The Turin Shroud: Spotlight on a particular ?-mark stain. Some call it blood; I call it CLACK…

? Alleged blood stain on subject’s hair. Well might it be shaped like a question mark.
(Image from my archive of lightly photo-edited Shroud Scope HD close-ups with increased contrast in MS Picture manager – see my two previous postings).

I need a name for this, and other similar features on the Shroud that have prematurely (in my view) been labelled as “blood”, despite the everlasting strong red or red-brown colour. This particular stain is handy – reminding one there is indeed a huge question mark…

What I need is one of those smart buzz-word acronyms that folk can spring on the unsuspecting to show they are streets ahead in the knowledge. So what is one to call this blood that is almost certainly not blood (unless the result of recent touching-up)?

Alan Adler made a  heroic if less-than-objective effort to explain everlastingly red blood as a novel complex formed as a result of crucifixion trauma.  It envisaged a complex of  bilirubin and an exotic species of oxidised  (met) haemoglobin  that he called ‘para-hemic’.   He claimed to have produced a test-tube complex that showed exactly the right spectral characteristics to match the peculiar ones of Shroud “blood” (ones which he acknowledged  inconveniently differ from authentic blood).

ESSENTIAL SCIENCE BIT  (in bold) – sit up and pay attention:

Bilirubin is a linear tetrapyrrole, formed by busting open the cyclic tetrapyrrole ring of haem (that’s heme to some who may be reading this).

Think of it if you will as akin to breaking a link in a pearl necklace, losing one bead (which curiously comes off as carbon monoxide, yes MONoxide) and being left with a straight chain.

So I thought of calling it COLACTELComplex Of Linear And Cyclic Tetrapyrroles – Everlasting Life.

Well, COLACTEL sounds quite ‘sciency’ would you not agree?  But that’s the trouble. It’s too sciency. Sorry, Alan Adler (RIP) : there are others too who know a thing or two about tetrapyrroles, linear ones especially, and who see nothing sciency in the idea that bilirubin  could form a stable molecular complex with a cyclic tetrapyrrole, least of all one that results in everlasting stability towards light, oxygen etc

OPTIONAL SCIENCE BIT (italics)  – skip if you wish:

You see, bilirubin curls up on itself through internal hydrogen bonding – which explains its surprisingly low solubility in aqueous buffers and why it has to be transported in the bloodstream attached to serum albumin . (So any association with haem would require wresting it first off albumin). Cyclic tetrapyrroles prefer to form ligands with metal ions, notably iron, using the four pyrrolic nitrogen atoms each with their lone pair of electrons. That’s why we have stable haems, ie. porphyrins that form strong associations (ligands) around a central iron atom, correction, ion.  So  why on earth should  they complex with bilirubin? And why should the putative complex be so stable, given that  free haem and bilirubin both have a substantial  literature on their ability to generate active oxygen species (peroxy radicals, singlet oxygen etc), or, in the case of bilirubin, to mop up those damaging active oxygen species but becoming chemically degraded  to dioxetanes, dihydroxyl derivatives, oxidised dipyrroles etc in the process.

COLACTEL could be contracted I suppose – maybe to CLAC.  Or how about CLACK?

CLACK =  Chemically Laughable – A Crazy Kinship.

Yup, that will do. Admittedly some might look up “clack” in the dictionary, and find it listed as “thoughtless or prolonged talk or chatter”.

But there’s an awful lot of that kind of clack in Shroudology, correction sindonology, as the Pray Codex etc etc  demonstrates.

Examples of the endless stream of clack that appears under comments on The Other Site:  Rogers’ putrefaction amine/Maillard reaction theory – clack;  Pray Codex –clack;  virtually all of Ian Wilson’s ideas re the Mandylion as folded Shroud – clack;  invisible reweaving to refute the radiocarbon-dating – clack; so-called ‘scientific’ grounds for ruling out thermal imprinting – clack etc etc…. The eternally red stains on the Shroud that are described as blood now join the list – clack.

This post is a preliminary to my next one, which will discuss the fine structure of those red stains on the Shroud and their relationship to adjacent body image. I shall make strenuous efforts to avoid or minimise use of the B-word, and shamelessly describe them wherever possible as  <font color=”red”>CLACK </font>. You read it here first!

Addendum: I see the latest clack to appear on the Other Site centres on that idiotic ‘coins in eyes’ nonsense.

Word of advice: if you cannot see coins in the digital HD photographs, viewed  at magnifications that retain the resolution without reducing the image to a pixellated blur, then it is NOT THERE. The ideal is a photograph in which the herringbone weave is discernible (proof of high resolution) but does not dominate (with the attendant risk of optical illusions –  aka seeing what you want to see – due to increased noise/signal ratio).

Shroud Scope HD image with light photo-editing to increase contrast and colour-differentiation (see the posting that immediately precedes this one)
Some see coins in those eyes. But then some see Christ’s complete polyglot death certificate too on the Shroud … Believing is seeing…

Beware those who say you HAVE to use pre-digital era photographs, with their propensity for generating artefacts of developing, printing and processing. A digitally-encoded array of tiny pixels has to beat analogue silver grains or  wet chemical dyes any day… give me solid-state phosphors any day…

I see another post has appeared on the Other Site, in which I am one of 3 listed by name for expressing a difference with another scientist – in my case Giulio Fanti (see my earlier post pouring scorn on his “chronology” of scourge marks).  But the posting  (“just for fun”) is under the title of scepticism, or ‘skepticism’ (Am) which is portrayed as a soft option.  I don’t intend to get involved in any more endless wrangles with that site, given the condescension and misrepresentation that is its hallmark.

Here’s a guarded  ‘sciency’ reply. The statistics meter that comes with WordPress says that the posting on this particular site  attracting the greatest number of views to date  (548) is the one I did on my hemicellulose theory.

I invite anyone to consult that post and tell me that it was negative in tone and/or sceptical. It expressed original views, ones you will find nowhere else in the same degree of thermochemical detail  – ones that can explain the subtlety of the Shroud image, in particular its superficiality and half-tone character. You know, the subtleties that we are are constantly reminded have never been explained … that defy reproduction by the best of modern science  etc.

For as long as one can propose alternatives – especially testable/falsifiable ones – then perennial scepticism with the alternatives should be expected, especially when the so-called scientists who propose vaguely-framed  alternatives often cannot be bothered to test them properly, preferring to get them straight into the public domain, bypassing the scientific journals, or at any rate the prestigious ones.


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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