No Mr. Breault – the blood IS on the hair (because that’s where the artist intended it to be)

Here’s a comment  that has just appeared from Shroud road show promoter Russ Breault on Dan Porter’s site as it is now called:

Russ Breault

Russ Breault

December 6, 2012 at 9:32 am | #1

Thanks Dan, here is an example of what I might include. This comes from Dr. Gil Lavoie’s work. On the Shroud we see blood that appears to be in the hair. Its not in the hair. The blood was on the face. Since the image came later, the blood only appears to be in the hair when you pull the cloth flat. This is a powerful proof point that the cloth indeed wrapped a corpse. Now why the image is vertically collimated is anyone’s guess.

Haven’t we overlooked something, Mr.Breault, that rather undermines your dodgy, self-serving authenticist position? There is a shroud dorsal as well as frontal image.

frontal and dorsal blood on hair cropped

Shroud Scope images, brightness and contrast adjusted (Durante 2002/M.Latendresse)

Look at the back of the head on the dorsal image, and there are abundant bloodstains there too on the hair which are clearly intended to represent blood loss from a crown of thorns. But unlike the frontal view, there is no way that blood can be interpreted as having been on skin initially as distinct from hair.

Yet we know that blood could not have flowed from head wounds over strands of hair the way it did in the frontal image  – i.e. in rivulets (thus your need, Mr.Breault, to propose it was on the skin initially, only seeming to be on the hair as a consequence of collimation, based on that hoary  ‘blood first, body image second’ dogma.

I’ve already pointed out on previous occasions the scanty evidence on which that dogma is based. As for collimation, presumably of radiation, with no realistic mechanism for forming an image, then what we see here is frankly twaddle, hokum, pseudoscience (take your pick)…

My view? The image was imprinted first. Then the blood was painted on. (See an earlier post for what might have been used as a ready source of concentrated, clot-free blood,  i.e. medicinal leech digesta). The artist wanted to indicate blood from a crown of thorns, so used artistic licence when painting it on the hair – frontal and dorsal image. How was he to know that sceptical 21st century critics, sick to the back teeth of the pseudoscience,  would look at those blood trails on the frontal image and declare that real blood simply does not flow in that fashion on hair… In fact clotted blood does not flow at all, and so peculiar in composition was the so-called “blood” on the Shroud that Adler and Heller resorted to the description “serum exudate from retracted blood clots” (still more pseudoscience).

How much longer must we endure this selective reporting of the facts – chosen to fit a preconceived agenda – this PSEUDOSCIENCE????

Postscript: a passage from a posting by Meacham which while generally pro-authenticity, includes a mention of someone else’s deep scepticism re the blood stains on the hair (see phrase highlighted in italics at the very end).

“The pathology described thus far may well have characterized any number of crucifixion victims, since beating, scourging, carrying the crossbar, and nailing were common traits of a Roman execution. The lacerations about the upper head and the wound in the side are unusual and thus crucial in the identification of the Shroud figure. The exact nature of these wounds, especially whether they were inflicted on a living body and whether they could have been faked, is highly significant. Around the upper scalp and extending to its vertex are at least 30 blood flows from spike punctures. These wounds exhibit the same realism as those of the hand and feet: the bleeding is highly characteristic of scalp wounds with the retraction of torn vessels, the blood meets obstructions as it flows and pools on the forehead and hair, and there appears to be swelling around the points of laceration (though Bucklin [personal communication, 1982] doubts that swelling can be discerned). Several clots have the distinctive characteristics of either venous or arterial blood, as seen in the density, uniformity, or modality of coagulation (Rodante 1982). One writer (Freeland, cited in Sox 1981) questions the highly visible nature of the wounds and clots, as if the Shroud man had been bald or the stains painted over the body image.”

Update: Mario Latendresse,  who I acknowledged above for his superb Shroud Scope, has just added a comment to the Russ Breault posting, stating that the notion of image projection onto a flattened sheet of linen simply does not fit with the geometrical facts. Here’s a link to his comment: click on the blue 2.

December 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm | #2
Afterthought (prompted by Hugh Farey’s comment):  here’s a link to a post I did a while ago, suggesting how that ‘blood first, body image ‘ might be re-investigated. Here, by way of taster, is a screen grab from that posting:
Angled abrasion of Shroud blood/image areas

Angled abrasion of Shroud blood/image areas


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.

11 Responses to No Mr. Breault – the blood IS on the hair (because that’s where the artist intended it to be)

  1. Hugh Farey says:

    I think the “before or after” question of the bloodstains is an important factor, possibly crucial, in determining how the image occurred. Every mention I can find claiming that there is no image under the blood refers to two papers, both by Heller and Adler, in Applied Optics and the Canadian Forensic Society Science Journal. The first, which available online, does not, in fact, mention the image at all, and the second (in a journal whose real name is “The Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal) is not online. However I found the following quotation on “It is interesting to point out that many of these wound images appear to have a border encircling the darkly colored area where body image is absent, a halo of sorts that can clearly be seen as such in the UV photography…”(Heller, J. H.; Adler, A. D. The Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal 1981, 14, 81 – 103). [Correctly named this once!]. I believe this refers to the UV fluorescent halo which is occasionally mentioned encircling one of the tips of the blood image on the wrist. In ordinary light, (as on the shroudscope photos) no such halo can be seen, and in its place the fabric is as dark as anywhere else on the image. I do not know if this article says anything else about the subject or not.
    Elesewhere, there is reference to the blood being dissolved away, and no image being revealed underneath. However these chemical experiments were carried out on single threads, where the blood is present in crystallised lumps. Given that the image is mostly present on the tops of threads, and the blood mostly in the furrows, I don’t understand how this claim can be made, unless a clearly yellowed thread equally clearly stopped being yellow under a lump of blood, and then was yellow again when it emerged from the other side. I have not read any evidence to that effect.
    Back on fluorescence, I note that the entire shroud fluoresces weakly, and wonder how the image, however it was made, manages to suppress this, unless those who claim the image doesn’t fluoresce really mean that it doesn’t fluoresce any more than the rest of the shroud. However the image was made, if the entire shroud was subjected to a temperature of, say, 200°C, it would all be slightly scorched (accounting for its sepia colour?), and its overall fluorescence would mask any fluorescence made when the image was formed. I have only seen one picture of the shroud under UV light (the one with the ‘halo’ round the blood), and it all seems to be glowing quite brightly. Are there any other of the UV photos available online, do you know?

  2. colinsberry says:

    You raise a lot of interesting points there Hugh, too many for me to do justice to right now, but I shall endeavour to do so in the fullness of time, some here, maybe with new postings to address others. (Incidentally, do you have your own website? if not, you are always welcome as a guest poster on my humble rag).

    For now, I would simply say that your first sentence or two needs to be given as much emphasis and publicity as possible. Yes, that “blood first, image second” claim, nay dogma, is used in authenticity-promoting Shroudology as a trophy result. Yet is is based as you say on just one maybe two qualitative, i.e. non-quantitative experiments, e.g. a spot test on a microscope slide with a protease enzyme (alleged to dissolve blood with no underlying body image said to be visible). Upon that impressionistic evidence, we see entire edifices constructed, such as that of Russ Breault in that comment of his, claiming to have “proved” the Shroud covered a real corpse, and then going on to promote ‘mystery’ as regards projection and collimation of an allegedly undistorted body image.

    Strange, don’t you think, that when I announce a qualitative, non-quantitative finding, as I did recently regarding the ‘invisible ink’ effect with lemon juice, allowing thermal imprinting at a considerably reduced temperature, I get this immediate response from Mr.Andy Weiss, who stridently promotes an authenticity campaign on behalf of a New Mexico Shroudie museum:


    It just seems to me if Colin is as good a scientist as he claims, he would already be beyond this kind of thing. What I am thinking is his doing experiments and failing to provide measurements and other objective data that other scientists and anyone else can review and compare against their own experiments. This reminds me of what Walter McCrone did with his ‘science.’

    So we have to understand that there are GOOD non-quantitative experiments, like Adler’s with the protease, which can be trumpeted as trophy results, and there are BAD non-quantitative experiments that do nothing to promote Shroud authenticity, like mine with the lemon juice, which can be contemptuously dismissed as unscientific.

    Incidentally, I posted a while ago on a possible no-nonsense approach to re- investigating which came first – blood or body image.

    Any thoughts?

    To be continued…

  3. Adrie says:

    Hello Colin,

    I agree with you that the blood on the frontal head doesn’t prove there was a real corpse and that clotted blood doesn’t flow at all. There seems to be no “fibrinolysis” on a dead man, or even on a living man, within the “less than 40 hours” that the uncorrupted body would have been inside the cloth (Brillante, 2002, p. 1), and on hair or intact skin it is entirely impossible:

    “Tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) and urokinase are the agents that convert plasminogen to the active plasmin, thus allowing fibrinolysis to occur. t-PA is released into the blood very slowly by the damaged endothelium of the blood vessels, such that after several days (when the bleeding has stopped) the clot is broken down. This occurs because plasminogen became entrapped within the clot when it formed; as it is slowly activated, it breaks down the fibrin mesh.” (Fibrinolysis)

    De Wesselow suggested that the blood on the head is postmortem blood that got released at the removal of the crown of thorns, and on the frontal side perhaps dripped from the crown unto the face and unto the hair that had already adhered because of dry clotted blood in it (The Sign, end of ch. 10). My view, for now, is that the Shroud has both authentic postmortem blood (e.g. on the wrist) and painted-on ‘blood’ (e.g. in scourge marks). I’m still thinking and searching.

  4. colinsberry says:

    Hello again Adrie. Yes, the process of fibrinolysis of internal blood clots is fairly well understood, involving as you say plasminogen conversion to plasmin, the latter being a proteolytic enzyme.

    That’s not to be confused with the gradual lysis of external clots which is hugely complex, and a much slower process. Yet in hallowed Shroudie literature, we see fibrinolysis being invoked to explain how external clots can somehow liquefy in a short time frame in an attempt to explain the blood flows on the Shroud. I have an expression for this blatant attempt to blind with inappropriate, out-of-proper-context science – HOKUM!

    Why may I ask do you think the wrist blood is ‘authentic post mortem’? In what way is it different from blood elsewhere?

    Btw: I’m not sure why you comments require my approval before appearing. I thought the WordPress system only required the first to need clearing, and you have of course posted several. I’ll re-read the small print to see if we can’t get your comments to appear as soon as you hit the send button.

    Here’s a link to an important paper by Adrie that appeared earlier this year:

  5. Adrie says:

    These are some of my considerations, Colin :

    1) It could be authentic post-mortem blood because some would have come out after removal of the nail (Zugibe), and the wrist is a body-sheet contact zone.
    2) There almost must be (or have been) authentic blood on the wrist because a medieval artist most probably wouldn’t have painted it on the wrist but on the palm (De Wesselow), unless he already saw traces of blood on the wrist and touched them up.
    3) It almost couldn’t have been only painted fresh blood or blood substitute because the wrist blood has margins that are lighter than the surrounding image. Some are lighter in both ordinary and UV light (e.g. at the bottom and around the broad tip of the stain), and one, around the narrow tip, is lighter only in UV (your contrast-enhanced close-up shows no lighter margin here, but zooming in on the UV photo, it does). This margin that is lighter only in UV, seems to be part of the red-orange stain in ordinary light, and could have been formed by orange plasma/serum (that flowed to the tip of the red flow during the post-mortem efflux). Serum is fluorescent (e.g. its minimal constituent lipofuscin fluoresces blue: 402 nm under 366 nm) and would have prevented fluorescence-quenching in image formation. Lighter margins in both UV and ordinary light could have been formed by
    a) perhaps a very clear plasma/serum that prevented image formation (in that case the plasma/serum would be pre-image); a post-image painted-on ‘serum’ would not have created lighter margins in ordinary light.
    b) blood (or plasma) that flaked off (in that case the blood or plasma would have been pre-image and preventing image formation).
    c) a kind of ‘tenting effect’ (in that case the welt or elevated clot would be pre-image): electrostatic field lines ‘tent-away’ from concave surfaces such as those surrounding a welt or dry elevated blood clot, but concentrate on convex or pointed surfaces: see CD-paper, fig. 5 and especially fig. 13, which shows that the CD marks of concave hollows are light, and those of convex hills are dark with a light surrounding halo because of their concave margins; scorch tenting from a bas-relief would need the medieval artist to have made a welt or clot bas-relief on the wrist, and to have painted its dark mark red later.
    4) There is at least some separate plasma/serum on the Shroud. The sticky-tape sample of the narrow tip of the wrist blood (3EF) belonged to the tape set used for blood tests by Heller&Adler (A Chemical, Table 1). In this set, they found both red-particulate coated fibers (which particulates were non-birefringent) and gold-yellow coated fibers, and both coatings could be completely dissolved by proteases (Ibid. p. 40-41). On the gold fibers they got a positive Bromcresol Green test for serum albumin (Ibid. p. 40). I understand that in medicinal leeches the serum is excreted rapidly (your posting). The only scourge sample taken (1FB = “Image: Blood on Scourge Mark”, from one of the calves) did not belong to the set tested for blood by H&A.

    As to the WordPress system: I don’t mind waiting for your approval. And thanks for the link!

    • Adrie says:

      Above, in 3b) I forgot to mention that the blood and the image layer may have flaked off together. In that case the blood needn’t have been pre-image.

  6. colinsberry says:

    I proposed an explanation for the wrist being the site of a nail “wound” (blood image only) way back in January, Adrie – just one week after my very first Shroud posting. See my sciencebuzz site….


    It’s based on the fact that the entire hand – not just the fingers – looks rather bony. Some might say that the bones in the palm – the metacarpals – look just as prominent as those (the phalanges) in the fingers. We can discuss another time why the bones look so prominent. I would suggest it had something to do with the template chosen for scorch imprinting. Use of a mummified cadaver was suggested – or – on second thoughts – maybe a plaster cast taken from one – though other explanations are possible).

    Irrespective, one could speculate that someone came along decades – or even centuries later – looked at the image of the hands with NO bloodstains, and decided to apply blood to represent a nail wound in the upper of the two crossed hands. But he mistook metacarpals for phalanges, which is easily done if one is not an anatomist, and thus we have the “anatomically correct” wrist wound which is on the wrist instead of mid-palm where the artist intended.

    Strange (don’t you think?) that no one declared centre-palm wounds as anatomically- incorrect until viewing the Shroud, and indeed those centre-palm wounds were the norm in pre-medieval paintings. Actually, i doubt they were anatomically incorrect if the feet were nailed to some kind of ledge or wedge that supported at least some of the body weight, relieving the hands of a major part of the body weight with less risk of ‘tearing’.

    This is just a holding reply. I’ll have to make a decision as to how best to address your many other interesting points….

  7. Adrie says:

    Yes, I agree with you that the entire hand looks rather bony and a medieval painter could have made a mistake. And you’re also right that a palm wound isn’t anatomically incorrect after all if the victim had foot support. Because of the Shroud, Barbet did tests on the palm, and, without factoring foot support, concluded that the palm is too weak. Zugibe did other experiments including foot support and concluded that the palm is anatomically correct after all (e.g. New Experimental Studies in Crucifixion).

  8. colinsberry says:

    I’m glad you provided a link to that photo of the wrist blood stain Adrie. It’s one I have been looking at closely for quite a while, using different degrees of contrast and brightness, and also the inverted image, i.e. light/dark reversed.

    The idea that the “snout of the crocodile” has a halo due to serum strikes me as pretty far-fetched. Why so localised? In fact, if one looks at the inverted image, that “halo” is just part of a large diffuse region of the same character.

    Sorry, have to dash. Will look back later.

    PS: I have now added photographs of that wrist bloodstain to the end of the posting as a visual aid. (Oops. I put them on the end of the current posting, not this one).

  9. Adrie says:

    Well, as I said, it seems it could have been serum that somehow flowed further down over the wrist than the red part. After death, when the heart has stopped pumping, the blood starts to separate into a red part and a serous part. This is called livor mortis, which “starts twenty minutes to three hours after death”; rigor mortis “commences after about three to four hours”. The unflattened dorsal side in 3D suggests rigor mortis had already started before burial. Plasma/serum is less viscous than the red part. So, perhaps the serous part flowed down just a little bit further than the red part and concentrated largely at the tip, creating an orange margin. After all, some separate serum has been found on the Shroud.

  10. colinsberry says:

    So, 2000 year old serum halos still survive to this day, with no sign of mildew… It must be magical serum, capable of surviving fungi and other saprophytic microorganisms… Maybe fluorescent halos have been confused with those luminous ones in devotional art… 😉

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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