Here’s an update on my 4 years of progressive fine-tuning of the much-maligned “scorch hypothesis”. It’s a single photograph, obtained just an hour ago, but as I say, some 4 years of work have gone into producing it.
No, it’s not linen, it’s cotton. What’s more it’s pre-baked cotton. Why those particular conditions? Answer: because they generate a result that is simple and straightforward to perceive, with no straining of the eyes, no asking to take anything on trust.
What you see are contact imprints, before and after washing with soap and water, obtained from those two metal bas relief templates (“horse brasses”). The washed images are the cut-outs closer to the horse brasses (extreme left for prancing horse, extreme right for King George VI).
No, they were not heated and pressed onto the fabric. That’s “old” Mark 1 technology.
No, the templates were smeared with olive oil, dusted with white flour (wheat), then draped with wet fabric that was pressed down to obtain a flour imprint. The imprinted fabric was then heated in an oven to approx 200 degrees C to obtain the image. The latter, presumably formed by a Maillard browning reaction (like toasted bread) survived washing with soap and water in the case of cotton. (Had linen been used the washed image would have been much, much fainter – more Shroud-like one might say).
As I say, conditions have been chosen to give a photogenic result with a simple hand-held digital camera.
No, the images do not fluoresce under uv light, unlike the lettering from the marker pens. That needs to be said, to counter the hoary old chestnut that all “scorch” images fluoresce under uv light. Oh no they don’t (see previous postings), neither the thermal-imprints seen here, obtained by oven roasting, nor direct scorch imprints obtained directly in a single step (by heating a metal bas relief template and pressing down onto fabric to get a classical scorch).
Take away message: while the Shroud of Turin is a tone-reversed negative, as per a photographic negative, its production in medieval (14th century) France would not have required anachronistic light photography. Negative images are obtainable by contact-imprinting, as shown here.
Profound apologies if I’m destroying mystique or fond illusions, but there’s been far too much over-hyping of the Turin Shroud, much it coming from agenda-driven scientists and technologists (more often the latter) who should know better (or capable of keeping their science and their religion in separate mental compartments). There’s a sense in which both science and religion are mental constructs. That’s no reason to assume they are facets of a single unified mental construct. The brain is known to have two halves. Maybe it has quarters, eighths etc too.