Those “unique” 3D properties of the Shroud seem to be proving more of a hindrance than a help to those keen to promote their New Age radiation physics.


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:




My modus operandi  now is to send comments to a  Shroudie site that gets lots of visitors (mine does not) and then to post them here, usually after the event. I generally don’t post others’ comments – no disrespect intended – feeling that a link to that forum  (Dan Porter’s site) is sufficient.

What it does mean is that folk attracted by my choice of title may have to wade through a lot of preliminaries before they get to the meat. Again, sorry about that. I’m thinking of prefacing each of these postings with an abstract that summarises what’s new and hopefully interesting, maybe with a link to the key comment(s) for those in a hurry needing a quick snap shot and/or take-away message.

I also assemble these postings in instalments, rather than building up a huge draft ahead of hitting the Publish key. That gives those that are interested an indication that a new posting is under construction, that I have not been run over by a bus, or struck by a thunderbolt from On High.

November 3, 2013 at 6:02 am | #1

Hello ‘Reader’

You ask: Again, I would like to see just one example of 3D plotting from a full face photograph other than the shroud. I don’t think it is so easy.

Here’s one I did earlier, in May 2012.

Crude sketch of Shroud image left. After light/dark reversal and 3D in ImageJ (right). Note the luminous ghostly quality achieved without miraculous inputs of radiation.

Caveat: I did not start with a photograph (does that matter?) but with a quick hand sketch of the as-is TS negative image by the world’s most inept artist (me) using charcoal. And it’s a copy of the Shroud (for starters) but I did the same for a Mickey Mouse cartoon as well. Does that matter? Anyway the end-result showed a surprising degree of 3D-ness in ImageJ, and dare I say a luminous ghostly quality. But I don’t claim to be the world’s best aesthete either…

More comments on the way:


November 3, 2013 at 9:20 am | #13

Perhaps you could answer a question for me, OK. When references are made to the importance of cloth-body distance, that involves a radiation model (yes?). So differences in image intensity that are supposed to represent differences in cloth-body distance are assuming that Newton’s Inverse Square Law is operating (yes?). But all the radiation models I have seen that lack imaging lenses etc have to assume collimated (“unspread-out”) radiation. But why would that obey Newton’s Inverse Square Law?

Newton’s Inverse Square Law is based on the supposition that radiation streams out in all directions as a cone, with an ever larger but fainter circle of light on a screen the further from the source of radiation, falling off as the square of distance. So why is cloth-body distance a factor when one is having to assume collimated radiation? If there is no speading out of the radiation, it should not matter whether the cloth is 1cm or 1 metre from the radiating object.

So there has to be some other reason for the fading of image intensity that is unrelated to radiation (yes?). That means other mechanisms of image imprinting have to be considered (yes?). Reminder: there are three chief mechanisms for transfer of thermal energy between two bodies – assuming it is thermal energy that has produced the tan-coloured dehydration products of linen carbohydrates – namely radiation, conduction and convection.

Raymond Rogers had no time for radiation models. Nor do I. So forgive me if I switch off when folk refer blithely to cloth-body distances. That is not dispassionate objective science. It is (more often than not) agenda-driven, subjective “science”…

I believe that the Shroud image has to be examined as a product of conduction (primarily) and convection effects, involving very close contact between subject and cloth. Conduction requires zero distance of separation, but convection probably allows a little more, maybe a few mm, possibly a cm or two at most. But conduction and convection are accommodated better in models that assume the correctness of the radiocarbon dating…

Take away message: if Shroud authenticity is to be buttressed by science, it has to be science that operates according to the known laws of physics. Collimated radiation, indeed any kind of emitted radiation, stretches credulity. Collimated radiation that results in cloth-body distance as a factor makes no sense at all to someone like me whose science background is traditional and no doubt boring to some..


November 3, 2013 at 9:08 pm | #19

“No, the Newton’s Inverse Square Law plays no vital role here. Jackson assumes that there is some opaque medium (like air in case of the UV), some “cloud” that is responsible for intensity-distance correlation, according to the law:

I=I(0)*exp[-tau] , where tau is optical depth of the medium.”

That all looks impressively scientific, especially as it tries to gain an exemption from Newton’s Inverse Square Law. But I don’t think it does the business, at least in the context of Rogers’ model, whether you call it diffusion, convection or a mixture of both, and I’ll tell you why.

If you are going to posit that something in the intervening air is radio-opaque and is absorbing radiation so as to give the impression that Newton’s Law is being obeyed for collimated beams, you have to consider another Law – the most fundamental one of all in physics, namely the Law of Conservation of Energy. If your mysterious source of radiant energy is being absorbed on the way to its target (linen), then its energy cannot just disappear. It has to be converted to another form of energy. Without knowing the wavelengths being proposed it’s a matter of guesswork, though it would have to be longer wavelength energy, probably infrared. That’s the thermodynamics – the start and result if you like. But consider the kinetics too, that the absorption of radiant energy will increase the kinetic energy of electrons in chemical bonds causing excitation, or simply increased bond vibration, and sooner or later, probably sooner, that energy will be transferred to neighbouring air molecules as increased kinetic energy, i.e translation, straight line speed. In other words the air would heat up, expand, cause thermal convection currents etc, and almost certainly destroy any imaging system that depends on diffusion or convection.

It would be nice to think that Shroudology could open up new undreamt-of fields of physics, but I personally would prefer to know about those new phenomena first from other systems than have them snuck in the back door so to speak by folk who are trying to work their way around Newton’s Law.


November 3, 2013 at 9:52 am | #20

anoxie :
The most convincing point relating the data to a cloth body distance would be to correct the distortions according to the projection/formation mechanism and see which model is the best match to a real human form.

But your use of the term “projection” means you are only comparing within a subset of models, i.e. radiation models, unless you envisage transport of matter across air gaps. The latter is possible in convection models, notably Rogers’ with his gaseous amines, and might be possible if one had superheated air that was hot enough to scorch linen. But if we are to be scrupulously scientific, we have to ensure that our models are not restricted to those that happen to fit a particular or favoured narrative – if you see what I mean. I’m trying to recall a saying about a road to a certain destination being paved with good intentions. Maybe it’s now been fitted with one of those moving walkways for the benefit of those who come laden with baggage. 😉

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November 3, 2013 at 9:58 am | #21

Rogers ´ model is not a convection model but a diffusion model. Convection ruins the resolution.

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November 3, 2013 at 10:20 am | #22

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< id=”comment-49741″>True, anoxie, but only up to a point. It was initially proposed as a diffusion model, but that immediately raised doubts re credibility, especially with ammonia or the lighter organic amines diffusing away too fast for there to be any real prospect of sharp imaging (even assuming there was enough reducing sugar present, recalling that degraded starch does not necessarily equate to sugar, depending on many factors). So correct me if I’m wrong, the model has since been refined to incorporate the idea of laminar flow, as distinct from random diffusion in all directions, and one needs laminar flow to get enough mass transfer anyway, aided perhaps by elevated temperature (though it’s hard to see how the temperature in a rock tomb, even with post-mortem changes, can ever be high enough to kick- start a Maillard reaction with a very steep temperature response curve (probably a reflection of unfavourable thermodynamics as well as kinetics).But there’s a more fundamental objection one can make to the diffusion model, whether aided or unaided by convection currents – it starts by assuming the very thing that is supposed to be under critical scrutiny, i.e. that there was a 1st century starch-coated cloth in contact with a real dead (and rapidly) decomposing body. Sorry – that’s not my idea of dispassionate science. It’s agenda-driven, which doesn’t necessarily make it wrong – just suspect, and thus deserving of the closest critical scrutiny – it being the reputation of science and scientists that is on the line, thanks to our sensation-seeking media, ready to emblazon the latest discoveries (including crackpot ideas) before they have been properly assessed and/or vetted by the scientific community.*************************************************************colinsberry

November 3, 2013 at 8:29 pm | #3


Do we need to discuss VP8? Are there grounds for thinking that it is any more valid as a 3D-enhancement tool than the free-downloadable ImageJ? What is the meaning of valid anyway, given that the best 3D-enhancements are still 2D, viewed on a page or screen, no matter which criteria are applied. The best 3D is simply 2D that deceives the eye, so there must inevitably be subjective factors at play in discussing the merits of one method against another, even if deploying additional tools like layered colour to compare “3D-ness” as in the paper you cite (which incidentally I found almost unintelligible in parts, despite being able to call on my wife’s language skills – and she too said she could extract little meaning from the final conclusions).

If we are to restrict ourselves to objective scientific as distinct from subjective aesthetic ones, then what we need is an agreed standard for assessing the 3D-ness of a 2D image. That could take the form, as I suggested earlier (and have previously experimented with) of starting with an agreed 3D object, converting to 2D images by different means, and then seeing which software programs do the best job of re-creating the “look” of the original. What we cannot do is take the Shroud image as our standard, since we don’t know how well it resembled the subject whose image was imprinted,



November 3, 2013 at 2:46 pm | #8

Reply | Quote

“We’re talking about a micron-thick image on a piece of linen created before photography exists — yet it has the exact same qualities of a modern pic-of-a-oic. Wow.”

But one gives an image on a light-sensitive silver-salt emulsion, relatively sophisticated 19th century technology, but needing a lens to produce a sharp inverted image, while the other needs only linen as a thermosensitive layer of fragile carbohydrate, susceptible to scorching, with no need for a converging lens. In other words, branding, as applied to cattle rumps. Wow 😉

  • *******************************************************
  • November 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm | #10


    I could do that David, once I’ve searched my own cobweb-festooned archive. Better still – do it for yourself. Get a piece of metal or brass that has some rounded contours to it – even a coin would do- or better still a medal or medallion (I used to know the difference). Heat it on a cooker ring until it scorches a test scrap of fabric. Then press against cloth, preferably linen or cotton to get a scorch. Take a photograph on your digital camera or phone. Then download ImageJ onto your laptop. I’ll tell you which keys to press, but it’s basically about entering into its 3D enhancement program.

    See it with your own eyes. Thermal imprints from 3D or flattened semi-3D (bas relief) templates, aka cattle brands, respond magnificently to 3D programs – but so they should, since scorch intensity is in proportion to 3D relief. If it’s raised, it leaves a good imprint. If it’s lower down in the relief, less raised, it does not.

    Yes, I could give links to my own postings, but it’s better that folks find these things out for themselves.Then they realize it’s not trickery – just a reading of image density as height above a base plane.

  • anoxie
  • November 3, 2013 at 2:57 pm | #11Reply | QuoteSpatial information does not depend on the image but on the mechanism.Light is not attenuated by distance (unless you consider an experiment like Jackson ´s), the contrast depends on the lightning.Pictures from ok except (maybe) the shroud, have no spatial information.
  • anoxieNovember 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm | #13Reply | QuoteThis is an important point.There is no easy spatial information in a photograph because contrast of an image point depends on the amount of reflected light, from a point of the object, reaching the lens. This amount of reflected light mainly depends on the lightning, the properties of the object but not on the spatial configuration.
      • Concerning the shroud VP 8 image is related to spatial information only if you think of an underlying mechanism linking closely distance and contrast.

    colinsberryNovember 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm | #15Reply | Quote

    Images have no memory as to their origins. Suspecting an image to have medieval or earlier origins confers no special characteristics to that image. So find the special characteristics first, and if you cannot explain them by knowledge gained from modern images, then and only then seek special features shown only in earlier images.

    It’s important to get the order right – start with the hypothesis that the properties are understandable in terms of known science. Don’t start with the hypothesis that the properties are unknown to modern science. That is not a hypothesis, It is an a priori untested, unsupported supposition.

    Science exists, indeed thrives on, the testing of a priori untested, unsupported suppositions. It’s the way it operates. Sounds negative, I know, and apologies for that, but no one has yet come up with a more effectivemodus operandi

    1. November 5, 2013 at 5:16 am | #4

      ” ..Jackson experiment was in small scale. Compare with difficulties to obtain it with 180 cm model, and of course in the medieval times!”

      Difficulties? What difficulties? Jackson’s is a radiation model, and an exotic kind of radiation too, one that it now seems required a certain rock tomb to become submerged in water or some other radiation-attenuating medium in order to get collimated Resurrectional radiation to obey some kind of substitute for boring old Newtonian optics.

      Our medieval fabricator did not use or need radiation. There are conventional means of producing images on cloth from 3D subjects, ones that capture and imprint 3D information. Think brass rubbing off bas-relief templates, think Garlaschelli’s frottage, and you may find that your “difficulties” suddenly attenuate to zero, just like Jackson’s magical radiation when it hit a metaphorical brick wall (or 1st century equivalent, e.g. circular stone, with hermetically-sealing water-tight properties).

    2. anoxie
      November 5, 2013 at 5:25 am | #5

      O.K. :
      the 3D relief of TS Man’s body is slightly distorted, because one must take into account the way the linen drapped the body.

      I think Jackson himself has produced the first model taking into account the drapping to correct distortions.

      • November 5, 2013 at 5:35 am | #6

        On Monday, we’ll rule out contact models, on the grounds there would be lateral distortions, and decide to concentrate on our radiation models instead (which happily fit our miracle-accommodating 1st century narrative).

        On Tuesday, we’ll belatedly acknowledge there are lateral distortions, so start to tinker with the details of our radiation model, forcing our model to conform with the facts, trying to ignore a ticking of the ribs by Occam’s razor.


        November 5, 2013 at 7:06 am | #8

        What you have written is far too self-serving in model-evaluation terms to warrant a detailed response, OK. All I would say to you is that contact/conduction models do not require imprinting off the sides of a 3D subject. If the template is a real person, one can be content with just the topmost planes. If using an inanimate template, one can make it as a bas-relief, anticipating lateral distortions, and go modelling accordingly.

        I see nothing in the 3D images of the Shroud to exclude modelling off templates by contact, and indeed can see a lot that suggests that was exactly the method employed. But I am hugely entertained by the attempts of New Age Physics to persist with its wacky radiation model, especially as it now seems to require a water bath to get the necessary radiation attenuation that would permit capture of cloth-image distance and “3D encoding”. How long before the Biblical record is modified to take account? First it was earthquakes needed to release radon gas. Expect to read of torrential rain flooding that rock tomb any day now, with displaced aragonite travertine dust forming an effective mud seal around the circular stone. Or did 100lbs of myrh and aloes create a beaver-style dam?

        Rarely a day goes by without Shroudology throwing up yet another new detail to legitimise or embellish the narrative. I just wish some of those details stood up to more than a second or two of scrutiny (based on the kind of science that is to be found between the covers of standard textbooks).

        From “Giorgio”:  see especially his final paragraph (my bolding):
        November 5, 2013 at 10:35 am | #75

        Hugh, I like the assertion David makes and I quote, “manufactured with a process we don’t exactly know (paint or heating or some degradation due to time) or we are in front a miracle”.

        If the 3D image of the Shroud is measured between body and cloth, I would conclude that the likelihood that a natural occurrence created the image without obstructions or contaminates to distort the 3D isn’t likely.

        Last year I discussed with Deacon Pete, (Schumacher) how uncomfortable I was with the explanation of Jackson and other Sindonolgist claiming that the 3D characteristics are like no other image and supports the authenticity of the Shroud. For me it was the contrary.; it supports a controlled environment that even included the substrate that the image was imposed on.

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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