Here’s one good reason for thinking the Turin Shroud to be a medieval fake – namely that ‘cardboard cut-out look’, with frontal v dorsal views of body only – NO SIDES!


Site banner (wet hand imprint, showing immediate response of both the negative and tone-reversed  ‘positive’  images to commercial 3D-rendering software):  see end of posting (also in red)

Summary (this posting): the Turin Shroud is essentially a contact imprint off a whole adult male body, fabricated on to high quality linen to simulate that supplied by Joseph of Arimathea  as per first 3 Gospels  (Matthew, Mark, Luke) to transport the crucified Jesus from cross to tomb (acquiring its  iconic sweat/blood imprint on the way). Ignore the account of John (which skips the initial transport phase from cross to tomb). 

But there’s a crucial qualification needed in this (new?) narrative: note the word “essentially”.  No, it’s not a 100% real-body imprint. It’s had cosmetic additions (addition of  “artificial” head hair and neck especially, otherwise missing from a pure body imprint).

Why? Because a 100% imprint might turn off (or at any rate befuddle) first-time pilgrim viewers, descending on the remote hamlet of Lirey in the 14th century.  The imprint-only image was considered too direct, too brutal in its simplicity. It needed those cosmetic additions to make it more viewer-friendly, more instantly recognizable –  and acceptable – as that of the founder of Christianity between cross and tomb, between crucifixion and Resurrection.

No, the image was not intended to represent a resurrectional ‘selfie’, generated by a flash of supernatural  body-emitted radiation. That is late 20th/early 21st century fantasy, based on misinterpretation of image characteristics (e.g. negative image, responsiveness to 3D-rendering computer software, continuing ignorance of  and indeed indifference to the chemical nature of the image chromophore) to say nothing of stubborn rejection of the radiocarbon dating.)

Now to business, to the nitty-gritty:  here in brief outline is why I consider the absence of sides to the body image (i.e. frontal v dorsal images only) to essentially rule out authenticity.

(This posting is a cut-and-paste from the  Comments section of the previous posting.  It evolved over several days as a considered response to a question put to me by a first-time visitor to this  site – Shroud-blogger  Stacey Reiman of Anchorage, Alaska.  It was clearly not the answer she was expecting  on account of my decision to focus on a single (much neglected in my view) feature of the Shroud body image – namely the lack of sides. Oh well, you win some, you lose some).

1. Imaging of frontal and rear sides only (no sides) is easily modelled using a variety of templates, human or inanimate. See numerous postings on this site, using plastic toys of differing size (up to approx half human scale), my hand, even my own face :


my face,non-gel flour slurry imprint, nitric acid dev, not inv then 3d then cropped

The early claims from Jackson and others that imprints taken from 3D objects show grotesque lateral distortion simply have not been encountered, and for very good reasons (the linen is not allowed or able to make contact with the sides, either through placing the recumbent subject on a flat surface – which prevents linen from draping vertically down the ‘falling-away- sides’ of the subject – or – as above –  by selective application of an imprinting medium – painted (liquid) or sprinkled (solid) on the frontal v dorsal surfaces only, not on the sides).

2. Imprinting via obligatory physical contact makes sense in a biblical context, whether real or medieval simulation, if one imagines Joseph of Arimathea’s linen used as a transport stretcher, as indeed displayed in much early art (“Descent from the Cross”) .

rovere 1625 from shroudstory

Cut-and-paste from the above link (shroudstory, Dec 2014) showing association in early 17th minds between deposition of the newly crucified Jesus into Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’ and the creation of a body image. (The blue image to the left is from this site, showing how even the painted double-body image in the same picture responds to 3D-rendering in ImageJ (eliciting much sound and fury in the previous day’s Comments on the Porter site!)


The use of “fine linen” (upmarket herringbone twill) makes sense in the transport situation where the body is still visible to spectators, needing discreet concealment, buit arguably less so in the context of later burial shroud, especially if the latter was a ‘winding cloth’ as per Gospel according to John.

3. Claims that imaging by contact should not be entertained due to claimed imaging across air gaps – provided those gaps are no greater than 4cm approx – involve modelling in a pro-authenticity context, one where linen is draped loosely over a recumbent body. They do not do proper justice to a medieval forgery scenario, one in which linen is manually pressed into the recessed parts of the body as well. There are other reasons too that can be adduced in the context of forgery where there can be conscious control over what is to be imaged versus what is not, either through choice of locations as to where or where not imprinting medium is to applied (or not applied) , or through use of a brush post-imprinting, loaded or unloaded with imprinting medium, to supplement or even remove the latter prior to final colour development (by whatever means, thermal, chemical or both).

4. Attempts to account for lack of sides in terms of ‘imaging via radiation’ , with the qualifying assumption that the radiation is only able to travel vertically from subject to linen (i.e aligned with gravity) are simply unscientific, as is any subsequent ‘mathematical’ modelling of such gravity-constrained radiation. Gravity is far too weak to affect any conceivable kind of electromagnetic radiation, especially radiation energetic enough to chemically modify linen carbohydrates so as to leave a yellow image.

5. The commonsensical interpretation of a faint negative (tone-reversed) image, deposited along with fresh-looking bloodstains on linen, is a SWEAT IMPRINT from contact with a naked body, whether in an authentic scenario or medieval simulation thereof. The imprint may be near-invisible initially, but have become yellowed and thus more visible with centuries of ageing.

6. STURP team members ruled out sweat-imprinting in an authentic context through inability to see any signs of liquid capillary spread in the linen fibres. But if John Heller’s account is anything to go by, there was no consideration given to a medieval forgery scenario, one that merely SIMULATED an aged sweat imprint, without needing to deploy artificial “sweat” or indeed any kind of liquid. Anything that left a final faint yellow stain on the linen would have sufficed: that could have involved use of a solid, as distinct from liquid imprinting medium. I have obtained Shroud-like imprints via solid flour dust imprinting onto wet linen, followed by thermal or chemical development to convert the Stage 1 flour imprint to Stage 2 faint yellow or yellow-brown stain, especially convincing after a final wash with soap and water to remove surface encrustation, leaving just faint yellow residue, presumably solid (microparticulate) polymeric Maillard products ( aka melanoidins, using the inspired Ray Rogers’ nomenclature).

7. Alleged 3D properties of the Shroud body image are a total irrelevance. My flour imprints also show 3D response in appropriate 3D-rendering software, as indeed do virtually any imprints, including those with no 3D history whatsoever. It is the software that produces the 3D effect, largely artefactual (which is not to say that imprinting off a 3D template does not produce additional subtleties in the “3D” rendering as is only to be expected (through better imprinting of more raised superficial contours than ones that are semi-recessed, but still amenable to the probing pressure-applying fingers of a medieval artisan engaged on contact- imprinting).

8. Real or simulated imprint?
The absence of any hint of sides (including top of head – which is also a “side” in a manner of speaking – is strongly suggestive of medieval simulation, rather than real 1st century “accidental” imprinting. Why?

Consider absence of top of head first. Suppose the top of head had been imaged. Yes, fine for authenticity, but think how that would look in practice – with two heads fused together, making them look less like separate views of the same head at least at first sight. So a decision was made to leave the top of head from the imprint making it an easier-to-interpret ‘double-body- imprint’. Few medieval pilgrims would have bothered to inquire anyway, one suspects, and had they done so, been given some kind of pat, pre-prepared answer that would have allayed suspicions of forgery.

So why the absence of any hint of sides for the rest of the body, making the image less like that of an easy-on-the-eye painting, and more viewer-unfriendly by virtue of the tone-reversed negative character? Answer: because the image had to be INSTANTLY recognizable as a crude unflattering IMPRINT, not a meticulously-executed medieval painting (Charles Freeman please note!)

But imprints, well-defined ones at any rate, are created by application of PRESSURE . It is that pressure that gives/generates the severe cut -off between horizontal and vertical planes, i.e a clear demarcation that eliminates the impression of life-like roundedness at the edge of an image of face or body. Put more simply, the TS body image is more comparable to that of a line cartoon ( albeit with solid colour infill) than is the case with the softer edge of a modern-day photograph (or arguably most paintings) where the meeting point between horizontal and vertical planes is more blurred, i.e with a transition zone that is neither obviously horizontal nor turned-through- 90 degrees- vertical.
( Yes, this passage is of necessity ‘wordy’, attempting as it does to distinguish between two kinds of image – one that is simple and idealized – ‘cardboard cut-out like’ and another which supplies hints to real-life 3d-ness through deliberate avoidance of abrupt transitions between one relief plane and another – keeping an essential ‘soft fuzzy edge’.

But it attempts, successfully or otherwise, to convey the reason for regarding the no-sides TS body image as both deliberately-intended and subsequently engineered – in order to convey an INSTANT impression of, guess what? – yes, forceful IMPRESSION. But while manual pressure is/was used in a forgery workshop to generate the imprint-like character, that was not the conclusion that those artisans wished the medieval pilgrim to imagine. Oh no. The applied impression was not from applied manual pressure. It was from the force of GRAVITY acting on linen from the WEIGHT of a body suspended/supported in a linen stretcher.

But hold on a minute. That body weight can be easily grasped as sufficient to generate the dorsal image. But what about the ventral image, where there’s no force of gravity worth speaking of – merely the weight f the linen? Doesn’t that invite expressions of doubt that the double body image was acquired ‘accidentally’ during 1st century transport between cross and tomb? How does one explain away a ventral imprint that is for all intents and purposes of approx the same level of image intensity? Should it not have been made less intense, i.e. by medieval artisans applying less pressure, or less imprinting medium?

There is no simple answer to that question, none at any rate that I can think off. No doubt the radiation-invokers will have a field day, claimimg that their imaging burst of radiation was the same intensity upwards as well as downwards.

9. But there is an ‘out’ from this seeming visual illogicality. It’s those scourge marks, allegedly 372 of them, evenly distibuted over the entire body surface, both sides, except for the face. Why so many, one might ask, sufficient surely to cause clinical shock and death even before arrival at the cross? And why are the scourge marks entirely BLOOD imprints, we are told, with no signature whatsoever in the body image?

Might it be that our medieval forgers made a decision to discard 100% realism re the intensity of the frontal v dorsal body image, given that would have made the less appealing dorsal image more conspicuous than the frontal (it being practically easier to keep both the same, albeit BOTH faint, neither terribly conspicuous). Then create a distraction from the faint body image by adding those 372 scourge marks as images in red blood, distracting from the body image, making it likely that few if any would spot, far less see fit to comment on the equal intensities of the background body images, i.e. ventral v dorsal.

Put more simply we have a rationale for the arguably excessive number of scourge marks – they serve to distract from one of the several instances of an exercise of ‘artistic licence’, designed to keep the first impression of the TS one in which immediate visual impact and mental challenge are the crucial considerations, even at the expense of strict credibility, as judged through a cold 20th/21st century forensic eye.

There are other instances one can cite where artistic licence has been given free rein. Examples?

10. Another instance that can be cited is the imaging of a “neck” joining head and torso. Shoulld it really be there, or not?

More to follow…

Expect a further 5 aspects pertinent to “no sides” and “contact imprinting only” to appear soon, on this same comment, under the following topic headings:

(10- Neck)

There’s a lot I could say about the neck anomaly, my having flagged it up as a curious and indeed tell-tale feature as far back as Feb 2012 ( re that prominent ‘scorched-on’ crease mark on which sindonology has rarely commented):

But why bother? Based on past performance these last 6 years and more, sindonolology (as it likes to call itself, as though an academic discipline) won’t bother to respond, certainly not to any points this retired scientist makes. Why not? Because I’m not a member of their ‘secret garden’ see (like that so-called mysterious “Shroud Science Group”” that lurks behind its closed doors….

Briefly summarised, and put more simply:

Sindonology, if the truth be told, is a perversion of plain logic, science and scholarship.

More to follow (summarily) regarding: :

11. Feet – differential imprinting re upper v lower surfaces
12. Closed eyelids
13. Bony fingers, maybe elongated, maybe not
14. Head hair, beard, moustache
15. Nose, reason for exceptional imaging of sides

I say “summarily”. Why bother with the detail? Detail is wasted on closed ears, closed minds, agenda-driven certainty…

11. Yes, those feet, with soles of feet part of the body image (plus bloodstains) with scarcely any imaging of the upper sides., Why should that be the case.? Customary answer (pro-authenticity sindonology): it’s the result of rigor mortis causing profound muscle seizure, the soles of the feet being pulled into line with the legs. Leaving aside the improbability of that happening (try doing it voluntarily!) that would surely bring the upper surface into alignment with the shins of the leg too.

There’s an alternative explanation. Our medieval simulators (aka forgers, fakers etc) wanted to plant an additional visual clue to the use of Joseph of Arimathea’s sheet of fine linen as a stretcher, for which purpose the lower free end of the linen was turned up around the soles of the feet. But the upper surface of the linen failed to make contact with the upper sides of the feet. Why? Because the linen was stretched taut between topsides of ankles and tips of toes, in other words, failing to make contact with the skin.. No contact, no imaging.

Shhh. Don’t mention the “stretcher” scenario to mainstream sindonologists. They don’t wish to hear any talk of imaging having occurred en route to the tomb. It’s imaging via ‘resurrectional incandescence’ (supernatural radiation) or nothing! Yawn…

12. Closed eyelids (?)

I have alreadty shown, contrary to received wisdom, that it’s fully possible to imprint off a real human face, provided one does not mind a nose that is flattened and/or bent to one side as a consequence of applied manual pressure (see this posting). Bu then the nose of the Man in the Shroud IS bent and flattened, is it not, especially apparent in those 3D-renderings?

But if one did imprint off a real face, there’s another downside: it would be difficult to imprint the eyes/eyelids, given they lie at the bottom of bony hollows . Sure, one could just omit the eye itself, making for an even more realistic “imprinted” look (as distinct from friendlier artistic portrait).

But my flour-imprinting procedure (“Model 10”) offers a simple solution. After imprinting the face, with empty eye hollows, simply load a brush or even finger with more flour, and dab into the centres of each hollow. Hey presto, one has one’s “eyes”.

Be warned however – centuries later your makeshift “eyes” will be confidently identified as tiny coins from the Roman era (like 1st century, coinciding with the rule of that Pontius Pilate!). The combination of weave pattern on the linen and pareidolia will provide sufficient evidence of design and lettering to sustain your case at the podium of one sindonological conference after another – yet more ‘compelling’ proof of authenticity… 😉

13. Ah yes, those peculiar fingers – so spindly, so bony-looking. 

For a 20th century explanation, see the heroic experiment that August Accetta MD did on himself, injecting a gamma-radiation emitter (a short-lived technetium isotope) and capturing an image of himself on sensitive film.

Might there be a more down-to-earth explanation, like, you know, contact imaging.

There’s a simpler way of modelling bony-lookign fingers, one that requires no more than a tub of Nutella, as I reported a few years ago.

Yes, imprinting off the human form works best over bony parts, where the flesh encounters resistance, and is less able to simply absorb and dissipate the applied pressure.

So the apparent thinness of the fingers, with spaces between them even when the fingers are non-splayed, is easily explained as a predictable consequence of imprinting technology.

Might those bony fingers have been intended by our medieval simulators to serve as yet another clue for those 14th century pilgrims descending on Lirey that they were looking at aa passive IMPRINT( “a genuine one you understand, dear pilgrim !”) of the crucified Jesus onto J of A’s linen stretcher, NOT a conventional artist’s portrait. (Since when has additional and realistic looking blood been used in portrait-painting?)

14. Head hair, beard, moustache

Here’s a 3D-rendering I did some years ago of the Man on the TS using ImageJ software (using carefully chosen settings – normalised against an experimental scorch imprint):

It’s tone-reversed i.e. negative- to- positive. What’s of special interest is the black region that separates cheeks from hair (which would be white and thus image-free on the initial negative iimage).

In other words, there’s a lack of continuity between cheeks and hair. So who’s to say that cheeks and hair were not produced at separate imprinting sessions, 1 and 2 ? Might the face have been imprinted first (and if so how?) and the hair, correction “hair”, maybe added later?

Why do it that way?

Answer: becaause it’s hard to see how genuine hair can be imprinted, unless there’s something substantially solid behind it, like bone. But that’s hardly the case for hair on the sides of the skull, where the bone is side-on to the hair, not directly behind.

Even the “hair” on a quickie charcoal sketch of the TS face responded to a combination of tone inversion and 3D-rendering with ImageJ software, as I showed back in May 2012!


Tentative conclusion: the “hair” at least was not imprinted off a real head of hair. It was imprinted off a bas relief that was placed around the previously-imprinted head. Indeed, the head itself may also have been “fake”, itself another bas relief, as others before me have suggested.

Head hair visible  (just!) on the so-called ‘second face’ (opposite side of linen)? Maybe – see this image from Mario Latendresse’s site.

Durante-verso-face second face

Circumstantial evidence perhaps for an imprinting mechanism that is different – and slightly more efficient – than that for the face itself?

For now I try to keep an open mind as regards the nature of the head, pre-hair, as to whether real or bas relief. But as indicated I reject the main reason given for a bas relief head, namely that the nose and other facial angularities make it impossible to imprint off a real face.

Not so. Crucial angularities, like the nose, deform and flatten under applied pressure, features which are said to be discernible also on the real TS. Indeed, they are immediately interpreted by pro-authenticity sindonologists, (or by some at any rate) as evidence of pre-crucifixion torture at the hands of Pontius Pilate’s mocking soldiery.

Beard? Moustache? One cannot help but wonder if they are created by inexpert dabbing on of additional imprinting medium (e.g. white flour) onto chin and upper lip, given their blotchiness and incompleteness. Indeed, some may be entirely artefactual. I personally acquired a suggestion of beard and moustache after imprinting my face using wet flour slurry, assisted admittedly by a pre-shave stubble which acted as trap for the medium (see the posting).

15. Nose, commented-upon imprinting of sides of nose especiallly (by Thibault Heimburger and others as evidence against imprinting by contact)

See my comment from November of last year, following evidence from Gérard Lucotte and his microscopists in Paris for the presence of “osseous remains” (read bone!) on the face of the Man on the TS.

See also this posting on the shroudstory from 2015, with mention of the unexpectedly flat nose of the Man on the TS, responding poorly to 3D-rendering.

To summarize: the TS image was intended to be quickly perceived as a body imprint: the combination of fresh-looking bloodstains on a yellowed body image were together intended to signal that the linen was Joseph of Arimathea’s linen, imprinted soon after crucifixion, probably en route from cross to tomb.

But that description alone does not allow one to say with confidence whether the imagery is authentic 1st century or a medieval simulation thereof. So what does, if anything?

Answer: it’s the simplification and doctoring that is the giveaway. Simplification? Faint, negative image, front and rear sides of body, not so much as a hint of sides, nor top of head, making for the uncompromising ‘cardboard cut-out’ appearance, intended to signal IMPRINT at very first sight. Yes, first impressions DO count!

But the imprint had to be subtly doctored to render the image a little more appealing to the eye, less a gross assault on the senses How? By adding a neck, given that would be missing from a simple imprint. Why? Because a detached ‘floating’ head would almost certainly have attracted negative comment, or merely puzzled and confused. Head hair also needed to be added, but again in a manner that could be surmised to have been acquired via imprinting, even if improbable in practical terms. Thus the lank, rigid appearance of the head hair bordering the left and right cheeks.

The TS image is best viewed, then, as a cunning blend of technology (primarily) but tempered here and there with those cosmetic additions. It’s that dual nature, one suspects –  in essence a manicured imprint – that explains why the image has defied easy interpretation over so many centuries, and indeed fazed the STURP team in 1978, who concluded it was still a mystery.

Overview: a crude contact-imprint, the appearance of which is softened by some crucial cosmetic additions, might arguably be deemed at least semi-artistic. To which I say NO! There is nothing in the least bit artistic about the image of the Man on the Turin Shroud. It was designed to shock via its brutal realism. No, not to enchant or enrapture, but to sustain, indeed reinforce religious belief (while mentally disarming and stunning those pesky sceptics into silence?) …


Added Sat 8th September, 2018

Have just been made aware of this recent paper  in Academia by the author himself (there being no listing anywhere on past or current Google search under (shroud of turin) – why not Google?)

hugh farey medieval shroud academia


See  mine and Hugh’s comments on this posting.

Added Sun 9th Sept, 2018

Image-analysis enthusiast LeeJay has just sent me the following  B/W image derived from the Durante 2002 portfolio, but of that faint and indistinct so-called ‘second face’ on the opposite side of the TS linen.

LeeJay second face Durante 2002

(I had to change the file type from tif to png to make it acceptable to WordPress software)

The image (make of it what you will dear reader)  was accompanied by this description which I’ve copied from Lee’s posting to the Comments:

leejay1985 says:

Hi all 🙂 In the last few weeks i have been doing a bit of messing about with a high res image of the reverse side of the turin shroud .. I focused mainly on the face area and tried a few different processing techniques. I can safely say that i believe there is a faint image of certain parts of the face. I cant upload the images to this site so if anyone is interested then let me know and i will use a 3rd party file sharing site to upload the images. I have quite a few with different filters,processing algorithms etc that i used. The results are interesting 🙂


The question I find myself asking, even now, concerns the fairly prominent hair, or should i say “hair” (a crucial determinant some might think in deciding whether the ‘second face; is real or not)?  Is it really hair one is seeing, or just the bleed-through of some or all of those extensive bloodstains one sees on the hair, image-side? A B/W picture makes it even harder to decide than the  the Durante 2002 colour-version of the ‘second face’ supplied on Mario Latendresse’s site.

Further addition (pm, Mon 10th Sept):

LeeJay, aka LeeJones, mentions the Enrie 1931 image acquired pre-digital photography, using a silver salt emulsion, and its exceoptionally good defintion (agreed).

Here’s my quickie 5 minute job at putting  the two side-by-side, at approx same level of magnification:

leejay image second face v enrie 1931

Would I be correct in thinking that what goes through to the opposite side is not just one component (blood, not surprisingly) but the more prominent features of the body image (nose etc) that would have imprinted better by virtue of greater impact pressure against the linen in a 3D-imprinting situation (i.e. from a real person’s angular face, not a mere bas relief)?  Hugh Farey please note (not that I regard real body v bas relief as a crucial issue when it comes to deciding on authenticity or even means of fabrication! The crucial issue is imprinting versus the alternatives, like “just a painting”  or ‘selfie’ image from pro-authenticity flash of resurrectional incandescence.

Added Tue 11th Sep 2018

Why is this piece of discredited work still being promoted, such that it is currently on Page 6 of Google returns under a (shroud of turin) search.

mccrone google listing page 6, 11 sep 2018

While on the subject of the mysterious Google, why has this site now disappeared totally from the same listings (until recently showing up anywhere between Pages 7 and 12)?

Might we be seeing the work of those SEOs (who email me from time to time, offering to get this site promoted to the top of search engine  listings)?

Added Thur 13th September, 2018 (image needed for current comments attached to this posting).

Here’s the title page from a splendid specialist paper on flax fibres (presumably relevant to linen derived therefrom via retting)

SEM flax fibre paper, 2018



Here’s an approximate cross-section of a single (damaged) fibre obtained with SEM:

microfibrils inside flax fibre top mag with x2.5 in Paint

Note the microfibrils densely packed within the fibre, the presence of which is normally hidden from view by the outer sheath we call the PCW (primary cell wall). Sindonology talks a lot about the image chromophore being confined  (allegedly) to the PCW, though rarely if ever any mention of the underlying microfibrils, and the capillary channels between them and never (as far as I’m aware) the display of the kind of cross-sectional view we see above.

Added 14th September, 2018

Have managed to track down a view of the front cover of this month’s edition of

Más allá de la Ciencia

(Spanish magazine), the one I mentioned earlier with the Isabela Herranz-penned summary of current Shroud research (including  a brief summary of this blogger’s 6 years of modelling plus mugshot!)

mas alla septiembre 2018 sabana

Later today:

Thanks to HF for a link to a PhD thesis with more splendid SEM views of quasi-cross-sections in 3D, one  that show the multitude of microfibrils inside each flax/linen fibre (which I say  simply cannot be ignored when discussing TS image chromophore thickness given likely intra-fibre penetration below and beneath the outer PCW sheath)

Here’s an especially good view:

fig 4.13b aslan flax microfibrils


Note the scale for 1 micrometre (1000 nanometres). Yup, that’s roughly as expected if the PCW is approx 200nm thick, i.e. a tiny fraction (<10%)  or thereabouts of the fibre diameter. But is the image chromophore really confined to that PCW, when there’s so much complexity underneath, notably horizontally-running microfibrils AND  their associated capillary channels, capable of wicking away any (momentarily) liquid chromophore precursors generated by my Model 10’s  proposal for a thermal Stage 2 processing of a Stage 1 flour imprint?

Update, 2nd October, 2018

Just back from delightful Jerez, in the south of Spain (the 14th visit to Spain by this Hispanophile and wife these last 40 years!).  Met up with feisty freelance journalist Isabela Herranz in Madrid.  Her article for Mas Alla, mentioned previously on this posting,  is still on the newstands:

mas alla jerez newstand 30 sep 18


Recognize a particular face and name  (one of several) that appears on Page 25?     😉


mas alla colin berry et al


Word of advice to travellers: don’t use Iberia Airlines (unless you’ve purchased a  multi- subcategory “Priority Boarding” ticket).

IMG_4313 Iberia Priority


Don’t be deceived by Iberia’s so called “Group 1” ticket  – NOT in the above list – which virtually guarantees cattle-class treatment to holders at the otherwise unsegregated boarding gates at both Jerez pint-size airport AND Madrid’s Terminal 4.

Back to topic: yes, yours truly assisted Isabela in the production of her article (which also features Dan Porter’s now retired shroudstory site).  Ano Cero (also partly visible on the above newstand) rejected her first article (“too sceptical”), and sadly there wasn’t space in the Mas Alla article for Isabela’s specially-commissioned one-off flour imprint of my hand, obtained with Model 10, before and after 3D enhancement.

(Better than the Sunday Times, which refused some 2 years back to publicize my Model 10 unless I was willing to provide a whole-body imprint – though that was the least of its Chief Reporter’s shortcomings, given other issues we needn’t go into!  As for the ST’s so-called “Science Editor” , words fail me…).

Oh well, you win some, you lose some (but in my experience invariably LOSE where the UK’s appalling anti-science – or,  at best, science-blind MSM – are concerned).

Thank heavens then for the Isabela Herranzs of this world, thank heavens for Continental Europe (shame however about the language barrier).

Moving on: arriving back from a late-summer/early autumn holiday break, mentally -refreshed, so to speak, I’ve started to give thought to my next posting.

Maybe a  listing of reasons that support  my Model 10  (flour imprinting, followed by thermal development of yellow/brown colour)?

I thought initially I might be able to give 2 , maybe 3 compelling  reasons …

Am currently up to 23!   (Maybe some more compelling than others).

But there’s no point in proactive posting on a Web-forum,  supposedly more user-friendly than the peer-reviewed journals and their paywalls,  unless there’s feedback.

I shall wait for feedback  – whether positive or negative, days, weeks, months if necessary…

So it’s over to you, dear reader.   Is  (or is not?)  the Shroud of Turin a medievally- produced simulated sweat/blood  imprint of the newly crucified  Jesus onto Joseph of Arimathea’s linen?  Was the intention  to trump the then celebrated Veil of Veronica (face-imprint only) as a pilgrim-attracting money-spinner – if only briefly successful to begin with?

I say it was.  But I’m open to alternative suggesions (provided, that is, respect for the facts, as distinct from wild preconception-based fantasy,  gets a look-in).

PS: that list of reasons in favour of the image being a heat-treated flour imprint is now at 29, up from the 23 cited above!


October 4, 2018

Hey! Look what I’ve discovered, on Dan Porter’s shroudstory site from December 2011!


joe nickell comment dec 2011


Unbelievable!  Almost 7 years have passed since the colourful (and hugely perceptive) Joe Nickell pointed out a major omission from the Shroud data base, namely the absence of a simple image fibre CROSS-SECTION, aka transverse section.

Yes, here we are, 7 years later and STILL no transverse section (at least that I’m aware of).  Yet image ultra-superficiality, based on nothing more that  ‘views from the outside, attempting to see what’s inside’ have become the stock-in-trade of those claims for  a non- forgeable, supernaturally-generated pro-authenticity message.

As I say  – unbelievable – displaying a total dereliction of the scientific method (where  no microscopy can be considered complete without a simple, look-inside TRANSVERSE section).



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). 





About Colin Berry

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

28 Responses to Here’s one good reason for thinking the Turin Shroud to be a medieval fake – namely that ‘cardboard cut-out look’, with frontal v dorsal views of body only – NO SIDES!

  1. Colin Berry says:

    At last I have an explanation for what I referred to as the ‘scorched-in crease” at the junction of neck and chin, way back in 2012.

    The forgers realized it had to be there. They did not wish to present the first pilgrim viewers with a simple whole body imprint. Why not? Answer: because that would feature an unattractive floating head. They needed to include a NECK to link head to chest, as already stated. But how could they do that, and still claim that the image was a whole body imprint (not a painting)?

    Answer: it wasn’t a simple whole body imprint, dear pilgrim. Our forgers, ever meticulous as regards detail, devised a narrative to anticipate the doubters among the first viewers. Joseph of Arimathea’s linen, they said, had NOT simply done a short cut from chin to chest. It had been tucked in under the chin, so as to follow the contours of the underside of the chin and the neck.

    To signal that detail, and to (cleverly) maintain credibility, they deliberately ensured there was imprinting of what would be seen (or could be explained) as a trapped fold, i.e. CREASE in the linen, one that soaked up additional sweat, becoming imaged and incorporated into the body imprint!

  2. Colin Berry says:

    Reminder to fantasy-fixated sindonologists (from Abraham Lincoln):

    You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

    • Tamara says:

      You’re too funny, Colin.

      Yet, I prefer the Amish phrase: “They laugh at us because they say we’re different.
      We smile at them because they’re all the same.”

      • Colin Berry says:

        Thanks Tamara

        Wife and I have a soft spot for the Amish. We used to use their Saturday farmers’ market in Wayne, near the end of the Main Line out of Philadelphia (where both us worked in the early 70s).

        Their fresh farm produce – meat and veg – was such a welcome change from standard supermarket fare. I never enquired what their views were on this and that, across the counter at the till, knowing they were a fascinating throwback to a vanished age – as their 17th century Puritan-reminiscent costumes (played-down at the market) made clear!

        Yes, maybe the Amish expressed it better – and more subtly – than Abe Lincoln…

        • Tamara says:

          Colin, I’m elated to know you and your wife once enjoyed the Amish produce here in the states. I visited the Amish community in Lancaster, PA decades ago.

          Unfortunately, the food at the supermarket here (fruit and vegetables) is imported and it’s awful. Today I found a farm online with fresh produce that’s pretty close to my house. I’ll make the trip next week.

          You appear to be spending a significant amount of time in an attempt to duplicate the Shroud image. Guess it keeps you pretty busy and that’s a good thing. 🙂

          Have you seen the sonnet I wrote for Elizabeth the Second? If you ever get bored, google “Tamara Beryl Latham” and you will find it on either the poetrypoem or poetrysoup website.

          Good luck with your project and take care.



          • Colin Berry says:

            The Monarch’s Touch

            Her scepter raised in majesty, she dares
            to rule this jeweled star Britannia though
            dark eyes of former Kings and current heirs,
            gaze down on her from portraits. Does she know

            or even care what they may think? You see,
            she rides a horse as well as any man,
            then dons her crown and welcomes Dukes to tea,
            while scrutinizing every battle plan.

            Elizabeth! This gown of dignity
            that flows, the river Thames reflects her grace;
            her confidence. Behind doors privately,
            she smiles back at the chamber mirror’s face,

            then states in perfect English, as she should,
            “Elizabeth the Second, you done good.”

            Regulars to this site might also like to read Tamara’s “Veronica” (yes, THE Veronica!). The all-important i-word, signalling the phenomenon of imaging via physical contact between skin and cloth puts in the expected appearance towards the end, I’m happy to report…

  3. Colin Berry says:

    So then, oh valued site visitor: what in your honest opinion is the greatest fallacy (or poorly documented claim) made in defence of Shroud authenticity?

    1. That it’s some kind of photograph, on account of the body image being a negative, i.e, tone-reversed?

    2. That the body image has unique encoded 3D properties, making it impossible to reproduce, and thus the end product of a supernatural event?

    3. That the body image is far too superficial to have been created by any kind of man-made imaging technique.

    4. That the image cannot conceivably be the result of any kind of contact-imprinting process, since that would have been betrayed by ‘wrap-around distortion’.

    5.That the body image is the result of chemical modification of the linen fibres per se , notably the carbohydrate cellulose component, rather than some ‘impurity coating’.

    6. The blood (or “blood”) could only have come from real wounds incurred from torture and crucifixion, i.e. could not possibly have been acquired via painting or imprinting.

    7. That the TS has to represent a formal burial shroud, whether real or 14th century ‘faked’ as distinct from a pre-burial shroud , intended primarily for transport from cross to tomb.

    8. A corollary of 7 above, that the body image (and even blood imprints too) were acquired post rather than pre-burial. thus overlooking – or ignoring – the no-nonsense ‘sweat-imprint’ scenario with its parallels with that fabled but equally ‘faked’ ‘Veil of Veronica’ skin imprint.

    9. ???? Are there more that can be added this list, especially ‘real clinchers’ that I’ve overlooked?

    Comments invited.

    • Hugh Farey says:

      I think the most fallacious arguments are those that claim something is impossible on the grounds that it hasn’t been done before. Followed by those that claim something is impossible on the grounds that the claimant can’t think of a way of achieving it himself. Then any claim involving the word “proof”.

      Then come the claims that something must have happened in a particular way, for lack of any alternative the claimant can think of.

      Then the circular arguments. The Shroud shows us what Roman crucifixion looks like. We know what Roman crucifixion looks like because the Shroud shows it.

      Have you read my paper, The Medieval Shroud? It reviews various inconsistencies, and even mentions Method X…

      Best wishes,

      • Colin Berry says:

        See the addition I’ve made to the tail end of this posting, Hugh, with a link to your February 2018 paper.

        No, I have not previously seen it, far less read it (which I shall now do with interest). Shame yet again on the unfit-for-purpose search engine that calls itself the “world’s favorite”. Yuk!

  4. Colin Berry says:

    Here’s a copy of an email reply I sent this morning to the freelance journalist Isabela Herrenz (she’s just done an article for the Spanish-language magazine Más allá de la Ciencia on the Shroud of Turin – a project with which I’ve personally assisted – I’ll give a link to the article – Septiembre 2018 – as soon as I have it).


    Thanks for the illuminating reply Isabela.

    One wonders much longer we have wait for the world’s mainstream media to catch up on something that should now be painfully obvious. The tendentious agenda-driven claim for “Shroud of Turin” authenticity is now what we English-speakers refer to by the poker term “busted flush”:

    Busted flush
    (in poker) a hand containing four cards of the same suit and one of a different suit.

    2.( informal)

    a promising person or thing that turns out to be unsuccessful.

    “her leadership is already a busted flush”


    (Inserted a cut-and-paste of my 8 key fallacies or unsupported assumptions – see earlier in this Comments thread


    I’m hoping that one or more visitors to my site will feel provoked into challenging me on one or other of those 8 points. If they do, they’ll find me ready and willing to demolish (or at any rate undermine) each and every one of sindonology’s chief arguments.

    As I say, when’s the media going to stop treatiing sindonology as a sacred cow and face up to modern-day science-based reality. Sindonology is now a busted flush!

    Kind regards

    (Time maybe for me to return to my other chief interest – namely Stonehenge and all those other megalithic monuments. All those standing stone Neolithic/Bronze Age sites served as bird perches for “sky burial” – i.e. a preliminary to environmentally-friendly bone cremation is what I say!)

  5. Colin Berry says:

    Reminder: the scientific method is all about arriving at TESTABLE hypotheses. That is how science – or a particular scientist’s work – should be judged – by the ability to deliver testable hypotheses.

    Yes, new data are always to be welcomed. But at the end of the day, it’s that testability yardstick that has to be the key criterion of good effective science.

    Beware Olympean judgements on science (or particular scientists) delivered in overlong pdfs etc that attempt to substitute alternatives, based on irrelevant criteria (historical, religious, aesthetic, intellectual prettiness etc etc). All that matters in the final analysis, scientifically speaking, is TESTABILITY.

    I say the TS image chromophore, when tested chemically, will be shown to be a high- molecular weight melanoidin (generated almost certainly via Maillard reactions between proteins and reducing sugars, probably within an impurity layer).

    Yes, seemingly a reference to the Rogers’ naturalistic pro-authenticity model at first sight .

    But I say there was a medieval equivalent, involving use of wheat flour as an imprinting medium, followed by exposure to heat, either in a large oven, or over an open fire.

    Reminder: I’m only here for the science. I leave judgemental all-embracing overviews to others.

  6. Colin Berry says:

    Here’s a link to a Canadian review article that appeared last year. Warning: it has absolutely nothing to do with the Shroud of Turin.

    So why the mention? Answer: it summarises three models for explaining the latency of the crucial detoxifying enzyme, UDP-glucuronyltransferase in liver, and concludes that the generally accepted model is that of compartmentation, coupled with a membrane transporter (“permease” ) for the co-substrate UDPGA.

    So who first proposed the permease model? Read the article. I did, in collaboration with the late Dr. Terry Hallinan (my PhD supervisor at Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine).

    So why mention this now?

    Answer: that 40 page pdf referred to earlier describes me as a “retired biochemist specializing in the chemistry of starch”

    Does HF seriously imagine that a biochemist would devote his research career to anything so utterly boring as the “chemistry of starch”. Sure, I did some research on enzyme-resistant starch, showing how it could be made in quantity by enzymically chopping up amylopectin (branched-chain starch) with a de-branching enzyme (pullulanase) followed by heat-treatment currently 550 citations. But that was largely applied enzymology, not chemistry, well with the purview of a clinically-oriented nutritionist and biochemist (I was Head of Nutrition and Food Safety at a food research institute in the mid to late 1980s).

    I have to say I rather resent being pigeon-holed as a “starch chemist”. I was a biomedical scientist, investigating the clinical or other consequences of deficient or defective enzyme endowment, starting with neonatal jaundice and Crigler-Najjar syndrome, progressing to enzyme latency and Gilbert’s Syndrome, then on to dietary fibre, colonic diverticulosis and finally that now highly-fashionable enzyme-resistant starch.(RS3) generated by cooking and cooling – essentially man-made “dietary fibre”, as increasingly acknowledged worldwide.

    So there! Starch chemist my foot!

    • Hugh Farey says:

      Oh, I see! I wondered what it was that had nettled you. My point about your expertise with starch was not to demean your other achievements, but to suggest that in this context you knew what you were doing with your flour experiments. I know how you feel that Alan Adler’s expertise in porphyrins did not make him an expert on ‘blood’. I fear there may be others who think something similar about you, and I wanted to disabuse them of their misconceptions. Had your experiments been more about enzymes I would have called you an enzyme expert instead.

      • Colin Berry says:

        Whoa there, Hugh Farey! Who said anything about starch being the active ingredient of white flour in my Model 10?

        There’s probably more than sufficient free reducing sugars (between 2 and 3.5% of total carbohydrates, depending on type of flour – white, brown or wholemeal) to give a Maillard browning reaction and faint visible image)

        Yes, starch can act as back-up, assuming the flour has sufficient still active, non-denatured alpha-amylases that might theoretically operate briefly in the initial wetting/heating phase, able to generate extra reducing sugars (maltose etc) . But as indicated I prefer to omit any mention of starch, if only to avoid overlap and confusion between my Model 10 using white flour, oil and water as sole medieval adjuncts, in contrast to the Rogers’ naturalistic 1st century rock tomb model that depends on those gaseous putrefaction amines and largely hypothetical “starch impurity coating” of alleged Roman-era provenance,

        Rogers never explained why his starch impurities obligingly fell apart to provide reducing sugars at the exact and appropriate point in time. Note too that he used partly degraded starch ( unspecified “dextrins”) and elevated temperatures (60 degrees) in his model system (one has to look closely to spot the divergence between his theory and his practice!).

        Starch in the real world is fairly resistant to depolymerization, provided it’s kept away from amyloytic enzymes and strong mineral acids. One doesn’t need to be a “starch chemist” to know that: early 1950s flour paste still sticks my childhood photos into their home-made album. Ants, moulds and similar would have been attracted to any free sugars….

        • Hugh Farey says:

          “Who said anything about starch being the active ingredient of white flour in my Model 10?” Certainly not me…. you have to be a starch expert to understand properly how the Maillard reaction might work on the Shroud, even if it doesn’t, actually, involve any starch…

          • Colin Berry says:

            Sorry, you’ve lost me (yet again). But then Hugh Farey and his airy-Farey chemical reasoning left me far, far behind a long time ago…

            Remind me – what was it you proposed on the internationalskeptics forum as imprinting medium back in early 2017? Vinegar and iron oxide?

            Late PS: yes, it was indeed early 2017:


            This retired “starch chemist” was ‘meccanoman’ on that site (which I’ll never, ever be tempted to visit again). What a hellhole that was, and probably still is…

            PPS : Correction. It wasn’t even an imprinting medium – the mix of solid and liquid was dabbed directly onto the cloth! Charles Freeman of the ‘just a painting’ school of anti-authenticism would have been singing HF’s praises had he seen it …

          • Hugh Farey says:

            Like yourself, I’ve speculated on a wide variety of colouration mechanisms. Broadly divided into chemical and physical (although the physics does, of course, change the chemistry…). Degrading cloth using acids, deliberately or otherwise, still appeals to me. I’m currently playing with the idea that a bas relief statue was primed, vanished or stained with some appropriate recipe, and the Shroud covered it, thus receiving the imprint very lightly on the one side. The extent to which subsequent cooking or just ‘aging’ contributed is still a problem.

  7. Colin Berry says:

    But as I’ve said here repeatedly, and on the internationalskeptics forum (link added as late PS to my previous comment) there is no place whatsoever for McCrone’s iron oxide, nor anyone else’s for that matter – yours and other late arrivals included.

    Why not? Because Adler and Heller showed that the image chromophore could be bleached with a variety of chemical reagents (hydrazine, diimide, alkaline hydrogen peroxide). Iron oxide does not bleach. Organic chromophores that rely on conjugated double bonds for their colour DO! My Model 10 flour imprints, presumably melanoidins, bleach quickly with alkaline peroxide.

    Aside: I find it appalling that while this site has disappeared completely from a (shroud of turin) search on the “world’s favorite search engine”, the McCrone Research Institute in Chicago is still highly prominent in the listings.

    Yes, it’s still there to this day, still promoting its founder and his red herring iron oxide, long after his parting from this world, and even longer after the supposed death knell for those mistaken notions re a banal role for paint brushes and artists’ inorganic paint pigments.

  8. Colin Berry says:

    HF (from yesterday): ” Degrading cloth using acids, deliberately or otherwise, still appeals to me.”

    I too looked at acids, both weak and strong. Battery acid (approx 35% sulphuric) failed to give appreciable colour to linen in the cold. Yes, colour started to appear when heat was applied, but the linen then started to fragment.

    Weak organic acids? Been there, done it, and obtained a breakthrough. How? By chasing up the idea that the Shroud image was obtained by an “invisible ink” mechanism, akin to writing on paper with lemon juice, then rendering the writing visible by applying gentle heat.

    Model 8 (from October 2014)

    Initially all the literature seemed to assume that it was merely weak organic acids in the lemon juice, attacking the paper, making it brown. But when I tested citric acid, the major organic acid of lemon juice, there was no browning effect. What price then weak organic acids as etching agents on linen?

    So what was responsible for the browning with lemon juice? The juice alone goes intensely brown when one heats it on a glass tray – no paper or linen needed. Why? On delving into the chemical literature I came across a scarcely known fact re lemon juice and invisible ink. The effect is due to the Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) component in concert with proteins or other amino-supplying molecules. On heating, Vitamin C degrades to a four-carbon reducing sugar (threose) which then reacts chemically with the protein and other amino constituents of lemon to give … guess what? Maillard browning reactions, high molecular weight melanoidins etc.

    Eureka! An entirely independent route (“invisible ink”) that could be used to implicate Rogers’ melanoidins in the genesis of the Shroud image, but via an entirely different route, one involving medieval imprinting technology.

    No, probably not lemon juice as imprinting agent – too unruly – too prone to spread – but a well-behaved SOLID more practical alternative – e.g. a powdered material providing reducing sugars and protein, conveniently packaged up together.

    Thus the white flour of Model 10, an advance (hopefully) on the lemon juice of Model 8.

    Organic acids (acetic of vinegar etc)? Nope, they simply don’t do the business… Think instead of ingredients for amino-carbonyl (sugar/protein?) Maillard browning reactions and melanoidin formation. Time surely to dispense with those mistaken notions of weak organic acids per se being capable of colouring up linen when even battery acid fails to work.

    • Hugh Farey says:

      Now, that, in my humble opinion, is brilliant!

      My problem with acids – I’ve also tried various kinds, at various dilutions – is that they tend to make the cloth go grey, not brown or yellow. Flour then, O starch expert….

      As for the pigment, I’m still not sure what to make of it. The main difference between McCrone’s and Heller & Adler’s specimens was that McCrone examined the sticky tapes whole, with all their associated gunk, which probably included iron oxide, whereas, as described in huge detail in his book, Heller washed just about everything away in his attempt to get the glue (which he calls “goop”) off the fibres. No wonder by the time he examined them there was nothing on them at all….

      • Colin Berry says:

        As I was saying to Lee here as short while ago, we desperately need cross-sections of image fibres, if only to see if the image layer is really as ultra-superficial as claimed. I suspect not. I suspect that what has been seen in the past is the coloration of the superficial PCW, of the order of 200nm, and that’s led to the assumption that 200nm (maybe up to 600nm) is the thickness of the image layer too.

        Now look at Heller’s book, at page 180 give or take, and see Adler’s interest in the khaki mechanism of coloration/fabric dyeing, whereby solid particles seemingly get inside structures that lack pores of sufficient size to permit penetration. How? By introducing solution A that penetrates, then solution B that reacts with A to give a solid precipitate.

        Adler’s khaki model was used to account for iron particles embedded in linen fibres in the margins of water stains (A = soluble iron salt, B = alkali reacting to give iron hydroxide, then iron oxide) but I believe the model has application to a melanoidin-generating system (melanoidins being high molecular weight and thus solids). Might we have an explanation for McCrone’s microparticulate chromophore, NOT comprising iron oxide particles, but melanoidins?

        How formed? There was an initial production of low molecular weight Maillard reaction LIQUID products from heated flour or similar, which maybe aided by oil, intrinsic or added, allowed the reaction mix to penetrate the interior of fibres via capillary action, being wicked away for a short distance before coming to an abrupt halt (as the components polymerized to high molecular weight SOLID melanoidins).

        Seen in those terms, Rogers’ Mylar adhesive, whether washed off or not, becomes less problematical. Most of the chromophore could be INSIDE the fibres, in the spaces between the microfibrils, which goes some of the way to explaining the curious properties of the TS image areas, especiallly homogeneity of coloration, with some fibres colored, not others( half-tone effect etc)

        As I say, we really need those cross-sections. Why weren’t they done as part of the STURP programme? How difficult is it to embed a thread or even solitary fibre in wax, and then section in a microtome? How can anyone pronounce dogmatically on the thickness of the image layer if they’ve never done a cross-section, and then declare that it’s far too thin to have been formed via a man-made process?

  9. Colin Berry says:

    Thanks HF.

    See the splendid image of a flax fibre in quasi-cross-section – with 3D as added bonus – available from Mustafa Aslan’s PhD thesis.

    It’s been added to the tail-end of this posting, along with my immediate reaction (increasingly focused I might say on those hugely neglected microfibrils within the core of each linen fibre – ones whose presence ought to give pause for thought to any sindonologist attempting to measure, least of all promulgate, alleged TS ‘ultra-superficial’ body image thickness).

  10. Colin Berry says:

    Just back from a short 5-day break in Madrid and the south of Spain. Here’s that magazine I mentioned earlier, with Isabela Herranz’s article on the Shroud (including my own researches!) featured prominently on its cover!

    See tail-end of current posting for more details- plus current gripes about this and that – UK’s science-stifling MSM, Spanish airports,
    Iberia airlines, you name it … ).

  11. Colin Berry says:

    Change of plan: I was intending to make my largely ignored Model 10 the main subject of my next posting, to show how it can explain so many of the otherwise curious features of the Turin Shroud.

    But I found myself re-reading the current posting from Mr. Barrie M.Schwortz on, flagging up his next one, due in just 3 days, to commemorate, he says, the 40th Anniversary of STURP (1978) . It was his words there that stuck in my craw back in June this year when I first laid eyes on them, , shown below, which I then chose to ignore (my italics)

    “As part of our 40th anniversary celebration we are making the original Test Plan, formally titled, Operations Test Plan For Investigating the Shroud of Turin by Electromagnetic Radiation at Various Wavelengths, available online to everyone for the very first time. I think you will find it enlightening as it clearly demonstrates the thoroughness and care that STURP exhibited in planning their research. It creates a benchmark and provides an example that future Shroud researchers can use to carefully plan their own work.”

    No, one second thoughts I will not allow those smug self-congratulatory words on the part of STURP’s Documenting Photographer to pass without comment. Bar a few useful contributions from particular STURP personnel, I regard STURP, and its Summary especially, as essentially an unmitigated disaster, one that squandered what was possibly, probably a unique opportunity to understand the nature of the body image, the hugely-neglected tone-reversed negative especially that screamed IMPRINT, not painting etc. Yet the term IMPRINT fails to get a single mention in that STURP Summary! As for the 1981 Summary, it is and remains the source of much misinformation, notably the claim that the body image is uniquely responsive to 3D imaging software.

    Those words from STURP’s spokesperson, later (self?) appointed President of the Shroud of Turin Education and Research Society, still photographer by profession, NOT scientific investigator, not even STURP’s Scientific Photographer, will form the basis of my next posting. Expect it to appear in a day or two, slightly ahead of’s next posting (and hopefully unlikely to influence its planned wording – so let’s see what else emerges by way of smug, self-congratulation).

    Apologies for its late appearance, not deliberately planned I assure you dear reader.

  12. Colin Berry says:

    Original comment I placed here now deleted (it providing the title of the new posting that follows).

  13. Colin Berry says:

    Why place a comment on my own posting from some 8 months ago?

    Answer: I have spent the last few days putting together a list of reasons for regarding the Turin Linen as a medieval reconstruction of Joseph of Arimathea’s “transport” linen.

    Of the 30 or so points made in favour of medieval forgery, which one heads the list (leaving aside the radiocarbon dating – let’s not go into that!)?

    Answer: the same point that I made in this particular posting – while realizing that for many folk it may not seem terribly obvious.

    It’s the presence of frontal v dorsal negative body image without sides (merely a somewhat poorly delineated fuzzy border, torso and limbs especially). If we exclude supernatural photography, with its need for vertically-directed radiation, up or down, but never sideways (!) then the negative image implies imaging via direct physical contact. But the chances of authentic imaging yielding so abrupt a cut-off where frontal/dorsal imprints meet sides are, one would think, essentially zero.

    So what does that leave? It leaves medieval modelling under carefully controlled conditions to produce so simple, dare one say idealized an outcome. How? Answer: via imprinting of a powder-coated subject (or two subjects simultaneously – one for each side) onto linen, using manually-applied pressure in a downwards-only pressing action only. That (and/or keeping the imprinting medium off the sides) ensures that uncompromisingly two-dimensional ‘cardboard cutout’ look,. Why powder? It guarantees the fuzzy edge – and much else besides… Deliberate or accidental? Answer: deliberate – designed to convey immediately to the first time viewer the notion of whole body IMPRINT (while softened by that blurred edge, arguably conferring a subtle ghost-like quality).

    Imprinting medium? That same first time viewer would be told what produced the faint yellow body image – dried, aged body perspiration (accompanied by those blood stains in all the relevant locations). The real imprinting medium would remain a carefully guarded secret. (I say the powder imprinting medium was probably white flour, with the imprinted linen later roasted until displaying the desired degree of yellow coloration – with background linen acquiring an ‘aged’ look by way of bonus).

    Shorthand: forget about “encoded 3D”. What matters is the essential 2D-ness of the separate frontal v dorsal images, referred to thus far as the “cardboard cut-out look”. That 2D was man-made, correction medieval-reconstructor man-made, and it was done for a purpose – to convey an immediate impression of “IMPRINT”, as distinct from painting. (It can’t be emphasized too strongly!) But the IMPRINT was intended to seem genuine! Why? To suggest imprinting onto J of A’s linen off two opposite sides of the body, being transported in a single sheet of linen deployed in make-shift stretcher mode, i.e. NOT wrapped around the sides of the body.
    Thus the inappropriateness of the term Turin “Shroud”. It should simply be “Turin Linen”!

    “Forgery”? Well, yes, in a manner of speaking. But given the unknowns regarding the precise motivations of those who created the artefact, and for what reason, then I prefer less accusatory language. Suppose it was intended originally as a ceremonial centre-piece for the Order of the Star – as suggested earlier by myself? I prefer to think of it, not as a forgery, but as an ‘idealized reconstruction.’

    Think of it as a medieval proto-emoticon. Correction: proto-emotICON+!

    Moral: never underestimate the hold that visually-powerful icons can have on the human mind (whether medieval icons or modern-day emoticons).

    Just beware of striking , out-of-the-ordinary icons being assiduously represented, and indeed promoted, as if they were authentic historical relics! Read: field day for the proselytizers of the supernatural, wishing to assure us that their religious beliefs are established hard-and-fast fact.

    Not so. Religions and science still exist in their separate compartments. The Turin Linen has thus far failed to link the two…

    There’s a long way to go in getting certain folk to separate fact from fantasy, as this recent newspaper article from Colorado Springs shows (comments as well as main article):

    And here’s one final postscript to conclude this overlong comment (now more by way of a mini-posting!):

    This site now has a new tagline alongside the title to assist in promoting the site’s final conclusions:

    It reads:

    Current 2019 answer : NO! See my charge-sheet of sindonology’s 10 biggest mistakes!

    PS (added June 18, 2019): have included these two sentences in a reply to an email, seeking my view on a particular question regarding ‘authenticity’:

    ” I’m no longer a Shroud researcher, having satisfied myself of the Linen’s mid-14th century origins, fabricated via contact-imprinting initially at any rate as a whole-body version of the fabled Veil of Veronica. I view it as being almost certainly a simulated, i.e. faked sweat/blood imprint intended to mimic Joseph of Arimathea’s body-transport linen (not final burial shroud) as it might have looked after centuries of ageing and yellowing. “

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