Here, dear reader, is what this retired PhD scientist considers to be sindonology’s 10 biggest mistakes. Assembling this list has taken some 7 years of investigation, reported (uniquely?) to the internet as a real time LEARNING CURVE, here and elsewhere.
It required well over 350 postings and thousands of internet-posted comments to arrive at my final solution (“Model 10”) to the so-called “Shroud enigma”. Better late than never!
Oh, and it’s neither a “Shroud” – if intended to mean BURIAL shroud – whether genuine or medieval imitation thereof – nor an enigma. No, not any more, not according to my final Model 10, that was arrived at in 2015, with sincere apols for the wordy unveiling, and since checked out carefully these last three years and more.
Why the negative title, negative 10-point message on this, my final posting? Answer? 7 years of posting non-negative messages have got me nowhere, absolutely nowhere, such is the defensive back-to-the-wall nature of ‘sindonology’ subsequent to the cold-water douche of the 1988 medieval dating. However, give me a little time, and I may append a short summary at the end of this posting, setting out in condensed form the numerous lines of hard facts and arguments that support this investigator’s final Model 10. In the meantime, there’s my expanded margin comments that hopefully address many, indeed most of the essential issues. (biblical, historical, image characteristics, chemical etc etc).
SINDONOLOGY’S 10 BIGGEST MISTAKES
1. Mistaken assumption that Secondo Pia’s discovery of the negative image via photography implies that ‘photography’ was required for initial image capture.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. There’s nothing weird and wonderful about negative images. Simple contact imprints (like muddy footprints on a white tile floor) are negative images, where dark tones on a light background replace light ones on a darker background.
Here’s a simple experiment anyone can do, a closer analogy to the Linen of Turin. All it needs is a wet hand, some dark fabric, a camera, and 3D-rendering software, e.g. ImageJ, freely dowloadable from the internet.
2. Mistaken assumption that the response of the body image to 3D-rendering software implies pre-existing “unique encoded 3D infomation”.
AGAIN, FROM THIS SITE’S PREVIOUS (NOW DELETED) BANNER: SEE THE WAY BOTH THE NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE IMPRINTS OF MY WET HAND RESPONDED TO 3D-RENDERING WITH IMAGEJ SOFTWARE: 1. The negative image pre-3D 2. The same negative image after 3D rendering ; 3. The tone-reversed positive pre-3D; 4. The same positive image after 3D rendering. RING ANY BELLS?
What price that “unique encoded 3D” as repeatedly claimed for the Turin Linen body image? Certain sindonologists (who ought to know better) seem to have forgotten something where the scientific method is concerned, like the need to perform CONTROL experiments so as to exclude the influence of other variables, whether instantly visible or not. (Think of science as being like crossing a minefield, gently waving a mine detector ahead of one.)
3. Mistaken conclusion that the faint body image is confined to the primary cell wall of the linen, with that supposed ‘ultra-superficiality’ needing some kind of subtle radiation-derived process.
4. Mistaken assumption that the Turin “Shroud” should be viewed as a “burial shroud”, whether real or simulated. The biblical account from first three Gospels suggests otherwise (J of A’s linen being intended merely for dignified transport from cross to tomb).
5. Mistaken assumption that the lack of lateral (“wrap around”) distortion of the body image rules out an imprinting mechanism dependent on obligatory physical contact (i.e. no air gaps).
See the contact imprint below (under Point 6) obtained from a plastic 3D figurine. Where’s the lateral distortion? Answer: there isn’t any: the imprinting medium (powdered white flour) did not settle on the sides of the figurine (being sprinkled from above). Moreover, the wet linen was pressed down onto the flatter upper surfaces only, not wrapped around the sides.
6. Mistaken assumption in the 1981 STURP Summary that the image chromophore was due to chemical modification of the linen cellulose, with no mention of extraneous additions – whether Rogers’ ‘starch impurity’ or more recent proposals involving use of white flour as imprinting medium , notably my own Model 10!
Can flour imprints be taken from the human form? Answer – YES!
The two images below with original captions were initially posted to my sciencebuzz site, way back in May 2015 . (Thus far, not a single mention from sindonology !)
7. Premature radiocarbon dating, needing disfiguring removal of single chunky fabric rectangle. C-14 dating should have been postponed till the procedure worked with single excised threads, taken from multiple sites to exclude charges of “repair patches”.
Late addition (26 July 19) : anyone who thinks I’m being over-fussy could do a lot worse than read this article that appeared today in one of Britain’s tabloid newspapers, 30 years after what consider a mere ranging-shot exercise, NOT to be bandied around (Nature Journal etc) as if the definitive answer.
8. Failure to identify the chemical nature of the image chromophore, especially to discriminate between chemically-modified cellulose and a chemical modification of extraneous coating (notably a Maillard-reaction involving starch or flour coating to generate high molecular weight melanoidins).
Here’s a homely analogy from the internet:
The cellulose of linen is extraordinarily resistant to discoloration by heat (“scorching” in common parlance). Note the absurd lengths that sindonology goes to in order to “model” the body image on the Turin Linen as chemically-modified “cellulose”(e.g. STURP’s concentrated sulphuric acid, ENEA’s pulsed uv excimer laser beams etc etc. ). Forget cellulose. Think extraneous additions, i.e. imprinting media, that are easier to thermally discolour, notably the white flour in my Model 10. White flour yellows via entirely different chemistry (notably Maillard amino-sugar reactions producing high molecular weight melanoidins as end-products, as per bread and other baked flour-based products. End of chemistry lesson…
9. Pseudo-pathology based on assumption that bloodstains can be equated with body wounds, despite absence of any evidence for there being tears, punctures etc in the imprinted body image per se .
10. Failure to give proper recognition to the key role in French medieval society of Geoffroy de Charny, Lord of Lirey, first documented owner of the Linen, close confidante and fiercely loyal comrade-in-arms to his monarch, King Jean II (“The Good”).
G. de Charny was prime mover in creating the “Order of the Star” (See wikipedia entry):
Possibility that the Linen was intended initially as a centrepiece for Star ceremonial, rudely interrupted by death of G.de Charny at the Battle of Poitiers, 1356. bearer of the Oriflamme,to say nothing of the capture/ransom of his monarch.
Expect some or all of the above 10 points, some 7 years in the making, to be fleshed out in the coming days and weeks. (Future additions will be dated and appear in blue font)
The above list was also posted yesterday as Comment No.18 on Dan Porter’s current shroudstory posting.
Here’s a screen grab of that 1981 STURP Summary.
See the highlighted sections – yellow for claims that I say were both premature and TOTALLY mistaken, appearing in my list of “10 biggest mistakes”. There’s also highligting in red for the one that really sticks in the craw of this long-term modeller of the Linen body image. (Yes, not just “sulfuric acid” as stated but the CONCENTRATED reagent – one of the nastiest chemical reagents imaginable! (What possible relevance does CONCENTRATED sulfuric/sulphuric acid have to experimental simulation /reproduction of the body image for goodness sake!!!!).
Now read what STURP’s John Heller MD wrote in his 1983 book “Report on the Shroud of Turin” (my bolding).
The conjugated carbonyl is the end product of dehydrating acid oxidation. … We felt that we should be able, therefore, to make a pseudo-image fibril by immersing it long enough in concentrated sulfuric acid, which is a strong dehydrative oxidant fluid in addition to being a powerful acid. We began by using using nonimage background fibrils. After thirty minutes in sulfuric acid, they had the right color and chemistry of an image fibril. …. In sum, the microscopic corrosion of the pseudo-image fibrils was correct, as were the straw-yellow color and the chemistry and the physical infrared observations. We had a match “
Fancy – deploying CONCENTRATED sulphuric acid to make the case for the body image being a product of chemical dehydration (made worse by making an initial pitch for it being a product of oxidation!!!). You couldn’t make it up (well, you could, if you were a member of STURP’s tiny , largely self- selected elite of all–knowing, supposedly versatile, wide-ranging chemical “experts”).
It’s time that STURP’s amateurish armchair chemistry is revealed for what it is – pure imagination, pure fantasy, and seemingly fixated from the word go with the notion of “mystery”.
April 5th, 2019
My definition of the Turin “Shroud” (sic)
It’s an imaginative reconstruction, mid 14th century, of how Joseph of Arimathea’s “fine linen”, deployed to transport the crucified Jesus from cross to tomb, might have looked after:
(a) simultaneous imprinting of still moist bodily sweat and blood
(b) centuries of ageing of the sweat imprint so as to acquire a faint, scarcely visible yellow colour.
The term “shroud” should be avoided, given it is then assumed to mean “burial shroud”. That then serves as the cue for the majority of sindonologists to attribute the body image to a burst of ‘resurrectional radiation’ on the third day. (Leaving aside the highly improbable physics, chemistry and biology of body-imaging via self-generated radiation, it totally ignores the transport aspect set out in the first 3 Gospels, as well as the pointers in the fourth Gospel (John) to the replacement of J of A’s linen after arrival at the tomb with more specialized burial clothes. )
Best then to refer to the “Turin Linen”, omitting all mention of that ambiguous, misleading and indeed tediously misused term “shroud”.
Update: Whoopee! Dan Porter has highlighted this latest posting of mine on his shroudstory forum (thanks Dan):
Still Friday April 5
A listing of “10 biggest mistakes” is quite an imposition on the reader, newcomers especially, if they are seen as independent from each other, each needing their own specialist background.
But that I’ve just realized is not the case.
The 10 can be split into 3 groups – The Primary Mistake (just ONE particular item in my list of 10), the Secondary Mistakes (a compounding of the error of the Primary Mistake), of which there are EIGHT no less, and a single Tertiary Mistake (unrelated to the major Primary/Secondary Mistakes).
I’ll be back shortly with the classification.
I’m back (still Friday April 5, 2019)
Here’s that three -way classification (subdivided into Primary/Secondary/Tertiary)
First, the crucial mistake, highlighted in RED, repeated verbatim, arguably the one from which 8 of the other 9 follow in “flawed logical sequence”, aka “compounding the error” based on the faulty initial premise re primary intended use of Linen (transport v burial shroud).
Mistaken assumption that the Turin “Shroud” should be viewed as a “burial shroud”, whether real of simulated. The biblical account from first three Gospels suggests otherwise (J of A’s linen being intended merely for dignified transport from cross to tomb).
(If viewed as a contact imprint onto J of A’s linen, then one can immediately dismiss most if not all the other 9 points, based on the notion of the image being the result of Third Day resurrection)
Originally No.4 in my list of 10.
And here’s the list of 8 Secondary Mistakes, which are labelled (a) through to (h) – compounding the error of the Primary Mistake)
(a) Mistaken assumption that Secondo Pia’s discovery of the negative image via photography implies that ‘photography’ was required for initial image capture.
See my banner!
Originally No.1 in my list of 10.
(b) Mistaken assumption that the response of the body image to 3D-rendering software implies pre-existing “unique encoded 3D infomation”.
(No, contact imprints are also tone-reversed negatives).
Originally No.2 in my list of 10.
(c) Mistaken assumption that the lack of lateral (“wrap around”) distortion of the body image rules out an imprinting mechanism dependent on physical contact (no air gaps).
No, the body image lacks sides, so lateral distortion is at best an irrelevance…
Originally No.5 in my list of 10.
(d) Mistaken assumption in the 1981 STURP Summary that the image chromophore was due to chemical modification of the linen cellulose, with no mention of extraneous additions (whether Rogers’ ‘starch impurity’ or more recent proposals involving use of white flour as imprinting medium (my own Model 10).
Once whole body imprinting via contact is placed at the top of the short list, to match J of A narrative, beautifully conveyed in the de Rovere painting, then one has to consider not only 1st century authenticity, but 14th century ‘reconstruction’ (or as less charitable souls would say, “forgery”).
Originally No.6 in my list of 10.
(e) Pseudo-pathology based on assumption that bloodstains can be equated with body wounds, despite absence of any evidence for there being tears, punctures etc in the imprinted body image per se .
Indirect evidence for a “reconstruction” inasmuch as there is not evidence for imprinting of body wounds, except as bloodstains, i.e. nothing in the body image.
Originally No.9 in my list of 10.
(f) Failure to identify the chemical nature of the image chromophore, especially to discriminate between chemically-modified cellulose and a chemical modification of extraneous coating (notably a Maillard-reaction involving starch or flour coating to generate high molecular weight melanoidins).
Assumption that the cellulose had to be the target for image acquisition failed to consider the medieval “reconstruction” scenario that is an offshoot of the J of A “transport” scenario. Reconstruction of a body imprint allows for the introduction of an extraneous imprinting agent.
Originally No.8 in my list of 10.
(g) . Failure to give proper recognition to the key role in French medieval society of the first documented owner of the Linen, namely Geoffroy de Charny, close confidante of his monarch, King Jean II (“The Good”). G. de Charny was prime mover in creating the “Order of the Star”. Possibility that the Linen was intended initially as a centrepiece for Star ceremonial, rudely interrupted by death of G.de Charny at the Battle of Poitiers, 1356. bearer of the Oriflamme,to say nothing of the capture/ransom of his monarch.
We have a motive for medieval reconstruction of J of A’s linen, not necessarily in the first instance as “forgery” intent on deceit, but as a ceremonial prop/totem etc
Originally No.10 in my list of 10.
(h) Just one excluded from my list, namely the notion that the TS body image is confined to the primary cell wall. that a major driving force where suggestions of “resurrectional radiation” are concerned, but cannot be eliminated on strength of the J of A transport focus. Explanations have to be sought (and indeed can be obtained) elsewhere via direct experiment with linen fibres, dyes, imprinting media etc.
Originally No.3 in my list of 10.
Yes, just a single misfit with the crucial defining J of A transport factor:
Mistaken conclusion that the faint body image is confined to the primary cell wall of the linen, with that supposed ‘ultra-superficiality’ needing some kind of subtle radiation-derived process.
This is not directly related to contact imprinting v supernatural imaging, since it relates more to the microscopic structure and properties of linen fibres. (See details elsewhere for how the eye could be deceived into thinking that the body image is ultra-superficial, when in fact concentrated within SCW cores, largely invisible to outside observer if attempts are made to view through a reflective PCW sheath, without taking the trouble to look at cross-sections).
Overall summary: the Big Mistake where the so-called “Shroud” is concerned is no. 4 in my list, namely the blind spot for viewing it as J of A’s TRANSPORT LINEN (Gospels 1-3 inc) , and instead viewing it the specialized burial linen(s) as described in Gospel 4 (John).
Eight (yes 8!) of the 9 remaining mistakes (no less!) can be seen as a compounding of the error (aka “blind spot” ) of failing to observe the biblical reference to “fine linen” , aka J of A’s linen, of failing to match with the upmarket herringbone weave of the Turin Linen, opting instead for a perceived role as ‘mere’ burial shroud linen that did not need to be of the highest quality, not being viewed by crucifixion spectators outwith the confines of the final destination at a cramped rock tomb.
Saturday April 6, 2019
Posted to shroudstory:
Adieu! (though Comments will remain open, for how long I can’t say).
Appendix ( image needed by way of a final goodbye to shroudstory.com!)
OK, so I exaggerated somewhat with that brick wall graphic above. Sindonology is not a totally sealed-off brick wall, incapable of any cogent response whatsoever.
Here’s a truer, fairer presentation of sindonology , deploying the same metaphorical licence:
Addition: Wed April 10, 2019
Hot from the BBC’s website – first ever piccy of a “black hole”!
Remind you of anything? Like, er, irreversibly sucking in negative comment, that disappearing into the mysterious black centre entirely without trace, while radiating its own preferred message, via an observer-friendly, luminous warm glow radiated back to the outside..
Further addition (appendix) , added April 11, 2019
Here’s an image that Dan Porter has displayed to accompany his latest posting:
And you wonder why sindonology is still mired in obscurantism, distraction techniques, downright deception!
Basis of my objection? Where are the sides on the Linen’s body image, as expected from above? Why is there an image of the face if there was, as indicated above, a separate face cloth?
Why do we have to put up with this kind of perverse nonsense, year after year after year?
For goodness sake, Dan Porter specifically, plus sindonology generally: get your act together. Start addressing the facts, limited though they are.
Stop introducing needless distractions and falsities. like that image above, one that bears no resemblance whatsoever to the likely origins of the Linen’s body image ( it having frontal v dorsal body images only (NO SIDES!).
Sorry to say it Dan, but each passing day sees you sink ever further into ever deeper obscurantism. Give it up, Dan, and NOW!!!! Return to your content and blissful retirement… You are, sad to say, past your sell-by-date…
No doubt I’ll be there too in a few years or so. In the meantime, I’ll keep on telling it the way it is…
Saturday 13 April, 2019
Yes, I knew I’d seen that ludicrous image before somewhere: Dan Porter used it to front what must surely be one his most haughty postings ever, and attempt to put down this retired scientist by lining up “experts” – not just one but two.
Go to that post, see what the two apparently incontestable “experts” claim using arguments with their oh-so-well well-concealed fatal flaws.
See my immediate response, see the manner in which my rival claim for the meaning of “sindon” (J of A’s means of transporting from cross to tomb, not, repeat NOT intended as final burial shroud).
See the fatal flaw in Diana Fulbright’s 24 page pdf – namely the caption she gave to that mock-up of the Man in the so-called “Shroud”) to which Dan Porter is so enamoured.
See the way things are left in the air, as if I’ve failed to counter the totally dud arguments from those two ‘experts’ harvested by star-struck Dan Porter.
See the way Dan Porter resurrects that same hugely misleading image for his current posting, as if it were a representation of the facts.
See the way my simple point re there being a primary and secondary input of linen is studiously ignored, both then, and now currently, nearly 4 years later, by Dan Porter, and indeed by sindonology in general, failing as my arguments do to bolster the ”mystery’ of the so-called “burial shroud”.
I give up!
I shan’t be wasting a further second of my time, posting on the simple, brutal FACTS regarding the Linen.
Not when one finds oneself systematically sidelined in the present fashion, as has been happening now for some 7 years.
But that won’t prevent me tacking occasional acerbic comments onto the end of this, my final posting.
Oh no… Oh no!
Final Update (May 20, 2019): This site , including Comments facility, is now closed. I placed my final comment on Dan Porter`s shroudstory site yesterday:
( Postscript: Maybe the title should have read “11 biggest mistakes”! Why? STURP’s chemistry team leader (Raymond N. Rogers.RIP) finally adjudged the body image on the so-called “shroud” to be a so-called “melanoidin” ( i.e. a high molecular resinous end-product of complex Maillard reactions involving NOT the linen fibres per se, but substances later acquired as surface additives – let’s skip the detail).
11th biggest mistake? Failure of fake science sindonology to take Rogers’ real science seriously, failure to consider a return visit to Turin to test body image fibres for the presence of Rogers’ MELANOIDINS – no matter how formed …
Yes, I agree wholeheartedly with Rogers in this regard, namely that the body image “chromophore” (colour-conferring chemical) is almost certainly a melanoidin. Where we differ is in how it was formed – Rogers’ starting materials being “authentic 1st century”, mine being non-authentic mid-14th.
Never mind. What matters right now is the absence of a simple spot-test for melanoidins that can be applied (belatedly!) by the Turin custodians to the so-called “shroud”.
This investigator is working on that right now, i.e. possible state-of-the-art spot tests for melanoidins, guided by a 1972 paper. But I will not, repeat NOT, be publishing further new findings in real time. No, I have now drawn a line, albeit reluctantly, under that futile, counterproductive exercise of reporting findings in real time. Why? Because that fake science that calls itself “sindonology” (Thibault Heimburger MD excepted) has persistently shown itself over the last 7 years to have no time for real science – indeed, displays a distinct and unmistakable aversion! I for my part now have no time whatsoever for ” fake science sindonology”. Nuff said…
Update: Aug 20, 2019: here be a screen grab of a posting made to my sciencebuzz site:
Personal note:, added 18/09/2019: this multi-site (now long-in-the-tooth) blogger attended his old school reunion (Bishopshalt, Hillingdon, west London outskirts ) on Saturday 7th September. It attracted some 30 or so ‘Old Uxonians’ who had arrived in 1956, having passed their “11 plus exam” leaving 7 years later in 1963 (or earlier).
I’ve revived an old website called Dreams and Daemons (retired in 2006!) to display my own photos of ex-colleagues and more besides.
Here’s a group photo of most of the attendees, assembled in the Ornamental Gardens, next to the magnificent (recently restored) conservatory:
Yup, we’re all now 74 or 75! Yet it somehow seems there’s a mere decade or two missing when one meets up again – in some cases over a half-century later.
One has to say: genetics beats environment hands down, Mother Nature slipping us individually into essentially timeless moulds – from which there’s no escape … Good job too, I say. Who’d attend reunions if everyone had transmogrified into near or complete strangers!
Ignore – what you see here is a holding centre for what previously as in this site’s margin:;
* Yes, let’s straightaway dispense with that hugely misleading term “Shroud” (as in “Shroud” of Turin! ).
Please read – or re-read as the case may be – the first 3 Gospel accounts detailing body retrieval and transport with Joseph of Arimathea’s single sheet of “fine linen” (“sindon”, singular noun). Then, and only then, read the 4th Gospel re final burial clothes. Yes, also making reference to linen, but described by a different term (“othonia”, plural noun) and in all probability a later and separate input of linen, replacing – and not to be confused with – J of A’s…
No, NOT “Shroud” of Turin but “makeshift stretcher” using quality linen. Yes, “pre-shroud” of Turin, later replaced by entirely different linen – burial clothes as per Gospel of John – separate face cloth etc.
Oh, and not the real thing (whether J of A’s linen was a makeshift stretcher or not), but a painstakingly executed medieval reconstruction thereof (simulated body/blood imprint!)
Now for that list (4 for starters):
1. The radiocarbon date (1260-1390). Yes, it has been challenged, indeed ridiculed, with all kinds of alleged deficiencies, ranging from the plausible through to pure moonshine.
But it’s never been conclusively demonstrated to be erroneous. Indeed, it’s almost certainly accurate to within a hundred years either way, the mean date (1325) being just 30 years short of the first documented appearance of the Linen at Lirey, France.
2. The very first recorded public Lirey display, around 1355, was not only the first appearance of the Linen in documented history. It was also the first appearance of that iconic double-body image, with those attention-grabbing frontal and dorsal body surfaces aligned head to head.
3. Then there’s that NEGATIVE (tone-reversed) image, easily interpretable I say as a simple contact BODY IMPRINT onto linen from a real bearded adult male, or maybe a representation thereof (statue, bas relief) partially or totally .
No, it’s seriously flawed logic to assume, as so many do, or seem to, that a negative image, first revealed by late 19th century photography, must itself be a photographic image. Is a muddy footprint on a white tiled floor a ‘photograph’ as well? No, so let’s forget photography. Think CONTACT IMPRINT (tone-reversed, and thus merely reminiscent of pre-digital silver emulsion photography)
So why no reference to either “negative image” or even imprint in the 1981 STURP Summary? (Yet we’re told by STURP’s Documenting Photographer, now re-invented born-again “scientist”, that it was a model of inspired planning, one that modern scientists should take as an example! Harumph! )
4. That life-size double body image, especially one that is an imprint-like ‘negative’ with front, back but no sides.
The biblical account in the first 3 Gospels of ‘mystery man’ Joseph of Arimathea conjuring up a sheet of ‘fine linen’ (Luke) to transport the crucified Jesus from cross to nearby tomb supplies a rationale, at least in principle, for the double body imprint.
Sixteenth century Italian artists portrayed the J of A narrative, even if the linen is now seen by the majority of modern-day sindonologists as a “burial shroud” for later secondary use (as described for the sole mention of ‘linen’ in the final Gospel, omitting any mention one might add of prior body transport), that providing the pretext for image capture – via, we’re told, some kind of supernatural ‘selfie proto- photography’ of the entire body image some 2 days later at the instant of Resurrection. Yes, the two-fold body image, interpretable as a dried-on aged sweat imprint (plus relatively recently freshly-shed blood) is – or should be – seen first and foremost as a contact imprint. Caveat: but not necessarily a genuine 1st century one, but, more probably, a medieval reconstruction of the image that might have been left on J of A’s fine linen (expensive herring-bone twill being deployed in the case of the Turin Linen to make the connection with J of A’s fine linen, NOT the final burial shroud, needing plain linen only).
One could add more, much more, to the list of reasons for regarding the Turin Linen (NOT ‘Shroud’ if meaning ‘burial shroud’ ) as being a medieval reconstruction of J of A’s ‘fine linen’, deployed purely in transport mode, NOT intended as final ‘burial shroud’. Sadly space does not permit here in this somewhat restricted margin