One picture can be worth a thousand words …

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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