Preamble (added last): this posting was written as 12 instalments, intending to focus on POWDER imprinting. Suddenly, with the 8th instalment, it transformed into something else – a realization that the supposed ultra-superficiality of the TS body image – pointing we’re told to a supernatural origin – had scarcely a single solid fact to back it up. It then quickly transpired that my Model 10 – flour imprinting – has the body image somewhere else entirely.
No, not on the surface PCW (primary cell wall) but hidden away, out of sight, deep within the microfibril-packed core of the SCW (secondary cell wall). Oh dear: has sindonology got it entirely wrong with its ‘out-of-this-world ultra-superficial’ body image?
I’ve changed the site’s tagline, at least temporarily, to flag up the new insight on Google Search rankings, which unhelpfully ignores one’s new posting TITLES, namely a probable NON-SUPERFICIALITY of the TS body image. The previous one read:
“Time to get real! It’s an ingenious medieval modelling of how a sweat imprint left on an impromptu linen STRETCHER might look after 13 centuries of ageing and yellowing (+ identifying bloodstains)!
I may or may not re-install it later.
It’s exactly 7 years ago to the day that I produced my first posting on the Shroud of Turin. It was placed on my sciencebuzz site, created some 2 years earlier in 2009.
Thermo-stencilling? What’s that you may ask? Well, these days it gets scarcely a mention from this blogger, being “Model 1” (my latest – and hopefully final one – being “Model 10”).
Each time I look at Model 1 (thermo-stencilling) I kick myself. Why? Because the image was drawn freehand with the aid of a charcoal stick (I later painted with a charcoal slurry in water). The quickie sketch (or later ‘painting’) was then held close to a source of radiant heat. The latter was preferentially-absorbed by the opaque charcoal, the charcoal heated up, the highly localised heat scorched the linen in immediate contact with the charcoal. Hey presto, a scorched-in image appeared when the thermo-sensitizing charcoal was washed away:
Left: crude charcoal sketch; Centre: sketch held close to incandescent light bulb – deployed as modern day source of radiant heat, more convenient than outdoor barbecue or similar; Right: central part of sketch visible as a scorched-on image after washing out the charcoal.
Yes, success in terms of producing a fuzzy Shroud-like discoloration of the linen, which could be loosely described as a scorch. But what was the big mistake – the one that if spotted and corrected might have led straight from Model 1 to Model 10, skipping the 8 intermediates? Answer: I should have passively IMPRINTED off a template (whether inanimate bas relief template or even real human anatomy), thus ensuring a NEGATIVE (tone-reversed) image, thereby duplicating the chief, some might say iconic aspect of the Shroud body image, namely that seemingly-precocious NEGATIVE TONE-REVERSED IMAGE.
But I wasn’t the only one to overlook that tiny detail. Oh no. Others before me (as good if not better in terms of research credentials and/or writing skills) made the same oversight.
Let’s look first at forensic anthropologist Emily Craig (in passing, a fellow PhD) and see what she and her co-worker said, way back in 1994. I do strongly recommend a close reading of her paper.
More to follow later today…
2nd instalment (still Dec 30):
What our Emily Craig did was to deliberate, indeed FOCUS, on the surprising negative image (which so many sindonologists instantly seize upon as a “photograph”).
(Focusing on key features is what science is all about – as distinct from skirting the subject!)
Emily C tried to reproduce it , as if cleverly intended by a medieval artisan to represent an bodily IMPRINT – front and rear as a negative image – but (importantly) executed via painting or drawing as distinct from 1st century IMPRINTING. In other words, she excluded real imprinting as the medieval means for representing an IMPRINT, choosing instead to substitute a less demanding artistic version! Shame (though I fully understand your reluctance to go the final mile ..)
Oh, how close you came, Emily, way back in 1994! I raise my hat to you .
I only wish I had come across your perceptive approach sooner -despite you failure to ‘go for broke’ on the medieval modelling .
Did it never occur to you that the latter may have been ‘realistically’ executed’ via real imprinting (not painting)? Reason? To dispel all doubts on the part of medieval viewers that what they were looking at was a genuine (1st century) IMPRINT as distinct from an artist’s inferior 14th century imitation thereof
Sadly, your thinking, Emily, pre-21st century, went way over the heads of those who set themselves up in the current 21st as self-appointed, mind-controlling ‘internet-based filters’ :
Yes, though I hesitate to say it, see the somewhat dismissive, derisory response you received from Dan Porter, the self-appointed all-knowing blogmeister on the shroudstory.com site, just 2 or 3 months after I began posting on the TS, back in 2012.
(Yes Dan had many positive qualities, but genuine receptiveness to new ideas, new thinking, was not one of them). You deserved better, Emily…
More to follow, much more…
Third instalment (Monday Dec 31, 2018)
I shall return to Emily Craig shortly. I shall be quoting some of her perceptive observations regarding one or other finely ground powder as a medium par excellence for generating images (albeit via brushing and powder transfer in her instance, as distinct from my preferred deployment of powder as a pure IMPRINTING medium, with no need for brushes or similar).
But first, this seems a good moment to report the results of two recent experiments from my home ‘laboratory’, both using those oh-so-fit-for-purpose powders. Two were selected. First I used powdered charcoal (elemental carbon) as used by Emily, not because either I or she for that matter considered it was deployed to create the TS image, but because the image provides a highly visible example of what can be achieved with a powder – any powder – whether the result is immediately visible or not pending further colour development.
As I say, my speciality post-Model 1 has been imprinting, not drawing or painting. So what to deploy as 3D template? Human or inanimate? I chose the first. Fingers or face? Again, I chose the first (the face presents difficulties, as noted in previous postings, but which it has to be stressed are by no means insurmountable, given the optimal choice of imprinting medium, imprinting technique etc which we shall return to later).
Here’s the result I obtained using dry powdered charcoal to imprint an image of my fingers onto damp linen, and then uploading to ImageJ software to convert the tone-reversed negative to a pseudo-positive (in essence a modern-day repeat of Secondo Pia’s celebrated photo-processing via silver-salt photography from 1898)
Note the absence of (bogeyman) lateral distortion on the two central fingers where there was no possibility of any wrap-around effect. Lateral distortion is confined to the left hand side of the index finger (but could have been simply avoided, merely by wiping imprinting agent off the side of the finger before imprinting, or merely keeping the linen away from the side. Where there’s a will there’s a way…)
What do you think thus far, dear reader?
Would you not agree that there’s an almost photographic quality to my charcoal imprints, albeit as negative Shroud-like image initially, easily tone-reversed with appropriate graphics software ?
Would you not concur with my view that the above images provide ample support for Emily Craig’s advocacy of finely-powdered solid as an image-generating medium!#
Yes, the above images both respond after a fashion to 3D-rendering software. But let’s leave that hugely over-hyped aspect of the TS body image (and blood, and 1532 scorch!) till later. Indeed, let’s ignore the fatuous 3D preoccupation for another occasion, given it’s primarily a function of 20th century computer software, whether analogue or digital, given moreover that it’s NOT an expression of “uniquely encoded” information according to some wild and undisciplined agenda-promoting imaginations…
4th instalment (still Monday Dec 31)
Here’s a passage from the 1994 Craig and Bresee paper, showing an admirable ability to avoid getting too wedded to one or other technique, i.e. being willing to cast a wide net.
The bolding is mine:
“Several hypotheses that have been proposed attempt to explain image formation as
involving oxidation and dehydration of cellulose to produce yellow-colored fibers. Of
the many ways to achieve this change, the most likely mechanism has been proposed to
involve transfer of a substance that either produces the image directly by oxidation/
dehydration or acts of as a catalyst that sensitizes the cloth to image development later through another process such as heating.”
But what if the added substance itself changes colour on heating, such that it’s not necessary, and indeed mistaken, to imagine that the linen fibres themselves have themselves been chemically altered.
That was my thinking back in October 2014. I had been scorching images directly from heated metal templates (e.g. horse brasses) onto linen, and got to wondering if the template really needed to be heated. Might it be possible to IMPRINT cold metal (or even human anatomy) onto the linen, and then heat the linen instead to obtain a coloured imprint. But what to use as imprinting medium, and how best to apply it to the template in such a way that it still transferred easily to the linen.
Here are images from my October 2014 posting (which to the best of my knowledge have never been picked up on elsewhere, such is the ‘them-and-us’ nature of Establishment sindonology with its down on non-authenticity narratives!):
Why did I not drop everything and pursue this promising new approach? Answer: I hesitate to say it, but I had imprinted onto DRY linen to obtain a image that easily flaked off. Now why didn’t I think of substituting damp for dry linen? That simple solution to the obtaining a firmly attached image, one that would resist washing, did not occur to me for several months, and even then took a while to become a routine feature of my current Model 10 (i.e. flour imprinting from oil-smeared human anatomy onto damp linen!). You live and you learn, the months and years slipping away as one’s learning curve hopefully ascends… At least Ican show a learning curve, albeit painfully slow. Can Establishment sindonology with its claimed ‘supernatural selfies’, partially modelled we’re told with their Government-supplied uv excimer laser pulses and the like say the same?
So how does white flour perform as imprinting agent, without having to heat the linen to render it visible? I needed to perform a separate experiment to be able to show the result in this my current posting. How? Simple: imprint my hand onto black-coloured fabric, having first smeared it with vegetable oil, then dusted with flour.
Here’s the result:
No, the quality is nowhere near as good with the white flour, lacking much detail. But then the quality of the charcoal imprints shown earlier could be said to be vastly better than that of the TS body imprint. My money is on white flour (or something very similar) as the medieval choice of imprinting agent, with second-stage heating followed by washing to produce the straw-yellow body image. (Bloodstains , either with simulated or real blood, or a combination of the two applied at different stages in time, have been discussed in an earlier posting, so need not detain us for now).
5th instalment (still Dec 31)
Now we get to the 64,000 question – is there a way of discriminating between the two models flagged up – one of them proposing a medieval origin, the other an authentic 1st century provenance? (Let’s leave aside the radiocarbon dating, which Establishment sindonology has done its level best to turn into a veritable can of worms – and largely succeeded! Why no rerun with new sampling sites etc? Best not to ask…).
One might at first sight think that identifying the straw-yellow image chromophore, either as chemically-modified cellulose or similar OR a Maillard browning product, might be the answer. But it would not, at least not of itself. Why not? Because while Establishment sindonology- promoted chemically-modified cellulose (even prematurely as in the STURP Summary where speculation largely substituted for hard fact) it is not ruled out in medieval terms (my Model 1 thermo-stencilling also generated scorched linen, given there was nothing else present apart from elemental carbon). Maillard browning products? Yes, they are the chemical species that can account for the image colour in my Model 10 – derived from thermochemical interaction between reducing sugars and amino groups in white flour. But let’s not forget that Maillard products, aka ‘melanoidins’ made an earlier appearance in Shroud literature, namely via Raymond N.Rogers’ pro-authenticity but non-supernatural diffusion model, where the ingredients for a Maillard reaction were supplied by (a) a proposed starch-coating on the linen fibres derived from Roman-era flax spinning/weaving technology supplying , he stoutly maintained, reducing sugars when and where needed (?) and, further, (b) gaseous decomposition amines derived from a dead and decomposing corpse.
6th instalment (still Dec 31)
There’s another means that, at least at first sight, could or should allow one to discriminate between an image obtained entirely by contact, as distinct from unscientific supernatural means (like that fanciful imaging across air gaps from self-generated radiation!). If one is imaging via contact only, with variable contact pressure from variations in 3D relief generating a false impression of dimishing image intensity from increasing separation distance, then applied manual pressure can be deduced in the obligatory contact situation. Ought it not then to be possible, maybe via modelling, to detect a different signature for use of applied manual pressure, forcing linen to make contact with relief, as distinct from natural draping of linen that relies upon gravity only?
Maybe, yes, in principle. But one can forsee all kinds of difficulty in practice, given one can only guess at the precise ‘moulding -to-contours’ technique deployed.
This approach maybe needs to be consigned to the back shelf, at least for now. Might there be a more promising one that should take priority?
7th instalment, New Year’s Day, 2019
So much for what has been done, especially the valuable though sadly neglected input from our forensic expert and her gentleman colleague.
Starting today I intend now to focus on what must now be done to test their oh-so-valuable POWDER -derived image proposal. Maybe then we’ll be in a position to appreciate better the true genius that underlies the Turin Shroud – HUMAN genius! Others too of course have experimented with powder in the past – Joe Nickell, Luigi Garlaschelli and others. Am I the first to modify the hypothesis, substituting an organic powder (white flour) for inorganic ones like iron oxide etc, one moreover that conveniently generates a TS-like straw yellow chromophore when heated, but unlike inorganic oxides etc is still capable of being bleached (e.g. with Adler and Heller’s diimide, hydrazine or alkaline hydrogen peroxide? (Yes, that bleaching action should have consigned Walter McCrone’s “iron oxide” chromophore fiction to oblivion: it’s yet another sad reflection on mainstream sindonology that the crucial opportunity was missed to nip it in the bud, and by two of STURP’s main personalities no less..)
While on a critical note, why has Establishment sindonology airbrushed Joseph of Arimathea and his “fine linen” out of the picture? (By ‘fine linen’ I refer to that supplied in the first 3 Gospels (namely to transport the crucified Jesus from cross to tomb)? Was it not separate, less expensive linen that was referred to in the final Gospel (John) deployed as final burial shroud? In short, there’s been a confusion between “shroud” as a term for transport ‘body bag’, pardon the modern nomenclature, and “shroud” as burial garment. To refer to the first as a “burial shroud” merely because it and its contents was delivered to the door of a tomb is at best an unhelpful ambiguity of terminology…#
Late insertion: I’m pleased to see that Petri Paavola in Finland shares my views on the almost universal misinterpretation (at least in mainstream sindonological circles) of the account in the final Gospel, supposing the linen referred to there as othonia (plural) is J of A’s fine linen, described differently in the first 3 Gospels as sindon (singular), i.e. single sheet, never intended for use as final burial shroud.
If I were asked to state the major failure on the part of Establishment sindonology, what would it be?
Answer: the failure of STURP to recruit a range of scientific specialists, drawn from the entire scientific, repeat SCIENTIFIC, spectrum, from physics through to chemistry, through to biology, and then to physiology, medicine and its subdisciplines.
Had that happened, a specialist in botany at the microscopic level might have come in, saying “Look, you underestimate the complexity of flax-derived linen, even at the so-called “elementary fibre” level? Are you not aware that flax fibres are themselves highly complex? So kindly stop referring to the PCW (primary cell wall) as if that’s where the story starts and ends where acquisition of ‘superficial’ TS body image is concerned.
It’s a lot more complicated than that. Do your homework. Read up on what lies beneath the PCW! No, it’s not a cylindrical core of solid cellulose as you seem to imagine! Oh no!
8th instalment, Jan 2, 2019
Here’s a screen grab of an influential review that appeared in 2010 under multiple authorship, featuring several of the sindonological Establishment’s big names:
At first sight it appears authoritative, and indeed is, as far as it goes. But compare what the review has to say about the microscopic structure of linen threads and fibres with the SEM cross-sectional photograph above. Did the review go far enough? Did it maybe present a hopelessly over-simplified view of the internal structure of an individual linen fibre? Did it make a single reference to the existence of microfibrils within fibres? (Answer: NO on all counts). Did the authors prove beyond all doubt that the TS image layer is confined to the superficial PCW (primary cell wall) of the image fibre, with no possibility of it penetrating deeper? What if the image chromophore had been briefly liquid, e.g. at a second stage thermal processing designed to elicit colour in an organic powder coating, maybe oil-assisted? What if that liquified chromphore had penetrated beneath the PCW into the microfibrillar interior of linen fibres, and then been rapidly wicked away at least partially via capillary channels between those microfibrils? Might that account for the claimed ‘half-tone’ effect and ‘image discontinuities’ as I proposed back in 2015?
Is the TS image really as superficial as claimed in the above review, with its accompanying ‘take home story’ that anything so superficial as 200nm could not possibly be the product from a medieval workshop or artist’s studio?
9th instalment, still Jan 2
Many moons ago, I raised on this site a conundrum that was bothering me. Ray Rogers observed that it was easier to strip off image than non-image fibres from the surface of the TS with his Mylar sticky tape. But why? Why should image-bearing fibres be more brittle, more fragile if the chemical modification is confined to the highly superficial PCW only? It doesn’t make sense! There is an explanation if the interior of the fibre is involved. Imagine an exudation of liquid containing endogenous flour oil, added exogenous vegetable oil and Maillard products, the latter initially low molecular weight, but rapidly polmerizing to high molecular weight melanoidins. Briefly, the exudate is liquid, and can thus penetrate the interior of fibres, being wicked away via capillary channels between packed microfibrils.
Then what? As the high MWt melanoidins form, there’s an inevitable inescapable phase change (from liquid to solid) making the interior of each fibre glass-like and thus brittle.
Hey presto we have an explanation for the fragility, the ease of fracture of those image-bearing fibres.
10th instalment (still Jan 2)
I have just this minute taken some scissors to one of my archived Model 10 specimens (flour-imprinted linen, oven-heated, unwashed) in order to get a 1-2mm thick cross-section that will lie flat on a microscope slide. The cut sample was then illuminated from above, and examined under my binocular microscope at x100 magnification (x10 for both eye piece and objective lenses).
It did not take long to see what I was looking for. By way of getting a quick snapshot, a hand-held digital camera was placed over one of the two binocular eyepieces (no, far from ideal – I’ll be plugging in a laptop later to capture the image on-screen).
Here’s the result, before v after further magnification:
Do you see what I see, dear reader? Where’s the image colour? Confined to the PCW (superficial primary cell wall) OR dispersed throughout the entire cross section of each fibre, i.e. within and/or between scores of microfibrils, the latter too small to see under my light microscope?
11th instalment, Jan 3, 2019
Six years have passed since this blogging Shroud investigator began to express deep misgivings about the so-called superficiality of the Shroud body image.
Here’s a link to an early posting:
It was taken up with interest by Dan Porter on his now-retired shroudstory site, esepcially when Adrie van der Hoeven became interested:
Without access to the Shroud, and, equally bad, if not worse, given the paucity of published photomicrographs of TS image fibres (despite STURP’s 5-day visit in ’78!) there seemed no point in trying to pursue those doubts to one or other conclusion.
That has now changed. My Model 10 (flour imprinting) has supplied a handle, given it has been able to account for so many curious aspects of the TS body image (not just the negative image but microscopic properties too) . Yesterday’s photomicrograph could be said to to crystallize those doubts into near certainty that the TS body image is NOT superficial, far from it, that it penetrates the interior of image fibres, assisted no doubt by the complexity of what lies within that core, previously treated by sindonology as if a cylinder of solid, undifferentiated secondary cell wall cellulose. Oh not it’s not! Think microfibrils! Think capillary channels between those microfibrils capable of wicking away transient liquid entities (accounting for those claimed ‘half-tone’ effects, image discontinuities etc
Here’s a New Year exercise for gluttons for punishment. Call up that “microscopic/macroscopic” review paper referred to earlier on this posting. Enter “superficial” into a search (ConF), then examine each and every of the many references to “superficial”. Then ask yourself this. How many of those references refer to hard supporting evidence for superficiality, and how many are merely conjectural or hearsay evidence? How many transverse section photographs are supplied which one might think would be needed to sustain a case for the image layer being highly superficial, more specifically restricted to the primary cell wall)? Answer: one big fat ZERO! To put it crudely, have we been sold a pup? Yes, I do believe we have and say it’s time the “superficiality” dogma was examined afresh, without preconceptual baggage and in detail. OH, and let’s be seeing some TRANSVERSE SECTIONS of individual fibres please. Is the image colour really confined to the PCW only when viewed without a PCW interposed between eye and pigmentation?
Reminder: yesterday, I started with a Model 10 flour imprint that was easily visible as a fuzzy brown stain-like image. But when one pulled out individual threads, and examined them individually under the microscope under different lighting conditions, different magnifications, the colour, as noted in the past, was scarcely visible. Bizarre! How could that be, one might ask? It was only when I took the cross-section (a pair of scissors sufficed) that the colour appeared – as multiple solid colour dots within the CORES of individual fibres!
You live and you learn. At least some of us do – those with a proper scientific background and training. Shame the same cannot be said of the many sindonologists with no real background, especially those who posture as if “scientists”, who challenge scientists to account for this or that claimed anomaly (or preconception), and then proceed to ignore those of us who rise to the challenge, who attempt to supply answers. What do we get? Answer: put-downs and name calling, as often as not (“avowed sceptic” and worse).
It’s high time sindonology put its house in order, and began to separate the real science from the morass of pseudoscience that has intruded over the years and indeed decades. Science is about critical testing of one’s ideas, possible preconceptions included. Science is NOT about promoting preconceptions with resort to scientific terminology as mere gift-wrapping (pseudoscience by any other name).
12th instalment, still Jan 3
Here’s a short passage from that “superficiality” review:
“Further evidence for the superﬁciality of the TS body image is demonstrated by the transmission photograph made by the STURP photographer B. Schwortz shown in Figure 1. Rather than radiation reﬂected from the surface of the cloth, the photo depicts the radiation transmitted by the TS through the water stains, scorches, blood, and body image. In the transmission photograph those marks which permeated the TS remain evident, but the body image disappears almost completely demonstrating its extreme superﬁciality.
yannick_clément (sadly RIP, 2018) 3060
john_klotz (sadly RIP, 2018) 951
Final postscript on this “blog” short for “weblog” . This humble, informal “blog” is now to become an outlet, not just for my experimental findings, gathered in kitchen and garage, but for OPINION, indeed CONCLUSIONS. The latter are based on the findings (7 years of reporting research) through my systematic progression through Models 1 to Model 10)
Taster of what’s to come? Here’s a 16th century’s artist’s take (De Rovere) on the manner in which the body image was acquired on Joseph of Arimatheas’ lien, brought to the cross (not tomb, note, but CROSS).
Then compare with the book cover picture on the 2000 “Resurrection of the Shroud” by legal attorney, Mark Antonacci (professing to focus on the “”science”) Antonacci (professing to focus on the “”science”)
Yes, there you have pro-authenticity shroud-defending (nay, evangelizing)’ ‘shroudology’ (or, as it likes to describe itself, sindonology in a nutshell.
Show the bits you like, conceal the ones you don’t, substitute your own message (“Resurrection”) and call it “science”.
Since when have legal attorneys had a training in science (like the 7 years it took this investigator to acquire first his Bachelor’s degree |(BSc), then his Master’s degree (MSc), then his doctorate (PhD) in science)? Seems anyoone these days can claim to be a scientist, merely by deploying scientific terminology.
Most scientists (real scientists) are far too preoccupied with their own research interests to bother with the kind of trivia that passes for science on the internet, mass media etc. The latter get an easy ride…