Did John Jackson really demolish scorching as a mechanism? Maybe someone could explain to me how (in simple terms)


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:




This comment  has recently appeared on The Other Site:

September 8, 2012 at 9:10 pm | #3

It is well known fact that Dr Jackson et al. confirmed way back in the early 80′s, that scourching a linen to conform to the body features and superficiality is literally impossible. They came to this conclusion through a series of ‘controlled, repeatable experiments’. Why the scorch method of image production is still being brought-up is a mystery to me. It’s been beaten to death, already!


Beaten to death eh?  Well, I had a brief encounter some months ago with STURP’s illustrious John Jackson, if a broadside on my ideas – with no response to my response (if you see what I mean) could be said to qualify as an “encounter”. Here’s a link to that encounter.

John Jackson on scorching

I invite readers to see what Jackson said, then to read my response – and my defence of scorching – noting carefully that Jackson is clearly wedded to a radiation hypothesis which frankly I consider lacks any theoretical or experimental justification. (Infrared, i.e. “heat”  radiation does not scorch linen  – at least below red heat- unless an opaque pigment is present to trap the radiation, without which it is scattered/reflected).

Sorry Ron, but I do not believe that John Jackson has beaten the scorch theory to death. I believe his experimental protocol was needlessly complex (I’m still trying to figure out his thinking) and in any case he got it totally wrong where heat radiation is concerned.

But I still think his demonstration that a thermal imprint from a 3D bas relief has encoded 3D information – as I too have subsequently demonstrated – see banner graphics above – was a landmark in Shroud science. I raise my hat to him, even if he got the right result for the wrong reasons …  That’s the intriguing thing about science – it rarely works in straight lines, it’s a wonder it works at all, but it usually gets there finally, in spite of itself….

Colin Berry PhD (Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine/London University, 1975)


Further reading: I did a post in late January in which I reviewed John P Jackson’s work on bas relief templates, 3D enhancement etc.  That was before the brief encounter described above.

Link:   http://colinb-sciencebuzz.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/forget-those-miraculous-flashes-of.html


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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