Shroud Scope 9: how simple photo-editing may help resolve controversial issues regarding the blood and body images


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:


I shall start by posting an image that I obtained yesterday. I think, I hope, that at  least some visitors to my site agree that it is a unique picture for the light it throws on the blood versus body images on the Man in the Shroud, concentrating today on the face. Having been told I am wasting my time using Shroud Scope for this purpose, that tests with proteolytic enzymes have shown conclusively that blood is under image (did I ever say otherwise? It is the “conclusively” bit with which this long-in-the-tooth retired biochemist takes issue), that blood is in furrows as well as ribs, then I need all the moral support I can get at the moment.

So I am displaying my “best picture” straight away, to share it with others.  I will then say how it was obtained by simple photo-editing enhancement .  As you will see, the latter makes it possible  visually to differentiate between blood and body image in a way that is not possible with Shroud Scope on its default settings..

Here’s the picture that had me exulting, sotto voce of course, not wishing to disturb the neighbours,  “Eureka”. I’ll say why later. For now I’d simply say that it’s all to do with “flaking off” of old blood. As my old  Botany professor once memorably advised us in a microscopy session with his beloved Bryophyta  – ” Home in on  the damaged bits first if you want to discern organization and fine structure…”


I have this saved as “epsilon, wishbone, -33,100.43”. The latter are settings in my brightness/contrast/mid range tone settings. The next picture will show what one sees on the Shroud Scope default settings, i.e. (0,0,0).


Here is what ones sees in the Shroud Scope default settings, which I have labelled (0,0,0) in my file name, to corresponding with the brightness/contrast/mid range tone values in my photoediting programme.

And here’s how that first picture looks on my screen in the photoediting programme (MS Picture Manager) that I used to produce that enhancement, relative to default Shroud Scope settings.


Screen grab of what I see using MS Picture Manager. Nore the three key settings on the right – brightness/contrast/mid-range tones.

Click to enlarge this or other pictures.

Whenever I hit on a good result now, I make a habit of saving those three key values as a tag on the file name, separated by commas.

I shall add a few words now about how these optimised settings were arrived at, but first I shall hit the Publish key on what I’ve said so far. DONE.

As seen earlier, the default image is essentially monochrome, albeit  washed-out shades of plum rather than B&W. Here’s what I call the epsilon/wishbone bloodstains in default settings:

Shroud Scope – plain vanilla

If all one had was this image, one could be forgiven that blood and body  were one and the same in their image characteristics. Something had to be done.  The first step was to play with the brightness control. While turning it down made for a darker picture (obviously), something interesting and unexpected happened. A colour differentiation appeared between blood and body image.

Reduce brightness. New settings -38,0,0. Note how body image is now a golden brown, while the blood retains its original plum colour,

The next step was to increase the contrast (routinely to maximum 100, that generally being best from experience), and then fine-tuning the brightness for best differentiation and overall luminosity and ‘impact’).

Increase contrast to maximum value, then re-adjust brightness to get this, -7,100,0

Finally, tweaking the mid range tone value, here below from 0  to 15, can help enhance the body image, which can be up or down-regulated as a  grey-brown colour (but it is preferable to work in that colour for body image than a more ambiguous yellow or golden-brown for reasons I’ll return to later):

Thinks: who would have thought that colour, and more importantly, colour differentiation, could be enhanced merely by adjusting brightness and contrast?  Given that the colour control – a totally separate control – was not used, and indeed I have no intention to use – then what you see above, while enhanced, and perhaps exaggerated in terms of tone, hue, saturation etc, is not false colour, in the sense that remote sensing satellite data are often presented with false colour.

What interests me know are the gaps in the blood image. Why are they there. Flaking off of blood? What is underneath any putative flaked-off regions? Is it still blood-derived, albeit fainter? Or is there evidence for body image underneath those putative flaked-off areas? The Shroud Scope, allied with simple contrast/brightness adjustment, can be  useful  I maintain in addressing some of the controversial and unresolved issues regarding the Shroud – with the crucial advantage that one is using existing data, and thus not compromising the physical integrity of the Shroud any more than it has been already.

UPDATE:  here’s a close-up of part of the picture where it seems that body image (hair) intersects with a pale region that, from the general blood ‘footprint’, once had a thicker layer of blood – in other words a candidate “intersect” region for deciding what was there first – blood or body image.

Possible overlap (or “underlap”) of blood and body image (most but not all blood image having flaked off?)

It’s probably premature even to make tentative interpretations at this stage, until one has built up an archive of such instances of intersections. Suffice it to say that I can envisage a scenario that might have produced those diagonal ribs with grey-brown body image appearing on top of a faint pinkish-purple part of the bloodstain. One just has to hope it is not one of those regions that were stripped of their image coatings by one or other STURP investigator. (In fact, one could be forgiven for thinking there was still some adhesive tape in that last image!).

Update: 26 March 2014  Here’s the effect on the Shroud Scope face (Durante 2002) of applying the same changes step-by-step. Have I taken any liberties?

Increasing contrast

Make small adjustment to brightness, then increasing contrast.






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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