What’s Dan Porter up to these days (Christmas 2016, 1 year after finally closing his Shroud of Turin blog)?

Hello again folks. Here’s an email that I sent yesterday under the title “Anniversaries”  to Dan Porter, host of the high profile but now sadly lapsed shroudstory site.  What’s he been up to I wondered?


Dan Porter, cropped archive picture (2004)

Hello again Dan

I’ve been racking my brains as to what to say on the 5th anniversary of my entry to Shroud research (Dec 30, 2011). I then discovered that today is the first anniversary of your bowing out (Dec 28, 2015). Certainly no one has taken your place, as some commentators on my site have stated – which is a great shame – even if we didn’t always see eye to eye.

So how’s life been treating you down there in the Deep South?  I trust you and your wife are both keeping well, and enjoying your new-found release from the time-consuming internet.

Dare one ask whether you have followed developments these last 12 months,  not that there’s much to report, at least from my own perspective? For my part I have simply been dotting i’s and crossing t’s on my Model 10 (flour-imprinting/heat development of a migratory liquid exudate)  convinced now that it’s the most probable one. No one, not even ThibaultH has tried to shoot it down – which paradoxically is the problem.  Science thrives on opposition. What does one do when the opposition fails to appear?

Any thoughts to offer, especially ones I might post on the 30th?



Letchworth Garden City, Herts, UK


And here,  I’m pleased to say, is Dan’s prompt reply, which was waiting for me this afternoon on returning from grandfatherly duties. It sound like all is well in the now essentially de-Shrouded  Porter household, indeed hunky-dory.

Hello Colin.  How nice to hear from you.  Wow: has it only been a year since I retired my blog?  I don’t feel a year older. In fact, I feel years younger since I stopped arguing about the Shroud.  Maybe, somehow, that piece of cloth does have miraculously curative powers if we just leave it alone. Or maybe it’s the Deep South, where I now live, that cures the body and the soul. After all, it is but a two hour drive from here to where Ponce de Leon found his Fountain of Youth in 1531.

Here, in the lowcountry — yes that is how they write it; why waste time and space to interrupt the flow of two words that describe this place both physically and as an way of life. It is a land of marsh grasses so thick and expansive that they hide the water from the land except at high tide. (“There’s a river in there somewhere,” they say.) Twice a day the tide rises up eight feet, a height that would have bowled over even Leonardo da Vinci. Even with GPS units, it challenges shrimp boat captains finding their way to their floating docks. On some of the barrier islands that stand between the “off-island” and the sea the locals schedule church services by tide tables. Without a bridge to get to the church it is all about when you can tie-up, hear a sermon, have a tall glass of iced sweet tea, and get home before getting stuck in a mud flat. 
In many ways the deep south is as I imagine it was in the 1950s, but with a veneer of modernity — you can speed down an unpaved route at seventy miles an hour with your kids hanging on for their lives in the back of an open-air  pickup truck so long as you’re not texting or tweeting.  Jim Crow of the last century is gone. That’s good.  And so are many of the other patterns of intolerance now gone. That’s good, as well. But vestiges remain in the odious “yessuh”s from the proprietors of roadside fish stands and in those occasional acts of hate that CNN likes to talk about. It is getting better, however. 
When I moved down here, I thought about giving lectures about the shroud. But I found out quickly that most lowcountry people don’t care all that much about it. Down here you don’t look for proof for your faith — well, maybe some do. The members of snake handler churches are a vivid exception. 
I spend my time on other things.  I’m on the board of our local meals on wheels organization. The need is great.  It keeps me quite busy. My wife and I also volunteer to help care for some horses that are part of an outdoor lowcountry museum. We are both involved in our church. And I’m learning to cook “lowcountry.” For instance, Gullah Gumbo: you start with a lowcountry roux made from flour and butter and a fair measure of bacon fat and you stir it over a stove until it gets nice and brown and aromatic.Then you add the vegetables and shrimp.  Why does this remind me of your endeavors to recreate the shroud image? A flour roux!
By not thinking much about the Shroud I haven’t changed my mind about it. I still think it is probably real even if the scientific and historical data is not robust enough to sustain that position.  You know I don’t put much stock in miraculous snap, crackle and pop byproducts of resurrection just as I don’t buy into the manmade ideas.  There is just something out there that we are all missing.  
The lowcountry deep south is a good place to retire.  While not exactly like feeding the ducks in St. James Park, London, we can sit on an upside down lard bucket beside the river and feed the alligators (but watch your feet). 
This is my contribution to your anniversary, a little late but that is how we do it in the deep south.  Thanks for thinking about me.  Keep going, Colin.  Maybe you will make the breakthrough we are all waiting for.


Thanks for taking the trouble to reply in so full and friendly a manner, Dan. You  clearly have and indeed deserve a life outside of that compelling  and indeed still enigmatic artefact that has taken over so many other lives.

For my part, I believe my Model 10, the result of 5 years hands on experimentation, IS the one that explains the curious one-off aspects of the Shroud – the negative image, the so-called 3D properties, the superficiality, the digitized fibre coloration (aka half tone effect) and image discontinuities etc etc. But few it seems are listening, with the notable exception over the years of a handful of supportive visitors to this site. The  closeted self-absorbed  “Shroud Science Group” seems intent on looking the the other way. Why might that be I wonder?  Might attempts on my part and others at de-mystification be the problem? Clearly there is a problem, one of communication – correction, non-communication –  which sets Shroud so-called “science” apart from all other branches of science.

Colin Berry (MSc, PhD).


Update: Dec 30, 2016

Yup, that second anniversary arrived, as flagged up already. It was 5 years to the day I did my very first  Shroud posting – since followed by at least 350!



It was my immediate response to Paolo Di Lazzaro’s ‘pulsed uv excimer-generated laser’ model – to show how an IMAGE (not just brown coloration) could be left on linen if one supplied not just a source of radiation, but a carefully chosen imprinting agent that was capable of absorbing that radiation. The source of radiation was not  the man-made generator of coherent light that we call a laser, least of all one that produced energy in a tiny part of the em spectrum, i.e. uv light. It was a plain old electric light bulb, emitting ‘broadband’ visible and infrared radiation, not dissimilar from the glowing embers of a charcoal fire.

But unlike laser technologists who seem to imagine that their pulses of high energy radiation somehow remove them from the obligations of the First Law of Photochemistry, namely that for a browning or any other PHOTOCHEMICAL reaction to occur, there has initially to be ABSORPTION of the radiation (inc. laser radiation)  by one or more  chromophores that NEEDS TO BE IDENTIFIED AND SPECIFIED (PDL overlooked to tell us – at least initially – what his chromophore was, and indeed suggested improbably it was plain old cellulose of linen!), I put MY absorbing chromophore at the front of the blogging shop window. It was a thin slurry of wood charcoal, deployed as paint (or printer’s ink). Yes, I would paint and later imprint the word TURIN onto linen with the charcoal slurry, leave it to dry, then bring up close to an electric light bulb, then wait until I could see smoke, as the energized charcoal began to scorch the surrounding linen, then wash out the charcoal to be left with…  yes, an IMAGE!!!!


Left: TURIN written onto linen with charcoal slurry. Right: the same after irradiation from the incandescent filament of an electric light bulb, followed by washing out the radiation-trapping agent. Who would have guessed that plain old charcoal had been used to make the final diffuse Shroud-like coloration?


The ‘thermostencilling’ model above was never seriously considered as the means by which the real Shroud was produced, regardless of historical era. It was intended more by way of riposte to those who seemed to be attempting  to further mystify the Shroud’s origins by making recourse to a 20th century, entirely man-made form of radiation, with no evidence it exists anywhere else in the Universe,  casually deploying it as a handy off-your-employer’s -shelf proxy for a miraculous flash of radiation in a 1st century tomb. The description in the Independent’s article, 20 Dec, 2011  of that Italian team of laser technologists as SCIENTISTS, working after hours with their Governmental employer’s (ENEA) hardware supplied by the long-suffering Italian taxpayer, as SCIENTISTS,  did not help either.


Independent, Dec 20, 2011

There was nothing at all scientific at how those lasers were deployed, and matters have scarcely improved since  one has to say. What we saw back in December 2011 was a  blatant publicity stunt with pseudoscience posturing as real science, with the aim of mystifying. That Di Lazzaro’s work should have been publicized under the ENEA  logo, giving it an implicit  Italian governmental seal of approval’ was a sad, sad day for Italian science.

Needless to say, it is not the aim of science to mystify, nor to pander to any kind of yearning for mystery by impressionable members of society at large. One does not produce a faint discoloration of linen, then tout it as a model for the Turin Shroud image, when there’s in fact no image at all (as  STURP/STERA’s Barrie M.Schwortz to his credit pointed out  at the time, despite his own spasmodic attempts on other occasions to mystify or otherwise overhype other intriguing aspects of the Shroud).

At a casual first glance, Model 1 from end-2011, dubbed  ‘thermostencilling’ with charcoal , may seem a world away from the Model 10 from summer 2015, which I loosely  and provisionally describe as ‘flour-imprinting’. In fact the two are uncannily similar in principle and indeed practice.

Both employ an external adjuvant as thermo-sensitizer (the components of linen being remarkably resistant to high temperatures – only starting to discolor at or near 200 degrees C, and then only slowly, provided acids or alkalis are excluded). In both instances, the adjuvant is, or can be, deployed as an imprinting medium, one moreover that can be applied to any 3D entity, a cooperative human subject included, then draping with linen, pressing firmly onto the more accessible relief so as to leave a CONTACT imprint. In both instances, it is the imprint that is selectively coloured by exposure to an EXTERNAL source of energy – visible light/infrared radiation in the case of thermostencilling, convected warm air inside a heated oven in the case of  flour-imprinting. Finally, in both instances, the linen is washed with soap and  water, to leave just the residual faint Shroud-like image, leaving no visual clues as the crucial role played by the external adjuvant deployed in creating that image.

So what was this investigator’s most significant discovery in 2016, the one most in need of being trumpeted abroad, shaking if need be the very foundations of rickety sindonology?

It was this, from the late Dorothy Crispino, someone whose writings I have enormous respect (see previous posting from this time last year). I have quoted just a short passage, one that deals with the aftermath of the 1532  Chambery fire, necessitating those  unsighpatches added a couple of years later by the Poor Clare Nuns. One word, yes, just one, has been been given emphasis you will not find in Crispino’s article, or indeed anywhere else for that matter, bar this site:


Chambéry, 1534



In April of 1534, Pope Clement VII sent his envoy, Louis Cardinal Gorrevod, to make an official recognition of the Shroud and have it repaired. Card. Gorrevod knew the Shroud well. For over four decades, he had been intimately associated with the Savoy family, and profoundly devoted to the Shroud. Many times, his hands had held it at expositions and ceremonies. It was he who first suggested that the image was formed by sweat and blood.

It is that word alone which, in the context of the radiocarbon dating (1260-1390), pointing to medieval ‘forgery’ explains why the Shroud image has the properties of a CONTACT IMPRINT (though one could be forgiven for not realizing that from a casual look at most of the past and present sindonological literature , the latter being  generally quick, some might think indecently quick,  to disabuse the reader of any notion that the Shroud image could be anything so crude and banal as a mere body imprint, when there are far, FAR more divinely-inspired alternatives on offer, notably those “flashes of radiation”, those corona discharges, those releases of neutrons from the earthquake-disturbed bowels of the Palestinian earth etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc….).

Think contact imprints. Think simulated sweat imprint (thank you Cardinal Gorrevod). Think thermosensitive coatings that might be used to simulate sweat imprints, with a brief oven-heating step to produce a yellow or brown coloration, simulating the effect of 13 centuries of ageing…

So, in conclusion, the one article of faith required in order to see the logic of ‘flour-imprinting’ is that the TS body image is a SIMULATED SWEAT/BLOOD imprint.  It was intended to trump the  celebrated Veil of Veronica, popularly assumed in legend at least also to be a sweat imprint (though not excluding subsequent enhancements via divine agency to make  the facial image more appealing, at least if artists of the period are to be believed, that artefact having subsequently been lost or destroyed). What’s more the TS simulation had a degree of biblical authority if seen as representing NOT the final burial shroud as so many folk imagine or simply presume (almost certainty wrongly) but Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’ intended simply for transport of a naked crucified body from cross to tomb. Thus we have the ‘logic’ of an UNWASHED body taken straight from cross to linen. Thus we have the logic of the deposition of both frontal and dorsal side images separated by a small distance, consistent with the single sheet of linen being used in ‘up-and-over’ mode, and indeed purposely designed as such to convey instantly to the awe-struck pilgrim that the image was NOT a mere painting as some misguided modern era folk would have us believe but the actual bodily imprint of the crucified Jesus. Thus we have the logic for developing a novel single-use only technology, to avoid sceptics instantly dismissing it as just a variant on this or that. In fact the technology was probably not entirely novel. As suggested previously, it owes much to ‘invisible ink’, with the difference that milk, lemon juice or even Pliny era spurge sap was replaced with finely powdered white flour, used in conjunction with a smear of oil on the body, and wet linen.  Thus the logic of Geoffroy de Charny, Lord of Lirey,  having founded and staffed a ‘private’ chapel (with a line of credit from his fellow Order of the Star – the King no less-  that being the  knightly workshop  in which the project was developed under total secrecy, the technology never being released into the public domain (had that happened, the Shroud would never have acquired its present status as ‘unsolved’ enigma).

We also have the logic for that peculiar chain-like motif in the dorsal image which Wilson describes as the ‘blood belt’, to which the Poor Clare nun quoted earlier made reference to, thinking, mistakenly  I consider, that a  chain was  used to secure to the column used for  Pilate’s initial scourging (1st century  true-to-the-bible scenario needless to say).  No, it was more probably  an ingenious detail introduced by the 14th century simulators, one that could receive verbal reinforcement to further authenticate the Shroud as J of A’s linen used in transport mode. How? Carrying a grown man on a stretcher for any distance, especially across rough ground, can be hard work, even for 2 bearers. Suppose there were 4? How could the extra two be used? Answer – by positioning them left and right, each gripping one end of a chain that was slung beneath the body at waist level. The blood from the lance wound, collecting in the small of the back when the body is horizontal (as distinct from vertically on the cross) would then allow the links of the chain to leave a distinctive blood motif on the linen.

I say I have solved the enigma. Whether folk choose to accept my narrative or not is entirely up to them. All is ask is that they suspend judgement initially, and attempt to forget most if not all of what they have heard from the majority of sindonologists who have one or other axe to grind (like an aversion to unsentimental secular science and its practitioners!).

It’s taken 10 models over the course of 5 years to arrive at the above conclusion. So far, I’ve discussed today just the first and last. In the next posting I’ll briefly review the intervening 8, with the lessons learned along the way. There will be occasional mentions too of the serial interventions from the big beasts of sindonology, much of which is summed up in two words – faux authority.

New Year’s Eve Brainwave!

There’s a particular feature on the dorsal side of the Turin Shroud, one that is also represented  VERY PROMINENTLY (some might think too prominently!) on the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge.



It’s one I now firmly believe  was put there very carefully and deliberately by the 14th century fabricators of the Turin Shroud for a very specific purpose – namely to signal that the linen with the body imprint in sweat and blood was NOT the final burial shroud. It was the cross-to-tomb transport shroud (J of A’s fine linen) which preceded it. It was important to make that distinction. Why? Because the burial clothes left in the tomb post the biblical account of the Resurrection featured a separate face cloth, making it impossible to have both body and facial imprint on the same piece of fabric!

Teaser:  what is/was the feature that was deliberately introduced to make the crucial distinction between transport shroud and burial shroud? Clue, not that any should be needed: the answer has already been given – in yesterday’s instalment to this posting! 4-5  years ago,  that same ‘over-exaggerated’ feature on the Lirey badge set this blogger off on a wild goose chase! Don’t ask…

Jan 1, 2017

Happy New Year folks. I’ve just completed the first of two New Year’s resolutions as regards this site. The first is to get rid of the tagline next to the site’s title, and place it under my mugshot instead. There’s now a new tagline which is this current posting’s title. When there’s a new posting, the tagline will again be replaced with the new title. Why? It’s to do with Google listings. When Google spots a new posting  under a simple (shroud of turin) search, it displays one’s site title and then the first words it finds after the title. If the first words are one’s recurrent unchanging tagline, then the surfer never gets to see the title of one’s new posting!   The whole point of setting up a blog (webLOG!) is then lost – one is denied the means of displaying one’s current “headline. Now surfers will  get to see the current topic of interest, in this instance news of Dan Porter, currently Page 3 of (shroud of turin) listings for google.uk (goodness knows where on Stateside google.com).

NB: It will probably be a few days before Google displays the new tagline/title. That lag is an irritation, but that’s sadly something not under this or any other blogger’s control.

Have now done some further tweaking on the site’s title and tagline/headline. See above.

(Update:5th Jan. The new format for this site’s Google listing has finally appeared after the predicted lag. Sadly it came too late for this ‘Dan Porter posting’ to be flagged up, finally arriving this morning briefly with the following, see below, i.e. the latest posting,  then reverting to old format for a few hours, then re-appearing…)


New format Google listing, 5th Jan, 2017, currently Page 3 of returns under a search (shroud of turin).




Second News Year Resolution – to give up on sindonology, even as an associate  fringe member espousing non-authenticity views. Sindonology is a closed fraternity, intolerant, indeed deeply hostile towards  non-authenticity views. So this type of blog – detailing a  month-by-month, year-by-year learning curve of thinking and research is doomed to failure. It will simply be ignored, and fail to get much above page 3 of Google listings (and even that is not guaranteed).

Answer: calling on help from a family expert (my eldest son)  it’s time to create a professional-looking website, with lots of tabs, packed with bags of detailed information. An up-market,  quasi-academic  site, certainly – but with a difference. There will be no references/links to published academic papers on the Shroud  that are behind a paywall. It will contain links to open-access publications only. Thank you to Adrie van der Hoeven, Paolo Di Lazzaro, Hugh Farey, Thibault Heimburger and others for showing the way…

Time scale? Probably months rather than weeks, but I have a clear idea as to how the site should look and function.




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

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