A challenging scorch assignment that I had been putting off, and off, and off…


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:





Update: This posting is now being discussed on Dan Porter’s shroudstory site.

Yes, I bought the crucifixion brass in Antibes almost a year ago, intending to test the contact-scorch hypothesis for the Shroud image with some demanding physical relief, i.e. bits that stick out.

Antibes market, Dec 2012 .No, I didn’t tell the stall-holder what I intended to do with her object of religious devotion (when finally overcoming inertia, to say nothing of abject cowardice).

And I had been putting it off, feeling that gluttons for punishment were people who dived  off 100ft cliff faces into  a 5ft depth of water below, well provided with rocky pools and crabs. But David Goulet on Dan Porter’s shroudstory.com site issued the challenge to produce a scorch image off difficult 3D contours, so I finally decided to take the plunge. The preliminary findings, not nearly so damning to all my cack-handed probings as I had first imagined, were reported on earlier postings. But David wanted especially to know how the methodology coped with the dorsal side of a post-crucifixion posture, with knees drawn up etc, for which my bit of brass might, just might, offer some compelling modelling possibilities, well approximations at any rate.

So here’s a series of photographs taken of the scorching in the kitchen in strict time sequence. I’ll add some more later of the 3D-processing in ImageJ.

Heating stage (dorsal)

Heating stage (dorsal)

First imprint - too hot, too dark.

First imprint – too hot, too dark.

Second imprint (right) - after cooling

Second imprint (right) – after cooling. Note btw, that I turned the fabric up so as to imprint the soles of the feet, as per Shroud.

Comparison of scorch images with original template

Comparison of scorch images with original template

Close-up of dorsal side upper image

Close-up of dorsal side upper image

Midriff region - dorsal side scorch image

Midriff region – dorsal side scorch image

As above - fainter more superficial image

As above – fainter more superficial image

Here are those images from above (dark v fainter scorch) after 3D-enhancement in Image J. Note the increasingly Shroud like appearance, especially with the imaging of dorsal side feet after turning up the fabric during imprinting - surely hich i

Here are those images from above (dark v fainter scorch) after 3D-enhancement in Image J. Note the increasingly Shroud like appearance.  That belt (loin cloth) could be the subject of another posting.


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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