Might those be flecks of congealed wheat gluten one sees on the Turin Shroud? Evidence for unique one-off white flour imprinting?

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). 


Shroud Scope:  vertical face-only image (chosen for maximal resolution) after applying additional contrast in MS Office Picture Manager. What are the solid flecks, both on and off the body image?

So what are those flecks (circled?). Read on for a possible answer, one that is TESTABLE, given (hopefully) cooperation from the Turin custodians and the Vatican.

Late addition: here’s a ‘clean’ view of the lower half of the above field at maximum magnification in Shroud Scope (see blue scale on left):

top mag 2 right half face, -25,85,25,100.png

Again, note the abundance of red-brown flecks, especially numerous on, but not exclusive to, the more heavily imprinted  areas (nose, cheek, upper lip).  “Homogeneous body image” as so often stated? Hardly. Traces of imprinting medium (roasted flour)?

Introduction to those visiting this site for the first time: based on some 5 years of almost non-stop, hands-on research this retired biochemist has finally, with his ‘Model 10’ provided an explanation for the  ‘enigmatic’ Shroud of Turin double- body image. I believe it to be a flour-imprint taken from one (or more probably two) human volunteers that was oven-roasted to produce a surface encrustation of yellow or brown Maillard reaction products, aka melanoidins. (See Appendix for a list of the 9 models that preceded Model 10).

What was the aim? It was an attempt by a medieval French knight (Geoffroy de Charny, Lord of Lirey), a close associate of his monarch King John the Good (both founders of the short-lived Order of the Star) probably using de Charny’s hired clerics in his private Lirey  (King-financed) chapel to  simulate an ancient (“newly discovered”)  body image of the crucified Jesus in sweat and blood onto an imagined  facsimile of Joseph of Arimathea’s “fine linen”.

The linen was then vigorously washed, leaving mainly BUT NOT EXCLUSIVELY a faint, fuzzy ghost image.  This investigator believes  the latter to have been formed by a coloured cocktail of LIQUID exudation products  released at high temperature that seeped/migrated from the encrustation into the most superficial surface fibres – and narrow channels between those fibres. But that does not account for the ‘bittiness’ that one sees above under high magnification, i..e. of  randomly scattered fine particulate material. What might those particles represent? Might they provide an important clue as to the mechanism of imprinting, specifically the nature of the man-made imprinting agent?

See the banner on this site, showing a roasted flour imprint from a plastic figurine before and after that final washing. It’s quite difficult, in fact, to remove all traces of the solid surface encrustation so as to leave just the fuzzy ghost image. It requires a vigorous scouring action of one surface against another, with lots of soap and water. Yes, I too have examples in my archive of  image-imprinted linen of adhering particles of   proteinaceous wheat gluten. Why do I say “gluten”? There’s a simple experiment that can be done with flour dough to get acquainted with the peculiar properties of gluten, the major storage protein of wheat.

Mix up some white flour and water in a bowl to get a stiff dough. Then take a fistful, and knead under water. Watch the water go cloudy as the starch granules are washed out.

(See technical appendix with photos at end for details).

Finally one is left with a rubbery, water-insoluble ball of wheat gluten, comprising mainly protein. It’s a highly unusual protein on account of its viscoelastic properties, allowing it to trap CO2 and air bubbles from yeast fermenation during baking to get a well-risen loaf etc.  So if one uses white wheaten flour as an imprinting agent with the deliberate aim of developing colour in the oven as a consequence of Maillard reactions between reducing sugars and proteins, then at the final washing stage one can expect  any unchanged starch and soluble proteins to be washed out of the reaction mixture, but appreciable amounts unchanged (or partially modified) gluten to remain attached to the fabric, being hard to dislodge. So my money is on those flecks in the above photograph being mainly gluten. How could one test whether or not those flecks on the Shroud really are gluten?

Wheat gluten has a preponderance of proline and glutamic acid residues, i.e. amino acids in peptide linkage, so all one has to do is ‘hoover’ the surface of the Shroud, harvesting surface particles for analysis. In fact, that was done (controversially) at the start of the millennium. I’m not certain if the Durante photograph from Shroud Scope above was taken before or after hoovering. Irrespective one has to hope that the surface detritus that I ascribe to gluten is still there for analysis, or if not, has been retained (I seem to recall there being some suggestion that was the case).

For ‘hoovering’ there’s a handy gizmo whose technical name I’ve forgotten that I used to use as a  photochemical ‘bilirubinologist’ back in the early 1970’s It’s a glass bulb with an internal fritted glass disc that acts as trap for fine particles. One end is connected to a vacuum line, the other is open and bevelled to allow it to be used as a vacuum attachment.

So one hoovers up those flecks, one then hydrolyses any trapped protein down to free amino acids which can then be identified with a suitably sensitive chromatographic procedure. Note that recovery via ‘hoovering’ is essentially non-destructive. All that’s needed now is an invitation to scientific specialists like myself with an interest in the Shroud to make a return visit to Turin,  STURP Mk2. This time the team should travel not just with high-tech equipment  but with ideas, with hypotheses (and I don’t mean that dreary ‘just a painting’ hypothesis which should have been consigned to the rubbish bin as soon as Adler and Heller discovered the image was bleachable with diimide, meaning it was organic (i.e. carbon-based), not red ochre or some other solid artist’s pigment).

Is there any evidence from the historical record that the Shroud has ever been exposed to a vigorous washing procedure (whether accurately recorded or not)? Yes. See this entry provided by Ian Wilson for the history section on shroud.com:

April 14, 1503 Good Friday: Exposition of the Shroud at Bourg-en-Bresse for Archduke Philip the Handsome, grand-master of Flanders, on his return from a journey to Spain. The Shroud, which has been specially brought from Chambéry, with great ceremony, by Duke Philibert of Savoy and Duchess Marguerite, is exposed on an altar in one of the great halls of the Duke’s palace. Savoy courtier Antoine de Lalaing records of the events of that day: “The day of the great and holy Friday, the Passion was preached in Monsignor’s chapel by his confessor, the duke and duchess attending. Then they went with great devotion to the market halls of the town, where a great number of people heard the Passion preached by a Cordeilier. After that three bishops showed to the public the Holy Shroud of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and after the service it was shown in Monsignor’s chapel.” Lalaing adds that the Shroud’s authenticity has been confirmed by its having been tried by fire, boiled in oil, laundered many times ‘but it was not possible to efface or remove the imprint and image.’

What about higher magnifcation photomicrographs. like those taken in 1978 by STURP’s Mark Evans (released into the public domain much later via the good offices of Thibault Heimburger).

Here one has to beware. It would be all too easy to claim that any solid particle represented this or that (e.g. e.g. travertine aragonite, specific we’re told to Palestine etc etc). Let’s not go down that road. To qualify as a possible fleck of gluten, a close companion of a Maillard body image, was must rigorously exclude anything that looks too angular, like a mineral particle, or the wrong colour (grey,  black etc). So one’s basically looking for flecks that are are the same colour as the body image, maybe more intense, and essentially gummy and amorphous in appearance, i.e. non-angular. With those qualifications, once can indeed see presumptive evidence for the presence of what I have described as ‘gluten flecks’ in at least one of the limited number of fields presented in the Heimburger monograph. I have labelled them this time with yellow rectangles.


Have I been selective in my reporting? It was after all a higher resolution face-only view from Shroud Scope. It was after all the best of the few Mark Evans photomicrographs available online.

Late insertion (Jan 8): I had deliberately excluded a second image from Thibault Heimburger’s pdf with a selection from Evans/STERA collection – taken from the nose area – feeling it did not fully meet my own strict criteria for deciding which flecks could be gluten as distinct from mere ‘dirt’ etc. However, I have just discovered the same image on Barrie M.Schwortz’s gallery of pictures from the 78 STURP visit to Turin. Here are the two side by side, Thibault’s first.


Not only are the ‘bits’ more easily visible on the right (the image having greater colour saturation at least) but appear confined largely to particular image-bearing zones. That picture on the right I consider to be of MAJOR IMPORTANCE, were there to be more like it, maybe not yet in the public domain. Why? Because it suggests strongly that whatever the image-forming mechanism, it deposited not just  evenly-distributed straw-colour chemicals to the linen, but PARTICULATE material too. That could well provide a major  clue as to imprinting technology, namely that the imprinting medium was itself particulate, or partly so. My Model 10 specifies the nature of those particles – namely plain white flour – while requiring the presence of two liquids as well – vegetable oil as agent assisting adhesion to skin,  and water  as agent assisting transfer of flour from skin to linen.

See Technical Appendix 4 to see my attempt to further improve the visibility of those flecks on the Evans ‘tip of nose’  body image

Next step – in order to allay suspicions of selectivity – not unknown in sindonology –  was to go back to Shroud Scope, and select, almost at random, two close-up views of the legs at approx knee level (give or take), one frontal, one dorsal, both taken from the lower resolution whole body image.They were then magnified (thanks Mario) and then given extra contrast in MS Office Picture Manager. Both fields I’m relieved to say (reporting as I do in real time, stream-of-consciousness style) gave an abundance of those gummy red-brown ‘gluten flecks’ as I believe they are, based  on 5 years of experimental model building.

(Late note: Any  reference made to colour, e.g. “red-brown” as in the preceding sentence is of course to screen colour only, not actual real-life colour as would be seen if the Shroud were to be viewed in daylight. I shall be adding another technical note to the Appendix in the next day or two on the subject of screen colour, and how (and why!) it changes when one adjusts contrast (especially) in one’s photoediting program.)


Shroud Scope, added contrast, frontal Durante, knee/thigh region. Note abundant ‘dark blobs’ not only in image region, but intervening gap region too (light vertical band).


As above, but dorsal view, Shroud Scope Durante, at shin level. Again, note the abundant scattering of dark blobs, ascribed here to ‘gluten flecks’ that failed to be washed out from a roasted flour imprint by virtue of their stickiness and insolubility in water.

OK. So let’s summarize, shall we? The Shroud of Turin body image, and indeed surrounding areas, is not just the faint, fuzzy, homogenous image as commonly stated. It’s in fact highly heterogeneous, with tiny scattered blobs of a material roughly the same colour as the image itself. No one to the best of my knowledge has commented on it previously, far less attempted to explain it.

I  say those blobs represent insoluble gummy wheat gluten, remnants from a flour-imprinted/heat developed image.  It failed to wash out  completely in the final image-attenuation step, one using vigorous abrasive washing with soap and water in an attempt to dislodge a surface encrustation. The latter was intended by Lirey’s team of medieval knight-employed cleric/artisans  to leave just a faint fuzzy ‘ghost’ image, one that could be passed off as a yellowing centuries-old, sweat-imprint of the crucified Jesus onto Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’ in transit from cross to tomb.

It was, quite simply, the most brilliantly conceived and executed confidence trick in history, one that has stood up to decades of detailed scientific exploration. But the latter was generally not model-driven, bar some attempts by a handful of folk like myself (Sam Pellicori, Luigi Garlaschelli, Joe Accetta etc).   Yup, where others lead, I have simply followed.  In the case of STURP it relied too much on modern instrumentation, with scarcely anything by way of new ideas.  Indeed, there is evidence  with the 34-strong mainly US-based STURP team of too much agenda-driven,  authenticity-promoting “science”.

It’s time to call time on the supposed ‘enigmatic’ Shroud of Turin. It is not enigmatic, merely ingenious (with technology developed and subsequently well-protected by a Templar-like elitist order centred on a medieval monarch  – John II (The Good) of France and his close-knit entourage of knightly associates, all sharing a highly developed religiously-disposed mindset and mission).

Yes, one could loosely describe the Shroud of Turin as a “forgery”. But knowing as little we do about the motives of its 14th century fabricators, notably the highest in the land, it might be better to regard it as least provisionally as an imaginative reconstruction of  a bodily imprint, namely of the crucified Jesus of Nazareth no less, on Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen, used to receive the body from the cross, for transport to the tomb.

Whether intended as the final burial shroud, or serving as such, is a matter of speculation, though the account of the final Gospel (John) would suggest it had been replaced by fresh linen “clothes” (plural) Gk. othonia, with a separate facecloth.

I do not believe the Shroud of Turin to be authentic, but instead a 14th century simulation  of a bodily imprint of the crucified Jesus onto J of A’s linen.  Call it a fake or hoax if you wish. I prefer to keep an open mind as to motive.

But I’m always receptive to new ideas. So let’s be hearing those genuine new and original ideas, whether pro- or  anti-authenticity.  Shame then that receptiveness to new ideas can never be said  to define most modern-day sindonologists, determined as most of them are to push their pro-authenticity agenda,  never missing an opportunity to promote their mystique- engendering pseudoscience.

Technical section

Technical appendix 1: wheat gluten isolation by simple water-washing of flour dough.


Approx 240 g of stiff flour dough was weighed (left), then kneaded thoroughly under water with several changes to wash out the starch granules (note cloudy wash water). The final mass of sticky wheat gluten was reweighed (lower right) . It was approx.25% of the original, as is, but containing as it does far more water, a more accurate figure, measured on a dry weight basis, would have been approx. 12% or less of the original. In short, despite the above appearances, gluten is a minor constituent of white flour, the major one being starch (typically 80% approx).

Technical appendix 2: photoediting technique. Contrast/colour changes, with no new  imaging artefacts


Real straw, with improvements in contrast from left to right using a  commercial photoediting program.

What colour is the body image on the Shroud? Answer – anyone’s guess, except for the privileged few who have seen it with their own eyes.  Even then the colour seen may be misleading if seen under artificial rather than natural daylight.

Yes, we’re told the colour is “straw”, though quite what that means is anyone’s guess. Pale yellow? Yellow with a hint of grey or brown? Who knows?  One could go to the site of STURP’s Documenting Photographer – Barrie M.Schwortz – and look at the photograph he uses as his banner. Yellow? Pale yellow?  Certainly not a pure yellow, more a yellowish-greyish-brown, not unlike a picture of real straw I found on internet image files, shown above “as is” (first on left).

But if one’s looking for the fine detail within an image, especially magnified images where there begins to be a loss of resolution, then colour/hue is no longer of paramount interest. It’s contrast that becomes important, with the important proviso that any changes one makes to contrast (which I’ll define later in RGB terms) do not generate image artefacts.

In fact they don’t – as shown in the 4 pictures of real straw above. There’s a steady improvement in contrast as one goes from left to right, admittedly with artefactual colour changes for which no apology is made or is necessary, becoming progressively more yellow, but with NO NEW IMAGE ARTEFACTS.

Picture 2, 2nd from left,  is what one sees when applying Autocorrect in my MS Office Picture Manager.

Picture 3, third from left,  used the settings that I reported here well over  4 years ago when restoring contrast to Mario Latendresse’s Shroud Scope images (-7,100,15 is Brightness, Contrast and Midtone value respectively).

Picture 4, furthest right,  uses (-25, 85,25,100), i.e. Brightness, Contrast, Midtone and a 4th control that selectively lightens the lighter tones.

This investigator now has to refresh his memory on what he discovered and reported in late summer, 2015, when exploring changes in RGB composition that accompanied changes in contrast. See tail end of posting, where this graphic appeared:

pie chart

Highly schematic representation of what decreasing contrast does in terms of total RGB value (max 255,255,255) and % composition. Reducing contrast reduces total (R+G+B) and produces a strictly unit-for-unit shift from (R+G) to blue, which is equivalent to yellow to blue in additive colour mixing.


Left: additive mixing of computer screen red and green (as  light-emitting pixels, note, not absorbing pigments) gives YELLOW. Right: contrariwise, mixing of light-ABSORBING pigments works by a different principle, i.e. one of subtractive mixing, where red and green do NOT combine to form yellow, but become black due to total light absorption.

The first of the two colour graphics above was intended to show what happens to RGB balance and final additive colour/hue when one reduces contrast. Read from right to left for what happens when contrast is INCREASED. In essence, the contrast changes with coloured images  involves some intermediate hues becoming more blue, and other more yellow (red+ green in additive colour mixing).

Appendix 3: here’s the full list of the 10 models I have tested since December 2011, as promised in previous posting:

1. Thermostencilling ( the one and only radiation model, quickly dismissed as impractical).

See this from Dec 2011:

2. Scorching off a heated metal template, with nothing else apart from linen. (Finally abandoned for mainly practical reasons, but it gave valuable insights into the 3D properties of thermal imprints).

See this from Nov 2013.

3. As above, with coatings, notably white flour (a forerunner of the final Model 10). I had initially tested starch, glucose etc , surprisingly with little success. it may have been this which sowed the idea that there needed to be something else present. Ray Rogers’ focus on Maillard reactions helped, substituting protein for his volatile putrefaction amines.

See this from Oct 2014:

4. Wet imprinting with natural dyes, notably tannins, with added viscosity agents, essentially as described by Joe Accetta.

See this from March 2015

5. Sulphuric acid, flagged up by any number of previous investigators – Luigi Garlaschelli, Joe Nickell, Hugh Farey (private communication) , the idea being that acids might have etching/discoloring effect on linen. Result: negligible discoloration, profound weakening of fabric at ordinary temps, no obvious coloration without applied heat.

See this from April 2015:


6. Substitution of nitric  for sulphuric acid, first with plain linen, then flour-coated linen  (another forerunner of final model 10). Probably the most informative experiment of all, assisted by critical input from Adrie van de Hoeven, inasmuch as protein was implicated as a potential source of image chromophore, focussing initially on the traces of protein intrinsic to linen, then moving onto extraneous sources of protein coating, then finally dispensing altogether with nitric acid as developing agent, and replacing with oven-heating to produce Maillard reactions. (Yes, an echo there of Rogers, but in his pro-authenticity thinking, he had perforce to introduce some less probable sources of amino nitrogen and reducing sugars (decaying corpse and 1st century technical starch or soap coatings as a somewhat improbable source of reducing sugars).

See this from May 2015:

7. Quicklime. A longshot, using the thermochemical reaction between CaO and water as source of in situ heat, but quickly abandoned.

See this from June 2014:

8. Lemon juice, with ascorbic acid (not citric acid) as the active ingredient – basically invisible ink methodology.  Probably operates via a Maillard reaction between (a) a constituent 4- carbon reducing sugar – threose – derived from thermal decompostion of ascorbic acid- and (b) amino compounds.

See this from October 2014:

9. Imprinting with flour slurry then oven-roasting. Criticized for giving imprints that were too well-defined at edges.

See this from June 2015:

10. Imprinting with dry flour onto wet linen. Fuzzier imprints, negative, 3D response in ImageJ software, right thread and fibre properties at the microscopic level – i.e. halftone effect, discontinuities etc. Eureka!

See this from Aug 2015:


Appendix 4:


Left: Evans/STERA photomicrograph as it appears in the Barrie M.Schwortz photogallery from the 78 STURP expedition (Plate 78/102) with flecks on image area barely discernible. Right: after photoediting in MS Office Picture Manager (Brightness =-50, Contrast = 100, Midtone value = 60, Light tone adjustment =60).  Flecks now more easily discernible, especially within the two image areas highlighted in blue.

Here’s a close-up of the larger of those two blue rectangles:


Note the flecks! What price the so-called ‘homogeneity’ of the Shroud body image?

Here’s the smaller of those two blue rectangles in close-up:


Yes, it’s those ‘flour-fingerprints’ again – admittedly a provisional identification, pending access to the Shroud armed with a miniaturized ‘hoover’ for harvesting surface debris. Yes, we’re now seeing pixellation at this level of magnification.

Afterthought: there may be flecks of fibrous wheat bran as well as blobs of cooked gluten!

Appendix 5 (started Jan 11, 2017): The following words  (italics) appeared in an Appendix at the back of a 328 page book, no fewer than 16 years ago! Does anyone recognize the source and the author (the latter still highly active in promoting Shroud authenticity, and dare one say mystique)?

“Let’s review the unusual characteristics that would have to be accounted for by a medieval forger in any credible explanation of the how the body images, blood marks, and other features were created on the Shroud of Turin. Any forger responsible would have to have been able to:

(There then follows 33 bullet points no less that extend for at least two and a half pages!

Well, I’m not ready to name names just yet (let’s keep personalities out of this for now). What I shall be doing is taking each of those 33 bullet points, one at a time, in the order given, and stating why I consider my flour-imprinting model meets all the challenges for the body image, and maybe some of those for the blood (though blood has not been this investigator’s chief concern thus far). I’ll divulge the name of the author later, and give a brief mention to his current high-profile activities in sindonology.

OK, let’s begin shall we, with bullet point 1: My replies are in blue.

1.   Encode the image on only the most superficial fibrils of the cloth’s threads.

The use of a SOLID imprinting medium (finely powdered white flour) essentially explains the superficiality of the Shroud image, notwithstanding the presence of some accessory liquid ingredients. Yes, there’s a light smear of vegetable oil on the skin before sprinkling with flour from above, and water-soaked linen is then draped over the skin and pressed firmly down to transfer flour efficiently from body contours to linen. But after a few minutes in a hot oven, one has solid flour particles with a mere trace of veg oil attached to dried-out linen. The oil probably assists in ‘microfrying’ the flour particles to a liquid cocktail of relatively low molecular weight yellow Maillard reaction products that then migrate a short distance into the linen fibres via capillary action. It’s the short-range nature of that migration, probably accompanied by chemical cross-linking and condensation of the initial Maillard products to high molecular weight resinous melanoidins that accounts for the extreme superficiality of the Shroud body image.
The intensity of the image (both before and after washing) is under human visual control, controlled  by varying the amount of oil and flour, and especially the time and temperature of the crucial oven-heating step that generates the final  negative (light/dark-reversed) ‘thermograph’.

2.  Transfer an image so low in contrast that it fades into the background when an observer stands within 6 feet of it.

Why should a faint, ageing straw-coloured centuries-old image, one that is hard to discern against a similarly ageing and thus yellowing linen background, be any more or any less likely to be the product of medieval manufacture? One could discuss the factors that make the background linen acquire a yellow coloration – starting with the initial oven-heating step (though the subsequent washing removes some of the colour) – all focused on the carbohydrate polymers of linen – celluloses, hemicelluloses etc.- not forgetting the non-carbohydrate polyphenolic lignins. One could then discuss the general tendency for coloured organic compounds, however formed, to fade with age, on account of atmospheric oxidation, exposure to light etc. So the image gets fainter, the background darker, with inevitable loss of contrast and ease of visibility. But these as I say are mainly age-related effects that tell us nothing about provenance – whether 1st or 14th century.

The radiocarbon dating (1260-1390) may be vociferously disputed and rejected, but if as claimed it’s the result or repair via invisible reweaving at the single sampling site chosen – a ill-judged decision surely thrust upon the 3 radiocarbon labs – then there’s a simple answer: go back and date a wider range of locations. Until that happens, the present dating should remain the default position. The ball is in Turin’s court, so to speak.

3   Create an image that is pressure-independent so that both frontal and dorsal body images are encoded with the same intensity, even though the dorsal side of the cloth would have had the full weight of a body lying on top of it.

This is just one instance one could cite of an anti-authenticity argument starting with a pro-authenticity assumption, namely that the imprinting of the Shroud’s double image occurred exactly as per the Gospel account. In fact, our polemical author even uses that image of the Deposition of the crucified Jesus direct from the Cross to Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’ on the front cover of his book! (We’ll ignore for now the part of that painting that was left out – or rather obscured by the book’s title!).


Credits to follow shortly

But he and many others within sindonology appear to have forgotten something. A forger does or did not need to duplicate the biblical account in order to achieve a ‘facsimile’ of the desired end-result. He was free to depart from the biblical account, and what’s more, he almost certainly did so for some very compelling practical reasons.

This investigator has spent months, nay years, experimenting with different ways of presenting linen to a  3D ‘subject’ (ranging from hot or painted metal to flour-coated hand) to determine the most practical means of obtaining an imprint.  Conclusion: laying linen on top and patting down onto the surface relief as by far and away the method of choice, compared with pressing down into linen. Why? Because one can see whether or not the wet linen is moulding to the desired relief or not, both by sight and by feel. Conversely, when pressing down one has no idea what is happening underneath, out of sight. There could be trapping of multiple creases without one knowing it until too late. So one imprints both frontal AND dorsal sides with a linen-draped-on-top mode.  But that is not easy if imprinting off a single subject. It requires two separate imprinting sessions, and there’s a risk that the two images would not be correctly aligned on the long axis of the linen. Solution?  Simple.

Here’s a clue. It’s the complete picture from above, including the ‘missing’ double-imprint.


I’ve labelled the frontal imprint as A, in blue, and the dorsal imprint as B.  Why do that if they are both from the same person? Answer: they aren’t, or rather weren’t!

I say that TWO DIFFERENT ADULT MALES WERE USED, of approximately the same height and build, whom I have called A and B.

A had his frontal surface smeared with oil, then dusted with flour, and then instructed to lie down FACE UP on the floor.  B then had his dorsal  surface oiled and dusted  and was instructed to lie FACE DOWN  on the floor, head to head with A. The two were then carefully positioned so as to be on the same long axis, with the desired distance between the two heads. Then a length of wet linen was  draped over BOTH subjects A and B simultaneously.  The team of  artisans then got to work, patting the linen down onto both A and B at the same time, applying approximately the same degree of imprinting-pressure.

4. Use an image-forming mechanism that operates uniformly regardless of what lies beneath it, i.e. over diverse substances such as skin, hair, and, possibly, coins, flowers, teeth, and bones.

The flour imprinting technology works equally well with metal (horse brass, 3D brass crucifix etc), with plastic (see banner) and with human skin (my hand). The reason for the versatility is the first step – rubbing a thin smear of oil onto the subject. Oil adheres and spreads evenly on most surfaces, and then serves as a weak adhesive for the light sprinkling of flour.

While I can’t speak for flowers (?),  teeth and bones on a human subject assist the imprinting process through providing a rigid non-deformable support for softer more malleable skin.

5. Encode the thousands of body image fibrils with the same intensity.

The flour-imprinting/ thermally-induced Maillard reaction model provides an immediate explanation for the so-called half tone effect, discontinuities etc. Indeed I believe it’s the first and only attempt to do so. The final ghost image that remains after washing represents a highly superficial intrusion into the surface fibres of a hot LIQUID cocktail of Maillard reaction products which stain evenly on their short migration.

6.Create an image that is not composed of any particles or foreign materials of any kinds with the individual joints of its individual fibrils remaining distinct and visible.

The proposed LIQUID exudate from the browning flour is clearly non-particulate.

Why attempt to exclude foreign materials, notably the flour and oil? Where is the hard evidence that the image is chemically-modified cellulose?  I personally know of none. Ray Rogers, STURP’s lead chemist also favoured the idea of the image residing on an acquired surface coating (starch) and indeed the involvement of Maillard browning reactions, even if the detailed chemistry is different from what is proposed  here.
7. Create an image that is not soluble in water, remains stable when subjected to high temperatures, and does not demonstrate signs of matting, capillarity, saturation, or diffusion into the image-forming fibrils.

The flour imprinting model generates a faint, fuzzy shroud-like image that survives the final washing with soap and water. The yellow/brown pigment – assumed to be high MWt melanoidins formed via Maillard reactions – appears to be strongly bound to the fibres of the linen, and would have detached and been removed by the wash water had that not been the case. It is of course stable to high temperature, having been formed via application of high temperature.The small amounts of liquid escaping from the roasting flour into the most superficial fibres are insufficient in volume to generate signs of capillary spread, matting etc that would be seen with higher volumes of liquid .efflux.
8. Encode an image that lacks any evidence of two-dimensional directionality.

Brush-free imprinting via direct contact between coated subject and wet linen will leave no evidence of the kind of directionality that might be detectable in conventional paintings (brush strokes etc)  or in photographs (angled lighting, shadows etc.).
9. Compose a yellowed body image out of chemically-degraded cellulose with conjugated carbonyls that has resulted from processes associated with dehydration and oxidation.

Chemically-degraded cellulose?  Conjugated carbonyls?  Dehydration? Oxidation?

Yes, I know these notions are all flagged up in the STURP final Summary, but read John Heller’s book and one finds these ideas are what might be described as armchair chemistry.

To appreciate better the nature of the Shroud body image, one has to take the hard science – provided by Adler and Heller – namely the ability of diimide  (NH=NH) to bleach the image, in contrast to other reducing and oxidizing agents tested (ascorbic acid, hydrogen peroxide etc) and focus on the unique properties of diimide, compared to other reducing agents, namely its ability to hydrogenate -C=C- double bonds, the latter NOT NECESSARILY HAVING  ARISEN AND CONFERRED COLOUR TO THE LINEN VIA OXIDATION REACTIONS ONLY. Maillard reactions between reducing sugars and amino groups  resulting in unsaturated double-bonds need also to be considered, as Ray Rogers appreciated.

10.  Encode the front and back full-length images on cloth of a real human being in rigor mortis.

Rigor mortis? It’s said one has to stand 6 feet back from the Shroud, simply to discern the boundary between image and background linen. So how one might ask has the conclusion of rigor mortis been arrived at? 

Rigor mortis gets an early look in when one reads the book in question – Page 32 in fact: 
Page 32: “Further evidence of the man’s death on the cross is found in the numerous identifications of rigor mortis apparent on the Shroud image (ref 65);
(…. intervening passage on the phenomenon and temporary nature of rigor mortis)

When looking at the back of the man’s legs and feet we see that his left leg is raised slightly and that both feet, especially the right one, are flat and pointed down. For the lower extremities to have remained in such an awkward position indicates that rigor mortis set in while the man remained crucified (Ref 68). Moving up the back of the man we notice that the thighs,buttocks and torso are not flat, but instead are stiff and rigid.If rigor mortis had declined and the muscles had relaxed, these parts of the body would appear flatter and wider (ref 69). On the frontal image we see the chin drawn in close to the chest and the face turned slightly to the right. For the head to remain in this position inside the burial cloth without rotating further to the side requires the presence of rigor mortis (Ref 70). The man’s expanded rib cage is a sign of asphyxia, and the enlarged pectoral muscles drawn in toward the collar bone and arms provide evidence that the man had been pulling himself up to breathe. (ref 71). That these parts of the body remained in such positions further indicates that the onset of rigor mortis occurred while the man hung suspended. (ref 72). Rigor would also maintain the thumbs in the positions held during the crucifixion. (ref 73).
How can one tell whether the musculature in a 2D image is “stiff and rigid”? Eye of faith?
“Awkward position of feet”. No, not awkward, merely a reflection of the manner in which imprints were taken from two different people, one face up, the other face down. In the face- up mode, a conscious decision was made to omit any imprint of the soles of the feet, and indeed scarcely any of the top sides too. In the face- down mode a conscious decision was made to imprint off the soles of the feet. These decisions may have had an arbitrary basis, the crucial thing being to imprint soles of feet off one or other configuration, but not both!
What we see here is a blitz of serial supposition that frankly begs the question. In order to convince us that the Shroud is a real image of the crucified Jesus we are assailed with detailed interpretation that presupposes the very thing we’re told is backed by anatomical and other evidence. It was quickly recognized that feet would be awkward, given the prior decision to have the heads meet at the midpoint. That required a simulation of how feet – frontal and dorsal- might look if imprinted onto the two free ends of the linen. 

When someone is carried stretcher-style in a sagging sheet of linen, with buttocks at the lowest point, and soles of feet abutting onto a steeply ascending stretch of linen, then the logical place for imprinting the feet is on the DORSAL  image, even if the complete imprinting of those soles looked  ‘awkward’ not only to modern-day sindonologists, but to the first cohorts of uninitiated pilgrims descending on Lirey in the droves circa 1355. So what of the top surface of the feet? Logic dictates that with no gravity-assistance for imprinting, there would be little or no imaging of the tops of the feet, and that dear reader is precisely what one sees, or rather  does not see. So while ‘rigor mortis’ is one possible explanation for the allegedly awkward posture, an agenda-driven one that attempts to preempt the narrative, there are other explanations provided one’s prepared to keep an open mind. 

Jan 15: On re-reading I see I have not explained the above as neatly and concisely as I would have wished. Let’s try again. There are two aspects to consider in any ‘forgery’ model. The first is what scenario regarding the crucified Jesus the forgers wished to convey. The second was deciding how best to achieve that in practical terms.Scenario? The transport of Jesus from cross to tomb, such that his sweat and blood-laden body left an imprint on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen. The feet, correction, soles of feet, would betray an important clue. They would be well-imprinted, unlike the tops of feet that would be scarcely if at all imprinted. Why?  Because a body transported face up on the linen would have soles of feet in contact with the linen, whereas linen would bridge the space between shins and tips of toes, such that tops of feet left no imprint.

Practical realization of the desired scenario? It’s already been suggested that a separate second subject was used to imprint the dorsal surface, that subject lying down on the floor face down, and having linen draped over his back, then pressed down.  That posture automatically exposes the soles of the feet, allowing easy imprinting of the same. In other words, both aim and realization were easily achieved, giving selective imprinting of the SOLES (not uppers) of the feet.

Tomorrow (or Monday) I shall address John Jackson’s  so-called “Cloth Collapse Theory”, the next point that is addressed (or rather proselytized) in the quoted book, and show how it derives from faulty reasoning re contact imprinting of the face and hair. I shall be disputing the claim that face and hair are out of stereoregister, based on “wrongly situated” bloodstains in the hair.

Jan 16

Reading two pro-authenticity books in detail has finally caused scales to fall from eyes. I now know where the blame lays for the invasion of  Shroud-obsessed pseudo-science into the public domain. It comes from a profession whose approach to anything related to the human body might fairly be described as prescriptive (for better or for worse). All will be revealed tomorrow. Be ready for some plain speaking. It’s time to tell it the way it is.

Jan 17 2017

11. Incorporate specific effects of a draped cloth that fell through a body region – such as blood marks displaced into the hair, motion blurs at the side of the face and in the neck/throat region and below the hair, along with elongated fingers.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.  Here we see in-your-face, no-holds barred, take no prisoners rampantly, out-of-control sindonology .  

One could simply respond by pointing out that the “draped cloth” starter is a hugely misleading over-simplification. Draped over whom or what?  Pressure applied (medieval scenario) or not? Contact between cloth and  vertical sides or not? Imprinting if contact with sides or not?

Without a pause to consider all the alternative option, our author leads us straight from “draped cloth” into John Jackson’s ‘cloth-collapse’ theory, a quite astonishing and self-indulgent splurge of unscientific mumbo-jumbo, coming as it does from someone with a PhD in Physics (plus a BA in Religion!).  

The  so-called ‘cloth-collapse theory’  starts innocuously enough on p 218 of the book that is currently being scrutinized. Here’s the opening paragraph. 
Dr.John Jackson, one of the founders of STURP who has studied the Shroud images for more than twenty-five years, proposed a method of image formation that accounted for more image features than any method had previously. After many years of studying the cloth and its images and participating in numerous experiments testing the many methods proposed to explain the Shroud’s images, Jackson concluded that “we seem to have a situation where the set of observables is so restrictive that all hypotheses posed thus far must be excluded … often on the basis of multiple objections. (Ref 38)

It’s the next paragraph which this researcher is tempted to describe as a near- silent bombshell. Note the early introduction of the descriptor “Dr”, with no attempt to distinguish between the earlier “Dr”applied to John Jackson, and that applied to the newcomer, a hugely important omission in my opinion, one that will be shortly be pressed home strenuously and at length, believing as I do that I have put my finger on all that is wrong with sindonology, revealing the roots of the rampant pseudoscience.
Here’s the next paragraph:
Jackson was the first to incorporate into a proposal the findings of Dr.Gil Lavoie, who first explained why some of the blood marks on the head of the man in the Shroud had been displaced into the hair. Lavoie illustrated in Figs 137-139 that the blood marks now seen in the hair all originated on the sides of the man’s forehead and face. Lavoie placed a cloth over the Shroud’s facial image, then traced the blood marks and cut them out of the cloth. He then draped the perforated cloth over a human face to clearly demonstrate that, when the Shroud was first placed over the man, these bloodmarks rested on the sides of his forehead and face. Only when the cloth was subsequently straightened or flattened did the location of these blood marks extend into the hair. While previous studies we’ve discussed showed that the blood marks and body images have been encoded somewhat differently, Dr.Lavoie and his associates demonstrated that the Shroud was in two different positions at the time these blood marks and body images were encoded (Ref 39).

18th Jan 2017

The Lavoie experiment

As described in the book (I have yet to see the investigator’s own account – apparently in his own book) it purports to demonstrate that the blood and body image were formed by entirely different mechanisms at different times, such that the two are out of stereoregister (apologies for the jargon, acquired elsewhere).

Put more baldly, we see blood in the wrong place on the body image, or at any rate, certain blood, namely blood that appears to be on the hair.  But isn’t, or rather wasn’t, we’re assured.

That is a bold conclusion, based as it is on one experiment using a human volunteer, so one needs to scrutinize closely that experiment to be certain that the conclusions are valid.
Lavoie maintains (not hypothesizes!)  that the blood one sees on the hair, blood that appears to have run in longish rivulets, was NOT actually on the hair, but the skin, specifically cheeks, i.e. side of face.

Certainly there are valid grounds for thinking that real blood from scalp wounds in a pro-authenticity scenario (“crown of thorns”) would not have run down the surface of the hair in trickles as on skin – it would have remained trapped, causing hair to matt. So how could blood on cheeks appear to be blood on hair?
The answer we are told is due to curvature of the face, cheeks being sides rather than frontal plane, and because linen was draped loosely over both sides, allowing blood on cheeks to become imprinted onto the curved linen.

Later the body image became imprinted too, but by a different mechanism that did not rely on physical contact alone, but one involving some kind of action at a distance that was aligned with gravity. That produced an imprint of the face that was narrower than would be the case for a contact imprint, more akin to a ‘photograph’ such that when the linen was later laid flat, the blood and body images were out of stereoregister. Instead of blood appearing on cheeks, it appeared ‘misleadingly’ to be on the vertical strands of hair framing both sides of the face.
We are not asked to take this on trust. We are provided with an experiment performed (a) with a photo of the Shroud, and (b) with a human volunteer to see how such a alleged misalignment can/could have occurred due to the’wrap-around’ effect of imprinting blood specifically, while a more exotic, unexplained mechanism operated in the case of the body image that did NOT produce the same lateral distortion.
Photos are provided in the book.

It all looks very scientific, backed up as it is with hands-on experimentation, which has clearly impressed a lot of folk, the book author included and indeed John Jackson we are told. But is it scientific? Does it really proceed  sequentially from hypothesis to experimentation to valid test of the hypothesis.

I say it does not. For a start, there is no mention at the outset of any hypothesis. We are given the pro-authenticity scenario as if given fact, with no mention of alternative scenarios, notably medieval manufacture. We are told that blood was of course on the cheeks initially, and left to assume that is self-evident.

Well, that may be true in a pro-authenticity scenario, but is certainly not the case for forgery, where there may have been pressing reasons -as much  artistic as medical or scientific – for showing blood on hair so as to imply that the wound sites from which the blood emanated were in the scalp, i.e. from the crown of thorns, rather than in the cheeks.
The shifting of blood imprint from cheek to hair is then used to introduce two concepts, but only one of which is experimentally demonstrated, namely the so-called lateral distortion/distension that accompanies imprinting off a 3D subject onto 2D linen, aka the ‘wrap-around effect’. But that is accompanied by a second concept, slipped in almost Trojan Horse style under the cover of contact imprinting of blood, namely a non-contact imprinting mechanism for the body image that “explains” why the blood appears to be in hair, despite the fact that on the TS the blood IS seen in the hair,making any other location entirely speculative, regardless of so-called supporting experimentation.

In other words the experiment serves merely to support and promote a proposed mechanism – but cannot by any stretch of the imagination be said to demonstrate that mechanism, not when alternative scenarios are ignored.  If the truth be told, the experiment is not really scientific. It is advocacy, designed to promote a particular preconception, making that preconception appear to be self-evident, generating entirely predictable experimental outcome, when in reality it is forcing the reader to share the experimentalist’s own preconceptions, blotting out alternative scenarios. It is experimentation designed to support PRESCRIPTION, so it comes as no surprise to find that Dr.Lavoie’s background is medical rather than strictly scientific. What we see might be described as a microcosm of so much of ‘sindonology’ – namely tunnel vision, special pleading, a begging of the question.

What was lacking was any willingness to play the role of Devil’s Advocate, to propose a hypothesis that the TS might have been the work of medieval forgers who had intended the blood to be on the hair, and then seek evidence for or against that proposition?
Evidence for? If blood from sides appears to be shifted further from mid line of the body image, then would not other blood marks be similarly shifted? What about the lance wound in the “side” – which sindonologists never question – it being the biblically correct location. What if that too is out of stereoregister, and was really a lance wound in the front? Any takers? Nope, I didn’t think so.

If the blood really was on the cheeks, then why show it as elongated trickles that are detached from hairline and indeed well below the presumed origin in scalp from above? I say the medieval artisans intended those trickles to be on the hair, not the cheeks. But that’s scientific hypothesis – not medical prescription.

19th Jan

Yes. medicosindonology has a lot to answer for the pseud0-scientific means by which it has promoted shroud authenticity. That’s especially Stateside where the medical profession is elevated to near God-like status (MD= Minor Deity), and maybe Italy too. My chief complaint as indicated is the PRESCRIPTIVE manner in which ideas are thrust upon the public domain as if the last word on the matter, inviting no criticism. Of course it’s not only the medical profession that is responsible for the endless stream of Shroud-smitten hype: it serves merely as the spearhead.

(More to come, especially on that list of 33 bullet points at the tail-end of THAT book. So far I’ve stayed silent as to the author. Maybe the time has come to reveal his name: it is of course Mark Antonacci, someone still highly active in sindonology,  still promoting as he does his miraculist views – ones that involve a 1st century crucified man turning 3 days post mortem into a well-behaved neutron bomb! The book from which I’m citing his 33 bullet points is  “The Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical and Archaeological Evidence”, M.Evans Co., NY, 2000).

Here’s a link to Mark’s site, promoting his latest book:


Oh, and I see that authenticity-promoting ‘medicosindonologist’ Dr.Gilbert Lavoie is still active:


Is the evidence really stacked against contact-imaging of body image? Is it at odds with contact imaging of blood?

This investigator says NO! See my earlier postings on the flour-imprinting technology that accommodates contact-imprinting for both body image and blood in the same session. In brief: the subject, whether a real human being, a bas relief or combination of the two is lightly smeared with vegetable oil, then coated with white flour, the latter sprinkled from above onto the supine subject.  After excess flour is shaken off, blood, or blood substitute or a combination of the two is trickled onto the flour-coated subject. A sheet of  wet linen is then draped across the top of the subject and pressed firmly onto the subject’s relief and flour/blood additions. Blood  imprint directly onto linen (no flour underneath) giving the appearance of a “blood first-body image- second” chronology as per Heller/Adler proposal. There is scarcely any imaging of  the sides of the subject (and thus no appreciable lateral distortion/distension of the body image) for the simple reason that the flour imprinting medium, sprinkled from above, does not attach appreciably to vertical surfaces.

Bullet point 11  however has still to be fully addressed, despite the time spent  just now on Jackson’s and Lavoie’s pseudo-scientific special pleading.

Reminder: here’s Bullet Point 11 again:

Incorporate specific effects of a draped cloth that fell through a body region – such as blood marks displaced into the hair, motion blurs at the side of the face and in the neck/throat region and below the hair, along with elongated fingers.

More to come… albeit at a leisurely pace, things being somewhat quiet right now (like a dearth of comments and/or other feedback…).

Jan 20

Have just had an idea that links those  alleged “motion blurs” (to which this proponent of contact-imaging is favourably disposed in principle) AND, surprisingly perhaps, those  “elongated” fingers too. Previously I have suggested two factors that might make fingers look elongated, while not entirely convinced they were the whole explanation (they being an imaging under contact pressure of metatarsal bones in the back of the hand, adding to the apparent length of the fingers, and a bridging of linen between finger bones, making the fingers look slimmer (and longer?) than they really are.  

I now have an entirely new explanation. 

One, or probably two naked male volunteers were laid head to head on the floor, face up/face down as previously described. The face-up volunteer was instructed to cross hands over groin region before being oiled and sprinkled with white flour. (But it’s actually quite hard to do full cover and protect genitals  if one’s head stays in contact with the floor -one’s arms are not long enough, as others before me have pointed out). Next step: wet linen was draped on top. Now comes the eye-watering part of this account. Along came one or more artisans to manually pat down the linen to capture the surface relief, including those two crossed hands. Are you thinking what I’m thinking, dear reader? Yes, our subject suddenly winced on account of his hands being ill-positioned to offer full protection. He raised his head from the floor,  both in surprise and maybe protest, using the opportunity to move his hands further down. Hey presto, one has an explanation for the claimed blurring of the image, not only for the groin region  (fingers then appearing too long) but for the face and head too! One may even have an explanation for the  allegedly tipped-forward/downward head, previously ascribed to rigor mortis, or the unsatisfactory look to the junction of chin and neck, maybe even that prominent so-called “crease” at chin level.  All this assumes that imprinting occurred off a real face. While I think it occurred off a real torso/limbs,  that would not exclude separate imprinting of a  head, correction “head”  from a bas relief, e.g wooden carving, as proposed by Luigi Garlaschelli in his powder frottage model – a real face being tricky for contact-imprinting on account of the nose and other sharp relief.

You read it here first!

Back to those bullet holes:

12. Encode a superficial, resolved,and three-dimensional image of the closed eye over the different and invisible features of a coin;

Here’s a link to the image gallery one obtains when entering (shroud turin coin eye) into Google.

Nowhere in all those images does one see a single image of a coin in a TS eye! Sure, there are plenty of pictures of that Pilate coin with the curly-end crook – but that’s hardly the key exhibit, is it?

Let’s move on, shall we,  leaving coins in eyes for those capable of seeing what others can’t. 

13. Transfer the blood marks before encoding the body image, yet still place them in the appropriate locations and ensure that the blood marks are not altered when the body image is later transferred onto the cloth.

 Jan 21, 2017

As indicated earlier, there is no problem is arranging for a blood-before-body image imprinting, given that the blood does not have to be painted onto linen, before or after the flour imprint, but directly onto the flour-coated subject, thus ensuring that blood imprints underneath flour. The difficulty is the obligatory oven-heating stage to convert flour to Maillard browning products. That will degrade the blood too, making it oxidized and darker (not in itself a challenge to the forgery theory – quite the contrary )  but we’re told the Shroud blood is unnaturally red  with little by way of explanation, excluding Adler’s bilirubin hypothesis which is frankly non-credible to anyone who knows the slightest thing about bilirubin – like its proneness to photo-oxidize rapidly via self-sensitized singlet oxygen. Unless or until one has some explanation for why the TS blood “looks too red” its seems futile to speculate on how the bloodstains could have been generated, whether real blood, faked blood, late doctored/restored  blood etc etc.  Blood is not this investigator’s chief interest re the Shroud. It’s the body image that is said to be enigmatic, a challenge to science etc etc. Blood is merely problematical.

14. Create actual blood marks with actual serum around the edges of the various wounds.

If I had to state my most major criticism of sindonology, it would be the casual bandying around of that last word -” wounds”.  Were he still alive, STURP’s authenticity-promoting pathologist Robert Bucklin MD would have found himself on the end of some withering criticism from this critic of wishful-pseudoscientific thinking-presented-as-fact. (Giulio Fanti, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Padua University received it instead for highlighting in bright yellow what he claimed was the lance wound in the side). 

(Here’s a link to Prof. Fanti’s  curt, unhelpful stonewalling response).

I say again. What wounds?  Can anyone direct this investigator to a single unequivocal wound site, say in the Durante 2002 images available on Mario Latendresse’s Shroud Scope? What does it matter whether there are “serum borders” to the blood if there’s no evidence of wounds in the body image, implying the bloodstains, real or faked,  were merely applied to the Shroud to serve as proxies for entirely fictitious wounds in all the biblically-correct locations?

Here are the next four bullet points, all blood-related, all presupposing that the blood issued from real wounds onto linen without a shred of real evidence that I’m aware of, certainly not in the body image:

15. Reproduce blood marks incurred at different times with different instruments that correspond with both arterial and venous bleeding;

16.Encode blood marks on the cloth in exactly the form and shape that develop from wounds on human skin;

17. Embed into the cloth the various blood marks leaving the original smooth surfaces between the skin and the blood intact;

18.Remove the cloth from the body within two to three days without breaking or smearing the various blood marks;

Sorry, Mark – I’m ignoring all four of those above, for the reasons stated. Science is – or at any rate should be –  hypothesis -driven, not a means of reinforcing one’s preconceptions and/or inflicting them on others supposedly as objective science when it’s nothing of the sort.

19.Employ a mechanism that transfers distance information through space in vertical straight line paths; 

My flour-imprinting model, thus far situated perfectly in sindonology’s  rear-view mirror blind spot, offers a simple down-to-earth explanation. Flour is sprinkled onto the oil-smeared subject from above. It settles on the surfaces that are normal to the descending particles, not at all on the vertical surfaces (“sides”) but  maybe a little onto those planes that are sloping, i.e.intermediate between horizontal and vertical. Forget radiation models that would have us believe that it’s always emitted (in Resurrection events)  geometrically normal, i.e  at 90 degrees,  to the plane of any surface, or is somehow aligned with gravity (Einstein would have been fascinated with that suggestion).

20. Produce an image that is a vague negative when observed by the naked eye, but with highly focused  and finely resolved details that become visible only when photographed, at which point the negative becomes turns into a positive image with light/dark, left/right reversed.

We see people and things in real everyday life by the light that is reflected off them, whether that light is artificial or natural (the Sun). So we are accustomed to seeing the highest, most prominent  least obstructed parts of  what we are viewing as the brightest, and the lower more over-shadowed parts as the darkest.  Nose bright , eye hollows dark.

A photograph generally reproduces the pattern of light/dark that we see with our eyes. But early photography, using plates coated  with silver salt emulsions introduced us to the idea of the photo-negative, one in which light/dark  tones are/were reversed.

But sindonologists to their eternal discredit  try to have us believe that there were no negative light/dark reversed images before the invention of 19th/20th century photography (wrong, see later). A footprint in the sand is a light/dark  reversed image, but NOT a photonegative., merely an ‘eye-perceived’ negative(the eye being a highly sophisticated camera).

They then argue that if the Shroud image is a  light/dark reversed negative, as seen by the human eye, i.e. resembling a photographic negative, then the tone-reversed ‘positive’ that we see on the Shroud MUST  be a photographic positive.

Nope.  Kindly go back to college, dear sindonologist.  Register for Logic 101.

“Improved” Shroud image through light/dark reversal of what  is captured on a silver salt emulsion = transformed  Positive image- YES.

Ipso facto a  photographic positive through being obtained in the 19th/20th century by reversal of a negative,  NO, not necessarily.   Spot the simple flaw in sindonological logic! Negatives can arise for a variety of reasons!

 Using modern-day photography to reverse those images, making them more friendly positives, does NOT mean the original  negative was created by photography.  A negative is  simply tone-reversed. Tone reversal can occur for reasons other than silver-salt photography, e.g. contact imprinting (like that footprint in the sand referred to  above).

21. Encode accurately proportioned, three-dimensional information on a two dimensional surface that directly corresponds to the distances between a body and cloth;

No. This is to completely misunderstand (or misrepresent) what 20th/21st century computers do when given images with density differences (whether the Shroud of Turin image or modern-day imprints with no 3D history). No, they do not seek out and/or detect ‘encoded 3D information’.  All they do is read density differences  and re-map them onto a new imaginary z (vertical) axis at 90 degrees to the 2D xy plane.There is no encoded data in the TS image, merely density differences that arise from the imaging process, regardless   of imaging mechanism.

3D-rendering software does not ‘decode’. It merely reads and re-maps density differences. Those density differences could arise from a multitude of causes, imprinting off 3D subjects being just one of several. 

22. Include realistic details of scourge marks so minute that they are invisible to the naked eye and can be seen only with cameras, photographic enlargers, microscopes and ultraviolet lighting.

Jan 22

Strange. I’ve hunted high and low in the book for any mention of the appearance of the scourge marks at the microscopic level or different lighting conditions. All I can find (thus far) is the sentence on Page 18:

The scourge marks decrease in number and depth toward the ankle, where some fade into lines visible only under ultraviolet light.(Ref 11).

(Neither are we given any clue as to what the uv is supposed to be detecting in those scourge marks, which elsewhere we are told are blood imprints, and thus not fluorescent except for any serum fringes, the latter surely minuscule for scourge marks. Is the uv picking up score marks associated with scourge marks, which others have alluded to elsewhere, maybe as a consequence of damage to linen fibres and their intrinsic fluorescence? If so, might those score marks, if verified, be a ticking time bomb where the Shroud is concerned, providing incontestable evidence of forgery if it was the linen that had been directly scourged/blood imprinted, NOT the man inside?).

Bullet Point 22 makes no sense to me whatsoever, making claims that are not on a quick search of the index and elsewhere to be found in the book (though I shall keep looking in case I’ve missed something).

23. Encode a line representing the narrow lesion of the side wound that corresponds to the shape of the lancea used by Roman executioners in such a manner that the line would not be visible with the eye and could not be seen until the development of computer imaging technology 600 years later.

And I say that’s yet one more instance of computer-aided image manipulation, oops, enhancement. Pseudoscience comes in many guises, in this instance digitally-assisted.  Nuff said.

24. Distribute an array of pollens onto the Shroud beneath the linen’s threads and fibers that reflected its manufacture and history in Jerusalem and Turkey. To do this successfully, the forger would not only have to be a pollen expert, but also anticipate development of the theory that emerged 600 years later which asserts the Shroud, Mandylion, and Image of Edessa are the same cloth;

Pollen is merely a geographical marker, ranking lower in importance than a chronological one. Unless or until the Vatican does the decent thing, allowing threads to be taken inconspicuously from the Shroud at additional sites for further radiocarbon dating, then there seems little point in relying on pollen to prove or disprove anything. In fact, pollen cannot prove or disprove anything, needless to say, being an adventitious agent, not capable of experimental test, and who’s to say it arrived naturally, wind or insect borne? Who’s to say it wasn’t dusted over and around the linen surreptitiously by someone with an interest in keeping the authenticity show on the road?

The references to the Mandylion and Edessa are of course totally irrelevant where pollen is concerned.

25. Encode the subtle appearance of Judean plants in the off-image area of the Shroud that would not be seen for more than six centuries;

I personally have never seen images of plants on the Shroud, despite spending inordinate amounts of time with contrast- and/or 3D-enhanced Durante 2002 photographs (Shroud Scope).  “Subtle images”? You betcha. Too subtle for this humble seeker after truth.
26. Place microscopic samples of dirt and limestone at the foot of the man in the Shroud that match the limestone found in Jerusalem but which would not be visible for centuries.

The idea that one of nature’s minerals, especially a variant (aragonite) of so  common a mineral  as limestone, one formed in mineral springs, can be used as a marker for a highly specific geographical location (“Jerusalem”) frankly cannot be seriously entertained.

27. Encode actual whole blood and water fluid at the side wound and the small of the back in a uniquely realistic manner and also encode this and all other clotted bloodstains on the Shroud so that they remain red and do no darken over time like all other actual blood;

But the bloodstains are anything but “realistic”. The author admits as much on Page 30 of his book, and quotes three  others who say the same (Pierre Barbet, Paul Vignon and Robert Wilcox). All say  the bloodstains look more like the actual wounds from which blood has issued, and nothing like the messy imprints that real life (or post mortem) bleeding wounds leave on bandages and other fabric. Far from being “realistic” the bloodstains are better described as miraculous. Our author says as much:

“For now it is sufficient to state that the bloodstains could not have been encoded on the Shroud simply by direct contact between a bloody body and a linen cloth surrounding it. While this may point away from the Shroud’s being an actual burial cloth, it may in fact point towards something truly miraculous.”

Far from being realistic, the bloodstains are highly UNrealistic, too good to be true to life. One can if one wishes go looking look for miraculous explanations, ones  that add further fuel to the pro-authenticity fire.

Alternatively, one can look to homelier, more down-to-earth explanations, like:

(a) the blood (or “blood”) was painted directly onto the linen, coming from a paint pot, not a wound OR:

(b) the blood WAS deposited on linen via  contact-imprinting, which contrary to the author’s belief  was not impossible if done under carefully controlled conditions with just the right amount of blood (or “blood”) of the right consistency etc.

Bullet point 27 not quite complete. More to come.

Jan 23

“… and also encode this and all other clotted bloodstains on the Shroud so that they remain red and do no darken over time like all other actual blood.”

Well, at least our author acknowledges that “actual” blood does not retain its red colour indefinitely, yet places the burden of proof on sceptics, expecting them to duplicate this mysteriously permanent red blood! Who says it’s blood?   No, I’m not questioning the presence of some real blood in those stains on the Shroud: I’m asking for the evidence that the permanent red colour is due to blood pigments (haems etc).

It’s customary in science to set up a hypothesis, and then take whatever steps are needed to seek supporting evidence – experimentally – and not merely sit back in a glow of self-satisfaction at having produced so smart a hypothesis  as to confound or wrongfoot one’s critics.

Is that an unreasonable request to make – that experimental evidence be sought to link the permanent red colour with blood haem pigments? Are there practical means of doing so? 

Yes, there are actually. There’s an enzyme in the spleen and elsewhere called haem oxygenase, responsible for haem degradation finally to bilirubin via biliverdin. It opens up the porphyrin ring, producing green biliverdin and gaseous carbon MONoxide (yes, CO, not CO2). That enzyme works in vitro  (i.e. test-tubes, outwith the body) and there are sensitive spectrophotometric means for detecting CO.  Take some of those permanently red fibres from the Shroud, incubate with haem oxygenase. See if the fibres go green, see if CO is released. My money is on that pink or red pigment being something OTHER THAN haem which will not turn green, will not give off CO.

28. Encode the appearance of a Pontius Pilate lepton over the right eye of the man so that only when photography, photographic enlargers and three-dimensional reliefs are invented 600 years later, the motif, letters and outline of the coin can be ascertained. The forger would not only have to anticipate this technology, but also the development of the field of archaeology and the discovery in the late twentieth century that coins used in burials in Jerusalem and the surrounding area between the first century B.C. and the first century A.D.

As early as Page 19, we are given a photographic plate with a 3D -rendering of the man’s face. The caption reads: “Small round objects are clearly visible over the man’s eyes in the three-dimensional image.” Not “coins” note, but “small round objects”.

One has to advance to Page 102 to read more about those “small round objects”.

One indication of an even more specific date for the crucifixion of this particular victim may be available in the Turin Shroud image. It comes from the uncorroborated evidence of coin images found over the eyes of the man in the Shroud. The presence of coins was first suggested by the three-dimensional images of the Shroud face made with  the VP-8 Image Analyser in 1978 (Reference 31). In these experiments, scientists were surprised to discover two small objects , both nearly circular  and approximately the same size, over the eyes (Fig 6 – the one shown 83 pages earlier). 

But why refer to “objects”? How does one differentiate between a real or ‘forged’ eyeball, sitting at the base of a recessed eye socket, and an inanimate “object”, far less a specific round object like a coin?  Did the coin ‘story’, as one  might now reasonably suspect,  start in this simple manner by rashly assuming that raised button-like images in the 3D-rendered eye-sockets represented ‘objects’ which then got progressively elevated to the role of Roman-era coins?  All this was based on those 3D-rendered images, which are claimed to detect real 3D relief in 2D images when, as stated earlier,  they do nothing of the sort, with all the talk elsewhere in the book about detecting ‘distance’ information being complete wishful thinking. 3D-rendering software, given 2D input data, can only detect differences in image density, which may or may NOT have arisen as a consequence of distance information (certainly NOT in the case of medieval imprinting where linen would not have been draped loosely over the subject, whether a real person or bas relief, being instead manually moulded to capture relief).

There are at least 3 different ways in which medieval forgers could have produced the 3D-enhancible “coins” without a Pilate lepton coming within a 1000 miles or years of the Shroud. First is by imprinting off a real face, having coated the eye lids with oil and flour before pressing down gently with the wet linen overlay. (I consider that improbable for obvious reasons). Second is to imprint off a real face but make no attempt to image the eyeballs. The socket area would be left blank, and flour then dabbed directly onto the linen over the blank areas to form circles – fake eyes in other words. Third is to dispense with a real human being, at least for the ‘difficult’ face, as per Luigi Garlaschelli, and substitute a bas relief, either moulded clay, or maybe a smooth wooden carving.

The key thing to remember is this: whichever way flour  in my Model 10 finds itself in the eye socket region (imprinting, brushing on, whatever) that patch of flour, after oven-roasting to produce Maillard browning, will elicit a 3D response in 3D-rendering software. The latter will simply read the extra image density against immediate background as raised relief, because that’s what the software has been programmed to do. The software has no way of distinguishing between real relief and artificial computer-fooling fake relief.

Motif on coins? Writing? Nowhere in the book are we shown clear or even unclear evidence that such exists, as distinct from existing purely in the minds of those who claim to see them. If present they would be virtually impossible  to identify with any certainty, given small size and, more especially,  the discontinuities created by a herringbone weave as distinct from paper or parchment.

I think of coins in eyes as representing the soft underbelly of sindonology.

29. Encode the wound on the cloth at the man’s left side so that when the image was photographed 500 years later, the wound would be located in the precisely correct location on the man’s right side so that blood and water would escape from the victim if he received a postmortem wound at this location. To encode these features our forger would not only have to have had understood advanced scientific principles, but also have possessed a knowledge of anatomy and medicine that was centuries ahead of his time. Obviously it would have been impossible for him  to have possessed such knowledge and understanding, but even if he had, somehow, he still couldn’t have seen any of these numerous features to know if he was getting them right. The technology needed to visualize them would not be developed for another five to six hundred years.

“Encode the wound” on the man’s left side? There is no wound on the left side, or anywhere else on the body image for that matter.  Wounds are not part of the basal body image. “Wounds” as said previously here can only be inferred  (and then incorrectly) from bloodstains.  That’s why the bloodstains look “too good to be true” as contact imprints. They are too good to be true.

However, both bloodstains and body image, if  as I maintain they were, acquired by direct contact between subject and linen, will be both tone reversed (“negative”) AND left/right reversed. 

Were our putative medieval forgers hundreds of years ahead of their time, displaying scientific and medical precocity?

No. Atoms and molecules can do some extraordinary things when put together, and maybe supplied with a little energy (heat, light etc) by way of a kick start. All our proposed medieval forgers needed to do was ‘put together’ and supply that kick start (“energy of activation”).  The self-organizing/reorganizing forces of nature that one studies in chemistry, physics, biology, physiology and medicine etc. do the rest. 20th/21st century science may now understand those processes, but medieval man did not need to. All he was interested in was the end-result that came about through mixing and heating.

Atoms and molecules ‘do their own thing’, regardless of whether we comprehend the science or not.

30. How could a medieval artist have displayed a knowledge of physiology that would not be known until centuries later?

See answer to bullet point immediately preceding this one.

31.How could an artist paint without showing any evidence of directionality?

The Shroud body image – and probably blood too-  were not painted onto the linen. They were imprinted. Thus the negative tone-reversed image,the  left/right reversal, the lack of brush marks etc.

32. How could an artist encode three-dimensional information (on a two-dimensional surface) that directly corresponds to the distance between a body and cloth?

He can’t and didn’t. The capture of a 2D image from a 3D subject by contact alone does NOT encode distance information. It merely captures the accessible/inaccessible parts of the surface relief that are/were available to artisans manually PRESSING linen against the subject, and not relying merely on gravity (loosely-draped linen over supine subject) as inappropriately imagined in pro-authenticity models.

33. Last one (phew!).

How could a medieval artist include details that are undetectable with the human eye and become visible only under ultraviolet light, or only through a microscope, or only on three-dimensional reconstructions, or only with the most advanced 20th century computer scanning devices?

How much time do you have, Mark? Answering that might take quite a lot, but answer it I will if you insist…


Jan 25

As indicated earlier, Mark Antonacci is still highly active in promoting Shroud authenticity. His name and  idea-promoting  pressure group (“Test the Shroud Foundation”) appears as sponsor no less on Bob Rucker’s advance notification of a Shroudie conference to be held near his home at Pasco WA, USA.


(Not for nothing have I deployed the tag “Shroudie” for that so-called conference: rest assured this science bod will not be attending, having read Rob Rucker’s accompanying notes that are a mix of science and pseudoscience in equal measure).

At the risk of sounding like a glutton for punishment, maybe I need to do a point-by-point critique of Bob Rucker’s summation of Shroud characteristics. Why?

1. Because it’s some 15 or 16 years more recent than Mark Antonacci’s (but equally choc-a-bloc with loaded terminology that attempts to dismiss out-of-hand all non-authenticity thinking ).

2. It’s being used to ‘prepare the ground’ so to speak for his July conference at Pasco WA,  written in such a manner as to make his and others’ pro-authenticity views appear to be the default position, based on scientific and medical data. But there’s no such thing as a ‘default position’, at least not in science. Nothing is set so firmly in concrete that it can’t be questioned and opposed.  Rucker’s conference preamble is clearly designed to scare off most if not all contra-authenticity researchers (I for one would never dream of attending a Shroudie congress where one would feel as welcome as a fly in a multiply-occupied spider’s web).

Where to publish the new critique? Here? Too long already surely? Maybe, but I want this present posting, with MY “Test The Shroud” idea to remain the first that visitors see on arrival. That idea needs all the publicity it can get, given it’s received no flagging up anywhere other than this site the last year or so.  (Yup, note the way that sindonology freezes out all off-message thinking). So expect a critique of Bob Rucker’s checklist sometime in the next few days, maybe weeks, to follow on from this.

Jan 26

Here’s the first assertion that appears on Bob Rucker’s list:

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

OK, so this claim was made by MarkA in 2000 and was dealt with earlier in this posting. But since it has resurfaced 16 years later, and appears first in the list, it surely deserves a more detailed answer – accompanied with a few illustrations to better make my point that what we see here is  (let’s not beat about the bush) pro-authenticity TUNNEL VISION that simply can’t be bothered to consider alternative forgery scenarios.

 Here for starters is a jokey picture, lifted off the internet, but one that hopefully with a little image manipulation will help to make my point: 


What we see above is what might be called feigned rigor mortis. It’s the position/angle of the feet that we need to focus on, comparing with the image of the SOLES of the feet that we see on the Shroud, which Bob Rucker says are a sign of rigor mortis (real rigor mortis of the deceased Jesus needless to say).


Shroud Scope with added contrast, dorsal view, feet.

Why are the feet supposed to be evidence of rigor mortis? Answer: presumably because the soles of the feet appear as an extension of  the legs (which would not be the case if they were normally oriented at approx 90 degrees with respect to the legs). Ipso facto, the soles were forced in this unnatural position by the crucifixion nails, and then stayed locked in this position after death due to rigor mortis, long enough for the body imaging process to capture the ‘unusual’ geometry.

Is there an alternative explanation, one that does not require a crucifixion victim, one that does not require rigor mortis, indeed one that might be said to be well-approximated by the first photograph? Answer : YES!

First, let’s see our quasi- rigor mortis picture turned to the vertical,  as if the jokey gent were being crucified:


Note that the feet are not as per Shroud, i.e. in line with the legs. At first sight this photo would not look promising as a forgery model.

But think again. What if he were placed supine, face down on the ground, and his dorsal side imprinted onto linen (with a suitable imprinting agent, e.g. my white powdered flour) the latter being turned down over the heels, then patted down firmly onto the soles of the feet.


Those soles would then be imprinted, and once the linen was laid flat they would appear on the imprint as a linear extension of the legs, i.e. exactly as per Shroud!

Why would forgers choose to deploy the imprinting configuration one sees above?

Answer: NOT to mimic the effects of rigor mortis (far too subtle, given the time and place) but, instead, to mimic Joseph of Arimathea’s linen being used in TRANSPORT mode to discreetly move the crucified Jesus (modelled by a volunteer etc) from cross to tomb.


Why model the above in face-down mode? That’s been explained earlier. First, it’s more convenient, allowing the artisans to see and feel what they were imprinting. Second, as suggested earlier, I strongly believe that TWO volunteers were used simultaneously in a single imprinting session, with the “dorsal side” imprinting done with a face-down subject. Use of two volunteers makes it easier to ensure proper alignment of the two images along  the central long axis of the linen.

2. Two nails are through one foot, but only one of the nails is through the other foot. This allows one foot to rotate, so that the victim can push up and down on the cross in order to breath during crucifixion. If the victim of crucifixion is not pushing up and down, then it is clear that he is dead. The soldiers had no doubt that Jesus was dead (Mark 15:43-45, John 19:31-35).

Point 1 saw the feet being used to support a narrative that the man in the Shroud was dead.
(yes, there’s a particular take that sees the TS as genuine, but one where Jesus survived crucifixion: thus the spotlight on alleged ‘rigor mortis’)

Now in Point 2 we see the feet AGAIN being used  essentially to assert that the man in the Shroud was dead, deploying a somewhat esoteric argument to do with nailing geometry being used to serve as a marker for when a crucifixion victim can be seen to have expired.

Clearly the author is bothered by the “Jesus survived crucifixion” narrative, not wasting a second to seek corroborating evidence (again) from the feet.

But this needless to say is a far cry from objective science, or even sound scholarship, given the feet image comprises body and blood stains ONLY.  There is no imaging of puncture wounds of any kind. The blood marks are at best a proxy for nail wounds. So the reference to nail wounds is entirely speculative, indeed pure fantasy. What we see is sindonological spin-doctoring in its most extreme- narrative-fabricating – conjuring up a story from thin air, yet delivered in that oh-so ‘authoritative’ tone of voice, inviting no criticism.

Jan 27

3. In 1532, the church where the Shroud was located caught fire. This fire produced two scorch lines on either side of the front and dorsal images. Water stains can also be seen on the Shroud from water thrown onto the metal box containing the Shroud after it was rescued from the fire. The heat from the fire did not produce a gradation in the intensity of the image discoloration, indicating that the image is not due to application of an organic compound.
Sorry, invalid argument, if as I believe, heat was indeed used to develop an imprint from an organic material , e.g. white wheaten flour in my model. That’s especially so if unreacted or partially-reacted  organic material was then washed out (as in my model – see ‘Galaxy Warrior’ banner below this site’s title). A subsequent exposure to heat, as per 1532, would then be highly unlikely to have any effect on the thermal image, the latter having been already ‘cooked’ and discoloured.

Points 4 and 5: these can wait till later, especially as the first is unclear as to meaning, while the second is bloated with supposedly ‘historical’ considerations for which there is no proper documentary record.

6. The back (dorsal) image on the Shroud shows a separation of blood & clear blood serum that flowed from the wound in his side that shows on the front image. This separation indicates that the victim’s heart was not beating for long enough to allow the red blood cells to settle out of the clear blood serum before the side wound was made. Compare this with the “blood and water” that is said to have exited from Jesus’ side wound in John 19:34.

It’s hard to be certain what is being said here – the exposition is not at all clear as to meaning.

Let’s hazard a guess. The aim  appears, yet again, to dismiss any revisionist ideas that Jesus survived the crucifixion, defence against which requires a laboured argument that centres on the biblical narrative regarding blood and water issuing from the lance wound (yes, hardly an obvious connection).

Is Rucker’s argument that Jesus must have been dead well before receiving the final lance wound, evidenced by the separate blood and water, and if so why – for what medical reasons?

We are not told, but maybe the thinking is this – that if the heart had stopped beating well before the lance wound into the heart, there could have been time for a separation of clear serum – either due to gravity or clotting or both – and that the subsequent lance wound then would have allowed blood and “water” (ie serum ) to issue from the wound. Ipso facto the separate blood and serum may be adduced as evidence of death even prior to a (questionably) lethal lance into the heart,  i.e. that Jesus had survived neither crucifixion, nor, failing that,  a lance wound. (Phew!).

Again, Rucker seems preoccupied with the revisionist claim that while the Shroud is genuine, it never enshrouded a dead body (and may even  on diligent seeking bear forensic evidence of having temporarily  enshrouded  a still living, subsequently surviving body).

That is still a 1st century/crucifixion narrative, but one that would have precluded a subsequent resurrection narrative – but that is not this investigator’s concern and interest, it being focused on the Shroud being an ingenious medieval forgery.

In passing – how might medieval artisans have simulated blood AND water? Tricky one might think. But less tricky when one starts to think through the practicalities of forging a blood-before-image imprinting. For most of the major bloodstains that could have been as described earlier – dribbling blood onto the flour coating then imprinting. But I suggest a different procedure was used for the blood at the ‘invisible” lance wound site. It involved placing a cut-out fabric or other thin mask over the desired area before coating with flour, so that a WHITE area then appeared after oven-heating. See my previous experiment for the feasibility of masking (link later). That was then PARTIALLY painted with blood, such that the unpainted background area would hopefullyt be seen as  biblically-correct “water”.

If masking had been used, one would predict that areas with bloodstains would be free, correction, relatively free from what has been described here as ‘gluten flecks’. Let’s take a look at the largest bloodstain on the Shroud, that associated with “lance wound” in the side, to whether that is the case or not.


Yes, I’d say “prediction confirmed”. Sure, there are regions of red-brown image density inside the blood area, but they are  concentrated along the ribs of the weave, as distinct from being scattered around randomly as irregular-shaped aggregates, which is what one sees outside the blood area. I think it highly likrly that blood was applied to ‘blank’ areas that had been protected from flour-imprinting medium with masking, considtent with the blood first/image second conclusion reached by Adler and Heller.

Oops. the editing software is beginning to freeze up, no doubt as a result of the length of this posting. Maybe best to stop here. If anyone’s interested in hearing my responses to the rest of Bob Rucker’s points, post under Comments – see below –  and I’ll reply there.

Final word: I’ve just spotted this in the INTRODUCTION to Bob Rucker’s website:

  “This scientific research has shown that the characteristics of the image are so bizarre that it could not be the result of a human agent, either an artist or forger, because the technology to create this image did not exist in a previous era and still does not exist even today.”

Er, what technology, Bob? If you’re unable to specify the precise technology, only saying what it isn’t,  then how can you be so certain it was beyond the means of medieval man? Are you  and your like-minded promoters of authenticity familiar with my flour-imprinting/oven-roasting model? If not, why not?  Even if you haven’t seen this site, it’s well over 18 months since Dan Porter began offering it for discussion on his site!

E.g. this from July 2, 2015:


Is Colin Berry Onto Something?

More red font: I’ve just added this to the top of the completed  posting, indeed, completed blog site…

Here’s an image needed for another site:


Newsflash – Jan 27, 2017

This blogger/investigator is thinking of setting up a new site, to be called : “The Shroud of Turin – the cleverest fraud in history”.  Any comments before I get composing?

Goodbye folks from this site  (except for new comments, which are always welcome). It’s time to tackle misinformation , indeed systematic disinformation HEAD ON.

 As Popeye used to say in his cartoons, before squeezing  and ejecting the contents from a can of spinach: ” That’s all I can stands.  I can’t stands no more”.

download-popeye-1  download-popeye-2

Update: March 2, 2017

This investigator can presently be found  on the international skeptics forum, contributing to a thread with Turin Shroud in its title, under the username “meccanoman”.


The site managers have insisted on adding my real name underneath each contribution, since that was how  I was known some 3-4 years ago when briefly participating on what was then known as the james randi sceptiks forum.

Update: March 6:

Have just discovered an amazing photoediting  option available on Windows 10. It’s called Zeke: it hugely accentuates particulate material. Here’s a taster if what it can achieve, applying it to the second image on this posting (a Durante 2002 image from Shroud Scope, already with some added contrast):


Upper: before ZEKE; Lower: after Zeke

I shall post it with any further comments  elsewhere:

March 7: new image needed of that other site:

additive colour mixing + or - zeke

March 8: another pre/post Zeke picture. Note the way Zeke improves the rock faces in background, top left and top right:

mount rushmore pre post zeke

download baby in warzone

Two late additions to above appendices (needed for new comment on my Final posting):

nima gluten-detection meter


TS + gluten found query



About Colin Berry

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

13 Responses to Might those be flecks of congealed wheat gluten one sees on the Turin Shroud? Evidence for unique one-off white flour imprinting?

  1. paulandruss says:

    Thanks Colin for the very interesting and revealing article. I see we are in the same time zone.. wasn’t to sure when I emailed you.

  2. Colin Berry says:

    Paul is an author/blogger with an engaging style of writing. He covers an extraordinary range of thought-provoking topics. I was fortunate to come across his recent feature on the Shroud through googling. Here’s a link:


    Separately, I yesterday had a pop at that Arch-Purveyor of Shroudie Dogma, namely Stephen E.Jones (currently shifting reams of convoluted logic re alleged 3D properties, failing to publish – though vaguely alluding to – my critical ripostes). It’s to be found on my otherwise neglected sciencebuzz site:


  3. sheona says:

    Sorry to read you are no longer posting. I don’t say much, but I enjoy reading.

  4. Colin Berry says:

    Thanks sheona

    While I’m no longer bothering with new posts here, being totally ignored and shut out by those true believer ‘sindonologists’, I’m still deliberating, still trying to make sense of the Shroud as a ‘forgery’. As already indicated, I’ve never been happy with that term ‘forgery’, feeling we may be missing something re ORIGINAL motivation of its fabricators.

    In fact, I’m currently onto what I believe is an entirely new angle, one that I wasted no time in posting to the ‘Odds n Sods – a Miscellany’ website (see link in my reply to Paul that directly precedes your comment).

    Here’s what I posted to his site, though ideas based on Leviticus Chapter 6 are evolving as we speak (with Paul I’m pleased to say expressing much interest):

    Colin Berry Feb 17,2017 11:24 am

    Hello again Paul. I hope you won’t mind if I now use your site – and possibly your social media contacts too – for a kite-flying exercise, the kite in question being a mere 3 hours old!

    It began with me googling (bible flour). I got to wondering this morning if there might be some clues as to why medieval ‘forgers’ of the Turin Shroud might choose to use white breadmaking flour as an imprinting medium.

    Suppose I said there was a chapter in the Bible that mentions not only my white flour, that additionally mentions cooking oil (also an important ingredient in my imprinting medium) AND fire AND white linen as well? That would be asking too much, right, to have 4 vital components in my medieval manufacturing scenario not only in the Bible, but in a particular chapter thereof?

    Well, guess what? There is. See Leviticus, third book after Genesis and Exodus in the Old Testament, Chapter 6 !

    It’s about the procedures/rituals that have to be followed by those who have confessed their sins to a priest, and who are required under Jewish law to make a sacrifice.

    Chp 6 is targeted at poorer folk who can’t afford animal sacrifices, who are told to bring along cheaper food, “finest flour” especially – some to be used as a burnt offering, the rest to be baked into unleavened (i.e. non-yeasted) bread for the presiding priest and hopefully his family especially!

    Here are two key verses (New International Version):

    15. The priest is to take a handful of the finest flour and some olive oil, together with all the incense on the grain offering, and burn the memorial portion on the altar as an aroma pleasing to the LORD.

    Wow! That’s three of the ingredients – flour, oil and fire. What about the 4th? Linen?

    Guess what? It comes 5 verses earlier in the same chapter :

    As before, the New International Version:

    10. The priest shall then put on his linen clothes, with linen undergarments next to his body, and shall remove the ashes of the burnt offering that the fire has consumed on the altar and place them beside the altar.

    (Yes, the white linen has special ritual significance, given what we read in the following verse):

    11.Then he is to take off these clothes and put on others, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a place that is ceremonially clean.

    This comment is already too long, Paul, so I shall end here, except to propose an entirely new explanation for the Turin Shroud. Might it have been intended initially to symbolize the crucifixion of Jesus as an Old Testament style sacrifice of Son by Father, intended as an expiation of someone else’s , i.e. mankind’s sins.

    That explains why the technology was customized, a one-off. It was a gesture on the part of those powerful, privileged folk who commissioned it (the Lirey-based de Charny family certainly, based on the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge, but conceivably under instructions from the highest in the land, King John the Good as well, no less. Those two battle-hardened knights were linked via their self-created chivalrous Order of the Star, said to have been de Charny’s idea, modelled on England’s Order of the Garter).

    You read it here first!

    Listen ye here now, you authenticity-promoting imaging via nuclear or electromagnetic radiation obsessed tunnel vision shroudologists. You may get away with ignoring my site, basically because I’m uninclined at this stage to involve the MSM (or even so-called ‘peer-reviewed’ journals, read chum-reviewed in many instances). Will you dare ignore Paul’s and others’ internet sites too?

    Hearing yours and others’ immediate response to this new approach will be most welcome, sheona before I elaborate further. Suffice it to say there are not just one but TWO aspects to the Mosaic laws regarding sacrificial burnt offerings. There’s the obvious one of being required to part with valuable livestock or even the ‘finest flour’ and olive oil (ring any bells?) . But there’s another, one I’d missed up till now. It’s the presumption of an anthropomorphic God up there in his heaven who will appreciate the aromas wafting up from the fires on those altars!.

    Watch this space (or Paul’s website) for more on that “Currying favour with Mr.Big” idea which could be the real explanation for that so-called ‘forgery’ we call the Shroud of Turin. Was it intended not just as a sin-expiating sacrifice, but, more importantly, as a GIFT too from one or more of the most powerful families in mid-14th century France, including that of the monarch’s too (John the Good, no less) as well as his bearer of the Oriflamme, Geoffroy de Charny, Lord of Lirey and his wife, both of whose coats of arms appear on the Lirey pilgrim’s badge?

  5. Colin Berry says:

    Have just posted this comment and images to an ongoing thread on the International Skeptics Forum (see link to Comment 297 at end):

    “These two images are not new here – they are excised portions from my Comment 191 where I first announced to this site (and the world!) that the Zeke filter on Microsoft’s Window’s 10 is perfectly attuned to the needs of Shroudology, unmasking fine particulate matter from background.

    That’s flaking-off blood in the hair you see on the left. That’s flaking-off something else you see on the right.

    But it can’t be anything else but body image on the right, since it’s virtually the entire moustache and tip of the nose!

    Sorry to repeat myself, but the Shroud body image has two distinct components – a crust- like one that has largely flaked-away, similar in behaviour to the aged blood, and an underlying faint yellow or yellowish-brown stain.

    So when you read the old literature and see references to particles, e.g. McCrone’s ‘red ochre’ etc, think about the non-detached components. And when you read others that talk about the amazingly superficial nature of the Shroud image, typically cited as 200nm thick or less, the need to use pulsed uv laser beams to reproduce, think about the underlying stain.

    I knew I’d get there in the end. Who’d have thought that some “crappy” image-editing software supplied on every new Windows laptop would supply the answer…

    I tried saying thank you to MS on their site that announces Zeke and the other filters, but after enrolling and attempting to add Comment 51 was told newbies have not acquired sufficient “reputation” to leave comments on old postings. What a cretinous thing to say, immediately below “Welcome new member”.”


  6. Matt says:

    Good day Colin, I’ve been reading your blog and you’ve revealed things to me I never knew about the shroud given all the hype thats out there. Just wanted your opinion on something. What do you make of the “second face” on the reverse side claim. I’ve heard even some pro-shroud people deny it. Do you have a post about it? Thanks.

  7. Colin Berry says:

    Hello Matt.

    No, I’ve never addressed the claim for partial ‘obverse side’ images as yet, notably face and hands, feeling as I do that I needed to be better informed as to the nature of the topside image first. When I say images, I mean ones that can or cannot be seen with photographs alone, rathet than those problematical computer-aided reconstructions reported by Giulio Fanti and his team.

    Mario Latendresse put a couple of photos up on his sindonology.com site a while ago. I’ve taken the face, shown first “as is” and then after photoenhancement in my unsophisticated MS Office Picture Manager, using just the 5 controls in brightness and contrast.



    What do you reckon Matt? Is there an image on the opposite side of the linen or not? Mario says there’s not…

    (There’s probably no point our discussing THAT claimed image unless agreed on whether there really is one or not!).

    PS: Beware: the photoedited one has also been left/right reversed, unlike the ‘as is’. Apols for that (it was done for future use, when comparing with topside image).

    • Matt says:

      Well if there is no image, where is the hair coming from unless the front image isn’t as superficial as they’re saying. It’s hard for me to believe a lot of the pro-shroudies given the spurious nature of a lot of their claims. I saw your comment on Dan Porters site about the graphite background and the picture of the red painting on linen. Could this be a light phenomena? assuming the images are as superficial as they say. In any case, I’m convinced that the shroud is a fake. I think the image of the hair may come from the outlines of the painted blood and perhaps some oil substance staining through which adds to the paredolia.

      In the big picture I think this is the last thing Christianity has seeing that they’ve lost when it comes to creationism, geocentrism and Adam and Eve. Seeing that all these things have been debunked. I think the shroud will follow.

      What say you?

  8. Colin Berry says:

    Yes, the pro-authenticity folk in general (Mario L a notable excepotion – see his site) seem to be relaxed about an image that is on both faces of the Shroud, albeit exceedingly faint on the obverse side, yet say there’s nothing in between! That takes quite a bit of explaining, wouldn’t you say, and I don’t recall seeing any attempts as yet to come up with a cogent explanation?

    I have one, and it’s tentative, so am pleased to see your thinking is at least partly along the same lines.

    Yup, we’re talking about OIL.

    My flour imprinting works best when there’s vegetable oil prsent, not just to attach flour to the skin initially, but to help colour development in the oven too.

    The oil helps to ‘micro-fry’ the particles of flour, which then proceed to turn brown due to Maillard reactions, A small surplus of oil then acts as a liquid vehicle, allowing that cocktail of yellow/brown Maillard products to penetrate the weave of the linen. The likely route for capillary migration is the narrow channels BETWEEN the fibres, as can be easily modelled with ink ( I did a clip for YouTube back in 2015), so the brown cocktail can get from one side of the linen to the other INSIDE the threads, out of sight, and then, if there’s sufficient, proceed to stain the opposite face where they emerge..

    Why an image (of sorts) on the opposite face, rather than a mere oil stain? Maybe the Maillard cocktail deposits solid polymeric highly-pigmented melanoidins on its short journey. The latter attach strongly to the fibres, so that the migrating oil gets cleaner and cleaner, finally scarcely visible in the cloth. leaving the pigmented image on the obverse side roughly the same shape and size as the topside, but not exactly the same (which might explain Fanti’s curious finding that the main and subsidiary image were not quite identical in his computer-assisted imaging).

    Thanks for the interest Matt. Let me know if you have any further insights. Right or wrong they are all grist to the mill.

  9. Matt says:

    Ah yes, the maillard reactions that Rogers proposed (the only thing he did right). I think your explanation is brilliant. As regards to the proshroudies. They’ve been caught with there pants down (figuratively) too many times. STURP reminds me of the pseudoscience done by creation “scientists”. I think the reason it hasn’t been explained is because no one wants to explain it because it serves a religious purpose and mystery gets publicity.

    My question is when I read Dan Porter, he says he believes it’s authentic but then says he doesn’t believe it’s a miracle and can be explained naturally.What do you make of that because at times it seems like he’s talking out both sides of his mouth. Like it seems many times that people in that camp will try to play both sides of the table like that.

  10. Colin Berry says:

    Thank you Matt. I’ve been waiting patiently for 18 months or more for this kind of feedback…

    You have finally confirmed my faith (correction, initial hopes) in the internet as a medium for disseminating research and discussion online in REAL TIME as a 21st century alternative to the over-hyped ‘peer-reviewed-dare-one-say- hide-behind-a-paywall option’.

    Yes, Dan Porter’s site served a useful role in discussing the pros and cons, but he himself was less than helpful in adjudging the relative merits between both sides of the argument. His main objective seemed to be to keep the discussion going – endlessly.

    But thank you Dan for the memories (positive ones)….

    • Matt says:

      You’re welcome. I’m a skeptic and like such discussions. I’ve looked into a lot weird religiously based claims that don’t get a lot of skeptical treatment or scrutiny. The Shroud is one of them. When I first heard about the Shroud a few years ago I was surprised at the lack of skeptical sources on the internet or in books, responding to the obvious pseudoscientific “findings” and methods of that crowd. Anyways keep up the good work. I’ll be checking in from time to time.

  11. Colin Berry says:

    Thank you Matt. Your comments have been most heartening.

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