De-mystifying the allegedly authentic Shroud of Turin. (Here’s my current 10-point action plan, posted March 2020, some 8 years in the making)

It’s  now just 5 days short of 1 year since I posted my final Model 10, setting out the evidence from some 8 years of reading and practical experimentation, namely that the so-called “Shroud” of Turin was, in fact, an ingenious 14th century  mock up of Joseph of Arimathea’s “fine linen”.

Giovanni_Battista_della_Rovere photoenhaned

Here’s the basis of my “Model 10”, supplied by, guess what, a Renaissance artist  no less (della Rovere)! The only difference is that the artist  clearly views the “Shroud” body image as authentic. My Model 10  on the other hand views it as a simulated “mock-up”  obtained via imprinting  of a 14th century human volunteer’s body onto white linen, probably using white flour, followed by gentle roasting of the body imprint to  make it seems like a centuries old yellowed sweat (+ blood) imprint. 

The latter was used,  I maintain,  to transport the crucified Jesus from cross to tomb, bearing a front and rear body imprint, acquired via physical contact only (no input from later Third Day biblical Resurrection, as we were asked to believe by the STURP team-leader  (religiously-inclined physicist Dr. John Jackson and others)  way back in the late 1970s, early 1980s and indeed ever since to the present day, aided by endless so-called scientific conferences and mass media). 

(When will folk learn the modus operandi of science (real science that is)  an an alternation between new boundary-expanding hypotheses AND intense critical scrutiny of ones’s own ideas?)

NO!  Not the final burial garment!  Shorthand description?  “Simulated sweat/blood imprint on J of A’s transport linen” –  cleverly given a toned-down aged look!

Perpetrators of this ingenious deceit? Probably Geoffroi de Charny”s bevy of self-recruited clerics in his monarch-financed private chapel in the remote hamlet of Lirey,  – maybe to supply a seemingly-genuine relic as a striking  ornament for  the newly created, short-lived “Order of the Star”, a creation of  Crusader warrior knight G. de Charny and his reigning monarch, King John II (“The Good”) of France.

Blunt message to all those endlessly pushing the line, decade after decade, century after century,  that the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial shroud of the crucified founder of Christianity:

1. Cease claiming the image has “unique” 3D properties, as stated in that hugely unscientific mystique-mongering STURP Summary.

Nothing could be further from the truth, as simple scribbles with a crayon on paper could have shown. Expect ImageJ graphic shortly!

Late addition:  Here’s the response I saw 5 minutes ago to a simple graphic constructed with MS Paint, uploaded to the ImageJ 3D-rendering program,  using 5 different superimposed shades of grey!

2D v 3D hexagons shades grey

cf quote from STURP 1981 Summary (third sentence):  “Computer image enhancement and analysis by a device known as a VP-8 image analyzer show that the image has unique, three-dimensional information encoded in it.”  

2. Cease referring to bloodstains as “wounds”.

There is scarcely if any evidence on the body image of “wounds” (whether punctures, torn skin and flesh etc.). What we see are bloodstains, pure and simple, including the 372 so-called “scourge marks”).

3. Cease claiming that the body image is ultra-superficial, e.g. confined the outermost PCW of linen fibres.
(PCW = primary cell wall)

That has never been conclusively demonstrated, and indeed may well be false. The Shroud Science Group failed to display cross-sections to back up their claim, overlooking that linen fibres might be (and probably are) highly light-reflective, concealing pigmented material within the hollow cores of individual fibres. when viewed  by sindonologists from outside.

4. Cease claiming that the blood looks too red on account of it being accompanied by  alleged (fanciful?) “trauma bilirubin”.

There was scarcely a shred of hard evidence from STURP’s Heller and Adler to back up that claim. There are alternative explanations for an unrealistic degree of redness for what is supposed to be genuine ancient blood (brown in  colour rather than bright red!)

5. Give credit where credit is due to the pioneering work of  (high-profile) Emily Craig and associates in the late 20th century, showing how powders make splendid imprinting agents that were probably deployed by medieval fabricators of the imprinted linen.

Powders, note, not liquids, which display excessive migratory spread and blurred edges
See the following link to their splendid work:

Link to my earlier posting focused on Emily Craig


6. Reject the notion from STURP’s John Jackson and others that an imprinted image, whether natural or artificially-fabricated, would display tell-tale lateral, aka “wrap-around” distortion

The body image on the Linen is frontal/dorsal only, totally lacking sides, so any reference to “lateral distortion” becomes totally irrelevant.

7. Reject another claim from STURP’s John Jackson, namely that the image was projected across air gaps from self-generated radiation at the instant of biblical Resurrection.

There is an alternative means of accounting for the decreasing image intensity associated with regions of lower relief. It posits that manually-applied pressure to produce an imprint works best on higher relief, less so on semi- or totally-obstructed lower relief.


8. Reject claims that the negative tone-reversed body relief, first reported by Secondo Pia using 19th century silver-salt photography, implies that image itself was the product of some kind of auto-photography, whether via the Jackson  model or  by some other means.

 But contact-imprinting ALSO  generates negative tone-reversed images! Moreover, there was a rationale for medieval fabrication of the body image via simple imprinting (namely to simulate the kind of body imprint, frontal v dorsal only, no sides, that could have been deposited via sweat and blood onto Joseph of Arimathea’s cross to tomb transport (simple up-and-over sheet of “fine linen”).


9. Do we need a STURP Mark 2, over 40 years after the 78  John Jackson-led expedition?

Answer: Most definitely YES and as soon as possible, with one difference: no one should be allowed to self-appoint to a position of influence. Best to recruit scientists preeminent in their field, with no  immediately-obvious in-your-face religious zeal, who will in turn approach and recruit those with relevant know how, experimental skills etc. Folk like myself  with specialist knowledge (if only via model-building) should  certainly be consulted, but probably not actively-involved.

10. There needs specifically to be a chemical test (using that STURP Mark2 in Point 9 above?) for Rogers’ melanoidins (regardless as to how formed) distinguishing them chemically from Adler and Heller’s  chemically-dubious intrinsic-to-linen/no external additives chromophore.

Experimental details need not concern us at this point.

Expect another 10 points to  appear in due course, maybe in the next week or so. One of them will propose a STURP Mk2 comparison of image versus non-image bearing  threads, analysed in parallel by destructive mass spectrometry that should distinguish, at least in principle, between three competing models:

1. The Adler/Heller model, in which the colour-conferring chromophore is generated at the expense of the linen;

2.  The Rogers melanoidin -generating model, in which the starting material in the non-image zone is (linen + Roman-era starch) with the starch – not linen – then chemically modified to generate  melanoidin chromophore;

3. My own Model 10 melanoidin-generating model in which the non-image zone is linen only – i.e. with no additions – and the image zone the same amount of linen together with melanoidins generated from late-addition of  flour imprinting agent.

  Distinguishing between the three models should be feasible, at least in principle, by comparing the height of  spectral peaks derived from (a) fragmented linen molecules  only  (Adler/Heller) versus (b) fragmented  linen  plus  non-linen melanoidin additions whether  derived from evenly-distributed starch additive  (Rogers)   or image-only white flour imprinting medium.)

Afterthought: all these tests can, and should, be performed first on each of the three models described  (comparing  image versus non-image areas) generated using MODERN-DAY linen and the different  chemical mechanisms described. That gives ‘hands-on’ experience in  handling and analysing single threads before requesting/taking samples from the real thing. It may also also generate handy reference data for distinguishing between the  different origins (linen, semi-pure starch, white flour etc) of the various molecular-scission  fragments seen on mass-spectrometry spectra.

The above chemical procedures would be combined in all cases with detailed microscopic examination of the sampled fibres, remembering to include examination of CROSS-SECTIONS (there having been a major failure on the part of STURP and its successors to include this obvious step!)

So who would I  personally place in charge of STURP Mk2?  Previously I suggested Nobel Prize Winner James Watson, co-discoverer of the DNA double helix, along with  his partner Francis Crick (sadly no longer with us).. But Watson’s  now 91, and deserves to be left to enjoy his well-earned retirement.

But there’s someone else who springs to mind, admirably well-qualified for the task AND a member of the STURP team back in 1978. To whom do I refer? Answer: Sam Pellicori.

I tried to find a wiki profile on this no-nonsense image expert, one who frankly (in my candid view) put most of the STURP team to shame with his enlightened non-blinkered approach. But guess what?  Here’s what appeared on Google’s Page 1 listings under Sam Pellicori –  a posting from Dan Porter’s shroudstory back in 2015 with Sam’s name in the title AND that of  A.N. Other!!

sam pellicori shroudstory 2015

So why “A.N.Other’s” reference to “capillarity”. Why introduce that aspect into a piece on Sam Pellicori’s thinking?


Answer:   Here’s a verbatim transcript of Pages 209/210 from John Heller’s 1983 book: “Report on the Shroud of Turin”. I have bolded the single reference to “capillarity” (an alleged fly in the ointment where Sam’s choice of semi-authentic imprinting medium was concerned).

Sam Pellicori, a champion of the body contact hypothesis, had done some interesting experiments. In three separate experiments, he had placed oil, lemon juice, and perspiration on his fingers. Then he placed linen on top of his hand and pressed it gently to his flesh. He then placed the cloth samples in an oven at low temperature to produce an accelerated ageing effect. In each case there was indeed a yellowing of the contact area. He had brought the linen samples with him. The team examined them and, although there was a surface effect, several of us insisted that we could see some capillarity in several of the fibrils, which is not the case on the Shroud. We all agreed with Sam that the torso of the man had had to be in contact with the Shroud, or the transfer of the scourge marks would not have appeared as they did. For example, there were many such lesions that were invisible in white light and could be seen only in the UV. The hemoglobin and serum ooze could have come only from direct contact. However, the recessed areas of the face could not have been in contact with the cloth, as proved by the VP-8 images and the Shroud-body distance data. Pellicori agreed that that was still a problem for his hypothesis. It was not a problem. but rather the problem. However, as a group we raised every reasonable and even unreasonable chemical hypothesis and scenario. One by one, each was destroyed. There seemed no apparent or even remote chemical mechanism produced by a body with and without anointing oil that could explain the image formation.

What we don’t see in the Heller account is the slightest hint that Sam Pellicori  may/might have had another notion at the back (or even front) of his mind.  The idea above is that direct body imprinting  off the crucified Jesus generated the Shroud image we see today.  Who’s to say that Sam might have also considered the notion, no matter how briefly, that the Shroud image was a SIMULATED sweat imprint, obtained with artificial pseudo-sweat  (less prone to  spreading and smudging) plus accompanying blood  “in all the right places”,  and that the discrepancies alluded to by Heller were  the result of the image being not just simulated but somewhat simplified, dare one say  idealized  too (accounting for absence of side-imaging,  absence of top-of-head imprinting etc).  Might Sam Pellicori as proposed team leader of a STURP Mark 2 be willing to give my Model 10 (SIMULATED sweat imprint, 14th century origin) a place on the shortlist of  ignored or neglected hypotheses needing, indeed deserving,  to be critically tested second time around?

Help!  Does anyone have a current email address for Dr. Sam Pellicori? I tried contacting him via an address given online under the company he founded  in ’86 ( “Optical Coatings Solutions”) but it was returned as “undeliverable”.  If you know the current one  (he’s presumably now retired) please drop me a line on sciencebod01 (at) aol (dot) com.  Thanks



Here’s a late addendum  (blue font) to this posting – a copy-and-paste of an article in this morning’s (UK) Sunday Times.

Jonathan Leake coronavirus google april 5

No prizes for spotting the parallel with STURP’s similar “conceptual bias” displayed in its 1981 Summary, to say nothing of John Heller’s blow-by-blow account of the manner in which the “key concepts” were promoted, the rival ones sidelined

Headline: Page 8 article: Sunday Times, April 5, 2020
Jonathan Leake
Science Editor

(I have omitted the more personal elements in the article – personality clashes etc). The bolding of key sentences is my own.
The Royal Society is to create a network of disease modelling groups amid academic concern about the nation’s reliance on a single group of epidemiologists at Imperial College London whose predictions have dominated government policy, including the current lockdown.
It is to bring in modelling experts from fields as diverse as banking, astrophysics and the Met Office to build new mathematical representations of how the coronavirus epidemic is likely to spread across the UK – and how the lockdown can be ended.
The first public signs of academic tensions over Imperial’s domination of the debate came when Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford University, published a paper suggesting that some of Imperial’s key assumptions could be wrong.
Her decision to publish highlighted academic rivalries between the epidemiology groups at Oxford and Imperial. (section omitted).

Now other researchers have raised different concerns – saying Imperial’s modelling, while high quality, needs to be checked and replicated by others.
Mike Cates, who has succeeded Stephen Hawking as Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge and is leading the Royal Society project, said his concerns were partly that the Imperial team, led by Professor Neil Ferguson, was overloaded with work, but also that its model was originally designed to tackle entirely different illnesses such as flu.
“The Imperial team are very good, but these models were optimized for a different purpose which is influenza … everyone’s conscious of the fact that it has been rapidly converted from a different purpose and wasn’t originally designed for this type of virus and this type of transmission,” Cates said.

He added: “We need some alternative models because very big decisions are being based on the [Imperial] models. And that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with the Imperial model. It’s just that you can’t have one model, which has in it every possible different set of assumptions.
“With only the one model you don’t know which bits of it are less reliable – because the assumptions in it may have been made years before, in the context of a different disease.”
Such concerns echo those previously raised by Gupta. She said in an interview: “I decided to publish and speak out because the response to this pandemic is having a huge effect on the lives of vulnerable people with a profound cost and it seems irresponsible that we should proceed without considering alternative models.

(Final sentences and paragraphs of article omitted, revealing as they do the background of personal antagonisms). 

I’m not the only one who’s making links (for whatever reason) between the Shroud and coronavirus. See this  copy/paste of an update that appeared  just a few hours ago on STERA’s Facebook site:

facebook shroud veneration turin


“An extraordinary veneration of the Shroud in the Turin Cathedral“!  Might it be followed by some Divine Intervention?  Let’s hope so. Maybe one  further  mutation that turns coronavirus into something friendlier? (There are friendly bacteria,  after all, so why not an occasional friendly virus or two?  Let’s see if that crucially-timed  Turin “devotional”  can do  the trick!!!! Just don’t hold your breath …

Note btw that Pope Francis refers  in the current link below to the Shroud as an ” icon”, not a relic (the Vatican, to its credit,  does not promote it as authentic).



Postscript: April 6, 2020

How was that contact  image of my own face (added a moment ago to top of this site’s Home Page margin today) obtained?  Answer: via flour imprinting onto linen, followed by gentle roasting, in my case  in a domestic fan-oven, or ( in the medieval era)  possibly over  glowing red-hot charcoal embers.    Oops. Faulty memory from 5 years ago. I simply took the imprint obtained with flour slurry, left it to dry, observed there was faint colour in the imprint (even white flour has coloured constituents, e.g. flavins,  albeit minor), then used simple contrast/brightness controls in one or other  (?) bit of photo-enhancing software to get a more pronounced image. Further colour development (using nitric acid vapour or heat)  came later – they were not used on my facial imprint.

Thermal image development WAS used on the imprint of a plastic figurine:

galaxy warrior v roasted flour imprint

Above is  the result one obtains if one uses a plastic figurine with  arguably more complex 3D relief than my own face  (not bad, eh?).  I posted  this result  more than a year ago to one of the major players in “authenticity-promoting” sindonology, naming no names. What a total waste of time!  There’s science and there’s “science”!

Returning to the manner in which Sam Pellicori’s approach was briefly considered in John Heller’s book and then categorically rejected out of hand, one might ask for reasons why – boiled down to essentials. They are not hard to find. Look again at Heller’s words (my bolding) :

“However, the recessed areas of the face could not have been in contact with the cloth, as proved by the VP-8 images and the Shroud-body distance data. Pellicori agreed that that was still a problem for his hypothesis.”

3D-enhancing computer software does not PROVE anything – it merely seeks out differences in 2D image intensity, displaying the differences on an entirely artificial man-made vertical dimension (i.e. adding a z axis to the existing x and y axes).  As for Shroud “body-distance” so-called data, words fail me. One of the basic underlying principles of intellectual enquiry is that correlation does not imply causation. That sacred principle got totally abandoned in the above quotation. There are alternative explanations for an APPARENT cloth-body distance relationship as I have set out elsewhere.

Let’s not mince our words:  the worst enemy of science is prior conceptual bias, which we see loud and clear in the  quoted passage. The worst enemy of conceptual bias is science, real science. Sindonology post-1978 (with a brief exception for the 88 radiocarbon dating) has been a display of naked conceptual bias attempting not just to ignore science – real science – but to actively suppress it. What we see is –  and has been these last 40 years or so – is a major blemish on our so-called modern era. Bring on STURP Mk2.  Bring on Sam Pellicori (and, dare I say, my studiously ignored and sidelined Model 10 –  Dan Porter’s now shuttered shroudstory site having offered a brief window for reporting  of science,   albeit home as distinct from lab-based  – REAL  MODEL-BUILDING, MODEL-TESTING, MODEL REJECTING SCIENCE, free, or largely so, of science’s worst enemy – conceptual bias.

April 7: have just this minute googled (facebook shroud of turin). It didn’t take long to confirm my hunch as to the manner in which the sudden arrival of the  vicious coronavirus was being interpreted by those of a certain  Shroud-friendly religious persuasion (like, er, hints of Divine Punishment?): shroudofturinresearxh corona


Returning to topic: if I had to sum up STURP’s planning phase in the run-up to 1978,  AND, indeed, way, way beyond,  in just a few words , if only colloquially,  what would they be?

Answer: Too clever by half.

Correction: too clever by nine-tenths…     😦

STURP tried to blind us with “science”  (correction: its intensively-cultivated homegrown version thereof, based on that VP8 ‘box of tricks’, based on that spurious  statistical correlation between alleged air-gap distance between cloth and body). STURP provided a signal lesson in how NOT to tackle a problem if claiming to deploy the scientific method.  STURP  grossly abused the  objective scientific method, recasting it to suit its own  narrowly focused pro-authenticity ends … STURP was little more than a propaganda exercise, dressed up as science, in reality an object lesson in  agenda-pushing, mystique-mongering pseudo-science…

Late addition: Easter Saturday, 7pm, April 11, 2020

Here’s a screen grab of this sites’s  recent visitor Stat’s, as supplied by its WordPress host:

shroud states, 19-00, Easter Sat 2020

31 hits , i.e. visits to  Home Page or one or other of the listed postings at 7pm ( plus an extra 20 by midnight!)

(Sorry about the cut-off at the bottom, but the essential detail is there).

I’ll use the above in a Comment to my own posting. Expect it shortly (later this evening).  There have  been 31 visits thus far today.  Nothing to write home about, but (arguably) no cause for shame either. I recently re-installed the Comments facility, btw, having shut it down for the best part of a year, as announced on the final comment to appear on Dan Porter’s now permanently closed (?) site.  Comments are again invited, indeed welcome. But don’t expect me to mince my words: I consider the conduct of the STURP Project to have been a clever and cunning plan to place the Shroud on a so-called “scientific footing”. Scientific my foot!  Blatant pseudoscience more like it,  the defects summarised by its Documenting Photographer as recent as 2013 in aTEDx address he gave at the Vatican by invitation.

Dan's final posting, BS video highlighted

See ringed item (red arrow, yellow highlighting)


That’s what I intend to address myself in a Comment, having only just seen the link on Dan’s site, and watched the 20 min video clip!








About Colin Berry

Retired science bod, previous research interests: phototherapy of neonatal jaundice, membrane influences on microsomal UDP-glucuronyltransferase, defective bilirubin and xenobiotic conjugation and hepatic excretion, dietary fibre and resistant starch.
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6 Responses to De-mystifying the allegedly authentic Shroud of Turin. (Here’s my current 10-point action plan, posted March 2020, some 8 years in the making)

  1. Colin Berry says:

    Have just sent this email to a partially amenable tabloid journalist (he recently flagged up my latest thinking on Stonehenge and its real purpose.).

    (Sorry about the negative comment re John Jackson PhD and the appalling spell he cast on the STURP team, driven it seems by his first starry-eyed reaction to the 3D rendering of the Shroud image using the VP8 computer software – apparently lacking a single control . Call that scientific, John J, PhD?).

    Hello again XX

    Were you aware that I have a second iron in the research fire, namely the Shroud of Turin?.

    I have recently updated my Shroudie website after an absence of a year for reflection. The latest posting has “10 point action plan” in its title.

    Yes, it’s time to cut or at any rate TEST the speculation and waffle – time to set up a new STURP Mark 2, 40 years post STURP Mark 1 in 1978 (led I regret to say by the religiously blinkered/besotted John Jackson, claiming as he did in the 1981 Summary that the 3D properties of the Shroud image revealed by pre-programmed computer software (VP8 etc) were “unique” to the Shroud.

    Not so – as I and others have demonstrated time and time again using a variety of images, including ones with absolutely no 3D history. whatsoever (like graphics generated with MS Paint! – see example in my posting|).

    Here’s a link to my current posting:

    Kind regards

    Colin (Berry)

  2. Colin Berry says:

    Recent visitors, of whom I’ve had an abundance the last few days, may be looking at this, expecting me to deliver on yesterday’s plan (see tail end of current posting). The plan? To do a quick critique of the TEDx talk that STERA’s President, Barrie Schwortz, gave at the Vatican in 2013 (which I only learned about yesterday from reading the margin entries on Dan Porter’s now concluded shroudstory site.

    Sorry, but I’ve had second thoughts overnight. Barrie Schwortz would never ever comment on any of the SCIENTIFIC ideas I’ve broadcast on this and other sites. Any comment he makes would be simply to brand me as a character assassin he’s done repeatedly on the scantiest of evidence. (Hard evidence is not his strongest point!).

    Sorry, but I’m not willing to waste my time giving the oxygen of publicity to someone who trots around the world, all expenses paid no doubt , spouting garbage in support of the Shroud’s claimed ‘authenticity’. Barrie Schwortz is not a scientist, or even a scientific photographer (he turned down that invited role in the run-up to STURP, opting instead to be a “Documenting Photographer” with all that implies. Let’s not mince our words. Barrie Schwortz is an over-loquacious, self-obsessed pain in the proverbial. Count up the number of times the personal pronoun appears in that Vatican talk of his and you’ll see what I mean.

    Nuff said (for now at any rate).

  3. Andi says:

    Anyone can leave an image on a cloth; the trick is to leave one with all the properties of the shroud of Turin. Which peer-reviewed journals are your findings posted in?

  4. Colin Berry says:

    I consider I have answered the first part of your comment Andi

    But it would take too long to summarise the lengthy and relevant parts of my 370+ postings right here and now.

    As for that “peer-reviewed” literature: a specimen that is withheld from detailed science-based public examination, bar that quickie STuRP examination in the late 70s, is hardly a suitable subject some might consider for your “peer-based” review and judgement.

    I have presented a new model for the TS, one based on contact-imprinting using white flour as an imprinting medium. I consider it ticks a sizeable number of relevant boxes. Nuff said methinks for now.

    What’s needed now is STuRP Mark 2. Search for and analyse for specific flour-based substances within that negative, tone-reversed TS body image!

    • Andi says:

      You’re not published in a peer-reviewed journal, your image doesn’t have any of the properties the shroud does, and instead of responding to science objectively, you rant and deny (a 10-year-old can do this). Suggestion: keep your skepticism (but make it healthy) and get some credibility.

  5. Colin Berry says:

    I decline to comment further on your anti-science, anti-scientist remarks Andi. Goodbye. Good riddance.

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