A comprehensive new theory detailing a medieval origin for the Turin Shroud: a scorching onto linen – and human consciousness – of the last of the Knights Templar.


Late addition (July 2019)

Please forgive this postscript, correction, “prescript”,  correction, intrusion, added many years later – based on some 350 and more postings here and elsewhere.

That’s including some 7 years of my hands-on investigation into image-forming techniques, chosen to be credible with simple, indeed crude, medieval (14th century) technology etc etc.

(Oh, and yes, I accept the radiocarbon dating, despite it being restricted to a single non-random corner sample, making all the oh-so-dismissive, oh-so-derogatory statistics-based sniping totally irrelevant – a ranging shot being just that me dears- a single ranging shot, albeit subdivided into three for Arizona, Oxford and Zurich).
Sindonology (i.e. the “science” , read pseudoscience – of the so-called “Shroud ” of Turin) can be simply summed up. It’s a re-branding exercise, one designed to pretend that the prized Turin possession is not just J of A’s “fine linen”, described in the biblical account as used to transport a crucified body from cross to tomb.

Oh no, it goes further, much further, way way beyond the biblical account. How? By making out that it was the SAME linen as that described in the Gospel of John, deployed as final “burial clothes”. Thus the description “Shroud” for the Turin Linen, usually with the addition “burial shroud”. Why the elision of two different linens, deployed for entirely different purposes (transport first, then final interment)? 
Go figure! Key words to consider are: authentic relic v manufactured medieval icon; mystique, peaceful death-repose, unlimited opportunity for proposing new and ever more improbable image-formation mechanisms etc. How much easier it is to attach the label “Holy” to Shroud if seen as final burial clothes, in final at-peace repose – prior to Resurrection- as distinct from a means of temporary swaying side-to-side transport in an improvised makeshift stretcher !
As I say, a rebranding exercise (transport to final burial shroud) and a very smart and subtle one at that . Not for nothing did that angry local Bishop of Troyes suddenly refer to a “sleight of hand” after allegedly accepting it when first displayed. Seems the script was altered, or as some might say, tampered with! It might also explain why there were two Lirey badges, not just one. Entire books could be written on which of the two came first… I think I know which, with its allusion (?) to the Veil of Veronica… yes, there are alternative views (the face above “SUAIRE” a visual link to the face-only display of the Linen as the “Image of Edessa” or as that on the then current “Shroud” per se.



Face shown  (left) on mid- 14th century Machy Mould (recently discovered variant of the Lirey Pilgrim Badge) above the word “SUAIRE” (allegedly meaning “shroud”). Inset image on the right: one version among many of the fabled “Veil of Veronica” image.  I say the two are related, and deliberately so, but this is not the time or place to go into detail.

No, NOT  a resurrectional selfie, but instead a full size version of, wait for it,  the legendary VEIL OF VERONICA , product of inital body contact – no air gaps- between body and fabric, but with one important difference. The Turin image was intended to look more realistic, less artistic.

How? By displaying a negative tone-reversed image implying IMPRINT (unless, that is, you’re a modern day sindonologist, in which case ‘resurrectional proto-photographic selfie” becomes the preferred, nay, vigorously proferred explanation assisted by unrestrained imagination, creation of endless pseudoscience etc etc, with resort to laser beams, corona discharges, nuclear physics, elementary particles, earthquakes etc etc – the list is seemingly endless! 
Welcome to modern day sindonology. 
Personally, I prefer no-nonsense feet-on-the-ground hypothesis-testing science, aided by lashings of, wait for it, plain down-to-earth common sense.

Start of original posting:


Update: see also the two recent postings on my other Shroud site, strawshredder.wordpress.com

SUMMARY: Hypothesis: the scorch-like image on the Shroud of Turin, at least the initial Mark 1 version, was not of the crucified Jesus Christ, nor 1st century AD. It was of much later medieval origin, in agreement with the carbon-14 dating of the linen, and was that of a Knight Templar, probably Geoffroi de Charney, reputed to be the uncle of the similarly  named Geoffroi de Charny, first known owner of the Shroud, which he displayed in the small village of Lirey.

De Charney-with-the – “e”was hideously and slowly tortured and executed by slow roasting in 1314 on the orders of King Philip IV of France, along with other Knights Templar, notably Jacques de Molay.  The evidence is to be found by closely examining the Lirey badge, a pilgrim’s  lead-cast souvenir, recovered from the Seine in 1855 close to the site of the Templars’ execution. The badge shows a Shroud-like depiction of a man who bears little or no resemblance to Jesus Christ, and who appears on close scrutiny, the knees especially, to have been roasted to death, not crucified, with a grill-like structure on the edge of the badge previously (mis?)interpreted as an “open tomb” (see Ian Wilson’s Historical Notebook). The artist who produced the Mark 1 version of the Shroud on which the Lirey badge was closely modelled was probably commissioned by  (?)nephew Geoffroi  de Charny  to find a way of  pointedly marking his uncle’s gruesome death and the extinction of his Templar line in a deliberately  ambiguous manner, one that could be mistaken by the casual observer for crucifixion, and not bring further retribution to the holder. To do that he chose an unusual but not unknown pyrographic art form – scorching an image onto linen using hot metal or ceramic templates, probably bas-relief as a visual metaphor for death by slow incineration.

In 1314 the last of the Knights Templars, whom some now see as the medieval precursors of today’s Freemasons, were hideously executed in Paris at a site that is now the western prow on the boat-shaped Isle de la Cite. It was done on the orders of Philip IV and had the tacit or even explicit consent of the Church which saw the Templars as religious heretics, although Philip was probably more interested in relieving himself of the debts he had accrued with the rich Templars.

The 2 most prominent Templars –  Jacques de Molay and Geoffroi de Charney (not to be confused with his reputed nephew,  Geoffroi de Charny-without-the- “e”, the latter being the first definitively-identified owner of the “Shroud of Turin”)  were, not to put too fine a point on it,  brutally barbecued, a combination of slow torture culminating finally in death.  It is said they were finally reduced to ashes. One can only imagine what they must have endured and looked like before their final death.

Jacques de Molay, Geoffroi de Charney et al, last of the Knights Templar, prepare to meet their fate in 1314 – by slow grilling (note atypical pyre of rectangular platform-like construction).

The Shroud was commissioned by de Charney’s reputed nephew, also called Geoffroi, as a means of gaining “closure”, to use that ghastly modern term, i.e. to mark that chapter in French history and at the same time to “move on” as we traditionalists would say. The way that was done was both subtle and ingenious.

What the nephew did was to say  “Let’s present  Uncle Geoffrey as a Christ-like figure who was also  crucified, in a manner of speaking, but who died slowly from scorching heat instead of being nailed to a cross. How can we get across that idea?

That was how Shroud Mark 1 came into being. It was to represent a man who instead of being reduced to ashes,  was portrayed as he might have been if taken still relatively recognizable from the scaffold, as Christ had been taken down from the cross, and who, while still hot, had been placed on a long (14 feet) rectangle of linen, and the free end then pulled over the face and top of the body too. One could then imagine the body as leaving two scorched imprints on the cloth, one dorsal (the back), the other frontal, with the two images head-to-head, as per Turin Shroud.

That was the task that Geoffroi the nephew set his artists and craftsmen.  It was achieved using one or more heated bas-reliefs for the head and rest of body, either cast in metal or moulded/baked in clay, the precise technology for which I have explored earlier in this series of postings, e.g. using heated horse brasses as a model.  Having achieved the desired result  – a superficial but permanent scorched negative image –  he then let it be known that he was in possession of the burial shroud of the “Christ”. Soon he attracted pilgrims to his home village of Lirey who took home with them an enseigne de pèlerinage” that we now know as the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge.

The Lirey Pilgrim’s badge, depicting the (then) Shroud of Turin, pre 1532 fire, dredged up from the Seine in 1855, and the subject of a highly misleading doctored drawing published 10 years later which is still highly promoted to this day -one in which the figure is rendered more Christ-like. Try googling Lirey badge and look at the first return.

But if you look at it closely you will see that despite the supposed symbols of Crucifixion and its aftermath, it portrays a non-Christ like figure (no beard, no long hair, no halo) with no obvious signs of being, or having been, crucified, and who in fact is chained (at least in rear view) to something or other and who appears to have knees and legs that have been burned to the bone – see my previous post.

The Man on the Lirey badge.Victim of crucifixion or slow grilling (look at those knees)? There is no obvious nail wound as one might expect. Indeed, the subject’s left foot looks distinctly unusual (charred as per knees??). Reminder: images can always be enlarged or reduced on screen with Con+/Con-

Update: 29 April: downloaded “The Second Messiah:Templars,The Turin Shroud,and the Great Secret of Freemasonry, by C.Knight and R.Lomas “ yesterday to my Kindle. It has some eye-watering detail as to the precise manner in which those Templars (with focus on Jacques de Molay) were tortured first while imprisoned (with make-shift crucifixion) and then at the stake, by slow-roasting over charcoal. Turn away now if you wish to be spared the detail, but it says the feet were done first, and then the unmentionables. Now look again at that Lirey figure (whether it be De Molay or De Charney). Are you thinking what I am thinking?

Take a closer look at the rear view as well. Am I the only one to detect an artist’s attempt to portray someone who has been roasted and shows extensive burn damage, right up to shoulder level. Look at the feet – are there not some flickers of flame there (front view too)? And there’s that otherwise unexplained chain (“blood stains”according to some) – an essential tool in burning at the stake…

In fact his entire alive or post-mortem posture and facial expression is arguably that of someone whose feet are – or had been – over a hot grill (but see update above). Indeed the badge shows an ambiguous  feature previously interpreted by Ian Wilson and others as an  “open tomb” but which I maintain may in fact depict a ‘barbecue’  with its grill-like covering and make-shift ventilation hole in the side.

Note the box-like structure on the Lirey badge (left) and Arthur Forgeais’ still widely circulated  drawing   thereof of the right. Ian Wilson and others interpret the box as an “open tomb”, which is understandable if they were viewing the 1865 Forgeais drawing. I see it not as a tomb, or even sarcophagus, but as a barbecue, for the slow roasting of a medieval heretic, as in Paris 1314, with a metal grill over the top, and a make-shift ventilation hole – triangular-shaped- in the side. Enlarge the image (Con+) and there is even a suggestion of packed logs that match those in the execution scene above.

This grim memento, which represents a medieval form of black humour, could hardly remain ambiguous in its art and symbolism for very long.  Once the Church and monarchy so much as suspected there was still a flicker of Templar defiance on show in a remote French village, one that was attracting  thousands of pilgrims with their spending power, then the Shroud had to be quickly re-invented, or at any rate re-vamped to make it unambiguous, and stripping out the Templar allusions.

Thus was born Shroud Mark2, with Geoffroi de Charney, the uncle replaced by the classic image of the bearded, long-haired Christ, at the same time removing the chain and other accoutrements of burning/grilling at the stake, and then adding the touches essential for depicting a victim of crucifixion – the blood stains, the crown of thorns, the nail wound etc etc. This would have required starting from scratch, since we know the blood stains, or at any rate those that are real blood, are underneath, not on top of the image.

So when did this switch take place from Shroud Mark 1 to Mark 2? Probably after the Shroud had left the de Charney/de Charny family , having been acquired by the House of Savoy  in exchange, it is said, for a castle or two (testimony to its crowd-pulling power and the income it could generate from the sale of those badges etc). See what I wrote two months ago as  a series of afterthoughts on my own postings to suggest when Shroud  Mark 1 was refashioned, i.e. 1532, the date of that mysterious Chambery fire (which some say was arson, but which I suspect was more than that, i.e. an ‘inside job’)


What is there left to say, except sorry to all those, who like me, were captivated by the publication of those positive and 3D-enhanced images of the Man in the Shroud back in the 70s, pre –C14-dating, and with the persuasive detail about “gravitationally-correct” blood flows etc etc. Who could or would have gone to all that that trouble and expense of producing a medieval hoax (‘sacred hoax’ as some prefer to call it) and why? The answer, as others before me have also suggested, lies with the remnant of  what was arguably one of the most rich and powerful secret societies  the world has ever known, one that inspired and financed the Holy Crusades. In my version here, the hoax was not born of deception, so much as assertion of that particular knightly creed and lifestyle,  latterly deemed heretical, combined later with self-preservation. All this took place during a turbulent period of French history when one wrong word, one ill-judged gesture, could result in the most hideous punishment – as hinted at – surreptitiously and ambiguously-  in the Shroud Mk1 image that survives to this day – on a small Lirey badge dredged up from the Seine close to the spot where the Templars were slowly scorched to death. A heat scorch on a length of linen in Turin Cathedral marks that event. Forget about those miraculous flashes of uv light, that will no doubt dominate discussion at this weekend’s Shroudie gathering in Valencia, with all those ageing ‘rock stars’ of Shroudology still intent on milking that piece of linen in Turin for all its worth.

About Colin Berry

Retired science bod, previous research interests: phototherapy of neonatal jaundice, membrane influences on microsomal UDP-glucuronyltransferase, defective bilirubin and xenobiotic conjugation and hepatic excretion, dietary fibre and resistant starch.
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9 Responses to A comprehensive new theory detailing a medieval origin for the Turin Shroud: a scorching onto linen – and human consciousness – of the last of the Knights Templar.

  1. colinsberry says:

    One assumes, quite naturally, that the crossed feet on the Shroud signify the postion they were in for crucifixion – being nailed together – and held in that same postion through rigor mortis (despite the fact that rigor mortis wears off). The feet might equally well be in that position as a consequence of being roasted.

  2. colinsberry says:

    Somebody with whom I have crossed swords before on The Other Site writes:

    “Thanks for the reminder that Colin Berry is completely out of his gourd. I’d almost forgotten.

    “looks nothing like Christ – no long hair, beard”

    Are we looking at two different Shrouds, or is Colin so desperate to see what he wants to see that he’s managed to convince himself that there’s no long hair or beard?”

    Here’s a challenge for him. Print off those enlarged two images in the posting of the “Man on the Badge” and get friends and colleagues to guess whom is represented. I’d be very surprised if many, indeed any, immediately reply “Why, Jesus Christ of course”.

    What the Deuce?

  3. colinsberry says:

    A Telegraph editorial is today making a case for children to learn the important dates in English history, like 1649 for Charles the First’s execution, and the story behind them.


    It was an opportunity for this shameless opportunist to flag up another important date, 18th March 1314, the execution of the last of the Knights Templar, and to give wider currency to my theory re the Turin Shroud (or rather a development of others’ earlier ideas that for some reason never quite achieved lift-off).

    Here’s what I wrote:

    “It’s considered that today’s Freemasons are essentially a revival of the Knights Templar who promoted and financed the Holy Crusades. That makes important the date 18th March 1314 when the last of the Templars’ worthies – Jacques de Molay and Geoffrey de Charney, were hideously slow-roasted at the stake on a small island in the Seine.

    It’s the story behind it (see title above) that is important, or rather what ensued, which in my humble opinion, based on a close look at the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge, recovered from the Seine close to the execution spot, has evaded the grasp of generations of historians and TV documentary makers.

    Yes, the Lirey badge does depict bishops (with heads broken off) displaying the fabled Shroud of Turin. But the man on the Shroud looks nothing like Christ, and indeed looks for all the world like a man who has been roasted.

    Sorry Ian Wilson et al, but you have missed a lot of detail on the Lirey badge. No, it was not an “open tomb” between those two coats of arms. It was a barbecue – with a grill top -for roasting Templars.

    Thank you DT for providing an opportunity for promoting my out-of-the-box theory for what inspired the Turin Shroud.

    See my most recent blog post on a medieval origin for the Turin Shroud (which fits with the C-14 dating).” Link to this site

    Colin Berry, retired science bod (who maintains that the Shroud image was scorched onto the fabric – akin to branding livestock with a hot iron)

    • colinsberry says:

      Postscript to the above comment: immediately after placing that comment on the DT editorial, my comment was wiped (not even replaced with a “Guest – comment deleted). But that was not the end of it. Oh no. I have been blocked from sending any more comments to most of the DT’s site (the site is compartmented) What’s more, all of the previous comments I have sent the DT under my real name have been deleted in toto (with “Guest -comment deleted” inserted in most cases).

      This is not just censorship – retrospective in this instance. It is (im)pure vindictiveness. But the DT and me go back a long way, some 6 years in fact – and aggression and vindictiveness is the DT’s way of dealing with commentators who sing from a different hymn sheet to that of the press moguls who now run and/or control that paper.

      I have removed the DT from my “favourites” tab. It is now the paper I look at last, if at all. If only the Times would respond to my email asking for a reduced subscription rate for those who wish only to access news and current affairs…

  4. colinsberry says:

    See this related Telegraph article for my first MSM outing on the Templar hypothesis. I’m getting stick already from those who react first to new, unfamiliar ideas. Ah, the world of ideas – fools and academics rush in…


  5. colinsberry says:

    Try googling… shroud turin knights templar… I’m feeling somewhat humbled right now, but in a strange way quietly elated. Why? Because other folk have arrived at the precisely same conclusion as me, having made a link with the Templars, but from entirely different directions. Mine has been plodding scientific, supplemented with wider reading. My own contribution has been that Lirey badge- realizing that it was not all it seems – to the casual observer

    The Shroud was devised as a metaphorical headstone to a major force in European history – the Knights Templar- extinguished by a combination of debt-encumbered monarchy and a papacy – fearful of a secret rich and powerful society, evoking some of today’s misgivings, justified or otherwise, re that other secret fraternity, the freemasons with their strange and non-transparent rituals.

  6. colinsberry says:

    Copy of exchange with “bmoon1” on yeserday’s DT article o the teaching of history:

    bmoon1 replied to you
    The shroud is that of Jesus Christ.
    The hand weave of the cloth is very important. France did not hand weave at the time you would have everyone believe the shroud was dated; France used looms. The hand weave of the shroud coupled with the particular design of the weave is typical of linen weave in the First-Century in the Middle East.
    The linen contained pollen from plants found only in Turkey and Palestine.
    The linen shows a clear imprint of a Roman coin.
    The blood imprints on the wrists and ankles show the stakes piercing at these points, rather than the wrongly believed hand and feet piercings.
    The face shows clearly Sephardic features.
    The carbon dating sample was not done on the main body of the linen; the fabric used was not representative of the entire shroud.
    Finally, the fold of the shroud is also unique to that of the Middle East in the First Century.
    Everything completely fits in with the shroud being removed by the disciples and hidden in a cave. From there it was taken to an early church and then stolen by Turks. It was stolen from the Turks by a Frenchman in the 1300’s and from that point we have always known of it’s whereabouts.
    I do not know why you would wish everyone to believe your incorrect and baseless claims.
    • 19 hours ago
    • Pupils failing to study British history at school
    2 people liked this

    You replied to bmoon1
    Naturally I have seen each and every one of those arguments before, and while contributing to Shroudie blogs – like Dan Porter’s – have refrained from comment. Why? Because few if any of those arguments are scientific ones, capable of being tested scientifically. That does not mean they are mistaken – simply that they are non-scientific, and, if the truth be told unscientific.
    My starting point was to attempt to reproduce the image characteristics of the Shroud by means of scorching (direct contact with a hot metal bas-relief template) to demonstrate its superficiality, negative light/dark reversed character, encoded 3D information, all of which I have demonstrated and reported on my sites over a period of several months.
    The next step was to think of a rationale for why anyone would go to the trouble of imprinting a scorch onto linen in the medieval era, which looked hopeless to start with, until I came across the Lirey pilgrim’s badge.
    The rest as they say is history – medieval history! All those points you raise are what we boring and tedious old science bods, including this retired one, would describe as ‘special pleading’ – with a search for facts purely to support preconceptions. The scientific approach is to collect and appraise facts that are not driven by preconceptions – except maybe as temporary working hypotheses – while admitting in my case to an irritable response to being bombarded by others’ preconceptions (ENSA’s “miraculous flashes of uv light”), and then thinking to oneself “Hold on a minute, there’s something not quite right here. If it looks like bullsh*t, smells like bullsh*t, then it probably is bullsh*t…”
    • 19 hours ago
    • Pupils failing to study British history at school
    1 person liked this

    You replied to bmoon1
    I’ve been puzzling that first point of yours for the last 24 hours – thus the tardy reply – and have to say I think you are somewhat confused about weaving. Inasmuch as mechanized looms did not appear till the 18th century, then it was always “hand-weaving” before that. But that still required a loom – it would be virtually impossible to do any kind of weaving – at least for more than a square inch of two – without some kind of loom. Even the ancient Egyptians used looms to weave.
    So there is really no case to answer re your weave point – the Shroud would have been hand-woven on a loom whether it was first or 14th century. As for the herringbone twill, I’m amazed at the authority with which folk talk about weaving practices in Biblical times. Where are the samples from that era stored that one can go and examine closely?

  7. colinsberry says:

    Here is a comment, or rather a semi-hysterical diatribe, that has just appeared from “Ron” on the Other Site:

    “Well Colin if you disregard those comments on C14 especially as you claim to be a scientist/chemist, then I would say you are either blinded by bias or a fraud. There have been many other archeologists that have commented the same and agree with Hawass’s statement. Any scientist, archeologist, anyone who has dealt with radiocarbon dating would agree with those comments. It is a true fact that RCD is error prone, highly subseptable to contamination and ‘based’ on some voodoo mathematics, not to mention relies on “basic assumptions” regarding c14, c12 levels prior to the 1950s…this is fact Colin, not stories or assumptions.

    People like you now have to deal with the ‘FACT’ that the 1988 RCD is INVALID and scientifically speaking have no argument against the authenticity of the Shroud. All you can do now, since you’ve failed to replicate the image attributes in any form, is try to nit-pic at studies that have been done by some with maybe far more knowledge then you, which sorry to say seems pathetic to me.

    Thanks for coming out.”

    Odd, isn’t it, how the true-believer single-issue internet sites can generate these instant experts in specialist technology – when the latter delivers the “wrong” answer, yet bandy around the “right” answers as if battle trophies.

    I personally try to avoid confrontations with these internet amateurs, not because I consider myself an expert (least of all on the fine detail C-14 dating protocols, while understanding the broad principle) but because one is on a hiding to nothing. One can do the research, point out the error, and nine times out of ten there is either no response, or a change of subject (“what about the blood stains?” or “what about superficiality of the image?” ,,, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. ). Nope, I have no intention of wasting my time on other people’s denialism, aka flat earthism.

    What I will say is this: firstly, it was not the 3 labs who made that crazy decision to sample from one corner only. That was foisted on them at the 11th hour by a so-called scientific adviser whose name I shan’t repeat here, but who managed to keep it off the final multi-author paper. If people don’t like the answer, then they should stop casting aspersions at the integrity of the 3 labs, and lobby Turin to have the analysis repeated, using a better sampling frame.

    Finally, I have to say I find this nitpicking on the C-14 dating not just unseemly, but intellectually dishonest if the truth be told. Imagine the result had come back- confirming the Shroud was 1st century AD. Imagine then I or someone else had questioned the reliability of the methodology. It’s not difficult to guess the response of the Rons of this world – the type who casually sticks the charge of “fraud” on someone who blogs under his full real name, with a solid track record in experimental science. It would be “tough titty, that’s the science chum, you cannot argue with the science, you are not entitiled to comment on something outside your own speciality.. bla bla bla”.

    It is knowing that would be the response of flat-earther Ron and his ilk that I respond to his systematically biased advocacy here on my own site, where I can say what I want, within reason, without having Dan Porter the OberGruppenFuhrer vetting all my comments, and/or blocking some as has happened in the last day or two.

    Dan’s “Shroud of Turin” site is a slick operation to continue marketing the Shroud as an unsolved mystery, and no doubt to keep the cash registers ringing in the States and elsewhere. I have no more time (or patience) for Dan Porter’s site

  8. Pingback: A “Johnny Come Lately’s ” 18 stumbles in Shroud research, all in the space of four months | Let's take a closer look at those straws – the ones still clutched at by Turin Shroud investigators

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