A leisurely, thinking-aloud appraisal of those recently-released Shroud photomicrographs.

Fig 0:  Close-up of newly-released photomicrograph of Shroud body image area (Mark Evans/STERA Inc). Is that a carbonised fibre I see in the circled area?

Well, I don’t know about your, dear reader, but I for one had never previously seen those superb photomicrographs of Shroud image areas. I refer to the four that appeared in the second half of the (pdf)  paper of French physician Thibault Heimburger MD.

The Turin Shroud Body Image. The Scorch Hypothesis revisited

I’ve seen inferior versions of those pictures, and used those inferior versions in at least one previous posting from February this year when comparing my experimental scorches with the Shroud image. If those pictures had been freely available online, I’m sure I would have found them in my hours of searching image archives. I shan’t say yet whether I would have adopted a different position, had the new pictures been available back then. In fact I’m still debating that in my mind. Thus the “thinking aloud” nature of this paper (see title).

They are labelled as having come from the ‘Mark Evans’ archive, and described as STERA copyright, that’s Barrie Schwortz’s $hroud of Turin Education and Research Association. I’ve already expressed my opinion on the hoarding of essential resource material by that one-man- band, and propose to say no more on that score right now, or the circumstances in which they now suddenly become available as part of a paper that attempts to dismiss the scorch hypothesis.

All that concerns me right now is that one has to assess the new pictures, and the claims based upon them, under a degree of time pressure. (Yes, there are folk on another site saying that a detailed response is required from me personally; others seem to assume that Thibault Heimburger has demolished the scorch hypothesis already with those  pictures of his, to which I say: “please be patient”).

Well, I have in fact  been drafting a response – indeed several – these last few days. But the task very quickly becomes unwieldy. Why is that? Answer: because the scorch hypothesis is assumed by Thibault and others to be a simple matter of altering a few highly superficial threads and fibres, and that any evidence from the Shroud of greater complexity and subtlety must demolish the scorch hypothesis. To which my response is: “Oh dear, where does one begin?”  We may call it the “scorch hypothesis”, but the effect of pressing hot metal against linen is perhaps a lot more complex than Thibault and some others would have us believe.

Yes, where does one begin? Well, I have already prepared the ground with two recent postings that addressed the macroscopic aspects of Thibault’s study, focusing on that choice of template which,  I say again,  I regard as simply not fit for purpose. Use a crude and simplistic template, then it is hardly surprising if one is rewarded with a crude and simplistic scorch.

It’s time now to address those Shroud micrographs, the ones finally released from that squirreled-away  STERA archive. I shall do it here, in my own good time, “thinking aloud” so to speak, trying to be thoughtful and undogmatic. There is far too much dogmatism already in Shroudology;  Thibault Heimburger has regrettably just added to it with his paper.  While acknowledging that the new graphics and factual content are welcome, I say  “shame about the inherent bias, the  all-too-apparent pro-authenticity agenda, the attempt to deliver a knock-out blow”  based on what I see as his toe-in-the-water studies so far.

Yes, I shall be assembling a response here in the next few hours or possibly days even, and as I say, doing so as and when I feel I have something that needs saying. But I shall not be rushed into making possibly rash comments that I would then need to withdraw later.

First, I shall put up a screen grab of one of the new photomicrographs, and return later with some initial ideas that helped me at least to integrate it into what one has previously seen in  lower magnification photographs. I’ll be using terms like warp, weave, herringbone twill etc etc.

Copyright considerations? The source is acknowledged (see graphic below). I consider I am making ‘fair use’ of the pictures for research purposes (some 120 previous postings to date), as well as flagging up my intentions previously, to which  no objections, indeed, no response, have appeared so far.

“Fig 20” in Thibault’s paper, but my Fig.1

08:42  Note those rectangular-shaped horizontal threads and the pattern they make:

My Fig.2

What one is seeing are what in a lower-magnification picture, would be the parallel diagonal ribs of the weave, which in an even lower magnification picture would be part of the herringbone twill.

My Fig.3 (above)


For comparison: textbook diagram showing structure of a 3/1. i.e. “3 up, 1 down” herringbone twill weave. Note that the white horizontal threads pass over three vertical grey thread, then under 1 grey thread, the pattern then repeating itself.

The Shroud weave above might at a first casual glance  be mistaken for a 2/1 weave, but look closely and one can see it is indeed 3/1.


My Fig.5

The broad horizontal threads are all part of the warp of the weave; the vertical threads over or under which they loop are the weft. It is those warp threads that are of primary interest in assessing the credibility of the scorch hypothesis, given they are the highest, i.e. most superficial part of the weave. One can think of the fabric as comprising three overlaid planes. The top plane comprises  warp threads passing over weft. The intermediate plane is the weft. The lowest plane comprises the warp threads looping under the weft. I shall try to find a cross-sectional diagram to illustrate that point, though it is not difficult to picture in one’s mind. Here’s a home made one to be getting on with. Note the three planes – upper warp-weft- lower warp:

Fig.6: Warp thread blue, weft threads (cross-section) in black to match colour-coding above

So, are the more superficial warp threads more highly coloured than the weft? Here’s the picture again. Make your own decision, while I go away and label up the lightest regions (partly subjective I grant you, not having an image densitometer to hand):

My Fig.7 (above)

Here’s a very simple (indeed simplistic) scenario, with a very flat heated template, shown in grey, pressing down lightly onto linen with a 3/1 weave.

Fig 8A: light downward pressure from hot template (grey) on 3/1 linen twill

The hot spots and regions for scorching by contact are shown in red. The next diagram models what to expect if/when higher pressure is applied, still with that flat template.

Fig. 8  Heavier pressure that compresses the weave

Here’s the same, but under higher contact pressure. The scorched area is now wider than before, occupying a greater width of those rectangular warp sections. Whether the scorch now begins to affect the oblique ends that are descending to loop under the weft is anyone’s guess (see Thibault’s paper for his apparent concern re oblique thread scorching).  But I would make this observation for now: not all the oblique portions are coloured in his mark Evans photomicrographs, and only a few of the exposed weft threads.  Already i am beginning to take issue with Thibault and his somewhat ascerbic observations on coloration that is not strictly confined to the most superficial, flat portions of the weft.

11:47  Hugh has just added a comment, drawing attention to the  Shroud Scope images, and whether the herringbone weave we see there represents threads, or shadows between threads. It’s a subject we discussed earlier, and I don’t recall exactly what I said there, except maybe that it would require lateral lighting for furrows to look more prominent than ridges, and that I really couldn’t imagine that Durante in 2002 would have used lateral lighting, but instead have opted for an overhead bank of lights to avoid shadows (surely?). While I think some more about it, here is a Shroud Scope image I have just grabbed, to which I’ve given some extra contrast. Judge for yourselves, folks… It’s from the nose, mouth and chin, selecting an area with primarily body image, with some adjacent non-image area. Body image tends to show grey or red-brown.

Lower face, Man in the Shroud, Durante 2002 vertical, Shroud Scope (courtesy of Mario Latendresse).
Settings in MS Office Picture Manager: -7,100/15 for brightness/contrast/mid range values.

Fig.9: Click to enlarge

The next step will be to add another entirely different source of thermal energy to the model so far. It is secondary, and it is convection as distinct from conduction. It acts at a distance, in contrast to conduction that requires atom-to-atom contact between template and linen.  It is in fact forced convection, and may contribute to the subtlety and complexity of the Shroud image, even if the template, as above,  represented so far as a flat sheet of metal, is unsubtle. I’ll address the possibilites that are offered by curved bas relief   template over a flat sunk-relief metal plate last of all.

Watch this space – more to come.


Yellow background added to previous to show up the presence of superheated air and steam. The new orange-coloured regions represent threads that have been discolored as a resullt of contact with these gases, a result of pyrolysis by convection as distinct from conduction.

Fig.10: Caveat: the above diagram is highly schematic, indeed impressionist, with no attempt to show the precise locations of the new additions. 

More to come…  with the focus on the above hypothesised ‘secondary scorching’ via forced convection of superheated gases (air and steam).

15:15  The natural moisture (H2O)content of linen is said to be 6.7%, although it can absorb up to 20% of water without feeling damp. It seems unlikely that linen will start to pyrolyse under a hot template at least until that physically-associated water has been driven off as steam. Where is it to go? If there’s a metal template on top, it has little alternative but to exit through the pores of cloth to the underside of the latter. What happens then will depend on the underlay – whether it’s a hard surface or an absorbent cloth say.

Once the linen itself begins to pyrolyse at high temperatures – typically well in excess of 200 degrees C, probably nearer 25o degrees C, then there will be more steam from the chemical dehydration of organic compounds. What’s more it will be superheated steam, probably hot enough to affect linen constituents that are not in direct contact with the template.

I used the term ‘forced convection’ earlier. It’s worth bearing in mind that heated air, steam etc expands with temperature according to Charles’s Law. That means there will be a rush of hot gases from under the template that will have to force their way through the pores of the fabric in order to escape, so the area immediately under the template will be a complex physical and chemical environment which will be reflected in the nature  and distribution of the scorching.

In passing, I might mention the “twinkling stars” effect I have seen when my scorch marks are held up to the light.

Twinkling star effect on back-lit scorch mark, due to a proportion of interstitial pores becoming wider and admitting more light.


Does anyone know if the Shroud shows a similar effect in its image areas? Might those twinkling stars be a signature for a scorch, produced presumably by a combination of mechanical and thermal insults.

Note then the orange coloration that I have added to the last but one figure showing hot gas-induced pyrolysis extending into surrounding area, and probably concentrated in the  interstices  of the fabric between threads. So it should come as no surprise if on studying the Shroud photomicrographs one finds  occasional coloration of the oblique fibres that descend into the interstices. The pyrolysis gases may also contain volatile carbon compounds. The most likely are carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

15:50  OK, so we now have two levels of complexity, arising from scorching via primary conduction, and scorching via secondary convection.  We now need to factor in the third source of complexity – the nature of the template, primarily to do whether it is a flat plane – or a simple sunk relief, i.e. two stepped planes – as used by Thibault, or whether it is a bas-relief with more or less curvature in addition to scattered  and maybe isolated protuberances.

More to come:


Three levels of complexity


Again, a highly schematic diagram that now includes two new elements – a bas relief template and an underlay that permits a degree of moulding of linen to bas relief contours when the latter is pushed down vertically. A diagram does not easily allow one to convey the additional complexity and subtlety that comes form using a curved rather than flat template. suffice it to say that scorch image intensity is likely to be greatest at (a) prominences (b) flatter planes that impact with an incident angle of 0 degrees, ie. “square one”, giving compression of underlay over a wide area, resulting in maximum resistance to penetration of the underlay, and maximum pressure of contact between linen and template. Other things being equal the higher sides of a bas-relief template will imprint less well than the lower “square on” planes.

Put all of these factors together – conduction, convection, bas relief and underlay and it’s clear that far from being simple, the scorch hypothesis can produce images that are subtle and complex. It is a mistake to dismiss scorching on the basis of a few experiments that fail to incorporate the most elementary features that a medieval forger could have adopted with with or without conscious thought processes, but almost certainly with a degree of trial-and-error to achieve and end-result intended to impress and no doubt intrigue viewers if given no hint as to the kind of technology employed. The superficial negative image alone might have perplexed, given that negative images are uncommon even now, yet it is thermal imprinting that in my humble opinion explains the negative image far better than any rival hypothesis, certainly not radiation or obscure chemical processes that require a score of more of conditions to be just right.

With this admittedly lengthy preamble I am now in a position to comment on,  and interpret, the Mark Evans microphotographs that introduced this posting.

Degree of coloration of weft threads: black circles: weft threads with scarcely any coloration; grey circles: rather more coloration, but still generally less than that of the warp threads.

My Fig.13 (above)

Interstices between warp and weft threads: black circles: relatively light coloration; grey circles : intermediate coloration; red; appreciable coloration

My Fig.14 (above)

Are there not tiny black flecks visible in the circled areas? Are these possibly carbonised fragments (“burnt bits”) that while a feature indeed signature of model scorches are allegedly absent from the Shroud image areas (see Thibault’s paper). In fact, there appear to be two carbonised whisker-like FIBRES if I am not mistaken (one in circle on right).

My Fig.15: Click to enlarge

Not finished yet: the results above now need to be interpreted in relation to my newly tweaked conduction/convection model discussed earlier…

That will have to be tomorrow, I’m afraid. Congratulations/commiserations to all of you who have stayed with me this far (quite a fair few, judging by WordPress’s visitor meter)…

Wed 31st October am

OK.  Let’s make a real effort to be as objective, as icily-detached as is possible. Scroll back to that first photomicrograph in this postings without labelling. Imagine, as I have just done, that one is seeing it for the first time, and asking oneself – “Are there any clues from the distribution of colour, especially between warp and weft (i.e more and less superficial components of the weave) as to how that image may have come in to being? Think about it. I’ll be back shortly.


Can anyone seriously doubt or question that warp threads are more strongly coloured than weft? Yet the difference between them in terms of superficiality is tiny, probably nor more than a mm or so.  That difference has to be the major feature of the Shroud image – it is predominantly warp- located. It is the difference that has to be accounted for in any explanation for the Shroud image.

So why is Paolo and his ‘out-of-normal- working hours’ “ENSA”  team continuing to promote their wacky laser beam uv model, claiming that it somehow explains the superficiality of the Shroud image? Why should a high-energy photon (of mysterious origin) produce a colour change in the surface of a warp thread, while an adjacent weft thread, every bit as exposed to the incident laser beam, remain  unaffected, or virtually so? That’s all I have to say on the subject of the laser beam theory – it’s simply not worth the time of day… (And I have not forgotten Paolo Di Lazzaro’s patronizing attempt to summarily dismiss the scorch theory with that silly one-off sustained contact scorching with an over-heated coin posted to the Other Site  – one that guaranteed excessive scorching).

11:00  Here’s some light relief – a screen grab from  the Other Site as it appeared a few minutes ago.

What’s the French for “overkill”?

Yes, that’s my ‘lemon juice’ posting you see there, which yesterday drew some mean-spirited comment, yet again, from  one of the Usual Suspects  saying it was unbecoming of a proper scientist to post without numerical data ( has he never heard of a qualitative discovery, e.g. like the discovery of oxygen, or a preliminary announcement). But it’s those Comments that do that site absolutely no favours. I speak as the individual who first suggested to Dan Porter that he create a “Recent Comments” feature for the sidebar, but look how it has been abused by one obsessional attention-seeker with too much time on his hands(to whom I have just addressed a comment in my own sidebar).

More to come…


Next step: could the pattern be due to scorching by contact/conduction?   Obviously yes – the template making best contact with the most superficial part of the weave, i.e. the warp in this instance.

Is there any other mechanism that could produce selective coloration of the warp threads and fibres? Possibly.  STURP’s Raymond N. Rogers attempted to incorporate that into his Maillard theory,  proposing that reducing sugars were originally in solution and migrated to the highest part of the weave, where they were deposited by evaporation. There are so many objections one could make – but one will do for now. While Rogers claimed that he had a positive test for starch or starch fragments, he did not (to the best of my knowledge) ever test for reducing sugars. What’s more, it’s said there is no excess of nitrogen in the image areas that one would expect if the image has resulted from a Maillard reaction between reducing sugar and any kind of amine (ammonia, putrescine, cadaverine etc). Rogers’ hypothesis needs rather more in the way of underpinning experimental evidence if it is to be taken seriously by this sceptic.

OK, so it’s not uv, it’s not a Maillard reaction. What does that leave? It leaves some kind of thermal scorching. So let’s take that as our working hypothesis and look critically at it in the light of the other photomicrograph evidence. What about those interstices?

More to come…


Oh, one other thing before we move on.  I must flag up a crucial aspect of the scorch imprinting model – contact pressure. Contact pressure that is sufficient to get a good imprint off a template is likely to flatten the weave. If the weave is flattened, reducing the height difference between warp and weave threads then a greater width of those warp threads will be scorched, and indeed there may be some scorching of the weft weave as well. Maybe we have here a means of testing the hypothesis. How? It’s a well known fact that certain parts of the head of the Man in the Shroud are imaged better than others, notably the nose, chin, mouth etc.  In the scorching-off-a-hot-template model,  that’s because those prominences give good contact.  Ipso facto, one might expect better imprinting, leaving a wider-than-average impression on the threads, maybe even beginning to imprint on the recessed weft threads. That should be a testable hypothesis, once the copyright holder(s) of the Mark Evans and other photographic archives can be prevailed upon to place the ENTIRE high-resolution archive into the public domain.

Raymond Rogers’ explanation  for the enhanced imprinting of the nose, chin etc? His model attributred it to those putative (or as I would say, premature) putrefaction amines, escaping from each and every body orifice.  Sometimes in science one needs more than ingenuity. Sometimes in science, faced with the unfamiliar or the unexpected,  one’s first refuge should be the  feet-on-the-ground commonsense that one hopefully was born with, or acquired through experience…

15:25 :  Now for those interstices (Fig 14 above with the red circles). There does seem to be heavier coloration on the oblique ends of the warp threads than might be expected from a simple contact scorch model, even with a lot of applied pressure. However, that should not be an occasion – or pretext- for dumping that model, least of all when there is nothing  credible to put in its place. There is a time-honoured alternative in science, which is to tweak the model (while trying not to incorporate so many refinements as to make the model  over-embroidered and unrealistic).

I have pointed to one possibility – namely that steam and pyrolysis gases escape through the interstices of the cloth to the underside, and may colour up the oblique ends of the warp threads en route.  Note especially my Fig 11, with its “starlight effect”, which are enlarged interstices that let through more light.  One can’t be certain at this stage as to what caused them, but dehydration steam seems a likely possibility – with enough enlarged holes being created to relieve the pressure.  Might such  a star-studded effect be apparent if the Shroud were held up to the light and photographed?  Might that star-studded effect be another signature of scorching?

Rogers himself, no friend of scorch models, postulated that superheated steam from pyrolysis could provide the activation energy for further scorching. But if it were pyrolysis gases that were extending the zone of pyrolysis and coloration, shown as orange instead of red in my schematic diagrams above, would that not also colour up the weft threads as well, given they too  will feel a hot blast?  Yet the weft threads, as mentioned above, have remained pale in colour and easily distinguishable from the more roasted appearance of the warp, even the oblique ends of the latter. Maybe there’s another  explanation. One I recall suggesting elsewhere some months ago is that the threads that are most quickly scorched through immediate contact (i.e. “warp” though I did not use that term at the time) then contract due to partial dehydration, such that coloured portions retreat into the interstices making the scorch look less superficial than was really the case. That idea is only a possibility at this stage, and is one that needs testing experimentally. Unfortunately it would need  a 3/1 weave for any results to be considered relevant to the Shroud, and that’s something I don’t have. Nor do I have a microscope. Maybe I could beg, borrow or steal Hugh’s, or, perish the thought,  buy it off him when he’s done what he wants to do…  😉

Seriously, I might consider investing in my own microscope, but only when I feel that I am running  out of things to do at the more macroscopic level. Neither do I wish to get too involved with the minutiae of microscopy right now. that would be inviting frustration while the Shroud photomicrographs are still jealously guarded by STERA and its pro-authenticity globe-trotting President, the man given to springing out the woodwork of the Other Site to personally slap down my ideas about scorching with stale STURP so-called science. It’s one thing to go cap in hand to a curator for access to artefacts – another thing entirely to go to the proselytising President of $TERA with his hoard of copyrighted material, having read his advisory note that high definition photographs are not available for display on the internet. Maybe Thibault Heimburger can persuade STERA to release its entire portfolio of photomicrographs – not just the one that serve his purposes….  I for one really need to know how those bloodstains look in relation to warp and weft (see my earlier postings on the Shroud Scope images of blood – or should that be “blood-substitute”?).

More to come:  (probably not a lot more, but I must mention those “burned bits” that Thibault considers the signature par excellence for scorching).

Thibault Heimburger concludes his paper with this: “The “signature” of a scorch is found in all kind of scorches, even in very light and light scorches: even at the lowest temperature, some protruding burned fibers are observed and many small opaque brown to dark burned pieces of fibers are easily found everywhere in the sticky-tape experiments. This was not the case for the direct observations with the microscope on the Shroud in 1978 or on the sticky-tapes.”

No protruding burned fibres on the Shroud, eh Thibault? No dark burned pieces of fibres?  Never mind the STURP samples for now. Have you looked closely, and I mean REALLY closely at the 4 Mark Evans pictures that you have liberated from the Evans/STERA archive. Have a look at my Fig 15 above. Are there not black bits in those circled areas. Have a look look at the circle on the right, which I have enlarged as Fig 0 (an afterthought) to introduce this posting.  Here it is again:

Is that not at least one – possibly more carbonised fibres I see there?


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.
This entry was posted in medieval forgery, Shroud of Turin and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to A leisurely, thinking-aloud appraisal of those recently-released Shroud photomicrographs.

  1. Hugh Farey says:

    I’m a fraction confused here. The warp threads are the ones which hang vertically in a loom, through which, by a system of heddles, the horizontal weft thread passes. On the shroud, the warp threads run longitudinally, and the weft threads transverse. Am I correct now in thinking that the photos show part of the shroud in its landscape, rather than portrait, format? So, as you say, the warp threads are prominent (at least on the front of the cloth, and in the pictures). I’m not sure it matters, but I’d like to clear it up. I can’t be sure from the Shroud Scope photos.
    Whatever the answer, there are corollaries I hadn’t thought of. If the markings are most prominent on the most prominent threads, then of course the back of the cloth, where most of those threads are hidden, would show very little discolouration. It would be interesting to see a bit of 3-1 twill woven entirely from black warp and white weft. Presumably it would be pretty dark grey on the one side, and pretty light grey on the other.
    The other observation, which I made before, is that any patch of Shroud Scope photo, image, non-image or blood actually shows dark diagonal lines best, which are not marked threads at all, but the shadows between them. The threads themselves are quite pale. So whatever the surface of the threads is coloured with, the image we see on the photographs is primarily made of the dips and furrows where the mainly overlying threads dip under the underlying ones.

  2. colinsberry says:

    Good morning to you Hugh.

    My labelling is based not so much on the orientation of the loom or even that of the Shroud, It’s based on what good ol’ first resort wiki has to say under its “twill” entry. I’ve bolded the key section:

    “Twill fabrics technically have a front and a back side, unlike plain weave, where the two sides are the same. The front side of the twill is the technical face and the back is called technical back. The technical face side of a twill weave fabric is the side with the most pronounced wale. It is usually more durable, more attractive, and most often used as the fashion side of the fabric. This side is usually the side visible during weaving. If there are warp floats on the technical face (if the warp crosses over two or more wefts),there will be filling floats (the weft will cross over two or more warps) on the technical back. If the twill wale goes up to the right on one side, it will go up to the left on the other side. Twill fabrics have no up and down as they are woven.

    I’ll now have a think about your other points, and add them on to this Reply as an Edit if that’s OK with you.

    I hope you’re not bunking off… 😉

    Update 11:47
    I’ve just inserted a section that addresses your shadow issue. It’s not the final word by any means. Clearly what we need are a series of pictures that zoom in (or zoom out) progressively.

    Afterthought (12:11) Nope, I don’t think shadows are an issue Hugh and I’ll tell you why. Look at the body image on the herringbone weave on the nose, say, where its prominent, and then track it left or right onto cheeks etc where its less prominent. There is no discontinuity in the ridge. So one has simply moved from intense to fainter body image. If shadows and furrows were an issue you would see more evidence of that in the fainter body image areas. You don’t, because it’s body image on ridges that is responsible for the Shroud Scope body image. I fail to see why shadows should dominate is a well-illuminated subject. But I shall try to keep an open-mind, as is my wont…

  3. Hugh Farey says:

    I have bought ANOTHER microscope! This one up to 1000X and with a built in camera. Sadly, it might have to wait until the Christmas holidays before I experiment with my linen on it. Anyway, on your ‘stars,’ almost the first thing I noticed on putting my first sample under a microscope (after quite a heavy scorch) was how shrunk the fibres were.

  4. colinsberry says:

    Do you happen to know if that is irreversible shrinkage or not, Hugh? I’ve read somewhere that the normal moisture content of linen is in the region of 6-7%. Would the lightly-scorched fibres regain most or all their length after a day or two exposed to moist air? Is there any evidence of shrinkage in image areas of the Shroud compared with non-image areas?
    Btw: those “stars” do not disappear on my scorches. I think the weave has been severely disrupted, albeit at the near-microscopic level…

    • Adrie says:

      Hi Colin and Hugh,

      As to the shrinkage of image fibers/threads: I can’t remember reading about it, but I haven’t read everything and may have forgotten. It is said though, that “the body image fibers are more brittle than those of the non-body image fibers” (Adler, Chemical and Physical Aspects, p. 15). “The image fibers are very brittle and show “corroded” surfaces (as would be expected for dehydratively oxidized material)” (Adler, The Nature of the Body Images, p. 105).
      On macroscopic scale, in transmitted light photography, “the waterstains, scorches, and blood marks are all still clearly evidenced, confirming that they do penetrate the cloth. However, the body images have almost completely disappeared” (Adler, Chemical and Physical Aspects, p. 17). So, it seems there are no ‘stars’ in the Shroud image, at least not revealing their presence in the photograph.

  5. colinsberry says:

    Hello Adrie

    I wish I could have been there when Barrie Schwortz was taking his backlit photo with transmitted light. If he’d said it was a highly significant finding – seeing bloodstains etc but not the image – I think I might have said “Hold on a mo’ – I can’t see any compelling reasons why an image that can be seen with reflected light cannot be seen also with transmitted light.” It may simply have needed some adjustment of the light intensity, more or less, to allow for the background colour and light absorption in the linen’s non-image areas. Do I not recall reading Schwortz saying somewhere that it can be difficult anyway to differentiate between image and non-image areas even when viewed directly? I’ll see if I can track down that quote. If I find it, I’ll add it on here as an edit.

    Stars? They may be absent, but I think one would need a really bright source of light, comparable to daylight, to be able to see them well if present, given the tiny size of the apertures. They may be an artefact of the closely-woven linen that I use for my experiments (cut from a decorator’s cloth!).

    Update: I wasn’t imagining things. It was in an interview he gave in March this year (my italics):

    “Well, much to my surprise, the closer I looked at the image, there was absolutely nothing on the surface of that cloth or embedded in the weave that would have indicated or even implied that there was the presence of any kind of paint of pigment. Not only that, but up close and personal with a 10X magnifier, it was tough to detect an imaged fiber from a non-imaged fiber, they were so close in value and tone. And it was simply the fact that we saw more imaged fibers where we saw the image, and fewer where we didn’t, or where it becomes more faint.”


    • Adrie says:

      Yes, I agree with you that the stars may be just an artefact of the decorator’s cloth. And you’re right about the difficulty in discerning the image in low magnification as well.
      These are the backlit photos of the Shroud http://www.shroud.com/gallery/pages/4X5FTA.htm http://www.shroud.com/gallery/pages/4X5DTA.htm (by “macroscopic scale” I meant ‘visible to the naked eye’). They show that some parts of the image are a bit darker than the background, for instance the abdomen and ventral thighs, but nowhere in the body image the net effect of oxidation+stars is a lighter image than the background, except perhaps at the four areas at the forehead, beneath a ventral knee, at the back of the head and next to a dorsal foot. But these lighter areas don’t constitute an image and seem to be artefacts of the light sources or wear. The book “The Orphaned Manuscript” has the backlit photo of the ventral side. It shows white borders around the burn patches and some white lines along the scorched longitudinal folds that are not visible in the online photo.

      I wonder if the back of the cloth was lighted uniformly. If the middle strip of the cloth received more backlight than the sides (and if the top and bottom parts of the image received more than the middle part of it), this might explain (at least partly) why the image is less visible than the light scorches and why only the middle part of the ventral image is visible.
      Adler said “In reflectance photographs the images of the waterstains, scorches, blood, and body images are all approximately of about the same intensity.” The text then has the two sentences about disappearance of the body image and the presence of the other marks in transmitted light (already quoted), and then follows a cryptic sentence: “In the reflectance mode the colored body image fibers produce 100% of the reflected radiation recorded, but in the transmitted mode they only contribute about 1% of the radiation recorded, thus demonstrating their superficial one-fiber-deep nature.” (Adler, Chemical and Physical aspects, p. 17). Pellicori wrote: “Figure 2 presents reflectances relative to background and normalized to ~1.0 at 700 nm for body image areas, scorches from the year 1532 fire, and bloodstained areas. […] A representative light scorch and a body stain have nearly the same color” (Spectral properties, p. 1915). Pellicori doesn’t discuss transmitted mode recordings of the Shroud, so perhaps the details, especially the (backlight-corrected) percentages for the light scorches, are in another STURP article, which I haven’t got…
      John Jackson recently said “the STURP examination clearly showed that the body image is only on the surface of the cloth, whereas the 1532 scorch mark discolorations at the same intensity of the body image discolor the cloth throughout its bulk.” link

      Antonacci probed the Shroud with a dissecting needle under a microscope and testified to “the discontinuous nature of the color and the extremely shallow penetration of the color into the cloth” (http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/rogers.pdf p. 12). I don’t know if anyone ever did this with a representative light scorch. BTW, in 1982 Rogers and Schwalbe wrote “With properly controlled heat and timing, superficial scorches can be produced on cloth without affecting the gross mechanical properties of the fabric” (Physics and Chemistry, p. 25).

  6. colinsberry says:

    Hello Adrie

    Thanks for the links. I’ve just put the frontal image (enlarged!) into my photoediting programme, adjusted brightness and contrast, and obtained an unexpected result. I am minded to display it, as a new posting, and then see what the dorsal side looks like too. Would you object if I chose a title that says “Comment promoted”, with part or all of your comment displayed?

  7. colinsberry says:

    Great. I’ll get busy. Expect to see something in the next half hour or so.

  8. colinsberry says:

    Excuse me asking, Adrie, but how were you able to discern so much detail from those two links you posted from the STERA gallery? Did you too have to use the zoom facility on your laptop – cue galloping pixellation? Or did you charm Mr.Schwortz into releasing his best HR images of his thumbnail samples?

    • Adrie says:

      Hi Colin, I didn’t see the detail from the links, but from the print of the ventral photo on p. 16 of Adler’s posthumous book “The Orphaned Manuscript” (available via http://holyshroudguild.org/orphaned-manuscript.html , but with “All rights reserved” by Effatà Editrice, Turin). I do ‘think I see’ the calves and the feet and probably one of the thighs (right on the screen) in the online dorsal photo using the zoom facility, though. Adler said that the image had “almost completely disappeared” (Chemical and Physical Aspects, p. 17, also in Adler, The Shroud Fabric and the Body Image, in The Turin Shroud, past, present and future, p. 57), so at least some of it should visible.

      Today, I found a larger online ventral photo near the end of this page http://www.shroud.com/vanhels2.htm (reddish), and another one here (yellowish). Also these don’t have all the white lines and borders of the print in the book, so the print probably is distorted. Zooming in on the reddish photo, it seems to show some fingers. This page on shroud3d.com has a comparison of the head in reflectance and transmitted light (I can’t see the photo when on the page but it is this one: comparison head ). This one has a patch and forearm (click to enlarge). This is just the forehead in different lighting , probably to compensate for the overlighting of the forehead in the ventral photo by the upper light source.

      I didn’t ask Barrie Schwortz to release the HR images, but his gallery page says anyone can ask for them “for use in books, magazines, television programs, etc.” but not for the internet.

      • colinsberry says:

        Thanks again Adrie. I’ve taken a close look at those two extra links. The one from shrouduniversity.com says by way of caption: “Frontal image in transmitted light. Shroud is illuminated from behind. Substances will impede the transmission of light. Hence, the blood on the arms and wrist and side wound are apparent. Burns and scorch marks are also very apparent. The water stain around the knees and blood at the feet can also be seen. But what is completely lacking is any visual evidence of substances applied to the cloth by an artist to create the image. The image itself disappears in transmitted light. There are no artistic substances on the cloth used to generate the image.”

        But guess what? The scourge marks are missing. How come one is able to see one type of blood stain and not another? OK, so the scourge marks are faint, relative to blood on forearms etc, but it is still an applied pigment, albeit a natural one (haemoglobin). I don’t know what you think, but to me it would seem that if one cannot see the scourge marks, then it’s hardly surprising one cannot see the body image… It’s the lighting – it discriminates. Oh.and I see that it appears to be two bright spots, one at head end, the other at foot end, with apparently nothing in between. Not ideal…

  9. Hugh Farey says:

    Great links, Adrie. The vanhels2 one has an editorial comment: “…the positioning of the two 500W quartz halogen light fixtures placed behind the cloth to create the transmitted light images. I had no way to diffuse the light and transmit it evenly through the cloth…”
    The other backlit photo was from Prof. Riggi’s little fibre-optic light, which he poked through the opening between cloth and backing.
    Given this information, and the knowledge that however it is caused the image is thin, I’m not surprised it’s difficult/impossible to see in these photographs, and do not think that fact says anything about their formation.

  10. Adrie says:

    Yes, again I agree, Colin. That the lighting discriminates is what I suspected when I saw the photos, and now you’ve mentioned the absence of scourge marks and Hugh has found the quote about the uneven lighting, I’m sure. (Some marks on the breast that clearly look pinkish in my Picasa-photo-edit of the ShroudScope-breast area, and that can be considered an applied pigment, are missing in the detailed backlit photo of the patch-forearm.)

    Unless there are backlighting-corrected data from a representative light scorch, that can be compared to the data from “the colored body image fibers” (Adler mentioned a 100% radiation that dropped to 1%), this backlight experiment certainly can’t be used to dismiss the scorch hypothesis, imo.

  11. colinsberry says:

    “(Some marks on the breast that clearly look pinkish in my Picasa-photo-edit of the ShroudScope-breast area, and that can be considered an applied pigment, are missing in the detailed backlit photo of the patch-forearm.)”

    I’m intrigued by that comment, Adrie, but am somewhat puzzled too. What’s all this about an applied pigment? Isn’t that supposed to have been ruled out, or do you have evidence to the contrary? I’m also a bit confused about the jump from the ‘breast area’ to the “patch-forearm”. “Patch”? Sorry, which patch?

    Yep, I agree with your overall conclusion. Suppose the Vatican set up a contest, offering a bar of gold to the first person who could produce a photograph of the Shroud body image with backlighting only, I’m willing to bet the competition would be over in days if not hours 😉

  12. Adrie says:

    Well, I said the bloodcolored scourge marks can be considered an applied pigment, because you compared the haemoglobin of blood to an applied pigment in your earlier comment (“OK, so the scourge marks are faint, relative to blood on forearms etc, but it is still an applied pigment, albeit a natural one (haemoglobin).” And also because, guess what, I think you’re right about touched up “wounds”. Hope to write about that later.
    This backlit photo I called the patch and forearm in my earlier comment, and it has the patch next to the large bloodmark on the breast.

    I’m afraid I couldn’t win that contest … have to get back to that pesky fluorescence first …

    • Hugh Farey says:

      Pesky Fluorescence. Being a teacher, and anxious to get children to do proper research, I set them to find the lowest temperature we could make linen fluoresce at. Actually it seems a very gradual thing, and some swore they could see it after an hour at 100°C, but it was definitely obvious and quite bright at 150°C. As we were experimenting in 50°C jumps, we can’t be more precise – yet…

      • colinsberry says:

        Interesting. There’s always the risk of subjective judgement, especially at the lower temperatures. Have you considered doing a triangulation test Hugh? (Heat one strip of linen, and have two unheated controls, or heat two strips and have one control, code them A ,B, and C, then line up the pupils, and get each one to write on a slip of paper which of the three is the “odd man out”, and whether it is more or less fluorescent than the other two. Just a thought.

  13. colinsberry says:

    Sorry, I’m with you now (pink = blood = a kind of applied pigment).

    I look forward to seeing what you have to say on the subject of touched-up wounds. Incidentally, did you see my theory a few months back re the Shroud’s blood that seems to have the consistency of sludge as distinct from normal runny blood (noting the way it seems to be concentrated on ribs of the weave rather down in the furrows). I speculated that it might be from medicinal leeches – a handy way of storing blood in days gone by. Leeches oblige your medieval forger by secreting anticoagulants, antiseptic preservatives etc, and even pump out the runny serum/albumin from stored blood (which they take months to digest) to leave a nice thick “paint”.

    • Adrie says:

      Yes, I saw that theory (I saw all your postings), and that’s one of the reasons why I think you’re right about touched-up wounds. Sorry about the pinkish. Later I thought I should have written reddish or purplish or the other word you used for the bloodcolor (found it again): shades of plum.

  14. colinsberry says:

    So what’s your view, Adrie, on the bloodstains being ‘serum exudates from retracted blood clots’? Oh, and do you believe that pigs can fly? 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s