It attempts to reprise what almost certainly began life as an ingenious medieval thought experiment focused on a certain blank sheet – before receiving and enveloping the body from the Cross – Joseph of Arimathea’s linen. It in turn took the initially imprinted image of the face of Jesus on the legendary Veil of Veronica as its model to emulate, nay eclipse. Jumping forward to the 21st century, here’s an imprint of the writer’s hand, made using medieval technology (plain white flour, water, linen and a hot metal smoothing iron).
Version 2/2 (17 July 2015), replacing all previous versions (not displayed).
This is a very crude first draft. The reason for publishing now is two fold. First, I need a URL to give a friend who is preparing a summary of this blogger’s 3.5 year research on the so-called Shroud (more about that “so-called” later). Second, it will convey from the word go that this posting is to be seen as a work in progress, one to which I expect to be returning to again and again to tweak and update, always leaving just the most recent version (a departure from previous practice where I have left early postings unchanged, given the nature of this site as an investigator’s journey, with no set end date, no likelihood of ever reaching firm conclusions, given the one-off, untouchable nature of the artefact in question, housed in its secure glass case under argon gas)
So here’s a cut-and-paste from file of what I composed yesterday, probably with typos, missing verbs etc. with many images to be inserted at the indicated places. I am calling this Version 2, having spent the last hour editing. Apologies if you are an early finder (unlikely if relying on Google!). Look back again tomorrow, though it may be Version 3 or 4 you are then looking at, with no idea what preceded it, given some initial thoughts may have been rephrased or scrubbed.
- The Turin ‘Shroud’ was not in fact intended to be a shroud, assuming that term to mean burial shroud. It was a medieval (approx mid 14th century) attempt to cash in/capitalize on the celebrated Veil of Veronica’ How? By simulating on a larger scale the capturing of an image of Jesus by brief contact between skin and cloth. But there was a problem. The Veil of Veronica carried an image of Jesus in life, albeit scourged, crown of thorns, carrying a cross, though artists felt free to enhance the image as to make it more attractive. There was arguably no room for a second image of Jesusas he was in life, human life that is, least of all a rival to the Veil that itself had no biblical authority. And appearing with no back story. Solution?
2. Solution: look for another opportunity/occasion/episode/moment/ when the body of Jesus made contact with cloth, but one that did have biblical authority that might compensate for the lack of a back story. There was indeed an opportunity, but one that needed to be handled delicately, because it was post-mortem. When? The accounts in Matthew, Mark and Luke of Joseph of Arimathea obtaining permission from Pilate to remove the body of Jesus from the cross for interment in a nearby rock tomb. Joseph of Arimathea purchased ‘fine linen’ into which then body of Jesus was placed. Here was our entrepreneur’s opportunity to spring on the world a darker Mark 2 version of the Veil of Veronica – not just the face, but the entire body – both sides!
- Who was the prime instigator? Who had the resources, the motivation to pull off so audacious as undertaking? First known owner of the TS, whose widow placed it on public display, shortly after his death at the battle of Poitiers, was the celebrated knight, Geoffroi de Charny. De Charny was a close confidante of the King of France, John II, aka John the Good (he was highly religious). Together, at Geoffroi’s suggestion we’re told, the two founded the chivalric and highly exclusive Order of the Star which some have suggested was an attempt to recreate some of the mystique of the oulawed and cruelly disbanded (1307-13) Knights Templar. Maybe, maybe not. But one’s thing is for certain. Geoffroi de Charny was no obscure knight, despite his home base being a tiny hamlet (Lirey) on the outskirts of Troyes in rolling Champagne country. He had patronage, resources, influence, and a strong religious faith. It is not inconceivable that the ‘Shroud’ was intended to serve a ceremonial role in Star rituals, not necessarily seen by insiders as the genuine Jospeh of Arimathea cloth – more a facsimile, a club or semi-secret society’s totem so to speak, so good that it could be mistaken by outsiders for the real thing- at least by repute.
- Back to the Bible and J of A: perform a thought experiment to show how an image of the crucified Jesus might have been formed on his linen. Decide what to include, what to exclude. More importantly, devise a mechanism of imaging involving an unwashed body, shiny with sweat and blood that could be seen as realistic, NOT artistic. The answer could not have ben simpler: go for a body imprint. Front of body, as if linen had been laid on top? Rear of body, as if linen had been underneath? Answer: both. Imagine the linen had been used to envelope the entire body. How? By spiral wrapping? No, that would not leave a recognizable image when unwound. Instead, imagine the body had been laid out on the lower half of the linen, and the top half then turned around the head, to create a double body imprint. When the body is subsequently removed for burial (in different linen) there would then be an intriguing dual image: two body images, head to head, immediately recognizable to the viewer as that which would be left by the subject placed in an up-and-over length of linen, then asking; who, when, how? Supply further clues to QUICKLY answer those 3 questions. The image must be a narrative without words. The narrative is well known. The image must support and reinforce that narrative.
- Details of the thought experiment: getting it right, getting it consistent, getting it credible, achieving an image that is neither attractive nor repulsive, one that instils wonder, fascination, devotion, belief.
It will be a contact imprint in (a) blood and (b) sweat. The blood will be real blood, or a blood susbstitute that looks real, but better keeping properties, clot free etc .The sweat cannot be real. A substitute needs to be found that imprints well and has the right colour to suggest aged sweat. One could try a yellow dye, but that might not look realistic. Better maybe to imprint with something that is colorless or white, and then treat to make it go yellow. When and where to add the blood?
6. An imprint does not look like a portrait. It has a peculiar quality, which in modern terms we call a negative image. In other words, normal tones are reversed. Parts that are highest relief look brightest in a photograph or well-painted portrait through receiving more light than those that are recessed. In an imprint those lightest parts look darker, and darkest parts look lighter. Dos that matter in an image that is to be promoted as that left by the real Jesus on J of A’s linen?
Answer: yes and no. Yes, because it’s unfamiliar, somewhat unattractive, has gaps where there’s been no contact. No, because the very tone-reversed nature makes clear that it’s NOT a painting, that it’s an imprint, and that imprints can be left by bodies, living or dead. Maybe the starkness of an imprint can be made less so by achieving a slightly-blurred, soft focus quality that conveys a ghostly and haunting quality. On balance, the tone-reversed image can be said to be superior to a conventional image. Indeed, combined with the double body image, it might even come to be seen as iconic. Much depends on the details, the fine details, the little touches, the internal consistency. What should be included? What excluded?
7. Checklist of features for inclusion/exclusion,
(a) crown of thorns – exclude. It would have been removed by J of A. Would not leave a sweat imprint. Use bloodstains to indicate presence of thjorns.
(b) head hair. Include. Might leave an imprint if saturated with sweat ( a mixture of water and oily secretions)
(c) facial hair: include
(d) eyes. Exclude. They lies in hollows.
(e) ears? Exclude. Why? Because there must be no imprinting of the sides of body. Why not? Lateral distortion.
(f) loin cloth: exclude. Crossed hands for modesty.
(g) feet: tricky! Careful thought needed. Much depends on how linen is draped, presence of absence of tension, tying etc. Get the detail right.
(h) scourge marks. Include, but in blood, not body image. Why?
(i) nail wounds: include (blood, not body image)
(j) lance wound: include.
8. Imprinting procedure (draft):go for two-stage process: offers far greater versatility, in that an innocuous substance can be used to coat the subject, and the imprinted linen then exposed if need be to harsher treatments to develop the colour.
Feasible model (works in small scale pilot tests): use flour/water slurry as imprinting medium. Why?
Secondary development: chemical, thermal, thermochemical. Chemical: cold nitric acid. Thermal: hot iron, maybe a hot oven.Thermochemical: hot limewater. No shortage of options. Good for artisans. Bad for 21st century researchers.
There’s a quick and simple way of producing a “Shroud” like imprint of oneself. I call it the “Blue Peter” method, since anyone can do it at home. Here’s one we made earlier in six simple steps.
- How will the linen be displayed? Hung vertically? Held up horizontally? Permanent support rods? Removable support rods? Laundering? Side strip (selvedge): curious.
Images: Display of TS by clerics, selvedge on shroud,
10.Launch and marketing. After death of Geoffroi at Battle of Poitiers, defending his King, bearer of the royal standard (“Oriflamme”). Why? King captured, held to ransom! Cautious initially. Lirey Pilgrim’s medallion Mark 1. Figure not obviously Jesus-like (but not surprising if there is no cross, no blood, no loin cloth etc. but crucifixion tools shown in margin – pincers, nails etc. Mark 2: bolder. Incorporation of what arguably is a Veronica motif. Link now made with the earlier imprint. Calamity: the display is banned. Not surprising in view of Pierre d’Arcis account of what his predecessor as outraged Bishop of Troyes thought about reports reaching him. Ban lasted 30 years. Only allowed on condition that each display is accompanied by announcement stating that the ‘Shroud’ was not genuine.
10 points. That should be sufficient.
What about those gee whizz ‘radiation’ models one may ask? What about them?
The First Law of Photochemistry states that light must be absorbed for photochemistry to occur. This is a simple concept, but it is the basis for performing photochemical and photobiological experiments correctly. If light of a particular wavelength is not absorbed by a system, no photochemistry will occur, and no photobiological effects will be observed, no matter how long one irradiates with that wavelength of light.
Anyone proposing a radiation-based theory MUST (a) state the wavelength of the radiation and (b) the chemical species (chromophore) that is capable of absorbing that particular wavelength.
Be wary of those who try to sidestep the First Law by telling you that their radiation source is hugely intense and monochromatic, or a type of radiation unknown to physics. There is no escaping the First Law. No absorption means no photochemical reaction, no localized heating, no coloration. That applies to ALL electromagnetic radiation, from long wavelength radio waves though microwaves, infrared, visible, uv, x rays to the highest frequency/energy short wavelength gamma radiation.
Intense sources, e.g from a laser, may simply target a trace component that wouldn’t normally be sufficiently energized to produce coloration. Trace components of linen that come to mind as normally overlooked chromophores, but more readily energized molecule for molecule than cellulose, would be lignin and other phenolicss with aromatic ring structures, absorbing moderately in the blue end of the visible spectrum and the near uv.
Whinge: we’re told that the EU is losing patience with most people’s default search engine – Google- for favouring its own sites, and thus discriminating unfairly against others. I too am losing patience. This posting would have been invisible on Google, but for my linking to it from sciencebuzz, my Blogger-hosted site, owned by, guess who? Yes, Google. In other words, it’s not this posting that gets listed, but the Google Blogger site that linked to it. The EU is said to want the Google search algorithm to be made public. I second that. Google needs to be made accountable. It also needs to be viewed as a ‘constructive monopoly’ and made to behave in a transparent fashion – or risk being forcibly broken up.
This posting is now spotlighted on Dan Porter’s shroudstory site, but is still not searchable directly under Google. That organization gives this blogger the creeps (like when I enter “iconoplastic” into the search, knowing that it will assume I meant “iconoclastic” and then ask “Did I mean iconoplastic”, or when the first set of returns score out my carefully selected tags, throwing back totally irrelevant listings. Is it something in the water (west of the Rockies, that is)?
Update: 23:15, 18 July
An appreciative comment to this posting has appeared on the new shroudstory posting. But there’s one tiny (and not infrequent) error:
“However I saw nothing there mentioning vanillin, another possible UV target.”
Vanillin is not a separate component from lignin. In fact it’s not even a component of flax or linen. It’s a degradation product of lignin, derived from oxidation, side-chain shortening (loss of 2 carbons) and detachment starting with one particular monomer in the complex resinous polyphenol that is lignin, ie. coniferaldehye. See my earlier posting on the subject, this site.
Ray Rogers no less described and discussed vanillin as though it were a preformed component of lignin that gradually reduced with age. Nope: as the lignin oxidizes, the vanillin is newly formed, and being a relatively small molecule, gradually evaporates away, being responsible for the distinctive aroma of old lignin (the ability to detect it by smell being a sure sign that molecules are escaping into the air).
Update Sunday July 19
Methinks it’s time this plodding old science bod jumped aboard the gee whizz bandwagon, hopefully to attract worldwide publicity, or even the attention of Google. But how? Brainwave (wavelength unspecified): might there be a region of the electromagnetic spectrum that nobody’s properly investigated so far, maybe one where I could instal a state-of-the-art machine in my otherwise humble home lab. Financing? Crowd sourcing? Seems a lot of trouble – I’ll try sweet talk and my wife’s teacher’s pension first.
The science? Yup, the boring old science? Well I won’t say too much about that just yet, knowing how folk are put off by the boring old science. Science isn’t the most cooperative of the disciplines either when one has an idea one wants to sell to the media. But I’ll give a clue. There were two splendid pdfs published some 10 years ago, scandalously ignored by sindonology, from one Bernard Power (a meteorologist as I recall so easily dismissed). He identified a region of the em spectrum that looked highly promising for those seeking a gee whizz radiation mechanism to explain the ‘Shroud’ image.
What’s more it had big words in it, like Attenuation and Collimation. Well, I’ve done a little reading around as one does, being a boring old science bod, and find there’s a strangely neglected target chromophore in linen that could be energized specifically by Power’s air-attenuated radiation. It’s a highly superficial film of sequestered H-bonded dihydrogen monoxide, comprising some 8% typically of the core cellulose of linen. It can be blitzed and volatilized by the radiation source I and my new friend Bernard have in mind, producing superheated vapour that might then produce a faint discoloration of linen fibres. I can see the photographs in the Independent or Sun now, with my name and research institute attached (for which I’ll have to think up some anonymous initials, if only to impress Charles Freeman for whom ‘home lab’ wins no admiring glances from the blue-rinse ladies at the Captain’s table!). To think a major cryptochromophore of linen can be specifically targeted and energized by radiation emanating scientifically, or failing that, miraculously from a radioincandescent black body emitter (possibly white body too) ) is hugely gobsmacking – I can scarcely contain my excitement.
Scientific principle: to energize the target molecules in such as way as to send them into tumble-mode. One picture is worth a thousand words:
The big question mark: will the energized molecules be around long enough to produce the desired discoloration of linen? (We’ll worry about the tedious business of producing an image later). Might they escape too quickly? We wouldn’t want to end up with something that looked half-baked now, would we? 😉
Oops. Seems I’ve overlooked to mention the region of the em spectrum for which Bernard Powers saw possibilities (which he elaborated in detail, with attention to ‘hotpsots’ on linen fibrils). It is of course the microwave region, lying between infrared and radio waves. The Argos catalogue is doing a good deal right now on microwave ovens. Expect this boring old science bod to re-enter gee whizz sindonology in a big way, once he gets those cellulose-bound water molecules (dihydrogen monoxide, H2O) spinning.
Update: Monday July 20
Have just been re-reading Ian Wilson’s splendid pdf for the BSTS on the Machy mould, the key this blogger believes to understanding the instant impact and success of the Lirey “Shroud” (so successful that its display was banned for 30 years but not before 1 and probably 2 pilgrims’ badges had entered circulation). But there’s one disappointing aspect regarding Wilson’s article. Here’s the engraving that intoduces his article:
Here’s a close-up of those badges, with the Veronica circled in each case.
But further on we get this:
Sorry Ian, but I see that inset motif as an image of Jesus in life, arguably with eyes open, not closed, and indisputably a positive, not negative image (highest relief lighter, not darker). As such it was intended to represent the face on the still living face on the Veil of Veronica, NOT the tone-reversed imprint of the crucified post mortem Jesus on the so-called Shroud, whether the one in Lirey, or the same as Ian imagined it centuries earlier on display in Edessa as a vignette. (Yes, the Veronica image was conceptually a negative in the first instance, being an imprint, but artists quickly chose to ignore that, even assuming they were aware of the mechanics of imprinting in the first place).
So why go the the bother on engraving that face on the Machy Mould, which may or may not have been present on the Lirey badge (bearing in mind it’s damaged and incomplete)? That has been the subject of previous postings here, focused on Jeanne de Vergy’s skilful marketing ‘launch’ that was the first Lirey exposition – too successful in fact – recalling the furious response from Troyes bishop Henri de Poitiers that resulted in a 30 year ban on expositions. (Charles Freeman describes the first “Shroud” exposition as a “flop”: perhaps folk can now see why I prefer my history to come from his bete noire Ian Wilson, despite my disagreeing profoundly with his “Edessa” narrative, Wilson knowing the difference between use and misuse of words).
Update: Monday 20 July
The pie-in-sky image hypothesis that won’t go away – the one that depends on thinking and best-case-scenario experimentation that should never have got past the journal referees : nope, not gee whizz radiation models, but Raymond N.Rogers’ ‘naturalistic’ alternative, one formed by putrefaction amines from a corpse reacting with a starch impurity coating to give Maillard reaction products.
I don’t intend to repeat the reasons why that scenario is simply make-believe chemistry – the kind that proves the old adage ” a little knowledge is dangerous”. But havingencountered today still more undeserved paeons of praise for the sadly deceased Ray Rogers, thoughts turned yet again to that “starch impurity coating” assumption. the analytical evidence for such a coating is virtually zilch, and such as exists is based on little more than anecdotal evidence with spot test reagent (in one instance an inappropriate one, designed to test for something else). but ev en if there were an even coating of starch that was evenly distributed, and backed up with impeccable data, would that allow for a Maillard reaction, one that went at environmental temperatures?
Maillard reactions do not occur with starch. They occur with degradation products of starch – namely reducing sugars such as glucose, maltose, oligomeric dextrins etc. How readily does starch break down to generate reducing sugars?
This paper provides an answer.
Where on earth did folk get the idea that Raymond N.Rogers has/had to be regarded as the last word on all matters chemical? Rogers’ writings are littered with over -simplication and frank errors. It’s time he was viewed as a generally competent chemist, acquainted with a wide range of literature. But he was frequently out-of-his-depth, and never was that shown more clearly than his proposals for “Shroud” image formation via reaction between putrefaction amines and “starch”, the latter NOT being synonymous by any stretch of the imagination with reducing sugars. If he thought that starch played a crucial role, then why did he not take a leaf from the Adler/Heller book and test the effect of exposing “Shroud2 image fibres to a specific starch-digesting enzyme, e.g. alpha-amylase, comparable to the protease tests to investigate blood/image relationships? (Proteases digest proteins; amylases digest starch).
Update (still July 20).
STURP told us next to nothinjg about the chemical nature of the “Shroud” image, which was hardly surprising, given that sampling was restricted to those sticky tape tests. (Shame though that some of the effort that went into showing it was not a painting (wasted where a certain book-writing historian is concerned) did not go into telling us something positive about the image characteristics. However, one thing we were told (of interest to those of us trained in organic chemistry) was that the image coiuld be bleached by a certain highly reactive reducing agent called diimide (NH=NH). The latter is not just any old reducing agent. It is highly specific in itas action, hydrogenating -enes and presumably conjugated dienes to the saturated compound, and thus an agent par excellence for destroying chromophores (since colour in organic compounds frequently depends on the presence of those C=C double bonfds, singly, or more often conjugated ( -C=C-C=C-). Significance? Some, but limited. The sepia colour of the “Shroud” image is presumably due to ORGANIC carbon-based chemicals, and not to inorganic comounds like iron oxide (McCrone) or assorted inorganic paint pigments.Carbon-based dyes are not excluded however.
So is it only that somewhat exotic diimide that bleaches the “Shroud” image, OR modelled versions thereof? What about plain old bleach (sodium hypochlorite, NaOCl)?
Answer: NO, as this quick test showed, using the image of my hand from earlier in this posting, one that I presume, correctly or incorrectly, is a Maillard reaction product (possible but less probably with some caramelised carbohydrates too).
Halleluja. We have a quick test for showing if my flour paste model is wrong. if the “Shroud” image is NOT bleachable with sodium hypochlorite, then my model is WRONG. How many other models are capable of being tested and shown wanting? How many get traction and mileage, year after year, for the simple reason they are difficult to test, being hedged around with some many qualifying assumptions and/or other intangibles, as to be essentially untestable? Both Rogers’ “starch impurity” model and the radiation ones might be said to fit that description.
Note however that the roasted linen outside the image area was also bleached. What about a plain old contact scorch, from pressing hot metal against linen, with no white flour? In other words the Mark 1 scorches studied on this site until the ‘simulated sweat imprint’ hypothesis came along, requiring a change of tactics.
Note the bleaching of the images below the plastic beaker (left) and between the two more intense scorches (right).
So the bleach test, while handy, does NOT discriminate between a direct contact scorch, obtained by pressing hot metal onto linen, and the more subtle kind that one obtains in the new two-stage imprinting prcedure that uses flour paste to imprint off a real person, followed by thermal, chemical or thermochemical development of the image.
Update: Tuesday July 21
Ah, but do the imprints in the flour/water model have the required set of so-called ‘microscopic’ features, matching those of the “Shroud” (you know, like those oft-cited “discontinuities”)? Everyone of course knows what’s meant by “discontinuities”, don’t they? Speak up if you don’t know or aren’t sure what a discontinuity is? Do I hear a lone voice? Why yes. It’s sounds a bit odd, being filtered through bone, but there’s a reason for that. It’s my own voice. Yes. I have to confess that I haven’t the faintest clue as to what is meant by a discontinuity in the “Shroud” image at the fibre level. I think I know what it is as the thread level, but what it is at the individual fibre level, and whether or not that is the same or differentf rom a discontinuity at the thread level I frankly haven’t the faintest clue. I guess I could try and track down the Pellicori and Evans paper of 1981 in “Archaeology” from which the “discontinuity” concept apparently started, being the one usually quoted. See this Introduction from a Rogers pdf, for example:
But from the little one can glean from the open literature, i.e. that which is not behind expensive paywalls, the prospects of getting a definitive answer do not look at all promising. Why not? Well, this patch of weeds seems as good a place as any to start (might as well cultivate one’s own long grass than be kicked into someone else’s).
I’ll be back later to explain in more detail. For now, let’s insert a corrective. The “outstanding characteristic” of the image on the “Shroud” is NOT the “discontinuous distribution of colour on the surface”. It is the negative, i.e. tone-reversed image. There is a simple explanation for that negative image. It’s a contact image. If the contact is made with a weave that has “crowns”, ie. high points where one thread loops over another, then one expect discontinuities due to abrupt transitions from contact to non-contact. Maybe those “discontinuities” are not so mysterious as Rogers and others seem to suggest. Maybe they are not really a microscopic feature of “Shroud” fibres at all, but a macroscopic one of “Shroud” threads (even if easier to see under a low power binocular microscope than a hand lens or unaided eye). Does that Rogers pdf above provide any clues as to which of those two is in the frame – threads or fibres?
It would appear from a shroudstory posting, one in which Dan Porter tackled Ray Rogers directly on the issue of his and others terminology (“pixels” etc) that Rogers’ view on “discontinuities” were based on the photomicrographs of STURP’s Mark Evans. One in particular, labelled ME-29″ was cited:
Verbatim quote from Dan Porter (my bolding)
On the facts used for the analysis, Ray wrote:
A29) “The color of the image-areas has a discontinuous distribution on the entire facing surface (Pellicori and Evans, 1981).” Before making assumptions on the basis of this statement, please look at the photomicrograph of the tip of the nose that Mark Evans took (ME-29).
Here’s what I suspect to be a crucial screenshot from the same posting, the source of all repeated references, nay Chinese whisperings, to those “microscopic discontinuities” at the fibre(?) level.
Photomicrograph? Yes (x64). But apart from a hint of fine structure within the individual fibres (e.g. the so-called growth nodes, but poorly resolved due to internal reflection and refraction) there’s really nothing about distribution of image colour that cannot be obtained using a good x10 hand lens (as I have just this minute confirmed by looking at my own linen imprints). And what does that image above tell us about “discontinuities at the microscopic (fibre?) level”? Answer: nothing. Nothing whatsoever. What we see above are bunched fibres in entire threads. Apart from one or two detached fibres (where colour distribution CANNOT be seen at this level of magnification) one is looking at entire threads. Any particular distribution of colour, continuous or discontinuous, can only be described at the level of whole THREAD. Since the whole thread can be seen with the naked eye, assisted with a hand lens, one is NOT entitled to refer to discontinuities at the microscopic level, implying directly or tacitly that those discontinuities exist at the fibre level. To make that claim one would need to tease out the individual fibres, and then examine at high magnification under a phase contrast microscope.
Am I splitting hairs (or fibres)? it would be nice to say yes and move on. But I am not, and for reasons that will now be set out. The misattribution of a thread effect to individual fibre level, with its apparent switch from macroscopic to microscopic, is and has been the source of much confusion in the “Shroud”literature, and it’s hard not to escape the view that it’s been part of an attempt to promote one or other pro-authenticity model. How? Why? Because the crucial image characteristic – its negative character – implies a contaact mechanism. But contact is not easily accommodated within pro-authenticity models. Consequently, the image negativity – a macroscopic character – gets sidelined. A macroscopic characteristic like discontinuity of image on threads, thread CROWNS especially, is noted but quickly shunted into the microscopic sidings (thanks to x64 magnification -OK for macroscopic threads but too small for near-microscopic fibres). Even if there were clear discontinuities seen in individual fibres it would mean nothing is the result of a contact imprinting across the highest ie. crown threads. that is a macroscopic, not microscopic effect.
If one googles for those two m words, one will find this pdf review paper from G.Fanti et al with them in its title.
There is much of value in that paper, notably the much-neglected brittleness of “Shroud” image fibres (hardly consistent with Rogers’ impurity coating model) but there is no, repeat NO attempt to justify the term “microscopic”. Again, it’s based it would seem on those low magnification Mark Evans enlargements of Shroud weave at the thread lvel, where the term “photomicrograph” becomes hugely misleading.
What did Rogers himself have to say about contact models? Look carefully to see whether his remarks referred to the entire gamut contact models,existing or still to come, or just one that was easily shot down, or seemingly so.
Go to a different Rogers pdf, and immediately under Fig.22, a Mark Evans ‘photomicrograph’ (yes, our old friend ME-29 again) we read this:
4) Scorching by contact with hot irons, statues, etc., must be ruled out, because heat flow by conduction penetrates a cloth. Different colors can be seen as a function of the depth into the cloth, and fibers are colored through their entire diameter. The medullas of scorched fibers are colored. The Shroud image is entirely different.
Needless to say, there is m0re than one way of imprinting a scorch directly onto linen that could restrict thermal effects to the most superficial layer (notably the approx.200nm thick primary cell wall, PCW, an entity with a distinctive chemical composition, with a preponderance of reactive hemicelluloses). The mere fact that “scorching”, ie. pyrolysis, caramelization etc is an endothermic, heat-abstracting process means the template cools as soon as it makes contact with the fabric. There are many other ways of minimizing the depth of scorch, e.g. by coating the fabric with some kind of thermal buffer,e.g. chalk, having a damp umderlay etc etc. One could even overlay with a sacrificial layer of fabric, cheap cotton maybe, designed to take the brunt, reducing the heat that conducts to the linen underneath. But there are more subtle ways of imprinting an image, as shown by the current model, using a flour/water mixture that is ironed at a temperature that does not appeciably affect linen per se, but high enough to initiate Maillard-type browning reactions. Rogers (in common with virtually all pro-authenticity investigators) clearly did not wish to be detained for one second longer than necesaary by anything as crass and downmarket as a contact-imaging process. The victim in all of this is the paramount characteristic of the “Shroud” image, the negative image, implying imaging by contact, preferential imaging of the crowns of the weave, and a series of discontinuities at the level of threads, probably fibres too. But the ‘tunnel vision’ that fixes on any model except imaging by contact has resulted in the elevation of “discontinuity” to cult status for entirely spurious reasons – an implied microscopic effect at fibre level that is in reality a macroscopic effect at thread level – an entirely predictable signature of imaging BY CONTACT, producing that NEGATIVE IMAGE.
Where modelling the “Shroud” is concerned, there are those who wish to turn it into a beauty contest, with a preponderance of part-time theologians on the judging panel. Reminder: this site has a URL that reads turin-shroud-without-all-the-hype. Yup, this is the place for hype-free science. This site has no ambitions to be an entrant in a beauty contest. Cold hard facts are its stock-in-trade.
In short, if anyone should ever challenge this blogger, as they have done previously, with the pointed question: “What about the microscopic properties?”, my reply will be: “Do tell us about the microscopic properties. Do provide a photomicrograph so we all know what you are talking about, assuming, that is, you know what you are talking about, and not simply intoning a mantra you’ve picked up from one or other theologically-slanted shroudoscopic website.”
Wednesday July 22
Summary: the “Shroud” image is a negative. It’s a negative because it’s an imprint. But it’s not an imprint onto a perfectly plane surface like printer paper. It’s an imprint onto a weave in which some parts of some threads are higher than others. So one expects to see discontinuities in the imprint corresponding with loss of contact at points where warp threads loop under weft threads and vice versa. The first task of any objective microscopist, examining a negative imprint on a woven material, and seeing “discontinuities” should have been to identify those discontinuities that are natural and expected accompaniments of printing onto the weave. Simply lumping all discontinuities together (assuming without evidence there are discontinuities unrelated to weave) and referring to them as though an enigmatic microscopic property of the “Shroud” image, one that presents a huge and possibly insurmountable challenge to anyone attempting to reproduce them, is an example of a strange and thankfully rare anatomical conversion of living tissue to copper/zinc alloy (known in common parlance as “having a brass neck”).
10: 25: Latest example of deep historical analysis from Charles Freeman, commenting on the shroudstory site:
“However, we have no evidence that the Lirey shrine attracted any of the elite and it was quickly suppressed until Geoffrey the Younger managed to find a way of exhibiting the Shroud with official ( papal) approval in the 1390s.”
Er, no. The whole point of putting an item on public display, producing a medallion as take-away souvenir, is not ostensibly to attract the elite (who would probably have had a private viewing beforehand that went unrecorded in the annals of French history). The idea is to attract ordinary folk (albeit those with time on their hands, and the financial resources to be self-supporting on long cross-country hikes excluding those who relied on begging). Yes, ordinary folk, with money in their pockets, sufficient to purchase that medallion, and probably other items (indulgences?) too, and not just scores of ordinary folks, but hundreds, maybe thousands of them per annum. Or at any rate, that was the business model, no doubt, until the Church imposed its ban. That income would have come in handy for the relic’s owner, the newly widowed Jeanne de Vergy, her husband having been killed at the Battle of Poitiers, 1356. There’s also the small matter of his King (John II) who he was personally defending having been captured by the English at the same battle and then held to ruinously expensive ransom. Was the instant display of the “Shroud” a response to one or more of these new financial pressures one wonders? Freemam’s “elite” was a distressed elite. Does he not appreciate that?
This blogger has already been accused of plagiarizing Rogers’ ideas (in seeing a role for Maillard reaction products, albeit between reducing sugars and proteins of white flour, and needing an excesdeingly hot iron to get the colour). Well, I’m about to make things even worse for myself – by narrowing the gap between my medieval model and the pro-authenticity 1st century tomb scenario of Rogers. It involves volatile amines, those fishy smelling things with the general formula R-NH2 (primary amine) where R is an alkyl group, e.g. CH3, C2H5, or, if a secondary amine, R-NH-R’, or a tertiary amine, R-N(R’)-R”. What you may ask! We know where the amines are implicated in the Rogers’ model (putrefaction of a corpse). How can amines be implicated in a white-flour model?
Well, it’s a long shot, but here we go. The yellow-brown image has been described here as a Maillard reaction product, formed between reducing sugars and proteins. But there’s a problem. The “Shroud” image was tested by Adler et al for protein – none were found. But my image appears to have two components – an outer one that looks and feels thick, and can be reduced by washing, brushing etc, and a more resistant one that survives those treatments, and seems more like an intrinsic part of the linen fibres. What might have happened to produce the latter. Well, there’s a little protein in linen fibres, and one might propose that had reacted with reducing sugar, and that the Maillard product formed had failed to react as protein. But one instinctively dislikes qualiofying assumptions. Might there be an alternative explanation? Yes, there is. The most superficial part of the linen fibre is the PCW, and that comprises hemicellulose as a major constituent. Hemicelllulose has a lot of pentose sugars, which are chemically reactive, more so than the hexose sugars of starch and cellullose, and known to enter freely into Maillard reactions. Maybe the linen provided the sugar for the Maillard reaction. But where did the amine come from? It might have been the protein of the flour or linen, especially the epsilon amino group of lysine (not involved in peptide bond formation). But there’s an intriguing alternative. Enter volatile amines. When one adds cold limewater to white flour there’s an immediate strong fishly odour. So there’s an amine precursor there that is easily released by alkali. Maybe it’s released by heat also, even at lower pH closer to neutrality. Maybe it’s that amine that reacts with the pentose sugars of the linen PCW to produce the ‘resistant’ image that survives washing etc, and that does NOT test positive for protein.
What might be the source of the free amine? Am not sure. It might be glutamine, with terminal -CONH2. It might be polar secondary or tertiary amine groups of phospholipids (lecithin, phosphatidylethanolamine etc). Much food for thought (maybe a few experiments can help reduce the search options).
Update: Friday 24 July
One of the occupational hazards of attempting to develop a model for the “Shroud” based on medieval technology is the flak that draws from the Raymond Rogers fan club. The fact that he’s sadly no longer with us, able to respond to one’s comments and criticsim does not help. Any criticism made of his work and ideas is treated with outrage: “How dare you attack someone who is no longer able to defend himself”. But that’s to miss the point entirely. It’s not the man himself who’s primarily in the frame. It’s his ideas. Of course, it doesn’t help if those ideas are based on what one regards as inappropriately designed experiments, where it takes the eye of a fellow (bio)chemist to spot the liberties that have been taken to achieve a highly publicized result.
Do I exaggerate? Am I being unfair? To answer that, let’s return to a posting that appeared almost 3 years ago on Dan Porter’s shroudstory site (I was reminded of it forcibly today, but let’s not bother with the circumstances, involving as they do the troll who I commented on earlier). Here’s a screen shot of the second half:
It’s an experiment that Dan Porter describes as a “success”. Did he bother consulting a chemist before making that judgement?
It was NOT a success at all, if intended to show that a Maillard reaction can occur between starch and ammonia at room temperature as a model for the Turin Shroud. Note first that it did not use starch, which we are told was an impurity coating on the linen. It used “dextrins” which are highly degraded starch, more sugar than starch. That substitution, easily overlooked because Rogers makes no attempt to justify it, gets around the small difficulty that Maillard reactions require reducing SUGARS. Starch is not a reducing sugar. Nor does it easily “fall apart” to make reducing sugar. Google “lintnerization”. It gets worse. Saponins have been added as well. Why? Because the linen is now said to be impregnated not only with starch (pity about the absence of analytical data) but with saponins too (they were used as a kind of soap see in the 1st century AD). Saponins (again, no analytical data) that just happen to have lots of pentose (5-carbon) sugars in their carbohydrate polymers. Pentose sugars are chemically more reactive than 6-carbon sugars like glucose or highly degraded starch. Pentose sugars react more readily than hexose sugars to give Maillard reaction products. But it doesn’t end there. Note Rogers’ choice of “putrefaction amine”, the simplest amine of all – ammonia- a highly volatile gas, half as light as air. Note that his mixture of degraded starch and saponins was exposed to ammonia gas for 24 hours. We are supposed to be impressed that he demonstrated a Maillard reaction at room temperature. What’s easily overlooked is that excess ammonia raises pH, and that Maillard reactions that are normally sluggish at room temperature are greatly assisted by an alkaline pH. So on three counts – degraded strarch, saponins and alkaline pH – we see Rogers’ so-called Maillard reaction being assisted by dubious means, of no proven relevance to a 1st century tomb. To cap it all, we are given no evidence that the yellow colour was in fact a Maillard product. It may have been, it may not – some supporting data was needed before ASSUMING it was a Maillard product and not (say) a product from exposing saponin or sugars to alkali and oxygen. Why were there no controls?
Those who try to pitch me against Raymond N.Rogers should take careful note of the kind of science that supported his attempts to provide experimental evidence in support of his Maillard hypothesis. No, that experiment you cite was NOT a success Dan Porter, but it needs a chemist’s eye perhaps to see why. With no disrespect to a dead man, I say it’s time to cease playing Rogers’ findings as if a trump card, and in fact to see many of his findings for what they are: deeply flawed, unable to stand up to close scrutiny. “Shroudology” will make no progress while the Rogers’ findings are considered sacrosanct and above criticism.
Note too by the way the absurdity of claiming that Rogers found starch on the STURP samples (he didn’t) while his model requires reducing sugars that would require highly degraded starch that would no longer give a positive test for starch (e.g. a blue-black colour with iodine). Good, isn’t it? Day after day we see one Rogers ‘groupie’ banging on endlessly that Rogers DID find starch (no he didn’t) and another Rogers’ groupie insistent that Rogers’ Maillard model is the correct one, despite unfavourable thermodynamics at low temperature/ordinary pH, requiring reducing sugar, not starch. Why does Dan Porter allow this self-contradictory, self-defeating nonsense to continue, month after month, year after year. Why does he allow his site to be ruled – and ruined – by this kind of fanaticism that is blind or indifferent to the facts?
Update: I have just returned to that Rogers paper that Dan Porter quoted as showing that a Maillard reaction can occur at room temperature, provided one’s willing to wait 24 hours. It’s accompanied by that photograph, showing a STRONG yellow colour, despite the text saying the low temperature gave “a very light colour”. There’s a simple reason for the discrepancy. Dan Porter did not quote the full passage. He stopped after the first sentence below, leaving off the second sentence that I have shown in bold:
“The sample was then treated for 10 minutes with ammonia vapour: a very light colour
could be observed on the top surface after standing 24 hours at room temperature. To increase the reaction rate, a sample was treated at 66 ºC for a few minutes (Figure 2 above).”
In other words, the striking result, the one Dan Porter calls a success, the one in the photograph (Fig.2) was NOT the very light colour, one whose lightness we can only guess at. The photograph shows the result at a kinetically and thermodynamically more favourable 66 degrees C. Quite what the relevance that temperature was to a 1st century tomb is anyone’s guess.
That experiment of Rogers was frankly fudged to give the desired result. This researcher despises fudged demonstrations. What we see above is pseudo-science. This is the kind of “science” that assorted trolls and fanatics are so keen to promote on Porter’s site, and the site’s owner let’s them do it, year after year after year.
And how was Rogers’ able to substitute dextrins, i.e. highly degraded starch, made commercially by heating starch with strong acid, or digesting with amylase enzymes, for intact starch? Simple. He refers to his dextrins as “crude starch”.That is taking one enormous liberty with words. When one extracts starch from a planr source, one may use the term “crude starch” to imply there are non-starch contaminants, e.g protein or cell wall material. To describe the starch as crude to imply that it is partially degraded to low molecular weight dextrins, simple sugars with reducing properties, as needed for Maillard reactions. etc is quite simply appalling. If Rogers were here today, I would tell him to his face that he was at least deceiving himself if he imagined that linen initially impregnated with “crude starch” would supply the “reducing sugar” needed for his Maillard reaction, with or without prior ageing of the manufactured fabric. Starch does not, as I said earlier, easily fall apart. The glycosidic linkages in starch are strong and not easily broken.
If starch is kept dry, it will remain intact indefinitely (this blogger has a 60 yearold home-made photo album which used flour paste as adhesive – most of the photos are still where he stuck them). If it’s allowed to get wet, then it’s a different matter – moulds and bacteria will use the starch as a carbon source, secreting amylase enzymes to degrade it to simple sugars. Starch does not degrade of its own accord. “Linerization” of starch, i.e. hydrolysis to dextrins and simple sugars requires hours of even days of exposure to strong hydrochloric acid (see screenshot earlier in this posting). Rogers so-called “crude starch”, i.e. more sugar than starch, is pure fantasy. No wonder he had to buy in “dextrin” from a commercial source.
Update: 15:20 July 24
Message to Dan Porter: this blogger is a retired professional biochemist. If anyone doubts my professionalism, then they must come to this site under their real name and be prepared to argue the science in detail. What I am not prepared to tolerate is having my science cut-and-paste to your site site for a cowardly individual, operating under a pseudonym, to attack my professionalism, usually with no attempt to address the detail. That is trolling. You have no business using my content, while allowing a troll to operate freely and unhindered on your site. If you wish to use my material, then eject the troll from your site, or ban her from commenting on my material. If you wish to allow the troll to carry on as usual, attacking my professional credentials, then kindly stop using my material. In short, observe comm0nsense netiquette.
Update: 23:45 July 25
It didn’t take much searching to confirm that starch that is kept dry is a highly stable material, surviving millennia:
The idea that starch ‘falls apart’ with time to make what Rogers called “crude starch”, conveniently a source of reducing sugar for his Maillard reaction, is a complete fiction. Rogers may be some people’s chemical guru. He is not mine. His Shroud reseacrh is riddled with serious errors and/or blind spots and a serious deficiency of strict scientific objectivity.
Here’s a handy tutorial answer on the “strength” of glycosidic linkages in starch v cellulose. On close reading, one sees that it’s not really strength that differs, but accessibility of the bonds to hydrolytic enymes. The glycosidic linkages in the helical chains of amylose (linear starch) and/or in non-linear amylopectin (between the branch points) are more accesssible than those in the extended chains of cellulose that interact more strongly to create H-bonded fibres.
Here’s a useful graphic from the above link, comparing cellulose (left) with its beta (1,6) glycosidic linkages with those of starch (right) with alpha (1,6) linkages. Note the difference in secondary structure (sheet v helix).
Am feeling a tad more forgiving today, so let’s itemize those 4 fudge factors (fudge, note, not fraud as misreported by Dan Porter) in rank order.
1. Slipping in the saponins. We’ll forgive him that
2. Excess ammonia generating highly alkaline pH. We’ll forgive him that too, but alarm bells are ringing.
3, Highly raised non-physiological temperature (66 degrees C) pre- or post-mortem for Fig 2. Naughty naughty.
4. “Crude starch”, a totally misleading description for commercial part-hydrolysed (sugary) starch. Outrageous. But then one has to say, more in sorrow than anger, that he was a chemist straying into biochemistry, treading water, increasingly out-of-his-depth!!!!!!
Update: gold dust is quite a rare commodity, in science, same as everywhere else. The natural tendency is to eke it out, mixing with something else that will disguise the paucity of the rare metal. Diluent? Bullsh*t has near-perfect properties as a diluent, being highly adherent, while allowing brief glimmers of the good stuff if viewed from the right angle, under good illumination. Scientists differ as to the maximum content of bullsh*t that passes muster. Some say a maximum of 5% (this blogger subscribes to that school, or used to at any rate when grant-renewal time came around). Some say that in skilful hands one can get away with 25-30% bullsh*t or even higher.
Further update: call me old-fashioned if you like, but I resent deeply having my chemical/biochemical credentials attacked on a third party site by someone operating under a pseudonym who recently described herself as a “chemist”. If she’s a real professional chemist, as she would have us believe, then her behaviour on that site is TOTALLY UNPROFESSIONAL. Come out from under your cover, come to this site under your real name, and debate the science IN DETAIL What you are doing at present is acting as just another tedious and irritating internet troll, using your anonymity to launch personal attacks. You make it impossible for this blogger to contribute to that site is a calm frame of mind.
I repeat: you are trolling. Why does the site owner permit that, while constantly looking to this site to provide content?
Update: Sunday: There is also haranguing, not as serious as trolling. Yannick Clement on Dan Porter’s site is in full-haranguing mode with a string of consecutive comments that I don’t intend to answer there, or reproduce here. I’d simply say this, not mincing my words:
Here is a link to the “scientific method” – just one of several that could have been chosen:
Search it for “expert” and you will not find a single mention. The term “expert” has no useful role to play in science, its relevance being to consultancy where an instant opinion is required that may not immediately give the right answer, but is less likely (hopefully) to give the wrong one.
The closest the article comes to “expert” is this passage, one that Yannick should consider carefully before launching any more of his naive and ill-informed attacks on this experimentalist:
“Recognizing that personal and cultural beliefs influence both our perceptions and our interpretations of natural phenomena, we aim through the use of standard procedures and criteria to minimize those influences when developing a theory. As a famous scientist once said, “Smart people (like smart lawyers) can come up with very good explanations for mistaken points of view.” In summary, the scientific method attempts to minimize the influence of bias or prejudice in the experimenter when testing an hypothesis or a theory.
Rogers’ experimental design for a Maillard reaction was heavily influenced by bias towards a 1st century provenance, to the extent of introducing reactants that were largely or entirely a matter of conjecture (degraded ‘sugary’ starch, saponins, large quantities of ammonia gas” and extending the temperature far beyond the range that is physiological, pre- or post-mortem.
Rogers achieved much in the course of his long career, especially as regards the application of DSC and mass spectrometry to safety evaluation of chemical explosives, but that Maillard model was not his finest hour. Some might think the sooner that experiment is forgotten the better. The sooner Yannick Clement stops his hero worship of Ray Rogers, the better too for all concerned. There is no role for hero worship and/or infallible so-called experts in science.
Further update: Sunday:
“The enthalpies of hydrolysis of two different samples of amylose were 1062 +/- 20 and 2719 +/- 100 kJ mol-1, respectively.”
See also this link to a pdf for confirmation that starch hydrolysis is endothermic.
This demonstrates what this blogger has been saying, namely that the hydrolysis of starch to simple sugar is endothermic (positive value for delta H). It’s little wonder that it requires heating with strong mineral acid for hours, days even. Yet Raymond Rogers promulgated the idea that a starch coating on linen (conjectural!) could be assumed to break down spontaneously to reducing sugars, sufficient to give a Maillard reaction in the environmental range of temperature (despite Maillard reactions typically needing elevated temperatures of 100 degrees and greater to proceed at a reasonably brisk rate). Despite renewed protests on my part this morning the lady troll is back on Dan Porter’s site, claiming I have “shamelessly distorted” Rogers’ Maillard model, in other words making yet another character attack, and still Dan Porter sits idly by while this continues. The reasons why Rogers was wrong, and spectacularly so, is for the kind of reason set out above – he imagined or assumed chemical changes that simply do not occur. Repeat: starch is a highly stable polymer. It requires enzymes or drastic chemical treatment to degrade starch. Rogers conceded himself in that Maillard paper that there was no colour when he used ordinary plain starch. It needed highly degraded starch, purchased from a chemical supplier as “dextrins”, i.e. low molecular weight sugary substances – making the model INADMISSIBLE. This blogger is not shamelessly distorting. He is telling it the way it is.
Afterthought: to those with a biochemical background, the idea that starch breakdown is endothermic may seem counter-intuitive. One is accustomed to thinking of biosynthesis as a process requiring energy (usually in the form of ATP, so the reverse process would release energy, i.e. be exothermic, not endothermic). The contradiction is probably accounted for as follows: the early stages of starch biosythesis, the making of maltose, triose etc will be endothermic. But as the growing chain gets longer and more starch-like, it will then undergo internal H-bonding interactions to form helices etc, the process being exothermic. The latter release of heat will not usually be reckoned in the overall energetics if simply summing the energetics of each stepwise addition of a glucose unit. So the overall process of starch synthesis will not be as endothermic as one might think, and indeed is probably exothermic, making the reverse hydrolysis endothermic, as measured by two different experimental groups in the above links. I will try to dig out some more on the energetics of starch hydrolysis, though it seems to be a neglected topic in the literature searched so far.
It’s also not terribly clear what’s meant by “per mole”. Per mole of what? Amylose, with a huge and probably unknown molar mass, or per mole of polymeric glucose, reckoned as C6H12O6, or anhydroglucose (C6H10O5), recalling that starch can be represented as (C6H10O5)n? It’s probably one or other of those monomer units, approx molar mass 160, but it would have been nice to have had that specified as the basis of calculation.
Still Sunday: setting the record straight (posted to shroudstory):
What I didn’t mention in the above comment was that white flour had featured earlier in the Mk 1 scorch model, but in the dry state. I reported that one could sensitize linen to scorching at a lower temperature by sprinkling flour onto it before scorching with a hot template. Link to post: Modelling the Shroud of Turin image with a flour-assisted Maillard reaction (October 2014).
Here’s a result from that posting:
Update: July 27
So why have I waited all this time to blow the whistle on Rogers’ fanciful Maillard hypothesis, full of chemical make-believe? Answer: I haven’t. I was making exactly the same points over 3 years ago on Porter’s site, May 21st, 2012, and have done so subsequently. e.g. on the unfavourable thermodynamics (even assuming that ammonia and reducing sugar are/were really present).
Look at the comments. Look at the obfuscating hero worship of that windbag of a Rogers’ groupie, he with the initials YC. Look at the attempt to portray Rogers as the infallible starch expert. Look at his attempts to write off this blogger as a nonentity. (The blogger in question was too restrained or modest to tell him t0 google (dietary fibre resistant starch) and spot the citation classic on ‘resistant starch’ at the top of page 1 of returns with well over 400 mentions in the literature, or to suggest that he do a comparable search in Google Scholar for starch papers by Raymond.N.Rogers.
Dan Porter claims to welcome real science. But look at the graphic he placed on that paper. Look how he allowed YC to filibuster the site, making out Rogers as a saintly scientist, making out his critics as having one or other character defect. No, it wasn’t trolling, more verbal assault bordering on diarrhoea.
What a mucky site. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. It’s high time Dan Porter cleaned up that site of his in a way that allows the science to be heard and not instantly set upon by assorted trolls, groupies and fanatics.
Another hero-worshipped figure is “STURP member” Robert V. Bucklin (pathologist), currently being discussed on shroudstory. I’ve stated previously my first reaction on reading his “mock autopsy report” in which he imagines the body to be laid out on a marble slab while he circles around with his clipboard making notes. Nor shall I repeat what I said about the stilted Victorian language, the formality, the pomposity. I was told off severely on shroudstory for my levity. So let’s stick to the facts, shall we.
First, look at the list of STURP team members on shroud.com, noting carefully which names lack an asterisk, meaning they did NOT go to Turin, but worked on material supplied to them. Note that Bucklin’s name does NOT have an asterisk. That means he did not see the Shroud image itself, but must have been working from photographs. So much for that mock formal autopsy report. But whose photographs? Why is there no photograph shown on Bucklin’s “autopsy” report, so we can see precisley what he was looking at? Why is the reader left to assume that a key STURP team member, chosen for his pathology credentials, had seen the actual Shroud image and bloodstains with his own eyes when he clearly had not?
One thing’s for certain. He did not have access to the high quality ‘as-is’ Durante 2002 pictures that we have available at the click of a key from Mario Latendresse’s Shroud Scope.
Had he done so, he might not have made that bizarre claim that there are no scourge marks on the arms, with an opportunity (one of many) for inserting a pro-authenticity message about the victim having his arms “above his head” during scourging.
Here’s the concluding passage from Bucklin’s report. Note the scientific objectivity…
It is the ultimate responsibility of the medical examiner to confirm by whatever means are available to him the identity of the deceased, as well as to determine the manner of this death. In the case of Man on the Shroud, the forensic pathologist will have information relative to the circumstances of death by crucifixion which he can support by his anatomic findings. He will be aware that the individual whose image is depicted on the cloth has undergone puncture injuries to his wrists and feet, puncture injuries to his head, multiple traumatic whip-like injuries to his back and postmortem puncture injury to his chest area which has released both blood and a water type of fluid. From this data, it is not an unreasonable conclusion for the forensic pathologist to determine that only one person historically has undergone this sequence of events. That person is Jesus Christ.
As far as the mechanism of death is concerned, a detailed study of the Shroud imprint and the blood stains, coupled with a basic understanding of the physical and physiological changes in the body that take place during crucifixion, suggests strongly that the decedent had undergone postural asphyxia as the result of his position during the crucifixion episode. There is also evidence of severe blood loss from the skin wounds as well as fluid accumulation in the chest cavities related to terminal cardio-respiratory failure.
For the manner of death to be determined, a full investigation of the circumstances of death is necessary. In this case, it would be determined historically that the individual was sentenced to death, and that the execution was carried out by crucifixion. The manner of death would be classed as judicial homicide.
Priceless. nay, hilarious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and brought to you by STURP no less!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Afterthought: yes, there’s that 4th category of commentator that is tolerated (some might say encourgaed) on Porter’s stite: the serial browbeater, endlessly claiming that black is white and white is black, and woebetide anyone who says otherwise. The serial browbeater is immune to reason or logic, and totally indifferent to the facts.
Tuesday 28 July
Have just posted this comment to shroudstory. (Nope, it won’t alter in the slightest anyone’s thinking re authenticity – merely elicit still more special pleading, still more qualifying assumptions, more haughty lectures etc etc , but no matter, this blogger is frankly beyond caring where that site is concerned):
“I am deeply saddened to hear that our tall, gentle giant of the “Silent Witness,” Dr. Robert Bucklin, passed away. I first met him through Fr. Peter Rinaldi in Turin, Italy, in October 1978. As we walked together through the streets of Turin, Bob said, “The man on the Shroud is proof that He was dead and that a living G-d brought back His body and made the imprint on His Shroud. That is my private opinion.” And I agreed.
- David Alexander
Posted October 6, 2001
Was he there, or wasn’t he? And if he was there, did he do his “autopsy” on the real “Shroud” or on photographs (see below)?
Even if he was in Turin, one has to ask why he in particualr was selected as “pathology expert” given his conviction in 1978, ahead of the inconclusive 1981 STURP Summary, that the image on the cloth was that of Jesus himself. That was bound to have coloured his judgement, something abundantly obvious from that so-called “autopsy” report.
We then read this from historian Ian Wilson in the same 2001 obiturary (my bolding):
With the death of Dr. Robert Bucklin on September 19, the Shroud world has lost one of its most distinguished and gentlemanly medical specialists.
Never has the medical case for the Shroud’s authenticity been more succinctly and more convincingly conveyed to the widest possible audience than by Robert Bucklin for David Rolfe’s award-winning cinema and TV documentary Silent Witness. Via life-size negatives of the Shroud laid out in his Los Angeles laboratory as if these were an actual crucified body, Bucklin explained the wounds of crowning with thorns, scourging and crucifixion with such gentle authority and matter-of-factness that the scenes involving him were arguably the most powerful single contributor to the documentary’s winning of a BAFTA award. Personally, I will never forget his quiet, clinical explanations of the terrible injuries. Or his calm gazing direct at the camera to conclude with heart-melting emphasis: ‘The markings on this image are so clear and so medically accurate that the pathological facts which they reflect concerning the suffering and death of the man depicted here are in my opinion beyond dispute.’ Such authoritative assessment by a seasoned medical specialist, talking about the very basics of the subject from within his own field of professional expertise, represents the very life-blood of what Shroud research should be all about.
With characteristic modesty, Robert Bucklin, in his paper for the 1993 Rome conference, personally assessed his then four decades of Shroud research work as ‘a mere drop in the bucket compared to the continuing highly technical work that continues to be done.’ But if there is any validity to the now increasingly recognised efficacy of homeopathic medicine, Robert Bucklin’s ‘drop in the bucket’ was, in truth, a most subtly mighty one.
Excerpted from an upcoming article in the BSTS Newsletter
That confirms that Bucklin did work from photographs. But that was probably a year or more earlier than the STURP visit to Turin, whether he was there or not. It’s clear that he was involved in the making of David Rolfe’s “Silent Witness” (which did not as I recall involve a privileged viewing of the Shroud). Might Bucklin have written his “autopsy” based on photographs at the time of Silent Witness, or, at any rate, before the 78 STURP visit to Turin?
(Although the film appeared in 1978, it was made the year earlier according to Rolfe’s own Enigma site)
Was that autopsy the one that went into the STURP archives, even if written pre-1978, maybe the previous year, and possibly unaffected by anything its author may or may not have seen with his own eyes if really in Turin? The person who could tell us would be Barrie M.Schwortz, STURP’s Documenting Photographer, President of STERA and owner of the shroud.com site, but I don’t suppose he reads this site… If Robert Bucklin was in Turin in 1978, and got to see the “Shroud” with his own eyes, then that list of names (with and without asterisks) needs correcting.
Update: Tuesday 28 July 11;40
Following up on the “Silent Witness” lead, I have just discovered this 10 minute clip from the film with Dr.Robert Bucklin performing his “autopsy” report.
It comes as no surprise to see that he was working from photographs. No, not the as-is photographs like those of Durante (2002) that came later, but what appears to be the 1931 Enrie ‘negatives’. It seems ever more likely that Bucklin’s so-called “autopsy” report, one that we’re given to believe was ostensibly part of the STURP investigation, was in fact nothing of the sort, and could not have benefited from any of the new photography of Barrie Schwortz, Mark Evans or other documenting photographers. It just gets worse…
Have just posted this comment to the shroudstory site:
Slow news day? Not on my site… Were you aware that STURP’s Robert Bucklin MD, consultant pathologist, was in fact doing his virtual biopsy a year before STURP’s trip to Turin (which Bucklin may or may not have joined, depending on whose account one believes), so was NOT done on the “Shroud” itself but on PHOTOGRAPHS. What’s more, the photographs used were long-in-the-tooth 1931 Enrie negatives, as this video still from David Rolfe’s “Silent Witness” shows, made in 1977 (released in 78) a year before STURP.
Link to the above video still:
How many people reading Bucklin’s autopsy would realize it was NOT based on the “Shroud” itself, seen in natural colour with his own eyes, but a B/W negative on which he claims to see “wounds” etc and much else besides? One suspects that Bucklin’s “autopsy report for STURP was written well before the STURP descent on Turin, so could not have benefited from the new photography done by Barrie Schwortz, Mark Evans and other documenting photographers, far less the far superior imagery we now have from Durante (2002) on Shroud Scope.
Given the autopsy relied entirely on ancient photographs, why was ‘true-believer’ Bucklin(his own admission) selected as official STURP pathologist? Why weren’t the same photographs sent to other pathologists for their opinion? The more I learn about STURP and its largely self-selected personnel, the less I like.
Update: Wednesday July 29th
I’m told this posting is too long. Dan Porter specifically says his computer is beginning to belch smoke, or words to that effect. Yet the WordPress sitemeter says there are lots of visits specifically to this posting by title (i.e. not merely to the site’s Home Page), so there’s some interest out there in one of more of the motley collection of issues being addressed here.
So what’s the solution? Let’s rephrase that. What’s the problem? The problem as ever is in fact with that gent whose name has just been uttered, more correctly that site of his and its ethos and modus operandi. Yes, he does raid this site for content, often before I’ve even had time to proofread (I compose directly having no great affection for MS Word). Within minutes of the thoughts of Cogitating Colin appearing on his site (ever lengthier chunks of C&P with little or no attempt on DP’s part to discuss or evaluate) , the Usual Suspects appear – of which I’ve so far identified 4 main types: the trolls, the fanatics, the groupies and the serial browbeaters. (There’s a 5th one too I’ve just realized – the professional obfuscator who detests black and white, who insists on turning everything into a melange of greys). Posting a comment to that site is a lottery – which of those 4 or 5 will be first to descend in an attempt to suppress by ridicule, sniping, derision, mockery, repeated charges of ‘plagiarism’ (yes!). Let’s not mince our words. Dan Porter’s light touch moderation has allowed his site to become a writhing nest of adders. One only visits now to show one is uncowed, still keeping calm, still carrying on as usual.
It should of course be possible to stick a copyright sign on one’s content and have that respected. Thanks to the Wild West internet, that is not an option. Netiquette would be an alternative – to eschew straight cut-and-paste -and summarize the gist of a posting, with a few selected quotes – not entire paragraphs . A suggestion to site regulars that a visit by the quoted author to clarify this or that should not be seen as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to turn on the aggro, attempting to distract from the task in hand, attempting to drive them off the site.
Solution? None that I can think of (believe me I’ve tried) – mere sticking plasters. I may shortly return to a format tried once before – the archaic reverse-chronology weblog – where I respond to what appears on Dan Porter’s site by way of feedback here, not there, new content appearing at the top, time and date-labelled. Folk can take it or leave it – but at least they know that I’m not ignoring what appears elsewhere, and am always ready to engage in civilized debate. That format proved unworkable while I was still in experimental mode. But I’ve made a policy decision, so to speak, to call a halt to my modelling, knowing as I do that the results are rarely if ever judged on strictly scientific criteria (and I’m not prepared to be part of an aesthetic beauty contest affecting to be concerned purely about the science – Thibault Heimburger of the hostile pdf tendency please note).
Note I am not expecting folk to post comments here – we all of us recognize the attraction of a multi-visitor public forum over one-to-one chat on a private blog. But the problem as ever is the largely unpoliced nature of that forum which necessitates having to adopt defensive measures, if only to preserve one’s sanity.
Afterthought: yes, that’s it, that’s the answer. Instead of Dan Porter acting as heterotroph towards this site, I’ll ‘heterotroph’ (new verb) on his, one step higher on the food chain, ho, ho. Now why didn’t I think of that earlier????? I just need a new posting, starting the way this ex-autotroph, born-again neophyte-heterotroph intends to continue.
Note: autotrophs create their own food, using seemingly invisible raw materials and energy sources (e.g. CO2 gas, sunshine) that they derive from surrounding air and soil.
Heterotrophs consume the ready-made organic food created by autotrophs.
End of posting.