Might invisible ink technology (mere child’s play) have been superbly fine-tuned to achieve whole body imaging?


Preview of the end-result achievable with white flour/oil imprinting,  i.e. ‘appropriate’ medieval technology, shown here using an approx. 1/12th human scale figurine. The image on the left is the first stage flour imprint after oven-roasting, before final washing. Note the absence of lateral ‘wrap-around’ distortion. The image on the right is the same negative imprint after tone-reversal and 3D rendering in  ImageJ.  The above is a late addition (Sep 17).

Latest: Sept 9, 2016:  Glory be! This site has finally managed to make it onto Page 3 listings of a Google (UK)  search under (shroud of turin), albeit at or near the bottom!

This morning’s screen grab:


There I was resigned to it rising no higher than Page 4 at best (where it’s been languishing for months, indeed years).

There I was muttering about unseen human eyes and hands, keeping me and my non-authenticity cold douche thinking out of the public domain. But let’s not get carried away with excitement. How many people search beyond Page 2 or 3? How many of those share what they see, with social media or other internet sites? The hovering ever-present blackhole of cyberspace is never far away…

Thus far, I have NEVER seen this site linked to elsewhere, including those that claim to report the latest “science,  or trumpet that “science” has failed to explain the Shroud. I’m excluding the now retired Dan Porter’s shroudstory site (closed for new postings and comments Dec 2015). It’s over a year since my flour-imprinting model was reported there, with virtually zilch by way of useful and constructive feedback (David Goulet and Thibault Heimburger excepted).

Maybe it’s time to consider a direct approach to mass media outlets, to COURT PUBLICITY (shock horror), maybe contriving one of those ‘man bites dog’ stories they say are needed to interest otherwise jaded journalists. Why go down that road?  Answer: ‘cos the internet simply ain’t working as a medium of communication, at least not for me. But then the message ain’t sexy – stripping away mystique never is….

First task is to think up some quotable quotes (dare one say ‘soundbites’) that sum up the various facets of the Shroud controversy – the radiocarbon dating, the wacky high-energy models with their invariable blindspot for down-to-earth chemistry etc etc.

Latest (Aug 26): have just updated this site’s ‘tagline’ that sits alongside the title above. It now reads:

The greatest conjuring trick in history, achieved with DISAPPEARING white flour/oil to imprint an entire body onto wet linen? First the imprint’s particles were micro-fried to a golden-brown in a HOT OVEN. Soap and water then removed the surface encrustation, leaving, hey presto, that tenacious ‘enigmatic’ ghost image. See banner below.

Aug 16 (start of original posting):

This posting conveys what I believe to be an important message regarding the provenance of the Turin Shroud – medieval, not 1st century. To keep the message simple, and ensure that this posting (my 340th approx on the Turin Shroud!)  gets seen and hopefully read from start to finish, I’ll write it in short instalments, making new additions every day or two. Comments and indeed criticism are invited (beware: WordPress holds up a site newbie’s first comment for the blogger’s vetting and approval).

Let’s begin then with a series of photograph that I took yesterday, which  I believe speak for themselves  (but I’ve added a few words).

DSC09743 writing longhand milk developed

Fig.1: Invisible ink (after applying heat).

The words were written on paper using using milk as ‘invisible ink’ The paper was then held over a hotplate for a few seconds to develop the ‘message’.  The ink quickly turns browner than the paper, being more thermochemically-sensitive to sugar-protein Maillard reactions etc than the cellulose fibres.

DSC09762 date stamp milk

Fig.2: Milk can also be used to imprint, although the result is somewhat uneven and blotchy. 

The above was the result of loading a rubber date-stamp with milk, pressing onto paper, then developing with heat as above. In principle, milk can be used to imprint as well as to write.

DSC09767 milk imprint hand on paper before development

Fig.3:  I smeared milk over my hand then pressed onto paper. Here’s the appearance before heating.

DSC09775 milk imprint hand on paper after development

Fig.4: Here’s the thermally-developed image of my hand, using milk as imprinting agent onto paper.

The above image shows promise that “invisible ink” might at least in principle be used (or HAVE BEEN USED)  to imprint part or all of a human body to obtain a contact imprint. Note that the image is a ‘negative’, i.e. tone-reversed  as per the body image on the Turin Shroud.  Why? Because the more prominent non-recessed  parts with the highest relief  that would appear brightest in a photograph, through intercepting and reflecting more light towards the camera, appear darkest through making the best contact when  imprinting a dark pigment onto a light background.

DSC09781 imprinting hand with milk  onto linen

Fig. 5: attempt to imprint a negative  image of my hand onto linen, still using milk as imprinting agent.

DSC09790 milk imprint on linen of hand after hob

Fig.6: result after heat-development.

So there’s an image of sorts, even using a crude imprinting agent, i.e. milk.  Might a better result have been achieved using an imprinting agent that was  less fluid, or indeed a solid, say a white powder, maybe assisted by a liquid vehicle?

DSC09800 flour on hand AFTER shaking off excess

Fig. 7. Hand smeared with oil, then sprinkled from above with white flour from a sieve, then inverted and shaken to leave a light even coating of flour.

Water-soaked  linen was then draped over the coated hand, pressed down using an extra layer of towelling so as to imprint from the highest relief only. (An oil-free slurry of flour in water was tested with dry linen in pilot experiments and found wantimg, for reasons that need not concern us at present).

DSC09818 milk versus flour imprint of my hand before washing

Fig.8: appearance after heat-development (holding over hot plate).  Milk imprint (left) versus flour imprint (right).

Result with flour (right):  vastly more superior than with milk (left) and arguably somewhat Shroud-like (fuzzy indistinct transition between image and non-image areas of the linen). Might the technology, derivative of  ‘writing with invisible ink’   be further improved?

DSC09882 hand imprint flour after non-abrasive soap washing

Fig.9: Appearance of the flour-imprinted image after GENTLE washing with soap and water, so as to avoid abrading encrusted material.

Something quite remarkable happens to a roasted flour imprint when it’s gently washed with soap and water. It ‘plumps up’, so to speak, to make a bas-relief, i.e. semi-3D image. One can just about see the effect in the above photograph. There’s a way of showing the effect to much better advantage. One uses an EXCESS of flour at the coating stage, i.e. one does NOT shake of the surplus before imprinting. Might this effect have been discovered by the putative fabricators of the Shroud in mid-14th century France? Did it have a role to play in the early displays of the Shroud, when we know it made an immediate impact before the showing were banned for some 30 years on the order of the Avignon-based Pope.

Before pursuing that line of enquiry, let’s see what happens to the flour-imprinted image after thorough and abrasive washing  with soap and water, intended to dislodge all encrusted cooked flour. What remains?

DSC09913 milk v flour handprint after final abrasive wash with soap

Fig.1o: final washed images, milk-derived imprint left versus flour-derived imprint right.

Again, note the arguably IMPROVED superiority of the flour-based image, i.e. the startling resemblance – though I say it myself- with the body image of the Turin Shroud, with that nebulous ghostly quality. Was this how the image was obtained in the 14th century – by use of a ‘secret ingredient’ – plain white flour-  that was then subsequently  washed out leaving no visible traces, either for contemporaries of that period, or for modern day analysts, notably the STURP team members of 1978, armed with their state-of-the-art instrumentation, but looking for artists’ paint pigments.

DSC09798 flour on hand before shaking off excess

Fig.11: Oil-smeared hand with HEAVY coating of flour, ready for imprinting  onto wet linen as before.

So what happens if one imprints off the hand you see above? Answer: something truly, TRULY remarkable,  something that might account for a peculiarity of the first known (double, head-to-head ) image of the Man on the Turin Shroud. namely the Lirey Pilgrim’s Badge, circa 1355,  at present in the Cluny Museum in Paris. Yes, there’s more to come, stuff you will not have read elsewhere, dare one say dramatic claims, but let’s stop here for now (and see how this posting fares in the search engine rankings). This site is presently on Page 4 of a Google search under (shroud of turin),  sixth entry down from the top. I feel after 4.5 years of research and regular progress reports it ought to be on Page 1, but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

Wednesday Aug 17 2016

There’s a vast research literature on the TS, accumulated over decades. That includes the ambitious STURP blitz of 1978, yet one that finally produced virtually zero insights into the physical and chemical nature of the body image.Why?

Hopefully what appears thus far provides a ready answer. Two properties of linen have been largely, perhaps ENTIRELY overlooked in the speculation on image-forming mechanisms.

And what might they be?

Answers: (a) the extraordinary resistance shown by linen towards heat that allows it to be imprinted with an image forming substance, and the ENTIRE LINEN then heated to 200C if necessary to develop the image. The linen emerges still WHITE, or at worst a little off-white (which in the case of the TS can be mistaken for ageing changes) and still STRONG. There is nothing in the appearance to suggest that the linen has been roasted!

(b) the ability to launder linen after one’s heat development, to leave just the fabric and its final image, washing away all traces of surplus imprinting agent.

Result: the best equipment in the world will fail to detect the deployment of a particular imprinting agent if the latter has been completely washed out. Nor would its presence be so much as suspected if one approached the TS convinced ahead of time it was a genuine 1st century burial shroud with an image of the actual in-the-flesh founder of Christianity formed by a process unknown to science. Sadly that seems to have been the case where several key members of the STURP team were concerned.

Science cannot rely on instrumentation alone to provide all the answers, no matter how state-of-the-art. Science operates by model-building, dare one say ‘having hunches’, indeed pure guesswork at times, while importantly wasting no time in putting those models to experimental tests. Science as often as not is more about weeding out the dud hypotheses, the better ones often being discovered by a process of patient and systematic elimination. Scientists who fail to go straight to the ‘correct’ answer are accustomed to being told they are “going round in circles”. Wrong. If conscientious and dedicated, they are more likely to be going round in a spiral, gradually converging on the centre with the least incorrect answer. It’s a process that can’t be rushed.

Returning to specifics. I promised to post what I consider a spectacular result when using a thick application of flour imprinting medium. Here is the 1st stage imprint, after colour development in the oven, after a gentle wash with soap and water:

DSC00013 plumped up 1st stage p soap v my hand

Fig. 12: My left hand, versus imprint of the same hand using a carpet (not dusting) of white flour as imprinting medium.

Yes, that’s an image of my hnad, would you believe it, and yes it’s 3D (or at any rate, a bas relief semi-3D). What did I do to see that amazing effect? Answer – the heat-treated linen was soaked in water and rubbed gently with soap. In a matter of a few minutes, it began to plump up. Later, after drying it collapses back flat again, but the 3D effect returns when one exposes a second time to  water.

Yet underneath that bold 3D image lurks a ghost image that can be seen by abrasive washing to remove all the surface encrustation.

DSC00049 washed v unwashed

Fig.13: Hand imprint from Fig.12, before and after abrasive washing.

So there is not just one image to consider in this new model for the Turin Shroud – but two – a bold first stage image, seen above, and a faint nebulous second stage. Might both types of images have been seen AND deployed at Lirey in the mid-1350s, but for different purposes, one being more controversial than the other?

Expect to see a brief section soon on the historical implications of there being TWO image types!

Thursday Aug 18

Time then to address that tantalizing possibility, namely that the Turin Shroud image as first displayed in the mid-1350s in the tiny hamlet of Lirey, near Troyes, was NOT the faint faded image we see today. Instead it was a bold, PLUMPED-UP image similar to the one you see above, because at that stage the decision had NOT been taken to wash abrasively to see what if anything survived.

First, let’s briefly ask if there’s any evidence in the historical record of the early TS having been washed. Yes, indeed there is. It’s the evidence of House of Savoy courtier  Antoine de Lalaing from 1503 which can be found in Ian Wilson’s splendid summary of Shroud history, as currently displayed on the STERA site:

Here’s the quotation:

“Lalaing adds that the Shroud’s authenticity has been confirmed by its having been tried by fire, boiled in oil, laundered many times ‘but it was not possible to efface or remove the imprint and image’.”

One can if one wishes reject the notion that the early TS would have been treated in so cavalier a fashion  for the improbable or misunderstood reason stated without rejecting the idea that being linen, and having come from an oven or open charcoal fire, it had been laundered.  And not just laundered once, but maybe several times with increasing vigour to leave a final resistant image  (deemed  perhaps to have the greatest  ‘pilgrim-pulling’ power).  The ‘back story’ whispered at each consecutive display could have been hardened to make it increasingly a claim for being THE actual burial shroud of the crucified Jesus, explaining why initial approval from the local Troyes bishop (Henri de Poitiers) quickly changed to spluttering outrage, as described in the celebrated missive from his successor Bishop Pierre d’Arcis sent to the Pope much later (1389). One’s tempted to refer to an initial bold artistic-looking image, albeit made unconventionally via a novel imprinting process,  gradually morphing into an altogether more subtle quasi-image, though  ‘de-morphing’  might be a more appropriate description.

Still to come: might there be supporting evidence for the speculative ideas above from the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge?

medallionComplete with dimensions

Fig.14: Lirey Pilgrim’s badge, circa 1355, Cluny Museum, Paris

lirey frontal v dorsal upright apposed

Fig.15: Close up, frontal v dorsal sides of the cast figure (lead/tin alloy), Lirey Pilgrim’s badge

As stated earlier, the Lirey badge is the first known depiction of the Turin Shroud as a double, head-to-head image (beware claims made for earlier images that lack those defining, dare one say iconic features). If it were the image we see now – faint, scarcely visible, ghostly-looking, then why did that artist/artisan who created the mould for the above badge go to all the trouble to make the figure on the cast appear in semi-3D bas relief? Maybe for immediate visual impact, given the medium gives scope for bas relief, not merely scratches or grooves as in simpler engraving? Maybe. But why is the figure so grotesquely bulbous, given it’s supposed to represent Jesus Christ.

Two alternatives spring to mind. One is that the figure on the first (of two) variants of the Lirey badge was NOT intended to represent Jesus, a hypothesis this investigator explored in detail some 3-4 years ago, suggesting instead the final slow-roasted fate of Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Templar order. The new findings with flour imprinting now suggest a second interpretation. Maybe the figure was intended from the start to represent the crucified Jesus, but what the souvenir badge-maker saw was the Stage 1 imprint on display, non-abrasively laundered i.e. the ‘plumped-up’ one, and it was that he duly attempted to replicate, and reasonably well one might say, given the small dimensions, and having to laboriously and painstakingly hollow out and smooth off  soft stone (assuming the second variant of the Lirey badge, the so-called Machy mould, is a reliable guide to extant 14th century metal-casting technology).

Here are two images from my previous posting, comparing those plumped images first with the two figurines from which they were imprinted, suitably aligned head-to-head:

DSC07629 crucifix v warrior stage 1


And here are those Stage 1, plumped up imprints compared with the Lirey badge:

lirey badge v double flour imp crux plus warrior


(Technical detail: I used a different method for ‘cooking’  the imprints in the above experiment; it was inspired by the 1503 de Lalaing testimony – see earlier- that was not solely about laundering. Can anyone guess what it was?)

Mechanism of imprinting?

This posting is long enough already without going into the detail of what appears to be a subtle process. Suffice it to say that the crucial geometry is to have 4 components in the following order: dry skin- oil – white flour – wet linen. When the linen is peeled off theorder is simply: oil-white flour-wet linen. The Stage 1 image is simple to explain – it’s simply a crust of reddish-brown roasted flour. It’s the faint fuzzy Stage 2 image that remains after abrasive washing that is subtle. It appears to be the result of a PUSH-PULL process  that occurs on heating. The flour”fries” due to the attached traces of oil, exuding tiny amounts of yellow-brown liquid. The oil PUSHES that liquid into the fibres of the linen, while the latter exert a PULL action due to capillary action (mainly the result it seems of narrow channels between the fibres of a thread), So the real imaging medium is LIQUID formed at high temperature that sweats out of  the roasting flour –   but there’s so little of it that the penetration into the weave is short range. That accounts no doubt for the peculiar microscopic properties reported for the TS and confirmed with my model system, namely discontinuities (abrupt colour cut-off along particular fibres) and uniform coloration of a small proportion of fibres, surrounded by a majority of non-coloured ones (the so-called ‘half-tone’ effect).

Friday Aug 19

This posting is still failing to get visibility in the big wide world, based purely one admits on Google ranking (still stubbornly stuck on Page 4 listings, though having briefly made the top of that page yesterday). Will it make Page 3 or better? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on how the algorithm works. There are days when I suspect that personal blogs such as this are tagged in such a way that they never get higher than a certain page, regardless of number of clicks, comments etc. We shall see.

In the meantime, research conmtinue with a view to confirming the proposed imprinting mechanism – see yesterday’s entry – which is not easy.

Here’s a snapshot from an experiment I did yesterday – or rather the first step in that experiment- in which I created two separate zones of vegetable oil and water on a single sheet of linen, and then imprinted across BOTH zones, using my oil/flour coated hand:

flour imprinted across separate oil and water zones

Fig.18: latest experiment using dual oil/water-pretreated linen.

Would anyone care to guess the appearance of that imprinted linen (a) immediately after oven-heating (b) after gentle non-abrasive washing in soap and water to obtain the Stage 1 image (c) after abrasive washing to dislodge the orange crust to be left with the final Stage 2 image (if any!)?

Please feel free to use comments facility at bottom of posting.

So, assuming the correctness of my model (about which I now have no doubt) might the TS body image be properly described a “heat scorch”? Answer: no, despite resembling one.

It’s better described as a dye-like STAIN produced by the ‘sweating’ of a high temperature-exudate from the imprinting medium, the latter probably white flour or similar. Chemically, the stain can confidently be assumed to  comprise high molecular weight (loosely speaking ‘polymeric’) MELANOIDINS, the same class of chemically-complex, indeed,  largely-uncharacterized substances that give baked or toasted products (bread etc) their attractive brown colour and flavour..

STURP’s John Heller and Alan Adler performed a chemical test that is consistent with the body image being organic, i.e. carbon-based in nature, a result that is all too often ignored or overlooked by those still claiming against all the evidence that the image is a residue of artist’s inorganic paint pigments. The test? Bleaching by diimide, chemical formula NH=NH. That reagent is highly specific in its action, hydrogenating -C=C- double bonds that are responsible for the colour in most organic compounds (normally due to CONJUGATED double bonds, i.e. alternating single and double, i.e.:

-CH=CH-N=CH-CH=CH- etc.

While I don’t have access to diimide, I have previously found and reported that ordinary domestic bleach (sodium hypochlorite) quickly decolorises my heat-developed flour imprints, both Stage 1 and Stage 2. .Did Heller and Adler test ordinary bleach? Answer: I don’t know, and sadly neither is still around to be contacted on that point.

I’m using my own Comments facility to add afterthoughts. See the inconspicuous Comments tab below. Alternatively, us this LINK.

Late addition, 25th August (to assist with responding to comment from DavidG):

enrie pos v neg autocorrected shroudscope vertical

Left. Enrie tone-reversed image from Shroud Scope. Right. the same after back-reversal using ImageJ, i.e. to approximate what Enrie would have seen initially on his photographic plate, the Shroud’s so-called  ‘negative image’ (arguably a highly unfortunate description, leading to decades of misinterpretation of an image captured for posterity via physical contact,  involving a degree of applied manual pressure, NOT passive distortion-free imaging by scattered light, needing anachronistic lenses or mirrors, photographic emulsions etc.).

Question: do these images really show the presence of a beard and moustache, given one is not looking at a conventional photograph, or indeed any kind of photograph? I say NO! (see comments).

See also this posting of mine on sciencebuzz from over 2 years ago: Does the Man on the Turin Shroud really have a beard and moustache?

It includes the following image:

face pressed againts glass 2

The chin and upper lip are especially prone to flattening, due to (a) their location and (b) being backed by hard tissue (bone and teeth respectively).

Update: 4th September 2016

It’s now almost a year since I posted this short video clip to YouTube entitled:

“Dynamic penetration of ink into spaces between linen fibres – a possible model for the Turin Shroud”.


Here’s a freeze-frame from the above clip (image needed for insertion in Comments – not this thread).




Response? Virtually zilch, such is the indifference, nay contempt that exists in sindonology for non-authenticists like myself (most commentators on this site, past and present, being a notable exception).

So why mention the video again at this point in time?

Look carefully, and at first sight it may seem as if the ink is spreading via the fibres themselves, given the thread-like appearance of the advancing ink. But it’s not. It’s wicking between the fibres! It’s the blotting paper effect, i.e. capillary action, due to a liquid’s surface tension/energy effect within narrow spaces.

I now believe the same to be true for the oil/flour-imprinting model of the Turin Shroud. In the oven the imprinted flour particles ‘micro-fry’ in their individual attached oil vehicle, releasing a coloured exudate comprising a trace of native oils, the added vegetable oils and (probably) dissolved and/or finely-dispersed products of Maillard browning reactions. This complex liquid exudate then gets wicked away via the channels BETWEEN the linen fibres and accounts for the subtle properties of the Shroud image. It’s a stain of sorts, but not on the surface of the cloth, but within the body of the threads, specifically  the channels between the fibres.

Experimental evidence? Ask and I shall supply here, either on the main posting, or comments or both. The data might be considered to warrant a new posting in my humble estimation, indeed the occasional mention or two on other Shroud sites, but preparing such a posting would be a complete and utter waste of time and effort on my part, for the reasons stated. Eyes and ears are firmly closed! See no new thinking, hear no new thinking etc etc. Most important of all: speak and disseminate no new thinking!


About Colin Berry

Retired science bod, previous research interests: phototherapy of neonatal jaundice, membrane influences on microsomal UDP-glucuronyltransferase, defective bilirubin and xenobiotic conjugation and hepatic excretion, dietary fibre and resistant starch.
This entry was posted in medieval forgery, new theory, Shroud of Turin and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Might invisible ink technology (mere child’s play) have been superbly fine-tuned to achieve whole body imaging?

  1. Colin Berry says:

    Pardon me if I prime my own comments on this latest posting. I’m tempted to post the current experiment, it having given very promising results, but the photos would add still further to the length. Here in words is what was done. I wanted to test the “heat sweat” hypothesis by placing some kind of porous barrier between the heated flour (with a little oil) and the fabric. If the plant fibres discolored similar to the previous work with direct contact, it would support the idea of a hot migrating liquid being the true imaging medium. So cotton wool (for starters) was placed in a shallow glass bowl. Aluminium foil was then perforated with a hundred or so tiny pricks from a needle, and placed on top of the cotton wool, with the edgesof the Al foil raised to make a shallow tray. The tray was loaded with white flour and a few drops of oil added on top. After heating to 200 degrees C approx, and removal from oven, the flour was dark brown, as expected, and the top 1cm or so of the cotton wool was considerably discolored (a brownish colour). This was the hoped-for result needless to say, but I shall be having to ring the changes some more on oil v water, cotton wool versus linen etc to ensure that the interpretation fo today’s result is sound. So far, so good.

  2. Colin Berry says:

    More thoughts on isolating the yellow-brown liquid that seeps/sweats from white flour when heated: while my crude sieve (needle-punctured aluminium foil) hold back virtually all the particulate flour, allowing only the exudate through the perforations, it occurs to me that the design can be improved still further. Instead of using ordinary plain flour, which may self-filter/absorb to some extent allowing only a small fraction of exudate to reach the perforations, one uses a dried pasta e.g. spaghetti instead.

    Yes – seriously. Pasta is 100% durum wheat semolina – made from the inner part of the durum wheat grain, so essentially no different from ordinary flour in terms of composition, except for a somewhat higher protein content. To ensure better drainage, one crushes the pasta in a pestle and mortar, sieves out and discards the finer particles, then uses the resulting grit as one’s substitute for fine flour. As that bed starts to ‘sweat’ on heating, any liquid exudate should find it easy to drain through the large spaces between the grits, down to those perforations and out into one’s collecting vessel.

    The ultimate aim I guess is to collect the exudate and deploy it as a kind of paint or dye on linen to see how closely or otherwise the result resembles or differs from the TS body image in terms of superficiality, microscopic properties etc. The uv/visible reflectance spectrum would be of interest too, providing I can find a lab prepared to collaborate, to compare with the STURP data.

    Incidentally, I’m toying with the idea of sending a link to this posting to the big beasts of sindonology, some dozen or so for starters, so there’s some assurance that each is aware of current progress on the flour-imprinting model. Neither the search engines nor WordPress’s site meter provide any evidence far less reassurance that the internet works as a means of broadcasting one’s hot-from-the-press research results and conclusions …

    • David Goulet says:

      Was pasta prevalent in France at the time the forgery was being ‘cooked’ up?

      • Colin Berry says:

        A couple of clicks, David, and one sees a wiki entry under (pasta history) that starts with: “Pasta is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine, with the first reference dating to 1154 in Sicily.” So on that admittedly less-than-solid foundation, I could have made a case for the TS being manufactured a few hundred miles away, two centuries later, in the neighbouring state. It is after all only formed wheat flour dough that has been shaped and dried, But I shan’t, since the exoperiment designed to substitute pasta for flour was not about modelling the TS body image as such.. It was designed to explore the mechanism of imaging, in particular whether a liquid exudate might account for the peculiar microscopic properties of the image (superficiality, half-tone effect, discontinuities etc).. My fear was that my perforated tray, designed to let liquid trickle through onto linen or cotton wool might let too many solid flour particles through as well – thus the suggestion of using chunky ground up pasta that is still 100% wheat flour in composition (ignoring small amounts of water).

        In fact I need not have worried, Such is the tendency of flour particles to clump together that very few fall through the perforations, and the model system is starting to work as predicted, with the top layer of cotton wool acquiring a yellow or brown coloration that might be due to egress of liquid, as predicted, or there again maybe vapour or a combination of both. The next step is to test my top layer of discolored cotton wool etc. with my new chemical reagent, see second update at top of posting, one that turns image areas on linen from brown to yellow, and see whether or not I get the same colour chage in the filtered system where the flour has scarcely if any direct contact with the fibres during the oven-heating stage. What I’m doing in essence is attempting to differentiate between a contact scorch and an action-at-a-distance chemical stain/thermally-generated dye.

        Matching the microscopic properties of the TS body image has to be seen as the ultimate test of any model system, dare one say prize, since authenticists as far as I’m aware have advanced no explanation, unless it’s “Well, that’s what flashes of radiation/putrefying amine vapours/corona discharges/ neutron emissions from the bowels of the earth etc/etc do, don’t they”, to which the answer is “Where’s the evidence?”.

        Thanks for the interest, David. Commentators are thin on the ground these days, as I’ve just said to Luigi Garlaschelli in an email.

  3. Colin Berry says:

    I have just googled “the greatest conjuring trick in history” to find one, just ONE return. It’s used by one of the characters in a novel by Michael Asher entitled: “Death or Glory (II) – The Flaming Sword”.


    Well, folk googling that same phrase will shortly be seeing a second return, hopefully in a day or two, once my new site ‘tagline’, or as I prefer to call it, ‘credo’ gets picked up! The phrase was arrived at independently needless to say. “Conjuring trick” seems preferable to the more pejorative “hoax” or “forgery”.

    The site credo is important (if supplied) because it’s that which the world’s favourite search engine displays immediately after one’s site title, NOT, as one might assume, the title of one’s latest posting. So that credo is a vital part of a blogger’s ‘shop window’ to the big wide world. It has to be worded as a bit of a ‘come on’, or as they say, ‘click-bait’ in internet-speak.

    Hopefully, my new credo, with help from search engines, will assist in promulgating this investigator’s out-of-the-box thinking, backed up it has to be said with some 5 years of patient, systematic hands-on research.

  4. shroudenigma says:

    Hello Colin

    You must not be too downhearted about a lack of comment. Now that Dan Porter has hung up his mouse there is no one to whistle up much of a controversy. The other thing to bear in mind is that, as far as 99.99% of the population is concerned, what you are attempting to prove they already believe. i.e. the Shroud is some kind of clever fake. And, frankly, while that remains the case they are not that interested in the details.

    What would get some attention is how you might explain how the medieval forger used something like invisible ink to create the image he did and bestow it with so many other features that give the semblance of authenticity. I have taken the liberty of setting out my description of them below:

    A letter of congratulation to the medieval forger who created The Shroud of Turin

    Your choice of an image left on a Shroud is a perfect encapsulation of the mystery that surrounds him. After all, it is the reporting of his death by crucifixion that is the principal independent corroboration that Jesus lived at all. Congratulations.

    Here lies a man that died in the most vile and cruel way yet devised by mankind. The awful details reveal it was what we now know to be a Roman crucifixion. This is uncanny because when you were commissioned you had no knowledge of these details. Congratulations.

    Your depiction makes real the one description we have of the man’s death in that it bears the minute forensic details that makes sense of what is written. Congratulations.

    You have echoed the bare facts we have about the man’s life by making it ethereal but perceptible enough for it to be recognised for what it is by crowds at a distance on a glaring hot day when thousands flock to see it held aloft in the open air. Congratulations.

    By restricting yourself to a monotone you have emphasised the singularity involved in the event of this man’s life and death. Indeed, the image is its own singularity as it has no comparison or equal. Congratulations.

    This tone, so sparsely applied, has, centuries after your work was completed, yielded to the new science of photography an image of even greater perceptibility just when the world had almost forgotten it. Congratulations.

    You have maintained such evenness of hand of the single tone along its entire length and breadth that stellar science has been able to translate your pains into a homogenous lifelike three-dimensional representation of the man in death. Congratulations.

    Somehow, although making sense as a two dimensional depiction, you have applied the blood and arranged the position of the limbs to enable it to make sense when wrapped around a corpse even to the soles of the feet. Congratulations.

    By applying the blood first and leaving no image beneath you have confounded further anyone who might seek to imitate you. Congratulations.

    You have been faithful by depicting him unmistakably in the likeness as the Jew he was. Congratulations.

    Your canvas has been a linen cloth of dimensions used at the time and woven on a loom that worked under the laws that governed the man’s world. Congratulations.

    The cloth is nothing like the rough linen grave clothes discovered in the excavated tombs in the hills of Jerusalem. Its quality matches the esteem in which those who followed held the man it must have wrapped. Congratulations.

    Despite our preference you have been brave enough to leave him naked and kept him devoid of any artefact that would allow one group above another to claim him for themselves. Yet, you have kept his dignity and repose. Congratulations.

    Indeed you have excelled even this. This savagely tortured man in death is at peace with himself and with us. Indeed, he appears, somehow, to have transcended his fate and cheated death. Congratulations.

  5. Colin Berry says:

    There are some interesting points there, David, too many to do justice to in a single reply.

    Let’s start by taking up just two. You refer to the forensic evidence regarding crucifixion. That area in the hands of pathologist Robert Bucklin MD was clearly a major influence on a number of STURP investigators even before they travelled to Turin. That includes, notably, John Heller, though you have to go almost to the last page of his book to see the evidence of his being enamoured of the Bucklin “autopsy” report (shame it was done on an Enrie black-and-white negative theatrically placed on a mortuary trolley or similar).

    The fact is, David, that there is NO forensic evidence whatsoever. Why not? Because the entire evidence for crucifixion and associated torture and trauma rests entirely on those bloodstains, and the TS body image is NOT a photograph, so cannot be “read” as if one when the mechanism of imaging is unknown. What’s more, there is no imaging of the punctured or torn flesh whatsoever. That includes all those 372 alleged scourge marks. All are said to be represented by blood imprints only, amazingly uniform ones, while displaying in amazing detail the details of 3 or so different classes of flagrum tips (lead spheres etc).How can the image of a real victim of crucifixion be so perfectly imprinted, with just the right amount of blood for imprinting, not too little, not too much?

    Then there’s your reference to a “burial” shroud. I see no evidence in scripture that Joseph of Aramathea’s “fine linen” was ever used, or intended to be used as a “burial” shroud. It was used simply for respectful transport of a naked bloodied corpse from cross to tomb, where it was then replaced with more specialized burial garments (John’s account, differing from the synoptics since it restricts itself to what happened post arrival at the tomb).

    I maintain that the fabricators of the Shroud (14th century France) were influenced by the legend of the Veil of Veronica, then attracting hordes of pilgrims (Avignon presumably) and wished to trump it by representing a sweat/blood imprint of an entire body, front and back on linen, which visiting pilgrims would view (with verbal prompts) as Joseph of Arimathea’s fine linen used in transport mode, NOT as a burial shroud. Their perceived task was clear: to simulate a sweat/blood imprint, and that they did brilliantly and near flawlessly, provided one does not go looking for imprints of wounds as distinct from blood, or evidence of sides or top of head, or hair imprinting differently, whether macro- or microscopically, from bare skin etc etc.

    Thank you for your interest David. You are of course right about the lack of curiosity re details on the part of the sceptics, though whether they really comprise your 99.99% is maybe open to question I would have put it at 80-85% myself, with a sizeable number believing there is still room for doubt, especially as rarely a year goes by without some new claim for authenticity based on a new “scientific” insights, and not just a trashing of the radiocarbon dating. Indeed, it was Paolo Di Lazzaro’s laser pulse modelling that got me actively involved, some 30 years after reading that Sunday Times colour supplement that appeared at the same time as your “Silent Witness”, attempting to give scientific credulity to the case for authenticity (and most persuasive it was too, though less so now).

    Yes, the TS is good. That’s the trouble. It’s simply too good, too manicured in so many ways to be genuine. And it can now be modelled after a fashion, as I hope my researches demonstrate, while acknowledging there’s a lot of detail still to be resolved re precise mechanism of imprinting, especially the order in which blood and body image were acquired (or kn the case of blood, re-acquired in centuries of repair and restoration).

    • Colin Berry says:

      PS: your contribution here is not really a response to my model, is it David? It’s a speech, and a grandiloquent one at that, one that basically says “You’ve merely scratchhed the surface, chum” (which is an improvement I guess on “You’re just a Johnny Come Lately, and will always be a Johnny Come Lately”).

      Can this really be the same individual who issued a challenge, correction, “Enigma Challenge” to Richard Dawkins, one in which Christian theology’s great bogeyman was required to state precisely how the Shroud image could be reproduced, to be recorded for posterity by one or more of David’s documentary-making cameras?

      Yet when this admitted nonentity delivers the required recipe, with no help from Richard Dawkins or anyone else for that matter, what’s the response? Is it: “No, you’ve still to demonstrate this or that property of the Shroud”? No. What we see is a wholesale moving of the goalposts from the specifics of the body image to the entire “impression” created by the Shroud to one man’s eyes, or should that be documentary-making camera, one that displays a breathtaking number of starry-eyed assumptions,notably. that the bloodstains, assumed to be original and un-retouched, represent real wounds, despite the absence of any evidence for the latter in the body image (at least from scrutinizing every part of Shroud Scopewith restored levels of contrast – don’t ask!).

      Sorry David. While I thank you for taking the time and trouble to visit my site, this began with my emailing you to say I was unable to post a comment to yours, having overlooked the small print that requires one to be signed up with a particular social media site to leave comments.

      Were your site pitched at scientific rather than – or as well as – social media, i.e. seriously researched internet-based contributions, as mine are, then I’d be pressing you to respond to the specifics of my flour-imprinting model, despite lacking Richard Dawkins’ impressive credentials, and ask you to save the speechmaking for another day.

      • shroudenigma says:

        My background is in photography. My first job was to photograph 10″ steel plates that had been coated with the latest battleship grey and then subjected to the equivalent of 10 years at sea. My (5×5) plates had to capture every nuance and minute crack that may have been present. The development process required mechanical agitation to ensure that it matched the precision of the photography. Even then, it was difficult to ensure an even graduation over that small size. The Shroud confronts us with a 14ft cloth with an image (not a photograph, admittedly, at least not in any normal sense) that has an entirely even graduation over the entire length. When you consider this in the light of all its other attributes, and, bearing in mind, if it is authentic, then you might expect something “miraculous” or, at least, mystifying, any open minded person would, at least, give that possibility a fair hearing. You seem hell-bent on ignoring the wood and only focussing on the trees. It’s the big picture, in every sense, that is key to understanding this mysterious cloth. Step back a bit. The view is always better. When you can, I would be delighted to continue this discourse.

        • Colin Berry says:

          So, it’s the evenness of the image that is now the crucial property that has to be accounted for (with no mention of all those other ‘enigmatic’ properties one’s been challenged to account for, like image superficiality, 3D properties, half-tone effect etc etc).

          As I say, what we see is a constant moving of goalposts, one that takes the attention away from what has been achieved in the best part of 5 years of research, all reported in real time, warts an’all.

          Forgive me if decline to play this game of moving goalposts. I’ve set out my stall, and am entitled to ask that you comment on MY research findings, not your increasingly woolly speculation DavidR (the R being needed to distinguish from the other David on these threads).

          As it happens my model DOES account for the evenness of the body image. Why do you think I introduced the initial smear with vegetable oil? It’s to provide a surface onto which the flour can lightly attach, but not too strongly. Why not? Because the next step is to shake off the surplus of flour, to leave a mere dusting of flour. Look at one of the figures in this posting and you will see an image of my hand taken immediately after shaking off the excess of flour. You are seeing an explanation for why the Shroud image is so even and homogenous. It’s a reflection of the balance of two forces – adhesion and gravity. Those forces are approximately the same all over the body during the coating process. The evenness is then captured in the thermal development of image in the oven.

          The approach I have taken is one of experimental model building, one you yourself challenged Richard Dawkins to perform. So why are you now belittling the very instrument that you theatrically claimed was needed to support a medieval provenance of the Shroud, above and beyond ‘mere’ radiocarbon dating. Oh, and let’s not forget the final laundering with soap and water, leaving the Stage2 TS-like ‘ghost’ image. That too creates an initial impression of image homogeneity (though fortunately not too homogeneous: if that were the case there could be no 3D properties, given the latter depend on differences in image density, something to bear in mind before setting up “homogeneity” as a crucial characteristic of the TS. Let’s not confuse general faintness with homogeneity).

          Sorry, I’m not impressed with your style of advocacy, DavidR, eloquent thought it may be. I believe it to be excessively influenced by your religious convictions, of which I have no problems per se, having been brought up in a church-attending family. It’s just that science and religion do not mix. Science is a means of tackling problems via falsification of hypotheses, not an ideology. So let’s hear how you think the flour-imprinting model can be falsified if this dialogue is to continue. I don’t need to to “stand back”, if as I suspect that means taking on board non-scientific propositions that are incapable of being tested and potentially falsified.

  6. David Goulet says:

    Colin, your model would require a human subject for the image formation – covered in the flour base from which then the imprint was made. This person would be either living or dead. Which do you think it was: a living subject or a dead one? If it was a cadaver then one might expect that they would have added post-mortem wounds so these would add to the realistic nature of the relic. Is there evidence of this in the wound markings? If the subject was live they would either have had to fake the wounds, or add them post-image formation. We do agree that there are wounds on the figure in the image? How and when were they created is the question I have.

  7. Colin Berry says:

    Sorry to be a stick-in-the-mud on the subject of those perceived “wounds”, David, but I assert there is no imaging of wounds of any description anywhere on the body image. If you think otherwise, then please state their location, and we’ll examine the relevant Shroud Scope images.

    Wounds have been inferred solely from the location of bloodstains, but one then sees the terms “wounds” and “bloodstains” used interchangeably as if both were present..

    Here’s a typical passage from the Bucklin ‘autopsy’:

    “As the back image is examined, it becomes quite clear that there is a series of traumatic injuries which extend from the shoulder areas to the lower portion of the back, the buttocks, and the backs of the calves. These images are bifid and appear to have been made by some type of object applied as a whip, leaving dumbbell-shaped imprints in the skin from which blood has issued. The direction of the injuries is from lateral toward medial and downward suggesting that the whip was applied by someone standing behind the individual.”

    But there is no imaging of “injuries” . Everyone is agreed that the scourge marks are simply blood imprints, and the same is true for the wrist (inferred nail site), the pectoral region (inferred lance site) the scalp (inferred crown of thorns site) etc etc. But what we see is entirely blood, rendering Bucklin’s use of terms like “puncture wounds” etc entirely misleading. Yet senior members of the STURP team swallowed the notion of “forensic evidence” and “wounds” hook, line and sinker. It entirely coloured their thinking about the TS, causing them to think there was a rich store of forensic evidence in the body image (as distinct from blood) that simply wasn’t/isn’t
    there. I believe the expression is “seeing what one wants to see”, like the rich imagery one’s elderly aunt claims to see in the tea leaves on the side of her cup.

  8. David Goulet says:

    You’ve answered my question, sort of. You contend there are no wounds, only blood marks suggesting wounds. You also contend these were added after the image formation. Would it matter in your model then if the subject was alive or dead?

    One further question comes to mind. Your flour model works very well with smooth surfaces, like the space action figures and crucifix. And you’ve done your hand as well. But have you tried it with hair? Does it pose any special problems?

  9. Colin Berry says:

    If one’s modelling began with the decision that no attempt would be made to introduce “wounds” into the body image (too ambitious) that ” the impression of wounds” would rely entirely upon bloodstains in all the appropriate locations, then it hardly matters one would think whether the subject was alive or dead . There’s no major trauma involved in merely being smeared with oil, dusted with flour, then imprinted onto wet linen.

    It’s also worth noting that in the flour-imprinting model, the blood does NOT have to be painted onto the body before the flour, OR onto the linen after imprinting. One can dust with flour, then apply blood (when it might be helpful to have a living subject adopting the right posture for simulated crucifixion so that blood trickles in all the right directions). Since the last added blood makes first contact with the linen, then the correct Adler/Heller blood-before-body image geometry is assured. But that is not the whole solution I grant you – since the temperarure needed to develop the flour imprint (approx 200 degrees C) would seriously degrade the blood, making it brown or black. But might not the same be said for the 1532 fire? It too would have degraded the original bloodstains, requiring them to be topped up with fresh blood (or blood substitute) which would then be on top of the body image, contrary to Adler/Heller.

    One possibility, as Hugh Farey pointed out, is that Adler/Heller could not have known they were testing “image fibres” simply bacause they were stripped from an image-bearing region, given they were selected for being blood-coloured, obscuring any image colour if present. (Have I made that clear?) Why not? Because they were restricted to working with individual fibres, taken from Rogers’ sticky tape samples but with no guarantee that a particular fibre selected had image as well as blood, whether on top or underneath.. According to the half-tone effect, only a minority of fibres would have had the out-of-sight sub-blood image coating. The chances that a “blood-coated” fibre selected at random from an image zone also had image would have been slim!

    Takeaway message: one cannot be 100% confident in the blood-before-image mantra, based as it was on that statistically-dubious test with individual fibres selected for blood – NOT for image colour!

    Yes, it’s a can of worms… Maybe new solutions will occur to one or other of us in the fullness of time.

  10. David Goulet says:

    Fair enough. But what about the hair? Does it pose problems for image formation in your model? Perhaps there are signs in the hair in the image that might prove support your model?

  11. Colin Berry says:

    One cannot hope to imprint frontal view head hair directly David, since sides and top of head make little or no contact with linen (unless one ‘wraps around’ in which case there would be hideous distortion).

    But one doesn’t have to imprint to get head hair, which is just as well, given I don’t believe the frontal hair was imaged via imprinting (only the prominent flesh-over-bone parts). The facial imprint was made first, and the hair added later by brushing on flour manually (dry painting!). The flour imprinting technology is VERY accommodating – given one can add and with care maybe even remove flour until one is happy with the look of the imprint before oven-heating.

    In contrast, longish dorsal side head hair can be imprinted directly, having a hard base (skull) behind it. It could be tidied up manually, again by dry powder brushing. I doubt whether imprinted hair would look any different from imprinted skin, given the imprinting medium spreads pretty evenly over both surfaces, and is thus unable to capture the difference in texture. Wet-imprinting, say with a flour slurry, might however capture texture (strands, curls etc). The lack of skin/hair texture differences on the TS might be seen as consistent with dry powder imprinting, but it’s not an area where I have hands-on experience, having been more concerned with the challenge of frontal-side imprinting, where head hair becomes something of a side-issue (literally).

    Beard? Moustache? Sorry, having neither I can’t say whether they are imaged or not (though my eyebrows were poorly imaged in one experiment,, the preliminary oil smear being a great equaliser). But I do know that the strong imprinting of the bony chin and teeth-backed upper lip can make it seem as if there’s a beard and moustache respectively! I’m far from convinced that the Man on the TS possesses either!

    • David Goulet says:

      ” I’m far from convinced that the Man on the TS possesses either!” Was it not common belief in the Medieval period that Jesus sported a beard and moustache? I would think that a forger would want those features on the image.

      • Colin Berry says:

        Let’s imagine you’re a medieval artist/artisan, DavidG, and you’ve received a top secret commission from one of the most powerful men in in the country – Geoffroi de Charny, close consort and confidante of the KIng himself. The commission is to produce a whole body representation of the crucified Jesus, as might be left in sweat and blood on J of A’s fine linen.

        Suppose you have done some preliminary experiments with white flour as your inspired and resourceful choice of imprinting medium, starting with the easy bits like hands, and then moving onto the tricky bit – the head, mainly on account of the nose, eye sockets etc etc.

        You look at your pilot imprint, and the first thing you notice is the lack of head hair in the frontal view (for reasons mentioned earlier). OK, one can get around that by brushing on white flour manually to the primary imprint to represent lank sweat-soaked hair. It’s not the most natural-looking hair in the world, but it’s supposed to be an post-mortem imprint of a highly traumatized, recently-deceased individual, a rare commodity in the world of art, probably with few capable or willing to pass judgement on realism or otherwise.

        But what about the beard and moustache, assuming that was regarded as obligatory in the mid-14th century, as no doubt was the case.

        There’s an immediate problem. The chin and upper lip imprint so well that the final image looks for all the world as if there’s already a beard and moustache (as I know, having previously shown that to happen when imprinting my own face).

        So why bother any further? OK, one could maybe brush on some additional flour in all the right places, but maybe that was tested and found wanting. Maybe too much flour gave rise to problems with the facial hair looking too prominent, or ‘not quite right’ maybe inviting sceptics to question whether facial hair would imprint so well given it might be predicted to lie flat on sweat-drenched skin.

        So maybe our artist/artisan didn’t lose sleep over facial hair. He simply let the effects of super-imprinting of chin and upper lip create an impression (literally!) of facial hair, not too token, not too prominent, maybe somewhat patchy and incomplete, and left it at that.

        Maybe there was a medieval version of Marshal McLuhan, who instead of insisting that “the medium is the message” came up with the reverse: “the message is the medium”. Flour power was recognized to have its limitations. Solution: exploit wherever possible those limitations, and where that was not possible, then simply work around them…

        • David Goulet says:

          This may be. What confused me is your observation/belief that there’s no beard/moustache. There clearly is, but I understand now your belief in what you deem has caused it – not actual hair but a bump. Thanks for clarifying your position.

  12. Colin Berry says:

    Yes, contact-imprinting can account for other unusual, unexpected detail, in addition to ‘apparent’ beard and moustache. One can imprint one’s hand with fingers together, no gaps, but fingers appear slightly separated on the imprint AND LOOK SPINDLY, as per TS. The reason is obvious – the imprinting is restricted to the flat, highest parts that overlie the bone – giving that skeletal look. That bridging of the linen prevents the imaging of the crevices between the fingers, the crucial giveaway to the TS body image being a contact imprint – by design rather than accident – not as so many pro-authenticity advocates would like us to believe – a proto-photograph, the world’s first selfie etc.

  13. Colin Berry says:

    Am still tweaking that ‘tagline’ that appears top right of the Home Page, next to the title (it being what Google sees and reports).

    It now reads:

    “The greatest conjuring trick in history, achieved with DISAPPEARING white flour/oil to imprint an entire body onto wet linen? First the imprint’s particles were micro-fried to a golden-brown in a HOT OVEN. Soap and water then removed the surface encrustation, leaving, hey presto, that tenacious ‘enigmatic’ ghost image. See banner below.”

    Yes, it’s too long and detailed, but is the first, or maybe second step, in getting across the idea that the TS represents a staggeringly ingenious conjuring trick. The mere fact that it presents the first-time viewer with a visual puzzle to solve (like why are there two figures, head-to-head?) is evidence in itself of an out-of-the-ordinary design genius at work. What he was doing of course was to signal that the image was to be seen as an imprint, i.e. a contact imprint, between body – a certain body – and linen- a certain length of linen, with further visual hints – bloodstains especially- to consult scripture, notably the first THREE (not four) books of the New Testament, i.e the transport of a crucified body from cross to tomb.

    How strange that modern sindonological ‘scholarship’ should not only neglect the cues to contact imprinting, but attempt to dismiss imprinting-by-contact entirely. Well, not so odd perhaps when there are other agendas to pursue, inspired no doubt by the other parts of the NT focused on the final stages of interment and (especially) resurrection, post the arrival of a linen-enshrouded body at the tomb, ready for removal of that TEMPORARY linen shroud, the latter NOT intended as final burial garment.

    The TS serves as a monument to how science, or rather so-called science – can be selected and manipulated to serve an agenda.The term ‘pseudoscience’ fails to do justice to the systematic attempt to harness “science” for the purpose of mind-control, not critically testing hypotheses but instead sugar-coating them for the carefully targeted sweet-tooth. Let’s provisionally label it as “candy-coated science”, designed to elicit mental sugar rushes in the susceptible.

    • David Goulet says:

      You’ve studied the Shroud image in more detail than I have. Do you see any evidence that the dorsal and frontal images had any major difference in contact pressure? I’m considering how the forger made the imprint, i.e. was the floured body laying flat on the linen (dorsal image formed by gravity and body’s weight) while the top of the linen was folded over the front of the body and pressure applied from the exterior (hands or soft weights applied). Or, could the frontal image have been done first, then the body rolled over onto its stomach and the dorsal image done in a similar fashion (not therefore relying on gravity and its own weight). Let’s go one step further – could the image have been made with the subject in a vertical position? Would there be any clues in the image that betray any of these scenarios?

      • Colin Berry says:

        Hiya DavidG

        I used to struggle with this frontal v dorsal thing, for a whole number of reasons (e.g. the reported length difference, albeit quite small, 2.0m dorsal v 1.95m frontal as I recall. Fanti et al? Approx 2010? I got blasted on Dan’s site early 2012 when I said there seemed to be a size difference… 😦

        It was Paolo di Lazzaro’s challenge to account for how the two images were aligned so perfectly on the long axis that recently got me thinking.

        Answer: there wasn’t just one subject/volunteer/corpse being imprinted, but two simultaneously, approx same height and build. One lay down on his back, the other on his front, carefully lined up on the same long axis with the ‘right’ gap between the two heads. They were then both smeared with vegetable oil, sprinkled with white flour, draped with a single sheet of wet linen (best quality). The overlay was then pressed down by helpers to capture a negative imprint, seemingly of the two sides, frontal v dorsal of the same individual in an ‘up-and-over’ shroud. (Non-burial shroud).

        The rest as they say is history (not the Charles Freeman version thereof), assisted by hot oven and soap. Shame there were no iPhones, FB or Twitter at the time to capture for posterity exactly how the ‘conjuring trick’ was pulled off…

  14. Colin Berry says:

    Next posting? It won’t be for a while, probably weeks rather than days.

    Provisional title: “An Open Letter to Paul Lay, Editor of “History Today”,

    The historian/journalist in question has been sent a preliminary email, flagging up the gist of what to expect, and why I consider it necessary, despite almost 2 years having elapsed since the appearance of that excruciatingly under-informed and misleading article by Charles Freeman, claiming the TS to be just an age-degraded painting.

  15. Colin Berry says:

    Note please the novel concept that has crept into this site’s tagline, indicated by use of the term “micro-fry”. Yes, I believe that ‘micro-frying” is the key to understanding the subtle characteristics of the Shroud image. How? Why?

    First, it’s necessary to flag up the existence of two variants of the flour-imprinting technology. The first, the simpler of the two, is oil-free. One simply sprinkles flour from an overhead sieve onto a recumbent subject until it forms a thick layer, then drapes with wet linen, then presses to mould the linen to the most superficial topology. That’s what I believe was used for what I call the Mark 1 shroud, the one depicted on the Lirey badge.There is nothing subtle about the Mark 1 image, as indicated earlier, though spectacular seems a fair description when one looks at the effect of adding water to the image post removal from the oven – it plumps up like a bas relief, giving a new insight to the Lirey badge!

    The second variant was deployed for a postulated Mark 2 Shroud, the one that has survived to this day using subtly different technology. The skin was coated first with vegetable oil, then flour sprinkled from above, and the EXCESS FLOUR SHAKEN OFF leaving just a light dusting of flour on its oil-base. Imprinting was then as before, but the final image, after removal from the oven, was vigorously washed with soap and water, so as to detach all encrusted material, leaving just the ‘iconic’ ghost image.

    Where does micro-frying enter the picture?

    Each flour particle that attaches to the wet linen in the Mk2 model takes with it a little oil from the skin. In the oven that oil heats up and fries its associated flour particle to a rich golden brown colour. Most of that colour remains in the flour, but a small proportion of the oil, loaded with coloured material, ‘sweats’ into the underlying fibres of the linen for a short distance, giving rise to those image ‘discontinuities’ and the so-called ‘half-tone’ effect, i.e, all-or-nothing coloration seen at the fibre-level, i.e. the unusual microscopic properties that my model accounts for. It’s that sweated-out liquid (and that only) one sees after vigorous washing. Thus the faint fuzzy character, so entirely different from the pre-washed image. So Sam Pellicori and Joe Accetta were right in my estimation when they began to think about models that involved liquid penetration accounting for the image (e.g. sweat, real or simulated, dyes, inks, etching acid contaminants etc etc). Sam’s early researches even deployed an oven-heating step, as mentioned briefly in John Heller’s book, used to darken his lemon juice and other models for ‘sweat’.

    I now believe it was the substitution of a Mark 2 oil-imprinted shroud for the Mark 1 water-only model, with a change in the accompanying narrative (and striking of a new pilgrim’s badge, for which sadly we have only the incomplete Machy mould) that caused the local bishop to go ballistic! He considered he’d been conned, as indeed he had. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if for a while there were two shrouds in existence at Lirey. Mark 1 was displayed when the Bishop or one his chaplains looked in, obviously with no pretensions to being ‘authentic’. But as soon as the bigwigs were safely on their way back home, the Mark 2 version was brought out, ready for the next contingent of impressionable pilgrims…

    This site slipped overnight from Page 4 to Page 6 of Google listings. Why? Methinks there’s something rotten in the state of sindonology, the latter posturing as if an academic discipline. But academics discuss new findings relevant to their field, whether supportive of generally-held preconceptions or not. They do not tempt to freeze out dissenting viewpoints and/or operate as a closed fraternity (“Shroud Science Group” etc).

    In passing, a full year has now passed since this researcher unveiled his flour-imprinting model on the now lapsed shroudstory site, and if he’s not mistaken, the model (excluding Hugh Farey’s BSTS Newsletter) has never received so much as a single mention elsewhere by a ‘sindonologist’, including those who host internet sites that routinely challenge science to explain the shroud image – see earlier. Is it any wonder that my model is slipping off Google’s radar? If it weren’t for the occasional posting and comments on this site, my own included, it would probably be well nigh invisible on a Google search by now. Meanwhile, ‘popular’ MSM outlets like “History Today” provide a means for cynics like Charles Freeman to deliver their ‘post-emptive’ strike (ignoring or haughtily dismissing all that has gone before). Such is the self-sustaining nature of internet-assisted click-bait journalism that these self-promoters, gratuitous offence intended, are able to sit at the top of Google rankings, misleading themselves and the rest of the world, in this instance with their cute ‘just a painting’ fantasy, all carefully packaged as if sound scholarship (which it most definitely ain’t).

  16. Colin Berry says:

    Made a significant discovery today (experimental), one that should assist anyone with a microscope, wishing to compare the final imprints from the hugely promising oil/flour model system with the Mark Evans photomicrographs from the 1978 STURP investigation.

    One can’t tell very much from looking at the intact fabric, since the coloured fibres that comprise the image are all bunched-up together, making it impossible to decide where colour starts on a particular fibre and where it ends.

    I tried the Rogers’ technique of pressing sticky tape down on the fabric, then pulling off again. But the yield of fibres was very small, and there were surprisingly few coloured ones.

    Here’s the answer. Get some fine grade abrasive paper (“sandpaper” in common parlance) and draw it once or at most twice across the fabric. Go with the direction of the threads – weft or weave. Don’t go diagonally. Note the instant accumulation of detached fibres on the paper. Then harvest them with sticky tape. They come away cleanly, indeed quantitatively – and the tape surprisingly does not “stick” to the abrasive paper. Lay the tape sticky-side down on a glass slide and examine at leisure.

    One will find a sizeable number of coloured fibres that demonstrate the two unusual properties of Shroud fibres: the half-tone effect (where image fibres all have approx the same degree of coloration) and abrupt discontinuities of colour on particular fibres, i.e sudden change from yellow to colorless.

    One can also look at the fabric that has been abraded. Here and there one will see tufts of threads that have been sheared, and be able to see the stumps of coloured fibres.

    The model not only reproduces the look of Shroud fibres in the two respects flagged up, but provides an explanation too (something sindonology appears not to have done). It’s due to the colour entering the fibre in the form of oily coloured LIQUID that seeps into the fibres when the flour imprint with its attached oil ‘micro-fries’ at the oven-heating stage. The colour stays on or within the fibres at the final vigorous washing with soap and water to dispose of the encrusted surface material, leaving just the final resilient ‘ghost’ image.

  17. Nigel says:

    I don’t even know how I stopped up right here, but I believed
    this put up was once great. I do not recognise who you’re
    but certainly you’re going to a well-known blogger in the event
    you aren’t already. Cheers!

    • Colin Berry says:

      Hello Nigel

      Intriguing comment, though maybe not quite so intriguing as YOU KNOW WHAT.

      To any of those semi-paranoid detractors who consider opposition to Shroud authenticity to be a carefully orchestrated campaign, I say NO, Nigel is not a plant, and NO, this blogger does not do planted comments.

      In fact, I’ve been in contact with a journalist recently about the possibility of some publicity re this blogger’s take on the TS (he’d contacted me previously re a totally different topic on my sciencebuzz site).

      The gist of his argument was that it was premature to place the flour-imprinting hypothesis on a pedestal. ie into the protected public domain, unless or until it had been tested on a real life-size human being.

      Fair point, albeit one I’ve addressed before on this site.

      Yes, it would be nice (?) to go in there and blast the pro-authenticity view to smithereens with one graphic that EXACTLY matched the Turin Shroud body image (blood stains to come later).

      Sorry, but is that not expecting too much, given we have no info whatsoever on what technology was employed (or might have been employed) in the mid 14th century?

      Let’s stick to the science, shall we, and leave the details of the whole-body imaging technology to another day? Science is generally content to MODEL – not provide exact replicas of historical artefacts manufactured centuries ago. Science does ideas, not forgery.

      Suppose a visitor from Mars were to visit Planet Earth and spot a famous painting.

      “How on Earth did your folk manage to achieve that? ” they might ask?

      Given the answer that it was all done with Earth’s ground-down minerals, dispersed in oil as “paint”; would one be expected to reproduce Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa”, exact in every tiny detail, in order to prove one’s point?

      No, of course not. Let’s try, shall we, to separate the scientific from the aesthetic and artistic?

      Yes, I know I’m talking to myself here. Sindonology is not interested in anything I have to say here, and we all know why.

      Might the MSM finally provide this suppressed , dare one say stifled voice of SCIENCE (the genuine variety, that is, not pseudo-science) with an entry, a platform, into the BIG WIDE WORLD?

      Thank you Nigel. You gave me a cue for saying what I’ve wanted to say for a LONG, LONG TIME.

  18. David Goulet says:

    What I’d like to see is a group of science students take your model and further the experiments, documenting their findings and submitting to a peer review paper. They might even have a go at the full size model. The strong point of your model is that it could be done on a shoe-string budget. No lasers needed! Wish we knew a science teacher somewhere…hmmmm.

  19. Colin Berry says:

    Yes, David, but did you see what Hugh Farey had to say about the conventional oh-so-de riguer peer review process in his most recent BSTS newsletter (re the demise of Dan Porter’s shroudstory site):


    I agree with him entirely.

    For certain topics at least, (among which I’d include modelling the TS image via simple medieval-era–appropriate technology) the internet beats the stultifying chum-approved hide-behind-a paywall route entirely.

    One now needs to work on the MSM – spreading the message that the old ways are not necessarily the best ways.

  20. David Goulet says:

    I really don’t care what medium the peer review occurs in. Replace ‘paper’ with ‘blog’. But what you need is some form of peer review and a way to attract more is if a bunch of fresh faced students adopt your model and run with it. It would actually make for a cool documentary. Maybe a James Randi foundation would back it. Funny thing – if Dan’s blog was still around and he was posting about your latest model you’d have loads of responses – some wheat and a ton of chaff to be sure. Am I the only one from that crew that is keeping an eye on your work? Not everyone on Dan’s blog was so pro-authenticity they rejected your ideas on sight. Where’s Thibault? Hugh? Thomas? Is Google to blame? Keep blogging, eventually something has to budge.

  21. Colin Berry says:

    The problem that I and other non-authenticists face, David, is that the MSM sets the bar far higher for us than it does for the miraculists. One has only to see this headline (“Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural”) in the Independent from Dec 2011.


    Those ENEA guys didn’t even generate an image, merely a brown patch on linen, and indeed went on to admit that lasers woud never have sufficient energy to generate an entire image. Yet they then have the gall to tell us all to reflect on philosophy and theology, then going onto Dan’s site to haughtily chide and lecture those far better qualified than they are to discuss likely chemical mechanisms for colour-production.

    I produce images of my hand, or figurines that tick numerous boxes re negative character, 3D properties etc, effectively disposing of all those claims that the TS image is beyond known science, and am then told that nothing short of a full scale image needing one or more naked volunteers and yards and yards of expensive herring-bone weave linen is required before I can expect to be listened to.

    THE MSM operates a double-standard, one that panders to those hooked on “mystery”, and indifferent or actively hostile to science.

    It’s been called the ghettoization of science, and I’ve watched it get steadily worse with time, not better. It’s the result of the MSM having been hijacked by a liberal arts mafia with an anti-science, anti-scientist agenda.

    PS That imprint above from the ‘Galaxy Warrior” should be sufficient to reject the oft-cited objection to imprinting-by-contact from a 3D figure, namely that there would always be lateral distortion due to a wrap-around effect. That assumes that the imprinting medium has been applied to the sides (NOT IN MY MODEL with flour sprinkled from above) and that the linen is then pressed round against the sides (NOT IN MY MODEL).

  22. Colin Berry says:

    Who needs full-scale modelling when one has this (approx.1/12th scale)?

    That’s the same Galaxy Warrior as the one on this site’s banner – and previous comment. The primary flour imprint (before the final wash) is to its left, and that same image after 3D-rendering in ImageJ is shown on the right.

    No, the TS image is not a photograph, nor a proto-photograph or indeed any kind of photograph. It’s almost certainly a non-photographic flour/oil-imprinted thermograph, or ‘biothermograph’ for short!

    PS Have just added the above photograph to the start of the current posting, which needed more by way of immediate visual impact.

  23. Colin Berry says:

    Have just come across this paper from a French group through googling:


    Looks interesting and informative. Shame about the second sentence in the Introduction… Maybe the authors need to google too, English as well as French language…

  24. David Goulet says:

    Yes, just saw this as well via the Shroud.com latest website. Also some other good papers. I agree with what you say with the 1/12 modeling. I find it compelling. I would think other scientists would as well. What the full scale model brings to the table is everyone else. For better or worse. Onward, sir. You are reaching a point where your work cannot be ignored much longer.

  25. David Goulet says:

    Having read over that paper, it appears their conclusion is that the blood stains are indeed blood stains, but there may be evidence they were touched up ‘revived’ at some point with dye/paint. Not a new idea, but this time with some evidence. Is this your takeaway from the the paper as well?

    • Colin Berry says:

      David. In the second of your two comments today, you write:

      “Having read over that paper, it appears their conclusion is that the blood stains are indeed blood stains, but there may be evidence they were touched up ‘revived’ at some point with dye/paint. Not a new idea, but this time with some evidence. Is this your takeaway from the the paper as well?”

      Answer: yes.

      PS See the new addition, David, to my current posting (“Surely the most cunning, dastardly etc), one which provides an entirely new perspective on that ‘blood-before-image’ conundrum*. IT throws in a mention to initial real v later fake touch-up blood for good measure as flagged up in your comment.

      *Nope, not blood-before-image, but blood onto prearranged image-free zone (pale outer fringe and central patches still visible!)

  26. Colin Berry says:

    Ah, but it will be ignored, David – see the narrative-driven prospectus for next year’s Shroudie jamboree (Pasco, Wa) – mentioned with link in my latest posting this morning. Tunnel-vision (with bright light at end) pro-authenticity sindonology has no time for anyone or anything that is off-message.

    Yes, my message will get through, eventually, but it may take years rather than months, given the unstoppable momentum built up by those who are still totally fixated by the initial impact made on them by that luminous other-wordly tone-reversed TS image (yup, assisted by the Secondo Pia magic wand, converting a somewhat unattractive sepia negative imprint to an anachronistic ’20th century B/W positive image’ – or so it might seem to those who let their hearts rule their heads …

    I blame their schools myself, failing to inculcate the timeless principle that ‘appearances -first impressions especially- can be deceptive’. While it may look at first sight like a modern-day photograph, it ain’t a photograph. It’s a contact imprint in the first instance – a centuries-old precursor of the photograph deploying entirely different physics. Yup, a body IMPRINT that can be quickly and simply enhanced with modern-day physics (ay, there’s the rub) to make it look like a photograph – and, glory be, a highly luminous one – all explainable in terms of light/dark inversion and other boring ol’physics.

    Late addition to illustrate my point, albeit crudely, with a stick of charcoal and ImageJ software (from this site, May 2, 2012!):


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