Update: Aug 3, late evening, UK time: Oops. The new title and format of this site, now into its 5th year, has been picked up by Google under a (shroud of turin) search sooner than expected – approx 14 hours! But there’s no initial posting ready just yet – one that invites questions to which I hope to give speedy but considered answers. Sorry about that. Expect the first posting by end tomorrow (Aug 4) at the latest. In the meantime there’s always the comments facility attached to this posting, most of them my own sad to say, but hopefully things will change for the better soon.
Latest update: 15th July (2016), plus 6 comments (most my own – serving as a handy spill-over area).
This is the first posting on this site since Jan 25 this year – 5 months ago no less. The previous one was meant to be the last, ideally, hopefully mission accomplished, but more probably mission approximated, namely to model the Shroud of Turin’s subtle and enigmatic body image.
So why a new one now?
Answer: 300+ postings from this blogger appear to have ‘exhausted’ his readers such that the final end point – the oven-roasted flour imprint – is greeted with a yawn or a “so what” – just one more posting, one more “possibility”.
But as the chart below shows, one in which the carefully thought-out mapping of possibilities has been set out, the final endpoint is not just “one more possibility”.
It’s one that is seen by this blogger at any rate to tick virtually all the boxes based on what we presently know (admittedly next to nothing) about the TS image bar its enigmatic properties (negativity, superficiality, 3D properties, but nothing concrete re its precise chemical nature).
That’s not to say that a repeat of a STURP investigation might not throw up something entirely new, requiring a hasty retreat to the drawing board. To which I say: “Bring it on!” Despite STURP and its commendable efforts we still know next to nothing about the chemical nature of the TS image! Who’d be a chemical model builder, working even now largely in the dark? Degraded carbohydrate? Modified lignin? Maillard sugar-protein reaction product? We simply don’t know, and can only guess. But science has to take what if finds, not what it would like to be there.
I’d planned a lot more screed, but let’s abandon the words, few of which create any lasting impression in the generally tight-lipped world of sindonology. Here’s the mental map this blogger fumbled towards 4 years ago. The PINK boxes show those possibilities that have been tested – the majority note – and the ORANGE box is the final preferred model – see preceding posting, namely the dry flour imprint onto wet linen that is then roasted to give a bold image, subsequently washed to give the final attenuated image. Dare I say faint, negative almost certainly superficial image with 3D properties, displaying some at least of the microscopic properties ( half tone effect, discontinuities, striations etc). The GREEN-boxed parts were not there at the outset but came later.
The scheme set out may ultimately be proved wrong. But I say it’s systematic, as science should be systematic, and I shall have some uncharitable things to say in the next posting about a spin- doctored press release from a hitherto prestigious government funded Italian research institute in December 2011 that in fact prompted this SYSTEMATIC search for the correct answer, one in which one checks out ALL the possibilities and more besides, even if it takes 4 years and causes layman eyes to glaze over.
Such is the nature of science – rarely the stuff of headlines, more akin to constructing a novel, patiently chapter by chapter, avoiding gaps and contradictions in the extended narrative. Instant pop “science” written for instant media impact is invariably ephemeral trivia.
Incidentally, I’ve developed an aversion to writing. It probably shows. Nothing would please me more than have someone else take over the task of writing. He or she can be as critical or complimentary as they please. Just free me from the task of endlessly writing. I’m a pithy comments-man by nature, not a poster. Please, someone, set up a web forum to replace that of Dan Porter’s shroudstory.com (though hopefully more researcher-oriented).
I’ll add links later to all those pink boxes highlighting possibilities that were exhaustively tested between start 2012 and end 2015 but found wanting, except for the convection/roasted flour imprint model (orange box).
Anything omitted? Suggestions invited.
Addendum: the boxes in that checklist have been numbered 1-14. I shall be making a list below of representaive postings that addressed each of those 14 sets of conditions. For now just note the two main headings: type of energy input (thermal, chemical, thermochemical) and state of the linen receiving that energy input (untreated versus treated in some fashion, e.g. by impregnation with white flour slurry, or wetted then imprinted with dry flour etc etc).
Box 1: March 29, 2015
Can that weird and wonderful Turin Shroud be modelled? See my hands-on results with dye-imprinting, reported in real time.
Boxes 2 and 3: Jan 3, 2012
Box 4: Feb 24, 2012
The Turin Shroud Man is not a photograph, but a negative THERMOGRAPH – and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise…
Box 5: October 24, 2014
Box 6: Jan 25, 2016
This, kindly note, is the preferred of all the 14 combinations investigated. Is the image a scorch? No, it’s not a scorch. The energy input is hot air inside an oven that has selectively roasted and coloured the flour imprint on linen. The energy input is CONVECTED heat, not radiated or conducted heat. The bold image that is formed in the oven might possibly be a Maillard reaction product formed between sugars and protein in the flour, but the fainter ghost image that survives washing with soap and water – see this site’s banner with Galaxy Warrior imprints, highly reminiscent some might think of the TS image- may or may not be the same product. It may possibly be a reaction product that involves the linen fibres themselves, either the carbohydrate (cellulose, hemicellulose etc) or the traces of endogenous protein or maybe both.
Box 7: October 25, 2012
Refining a model: children’s ‘invisible ink’ trick with lemon juice allows thermal imprinting (“scorching”) at a much reduced temperature
Boxes 8 and 9: September 30, 2014
More on that enigmatic negative and superficial Turin Shroud image. Let’s not strangle at birth a possible working model based on invisible-ink technology.
Boxes 10: April 1, 2015
Box 11: April 6, 2015
Might fumigation with nitric acid vapour and NOx gases have been used to artificially age the Turin Shroud? Just an idea at this stage.
Box 12: May 19, 2015
A generic model for how the Turin Shroud could have been forged via a TWO STEP process (image capture, then separate image development).
Box 13: as Box 10 above: April 1, 2015
Box 14: June 20, 2014
So where’s this posting leading?
It’s leading to a number of article that appeared in the UK press late December 2011, of which this one in the Independent newspaper was typical.
Here’s its opening few sentences. one of which I’ve bolded, nay highlighted in colour.
“Italian government scientists have claimed to have discovered evidence that a supernatural event formed the image on the Turin Shroud, believed by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.
After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists.
However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax.”
Please, can someone point this blogger to where “those years of work trying to replicate the colouring of the shroud” was published? Had I been able to locate it back in 2011, it might have saved me from having to do 4 years of systematic research of my own…
I may at some point report the single comment that the ENEA team leader made in respect of this blogger’s research. It compares this blogger capabilities with that of his own research students re focusing skills in using a light microscope... ;-). Yes, serious stuff, addressing the basic fundamentals, like how to focus on tufts of linen fibres (shown ‘as is’, not flattened between glass slides)….
Wait till you see the rest of that Independent article, dear reader, and see what else was there re those “basic fundamentals”…
Final aside (to conclude this posting): never ever underestimate the power of ENEA logic. ENEA logic can unlock all the mysteries of the Universe, given sufficient time and ingenuity.
You want to know how the TS image was formed? Simple. Start with a preconception – that it required an immensely intense flash of supernatural radiation, one that would scorch the linen. Then select the closest approximation one can think of – a proxy so to speak for that supernatural radiation – like an intense uv laser beam? (Don’t worry about the little details like lasers being man-made, needing highly precise internal geometry etc etc). Mimic the intended outcome – a brown discoloration on linen. Claim it matches exactly the one on the Shroud. (Don’t worry about age effects on colour). Hey presto – you have confirmed all your preconceptions using the most up-to-date, gee whizz instrumentation. Make frequent mention in your press releases and interviews to the “scientific method”. Make sure you are described as “scientists” in the headlines.
Well, you know what they say. If you can’t beat them, join them. Deploying the all-conquering ENEA logic, I’m able to announce two major breakthroughs – an answer for (1) how the ancient pyramids were built AND (2) as a bonus, why the sky is blue.
Ancient Egyptian pyramids
Forget everything you have read about them being made from quarried rock. Nope, not true. How do I know? Answer: the blocks weren’t quarried. They were cast from ancient sand/cement/Nile water. How do I know? I know through careful choice of imitative proxy experimentation. I have simulated that ancient mix using modern cement and sand from my local builder’s yard. I have produced cubes of “stone” that exactly match the colour of the ancient pyramids. Hey presto – preconception confirmed. That’s the cue to tackle an even bigger mystery – why is the sky blue?
Preconception? There must be a blue gas in the air, maybe natural, maybe a pollutant. Are there any blue gases? Only one – it’s CF3.NO. That’s trifluoronitrosomethane. Hey, but wait: that looks like it could be formed by reaction between a banned CFC (as used in fridges etc) and diesel exhaust fumes (NOx). Clever eh? Two entirely different pollutants enter the atmosphere, and react together to make a pretty blue gas.
Yup, thanks to ENEA logic, thanks to proxy imitative experimentation,’thought experiments’ included, thanks to clever colour matching, needing none of that boring old chemical analysis, yet another preconception has been confirmed.
Who needs boring old science, tedious systematic science, when you have all-conquering ENEA logic at your disposal, providing desired results and press releases in a mere fraction of the time?
Thanks, shutterstock. One couldn’t ask for a better graphic. No, not an ordinary everyday dog, straining to glimpse and catch its own tail, but one that has stretched itself abnormally in order to make its tail seem part of its normal everyday scenery!
Yup, an apt representation of that ENEA’s team self-indulgence, its ENEA “logic”. No thanks. It’s not what one expects to read in one’s newspapers, least of all for those of us who have spent our entire careers pursuing the scientific method, knowing there are no quick and easy answers. What’s required is patient, systematic testing of ALL the possibilities that can be envisaged, whether agreeing with one’s preconceptions or not. Setting out to prove one’s unscientific preconceptions – trumpeting one’s deployment of scientific instrumentation and terminology to do so – is not science. It is PSEUDOSCIENCE. Shame on ENEA for lending its otherwise good name to that kind of theologically-driven snake oil medicine salesmanship.
Update: Tuesday 28th June
Have made a simple change to the manner in which the flour imprint is thermally developed. The effect it has on the credibility of the model (in my humble opinion) is out of all proportion to the minor change in procedure. An otherwise peculiar and rarely-commented upon passage in shroud.com’s history of the Shroud, one that gels with the Lirey/de Charny period of ownership and display is immediately accounted for. And as if that weren’t sufficient, a medieval military context now exists to explain how the flour-imprinting technology was discovered and exploited, first to create a crude thermometer ;-), then an icon, later upgraded to a ‘genuine’ relic. Yes dear reader, such of you, that is, who are still stoically following this marathon endeavour, I am now firmly of the mind that the Shroud of Turin came about as spin-off from development of medieval defensive “M – – – – – H – – – ” (French: M – – – – – – – – – ) technology, though Roman emperor Vespasian was given a foretaste centuries earlier at the hands of the Jews, hint, hint 😉 Oh, and I shall need to modify (slightly) the name of this blog site which I expect to do in the next day or two. 😉
So, will there be one more posting , to add to the 300+ already posted here and on sciencebuzz, with scarcely any interest from authenticity-convinced ‘sindonologists’ or even those appalling so-called search engines? Nope. Too much time has been spent already on the internet as a means of communication and, hopefully, enlightenment (while fine as means or reporting, uniquely I suspect, i.e. a “first”, an extended research project reported hot-from-the-press in bite-size instalments).
I shall sit on the present result for a while, building up an archive of photographs that provide the underpinning for what is almost certainly the final step in model development. The imperative is to get the timing right – to release the final model at a time when it is likely to get most interest, most attention from the big wide world that exists outside the narrow claustrophobic confines of sindonology.
Update: 30th June 2016:
New title and tagline installed:
Shroud of Turin: simply a flour-based thermal imprint?
Did the effects on colour of heating flour-based foods (e.g. Maillard browning) give medieval entrepreneurs a simple means of modelling that “enigmatic” sepia-tone body imprint for the benefit of credulous pilgrims?
And here from the archives is the Lirey badge as a reminder. It’s the first appearance in history of the iconic double image (frontal v dorsal, head to head). Note the bas relief, which may or may not be significant (see earlier).:
Latest: 15th July 2016
Have just started a search under (melanoidins chemical spot tests) and discovered this handy paper from 1972 that uses two easily-obtainable chemicals – ferric chloride and potassium ferricyanide.
low temperature (rock tomb!) pro-authenticity version proposed earlier by STURP’s Raymond N.Rogers. Needless to say I think it’s my system that is the correct one, but at some stage a return to the Shroud will be needed, if only with a micro-spotting test to confirm the essential Maillard-nature of the image chromophore. We can then home in on how a Maillard product was formed, specifically the source of the amino-nitrogen (wheat flour protein side chains OR putrefaction vapours (the aptly named putrescine, cadaverine etc from a real deceased body in an semi-advanced state of decomposition!).
Update: Sunday 17th July:
An interesting question was posted by one “H.E.” to this site, but under the “About” (me!) tab next to “Home” where few are likely to see it, far less my answer, so here’s a cut-and-paste. I may add further thoughts later under “Comments”..
Update, Friday 29th July
This cartoon, my labelling, is needed in order to respond to a comment that’s just arrived on this posting (from Liz Leafloor of the Ancient Origins site). Yup, it’s a quirk of the software that if I want to insert a graphic into a comment, it has to be inserted into a posting first.
Update: Sunday 31st July IMPORTANT!!!!!
As stated earlier, publishing to the internet is a total waste of time if the aim is to get one’s sceptical ideas and research findings re the Turin Shroud into the public domain: the sindonology ‘establishment’ and lackadaisical search engines between them see to that.
I have just done the first of a series of pilot experiments that (a) take ON TRUST the Adler/Heller ‘blood-before-image’ claim, based on blood-digesting protease tests (dare one say current dogma) and (b) see whether it’s incompatible or not with my flour imprinting model. The results warrant a new posting in my humble estimation, but there WILL NOT be a new posting for the reasons stated. Instead I’ll insert a few key images from that experiment here with a minimum of supporting detail (so as not to make this posting’s text any longer than it is already) and use the extended ‘image archive’ here as a means of installing the new images into Comments, where I’ll discuss the findings and their significance (if any) with anyone who’s interested.
Further discussion to be found under Comments on this posting (mostly mine for the reasons stated).
Further update, Sunday July 31
There’s another way one can imprint in a manner that would appear to be “blood-before-image” in an Adler/Heller test, contrary to actual experimental sequence. It uses cut outs of linen shaped like blood stains that act as masks. They act like stencils, producing image-free areas of the same shape that can then be coloured in afterwards , either with real blood or blood-substitute. Here are 4 photographs from today’s pilot experiment which show the technology works, at least in principle, providing a further boost to the flour-imprinting model.