to come, especially on that list of 33 bullet points at the tail-end of THAT book. So far I’ve stayed silent as to the author. Maybe the time has come to reveal his name: it is of course Mark Antonacci, someone still highly active in sindonology,  still promoting as he does his miraculist views – ones that involve a 1st century crucified man turning 3 days post mortem into a well-behaved neutron bomb! The book from which I’m citing his 33 bullet points is  “The Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical and Archaeological Evidence”, M.Evans Co., NY, 2000).

Here’s a link to Mark’s site, promoting his latest book:

Oh, and I see that authenticity-promoting ‘medicosindonologist’ Dr.Gilbert Lavoie is still active:

Is the evidence really stacked against contact-imaging of body image? Is it at odds with contact imaging of blood?

This investigator says NO! See my earlier postings on the flour-imprinting technology that accommodates contact-imprinting for both body image and blood in the same session. In brief: the subject, whether a real human being, a bas relief or combination of the two is lightly smeared with vegetable oil, then coated with white flour, the latter sprinkled from above onto the supine subject.  After excess flour is shaken off, blood, or blood substitute or a combination of the two is trickled onto the flour-coated subject. A sheet of  wet linen is then draped across the top of the subject and pressed firmly onto the subject’s relief and flour/blood additions. Blood  imprint directly onto linen (no flour underneath) giving the appearance of a “blood first-body image- second” chronology as per Heller/Adler proposal. There is scarcely any imaging of  the sides of the subject (and thus no appreciable lateral distortion/distension of the body image) for the simple reason that the flour imprinting medium, sprinkled from above, does not attach appreciably to vertical surfaces.

Bullet point 11  however has still to be fully addressed, despite the time spent  just now on Jackson’s and Lavoie’s pseudo-scientific special pleading.

Reminder: here’s Bullet Point 11 again:

Incorporate specific effects of a draped cloth that fell through a body region – such as blood marks displaced into the hair, motion blurs at the side of the face and in the neck/throat region and below the hair, along with elongated fingers.

More to come… albeit at a leisurely pace, things being somewhat quiet right now (like a dearth of comments and/or other feedback…).

Jan 20

Have just had an idea that links those  alleged “motion blurs” (to which this proponent of contact-imaging is favourably disposed in principle) AND, surprisingly perhaps, those  “elongated” fingers too. Previously I have suggested two factors that might make fingers look elongated, while not entirely convinced they were the whole explanation (they being an imaging under contact pressure of metatarsal bones in the back of the hand, adding to the apparent length of the fingers, and a bridging of linen between finger bones, making the fingers look slimmer (and longer?) than they really are.  

I now have an entirely new explanation. 

One, or probably two naked male volunteers were laid head to head on the floor, face up/face down as previously described. The face-up volunteer was instructed to cross hands over groin region before being oiled and sprinkled with white flour. (But it’s actually quite hard to do full cover and protect genitals  if one’s head stays in contact with the floor -one’s arms are not long enough, as others before me have pointed out). Next step: wet linen was draped on top. Now comes the eye-watering part of this account. Along came one or more artisans to manually pat down the linen to capture the surface relief, including those two crossed hands. Are you thinking what I’m thinking, dear reader? Yes, our subject suddenly winced on account of his hands being ill-positioned to offer full protection. He raised his head from the floor,  both in surprise and maybe protest, using the opportunity to move his hands further down. Hey presto, one has an explanation for the claimed blurring of the image, not only for the groin region  (fingers then appearing too long) but for the face and head too! One may even have an explanation for the  allegedly tipped-forward/downward head, previously ascribed to rigor mortis, or the unsatisfactory look to the junction of chin and neck, maybe even that prominent so-called “crease” at chin level.  All this assumes that imprinting occurred off a real face. While I think it occurred off a real torso/limbs,  that would not exclude separate imprinting of a  head, correction “head”  from a bas relief, e.g wooden carving, as proposed by Luigi Garlaschelli in his powder frottage model – a real face being tricky for contact-imprinting on account of the nose and other sharp relief.

You read it here first!

Back to those bullet holes:

12. Encode a superficial, resolved,and three-dimensional image of the closed eye over the different and invisible features of a coin;

Here’s a link to the image gallery one obtains when entering (shroud turin coin eye) into Google.

Nowhere in all those images does one see a single image of a coin in a TS eye! Sure, there are plenty of pictures of that Pilate coin with the curly-end crook – but that’s hardly the key exhibit, is it?

Let’s move on, shall we,  leaving coins in eyes for those capable of seeing what others can’t. 

13. Transfer the blood marks before encoding the body image, yet still place them in the appropriate locations and ensure that the blood marks are not altered when the body image is later transferred onto the cloth.

 Jan 21, 2017

As indicated earlier, there is no problem is arranging for a blood-before-body image imprinting, given that the blood does not have to be painted onto linen, before or after the flour imprint, but directly onto the flour-coated subject, thus ensuring that blood imprints underneath flour. The difficulty is the obligatory oven-heating stage to convert flour to Maillard browning products. That will degrade the blood too, making it oxidized and darker (not in itself a challenge to the forgery theory – quite the contrary )  but we’re told the Shroud blood is unnaturally red  with little by way of explanation, excluding Adler’s bilirubin hypothesis which is frankly non-credible to anyone who knows the slightest thing about bilirubin – like its proneness to photo-oxidize rapidly via self-sensitized singlet oxygen. Unless or until one has some explanation for why the TS blood “looks too red” its seems futile to speculate on how the bloodstains could have been generated, whether real blood, faked blood, late doctored/restored  blood etc etc.  Blood is not this investigator’s chief interest re the Shroud. It’s the body image that is said to be enigmatic, a challenge to science etc etc. Blood is merely problematical.

14. Create actual blood marks with actual serum around the edges of the various wounds.

If I had to state my most major criticism of sindonology, it would be the casual bandying around of that last word -” wounds”.  Were he still alive, STURP’s authenticity-promoting pathologist Robert Bucklin MD would have found himself on the end of some withering criticism from this critic of wishful-pseudoscientific thinking-presented-as-fact. (Giulio Fanti, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Padua University received it instead for highlighting in bright yellow what he claimed was the lance wound in the side). 

(Here’s a link to Prof. Fanti’s  curt, unhelpful stonewalling response).

I say again. What wounds?  Can anyone direct this investigator to a single unequivocal wound site, say in the Durante 2002 images available on Mario Latendresse’s Shroud Scope? What does it matter whether there are “serum borders” to the blood if there’s no evidence of wounds in the body image, implying the bloodstains, real or faked,  were merely applied to the Shroud to serve as proxies for entirely fictitious wounds in all the biblically-correct locations?

Here are the next four bullet points, all blood-related, all presupposing that the blood issued from real wounds onto linen without a shred of real evidence that I’m aware of, certainly not in the body image:

15. Reproduce blood marks incurred at different times with different instruments that correspond with both arterial and venous bleeding;

16.Encode blood marks on the cloth in exactly the form and shape that develop from wounds on human skin;

17. Embed into the cloth the various blood marks leaving the original smooth surfaces between the skin and the blood intact;

18.Remove the cloth from the body within two to three days without breaking or smearing the various blood marks;

Sorry, Mark – I’m ignoring all four of those above, for the reasons stated. Science is – or at any rate should be –  hypothesis -driven, not a means of reinforcing one’s preconceptions and/or inflicting them on others supposedly as objective science when it’s nothing of the sort.

19.Employ a mechanism that transfers distance information through space in vertical straight line paths; 

My flour-imprinting model, thus far situated perfectly in sindonology’s  rear-view mirror blind spot, offers a simple down-to-earth explanation. Flour is sprinkled onto the oil-smeared subject from above. It settles on the surfaces that are normal to the descending particles, not at all on the vertical surfaces (“sides”) but  maybe a little onto those planes that are sloping, i.e.intermediate between horizontal and vertical. Forget radiation models that would have us believe that it’s always emitted (in Resurrection events)  geometrically normal, i.e  at 90 degrees,  to the plane of any surface, or is somehow aligned with gravity (Einstein would have been fascinated with that suggestion).

20. Produce an image that is a vague negative when observed by the naked eye, but with highly focused  and finely resolved details that become visible only when photographed, at which point the negative becomes turns into a positive image with light/dark, left/right reversed.

We see people and things in real everyday life by the light that is reflected off them, whether that light is artificial or natural (the Sun). So we are accustomed to seeing the highest, most prominent  least obstructed parts of  what we are viewing as the brightest, and the lower more over-shadowed parts as the darkest.  Nose bright , eye hollows dark.

A photograph generally reproduces the pattern of light/dark that we see with our eyes. But early photography, using plates coated  with silver salt emulsions introduced us to the idea of the photo-negative, one in which light/dark  tones are/were reversed.

But sindonologists to their eternal discredit  try to have us believe that there were no negative light/dark reversed images before the invention of 19th/20th century photography (wrong, see later). A footprint in the sand is a light/dark  reversed image, but NOT a photonegative., merely an ‘eye-perceived’ negative(the eye being a highly sophisticated camera).

They then argue that if the Shroud image is a  light/dark reversed negative, as seen by the human eye, i.e. resembling a photographic negative, then the tone-reversed ‘positive’ that we see on the Shroud MUST  be a photographic positive.

Nope.  Kindly go back to college, dear sindonologist.  Register for Logic 101.

“Improved” Shroud image through light/dark reversal of what  is captured on a silver salt emulsion = transformed  Positive image- YES.

Ipso facto a  photographic positive through being obtained in the 19th/20th century by reversal of a negative,  NO, not necessarily.   Spot the simple flaw in sindonological logic! Negatives can arise for a variety of reasons!

 Using modern-day photography to reverse those images, making them more friendly positives, does NOT mean the original  negative was created by photography.  A negative is  simply tone-reversed. Tone reversal can occur for reasons other than silver-salt photography, e.g. contact imprinting (like that footprint in the sand referred to  above).

21. Encode accurately proportioned, three-dimensional information on a two dimensional surface that directly corresponds to the distances between a body and cloth;

No. This is to completely misunderstand (or misrepresent) what 20th/21st century computers do when given images with density differences (whether the Shroud of Turin image or modern-day imprints with no 3D history). No, they do not seek out and/or detect ‘encoded 3D information’.  All they do is read density differences  and re-map them onto a new imaginary z (vertical) axis at 90 degrees to the 2D xy plane.There is no encoded data in the TS image, merely density differences that arise from the imaging process, regardless   of imaging mechanism.

3D-rendering software does not ‘decode’. It merely reads and re-maps density differences. Those density differences could arise from a multitude of causes, imprinting off 3D subjects being just one of several. 

22. Include realistic details of scourge marks so minute that they are invisible to the naked eye and can be seen only with cameras, photographic enlargers, microscopes and ultraviolet lighting.

Jan 22

Strange. I’ve hunted high and low in the book for any mention of the appearance of the scourge marks at the microscopic level or different lighting conditions. All I can find (thus far) is the sentence on Page 18:

The scourge marks decrease in number and depth toward the ankle, where some fade into lines visible only under ultraviolet light.(Ref 11).

(Neither are we given any clue as to what the uv is supposed to be detecting in those scourge marks, which elsewhere we are told are blood imprints, and thus not fluorescent except for any serum fringes, the latter surely minuscule for scourge marks. Is the uv picking up score marks associated with scourge marks, which others have alluded to elsewhere, maybe as a consequence of damage to linen fibres and their intrinsic fluorescence? If so, might those score marks, if verified, be a ticking time bomb where the Shroud is concerned, providing incontestable evidence of forgery if it was the linen that had been directly scourged/blood imprinted, NOT the man inside?).

Bullet Point 22 makes no sense to me whatsoever, making claims that are not on a quick search of the index and elsewhere to be found in the book (though I shall keep looking in case I’ve missed something).

23. Encode a line representing the narrow lesion of the side wound that corresponds to the shape of the lancea used by Roman executioners in such a manner that the line would not be visible with the eye and could not be seen until the development of computer imaging technology 600 years later.

And I say that’s yet one more instance of computer-aided image manipulation, oops, enhancement. Pseudoscience comes in many guises, in this instance digitally-assisted.  Nuff said.

24. Distribute an array of pollens onto the Shroud beneath the linen’s threads and fibers that reflected its manufacture and history in Jerusalem and Turkey. To do this successfully, the forger would not only have to be a pollen expert, but also anticipate development of the theory that emerged 600 years later which asserts the Shroud, Mandylion, and Image of Edessa are the same cloth;

Pollen is merely a geographical marker, ranking lower in importance than a chronological one. Unless or until the Vatican does the decent thing, allowing threads to be taken inconspicuously from the Shroud at additional sites for further radiocarbon dating, then there seems little point in relying on pollen to prove or disprove anything. In fact, pollen cannot prove or disprove anything, needless to say, being an adventitious agent, not capable of experimental test, and who’s to say it arrived naturally, wind or insect borne? Who’s to say it wasn’t dusted over and around the linen surreptitiously by someone with an interest in keeping the authenticity show on the road?

The references to the Mandylion and Edessa are of course totally irrelevant where pollen is concerned.

25. Encode the subtle appearance of Judean plants in the off-image area of the Shroud that would not be seen for more than six centuries;

I personally have never seen images of plants on the Shroud, despite spending inordinate amounts of time with contrast- and/or 3D-enhanced Durante 2002 photographs (Shroud Scope).  “Subtle images”? You betcha. Too subtle for this humble seeker after truth.
26. Place microscopic samples of dirt and limestone at the foot of the man in the Shroud that match the limestone found in Jerusalem but which would not be visible for centuries.

The idea that one of nature’s minerals, especially a variant (aragonite) of so  common a mineral  as limestone, one formed in mineral springs, can be used as a marker for a highly specific geographical location (“Jerusalem”) frankly cannot be seriously entertained.

27. Encode actual whole blood and water fluid at the side wound and the small of the back in a uniquely realistic manner and also encode this and all other clotted bloodstains on the Shroud so that they remain red and do no darken over time like all other actual blood;

But the bloodstains are anything but “realistic”. The author admits as much on Page 30 of his book, and quotes three  others who say the same (Pierre Barbet, Paul Vignon and Robert Wilcox). All say  the bloodstains look more like the actual wounds from which blood has issued, and nothing like the messy imprints that real life (or post mortem) bleeding wounds leave on bandages and other fabric. Far from being “realistic” the bloodstains are better described as miraculous. Our author says as much:

“For now it is sufficient to state that the bloodstains could not have been encoded on the Shroud simply by direct contact between a bloody body and a linen cloth surrounding it. While this may point away from the Shroud’s being an actual burial cloth, it may in fact point towards something truly miraculous.”

Far from being realistic, the bloodstains are highly UNrealistic, too good to be true to life. One can if one wishes go looking look for miraculous explanations, ones  that add further fuel to the pro-authenticity fire.

Alternatively, one can look to homelier, more down-to-earth explanations, like:

(a) the blood (or “blood”) was painted directly onto the linen, coming from a paint pot, not a wound OR:

(b) the blood WAS deposited on linen via  contact-imprinting, which contrary to the author’s belief  was not impossible if done under carefully controlled conditions with just the right amount of blood (or “blood”) of the right consistency etc.

Bullet point 27 not quite complete. More to come.

Jan 23

“… and also encode this and all other clotted bloodstains on the Shroud so that they remain red and do no darken over time like all other actual blood.”

Well, at least our author acknowledges that “actual” blood does not retain its red colour indefinitely, yet places the burden of proof on sceptics, expecting them to duplicate this mysteriously permanent red blood! Who says it’s blood?   No, I’m not questioning the presence of some real blood in those stains on the Shroud: I’m asking for the evidence that the permanent red colour is due to blood pigments (haems etc).

It’s customary in science to set up a hypothesis, and then take whatever steps are needed to seek supporting evidence – experimentally – and not merely sit back in a glow of self-satisfaction at having produced so smart a hypothesis  as to confound or wrongfoot one’s critics.

Is that an unreasonable request to make – that experimental evidence be sought to link the permanent red colour with blood haem pigments? Are there practical means of doing so? 

Yes, there are actually. There’s an enzyme in the spleen and elsewhere called haem oxygenase, responsible for haem degradation finally to bilirubin via biliverdin. It opens up the porphyrin ring, producing green biliverdin and gaseous carbon MONoxide (yes, CO, not CO2). That enzyme works in vitro  (i.e. test-tubes, outwith the body) and there are sensitive spectrophotometric means for detecting CO.  Take some of those permanently red fibres from the Shroud, incubate with haem oxygenase. See if the fibres go green, see if CO is released. My money is on that pink or red pigment being something OTHER THAN haem which will not turn green, will not give off CO.

28. Encode the appearance of a Pontius Pilate lepton over the right eye of the man so that only when photography, photographic enlargers and three-dimensional reliefs are invented 600 years later, the motif, letters and outline of the coin can be ascertained. The forger would not only have to anticipate this technology, but also the development of the field of archaeology and the discovery in the late twentieth century that coins used in burials in Jerusalem and the surrounding area between the first century B.C. and the first century A.D.

As early as Page 19, we are given a photographic plate with a 3D -rendering of the man’s face. The caption reads: “Small round objects are clearly visible over the man’s eyes in the three-dimensional image.” Not “coins” note, but “small round objects”.

One has to advance to Page 102 to read more about those “small round objects”.

One indication of an even more specific date for the crucifixion of this particular victim may be available in the Turin Shroud image. It comes from the uncorroborated evidence of coin images found over the eyes of the man in the Shroud. The presence of coins was first suggested by the three-dimensional images of the Shroud face made with  the VP-8 Image Analyser in 1978 (Reference 31). In these experiments, scientists were surprised to discover two small objects , both nearly circular  and approximately the same size, over the eyes (Fig 6 – the one shown 83 pages earlier). 

But why refer to “objects”? How does one differentiate between a real or ‘forged’ eyeball, sitting at the base of a recessed eye socket, and an inanimate “object”, far less a specific round object like a coin?  Did the coin ‘story’, as one  might now reasonably suspect,  start in this simple manner by rashly assuming that raised button-like images in the 3D-rendered eye-sockets represented ‘objects’ which then got progressively elevated to the role of Roman-era coins?  All this was based on those 3D-rendered images, which are claimed to detect real 3D relief in 2D images when, as stated earlier,  they do nothing of the sort, with all the talk elsewhere in the book about detecting ‘distance’ information being complete wishful thinking. 3D-rendering software, given 2D input data, can only detect differences in image density, which may or may NOT have arisen as a consequence of distance information (certainly NOT in the case of medieval imprinting where linen would not have been draped loosely over the subject, whether a real person or bas relief, being instead manually moulded to capture relief).

There are at least 3 different ways in which medieval forgers could have produced the 3D-enhancible “coins” without a Pilate lepton coming within a 1000 miles or years of the Shroud. First is by imprinting off a real face, having coated the eye lids with oil and flour before pressing down gently with the wet linen overlay. (I consider that improbable for obvious reasons). Second is to imprint off a real face but make no attempt to image the eyeballs. The socket area would be left blank, and flour then dabbed directly onto the linen over the blank areas to form circles – fake eyes in other words. Third is to dispense with a real human being, at least for the ‘difficult’ face, as per Luigi Garlaschelli, and substitute a bas relief, either moulded clay, or maybe a smooth wooden carving.

The key thing to remember is this: whichever way flour  in my Model 10 finds itself in the eye socket region (imprinting, brushing on, whatever) that patch of flour, after oven-roasting to produce Maillard browning, will elicit a 3D response in 3D-rendering software. The latter will simply read the extra image density against immediate background as raised relief, because that’s what the software has been programmed to do. The software has no way of distinguishing between real relief and artificial computer-fooling fake relief.

Motif on coins? Writing? Nowhere in the book are we shown clear or even unclear evidence that such exists, as distinct from existing purely in the minds of those who claim to see them. If present they would be virtually impossible  to identify with any certainty, given small size and, more especially,  the discontinuities created by a herringbone weave as distinct from paper or parchment.

I think of coins in eyes as representing the soft underbelly of sindonology.

29. Encode the wound on the cloth at the man’s left side so that when the image was photographed 500 years later, the wound would be located in the precisely correct location on the man’s right side so that blood and water would escape from the victim if he received a postmortem wound at this location. To encode these features our forger would not only have to have had understood advanced scientific principles, but also have possessed a knowledge of anatomy and medicine that was centuries ahead of his time. Obviously it would have been impossible for him  to have possessed such knowledge and understanding, but even if he had, somehow, he still couldn’t have seen any of these numerous features to know if he was getting them right. The technology needed to visualize them would not be developed for another five to six hundred years.

“Encode the wound” on the man’s left side? There is no wound on the left side, or anywhere else on the body image for that matter.  Wounds are not part of the basal body image. “Wounds” as said previously here can only be inferred  (and then incorrectly) from bloodstains.  That’s why the bloodstains look “too good to be true” as contact imprints. They are too good to be true.

However, both bloodstains and body image, if  as I maintain they were, acquired by direct contact between subject and linen, will be both tone reversed (“negative”) AND left/right reversed. 

Were our putative medieval forgers hundreds of years ahead of their time, displaying scientific and medical precocity?

No. Atoms and molecules can do some extraordinary things when put together, and maybe supplied with a little energy (heat, light etc) by way of a kick start. All our proposed medieval forgers needed to do was ‘put together’ and supply that kick start (“energy of activation”).  The self-organizing/reorganizing forces of nature that one studies in chemistry, physics, biology, physiology and medicine etc. do the rest. 20th/21st century science may now understand those processes, but medieval man did not need to. All he was interested in was the end-result that came about through mixing and heating.

Atoms and molecules ‘do their own thing’, regardless of whether we comprehend the science or not.

30. How could a medieval artist have displayed a knowledge of physiology that would not be known until centuries later?

See answer to bullet point immediately preceding this one.

31.How could an artist paint without showing any evidence of directionality?

The Shroud body image – and probably blood too-  were not painted onto the linen. They were imprinted. Thus the negative tone-reversed image,the  left/right reversal, the lack of brush marks etc.

32. How could an artist encode three-dimensional information (on a two-dimensional surface) that directly corresponds to the distance between a body and cloth?

He can’t and didn’t. The capture of a 2D image from a 3D subject by contact alone does NOT encode distance information. It merely captures the accessible/inaccessible parts of the surface relief that are/were available to artisans manually PRESSING linen against the subject, and not relying merely on gravity (loosely-draped linen over supine subject) as inappropriately imagined in pro-authenticity models.

33. Last one (phew!).

How could a medieval artist include details that are undetectable with the human eye and become visible only under ultraviolet light, or only through a microscope, or only on three-dimensional reconstructions, or only with the most advanced 20th century computer scanning devices?

How much time do you have, Mark? Answering that might take quite a lot, but answer it I will if you insist…


Jan 25

As indicated earlier, Mark Antonacci is still highly active in promoting Shroud authenticity. His name and  idea-promoting  pressure group (“Test the Shroud Foundation”) appears as sponsor no less on Bob Rucker’s advance notification of a Shroudie conference to be held near his home at Pasco WA, USA.


(Not for nothing have I deployed the tag “Shroudie” for that so-called conference: rest assured this science bod will not be attending, having read Rob Rucker’s accompanying notes that are a mix of science and pseudoscience in equal measure).

At the risk of sounding like a glutton for punishment, maybe I need to do a point-by-point critique of Bob Rucker’s summation of Shroud characteristics. Why?

1. Because it’s some 15 or 16 years more recent than Mark Antonacci’s (but equally choc-a-bloc with loaded terminology that attempts to dismiss out-of-hand all non-authenticity thinking ).

2. It’s being used to ‘prepare the ground’ so to speak for his July conference at Pasco WA,  written in such a manner as to make his and others’ pro-authenticity views appear to be the default position, based on scientific and medical data. But there’s no such thing as a ‘default position’, at least not in science. Nothing is set so firmly in concrete that it can’t be questioned and opposed.  Rucker’s conference preamble is clearly designed to scare off most if not all contra-authenticity researchers (I for one would never dream of attending a Shroudie congress where one would feel as welcome as a fly in a multiply-occupied spider’s web).

Where to publish the new critique? Here? Too long already surely? Maybe, but I want this present posting, with MY “Test The Shroud” idea to remain the first that visitors see on arrival. That idea needs all the publicity it can get, given it’s received no flagging up anywhere other than this site the last year or so.  (Yup, note the way that sindonology freezes out all off-message thinking). So expect a critique of Bob Rucker’s checklist sometime in the next few days, maybe weeks, to follow on from this.

Jan 26

Here’s the first assertion that appears on Bob Rucker’s list:

1. Rigor mortis in feet shows that the victim was on the cross for a significant amount of time after he had died.

OK, so this claim was made by MarkA in 2000 and was dealt with earlier in this posting. But since it has resurfaced 16 years later, and appears first in the list, it surely deserves a more detailed answer – accompanied with a few illustrations to better make my point that what we see here is  (let’s not beat about the bush) pro-authenticity TUNNEL VISION that simply can’t be bothered to consider alternative forgery scenarios.

 Here for starters is a jokey picture, lifted off the internet, but one that hopefully with a little image manipulation will help to make my point: 


What we see above is what might be called feigned rigor mortis. It’s the position/angle of the feet that we need to focus on, comparing with the image of the SOLES of the feet that we see on the Shroud, which Bob Rucker says are a sign of rigor mortis (real rigor mortis of the deceased Jesus needless to say).


Shroud Scope with added contrast, dorsal view, feet.

Why are the feet supposed to be evidence of rigor mortis? Answer: presumably because the soles of the feet appear as an extension of  the legs (which would not be the case if they were normally oriented at approx 90 degrees with respect to the legs). Ipso facto, the soles were forced in this unnatural position by the crucifixion nails, and then stayed locked in this position after death due to rigor mortis, long enough for the body imaging process to capture the ‘unusual’ geometry.

Is there an alternative explanation, one that does not require a crucifixion victim, one that does not require rigor mortis, indeed one that might be said to be well-approximated by the first photograph? Answer : YES!

First, let’s see our quasi- rigor mortis picture turned to the vertical,  as if the jokey gent were being crucified:


Note that the feet are not as per Shroud, i.e. in line with the legs. At first sight this photo would not look promising as a forgery model.

But think again. What if he were placed supine, face down on the ground, and his dorsal side imprinted onto linen (with a suitable imprinting agent, e.g. my white powdered flour) the latter being turned down over the heels, then patted down firmly onto the soles of the feet.


Those soles would then be imprinted, and once the linen was laid flat they would appear on the imprint as a linear extension of the legs, i.e. exactly as per Shroud!

Why would forgers choose to deploy the imprinting configuration one sees above?

Answer: NOT to mimic the effects of rigor mortis (far too subtle, given the time and place) but, instead, to mimic Joseph of Arimathea’s linen being used in TRANSPORT mode to discreetly move the crucified Jesus (modelled by a volunteer etc) from cross to tomb.


Why model the above in face-down mode? That’s been explained earlier. First, it’s more convenient, allowing the artisans to see and feel what they were imprinting. Second, as suggested earlier, I strongly believe that TWO volunteers were used simultaneously in a single imprinting session, with the “dorsal side” imprinting done with a face-down subject. Use of two volunteers makes it easier to ensure proper alignment of the two images along  the central long axis of the linen.

2. Two nails are through one foot, but only one of the nails is through the other foot. This allows one foot to rotate, so that the victim can push up and down on the cross in order to breath during crucifixion. If the victim of crucifixion is not pushing up and down, then it is clear that he is dead. The soldiers had no doubt that Jesus was dead (Mark 15:43-45, John 19:31-35).

Point 1 saw the feet being used to support a narrative that the man in the Shroud was dead.
(yes, there’s a particular take that sees the TS as genuine, but one where Jesus survived crucifixion: thus the spotlight on alleged ‘rigor mortis’)

Now in Point 2 we see the feet AGAIN being used  essentially to assert that the man in the Shroud was dead, deploying a somewhat esoteric argument to do with nailing geometry being used to serve as a marker for when a crucifixion victim can be seen to have expired.

Clearly the author is bothered by the “Jesus survived crucifixion” narrative, not wasting a second to seek corroborating evidence (again) from the feet.

But this needless to say is a far cry from objective science, or even sound scholarship, given the feet image comprises body and blood stains ONLY.  There is no imaging of puncture wounds of any kind. The blood marks are at best a proxy for nail wounds. So the reference to nail wounds is entirely speculative, indeed pure fantasy. What we see is sindonological spin-doctoring in its most extreme- narrative-fabricating – conjuring up a story from thin air, yet delivered in that oh-so ‘authoritative’ tone of voice, inviting no criticism.

Jan 27

3. In 1532, the church where the Shroud was located caught fire. This fire produced two scorch lines on either side of the front and dorsal images. Water stains can also be seen on the Shroud from water thrown onto the metal box containing the Shroud after it was rescued from the fire. The heat from the fire did not produce a gradation in the intensity of the image discoloration, indicating that the image is not due to application of an organic compound.
Sorry, invalid argument, if as I believe, heat was indeed used to develop an imprint from an organic material , e.g. white wheaten flour in my model. That’s especially so if unreacted or partially-reacted  organic material was then washed out (as in my model – see ‘Galaxy Warrior’ banner below this site’s title). A subsequent exposure to heat, as per 1532, would then be highly unlikely to have any effect on the thermal image, the latter having been already ‘cooked’ and discoloured.

Points 4 and 5: these can wait till later, especially as the first is unclear as to meaning, while the second is bloated with supposedly ‘historical’ considerations for which there is no proper documentary record.

6. The back (dorsal) image on the Shroud shows a separation of blood & clear blood serum that flowed from the wound in his side that shows on the front image. This separation indicates that the victim’s heart was not beating for long enough to allow the red blood cells to settle out of the clear blood serum before the side wound was made. Compare this with the “blood and water” that is said to have exited from Jesus’ side wound in John 19:34.

It’s hard to be certain what is being said here – the exposition is not at all clear as to meaning.

Let’s hazard a guess. The aim  appears, yet again, to dismiss any revisionist ideas that Jesus survived the crucifixion, defence against which requires a laboured argument that centres on the biblical narrative regarding blood and water issuing from the lance wound (yes, hardly an obvious connection).

Is Rucker’s argument that Jesus must have been dead well before receiving the final lance wound, evidenced by the separate blood and water, and if so why – for what medical reasons?

We are not told, but maybe the thinking is this – that if the heart had stopped beating well before the lance wound into the heart, there could have been time for a separation of clear serum – either due to gravity or clotting or both – and that the subsequent lance wound then would have allowed blood and “water” (ie serum ) to issue from the wound. Ipso facto the separate blood and serum may be adduced as evidence of death even prior to a (questionably) lethal lance into the heart,  i.e. that Jesus had survived neither crucifixion, nor, failing that,  a lance wound. (Phew!).

Again, Rucker seems preoccupied with the revisionist claim that while the Shroud is genuine, it never enshrouded a dead body (and may even  on diligent seeking bear forensic evidence of having temporarily  enshrouded  a still living, subsequently surviving body).

That is still a 1st century/crucifixion narrative, but one that would have precluded a subsequent resurrection narrative – but that is not this investigator’s concern and interest, it being focused on the Shroud being an ingenious medieval forgery.

In passing – how might medieval artisans have simulated blood AND water? Tricky one might think. But less tricky when one starts to think through the practicalities of forging a blood-before-image imprinting. For most of the major bloodstains that could have been as described earlier – dribbling blood onto the flour coating then imprinting. But I suggest a different procedure was used for the blood at the ‘invisible” lance wound site. It involved placing a cut-out fabric or other thin mask over the desired area before coating with flour, so that a WHITE area then appeared after oven-heating. See my previous experiment for the feasibility of masking (link later). That was then PARTIALLY painted with blood, such that the unpainted background area would hopefullyt be seen as  biblically-correct “water”.

If masking had been used, one would predict that areas with bloodstains would be free, correction, relatively free from what has been described here as ‘gluten flecks’. Let’s take a look at the largest bloodstain on the Shroud, that associated with “lance wound” in the side, to whether that is the case or not.


Yes, I’d say “prediction confirmed”. Sure, there are regions of red-brown image density inside the blood area, but they are  concentrated along the ribs of the weave, as distinct from being scattered around randomly as irregular-shaped aggregates, which is what one sees outside the blood area. I think it highly likrly that blood was applied to ‘blank’ areas that had been protected from flour-imprinting medium with masking, considtent with the blood first/image second conclusion reached by Adler and Heller.

Oops. the editing software is beginning to freeze up, no doubt as a result of the length of this posting. Maybe best to stop here. If anyone’s interested in hearing my responses to the rest of Bob Rucker’s points, post under Comments – see below –  and I’ll reply there.

Final word: I’ve just spotted this in the INTRODUCTION to Bob Rucker’s website:

  “This scientific research has shown that the characteristics of the image are so bizarre that it could not be the result of a human agent, either an artist or forger, because the technology to create this image did not exist in a previous era and still does not exist even today.”

Er, what technology, Bob? If you’re unable to specify the precise technology, only saying what it isn’t,  then how can you be so certain it was beyond the means of medieval man? Are you  and your like-minded promoters of authenticity familiar with my flour-imprinting/oven-roasting model? If not, why not?  Even if you haven’t seen this site, it’s well over 18 months since Dan Porter began offering it for discussion on his site!

E.g. this from July 2, 2015:


Is Colin Berry Onto Something?

More red font: I’ve just added this to the top of the completed  posting, indeed, completed blog site…

Here’s an image needed for another site:


Newsflash – Jan 27, 2017

This blogger/investigator is thinking of setting up a new site, to be called : “The Shroud of Turin – the cleverest fraud in history”.  Any comments before I get composing?

Goodbye folks from this site  (except for new comments, which are always welcome). It’s time to tackle misinformation , indeed systematic disinformation HEAD ON.

 As Popeye used to say in his cartoons, before squeezing  and ejecting the contents from a can of spinach: ” That’s all I can stands.  I can’t stands no more”.

download-popeye-1  download-popeye-2

Update: March 2, 2017

This investigator can presently be found  on the international skeptics forum, contributing to a thread with Turin Shroud in its title, under the username “meccanoman”.

The site managers have insisted on adding my real name underneath each contribution, since that was how  I was known some 3-4 years ago when briefly participating on what was then known as the james randi sceptiks forum.

Update: March 6:

Have just discovered an amazing photoediting  option available on Windows 10. It’s called Zeke: it hugely accentuates particulate material. Here’s a taster if what it can achieve, applying it to the second image on this posting (a Durante 2002 image from Shroud Scope, already with some added contrast):


Upper: before ZEKE; Lower: after Zeke

I shall post it with any further comments  elsewhere:

March 7: new image needed of that other site:

additive colour mixing + or - zeke

March 8: another pre/post Zeke picture. Note the way Zeke improves the rock faces in background, top left and top right:

mount rushmore pre post zeke

download baby in warzone

Posted in medieval hoax, new theory, Shroud of Turin, Turin Shroud | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

What’s Dan Porter up to these days (Christmas 2016, 1 year after finally closing his Shroud of Turin blog)?

Hello again folks. Here’s an email that I sent yesterday under the title “Anniversaries”  to Dan Porter, host of the high profile but now sadly lapsed shroudstory site.  What’s he been up to I wondered?


Dan Porter, cropped archive picture (2004)

Hello again Dan

I’ve been racking my brains as to what to say on the 5th anniversary of my entry to Shroud research (Dec 30, 2011). I then discovered that today is the first anniversary of your bowing out (Dec 28, 2015). Certainly no one has taken your place, as some commentators on my site have stated – which is a great shame – even if we didn’t always see eye to eye.

So how’s life been treating you down there in the Deep South?  I trust you and your wife are both keeping well, and enjoying your new-found release from the time-consuming internet.

Dare one ask whether you have followed developments these last 12 months,  not that there’s much to report, at least from my own perspective? For my part I have simply been dotting i’s and crossing t’s on my Model 10 (flour-imprinting/heat development of a migratory liquid exudate)  convinced now that it’s the most probable one. No one, not even ThibaultH has tried to shoot it down – which paradoxically is the problem.  Science thrives on opposition. What does one do when the opposition fails to appear?

Any thoughts to offer, especially ones I might post on the 30th?



Letchworth Garden City, Herts, UK


And here,  I’m pleased to say, is Dan’s prompt reply, which was waiting for me this afternoon on returning from grandfatherly duties. It sound like all is well in the now essentially de-Shrouded  Porter household, indeed hunky-dory.

Hello Colin.  How nice to hear from you.  Wow: has it only been a year since I retired my blog?  I don’t feel a year older. In fact, I feel years younger since I stopped arguing about the Shroud.  Maybe, somehow, that piece of cloth does have miraculously curative powers if we just leave it alone. Or maybe it’s the Deep South, where I now live, that cures the body and the soul. After all, it is but a two hour drive from here to where Ponce de Leon found his Fountain of Youth in 1531.

Here, in the lowcountry — yes that is how they write it; why waste time and space to interrupt the flow of two words that describe this place both physically and as an way of life. It is a land of marsh grasses so thick and expansive that they hide the water from the land except at high tide. (“There’s a river in there somewhere,” they say.) Twice a day the tide rises up eight feet, a height that would have bowled over even Leonardo da Vinci. Even with GPS units, it challenges shrimp boat captains finding their way to their floating docks. On some of the barrier islands that stand between the “off-island” and the sea the locals schedule church services by tide tables. Without a bridge to get to the church it is all about when you can tie-up, hear a sermon, have a tall glass of iced sweet tea, and get home before getting stuck in a mud flat. 
In many ways the deep south is as I imagine it was in the 1950s, but with a veneer of modernity — you can speed down an unpaved route at seventy miles an hour with your kids hanging on for their lives in the back of an open-air  pickup truck so long as you’re not texting or tweeting.  Jim Crow of the last century is gone. That’s good.  And so are many of the other patterns of intolerance now gone. That’s good, as well. But vestiges remain in the odious “yessuh”s from the proprietors of roadside fish stands and in those occasional acts of hate that CNN likes to talk about. It is getting better, however. 
When I moved down here, I thought about giving lectures about the shroud. But I found out quickly that most lowcountry people don’t care all that much about it. Down here you don’t look for proof for your faith — well, maybe some do. The members of snake handler churches are a vivid exception. 
I spend my time on other things.  I’m on the board of our local meals on wheels organization. The need is great.  It keeps me quite busy. My wife and I also volunteer to help care for some horses that are part of an outdoor lowcountry museum. We are both involved in our church. And I’m learning to cook “lowcountry.” For instance, Gullah Gumbo: you start with a lowcountry roux made from flour and butter and a fair measure of bacon fat and you stir it over a stove until it gets nice and brown and aromatic.Then you add the vegetables and shrimp.  Why does this remind me of your endeavors to recreate the shroud image? A flour roux!
By not thinking much about the Shroud I haven’t changed my mind about it. I still think it is probably real even if the scientific and historical data is not robust enough to sustain that position.  You know I don’t put much stock in miraculous snap, crackle and pop byproducts of resurrection just as I don’t buy into the manmade ideas.  There is just something out there that we are all missing.  
The lowcountry deep south is a good place to retire.  While not exactly like feeding the ducks in St. James Park, London, we can sit on an upside down lard bucket beside the river and feed the alligators (but watch your feet). 
This is my contribution to your anniversary, a little late but that is how we do it in the deep south.  Thanks for thinking about me.  Keep going, Colin.  Maybe you will make the breakthrough we are all waiting for.


Thanks for taking the trouble to reply in so full and friendly a manner, Dan. You  clearly have and indeed deserve a life outside of that compelling  and indeed still enigmatic artefact that has taken over so many other lives.

For my part, I believe my Model 10, the result of 5 years hands on experimentation, IS the one that explains the curious one-off aspects of the Shroud – the negative image, the so-called 3D properties, the superficiality, the digitized fibre coloration (aka half tone effect) and image discontinuities etc etc. But few it seems are listening, with the notable exception over the years of a handful of supportive visitors to this site. The  closeted self-absorbed  “Shroud Science Group” seems intent on looking the the other way. Why might that be I wonder?  Might attempts on my part and others at de-mystification be the problem? Clearly there is a problem, one of communication – correction, non-communication –  which sets Shroud so-called “science” apart from all other branches of science.

Colin Berry (MSc, PhD).


Update: Dec 30, 2016

Yup, that second anniversary arrived, as flagged up already. It was 5 years to the day I did my very first  Shroud posting – since followed by at least 350!



It was my immediate response to Paolo Di Lazzaro’s ‘pulsed uv excimer-generated laser’ model – to show how an IMAGE (not just brown coloration) could be left on linen if one supplied not just a source of radiation, but a carefully chosen imprinting agent that was capable of absorbing that radiation. The source of radiation was not  the man-made generator of coherent light that we call a laser, least of all one that produced energy in a tiny part of the em spectrum, i.e. uv light. It was a plain old electric light bulb, emitting ‘broadband’ visible and infrared radiation, not dissimilar from the glowing embers of a charcoal fire.

But unlike laser technologists who seem to imagine that their pulses of high energy radiation somehow remove them from the obligations of the First Law of Photochemistry, namely that for a browning or any other PHOTOCHEMICAL reaction to occur, there has initially to be ABSORPTION of the radiation (inc. laser radiation)  by one or more  chromophores that NEEDS TO BE IDENTIFIED AND SPECIFIED (PDL overlooked to tell us – at least initially – what his chromophore was, and indeed suggested improbably it was plain old cellulose of linen!), I put MY absorbing chromophore at the front of the blogging shop window. It was a thin slurry of wood charcoal, deployed as paint (or printer’s ink). Yes, I would paint and later imprint the word TURIN onto linen with the charcoal slurry, leave it to dry, then bring up close to an electric light bulb, then wait until I could see smoke, as the energized charcoal began to scorch the surrounding linen, then wash out the charcoal to be left with…  yes, an IMAGE!!!!


Left: TURIN written onto linen with charcoal slurry. Right: the same after irradiation from the incandescent filament of an electric light bulb, followed by washing out the radiation-trapping agent. Who would have guessed that plain old charcoal had been used to make the final diffuse Shroud-like coloration?


The ‘thermostencilling’ model above was never seriously considered as the means by which the real Shroud was produced, regardless of historical era. It was intended more by way of riposte to those who seemed to be attempting  to further mystify the Shroud’s origins by making recourse to a 20th century, entirely man-made form of radiation, with no evidence it exists anywhere else in the Universe,  casually deploying it as a handy off-your-employer’s -shelf proxy for a miraculous flash of radiation in a 1st century tomb. The description in the Independent’s article, 20 Dec, 2011  of that Italian team of laser technologists as SCIENTISTS, working after hours with their Governmental employer’s (ENEA) hardware supplied by the long-suffering Italian taxpayer, as SCIENTISTS,  did not help either.


Independent, Dec 20, 2011

There was nothing at all scientific at how those lasers were deployed, and matters have scarcely improved since  one has to say. What we saw back in December 2011 was a  blatant publicity stunt with pseudoscience posturing as real science, with the aim of mystifying. That Di Lazzaro’s work should have been publicized under the ENEA  logo, giving it an implicit  Italian governmental seal of approval’ was a sad, sad day for Italian science.

Needless to say, it is not the aim of science to mystify, nor to pander to any kind of yearning for mystery by impressionable members of society at large. One does not produce a faint discoloration of linen, then tout it as a model for the Turin Shroud image, when there’s in fact no image at all (as  STURP/STERA’s Barrie M.Schwortz to his credit pointed out  at the time, despite his own spasmodic attempts on other occasions to mystify or otherwise overhype other intriguing aspects of the Shroud).

At a casual first glance, Model 1 from end-2011, dubbed  ‘thermostencilling’ with charcoal , may seem a world away from the Model 10 from summer 2015, which I loosely  and provisionally describe as ‘flour-imprinting’. In fact the two are uncannily similar in principle and indeed practice.

Both employ an external adjuvant as thermo-sensitizer (the components of linen being remarkably resistant to high temperatures – only starting to discolor at or near 200 degrees C, and then only slowly, provided acids or alkalis are excluded). In both instances, the adjuvant is, or can be, deployed as an imprinting medium, one moreover that can be applied to any 3D entity, a cooperative human subject included, then draping with linen, pressing firmly onto the more accessible relief so as to leave a CONTACT imprint. In both instances, it is the imprint that is selectively coloured by exposure to an EXTERNAL source of energy – visible light/infrared radiation in the case of thermostencilling, convected warm air inside a heated oven in the case of  flour-imprinting. Finally, in both instances, the linen is washed with soap and  water, to leave just the residual faint Shroud-like image, leaving no visual clues as the crucial role played by the external adjuvant deployed in creating that image.

So what was this investigator’s most significant discovery in 2016, the one most in need of being trumpeted abroad, shaking if need be the very foundations of rickety sindonology?

It was this, from the late Dorothy Crispino, someone whose writings I have enormous respect (see previous posting from this time last year). I have quoted just a short passage, one that deals with the aftermath of the 1532  Chambery fire, necessitating those  unsighpatches added a couple of years later by the Poor Clare Nuns. One word, yes, just one, has been been given emphasis you will not find in Crispino’s article, or indeed anywhere else for that matter, bar this site:


Chambéry, 1534


In April of 1534, Pope Clement VII sent his envoy, Louis Cardinal Gorrevod, to make an official recognition of the Shroud and have it repaired. Card. Gorrevod knew the Shroud well. For over four decades, he had been intimately associated with the Savoy family, and profoundly devoted to the Shroud. Many times, his hands had held it at expositions and ceremonies. It was he who first suggested that the image was formed by sweat and blood.

It is that word alone which, in the context of the radiocarbon dating (1260-1390), pointing to medieval ‘forgery’ explains why the Shroud image has the properties of a CONTACT IMPRINT (though one could be forgiven for not realizing that from a casual look at most of the past and present sindonological literature , the latter being  generally quick, some might think indecently quick,  to disabuse the reader of any notion that the Shroud image could be anything so crude and banal as a mere body imprint, when there are far, FAR more divinely-inspired alternatives on offer, notably those “flashes of radiation”, those corona discharges, those releases of neutrons from the earthquake-disturbed bowels of the Palestinian earth etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc….).

Think contact imprints. Think simulated sweat imprint (thank you Cardinal Gorrevod). Think thermosensitive coatings that might be used to simulate sweat imprints, with a brief oven-heating step to produce a yellow or brown coloration, simulating the effect of 13 centuries of ageing…

So, in conclusion, the one article of faith required in order to see the logic of ‘flour-imprinting’ is that the TS body image is a SIMULATED SWEAT/BLOOD imprint.  It was intended to trump the  celebrated Veil of Veronica, popularly assumed in legend at least also to be a sweat imprint (though not excluding subsequent enhancements via divine agency to make  the facial image more appealing, at least if artists of the period are to be believed, that artefact having subsequently been lost or destroyed). What’s more the TS simulation had a degree of biblical authority if seen as representing NOT the final burial shroud as so many folk imagine or simply presume (almost certainty wrongly) but Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’ intended simply for transport of a naked crucified body from cross to tomb. Thus we have the ‘logic’ of an UNWASHED body taken straight from cross to linen. Thus we have the logic of the deposition of both frontal and dorsal side images separated by a small distance, consistent with the single sheet of linen being used in ‘up-and-over’ mode, and indeed purposely designed as such to convey instantly to the awe-struck pilgrim that the image was NOT a mere painting as some misguided modern era folk would have us believe but the actual bodily imprint of the crucified Jesus. Thus we have the logic for developing a novel single-use only technology, to avoid sceptics instantly dismissing it as just a variant on this or that. In fact the technology was probably not entirely novel. As suggested previously, it owes much to ‘invisible ink’, with the difference that milk, lemon juice or even Pliny era spurge sap was replaced with finely powdered white flour, used in conjunction with a smear of oil on the body, and wet linen.  Thus the logic of Geoffroy de Charny, Lord of Lirey,  having founded and staffed a ‘private’ chapel (with a line of credit from his fellow Order of the Star – the King no less-  that being the  knightly workshop  in which the project was developed under total secrecy, the technology never being released into the public domain (had that happened, the Shroud would never have acquired its present status as ‘unsolved’ enigma).

We also have the logic for that peculiar chain-like motif in the dorsal image which Wilson describes as the ‘blood belt’, to which the Poor Clare nun quoted earlier made reference to, thinking, mistakenly  I consider, that a  chain was  used to secure to the column used for  Pilate’s initial scourging (1st century  true-to-the-bible scenario needless to say).  No, it was more probably  an ingenious detail introduced by the 14th century simulators, one that could receive verbal reinforcement to further authenticate the Shroud as J of A’s linen used in transport mode. How? Carrying a grown man on a stretcher for any distance, especially across rough ground, can be hard work, even for 2 bearers. Suppose there were 4? How could the extra two be used? Answer – by positioning them left and right, each gripping one end of a chain that was slung beneath the body at waist level. The blood from the lance wound, collecting in the small of the back when the body is horizontal (as distinct from vertically on the cross) would then allow the links of the chain to leave a distinctive blood motif on the linen.

I say I have solved the enigma. Whether folk choose to accept my narrative or not is entirely up to them. All is ask is that they suspend judgement initially, and attempt to forget most if not all of what they have heard from the majority of sindonologists who have one or other axe to grind (like an aversion to unsentimental secular science and its practitioners!).

It’s taken 10 models over the course of 5 years to arrive at the above conclusion. So far, I’ve discussed today just the first and last. In the next posting I’ll briefly review the intervening 8, with the lessons learned along the way. There will be occasional mentions too of the serial interventions from the big beasts of sindonology, much of which is summed up in two words – faux authority.

New Year’s Eve Brainwave!

There’s a particular feature on the dorsal side of the Turin Shroud, one that is also represented  VERY PROMINENTLY (some might think too prominently!) on the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge.



It’s one I now firmly believe  was put there very carefully and deliberately by the 14th century fabricators of the Turin Shroud for a very specific purpose – namely to signal that the linen with the body imprint in sweat and blood was NOT the final burial shroud. It was the cross-to-tomb transport shroud (J of A’s fine linen) which preceded it. It was important to make that distinction. Why? Because the burial clothes left in the tomb post the biblical account of the Resurrection featured a separate face cloth, making it impossible to have both body and facial imprint on the same piece of fabric!

Teaser:  what is/was the feature that was deliberately introduced to make the crucial distinction between transport shroud and burial shroud? Clue, not that any should be needed: the answer has already been given – in yesterday’s instalment to this posting! 4-5  years ago,  that same ‘over-exaggerated’ feature on the Lirey badge set this blogger off on a wild goose chase! Don’t ask…

Jan 1, 2017

Happy New Year folks. I’ve just completed the first of two New Year’s resolutions as regards this site. The first is to get rid of the tagline next to the site’s title, and place it under my mugshot instead. There’s now a new tagline which is this current posting’s title. When there’s a new posting, the tagline will again be replaced with the new title. Why? It’s to do with Google listings. When Google spots a new posting  under a simple (shroud of turin) search, it displays one’s site title and then the first words it finds after the title. If the first words are one’s recurrent unchanging tagline, then the surfer never gets to see the title of one’s new posting!   The whole point of setting up a blog (webLOG!) is then lost – one is denied the means of displaying one’s current “headline. Now surfers will  get to see the current topic of interest, in this instance news of Dan Porter, currently Page 3 of (shroud of turin) listings for (goodness knows where on Stateside

NB: It will probably be a few days before Google displays the new tagline/title. That lag is an irritation, but that’s sadly something not under this or any other blogger’s control.

Have now done some further tweaking on the site’s title and tagline/headline. See above.

(Update:5th Jan. The new format for this site’s Google listing has finally appeared after the predicted lag. Sadly it came too late for this ‘Dan Porter posting’ to be flagged up, finally arriving this morning briefly with the following, see below, i.e. the latest posting,  then reverting to old format for a few hours, then re-appearing…)


New format Google listing, 5th Jan, 2017, currently Page 3 of returns under a search (shroud of turin).




Second News Year Resolution – to give up on sindonology, even as an associate  fringe member espousing non-authenticity views. Sindonology is a closed fraternity, intolerant, indeed deeply hostile towards  non-authenticity views. So this type of blog – detailing a  month-by-month, year-by-year learning curve of thinking and research is doomed to failure. It will simply be ignored, and fail to get much above page 3 of Google listings (and even that is not guaranteed).

Answer: calling on help from a family expert (my eldest son)  it’s time to create a professional-looking website, with lots of tabs, packed with bags of detailed information. An up-market,  quasi-academic  site, certainly – but with a difference. There will be no references/links to published academic papers on the Shroud  that are behind a paywall. It will contain links to open-access publications only. Thank you to Adrie van der Hoeven, Paolo Di Lazzaro, Hugh Farey, Thibault Heimburger and others for showing the way…

Time scale? Probably months rather than weeks, but I have a clear idea as to how the site should look and function.



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

The Turin Shroud – surely the most cunning, dastardly con trick in history (14th century France)

Update: October 29, 2016

Oh dear. I have began to acquire a hunch regarding the Turin Shroud that no one, to the best of my knowledge, has previously suggested before. Er, I now strongly suspect that the fabric is NOT linen (derived from flax)  as universally assumed, but from HEMP (derived from a sub-species of cannabis). I have added a short section to the end of this posting, and will be setting out my reasons in the COMMENTS section under this posting, currently up to 25 pre-hemp appearance.

No, there will not be a new posting on the “hemp” hypothesis for the forseeable future. OK, so in  an ideal blogging environment there would be. However, thanks to manipulative, micro-managing Google and other so-called search engines the ‘blogosphere’ is NOT an ideal environment for the dissemination of new thinking. Indeed they serve merely  passively and/or actively to frustrate attempts to put new unconventional thinking online (the same applies to wikipedia). God bless Silicon Valley and environs.

Nuff said here. First see tail end below (once has to scroll down a long way)  then see future comments for why I think the TS is NOT linen, but hemp. Yup, an  expert and impartial re-examination of that relic is Turin is I belive needed as a critical test of authenticity (while reiterating that authenticity is not and never has been this blogger’s chief concern, my being more interested in the mechanism that produced the superficial body image that is said to ‘defy scientific understanding’.

Original posting:

One picture they say is worth a 1000 words. Here’s a picture. It’s assembled from this investigator’s own recent photoarchive, so is not new.


Centre: plastic Galaxy Warrior, approx 1/12 human scale, to represent full grown man. Left: the 2D negative imprint left by that 3D figure on linen, deploying this investigator’s  novel two-stage thermal flour/oil imprinting technology – see previous posting. Right: the same contact imprint, after image -processing with ImageJ software (conversion of natural colour to monochrome, tone reversal then 3D-rendering).

It’s posted here simply to make a point – science can at least MODEL the Shroud image and its peculiar characteristics (negative image, 3D properties, microscopic properties etc). Indeed, I said as much over a year ago, here and on the (discontinued) Dan Porter site. Response from sindonology (generally pro-authenticity, indeed emphatically so  with few exceptions) has been ZILCH (bar some unexpected and appreciative comment from Thibault Heimburger MD here on this site, see below, who previously expressed strong opposition to the Garlaschelli model, also deploying a powder  (mineral-based) as imprinting agent).


I leave it to others to produce a full-size replica if they wish (science being about models that demonstrate the underlying scientific principles – not having to produce exact replicas of other people’s artefacts, least of all one that is centuries old with no accompanying documentation).

I say that the Shroud body image was fully within the capability of medieval technology, once it’s appreciated that the imprinting agent (flour/oil) is no longer visible or indeed detectable, a consequence of the oven roasting/soap washing regime. All that was left at the end was the faint, fuzzy, ghost image,  deposited on the linen fibres by a coloured fabric-staining exudate seeping out from the imprinting agent when subjected to high temperatures (though insufficiently high, approx. 200 degrees C,  to colour the linen per se).

Sorry to repeat myself, but the TS image is NOT a photograph, nor a proto-photograph, or indeed any kind of photograph. It’s a THERMOGRAPH, easily mistaken for a negative photograph.

I may add postscripts (like some acerbic comment on the prospectus for the Shroud conference planned for July next year in Pasco, Washington State, USA, it being like no other prospectus for a scientific congress I have previously encountered in a lifetime of scientific research and education). Sample (in red):

What is on the Shroud?

1.  Rigor mortis in feet shows that the victim was on the cross for a significant amount of time after he had died.

Er, what victim? What evidence does the writer have that the imprinted figure of the Man on the TS was (a) a victim (b) dead, as distinct from alive (c) crucified, bar those bloodstains. Why assume that the TS image is a photograph, equivalent to that of a cadaver laid out on a mortuary slab? How can a diagnosis of rigor mortis, one involving muscle stiffness,  be made from an image, one for which nothing is known for certain as to the mechanism of imaging? Attempting to run before one can walk (in this instance running with the pro-authenticity ball)?

What about the recent Lucotte et al paper that,  based on detailed microscopy, identifies the “bloodstains”  on a Riggi di Numana (1978) sticky tape sample taken from the subject’s ‘face’ at the time of the STURP visit as accumulations of  specific named coloured minerals – hematite, biotite, cinnabar etc?

Why travel (in my case) 6000 miles to  a so-called conference for which the prospectus shows such glaring pro-authenticity bias, and indeed scarcely mentions forgery scenarios, with frequent references to the radiocarbon dating  (1260-1390) as if some kind of problem or mistake, at odds with everything else?

Monday 19th September:

On a lighter note:

A vicar returns to his parked car to find it looks like the one in this photo:


What should he do next?

  1. Search the neighbourhood thoroughly, on the assumption that missing wheels came off simultaneously without him noticing? In other words – a freak occurrence.
  2. Assume it was an Act of God, maybe some kind of personal message, and use it as the subject of his next sermon? In other words – a supernatural event.
  3. Assume that someone had jacked up his car to remove the wheels. (There might even be visible jack marks on the road, but one cannot assume that). In other words: a plausible explanation, not necessarily capable of immediate proof.

Clue: might something as simple and obvious as a jack and its human operators, neither visible in the photograph,  have been the true agent of change, both having to be IMAGINED, not conveniently left behind at the scene to assist with investigation…

Still Sep 19: it’s now just past midday here in the sunny Sarf of France:

Back, briefly, very briefly, to that venue for the 2017 Shroud Conference: it’s the TRAC Center, Pasco, Washington State. Here’s a Google Street View of the stunning architecture one will behold on arrival:

trac center, pasco, was.png

Er, yes. A fine example of its style (post modernist, indeed post most things one might say).

On a brighter note, Hugh Farey’s BSTS Newsletter (No.83) has just appeared on the site.

As usual, there’s some interesting and perceptive comment on a number of issues. I may return later with some of my own.

The main reservation one has with the BSTS Newsletter is that it doesn’t invite or accept comments (but then the same might be said for its host, bar those ancient undated comments that can be found on diligent site-searching – arguably mere window-dressing!).

I’m not sure what the solution is for a society  newsletter – given it has no ambitions to maintain a 24/7 internet presence. Suggestions invited.

Back again, Sep 21

So what am I doing to occupy my free time, while waiting for the world to notice there’s finally an explanation for the oh-so-enigmatic Shroud image? (Nope, I’m not relying on sindonology to spread the word, or even the UK’s hidebound anti-science media).

Answer: I’m attempting to marry the oil/flour-imprinting model with the “blood story”, notably the ‘blood before body image’ mantra.

Progress? Yes, there’s progress, the result of going back and taking another look at the contrast-enhanced (or as I prefer to say, contrast-restored) Shroud Scope pictures. Here are two from the same “spear site” in the side of the chest at two different levels of magnification.


I have just noticed this morning something I should have spotted years ago when first posting these pix. It was NOT necessarily ‘blood before image’, given that the flour-imprinting model provides TOTALcontrol over which parts of the body to imprint, or not to imprint. It could be ‘blood without  image’ in those parts where there’s blood!  Can anyone see what I’m driving at? Look for pale areas, paler, that is, than either the blood OR THE BODY IMAGE!

Yup,  I now suspect that at least some of the areas earmarked for blood were deliberately left free of body image, i.e. flour, at least for the site above, and I believe, for a number of other blood sites.

See this earlier experiment with masking/protection from imprinting agent that illustrated the principle of blood-without-image.

photos 1 and 2 side by side

Left: masking to protect underlying skin from imprinting agent. Right: roasted imprint before washing.

photos 3 and 4 side by side

Attenuated imprint after washing, both before and after addition of “blood” (beetroot juice) to the protected image-free areas.

I also believe these pix show evidence for two types of superimposed blood-imaging, maybe separated by a considerable time interval (decades at least).  The first blood was real, or a reasonable approximation thereof, while the second  ‘touching-up’ blood was entirely artificial, e.g. the particulate, non-organic mineral mix discovered by Lucotte et al  ( hematite, biotite etc). Which is which? Hard to be certain at present, but I suspect that the first blood was the wishy-washy plum-coloured areas, maybe much bolder to start with, and then largely flaked off. That was followed by the much denser red-brown additions of mineral paint that one sees above.

I may append more pix in due course that make the same points – painting blood initially onto image-free areas followed later by touching up with ‘artificial’ blood.

 Back again: here’s another enhanced Scope picture showing the bloodstain on the wrist:


Many moons ago, I was directed to this picture, and instructed to note the ‘serum halo’ at extreme top left, extending beyond that dense tip of the limb. My reply? How come it’s seen in a Shroud Scope photo, taken by Durante in 2002 in visible light? Aren’t those serum haloes supposed to be seen in uv light only? And if it’s a serum halo at the one location, why don’t we see them at the edge of every single bloodstain (no reply!).

Now hold your laptop at arms length, take in the entire image. Do you see what I see – namely a pale zone, as if blood had been painted onto an image-free zone?  In other words, what have been described as ‘serum haloes’ at least in visible light may be nothing of the sort, but parts of a blank image-free zone that were not completely painted over/infilled with blood.  One could go a step further (possibly a step too far) and suggest that the fluorescence attributed to “serum” exudate  under uv light is again nothing of the sort, or at any rate not the entire explanation. Linen has an intrinsic blue fluorescence under uv light that in my model survives oven-roasting in the areas that are free of flour imprint.  So who’s to say that the blue fluoresence in and around the Shroud’s bloodstains is not due to the linen per se in image-free zones deliberately selected by the ‘forger’ for painting with blood AFTER oven-heating and washing? It makes sense, does it not, to apply the blood to image-free zones AFTER those two drastic steps that generate the final fuzzy, washed-out looking body image, but which would damage or wash out blood that was applied too soon in the procedure.

 Back again (still Sep 21)

Here’s another example – upper part of one of the forearms: Note the many pale areas in and around the blood, paler than body image:


Serum haloes? I hardly think so, not in a photograph taken under visible light… Nope, I say the blood was painted onto carefully pre-selected  areas that were carefully kept free of  image-imprinting medium, ie. flour.

 September 22

Which of these two ‘event venues’ would you prefer to use for something billed as an ‘international conference’? The one on the left, or the one on the right (main entrance shown in both instances)?


In fact, they are pictures of the same venue – that chosen in Pasco, Washington State for the 2017 International Shroud Conference.

It’s amazing what can be done with a fish eye lens, one that makes straight facades seem pleasingly curved, and waiting till evening for some low-level artificial lighting…

Some might think that tarted-up TRAC image is not the only instance one could cite where a warped and glossy view has been substituted for the real thing. Warped and glossy sells so much easier and quicker!

Here’s a link for those wishing to book the TRAC Center Pasco for THEIR international conference!

 Sep 23 2016

In just 1 month and 1 day, the flour/oil imprinting model will be two years old!

I discovered it initially through trying to scorch linen with hot metal at lower temperatures, impregnating the linen with dry white flour. Success, as reported in the above posting on my sciencebuzz site (Oct 24 2014). That’s when a crucial step was taken – to see if one could ‘turn the technology on its head’, and imprint off cold metal, or any other 3D template for that matter!). Again, success! The horse brass or brass crucifix could be smeared with oil, dusted with flour, pressed onto linen to leave an oil/flour imprint, and then it was the linen that was gently roasted!

first flour-oil imprints using horse brass Oct 2014.png

First flour/oil imprint from a cold 3D template, October 2014, using a hot oven for image development.

I should have the tried imprinting off human flesh – like my own hand – but didn’t, not immediately. Instead the research took off at a  tangent in an entirely new direction, time-consuming and useful after a fashion (helping to exclude rival models like wet dye imprinting, sulphuric acid-etching etc.).  But it finally looped  back, some 6 months later, to the same science, the same technology, i.e. oil and flour.

Yup, two years almost since the flour/oil model was flagged up, but you wouldn’t know it from scanning the ‘mainstream’ sindonology literature, still hung up on its uv laser pulses, neutron beams etc! How  much longer before these narrative-driven enthusiasts return to planet Earth?

 Sep 24 2016



Venue’s chief attractions? Ample floor space – can easily accommodate the thousands expected! Spillover easily accomodated onto hundreds of square miles of surrounding fenland. Handy too for London (Stansted) Airport.  (Duxford’s present hangars and runways are presently being used temporarily for display of WW2 vintage aircraft).

Why Duxford?  Well, it’s part of a carefully-planned recruitment drive for sindonology, you see,  the surrounding area boasting as it does the highest concentration of PhDs in the UK – it’s called Cambridge University!

The fact that Duxford’s a mere half hour’s drive from where I happen to live had  ABSOLUTELY nothing whatsoever to do with  the decision…

My role?  I’m glad you asked that. I shall be the patron, prime mover and star attraction, needless to say,  using the Conference to promote my thermal flour/oil imprinting model for the Turin Shroud. (The old adage that goes: “Invent a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door” being demonstrably false …).

 Sep 26

Hey ho. One has just raised the model another notch on the dimensions scale, doubling the height (now approx 1/6th human) and trebling the width:


The “Hulk” left performed approximately the same as the “Galaxy Warrior” right, though it has to be said that plastic is somewhat inferior to human skin for imprinting purposes. (it’s to do with the efficiency with which a thin dusting of flour transfers from the plastic to the wet linen).

 Sep 28, 2016

See below the  snapshot of an experiment, correction, two related experiments, both performed yesterday. They are probably worth a posting to themselves. But there’s no point in my continually adding new postings to this site, for reasons that should be apparent to those who have noted my earlier observations re what is clearly a boycott by sindonology on a model that was submitted for scrutiny well over a year ago – including the shroudstory site while still active. (I exclude Thibault Heimburger MD and a handful of others from that, while awaiting with interest TH’s conclusions from his flagged-up experimental evaluation of my model when complete).


Expt.1 (left): effect of stepped temperature increases on colour development in the flour/oil imprinting model, using own hand as template. Expt.2 (right) :  testing a prediction from Expt. 1, namely that linen could be folded and scrolled into compact package for oven-heating provided there was careful control of time and temperature, with  option of intermediate inspection, i.e. removal from oven,  to check on progress and gauge when best to stop heating.

Late insert: note the two creases across the back of the hand in Expt.1. They unintentionally/fortuitously  model a feature visible on the TS, one I used to refer to as “baked-in creases”, notably the prominent one that is seen in the neck/chin region. I’ll expand on that detail here in a day or two. For now I’d simply say that I’ve always maintained that those creases on the TS that match the image colour, but have an image-free central zone, constitute prima facie evidence for a contact image that is imprinted under manual pressure, out of sight of the artisan(s), allowing the blemish to go unnoticed  until it’s too late.  More later.

And here’s the compact folded/rolled linen suspended in a fan oven.


The flour/oil imprinted wet linen was first allowed to dry, a spacer sheet of blank linen placed on top of the imprint, the two folded in half along the shorter of the two dimensions, and the assemblage then rolled up, starting at the fold.

This posting is long enough as it is,  without adding more screed, so the thinking behind the above experiments, and the unexpected windfall (Expt.2) will be continued in Comments below.


Here are the imprints, before v after washing, obtained from the rolled-up linen. Not bad, eh?

hands after 3d original colour.png

Here’s the same, after 3D-rendering in ImageJ. Not bad eh?

October 5, 2016:

This comment appeared from Stephen Jones yesterday on his cantakerous so-called “blog”, read poison pot. (Or should that be ‘plot’, given his madcap KGB theory re the Shroud’s radiocarbon dating?).

“Now that Porter’s blog has closed Berry has a problem in that he cannot post comments to the two major Shroud blogs (Porter’s and mine) so as to entice their readers to view his minor Shroud anti-authenticist blog.”

I’ve just this minute searched under (shroud of turin) and confirmed what I have suspected for a while, namely that this site has steadily been closing the gap with Jones’s. Right now, mine is immediately behind his in the listings (both currently top of page 4). Mine has been gently rising these last few weeks, Jones’s site site steadily sinking. See the first two returns on this morning’s Page 4:


Stephen will have to find this entry for himself. I have ceased alerting him to any new content here, or linking with his site.  All it does is elicit more abuse and misreporting (like claiming I post anonymously to his site – a mischievous and potentially damaging claim if ever there was, as he knows full well – given I always make my identity clear, previously  as “sciencebod”, as registered with Blogger,  or more recently appending my real name in full to the end of a brief comment, alerting him to my ‘thermograph’ model).

As for the description of my style as “discursive” (a term one rarely encounters), maybe Stephen needs to learn the difference between hypothesis-driven experimentally-based science on the one hand and his agenda-driven non-experimental polemics on the other, the first being open to new suggestions and ideas, the latter essentially closed. The first may seem aimless wandering to the impatient and uninitiated. It took this reseacher from Spring 2012 to Autumn 2014 to discover flour/oil imprinting. The last 2 years have been a process of cementing the model as feasible, realistic, soundly-based in theory  etc etc. Call it ‘discursive’ if you like Stephen. I say it’s patient and thorough, leaving no stone unturned.

 October 6, 2016

What was that you were saying about “minor” blog, Mr. Stephen E. Jones? You really do need to check and re-check your facts before getting too puffed up with your own self-importance – or dismissive of others…


Postscript: this investigator has other interests too, above and beyond the Shroud of Turin, having set up his generalist ‘sciencebuzz’ site in 2009. See the most recent posting, setting out my view on the true purpose of Stonehenge (and indeed, most stone circles and/or henges in Neolithic  Britain) namely as sites for AFS (avian-facilitated skeletonization), better known as “sky burial”, followed in many instances by facile end-stage cremation of the mainly-excarnated bones.

Nope, not pleasant to contemplate, but there were probably sound practical reasons for employing this method of disposal of the dead in an era that predated bronze and other metal tools for excavating graves and/or lack of dry timber for fuel- efficient funeral pyres.

October 9, 2016

Have just taken a quick look at Stephen Jones’s site. He seems to have erased all those pejorative references to me and this site that I was commenting on above!

Here’s a passage in his current posting that I consider totally bizarre:

… Turin amateur photographer Secondo Pia (1855–1941) took the first photographs of the Shroud and discovered that the negative on his photographic plate was a photographic positive, which meant that the Shroud image was a photographic negative! See the above negative photograph of the Shroud [right], which is a photographic positive, thus proving the Shroud image is a photographic negative [left].

Here’s the result of an exercise I did back in January this year.  Compare the two images, top and bottom. What would you, dear reader, or Stephen Jones conclude?


The one on top is clearly a negative, i.e. light/dark reversed, as can be seen by looking at the lower image that has been tone-reversed.

So that means the top image is a photographic negative, right, because it responds to tone-reversal to give a positive?

No, of course not. The top image is NOT a photograph (in the first instance). It’s a contact imprint, a brass-rubbing to be precise, selected from internet photo-archives. Like all CONTACT imprints, it is tone-reversed, compared with the brass from which the image was obtained by rubbing.

Jones’s logic is flawed, and seriously so, given the blind spot it reveals about the nature and provenance of the Turin Shroud. He may have other grounds for rejecting the idea that it’s a contact imprint, but baldly making the statement one reads above to support his “resurrection image” ideas  – ones that are emblazoned on his site’s tagline –  is frankly unbelievable, coming as it does from someone who boasts a science degree.

Note: the above exercise would have been better if I could have found a rubbing taken from a brass that had been cast in a mould to give smooth contours (as distinct from the line- engraving technique) since the retsored ‘positive’ would have looked even more ‘photograph-like’. I shall keep hunting those photo archives for just such a image that matches the TS image characteristics more closely.

Afterthought: for other recent results with imaging my own hand,  which some may prefer to plastic figurines, see the posting preceding  this one, and another on a resurrected site (abandoned 3 years ago, and presently below the search engine radar!):


Here’s a link to the  posting:

Having discovered that the above posting appeared briefly, then disappeared from my search engine listings (past 24 hrs, past week, past month  etc) I became curious, and posted to my currently dormant sciencebuzz site, addressing some of the more controversial aspects of sindonology, like the shameless intermixing of science and pseudoscience, which has been a bone of contention these last 5 years or so:

Here’s a screen grab of the title page:


Here’s the link (in full):

Guess what? It shared the same fate, appearing briefly, then disappearing completely (and I mean COMPLETELY, not even searchable under its full title!). It’s been ‘disappeared’, to use the current jargon. thanks those shadowy forces unknown – no doubt  with a big stake in keeping the age-old TS show on the road…

Go figure as they say…  It’s not just the print  and other mass media that are being manipulated (and filtered!)  by certain vested interests in sindonology, but the internet too! I shall continue to speak my mind, regardless of whether my views are searchable or not. The truth will out… It’s just a matter of time, with the need to remain patient and focused on essentials.

16:30, October 16, 2016

Here’s a screen shot of the sitemeter supplied by my sciencebuzz site, showing the cumulative number of visits to most postings:


Sitemeter for my sciencebuzz site, Oct 16, 2016

Just 18 hits in 6 days for my most recent posting? In fact, most of those 18 accrued in the first day or two when the current posting was first posted, and visible to those checking most recent postings. Then the number froze at the above 18 for several days (20 at the time of writing), coinciding with the disappearance of my site from searches under (shroud of turin) and  even the posting’s full title!

Why am I reporting this? Because my Shroud of Turin investigation was intended – probably uniquely – as a day by day, month by month, year by year report in real time on the INTERNET  of an actual hands-on  research project. Anything that prevents my findings – or conclusions therefrom – must, for an accurate and complete record,  also be reported. It’s as important, if not more so, to report these failures of one’s current thinking to be searchable online as it is to resolve difficulties and uncertainties re the nature of the Shroud image. To say that I’m less than enamoured with the internet’s most resorted-to search engine would be an understatement. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – its rankings are clearly get-attable by those with money, influence or both... Something needs to be done…

October 29, 2016: See update just added to the start of this posting.

Thank you Barrie M,Schwortz, STERA President for your splendid photo of the unused portion of the TS sample supplied to Arizona for radiochemical dating.


Linen?  “Fine linen” as per biblical account, supplied to cross by Joseph of Arimathea? ?  Really?

OK, so some consider it and the contiguous samples supplied to Oxford and Zurich are/were not part of the original TS, but medieval repaired regions. I don’t as it happens, but that’s by the way. I personally doubt that what one sees above is linen, and that it’s actually hemp. No, the reasons are nothing to do with the gross appearance, but far more subtle and indirect, ones that will take some time to explain. Please check comments on this thread, starting today (29 Oct) for why one should  not uncritically accept the dogma (probably 600 years old at least) that the fabric one sees above, and indeed the entire TS, really is “linen”, i.e. flax-derived fabric.

Afterthough added 1st Nov, 2016

The above photograph of the Arizona sample risks making the TS fabric seem more rustic, and sack-cloth like than is really the case, due to the enlargement. Assuming the scale is marked off in millimetres, I have shrunk the photogaph in MS Paint so as to get the scale to match the mm graduations on my own steel rule. Here’s the result, both for the above photogaph, and another picture of the same sample discovered in Google image archives, but without the scale.


Shame about the loss of definition. But I still think it unlikely that I personally would have immediately described the sample as linen if shown the above photographs ‘blind’ and unlabelled , so to speak, regardless of enlargement.  Indeed, I doubt whether I’d have been convinced otherwise if told that the samples were exceedingly old, making linen seem less like linen.

Incidentally, does anyone know whether Gilbert Raes, Ghent University’s textile expert expressed any opinion on the assumed flax-derived origin of the TS when removing his ‘Raes’ corner in 1973? (It was from the ‘side strip’ needless to say, a questionable site to sample, some might think, about which I shall have more to say later, maybe with a new and original explanation for why that strip was excised and then reattached.

Have belatedly tracked down Barrie M.Schwortz’s pdf report on his macro-photographic mission. Yes, the scale is in millimeters.

Note the fatness of the threads, elsewhere quoted as comprising some 200 fibres!

Hardly fitting the biblical description of “fine linen” one might think…

Have now tracked down a summary of Gilbert Raes’ investigation of TS fibres.My italics:

From textile expert Gilbert Raes in Shroud Spectrum International, 1991, available on

Analysis of the primary material of the threads
Several  microscopic  preparations  were  made  from  the  fibers  extracted  from  the  warp  and  weft  threads  of  Pieces  I  and  II,  as  well  as  from  the  sewing  thread.  The  preparations  were  examined  under  polarized  light  in  order  to  obtain  better  contrast.  The  basic  fiber  was  indisputably  linen,  for  both  Piece  I  and  Piece  II  and  for  the  sewing  thread.  The X-  and  V- structures observed are very characteristic and leave no doubt about the primary material.

But what are the “X-and V-structures”? Are they truly diagnostic for linen – there being no mention of hemp,  there being no specific reference to “X-and V-structures” in the admirably  detailed Czech paper by Wiener et al cited earlier (though it’s possible that X and V  are shorthand terms for the opposite directions of rotation described in Wiener et al’s  final section of polarised light microscopy).

Even as non-specialists, one would have wished for a fuller account of the techniques being applied, instead of being exposed  (as above) to telegraphic technical jargon, being kept in then dark as to the ‘shortlist’ of options re textile type that was under consideration.

There has to remain a scintilla of doubt as to whether hemp was positively excluded, or indeed considered… I repeat: is the TS really made of linen?

Here’s my initial attempt to estimate the number of fibres in a modern linen thread. I ‘unspun’ a stretch of dyed thread, then cut off a small section, approx 1cm, then teased out one end with a pair of needles.


Dyed linen, excised threads, needles, teased out fibres.


Closer view of above. Are there really 200 fibres per thread asclaimed for the Shroud? Half that number or less one would think…

Update: Nov 3

I began to have second thoughts about that estimate of 100 max fibres per dyed thread above, and started to suspect the rough and ready way of counting them (as per preceding image).

So I tried a different method, teasing out a short length of thread (less than 1cm) into small clumps of fibres, then ‘harvesting them’ with electrostatically-charged sticky tape (yup, the tape acquires an electrostatic charge when pulled from its reel!).


I’ve over- rather than underestimated the fibre count where there are still clumps of fibres, and counting all fragments, regardless of length, but with those two provisos, now consider that 200 is NOT an unreasonable fibre count for a modern linen fibre.

Update: Nov 13

Stephen E.Jones has this morning posted the following diagram to his current “image superficiality” posting, source unacknowledged.


Shame about his commentary, which imagines the “plant cell” shown on the left to be a magnified component of the fibril/microfibrils (right). It’s of course the other way round – the fibrils/microfibrils are a magnified part of the primary cell wall of the cell shown on the left.

Neither is it correct to describe the primary cell wall as “rigid” – it’s quite the opposite, in fact, being highly flexible and extensible.

I’ve sent him a corrective, but this demonised bogeyman does not expect to see a correction, far less a mention of me by name.

Update: 12:25 (still 13 Nov)

Glory be. Jones has replaced the above diagram with this one – and got the commentary right this time:


One day I may decide to devote an entire posting (on my sciencebuzz site) to the plant primary cell wall – a truly amazing piece of bio-engineering, given the multiple functions it has to perform.  There’s so much that folk (and the mass media) take for granted… The schools and universities too fail in my opinion to instil a proper sense of wonder as regards the natural world in which we live. Is it any wonder that those  same pupils in later life then fall prey to this or that snake oil salesman offering pseudo-scientific substitutes that ‘appeal to the imagination’. Less imagination please – more attention to the small miracles performed each day by living organisms.

November 30: Title  and image from the most recent posting on my sciencebuzz site (October 13, 2016):

“Turin Shroud : how the agenda-driven so-called science train came to be derailed”


Here we see the almost inevitable outcome of operating with a ‘one-track mind’.  The latter is fair description of most sindonologists who, with few exceptions, are unable to bring themselves to comment (whether favourably or otherwise) on my flour-imprinting model.  Yes,  most so-called (or self-styled) “scientists” who operate a one-track mind sooner or later come to grief in the above fashion, never to be see or heard of again.

2nd Dec 2016:


Buchner funnel with chemically-inert sintered glass filter. See proposed application (comments, this posting), after suitable modification (electrical heating element inserted/wrapped around the material on the disc).


Tuesday Dec 6, 2016

Here’s a tweet with accompanying piccy taken yesterday at the Royal Society of Medicine, London.


My daughter Miriam, a medical researcher in nephrology at Cambridge University, has just added another feather to her cap, in the form of a prize (awarded jointly with another Cambridge researcher in a different field) for her work in linking resistance to bacterial infection of the kidney with a properly functioning sodium pump.

Well done Miriam. You are a credit to us all, your Mum and Dad especially.

 Dec 11, 2016:   Day 2, Turin

Halleluja. Your blogger has finally been within a stone’s throw from where the Shroud is housed.  Admittedly it was from the top deck of the moving double-decker city tour bus, which explains the hand rail in my picture:

(Oops. The Hotel Urbani on Via Saluzzo  is not allowing me to upload my photograph – it’s a bandwidth thing you know – the hotel’s lousy wifi having  kept me disconnected from the internet for a full 24 hours no less until registering not just one but TWO complaints at the desk!).

Did you know that King Umberto only handed the Shroud over to Turin  on strict condition that it stayed in Turin (according to the running commentary on the bus tour)?

Dec 12, 2016

Let’s try again on that fleeting glimpse of the Shroud’s home , it being taken from a moving city tour bus with hand rail obscuring the view. . (Btw: the old historic heart of Turin, “old” being mainly 16th century, and later is truly, truly  impressive,  especially packed with swarms of Christmas shoppers,  despite – or because of – the largely rectilinear street grid plan).


 Added note: March 13, 2017

Here is some additional work on that “Hulk” imprint from earlier, requested on another site, to see the effect of the “Zeke” contrast filter available on Windows 10.

plastic figure pre post zeke

As-is photograph (left); post Zeke filter (right)

close up post zeke

Close-up of particulate imprinting medium (roasted flour/oil) , post Zeke filter

Posted in Shroud of Turin, Turin Shroud | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

Might invisible ink technology (mere child’s play) have been superbly fine-tuned to achieve whole body imaging?


Preview of the end-result achievable with white flour/oil imprinting,  i.e. ‘appropriate’ medieval technology, shown here using an approx. 1/12th human scale figurine. The image on the left is the first stage flour imprint after oven-roasting, before final washing. Note the absence of lateral ‘wrap-around’ distortion. The image on the right is the same negative imprint after tone-reversal and 3D rendering in  ImageJ.  The above is a late addition (Sep 17).

Latest: Sept 9, 2016:  Glory be! This site has finally managed to make it onto Page 3 listings of a Google (UK)  search under (shroud of turin), albeit at or near the bottom!

This morning’s screen grab:


There I was resigned to it rising no higher than Page 4 at best (where it’s been languishing for months, indeed years).

There I was muttering about unseen human eyes and hands, keeping me and my non-authenticity cold douche thinking out of the public domain. But let’s not get carried away with excitement. How many people search beyond Page 2 or 3? How many of those share what they see, with social media or other internet sites? The hovering ever-present blackhole of cyberspace is never far away…

Thus far, I have NEVER seen this site linked to elsewhere, including those that claim to report the latest “science,  or trumpet that “science” has failed to explain the Shroud. I’m excluding the now retired Dan Porter’s shroudstory site (closed for new postings and comments Dec 2015). It’s over a year since my flour-imprinting model was reported there, with virtually zilch by way of useful and constructive feedback (David Goulet and Thibault Heimburger excepted).

Maybe it’s time to consider a direct approach to mass media outlets, to COURT PUBLICITY (shock horror), maybe contriving one of those ‘man bites dog’ stories they say are needed to interest otherwise jaded journalists. Why go down that road?  Answer: ‘cos the internet simply ain’t working as a medium of communication, at least not for me. But then the message ain’t sexy – stripping away mystique never is….

First task is to think up some quotable quotes (dare one say ‘soundbites’) that sum up the various facets of the Shroud controversy – the radiocarbon dating, the wacky high-energy models with their invariable blindspot for down-to-earth chemistry etc etc.

Latest (Aug 26): have just updated this site’s ‘tagline’ that sits alongside the title above. It now reads:

The greatest conjuring trick in history, achieved with DISAPPEARING white flour/oil to imprint an entire body onto wet linen? First the imprint’s particles were micro-fried to a golden-brown in a HOT OVEN. Soap and water then removed the surface encrustation, leaving, hey presto, that tenacious ‘enigmatic’ ghost image. See banner below.

Aug 16 (start of original posting):

This posting conveys what I believe to be an important message regarding the provenance of the Turin Shroud – medieval, not 1st century. To keep the message simple, and ensure that this posting (my 340th approx on the Turin Shroud!)  gets seen and hopefully read from start to finish, I’ll write it in short instalments, making new additions every day or two. Comments and indeed criticism are invited (beware: WordPress holds up a site newbie’s first comment for the blogger’s vetting and approval).

Let’s begin then with a series of photograph that I took yesterday, which  I believe speak for themselves  (but I’ve added a few words).

DSC09743 writing longhand milk developed

Fig.1: Invisible ink (after applying heat).

The words were written on paper using using milk as ‘invisible ink’ The paper was then held over a hotplate for a few seconds to develop the ‘message’.  The ink quickly turns browner than the paper, being more thermochemically-sensitive to sugar-protein Maillard reactions etc than the cellulose fibres.

DSC09762 date stamp milk

Fig.2: Milk can also be used to imprint, although the result is somewhat uneven and blotchy. 

The above was the result of loading a rubber date-stamp with milk, pressing onto paper, then developing with heat as above. In principle, milk can be used to imprint as well as to write.

DSC09767 milk imprint hand on paper before development

Fig.3:  I smeared milk over my hand then pressed onto paper. Here’s the appearance before heating.

DSC09775 milk imprint hand on paper after development

Fig.4: Here’s the thermally-developed image of my hand, using milk as imprinting agent onto paper.

The above image shows promise that “invisible ink” might at least in principle be used (or HAVE BEEN USED)  to imprint part or all of a human body to obtain a contact imprint. Note that the image is a ‘negative’, i.e. tone-reversed  as per the body image on the Turin Shroud.  Why? Because the more prominent non-recessed  parts with the highest relief  that would appear brightest in a photograph, through intercepting and reflecting more light towards the camera, appear darkest through making the best contact when  imprinting a dark pigment onto a light background.

DSC09781 imprinting hand with milk  onto linen

Fig. 5: attempt to imprint a negative  image of my hand onto linen, still using milk as imprinting agent.

DSC09790 milk imprint on linen of hand after hob

Fig.6: result after heat-development.

So there’s an image of sorts, even using a crude imprinting agent, i.e. milk.  Might a better result have been achieved using an imprinting agent that was  less fluid, or indeed a solid, say a white powder, maybe assisted by a liquid vehicle?

DSC09800 flour on hand AFTER shaking off excess

Fig. 7. Hand smeared with oil, then sprinkled from above with white flour from a sieve, then inverted and shaken to leave a light even coating of flour.

Water-soaked  linen was then draped over the coated hand, pressed down using an extra layer of towelling so as to imprint from the highest relief only. (An oil-free slurry of flour in water was tested with dry linen in pilot experiments and found wantimg, for reasons that need not concern us at present).

DSC09818 milk versus flour imprint of my hand before washing

Fig.8: appearance after heat-development (holding over hot plate).  Milk imprint (left) versus flour imprint (right).

Result with flour (right):  vastly more superior than with milk (left) and arguably somewhat Shroud-like (fuzzy indistinct transition between image and non-image areas of the linen). Might the technology, derivative of  ‘writing with invisible ink’   be further improved?

DSC09882 hand imprint flour after non-abrasive soap washing

Fig.9: Appearance of the flour-imprinted image after GENTLE washing with soap and water, so as to avoid abrading encrusted material.

Something quite remarkable happens to a roasted flour imprint when it’s gently washed with soap and water. It ‘plumps up’, so to speak, to make a bas-relief, i.e. semi-3D image. One can just about see the effect in the above photograph. There’s a way of showing the effect to much better advantage. One uses an EXCESS of flour at the coating stage, i.e. one does NOT shake of the surplus before imprinting. Might this effect have been discovered by the putative fabricators of the Shroud in mid-14th century France? Did it have a role to play in the early displays of the Shroud, when we know it made an immediate impact before the showing were banned for some 30 years on the order of the Avignon-based Pope.

Before pursuing that line of enquiry, let’s see what happens to the flour-imprinted image after thorough and abrasive washing  with soap and water, intended to dislodge all encrusted cooked flour. What remains?

DSC09913 milk v flour handprint after final abrasive wash with soap

Fig.1o: final washed images, milk-derived imprint left versus flour-derived imprint right.

Again, note the arguably IMPROVED superiority of the flour-based image, i.e. the startling resemblance – though I say it myself- with the body image of the Turin Shroud, with that nebulous ghostly quality. Was this how the image was obtained in the 14th century – by use of a ‘secret ingredient’ – plain white flour-  that was then subsequently  washed out leaving no visible traces, either for contemporaries of that period, or for modern day analysts, notably the STURP team members of 1978, armed with their state-of-the-art instrumentation, but looking for artists’ paint pigments.

DSC09798 flour on hand before shaking off excess

Fig.11: Oil-smeared hand with HEAVY coating of flour, ready for imprinting  onto wet linen as before.

So what happens if one imprints off the hand you see above? Answer: something truly, TRULY remarkable,  something that might account for a peculiarity of the first known (double, head-to-head ) image of the Man on the Turin Shroud. namely the Lirey Pilgrim’s Badge, circa 1355,  at present in the Cluny Museum in Paris. Yes, there’s more to come, stuff you will not have read elsewhere, dare one say dramatic claims, but let’s stop here for now (and see how this posting fares in the search engine rankings). This site is presently on Page 4 of a Google search under (shroud of turin),  sixth entry down from the top. I feel after 4.5 years of research and regular progress reports it ought to be on Page 1, but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

Wednesday Aug 17 2016

There’s a vast research literature on the TS, accumulated over decades. That includes the ambitious STURP blitz of 1978, yet one that finally produced virtually zero insights into the physical and chemical nature of the body image.Why?

Hopefully what appears thus far provides a ready answer. Two properties of linen have been largely, perhaps ENTIRELY overlooked in the speculation on image-forming mechanisms.

And what might they be?

Answers: (a) the extraordinary resistance shown by linen towards heat that allows it to be imprinted with an image forming substance, and the ENTIRE LINEN then heated to 200C if necessary to develop the image. The linen emerges still WHITE, or at worst a little off-white (which in the case of the TS can be mistaken for ageing changes) and still STRONG. There is nothing in the appearance to suggest that the linen has been roasted!

(b) the ability to launder linen after one’s heat development, to leave just the fabric and its final image, washing away all traces of surplus imprinting agent.

Result: the best equipment in the world will fail to detect the deployment of a particular imprinting agent if the latter has been completely washed out. Nor would its presence be so much as suspected if one approached the TS convinced ahead of time it was a genuine 1st century burial shroud with an image of the actual in-the-flesh founder of Christianity formed by a process unknown to science. Sadly that seems to have been the case where several key members of the STURP team were concerned.

Science cannot rely on instrumentation alone to provide all the answers, no matter how state-of-the-art. Science operates by model-building, dare one say ‘having hunches’, indeed pure guesswork at times, while importantly wasting no time in putting those models to experimental tests. Science as often as not is more about weeding out the dud hypotheses, the better ones often being discovered by a process of patient and systematic elimination. Scientists who fail to go straight to the ‘correct’ answer are accustomed to being told they are “going round in circles”. Wrong. If conscientious and dedicated, they are more likely to be going round in a spiral, gradually converging on the centre with the least incorrect answer. It’s a process that can’t be rushed.

Returning to specifics. I promised to post what I consider a spectacular result when using a thick application of flour imprinting medium. Here is the 1st stage imprint, after colour development in the oven, after a gentle wash with soap and water:

DSC00013 plumped up 1st stage p soap v my hand

Fig. 12: My left hand, versus imprint of the same hand using a carpet (not dusting) of white flour as imprinting medium.

Yes, that’s an image of my hnad, would you believe it, and yes it’s 3D (or at any rate, a bas relief semi-3D). What did I do to see that amazing effect? Answer – the heat-treated linen was soaked in water and rubbed gently with soap. In a matter of a few minutes, it began to plump up. Later, after drying it collapses back flat again, but the 3D effect returns when one exposes a second time to  water.

Yet underneath that bold 3D image lurks a ghost image that can be seen by abrasive washing to remove all the surface encrustation.

DSC00049 washed v unwashed

Fig.13: Hand imprint from Fig.12, before and after abrasive washing.

So there is not just one image to consider in this new model for the Turin Shroud – but two – a bold first stage image, seen above, and a faint nebulous second stage. Might both types of images have been seen AND deployed at Lirey in the mid-1350s, but for different purposes, one being more controversial than the other?

Expect to see a brief section soon on the historical implications of there being TWO image types!

Thursday Aug 18

Time then to address that tantalizing possibility, namely that the Turin Shroud image as first displayed in the mid-1350s in the tiny hamlet of Lirey, near Troyes, was NOT the faint faded image we see today. Instead it was a bold, PLUMPED-UP image similar to the one you see above, because at that stage the decision had NOT been taken to wash abrasively to see what if anything survived.

First, let’s briefly ask if there’s any evidence in the historical record of the early TS having been washed. Yes, indeed there is. It’s the evidence of House of Savoy courtier  Antoine de Lalaing from 1503 which can be found in Ian Wilson’s splendid summary of Shroud history, as currently displayed on the STERA site:

Here’s the quotation:

“Lalaing adds that the Shroud’s authenticity has been confirmed by its having been tried by fire, boiled in oil, laundered many times ‘but it was not possible to efface or remove the imprint and image’.”

One can if one wishes reject the notion that the early TS would have been treated in so cavalier a fashion  for the improbable or misunderstood reason stated without rejecting the idea that being linen, and having come from an oven or open charcoal fire, it had been laundered.  And not just laundered once, but maybe several times with increasing vigour to leave a final resistant image  (deemed  perhaps to have the greatest  ‘pilgrim-pulling’ power).  The ‘back story’ whispered at each consecutive display could have been hardened to make it increasingly a claim for being THE actual burial shroud of the crucified Jesus, explaining why initial approval from the local Troyes bishop (Henri de Poitiers) quickly changed to spluttering outrage, as described in the celebrated missive from his successor Bishop Pierre d’Arcis sent to the Pope much later (1389). One’s tempted to refer to an initial bold artistic-looking image, albeit made unconventionally via a novel imprinting process,  gradually morphing into an altogether more subtle quasi-image, though  ‘de-morphing’  might be a more appropriate description.

Still to come: might there be supporting evidence for the speculative ideas above from the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge?

medallionComplete with dimensions

Fig.14: Lirey Pilgrim’s badge, circa 1355, Cluny Museum, Paris

lirey frontal v dorsal upright apposed

Fig.15: Close up, frontal v dorsal sides of the cast figure (lead/tin alloy), Lirey Pilgrim’s badge

As stated earlier, the Lirey badge is the first known depiction of the Turin Shroud as a double, head-to-head image (beware claims made for earlier images that lack those defining, dare one say iconic features). If it were the image we see now – faint, scarcely visible, ghostly-looking, then why did that artist/artisan who created the mould for the above badge go to all the trouble to make the figure on the cast appear in semi-3D bas relief? Maybe for immediate visual impact, given the medium gives scope for bas relief, not merely scratches or grooves as in simpler engraving? Maybe. But why is the figure so grotesquely bulbous, given it’s supposed to represent Jesus Christ.

Two alternatives spring to mind. One is that the figure on the first (of two) variants of the Lirey badge was NOT intended to represent Jesus, a hypothesis this investigator explored in detail some 3-4 years ago, suggesting instead the final slow-roasted fate of Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Templar order. The new findings with flour imprinting now suggest a second interpretation. Maybe the figure was intended from the start to represent the crucified Jesus, but what the souvenir badge-maker saw was the Stage 1 imprint on display, non-abrasively laundered i.e. the ‘plumped-up’ one, and it was that he duly attempted to replicate, and reasonably well one might say, given the small dimensions, and having to laboriously and painstakingly hollow out and smooth off  soft stone (assuming the second variant of the Lirey badge, the so-called Machy mould, is a reliable guide to extant 14th century metal-casting technology).

Here are two images from my previous posting, comparing those plumped images first with the two figurines from which they were imprinted, suitably aligned head-to-head:

DSC07629 crucifix v warrior stage 1


And here are those Stage 1, plumped up imprints compared with the Lirey badge:

lirey badge v double flour imp crux plus warrior


(Technical detail: I used a different method for ‘cooking’  the imprints in the above experiment; it was inspired by the 1503 de Lalaing testimony – see earlier- that was not solely about laundering. Can anyone guess what it was?)

Mechanism of imprinting?

This posting is long enough already without going into the detail of what appears to be a subtle process. Suffice it to say that the crucial geometry is to have 4 components in the following order: dry skin- oil – white flour – wet linen. When the linen is peeled off theorder is simply: oil-white flour-wet linen. The Stage 1 image is simple to explain – it’s simply a crust of reddish-brown roasted flour. It’s the faint fuzzy Stage 2 image that remains after abrasive washing that is subtle. It appears to be the result of a PUSH-PULL process  that occurs on heating. The flour”fries” due to the attached traces of oil, exuding tiny amounts of yellow-brown liquid. The oil PUSHES that liquid into the fibres of the linen, while the latter exert a PULL action due to capillary action (mainly the result it seems of narrow channels between the fibres of a thread), So the real imaging medium is LIQUID formed at high temperature that sweats out of  the roasting flour –   but there’s so little of it that the penetration into the weave is short range. That accounts no doubt for the peculiar microscopic properties reported for the TS and confirmed with my model system, namely discontinuities (abrupt colour cut-off along particular fibres) and uniform coloration of a small proportion of fibres, surrounded by a majority of non-coloured ones (the so-called ‘half-tone’ effect).

Friday Aug 19

This posting is still failing to get visibility in the big wide world, based purely one admits on Google ranking (still stubbornly stuck on Page 4 listings, though having briefly made the top of that page yesterday). Will it make Page 3 or better? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on how the algorithm works. There are days when I suspect that personal blogs such as this are tagged in such a way that they never get higher than a certain page, regardless of number of clicks, comments etc. We shall see.

In the meantime, research conmtinue with a view to confirming the proposed imprinting mechanism – see yesterday’s entry – which is not easy.

Here’s a snapshot from an experiment I did yesterday – or rather the first step in that experiment- in which I created two separate zones of vegetable oil and water on a single sheet of linen, and then imprinted across BOTH zones, using my oil/flour coated hand:

flour imprinted across separate oil and water zones

Fig.18: latest experiment using dual oil/water-pretreated linen.

Would anyone care to guess the appearance of that imprinted linen (a) immediately after oven-heating (b) after gentle non-abrasive washing in soap and water to obtain the Stage 1 image (c) after abrasive washing to dislodge the orange crust to be left with the final Stage 2 image (if any!)?

Please feel free to use comments facility at bottom of posting.

So, assuming the correctness of my model (about which I now have no doubt) might the TS body image be properly described a “heat scorch”? Answer: no, despite resembling one.

It’s better described as a dye-like STAIN produced by the ‘sweating’ of a high temperature-exudate from the imprinting medium, the latter probably white flour or similar. Chemically, the stain can confidently be assumed to  comprise high molecular weight (loosely speaking ‘polymeric’) MELANOIDINS, the same class of chemically-complex, indeed,  largely-uncharacterized substances that give baked or toasted products (bread etc) their attractive brown colour and flavour..

STURP’s John Heller and Alan Adler performed a chemical test that is consistent with the body image being organic, i.e. carbon-based in nature, a result that is all too often ignored or overlooked by those still claiming against all the evidence that the image is a residue of artist’s inorganic paint pigments. The test? Bleaching by diimide, chemical formula NH=NH. That reagent is highly specific in its action, hydrogenating -C=C- double bonds that are responsible for the colour in most organic compounds (normally due to CONJUGATED double bonds, i.e. alternating single and double, i.e.:

-CH=CH-N=CH-CH=CH- etc.

While I don’t have access to diimide, I have previously found and reported that ordinary domestic bleach (sodium hypochlorite) quickly decolorises my heat-developed flour imprints, both Stage 1 and Stage 2. .Did Heller and Adler test ordinary bleach? Answer: I don’t know, and sadly neither is still around to be contacted on that point.

I’m using my own Comments facility to add afterthoughts. See the inconspicuous Comments tab below. Alternatively, us this LINK.

Late addition, 25th August (to assist with responding to comment from DavidG):

enrie pos v neg autocorrected shroudscope vertical

Left. Enrie tone-reversed image from Shroud Scope. Right. the same after back-reversal using ImageJ, i.e. to approximate what Enrie would have seen initially on his photographic plate, the Shroud’s so-called  ‘negative image’ (arguably a highly unfortunate description, leading to decades of misinterpretation of an image captured for posterity via physical contact,  involving a degree of applied manual pressure, NOT passive distortion-free imaging by scattered light, needing anachronistic lenses or mirrors, photographic emulsions etc.).

Question: do these images really show the presence of a beard and moustache, given one is not looking at a conventional photograph, or indeed any kind of photograph? I say NO! (see comments).

See also this posting of mine on sciencebuzz from over 2 years ago: Does the Man on the Turin Shroud really have a beard and moustache?

It includes the following image:

face pressed againts glass 2

The chin and upper lip are especially prone to flattening, due to (a) their location and (b) being backed by hard tissue (bone and teeth respectively).

Update: 4th September 2016

It’s now almost a year since I posted this short video clip to YouTube entitled:

“Dynamic penetration of ink into spaces between linen fibres – a possible model for the Turin Shroud”.


Here’s a freeze-frame from the above clip (image needed for insertion in Comments – not this thread).




Response? Virtually zilch, such is the indifference, nay contempt that exists in sindonology for non-authenticists like myself (most commentators on this site, past and present, being a notable exception).

So why mention the video again at this point in time?

Look carefully, and at first sight it may seem as if the ink is spreading via the fibres themselves, given the thread-like appearance of the advancing ink. But it’s not. It’s wicking between the fibres! It’s the blotting paper effect, i.e. capillary action, due to a liquid’s surface tension/energy effect within narrow spaces.

I now believe the same to be true for the oil/flour-imprinting model of the Turin Shroud. In the oven the imprinted flour particles ‘micro-fry’ in their individual attached oil vehicle, releasing a coloured exudate comprising a trace of native oils, the added vegetable oils and (probably) dissolved and/or finely-dispersed products of Maillard browning reactions. This complex liquid exudate then gets wicked away via the channels BETWEEN the linen fibres and accounts for the subtle properties of the Shroud image. It’s a stain of sorts, but not on the surface of the cloth, but within the body of the threads, specifically  the channels between the fibres.

Experimental evidence? Ask and I shall supply here, either on the main posting, or comments or both. The data might be considered to warrant a new posting in my humble estimation, indeed the occasional mention or two on other Shroud sites, but preparing such a posting would be a complete and utter waste of time and effort on my part, for the reasons stated. Eyes and ears are firmly closed! See no new thinking, hear no new thinking etc etc. Most important of all: speak and disseminate no new thinking!


Late addition (Feb 24, 2017!) : here’s a before v after washing of the fingers end of my hand:


Further postscript: 18th March 2017


A  question has just been placed on my Jan 4 gluten posting (most recent at time of writing) regarding the faint image that is claimed by some to be visible (just!) on the opposite side of the linen (the side that was not seen for centuries until recent removal of the 1534 Holland cloth) but denied by others.

Here are two images that I shall park here, then transplant to Comments. The first is the ‘opposite side’ of the face image (not to be confused with dorsal body image) that appears on Mario Latendresse’s sindonology site.



The second is an enhancement of the same I have just done using the 5  brightness/contrast controls in MS Office Picture Manager, then flipped horizontally to restore the usual “reversed 3” (aka epsilon) bloodmark on the forehead. (The latter is in case I need to make future comparisons with the ‘proper’ frontal body image.).

Durante-verso-face duplicate -45,100,-50,30,-100


Is there of is there not an image on the opposite side of the linen?  Mario says there’s not… Note too the prominence of the ‘neck crease’ which some seem to consider a feature that appeared as a consequence of folding and refolding AFTER the imaging process. Hmmm! That’s something I posted on way back in 2012, with resort to the term “baked-in crease”. Nothing’s been said since to dissuade me from that view that the crease was a product of the imprinting process, one that relied upon direct contact and manual pressure between linen and subject, a process that is liable to trap creases that  entrap imprinting medium, subsequently developed in the oven and which consequently cannot be subsequently removed… I believe the neck crease to be represent  an important ‘giveaway’ to the technology deployed for image-imprinting (medieval era!).




Posted in medieval forgery, new theory, Shroud of Turin | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Shroud Question 1 from David Goulet: it’s to do with the testability of my 14th century flour-imprinting model.


It’s from that wise and perceptive Canadian author  (“Looney Tombs”) David Goulet, and was in fact posted nigh on a year ago when this researcher first unveiled his dry flour/wet linen imprinting model. (Thanks to sustained flak I was getting from others on the site in question for daring to challenge Shroud authenticity and/or my abject failure as a writer, scientist,  human being, properly blokeish male of the species etc etc I did not get round to answering it then – sorry David).

September 3, 2015 at 9:26 am

What would be interesting is to find a scientist, or two, who is not a Shroudie and present him Colin’s linen/shroud and see how long it takes him/her to discern how the image was formed. This would provide a baseline of sorts. If the scientist quickly deduces that flour/oil and heating was used then we would have to ask ‘how is it the mechanism was more easily observed on Colin’s shroud vs the actual one?”

If Colin’s model is ‘the answer’ what tell-tale signs would we have to find on the Shroud to corroborate his theory?

Or is my presumption wrong here and Colin is not saying this model is exactly how the Shroud image was created, but rather his model merely demonstrates that a simple mechanism can account for certain Shroud properties, which had previously been attributed only to complex mechanisms (lasers, etc).

Just trying to wrap my head around the various repercussions of the theory.


Thank you David. Splendidly put.

My long-mulled over answer, 11 month gestation period?

Please, give me time, more time…  Well, a few more hours at least while I look out suitable photos and other graphics to illustrate my answer with the results of recent experimentation and/or new interpretation. First, I must hit the SEND button such that visitors to the site, new ones especially,  see a posting that relates to the new site title (see comments and previous posting for why I  have decided to try the new Q/A format).

Watch this space folks. Back in a few hours (at most), barring  the arrival at my door of the sindonological thought-suppression police. (Just kidding, though it’s educational to input (shroud of turin flour-imprinting model) and see how many returns one gets that are NOT from my own postings, despite the several highly-commented upon secondary reports thereof that appeared in late 2015  on Dan Porter’s now lapsed shroudstory site).

10:30, Aug 4

Back again. First, it’s important to make one thing clear: there are two stages in the flour-imprinting method. Here’s the appearance at the first (intermediate) stage.


DSC07629 crucifix v warrior stage 1

Fig. 1 Intermediate stage with semi-3D imprints from both 3D figurines (plastic toy, brass crucifix).


What one sees above is the appearance of the linen after (a) imprinting onto wet linen after applying  a dusting of white flour onto the oil-smeared figurines, followed by (b) a heating regime up to approx 190 degrees C, followed by (c) GENTLE washing with soap and water so as not to detach the soft. encrusted material. Let’s call this the Stage 1 image.

Is it important? Is it relevant to the Shroud of Turin? Answer: not to the Shroud as we see it today. But it’s possibly relevant to the Shroud as seen by the first cohorts of pilgrims who descended on Lirey in their hordes in 1355 approx, possibly earlier, as can be seen by showing the Stage 1 image alongside the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge:

lirey badge v double flour imp crux plus warrior

Fig.2  central section of Lirey badge (top) verus Stage 1 imprint bottom).

I may have more to say later about the similarity of the two above, separated in time by more than 600 years. For now.let’s leave it at saying that the Stage 1 imprints have a pliumped-up “bas relief” i.e. shallow 3D appearance not dissimilar to the first known artistic representation of the TS on thbat Lirey medallion.

Let’s move now to the final Stage2 appearance of the imprint, after vigorous flexing  and rubbing of the soaped linen to detach the encrusted material, leaving a mere ‘ghost’ of the Stage 1 imprint.


Fig.3: Stage 2 image, after washing, only just visible, no photo-enhancement.

DSC08035 10,70,-80

Fig.4: as above, after adding photo-enhancement showing that the imprints are still present, but exceedingly faint.

It’s this final Stage 2 imprint that is considered a model for the Turin Shroud. For example, it responds to 3D-rendering in ImageJ:

imagej final washed cruc v warrior

Fig.5 Final stage imprint after 3D enhancement. (Apologies for the boldness of the central long axis, a result of experimenting with a space-conserving folded state at the heating stage.).

OK. That’s the visual preliminariws attended to. Back now to David’s first question. What if typical Stage 1 and Stage 2 imprinted linens had been submitted to an analytical laboratory without accompanying notes? Would the chemists have been able to figure out the methodology used to obtain the images?


Answer: YES, without a shred of doubt. They woud have taken one look at the Stage 1 image, quickly deduced that the encrusted material was ‘doughy’ and probably flour-derived, then done confirmatory tests for starch, total protein, wheat gluten etc. They would than have deduced that Stage 2 was what remained after detaching the encrusted Stage 1 material. They woukd have deduced (probably) that what remained was thermally-modified flour, the endproduct of complex chemical reactions that are either due to pyrolysis of carbohydrates alone (“caramelization”) or to interaction between reducing sugars and proteins to generate melanoidins via so-called Maillard reactions..

But what if the lab had been supplied with the Stage 2 imprint only? Would they have been able to arrive at the same conclusion?

With no encrusted material on the surface, there is nothing to detach and analyse. Had they looked under the microscope, they would see NO particuate material, merely discolored fibres, yellowish, maybe brownish. It’s unlikely that the cloth would respond to tests for either starch or protein, due to the vigorous washing.

So what’s left to analyse? A superficial tan-coloration, exceedingly thin, maybe a micrometre or less in thickess (probably less), a tiny fraction of the total fibre diameter, maybe 1/50 say (the figures are guesstimates).

So where does one go from there, starting as it were with a blank sheet? Do a uv/visible reflectance spectrum.? But there’s no reference point, as per Turin Shroud, one that would allow the analysts to spot a similarity between, on the one hand  the mysterious image chromophore, i.e. chemical pigment responsible for absorption of specific wavelengths of light and thus colour and the less-than-mysterious burn holes with charred edges on the Shroud, the result of the 1532 fire.

Maybe someone would have spotted a resemblance between image and “scorch” marks on fabric. due to ironing mishaps etc, and formed a hypothesis: “we’re looking at heat-degraded linen fibres” but with nothing else to go on.  But that’s no open-door to routine chemical tests. Enter melanoidins into one’s search engines and try to locate specific tests, or detailed information on their chemical structure. Chances are you will find the briefest of mentions, such as this one, stating that little is known about the structure of the melaoidins, being complex polymeric high molecular weight substances. One would quickly find oneself at the lonely coalface of analytical chemistry, which is not to say there are no analytical means available (there, are, pyrolysis mass spectrometry being one of them, as the above reference mentions) but one would need a strong motive to venture into so poorly-researched a field of chemistry.

Would the lab have been able to make sense of the Stage 2 image?  Answer, essentially no, except for vague references to chemically modified carbohydrates, possibly with a suggestion for protein involvement, probably not (so one would not even know if the images were due to simpler caramelization or more complex  Maillard suger-protein reactions).

Ring any bells?

I say yes. The flour-imprinting scenario, with the  final Stage 2 image only, essentially reconstructs the predicament in which the 1978 STURP taskforce under Raymond N. Rogers (chemical team leader) found themselves, with nothing but a faint tan discoloration and little else to go on, except for a scorch-like appearance and reflectance spectrum that closely matched the edges of the burn holes.

Did STURP pursue the idea of superficial scorching, not necessarily classical contact-scorch, as from direct contact between a hot solid e.g. metal object and linen or something more subtle and indirect, and if not why not?

Answer: sadly no. Why not? Sadly (again) faulty chemical logic seems to have been the reason. But that can wait. Back to the question as put.

If a scarcely-visible modern-day imprint is arguably too great a challenge, even for a modern well-equipped laboratory, then there are two conclusions:

  1. It’s pointless submitting samples of my model Stage 2 imprints unless the lab is specifically-geared up to test for traces of melanoidins or caramelised sugars.
  2. Any Mark 2 STURP  re-analyisis of the TS would also be a waste of time unless the lab was specifically set up to test for traces of melanoidins. Is that asking a STURP Mark2 to give pride of place to this researcher’s model? Answer?  No, because mine is not the only model to propose that the TS image comprises Maillard reaction products, i.e. melanoidins. So too did Raymond Rogers’ vaporigraph hypothesis, albeit for very different reasons, based on a pro-authenticity scenario involving amine vapours  (ammonia, cadaverine, putrescine etc) emanating from a decomposing corpse as the source of amino-nitrogen. A  conjectured “Pliny-era” starch-coating onto linen, a claimed technological aid, provided the reducing sugar, notably gluose, maltose etc, we’re told, the mechanism of starch de-polymerization unspecified. My flour-imprinting medium on the other hand provides BOTH the reducing sugars and the amino-nitrogen.  Whereas the Roger’s mechanism involves a problematical air gap between body and linen (problematical for sharp imaging) mine obligatorily requires actual physical contact. No contact  (i.e. the smallest air gap) would mean no imprinting. That is not a problem in my view, given that the TS image looks like an imprint, its negative character being diagnostic for a contact imprint (like a footprint in the sand where there are discontinuities  in the image corresponding with hollows and other recessed areas, e.g. between toes and ball of foot, those regions being unable to make direct contact).

Final part of question: do I think that flour imprining technologyt was the actual one used, or merely a method that has accidentally, so to speak, generated a TS-like image via a different mechanism?

I’ve had a year or more in which to consider the pros and cons.  I am now firmly of the belief that it was indeed THE method (though there might have been a different flour or other food source that supplied the necessary protein and reducing sugar for a Maillard reaction, and the heating may have involved something other than a standard oven, there being a promising  alternative currently under test,  conditions for which still  remain to be fully optimized).

Reasons? This response to David’s question is long enough already. Time now for me to take a break* and see what comes back, if anything, from cyberspace. Support? Brickbats? Only time will tell.

Signing off for now, but hoping to be re-engaged later.

* but am making a list of supporting observations (NOT polemical points) with  12  21 already for release when a suitable opportunity arises.

Update: Friday 5th August

Thanks first to David Goulet for visting this post yesterday, leaving three comments no less.

Things are looking up as regards search engine visibility too. Before posting this site was languishing on Page 6 of returns on a Google (shroud of turin) search. It’s now on Page 3, albeit near the bottom. Never mind, that’s solid progress. There’s no point using the internet as one’s prime means of communication if one’s invisible, or nearly so, to anyone imputting the major search terms free of restrictive qualifiers.

Moving on: I now have 24 points to make in response to the second part of David’s question as to whether I believe the flour-imprinting technology was a possible means of reproducing the TS image, or THE ACTUAL MEANS deployed (assuming in my case a 14th century provenance).

Having just this minute added No.24 to the list, I would say it’s probably the one that should feature prominently, either made first, or as now, made last as ‘take-away message’.

What is it, you may ask, No.24 that is (the rest can wait for now).

It’s this. Why does the image of the Man on the Turin Shroud have that washed-out look to it – scarcely visible it is claimed to observers of the real thing,  and not helped by looking too closely (it’s said one has to stand back a metre or two to discern that it’s an image of a naked man etc?)

Answer: Simple. It IS A WASHED-OUT IMAGE, as per Stage 2 of my model. Need I say more? That explains why the body image so subtle, faint, fuzzy, superficial etc etc. That explains why STURP was able to learn next to nothing about its chemical character. That explains why a second STURP investigation would be a complete waste of time unless one knows/knew exactly what one is looking for, with equipment capable of detecting the merest traces.

What should a STURP Mark 2 look for? Answer:high molecular weight MELANOIDINS, whether (a) linen-derived, or (b)  derived from a washed-out imprinting medium, or rather the bulk thereof,   with white flour as the chief missing-entity candidate, or  (c) a combination of the two. Yup, one  still has to establish ‘ownership’ of the final posited melanoidin image. Does it belong to the linen OR to the missing imprinting agent – a tiny carry-over of the latter having been left behind as a faint visual and chemical signature or  a combination of the two?

Here then in a few words is my explanation for why the washed-out looking TS image has eluded analysis and explanation for so long.  The external agent needed to produce it was indeed washed out , leaving nothing for the analyst to see or even suspect. We don’t even know if the final ‘ghost’ image was derived from that missing agent, or whether it’s merely a scorch-like impression the agent deposited on the linen per se – a kind of tide-mark, maybe from the ejection of hot fluid from the Maillard reaction mix which percolated via capillary action into and between the fibres of the linen threads, behaving essentially as a hot,  momentarily LIQUID yellow dye, accounting for those peculiar microscopic properties of the TS image (half-tone effect, discontinuities etc).

Might there be evidence lurking in the historical record that the Shroud may at some stage, early on perhaps,  have been exposed to water deliberately, maybe even SOAP and water?

How about this from the STERA site’s History page:

lalaing testimony

Yes, it’s Antoine de Lalaing being quoted, by all accounts  well-connected and with highly regarded admin skills, not one to be taken in by frivolous rumours. See his cv/resume on wiki.

The font’s a bit small above, so here is the relevant passage again from inside my yellow box:

“Lalaing adds that the Shroud’s authenticity has been confirmed by its having been tried by fire, boiled in oil, laundered many times ‘but it was not possible to efface or remove the imprint and image’.

There’ s another possible gem of information there that I may return to later. See my earlier photograph in which the “cooked” flour imprint had a fold down the middle. Can anyone suggest why I chose to fold the linen, and how the heating regime allowed me to do that so as to create a compact package? Clue: the final washing step with soap and water was not optional. It was OBLIGATORY!!!

Who can guess what the imprinting medium was in this photograph from my early archives?


DSC02410 thermostencilled TURIN

Clue: all traces of the imprinting medium were washed out before the photo was taken. Clue: the imprinting medium served as a trap for inputted energy, but the energy was neither conducted nor convected heat.

Suppose this image had been given to analytical chemists (or STURP for that matter). Would they have  been able to figure how it had been produced? I doubt it.

So how was it produced?  Answer: by what I called THERMO – – – –  – – – – ING.

Moral: beware images with a fuzzy washed-out look to them. One may never know what was washed out, or even know or suspect that something had been there originally and subsequently washed out. Analytical chemistry, whether armed to the teeth or not with modern instrumentation, has its limitations.

The imprinting agent used above (washed out)?  It’s in the pot at the back, with a brush for applying.  The energy source?  It’s almost directly above (out of picture) – power rating 60W.

Link to my posting with the above picture.

 Saturday 6th August:

Here’s a diagram of my current experimental set up, seen in vertical cross section (the toaster being flat-bed with a horizontal rack on which the slide assembly can be laid flat, directly over a heating element).slides toaster rack labelled


Note that the sequence of ‘layers’ from the top dowwards – oil, flour, wet linen – matches the geometry of my flour-imprinting off human skin. All that’s missing is the skin…

Can anyone guess what’s being investigated? Clue – there’s a gap between the two flattened mounds of flour, bridged by wet linen. In some experiments I take out the cross threads of the weave leaving just the long ones which run like ‘cables’ between the two heaps of flour.

Aug 6, pm

Am quietly pleased with the result of today’s experiment using the above set-up.

DSC09133 washed test linen flat bed toaster mic slides

What you see are the test linen samples after thorough washingwith soap and water  to dislodge all encrusted material, leaving just the ‘ghost’ image – a crude model for the TS.

Why am I pleased? Think oil, introduced initially as an aid to achieving an even dusting of skin with dry flour, but which was later found to have another entirely independent action later (in the oven!), confirmed here. There are other useful data and insights from this experiment, for which a hand lens is helpful, which I can discuss if anyone’s interested.




Posted in new theory, Shroud of Turin, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Final posting in previous stodgy site format: “Shroud of Turin – and now for a retrospective look at the boring old (systematic) science”

Update: Aug 3, late evening, UK time:  Oops. The new title and format of this site, now into its 5th year, has been picked up by Google under a (shroud of turin) search sooner than expected – approx  14 hours! But there’s no initial posting ready just yet – one that invites questions to which I hope to give speedy but considered answers. Sorry about that. Expect the first posting by end tomorrow (Aug 4) at the latest. In the meantime there’s always the comments facility attached to this posting, most of them my own sad to say, but hopefully things will change for the better soon.


 Latest update: 15th July (2016), plus 6 comments (most my own – serving as  a handy spill-over area).

This is the first posting on this site since Jan 25 this year – 5 months ago no less. The previous one was meant to be the last, ideally, hopefully mission accomplished, but more probably mission approximated, namely to model the Shroud of Turin’s subtle and enigmatic body image.

So why a new one now?

Answer: 300+ postings from this blogger appear to have ‘exhausted’ his readers such that the final end point – the oven-roasted flour imprint – is greeted with a yawn  or a “so what” – just one more posting, one more “possibility”.

But as the chart below shows, one in which the carefully thought-out mapping of possibilities has been set out, the final endpoint is not just “one more possibility”.


Shroud of Turin – listing all the obvious lines of research considered at start 2012 (except those ringed in green). Convection model (orange box ) with flour imprint onto wet linen the final preferred model (December 2015). Pink boxes: models tested start 2012-end 2015

It’s one that is seen by this blogger at any rate to tick virtually all the boxes based on what we presently know (admittedly next to nothing) about the TS image bar its enigmatic properties (negativity, superficiality, 3D properties, but nothing concrete re its precise chemical nature).

That’s not to say that a repeat of a STURP investigation might not throw up something entirely new, requiring a hasty retreat to the drawing board. To which I say: “Bring it on!” Despite STURP and its commendable efforts we still know next to nothing about the chemical nature of the TS image! Who’d be a chemical model builder, working even now largely in the dark? Degraded carbohydrate? Modified lignin? Maillard sugar-protein reaction product? We simply don’t know, and can only guess. But science has to take what if finds, not what it would like to be there.

I’d planned a lot more screed, but let’s abandon the words, few of which create any lasting impression in the generally tight-lipped world of sindonology. Here’s the mental map this blogger fumbled towards 4 years ago. The PINK boxes show those possibilities that have been tested – the majority note – and the ORANGE box is the final preferred model – see preceding posting, namely the dry flour imprint onto wet linen that is then roasted to give a bold image, subsequently washed to give the final attenuated image. Dare I say faint, negative almost certainly superficial image with 3D properties, displaying some at least of the microscopic properties ( half tone effect, discontinuities, striations etc). The GREEN-boxed parts were not there at the outset but came later.

The scheme set out may ultimately be proved wrong. But I say it’s systematic, as science should be systematic, and I shall have some uncharitable things to say in the next posting about a spin- doctored  press release  from a hitherto prestigious government funded Italian research institute in December 2011 that in fact prompted this SYSTEMATIC search for the correct answer, one in which one checks out ALL the possibilities and more besides, even if it takes 4 years and causes layman eyes to glaze over.

Such is the nature of science – rarely the stuff of headlines, more akin to constructing a novel,  patiently chapter by chapter, avoiding gaps and contradictions in the extended narrative.  Instant pop “science” written for instant media impact is invariably ephemeral trivia.

Incidentally, I’ve developed an aversion to writing. It probably shows. Nothing would please me more than have someone else take over the task of writing. He or she can be as critical or complimentary as they please. Just free me from the task of endlessly writing. I’m a pithy comments-man by nature, not a poster. Please, someone, set up a web forum  to replace that of Dan Porter’s (though hopefully more researcher-oriented).

I’ll add links later to all those pink boxes highlighting  possibilities that were exhaustively tested between start 2012 and end 2015 but found wanting, except for the convection/roasted flour imprint model (orange box).

Anything omitted? Suggestions invited.

Addendum: the boxes in that checklist have been numbered 1-14. I shall be making a list below of representaive postings that addressed each of those 14 sets of conditions. For now just note the two main headings: type of energy input (thermal, chemical, thermochemical) and state of the linen receiving that energy input (untreated versus treated in some fashion, e.g. by impregnation with white flour slurry, or wetted then imprinted with dry flour etc etc).

Box 1: March 29, 2015

Can that weird and wonderful Turin Shroud be modelled? See my hands-on results with dye-imprinting, reported in real time.


Boxes 2 and 3: Jan 3, 2012

More progress in improving my thermo-stencilling technology for simulating the Turin Shroud


Box 4: Feb 24, 2012

The Turin Shroud Man is not a photograph, but a negative THERMOGRAPH – and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise…


 Box 5: October 24, 2014

Modelling the Shroud of Turin image with a flour-assisted Maillard browning reaction.


Box 6: Jan 25, 2016

Modelling the Shroud of Turin with white flour, olive oil and a real face – in pictures.

This, kindly note, is the preferred of all the 14 combinations investigated. Is the image a scorch? No, it’s not a scorch. The energy input is hot air inside an oven that has selectively roasted and coloured the flour imprint on linen. The energy input is CONVECTED heat, not radiated or conducted heat. The bold image that is formed in the oven might possibly be a Maillard reaction product formed between sugars and protein in the flour, but the fainter ghost image that survives washing with soap and water – see this site’s banner with Galaxy Warrior imprints, highly reminiscent some might think of the TS image-   may or may not be the same product. It may possibly be a reaction product that involves the linen fibres themselves, either the carbohydrate (cellulose, hemicellulose etc)  or the traces of endogenous protein or maybe both.

Box 7: October 25, 2012

Refining a model: children’s ‘invisible ink’ trick with lemon juice allows thermal imprinting (“scorching”) at a much reduced temperature


 Boxes 8 and 9: September 30, 2014

More on that enigmatic negative and superficial Turin Shroud image. Let’s not strangle at birth a possible working model based on invisible-ink technology.


Boxes 10: April 1, 2015

What does sulphuric acid do to linen fibres? Might it provide us with clues to the Turin Shroud?


Box 11: April 6, 2015

Might fumigation with nitric acid vapour and NOx gases have been used to artificially age the Turin Shroud? Just an idea at this stage.


Box 12: May 19, 2015

 A generic model for how the Turin Shroud could have been forged via a TWO STEP process (image capture, then separate image development).


Box 13: as Box 10 above: April 1, 2015

What does sulphuric acid do to linen fibres? Might it provide us with clues to the Turin Shroud?


Box 14: June 20, 2014

Might the Shroud image have been produced as a thermochemical scorch on linen? Quicklime?

So where’s this posting leading?

It’s leading to a number of  article that appeared in the UK press late December 2011, of which this one in the Independent newspaper was typical.

Here’s its opening few sentences. one of which I’ve bolded, nay highlighted in colour.

“Italian government scientists have claimed to have discovered evidence that a supernatural event formed the image on the Turin Shroud, believed by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.

After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists.

However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax.”

Please, can someone point this blogger to where “those years of work trying to replicate the colouring of the shroud” was published? Had I been able to locate it back in 2011, it might have saved me from having to do 4 years of systematic research of my own…

I may at some point report the single comment that the ENEA team leader made in respect of this blogger’s research.  It compares this blogger capabilities with that of his own research students re focusing skills in using a light microscope...   ;-). Yes, serious stuff, addressing the basic fundamentals, like how to focus on tufts of linen fibres  (shown ‘as is’, not flattened  between glass slides)….

Wait till you see the rest of that Independent article, dear reader, and see what else was there re those “basic fundamentals”…

Final aside (to conclude this posting): never ever underestimate the power of ENEA logic. ENEA logic can unlock all the mysteries of the Universe, given sufficient time and ingenuity.

You want to know how the TS image was formed? Simple. Start with a preconception – that it required an immensely intense flash of supernatural radiation, one that would scorch the linen. Then select the closest approximation one can think of – a proxy so to speak for that supernatural radiation – like an intense uv laser beam?  (Don’t worry about the little details like lasers being man-made, needing highly precise internal geometry etc etc). Mimic the intended outcome – a brown discoloration on linen. Claim it matches exactly the one on the Shroud.  (Don’t worry about age effects on colour). Hey presto – you have confirmed all your preconceptions using the most up-to-date, gee whizz instrumentation. Make frequent mention in your press releases and interviews to the “scientific method”. Make sure you are described as “scientists” in the headlines.

Well, you know what they say. If you can’t beat them, join them. Deploying the all-conquering ENEA logic, I’m able to announce two major breakthroughs – an answer for (1) how the ancient pyramids were built AND (2)  as a bonus, why the sky is blue.

Ancient Egyptian pyramids

Forget everything you have read about them being made from quarried rock. Nope, not true. How do I know? Answer: the blocks weren’t quarried. They were cast from ancient sand/cement/Nile water. How do I know? I know through careful choice of imitative proxy experimentation. I have simulated that ancient mix using modern cement and sand from my local builder’s yard. I have produced cubes of “stone” that exactly match the colour of the ancient pyramids. Hey presto – preconception confirmed. That’s the cue to tackle an even bigger mystery  – why is the sky blue?

Blue sky

Preconception? There must be a blue gas in the air, maybe natural, maybe a pollutant. Are there any blue gases? Only one – it’s CF3.NO. That’s trifluoronitrosomethane. Hey, but wait: that looks like it could be formed by reaction between a banned CFC (as used in fridges etc)  and diesel exhaust fumes (NOx). Clever eh? Two entirely different pollutants enter the atmosphere, and react together to make a pretty blue gas.

Yup, thanks to ENEA logic, thanks to proxy imitative experimentation,’thought experiments’  included, thanks to clever colour matching, needing none of that boring old chemical analysis,  yet another preconception has been confirmed.

Who needs boring old science, tedious systematic science, when you have all-conquering ENEA logic at your disposal, providing  desired results and press releases in a mere fraction of the time?


dog and tail

ENEA logic guarantees endless activity, but don’t bother looking for science.

 Thanks, shutterstock. One couldn’t ask for a better graphic. No, not an ordinary everyday dog,  straining to glimpse and catch its own tail, but one that has stretched itself abnormally in order to make its tail seem part of its normal everyday scenery!

Yup, an apt representation of that ENEA’s team self-indulgence, its  ENEA “logic”. No thanks. It’s not what one expects to read in one’s newspapers, least of all for those of us who have spent our entire careers pursuing the scientific method, knowing there are no quick and easy answers.  What’s required is patient, systematic testing of ALL the possibilities that can be envisaged, whether agreeing with one’s preconceptions or not. Setting out to prove one’s unscientific preconceptions – trumpeting one’s deployment of scientific instrumentation and terminology  to do so – is not science. It is PSEUDOSCIENCE. Shame on ENEA for lending its otherwise good name to that kind of theologically-driven snake oil medicine salesmanship.

 Update: Tuesday 28th June

Have made a simple change to the manner in which the flour imprint is thermally developed. The effect it has on the credibility of the model  (in my humble opinion) is out of all proportion to the minor change in procedure. An otherwise peculiar and rarely-commented upon passage in’s history of the Shroud, one that gels with the Lirey/de Charny period of ownership and display is immediately accounted for.  And as if that weren’t sufficient, a medieval military context now exists to explain how the flour-imprinting technology was discovered and exploited, first to create a crude thermometer  ;-), then an icon, later upgraded to a ‘genuine’ relic. Yes dear reader, such of you, that is,  who are still stoically following  this marathon endeavour, I am now firmly of the mind that the Shroud of Turin came about as spin-off from development of  medieval defensive “M – – – – –   H – – – ”  (French:  M – – – – – – – – – ) technology, though Roman emperor Vespasian was given a  foretaste centuries earlier at the hands of the Jews, hint, hint  😉  Oh, and I shall need to modify   (slightly) the name of this blog site which I expect to do in the next day or two. 😉

So, will there be one more posting , to add to the 300+ already posted here and on sciencebuzz, with scarcely any interest from authenticity-convinced ‘sindonologists’ or even those appalling so-called search engines?  Nope. Too much time has been spent already on the internet as a means of communication and, hopefully, enlightenment (while fine as means or reporting,  uniquely  I suspect,  i.e. a “first”, an extended research project reported hot-from-the-press  in  bite-size instalments).

I shall sit on the present result for a while, building up an archive of photographs that provide the underpinning for what is almost certainly the final step in model development. The imperative is to get the timing right – to release the final model at a time when it is likely to get most interest, most attention from the big wide world that exists outside the narrow claustrophobic confines of sindonology.

Update: 30th June 2016:

New title and tagline installed:

Shroud of Turin: simply a flour-based thermal imprint?

Did the effects on colour of heating flour-based foods (e.g. Maillard browning)  give medieval entrepreneurs a simple means of modelling that “enigmatic” sepia-tone body imprint for the benefit of credulous pilgrims?

Here’s a photo taken today at an intermediate stage using the new thermal processing (NOT the hot oven used previously).
new thermal processing after first wash

Stage 1 flour imprint onto linen, seen here  pegged out on washing line. It was  obtained using my revised thermal technology prior to a final more vigorous wash to detach the encrusted material, leaving a final Shroud-like ghost-image. Note 3D properties.

What you see is the flour imprint from my “Galaxy Warrior” template after (1) thermal treatment, then (2) an initial wash, but (3) BEFORE  the final more vigorous one.
Yes, the image is 3D  (though let me say I don’t think that has anything to do with the so-called “3D” properties of the real Shroud in modern computer software). What’s more, most of what you see is soft and easily detachable needing a second more vigorous wash to detach the velvety-looking cushion-like encrustation,  leaving the final faint attenuated image, the latter best seen on screen from a distance (ring any bells?).
Yes, I think the modified thermal technology ticks a lot more boxes than the previous one using the oven. Indeed, I  am now minded to think it was THE technology used in the mid 1350s to model what a whole body  imprint onto Joseph of Arimathea’s cross-to-tomb transport linen would look like 13 or so centuries later.
3rd July 2016
Chemical nature of the final “ghost image” (see banner)?  At this stage one can only speculate. My working hypothesis is that it’s  MELANOIDINS, i.e.  the yellow or brown high molecular endproduct of Maillard reactions, formed by condensation reactions between chemically-reactive low molecular weight substances (nitrogenous carbonyls etc etc). The alleged colour distribution on the TS (present on both air-facing sides of the cloth but not in between) could be explained if the reactants form and then diffuse along fibres and/or threads, only forming coloured high MWt  condensation products at both the surfaces. Melanoidins also have a propensity to flocculate into aggregates, facilitated by metal ions. That too may be a factor in how or where melanoidins  tend to be deposited.
Alternative hypothesis: it’s traces of intrinsic proteins of flax fibres that react with reducing sugar from the flour to make the final ghost image. I have suggestive evidence that is NOT the case, that flour provides both the protein (and/or other amino groups) and reducing sugar. It would be premature to divulge the experimental details at this stage.
4th July 2016 (am)
“Khymos” was able to speed up browning of onion rings by adding a pinch of sodium bicarbonate.
Today I shall try adding a pinch of NaHCO3 to my white flour to see if it (a) speeds up production of golden-brown coloration in the new thermal model and (b) whether there’s more or less of the “ghost image”  remaining after repeated washing of the linen with soap and water.
 4th July (pm)
DSC07004 NaHCO3 right control left after initial soap wash
Guess which of these had sodium bicarbonate added to the flour, seen here after 10mins of ‘new’ thermal processing followed by initial (gentle) washing with soap and water so as not to dislodge the plumped-up image.
 Next step: a more vigorous wash to dislodge the encrusted Maillard products. Prediction: the enhanced Maillard image on the right will leave a more intense ‘ghost image’ too.
July 4th (late afternoon)
DSC07018 prediction confirmed
Prediction confirmed!
And here’s that final TS look-alike ‘ghost image’ after rendering in Image J.
final washed image after Image J
Reminder: ImageJ creates a 3D effect by means of image density elevation on an imaginary vertical z axis, combined with all-important – though often overlooked – lateral lighting to create virtual shadow. Note that the z-axis gain control on the right at its minimum default value (0.1).
We now have TWO alternative thermal-development strategies, each with its practical advantages/disadvantages – but BOTH produce final ghost images after soap/water washing that display 3D properties in ImageJ.
Ladies and gentlemen: I present you with what I consider a highly plausible model for the Turin Shroud – a product  of ingenious medieval technology –  obtained using the simplest of raw materials – food ingredients no less – and a suitable source of heat to convert a white flour imprint on wet linen to yellow or orange melanoidins and/or other sugar/protein Maillard reaction products.
Here’s a photo of a result hot from the press using two different 3D artefacts of roughly the same size  (brass crucifix plus Galaxy Warrior as per site banner ) to model the TS double image, using not just one human volunteer but TWO. (See comment added Sunday 19th July for details):




What you see on the right are the flour imprints after the new thermal processing procedure (not a fan oven with circulating hot air as before). That’s after two gentle washes with soap and water, but BEFORE the final vigorous wash needed to detach the encrusted Maillard product needed to achieve the final attenuated TS-like image. What we see here is maybe more comparable to the ‘bas relief’ image on sees on the Lirey badge (“Mark 1 TS, circa 1355?”)

And here from the archives is the Lirey badge as a reminder. It’s the first appearance in history of the iconic double image (frontal v dorsal, head to head).  Note the bas relief, which may or may not be significant (see earlier).:


Lirey pilgrims’ badge, cast in lead/tin alloy, circa 1355.

 Latest: 15th July 2016

Have just started a search under (melanoidins chemical spot tests) and discovered this handy paper from 1972 that uses two easily-obtainable chemicals – ferric chloride and potassium ferricyanide.


FeCl3 melanoidinslow temperature (rock tomb!) pro-authenticity version proposed earlier by STURP’s Raymond N.Rogers. Needless to say I think it’s my system that is the correct one, but at some stage a return to the Shroud will be needed, if only with a micro-spotting test to confirm the essential  Maillard-nature of the image chromophore. We can then home in on how a Maillard product was formed, specifically the source of the amino-nitrogen (wheat flour protein side chains OR putrefaction vapours (the aptly named putrescine, cadaverine etc from a real deceased body in an semi-advanced state of decomposition!).

Update: Sunday 17th July:

An interesting question was posted by one “H.E.” to this site, but under the “About” (me!) tab next to “Home” where few are likely to see it, far less my answer, so here’s a cut-and-paste. I may add further thoughts later under “Comments”..

  1. H.E says:

    Hi Colin, not sure if you answered this before… but why don’t we see many more instances of images on shrouds, cloths, etc…?

  2. There’s no simple, self-evident answer to your question, which rephrased might be “Why is the Turin Shroud a ‘one-off’?”. But there’s a hint of an answer to be found if you go into the history of the Lirey chapel pre-1355 (first display of the Shroud). It was set up to begin with by a gift of land from Geoffroy de Charny’s comrade-in-arms, heir to the King of France, who, on becoming KIng himself, showered honours on his loyal but cash-strapped lieutenant, prompted in no small part by their sharing high-minded knightly ideals and a strong sense of religious piety.

    To cut a long story short, I believe the Shroud was initially created as a sure-fire attraction for ailment-afflicted and indulgence-seeking pilgrims, initially billed as a ‘realistic icon’ to represent Joseph of Arimathea’s linen. But when Geoffrey was killed at the Battle of Poitiers, his widow saw the potential in immediately upgrading an icon to “genuine relic”. The local bishop of Troyes. Henri de Poitiers, having initially approved the “icon” description, was quickly on the case. Banning the display for some 30 years allowed knowledge of its real provenance to gradually fade from public view, even assuming that the technology was ever known outside of the tight circle of 5 or 6 clerics appointed as ‘stewards’ (and in all probability covert part time icon-manufacturers) to Geoffroy’s VERY private chapel, well off the beaten track until acquiring its star attraction.

    Later stewards of the celebrated “Shroud” ( widow Jeanne de Vergy’s descendants and later still, under post-sale House of Savoy ownership) had a strong incentive to keep the innovative image-making technology under wraps, again assuming they were ever privy to the details.

 Update, Friday 29th July


EPSON scanner image

Thanks to the cartoonist (this being found in internet image files to which I’ve added the red labels).

This cartoon, my labelling, is needed in order to respond to a comment that’s just arrived on this posting  (from Liz Leafloor of the Ancient Origins site). Yup, it’s a quirk of the software that if I want to insert a graphic into a comment, it has to be inserted into a posting first.

 Update: Sunday 31st July  IMPORTANT!!!!!

As stated earlier, publishing to the internet is a total waste of time if the aim is to get one’s sceptical ideas and research findings re the Turin Shroud into the public domain: the sindonology ‘establishment’ and lackadaisical search engines between them see to that.

I have just done the first of a series of pilot experiments that (a) take  ON TRUST the Adler/Heller ‘blood-before-image’ claim, based on blood-digesting protease tests (dare one say current dogma)  and (b) see whether it’s incompatible or not with my flour imprinting model. The results warrant a new posting in my humble estimation, but there WILL NOT be a new posting for the reasons stated. Instead I’ll insert a few key images from that experiment here with a minimum of supporting detail (so as not to make this posting’s text  any longer than it is already) and use the extended ‘image archive’ here as a means of installing the new images into Comments, where I’ll discuss the findings and their significance (if any)  with anyone who’s interested.

first 3 stages

LEFT: artificial “blood” (a mixture of egg white and commercial beetroot juice food colouring) dribbled onto flour-coated hand. CENTRE: drape wet linen, press to get imprint with “blood-first”  RIGHT: appearance after heating to approx 190 degrees C in oven.

DSC08535 reapply colour to egg white area

Re-applying colour to the heavily-brown stained NON-IMAGE areas, either the original food colouring from bottle, or with fluorescent marker pen.

Further discussion to be found under Comments on this posting (mostly mine for the reasons stated).

Further update, Sunday July 31

There’s another way one can imprint in a manner that would appear to be “blood-before-image” in an Adler/Heller test, contrary to actual experimental sequence. It uses cut outs of linen shaped like blood stains that act as masks. They act like stencils, producing image-free areas of the same shape that can then be coloured in afterwards , either with real blood or blood-substitute. Here are 4 photographs from today’s pilot experiment which show the technology works, at least in principle, providing a further boost to the flour-imprinting model.

photos 1 and 2 side by side

Left: linen masks of desired shape, prepared beforehand, laid over flour-coated anatomy for imprintimg. Right: the appearance of imprinted linen and masking linen after separate heating in the oven at approx 190 degrees C.  The masks block imprinting leaving white space on a brown Maillard-background.

photos 3 and 4 side by side

Left: the same imprint of the hand, after soap-washing to leave the ghost TS-like image with image-free area still visible, with unwashed mask shapes for comparison. Right: the image free areas  selectively dabbed with blood-substitute (commercial beetroot juice) on the image-free areas to make it seem as if those shapes had been imprinted .

Comments invited.



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