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:
Yup, only 19 reasons why the Shroud image was scorched onto linen, using a heated effigy of a naked man as template (or, more probably, an assembly of more manageable ‘spare-part’ -effigies – one for the head, one for torso, separate ones for arms and legs).
Nope, the Shroudie knocking brigade on that Other Site will never buy it – not with a mere 19 ticks in 19 boxes. Must do better. Anyway, here are those 19 which I shall list, not in any particular order, so as to avoid duplication when trying – desperately – to bring up to a nice round 20.
1. Twin image, frontal and dorsal, no imaging of sides. No top of head. Explained by thermal imprinting, with separate heated templates for front and rear.
2. Highly prominent nose, chin etc. Explained by thermal imprinting: prominences of heated effigy make best contact with linen.
3. Non-directional nature of the image. Explained by thermal imprinting. No directional light source – just a unidirectional source of conducted heat (high to low temperature).
4. Negative image, i.e. with reversal of normal light/dark tones from an illuminated subject. Explained by thermal imprinting. Reflective prominences and/or contour planes that would look light in a photo look dark in a thermal imprint.
5. Encoded 3D information. Explained by thermal imprinting. Easily modelled (see banner)
6. Sepia colour. Explained by thermal imprinting (scorched linen is sepia in colour)
7. Highly superficial image, localised predominantly on the crowns of the weave. Explained by thermal imprinting, with template making best contact with the highest parts of the weave.
8. Lack of uv fluorescence. Explained by thermal imprinting at temperature high enough to produce a light scorch, but not high enough to produce carbonisation (the latter having precursors that are benzenoid aromatics with delocalised pi-bond systems – prime candidates for uv fluorescence).
9. Tenting effect (poor imaging around highest points, e.g. crossed hands). Explained by thermal imprinting: cloth does not access every hollow or crevice.
10. Twin track crease marks below chin, above forehead. Explained by thermal imprinting. Scorched in crease. Permanent.
11. Lack of wounds at sites of bloodstains. Explained by thermal imprinting. There were no wound marks on the template.
12. The half-tone effect/annular scorching. Explained by thermal imprinting. The pyrolysis of hemicelluloses is reportedly exothermic. There could be an all-or-nothing effect operating at the level of individual fibrils, or rather the highly superficial PCW of those fibrils.
13. Intactness of cellulose birefringence. Explained by thermal imprinting. Cellulose pyrolysis is endothermic, and has a higher activation energy and higher temperature for onset of pyrolysis than that of hemicelluloses.
14. Reverse side coloration (“second face”). Explained by thermal imprinting. Superheated steam from pyrolysis of top surface can pass through pores of fabric, and then heat the thermosensitive hemicelluloses of the reverse side. Crystalline cellulose may also function to conduct heat to reverse side without being appreciably affected.
15. Shroud image neither a photograph nor painting: Explained by thermal imprinting. Absence of pigment or photosensitive silver salts etc.
16. Hair does not look like hair at high magnification (try the fabulous Shroud Scope). Explained by thermal imprinting. The template did not have real hair.
17. Lack of thumbs, ears: Explained by thermal imprinting : difficult to do these features well with, say, a plaster cast replica – difficult to cast or they break off too easily. So a decision was made to dispense with them.
18. Mask-like face, with sharp cut off at sides. Explained by thermal imprinting: the template for the face WAS mask like, and indeed had to be mask like, i.e. shallow bas relief, to minimise distortion effects.
19. The sepia image has the general characteristics expected of chemically-dehydrated polysaccharides. Explained by thermal imprinting. Pyrolysis, independent of oxygen (i.e. thermally-induced chemical breakdown) results in chemically-dehydrated polysaccharides.
Time to stop there for now methinks. But seriously folks, IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT THE SHROUD IMAGE THAT IS NOT EXPLAINED BY THERMAL IMPRINTING? If so, please let me know. I’m always open to new ideas.
Afterthought: Tuesday am Have just realized I’ve left off the most important reason of all, the one that gives scorching pride of place compared with all those other scarcely credible hypotheses (radiation, diffusion): thermal imprinting explains why there is an image, without needing magical collimation of rays that ensure orthogonal projection onto cloth, or without needing converging lenses or photographic emulsions (radiation), without needing chemical constituents other than untreated linen (diffusion). That makes a nice round 20 reasons.
Stop press: I see there’s a proposal to put Rogers’ diffusion/Maillard hypothesis to a long-overdue feasibility test. But the protocol is rigged, given that it intends to use glucose-impregnated cloth. Yes, the Maillard reaction needs a source of reducing sugar. Not even Rogers had the brass neck to suggest glucose, the closest substitute being “starch fractions”. Reminder: starch itself is a polysaccharide, not a sugar, and only becomes reducing if extensively degraded chemically or enzymatically to small fragments with aldehyde functions. It was always hard to conceive of naturally-degraded starch ever becoming a realistic source of reducing sugar. To substitute glucose is at best a cop-out, or at worst a reprehensible sleight-of-hand unworthy of anyone who wishes to be taken seriously as a professional chemist.
But I realize I will need more than that to convince everyone. “Colin’s most significant contribution is not his scorching hypothesis. He, who claims to be “the voice crying in the sindonological wilderness camp,” is not winning that argument” (Dan Porter). What argument, Dan? Since when has a series of hit-and-run attacks on your site (at least 4 to date) from the big beasts of Shroudology or round-the-clock sniping from a handful of true-believers ever counted as “argument”? Still, I thank Porter for his generally favourable reception to my idea of involving the Royal Society in the continuing Shroud enigma. “Enigma” in this instance refers to the Shroud’s miraculous resurrection following supposed death by radiocarbon dating, accompanied some say by a blinding flash of uv radiation, blinding (intentional or otherwise) being the operative word …
Oh, and one other thing. In trying a few moments ago to find out precisely how Rogers did the oft-quoted separation of image layer from fibre (sticky tape experiment) I came across Dan Porter’s posting from way back in February. It was a blunderbuss attempt to rubbish the scorch theory – assisted by his pal Barrie Schwortz attempting to make a big (too big) deal of uv fluorescence, and not bothering to respond to my explanation – since amplified (see Point 8 above). Porter’s major pitch was that a heat scorch could never be as superficial as the Shroud image – later reinforced by Paolo Di Lazzaro crashing in on his site with “evidence” from a one-temperature-point study (that temperature being one that just happened to serve his purpose) and again not bothering to respond to my critique of the design fault in his protocol.
Ultra-superficiality is not an easy area to investigate, not even with the phase-contrast microscope that Rogers employed. It needs systematic studies of controlled scorching with a range of techniques (e.g. freeze-etch scanning electron microscopy) as alternatives to wet methods or sticky tape, e.g. simple low-tech mechanical abrasion, as I have proposed recently. For the moment, I would simply draw Dan Porter’s attention to my preceding post, which he may not have seen, where simply teasing out the individual fibres in a lightly scorched (sepia-coloured) thread suggests that the scorched fibres are a tiny minority of the large number per thread (scores at least), and thus highly superficial, the inner core fibres being unaffected. Here’s an image from that post, one that he does have my permission to use, as long as its caption and link accompanies it.
There is also my derided single-cell onion epidermis experiment that showed that while conducted heat may penetrate deeper layers in a fabric it is a mistake to assume that linen constituents below the most superficial cells – even if just a single cell thick – are highly sensitive to pyrolysis and scorching. That’s where I now have the advantage over the Porters and the Di Lazzaros. I have extensive experience of scorching under a wide range of conditions, and to put it baldly – linen is a tough old material, and far more resistant to deep-layer scorching than they or anyone for that matter might imagine, at least in the temperature range 200-225 degrees C. One can produce highly superficial scorching. Whether it is 200nm or less (i.e. below the resolving power of light microscopy) I cannot say. But then, can anybody else, bearing in mind that the much-bandied around 200nm figure was not a direct measurement, as many would have us believe, but purely a guesstimate based on INABILITY to measure with light microscopy? That 200nm is just one instance I could cite of soft puffed-up findings being elevated to the level of incontestable hard data. Dan’s site, sad to say, has played a major role over the years of disseminating that kind of hasty, cobbled-together largely STURP-derived soufflé-science as if it were written on tablets of stone – then brought down by Dan from the mountain as commandments to harken-and-obey.
PS: Here’s a comment I sent some two hours ago to David Rolfe’s Shroud Enigma Challenge re the proposed testing of Rogers’ diffusion hypothesis (still hasn’t appeared yet):
“Dangerous stuff here methinks. Rogers’ diffusion/Maillard hypothesis is not supposed to be put to the test. Rather it’s to be endlessly mulled over, treated like a proposition for how best to set about accurately enumerating the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. (Anything to avoid having to seriously address a rival hypothesis – having first discarded a lot of woefully-biased STURP baggage – one that if true would nail its medieval provenance. The latter WAS demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt by the radiocarbon dating despite the attempts of a dying man to rubbish with a shed load of ad hoc chemistry and “believing is seeing” brand of microscopy).
The real story, Mr. Rolfe, is not that piece of medieval linen, with its thermally-imprinted image. It’s to do primarily with appearance and reality, with the use and abuse of science as a close runner up.
In the meantime, have fun in Rogers’ cloud-cuckoo land, all you determined modellers of advanced cadaver decomposition, all conveniently shoe-horned into a highly compressed time frame.”
newsjunkie (aka Colin Berry)