News update: the ‘hot Templar/hot template’ hypothesis appears on a Telegraph discussion.

DT, Feb 12, 2014

DT, Feb 12, 2014

Postscript (correction: ‘prescript‘) added July 2019:

You have arrived at a 2014 posting. That was the year in which this investigator finally abandoned the notion of the body image being made by direct scorch off a heated metal template (despite many attractions, like negative image, 3D response etc. But hear later: orchestral DA DA!  Yup, still there with the revised technology! DA DA! ).

In its place came two stage image production.

Stage 1: sprinkle white wheaten flour or suchlike vertically onto human subject from head to foot, front and rear  (ideally with initial smear of oil to act as weak adhesive). Shake off excess flour, then cover the lightly coated subject with wet linen. Press down VERTICALLY and firmly (thus avoiding sides of subject). Then (and here’s the key step):

Stage 2: suspend the linen horizontally over glowing charcoal embers and roast gently until the desired degree of coloration, thus ‘developing’ the flour imprint, so as to simulate a sweat-generated body image that has become yellowed with centuries of ageing.

The novel two-stage “flour-imprinting’ technology was unveiled initially on my generalist “sciencebuzz” site. (Warning: one has to search assiduously to find it, and it still uses a metal template, albeit unheated,  as distinct from human anatomy):


sbuzz oct 24, 14 flour 1


So it’s still thermal development of sorts, but with a key difference. One can take imprints off human anatomy (dead or alive!).

A final wash of the roasted flour imprint with soap and water yields a straw-coloured nebulous image, i.e. with fuzzy, poorly defined edges. It’s still a negative (tone-reversed) image that responds to 3D-rendering software, notably the splendid freely-downloadable ImageJ.  (Ring any bells? Better still, orchestral accompaniment – see , correction HEAR earlier – DA DA!))

This 2014 “prescript” replaces the one used for my earlier 2012/2013 postings, deploying abandoned ‘direct scorch’ technology.

Thank you for your patience and forbearance. Here’s where the original posting started:

Original posting starts here:

Here’s a section of the comments thread that has appeared beneath the Telegraph coverage of the earthquake/neutron fantasy, correction, I meant to say hypothesis.
Souheil Bayoud

No scientist in the world will ever be able to explain how the image of the shroud started as a negative.The shroud is actually the VISUAL gospel of the suffering,death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus of Nazareth.It is a stumbling rock for those who read but do not understand,and who see but do not perceive.

Souheil Bayoud

You’ll find answers to your questions on this site:


Briefly, the man shown on the Turin Shroud was originally intended to represent a Knight Templar (Jacques de Molay or maybe Geoffroi de Charney) burned (or rather, slow roasted) at the stake, Paris 1314. For that they probably used a heated life-size bronze crucifix of Christ as template, re-arranging the hands in modesty-preserving position, as in old paintings of the similar roasting to death of St.Lawrence, AD 258. The bronze was heated to about 250 degrees C and linen plus damp overlay pressed around the contours to capture surface contours only (no imaging of sides, no lateral distortion). See banner of above link for small-scale modelling, with negative thermal imprint (“heat scorch” in common parlance) and near-miraculous transformation with light/dark inversion and 3D enhancement.,

When the image was initially displayed by de Charney’s nephew(?), similarly named Geoffroi de Charny, Lord of Lirey, it was probably made out to be either a Templar, or more likely St.Lawrence (thus the non-Christ like figure on the Lirey pilgrim’s badge). But temptation got the better of them when the possibilities were realized – of re-branding the image as that of the crucified Christ. That was made more credible by carefully adding blood, or blood substitute in all the biblically-correct places.

What I’ve described has been called the “hot Templar/hot template” hypothesis.


This is the most plausible theory in my opinion.

Cezz IllinoisKate

But was this method only used once? Why do we not have any other examples? Seems IMplausible to me. Apart from anything else, if they were tempted to make money (as I think you imply) why wouldn’t they make half a dozen? In those days you could easily take half a dozen around Europe at the same time without anyone being any the wiser. Kerching, six times the income.


Have you heard of Dr.Barbara Frale and her work? She has had access to the Vatican’s Secret Archive. While some of her work is controversial, notably the claim to see writing on the Shroud (a “death certificate”) other aspects are far more credible, like this passage from her wiki entry:

“In June 2009, Frale published, always for Il Mulino, another essay dedicated to the Templars, I Templari e la sindone di Cristo,
where she debates some documents concerning the mysterious idol, which
was used during the process as charge against the order to accuse the
order itself of idolatry, being actually a particular image of Christ
dead, which has similar characteristics to the Shroud of Turin”

Given that the Vatican’s in-house researcher is proposing that the Templars were able to keep possession of the Shroud a closely guarded secret, then it’s only a small step to saying survivors of that order, post the 1314 purge, created a Shroud-like image of their Grand Master after his cruel death, and kept that (and its method of production) secret for a few decades at most, before it came into the hands of the Lord of Lirey, then “safely” re-interpreted and re-branded as something else.

We’ll probably never know the entire story,  the pro-authenticity “scientists” (?) should not be granted an exclusive monopoly to speculate, as they do freely, managing to grab one headline after another.


There’s a particular comment there that I particularly commend for readers’ attention,  namely that from “Illinois Kate”. (Elsewhere in the thread she describes herself as an archaeologist):

“This is the most plausible theory in my opinion.”

Just in case you missed that, here it is again:

“This is the most plausible theory in my opinion.”

Yes, I too believe it to be the most plausible theory.  But then I’m biased, having painstakingly assembled it, one tiny bit at a time, over a period of some two years and well over 200 postings on this site and elsewhere, and at least 5 times that number of comments.

So while the hypothesis (aka, glorified hunch) may be wrong, and may prove to be so in the fullness of time, it is certainly no flash in the pan, not my pan at any rate.


Onto a different aspect, does anyone know who painted this picture, and when? I do believe it  (or similar, possibly much earlier  ‘iconic’ portrayals) may have played a key role in the provenance of the TS image, as proposed in some recent postings here:

Does not the nudity and position of the hands put you in mind of something? But this is the martyrdom of St.Lawrence of Rome  in 258 – by slow-roasting on a grill. Now look at the reverse side of the Lirey badge. What do you see? Then look at the Turin Shroud. Sheer coincidence? Maybe...

Does not the nudity and position of the hands put you in mind of something? But this is the martyrdom of St.Lawrence of Rome in 258 – by slow-roasting on a grill. Now look at the reverse side of the Lirey badge. What do you see? Then look at the Turin Shroud. Sheer coincidence? Afterthought  (sting in the tail?): are they not nail wounds I see in the feet and(with the eye of faith) a hint thereof in the hands too? They were spotted by going back to that picture in search of spy clues. .


I’ve preserved  the same caption.

Oh, have just searched on Google for (St.Lawrence Shroud Turin).

Google search for links between St.Lawrence of Rome and the Shroud of Turin

Google search for links between St.Lawrence of Rome and the Shroud of Turin

How come this specialist “chemist” as I was recently described Across the Way is it would seem the only person to have spotted the strong visual correspondence between the two AND made the link between scorching of a saint, scorching of Templar AND the Turin  Shroud no less with an image that also has a scorched-on appearance?


A number of folk in both blogosphere and MSM are asking the perennial question: “Why only one Shroud of Turin?”.

This blogger does not pretend to have any killer arguments up his sleeve. But here’s a few pointers:

1. The image on the Shroud is a somewhat unattractive light/shade reversed non-directional negative.  Our forbears, pilgrims and relic-seekers included,  had to wait until 1898 for Secondo Pia to convert to a more photogenic positive, recognizable as Jesus.  So why would any artist (or artisan) have wished to produce a Shroud Mk2, Mk3 etc purely for ‘artistic’ effect prior to modern photography?

2. Why is the Shroud image a negative image? Those familiar with this blog and its thesis developed after a brief flirtation with radiant heat will know I favour thermal imprinting by contact between a heated metal template and linen.  Why would other artists wish to emulate that procedure, unless wishing to send a certain message re the figure depicted, and clues as to how he met his end, the purpose being less about art, more about sending a message?

3. If the Shroud image is indeed a contact scorch aka thermal imprint from a heated template, then the artistic input has to be at the fabricating of that 3D template – as statue, or bas relief, or combination of the two. That is a formidable task, simply to end up with a faint imprint on fabric. It only makes sense if one is attempting to simulate a burial shroud that has enveloped someone whose manner of death might conceivably leave an imprint (regardless of mechanism , e.g. chemical, thermal etc). There is a somewhat limited market methinks for such artefacts, and if one attempts to duplicate or mass produce for whatever reason, the entire purpose of the exercise becomes  self-defeating.

4. Read what Barbara Frale had to say after her searching through the Vatican archives and finding a document that makes reference to the Knights Templar having an image of a man on a long length of linen, and requiring initiates to kiss the feet. Frale cites that as evidence that the pre-Lirey Shroud had been in the safe-keeping of the Templars.  Maybe, maybe not, but it shows that the Templars had a particular use for Shroud-like imagery for whatever purpose, and being a secret society were able to keep that to themselves (well, almost). A new “Shroud” might have been produced as a memorial to one or other of the purged leaders (de Molay, de Charney etc) but it would have been done deliberately as a one-off, with an attempt to restrict knowledge of its existence outside of the circle.

In short, the resort to thermal imprinting was right for the time and place, but those historical circumstances were unique. That would explain why the Shroud  and its  pyrographic imprinting technology is unique. (But let’s not forget that mankind has been branding his livestock with hot irons  to show ownership for millennia).


Back to the Shroud. While still in French language mode, my eyes recently strayed down the sindonology. org Papers page to see what the Cluny Museum in Paris has to say  about the Lirey badge, aka Cluny Medal(lion). There’s an interesting detail there, underlined in yellow, that is at odds with Ian Wilson’s interpretation, VERY SERIOUSLY at odds, since it does not assume that everything on that badge fits an authenticity narrative (far from it, as this voice in the blogosphere wilderness has been saying for the best part of two years).

Graphic to come shortly.

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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