It would seem that those linen fibre nodes, aka dislocations, are prime targets for a thermal imprint from a hot template (“scorch mark”)


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:




Updated at 18:20 Wed – see my email reply to Hugh Farey at the end.

I made a brief mention of linen fibre nodes, aka dislocations, in a recent post.

Flax fibres with nodes as seen under scanning electron microscope

Flax fibres with nodes as seen under scanning electron microscope

It is those dislocations that give linen threads their distinctive “bamboo-like” appearance under the microscope (not seen with cotton). Actually, they put me more in mind of miniature drainpipes with those “jointing sections” (see SEM photograph). Well, I’ve just scorched some linen, trained a newly acquired microscope* onto the surface, and guess what? It would appear that those nodes take a much denser coloration than the region of fibre between the nodes. (see below).

*It links directly to the laptop via a USB lead so that everything is viewable on screen – no squinting into eyepieces …

Here's the latest, just taken, with an improved technique (scorching, then searching the  interstices between warp and weft threads for scorched elementary fibres that are back-lit as here. Not the prominent, though not exclusive yellow/brown coloration coloration of several nodes, relative to adjoining fibre.

Here’s the latest, just taken, with an improved technique (scorching, then searching the interstices between warp and weft threads for scorched elementary fibres that are back-lit as here. Note the prominent, though not exclusive dense yellow/brown coloration of several nodes, relative to adjoining fibre. There is some evidence here too for selective scorching of a superficial layer, presumably the primary cell wall (PCW) with perhaps little or no scorching of the internal SCW comprising highly ordered cellulose fibrils, in keeping with the existing literature findings. The intense scorching of the nodes came as a surprise however,

If this were a ‘signature’ of scorching, so to speak, then maybe we have a sure-fire means at last of assessing whether the image of the Man on the Shroud is akin to a heat scorch or there again, maybe not.  (Though it’s worth pointing out that STURP researchers and some authenticists have acknowledged the similarity between the body image and a heat scorch, by spectral means or by simple ‘eye-balling’,  even if  most continue to scoff at any suggestion of the TS being a medieval forgery).

There is still much  to do, and much to discuss, but I thought I’d waste no time in putting folks in the picture re this totally unexpected little discovery (this blog being essentially a hour-by-hour, day by day progress report.

 Don’t be surprised to see  extra bits tacked onto this post in the coming hours and days. Comments welcome.

Here are three screen grabs showing the result of  focusing in-and-out on the same region of scorched fibres bordering a weave interstice,  i.e. where a warp thread interweaves with weft – the “hole” being the bright area that lets through back-lighting (with the top-lamp too for surface illumination).




Note: this a heavily-scorched imprint. The next step is to check out lighter scorches at the limits of visibility.

Btw: observe the odd whisker or two that dangles out from the fibre? I have a theory hunch about those whiskers. They are the result of  a tearing effect caused when the hot template is removed from the linen (the template initially fusing with/sticking onto the PCW at points of contact then serving as an anchor point for stripping).  Might it be that elusive gossamer-thin PCW (primary cell wall) that has peeled away? Yep, a bit of a long shot…

Might heavy localised scorching of the nodes relative to the PCW  be the cause of the curious half-tone pixel-like effect reported for the  TS image? Now there’s a thought to conjure with…

Update:  here are screen grabs from the second lightest scorch in today’s series. Again, the uneven distribution of colour along the fibre is noticeable, maybe with a little more difficulty than with a heavier scorch, and with some ambiguous fibres where the segmented appearance due to differential coloration between nodes and internodal region is perhaps  not quite so clear cut, especially on the last of the three (but that may reflect slight inequalities in illumination and focusing).  These are early days…

2013_01_08_17_30_43_260 (2)

2013_01_08_17_35_39_5942013_01_08_17_37_45_272 (2)

Final instalment:  first, here’s the scorched linen (100% as per label)  from which the two sample were taken (A and B).

new linen with scorches for microscopy

It’s now time to try for the pièce de résistance – namely that final, faintest scorch labelled C.




Caveat: one cannot take any field at random, and expect to see clear segmentation every time. But it’s rare to see a field that might be used to argue for homogeneous distribution of colour, and there’s usually a hint in most instances of the banding effect. As I said earlier, ambiguous fields may be due to the difficulty in focusing on what is essentially a 3D subject, given there is no cover slip to flatten the specimen. I may try dropping a cover slip on top, or maybe something heavier like a second slide, so as to compress the fabric.

Now then, who knows of a good high-definition picture of the TS body image, one that shows not just the weave, not just the threads, not just  the elementary fibres but the NODES as well? (How come one has to ask that question given the TS is said to be the most intensively-studied artefact in history? Shouldn’t an HD close-up view of its weave –  as seen under a microscope – be as easily available off  the internet as a picture of  the Pope, the Vatican or Turin Cathedral? Have the custodians never heard the expression  “putting something under the microscope” as an essential first step?

Further reading:

Update: 18:20 Wed

Have just received an interesting email from Hugh Farey. I won’t post it here unless/until he gives the go-ahead, but in the meatime here is my reply:

Hello Hugh

Pleased to see as usual there is someone else who takes nobody’s word for anything.
Suppose that Rogers was looking at the wrong part of the fibre – the PCW/impurity layer – take your pick – and was peeling off a thin coloured layer that was in fact too thin to be properly seen or measured and too thin to carry a credible image?  Suppose however that the real image receiving layer is  not any kind of superficial surface coating, including the PCW (end of love affair) but those annular (?) nodes that encircle/girdle the fibre hundreds of times per cell? I say annular because we know they do not obstruct the internal fibrils which can be centimetres long. Has everyone been looking in the wrong place. Is it the nodes that are the site of most of the image capture? I’ve just looked at the Mark Evans photomicrographs of Shroud image fibres in Thibault’s scorch pdf paper. Annoyingly they are at a magnification that is just too small to see nodes clearly, but if I’m not mistaken there is a patchy colour distribution that might suggest the nodes have most of the colour.  The might explain some curious features of the Shroud image, notably the half-tone effect. We live in interesting times.

Kind regards



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.
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3 Responses to It would seem that those linen fibre nodes, aka dislocations, are prime targets for a thermal imprint from a hot template (“scorch mark”)

  1. colinsberry says:

    Hopefully posting this will make that pingback comment go away (the one that keeps returning to my email inbox, despite hitting the trash key, and cluttering up the Recent Comments. I have, needless to say, disabled the pingback on this site, which has been a pain in the proverbial. WordPress please note.

  2. Pingback: Eureka! | The Turin Shroud: medieval scorch? Separating the science from the pseudo-science…

  3. Pingback: Calling all Shroudies: have you ever seen a Shroud image fibre in close-up? If so – where? | The Turin Shroud: medieval scorch? Separating the science from the pseudo-science…

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