Shroudie-Alert: Day 6


19:00 Here is the third and final posting from negative spin doctor Daniel R Porter addressing my Lirey Badge hypothesis from April last year.   This one is fairly innocuous.   But by this time, the damage had already been done , this oh so benign  postscript after-the-dust-has-settled  attracting just the one comment, compared with previous double-digit contributions. (Several of the latter,  incidentally, should never have been permitted on a high profile website, being made at the expense  of  individuals who post under their real names)… Note the use of the hard man/soft man tactic over the 3 postings (S-H-S).  At this point  he can afford to pose as the thinking man. Wouldn’t want to leave a bad taste in the mouth now, would one? I may add  a final comment or two later – on the end.

Questions about the Lirey Medal

imageColin Berry poses some good questions (what he refers to as left is topmost image below and as right is bottommost):

Lirey Pilgrim’s Badge aka Cluny Medal (left),undoubtedly of 14th century provenance, recovered from River Seine in 1855, depicting the Shroud of Turin, as now called, then in possession of Geoffroi de Charny of Lirey, France versus (right) the 1865 drawing by celebrated Parisian merchant/collector/publisher Arthur Forgeais. Note the differences especially re face, chain on waist, feet and tomb(?) to be discussed shortly.

Points for discussion: why is the original shown without a beard or obvious signs of crucifixion? Why the chain (not a recognized feature of the Shroud)? What is at or immediately under the feet? Is that really a tomb as commonly assumed, whether open or closed? Is that a crown of thorns above the “tomb” or something else? And does the badge or drawing really show trickles or pools of blood on the back,feet etc as is often claimed?

The yellowish image above (top right) is taken from a photograph by Mario Latendresse. Maybe, just maybe, there is a hint of a beard in it. As for the chain, it seems to be a misinterpretation of the bloodstain. Bottom line: I think we are reading far too much into this medal when we start speculating (bordering on conspiracy theory-like thinking) that this is an image of someone else.



Drawing was enlarged with PhotoShop using Bicubic smoothing method.

Source: Comparison of Lirey Badge


19:30: Hint of a beard? That’s hardly the point, is it? We are not looking for mere hints if the Badge was a representation of the then-existing Lirey Shroud, the same (give or take some additions or subtractions) as the present TS.We are looking for a man who is recognizably the crucified Jesus of Nazareth. But that image bears no resemblance whatsoever to the ‘iconic’ image on the TS upon which artists are supposed  been influenced from the pre-medieval era – you know, long hair, beard etc.,  even if the general posture says it’s the Man on the Shroud. Why the difference? One may well ask… One has to ask what circumstances could cause one image to morph by degrees into another, which is what caused this retired lab scientist to become an accidental historian, albeit an amateur one .. Some things in life do not always follow a plan. Stuff happens…

So those are blood flows, are they – the coiled structures that run almost the entire width of the Badge. From a spear wound in just one  side? What, causing blood to gush both sides of the torso, and on the top sheet of linen as well, where there is no assistance from gravity. (We’ll discuss the discrepancy between the frontal views on the Badge compared with the Forgeais drawing another time).

Let’s be brutally honest with each other, shall we? That badge does not depict a crucified Jesus.  We can argue another day as to who or what it represents but it is not recognizable as Jesus.  That’s why the the Cluny Museum keeps it locked away (and probably worse still if its conservation history is logged). That’s why Dan Porter did not do a single posting on his main site on the Lirey Badge/Cluny Medal until I came along (or so it would appear from search engines, though I have not searched through all his hundreds of postings yet). That’s why when you google (lirey badge) or even the unhelpful (cluny medal) you find it is either my postings at the top of the returns or Daniel R.Porter’s attempts to pour cold water on them and on me personally. And it’s because the Lirey badge fails to corroborate what we see on the TS that those who proselytize Shroud authenticity – or jump on those who don’t (notably DRP) – simply do not  want to be reminded about the badge.What’s more, they don’t want anyone else to know either. What’s that if it’s not a conspiracy, albeit  one of silence, were it not  for Daniel R Porter breaking that silence when I invite folk to take a long hard look at that secondary artefact, and start to re-think “received wisdom”?

17:55  Here’s the second of 3 postings by Daniel R.Porter,  with him now going in negative spin overdrive. No pussyfooting around this  time – go straight for the jugular. Watch the maestro at work. As before, I’ll add annotations to the end, as when the spirit moves me.

The Cluny Medal with shields of Geoffrey de Charny and Jeanne de Vergy

imageColin Berry should re-evaluate his historical hypothesis based on the lead medal in the Cluny museum in Paris.  It was probably a souvenir of a pilgrimage to Lirey or a commemorative medal for an exhibition in Lirey.  Note that you can see both the front and back images of the man on the shroud.

Given that the medal has the two shields of Geoffrey de Charny of Lirey and Jeanne de Vergy of Besançon, it is most unlikely that the medal was struck before the two were married in 1349 or after Geoffrey’s death in 1356. The year 1349 is the same year that the Cathedral of St. Etienne in Besançon burned, the cathedral where, until that year for many years previously, the shroud (or a copy) was periodically stored and displayed at Eastertide.

César Barta, José M. Orenga and Daniel Duque from the Centro Español de Sindonología, in a paper, The Noalejo Shroud copies write:

It is also evident on the oldest known copy of the Shroud of Turin – the pilgrim’s medal from Lirey found in the Seine and preserved at the Cluny Museum in Paris. Despite its small size, this medal shows the herring bone weave on the Shroud and also the bloodstain on the back. In this case, all the details are depicted in relief, and we could say that the elbows are given the same relief as the arms, legs and the rest of the figure. All this leads us to think that the elbows were just as visible as the rest of the body on the dorsal image of the Shroud of Turin before the 1532 fire.

V. Guerrera in “The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity,” writes:

A fortuitous discovery which adds another piece to the case for the Shroud’s historicity concerns a pilgrim’s medallion dating from about 1357 which was found in the Seine River in Paris in 1855 by Arthur Forgeais. This small lead object, most likely a souvenir of a pilgrim’s visit, is now kept in the Museum of Cluny. It depicts the frontal and dorsal image of a body on a long sheet being held out for veneration by two clerics vested in copes. It is obvious that the heads are broken. The image is an uncanny replica of what is now known as the Shroud of Turin. The double body image depicts a naked figure with crossed hands and trickles of blood on the back and feet. As an added touch of realism one can also detect the herringbone weave pattern that appears on the Shroud. Of striking note are the two coats of arms represented on the reliquary beneath the Shroud on the medallion. The one on the left (as viewed by reader) is that of Geoffrey I de Charny, represented with three small inner shields. The original would have been silver on a red background. The one on the right is that of Jeanne de Vergy, represented with three flowers which would have been gold. Flanked between the coats of arms are the instruments of the Passion. Clearly visible are the flagrum, the scourging column, the lance, nails, and, in the middle of the two shields, a roundel symbolizing the empty tomb surmounted by a cross upon which is hung a crown of thorns. Although the exact date or origin of the medal is not certain, the coats of arms give us a clue. Since Geoffrey I de Charny was Lord of Lirey, the medallion probably came from that region. Humbert de Villersexel, the second husband of Marguerite de Charny, to whom various relics were entrusted for safekeeping in 1418, acknowledged receiving `a cloth, on which is the figure or representation of the Shroud of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is in a casket emblazoned with the de Charny crest.’ Geoffrey I de Charny died on September 19, 1356; therefore, it is highly unlikely that his crest would have been engraved on a medallion produced after that year.

The medal is not a tribute, rememberance, or anything else for Geoffroi de Charney, a completely different person, perhaps related, perhaps not, who died in 1314 in Paris.

“Only those in the know  – the few remaining members of a powerful but persecuted  fraternity – may have been aware of its true meaning and significance,” wrote Colin. Yeah, right!


18:00 Porter plunges straight in, saying I should re-evaluate my hypothesis.  How’s that for a put-down?

So which part does he take issue with?  He doesn’t say, which is another way of belittling the opponent  – equivalent to saying  “I shall not dignify your ideas by repeating them (but I’ll still use you as fodder for one more posting”).

He then adds this astonishing statement of the bleedin’ obvious:  “It was probably a souvenir of a pilgrimage to Lirey or a commemorative medal for an exhibition in Lirey.  Note that you can see both the front and back images of the man on the shroud. “

Wow, who would have thunk?

Of course it was a souvenir,  a medal even (though I suspect medallion is more correct).

By inserting that comment, he implies  I have a mistaken view of the Lirey badge, not even knowing what it represented, and giving it the wrong name, and that he is performing a valuable service by correcting the record. This is not just laughable – it is OBNOXIOUS to use a website to demean and insult other bloggers in this way.  And to think he’s the one who reproaches others for alleged lack of  ‘netiquette’.

More to come.

18:25  Then, after another long potted history (C&P, with some contentious comment) Porter says:

The medal is not a tribute, rememberance, or anything else for Geoffroi de Charney, a completely different person, perhaps related, perhaps not, who died in 1314 in Paris.

Here he is again, misrepresenting my words or, more charitably, having totally misunderstood them. At no time have I ever so much as suggested that the Badge was a tribue, remembrance etc. I have said that the Mark 1 Shroud may have been, to represent a Templar,  maybe Geoffroi de Charney or  Jacques de Molay.  The real stinker is that suggestion that  I have Geoffroi de Charney confused with Geoffroi de Charny, despite having flagged up the possibility that the first,  Templar Preceptor of Normandy, burned at the stake next to De Molay, was the uncle of Geoffroi de Charny, first recorded owner of the Shroud,  who died at the battle of Poitiers in 1356.  the first recorded display of the Shroud was a year later, with De Charny’s wife acting on her husband’s wished. We do not know if the badge had been issued prior to that date – probably not. (This version differs materially from Porter’s, but I am not making a big issue over a few years here or there).

What on earth is the point of one spending hours in careful  research and composition if  one’s words  and meaning are going to be instantly misquoted or misrepresented in this manner, just so that PR man Porter can score a point or two on that authenticity-promoting website of his at the expense of sceptics? What are his qualifications anyway, to go delivering instant judgement, nay put downs, within hours, often minutes of one posting new content? Has he any idea how it feels to see one’s work instantly made the subject of his sneers and putdowns, and then appearing at the top of Google listings of one’s subject key words  the very same day? Just who the hell does he think he is to go acting God in this fashion?

17:25:  I see that someone over there, one of the ‘usual suspects’, is reviving the good old irregular verb ‘to react’.

I react

You moan

He/she whines

15:15: Here’s a complete C&P of the first of Porter’s three responses. I’ll be back later and annotate it so one can see how he’s re-organized it to make a scientist/self-confessed amateur historian look immediately like someone intruding where they have no business. That’s despite my posting using a physical, tangible object – the Lirey Badge – and its details as the starting point for proposing a different scenario for how the Shroud happened to appear when it did, and where it did, i.e. mid-14th century France.

Colin Berry, Historybod: A Tale of Two Meanings

imageRemember ‘The Second Messiah: Templars, the Turin Shroud and the Great Secret of Freemasonry,’ by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas. Amazon in the U.K. has five copies. In the U.S. where you can buy a Kindle version, Amazon proclaims, “Using the latest scientific techniques , the authors prove that the shroud [Jacques de]Molay was wrapped in is the one now known as the Turin Shroud.

Well, Colin Berry, has a new twist on this. Yes, it is still a scorch ala Berry and not the chemical approach taken by Knight and Lomas and . . .

. . . the figure depicted on the Badge  and indeed the Shroud is not really that of Christ – even if  most casual observers assume  that –  but Geoffroi de Charney, being portrayed as a Christ-like figure who shared a similar fate. And it was his nephew (?) who commissioned the Shroud as a memorial to his uncle (?), given he had no body to place in the family tomb. He commissioned an artefact that would combine two powerful ideas – martyrdom for having the wrong ideas, punished by burning at the stake, and Christ’s crucifixion.

Who is Geoffroi de Charney? He was a Templar knight burned at the stake with de Molay. Henry Charles Lea reports in ‘A History of the Inquisition of the Middle ages’:

That same day, by sunset, a pile was erected on a small island in the Seine, the Isle des Juifs, near the palace garden. There de Molay and de Charney were slowly burned to death, refusing all offers of pardon for retraction, and bearing their torment with a composure which won for them the reputation of martyrs among the people, who reverently collected their ashes as relics’.

imageWhat badge? Apparently Colin thinks they commissioned a medal. Yes, this medal:

That explains of course why the figure looks nothing like Christ – no long hair, beard  etc. because it’s a proxy for Christ – a martyred Templar. It explains why he looks as if  he were wearing armour around the shoulders and chest.   But here’s the clincher – that chain around the waist, and possibly  the ankles too (or kindling?) It has nothing to do with crucifixion – obviously, but everything to do with being burned at the stake.

[ . . . ]

. . .  the Badge could be used as a bas-relief, given all those knobbly bits. Either do a rubbing,  as with brass rubbing, or heat it, press onto linen, as if a rubber stamp, and one gets a negative scorched imprint, hey, just like the one on the Shroud. The ability to use the badge as a printing template may have been pushed as a “selling point”.  (OK, that one’s a bit of a long shot, but I have been pondering for weeks why those shoulders etc look so plump  and bloated – seeking an alternative to the “armour” hypothesis – it was to ensure a good impression).

So at what stage did the scorch image of a martyred Knight morph into that of the crucified Christ with all the extra details – the blood stains, the spear wound in the side, the nail wound in the wrist? And was it done on the same image, or was it done starting with a clean sheet (of linen) so to speak?

[. . . ]

One could describe the Shroud as the visual equivalent of a double entendre  (say one thing but mean another).  Only those in the know  – the few remaining members of a powerful but persecuted  fraternity – may have been aware of its true meaning and significance.

And before developing this great historical hypothesis, Colin warned:

Those blood stains [= his previous posting] will look like a side show, compared with the post I am preparing for tomorrow … Some folk here will need to have their tranquilisers and blood pressure pills handy. Hint: New Bridge (Paris).

or an antacid tablet. I didn’t do it justice. Read “Was the Shroud of Turin intended as a visual double entendre – with an martyred Knight Templar serving as proxy for the crucified Christ?”


Annotations: 1 (added at 15:40):

If you are going to review someone else’s content it’s hardly polite to start by attempting to impose one’s own context, in this case a third party book.  (It’s one with claims I was vaguely aware of, but had immediately rejected, if only on scientific grounds with its ‘chemical-imprinting’ theory (lactic acid/frankincense), reminiscent of Raymond N.Rogers’  and which I also consider hugely improbable). In fact, Porter turned it into an Amazon commercial, complete with a distracting and irrelevant image from that site.

Why did Porter do this? I’ll tell you why. It’s was an opportunity for him to trumpet  “better read than thou” which I don’t for a moment question, at least where Shroudie best-sellers are concerned, most of which seem to be written purely to sell books. Flagging up someone else’s published work was a way of marginalizing the opponent from the word go, making him appear to be playing second fiddle to an earlier hypothesis, hinting  that his work was derivative except in some minor details. Already Daniel R. Porter  was starting to stack the odds in his favour, attempting to draw any perceived sting in the new ideas, suggesting that it’s all been said before this Johnny-come-lately interloper came along. We are tracking a PR master class here, but one dedicated to negative spin. I guess it takes all kinds…

More to come (sad to say)…

Annotation 2 15:40   Porter then starts to quote passages from towards the end of my posting that links the Shroud with the violent suppression by Philip the Fair(!) of France  of the Knights Templar. Not a word at this stage that my interest had begun as a scientist – not historian-  a result of looking closely at the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge, presently in the vaults of the Cluny Museum in paris, and developing a hunch that the non-Christ-like looking man on the badge  had not been crucified, as commonly assumed, but burned at the stake.

Finally, Porter finds time to mention the Lirey badge, and the manner in which he did so was in my view crass to say the least:

“What badge? Apparently Colin thinks they commissioned a medal. Yes, this medal:”

The syntax was faulty, for a start, since the reference to “badge” in one of my quoted passages did not precede it immediately. But that’s nothing compared with Porter imputing that I was mis-labelling a medal as a badge. I was doing nothing of the sort. “Lirey badge” has long been used to describe the artefact, and is hugely preferable to “Cluny medal” which gives no clue to its provenance, except that it is kept in a particular museum . And he writes: “Colin thinks they commissioned a medal”. So who does he think commissioned the Lirey badge if it was not the De Charny family, bearing in mind that it depicts their separate coats of arms? In just 9 words, Porter  attempts, and probably succeeds where some readers are concerned, in  portraying me as gauche, ill-informed, or probably both, which is what he has been doing persistently for well over a year. It’s all about control, isn’t it Daniel R.Porter?

More to come…

13:30: Here’s a link to a posting I did on April 22 last year, one in which I pointed out some curious features in the Lirey Pilgrim’s Badge that place a question mark over the mid 14th century Shroud, owned by Geoffroi de Charny and his wife, and what it was really intended to represent, at least initially.  I shall show how, in a few words, Daniel R.Porter set about writing it off.  Watch very closely the techniques that he called into play on that occasion, simple yet highly effective, ones that he has deployed again and again against this Shroud sceptic. It’s a a master class in negative spin, or as I would prefer to call it, the dark arts of propaganda, of stitching-up the perceived enemy. It is very, very clever the way it is done. It’s also unsettling, disturbing even when one suspects, as I do, that Porter is merely the bland front man for a lobby with an agenda that prefers largely to stay in the background.

13:00: The focus in the next day or two will be on the mysterious Daniel R.Porter, host of what currently is known as the site (just one of many in his stable, with shroudstory acting arguably as his main shop window). I shall not be mincing my words about this man, one who for well over a year now has been peeing from a great height on virtually everything I write

Yes, with a few seemingly mild admonitions that cleverly distort the truth   Porter, with a few toxic words  can summon up his pro-authenticity anti-sceptic troops. The  latter  finish off what Porter begins, like yesterday when my thinking on the Lirey Badge, or what Porter still unhelpfully insists on calling the  “Cluny Medal”  were summarily written off as “trash science” (with no attempt whatsoever at justifying that description, except to say I needed new spectacles, despite my reproducing photographs galore to support my ideas). That is the kind of  vituperative comment that Porter not only allows on his site, but, if  the truth be told, actually seeds with his weasel words.

16:40 Last observation as regards Porter’s initial (1 of 3) ranging shot:

“…And before developing this great historical hypothesis…”

It’s not a great hypothesis. An hypothesis  that was  great would have made so many useful predictions to have proved its worth that it would have the status of theory. It’s simply a hypothesis, but it’s not stand-alone – it offers a rationale for why a medieval “forger” (probably a misnomer in the first instance) would have used a hot template(s) to imprint the a double image of a naked man on expensive herring-bone woven linen, dated thus far to the same period of history as the rounding up, torture and execution of the Knights Templar. In Britain, we have what are called “accidental landlords”. Well, I’m an accidental historian. as one needs to be when challenged to explain how the image on the Shroud could be a simple heat scorch, with no need to invoke magical radiation or advanced putrefaction, or seismic activity, or releases of radon gas…

But we all know how to read “great hypothesis”. It’s to imply that someone is taking himself and his ideas too seriously, is getting above himself, needs to learn his proper place etc etc.  The world would be none the wiser about anything if there were no new ideas, and we’d all be at the mercy of witchdoctors. As I  say, it’s all about control,  isn’t it Daniel R.Porter, about keeping everyone on message, your message, your backer’s message. Sorry, I do not buy into your message, and never have done. Some of us recognize junk science when we see it…

The worst of Daniel R.Porter’s  attempts to belittle  is yet to come.  That’s one in which he falsely accused me of sloppy scholarship, namely of getting a  De Charney confused with a  De Charny. That was despite my having gone out of my way to flag up genealogist Noel Currer-Briggs’ belief  they were uncle and nephew respectively.

“A lie is halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on

More to come on the PR  supremo’s modus operandi,  the one designed to undermine –  methodically and systematically – the credibility of any free spirit who has the temerity to question Shroud authenticity…


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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