This posting is simply a record of yesterday’s experiments, caught on my digital camera. In other words it’s just the facts, although my title hints of a broader context – to do as much if not more with medieval French history than borrowed bread-baking technology.
To keep things simple (I like simplicity), I’ll postpone discussion of the facts in relation to the Shroud’s likely provenance – authentic 1st century (highly improbable) versus medieval fabrication (consistent with the radiocarbon dating) to my own COMMENTS section. See inconspicuous tab at end of posting. Feel free to participate, with just two ground rules: stay civil, and no attempting please to flummox readers with pseudoscience. This blogger loathes pseudoscience. It damages (and indeed HAS damaged) real science enough already, so-called sindonology (Shroud studies) being a prime example.
To see the initial response to this blogger’s ‘flour imprinting’ model, one could do worse (but sadly better too, at least in an ideal world) to see the reception it received on Dan Porter’s now retired-from-the-fray shroudstory site back in September last year.
PS: something’s that’s just occurred to me is that the ‘flour imprinting’ effect could have been discovered purely by accident. Where? In a bread or other bakery. How? A baker with floury hands (or dough-coated ones) wipes his hands on a cloth. The cloth is left close to or even inside an oven by mistake. Hey presto, our baker comes back later to find an image of his hands and/or fingers. Imagine the effect on someone who lived centuries before the discovery of photography to see the kind of detail (possibly) that one sees on my flour imprints, the white wheaten flour one especially, where even the crumpled skin folds at the finger joints are imprinted.
Did our baker immediately rush out yelling “Eurkea”, disclaiming that he had obtained negative images that were possibly 3D-enhancible, given the right technology, still to be discovered?
Nope. Bit I’m willing to bet he slipped it into conversation with his friends and relatives, and somebody’s ears pricked up. Hmmm. Might there be a small or even huge fortune to be made if/when a practical application could be found for the ‘floury fingers’ proto-fax machine?
Now imagine a remote location like medieval Lirey, with a tiny population where everyone, the lord of the manor included, probably bakes his own bread. It only takes one baker, private or commercial, on friendly terms with his neighbours or customers, making small talk. to provide the germ of an idea for fabricating an imaginary sheet of linen, bearing not just a hand, but an entire two-fold body imprint of a crucified man… Wounds? Substitute bloodstains for actual wounds? Hmmm. Thinks…
New addition: 5th Jan 2015
Here’s a test with corn starch, known in the UK (misleadingly) as cornflour, in the new(ish) flour imprinting using my own hand as template . It’s the same starch I tested back in October 2014 under a range of experimental conditions, obtaining ambiguous or unsatisfactory results, but that was before the present methodology had been fine-tuned).
Why the importance of testing corn starch?
It has only 0.3% protein so is unlikely to give a strong Maillard browning reaction, assuming reducing sugar is present. Can that prediction be confirmed?
Prediction confirmed: there’s a far more intense image of my hand after oven-roasting with the white wheat flour, 10.2% protein, right, than with the corn starch, 0.3% protein, left.
Here’s the appearance after the final soap/water washing stage. No surprises here.
See Comments for discussion of these and earlier results.
As indicated earlier, this blogger had begun to experiment with flour as an imprinting agent well over a year ago though using metal horse brasses etc as template instead of my hand.
Here’s a screen grab from that posting:
Why the disenchantment, due to the image being so fragile, such that one could brush it off the linen? Answer: although the technology was similar to that used here on my hand, i.e. first smear the brass with vegetable oil, dust with flour, imprint onto linen, roast in fan oven, there was one crucial difference. The linen was DRY instead of being pre-soaked in water. Use of dry powdered flour as imprinting agent is what gives the TS-like fuzzy image, even before washing, but the imprint has to be made onto WET linen to get proper bonding of flour particles to the surface of the fabric.