The Turin Shroud – surely the most cunning, dastardly con trick in history (14th century France)

Site banner: see how a simulated sweat imprint (my wet hand pressed down onto dark fabric) responds magnificently to 3D-rendering computer software (ImageJ) before and after tone-reversal (negative back to positive image). Remind you of anything? Like those supposedly “unique”  and “encoded” 3D-properties of the Shroud of Turin body image? For a more realistic aged/yellowed sweat imprint, see the many postings on this site since 2014 obtained with the aid of my Model 10 (imprinting off  parts, notably head and hands, of a real body (mine!) onto linen with white wheaten flour, followed by heat-development of the image to generate carbon-based and thus bleachable straw-coloured melanoidins via Maillard reactions between wheat proteins and reducing sugars). 

Update: October 29, 2016

Oh dear. I have began to acquire a hunch regarding the Turin Shroud that no one, to the best of my knowledge, has previously suggested before. Er, I now strongly suspect that the fabric is NOT linen (derived from flax)  as universally assumed, but from HEMP (derived from a sub-species of cannabis). I have added a short section to the end of this posting, and will be setting out my reasons in the COMMENTS section under this posting, currently up to 25 pre-hemp appearance.

No, there will not be a new posting on the “hemp” hypothesis for the forseeable future. OK, so in  an ideal blogging environment there would be. However, thanks to manipulative, micro-managing Google and other so-called search engines the ‘blogosphere’ is NOT an ideal environment for the dissemination of new thinking. Indeed they serve merely  passively and/or actively to frustrate attempts to put new unconventional thinking online (the same applies to wikipedia). God bless Silicon Valley and environs.

Nuff said here. First see tail end below (once has to scroll down a long way)  then see future comments for why I think the TS is NOT linen, but hemp. Yup, an  expert and impartial re-examination of that relic is Turin is I belive needed as a critical test of authenticity (while reiterating that authenticity is not and never has been this blogger’s chief concern, my being more interested in the mechanism that produced the superficial body image that is said to ‘defy scientific understanding’.

Original posting:

One picture they say is worth a 1000 words. Here’s a picture. It’s assembled from this investigator’s own recent photoarchive, so is not new.


Centre: plastic Galaxy Warrior, approx 1/12 human scale, to represent full grown man. Left: the 2D negative imprint left by that 3D figure on linen, deploying this investigator’s  novel two-stage thermal flour/oil imprinting technology – see previous posting. Right: the same contact imprint, after image -processing with ImageJ software (conversion of natural colour to monochrome, tone reversal then 3D-rendering).

It’s posted here simply to make a point – science can at least MODEL the Shroud image and its peculiar characteristics (negative image, 3D properties, microscopic properties etc). Indeed, I said as much over a year ago, here and on the (discontinued) Dan Porter site. Response from sindonology (generally pro-authenticity, indeed emphatically so  with few exceptions) has been ZILCH (bar some unexpected and appreciative comment from Thibault Heimburger MD here on this site, see below, who previously expressed strong opposition to the Garlaschelli model, also deploying a powder  (mineral-based) as imprinting agent).


I leave it to others to produce a full-size replica if they wish (science being about models that demonstrate the underlying scientific principles – not having to produce exact replicas of other people’s artefacts, least of all one that is centuries old with no accompanying documentation).

I say that the Shroud body image was fully within the capability of medieval technology, once it’s appreciated that the imprinting agent (flour/oil) is no longer visible or indeed detectable, a consequence of the oven roasting/soap washing regime. All that was left at the end was the faint, fuzzy, ghost image,  deposited on the linen fibres by a coloured fabric-staining exudate seeping out from the imprinting agent when subjected to high temperatures (though insufficiently high, approx. 200 degrees C,  to colour the linen per se).

Sorry to repeat myself, but the TS image is NOT a photograph, nor a proto-photograph, or indeed any kind of photograph. It’s a THERMOGRAPH, easily mistaken for a negative photograph.

I may add postscripts (like some acerbic comment on the prospectus for the Shroud conference planned for July next year in Pasco, Washington State, USA, it being like no other prospectus for a scientific congress I have previously encountered in a lifetime of scientific research and education). Sample (in red):

What is on the Shroud?

1.  Rigor mortis in feet shows that the victim was on the cross for a significant amount of time after he had died.

Er, what victim? What evidence does the writer have that the imprinted figure of the Man on the TS was (a) a victim (b) dead, as distinct from alive (c) crucified, bar those bloodstains. Why assume that the TS image is a photograph, equivalent to that of a cadaver laid out on a mortuary slab? How can a diagnosis of rigor mortis, one involving muscle stiffness,  be made from an image, one for which nothing is known for certain as to the mechanism of imaging? Attempting to run before one can walk (in this instance running with the pro-authenticity ball)?

What about the recent Lucotte et al paper that,  based on detailed microscopy, identifies the “bloodstains”  on a Riggi di Numana (1978) sticky tape sample taken from the subject’s ‘face’ at the time of the STURP visit as accumulations of  specific named coloured minerals – hematite, biotite, cinnabar etc?

Why travel (in my case) 6000 miles to  a so-called conference for which the prospectus shows such glaring pro-authenticity bias, and indeed scarcely mentions forgery scenarios, with frequent references to the radiocarbon dating  (1260-1390) as if some kind of problem or mistake, at odds with everything else?

Monday 19th September:

On a lighter note:

A vicar returns to his parked car to find it looks like the one in this photo:


What should he do next?

  1. Search the neighbourhood thoroughly, on the assumption that missing wheels came off simultaneously without him noticing? In other words – a freak occurrence.
  2. Assume it was an Act of God, maybe some kind of personal message, and use it as the subject of his next sermon? In other words – a supernatural event.
  3. Assume that someone had jacked up his car to remove the wheels. (There might even be visible jack marks on the road, but one cannot assume that). In other words: a plausible explanation, not necessarily capable of immediate proof.

Clue: might something as simple and obvious as a jack and its human operators, neither visible in the photograph,  have been the true agent of change, both having to be IMAGINED, not conveniently left behind at the scene to assist with investigation…

Still Sep 19: it’s now just past midday here in the sunny Sarf of France:

Back, briefly, very briefly, to that venue for the 2017 Shroud Conference: it’s the TRAC Center, Pasco, Washington State. Here’s a Google Street View of the stunning architecture one will behold on arrival:

trac center, pasco, was.png

Er, yes. A fine example of its style (post modernist, indeed post most things one might say).

On a brighter note, Hugh Farey’s BSTS Newsletter (No.83) has just appeared on the site.

As usual, there’s some interesting and perceptive comment on a number of issues. I may return later with some of my own.

The main reservation one has with the BSTS Newsletter is that it doesn’t invite or accept comments (but then the same might be said for its host, bar those ancient undated comments that can be found on diligent site-searching – arguably mere window-dressing!).

I’m not sure what the solution is for a society  newsletter – given it has no ambitions to maintain a 24/7 internet presence. Suggestions invited.

Back again, Sep 21

So what am I doing to occupy my free time, while waiting for the world to notice there’s finally an explanation for the oh-so-enigmatic Shroud image? (Nope, I’m not relying on sindonology to spread the word, or even the UK’s hidebound anti-science media).

Answer: I’m attempting to marry the oil/flour-imprinting model with the “blood story”, notably the ‘blood before body image’ mantra.

Progress? Yes, there’s progress, the result of going back and taking another look at the contrast-enhanced (or as I prefer to say, contrast-restored) Shroud Scope pictures. Here are two from the same “spear site” in the side of the chest at two different levels of magnification.


I have just noticed this morning something I should have spotted years ago when first posting these pix. It was NOT necessarily ‘blood before image’, given that the flour-imprinting model provides TOTALcontrol over which parts of the body to imprint, or not to imprint. It could be ‘blood without  image’ in those parts where there’s blood!  Can anyone see what I’m driving at? Look for pale areas, paler, that is, than either the blood OR THE BODY IMAGE!

Yup,  I now suspect that at least some of the areas earmarked for blood were deliberately left free of body image, i.e. flour, at least for the site above, and I believe, for a number of other blood sites.

See this earlier experiment with masking/protection from imprinting agent that illustrated the principle of blood-without-image.

photos 1 and 2 side by side

Left: masking to protect underlying skin from imprinting agent. Right: roasted imprint before washing.

photos 3 and 4 side by side

Attenuated imprint after washing, both before and after addition of “blood” (beetroot juice) to the protected image-free areas.

I also believe these pix show evidence for two types of superimposed blood-imaging, maybe separated by a considerable time interval (decades at least).  The first blood was real, or a reasonable approximation thereof, while the second  ‘touching-up’ blood was entirely artificial, e.g. the particulate, non-organic mineral mix discovered by Lucotte et al  ( hematite, biotite etc). Which is which? Hard to be certain at present, but I suspect that the first blood was the wishy-washy plum-coloured areas, maybe much bolder to start with, and then largely flaked off. That was followed by the much denser red-brown additions of mineral paint that one sees above.

I may append more pix in due course that make the same points – painting blood initially onto image-free areas followed later by touching up with ‘artificial’ blood.

 Back again: here’s another enhanced Scope picture showing the bloodstain on the wrist:


Many moons ago, I was directed to this picture, and instructed to note the ‘serum halo’ at extreme top left, extending beyond that dense tip of the limb. My reply? How come it’s seen in a Shroud Scope photo, taken by Durante in 2002 in visible light? Aren’t those serum haloes supposed to be seen in uv light only? And if it’s a serum halo at the one location, why don’t we see them at the edge of every single bloodstain (no reply!).

Now hold your laptop at arms length, take in the entire image. Do you see what I see – namely a pale zone, as if blood had been painted onto an image-free zone?  In other words, what have been described as ‘serum haloes’ at least in visible light may be nothing of the sort, but parts of a blank image-free zone that were not completely painted over/infilled with blood.  One could go a step further (possibly a step too far) and suggest that the fluorescence attributed to “serum” exudate  under uv light is again nothing of the sort, or at any rate not the entire explanation. Linen has an intrinsic blue fluorescence under uv light that in my model survives oven-roasting in the areas that are free of flour imprint.  So who’s to say that the blue fluoresence in and around the Shroud’s bloodstains is not due to the linen per se in image-free zones deliberately selected by the ‘forger’ for painting with blood AFTER oven-heating and washing? It makes sense, does it not, to apply the blood to image-free zones AFTER those two drastic steps that generate the final fuzzy, washed-out looking body image, but which would damage or wash out blood that was applied too soon in the procedure.

 Back again (still Sep 21)

Here’s another example – upper part of one of the forearms: Note the many pale areas in and around the blood, paler than body image:


Serum haloes? I hardly think so, not in a photograph taken under visible light… Nope, I say the blood was painted onto carefully pre-selected  areas that were carefully kept free of  image-imprinting medium, ie. flour.

 September 22

Which of these two ‘event venues’ would you prefer to use for something billed as an ‘international conference’? The one on the left, or the one on the right (main entrance shown in both instances)?


In fact, they are pictures of the same venue – that chosen in Pasco, Washington State for the 2017 International Shroud Conference.

It’s amazing what can be done with a fish eye lens, one that makes straight facades seem pleasingly curved, and waiting till evening for some low-level artificial lighting…

Some might think that tarted-up TRAC image is not the only instance one could cite where a warped and glossy view has been substituted for the real thing. Warped and glossy sells so much easier and quicker!

Here’s a link for those wishing to book the TRAC Center Pasco for THEIR international conference!

 Sep 23 2016

In just 1 month and 1 day, the flour/oil imprinting model will be two years old!

I discovered it initially through trying to scorch linen with hot metal at lower temperatures, impregnating the linen with dry white flour. Success, as reported in the above posting on my sciencebuzz site (Oct 24 2014). That’s when a crucial step was taken – to see if one could ‘turn the technology on its head’, and imprint off cold metal, or any other 3D template for that matter!). Again, success! The horse brass or brass crucifix could be smeared with oil, dusted with flour, pressed onto linen to leave an oil/flour imprint, and then it was the linen that was gently roasted!

first flour-oil imprints using horse brass Oct 2014.png

First flour/oil imprint from a cold 3D template, October 2014, using a hot oven for image development.

I should have the tried imprinting off human flesh – like my own hand – but didn’t, not immediately. Instead the research took off at a  tangent in an entirely new direction, time-consuming and useful after a fashion (helping to exclude rival models like wet dye imprinting, sulphuric acid-etching etc.).  But it finally looped  back, some 6 months later, to the same science, the same technology, i.e. oil and flour.

Yup, two years almost since the flour/oil model was flagged up, but you wouldn’t know it from scanning the ‘mainstream’ sindonology literature, still hung up on its uv laser pulses, neutron beams etc! How  much longer before these narrative-driven enthusiasts return to planet Earth?

 Sep 24 2016



Venue’s chief attractions? Ample floor space – can easily accommodate the thousands expected! Spillover easily accomodated onto hundreds of square miles of surrounding fenland. Handy too for London (Stansted) Airport.  (Duxford’s present hangars and runways are presently being used temporarily for display of WW2 vintage aircraft).

Why Duxford?  Well, it’s part of a carefully-planned recruitment drive for sindonology, you see,  the surrounding area boasting as it does the highest concentration of PhDs in the UK – it’s called Cambridge University!

The fact that Duxford’s a mere half hour’s drive from where I happen to live had  ABSOLUTELY nothing whatsoever to do with  the decision…

My role?  I’m glad you asked that. I shall be the patron, prime mover and star attraction, needless to say,  using the Conference to promote my thermal flour/oil imprinting model for the Turin Shroud. (The old adage that goes: “Invent a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door” being demonstrably false …).

 Sep 26

Hey ho. One has just raised the model another notch on the dimensions scale, doubling the height (now approx 1/6th human) and trebling the width:


The “Hulk” left performed approximately the same as the “Galaxy Warrior” right, though it has to be said that plastic is somewhat inferior to human skin for imprinting purposes. (it’s to do with the efficiency with which a thin dusting of flour transfers from the plastic to the wet linen).

 Sep 28, 2016

See below the  snapshot of an experiment, correction, two related experiments, both performed yesterday. They are probably worth a posting to themselves. But there’s no point in my continually adding new postings to this site, for reasons that should be apparent to those who have noted my earlier observations re what is clearly a boycott by sindonology on a model that was submitted for scrutiny well over a year ago – including the shroudstory site while still active. (I exclude Thibault Heimburger MD and a handful of others from that, while awaiting with interest TH’s conclusions from his flagged-up experimental evaluation of my model when complete).


Expt.1 (left): effect of stepped temperature increases on colour development in the flour/oil imprinting model, using own hand as template. Expt.2 (right) :  testing a prediction from Expt. 1, namely that linen could be folded and scrolled into compact package for oven-heating provided there was careful control of time and temperature, with  option of intermediate inspection, i.e. removal from oven,  to check on progress and gauge when best to stop heating.

Late insert: note the two creases across the back of the hand in Expt.1. They unintentionally/fortuitously  model a feature visible on the TS, one I used to refer to as “baked-in creases”, notably the prominent one that is seen in the neck/chin region. I’ll expand on that detail here in a day or two. For now I’d simply say that I’ve always maintained that those creases on the TS that match the image colour, but have an image-free central zone, constitute prima facie evidence for a contact image that is imprinted under manual pressure, out of sight of the artisan(s), allowing the blemish to go unnoticed  until it’s too late.  More later.

And here’s the compact folded/rolled linen suspended in a fan oven.


The flour/oil imprinted wet linen was first allowed to dry, a spacer sheet of blank linen placed on top of the imprint, the two folded in half along the shorter of the two dimensions, and the assemblage then rolled up, starting at the fold.

This posting is long enough as it is,  without adding more screed, so the thinking behind the above experiments, and the unexpected windfall (Expt.2) will be continued in Comments below.


Here are the imprints, before v after washing, obtained from the rolled-up linen. Not bad, eh?

hands after 3d original colour.png

Here’s the same, after 3D-rendering in ImageJ. Not bad eh?

October 5, 2016:

This comment appeared from Stephen Jones yesterday on his cantakerous so-called “blog”, read poison pot. (Or should that be ‘plot’, given his madcap KGB theory re the Shroud’s radiocarbon dating?).

“Now that Porter’s blog has closed Berry has a problem in that he cannot post comments to the two major Shroud blogs (Porter’s and mine) so as to entice their readers to view his minor Shroud anti-authenticist blog.”

I’ve just this minute searched under (shroud of turin) and confirmed what I have suspected for a while, namely that this site has steadily been closing the gap with Jones’s. Right now, mine is immediately behind his in the listings (both currently top of page 4). Mine has been gently rising these last few weeks, Jones’s site site steadily sinking. See the first two returns on this morning’s Page 4:


Stephen will have to find this entry for himself. I have ceased alerting him to any new content here, or linking with his site.  All it does is elicit more abuse and misreporting (like claiming I post anonymously to his site – a mischievous and potentially damaging claim if ever there was, as he knows full well – given I always make my identity clear, previously  as “sciencebod”, as registered with Blogger,  or more recently appending my real name in full to the end of a brief comment, alerting him to my ‘thermograph’ model).

As for the description of my style as “discursive” (a term one rarely encounters), maybe Stephen needs to learn the difference between hypothesis-driven experimentally-based science on the one hand and his agenda-driven non-experimental polemics on the other, the first being open to new suggestions and ideas, the latter essentially closed. The first may seem aimless wandering to the impatient and uninitiated. It took this reseacher from Spring 2012 to Autumn 2014 to discover flour/oil imprinting. The last 2 years have been a process of cementing the model as feasible, realistic, soundly-based in theory  etc etc. Call it ‘discursive’ if you like Stephen. I say it’s patient and thorough, leaving no stone unturned.

 October 6, 2016

What was that you were saying about “minor” blog, Mr. Stephen E. Jones? You really do need to check and re-check your facts before getting too puffed up with your own self-importance – or dismissive of others…


Postscript: this investigator has other interests too, above and beyond the Shroud of Turin, having set up his generalist ‘sciencebuzz’ site in 2009. See the most recent posting, setting out my view on the true purpose of Stonehenge (and indeed, most stone circles and/or henges in Neolithic  Britain) namely as sites for AFS (avian-facilitated skeletonization), better known as “sky burial”, followed in many instances by facile end-stage cremation of the mainly-excarnated bones.

Nope, not pleasant to contemplate, but there were probably sound practical reasons for employing this method of disposal of the dead in an era that predated bronze and other metal tools for excavating graves and/or lack of dry timber for fuel- efficient funeral pyres.

October 9, 2016

Have just taken a quick look at Stephen Jones’s site. He seems to have erased all those pejorative references to me and this site that I was commenting on above!

Here’s a passage in his current posting that I consider totally bizarre:

… Turin amateur photographer Secondo Pia (1855–1941) took the first photographs of the Shroud and discovered that the negative on his photographic plate was a photographic positive, which meant that the Shroud image was a photographic negative! See the above negative photograph of the Shroud [right], which is a photographic positive, thus proving the Shroud image is a photographic negative [left].

Here’s the result of an exercise I did back in January this year.  Compare the two images, top and bottom. What would you, dear reader, or Stephen Jones conclude?


The one on top is clearly a negative, i.e. light/dark reversed, as can be seen by looking at the lower image that has been tone-reversed.

So that means the top image is a photographic negative, right, because it responds to tone-reversal to give a positive?

No, of course not. The top image is NOT a photograph (in the first instance). It’s a contact imprint, a brass-rubbing to be precise, selected from internet photo-archives. Like all CONTACT imprints, it is tone-reversed, compared with the brass from which the image was obtained by rubbing.

Jones’s logic is flawed, and seriously so, given the blind spot it reveals about the nature and provenance of the Turin Shroud. He may have other grounds for rejecting the idea that it’s a contact imprint, but baldly making the statement one reads above to support his “resurrection image” ideas  – ones that are emblazoned on his site’s tagline –  is frankly unbelievable, coming as it does from someone who boasts a science degree.

Note: the above exercise would have been better if I could have found a rubbing taken from a brass that had been cast in a mould to give smooth contours (as distinct from the line- engraving technique) since the retsored ‘positive’ would have looked even more ‘photograph-like’. I shall keep hunting those photo archives for just such a image that matches the TS image characteristics more closely.

Afterthought: for other recent results with imaging my own hand,  which some may prefer to plastic figurines, see the posting preceding  this one, and another on a resurrected site (abandoned 3 years ago, and presently below the search engine radar!):


Here’s a link to the  posting:

Having discovered that the above posting appeared briefly, then disappeared from my search engine listings (past 24 hrs, past week, past month  etc) I became curious, and posted to my currently dormant sciencebuzz site, addressing some of the more controversial aspects of sindonology, like the shameless intermixing of science and pseudoscience, which has been a bone of contention these last 5 years or so:

Here’s a screen grab of the title page:


Here’s the link (in full):

Guess what? It shared the same fate, appearing briefly, then disappearing completely (and I mean COMPLETELY, not even searchable under its full title!). It’s been ‘disappeared’, to use the current jargon. thanks those shadowy forces unknown – no doubt  with a big stake in keeping the age-old TS show on the road…

Go figure as they say…  It’s not just the print  and other mass media that are being manipulated (and filtered!)  by certain vested interests in sindonology, but the internet too! I shall continue to speak my mind, regardless of whether my views are searchable or not. The truth will out… It’s just a matter of time, with the need to remain patient and focused on essentials.

16:30, October 16, 2016

Here’s a screen shot of the sitemeter supplied by my sciencebuzz site, showing the cumulative number of visits to most postings:


Sitemeter for my sciencebuzz site, Oct 16, 2016

Just 18 hits in 6 days for my most recent posting? In fact, most of those 18 accrued in the first day or two when the current posting was first posted, and visible to those checking most recent postings. Then the number froze at the above 18 for several days (20 at the time of writing), coinciding with the disappearance of my site from searches under (shroud of turin) and  even the posting’s full title!

Why am I reporting this? Because my Shroud of Turin investigation was intended – probably uniquely – as a day by day, month by month, year by year report in real time on the INTERNET  of an actual hands-on  research project. Anything that prevents my findings – or conclusions therefrom – must, for an accurate and complete record,  also be reported. It’s as important, if not more so, to report these failures of one’s current thinking to be searchable online as it is to resolve difficulties and uncertainties re the nature of the Shroud image. To say that I’m less than enamoured with the internet’s most resorted-to search engine would be an understatement. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – its rankings are clearly get-attable by those with money, influence or both... Something needs to be done…

October 29, 2016: See update just added to the start of this posting.

Thank you Barrie M,Schwortz, STERA President for your splendid photo of the unused portion of the TS sample supplied to Arizona for radiochemical dating.


Linen?  “Fine linen” as per biblical account, supplied to cross by Joseph of Arimathea? ?  Really?

OK, so some consider it and the contiguous samples supplied to Oxford and Zurich are/were not part of the original TS, but medieval repaired regions. I don’t as it happens, but that’s by the way. I personally doubt that what one sees above is linen, and that it’s actually hemp. No, the reasons are nothing to do with the gross appearance, but far more subtle and indirect, ones that will take some time to explain. Please check comments on this thread, starting today (29 Oct) for why one should  not uncritically accept the dogma (probably 600 years old at least) that the fabric one sees above, and indeed the entire TS, really is “linen”, i.e. flax-derived fabric.

Afterthough added 1st Nov, 2016

The above photograph of the Arizona sample risks making the TS fabric seem more rustic, and sack-cloth like than is really the case, due to the enlargement. Assuming the scale is marked off in millimetres, I have shrunk the photogaph in MS Paint so as to get the scale to match the mm graduations on my own steel rule. Here’s the result, both for the above photogaph, and another picture of the same sample discovered in Google image archives, but without the scale.


Shame about the loss of definition. But I still think it unlikely that I personally would have immediately described the sample as linen if shown the above photographs ‘blind’ and unlabelled , so to speak, regardless of enlargement.  Indeed, I doubt whether I’d have been convinced otherwise if told that the samples were exceedingly old, making linen seem less like linen.

Incidentally, does anyone know whether Gilbert Raes, Ghent University’s textile expert expressed any opinion on the assumed flax-derived origin of the TS when removing his ‘Raes’ corner in 1973? (It was from the ‘side strip’ needless to say, a questionable site to sample, some might think, about which I shall have more to say later, maybe with a new and original explanation for why that strip was excised and then reattached.

Have belatedly tracked down Barrie M.Schwortz’s pdf report on his macro-photographic mission. Yes, the scale is in millimeters.

Click to access arizona.pdf

Note the fatness of the threads, elsewhere quoted as comprising some 200 fibres!

Hardly fitting the biblical description of “fine linen” one might think…

Have now tracked down a summary of Gilbert Raes’ investigation of TS fibres.My italics:

From textile expert Gilbert Raes in Shroud Spectrum International, 1991, available on

Analysis of the primary material of the threads
Several  microscopic  preparations  were  made  from  the  fibers  extracted  from  the  warp  and  weft  threads  of  Pieces  I  and  II,  as  well  as  from  the  sewing  thread.  The  preparations  were  examined  under  polarized  light  in  order  to  obtain  better  contrast.  The  basic  fiber  was  indisputably  linen,  for  both  Piece  I  and  Piece  II  and  for  the  sewing  thread.  The X-  and  V- structures observed are very characteristic and leave no doubt about the primary material.

Click to access ssi3839part3.pdf

But what are the “X-and V-structures”? Are they truly diagnostic for linen – there being no mention of hemp,  there being no specific reference to “X-and V-structures” in the admirably  detailed Czech paper by Wiener et al cited earlier (though it’s possible that X and V  are shorthand terms for the opposite directions of rotation described in Wiener et al’s  final section of polarised light microscopy).

Even as non-specialists, one would have wished for a fuller account of the techniques being applied, instead of being exposed  (as above) to telegraphic technical jargon, being kept in then dark as to the ‘shortlist’ of options re textile type that was under consideration.

There has to remain a scintilla of doubt as to whether hemp was positively excluded, or indeed considered… I repeat: is the TS really made of linen?

Here’s my initial attempt to estimate the number of fibres in a modern linen thread. I ‘unspun’ a stretch of dyed thread, then cut off a small section, approx 1cm, then teased out one end with a pair of needles.


Dyed linen, excised threads, needles, teased out fibres.


Closer view of above. Are there really 200 fibres per thread asclaimed for the Shroud? Half that number or less one would think…

Update: Nov 3

I began to have second thoughts about that estimate of 100 max fibres per dyed thread above, and started to suspect the rough and ready way of counting them (as per preceding image).

So I tried a different method, teasing out a short length of thread (less than 1cm) into small clumps of fibres, then ‘harvesting them’ with electrostatically-charged sticky tape (yup, the tape acquires an electrostatic charge when pulled from its reel!).


I’ve over- rather than underestimated the fibre count where there are still clumps of fibres, and counting all fragments, regardless of length, but with those two provisos, now consider that 200 is NOT an unreasonable fibre count for a modern linen fibre.

Update: Nov 13

Stephen E.Jones has this morning posted the following diagram to his current “image superficiality” posting, source unacknowledged.


Shame about his commentary, which imagines the “plant cell” shown on the left to be a magnified component of the fibril/microfibrils (right). It’s of course the other way round – the fibrils/microfibrils are a magnified part of the primary cell wall of the cell shown on the left.

Neither is it correct to describe the primary cell wall as “rigid” – it’s quite the opposite, in fact, being highly flexible and extensible.

I’ve sent him a corrective, but this demonised bogeyman does not expect to see a correction, far less a mention of me by name.

Update: 12:25 (still 13 Nov)

Glory be. Jones has replaced the above diagram with this one – and got the commentary right this time:


One day I may decide to devote an entire posting (on my sciencebuzz site) to the plant primary cell wall – a truly amazing piece of bio-engineering, given the multiple functions it has to perform.  There’s so much that folk (and the mass media) take for granted… The schools and universities too fail in my opinion to instil a proper sense of wonder as regards the natural world in which we live. Is it any wonder that those  same pupils in later life then fall prey to this or that snake oil salesman offering pseudo-scientific substitutes that ‘appeal to the imagination’. Less imagination please – more attention to the small miracles performed each day by living organisms.

November 30: Title  and image from the most recent posting on my sciencebuzz site (October 13, 2016):

“Turin Shroud : how the agenda-driven so-called science train came to be derailed”


Here we see the almost inevitable outcome of operating with a ‘one-track mind’.  The latter is fair description of most sindonologists who, with few exceptions, are unable to bring themselves to comment (whether favourably or otherwise) on my flour-imprinting model.  Yes,  most so-called (or self-styled) “scientists” who operate a one-track mind sooner or later come to grief in the above fashion, never to be see or heard of again.

2nd Dec 2016:


Buchner funnel with chemically-inert sintered glass filter. See proposed application (comments, this posting), after suitable modification (electrical heating element inserted/wrapped around the material on the disc).


Tuesday Dec 6, 2016

Here’s a tweet with accompanying piccy taken yesterday at the Royal Society of Medicine, London.


My daughter Miriam, a medical researcher in nephrology at Cambridge University, has just added another feather to her cap, in the form of a prize (awarded jointly with another Cambridge researcher in a different field) for her work in linking resistance to bacterial infection of the kidney with a properly functioning sodium pump.

Well done Miriam. You are a credit to us all, your Mum and Dad especially.

 Dec 11, 2016:   Day 2, Turin

Halleluja. Your blogger has finally been within a stone’s throw from where the Shroud is housed.  Admittedly it was from the top deck of the moving double-decker city tour bus, which explains the hand rail in my picture:

(Oops. The Hotel Urbani on Via Saluzzo  is not allowing me to upload my photograph – it’s a bandwidth thing you know – the hotel’s lousy wifi having  kept me disconnected from the internet for a full 24 hours no less until registering not just one but TWO complaints at the desk!).

Did you know that King Umberto only handed the Shroud over to Turin  on strict condition that it stayed in Turin (according to the running commentary on the bus tour)?

Dec 12, 2016

Let’s try again on that fleeting glimpse of the Shroud’s home , it being taken from a moving city tour bus with hand rail obscuring the view. . (Btw: the old historic heart of Turin, “old” being mainly 16th century, and later is truly, truly  impressive,  especially packed with swarms of Christmas shoppers,  despite – or because of – the largely rectilinear street grid plan).


 Added note: March 13, 2017

Here is some additional work on that “Hulk” imprint from earlier, requested on another site, to see the effect of the “Zeke” contrast filter available on Windows 10.

plastic figure pre post zeke

As-is photograph (left); post Zeke filter (right)

close up post zeke

Close-up of particulate imprinting medium (roasted flour/oil) , post Zeke filter


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 Shroud of Turin, Turin Shroud and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to The Turin Shroud – surely the most cunning, dastardly con trick in history (14th century France)

  1. Colin Berry says:

    Forgive me if I prime the Comments on this my most recent posting. There’s an issue that I wish to flag up, say what’s in my mind, then try to put it out of said mind altogether. It’s to do with that so-called ” Shroud International Conference” planned for next July in Pasco, Washington State, USA.
    Here’s a cut-and-paste from the prospectus:

    “We are pleased to announce that an international conference on the Shroud of Turin will be held in the United States from Wednesday, July 19th through Saturday, July 22nd, 2017. The conference will be held in the Tri-Cities in the state of Washington. The Tri-Cities consists of the communities of Richland, Kennewick and Pasco, is located in the southeastern part of the State of Washington, and has a population of about 260,000. The Tri-Cities was selected for the conference because Richland is one of the premier research centers in the United States. Holding the conference in the Tri-Cities will assist in locating additional personnel for research on the Shroud, since Richland has one of the highest ratios of PhDs per capita of anywhere in the country, due to the many research laboratories in the area.”

    Where are most contributors to an “international” conference likely to come from, not counting the USA (or the splendid but relative few in Australia and New Zealand) ? Answer – from Europe naturally. So why stage a conference on the western seaboard of the USA, effectively doubling the journey time, airfares, to say nothing of jet lag for European attendees? And why choose as one’s venue a God-forsaken giant parking lot with conference centre that looks for all the world like a corrugated iron aircraft hangar?

    As for that section on hoping to attract new blood into sindonology, based on PhDs per head of population, all from the local Washington State hinterland, words fail me. Can one expect to see a recruiting office set up, with long lines of bright-eyed newish PhDs stretching off to the far horizon?

    Just who do the organizers think they are kidding with that kind of piously intoned, intelligence-insulting drivel? Come on, tell us the REAL reason why you chose that back-of-beyond blight on the landscape for your conference (which this PhD shroudologist has no intention of attending needless to say, cue huge sigh of collective relief from the organizers).

    • Steve says:

      The truth of it all.People are afraid of the truth that they are sinners just like God told them.There minds are marked just like God told them they would be but yet they refuse him.Noah had his hands full when building the ark.Think of all the non believers back then.Its no different now.I will say this as how brave you are to know what’s coming for your soul.You will cry but no tears will fall.You will plead but you will here no answer.How many times will you turn your back on God just as they did in Noah’s days.Remember what Jesus told his Disciples,be in constant prayer for you know not the day nor the hour.Even Jesus knew they would go on sinning.Be sure you hold Jesus close to your heart.

  2. Colin Berry says:

    Here’s the results of my two most recent experiments (done yesterday):

    I’ll check first to see that the photo has displayed, and be back shortly with an account of why the tests were performed, and why outcome has come as a pleasant and unexpected surprise. Watch this space (yes, I’m allowed to add, subtract and otherwise edit my own comments!).

    Back again. What was the purpose of the first experiment? Answer: I wanted to know if it was really necesaary to heat to 200 degrees C or thereabouts to get a bold flour/oil image. Might a lower temperature, maybe for a longer time, suffice, with less risk of excessive yellowing or browning of the background linen. So I made a flour imprint of my hand, and placed in cold oven, heating to 150 degress C and holding the temperature there for 15 mins. The linen was removed, photographed, and thumb (labelled sample 1) cut off, and imprint returned to oven. The temperarure was then raised to 160 degrees, again for 15 mins, and the inspection/digit removal repeated. The final temperature (190 degrees C, 15 mins) ended with removal of the final digit (sample 5, small finger).

    Result: there was slight visible yellowing at 150C, and progressive intensification of colour at each 10 degrees rise in temp. But it was clear that the major factor determining final colour after 15 mins heating was the TEMPERATURE. One cannot expect to get a “190C colour” by heating at lower temperatures, even for prolonged periods. The colour at each temparature stabilizes, then remaining approximately the same. That fits with the idea, discussed in previous postings, that the colour is the result of Maillard reactions which are not only under kinetic but thermodynamic control as well (temperature being needed to make certain reactions “go”, over and above mere increases in rates of chemical reaction).

    But if colour stabilizes at each chosen temperature, that has an important consequence. One might not need to have the linen suspended as a sheet in the oven to ensure even colour development. Maybe one could fold or roll it up. OK, the outer layers would heat up first and the flour/oil imprint acquire colour before the inner parts. But if the colour then stabilized on the outer parts, it gives time for the inner parts to ‘catch up’ so to speak. So that was the reasoning that led to doing the second experiment, result shown on the right, one where the linen was folded and then rolled/scrolled up. Details to come. Watch this space.
    Here’s a photo of the scrolled linen in the oven – a neat and compact package.

    First it was heated to 150C, and that temperature held for 15mins. It was then removed from the oven, unfolded, photographed, then returned for further heatings steps, each 10 degrees higher than the one before. Yes, the colour intensity increased stepwise as expected. The photo on the right is the appearance at the end of the sequence (190C max temperature). And very satisfactory it was too, indeed one of the best images ever obtained for my hand-imprinting, with no sign whatsoever of uneven colour distribution that might have been expected from being folded/rolled up.

    So our medieval artisans could have used a modest size oven – or even open charcoal fire – for the ‘roasting’ procedure. They could have heated the linen package gradually, removing at intervals to open out the package, checking on progress, and continuing until they had the desired degree of colour development, assured of EVEN colour intensity, provided the heating was done gradually to ensure that all parts were exposed to the same temperature for an extended time period to allow for heat to penetrate to the interior.

  3. David Goulet says:

    Playing Devil’s advocate here, for the first century hypothesis, I wonder if your model might explain the evolution of the image. It’s often struck me that there is little in the Gospels about the Shroud – if the image was as pronounced as it is today — or perhaps even more vivid. The burial linens might still have been kept as precious relics (the blood alone would make them very special). It’s not until later in the ‘historic’ record that we here more about an image not made with human hands. There are different theories about fires and poker holes – might the Shroud have been baked unintentionally at some later point – which led to the Maillard reaction image to become pronounced. Obviously, flour is not the material that cooked in this scenario, but perhaps other oils or substances used in the burial process. As you noted at some point, there’s almost no way currently to find evidence of a flour-base so I assume this would be the same with other similar substances.

    If you don’t wish to entertain this 1st-century line of thinking, I understand. You’re ‘all in’ (to use a poker term) on this medieval model (for good reason) but it did strike me that aspects of it are transferable to the 1st century hypothesis. Shroud researchers (pro or con authenticity) should be paying attention to your experiments.

  4. Colin Berry says:

    Some might get a buzz from thinking they are looking at the genuine ‘burial shroud’ of Jesus, David (despite there being no biblical support for J of A’s linen being used or intended as such). I get my buzz from the fact that a small coterie of individuals in medieval France, presumably Geoffroi de Charny’s team of hired clerics, hit on a simple and totally ORIGINAL means of producing a contact image, intended to mimic a sweat/blood imprint on J of A’s TRANSPORT linen, and were not only able indeed determined to keep the technology top secret, making the TS a ‘one-off’, but producing an image that has intrigued and baffled everyone, scientists included, right through to the early part of the 21st century.

    Think about it. Iconic image, arriving with no back story, or indeed any previous reports of the two-fold body image as first seen on the Lirey badge, circa 1357, and still to this day dubbed as one of history’s greatest mysteries! Take away the religion, and you are still left with an extraordinary narrative.

    • David Goulet says:

      Agreed, whether one believes it’s authentic, or a medieval creation, the Shroud remains one of the best Scooby Doo mysteries ever. And they might have gotten away with too, if not for you meddling kids.

  5. Colin Berry says:

    Ah yes, sindonology’s irregular verb “to probe”.
    I probe
    You meddle
    He/she trespasses

  6. Colin Berry says:

    As indicated earlier, I approached my one and only contact in the UK media (chief reporter, national newspaper) suggesting that my flour/oil model was deserving of wider publicity. Straightaway, he set up two roadblocks. The first: why had I not submitted the idea to a peer-reviewed journal? My reply: the project was newsworthy in a different respect, namely having been set up as possibly, indeed probably, the first time a research project has been pursued from start to finish via live reporting on the internet (some 350 postings to date since Dec 2011). The model has already been ‘peer-reviewed’ notably here (e.g. Thibault Heimburger) and on my sciencebuzz site, and on the now discontinued Dan Porter shroudstory blog. The model proposed is absurdly simple – anyone with an hour or two to spare can test it in their own home – so it’s hardly the stuff of a Nature paper!

    The second roadblock: why had I not shown it works with a real life-size human being, instead of my hand, plastic effigies etc. I suggested that David Rolfe, of the “Enigma Challenge” be contacted, and I’d happily waive his promised reward of £20k royalty for his being allowed to make a filmed recording of the experiment as a TV documentary.

    Nope, no reply to those points, nor even an acknowledgement of the additional supporting material requested, sent as a series of emails. That’s our lovable UK Media Plc for you, all take, no give, time-wasters for the most part.

    OK here’s my considered response. If anyone reading this has contacts in the media, and can arrange an introduction that results in my flour/oil model achieving a significant media presence (criteria to be specified later), then I shall be pleased to reward them with an Amazon gift voucher (significantly better than standard birthday or Christmas prezzy value!).

    Respond here, or contact via em’l if you wish (sciencebod01 insert at symbol aol dot com)

  7. David Goulet says:

    It may be a question of timing as well. Your theory should get more attention around Lent/Easter when media are on the hunt for themed content. It might also be worth a shot to contact the producers of the Mythbusters series – they’d have the resources to try the full scale model. I can reach out to the latter on your behalf if you wish.

  8. Colin Berry says:

    Please do, David (re your final sentence). One suspects that approaches to the media stand a much better chance of success when coming from a neutral third party especially one as articulate and well-informed as yourself. I shall now go and google ‘Mythbusters’.

  9. Colin Berry says:

    It’s no longer a case of keeping up with the Jones, but getting ahead of them! See tail end of this posting for why I did this Google search at this particular time…

  10. Colin Berry says:

    Have just this minute submitted the following as a comment to a recent posting on Stephen Jones’s site.

    “Minor” site you say? I’ve just this minute searched (shroud of turin) using, and what do I find? My site is the last entry on Page 3 of returns. Yours is the second entry on Page 6! Bit of a difference, eh?

    Don’t get carried away by what you see on – there’s always a bias towards a country’s own web sites. Check (US),, etc as well. I do, in order to get a balanced view of my site’s ranking. Mine’s been steadily improving these last few weeks, yours I’m delighted to say, steadily deteriorating. Maybe you need to be more fair-minded, and less excoriating towards those who favour a medieval provenance, regardless of our religious convictions or lack thereof (hardly relevant where scientific enquiry is concerned, and indeed a hindrance to objectivity).

    Oh, and kindly stop saying I post to your site under false IDs or “anonymously”. No, I do not. If I use the anonymous tab to post a comment, as now, it’s to circumvent any block you have placed now or in the past on my default sciencebod log in, and I then ALWAYS append my real identity. In short, kindly stop the misrepresentation (it’s not terribly Christian, is it?).

    Colin Berry

  11. Colin Berry says:

    Folks visiting this site might like to know I’ve posted in the last couple of days on two others, both my own. First was one on a short-lived site from 3 years ago:

    Second, today, was a return to my sciencebuzz site, neglected since May this year:

    Why? I’m trying to massage this site’s visibility on search engines via incestuous linking. This site briefly rose to Page 3 line 2 (shroud of turin) this morning, then slipped back a couple of lines. It would be nice to make Page 2!

  12. Colin Berry says:

    See the new addition to this posting (scroll to end). Powerful forces are at work, messing with search engine rankings, attempting to suppress the idea that the TS is not authentic (i.e an image of the crucified Jesus).

    Some of us at any rate, this investigator included, are not attempting to directly challenge the authenticity of the Shroud, being more concerned with how an artefact could have been so skillfully executed in the medieval era as to give rise to that delusional idea in the late 20th/early 21st century era.

    If there were a shroud image that looked even remotely and genuinely 1st century AD, I for one would have given it my closest consideration. But that is scarcely credible. What’s being challenged on this site is the idea that the TS is 1st century AD, when all the evidence points to it having a 14th century origin. That’s not just on account of the disputed radiocarbon dating, but through it being easily modelled ( as discovered and reported here) with simple homely larder ingredients and standard age-old kitchen amenities (vegetable oil, white flour and access to a hot bread-baking oven). Sorry to be so unfazed.

  13. Colin Berry says:

    October 17, 2016: Update on those two ‘disappeared’ postings. The older one of the two, strawshredder site, non-controversial content, has finally reappeared under its full title – better late than never. I wish I could say the same for the sciencebuzz posting, which is now nowhere to be seen, despite making a brief appearance under (past hour), (past day) etc. Seems those curators have been busy, taking a dislike maybe to the reference to ‘agenda-driven so-called science’ in the title. We’ll discuss the ethics of that another time, i.e. of denying access to content deemed too outspoken. For now, here’s a copy (italics) of the entire posting, minus its relatively few and unimportant graphics:
    Well, I say it happened like this (approx chronological order):

    1. It began with that astonishing landmark Secondo Pia tone-reversal (negative to PSEUDO-positive).
    Yes, a truly arresting image conversion, deserving of much analysis and interpretation re the photograph-like appearance of that pseudo-positive on the right (above).

    But that has been taken to mean the TS is a positive photograph, as recently as this last week (Stephen E. Jones site). NO!

    Why not? Watch this space. Discussion will centre on FREE-HAND SKETCHES and IMPRINTS, specifically contact imprints, NOT photographs.

    As for contact imprints – making the point better than sketches and photographs – they have a long history, going back centuries ( like those brass rubbings in churches and cathedrals).
    The concept of positive-negative would have been recognized long before photography, even if the terms were not employed.

    2. Irrelevance of Walter McCrone’s microscopy to the body image, attempting to implicate dispersed solid paint pigments – iron oxide, mercury sulphide etc, given that other STURP members, notably Heller and Adler, discovered that the image was bleachable with diimide (which acts ONLY on organic compounds with C=C double bonds). Same consideration applies to pop historian Charles Freeman – traditional inorganic paint pigments, fresh or faded, can be ruled out.

    Details to come. Watch this space.

    3. Attempts have been made to this day to exclude thermal processes, especially relevant in context of ‘appropriate’ medieval technology. How? By reference to uv fluorescence. But they are not based on modern experimental data. They are based on the uv fluoresence of the charred edges of the 1532 burn holes, with claim that “all scorches fluorescence under uv”. Taking as one’s sole reference a centuries-old event involving fire, exceedingly high combustion or carbonization temperatures – ones creating full thickness burns, not mere scorches – is pseudoscience. Scorches incidentally are just one type of thermal change.

    Details to come -watch this space.

    4. Rogers’ starch-coating theory: good inasmuch as it considered the possibility of the image being an added coating, highly superficial, instead of on the linen per se. But why did he stop at purified starch, and proceed to develop a theory as if starch were equivalent to – or easily transformable to – a reducing sugar? Answer: he cited Pliny, 1st century linen technology, betraying (intentionally or otherwise) a pro-authenticity bias that hitherto had been well-concealed. He should have considered a wider range of coatings, including those that could have been deployed in a medieval context.

    Details to come. Watch this space.

    5. The TS body image responds to computer software programs that map image density as height, ie. creating an imaginary z (vertical) dimension. So what? All imprints and indeed diagrams with no 3D history respond the same – it being a function of the software and the way it re-processes image density – NOT a tool for investigating supposed “encoded 3D information”. Yup, starry-eyed hyping – up of the so-called 3D properties of the TS, as if specific for the TS, with inappropriate refs to conventional photographs performing poorly – distortions etc – only to be expected due to lateral lighting, shadowing etc. (focus should be on imprints!).

    Details to come. Watch this space.

    6. The blood story. First on scene was the pathologist Robert Bucklin MD, publishing and proselytizing his pro-authenticity views way back in the 60s, long before STURP, using the terms “bloodstain” and “wound” interchangeably. NO! There is no evidence on the body image for wounds as distinct from blood, despite explicit claims to the contrary. It is entirely unscientific to describe a bloodstain as a “wound”, if there is no independent evidence in the body image for speared, flayed or punctured skin. Even the scourge marks are blood imprints ONLY!

    Details to come. Watch this space.

    7. Failure of STURP to provide convincing evidence for the existence of blood-derived porphyrins – an essential criteria for identifying the stains as derived from blood. Atypical porphyrin spectra, coupled with claims the blood was “too red” were attributed to presence of ‘extraordinary levels of bilirubin’ with no hard evidence for the presence of ANY bilirubin (which is photochemically unstable and unlikely to survive for months, far less centuries). As with Rogers. the ‘bilirubin trauma’ hypothesis betrayed a pro-authenticity leaning, unbecoming surely of hands-on researchers willing to investigate (and exclude ) the painting hypothesis while failing to display appropriate scepticism elsewhere.

    “Blood-before-image’ claim, based on enzymic micro-spotting test was interesting, possibly true, but questionable in the light of other data, notably the so-called half-tone effect which means that blood-coated fibres sampled with sticky-tape from’ image areas’ cannot be assumed to have been image-bearing fibres, as appears to have been the case. Yup, blind-spot territory …

    Details to come. Watch this space.

    8. Returning to the body image (it being the basis of the “enigmatic” tag): there has been indecent haste to exclude contact-imprinting, based on image-intensity data that assumes linen draped loosely over a body, making limited contact. We are quickly asked to consider imaging across air-gaps, of “cloth-body” distance being critical, albeit with peculiar qualfications (max distance of separation not to exceed approx 4 cm for example). That model ‘begs the question’ i.e. assumes the very thing that is being tested, making for a circular argument. What if the cloth had NOT been draped loosely, as in a 1st century tomb, but pressed firmly against some body features and not others, with conscious control over which parts to imprint, what not. (Consider selective application of imprinting medium also).

    Details to come. Watch this space.

    9. The assumption that image formation occurred across air gaps, with exclusion of contact imprinting as the sole mechanism, has led to those “radiation” models, associated at least initially by STURP team leader John Jackson. with resort to biblical “resurrection” scenarios that permit a body and /or linen to merge in space (“collapsing cloth” theory”). That has no place in a scientific context, being impossible to put to an experimental test., being merely a highly-coloured interpretation, wishful-thinking some might think.

    Details to come. Watch this space.

    10. X-ray or gamma-ray imaging? Based on claims that the fingers are ‘too boney” or teeth are imaged, with failure to consider, far less to model experimentally, contact-imaging that might well produce such effects through providing something more resistant under the linen than soft tissue.

    Details to come. Watch this space.

    11. Assumption that the TS represents a “burial shroud”, when the biblical record suggests otherwise (namely that Joseph of Arimathea’s’s linen was intended solely for dignified TRANSPORT of a bloodied, naked or near-naked man from cross to tomb, NOT as final burial shroud.

    See my late 2014 posting from this site for more details, including artistic representation, e.g:

    (Graphic) Here’s Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘clean linen’ being used as an improvised means of transport from cross to tomb, with no biblical evidence it was ever used, or intended to be used as final burial shroud. (Di Ciseri, 1883).

    See also this posting from my specialist Shroud site with more artwork showing the Shroud being deployed in ‘transport mode’.
    Resurrection scenarios for image formation are excluded in the transport-only model if J of A’s linen was replaced with ‘winding strips’ as suggested by the Gospel according to John. Instead, the focus should be on the possibility that the TS was an attempt to recreate what a sweat/blood imprint onto a transport shroud might look like 13 centuries later.

    Details to come. Watch this space.

    12.Failure to give due consideration or even acknowledge that the TS body image may have been an attempt to simulate a sweat imprint, with bloodstains alone used to implicate a particular and highly revered crucified body , i.e. that of Jesus of Nazareth, with crown of thorns (missing), lance wound, nails wounds etc. (See previous ref to blood that serves as proxy for “wounds” that are otherwise absent from body image).

    Details to come. Watch this space.

    13. Failure to acknowledge the resources at the disposal of Geoffroi de Charny (France’s King John the Good’s favourite, both when younger as fellow 100 Year’s War combatants and later at the Royal Court ), the king having financially assisted his knight/comrade-in-arms in founding and staffing a so-called private chapel (5 -6 staff!). Those hired clerics may well have been the initiators, possibly even artisans, who originated the idea/project to recreate J of A’s transport linen with a simulated sweat/blood imprint. Sindonology rarely considers the crucial and arguably historical role of G de C and his wife, later widow, despite both their individual coats-of-arms appearing on that Lirey pilgrim’s souvenir badge (Cluny Museum) indicating a determined effort to attract pilgrims from far and wide ,the latter paying handsomely no doubt for the indulgences etc to be had at the oh-so-fashionable “Shroud” shrine, a rival and closer attraction than the then extant ‘Veil of Veronica’.

    Details to come. Watch this space.

    14. Italy’s Govt. supported ENEA research institute (team-leader Paolo Di Lazzaro): uv laser modelling. No image – mere superficial coloration only. No detailed consideration of likely chromophore – merely refs to cellulose as the target, despite that carbohydrate consisting entirely of stable C- C, C-O and O-H single bonds – no C=C or other double bonds as is usually the case for molecules that are susceptible to chemical change resulting from absorption of energetic uv radiation.

    Sure, the coloration may be superficial, but it’s wrong to assume that supernatural radiation is the only means of producing a superfical image, with laser pulses offered optimistically as a weak modern-day proxy (the nearest man-made equivalent you understand).

    Let’s not mince our words – it was deplorable pseudoscience to make that suggestion, especially when accompanied by refs to philosophy, theology etc and being described as “scientists” in newspaper headlines when in fact the investigators were laser-technologists, said to be working after hours with their Govt-supplied hardware to promote and proselytize their preferred take on scripture.


    The major failure in this list, 14 points so far? I would nominate that failure to consider the TS as a sweat imprint, whether as I believe simulated (14th century) or even ‘authentic’ of 1st century origin, there being a clear ambition to link the TS image with supernatural flash of radiation at the instant of biblical resurrection. See banner on Stephen E. Jones ‘blog’ (manifesto?) for the continuing attempt to make that link, based not on science but PSEUDOSCIENCE.

    So where does one go to find the non-derailed still-on-track science, steadily chuffing along, making progress, month after month, year after year? Why, my specialist Shroud site of course, started in early Spring 2012, reporting researches in real time (some 350 postings there and elsewhere to date)!

    (Graphic) This investigator’s specialist Shroud site (showing current posting at 13 Oct, 2016 with modelling of TS body image using 1/12 scale ‘Galaxy Warrior figurines)

    The current model (and indeed I suspect the FINAL one) is what I call the oil/flour thermal-imprinting model. See the above link for details.

    I’ve also added a series of photographs on a recently-resurrected subsidiary Shroud site showing how it’s done in 10 simple steps. I used my own hand as ‘subject’ to show how the imprinting technique works as well if not better with human skin.

    (Graphic) Flour/oil imprints of my hand at the oven-roasting stage (approx 190-200 degrees C).

    One can try it out in one’s own home, if one has an hour or two to spare.

    Here again is a link to the actual Oct 13 posting (complete with graphics):

  14. Michael Ryuki says:

    Hi Colin, I’m arguing with a guy who says that the image left on the shroud is 300 nm thick and that it is not reproductible (I know he means it’s miraculous but don’t want to use the word to not sound stupid). He got this dea from Dilazzaro articles. I know he is wrong and that the Turin Shroud is a scam. I shown him every aspect to prove him wrong but he sticks to the idea that the 300 nm thickness is the absolute proof that the Turin is not fake or special. Do you have anything I could throw him back so he would stop spreading stupidities.

    • Colin Berry says:

      Tell him to go and get acquainted with botany and chemistry, Michael. The linen fibre still preserves the outermost layer of the supportive stem fibres of the phloem bundles, namely the primary cell wall (PCW). While it’s a bit difficult getting a precise figure for PCW thickness, it’s just one cell thick, and is reckoned to be considerably thinner than the 400nm your contact cites. I’ve seen figures of approx a quarter that thickness.

      Now the PCW also has a distinctive chemical composition, having larger amounts of the more chemically reactive hemicelluloses with 5-membered rings (xylose, arabinose especially). So if one assumes that it’s the most superficial hemicelluloses of the linen fibre per se that become chemically modified and coloured, all that’s needed to answer your contact is that image-formation specifically involves the PCW and not the chemically less reactive underlying layers (multi-layer secondary cell wall.

      But who’s to say that it’s the linen fibre per se that is chemically modified? I expect you’re aware of the Rogers’ hypothesis, namely that the image was formed on a starch coating that in his pro-authenticity model was added at the stage of 1st century linen manufacture.

      I have a non-authenticity model (14th century) that features white flour/vegetable oil as imprinting agent. The image appears when the the imprint is roasted in the oven, and is initially thick and crust-like. But on final washing with soap and water all that’s left is a faint, scarcely visible and presumably highly-superficial ghost image which I reckon is due to seepage of highly-coloured oily LIQUID from the coating into the fibres. Again, all that’s necessary is to assume that it is the PCW that becomes selectively coloured, less so the underlying SCW layers.

      I hope that helps.

      • Michael Ryuki says:

        Thank you very much. My contact is really psychorigid, I think that even if he is wrong he will never admit it. I just sent him the answer you gave me, but I’m sure he is going to ask proofs like scientific papers, and even if I bring him those proofs he will still keep his position. This guy is a lost cause.
        Thanks anyway for the reply and for your great work.

  15. Colin Berry says:

    Is it my imagination, or has the authenticity-promoting sindonology bandwagon, roadshow (call it what you want) ground to a halt – or at any rate, lost momentum? If so, why? Has it painted itself into a proverbial corner with all those OTT ideas re flashes of bodily-emitted radiation etc and other essentially untestable notions, guaranteed a short shelf life, once memories of media headlines have faded?

  16. Colin Berry says:

    Have just this minute posted the following comment to the Times of London article (paywall!), reporting Angela Merkel’s criticism of Google and other internet providers who ‘filter’ results to fit perceived needs and objectives::

    Yes, but it would be a mistake to focus too much on the algorithms. Why does Google need to employ well over 50,000 employees in Silicon Valley if search returns are determined purely by a pre-programmed algorithm? Answer (speculative but surely credible)? The algorithms generate a provisional ranking which is then subject to backroom ‘curation’ (polite term for filtration). Anyone who runs a blog or website (I have several – Stonehenge, Shroud of Turin etc) ) will quickly become aware that achieving visibility requires tailoring one’s message to fit the search engine’s preconceptions as what web surfers want and don’t want to see on the first few pages of returns.

    It’s genteel censorship needless to say, and throroughly reprehensible, given that folk with natural curiosity, open to new ideas, are denied new food for thought, whether unsettling or not…

    The same criticism applies to wikipedia with its embargo on “new research” that has not been subject to formal ‘peer review’ via learned journals. Some might think it ironic that wiki and other information sources that depend on the home or work computer and internet should discriminate in this manner against those who utilize the same means of getting new ideas quickly into the public domain, bypassing the painfully slow traditional route via ‘learned journals’ with their time-consuming (and secretive!) review processes, to say nothing of their scandalously expensive paywalls (typically $30 or more per communication) that reduce access to the end result.

  17. Colin Berry says:

    Have just added this new update to the current posting:

    Update: October 29, 2016

    Oh dear. I have began to acquire a hunch regarding the Turin Shroud that no one, to the best of my knowledge, has previously suggested before. Er, I now strongly suspect that the fabric is NOT linen (derived from flax) as universally assumed, but from HEMP (derived from a sub-species of cannabis). I have added a short section to the end of this posting, and will be setting out my reasons in the COMMENTS section under this posting, currently up to 25 pre-hemp appearance.

    No, there will not be a new posting on the “hemp” hypothesis for the forseeable future. OK, so in an ideal blogging environment there would be. However, thanks to manipulative, micro-managing Google and other so-called search engines the ‘blogosphere’ is NOT an ideal environment for the dissemination of new thinking. Indeed they serve merely passively and/or actively to frustrate attempts to put new unconventional thinking online (the same applies to wikipedia). God bless Silicon Valley and environs.

    Nuff said here. First see tail end below (once has to scroll down a long way) then see future comments for why I think the TS is NOT linen, but hemp. Yup, an expert and impartial re-examination of that relic in Turin is I believe needed as a critical test of authenticity (while reiterating that authenticity is not and never has been this blogger’s chief concern, my being more interested in the mechanism that produced the superficial body image that is said to ‘defy scientific understanding’..

    More to follow is the coming days – right here.

  18. Colin Berry says:

    Wiener et al (Czech group) June 2003


    Differentiating flax and hemp is a long-time analytical problem, which is becoming more and more relevant with the wider loading of bast fibres. Flax and hemp are very similar fibres in all aspects, and their differentiation is often controversial.

    Click to access 2-03-2.pdf

    So who’s to say the TS is linen? Unless the very specific diagnostic tests described in the above paper are performed, and maybe more besides, with due consideration for the various treatments to which the cloth may or have been subjected, then who’s to say the TS is not hemp, maybe medieval hemp sailcloth (which used to be made centuries ago in approx 4 feet wide strips)? Who’s to say the Lirey shroud, circa 1355, was not simply described as “linen” from the word go, with few able to get close enough to know better, far less feel the cloth, except for the clerics appointed to hold it up for display (via that enigmatic ‘sidestrip’)? Who’s to say that a medieval imprinting with the flour/oil/hot oven/soap washing procedure described might not make allegedly coarser hemp look and feel more like aged linen?

    But if it WERE to be shown that the TS is hemp, e.g. by sophisticated testing of fibres from the unused Arizona radiochemical dating sample, then what price authenticity?

  19. Colin Berry says:

    Summary thus far: this blogger is not categorically claiming the TS is something other than linen, e.g.hemp. He’s simply asking whether anyone in the modern era (starting early 20th century) ever bothered to check! Or has sindonology been content to accept without question the notion handed down through centuries that the TS is linen? If so, that’s hardly scientific, is it? Scientists are not supposed to accept anything without question, “commonsense assumptions” etc included… But then, there’s an awful lot of shortcutting in sindonology that regrettably distinguishes it from methodical, objective unblinkered science….

    I’ve already given one reference that shows the acute difficulty of distinguishing between flax fibres in linen and those in hemp fabric (both being stem bast fibres with those ‘dislocations’ that distinguish from cotton).

    So I tried googling (shroud of turin hemp), and was truly amazed by what I found, right at the top of the list of returns. It was a paper delivered to a Shroud workshop in 2010 by one L.G. Thygesen (a Dane). He was working with TS fibres supplied to him by Prof Giulio Fanti of Padua University.

    Here’s the link.

    Click to access ThygesenWeb.pdf

    I shall say no more for the present, and instead invite readers to view it for themselves (it’s a mere 4 pages long). However, here are two key passages:

    “It is a weakness of the study that the Turin Shroud flax fibres are compared to modern hemp fibres and not to modern flax fibres. However, these two fibre types have similar dimensions and properties, which in the author’s opinion justify the comparison. In a recent publication, it was pointed out that the two species may not be separated from each other using light microscopy (ref).”

    And this one from the Conclusions no less:

    “Analysis of the dislocations in 20 flax fibre segments from the Turin Shroud indicated that the dislocations in Turin Shroud flax fibres appear to be similar in amount, sizes and distances to dislocations in modern hemp fibres. Regarding dislocations there is thus no indication that these fibres are different from other bast fibres.”

    I resisted the temptation to insert sic after each of those mentions of Shroud “flax” fibres!

  20. David Goulet says:

    Why stop at hemp? What other materials could it be?

  21. Colin Berry says:

    Why indeed David. Each TS thread is said to be 0.25mm (i.e. fine, as fine as modern linen) but we’re told there are 200 fibres per thread. But I’ve just dissected a dyed linen thread, approx same diameter:

    Sure, there’s a plentiful number of fine fibres, too many to easily count, but there’s probably no more than 100 per thread by my reckoning, possibly nearer half that figure.

    So something’s not right. Either those threads are something other than TS-type flax – possibly hemp – or maybe some other stem-supporting bast fibre with flax/hemp fibre type dislocations under the microscope. Or is it maybe nothing to do with species? Might they be fibres from immature flax plants with skinny bast fibres? Immature would presumably mean having a less developed secondary cell wall, making the bast fibres thinner?

    Why use immature plants? Home made linen (or hemp) , grown under less than ideal conditions? One of the Champagne fields belonging to de Charny’s Lirey estate, mid 14th century? Top secret project?

    The plot thickens…

  22. Colin Berry says:

    Here’s an entry that has just suddenly appeared at the top of Page 4 Google returns – search (shroud of turin) ANY TIME – yet it’s dated TODAY, 2nd November 2016!

    The headline reads: “A compelling case for the Holy Shroud of Turin”.

    Do tell us more. One is all ears:

    Here’s a short extract (my italics)

    “Finally he asks: how could a medieval forger (as sceptics suppose) have used vacuum ultraviolet radiation to discolour the cloth on the uppermost surface of the fibrils? How could he have created a perfect photographic negative image?”

    In other words, the pseudo-science from ENEA’s so-called “scientists” which this retired scientist/blogger has been protesting these last 5 years in some 350 postings is now being cited as if the actual officially-approved mechanism of image formation! “Perfect photographic negative”? Ouch. Propaganda, the crudest of crude pseudo-scientific propaganda…

    Have they never heard of contact imprints that mimic (after a fashion) photographic negatives? Contact imprints (brass rubbings etc) were known and being made CENTURIES before photographic negatives. What’s more the images are/were ‘non-directional’ (just like the Turin Shroud’s body image) making them distinct from modern-era photographs taken with directional illumination).

    Disgraceful. Absolutely disgraceful – not only the the continued dissemination of intelligence-insulting pseudo-science, but the manner in which a short “news” item by the Catholic Herald has been promoted by the Google search engine instantly to Page 4 on the very day of publication. There’s something rotten in the state of Denmark, correction, Silicon Valley, California…

    Post a comment to the Catholic Herald? Nope, there’s no facility that I can see for leaving a comment on that article, despite the tagline on the Herald’s site that reads “Comment and Blogs”. Again, disgraceful.

    Sindonology stinks – and it stinks to high heaven. Google stinks too…

    Update November 3

    Noisome Google has further promoted yesterday’s half-baked pseudoscience from the Catholic Herald to Page 2 of its (shroud of turin) rankings. No prizes for guessing what’s happened to this site, that yesterday had struggled up to Page 3 after some 350 postings over close on 5 years. Yup, it’s been ‘disappeared’, at least from the first 10 pages. Moral: never say rude things about the Mighty Google, no matter how true and well-deserved.

    See also Page 3 or 4 of Google listings for that permanent listing for a Catholic News Agency article from Dec 19th last year, the one that reports an interview with chief propagandist for Shroud authenticity – STERA President Barrie M.Schwortz – under the headline: “How one sceptical scientist (sic) came to believe the Shroud of Turin”. Yes, there you will see the shameless reinvention of a professional documenting PHOTOGRAPHER attached to the 1978 34-strong STURP team (largely self-selected) as a “scientist”. That’s the same “scientist” who jumped on me in early 2012, chiding me for not being aware that “all scorches fluoresce under uv light”. No, they don’t, and I doubt whether the photographer in question has eever bothered to test experimental scorches as I have done, being content as he was to wheel out someone else’s observation that the charred edges of the 1532 BURN HOLES on the Shroud fluoresce red or orange under uv light (reminder – a full depth burn hole with charred edges is not a typical superficial scorch as might produce a faint image).

    Keep cranking that pro-authenticity handle, all you Shroudie propagandists, aided and abetted by the pliable Google search engine. Just don’t expect me to remain silent when I see this abuse of the internet and media outlets continuing year after year, with no intention of presenting a balanced story that reports findings from a non-authenticity perspective (like my flour/oil imprinting model).

  23. David Goulet says:

    I suppose you need to be more sensationalistic in your headlines. i.e. “British scientist argues that the Shroud of Turin never wrapped the body of Jesus Christ.” Something like that, you have to get Jesus’ name in there to draw the Google eyeball. One hates to play the click bait game, but…

  24. Colin Berry says:

    How about: “British scientist accuses believers in miraculous Shroud image of having the Resurrection confused with the Ascension”?

  25. Colin Berry says:

    Am still trying to improve estimates of the number of fibres in a typical linen thread – a modern one, needless to say- and with a new ‘electrostatic sticky tape’ procedure (see new addition to end of this posting) am willing to concede there may be as many as 200 or more per thread, as claimed for the TS.

    So the science proceeds in its own plodding though I hope methodical and scientific manner (as scientific as possible without access, say, to an electron microscope etc that would simplify the task of counting fibres!).

    As for the politics and media, my thoughts have sadly crystallized there. One can quickly dispense with the second – my researches and the manner in which they are reported are not directed to the mass media, except for my generally jaundiced views of media reporting of this or that latest alleged ‘breakthrough’ in Shroud so-called science.They are directed to the world of ideas, for which the internet might be considered ideally-suited (though that’s sadly not proved to be the case – even when Dan Porter’s now extinct shroudstory blog site was providing updates on a daily and occasionally even hourly basis!).

    I shan’t mince my words. “Sindonology”, even when reported in peer-reviewed journals, is for the most part fake scholarship. In genuine scholarship, one seeks out all new ideas, not just those that have appeared in print, but ones that may have been voiced at workshops, symposia etc and dare one say even the internet. One addresses them fairly and squarely, one gives sources in one’s bibliography wherever possible. What one doesn’t do is attenmpt to quickly diss them, as happened with monotonous frequency to this blogger’s initial forays into thermal imaging technology in early 2012 (the “scorch hypothesis”) with one sindonological big beast after another appearing on the Porter site to sneer, deride, dismiss, insult… That idea evolved gradually from being a one-step imaging using hot metal bas relief to two-step imaging using the flour/oil/hot oven imprinting method. Some of the criticism levelled against the first was taken seriously, but the model not immediately abandoned, given the valuable insights it provided into the properties of contact imprints, 3D responses in the appriopriate modern software especially. But as soon as it evolved into the two-step methodology using real human flesh as template, dispensing with hot metal, all reported in real time on the Porter site, the shutters came down. Sindonology did not want to know (Thibault Heimburger and David Goulet excepted, although the first of those has now also gone strangely silent). I cannot recall seeing a single reference to the flour/oil model anywhere in the sindonological literature the 15 months or more since it was first unveiled. Seek (Google) and ye shall not find!

    A failure to acknowledge new thinking, a freezing out, is as I say not genuine scholarship. It is a characteristic of propaganda, of fake scholarship. One sees it in its most flagrant form on the Stephen E.Jones site, a crass example if ever there was of religious bigotry.(He pops up from time to time to announce that I am still “permanently banned” from his site. It’s always “me” that is referred to, never the ideas…

    Here’s a word of adbvice to sindonology. Take another look at the grounds on which you have rejected contact imprinting. Note the manner in which you have begged the question by referring to what is or is not expected if a sheet of linen is or were to be draped loosely over a corpse, the latter recumbent on a 1st century shelf in a rock tomb. Think instead of a medieval scenario, one where there is purposeful imprinting off a LIVE and COOPERATIVE human subject, with complete control by the imprinting team over what anatomical features are or are not to be captured in the final (thermal) imprint. Until you make that switch from your biased model to one that is open-minded and objective, I shall continue henceforth to accuse you of FAKE SCHOLARHIP, of attempting to blind and deceive your audience and/or readers with PSEUDOSCIENCE. You are, to put it more colourfully, charlatans, dispensers of snake-oil medicine. You have earned my disdain, and in some instances personal contempt – not that either is likely to bother you in the slightest – given the manner in which you have so assiduously cultivated the media to bypass me and genuine plodding mainstream science.

  26. Colin Berry says:


    I set out some 5 years ago to determine how medieval artisans were able to deposit onto linen a faint, superficial negative image, one with alleged 3D properies, and having peculiar and unexplained microscopic properties. I believe I have discovered the technology employed, at least in principle. The image is an imprint onto wet or moistened linen of either a real man, or a representation thereof in carved wood or cast metal obtained using a dusting of white flour onto the oil-precoated subject. Colour development (off white flour to yellow or brown imprint ) was obtained by thermal means, i.e. gentle closely-observed roasting of the imprinted linen in an oven or similar, with a final washing step with soap and water to remove all encrusted material, leaving only a faint discoloration as ‘contact imprint’.

    The unexpected feature of the model is the attribution of the image to a hot LIQUID exudate from the roasting flour/oil imprint into the fabric’s most superficial fibres. It is the capillary uptake of that exudate by linen fibres that accounts for the peculiar microscopic properties, notably the so-called half-tone effect and the discontinuities.

    It may well be that the aim was to simulate an ancient sweat imprint of an entire body – front, back but not sides – and to do so by a means that makes heated flour “sweat” a thermal cocktail of yellow or brown sugar-protein Maillard compounds and other resinous , water-insoluble high molecular weight reaction -products into the superficial fibres of the fabric. The artisans may or may not have realized that the imprinting agent was a liquid at oven temperatures. All that mattered was the final faint imprint, one that would appear to have been accidentally, indeed, fortuitously acquired by the linen, or at any rate the most superficial fibres thereof. No, not a painting, which would have been instantly recognizable as such, but a faint IMPRINT (a negative, tone-reversed image that is eerily comparable to a modern photographic negative, but which is NOT a photograph, being an image formed by physical contact only (no imaging across air gaps, no matter how small) with no role for radiant energy.


    Those artisans wanted to create an image that could be mistaken for an ancient sweat imprint onto an enveloping up-and-over sheet of linen – essentially a rival attraction to the face-only Veil of Veronica imprint, and one moreover with biblical authority (Joseph of Arimathea narrative). They succeeded, beyond their wildest dreams. How? By first taking an imprint of a body or effigy thereof onto moistened linen using white flour and a light smear of vegetable oil, and then developing that imprint in a hot oven at temperatures that caused the imprint to ‘sweat’ a yellowish-brown liquid into the superficial fibres of the cloth.

    In other words, a cold sweat from the crucified Jesus was simulated by generating a hot ‘sweat’ from an imprint of a then ‘modern man’, obtained using two staple food items from a medieval kitchen. No fancy or anachronistic technology was needed – merely a knowledge of what happens when bread-making and other flour doughs etc are roasted and/or fried at high temperature (though not so high as to materially change the linen fibres per se, the latter being chemically more resistant to browning than the carbohydrates and proteins of white flour).

    Colin Berry MSc, PhD

    Biomedical scientist (retired)

    Herts, UK.

    5th November 2016

  27. David Goulet says:

    “No fancy or anachronistic technology was needed – merely a knowledge of what happens when bread-making and other flour doughs etc are roasted and/or fried at high temperature.”

    Perhaps the key is in this statement. Who would have knowledge of such processes? Bakers, cooks. Most sindonologists focus on artisans/painters as likely hoaxers and have looked there for the prototypes, that missing link between concept and finished product. None have been found in the art realm, yet. Though contact prints are in the ballpark.

    But is there something in the food realm that could be the prototype, something that could be pointed to as the inspiration? Perhaps the search should be widened and not just ancient art or linen experts interviewed, but experts on medieval baking and food prep.

    • Colin Berry says:

      Right on David – the model features a homely culinary element – a far cry from the world of art. But it would be nice to have a military component too, given the de Charny/Lirey link, providing the first appearance (?) of the double-body imprint in history.

      In fact, you’ve reminded me of a narrative I was working on a few months ago, with gentle hints here on this site that something new was afoot. I’d been looking for a more compact package at the heating stage, and began experimenting with a deep-oil fryer and rolled-up bundles of imprinted linen.

      Hot oil? Anachronistic? Maybe, but I expect you’ve heard of medieval castles being defended against beseigers with a nasty addition called a “murder hole”.

      From wiki (my bolding):

      A murder hole or meurtrière is a hole in the ceiling of a gateway or passageway in a fortification through which the defenders could fire, throw or pour harmful substances or objects, such as rocks, arrows, scalding water, hot sand, quicklime, tar, or boiling oil, down on attackers.

      So they were no strangers to hot oil. But what about the logistics? You can’t get the oil up to temperature in minutes, but would not want to keep it either at boiling point purely on the offchance that the enemy suddenly arrives on the doorstep with battering rams etc. So one compromises. right – one keeps the oil hot, needing just a few extra minutes to get it up to boiling point. But how do you know when it’s hot enough, mercury thermometers not having been invented?

      How about a crude ‘thermometer’ made by imprinting flour paste onto linen, and leaving to dry? One then heats up one’s oil from cold as soon as an enemy presence is detected, testing at intervals with flour-imprinted strips of the linen. When the imprint turns a golden-brown quickly, one knows the oil is up to temperature, but not boiling.

      OK, so it’s a long shot, but might this primitive thermometer technology have implanted the idea of imprinting an image onto linen with flour (paste, powder, oil/powder etc) and then developing the image with hot oil?

      I’m turning my thought right now to the tests needed in a STURP Mk2 to confirm the presence (or absence) of a flour/oil derived ghost image. It won’t be easy, that’s for sure…

  28. Colin Berry says:

    Reminder: the essential feature of the model being proposed (No.10, and hopefully the final one) is that the faint and superficial TS image is akin to an ink blot on blotting paper. It is the result of roasting a flour/oil imprint in a hot oven, the latter then sweating a briefly liquid thermal cocktail of Maillard and other browned reaction products onto the surface of the linen, followed by limited wicking away of that yellow or brown liquid by the linen fibres. It is probably the narrow channels between the fibres that allow this capillary action, as shown in the brief video clip I did for YouTube showing the way ink is transported between the constituent linen fibres of linen thread.

    Here’s a ‘freeze frame’ from the above link:

    Experimental evidence in support of the model? There was indirect evidence a few months ago, thus far not reported on this site, when I tried substituting a deep oil fryer for the hot oven. The flour imprint turned a rich golden-brown as usual, but there was scarcely any ghost image after washing, which I attribute to the capillary channels having being fully occupied, i.e. pre-loaded by the cooking oil, preventing the wicking away of the thermal cocktail.

    I have just placed an order for a chemical agent (sodium silicate, aka water glass) that has been selected with a view to penetrating and clogging up those capillary channels with a heat-induced, heat-stable solid glass, and see if the chip-pan result can be reproduced, i.e. little or no final ghost image, despite a bold and prominent image prior to washing.

  29. Colin Berry says:

    This diagram and commentary has just appeared today on the Stephen E.Jones site, his “3rd installment” to his Superficiality posting.

    That accompanying commentary has got things entirely wrong. The fibrils/microfibrils are a magnification of the primary cell wall (NOT “rigid”), not the other way round as Jones imagines.

    See new addition at tail end of this posting for further details.

    I have sent Jones a corrective, but in view of his continued badmouthing, am unlikely to have it acknowledged, far less acted upon.

  30. Colin Berry says:

    On the day that I have dropped the flawed Amazon from my online existence (don’t ask!) I have likewise dropped Google Search!.

    When one appears routinely on page 3 or 4 of Google rankings under (shroud or turin) for several weeks and then suddenly drops to page 7 or 8 with no apparent reason, then it’s time to stop bothering about one’s Google ranking. (I routinely delete from my email inbox spam-folder offers to promote my site to Page 1 of Google returns!).

    The future success or otherwise of this site will be judged purely by the science. Can one model all the details (negative, superficial, 3D properties, microscopic properties) etc of the ‘enigmatic’ body image in all its subtlety??

    I say one can. In fact, I’ve done that already – using the flour/oil imprinting model – which is why sindonology is pretending I do not exist. How much longer can sindonology maintain its blindspot for a model that ‘delivers the goods’?

    • David Goulet says:

      I find the silence odd as well. Sindonology has been in a real doldrums since the demise of Porter’s site. Even if one is predisposed to the argument for authenticity, your model provides insights that may have application to the natural image formation theories. I would have expected more interaction on the model. I am hopeful that even if they are not engaging in dialogue here on your site, that the more open-minded Shroudies are at least keeping your progress on their radar.

  31. Colin Berry says:

    ” I am hopeful that even if they are not engaging in dialogue here on your site, that the more open-minded Shroudies are at least keeping your progress on their radar.”

    Methinks it must be first generation radar, David, with someone appointed to shovel in coal from time to time, keeping an eye on the steam-pressure gauge… 😉

  32. Colin Berry says:

    Note the way that sindonology these last two decades or so has thrown out a challenge to science. “Try if you can, you bunch of no-hopers, to explain the ‘enigmatic’ Shroud body image in all its glorious subtlety”.

    So, one largely anonymous science bod (retired, time on hands) comes along and duly obliges. What happens? Deafening silence…

    Wanted: new enigma to engage with and solve. Suggestions please…

  33. Colin Berry says:

    There’s a biblical parable about seed falling on stony ground, so forgive me if I don’t bother with further progress reports on my Shroud research. (The linen inter-fibre pore-blocking tactic with waterglass is proving challenging but promising).

    Next project? We all of us spend most of our time indoors, yet how many of us know what the current RH (relative humidity) level is, or how it affects the susceptibility or otherwise of our nasal passages and lower airways to dust, germs, irritation and infection?

    I’ve been doing experiments recently, prompted by the recent drop in indoors RH with arrival of winter (and central heating!). I’ve been testing the effect of indoor steam vaporisers on RH and ease of breathing, nasal congestion, ‘winter coughs’ etc and finding there’s an awful that that we either don’t know, or which never gets reported (rather like the Turin Shroud one might say).

    So maybe the time has come to go back to my older sciencebuzz site and resume reporting there on the new ‘indoors airway’ project, putting the Shroud of Turin on the back burner (until such a time as one’s blog-published ideas get a look-in).

  34. Colin Berry says:

    Double glazing is a con. I have the photographs – taken just a few minutes ago – to prove it…

  35. Colin Berry says:

    It’s worked – the experiment with the water glass that is – and most convincingly! I’ll post a photograph in a day or two. For now, a stop press summary will have to suffice. If one blocks the linear channels between the fibres of linen with a water-insoluble material, one can still get the initial bold imprint of roasted flour/oil in a hot oven, but one no longer gets the resistant ghost image that remains after washing (see this site’s banner).That supports my contention that the ghost image is the result of a LIQUID exudate from the thermal reaction.

    One small modification of technique was required. Initially I thought I could simply soak the linen in sodium silicate (water glass) solution instead of plain water before imprinting, and rely on the heat in the oven turning the silicate solution to solid glass before the browning of the flour/oil imprint. That didn’t work – the sodium silicate as supplied is highly alkaline, which makes the entire linen quickly go dark brown (probably due to facilitation of Maillard reactions at strongly alkaline pH).

    An alternative ploy was used: The linen was first soaked in sodium silicate solution, then dilute sulphuric acid dripped in to neutralise the alkali. As the mixture approaches neutrality (pH7) one sees a flocculent precipitate of hydrated silica gel, aka silicic acid. The latter presumably forms in situ between the narrow channels of the fibres, effectively clogging them up, so the same end result is achieved, albeit by a different mechanism, chemical rather than thermal.

    This latest finding does not prove conclusively that the final ghost imprint is the result of liquid migration, but offers in my view strong experimental support, especially as the outcome of the experiment was the fulfilment of a prediction based on my unique ‘capillary liquid migration’ model.

  36. Colin Berry says:


    Which SINGLE word best summarises the MISSION STATEMENT of sindonology – as painfully evident at its most recent ‘open-to-all’ conference, St.Louis, 2014?

    (Just as long as you didn’t try to ask that – or any other question- from the floor, for which no time slots were thoughtfully scheduled).

    My own answer (for starters): BROWBEATING.

    Here’s just one dictionary definition of the verb to “browbeat”:

    To intimidate or disconcert by a stern manner or arrogant speech

    In fact, that’s not a bad description at all of this blogger’s experience at the receiving end of pro-authenticity sindonologists – going way, way back to early 2012. Indeed, nothing much has changed these last 4+ years, except for the browbeating having now turned into stony sullen silence.

    Better descriptions invited….

  37. sheona says:

    How about BRAINWASHING? Of course that presupposes the existence of a brain.

  38. Colin Berry says:

    We have to beware of seeming to tar all sindonologists with the same brush, sheona, whether they be browbeaters or brainwashers. I personally have no beef with those for whom the TS is a religio-mystical object – who are content to be assured by the ‘experts’ that it has properrties that defy scientific explanation, Nor do I have any beef with those who immerse themselves in the scientific detail, and who are willing to engage with sceptics like myself on the question as to whether those details really are unique and/or non-explicable.

    I’ll tell who I heartily detest. It’s those sindonologists who posture as Albert Einstein one day, and Papal spokesperson the next. Yup, they trot along to this or that Shroudie symposium, putting up their slides that list all the criteria that any sceptic has to address, and even throw out challenges to Arch Sceptics to reproduce the Shroud. But when the sceptics come back, months or years later announcing that this or that criterion can be met, what’s their response?

    “Why are you telling ME this?” they growl. Go tell it to your fellow sceptics, Understand that it’s the total IMPRESSION of the Shroud that’s important, taking into account the history, the artistic impression, the unique (sic) 3D properties, the informed opinion of clinical pathologists etc etc. Spare me all your tiresome pettifogging detail as regards the body image, your laughable attempts at reproducing the non-reproducible …”


  39. Colin Berry says:

    PS: As an afterhtought, sheona, I have just tacked the following image (from my most recent sciencebuzz posting) onto the end of this one:

    See main body of posting for why this image was chosen (clue: think hazards of operating with a “one-track mind”).

  40. Colin Berry says:

    Back now in a more constructive frame of mind, I’ve been giving some thought as to how best to test the model being proposed here. Tests on the Shroud itself are clearly discounted, unless one were able to suggest a critical one that could be done non-invasively (and even then, one does not expect the Turin custodians to lay out a welcome mat).

    Nope, what’s needed in the first instance is a refinement of the model system that reveals exactly what one is dealing with – physically and chemically – in the high temperature Maillard reaction proposed.

    An essential first step is to ELIMINATE LINEN from the experimental system, since the hypothesis makes no claim for an involvement of linen components – the spotlight being on what happens to the flour/oil imprinting medium when heated, with the suggestion that the crucial first step is production of a liquid exudate that can then seep into linen fibres. In chemical terms, linen is being seen as a passive bystander, serving merely to act as a ‘blotting paper’ for a yellow or brown LIQUIFIED thermal cocktail.

    The difficulty is that the proposed exudate contains the precursors of high molecular weight Maillard condensation products (“melanoidins”). Once those high molecular resin-like products form they are then difficult if not impossible to analyse and characterize. Might it be possible to draw off the thermal cocktail at the instant of formation, maybe cooling and arresting the process of condensation (that’s chemical condensation, akin to polymerization), allowing the latter to be studied at leisure under lab conditions, maybe by re-applying heat? Yes, I think it’s possible in principle. See next comment for practical proposals.

  41. Colin Berry says:

    (continued from previous comment)

    The experimental set-up is in principle exceedingly simple. It’s a Buchner funnel, fitted with a sintered (porous glass) disc, with a vacuum line connected to the collecting flask below the filter.

    The flour/oil mix is placed on the filter, with some means of heating the mix to approx 200 degrees C, maybe with an external electrical heating element, coiled round the glass above the filter, or by insertion of a portable heating element into the mix. One switches on electrical power to heat the element, and at the same time applies suction to the collecting flask. The aim is to suck off any liquid exudate as soon as it is formed which will then pass through the pores of the sintered disc, while solids remain on top.

    The desired outcome? To be able to draw off a pale yellow(?) liquid – probably containing some of the vegetable oil – but one which will darken on reheating, to a greater extent than a vegetable oil control).

    Now if that effect can be produced (?) then the next step is to characterize the thermochemical species in the initial filtrate/aspirate that contain additional substances from Maillard reactions between protein and carbohydrates, possibly the veg, oil too. Once those products are characterized (mass spectrometry etc) then a search could in principle be made for those same products in the linen fibres of the Turin Shroud.

  42. Colin Berry says:

    That’s my daughter Miriam receiving an award yesterday at the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) London, for her research into the susceptibility of the kidney to bacterial infection, linked to proper functioning of the intracellular sodium pump.

    Well done Miriam. Your Mum and Dad are proud of you.

    Here’s a link to the Twitter site covering ongoing events at the RSM.

    Miriam gets her mention in a tweet near the halfway mark.

    29 nephrologists gave presentations:

    2 received awards (Miriam and David Thomas, both Cambridge-based, but working separately on different topics).

    Miriam’s title:

    “Renal sodium gradient orchestrates a dynamic anti-bacterial defence zone”

  43. Colin Berry says:

    Tomorrow, I shall be in Turin for a couple of nights, a detour on one of my regular trips back to the Riviera (having a humble pied- a- terre over the border in France).

    No, I shall not be visiting the Shroud Museum. Come the day that Turin opens a website, inviting comments on the pros and cons of authenticity, I may decide to look in at some future date.

    The same applies to the internet’s “premier” site for all things Shroud -related – Barrie M. Schwortz’s It claims to be a bulletin board for the latest Shroud research. Oh no it’s not. It’s merely a vehicle for proselytising Shroud authenticity, albeit in an oh-so-laid back, see-no-evil, hear-no-evil played down kind of way.

    When did that site ever offer an opportunity for dissenting voices to be heard? Certainly not in the 5 years or so I have been looking in.

    Three words sum up sindonology: snake-oil medicine. Correction: 5 (soft-sell snake-oil medicine).

  44. Colin Berry says:

    The Shroud of Turin (online) continues year in and year out as a huge and massive exercise in carefully-orchestrated misinformation.

    The chief culprit (online) is, in my humble opinion, STURP’s documenting photographer Barrie M.Schwortz, he now posing as a “scientist”, he with your first-port-of-call website, always and curiously top of Google’s rankings (how come?).

    It’s time the truth was heard. But where? Certainly not Barrie M.Schwortz’s authenticity-promoting, “” site.

    Nope. No link. This blogger does not link to sites that promote disinformation via selective reporting of the facts.

  45. Colin Berry says:

    In just 8 days time (Dec 30th) it will be exactly 5 years since this retired science bod/blogger put up his first posting on the Shroud (“thermostencilling” model using charcoal as sensitizer to visible and infrared radiation). That was followed by some 9 more models, with emphasis shifting all the while from the cellulose fibres intrinsic to linen to some kind of proteinaceous component capable of undergoing a Maillard reaction with reducing sugar. While the linen could in principle supply the protein, albeit as a trace component, as shown using the xanthoproteic test with nitric acid (Model 8, Spring 2015) it did not satisfactorily supply or account for the reducing sugars needed for a Maillard reaction. Model 10 (August 2015), proposing that the TS image was imprinted with white wheaten flour, with a second step of thermal development of the imprint in a hot oven, provided what I now regard as the solution that ticks many, many boxes, indeed perhaps all (while stressing that no scientific model can ever be assumed to provide the whole answer).

    Expect then a new posting on December 30th, my 5th anniversary so to speak, setting out the thought processes and experimental findings that led from Model 1 through to Model 10. Merry Christmas one and all, true-believers and fellow-sceptics alike…

  46. Colin Berry says:

    Well now Steve, you’ve kinda confirmed what I’ve long suspected, namely, that for some, yourself included if I’m not mistaken, John Chapter 3, v16 is not just a promise of everlasting life (a reward for unquestioning faith) but of eternal damnation if one declines to accept the cleverly-worded Godfather-like offer, allegedly from On High, that must not under any circumstances be refused.

    This free-spirit will take his chances on self-liberated free-thinking, if it’s all the same to you… The important thing is to live one’s earthly life to the full, making the most of one’s talents, whether God-given or a mere accident of chromosomal recombination, recalling that one’s Mum and Dad each carry a lot of DNA baggage from their Mum and Dad, etc etc… We are all of us accidents of nature… correction, for better or for worse, unique accidents of nature…

    • Steve says:

      Well Collin Berry,

      As God has warned some shall make it by the skin of there teeth.The bible aso warns as you get older your heart will be so harden that there will be no return.As in alot of us I would prefer to do what Moses did and get so flat to the ground that I sink in it to as to be as humble and loyal to God as I can.For I fear Gods wrath but I know he loves me.Knowing God and Jesus make me Rejoice because I know he’s real.Hallelujah

      • Colin Berry says:

        My interest in the Shroud has nothing whatsoever to do with the existence or otherwise of God (my views on that being formed half a century ago while Chairman of my University Humanist Group).

        They have everything to do with a newspaper report that appeared at the tail end of 2011, followed approximately a year later by this published paper, appearing under the auspices of an Italian government laboratory:

        At the time, I took on trust the claim that the body Image on the Shroud is a mere 200nm thick, confined to the outermost primary cell wall of the flax/linen fibre.

        I now believe that claim to be a total falsehood, one that has its origins in a non-journal published pdf from STURP’s Raymond N.Rogers. In it he claimed that because bleaching the body image fibres with diimide leaves no visible damage on the linen fibres, ipso facto the image must reside on an outer (“impurity” ) layer, different from intrinsic carbohydrate constituents.

        Click to access rogers5faqs.pdf

        I challenged that conclusion way back in 2013, stating it to be faulty logic (see under my critique of Rogers’ response to “FAQ12”) but having no alternative mechanism at that time by which to explain the effect of diimide. (Ignore the fact that I was also toying with the PCW as the site of the image chromophore, at a time when I was defending Model 2 i.e. direct scorching off a heated template, now long abandoned on practical grounds ).

        I discovered one in 2015, which I now call Model 10 (flour imprinting off a human body, followed by second stage thermal development). I believe that diimide bleaches melanoidins that have penetrated the SCW core of fibres by virtue of being briefly liquid (at elevated temperature). I believe the TS to be a simulated sweat imprint of medieval provenance from a mock-up of Joseph of Arimathea’s “fine linen” used to transport the crucified Jesus from cross to tomb. No, it was not intended to represent the final burial shroud with late-acquired body image. The term “shroud” is dangerously ambiguous, if assumed to be a burial shroud. It was intended to be seen as a transport ‘shroud’, better still “body bag” in modern-day parlance.

        • Steve says:

          Yes back in the day of Dastardly people they where conjuring up on how to trick people into believing that Jesus Was wrapped in this cloth.It was just that important to make these people think this is what Jesus was wrapped in.And this was to make people do what ?…People that go on refusing,and deny deny deny and will never face the truth.There will always be non belivers just like in the days of Noah.How sad indeed to miss out on the Kingdom of Heaven because some people are smarter than God.Satin is doing a Great Job on talking to people though.And there listening !

  47. Why viewers still use to read news papers when in this technological globe everything is accessible on net?

    • Steve says:

      Hi all believers and non believers,

      Did you ever notice in a thunderstorm if a lightening bolt hits close to you it throws a pretty big scare into you.What does it take for people to open there eyes to the creator Of our universe and us.All the storys thats in the bible to give us warning and still some are so bold to turn the back on God and Jesus.I ask myself sometime why did God the creator of us come to save his creation.All I can say is thank you Noah.God now knows after becoming one of us why we are the way we are.No wonder why he has so much mercy on us.After God came to be one of us they called him Jesus.To me thats a much Easier way tell people about God and how our creator loves us.He became one of us to better understand how this body thinks ,feels and acts to others.All people need to do is give God a chance and all that entails is for you to try talking to him.Try getting a realationship with God but talking to him when you get ready for bed just talk to him.Tell him your problems or whatever is on your mind.God is there and wants us to know he loves us.He knows how you feel now and wants to let you know he died for us to give us life after death.Jesus wasn’t some kind of trick he was God.The Shroud is to make you open your eyes to what Jesus looked like.To me he looked like a very wise man.And I leave you with this.The main reason I know Jesus was the real deal is that is the same man I had seen in the flesh.And ask yourself how many people have seen Jesus and why was this allowed.Im your wittness !

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