Mickey Mouse science now in the crosshairs.


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:




Who can correctly guess the gist of my next posting, one that will be addressed primarily to MSM journalists?mickey mouse science with crosshairs

Here are some clues.

1.  The effect that centuries of wear and tear might have on ancient man-made images.

2. Mickey Mouse “scientists”  and their PR place men with few if any qualifications in science,  and/or with  little or no training in scientific research  methods who TOTALLY ignore wear and tear, who describe today’s image as being far too subtle to be explained with conventional science.

3. Mickey Mouse scientists who resort to naive or rigged experiments in an attempt to dismiss the Shroud image as a thermal imprint(” scorch”) , who fail to distinguish between a newly formed scorch OR an ancient one that has been subject to natural or accelerated ageing.

4. Misinformation and disinformation – spotting where one ends and the other begins.  Sloppy science v pseudo-science.  Disinterested science v agenda-driven mystique-mongering.  Mumbo jumbo masquerading as science.

Those who ignore the obvious wear-and-tear factor, who  substitute pseudo-science for real evidence-based science should now beware – they are in this  blogger’s crosshairs.

PS.  This blog posting was composed in hotel room with a spectacular view over the Franco-Italian border.

???????????????????????????????And here’s one taken from the  hotel’s dining room, overlooking somewhere that is more instantly recognizable.

Vista Palace Hotel, Roquebrune-Cap St.Martin France, overlooking Monaco.

My snapshot yesterday (28 Feb 2014) from the dining room of the elevated Vista Palace Hotel, Roquebrune – Cap St.Martin, France, looking west over Monaco

There are plans to bring F1 racing to London, inspired by the street circuit used in the picture above. (This blogger has seen it live at Silverstone (natch), Monza and Spa, but it’s my dear wife who is the real fired-up enthusiast who’s also seen it in Monaco).  Ours would go right past the Head of State’s palace … in one of the greenest parts of the capital. Amazing place London – I never cease to marvel at its diverse sights and scenery- and constantly read and re-read Samuel Pepys’ Diary.

Update: West of Monaco (still south of France). I warned earlier on a posting 3 weeks ago (“Change of Direction”) that this blog would become more bloggish (weblog as per original definition), more informal,  more spur of the moment.  I’m now waging my own personal war against pseudoscience, and frankly cannot give a damn whether anyone but myself reads it, given the indifference and/or contempt that one’s postings  usually (with rare exceptions) receive at the hands of the search engines, the MSM or shroud-promoting sites and their hard-bitten clientele.

So to those who may be wondering what my particular pitch is regarding  the Shroud, understandably difficult now to discern after well over 200 postings these last two years, here’s a hastily assembled list of my findings, claims. positions etc to date. I’ll try and tidy it up later, maybe under sub-headings, adding links lto this and my two previous Shroud sites.

1. Very first posting, December 2011 on my sciencebuzz site.. Thermostencilling – ability to scorch linen with thermal radiation provided a photo-opaque pigment is present.    (Add date and link).

2. Onion epidermis experiment*. Two thin primary cell walls and residual cell debris can take an intense scorch AND protect underlying linen.  Vast in its implications (says he) – but instantly dismissed or ignored by Porter, Di Lazzaro etc , despite being  reported in real time on That Other Site.

Modelling the image of the Turin Shroud – an interrupted experiment using onion epidermis – just one cell thick.

3. The 1532 scorch marks respond to 3D enhancement. Add link (I’ll now stop tediously saying that)

4. Sand bed thermal imprinting

5. Damp overlay thermal imprinting, i.e. LOTTO (Linen On Top, Then Overlay). That’s a damp overlay (cloth, sacking etc).

6. Lemon juice (invisible ink) methodology (bit of a long shot)

7. Alkali effects on cotton v linen. Depletion of the thermographic hemicellulose layer needed for thermal image capture.

8. Scorched- in creases on TS

9. Differential pyrolysis of celluloses and hemicelluloses. My (ignored) response to Di Lazzaro and the SSG to his token hot coin experiment (shameless “straw man” argument).

10. Fuse wire hypothesis re PCW hemicellulsoes and their reportedly exothermic pyrolysis.

11. Critique of Adler’s “bilirubin “ and idea of “serum exudates of retracted blood clots”. He tried to explain lack of blood K (but see Kelly Kearse).

12. Critique of Rogers’ attempt to exclude scorching. Hydroxyproline,

13. Critique of Rogers’ vanillin nomenclature

14. St.Lawrence of Rome connection

15.Veil of Veronica connection

16. Evidence of burning on Lirey badge and that particular Templar connection

17.Imaging of crucifix. Then LOTTO technology.. Microscopy

18. Absence of wound images as distinct from blood

19. Leech blood hypothesis

20. Hot Templar/hot template hypothesis

21. Critique of Rogers’ Maillard hypothesis , especially temperature claims and lack of thermodynamics and use of dextrins, ammonia etc etc.  Reference to saponins etc are evidence of increasing lack of objectivity.

22. Hungarian Pray manuscript – what had been assumed to be shroud was lid of sarcophagus.

23. Machy mould – see under Veronica above. SUAIRE refers to Veil, not the Shroud

24. Herringbone weave a good flat surface for imprinting

25. Enhancement of Shroud Scope images. Detection of flaked blood. Suggestive evidence of image under blood.

26. New hypothesis re reason for boiling in oil – to attenuate the original image, and rationale for that image being created by scorching. Also artificial ageing of too-new linen.

27. Focus on the brittle nature of image fibres, unexpected for superficial image only, so involvement of core hemicelluloses likely.

28. Ability of convected heat as superheated steam to give imaging across air gaps between template and linen – an alternative to radiation which has big problems.

29. Idea that a life-size crucifix was used as template – good enough approximation to Jacques de Molay (and so what if there are allusions to Jesus Christ?).

30. Ability to obtain shroud-like images from charcoal sketches using inversion and 3D enhancement in ImageJ. Explanation for non-directionality.

31. Use of normalisation technique off model scorches to optimize 3D enhancement of Shroud image.

32. Suggestion that the 1532 fire was no accident. Opportunity to change image characteristics with subtractions and maybe additions (including blood). The need for inquest/inquiry with 4 noblemen etc was suspicious. Why was TS folded down midline? Silver explanation improbable.

33. Acknowledgement of a fluorescence problem, but lack of fluorescence cannot be deployed as evidence  against scorch provenance (see Barrie Schwortz uncompromising and unhelpful posting).

34. Scourge marks – too good to be true.

35. Counter-critique of Thibault Heimburger anti-scorch thesis (sadly protected behind impregnable pdf format but still on permanent display)

36. Ideas for new experiments, e.g. with cuprammonium reagent for cellulose solubilisation or with cationic detergent CTAB for bilirubin extraction.

36B. Classify all of these under appropriate headings – BLOOD,  IMAGE, HISTORY

37. Now there’s a thing, as Bill Bryson would say. My most cited posting – “Blood grouping the Shroud of Turin” with 2901 visits to date, is not even in my listing above, now being off my   cobweb-festooned radar screen.


It was knocked off quickly in response to a  posting that I thought was head and shoulders above the rest (and was first to say so).  But the ex researcher concerned,  now chalk-face-based  who penned it was clearly agenda-driven, and pro-authenticity to the core. He’s appeared just today to say he’s bowing out on  The Other Site.  One wonders why. Too much aggression from the hard-bitten clique, too much nitpicking aggro?

*Afterthought -regarding that onion epidermis experiment.

Looking back through previous comments I see there is/was some misunderstanding about dimensions, with the suggestion that the onion epidermis cell’s dimensions dwarfed those of the primary cell wall (there being  no secondary cell wall to complicate matters).

It’s important to distinguish between freshly-stripped epidermis, and the dried material used for my experiments. The fresh cells are is a state of turgor – like water-filled balloons, with a large distance separating the opposite cell walls across one or more diameters. Most of that space is the sap-filled cell vacuole, with the cell membrane and cytoplasm forming a thin viscous coating on the inner surface of the cell wall (with strands of cytoplasm festooned across the vacuole like cobwebs).

In contrast the dried material is like a deflated balloon, once the vacuolar cell sap has disappeared, and as with a deflated balloon one can then have one skin in direct contact with another when lying flat. So the dried epidermis behaves essentially as a double primary cell wall, with some dried remnants of original cell contents probably contributing little to the overall thickness.

I shall try and get some actual dimensions, but reading so far suggests that a primary cell wall is approx. 100nm thick. So even two of those in apposition with some cell debris as the filling in the sandwich is still comfortably within the estimated 200-500nm thickness of the image layer.

In other words, the dried onion epidermis constitutes a  reasonably good model for what happens on the outer primary cell wall of flax fibres,  the difference being that the latter are a thin skin on the relatively thick core of the fibre, comprising relatively thermostable cellulose. Image superficiality is thus easily explicable as selective pyrolysis of the primary cell wall, with little effect on core cellulose. However, one must not forget the core hemicelluloses, approx 15% of the total. It may be their pyrolysis, partial or complete that while not readily visible, due to cellulose, might explain the brittle nature of the Shroud’s image bearing fibres.

Tester: animated gif image : the Big Crunch


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.
This entry was posted in medieval forgery, medieval hoax, Shroud of Turin and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Mickey Mouse science now in the crosshairs.

  1. HEIMBURGER says:


    What does “MSM” and “PR” mean ?
    Who are these “MSM journalists” ?

    You wrote: “3. Mickey Mouse scientists who resort to naive or rigged experiments in an attempt to dismiss the Shroud image as a thermal imprint(” scorch”) , who fail to distinguish between a newly formed scorch OR an ancient one that has been subject to natural or accelerated ageing.”

    Give me the proof !
    Natural or accelerated ageing of a scorch image can’t explain the properties of the Shroud image we see today.
    I am waiting for your experiments (accelerating ageing needs only an oven).

  2. colinsberry says:

    MSM = mainstream media (press, TV, books etc etc)
    PR = public relations

    Proof? You should know better than ask a scientist to give proof. I don’t deal in proof, leaving that to mathematicians and logicians who start with axioms that are assumed to be unchallengeable. I start with hypotheses that are always challengeable, and then attempt to assemble evidence that supports a case.

    You are the one who should be put on the spot, claiming that complex processes of wear and tear cannot explain the image we see today. How can you possibly know that? Do you have eyes that can see events at the microscopic level happening over hundreds of years?

    In fact, the known structure and composition of flax fibres can account very readily for a highly superficial image AND mechanically-weakened fibres, due to the way that hemicelluloses are distributed between primary and secondary cell walls. I’ll be setting out my arguments in some detail in my next posting, addressed primarily to MSM journalists, warning them against pseudo-science being promoted as if unchallengeable axioms. The most glaring example is that fatuous and self-serving claim that the ~200nm(?) thick Shroud image is too gossamer-thin to have been formed using conventional energy sources. That is not just misinformation. It is a lot more serious than that. It is wilful and systematic disinformation,, backed up with virtually no hard information, and in any case contrary to basic physics, chemistry and botany. A 200nm thick image-receptive primary cell wall is approx 50 times as thick as a cell membrane (~4nm) which is a lipid bilayer, approx two phospholipid molecules end-to-end. Since there are at typically 50 atoms from one side of the bilayer, then 50 bilayers is 50 atom x 50 atoms thick (i.e. 2500 atoms in all). I would expect a similar figure for the PCW, which makes it very substantial at the molecular level (it has to be, seeing the job it had to do before the SCW was formed, withstanding cell turgor and hydrostatic pressure). So why the instant dismissal almost everywhere in the Shroud literature of a 200nm image thickness?

    It’s high time someone blew the whistle, in the hope that sooner or later someone (preferably a serious-minded investigative journalist) hears and responds to that whistle, even from afar on a relatively obscure science-based backwater site such as this.

  3. Colin Berry says:

    Just testing: does WordPress accept animated gif images into Comments?

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