Change of direction

new blue

Firstly, I shall be wasting no more time on the site.

It is simply a mouthpiece (with some very mouthy contributors*) for the pro-authenticity, anti-radiocarbon dating agenda. Its host, Dan Porter,  is almost certainly a front man for a behind-the-scenes organization, probably hard-line keep-calm-and-change-directionRoman Catholic, despite his declaring himself  to be some kind of Anglican (Episcopalian). Or maybe it’s a soft-sell commercial operation. Who knows? Who cares? I certainly don’t.

That’s really all I need to say about I shan’t be going there again.

I would ask its host NOT to do cover posts on anything I post here in future. OK, I won’t get as many hits or visitors, but never mind. I would prefer folk to look in here from time to time, unprompted and of their own volition, and hopefully leave a comment or two.  But if they don’t, then never mind. I’ll still be here,  ploughing my lonely furrow for what I  call genuine untainted  agenda-free science. There will be short shrift to those who continue to malign the radiocarbon dating scientists, simply for dating the sample they were given by the Turin insiders, the ones whose names never appeared on the 89  Nature list of authors, the ones  who connived in the covert  removal of threads  from the radiocarbon strip, later used to undermine  the credibility of that sampled site. (Yes, you couldn’t make it up).

* Sample (appeared a few hours ago):

February 7, 2014 at 10:41 am | #7


The bas relief scorch theory is intellectual junk and its principal proponent on this blog is also the principal proponent of the de Molay theory which is also intellectual junk. Your and he are of course entitled to your own opinion, but as they say, you are not entitled to your own facts.


Yes, I have drawn a line under that mire of negativity and character assassination. The “principal proponent of the de Molay theory” is no longer on the site. Already the air smells cleaner.

So, time to move on. But to where and how?

I’ve decided to put together a lecture presentation, with no particular audience in mind as yet, one that summarises my thinking about the TS, especially the hot template/hot Templar angle. Yes, it’s all hypothesis, but I try wherever possible to accommodate as much of the available data (hard data that is) while keeping ideas testable in principle.

This is a real-time endeavour, and has been from the start just over 2 years ago on my sciencebuzz site.  So I will be assembling that lecture in stages, directly underneath here, using my blog essentially as a work area.

That’s the nature of the exercise. I suspect this may be the first time a sustained scientific investigation has been carried out in real time on the internet. The Shroud seemed a suitable topic from the outset, given it’s supposed to be the most studied artefact in human history, but which the STURP investigators stated remained a mystery.

sketch jacques de molay at stake

Click to enlarge

I believe I am making  headway in removing some of that mystery, in showing it to be a graphic statement intended initially for one purpose –  a tribute to a cruelly tortured and finally executed Knight Templar – probably Jacques de Molay or Geoffroi de Charney -the possibilities of which as a representation of the crucified Christ were quickly spotted and then realized (via judicious application of  blood or some kind of clot-free fraction or derivative thereof). Nope, not a complete forgery – a partial, phased one.

More to come.

It’s now Saturday. Am already thinking about the structure of that lecture, and how I personally came to make a link between the Templars and the TS. To what extent was it influenced, if at all by passing references online,  to the Templars, maybe as a result of others having read or learned about Knight and Lomas’s “Second Messiah”?  Or was it, as my possibly flawed memory tells me, a result of learning about the Lirey Pilgrim’s Badge and thinking: “Hey, that figure there does not look much like Christ” but  “Hey, he looks more like Christ of the Forgeais drawing of the Badge.”

Links to previous postings on the Lirey pilgrim’s badge aka Cluny medal.


And here’s a link to Dan Porter’s attempts to dismiss my Lirey posting:

Why did I not respond? Answer: total disgust and contempt at the mangling of my ideas, the setting up of straw man points to demolish what I did NOT say, the suggestion I had mixed up de Charney and de Charny  (having gone to some trouble to explain the link between the two) etc etc.

Oh, and I had also refused to respond to his initial sarcastic posting the day before:

Read carefully folks and you may discern the real role of It’s about CONTROL of the ‘shroudosphere’, monitoring on an hour to hour basis new inputs into the debate, acting instantly to pour scorn on anything that is seen as too overtly opposed to the carefully sustained authenticity narrative. Who’s behind all of this, one wonders? I’m pretty well convinced that Dan Porter is the generally innocuous front man whose own comments and positions are best described as tepid – until  that is someone goads him into action to issue his dry, derisive putdowns.  Who are the backers?

Know what I think? Porter and his backers went into fire-fighting mode when I published on the Lirey badge, and then began asking awkward questions about why his site had never done a single post. He didn’t like that, and started muttering about conspiracy theories on my part. But look closely at the end of his post. The best he could manage against the charge that in hundreds of postings since August 2008 he had never once featured the Badge was to give a link to Mario Latendresse’s posting, NOT his own. But Mario’s approach is ALWAYS scholarly and carefully researched, a total contrast to Porter’s own dilettante approach, leaving it to others to address the tricky details, and pouring instant scorn on details that he dislikes, posing as the grand old man of shroudology who knows all the arguments from long acquaintance. Know what? I think I wrong-footed him on the Lirey badge, about which he knew next to nothing, except for a quick look at Mario’s posting. His response? The immediate cold douche, which is what he does best.

As I say, I refused to respond at the time to the Porter response to my ideas. But given he’s now saying I have no business commenting on historical matters with specific reference to the Lirey Badge, one that he himself ignored for well over 3 years until I flagged it up as relevant – then I may well start with a belated response to his 2012 postings that attempted to portray me as unfit to comment on what I see primarily as a physical artefact – just like the Shroud itself. If I’m not qualified comment on the Badge, then according to Porter’s logic I’m not qualified to comment on the Shroud either, to which my response is:  GET REAL!


Apologies for that diversion into the Porterite style of news management. Back to the real business: here, in chronological order, are the rest of the links to more postings on this site re the historically-significant yet curious in many ways Lirey badge. (I’ll add something later re the equally enigmatic Machy mould for a related Lirey badge, discovered recently in a field just 3km from Lirey, also the subject of an earlier posting here, and receiving interesting attention from Mario Latendresse and Ian Wilson).

I shall spend a few hours racking my memory, but already a hunch is forming in my mind that when I googled “Lirey Badge”  I looked first at the wiki entry, which was accompanied by the Forgeais drawing, NOT the real badge, and had to spend some time tracking down a decent graphic of the real badge (it’s a lot easier now).

Real Lirey badge (left) compared with 19th century drawing thereof by Arthur Forgeais (right). Click on image to enlarge.

I was immediately struck by the difference between the real image and the doctored/idealized one on the drawing, especially the facial features, presence/absence of long hair, beard and moustache, and straightaway felt there was something NOT QUITE RIGHT here.  (I’m usually resistant to conspiracy theories, but am quite open to the suggestion that there is (or has been) a conspiracy of sorts to keep the Lirey Badge under wraps and out of the public eye.  Like why was it not on display when Mario Latendresse made his first  visit to the Cluny Museum in April 2007, and why could someone not have brought it up from the basement?  So a posting followed, April 2012:

Dan Porter, self-appointed gatekeeper of shroudology, tells me that this  specialist ‘chemist’ has absolutely no  business posturing as a “polymath”, investigating or interpreting historical artefacts like the Lirey badge. That was his lightning-fast response to my stating that Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, the esteemed textile expert, had no business operating ‘out of area’ when claiming to have spotted the  Shroud’s “L-shaped poker holes” unobtrusively incorporated into supposed  line-drawing of the Shroud in the Hungarian Pray manuscript of 13th (not Lirey 14th century) provenance, thus demonstrating  to her satisfaction that the Shroud was older than the radiocarbon date.

I’ll respond later (maybe) to Porter’s charge sheet. There are other more important matters on my mind right now, like getting recollections from nearly two years ago straight in my head, especially re that Lirey badge, which (incidentally) I approach as a non-specialist observer, but still with a scientist’s approach,  which when confronted with something new and unfamiliar is to imagine one is the very first person in the world on which to lay eyes ,  and who feels compelled or obliged to report on what he sees with some initial albeit tentative interpretations. That’s when the fun begins – to then go and compare one’s own uncoloured views with those previously voiced by previous commentators, especially experts. And already a new memory is re-appearing from the recesses of my increasingly senescent mind, namely that the only prior views I could find were those of  the high-profile, highly readable  if controversial historian Ian Wilson, and if anyone’s views were coloured, dare I say rose-tinted, it was his, not mine. (Again, why so little prior interest in the Badge?  It’s  MOST peculiar and totally unexpected).  Hey, I think I’m motoring, hopefully not on a track of false memories! More to come.

Why all this preamble and spiel about the Lirey badge? Yesterday someone other than  shroudie Godfather Daniel R.Porter was claiming I had been reading too much into the detail on one small palm-sized lead medallion, corroded by being under the Seine for centuries.  But I’ve suddenly also recalled a feature of the Lirey badge that ‘nailed’ for me a possible Templar link.  It’s on the dorsal side, approximately midriff!  Imagine you had seen that through fresh eyes, having been told nothing about the previous known history of the badge. What would you have concluded, regardless of qualifications,  or the various kinds of baggage, assorted professional or ideological that we all of us acquire on our journey through life?

Yes, that was it, my eureka moment where the Shroud’s possible provenance was concerned. It was that THING, looking for all the world like a stretched-out umbilical cord, which Ian Wilson said was a “blood belt”.

What is that THING extending left to right across the dorsal waist?

Aside: I’ve actually handled umbilical cords. For my sins I was once required to supervise the annual repeat of a biochemistry practical that the late Professor Brenda Ryman had introduced at Royal Free Hospital Medical school for preclinical medical students. I was doing my PhD at the time, and had acquired the grandiose title of Honorary Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry and Chemistry. It required going over to the nearby Liverpool Street Hospital maternity unit and collecting half a dozen or so umbilical cords that the midwives had been asked to put aside into a big jar of acetone. Back at the lab, the students were required to mush up the cords, and measure their hyaluronic acid content (that being a form of glycosaminoglcan connective tissue) and see whether that correlated with the degree of helicity (“twisting”) of the cord. Twisting in the cord was thought as I recall to have some kind of possible advantages from a safety point of view (something to do with a plumped-up cord being less prone to strangle). When I tried out the assay procedure a day or two ahead of the practical, I could not get the colorimetric procedure to work properly, the blanks being pink as I recall instead of colorless as expected.  Two  supervisors who had run the practical in previous years each said words like “Don’t know what your problem is. It worked perfectly for me”.  At the very last minute, phew,  the cause was located. The technician had filled the burettes with technical grade sulphuric acid. As soon as it was replaced with analytical grade acid, the problem disappeared.

Now then. What made me insert that anecdote? Was it driven by the subconscious – an opportunity to demonstrate the multi-disciplinary nature of so much research, in my instance in the biomedical area. There’s a chemical assay there for a biochemical  (connective tissue) which makes up a significant proportion of the weight of  the umbilical cord – which plays a crucial role in supplying the foetus with nutrients and oxygen, but which has its mechanical vulnerabilities too.   One is always wary of being  asked by non-scientists:” So what is your speciality?”. Throughout a 20 year spell in research   with the first postdoctoral appointment, at the Royal Free Hospital  Medical Unit as Wellcome Trust Interdisciplinary Research Fellow/Honorary Lecturer, I was always encouraged, and sometimes required, to forget specialist background, and to acquire whatever knowledge, know-how and specialist collaborators that addressed the needs of the problem under investigation. Biochemistry became overlaid with physiology, medicine, nutrition, toxicology etc (the list is by no means complete).  Post retirement, the interest is less with any specific branch of science, more with the evolution of scientific thought. There’s  some fascinating work being done right now on the nature of memory at the molecular level.  Have they finally got a handle on that biological black box?

Link to Mail article

This is red hot stuff by the looks of it – possibly the biggest breakthrough in biology for, well, a long long time.

More on the way

Now then, back to that thing, that coiled structure that I now see as best resembling an umbilical cord (but can’t see why it should be, or intended as such). Firstly, why is it it visible on the dorsal side only (on the Badge) but on both sides of the 1869 Forgeais drawing? Was it on both sides originally at the time Forgeais drew it? Look closely at the front side. is there not a suggestion that the lead has either been corroded or even gouged away so as to make it reverse side only? If gouged, then why? Was that “thing” considered problematical for some reason or another? One could understand why, given its identity and purpose is not self-evident (sorry, Ian Wilson) if viewed objectively, free of prior assumptions.

As mentioned earlier, Ian Wilson described it as a blood belt”, being an attempt to show bleeding from the lance wound inflicted in the side of the crucified Jesus by the Roman guard, or was it centurion? Maybe. I shall go and remind myself of the bloodstains on the Shroud in the relevant locations,  memory not being as good as it used to be.

More to come.

Here’s am image from Shroud Scope of the dorsal view, with some extra contrast in MS Photoeditor.

TS, dorsal view , waist level.

Note the blood belt, which is absent on the frontal side. It’s a pity that the 1532 burn holes prevent one from knowing if the blood extends onto the adjoining line, so as to extend both sides.  So one is left uncertain as to the closeness of correspondence or otherwise between Shroud blood and that peculiar coiled structure on the badge. If it was really intended to be blood from the lance wound then why show it extending both sides of the body? Why show it as a fairly regular coil or spiral, even if intended to be stylized blood? More importantly, why show ONLY that source of blood. Would  it not have been possible to represent other sources of blood, say on the head from crown of thorns, or on hand and feet, maybe with some indication of wounds as well as feet. Why not scourge marks? Too small? But the artist was able to place a herring-bone pattern on the Shroud using fine scoring on the mould,  so why not more attention to detail on the central figure?

Ah yes, that central figure. Is it really meant to be Jesus? Look at the back of the head. Why has the artist made no attempt to give it shoulder length hair, or even a hint of a pigtail as some see on the Shroud?

Then there’s that curious upwards tilt of the head, slightly to one side, which one does not see on the Forgeais drawing. Does it not suggest someone still in pain and torment, as distinct from the hang-head posture one is accustomed to seeing on crucifixes representing Christ in a terminal state of exhaustion, almost beyond pain, close to death.

More to follow

Change of subject (will return to Templars later): a post has appeared from Dan Porter’s site which has my name in the title. Some may consider me ungracious for not responding to the personal aspects. But as I said earlier, I wish to have no further association with, for the simple reason that is does not appreciate or understand that nature of the scientific method (if that sounds arrogant,  then let me say immediately that it’s a constant learning process for working (and retired) scientists too. Ordinary everyday folk simply do not understand that science is the world of ideas, that it is a continuous process of constructing models of the real world (whatever that is), that science is not just eternally compromised by uncertainty,  through having to be content with hypotheses that never quite make it to theories,  but actually thrives on the stuff.  Science is about whittling away uncertainty (on good days), rarely if ever eliminating it completely. End of lecture: to specifics.

I had said that the radiocarbon labs were not to be blamed for having done their tests on the single sampling site, which was a decision inflicted upon them by the Turin custodians. Maybe I should have said previously that had I been one of the daters, I’d have walked out in disgust, but I wasn’t, and cannot judge them by my own values, but by those of organizations that have to make collective decisions that are not based on personal whim (or pique). When one approaches from that direction, then yes, it is fully understandable why they may have decided to make the best of a bad job. Why?

Firstly, there is no reason why the labs themselves should have a huge stake in knowing the real age of the Shroud, free from statistical uncertainty. If that were the case they would have divided it up into a 1000 grid squares and taken 1 square in ten, randomly, regardless of what parts of the image they were removing. Secondly, each of the three chosen labs was pitched into competition with two others, and each told to produce an answer blind that would then be published. The chief fear was one of coming up with answer that was widely different from the other two. Given that competitive element, it was understandable that there should be relief at being given contiguous snippings from the same strip, reducing the sampling errors. In other words, the labs, told to work on a corner only, probably switched from seeing it as an exercise in dating the entire Shroud (problematical from a defacement point of view) and instead as one of inter-laboratory comparison/collaborative trial to compare the precisions of three different AMS labs using similar isotope separation technology but non-identical sample clean-up procedures. Accuracy (as distinct from precision) is always a difficult thing to assess, but if three labs come up with largely concordant answers, each with reasonable precision, then it gives a measure of confidence in the accuracy (assuming they are not all making the same unrecognized fundamental and systematic error).

Sorry, I reject Dan Porter’s attempt, and that of many others, to disparage the scientific standards of the three labs. Science DOES care about sampling error, but its remit can only  restricted to the sampling error of its own autonomous procedures, not that which is controlled or dictated by those whose concern is with maintaining the integrity of the thing being sampled. The dating of 1260-1390 applies ONLY to the sample provided. If folk think that is the answer for an unrepresentative corner of the cloth that had been ‘invisibly’ rewoven, then the answer is simple: invite the labs back to test further samples. But don’t continue to accuse them of incompetence for failing to return the correct answer, through allowing others,  like those Turin insiders, the ones whose names failed to appear on the final Nature paper,  to dictate the sampling frame. If anyone is to be blamed for a dating “fiasco”, it should be those insiders who made the final decisions, making sure they could never be held personally accountable by the scientific community.

Saturday pm:  back to that “blood belt”. It’s too low, i.e. at waist level to be a blood flow from the side wound. Would not the latter have been closer to the heart? Is there any art from the period that shows the blood flow as if it were a string of sausages?

Let’s try a totally different tack, inspired no doubt by art that portrays a landmark date in French history, one that took place approx 40 years prior to the first known display of the Shroud at Lirey: the execution of Templar leaders Jacques de Molay and others, including Geoffroi de Charney on  a Seine island in the centre of Paris. Here’s the image inserted into a posting from 2012, together with its original caption. Note the chain used to secure to the stake.

.Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, immediately prior to being slow-roasted over charcoal, Paris, 1314. May, myself, belive this to be the Man on the TS. I think I am the first to suggest that his image on the Shroud is a thermal imprint (scorch) intended deliberately to convey vividly the manner of his death. (It is possible the image is that of de Molay'sclose associate, Geoffroi de Charney, Preceptor of Normandy, who dies alongside de Molay on the same day in the same manner. Some, notably genealogist Noel Currer Briggs, believes de Charney to have been the uncle of Geoffroi de Charny (not slight difference in spelling) who was first known owner of the Shroud at Lirey in northern France, whose widow  Jeanne de Vergey placed it on public display in 1357 approx, for which the Lirey Pilgrim's badge, aka Cluny Medal, was commissioned.

Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, immediately prior to being slow-roasted over charcoal, Paris, 1314. May, myself, belive this to be the Man on the TS. I think I am the first to suggest that his image on the Shroud is a thermal imprint (scorch) intended deliberately to convey vividly the manner of his death. (It is possible the image is that of de Molay’sclose associate, Geoffroi de Charney, Preceptor of Normandy, who dies alongside de Molay on the same day in the same manner. Some, notably genealogist Noel Currer Briggs, believes de Charney to have been the uncle of Geoffroi de Charny (not slight difference in spelling) who was first known owner of the Shroud at Lirey in northern France, whose widow Jeanne de Vergey placed it on public display in 1357 approx, for which the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge, aka Cluny Medal, was commissioned.

Yes, it’s a big jump – from a presumed crucifixion to execution by an entirely different means. But enigmas require thinking outside of the box, and one cannot hope to make progress except by integrating  as much of the available data as possible.

The crucial data that requires rationalizing are:

  • the Lirey Charny link to the executed Templar de Charney
  • death by burning
  • the scorch-like character of the image on the Shroud – possibly pyrographic art
  • the bloodbelt/chain on Shroud and Lirey badge
  • the arguably non-Christ like image on that badge
  • ????

More to come. Like – is there any other  evidence on the Lirey badge that is more consistent with burning than crucifixion?  Yes, I believe there is, but it requires the eye of faith (as does interpretation of ancient artwork and other artefacts generally).

Diversionary aside: this from Across the Way:

David: “How does the rigor/not rigor argument affect the bas relief scorch theory – if at all?”

Thibault: I can’t see how any kind of bas relief scorch theory could explain the bent position of the legs. It seems to me impossible.

Explanation: only the head (probably) required a bas relief. The rest of the image came from moulding linen to the more elevated of the contours of a 3D effigy, e.g. a bronze statue of the crucified Christ, removed from its supporting cross, in which the knees would have been bent, and thus difficult to image clearly on the dorsal side due to tenting of fabric. The ‘rigor mortis’ claim is based (usually) on other features that presuppose a kind of freezing of the crucifixion posture,  despite the temporary nature of rigor, but that fits with a rigid metallic statue too. It would explain why there is no flattening of the buttocks, as might be expected if imaging from a real person with their weight pressing on the linen. Both models interestingly require re-positioning of the arms, i.e. by forcible breaking of rigor, or detachment and repositioning of the arms of a statue.

It’s worth noting that we have reached a critical stage in the enquiry here. Up till now we had just been noting peculiarities, and then have framed a hypothesis, one that folk could be forgiven for thinking as being somewhat tenuous. But having made that hypothesis, i.e. that the man on the Badge is, or had been burned, as per Templars, NOT crucified, then any more observations consistent with or suggestive of the first, while at odds with the second, must now be given far more  weight than would otherwise be the case.  The worth of a particular scientific hypotheses is often said to be judged on the basis of its predictive utility. The statement that “additional evidence for burning  will be found on the badge” is making a prediction. By the same token, any unequivocal evidence that favours crucifixion must likewise weaken greatly the case for burning.

There is indeed, I believe, more evidence that can be adduced to support the case that has the Lirey badge shows a man who has been burned, not crucified , but that can wait until tomorrow.

Expect some more bullet points.

Sunday: now comes the tricky part – hunting down those tiny spy clues that of themselves might escape notice by the casual observer, and  sadly if pointed out invariably elicit  comments re mountains and molehills etc. But I stated my scientist’s credo yesterday – that new evidence that fits a prior hypothesis becomes gold dust, and attempts to dismiss it out of hand out on the grounds of  “who’s to say… ? ” cuts no ice whatsoever . Who’stosayery is an attempt to defend the conventional view, dogma even, by adding on qualifying assumptions, and we all know of a certain razor designed to cut away at that kind of flummery.

So let’s start listing the additional features spotted after the hunch was first articulated:

  • the trellis-like pattern on the reverse side of the Lirey badge which can easily be explained in a 1314 Templar-burning context – basically as a giant  grill for multiple executions.

    From Mario Latendresse’s excellent site – the reverse side of the Lirey badge with his explanation for the trellis pattern (which differs from the one here).

  • the strange spiky growth beneath the feet, interpretable as flickering flame,  and having no explanation that I can see in a crucifixion scenario.
  • the damaged knees, which could be interpreted as a signal that the figure represented is NOT Jesus, or that they have been charred to the bone (or that the casting was especially weak and prone to the ravages of time and/or Seine water at those two specific locations)
  • the presence of an additional “blood belt” at ankle level, closely matching that one at the waist in terms of regular coiled appearance. If interpretable (again) as blood, then why is it not on both sides of the shroud, frontal as well as dorsal?  Is it maybe an additional securing chain?
  • the curious “puffed-up” appearance of the man, front  and dorsal. Given the artist’s ability to incorporate respectful detail elsewhere, notably the two sets of heraldry, surely he was capable of rendering a more respectful image of the crucified Jesus, if that was the real intention. Indeed one wonders if the unappealing imagery is not the true reason for why the Lirey badge is not better known, and why it is secreted away in the basement of a Paris museum, and known, unhelpfully  by the museum’s name (the Cluny medallion etc).
  • New thought (just come): why did the maker of the Lirey badge go to such trouble to produce so prominent bas relief for the figure, requiring a lot of deep and careful gouging out of stone from the  casting mould? Why go to all that trouble, given that all he had to do was portray a superficial image on linen. For that, all he needed to do was engrave lightly, as he did to represent the herringbone weave and other features. Had he stuck to shallow engraving, he could have easily incorporated a lot more detail, like nail wounds and blood stains, the epsilon on the forehead, for example, to say nothing of scourge marks. Sometimes, negative evidence speaks louder tha positive – the artisan having made scarcely any effort to portray the man as that of the scourged and crucified Jesus. It could be anyone, and indeed looks nothing like the Jesus of medieval art. That is surely no accident. There had to have been a reason, and one could conjecture that it was based more on political grounds than artistic ones. That unattractive puffed-up look, requiring more, not less work at the mould-making stage, was deliberate in my view, and intended to make a point (or possibly protect a patron’s back)

????  I shall spend some time thinking of anything else that might be added to the list, and then switch to looking at the other features on the badge.

Diversionary aside: yesterday, Shroudie-land’s Godfather, for reasons best known to himself, began pontificating about the settings on this site (the ones that raise or lower its profile in cyberspace generally). In the past I’ve said that I don’t seek a high profile outside of the shroudie-circle, which explains the absence of those logos and links to social media sites (FB, Twitter etc). Now I’m declared to be promoting my site anyway through those (quite how DP discovered that I have no idea).

Fact: I wasn’t aware of doing so, at least not purposely, but do recall being asked on sign-up if I was willing for this  site to be flagged up in other sites  or forums etc etc, and not wishing to appear hermit-like, or risk antagonizing WordPress, placed a tick in the box. What’s that done for my traffic or comments? Little or nothing by the looks of it. Maybe I would get more if there were all those icons on display, as customary on other sites. But my position is unchanged. I’m not trying to encourage one-stop visits simply to improve site-statistics, nor am I  actively trying to hide away either. Things can stay just as they are. There will be no clutter of icons, and the Godfather can make of it what he wishes.

Google visibility, on the other hand,  DOES  concern me. I have few complaints generally (see the returns for Lirey badge, Shroud Turin scorch etc). Being on Page 11 of returns for “Shroud of Turin” is somewhat disappointing, but that’s probably the result of (a) no mentions on MSM sites (b) no sensationalism (c)  failing to leave links on more than a handful of blog sites etc,  i.e. lack of self-promotion etc. But I do get a brief mention as “Shroud researcher” on the wiki entry for Shroud of Turin. I don’t know who wrote it,  but if  he or she is reading this, then do please make contact. I’d be more than happy to supply a longer precis of my research and ideas.

Sunday 3pm: back to business.  While I have been assembling bullet points here of possible spy clues. one thing you will NOT find this blogger doing is counting up “points of congruence”, as ones sees with the so-called Vignon markings or Hungarian Pray Manuscript, as if 10 weakish points is somehow the equivalent of one strong one. Not so. Weak points are not additive, unless … unless there is some kind of connectedness, better still synergy between them. So let’s pause a minute and decide which of the features (or lack thereof) of the man on the badge is the most persuasive as regards a NON-crucifixion scenario, and then ask how that gels with other lines of evidence to allow one cautiously to propose an entirely different scenario.

What I find my most striking about the badge is that despite the various additions around the border of scourge and crucifixion paraphernalia (and even they are ambiguous – see later) the artist has made so little attempt to portray the figure as that of Jesus – no long hair, no obvious beard and moustache, except with the eye of faith, no wounds or blood from hands of feet, no scourge marks, no crown of thorns or blood around the head, in fact nothing except what Wilson describes as a blood belt. But there are other possible interpretations, and even if Wilson were correct, why has the artist been so reluctant to add extra features, and leave one guessing as to the peculiar coiled-up representation of  blood extending not just across the waist, but left and right to as if some kind of tether?

Let’s tentatively describe that feature as a problematic “blood belt” and ask ourselves: was the artist DELIBERATELY trying to avoid making the figure Christ-like, or the obvious victim of crucifixion?  Did he have a powerful reason for doing so? Indeed was he going out of his way to avoid any suggestion the figure was that of Christ, and why? In fact, why did he not make the figure look more like the one on the present TS? But what if the Shroud in the early 1300s did  not look like the present TS? What if it lacked the bloodstains, and was simply the image of a naked man with hands crossed to preserve modesty?  Now we have a conundrum – that just as the man on the badge was not obviously Jesus, then neither is, or rather was, the man on the TS if most if not all the blood was later additions. The identification with Christ was a possible interpretation, but not the only one, and the badge artist – and his patron – probably Geoffroi de Charny, Lord of Lirey, knew that, and more importantly were wary of producing a badge that said, visually, the man depicted here is the crucified Christ. Instead, it said: the man depicted here is the same as the one on the Shroud, with no definite grounds for thinking he is Christ, at least if seen before some obliging individual had painted or trickled on blood in all the biblically-correct places.

So let’s say that the man on the badge is not definitely Christ, because of or despite the “blood belt”, with no attempt to aggregate with other spy clues, and ask where that evidence alone can synergize with other completely different lines of evidence, unrelated to the badge per se.

Yes, I realize that this is no longer looking like a blog posting on account of its length. But as I said in the title and preamble, I am taking a new direction now, more analytical, more in-depth, more self-questioning, and largely indifferent to what folk across the way are saying or thinking. This is a retired scientist now communing with his own inner critical faculties to ask whether the model suggested, back in April 2012, is still as credible as I thought then, or whether the bad reception it received from the very start, and subsequently added to with continuing ridicule and abuse, still stands up to the most severe of all critics – myself. Yes, they castigate me over there for speaking my mind about the deficiencies of STURP scientists and others, not seeming to realize that I’m fully capable of turning that firepower on myself.

There’s a rather unpleasant term being bandied around across the way right now – “pseudosceptic” and the latest person to be tarred with that is the splendid Hugh Farey (I was singled out for the same treatment a month or two ago). Shame on the site’s host for allowing that individual to besmirch others’ integrity and motives by deploying that term of abuse.  All I would say now to the lawyer in question is that he simply hasn’t a clue about scientists, and what makes them tick. Being a “pseudosceptic” would make no more sense than cheating at Patience. Science is curiosity -driven. The charge of pseudo-scepticsm against those whose scientific bent should be obvious is not just unjustified – it is mindless mudslinging.

There are time when I think that society, or rather certain reactionary elements thereof, have scarcely  moved on since the time of Galileo, who want to fight all the old battles.

OK, so it’s turning into a book, which I never wish to publish, at least not unless/until I  were to be allowed access to the real Shroud to take samples of image, blood etc (which will never happen). But this blogger has now turned in on himself.  The TS was declared an unsolved mystery by an entire team – STURP no less. Why should I expect to come up with an instant solution to all the difficulties?  But the size of the challenge will not stop me trying. Someone has to put their head above the parapet, which this retired science bod chose to do at several stages of his research career, and never once regretted the decision.  One plays one’s hunches – but only when they have survived passage through one’s own idea-shredder.

Synergy? Where’ s the synergy?  Back to bullet points.

  • On the badge, we have an incomplete, almost token Jesus, not even conforming to the TS image  see today.
  • The badge was commissioned by Geoffroi de Charny, presumed nephew of Knight Templar Geoffroi de Charney
  • Geoffroi de Charney and Jacques de Molay were both slow-roasted to death in 1314, just 40 years or so earlier than the reports of the TS being displayed, with issuing of pilgrim badges at or before that time.
  • The image on the TS appears to be superficial heat scorch, a deliberately chosen resort perhaps to quirky pyrographic art to commemorate the events of 1314.
  • Jacques de Molay was not only executed by burning at the stake, but had earlier undergone a crude form of crucifixion during his long term (7 years) of imprisonment and torture, i.e. by having been nailed to a door.

I see synergy here, don’t you dear reader – each separate point, seemingly puzzling or inconsequential on its own, coalescing together in a way that makes the whole more than the sum of its parts?

summary in green boxWhat about that Lirey badge, or rather the (Machy) mould for making it, discovered recently close to Lirey? I hope to get round to updating a previous posting  (Feb 2013) here in the light of Ian Wilson’s impressive experiments and new ideas.


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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