One picture can be worth a thousand words …


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:


There’s some confusion right now about which side of the Man in the Shroud  – left or right – has the spear “wound”. The explanation from ‘DaveB of Wellington, NZ’  on the site is I believe correct, if somewhat wordy.

Having found myself near the back of the queue (Am. “line”) when visuospatial ability was being handed out, I invariably have to do a quick back-of-envelope sketch before arriving at any ‘solidly-based’ conclusions.  Here’s one  – a sketch that is – I made earlier,  ahead of reading DaveB’s explanation, s0 was relieved to find that my first impressions had been supported elsewhere.

Subject alongside mirror-image imprint with partially-transferred bloodstain.

Subject alongside mirror-image imprint with partially-transferred bloodstain.

Imagine that the subject is the figure on the left, recumbent on a length of linen. Imagine he has a red patch on his right side (which you the viewer sees as left). Imagine that some surplus linen is folded over the subject so as to receive an imprint of the red patch, and then returned to its original position.  One now sees the imprint on the subject’s left (YOUR right).

(Of course the fabric was folded down from the top, not from the side, to receive the imprint: I have used the side here for convenience.  You can if you wish take my word for it that the same answer would be obtained when folding from the top. Better however to take nobody’s word for it, and to check it out for yourself if not convinced).

The trouble is that a lot of folk look at the image of the Man on the Shroud, see the blood stain on THEIR  OWN right, then think to themselves “Ah, that must mean it was on the subject’s left”. But they are forgetting one thing: that it is the imprint that is being viewed, not the subject, and –  as pointed out by a second commentator ( “anoxie”)  as well as DaveB  –  the imprint is a left-right reversed mirror image of the subject.

Durante 2002/ShroudScope as-is  (pseudo-negative) photographic image, adjusted brightnedd and contrast. Red arrow points to the bloodstain allegedly due to the 'coup de grace' spear wound.

Durante 2002/ShroudScope as-is (pseudo-negative) photographic image, adjusted brightness and contrast. Red arrow points to the bloodstain allegedly due to the ‘coup de grace’ spear wound.

Conclusion: the blood from the (alleged)  ‘spear wound’ is on the subject’s right side, so appears on the LEFT side of the subject’s imprint (your right).

Shame there’s no sign of a wound on the body image that corresponds with all that blood, but that’s another story,  one that has been addressed previously on this site, back in August.  Suffice it to say that bloodstains on the Shroud (head, hair, wrist, feet, side, scourge marks should not be regarded  as synonymous with wounds when (a) the latter are NOT apparent on the body image, AND (b)  one is less than 100%  certain that the Man on the Shroud is NOT a forgery, e.g.  in which the blood was painted onto a wound-free body image to convey the impression of wounds.

But do I hear you say that the blood came first, did it not, so was unlikely to have been painted on?  So we are told, but as I’ve said on a number of previous occasions here, the evidence for ‘blood first- body image second’  rests upon qualitative spot tests  from just one laboratory with a protein-digesting enzyme on a microscope slide – hardly copper-bottomed evidence for so crucial a question.

It will be the anniversary of my first Shroud posting in just 3 days time. My next post will attempt to summarise my current, now better informed  position after another 135 postings. It will  include the crucial but neglected issue addressed above: which came first – blood or body image?


This comment has just appeared on  referring to me and this posting.  It comes  from the passionate Québécois – Yannick Clément – with a touching tendency to regard recently deceased STURP scientists, one in particular, as near-infallible modern-day saints (while hailing their inescapable retraction of over-hasty judgements as “intellectual honesty”).

2012 at 2:34 pm | #3

“He definitely should read Pierre Barbet’s book  “A Doctor At Calvary” and Alan Adler’s book  “The Orphaned Manuscript” . But even then, I’m sure he would deny 95% of what he would read in those books ! When someone has made up his mind against the Shroud…”

Here’s what that good Catholic, William F Buckley Jr,  had to say about the (excessively?) open mind:

“The purpose of an open mind is to close it, on particular subjects. If you never do –  you’ve simply abdicated the responsibility to think.


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, medieval hoax, Shroud of Turin and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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