Why are the ‘radiationists’ still plugging their imaginary physics and chemistry?


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:




Houston. We have a problem. (What kind of radiation can produce an image on the underside of that linen?)

Houston. We have a problem. (What kind of radiation, indicated by the yellow arrows,  can produce an image on the underside of that linen?)

Yes, radiation can cross from the body to the cloth. Outside of a physics laboratory,  in your modern mortuary or even a 1st century AD rock tomb, it would be thermal radiation (infrared light) that would be emitted from the cadaver, and then absorbed partially by the linen, only to be re-emitted as infrared.

There would be no chemical change – because infrared rays/photons only have enough energy to make the chemical bonds in a molecule vibrate or oscillate etc. They do not have sufficient energy to break chemical bonds – and chemical reactions involve breaking of one or more existing bonds as an obligatory first step.

Those who want us to believe that an image was formed on the cloth via a chemical change have an obligation to say what kind of electromagnetic energy – more energetic than infrared – passed from body to cloth, and then say how that radiant energy was able to produce an image – as distinct from a diffuse patch of chemically-altered linen.

em spectrum

The ways in which electromagnetic radiation can interact with matter to produce a range of physical, chemical and biological effects.

The first law of photochemistry, the Grotthuss-Draper law, states that light must be absorbed by a compound in order for a photochemical reaction to take place.

For those who like numbers, check out this link, with quote: Absorption of visible and/or ultraviolet light by a molecule introduces energy sufficient to break or reorganize most covalent bonds.

From the relationship E = hc / λ, we see that longer wavelength visible light (400 to 800 nm) is less energetic (70 to 40 kcal/mole) than light in the accessible shorter wavelength (200 to 400 nm) near ultraviolet region (150 to 70 kcal/mole).

Let’s work our way up the energy scale. Was it visible light? How is/was a body able to emit visible light? Please propose a mechanism. Even supposing it was  a one-off event (a “miracle” in common parlance) then kindly specify which chemical constituent of linen was able to absorb enough of that light energy to initiate a chemical change. In other words, specify the chromophore (“light absorbing species”), and the photochemical change. Explain how a material like linen  that looks reasonably white or nearly so can absorb specific wavelengths from visible light yet still reflect or scatter what our eyes perceive as the balanced mix of wavelengths we call visible white light.

Or was it ultraviolet light? Yes, we know that uv light has sufficient energy to break certain chemical bonds in certain molecules, including colourless ones.

One could be forgiven for thinking that it required an enzyme to synthesise Vitamin D in the skin. But no - it is the action of uv-b light that breaks just one particular C-C bond in the molecule, at the site indicated by the red labels.

Vitamin D, needed for calcium absorption and to prevent rickets, is produced by the action of sunlight on a cholesterol-derived substance in the skin.  The uv light breaks just one particular C-C bond in the molecule, at the site indicated by the red  arrow. That is typical of chemical reactions produced by uv light – they are usually highly directed at particular chemical bonds – more like a sniper’s rifle than the scatter gun effect of  higher energy X-rays and gamma rays.

We rely on the uv of sunshine to break a particular bond in 7-dehydrocholesterol  in our exposed skin to produce a precursor of Vitamin D, without which we would all be rickety.

Are you suggesting something similar happens in your radiation model? If so, explain how a body, other than an incandescent one like a star or other heavenly body, can produce  and emit ultraviolet light.  Then state which component of linen is able to absorb enough uv light to produce a chemical change that produces a sepia-coloured (yellow-brown) end product, strongly resembling a heat scorch.  Then explain why the image should be peculiarly superficial, located almost entirely on  the “loop-over” crown threads despite the radiation having an unobstructed path to inferior threads in the weave.

Is there insufficient energy in ultraviolet light for your liking? Are you thinking in terms of ionizing X-rays, or still more ionizing gamma rays?

Dr.Accetti self-administered gamma-emitting technetium to produce an image of his skeleton on a VDU. he claimed that his radiating body bore resemblances with that of the Shroud. But the Shroud image is a brown stain on linen, not glowing pixels on a screen. There's a credibility gap that needs to be closed, roughly the width of the Grand Canyon...

Dr. Accetta self-administered gamma-emitting technetium to produce an image of his internal anatomy  on a VDU. He claimed that his radiating body bore resemblances with that of the Shroud on image analysis.  But the Shroud image is a brown stain on linen, not glowing pixels on a screen. There’s a credibility gap there that needs to be closed, methinks, roughly the width of the Grand Canyon…

Or do you envisage alpha-rays, more correctly particles, i.e. a stream of helium nuclei (He++) which we know are highly ionizing, but formed only by fusion processes within the cores of stars, or as the product of alpha decay of uranium atoms etc? How were these generated? How could they produce an image of the body, including the hair (keratin protein) without singeing or burning off the hair in a puff of smoke?

Methinks that’s sufficient  to be getting on with for now. But I shall be back later with some pithy words on the subject of the “burden of proof”.  Those of us who reject any kind of radiation ARE  able to explain how an image is formed in the above diagram of the underside of a chin and the neck – see my posting that immediately precedes this one –  although it involves making some dramatic changes to that tunnel-vision ‘cloth- loosely-draped-over-a- human-cadaver model’,  one that might be seen as “begging the question” in logical and scientific terms.  In other words, as Joe Nickell once described it, “starting with the desired answer and working backwards to the evidence.”  So it’s somewhat galling to see postings that attempt to shift the burden of proof onto those who propose non-radiation models, contact models especially. The latter can explain the imaging of a neck or underside of a neck. We are still waiting for the radiationists to explain how that could happen in the above graphic with the yellow arrows.

Takeaway message: for radiation – any kind of radiation – to produce a chemical change, whether by specific action on chemical bonds or secondary thermal events, there HAS TO BE absorption first.

It is therefore incumbent on anyone proposing a radiation model to state the source and wavelength of the electromagnetic energy AND the nature of the absorbing chromophore.

It matters not how many letters someone has after his or her name .  If they will not, or cannot do that, explain their model precisely in terms of conventional physics and chemistry, then  they have no right to  regard or describe themselves as scientists. They are merely modern-day successors to what used to be described  as SNAKE-OIL MERCHANTS.

Postscript added Tuesday 5th Feb

Dan Porter has put up an interesting one this morning with a faint hint of  the obverse side of the frontal image plus handy bleed through bloodstains, the one revealed when the Holland cloth was removed (2002?). With Mario Latendresse’s name mentioned, and with the rarely-seen image looking remarkable the same in hue as one of Mario’s Shroud Scope pictures, I thought it would be interesting to compare them side by side in the same orientation (which meant flipping the new one horizontally).

Here’s the result (which can no doubt be tweaked a bit more to get a better size match and alignment):

front v obverse TS

Customary Shroud image on left. As seen on the obverse side of the linen (right). Mario Latendresse/Durante 2002.

First impressions: I had expected a stronger imprint from the bridge and  tip of the nose,  if as I  maintain the Shroud image had been imprinted from a hot metal or ceramic template, that being my preferred model.(Late ed: but maybe it was a rather flat bas relief with the nose intentionally of low profile to avoid excessive imprinting  of that feature to prevent it dominating).

Come to think of it. the nose is not as prominent as one might expect. (Above image as seen in ImageJ). So yes, maybe the nose was de-emphasised in a bas-relief template, which would explain why it did not imprint strongly on the obverse side of the linen

Come to think of it. the nose is not as prominent as one might expect. (Above image as seen in ImageJ). So yes, maybe the nose was de-emphasised in a bas-relief template, which would explain why it did not imprint strongly on the obverse side of the linen

But I take heart from the fact that what little of the hair is visible in the obverse image is reasonably well imprinted. I suggested  just a few days ago that a separate template may have been used for “hair”. How on earth an obverse-side image of hair could be obtained by radiation received on the frontal side is anyone’s guess – but some might think that the “radiationists”  – or should that be ‘radiationista‘ –  have enough problems as it is, accounting for the main side image, without worrying as to the mechanism of image migration to the opposite side of the fabric.

I need hardly add that  thermal imprinting from a hot template  always produces an obverse side image, as Paolo Di Lazzaro pointed out in his coin experiment – but only if the coin is overheated and/or  held long enough against the cloth  to get the desired result for posting to The Other Site, announced under the sotto voce headline:  Colin Berry’s idea is untenable, and heat cannot produce a superficial coloration, together with the obligatory image of Don Quixote tilting at the windmill.   😉

Today’s visitors so far (see comments)

flag counter cropped


A thermostencil, obtained by irradiating a charcoal sketch with visible/infrared light, then washing out the charcoal to leave just the scorch-on image.

A thermostencil, obtained by irradiating a charcoal sketch with visible/infrared light, then washing out the charcoal to leave just the scorch-on image.

With this posting, I have now come full circle. Why? Because this image from my very first posting on the Shroud (Dec 30 2011) showed how one could produce a scorch image on cloth using radiant energy – a mixture of visible and infrared light from an ordinary ceiling spot lamp.

How?  By drawing or painting the desired image onto cloth with charcoal, irradiating, then washing out the charcoal. Importantly, the areas without charcoal remained totally unscorched, because they reflected/scattered all but a small proportion of the incident radiation. Charcoal acted as an opaque absorbing thermosensitizer.

The radiationists have failed to specify what acts as efficient radiation-absorbing chromophores or pigments in their systems. (I do not regard the ENSA studies with uv excimer laser radiation as efficient: all that energy for just a small discoloration?) Repeat: no absorption means no thermal or chemical action on linen constituents.


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.

2 Responses to Why are the ‘radiationists’ still plugging their imaginary physics and chemistry?

  1. Hugh Farey says:

    Every now and then, having nothing more pressing on my mind, I wonder about the expression “Yellowed with age” which is invariably used as an overall description of the shroud. It came to my mind most recently when I was reading about that chap (sorry, chap, I forget your name but mean no disrespect) who painted a face on glass and exposed his shroud to sunlight. He found that far from yellowing, sunlight actually bleached the shroud, making it whiter, not yellower, than it was before. So what does happen to old linen? And by what mechanism? Heating it, of course, according to Pellicori and Miller, not only turns linen a very pale yellow but also quite fluorescent, exactly like the shroud. But what about ‘age’?

  2. colinsberry says:

    Well, I’m no expert in bleaching or ageing chemistry, Hugh, but have encountered two quite different types of chemistry in my career that might be contributory factors. Where yellowing of paper and linen is concerned, it’s reckoned to be the woody lignin that is responsible, being prone to oxidation to yellow phenolic compounds. Being such a slow process, it would work with ordinary ground state (triplet) oxygen with unpaired electrons making it relatively inert (surprisingly so).

    In contrast, bleaching of yellow organic material under sunlight is a rapid process, and probably involves activated singlet oxygen with paired electrons. Singlet-state oxygen adds readily across conjugated double bond systems. By interrupting the conjugation that absorbs blue light frequencies (giving the yellow colour) the end-result is bleaching – though how permanent is anyone’s guess.

    Atmospheric oxygen looks simple when written as O2, but it is a sly old customer, due to surreptitious promotion of electrons to higher energy orbitals when it encounters other often innocent-lookiing substances. Oxygen is a fickle friend. Keep taking the antioxidants…

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