A new take in pictures on an old artefact – the (not really a) Shroud of Turin, more an imaginative 14th century marketing wheeze.



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:




Update (added April 5 ,2015) : my thinking re the medieval technology needed to produce the Turin Shroud is changing by the day, as new experimental data are collected. See my main site, sciencebuzz, for the latest up to date information, as well as this recent posting  and comments on Dan Porter’s shroudstory.com.

Further update, April 15: Have today changed this blog’s banner to reflect my new thinking – namely that the superficial Shroud image may have been chemically rather than thermally-induced, though still using an imprinting technique to achieve the negative, 3D-enhancible image. The end-result of the two technologies might be virtually indistinguishable in chemical terms – namely caramelized linen carbohydrates in both cases arising from the dehydration/oxidation/formation of yellow or tan-coloured chromophores containing conjugated  (-C=C-C=C- ) double bonds etc.

Intro deleted, October 2015

Start here (captions).

Our story begins here, with Jesus on the road to the crucifixion site, carrying his own cross. According to legend, St.Veronica wipes the sweat and blood from his face with her veil. An image of Jesus appears on the cloth, now known as the Veil of Veronica, which Nail MacGregor, Director of the British Museum describes as the
Our story begins here, with Jesus on the road to the crucifixion site, carrying his own cross. According to legend, St.Veronica wipes the sweat and blood from his face with her veil. An image of Jesus appears on the cloth, now known as the Veil of Veronica, which Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum describes as the “central icon” of the 14th century Roman Church, attracting hordes of pilgrims.
Did a medieval entrepreneur spot an opportunity to create a rival artefact, also in “sweat and blood”, or seemingly so, that would have even greater pulling power if providing an image of the entire body – both sides, front and rear, POST-crucifixion, but not necessarily pre-interment?
Of all the representations of the Veil if Veronica on internet image files ,this is maybe the one that looks least like a painting, and one where the artist has at least paid lip service to the idea that it was an image created with bodily sweat. But it's still a positive image note, from looking at the distribution of light and shade, so could be said to fail the diagnostic test for an imprint. It's still a painting, albeit monochrome - the artist's only concession to alleged imprinting mechanism.
Fig.2: Here’ s another artistic rendering of the Veil of Veronica. I’ve chosen this one because it’s more imprint-like. Most others are shown as fully-fledged colour portraits with ‘helpful’ additions, like the crown of thorns, implying some, er, outside help in morphing a sweat imprint into a recognizable face. Never mind – it’s the principle that matters. In the medieval mind, when Jesus has his face wiped by a sympathetic bystander you get a image of near-photographic quality (right?).
Fig.3: Here’s a famous Rubens picture showing the Descent (aka Deposition) from the cross. It was the subject of a posting on another site, claiming it to have no basis in scripture (wrong – it fits very well with the account of the crucifixion in the  synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke). It took this blogger a little while to spot that Joseph of Arimathea’s linen is being used as a chute or slide to assist removal of the body from the cross,  with Joseph (?) the gent with the long beard and red cap appearing to use the linen as a brake (see the way it’s coiled around Jesus’s leg) and others with outstretched hands helping ease the body down to the ground in a dignified manner.
Fig.4: We’re now at ground level and the linen is being used as a makeshift stretcher. The gent in orange appears to be in the process of gathering the cloth around the body as if to protect from view.
Insert caption
Fig. 5: Here we see the linen being  used as a stretcher. The head is still exposed, no doubt as artistic licence, so you know it’s Jesus.
Insert caption
Fig.6: We’ve now arrived at the tomb, the body now enveloped completely in linen except for the head, again for artistic reasons.
Insert caption
Fig.7: The body is now being removed from Joseph’s linen, implying that the latter was intended to be used for transport only, not – as so many seem to imagine – as the final burial shroud.  It would have been heavily soiled, needless to say, with blood etc, but medieval artists understandably omitted that detail. (The “etc” above is important, when recalling that the Veil of Veronica was considered  to have started as an imprint of blood AND sweat).
deposition removal of transport linen
Fig.8: We’re now in the tomb, and Joseph’s linen is being removed in order to prepare the body for final burial.   Note: linen is being removed – not added.  This picture gives no clue as to what will replace Joseph’s ‘transport’ linen. Time is running out, according to the Bible, due to the start of the sabbath (that same evening at dusk).
pray manuscript upper half
Fig.9: Here’s a detail from the late 13th century Hungarian Pray manuscript. It’s been chosen since it appears to show Joseph’s linen under the body, now opened out, possibly with securing ties now untied, while linen winding strips are in readiness, as per the account of St. John’s gospel, once the anointing with oil has been completed. .
Add caption
Fig.10: Can you guess at what stage this image  was fabricated as a rival to the Veil of Veronica? It’s the (Belgian) Lier copy (1516) of the present Shroud of Turin, before it  acquired the disfiguring burn holes from the 1532 fire (and relatively free of blood as well). I say the TS image was a medieval representation of the imprint that Jesus might have left in SWEAT and BLOOD between cross and tomb when Joseph’s linen was being used as a stretcher or, more likely, a completely enveloping BODY BAG (see previous posting). So the “Shroud” of Turin may not be a burial shroud at all – whether real 1st century, improbable,  in view of the radiocarbon dating, or more probably imagined/reconstructed 14th century – merely the cloth with which Jesus was enveloped for transport purposes. If I’m right, the Vatican should cease calling it the Shroud of Turin.  The Enigmatic Imprint of Turin?


Shroud of Turin (Durante 2002 image from Shroud Scope with adjustment to contrast and brightness). Note the blood flow ONTO the linen from a foot (circled) suggestive of imaging (real or simulated) having occurred soon after removal from the cross, i.e. more likely en route to tomb.
Fig.11: Shroud of Turin (Durante 2002 image from Shroud Scope with adjustment to contrast and brightness).
Note the blood flow ONTO the linen from a foot (circled) suggestive of imaging (real or simulated) having occurred soon after removal from the cross, i.e. more likely en route to tomb.
heel blood
Fig. 12: Close-up of that copious flow of blood from the foot.

Update, Sunday 1st March:   See shroudstory.com’s latest posting: Picture for Today: Fresco in Pinerolo

fresco pinerolo TS and veronica

Not only do we see the Veronica (ed. or rather Veronica herself, not an image of Jesus en route to Calvary!) and the Shroud shown together in the same picture, but both have been given approximately the same monochrome quality (yellowish brown) as if to suggest they share much the same mechanism of origin (sweat imprint maybe, at least between the Shroud and the reputed Veronica image of JESUS?).

veronica on pinerolo fresco -10,10.-50Is that a shawl we see around the neck and shoulders (the red hair suggests that the coloration around the jawline and chin should not be interpreted as a beard, i.e. the image is that of a serene Veronica, with doe-like eyes,  not  a tortured Jesus).

Ring any bells? It should do. The very first known representation in history of the ‘double-image’ Shroud was on the Mark 1 Lirey Pilgrim’s badge. Let’s acknowledge immediately that there was no representation of the Veronica  (with JESUS) on that lead/tin casting dredged up from the Seine in 19th century Paris.  But a motif of the Veronica labelled SUAIRE  (most convenient) WAS added to the Machy mould, which was clearly intended for a  Mark2 Lirey badge (or maybe Mark Zero ). See my previous posting.

Speaking of which, who can spot the connection between these images and what happens daily on shroudstory.com?

carousel to ride today


“Your steed awaits you sir. Enjoy going round and round, bobbing up and down, up and down, round and round …”

“On A Carousel”

Riding along on a carousel
Trying to catch up to you
Riding along on a carousel
Will I catch up to youHorses chasing ’cause they’re racing
So near yet so far
On a carousel, on a carouselNearer, nearer by changing horses
Still so far away
People fighting for their places
Just get in the waySoon you’ll leave and then I’ll lose you
Still we’re going round
On a carousel, on a carouselRound and round and round and round and round
And round and round and round with you
Up, down, up, down, up, down too

Update 10:00 (still Sunday March 1)

So why the pseudo-Veronica on that fresco, one showing the lady imprinter, not the imprinted? I think it’s the artist inviting the viewer to regard the Shroud as a Veronica Mark 2 – albeit a whole body imprint – not just the face. The essentially monochrome nature of both Veronica and the Shroud is a message – to see the image as that of an CONTACT IMPRINT – not a painting. Charles Freeman please note.

I was wondering why this old posting is suddenly getting new hits on my sitemeter. Explanation: it’s just been flagged up on shroudstory.com under “Comments”, thanks to WordPress’s ‘pingback’  alert, which we’re assured we need for improved connectivity, with no facility that I’m aware of for de-activating.  Improved connectivity? Yeah, right.

On my sciencebuzz site right now (21st Feb 2015):

 Might the Shroud of Turin properly be described as a ‘proximity imprint’ in sweat and blood, real or simulated, to distinguish it from Freeman’s faded painting?


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 A new take in pictures on an old artefact – the (not really a) Shroud of Turin, more an imaginative 14th century marketing wheeze.

  1. April 12 at 2 pm (EST) – Dear Mr. Berry, your research is far more important than you realize. The face of TS is actually worshipped by many Catholics, both the conservative-leaning ones and those of the ‘Pope Francis is so cool’ variety. You may not realize that there was an entirely different “Holy Face” both venerated and supported by documented Church miracles, with devotions promulgated by the following: St. Therese of the Holy Face (aka St. Therese of Lisieux) 1873-1897, Carmelite nun and Doctor of the Church; the Venerable Leon Dupont of Tours, 1797-1876; and a Carmelite nun whose diary records personal messages from Jesus Christ regarding a Holy Face not pictured during her lifetime, Marie of St. Peter of Tours (1816-1848); plus Pope Pius IX and Pope Leo XIII. The Popes authorized this other “Holy Face” as a result of “The Miracle of 1849” where the almost blank cloth of the Vatican’s relic, Veronica’s Veil, before hundreds of shocked witnesses, assumed human features when it was displayed to the public for a Christmastime exhibition on December 28th, and which artists quickly sketched for posterity during the unique 3-hour manifestation. The two different “Holy Face” renditions bear very little resemblance to one another. If your hypothesis about the culpability of the Knights Templars in manufacturing a fake shroud is correct, this has been a deception which has been an evil act of defiance against Heaven. The individuals who prepared the hearts of hundreds of thousands of Catholics to revere the true “Holy Face” had conveniently died before the 1898 photograph taken by Secondo Pia became famous. Pia was a lawyer and city councillor of Tours who I suspect may well have been a Freemason and so privy to the havoc his work would create. As someone who believes in God, in Christ, and in the spiritual dimension of satanic activity against the Catholic Church, which Pope Pius X already recognized at the turn of the 20th-century was being shaken to its foundations in both doctrine and practice thanks to concerted activities of modernists and Freemasons, I would ask you to consider that the horrors of the French Revolution left a rich legacy for those who relished holding the Church’s supernatural claims up to ridicule and contempt in the era concerned. Far from seeking to dissuade you from your research on that account, I instead wholeheartedly applaud your dogged approach, because it lays bare the total spiritual blindness of the Catholic Church today. How quickly the real “Holy Face” was thrown aside in favor of a modern photographic counterfeit. Long before the traitorous teachings of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), new agents for the Devil’s attacks came in the form of young Communist men who strategically infiltrated hundreds of Catholics seminaries before the beginning of World War II. Yes, we are living in a revived Dark Ages. Your own efforts expose that reality. In fact, I am sure God is helping you.

  2. Colin Berry says:

    Well, that’s all very interesting, worldwide, all part of life’s rich pageant one might say. But you and I are diametrically opposed on at least one thing – namely Secondo Pia. He did what you and I can do with the many photographs available of the Shroud ‘as-is’ image (e.g. from Shroud Scope) namely to put it into ImageJ, and “Invert” in the Edit function, i.e. reverse tones such that black becomes white and vice versa. Hey presto – a distinctly unattractive image suddenly becomes a kind of positive “photograph” of a real man, except it’s not a photograph, of course, merely a tone-reversed negative imprint.

    I’ve proposed a novel hypothesis on my science buzz site for how the TS image might have been produced by a medieval artisan. It involves a two stage process: imprinting the image off a real human being or replica using some kind of carbohydrate or protein paste, and then developing that imprint in nitric acid fumes (strongly oxidizing, with some additional chemistry, e.g. nitration of proteins, for creating a yellow imprint that even if it subsequently flakes off may still leaving a ‘ghost’ imprint underneath).


    Thanks for your interest.

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