Hello all you media reporters, whether mainstream (MSM), minor tributary (MTM) or obscure backwater media (OBWM). Isn’t it time you released some air from the tyres of that truth-bending Shroud of Turin juggernaut?

Site under reconstruction (new title, new tagline, new target readership etc.) See yesterday’s late intro to my previous posting.

Incidentally, that’s a hand, MY hand, in the new header image.  It was simply wetted with tap water, pressed onto dark fabric  – an old pair of jeans – and the imprint then digitally enhanced, first with 3D-rendering (ImageJ) software, then tone-reversed (‘negative’ to pseudo-positive) before and after further 3D. Do the resulting images put you in mind of anything, dear journalist or other internet-surfing media reporter? Like, you know, that Shroud of Turin with its, er, ‘unique, encoded 3D properties’? There’s more where that came from, much more, accumulated by this retired biomed scientist over the course of some 6 years of hands-on (literally) modelling of the Shroud body image (the one we’re told can and never will be reproduced by human hand!). Maybe I should send skin samples from my hand to a DNA-fingerprinting laboratory – just to be sure it’s human!

It’s said a picture is worth a thousand words. So here’s something to be getting on with for now – a piccy that merely adds graphical impact to the title  (IMPACT, careless or otherwise,  being the operative word).

complete juggernaut

More to follow shortly – like a list of 20 home truths about the Shroud of Turin, most carrying multiple dents from previous encounters with ‘sindonology’ (mainly but not exclusively the authenticity-promoting variety).

For better or for worse, the 20 points will all be heavily annotated, hopefully building to a useful resource if you’re a pressed-for-time Major Player –  or even minor cog – serving the needs of the ever-curious – though dare one say all-too-easily misled –  mass media readership.

Watch this space – more to follow, later today.

First I have to get my over-70s shingles jab (fortunately still free on the UK NHS – but for how much longer remains to be seen, the entire team of GPs having taken early retirement from my local surgery, now being run entirely by locums). 

It’s  still Thur Nov 16, now 13:00 hours. Let’s get started on those over-hyped details regarding the Shroud that continue to be uncritically trumpeted  to this day.

Mythology reference 1 (primarily as stated, for journalists and other media folk)

What could be more outrageous, more pseudoscientific than the one that says the body image on the linen shows “unique encoded 3D properties”.

Er, no, it doesn’t, as will shortly be demonstrated.

A degree of over-enthusiasm from STURP’s John Jackson on first laying eyes on the Shroud’s 3D-rendered image, as described in John Heller’s 1983 book (arguably the archetypal curate’s egg – “good in parts”) was perhaps understandable: here is the key passage – blue font –  from pages 39/40 (my italics)

They  (John Jackson and Bill Mottern) placed the Shroud photo in the VP-8  (first generation 70s era 3D-rendering software) ) and twiddled the dials, focus and rotation.

Suddenly both men saw, swimming up from the electronic fog of the screen, a perfect (sic) three-dimensional image of a scourged, crucified man.
Impossible! Ridiculous! Outrageous! Yes. It was there. The two scientists just stared. The positive photograph of the man in the Shroud had the appearance of a two dimensional face. The VP-8’s three dimensional image was as stunningly different from the photograph as a statue is from a painting. The long hair, full beard and mustache, the serenity on the face of a badly battered, crucified man, came alive, giving Jackson and Mottern the eerie impression that they were gazing at an actual face of a man, not at a painting or a sculpture.

Finally, Jackson took a deep breath. “Bill,” he said, “do you realize that we may be the first people in two thousand years to know exactly how Christ looked in the tomb (sic, i.e. “tomb”, it being assumed that the linen was a “burial” shroud.  But what if the image had been captured en route to the tomb, i.e. as a sweat/blood imprint onto a TRANSPORT, not burial shroud, or was merely an ingenious simulation of that ‘instant’ image-capture during transport, while sweat and blood were still reasonably moist, not drying or dried out as they would be a day later?) ?”


Yes, that adjectival designation (“burial”) for the Shroud could be said to lie at the root of much confusion, tunnel vision, agenda-driven speculation (notably “resurrectional incandescence), all trotted out so casually and uncritically by the Turin custodians, by the Vatican owners, and (unforgivably) by scientists (real or self-styled).

One cannot claim the linen to be a “burial shroud”, real or even simulated, unless one can definitely exclude a more limited role as “transport shroud” – with all the implications that makes for mechanism of image capture. More on that later (with reference to the 4 Gospel accounts!).

But first, let’s dispense with that claim that the Shroud image has UNIQUE 3D properties.

More than half a century ago, I recall a University lecturer stating (more or less accurately) that the typical biochemical experiment involved 10 bits of laboratory glassware  – 1 for the test, 9 for the controls –  designed to rule out possible causative factors other than the one primarily under study.

That sums up the fatal  lapse of experimental technique that accompanied the Jackson/Mottern test – they failed to follow up with proper controls!

Microsoft Paint wasn’t around in 1977. But a hand drawn or painted substitute was possible – to incorporate one or more internal controls -like 2D images that had  NO three-dimensional history and  and to see how they responded to the 3D-rendering software compared with that of the Shroud image.  It’s called boring, tedious scientific spadework – the reason why truly science-based  projects rarely generate instant results that can be taken immediately at face-value.

Can you guess where this is leading? Yes, I’ve used MS Paint to do that, i.e. to incorporate internal 2D controls some 40 years after they should have been done, and probably would have, but for clouded or starry-eyed vision on the part of those – John Jackson’s especially – more preoccupied with advancing and promoting their religious beliefs  than with the pursuit of cold, dispassionate, hard-headed science.

So here we are – the 3 piccies that should hopefully bury once and for all those allegedly  “unique 3D properties” of the Turin Shroud.

2. as is enrie neg vertica with white additions from MS Paint

Fig. 2:  The 1931 Enrie B/W photo of the Shroud (face only), tone-reversed to render more life-like, with some added 2D graphics on the right, generated with MS Paint


3. enrie neg as is 3D default z

Fig.3:  The same as Fig 2 above, after 3D-rendering with  Image J software, which merely elevates brightness onto an imaginary vertical z coordinate. The virtual elevation is in strict proportion to intensity of brightness, with added lateral ‘lighting’ to improve the apparent ‘3D-ness’.  Note the relatively minor 3D response of the Shroud image, compared with the equally if not better response from the  added white 2D images. Might additional ‘z scale promotion’ work better – the latter being kept at the minimum default setting (0.1)?


4. enrie as is 3d zscale now 0.3

Fig.4: the virtual elevation has now been increased (from minimum default setting of 0.1 to 0.3). There’s been a big response from those added 2D shapes on the right, such that their original shapes are no longer apparent, but scarcely any improvement if any in the weak response from the  Shroud image . The so-called “unique 3D properties” of the Shroud body image are a complete myth, while still cited to this day as evidence of an ‘encoded’ supernatural origin.


Mythology reference 2 (primarily as stated, for journalists and other media folk)

A simple acronym serves to sum of what follows under this heading: TINA!

TINA = There Is No Alternative.

Time and time again, that strand of thinking within sindonology  (one which Dan Porter memorably summarized recently as  the ‘snap, crackle and pop’  narrative)  states There Is No Alternative to supernaturally corpse-emitted radiation as the mechanism of body imaging.

It’s a pseudoscientific  notion, needless to say, lacking any known precedents, indeed any known theoretical framework, one that I personally have previously dubbed “resurrectional incandescence”.

Christmas pantomimes in the UK  have the correct response to sindonology’s TINA – a collective, roof-raising “Oh yes there is!” from the audience.

Tomorrow evening I’ll try to set out concisely the reasons why TINA is a totally-uncalled for “solution” to the TS mystery. It’s one that has ignored an alternative that has been in the literature (albeit Dan Porter’s now retired blogsite, reporting on my own thinking from summer 2015 and indeed making its first appearance much earlier).  It’s the scenario that sees the TS body image as a SIMULATED sweat/blood imprint of 14th century provenance, inspired by a much celebrated predecessor, now long gone.

And what you may ask was that, dear journalist? Answer: the Veil of Veronica.

Here’s a key passage.

 During the fourteenth century it became a central icon in the  Western Church; in the words of art historian Neil MacGregor: “From [the 14th Century] on, wherever the  Roman Church  went, the Veronica would go with it.”

TINA? Reminder: the first appearance of the Turin Shroud, and indeed that of the iconic two-fold body image on a pilgrim’s badge, was in Lirey, near Troyes, France in the mid-14th century, corresponding approximately with the mid-point of the radiocarbon dating. No, not in an artist’s studio, as some misguided folk would have us believe, but the humble private chapel of one the King’s closest confidants, founder member of the Order of the Star, curiously staffed with  some half a dozen or so clerics,  namely the celebrated warrior knight, Geoffroy de Charny …

More to follow tomorrow.

Friday Nov 17

Francisco_de_Zurbarán_011 V of V from wiki


Above is a 17th century artist’s representation of the Veil of Veronica (the latter supposedly an imprint of the face of Jesus captured on the good lady’s proferred ‘face cloth’ as he passed by, bearing his cross on the way to the crucifixion site. (No, the story has no biblical legitimacy, but that’s neither here nor there for present purposes).

I could have chosen any number of artistic representations – i.e. not the real thing – or, at any rate, claimed thing – simply from the wiki entry alone. The one you see was selected for being closest to the TS image (monochrome) and arguably least like a conventional portrait, where the artist has at least made a token effort to show how a sweat imprint might look long after the event, maybe with some, er,  you know, supernatural enhancement.

So there’s some faint similarity, is there not,  between the image above and the Turin Shroud image, whether or not the latter is the work of a freehand artists, as some maintain, or is a simulated sweat imprint, as I maintain (and stand to be corrected)? But one would not expect that image above to respond anything like as well as the TS image in 3D-rendering software, no matter how produced, right? In the pro-authenticity view, there’s no supernaturally-generated “encoded” 3D properties. In the non-  or anti-authenticity view it’s not an imprint, or even a terribly good representation of an imprint, least of all a tone-reversed negative imprint, as per TS.

Now look at how it does respond in ImageJ 3D-rendering software.

v of v after 3D


Not bad eh?

Here’s a cropped close-up of the 3D-rendered face:

v of v after 3D cropped


And here’s the initial 2D face, from that 17th century oil painting compared with the same after  3D-rendering and a little adjustment of brightness and contrast to make both more easily visible:

vov before v after 3D enhancement then adg brightness contrast etc in MS O PM


As I say, the claim that the TS image has “unique encoded 3D properties” is simply impossible to sustain when simple paintings alone – never mind body imprints – respond as well if not better to the software.

Why did I choose an image of the fabled “Veil of Veronica” to reinforce the point?  Answer: because that image almost certainly was the inspiration for the creation and display in 14th century France of the Shroud, the two being conceptually the same – sweat imprints in the first instance, the Veil being supposedly captured pre-mortem, the Shroud post-mortem.

More to follow tomorrow, with the focus on why the Shroud should indeed be seen as a simulated sweat (and blood) imprint, supposedly captured on Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’ shortly after the body was taken down from the cross – and indeed probably explained to those awe-struck pilgrims  travelling from afar as having occurred en route from cross to rock tomb in the nearby garden.

Any reference to ‘resurrectional incandescence’ as producing the image? No, almost certainly not. Medieval pilgrims can be credited with having their much travelled feet planted firmly on the ground, unlike  I have to say the fringe element of today’s agenda-driven sindonologists, pushing their sensationalist version of events, closing their ears and eyes to any suggestion of a simulated sweat imprint…

Mythology reference 3, primarily for journalists: eye-witness reports of the iconic Shroud image were around  way before the radiocarbon dating (1260-1390).

Really? So what are the key characteristics of what we now call the Turin Shroud, either visually, verbally or both, that might be considered to constitute a definite sighting?

Let’s consider the visual criteria first. There can be little doubt that the TS image is both unique and arguably iconic?  Why?

Show a child a photograph of what in the 14th century was described perhaps a little ambiguously as the ‘two-fold’ body image. Then give it a pencil and sheet of paper, and ask it to draw the simplest possible matchstick figure, such that most well-informed adults would immediately recognize what was represented, albeit in highly attenuated form.

How might the diagram look?

Hopefully, something like this, maybe a little better, maybe a little worse…

dual frontal v dorsal fold-over image matchstick

That’s just 2 ovals, 14 straight lines, a dash and a couple of dots, and most of that is duplication!

Then, if it’s a smart child, ask him or her  to add a single extra line to give a clue as to how the ‘two-fold’ image was formed if present on a single surface, e.g. a sheet of white linen.

If you’re lucky,  or patient, or offer a sizeable reward, you might get this:

dual frontal v dorsal fold-over image matchstick with centre fold

Thus the ambiguity as regards that early description (“two-fold”). The image is the consequence of one-fold (about which more shortly regarding mechanism of image production).

So what’s the earliest appearance in recorded history of the image you see above?  Pre-14th century? Pre- radiocarbon 1260-1390, i.e. 13th or 14th century?

If anyone knows of such an image, essentially simple but uniquely memorable, then let’s be hearing via a comment to this site, educating both myself and the journalistic community.

Where do I think that image first appeared? Answer: on the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge, circa 1355 according to written testimony (the famous/infamous Bishop Pierre d’Arcis memorandum, penned to the Pope in 1389).


lirey-badge-v-forgeais-drawing rotated

Top: only known specimen of  the 1355 Lirey Pilgrim’s badge, aka Cluny Museum medallion, recovered from R.Seine, Paris in 1855. Underneath is the contemporary drawing made by its ‘rescuer’ Arthur Fourgeais, some 10 years later.


Yes, 1355, which is just 30 years different from the mid-point of the radiocarbon date.

Even the Shroudie polymath Dan Porter was taken aback some 2 years ago when I pointed out that the earliest known appearance of the iconic Shroud image in recorded history was as recent as 1355, consistent with the radiocarbon dating!

Why Didn’t I Think of That

In passing, see this lawyerly critique of the d’Arcis memorandum, the polemics and imbalance of which, sadly typical of pro-authenticity sindonology,  we may or may not  return to later.


Tomorrow (Nov 19): there will be a brief appraisal of Ian Wilson’s attempt to fill a  1300 year void in the history of an allegedly 1st century Shroud with the idea that the face only was on public display (as the ‘Image of Edessa’), the rest deemed unsuitable for public view and thus kept  neatly folded and out of sight, all 4.5 sq metres approx.

In passing, see wiki link to Ian Wilson.  Non- , correction,  anti- authenticity ‘experts’ are just as prone to outbursts of stinging rebuke as the true-believer variety. I personally try to steer clear of both. You  journalists would be well-advised to do the same, unless wishing to waste life’s precious gift of sense-making consciousness immersed in ill-informed triviality and backbiting.

See Dan Porter’s account of this investigator’s own unsatisfactory experience with the ‘we know better than you’ faceless editors of wikipedia

There will then be an attempt to summarise as briefly as possible the characteristics of that ‘matchstick man’ double image that you dedicated minority of  fact-seeking journalists  who are reading this see above, and how it might have been formed by applying commonsense principles.

Will it be possible to quickly dispense, as does the ‘resurrectional incandescence’ school of sindonology,  with the tiresome and, needless to say, entirely mistaken concept that the TS body image is/was the product of  straightforward, no nonsense contact-imprinting,  easily modelled by pressing a wet hand onto an old pair of jeans – as per my new header image aka blog banner – whether 1st or 14th century?

In passing, this posting appeared just 4 days ago from one “Dr.Kenneth Stevenson” who says he was a member of the 1978 STURP team of investigative scientists.

The name being unfamiliar, I checked it out against the list of STURP personnel. Kenneth Stevenson is indeed listed, against the title: Public Relations. Scientific input? Who knows? Maybe Dr.Kenneth Stevenson can illuminate…

He’s certainly good, maybe a tad too good, on the ‘public relations’, working as a lot of PR folk do on the ‘need to know’ principle, and indeed, ‘don’t need to know’. That kinda sums up a lot of sindonology of the agenda-driven pro-authenticity variety – tell folk what they need to know – while remaining quiet about the trifling details…

See this review of a paperback book, co-authored by the same Kenneth Stevenson. It’ s a priceless example of how pro-authenticity sindonology manages to keep the show on the road, year after year, decade after decade! Nothing is incontestable in the world of PAS. That’s providing  you’re willing to exercise (and proselytize) a little imagination- like Jesus’s  shroud- retrieving disciples issuing a directive to keep the ‘impure’ Shroud a secret, under wraps, for 1300 years.

Yes, I read you!

Sunday November 19

Mythology reference 4: “Put  any notion of  the TS body image being simply an IMPRINT left by physical contact between a body and linen right out of your head. It’s something else – a miraculous photograph (pro-authenticity) or ‘just a painting’.

Yes, the time has now to stop pussyfooting round that elephant in the room, and confront it fair and square, in depth and in detail. I refer to the axiom that the Shroud body image is and cannot be an imprint,  formed by contact between a body and linen, regardless of imprinting medium – natural or otherwise – but something else – “just a painting” or a miraculous photograph captured with the help of ‘resurrectional incandescence”.

Not a contact imprint? Some writers,  naming no names,  can’t even bring themselves to use the term “imprint”,  or even allude to it vaguely, using  the “image” throughout before delivering their Olympean judgement on the mechanism of image capture (and of course authenticity) by some means other than imprinting by contact.

Now that blind spot, nay entire blanking out from the entire visual field (think tunnel vision) is truly extraordinary, on at least  three five entirely different grounds which we’ll briefly examine:

  1. The geometrical configuration of the TS  two-sided body image, as shown in those matchstick figures above, especially the second with that presumed centre-fold.
  2. Gaps in the body image that scream “imprint”, not painting
  3. The negative (tone-reversed) image.
  4. The evidence that the body image’s yellow chromophore is organic in nature (i.e. carbon-based), and cannot therefore be any kind of  artist’s inorganic paint pigment (e.g. McCrone’s iron oxide)
  5. The bloodstains, which many, perhaps most,  assume not unreasonably to represent real blood, or a reasonable simulation thereof, NOT just any old artist’s paint pigments straight out the pot.
  6.  (There may be others I’ve forgotten – if so I’ll add to this list later).

So let’s expand a little on each of the  3 5 points listed thus far. (I’ll try to be brief since there’s lots more that needs to be said re the practical pros and cons of imprinting once one has dispensed with those (for the most part) agenda-driven attempts to rule imprinting out of contention).

  1. The geometry (see earlier matchstick figures): the apposition of two life size images, one frontal the other dorsal suggests a simultaneous image capture onto linen that has been folded over and around the head. That suggests imprinting, not freehand painting, unless the latter were intended to mimic the appearance of an imprint. Either way, the key word, the key concept is IMPRINTING by contact.
  2.  ‘Missing bits’. Here’s a representation of the Shroud from MDCVIII (1608). First the complete image:

IMG_0907 cropped

Then a close-up of those blank areas around crossed hands (yes, the image is not an accurate portrayal of the TS), between arms and torso, under chin:

IMG_0909 close up of blank areas

Why did the artist leave those areas blank? Answer: the artist wanted you the viewer to be left in no doubt whatsoever that the body image was an IMPRINT, that being reinforced in other ways – the incomplete imaging  of the legs, the monochrome image. Despite the copy having been painted, not re-imprinted by a painter, the artist was going out of his way to say IMPRINT, not painting, even to the extent of exaggerating the extent of the imprint-like nature of the real TS body image, especially around those hands.

3. Note too the negative, i.e. tone-reversed nature of the TS image, faithfully conveyed in the above painting, notably by the eye hollows being LIGHTER in tone than surrounding skin, the latter shown uniformly dark. Negative images were recognized for what they are long before 19th century photography, long before Secondo Pia’s celebrated tone reversal of the TS image in 1898. Think branding of livestock with a hot iron, think brass-rubbings, think muddy footprints on a white tiled floor etc etc. The medievals would not have described the TS  body image as a negative image. They would simply have described it as an IMPRINT, one where prominent features only are imaged, where recessed features get missed out! Folk would have understood exactly what was meant.

4.  Body image organic (carbon-based) , NOT an artist’s paint pigment.  STURP’s John Heller MD (trained as medic and later became research laboratory-based biophysicist) wrote a book in 1983 entitled “Report on the Shroud of Turin”. Towards the end of the book (Page 199) he penned the following words, which this investigator regards not only as the most important finding on his and colleague Alan Adler’s part, but the most important finding of the entire STURP project, at least as regards the ‘enigmatic’ body image.

“If the straw- yellow of the images was the result of oxidation, we thought, we should be able the process with reductants. We had used ascorbate but had seen no change. Perhaps it was not a strong enough reducing agent, so we decided to use diimide, which is a potent one. If that did not show any change, we could forget about oxidation. A droplet of diimide was added to a strw-yellow fibril and instantly became white. At last, after two years of puzzling about the yellow, we had a positive test!”

He could have shot Walter McCrone down in flames with that single finding. Instead it’s relegated almost to a footnote in his book!
Why is it so important? Because diimide (HN=NH) is not just a powerful reducing agent (indeed, it’s arguably not powerful as reducing agents go). What makes diimide different from other reducing agents is the specific targeting of -C=C- double bonds. Not only does that explain the bleaching action, if it’s assumed that the yellow colour of the chromophore is due to -C=C- double bonds, as is generally the case with organic compounds (that’s ‘conjugated’ double bonds, not isolated ones, I’ll spare you the details dear journalist). It essentially rules out McCrone’s and others’ ideas that the TS body image was created with artists’ mineral pigments. Why? Because the latter are inorganic (non-carbon-based) so lacking as they do those crucial C=C double bonds they would not be in the least bit affected, far less bleached, by Heller and Adler’s diimide reagent.
So, a major plank of the ‘just a painting’ dismissal of the TS was knocked away by the diimide finding. Why didn’t Heller and Adler deploy it against McCrone? One can only speculate, but it’s not too late to deploy their finding. Better late than never (late by some 35 years or so!).
In fact this investigator deployed it back in Feb this year on another site (under a MeccanoMan pseudonym) only to be told by an employee of the surviving McCrone Foundation that he was “clinging to the diimide result like a drowning man” (typical debating style for that opponent-demeaning internet site which this MeccanoMan has since abandoned ).

Correction – it’s a rare instance of one of those game-changing ‘ugly facts’ that destroy beautiful hypotheses (beautiful in the eyes of their beholders, that is).

5. The blood – hardly stylized, as if merely painted on – but intended to look like real blood – as if shed from real wounds.

There’s a lot one might or could say about the character of the bloodstains, real or simulated, on the Shroud, which some might consider look too realistic to have come from an artist’s brush. Indeed, the ‘blood-before-body-image’ order of arrival onto the linen, suggested by Adler and Heller’s findings with protein-digesting enzyme (having found no body image under digested-away bloodstains) are at least preliminary evidence that an artist could not merely have generated the body image and then simply added blood  at leisure “in all the right places”. (There is an alternative procedure that can be accommodated within an imprinting scenario, one where a human subject/volunteer is coated with imprinting medium, and the blood then dribbled onto the coating: then and only then the linen was draped over and pressed down, such that the last addition – blood- was the first to imprint onto the linen. More on that later.)

There are too many ifs and buts if one focuses on the appearance and physical character of the bloodstains generally. But that is not necessary. There are two particular bloodstains that virtually prove that the blood was not simply painted onto the body by an artist, using linen (as has been claimed) merely as a substitute for artist’s canvas.

Here’s a whole body photograph of the TS (Shroud Scope, added contrast) with two particular blood stains circled in yellow. Note in both instances they are off-body image

offbody blood stains2 -7,100 yellow circles on two key locations

Here they are in close-up. First the one off the left elbow, frontal image, onto otherwise blank image/blood-free linen:

elbow blood enlarged -7,100 with yellow circle round blood

And here’s the second, off the left foot, dorsal image, onto otherwise blank  image/blood-free linen:

foot blood escape a-7,100 yellow circle

No artist using linen as “canvas” would show any feature of his subject, other than background, as ‘floating in mid air’. No, the linen is an intrinsic part of the image, being the receiving surface for the image, not merely a blank canvas. In other words, the body image plus blood is not intended to be seen as painted onto the linen, but something acquired accidentally and fortuitously by the linen. How? Not by artistic means, but by actual physical imprinting, where some of the blood, not a lot admittedly but SOME, has escaped onto the surrounding linen, the latter NOT to be mistaken as a mere artist’s canvas.

That’s 5 points no less that essentially underpin the conclusion that the image we see on the Shroud, body as well as blood, is – or was intended to be seen by its medieval designer(s) as – an IMPRINT, not a mere painting.

The Lirey Pilgrim’s badge can be seen as an attempt on the part of Geoffroy de Charny and/or his widow to reinforce that notion – IMPRINT not painting.  The Shroud  was to be viewed as holy relic, the genuine article, less probably a re-invented icon. It was for occasional and reverential public display,  not merely a liturgical prop for Easter ceremonies,  far less a picture for year-round hanging on the wall …

That’s enough for one day: more to follow tomorrow….

Monday November 20

Right, we’ve dealt with that elephant with its intrusion into domestic floorspace. There are still mountains to climb, Gordian knots to be cut and circles to be squared. Before doing so, let’s grasp a particular nettle. It’s to do with the face of the Man on the Turin Shroud, and whether it in particular was the result of contact imprinting, and if so from what. In fact the problem is not so much the face: it’s mainly one part of the face, namely that prominent angular protuberance with which we are all born – the nose!

It’s been recognized for some time, starting with Luigi Garlaschelli’s modelling of the Shroud with what he called his “powder frottage” technique that the nose was flagged up as problematical. Initially this investigator was inclined to agree with his somewhat defeatist conclusion that an inanimate bas relief, made from clay, wood, metal, whatever,  must have been substituted for a real face. I’m no longer quite so sure that was the solution to the problem of the nose, if indeed there is a problem, for reasons that will now be briefly summarised.

Why the rowing back on the pessimism? It’s the result of taking a closer look at the TS face again in 3D-imaging software AND it’s also the result of looking again at some of my own modelling of a face (my own) from way back in May 2015, where I now realize the results were maybe not quite so bad and cause for pessimism as I had first imagined.

First, we need to give today’s section a red subtitle:

Mythology reference 5:  contact imprinting can be ruled out as the imaging mechanism – the face is impossible to imprint without gross distortion due to creasing of cloth around nose etc

Here for starters is an imprint of my face, published here on this site, back in 2015.

new 3D highly cropped

The imprinting medium was slightly more sophisticated than the plain water used for my hand in my blog banner – it was a flour/water paste. Apart from that – nothing – no further colour development. Just photography and digital manipulation of contrast!

It was the distorted nose more than anything that counselled “back to the drawing board”, though interestingly no serious creasing.  But at roughly the same time I published another image – a 3D rendering of the face on the TS. It was ostensibly to do with imaging of the eyes, which look a lot more prominent if the virtual lighting in the ImageJ software is adjusted to come from above than from the side.


But on looking at Dan Porter’s coverage of that image, and the comments it elicited, I have just spotted this one which anticipated the observation that I made just a few days ago – the strange and unrealistic appearance of the nose!

Hugh Farey: Is there a rhinologist among our readers who could explain how the nose in the image appears to have shrunk so completely into the cheeks so as not to protrude in any way from the upper plane of the face?

That was my thought as well, albeit just a few days ago, when deciding to take a low glancing-angle view of the nose in ImageJ 3D-rendering software, so as to better appreciate the height of the nose:

enrie autocorr, 3D, z=0.18, enhanced W10

Yes, indeed – there’s scarcely any nose worth speaking of, and what’s there seems distorted. What’s more, on putting (shroud of turin nose 3D) into my search engine, I find I’m not the only one who thinks the nose worthy of comment:

Here’s what the returns say:

bent nose… “; “bruised face, broken nose…”; “nose is twisted…”; “nose is swollen, displaced…”; “misaligned broken nose…”; “nose is swollen or broken…”; “the bridge of the nose is crooked…” etc etc. A common message would seem to be emerging there, would you not agree dear journalist? The nose is damaged!  However, what none of them seems to say – unlike Hugh Farey – is that the nose is FLATTENED!

Which raises the question: might it be possible to obtain a contact imprint from a real face, with a real pointy nose, with a proviso – there would be appreciable ‘distortion’  of the nose especially, and maybe other prominences too (cheeks etc).  But that distortion (flattening, slight bending)  would not have become immediately apparent until 3D-rendering software arrived in the late 20th century, especially if dealing with that somewhat off-putting negative (tone-reversed)  image!

The nose region is important in another regard. It’s been cited more than once as a reason why the face of the Man on the TS (indeed entire body) couldn’t possibly have been imaged by anything so crude as imprinting-by-contact.  Here’s just one example, plucked from internet archives, from arch-authenticist  Giulio Fanti (Professor of Mechanical Engineering):

My red bolding:

Hypothesis of radiation

Many scientists have formulated various hypotheses of
radiation to explain the TS image, because there are
some areas, like those between the cheeks and nose,
where a body/cloth contact cannot be explained and
because other hypotheses cannot explain many of the
features of the TS like the circumferential coloration of
the TS image fibers that are posed adjacently to non
image fibers.


So, on reflection, there’s a possible solution (though it will need to be modelled before I propose it formally).  A real face was used, but the ‘nose’ problem was recognized and needed a work-around. How?

The imprinting medium was applied as a thin band down the centre of the nose, with more at the bottom than the top.  The linen was then pressed down FORCIBLY onto the face, applying a lot of pressure to the tip of the nose. Result: a flat, narrow looking nose which owes some of its width to a flattening effect,  imprinting medium having been pushed sideways, with tell-tale distortion, especially towards the pointed end, but with minimal distortion or creasing on the rest of the face image, due to the nose having been partially flattened down to nasal bone level. Nasal cartridge however would have been somewhat displaced to one side, as seems to have happened when imprinting off my own face (above).

So the notion that there has been excessive imprinting off the sides of the nose is based, yet again, on interpreting the TS face (and body image generally) as if a photograph, failing to consider alternative imaging mechanisms, especially those that would be adopted by a medieval forger. It cannot be said too often that sindonology needs to put its house in order, and start to look at the body image, not just as a miraculous photograph, but as a possible, nay probable  ‘impactograph’, formed by a contact-only imprinting mechanism under applied manual pressure.

Do that, all you tunnel vision sindonologists, and a new question might then spring to mind: are the beard and moustache really facial hair? Or could they simply be regions of extra-efficient imprinting due to the resistance between pressed linen and  both the  teeth underneath the lips (“moustache”)  and bony chin prominence (“beard”) , resulting in greater transfer of imprinting medium from overlying skin to linen? In support of this somewhat iconoclastic hypothesis, note the apparent beard and moustache on my own imprint. I have neither – though there was an early-morning stubble that day prior to shaving that could have entrapped more of the imprinting medium than surrounding skin.


Tuesday November 21

Mythology reference 6 (this will be the last on the current posting, already overlong: the next will appear on a new posting):

The Shroud body image is a miraculous photograph, one whose enigmatic properties  will never be reproduced with modern technology.  But for autopsy purposes (deciding on cause of death etc) it can be interpreted as one would a modern day photograph of a dead body…

Yes, what we have come to now is the central  marriage of convenience between the supernatural and normalcy. One could do a lot worse than look at the testimony of the late Robert Bucklin MD for the seeming normalcy of the Shroud image.

screenshot robert bucklin silent witness

Robert Bucklin MD about to begin his ‘autopsy’ on the Man on the Turin Shroud, correction, on Enrie’s 1931 B/W photograph of a supposed ‘photograph’. Source: David Rolfe’s credulous “Silent Witness” documentary from 1977, which made a strong impact on the soon-to-be assembled STURP team, that much being clear from John Heller’s 1983 book (“Report on the Shroud of Turin”).

But beware: what’s really guiding the ‘coroner’ as he goes about his business – the body image (as one might imagine)? Or  merely the bloodstains, referred to as often or not as “wounds”? And if you the journalist begins to suspect that “wounds” is based mainly, perhaps entirely on bloodstains, with no useful input from the body image, then ask yourself this question: when did you last hear of an autopsy based entirely on imprinted bloodstains, with no actual body, and indeed not even a real photograph of the body?

Here’s just one paragraph from that Bucklin autopsy, performed on a B/W photograph of a faint centuries-old 2D negative imprint of unknown provenance, shown here verbatim and complete. It gives a flavour of the rest, which I don’t intend to cover in detail. I have highlighted two particular  words: “punctures” and “injury”.

It is the ultimate responsibility of the medical examiner to confirm by whatever means are available to him the identity of the deceased, as well as to determine the manner of this death. In the case of Man on the Shroud, the forensic pathologist will have information relative to the circumstances of death by crucifixion which he can support by his anatomic findings. He will be aware that the individual whose image is depicted on the cloth has undergone puncture injuries to his wrists and feet, puncture injuries to his head, multiple traumatic whip-like injuries to his back and postmortem puncture injury to his chest area which has released both blood and a water type of fluid. From this data, it is not an unreasonable conclusion for the forensic pathologist to determine that only one person historically has undergone this sequence of events. That person is Jesus Christ.

In more than 5 years of examining hundreds, perhaps thousands of Shroud Scope images, with or without additional contrast, with or without tone-inversion, with or without 3D-rendering, I have never, ever seen anything in the BODY IMAGE alone that can be confidently identified as  either a “puncture” or any other type of “injury”.  The evidence (or should one say inference of injury?) rests ENTIRELY on those patches of red that we provisionally describe as “blood”. Repeat: there is nothing in the body image alone to support the assumption by Bucklin – and indeed most if not all sindonology –   that the blood represents real WOUNDS. Yet the terms “blood” and “wounds” are used interchangeably. That, needless to say, is neither real science nor indeed real forensic pathology. It makes a mockery of both.

Sindonology would appear to have adopted a secret motto, one that sums up its pseudoscience – to say nothing of pseudoforensic pathology:

“I see what I want to see”.

I’ve been trying, so far without success, to recast that as posh upmarket  Latin. Google Translate gives:

“Video quid velis videre”.

The only trouble is that it back-translates  to “I see what YOU want to see”. The same happens when I enter my no doubt clunky French:

“Je vois ce que je veux voir”.

Is there a Latin scholar among the media folk hopefully reading this, or soon to do so,  who might be able to assist in providing an unequivocal motto?

Now signing off from this posting, first in the new format (targeted at journalists from whom comments are invited, either here online – see text entry box below – OR by email to sciencebod01 (at) aol (dot)com.

The next posting will start with Mythology reference 7 (“The Shroud body image is far too superficial to have been made by human hand, being confined to the outermost layer of the linen fibre, i.e. the primary cell wall).

Where’s the evidence? Hard evidence that is, as distinct from patchy impressionistic evidence? Why did STURP’s image fibres, harvested in 1978 with Mylar sticky tape, break away from the linen so easily if the coloration  – and presumed zone of chemical modification – was as superficial as claimed? Why does the zone of coloration extend round the entire circumference of the fibre if as superficial as claimed, while neighbouring fibres can remain uncoloured ?

Mobile chromophore?  More specifically, man-made mobile, intra-fibre chromophore?


Postscript: have been viewing the Shroud face under an increasing number of settings and pre-settings (contrast level etc) in 3D-rendering ImageJ software. There can be little doubt that the nose is impossibly flat for a real human nose (unless severely compressed, as from an inanimate bas relief template or possibly  a cooperative human volunteer, willing to have his nose squashed flat, less probably -though not impossibly – a  corpse).

That says the Shroud of Turin image is a forgery, almost certainly medieval, as per radiocarbon dating!


PPS: there’s a return visitor to the Comments  (previously banned from this site for reasons we don’t need to go into) pushing the Jackson line that imaging is not either/or (as in contact/no contact) but can operate across air gaps thanks to…  you guessed it :  miraculous 1st century photography, triggered  by a flash of resurrectional incandescence. 

This investigator has wasted years of his time, arguing against that ‘snap, crackle and pop’ model (thanks Dan Porter for the colourful terminology) and for what? To be treated by sindonology as a non-person, with no rebuttals, no response of any kind (post close-down of the Porter site), no links whatsoever back to this site.

So forgive me dear readers (hopefully journalists) if I ignore all further attempts to chip away at my ideas privately here on my own site, for no tangible end-result, except to facilitate someone else’s internet presence.  Yes, I can quickly shoot down that ‘fading off’ model,  and several others too, but not now, not unless a journalist with credible credentials  requires an immediate response, in which case  I’ll be only be too happy to oblige.

Wed November 12

Expect the second tranche of “mythologies for the dispensing thereof” to appear later today. It will begin with sindonology’s motto:

Video quid velo videre 

(I see what I want to see).

I acknowledge assistance from a commentator for help in getting the Latin right….






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.
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5 Responses to Hello all you media reporters, whether mainstream (MSM), minor tributary (MTM) or obscure backwater media (OBWM). Isn’t it time you released some air from the tyres of that truth-bending Shroud of Turin juggernaut?

  1. Piero says:

    Errata corrige : “referred” and “In any case” instead of rerferred and “I any case” !… Sorry.

  2. Piero says:

    I think that “Anonymous” (indirectly) rerferred to Lucotte and Thomasset (“An Osseous Remain on the Face of the Turin Shroud” [June 2017], an interesting new research [although they did use optical microscopy and SEM-EDX analyses …and not the non-destructive SPMs techniques …] on little particles and a discovery of the bone fragment coming from the broken nose…) when he indicated us the forensic examination of the nose area …
    However, the problem of Image Formation remains open …

    I any case (in my opinion) the concept “contact-and-progressive-loss-of-contact imprint” seems to be very interesting. But we have to know [from “Anonymous”] what are the exact inherent details/implications …

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hullo Colin! The unequivocal motto for archmiraculists in Latin shall read: Video quid velo videre (“I see what I want to see). As the one for archfraudulists, it should be: Non video quid non velo videre (“I don’t see what I don’t want to see”)
    THE TURIN SHROUD MAN BODY’S NEGATIVE IMAGE DEFINITELY IS A CONTACT-AND-PROGRESSIVE-LOSS-OF-CONTACT IMPRINT (it is not a mere contact imprint as you contend; you are half wrong yet you are right and have some merit in debunking an allegedly “miraculous image” (it is a providential one DUE TO A SECOND TEMPLE PERIOD/SPECIFICALLY JUDEAN BURIAL RITE consisting in purifying the shed innocent blood of a Thorah Master and religious school Leader unfairly sentenced to death and executed in he Holy Land; his shed innocent blood being considered as a pollutant of the Holy Land then)

  4. Colin Berry says:

    I suspect this comment to be from someone previously banned from this site. Irrespective, this is maybe an opportunity to say that while I’ll allow comments and observations (if civil) from non-journalists (the site now being targeted at media folk only) I shall rarely if ever respond personally, and instead wait till a fact-seeking journalist comes along to seek clarity.

    Why the change of modus operandi? It’s been well over 2 years, probably nearer 3 since my flour-imprinting Model 10 was published, here and on Dan Porter’s site, together with its unique mobile chromophore feature, but I do not recall a single link to the idea or even this site being made in all that time. I strongly suspect that to be no accident…

    I have given up on the ‘blogosphere’ as a medium for communication/exchange of ideas. Sindonology operates essentially as a secret garden from which I and other sceptics are – and have been – rigorously excluded. All we get are dismissive putdowns, with no response to anything we then offer by way of information or explanation.

    Sindonology has turned in entirely on itself. It’s abandoned any pretence of being answerable and accountable to the online world of ideas.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Re your comments “what none of them (Shroud researchers) seems to say – unlike Hugh Farey – is that the nose is FLATTENED!

    On Dan Porter’s blog Max Patrick Hamon wrote:

    (as early as October 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm)
    – “Reminder: In the mortuary/morgue, corpses with “a skewed nose” are a well known fact. It is mainly due to having a corpse fin in in a zipped up body bag that was originally too small and cause excessive pressure on the defuncted’s face.”

    (and on October 25, 2012 at 7:27 am); Max Patrick Hamon also wrote:
    – “The visual fact is, anyone observing the TS man’s face will (at first and maybe even second and third sight) see an ‘almost’ normal nose.
    However a very close examination of the face in terms of geometrical projection made from a life-size photograph tells us ‘a quite different story’:
    To the sole exception of the bony areas of the eye-sockets and nasal septum, all the rest of the face shows irregular features and displacements.
    Reminder here:
    – the TS man’s face was compressed by a sindon, sweat veil and skull cap (not to mention the possible recurr to a smal “jaw-box” made of three wooden pieces to keep the mouth closed, see my reconstruction).
    Now a forensic examination of the nose area reveals that in this operation the cartilaginous or fleshy rounded part of the nose would have been squashed.
    Now a forensic examination of the Sindon face tells us this area is not only squashed but also turned to the left with the TS man’s face right profile appearing as if embedded in his facial image..In the mortuary/morgue, corpses with “a skewed nose tip” are a well known fact. It is mainly due to having a corpse fin in a zipped up body bag that was originally too small and has caused excessive pressure on the defuncted’s face.”

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