Glad to be of service, “anonymous”…

“Anonymous”  on Dan Porter’s site put a question to me earlier re the new geometry I’m using to imprint images of heated templates, which I  consider produces results that are closer to the Shroud at the microscopic as well as macroscopic level. He wanted to know how individual fibres from high and low intensity image areas compared under the microscope.


November 21, 2013 at 11:50 am | #1

In the image you created, there are obvious zones real dark and other zones much more pale. This microscope photo came from which one? And is it possible to have 2 photos side by side to compare the result at fiber level of a very dark zone and a much paler zone? In my mind, it is theoretically impossible for a technique like that, to produce the same very subtle coloration at fiber level in both a dark zone and a pale zone. Remember that on the Shroud, that’s exactly the reality of the coloration at fiber level. No more penetration and the same kind of subtle yellowing of each colored fiber, no matter if this fiber come from a dark zone or a much paler zone.


I  decided to oblige, recalling Oscar Wilde’s  candid observation: “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about… ”  despite the implicit assumption that the “half tone effect” of the Shroud image is an established fact (not so, in my view, but that can wait).

So first I had to produce some images from a 3D template that differed in intensity – but not too much since that would detract from the new methodology that can reproducibly produce scorched-on images that are not too intense, not too obviously scorch-like as to leave medieval pilgrims feeling the journey was wasted.

So here are the preliminaries –  a series of pictures showing the way the images for microscopy were prepared and selected. I make no claim that this was the optimal procedure for answering the question – but it gives a rough idea.

Thermal imprint and template, side by side

Thermal imprint and template, side by side

Close up of thermal imprint

Close up of thermal imprint

Select chest on right as the more intense image, arm on left for less intense (insert picture later of precise sampling areas).

Reverse side of linen, showing NO image imprinting that side, despite the moullding effect of having imprinted manually off the contours of the template for optimal contact.

Opposite (non-image)  side of linen, showing essentially no  imprinting , despite the moulding effect of having imprinted manually off the contours of the template for optimal contact.

Two regions of image excised for micrsocopic examination: arm (low intensity);  chest (higher intensity).

Two regions of image excised for micrsocopic examination: arm (low intensity); chest (higher intensity).

Typical field from more intense chest area

Typical field from more intense chest area, x4o mag. Apologies for the adventitious blue fibre – it is not on the slide – but inside the sealed (!)  USB “eyepiece” unit.

(Sorry, a big section seems to have disappeared during the last edit. I’ll try and reconstruct. The first priority is to replace the missing photograph of the less-intense arm area chosen for comparison):

Typical field from less intense arm area

Typical field from the fainter image zone of the arm. The fibres merely seem a fainter colour then in the above picture, i.e. failing to demonstrate a half tone effect. But is the alleged half-tone effect of the Shroud real? Can anyone  show a photograph that demonstrates it convincingly?

Discuss. Is  there the much trumpeted and ‘mysterious’  half-tone effect? Or is there merely  a gradation of intensities, maybe with a saturation effect (dehydratable non-cellulose carbohydrates being in short supply?). I’d say the difference in image intensity in the two pictures was due merely to differential coloration of the fibres. I’m far from convinced that the Shroud micrographs show a different picture, one allegedly with all image fibres having the same intensity in high and low darkness areas, with darkness a function of number of equally-intensely coloured  fibres per unit area i.e. the half tone effect. I thought that (and said so) on Porter’s site before being asked the question by “anonymous”, merely from looking at the Mark Evans/Schwortz Shroud pictures, with no obvious “half-tone” effect that I could see, merely a low level “saturation effect” that is easily explained (limiting hemicellullose substrate).


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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2 Responses to Glad to be of service, “anonymous”…

  1. colinsberry says:

    Thanks Hugh. I look forward to hearing the result on that “steam distillation” hunch, It’s a long shot, and would be amazing if one could get rid of the fluorescence by letting steam escape easily (it comes up through the damp overlay after a minute or two) but I won’t be surprised if it turns up negative.

    Yes, I agree completely re your reasoning for the toasted v yellow colour. This is why I think the reversed geometry is so important. It reduces toasting by conduction and increases generalised cooking and diffuse yellowing by forced convection. In fact, when linen is laid over a hot template there may be very little conduction, because the first formed steam (linen is said to be approx 8% free water) will create a steam cushion that prevents atom to atom contact, so most of the heat transfer is then by the action of superheated steam and later by additional pyrolysis gases.

    Thanks for the tip re the rust pictures. I’ll take another look.

  2. Hugh Farey says:

    Hi Colin,
    I’m just running up to an end of term, so a bit busy, but I’ll certainly carry out the UV experiment before Christmas. As for the Evans photos, I see the “toasted” area as a conduction (contact) scorch, and the general yellowish background as a convection and/or radiation (non-contact) scorch. Does that seem reasonable? Incidentally, for a true “topmost fibres only” illustration, there is an Evans photo of some rust on the shroud among Barrie’s collection, and the unchanged blue-white silky background is very visible there.

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