A generic model for how the Turin Shroud could have been forged via a TWO STEP process (image capture, then separate image development).


2015 preamble:  Hello dear site visitor. Welcome to the site.

You have chosen to check out a 2015 posting. 2015 was my breakthrough year. Up till then I’d been wedded to direct scorching of hot metal template (whether fully 3D or bas relief). Why? The resulting imprints were not unlike TS body image, albeit sharper, but were, nevertheless, negative tone-reversed, responsive to 3D-rendering software (ImageJ) , bleachable etc etc. (All very encouraging).

But there was a fly-in-the-ointment: one cannot monitor degree of coloration when metal is pressed into linen – the action/contact zone being shielded from sight.
The solution took shape in late 2014: instead of heating the template, I coated it with a thin smear of oil, then lightly dusted with white flour ,then imprinted the flour-image onto linen. I then heated the linen over a ceramic hot plate (later with a modern electric iron or fan oven). Result: an arguably better model of the TS body image (fuzzier etc)
But the full potential of the was new procedure not realized. Why? Because I imprinted onto dry linen.

Similar two-step technology was developed in 2015 via an entirely different route.

I had been looking at acids as possible colorants for creating a look-alike “Shroud” image (with most or all its distinctive and unusual features) . Weak organic acids and even strong mineral acids (sulphuric etc) were quickly rejected for one reason or another. They either failed to produce colour, or, if they did (sulphuric) it was not only scarcely visible, but the cloth was dramatically weakened.
It was nitric acid (HNO3) that proved interesting. It produced a faint yellow coloration of untreated linen, probably on account of protein traces.. Could that be made more pronounced? Answer: YES, first by coating the linen with a high concentration of protein (gelatin or egg white), then realizing that a more common medieval commodity, i.e. plain white flour with its 10% or thereabouts of protein would serve.
Image formation? Initially I created imprints of metal and other templates (ceramic etc) using a slurry of wheat flour in water, with or without heat treatment to gelatinize the starch. I found to my delight that I could produce a negative image of my face, 3D enhancible, simply by taking the flour imprint and bolding up the intrinsic faint yellow colour of wheat flour using simple commercial photoediting software (Windows Office).

Insert image of my face, from May 2015: get it from this link.



Images of hands etc, brass crucifixes, plastic figurines quickly followed,  still using liquid flour slurry as imprinting medium.
But they were criticized by a particular high-profile individual: I was told the edges were too sharp, too well defined to be considered a valid model.
There was a simple solution that largely silenced the critic.
I returned to the Oct 14 technique that had been shelved, with a small modification: smear the hand, (or metal or plastic template) with veg oil, sprinkle with white flour, shake off excess flour, imprint onto WET linen, then heat the linen until the desired degree of yellow coloration had been obtained (via the kind of Maillard browning or caramelization reactions that occur rotinely when baking flour-based goods).
Yes, nitric acid was dispensed with as the means of coloration. In its place was thermal colour development. Expressed more simply: HEAT the imprinted linen!
No, not a scorch, in the sense that the linen constituents per se (cellulose etc) were being coloured via complex thermal reactions, but, totally separate, at least chemically the acquired flour imprint. (How that imprint interacts physically with linen fibres provides a whole new dimension for speculation and detailed research – with microscopy leading the way.
One final step: a vigorous rub with soap and water to dislodge loose encrustations. What stubbornly remains behind is a somewhat diffuse fuzzy-edged yellow to brown discoloration of the cloth. If imprinted as an image, one sees with time and further reseacrh (2015 and beyond) a growing list of resemblances to (guess what?) the reported properties of the TS body image, including those bizarre features revealed by microscopy (“half tone effect”, “image discontinuities” etc). Yup, I say we’re home and dry with “Model 10”. Correction – home and wet (after the final washing step). Just add 30 mins for drying and we’re home and dry!
It did not take long for the rest of the faux-biblical ‘narrative’ pieces to fall into place. A fuzzy whole body imprint obtained with white flour and heating, with blood in all the right places, is likely to have been a 14th century Veil of Veronica -obsesssed attempt to simulate (“fake”) the imprint that might have been left on Joseph of Arimathea’s fine linen, used to retrieve a recently crucified body from a cross, for transport to a nearby rock tomb. (NO, neither intended nor used as the final burial shroud in 33AD, taking the biblical account as, er, 100% Gospel truth, thereby making the term “Turin Shroud” highly misleading, especially as it’s routinely expanded to “burial shroud”). See margin comments on this site for more details.

Here are the two key links: the first to the floured-up horsebrass from 2014:

The second is the link to imprinting of my face with plain white flour (amazingly) WITHOUT use of physical developing agent (mere recourse to photoediting software):
Maybe three more links from red-letter year, 2015, like Dan Porter’s reports on my Model 10 thinking, proposed mechanism for “half tone effect etc etc.

Close to the finishing line or the starting line?
Have we all been looking in the wrong place?
Colin Berry’s and My 3D Plotting Problems
Colin Berry’s Latest and Greatest. Is it Enough?

So much for the background to 2015. (Thanking you dear reader in advance for your patience and forebearance. (Hopefully you’ll appreciate that when one has posted a reported-in-real time online learning  curve  via 350+ postings, here and elsewhere, some kind of packaging then makes sense).

Here’s the start of the original posting.


Here’s a comment I left a couple of days ago on Dan Porter’s shroudstory site (my last on that impervious-to-reason site). It flags up my current thinking that the Turin Shroud must have been produced via a TWO STEP process (necessary for fine-tuning the forgers’ objectives of simulating what a  1300 year old sweat/blood imprint might look like on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen, the latter deployed as a temporary makeshift stretcher/body bag* used simply as a dignified means for transferring the crucified Jesus from cross to nearby rock tomb – NOT AS FINAL BURIAL SHROUD).

May 17, 2015 at 1:52 am

Just to say that this blogger is now nearing the end of his 40 month (approx) journey. There’s just one more posting that needs doing. It’s to generalize my currently preferred white flour/nitric acid model. It may or may not have been white flour used as imprinting medium. It may or may not have been nitric acid that was used to turn that faint off-white image into a more prominent yellow or yellow-brown colour. The key thing is the use of a two-stage model: initial imprinting of a proto- (‘ghost’) image followed by second stage development. Note the parallel with pre-digital era photography, except my model is maybe better described as a mix of medieval impactography and chemography – no photons or neutrons needed.

Why use two stages, when one would suffice (e.g.Garlaschelli’s frottage or Accetta’s wood-block imprinting)? Answer: to permit fine-tuning of the end-result, so as to achieve that oh-so-subtle negative image – not too contrasty, not too ghostly. For example, a first stage imprint with flour could be softened around the edges by sponging with a damp cloth. The permutations are endless when one adopts a two-stage model.

Time now to bow out from this site, both stimulating and infuriating by turns. All queries to do with the TS image per se addressed to me here will henceforth be answered on either my sciencebuzz or recently-reactivated specialist TS site.


* See a previous posting on this site, with this and other examples from the artistic record of Joseph of Arimathea’s linen being used as an aid to transport.

Insert caption

(Have still to track down name of artist and date).

Next task (before putting finishing touches on the ‘two-step’ model) is to replace the banner of this site showing one-step scorch technology with some imagery from my recent round of experimentation.  It will show stages in the favoured  two-step process (imprinting from a human subject or part thereof with a white flour paste, followed by image development using nitric acid (either as vapour or solution).

Update: task completed (though I may fine-tune the images later)

Here’s the previous banner, showing just 10 minutes ago:

Previous site banner showing redundant one-step scorch technology

Previous site banner showing redundant one-step scorch technology

Here’s the new banner with a brief description of what each picture shows:

New banner added to this site 19 May 2015 to replace old one-step scorch model with new two-step model.

New banner added to this site 19 May 2015 to replace old one-step scorch model with new two-step model.

From left: 1. crossed hands on Turin Shroud; 2. a simple one-step imprint of my hand using chocolate spread (posted a while ago to show how fingers can look bony on a contact imprint); 3. first stage in new methodology: coat hand with paste made with white flour and cold water; 4. press linen on to coated hand to capture a negative image, visible (just) on reverse side when linen pulled away; 5. development of the weak primary image using nitric acid vapour (or solution); 6. final developed image of hand after removal from nitric acid, neutralization of acid, washing and drying.

Update (24 May 2015) : here’s a list of postings since April 1st on my sciencebuzz site.  It starts with the realization that while H2SO4 did not appear fit-for-purpose in any model for the TS image, another more chemically-reactive strong acid (HNO3) might:

1 April 15 (125 views)

What does sulphuric acid do to linen fibres? Might it provide us with clues to the Turin Shroud?

6 April 15  (89 views)

Was this the man who supplied the chemical know-how for faking the Turin Shroud – 13th century Paul of Taranto?

6 April 15 (157 views)

Might fumigation with nitric acid vapour and NOx gases have been used to artificially age the Turin Shroud? Just an idea at this stage.

9 April 15 (292 views)

Modelling the Turin Shroud (medieval fake?). Just waiting now for the nitric acid to arrive.

20 April 15 (56 views)

The enigmatic Shroud of Turin: experimental testing of my novel nitric acid fumigation model is currently underway (preliminary results look distinctly PROMISING).

21 April 15 (168 views)

Might this be how the Turin Shroud was faked, using medieval alchemy?

3 May 15 (109 views)

Modelling the Turin Shroud: my flour/nitric acid vapour model looks better and better with each passing day.

6 May 15 (72 views)

The chemical principles behind the iconic Turin Shroud can now be explained. All that remains is to produce a look-alike copy.

20 May 15 (92 views)

Where does blood fit into the new two-stage medieval forgery model of the Turin Shroud?

Update: as I say, this blogger is nearing the end of his interest in the TS. So what’s to follow? Answer: it’s nothing to do with fundamental science (more to do with misuse of instrumentation and technology) but it’s still to do with the misapplication of so-called “science”.

A recent experience of driving out of a small village in Ayrshire (Scotland, two days ago) brings it right up to the top of this motoring blogger’s agenda and list of priorities.

The persecution of  essentially law-abiding motorists has to stop. It’s become a civil rights issue.

See this recent article in the Mail for growing disquiet re the use of stealth mobile speed cameras, that may or may not be correctly used. Some of the comments especially are worth checking out.



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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