Shroud Scope 7: Why call it blood if one’s not sure it is blood? A sceptic’s dilemma

I am presently drafting my next post. Its focus is chiefly on the scourge marks on the Turin Shroud. But it’s not entirely certain as to what is imaged when references are made to those scourge marks. Some say they make a major contribution to the “blood” on the Shroud. Some say they are also bruises, lacerations etc. So is a “scourge image” purely shed blood or is it also a lesion that has additional  morphological features captured in the imprinting onto linen? My task, therefore, is to use the Shroud Scope and its high resolution to compare scourge marks with “blood stains”. Note however that this sceptic places that term in quotation marks. Why?

Well, here’s an image I have shown previously in this series. It’s the one that is generally referred to as the “wrist wound”.

Wrist with plum-coloured “blood stain”, Shroud Scope without added contrast

As above, with added contrast

Well, I can see what is assumed to be blood, i.e. the plum-coloured patch, but there is no obvious wound visible, nor does the “blood” look like fresh blood (scarlet),  or aged blood (brown) . And who’s to say that the tan/sepia coloured region adjacent to it, or even superimposed, above or below,  was not a patch of original blood that was subsequently touched-up with added pigment?

So there is some reluctance on the part of this sceptic to refer to any region of the Shroud, plum-coloured or otherwise, as blood, without knowing more about its chemical composition.  Here’s a tree diagram that summarises the logistical uncertainties, and indicates the shorthand I intend to use in my next post when referring to those plum-coloured “bloodstains”.

Is it real blood?

As you see, without knowing whether there are porphyrins in a plum-coloured region, one cannot be certain it is real blood. Without knowing whether the mineral salt profile of a tan/sepia coloured region contains elevated levels of iron (Fe), sodium (Na) or potassium (K) one  cannot be certain if represents ancient degraded blood. For now, the plum-coloured regions that are generally described elsewhere as blood will be referred to as “AROW blood” (assumed-rightly-or wrongly blood).

Having knocked the semantics into shape, I’ll now move on to those so-called scourge marks. Yup, having placed a question mark against blood, I’ll now place an even  bigger one against those  “scourge marks”.  Be prepared for some fireworks (there being so much inviting blue-touch paper, not only in the published literature, but even in the Shroud Scope image).  I will focus initially on that same forearm with the “nail wound”, but a little higher up.  Now then, where’s that box of matches…?


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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One Response to Shroud Scope 7: Why call it blood if one’s not sure it is blood? A sceptic’s dilemma

  1. Pingback: Shroud Scope 8: 372 impossible scourge marks (surely?) on the Shroud of Turin | Casting a critical eye at that Shroud of Turin

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