How 40 years of pseudoscience and digital tomfoolery deftly morphed an imaginative 14th century modelling of Joseph of Arimathea’s up-and-over ‘fine linen’ sheet (probably intended only for dignified ‘body bag’ transport from cross to tomb) into a dual-purpose ‘burial shroud’. Why? Because it allowed a ‘faked’ semi-credible imprint in sweat and blood to be reborn and trumpeted as a supposedly enigmatic ‘selfie’ snapshot captured supernaturally (natch) via ‘resurrectional incandescence’ TWO DAYS later!

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).

Bad Friday (Jan 12, 2018):   Expect new blogsite title shortly: “Is the Shroud of Turin really a supernatural selfie?”

Expect too a new tagline:  Nope, not unless you’re a polemics-driven so-called researcher, or maybe just a born-again TV documentary maker!

Expect the first of 40 instalments later today,  which hopefully will make for fairly easy reading for the most part,  the remaining 39 to follow in leisurely additions over a 2 or 3 week period… When complete it will, optimistically speaking,  add up to a reasonable summary of this retired science bod’s six years of Shroud research (no less)  and hands-on modelling, leading finally to my Model 10 ( That’s – take a deep breath –  Stage 1 frontal/dorsal imprinting – sans those otherwise problematical vertical sides naturally – from real human subject(s) using white wheaten flour or similar as imprinting medium onto wetted linen, then followed by Stage 2 thermal image development, then final Stage 3  rinse with soap/water to dislodge encrusted material.

That leaves behind the faint, fuzzy,  arguably Shroud-like image.  Chemical composition? Probably, though still to be proved conclusively,  complex high molecular-weight melanoidins,  being products of sugar caramelization, or, more likely,  protein/sugar Maillard browning reactions.  (Hat tip to STURP’s Raymond N. Rogers, even if  some, myself included, find his proposed starch impurity/body-decay mechanism  somewhat hard to swallow). 

 Yipee! My hypothesized supposedly ‘enigmatic’  melanoidin-constituted  Shroud-like image chromophore  now has some crucial supporting chemical evidence, albeit circumstantial for the time being (see posting immediately preceding this one).

But there’s much background material needing to be included too – the Shroud being a hugely challenging multi-disciplinary topic of interest.  Thus the inordinate length, when complete, of this posting-to-be  (and title too, I grant you, but there’s a reason: Google, for reasons best known to itself,  never quotes from my current postings’ title, no matter how concise and/or carefully worded, so the title can, says he with a resigned sigh of despair, be made to earn its keep by serving as an upfront summary too).

It’s now the gloomy afternoon (UK time) of ‘Bad Friday’.

Before launching into this gently biting tirade against pro-authenticity Shroud so-called researchers, for whom the movable goalpost provides a fitting visual metaphor of their defensive strategy …

sindonological goalpost

… there’s something else which is more important, more constructive that I need to flag up straightaway,  still preoccupied as I am with a certain fixed immobile goalpost, so to speak – namely the precise chemical nature of the  TS body image chromophore, still unidentified some 40 years post-STURP!

How can the Shroud image be tested chemically in a manner that is minimally destructive, i.e. requiring a microscope and just a few linen fibres only, such that the ‘chromophore’ (i.e. molecular grouping responsible for image colour) can be shown to be organic, i.e. carbon-based (in order to distinguish from Walter McCrone’s * widely published claim that it’s merely inorganic paint pigment) AND, moreover,  to show that some, maybe all the red “blood” is similarly organic in nature, and not entirely ‘fake’  inorganic blood, e.g. one or other scarlet medieval paint pigments like cinnabar etc etc?

*Walter McCrone passed away some years ago, but his surviving research institute continues to actively promote his fatally flawed ‘just a painting’ claim..

Yes, I truly believe there’s an Agent X that can be used to ‘kill two birds with one stone’, one that has never, to the best of my knowledge been suggested previously, either by myself or anyone else.

It may take a few weeks, maybe longer, to lay my hands on a supplier of Agent X, but when I do,  I confidently predict that it will bleach the colour of (a) my Model 10 flour imprints (b) whole blood or blood haemoglobin  (c) Shroud image fibres – completely  (d) Shroud blood stains (partially or completely, probably partially).

Anyone care to guess the name and chemical formula of Agent X?  (Clue, chemical formulae don’t come much simpler!).

If correct, he or she will receive from me a free book token.


Please use the Comments on this posting to deliver your answer!  Use a pseudonym if you wish, but a postal address will need to be supplied by email if correct. Caveat: no correspondence can be entered into!

Expect Instalment 2  of 40 next Monday at the latest. It will summarise my fierce objection to the  TS being described as a “burial” shroud, for reasons that will be made crystal clear.

2nd of 40 instalments (Saturday 13 Jan)

In composing my position on terminology, in particular the huge liberty taken over the centuries with the description of the TS as a “burial shroud”, or simply “Shroud of Turin”, I’ve come to realize that new terminology is needed. To assist in focusing minds, let’s not beat about the bush.  Here’s what I consider the revised terminology could and arguably SHOULD be.

The Dual-Image Man of Turin

Yes, one should simply focus on the presence of an historically unique double-body image per se, alluding to its ventral-v-dorsal aspects on that up-and-over single sheet of linen, NOT on the support medium, NOT on its presumed function – which presupposes authenticity not confirmed by the C-14 dating, NOT to current ideas as to how it was or might have been formed, or when.

The Shroud of Turin.  No, I repeat: The Dual-Image Man of Turin!



Alternative suggestions invited: another book token to anyone whom I judge to outclass my own!

The successful recipient of the Book Token 2 will need to elicit a “Heck, why didn’t I think of that?” response on the part of yours truly …

Instalment 3: Sunday Jan 14

Woke up this morning to find over 40 visits to this site from somewhere in the US of A. Am glad to find someone’s interested in what I have to say so soon after posting, even if Google is slow to pick up on the fact!

Today’s instalment is really no more than a housekeeping detail, but I thought I’d throw in another little challenge (sorry, no book token prize this time).

Why did I describe McCrone’s ‘just a painting’ dismissal of the TS as having a fatal flaw? The answer can be found in this pdf from STURP’s Adler and Heller, both now sadly passed on.  Here’s a screen shot of the relevant passage with some brilliant chemical detective work performed on minute  sticky-tape fibres from the real Shroud (but also some self-contradictory and indeed faulty chemical logic):

hydrazinev diimide v alkaline peroxide image fibres

Q.1: Why does the above destroy McCrone’s claim that the  yellow/brown Shroud image chromophore is inorganic in nature (suggestive of artist’s paint pigment)

Q.2: Where is there a serious chemical error in the above passage?

Q.3: What do you think I saw last week when I tested alkaline peroxide on my yellow/brown Model 10 heat-treated flour imprints (as yet unreported on this site, being a late follow up to the ‘chemical’ posting immediately preceding this one,  my having only discovered  a few days ago the above pdf with its  important – and hugely important  – positive bleach test using alkaline hydrogen peroxide  which Heller for some reason omitted to mention in his 1983 book).


Yup, science, correction, the scientific method (serial testing and objective evaluation of hypotheses) can only work if there’s a periodic clear-out of those that have outlived any usefulness they may have had originally and which no longer earn their keep as regards generating new data or new improved hypotheses.

Put another way, there has to be a ruthless clearing out of dead wood, not worrying too much about who gets hurt, or just ever so slightly miffed, in the process. That, if the truth be told, is what this posting (No 351 since I started to investigate the TS  6 years ago) is basically about – clearing out old wood. Top of the list has to be that dud oh-so-mistaken “just a painting” hunch-cum-persistent hangup, the one that so preoccupied the STURP team in 1978, the one that allowed Ray Rogers’ precious sticky-tape samples to be monopolized in their entirety (!) by a particle-obsessed microscopist for the best part of a whole year (!) before others, notably Adler, Heller, apparently Rogers himself, were allowed access to his compromised castoffs  (! Yes, see Heller’s book to sample contamination) with which to perform a wider range of tests, discriminating chemical spot tests especially).

Meanwhile the McCrone Institute continues to this day to maintain its revered founder’s absurd ‘just a painting’ fixation, in spite of the chemical evidence (and much besides) notably from Adler and Heller, showing in simple fashion that it simply can’t be true, as shown in the cut-and-paste pdf above.

As I say, it really is time to clear out the dead wood , if only to assist with self-renewal (something at which the world of so-called sindonological research has shown itself to be spectacularly bad at doing – see last year’s Pasco proceedings  if proof were needed ).

Being the New Year, now seems the right time to ring out the old, as an essential housekeeping preliminary to ringing in the new…

ring out the old

Er, did you know that Alfred Tennyson had added that last line? I didn’t, not until 5 minutes ago, looking for another image with which to brighten up this posting!

How appropriate! How very, very appropriate!


Instalment 4: Monday Jan 15

Time now for some plain speaking on what I regard as at best misinformation and, in all too many instances,  probably calculated disinformation. I refer to the routine description of the TS as a burial shroud, even if qualified by additional words, like

“… considered by many to be the actual burial shroud of the crucified Jesus etc etc… ”

Read the Gospels, the first 3 synoptic ones especially, and it’s quite clear that Joseph of Arimathea’s “fine” or “clean linen” was a pre-burial shroud, used to receive the crucified body from the cross. While those three mutually corroborating versions do not tell us the fate of J of A’s linen after arrival at the tomb, the version of events in John provide no grounds for assuming that the single linen sheet used to transport a corpse in dignity from cross to tomb was the same as the more specialized linen “clothes” referred to later, left behind post-disappearance of the body with a separate face cloth. (No, I personally don’t buy into that contrived narrative that speaks of the face being covered with cloth while still on the cross with that fabric later placed in the tomb  (having served its  somewhat questionable original purpose) on account of its ‘bodily’ origin, i.e. conserving the life blood, sindonology being burst to overflowing with that kind of  qualifying assumption).

Why you may ask is it so important to distinguish between a burial and pre-burial shroud? Under normal circumstances, if merely concerned with reconstructing the crucifixion narrative so as to arrive at a single coherent version, it wouldn’t. But that’s not the case. We are not talking about a mere sheet of linen, conjured up by Joseph of Arimathea either for single use (pre-burial transport shroud only) or dual use (that plus final burial shroud). We are talking about linen that bears an image, allegedly of the crucified Jesus, one that we’re told defies scientific explanation and can only be supposed to be supernatural in origin, notable a resurrection ‘snapshot’, for which there is no mention whatsoever in the bible anywhere, either by prophecy (Old Testament) or actual eye witness accounts, whether first or second hand.

What is intolerable, totally intolerable is the use of a distorted biblical account, emphasizing “burial”, with a persistent blindspot for pre-burial, being used to promote a particular supernatural version of  image capture. How? By telescoping the time scale as to make it seem that the image could only have been acquired  on the ‘third day’ which is then used in image-assisted positive feedback fashion to promote that same final supernatural version of events occurring within the tomb. (That is not to say it didn’t, but its credibility should be based either on the facts or faith alone, not on devious shifting of time scales to promote one version over another). What we are talking about is the need for intellectual honesty, as distinct from what can only be described as spin-doctoring via misleading use of language and terminology.

What is totally shoved out of the picture with that routine “burial” tag attached to “shroud” is an entirely different narrative, one based on  the prime purpose of Joseph of Arimathea’s linen, one in which image-capture might then have occurred at least theoretically (whether historically or – more probably- in the eyes of medieval modellers with an eye to pilgrims and profit) BEFORE the body had even arrived at the tomb, i.e. via contact-imprinting, not just of blood but of another body fluid, one that could (conceptually at any rate) leave a surviving faint yellowish image  still visible (just) centuries later. I refer to bodily perspiration, aka sweat.

Ah yes, sweat. That’s a term one encounters but rarely in the modern day sindonological literature that discusses ‘likely’ mechanisms of image capture, which is no mere accident or oversight I suggest.  Indeed, come to think of it, it’s somewhat rare even to see mentions of Joseph of Arimathea, suggesting that the narrative-eliminating  airbrush ( designed to remove PIT-VIBB from the picture, i.e. Pre-Interment-Transport- Via-Improvised ‘Body Bag’)  has over recent decades played an even bigger role in the  narrative-rehashing, spin-doctoring process. None of us is allowed to suppose that anything other than a burst of supernatural radiation from a temporarily-deceased body could possibly account for the ‘enigmatic’ TS body image (that 20th/21st century gift from modern ‘science’  benefiting from sustained media blitz).  E.g:


Note the reference to burial cloth! No mention of Joseph of Arimathea, or the immediate use to which the linen cloth was put prior to burial, i.e. for transporting a newly deceased body,  notionally covered with still moist blood and sweat to a nearby tomb, one capable of leaving an imprint via non-supernatural means, even if not reproducible we’re told by those alleged ‘scientists’ in 2011!


Was it always thus? Did early observers of the Shroud, writing centuries ago, also display a blindspot for human sweat, and with it the assumption, whether articulated or not, for a body-imprinting process that could at least, theoretically speaking, have occurred in transit from cross to tomb, essentially pre-empting any  explanation for the image acquired later, post-interment, via supernatural means. Answer: NO! Sweat WAS once mentioned in connection with the body image! See the two instances cited in a recent posting on this site, one early 16th century, one early 17th, both deploying that now seemingly embargoed  s word.

Why should a feat of human artisan skill (two if one includes the genius of age-old linen manufacture from what at first sight might seem an unpromising source –  green vegetation) be airbrushed out by those determined to bulldoze through via so-called ‘scientific argument’  what is essentially religious agenda? Science and religion are best kept in separate compartments – which does not prevent a free and frank exchange of views (as distinct from one attempting a  surreptitious take-over bid for the other).

Repeat of earlier message: drop the term “burial shroud”. Better still, while awaiting a repeat of the radiocarbon dating on more central (though still image/blood-free) areas of the cloth, drop the term “shroud” as well. Refer to it, as suggested above, as the non-credulity-straining Dual-Image Man of Turin.

Instalment 5  tomorrow

It will ask what possible objection there can be in principle to imprinting-by-contact.


Model 9  contact-imprint of my own face, obtained using flour-water slurry, and pressed down onto linen with a thick underlay of more fabric, either pre- (left) versus or post- (right) light photoediting

The above image of my own face, obtained by flour-water slurry imprinting alone (no further image development whatsoever), and posted to my sciencebuzz site –   as long ago as mid-2015 will be given as evidence of much previous misinformation (which continues to this day)  especially where the supposedly ‘impossible’ face with its angular nose is concerned.

Instalment 5, Tuesday Jan 16

Today’s offering is still focused on that spin-doctor’s description of  the dual-image Man of Turin as a “burial shroud”, despite the biblical description of  the ‘fine linen’ having been supplied direct to the cross in the first instance, NOT tomb,  by Joseph of Arimathea.

Let’s start by flagging up a strangely neglected aspect of the ‘Shroud’ fabric  (that term ‘shroud’ being acceptable to this investigator provided it’s stripped of the hugely misleading ‘burial’ tag), namely its remarkable state of preservation, even for one a mere 600-700 years old, far less the claimed two millennia!  Yes, here below in red font is my ‘text for the day’ , the launch point for today’s instalment. It’s been culled from an internet site  (English not first language but admirably summarised), one that is packed with useful information on the physical, chemical  AND biological properties of retted flax fibre, more commonly known as  “linen”:

“Effect of Micro Organism: Linen fiber is attacked by fungi and bacteria. Mildews will feed on linen fabric, rotting and weakling  (sic) the materials. Mildews and bacteria will flourish on linen under hot and humid condition. They can be protected by impregnation with certain types of chemicals.”

mildewed fabric

Here’s what mildew can do to linen (folded top sheet).  Given ‘ideal’ storage conditions, i.e. warm and damp,  brief exposure to spore-laden air, what you see above can occur in  years, possibly months (not needing decades, far less millennia). So why one might ask is the ‘Shroud’ linen not like this?

Compare that with what Dr. Kittle Little had to say some 20 years ago on the subject of the ‘Shroud’ and its state of preservation:

“The description given by the STURP team of the linen of the Shroud was that it was in remarkably good condition – ” … it was supple, strong and felt almost like a new expensive tablecloth “.

and later, more specifically:

… although the Shroud was reported to be covered with mildew spores there were no mildew reactions, so that the fabric was unharmed.


How can that be? According to the ‘resurrectional incandescence’  school of sindonology, from which so much was heard at last year’s Pasco conference, the microbiologically-vulnerable linen must have enclosed a crucified corpse from late on the (Good) Friday to some time the following (Easter) Sunday.   Even STURP’s Raymond N. Rogers considered that sufficiently long for an image to be created via non-supernatural means from gaseous products of putrefaction. Yet that allegedly same linen, now some 2000 years later,  still looks, we’re told,  almost as good as new, with no obvious signs, at least to the unaided eye, of mildew or any other biological contaminants.

Er, some sceptical or other uncharitable souls might think that the mildew-free nature of the ‘Shroud’ linen is the first ‘enigma’ that sindonologists,  at least those fixated with the notion of radiation-mediated resurrectional image-capture on the ‘Third-Day’,  should first address. Oh, and the absence of  any detectable traces of biblical spices, ointments etc etc.  Yes, near-pristine linen, apart from those burns holes.

Which leads us on to another source, nay crucial input of heat,  extreme bug-destroying heat, admittedly lacking firm evidence at the present time, one that might account for the remarkable state of preservation … Forget the 1532 burns for now. Focus on those mysterious pre-1532 so-called L-shaped poker holes, portrayed by an artist on that 1516  so-called Lier copy of the ‘Shroud’. Might they provide a clue? How were those ‘poker holes’ acquired?  Were they really poker holes or something else? Might they provide a clue to the astonishing state of  Shroud preservation. Indeed, might they provide a clue as the manner in which the Shroud image was acquired, not in the 1st century CE, whether by natural or supernatural means, but in the mid-14th century, at the hands of a dedicated team of artisans, probably under direction from a celebrated knights’ somewhat over-generously staffed and endowed private chapel tucked away in a remote part of the French countryside, rolling Champagne country to be precise, he being ‘strapped for funds’ and looking for a new and hopefully lucrative source of income?

Instalment 6: Wed January 17

Five points that strongly suggest(ed) a role for extreme heat in genesis of the TS body image:

1. As discussed yesterday, one starts by citing the truly amazing resistance of the linen over the centuries to mildew, other fungal microbes and bacteria. Why?  Original microbial spores killed off in initial heat-aided imprinting of the image (see my Model 10)  with concomitant loss of volatile nitrogenous and other nutrients that deplete the roasted linen of nutrients for newly arriving spores. A final wash with soap and water (if deployed as in my Model 10) to leave that final faint, ghostly image probably assisted too in removing essential trace nutrients.

2. That golden ‘toasted’ look of image fibres one sees in the Mark Evans photomicrographs, with uneven distribution of colour (forget the so-called “half-tone effect”, which simply does not stand up to close scrutiny ) is suggestive of there having been some kind of additional imprint medium (more easily browned by heat than the linen’s own intrinsic cellulose) AND application of heat needed to develop optimal image colour in  (or migrating from!) the added coating.

mark evans dense image foot ME 16

Fibres within my added yellow rectangle hardly support the so-called half-tone effect (claiming that all image fibres are equally coloured)

3. Brittleness, i.e. mechanical fragility of TS image fibres (thus making them easy to harvest on Rogers’ sticky tape) suggestive of there having been  some kind of substantial damage to their mechanical integrity, maybe affecting the inner core of fibres, even if not easily visible under the microscope.

4. TS body image unaffected by the additional heat experienced in the 1532 fire, as pointed out by STURP’s keen-eyed Raymond Rogers,  suggesting  (in my view) that plain old heat played a role in initial formation.

5. Colour and spectral characteristics of the TS image fibres are said to be virtually identical with that of the scorch marks at margins of the 1532 burn holes (Gilbert and Gilbert, 1982), suggesting TS image is probably also some kind of ‘scorch’ (while no longer considered by this investigator to be a direct single-step, immediate-contact  scorch from a hot metal template as proposed in Model 2).

More to come Friday (Instalment 7 of 40), asking:

“Why a contact imprint – why not some kind of photograph (or  supernaturally-generated photograph) that can/could produce an image across non-contact air gaps? Was  STURP  project-leader John Jackson too quick to dismiss out of hand the notion of imprinting via physical contact only? Was his model-building defective, and indeed, despite first appearances, less than scientific? Was John Jackson the right person to be heading up a supposedly scientific, wholly objective assessor/arbitrator  of the ‘authenticity’ of the TS – or someone pursuing his own religious agenda?

Change of plan: I’d originally intended to post Instalment 7 tomorrow, Thursday. But I need tomorrow to give a considered reply to an email from France regarding the manner in which the TS body image responds to 3D-rendering computer programs (on my list, naturally, as the subject of a future instalment).

On a different matter, it now seems abundantly clear that sindonology is scared stiff of the internet (as well it might be).  One has only to see the manner in which it is scarcely used – and more generally not used, except, that is,  for one-way, take-it-or-leave it communication.

Another brief digression:as noted a short while ago, this investigator/blogger has posted some 350 times on the subject of that ‘Dual Image Man of Turin’, the first at the tail end of 2011, it being, among other things (‘thermostencilling’ Model 1 with charcoal sensitizer)  a frosty response to the ENEA claims that a pulsed uv laser was needed to model the ‘supernatural’ body image.

What if a huge cyber warfare electromagnetic pulse were to wipe 349 of my postings off the internet? Which one would I most want to survive?

According to the WordPress hit meter, someone somewhere visiting this site yesterday (probably US-based) linked to this posting on my sciencebuzz site from October 2014. It describes a shortcut that I took straight from Model 2 (one step scorchimg from hot metal template) to current Model 10 (two stage flour imprinting/oven roasting).  Here’s a screen shot of the title page:

First Model 10, Oct 2014 sbuzz

Having re-read this posting, with what I maintain to be genuine model-building science – as distinct from the pseudoscience alluded to in the title of this current posting – where preconceptions are first prettified  and then served up as if science – then the above posting is without a doubt the one I’d want to survive. Just don’t ask why I bothered with Models 3-9 inclusive! That will remain my little secret…

Have decided on a strategy for responding to my French email. It’s taken a lot of searching through my image files to put together a dossier that says “Non, the 3D response of the TS body image to 3D-rendering computer software is NOT unique. It’s a feature common to all imprints (even some painted pictures!).

That started to become clear some 6 years ago when noting that the 1532 burn marks on the TS responded as well to ImageJ software as the body image itself!

The ludicrous overhyping of 3D, which continues to this day (as seen at Pasco), was to be part of this 40-point posting, without the prominence that it frankly no longer deserves, and that remains the case. Rather than bring it forward, I’ve hit on an alternative. The photo-archive will be posted to my sciencebuzz site, probably with a French language title in the next day or two. My respondent’s anonymity will be preserved until notified of the new posting…

Update: have just posted this my sciencebuzz site, which I hope will put an end to the ridiculous claims that the Shroud image possesses “unique 3D” properties (nothing could be further from then truth!):

sbuzz posting jan 18, 2018 french

Instalment 7: Friday Jan 19

We still hear the TS image routinely referred to as an “enigma”. Indeed, there’s a website called, owned by a key figure who probably did more than anyone else to popularise the ‘enigma’ idea back in the 70s, even before STURP put in its appearance. But is it an enigma?

Take a look at this portrayal of the Shroud dated 1608 (see Roman numerals at bottom). Would its first viewers have described the image you see as an “enigma”. If so, why? If not, what tag might they have chosen in its place?



One can only guess as to the first things that would enter the heads of first-time viewers, whether modern or early 17th century.

I know what probably went through mine, many years, nay decades ago.

  1. The two figures are life-sized, apparently of a naked or near-naked man, and appear on a sheet of linen, NOT canvas stretched on a frame.
  2. The figure on the left is a front view, that on the right a rear view, so one is looking at both sides of the same man.
  3. The images were thus obtained  (or made to seem as if obtained) by enveloping the one man in the same up-and-over sheet of linen.
  4. There are fairly realistic-looking bloodstains in places that immediately tally with that of the crucified Jesus, e.g. at or close to one hand (from nail wound?), the head  (from a crown of thorns?, the side (from lance wound?). There are also what appear to be a vast number of scourge marks.
  5. This is not a painting in the ordinary sense, given the brutal in-your-face portrayal of the crucified founder of Christianity.  Yes, it is almost certainly a bodily imprint of the crucified Jesus, whether genuine or faked.
  6. The immediate impression  (no pun intended) of it being an imprint, not painting, is backed up by additional evidence: the uniform monochrome colour, suggestive maybe of ancient yellowed bodily sweat, the incomplete imaging, with many gaps, the absence of sides, even the merest hint of sides, and the peculiar tone-reversed character that is indicative of imaging via direct contact between body and cloth. (Our pre-photography 17th century viewer would have recognized the characteristics of a tone-reversed imprint when confronted with one, despite not having the terms “positive” versus “negative” in his or her vocabulary.
  7. So there would have been no rush to describe the image as an “enigma”, not if it was quickly or indeed immediately perceived as a whole body imprint. The mere presence alone of that seemingly imprinted blood would make it seem obvious that the body image had been imprinted too, probably in the first instance from an abundance of body sweat, the presence of which would not be unexpected from a newly-deceased highly stressed victim of  scourging and crucifixion.
  8. If the expensive herringbone weave is/was visible in the image, then a link would be made with Joseph of Arimathea’s “fine linen” (delivered the Gospels tell us first to the cross itself, not the tomb). That would immediately ring a bell: the legendary and much celebrated Veil of Veronica image was also an alleged sweat imprint onto a bystanders’s proferred cloth while Jesus was bearing his cross to the place of execution.

An analogous  whole body IMPRINT (in still-moist sweat and fairly fresh incompletely clotted-blood ) onto J of A’s linen might therefore be deemed wholly credible (or cleverly simulated by someone setting out to fake an apparent ‘holy relic’, and doing so by actual spare-no-effort IMPRINTING, NOT via conventional artistic daubing from a paint palette which would have been immediately detectable).

Even that infuriated Bishop Henri de Poitiers referred to the Lirey Shroud, making its first recorded appearance in the mid-14th century as “cunningly” painted. (Beware those who omit that crucial qualifying adjective from their dreary  ‘just-a-painting’ take on the Shroud body image).

In conclusion: NO, the Shroud would not have been tagged an “enigma”. There would and indeed was much speculation as to its genuineness, but few if any would have been in any doubt as to how the image was formed, whether onto J of A’s fine linen as genuine sweat and blood or as a modelled representation of that imagined image produced centuries later.

So why has modern man, or a sizeable contingent thereof, rushed to declare the above image an “enigma”? Why not a one-off curiosity, the product of direct imprinting, either with a natural imprinting medium like sweat, OR a cleverly contrived substitute that can be passed off centuries later as aged, yellowed sweat?

Incidentally, is there actual documentary evidence that 16th/17th century obeservers perceived the body image as one formed by sweat? Yes, there are at least two instances that can be cited…

More to follow tomorrow (Saturday)


Instalment 8: Saturday Jan 20

So how did the “enigma” tag come about? Why did not STURP (1978)  not examine in detail the centuries-old “sweat imprint” supposition first (whether a real or simulated sweat imprint) choosing instead to gloss over and become fixated with allegedly new modern insights?

Having read  John Heller’s 1982 book from cover to cover several times, detailing the influences that he and his fellow STURP team came under, ones that are apparent in the 1981 STURP Summary.

“We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man”

And you call that science?!!!!

There are two major ingredients to the late 70s/80s-onwards New Age thinking, kept alive by David Rolfe and many others similarly convinced, indeed fixated, by supposed Shroud authenticity, with a blind spot for ‘simulated sweat imprint’.

One is the input from pro-authenticity pathologist/coroner Robert Bucklin with that ‘autopsy’ of his conducted on a negative Shroud image – as if a real corpse. The other is the reception accorded to Bill Mottern’s VP-8 3D-renderings of the TS image, again enthusiastically set out in the Heller book.

Let’s deal with Robert Bucklin MD first:

Here’s a YouTube video- still captured from David Rolfe’s  celebrated “Silent Witness” documentary from 1977 or thereabouts showing Bucklin about his work, having spread out a  Shroud negative in a real autopsy room (how’s that for showbiz!) and writing an ‘official’ looking autopsy report in highly formal, indeed stilted language:

robert bucklin shroud autopsy

And here, from just a short while ago, is the  same TV documentary maker, now Editor of the BSTS Newsletter,  also owner of the ‘shroudenigma’ site (yes, that e-word again) displaying the same image in his local church, continuing to promote shroud authenticity with what can only be described as evangelical zeal:

rolfe image of robert bucklin shown at a Beaconsfield church


I’ve spoken before, several times, about that nonsensical, indeed risible so-called “autopsy”, which is NOT even based on a photograph of a corpse, but a photograph of an allegedly ‘enigmatic’ image of an alleged corpse acquired by means that are still unknown for certain, and the subject of much fevered imagination ( notably from a scientist-scolding TV documentary maker especially) but certainly not via modern photography. I’ve protested loudly at Bucklin’s references to “wounds”, puncture marks’, “abrasions”, “swellings” etc etc which are totally speculative, given there are none of those even in the image that was before him, once the blood or “blood” stains are erased from the picture. See this image I published back in 2013, with  (right) or without (left) the “blood”. Where are the wounds  from which ‘real'(?)  blood allegedly originated?



Late corrective:  OK, so there’s a touch of artistic licence there. But I magnified the alleged ‘wound’ sites AND gave them extra contrast before deciding there was no evidence whatsoever of ‘wounds’ in the body image before deciding to erase the blood with a photoediting clone tool.  In any case, given the ‘blood before image’ mantra, how could there be any imaging of wounds that might lie UNDER the bloodstains if the wounds (damaged skin)  were imprinted or otherwise acquired AFTER the blood, as we’re told is the case?

That makes the entire autopsy exercise, billed as a detailed forensic examination by a world-class pathologist, a total waste of time from the word go, based as it was on bloodstains only that could have been painted ON TOP of an imprinting medium( flour, Model 10?) before pressing linen on top.  That chronology then  accounts for the   ‘blood-before-image’ appearance under a modern day microscope, reported by Heller and Adler after deploying their (otherwise ingenious) blood-digesting reagent..

How can one have an autopsy when there are no wounds, not even in an image that was NOT  even a modern-day photograph in the first instance? I’d put more trust in a dermatologist diagnosing a facial skin condition in  Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” than I would in Robert Bucklin’s so-called  forensic ‘autopsy’ on the Turin Shroud…

More to follow (maybe tomorrow, more likely Monday).

PS: Halleluja: I’m finally able, after 6 years of investigation via microscopy and model building, to reconcile the Walter McCrone claim for artist’s pigment (iron oxide) with my own Model 10 (flour imprinting).  How? By taking a closer look at a particular Mark Evans (STURP) photomicrograph, one I flagged up some years ago as contradicting the so-called ‘half-tone ‘ effect, now with some additional – but not obligatory – assistance from a controversial Windows 10 photoediting filter (“Zeke”) that is splendid at accentuating any ‘bittiness’ in an image (NO, not artefactual as some aggressive doubters once claimed early last year on another site).

Mid-region TS face (Shroud Scope, with added contrast), before v after Windows 10 Zeke filter. Note the interrupted pigmentation (whether real or apparent) in individual image fibres, better seen after Zeke, but also visible in places before.


Yes,  Walter McCrone was almost certainly right about the  seemingly microparticulate appearance of the image chromophore,  whether the result of solid particles or not, but probably wrong about the reasons! I hope to produce evidence in the fullness of time to back up the validity of my Model 10 (flour imprinting).

I fully expect sindonology to ignore it, as sindonology has ignored pretty well everything else I have published here and on other internet sites. Sindonology is essentially a closed shop (bar its periodic forays into the media with its latest ‘brainwave’, its latest tranche of pseudoscience).

Instalment 9, Sunday January 21

Here’s a real gem of an image which appeared in Thibault Heimburger’s critique of my Model 2 (direct scorching from a hot template).  (It appears at the point in his pdf , page 15/24, when he displays some of the photomicrographs obtained by STURP’s Mark Evans from the actual TS. This one is described as “body image”. It contains a hugely interesting, and I suspect scientifically  significant detail, one that  – being easily overlooked- is not commented upon in the pdf.)

Fig 20 from T Heim pdf scorch revis, screen grab no adj


Notice the ‘bitty’ appearance of the pigmentation in the image fibres, more easily visible in some rather than others?

As indicated, there’s a handy filter provided with Windows10 which calls itself “Zeke” which as indicated yesterday I’ve found  works well in in a purely operational sense  to accentuate  any “bittiness” in an image (but don’t ask me how it works!). Here’s the above image, before and after applying the Zeke filter.

Fig 20 from MEvans collection, pre v post Zeke

Here’s the Zeke image on its own (needing all the enlargement it can get on a webpage).

CROPPED ZEKE Fig 20 screen grab then magnify then grab top right cnr a 2nd time

What a pity Walter McCrone is no longer around to see the above image, and to hear my explanation – based on Model 10-  essentially unchanged since 2014/15,  for why it looks the way it does! Are you listening, all you pro-authenticity sindonologists? No, of course not… Perish the thought that any true-believer sindonologist would spare a second to hear a contrary view that fails to accord with their own ‘Enigma Variations’ (apologies to Edward Elgar).

Here’s a clue as to how Zeke works (though much more needs to be done):


dashes pre v post zeke showing a halo effect

One the left is  is a simple graphic constructed with MS Paint, showing coloured dashes against a yellow background. On the right is the same image after applying Zeke.

Note the white border on the left side becomes grey. Note how the yellow becomes a yellow-grey. But note also that the yellow-grey does not abut completely onto the dashes, which are now surrounded by a faint  ‘halo’ of the original yellow, maybe with a hint of grey only. In other words, Zeke creates an apparent highlighting halo by adding grey to general background,  probably the denser image too, but NOT around the immediate periphery of  the latter, in this case those simple dashes. In short, Zeke is in my view a valid photoediting tool, one that does not create image artefacts, one that merely creates a better contrast between image features and background, albeit via a rather clever indirect means that involves two-tone modulating of image-bordering background – not the image itself!

Instalment 10: Monday Jan 22

Here’s another test of Zeke, this time on a graphic with dots as well as dashes, unedited v default Zeke setting (mid-range 50/100) v max Zeke (100/100).

Graphic 2 plus 2 levels of Zeke, 50 and 100

The halo highlighting effect is again visible, scarcely so admittedly at the midrange Zeke setting (probably on account of my different choice of colours) but clearly so at the max value. But there’s another, second effect of Zeke that acts to increase contrast, namely a darkened outline to each of the dots (missed earlier through using dashes only, and more easily visible on a laptop screen directly than in my screenshots above). Zeke seems to operate via a dual action to increase contrast between a dark image and a lighter background – both edge-accentuation AND creation of pale surrounding halo! But it’s only emphasizing what’s already present – not adding any new image entities. As such, I consider it a valuable photoediting tool, at least while we are restricted to STURP’s 40 year old images (not counting the later  Halta Shroud 2.0 images downloadable to iPads which I personally cannot be bothered with, based on what one sees in the publicity handouts – clearly intended for the mass market, not serious image-investigators).

I shall spend the rest of the day doing two things:

1. Testing Zeke against more of Mark Evans TS body image photomicrographs across the whole range of slider settings (0-100)

2. Attempting to track down some of Walter McCrone’s photomicrographs of body image, the ones he claimed to be inorganic paint pigment, despite Heller and Adler’s bleaching result with either diimide or alkaline hydrogen peroxide. So far I’ve had no luck whatsoever in finding a single McCrone image (except for one on “blood”, similarly claimed to be entirely inorganic)  despite trawling through any number of Google image files, which frankly I consider amazing, considering his surviving research institute continues to promote his 1978 claims (and there are no relevant images on that site either, despite the margin tab labelled ‘Shroud of Turin’).

I’ll only report back later today if I find anything of interest, better still, of likely or even possible scientific significance.

Oh dear, 40 years post-STURP, sindonology is still such a barren desert, offering little more than sightings of this or that on the far horizon, probably mirages in most instances. Where’s the real science for heaven’s sake?

Let’s not beat about the bush. There’s essentially zero interest these days in real scientific research where the TS concerned (not that there’e been anything significant these last 40 years since STURP scratched the surface).

Yup, my Model 10 – with its lowly flour imprinting  and oven (or open-fire) roasting – is not the answer anyone wanted – even me if I’m honest. Why? Because it’s neither supernatural, nor scientifically gee whizz! It’s just an adaptation of  homely bread baking technology. It tends to elicit the comment: “Er, is that it, then?”

It was the same 18 months ago when I delivered my conclusions on Stonehenge. When folk have been told constantly from the age of 6 that is was a Neolithic astronomical observatory or prehistoric cathedral, they don’t want later to be told by a jumped-up science blogger that it was simply a giant bird perch, one which allowed inland gulls  (coaxed-in British ‘vultures’) to feel safe when pecking away at newly-deceased bodies (the first stage of ritual excarnation, aka ‘sky burial’, followed by much simpler cremation of largely de-fleshed bones).


Still popular to this day with our feathered friends, if only as a perch (no longer a dinner table…)


See also:


Late insertion (March 2)red font to distinguish from what was penned a while ago:

Have just concluded my current posting on that other site of mine with the following:

Here’s the link to a site called “25 Greatest Unsolved Mysteries Ever”.

Stonehenge is No.12 in the list.  Here’s the accompanying photo. Please observe the caption!

Stonehenge No 12 on Greatest Mysteries site

Please sir, please sir. I know why!

birds on lintels


Oh, and I have a solution for the Turin Shroud as well (No.11 in that “Unsolved” Mystery list). Shame that the world (or at any rate, the blogosphere) is indifferent to solutions that do not accord with long-held preconceptions!

Half the fun of science is to watch one’s own or other folks’ preconceptions turn into Sir Kenneth Clark’s “dissolving perspectives”,  the process starting almost immediately after starting afresh with a blank sheet of paper and “unthinkable imaginings” (aka scientific hypotheses for the testing thereof)!

It’s not hard to see why scientists are so unpopular, at least in the UK (I can’t speak for the ROTW) , treated in the media and elsewhere as if they don’t exist. (Like when did you ever see a scientist in the story line of  UK TV soap, making even a fleeting appearance?)

So what’s the point of my updating this summary of my own 6 years of research when there’s little or no sign of anyone taking the least bit of interest?

Why set myself these demanding time schedules for researching or writing this or that? Answer – none whatsoever. Sindonology is a secret garden, interested only in fashioning and evangelizing its own own publicity handouts, being not in the least bit interested, indeed, one suspects  fearful and/or resentful,  of genuine curiosity-driven research.

I said there would be 40 instalments to this current posting, and indeed hope and expect to deliver those in time. But the initial idea of delivering in daily instalments no longer makes any sense at all. I’ll now interleave research and reporting on a time scale that suits my own leisurely retired lifestyle.

The next 30 or so instalments may take a while to arrive – weeks, months,  years even. Hopefully I’ll get an opportunity at some point to view the TS with my own eyes, preferably with the lid of the protective chamber opened, preferably with a hand lens – or better still,  a customized, minimally-destructive research tool that is more diagnostic as to how the image was formed.

But I’m not banking on it. Sindonology only survives thanks to its careful cultivation of the notion of mystery , protected as ever by its carefully maintained veil of secrecy…

If I had to summarize sindonology in a few words (the sort that promotes authenticity, whether subtly or forcefully) it would be “wishful thinking dressed up as solid science”.

It’s the dressing-up this science blogger objects to. Science has enough difficulty as it is in getting its voice heard, much less respected, without chancers  (photographers, engineers, lawyers, TV documentary makers, clerics  etc) periodically popping in, adopting the disguise of “scientists”.

It generally takes a minimum of 3 years  to train up a research scientist via a postgraduate doctoral program in order to progress to  becoming a professional researcher, capable of working without supervision.  Those of us who have undergone that training ourselves,  and later, having supervised pre-doctoral researchers AND examined doctoral candidates in their final “viva voce” exams  know why! Many fall by the wayside…

So please don’t expect any more additions  to this posting for some time.   Having said that, comments are, as ever,  both invited and welcome, whether opposed to authenticity or not.

Au revoir  (“till we meet again”)  as our politely non-dismissive French neighbours would say.

Saturday 31st March 2018

Have just added this to the end of my Stonehenge/Silbury Hill site:


Things are really looking up on my Shroud of Turin site where clicks and visitors are concerned  (but then it is Easter!)

hits shroud of turin site easter sat 2018 march 31 1615

And it’s just late afternoon, with more than 7 hours to go to midnight!

Wish I could say the same for visits to this site. But when one is told, as was the case some 2 years ago, that the hypothesis unveiled was surely “tongue in cheek”, then it’s hardly surprising that one’s not getting the hits.

My views on the Shroud of Turin were similarly described as “surely tongue in cheek?” some 5 or 6 years ago. Those folk  are not saying that now,  and indeed have gone strangely silent.  Why? Because my Shroud views are now  backed up by intensive research, reported through some 350 online postings,  with new original findings …

That faint ‘enigmatic’ body image is almost certainly a Maillard reaction product (formed from an applied-to-human volunteer sugary/proteinaceous imprinting medium – probably white wheaten flour) NOT scorched cellulose!

How much longer before the world realizes the potency of the scientific method, starting from afresh with a blank sheet, and putting all the existing cosy, conventional thinking to one side?

Stonehenge was created in incremental instalments, spread over centuries, as a giant bird perchPeriod.  It was designed for pre-cremational processing of the dead, to avoid the horrors of attempting to cremate whole bodies with inadequate resources  (i.e. less-than-abundant supplies dry firewood etc). Period.

Come on world. Get real. Catch up with historical reality… Put yourself in the position of a Neolithic hunter-gather then pastoralist, then reverting when things got difficult, i.e., switching back and forth between the two lifestyles. One wants a permanent memento of the dear departed, a portable one (like cremated bones).  But one doesn’t want to cremate a whole body…   Go figure! Preliminary ‘sky burial’ ticks all the right  boxes…

April 15, 2018

It sometimes takes a little time for one’s myth-busting claims  not just to be accepted, but to become the new norm. Such is the case with my 32-year old paper on ‘enzyme-resistant starch’ (“RS”, aka RS3, man-made dietary fibre!). It didn’t just claim that RS in baked goods (bread, biscuits etc) comprised short-chain fragments of crystallized starch. It gave virtually unequivocal proof that RS was NOT the familiar retrograded long-chain amylose starch as pretty well everyone else at the time presumed (bar the editors of  the Journal of Cereal Science) ! It was a new crystalline SHORT CHAIN species!

That 1986 paper was referred to last year as “highly influential”, with 5 excerpts being quoted.

resistant starch highly infuential 1986 paper

Back in 1986 I was being peed upon by all and sundry from a great height, including a ‘Professor Big’ in starch chemistry as a Kelloggs Symposium!

Sunday 22nd April 2018

Barriers to uptake of new scientific ideas (via the 21st century internet especially!)

1. That Google so-called ‘search engine’ – artificial ventilator for e-commerce more like it, with Google taking a fat percentage. Lousy deal for blogs – failure to flag up headlines of new postings etc. Vicious circles re ranking – high ranking ensures more clicks – deserved or otherwise. Low ranking denies searchers under simple search term entries  (“Shroud of Turin”, Stonehenge” etc ) knowledge of new ideas. Google listings are for the most part mildly titillating, comfort-blanket, idea-stifling, pro commission-generating click-bait. Google and its ilk, mostly California-based, is putting the Enlightenment into reverse.

2. Social media – year-on-year dumbing down …

3. Antipathy of mass media towards science and scientists – unless conforming to stereotypes …

4. Vested interests pushing conventional views that serve own interests – ideological, commercial etc…

5. Inertia – old ideas get rooted.  New ideas instantly ridiculed. (Read James Watson’s stupendous ‘Double Helix’: see how genetic material was presumed for decades to be protein on scarcely any real evidence, merely a ridiculing of DNA with just 4 constituent bases (A,T,C,G) . Chargaff’s rules (purine = pyrimidines, A=T, C=G etc) dismissed). Old hands, old ideas loath to give up on their ‘expertise’, alleged not-to-be-questioned grasp of detail etc.

6. Failure of commenters on web forums to make URL links to unconventional ideas – suppression not dissemination being the byword. The ‘world of ideas’ scarcely exists on the internet – more the world of sniping and/or special pleading.

7. Perceived pecking orders – newcomers to longstanding ‘enigmas’ must learn their lowly place etc.

8. Vested interest in maintaining those silly-season enigmas largely intact, merely playing around the edges.

Saturday 28th April 2018

One’s patience with Google rankings is exhausted!

Google rankings will be placed under the microscope in the coming days and weeks!

Have already discovered that Google is not fit for purpose!

Expect new posting in a week or so, one that will not mince words, pull punches etc. Google is a total disgrace!


Monday 30th April, 2018:

Plans for my next posting – see above – are coming along apace. 

I shall list, and briefly summarize, the most recent Google rankings of sites under a (shroud of turin) search, probably the first 150 (Pages 1-15)  in reverse chronological order (150, 149, 148 etc).

There will be a few new ones added each day, optimistically 10 at a time.

Each entry will have a brief comment from myself on whether or not it deserves to be there.  (Believe me, there are plenty that do NOT –  e.g blatant advertisements for commercial sites etc).

Along the way I intend to insert a bogus entry  or two – ones  that you won’t find  under a real (shroud of turin) search  –  and then ask WHY!  (I’ll say WHICH later…).

Yes, I am now going into an entirely new and different mode.

I shall be asking why and HOW the major search engine is effectively suppressing new ideas –  including those that have been around on the internet for well over 2 and more years, voiced repeatedly on this and OTHER sites.

Clue: the key words to look for, in abbreviated form, will be “SSI”.

So what is going on?

I say there is something rank and rotten in the state of Denmark, California… (apologies to William Shakespeare).

Something needs to be done, this side of The Pond…

California cannot be allowed to rule the world (of  Global Free Speech that is ), tainted as it is with its $elf-enriching commercial or other -even murkier – considerations …

One needs VALUES in everyday life – clearly displayed for all to see! It’s values that keep the world progressing, not slipping back…

My older brother is  a naturalised American, previously California-based, and I still have family there.

I am not anti-Californian per se, merely anti the so-called Internet Giants that have based themselves there – with  their appalling standards of business conduct.

They need speedy reform, failing which they should be banned  from our standards-driven part of the world or locally broken up, at least from the UK and the EU…

I’ve been saying as much for well over 2 years…






Posted in contact imprint, latest research,, new theory, sweat imprint, Turin Shroud, Shroud of Turin | Tagged | 25 Comments

Shroud of Turin: expect a 40-point summary of final conclusions very shortly, based on my 6 years of detailed scrutiny, to say nothing of hands-on modelling of that ‘enigmatic’ body image.

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).


Yes, 40 key points will accompany my next posting – but not all in one go. Expect bite-size instalments, arriving over several days, maybe weeks. (Readability – not this investigator’s strongest suit – will be given a little more attention than before!).

Yes, the time has finally come to distil the essence of  6 years of fairly non-stop investigation by this long-retired science bod (mainly biomedical research in hospitals, medical schools and a food research institute –  eye-glazing stuff for the most part).

Warning: the conclusions will not generate a warm inner glow in those who are hung up on Shroud-authenticity (like it representing the actual burial shroud of the crucified Jesus).

Think simulated sweat/blood imprint onto a ‘fake’ version of Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’, made to seem as if pressed into service as a transport, NOT burial shroud to convey the crucified founder of Christianity from cross to tomb.

Think an entirely novel process of imprinting an entire body (front and back, not sides!) onto wet linen using dry powdered white wheaten flour as imprinting agent, followed by thermal development of the body image by gentle roasting over hot charcoal embers.

Think a final wash with soap and water to generate that oh-so-subliminal faint body image, later touched up with “blood” as a marker for body wounds incurred before and during crucifixion… The proposed technology is staggering in its simplicity, given the manner in which it has defied explanation over the centuries, right through to the present day.

So how did it succeed so brilliantly? Answer: by resort to  breath-taking originality (to say nothing of audacious mimicry of what happens when one ‘simply’ bakes a loaf of bread from flour dough to give it a golden-brown crust!).

Nope, the conclusions are not good for Shroud authenticity (but then, nor was the radiocarbon dating – 1260-1390).

Sorry all you folk who yearn for something tangible with which to back up your (possibly wavering?) religious belief.  But no apologies either for popping pseudoscience balloons (the latter being a fair description I say of the excesses of modern day pro-authenticity Shroud narratives, notably those  based on miraculous snapshots onto linen via ‘resurrectional incandescence’. Oh please, do rejoin us no-nonsense realists on Planet Earth!

But I say they are good for our collective global pride in humanity’s never-ending display over the centuries of inventiveness, resourcefulness and ingenuity. Shame about the intermittent fallings-out over this or that divisive issue (world wars etc).

I blame ideas (despite considering myself an ideas man).  Having ideas is good for the most part, but they do have an unfortunate habit of becoming first ideals, then ideological doctrines …  As the lady said, it’s a funny old world…

First instalment of next posting? This coming Friday (Jan 12) at the latest… That’s a promise…




Posted in Shroud of Turin, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Hello again all you journalists and other media folk. This photograph provides a complete chemical explanation for the Turin Shroud imprinted body image! (Think white flour imprinting of a body onto wet linen, think applied heat, think bread crust image!).

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).


Brace yourselves, all you deniers of the radiocarbon dating, all you proponents of supernatural photography via “resurrectional incandescence”.

Main finding: both the bread roll on the left AND the heat-treated flour imprint from the plastic toy have turned pristine white in the places where domestic bleach was added!

red arrows IMG_1050

See the bleached areas  indicated by red arrows!


Relevance to the Turin Shroud and its ‘enigmatic’ allegedly science-defying body image?

Think the chemistry of bread crust formation from heated white flour,  cleverly mimicked for the purposes of  faked religious relic manufacture. How? Answer: via contact flour-imprinting  off the adult male body onto linen as a means of simulating  (“forging”) a 1st century sweat imprint of …  YES, the crucified Jesus onto Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’. Clever these medievals…

Yes, the chemical properties of bread crust (bleachability with chemical “bleach” (NaOCl, left rear) , but not by strong acid (H2SO4, centre rear)  or  strong alkali (NaOH, right rear)  as shown above fit perfectly with:

(a)  those straw-coloured image fibres from the Turin Shroud, tested in 1978 by STURP’s Alan Adler and John Heller  (shown to be bleachable with diimide  – ordinary domestic bleach apparently not tested – but not affected by either strong acid or alkali) and:

(b) my model imprints off 3D-figurines ( as well as my own hand and face) using my ‘Model 10’ flour-imprinting procedure. The latter was published here and elsewhere (notably the Dan Porter site)  in 2015, but has since been totally ignored these last two years and more by the largely pro-authenticity Shroud-research ‘establishment’ with more than its fair share of cliquish self-styled academics and scientists. Now there’s a surprise!

More to follow in a day or two …

Tuesday December 5

The imprinted linen you see above has now been washed, dried, pressed briefly with a hot iron, re-photographed and labelled to show the parts that were exposed to the three chemical reagents.

hulk imprint, bleach, acid, alkali pre v post wash, labelled

Note that bleaching, i.e. decolorisation,  was confined to the parts of the flour imprint on the left that had been treated with commercial bleach (sodium hypochlorite, NaOCl). The parts in the centre (treated with strong , i.e. 35% approx sulphuric acid) and on the right (with strong alkali, sodium hydroxide, NaOH) remained essentially unbleached.

(Caveat: don’t be deceived into thinking that the acid in the centre has bleached. It hasn’t. The white area is simply the initially image-free gap between arm and torso of the figurine. If the acid had bleached the ‘subject’ would be missing his thumb – and more besides).

This comparative pattern of behaviour matches that reported by Adler and Heller for surface image fibres stripped off the TS by STURP’s Raymond N Rogers in 1978.

Whilst the above experiment does not of itself prove that the TS image fibres are chemically the same or very similar as the yellow or brown melanoidins in bread crust or my roasted flour imprints, it can surely be seen as constituting  circumstantial evidence for that being the case.

None of what appears will of course come as any surprise to those who accept the pro-authenticity, non-supernaturalistic model proposed by the late Raymond N Rogers (STURP’s chemistry team leader). Rogers was the first to identify propose that the Shroud body image as was a high molecular weight melanoidin, not on analytical grounds, for which there is  and was essentially none, but on the basis of a narrative that pictures the process of image-formation starting with the release from the recently-deceased Jesus of  post-mortem putrefaction gases or vapours, namely decomposition amines (general formula  R-NH2, where R is a variable alkyl or aminoalkyl group).  They were posited to interact with reducing sugars, formed, Rogers claimed, from a  starch impurity coating on the linen, the latter having been employed he said as an aid to weaving in Roman times (with some somewhat anecdotal evidence for starch traces on the Shroud).

It’s not the intention here to discuss the Rogers’ model in detail (which this investigator would do with no great enthusiasm). But it’s necessary to flag it up, if only because I was instantly accused on the Dan Porter site of having plagiarized Ray Rogers when finally abandoning a simple hot-metal scorch hypothesis  (Model 2) and proposing white flour (arguably a close relative of starch) and melanoidin end-products as the explanation for the chromophore colour.

Nope, I reject the charge of plagiarism, my having arrived at melanoidins via an entirely different route. That was through searching for a likely imprinting medium from which a medieval simulator of a 1st century sweat imprint might have generated a yellow chromophore via strong heating more easily and more controllably than by scorching the intrinsic carbohydrates of linen. In fact there are thermal mechanisms by which a flour imprint can turn yellow that do not involve Maillard (amino-carbonyl reactions) and melanoidin formation, notably by caramelization of free sugars without involvement of amines or other nitrogen compounds (though I have to say I consider the Maillard mechanism involving reaction between reducing sugars and amino side chains of proteins  and peptides as being the more probable pathway).

(Added note: I return to caramelization v Maillard chemistry again briefly at the end of this posting).

It should be clear by now that the diagnostic test for medieval forgery, as distinct from 1st century provenance, cannot be melanoidins or even traces of flour or starch, even supposing they were to be present (almost certainly not in the case of flour). One’s first instinct is to propose that one seeks evidence of a thermal development step (forgery narrative). But that too cannot be relied upon. Why not? Answer: the 1532 fire that caused extensive burning and scorching. Who’s to say that any presumptive evidence for a high temperature exposure was not the result of the Chambery fire? Actually there is at least some circumstantial evidence for the thermal development from which 1532 can be definitely excluded – as flagged up here a short while ago – the so-called “L-shaped poker holes”.  They are known (from the 1516 Lier copy) to predate the 1532 fire, so might well have been acquired when the Shroud imprint was being thermally developed.

Wednesday December 6

Future research direction? Need for new technology?

As indicated in the posting immediately preceding this one  (dated Nov 22) there is an urgent need for transverse sections of image fibres, both from the Turin Shroud and from flour imprint v alternative model systems.

Why? Because the claim that the TS body image is highly, nay ultrasuperficial, on which so much starry-eyed speculation is based (with resort to those scorch-making uv-lasers etc to simulate conjectured ‘resurrectional incandescence’) really hasn’t been proved at all, at least not conclusively.

In fact, it’s not just transverse sections that are needed. We need to start by teasing out linen fibres from threads, and then blasting open those individual fibres to reveal the closely-packed microfibrils within. Are the latter really free of image colour in the TS? Are they really immune from coloration in model systems where there’s initially an intact primary cell wall (PCW) separating the bunched microfibrils from the outside world?

I shall be doing some experiments shortly with a view to getting a view inside the fibre. I’ll start in a modest way with freeze-thaw cycles (with threads pre-soaked in plain water or concentrated brine etc). I may even invest in an old fashioned pressure cooker, or mini popcorn-maker, with a view to creating an initial high pressure, temperature  or both that is then suddenly reduced/released. (I once had a student vacation job at Quaker Oats, Southall,  Middx., back in in the early 60s, making ‘Puffed Wheat’ (yes, it really is/was “shot from guns” – I had charge of 3 gun barrels!) so am maybe better informed than most on the physics of semi-explosive “puffing” technology!



This is an experimental set-up (transparent firing chamber) that shows the principle of “puffing”. The hinged end-flap of the gun barrel has been suddenly opened at the end of the pressure-cooking cycle, whereupon the cooked  wheat grains  – all 14lbs per batch – flies out the end, puffing up as they do so! Might it be possible to get linen fibres (fibres, note, not threads) to puff up explosively so as to blast away that pesky  PCW, exposing and separating  the internal microfibrils for microscopic inspection, both transversely and longitudinally?

Note to the sourpuss tendency: this investigator is focused on his latest model ( that’s Model 10 to be precise, 2015 vintage), but is not, repeat NOT,  wedded to it. To repeat the old adage (first deployed by a Dutch economist but equally relevant to science): “Models are for using, not believing”. (which is why I’ve discarded or moved on via continuous fine-tuning/tweaking tendency from 9 previous models!)

Open-ended, open-minded research goes on where this blogger and this blogsite are concerned. Message to those with closed minds, or fixated with one or other “instant, pulled from the air, non-modelled solution” to the Turin Shroud :  kindly stay away (assuming you have not already been banned for persistent misuse/abuse of another’s website).

Thursday December 7

As stated (well, bragged) a few days ago, this site made an all-too-brief  appearance of Page 2 listings (Google, shroud of turin). It now languishes on Page 3. I check daily to see if/when lightning has struck, elevating it to the dizzy heights of Google Page 1 listings. No such luck as yet! But on checking this morning, I spotted a familiar entry, currently bottom of Page 2:

Why Shroud of Turin’s Secrets Continue to Elude Science

17 Apr 2015 – The 53-square-foot rectangle of linen known as the Shroud of Turin is one of the most sacred religious icons on Earth, venerated by millions of Christians as the actual burial garment of Jesus Christ. It is also among the most fiercely debated subjects in contemporary science, an extraordinary mystery that …

Er, no, those so-called secrets do NOT continue to elude “science”.  Those so-called secrets are gradually being revealed for what they are – hamfisted so-called “science” on the part of previous investigators, encumbered initially with duff hypotheses, and then proceeding to “see what they want to see”.
The prime example right now is that which I see towards the end of John Heller’s 1983 book, describing the Shroud body image as “oxidized cellulose”.  Whilst that’s a possibility which cannot be entirely ruled out, the evidence adduced for that, via testing of  a series of reducing agents that each failed to discharge the colour of Shroud image fibres, ending finally with “success” when diimide, NH=NH, was employed, contains a serious error of chemical logic. Yes, diimide can and does bleach by hydrogenating  -C=C- double bonds, and yes, hydrogenation is chemical reduction (addition of hydrogen). But that does not mean that the original colour was formed by oxidative processes. There are other means of introducing colour-conferring double bonds into a receptive compound that do NOT involve oxidation (notably via chemical DEHYDRATION which Heller indeed refers to in the same breath as oxidation). But those double bonds can be converted to non-colour conferring -C-C- single bonds by means other than hydrogenation , i.e. by so-called ADDITION reactions, hydrogenation being just one way of performing an addition reaction. Thus the ability of my domestic bleach, NaOCl, to decolorise the Model 10 flour imprints (probably by adding H/OCl across the double bond to form a chlorhydrin which is most definitely not chemical reduction). What a shame that Heller and his colleague (Alan Adler) did not test simple domestic bleach, best known as an OXIDISING  AGENT, not a reducing agent like diimide!
How much longer will certain sections of the media, duly picked up by search engines, be allowed to promulgate dud chemistry via taunting headlines that refer to the Shroud “eluding” science, when what is reported  displays a glaring ignorance and/or misunderstanding of the most basic principles of chemistry, the elementary kind one picks up at pre-University entrance level?
John Heller and his late in-house recruit  to STURP (Alan Adler) were both gifted scientists, at least in their separate respective fields of expertise, Adler’s it has to be said being a branch of chemistry (porphyrins). But their chemistry as applied to the Shroud blood (that wacky “bilirubin”!) AND body image simply do not add up, far less stand up to close scrutiny. Yet it’s uncritically hoovered up by sindonologists  and relayed to fellow true-believers AND the mass media as if gospel truth.  That it ain’t. All too often, it’s complete cobblers,  apologies for the Brit’ slang, if the truth be told.
This site exists for one reason, and one reason only – to unearth the truth via patient, methodical scientific enquiry.  If it involves knocking a few STURP and other ‘infallible’ greats off their pedestals, then so be it.
Here’s a clue to tomorrow’s instalment, a short passage from Ray Rogers’ book, (“A Chemist’s Perspective on the Shroud of Turin”):
rogers nitrogen maillard ts image
“Maillard” and “nitrogen” are both highlighted in yellow (search terms!).  Why? Because I recall  Dutch sindonologist Adrie van der Hoeven saying in a comment on this site many moons ago that Rogers had flagged up an anomaly which could be seen as a wee bit embarrassing for his (and mine!) Maillard mechanism of body image formation.  Why is there not excess nitrogen in the body image fibres?  Read what Rogers says beneath the caption, and there’s a possible explanation,  a possible “out” about which more will be said here tomorrow…
Maybe your days are numbered Model 10! Maybe there’s a Model 11 waiting in the wings to supplant you, as you ousted 9 of your predecessors! But I still say the Shroud is medieval – a simulated sweat imprint to be precise. But, as stated before, determining by experimental modelling the precise means by which that imprint was created  (a somewhat inferior substitute some might think for direct analysis on the Shroud) should still be considered secondary to understanding why some 14th century folk went to so much trouble and expense to achieve what they intended to be a convincing end-result, as indeed it was, and still is to millions today. Yes, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, once that initial furore and 30 year ban on display were both safely consigned to history…
Friday December 8
Have just been looking through some old emails – received and sent – to find some replies I sent in August to a freelancer(?) preparing an article on the Shroud for a Spanish-language magazine. Since nothing came of it (probably, I suspect, because my views are too boringly scientific for the particular publication in question and/or insufficiently mystique-promoting/mongering) I’m reproducing here the first two summaries I supplied. Consider this a filler while I think some more about Model 10 – see yesterday’s instalment – and whether or not to experiment further towards a possible Model 11):
First reply (Aug 3, 2017):
Dear (X, who shall remain nameless)
Nice to hear from you.
I’m travelling at the moment, and won’t have much free time for the next 24 hours or so. However, I will be thinking about your request, and will try to respond soon, hopefully by Saturday.
Yes, I think the Shroud of Turin is a 14th century forgery. What’s more, it was NOT intended to represent a burial shroud, contrary to the view of those who promote the Shroud’s authenticity, and who seek an explanation in terms of resurrection (flashes of radiation etc).   I believe the Shroud was an attempt to produce a whole body version of the then celebrated ‘Veil of Veronica’. As such it merely attempted to simulate the imprint that might have been left on linen by the newly crucified Jesus immediately after removal from the cross. Just as the Veil of Veronica was supposed to represent the imprint left on a small piece of cloth  by the face of Jesus on his way to the cross, the so-called Shroud of Turin was intended to represent the imprint left by the entire body in sweat and blood on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen on its way from cross to tomb. Referring to the linen as a “burial” shroud has been a great distraction in my view from the reality of what the linen was intended to represent, one that has allowed all kinds of wild speculation about the  image capturing energy-release at the the moment of resurrection.
Note how difficult it is to get across my ideas in a few simple words. Fine but vitally important  distinctions have to be be made.
Thank you for your interest.
More later.
Cheers (etc)
Second reply (Aug 4, 2017):
Hello again (X)
Here are a few extra notes I did early this morning, before your second email arrived, which I trust answers at least some of your additional questions. (Let me know if you need specific detail, though I’ll be out most of the day). I’ve also attached a photo (as requested) taken just 30 minutes ago!
The 4 main Shroud ‘narratives’
1. By far and away the most dominant narrative among those who promote authenticity is what might be called ‘resurrectional incandescence’ i.e. a blinding supernatural flash of radiation, or subatomic particles, or corona discharge etc etc. Regardless of which type, it’s accompanied needless to say by  ‘photographic’  imaging  (‘scorching’) of the incandescent body onto the cellulose of linen, the chromophore generally being assumed – wrongly in my view- to be  chemically modified cellulose.
2. Still pro-authenticity, but a poor relation, is Raymond Rogers’ so-called naturalistic aka diffusion model, one that could be described as post mortem decompositional imaging, either in direct contact or at a distance ( volatile amines from the cadaver interact with linen, starch-coated in Rogers’ model according to 1st century practice,  either again to deposit an image.  The chromophore is the Rogers’ model  (and my own Model 10!) are melanoidins, formed by Maillard reactions between amino groups and reducing sugars.
3. While both the above allow for some imprinting by direct contact, as indicated, they also invoke imprinting across air gaps.
There is a third narrative, one that is dismissed out of  hand by hardline pro-authenticity folk, namely imprinting by direct contact only. it comes in two variants – 1st century pro-authenticty versus 14th century ‘forgery’ (or as I prefer to say, modelling or simulation). .
The first imagines that the crucified Jesus left a whole imprint in real sweat  and blood on Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’ en route between cross and tomb.  It is essentially a post-mortem version of the Veil of Veronica, much celebrated and viewed at Avignon etc in the mid-14th century. One sees evidence in 16th century literature of Shroud custodians and viewers having adopted this interpretation of the faint body image  as a sweat imprint  (yellowed by centuries of ageing) to which modern-day sindonology displays a curious  blind spot despite my efforts to bring it centre-stage).
The second considers the Shroud to be a 14th  century simulation/modelling  of such a sweat/blood imprint. Was real sweat /blood used? Unlikely I consider in the case of sweat, or even artificial sweat-  if LIQUID.  Why? Liquids smudge – do not produce sharp well-defined images.  Luigi Garlaschelli used solid powder frottage, proposing that acid impurities in the original frottage media chemically etched/discolored the linen.  But I ruled out acid in one of my earlier pre-Model 10  ideas, and finally, in Model 10, proposed a different powdered SOLID – namely white wheaten flour – as imprinting medium, in conjunction with WET linen, pressed onto flour-dusted naked male volunteers.  (Yes two of them lying head to head, one face up other face down), though a  bas relief probably substituted for the ‘difficult’  face, as also suggested by LuigiG.  The flour-imprinted linen was then exposed to radiant heat from a bed of glowing charcoal embers.  Infrared rays absorbed by slightly coloured constituents of flour, e.g. flavins, bran particles etc , but mainly reflected by white linen,  produced highly localised heating with formation of yellow /brown melanoidins (same chromophore note as Rogers’ model).
My developed flour imprints match most, possibly all the so-called enigmatic properties  of the Shroud body image –  negative image and 3D response in ImageJ in particular.  Those two have been hugely over-hyped in my view…  A full list is available if desired…
Shroud blood (or should that be ‘blood?’) ?  Not my speciality,  but it can be worked into the model using either real blood,  OR a non-clotting blood substitute e.g. digesta from medicinal leeches, OR artificial blood OR mixtures, with or without subsequent touching-up.
Cheers (etc)
Now that’s in the public domain (i.e. NOT entirely wasted effort from 4 months ago!) I can return to the chemistry, the ever-tricky chemistry, with a brief discussion on the difference between browning of baked products via Maillard reactions versus browning via caramelization. Fasten your seat belts…
Better still, prepare yourselves for what is to follow by taking a look at this link, from which I’ll be quoting copiously.
Google search (shroud of turin): here’s what the searcher sees at the top of Page 2 listings:

Turin Shroud: the latest evidence will challenge the sceptics … › Comment & Blogs

3 Aug 2017 – Sceptics may dismiss the Turin Shroud, but there is good evidence the relic is authentic. 

“Sceptics”? What a ludicrous, self-serving term, making it seems as if authenticity was the default position! It’s the pro-authenticity position that flies in the face of the facts (which in the case of its much maligned radiocarbon dating may be disputed facts, but are still facts unless or until proved to be wrong).
But what should replace it? How about ‘scientists’ ?
Corrected headline:
Scientists may dismiss the Turin Shroud, but there is good (?) evidence the relic (?) is authentic. 
Returning to the chemistry:
As for that potential chemical quagmire as regards Maillard ve caramelization browning: I’ve decided not to pursue it at the moment (so Model 10 is safe, at least for now).
Suffice it to say that the TS body image could be either a Maillard or caramelization product, the latter making it easier to explain the absence of excess nitrogen in TS image fibres. One could try modelling caramelization chemistry, e.g. substituting, say, fructose-rich honey for white flour, with a view to obtaining yellowing or browning of the imprint at a lower temperature.  But a lot of the advantages of the solid imprinting medium would then be lost, like the vertical directionality introduced by sprinkling flour from above the subject.
For an alternative view on that image polarity (“up and down”, but not sideways) see the abstract of this recent (2016) paper by nuclear engineer Bob Rucker with its reference to “vertically collimated radiation”. Believe that, and you’ll believe anything…
Comments (or questions) from journalists welcome. Oh, and scientists too (real scientists that is,  if willing to be brief). Poseurs with their set-in-stone dogma and/or pseudoscience are requested to stay away.
End of posting.
Postscript: added Dec 16
Might this fuming liquid element be the means of determining the chemical composition of the Shroud body image?
See  my own comment attached to this posting. See next posting for details of this likely ‘magic bullet’!
Dec 21, 2017
Summary of this Shroud investigator’s postings on 3 sites these last 6 years:
1. Science Buzz site, 30 Dec 2011- 11 Feb 2017, 95 Shroud-focused postings (plus many more science-related topics)
2. This site, 12 Feb 2012 – present, 243 postings
3. Strawshredder site, 15 March 2012- 11 Oct 2016, 12 postings
Total number of Shroud-related postings to date: 350
I also have a separate specialist site, currently dormant, devoted to two other enduring mysteries, easily accessible – a mere two hour drive from home – namely Stonehenge and Silbury Hill.
Jan 2, 2018
Late curiosity,  stumbled upon from performing a “what’s new?” Google search under (shroud of turin), “last 24 hrs” time filter:
google shroud of turin past week jan 2 18
jackson pilgrimage.png
Did you know, dear journalist,  that the 1978 STURP  investigation under John Jackson had done the first radiocarbon dating?  Nope, nor did  I…
How could such an error have been allowed to creep into his official online 2018  Croatia/Bosnia & Herzegovina/Italy pilgrimage announcement?
Posted in Shroud of Turin, shroud of turin,, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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

Site 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).

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

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

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

complete juggernaut

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

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

Watch this space – more to follow, later today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


3. enrie neg as is 3D default z

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


4. enrie as is 3d zscale now 0.3

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


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

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

TINA = There Is No Alternative.

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a key passage.

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

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

More to follow tomorrow.

Friday Nov 17

Francisco_de_Zurbarán_011 V of V from wiki


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

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

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

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

v of v after 3D


Not bad eh?

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

v of v after 3D cropped


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How might the diagram look?

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

dual frontal v dorsal fold-over image matchstick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


lirey-badge-v-forgeais-drawing rotated

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


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

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

Why Didn’t I Think of That

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, I read you!

Sunday November 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_0907 cropped

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

IMG_0909 close up of blank areas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

foot blood escape a-7,100 yellow circle

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

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

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

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

Monday November 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

new 3D highly cropped

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Here’s what the returns say:

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

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

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

My red bolding:

Hypothesis of radiation

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


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

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

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

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


Tuesday November 21

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

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

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

screenshot robert bucklin silent witness

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I see what I want to see”.

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

“Video quid velis videre”.

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

“Je vois ce que je veux voir”.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Wed November 12

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

Video quid velo videre 

(I see what I want to see).

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





Posted in Shroud of Turin | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Pro-authenticity Shroud investigators should have considered the body image as a SIMULATED sweat imprint – before rushing to their pseudoscience (‘resurrectional incandescence’ etc).

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).


Late addition (November 15): this site is now under reconstruction. As the new title indicates this site, started in early 2012 with over 400 postings now aims primarily to cater for journalists needing or wishing to separate fact from fantasy.

(My journalistic credentials? What, apart from being News Features editor of “Redbrick”, the  award-winning University of Birmingham tabloid newspaper back in the early 60s? As for the rest, please don’t ask…  😉 )

The present posting below is the last in the old investigative model-building format. Expect the first in my new polemical mode in the next day or two.

The new header image hopefully demythologizes the Shroud body image. Simply wet one’s hand, press it onto a dark fabric to get a negative (tone-reversed) image – a simple model of the Shroud body image (a yellowed image on lighter-coloured linen). That simplest of contact images responds well to 3D- rendering (ImageJ software).

Alternatively, one can digitally reverse the tones in the initial negative image to get a more life-like, correction –  deathly white Caucasian – representation of one’s hand, the resulting pseudo-positive image also responding to the 3D-rendering software.

No, that famously negative (tone reversed)  TS image does NOT have “unique” encoded 3D properties, a palpably untrue ‘mantra’  shoved repeatedly in our faces since the late 1970s. What’s more, its negative tone-reversed image is simply explained by it being a body IMPRINT, formed by a contact-only mechanism.

Here’s a preview of the graphic I’ve prepared to head up the first posting in polemical mode:

complete juggernaut


Earlier addition (October 20) : this is not the first posting on this site to have “simulated sweat imprint” in its title. I did an earlier one with those same three words in the title as long ago as November 2014 – nearly three years ago!

I referred to my posting, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as representing something of a ‘paradigm shift’, not only for me personlly (having previously been hung up on the idea that the TS was a scorch imprint off a hot metal template – Model 2) but for sindonology too – having failed to find the concept of a simulated sweat imprint  i.e.of  medieval manufacture – anywhere in the literature.

Response: I was instantly criticized by one of sindonology’s elder statesmen for deploying that term ‘paradigm shift’, though reasons were not given.

However, give the ZERO RESPONSE from sindonology to the arrival of a brand new ‘take’, i.e. concept,  these last three years and indeed longer (starting early 2014 in fact) I now feel fully vindicated and justified in claiming to have introduced a ‘paradigm shift’.

It hardly speaks well of sindonology as a supposedly academic discipline, indeed a self-styled branch of ‘science’ if/when  it continues to ignore a significant new addition to the world of ideas. I’ve invited comments to this open-access site, one that typically gets 20-30 visits a day from all over the world. So far, there’s been one only. Hopefully there will be more in the coming days and weeks.  However, there seems little point in continuing to post new content unless or until sindonology wakes up to the presence of the ‘simulated sweat imprint’ concept, nay paradigm in its own back yard.

Rest assured I will continue to do hands-on research with a view to improving the performance of my current Model 10 (use of white flour imprinting medium to simulate an ancient, dried-on, yellowed sweat imprint), and plan new postings.  But the first priority is to elicit feedback, whether positive or negative. One cannot be expected to operate in a vacuum, especially if/when one suspects that the vacuum is no accident – that mainstream sindonology is deliberately pretending I do not exist.

End of  late ‘pre-script’.

Summary: STURP tested body image fibres from the Shroud of Turin for natural body biochemicals (see 1981 Summary) and failed to detect any. Yellowed body sweat was accordingly eliminated as the image chromophore, and said to be contraindicated on numerous other grounds e.g. lack of dried capillary fluids, no cementation of fibres, plus a barrage of highly dubious claims  against any kind of contact imprinting based on assumed air gaps between body and ‘loosely-draped linen’  (biblical authenticity being taken for granted), totally inaccurate claims re  the body image having “unique 3D properties” etc etc. The entire area of contact-imprinting was totally abandoned, starting in the 1980s, and the rush began towards imaging via radiation and other pseudo-science. More than 35 years later, sindonology still finds itself in the grip of ‘resurrectional incandescence’ as the mechanism of imaging, as was recently seen from the program of the recent International Shroud Conference in July at TRAC, Pasco, Washington State, sponsored by two confirmed ‘radiationists’ giving themselves a shop window and captive audience for what can only be described as semi-religious fervour dressed up as theoretical physics. Conventional mainstream science, as practiced by this Shroudie investigator of nearly 6 years standing (currently testing and evaluating his flour-imprinting/simulated sweat Model 10) is simply ignored as if it did not exist. Resurrectional incandescence cannot be regarded as sound scholarship for as long as it essentially excommunicates all contrary non-authenticity model building – to say nothing of years of  detailed experimentation. The latter has been  reported here and on other sites  (Dan Porter’s retired site especially) since early 2012 in real time, open to all for comments and criticism (a far cry from much overhyped ‘peer-reviewed’  publications, especially those in  researcher-billed-for open-access journals where little if anything is known about the identity or fitness-for-purpose of the referees.

More to follow. Expect to see some 20 reasons listed over the coming days for regarding the Shroud body image as a simulated sweat imprint of medieval manufacture, starting with two early documented references to bodily sweat (and of course blood as well) in the early 16th and 17th centuries from distinguished figures in the Roman Catholic hierarchy, one of them canonized.  Their commonsensical words are now scandalously ignored, thanks to sloppy 20th century so-called science, read wishful-thinking sci-fi fantasizing, STURP’s included, nay, STURP’s especially.

derailed train

Something similar happened to STURP, circa 1983, but worse, much worse. STURP not only left the tracks but went clean over the side of a cliff…

Yes, STURP began its journey so well, but ended by going over a cliff side.  John Heller’s 1983 book “Report on the Turin Shroud” shows precisely  how, why and when that disastrous turn of events took place. (One has to read to a few pages from the end to see the author himself reject contact-imprinting – although to his credit he also distances himself from fanciful radiation, quite unlike any other radiation known to physics, able to align itself with the Earth’s gravitational field to give collimated orthogonal projection to explain sharp imaging (allegedly) across air gaps! Sound of Einstein turning in his grave…).

Expect next instalment tomorrow, October 10, pm (UK time). Comments, preferably short, preferably relevant, are welcome.

Tuesday October 10

Newsflash:  The Fall issue of STERA’s has just appeared, inside of which is Hugh Farey’s last Newsletter (No.85 ) for the BSTS, his place as Editor now being taken by Shroud (pro-authenticity) TV documentary maker David Rolfe. I normally provide links to Shroud-relevant sites, but decline to do so in this instance. Linking to others’ sites, whether pro- or anti-authenticity, has to be a two-way affair. If not, one is assisting others’ positions in those crucial search engine rankings while getting no quid pro quo (or vice versa).

Nuff said on that score. Now back to the business of the day:

More on that book by John Heller MD, taken from the end of the book (Page 209 onwards):
Extract 1 of 2

“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. 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 the problem …”

(we’ll skip the next 7 dispensable sentences re the role of hypothesis and generalization).

Extract 2 of 2:
“How were the images of the man conveyed to the linen? Virtually the only mechanism left was radiation, which we then examined.”
Here we see John Heller finally displaying his true pro-authenticity colours, or at any rate epiphany moment just 6 pages before the end of the book, having previously projected himself as an objective commentator on that key question. No, radiation was NOT the only mechanism left if proper consideration had been given to medieval forgery scenarios, and uncritical resort had not been taken to Jackson’s modelling studies with loosely-draped linen. They also presupposed authenticity, generating Jackson’s erroneous conclusion that there could, indeed had to be imaging across air gaps (which is NOT the case in forgery scenarios where linen can and probably was manually pressed down onto body relief). Cue ‘resurrectional incandescence’, later fine-tuned by Jackson as his ‘collapsing cloth’ hypothesis.
In short, Heller and fellow STURP-team members, having taken immediate exception to Sam Pelllicori’s naturalistic model of sweat-imprinting, indeed appearing to snuff it out without wasting a further second, failed to consider the alternative of non-naturalistic, i.e. simulated sweat-imprinting that did not require the human body’s own biochemicals.

That was an omission of monumental proportions, given the build-up and prestige accorded to that 35-strong team of diverse high-powered specialists who were supposed to be totally objective, detached, SCIENTIFIC, testing ALL feasible hypotheses, not just their own pet theories.
If one is seeking the point at which science turned into pseudoscience, when STURP’s train left the tracks, proceeding merrily over a cliff side, gravity-assisted like that faux Jackson radiation, then one need look no further than Heller’s homespun advocacy combined with uncritical support of Jackson’s biased unscientific modelling, both wedded to authenticity, as distinct from keeping it constantly under critical review. Neither could be bothered to engage in detailed ‘what-if’ modelling that began by pre-supposing medieval simulation (aka ‘forgery’) as well as, or instead of 1st. century authenticity.

It’s not as if Sam Pellicori, for all his commendable ability to fasten onto essentials, was the first to flag up “sweat imprint”. How about this section of an essay from the late and gifted Shroud historian Dorothy Crispino, detailing the immediate aftermath of the 1532 fire that came close to destroying the Shroud.

The Report of the Poor Clare Nuns, 1534
(link to Dorothy Crispino)

In April of 1534, Pope Clement VII sent his envoy, Louis Cardinal Gorrevod, to make an official recognition of the Shroud and have it repaired (ed., following the 1532 Chambéry fire).
Card. Gorrevod knew the Shroud well. For over four decades, he had been intimately associated with the Savoy family, and profoundly devoted to the Shroud. Many times, his hands had held it at expositions and ceremonies. It was he who first suggested that the image was formed by sweat and blood. And it was he who, in 1506, successfully intervened with Julius II to grant Carlo III’s petition for a liturgy and feast of the Shroud.
On the 15th of April, 1534, a Wednesday, Card. Gorrevod sent word to the Sisters of St. Clare that they were to undertake the delicate task of mending the Sheet.

Or how about this personal letter which Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva (later St.Francis) sent from Annecy to his close friend,  one Jane  (later St.Jane)Frances de Chantal, a Mother Superior or similar in 1614:

francis de sales and jane de chantal

Annecy, 4 May 1614
Whilst waiting to see you, my very dear Mother, my soul greets yours with a thousand greetings. May God fill your whole soul with the life and death of His Son Our Lord! At about this time, a year ago, I was in Turin, and, while pointing out the Holy Shroud among such a great crowd of people, a few drops of sweat fell from my face on to this Holy Shroud itself. Whereupon, our heart made this wish: May it please You, Saviour of my life, to mingle my unworthy sweat with Yours, and let my blood, my life, my affections merge with the merits of Your sacred sweat! My very dear Mother, the Prince Cardinal was somewhat annoyed that my sweat dripped onto the Holy Shroud of my Saviour; but it came to my heart to tell him that Our Lord was not so delicate, and that He only shed His sweat and His blood for them to be mingled with ours, in order to give us the price of eternal life…  (ed. with still more references to sweat).

Francis, Bishop of Geneva

Can there be any doubting that the Shroud was seen all those centuries ago as a sweat/blood imprint, with no indications that I’m aware of that it was ever seen as anything else? Why think otherwise? Wouldn’t the pilgrim to Lirey, approx 1355 give or take, casting eyes for the very first time on Geoffroy de Charny’s mysteriously acquired Shroud immediately conclude that he was looking at some kind of imprint, certainly in blood, and probably therefore in some other bodily secretion as well, one that had left behind a faint scarcely visible yellowish body imprint of a man. Now then, what might that other secretion be? Could it possibly be divine perspiration, i.e. SWEAT? If so, was it real sweat – or a clever rendition thereof on linen of what approximately 1300 year old sweat from  1st century Palestine, dried and yellowed, might look like?

Next instalment, tomorrow, Wed Oct 11. It will discuss the link between the Shroud and Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’, deployed in the first instance as an imprint-acquiring TRANSPORT (not burial) shroud. Would so quickly-acquired an image in sweat and blood (en route from the site of crucifixion to a nearby rock tomb) be likely to be 1st. century authentic?  Or, seen through the modern eye, aided by photography and image-processing, to say nothing of the disputed radiocarbon dating,  is it simply  ‘too-good-to-be-true’ and  more prudently judged to be of medieval provenance – an ingenious simulation? My own take on this should be clear. Why so few other takers?

Wed Oct 11

Here’s today’s text.  (Yes, what follows might seem like a sermon. Yes, I guess it IS a sermon of sorts,  arguably a long-overdue one, with no disrespect intended to the dead, merely a respect for the SCIENTIFIC FACTS!).

The chunks of text (blue font) are  taken as before from  the 1983  “Report on the Turin Shroud” by the late John Heller MD (1921-1995). It’s from quite early in the book (pages 38/39) but already the keen-eyed observer (well, me at any rate) may see the shoddily ill-designed pre-STURP locomotive showing ominous signs of erratic behaviour with intimations of later derailment. That was soon to be realized post-STURP with engine driver Jackson’s precipitate  plunge over cliff edge.

(Why “ill-designed”? We’ll come back to that later. Suffice it so say, yet again, that STURP’s prime focus should have been on that negative tone-reversed image, not its absurd and misdirected PRIMARY goal of disproving a conventional painted image, what in contemporary internet jargon was a “straw man”  hypothesis if ever there was. Since when has a negative image been conventional in the world of  medieval or even current illustrative art?…)

Incidentally,  re the above link, , here’s a note of caution for those concerned about accurate chronology.  Don’t be misled by the 2014 date on that Jackson pdf: see the footnote where it states the first appearance of the paper was in September 1989 – just 6 years after the appearance of Heller’s book, or some 8 years after the appearance of the STURP team’s “sorry, we’re still totally mystified by the TS body image” summary (while totally taken in with Robert Bucklin’s laughable, nay hilarious “autopsy” on a 1931 B/W photograph of the TS, the one where he sees “wounds”, “abrasions”, “puncture  marks” etc etc. as if viewing a real corpse, or even a photograph of a real corpse, as distinct from a faint centuries- old vanishingly-faint image captured via an totally unknown process, ignorant of whether  natural or forged).

The extract begins by describing John Jackson’s first contact with Bill Mottern (physicist, Sandia Laboratories, Albuquerque). It was ostensibly in the first instance to discuss colour filters, but was quickly overtaken by Mottern’s  keenness to  show off his gee-whizz 3D-rendering VP-8 machine. That if you ask me was the blackest day in the entire history of  sindonology, taking the attention away from the REAL ISSUE –  namely  the NEGATIVE  tone-reversed IMAGE, viewed with or without Bill Mottern’s computerized  and largely IRRELEVANT box of artefact-generating tricks
… Jackson made contact with Bill Mottern, a Sandia physicist. Mottern had a set of Wrattens (colour filters) but he had something else as well. That “something”, by coincidence, put the whole project into global high gear. It was a VP-8.

(Skip some sentences)

Jackson had never heard of a VP-8, but when he drove over to Sandia, he took photos of the Shroud with him.

(Apparently Shroud as-is ‘negatives’ and tone-reversed (pseudo-) positives as well, that aspect having been sadly neglected throughout the entire book – about which more later – MUCH MORE!)
“Why,” he (Bill Mottern) suggested, don’t we put the photos of the Shroud into the VP-8?”
All in all, it should have been a stupid waste of time, for a flat photo will, and can, only give a warped picture.

(But it’s not a primary photo – it’s a photo of the Shroud image, which itself is/was not a photo, though precisely what it is anyone’s guess (‘impactograph’ simulated sweat imprint?)  If an imprint, then a photo of an imprint that has even overhead illumination creating light but no obvious patches of shade, would NOT behave like the kind of photo to which Heller refer, and indeed  the misleading kind  with patches of light and shade which he includes as a plate in his book – more later)

They placed the Shroud photo in the VP-8 and twiddled the dials, focus and rotation. Suddenly both men saw, swimming up from the electronic fog of the screen, a perfect three-dimensional image of a scourged, crucified man.
(Show my 3D-rendered ImageJ renderings of scourge mark blood as a protest against the entirely unhelpful inclusion of blood into a discussion of body image?).
Impossible! Ridiculous! Outrageous! Yes. It was there. The two scientists just stared.
The positive photograph of the man in the Shroud had the appearance of a two dimensional face. The VP-8’s three dimensional image was as stunningly different from the photograph as a statue is from a painting. The long hair, full beard and mustache, the serenity on the face of a badly battered, crucified man, came alive, giving Jackson and Mottern the eerie impression that they were gazing at an actual face of a man, not at a painting or a sculpture.
Finally, Jackson took a deep breath. “Bill,” he said, “do you realize that we may be the first people in two thousand years to know exactly how Christ looked in the tomb?”

(Note ref to “tomb”).

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Where does one start? What’s the first step in restoring a semblance of order to a train crash?

This blogger/investigator has zero experience in putting clocks back to pre-disaster state-of-affairs. But since others are not doing it, or showing any inclination to do so, whether in the peer-reviewed domain or even informal blogosphere, then I guess the task falls to me, thankless though it is.

Order of business? Start with the negative, tone-reversed image, and reasonable hypotheses that can-  or should-  have been been entertained  – notably by STURP – to account for what surely has to be seen as the defining characteristic of the Shroud body image. Then look at the manner in which the debate was hijacked by those allegedly “unique” 3D properties.  No, not properties, but entirely predictable pre-programmed response in  computer software specifically designed to elicit PSEUDO- 3D response where it may or may NOT (in reality) exist initially.

Sindonology should by rights have put its house in order years, nay decades ago – and not going expecting retired scientists like myself to go reversing its spectacular train crash.  OK, so the latter was the work of a frightfully-senior initiator, aided and abetted by top members of STURP no less way back in the 20th century.

But others have now picked up the baton and foolishly followed in their footsteps to this day (like that hugely self-indulgent Pasco conference in July, with prime organizers pushing their imaging -via-outburst of  subatomic nuclear particle fantasy, or as I prefer to call it, “imaging via resurrectional incandescence”,  oh-so-conveniently generating an allegedly erroneous, excessively young radiocarbon-dating age we’re asked to blithely – and uncritically accept. Yup,  an ingenious but desperate attempt – if ever there was – to keep their pro-authenticity show, correction,  TRAVELLING CIRCUS, on the road).

Sindonology (the mainstream pro-authenticity kind) has never lacked ingenuity.  It’s a kind of metaphor one might say for the human condition (correction – one acutely fascinating (though somewhat unsettling) facet of the human condition that habitually resorts to high-IQ pseudoscience in order to press its case).

Sindonology? All life is there, warts an’ all – as much a source of fascination to we ‘slow-to-judge-life-as-we-find-it’  observers as the Shroud enigma itself…

But there comes a time when thoughts – in this instance some 6 years in the making – begin to crystallize…

Conclusion, albeit sad to say:  sindonology, is 95% wishful thinking  aka bullsh*t, given it’s become a vast repository of pseudoscience.

That’s thanks largely, indeed almost entirely, to that priming intervention by STURP, officially the Shroud of Turin Research Project.  Or, as this profound sceptic recently rechristened it,  unflatteringly,  acronymically redesignated it,  a vast input of Space-Age Technology-Unleashing Religious Propaganda…

Thank you authenticity-proselytizing John Jackson (“PhD”- military academy). Thank you (to a lesser extent)  the rather-more-subtle,  late convert-to authenticity -courtesy-of- medical- and- computer-generated pseudoscience – John Heller MD (RIP).

Sorry about that. Someone had to say it…

Thursday October 12

Have just re-read Heller’s book from cover to cover, this time not looking for what’s there, so much as looking for what’s NOT there. A growing suspicion has been amply confirmed. There’s scarcely any mention of the negative, tone-reversed image. Where there is, usually in passing, scattered here and there throughout some 220 pages, it displays no curiosity whatsoever for this unusual feature. Worse still from a scientific standpoint, it attempts to pass it off as a trifling detail, namely as some kind of concomitant of John Jackson’s blinkered model-building (which in turn plays down cloth-body “contact” , instead talking up his entirely hypothetical imaging across air gaps which Heller later refers to as if established fact.

That is one truly bizarre omission, especially as the negative image does get briefly spotlighted  on Page 1 of the book, Chapter 1 (Title: “The Physics of Miracles?” Ouch! ).

“In 1978, I had never heard of the Shroud of Turin, let alone seen a picture of it. When I did, I was surprised. I thought I would see something analogous to all the paintings and statuary of Jesus that I had ever seen… (Skip sentence re other portrayals from history and worldwide).

This was different. It was anything but artistic. In addition everything was reversed. Its images were like photographic negatives, with black and white, left and right, reversed. The cloth was also very bloody…” (My bolding)

As I say, bizarre – to flag up a distinctive feature of the TS body image, one that when reversed, as done initially by Secondo Pia in 1898, produces a spectacular result, an image with near-photographic quality, arguably with some additional hard-to-pin-down allure (sometimes described as serene, luminous, ghostly etc), and fail in 220 pages to give that negative image the attention it deserves. Instead we see a fixation with the so-called “3D properties” in Mottern’s VP-8 which I say, from years of hands on experience with its modern day equivalent (ImageJ) are 100% artefactual, the result of digitally re-mapping 2D image density (acquired by goodness knows what process) to an entirely artefactual man-made impression of vertical relief.

I’ll return later today with a brief summary of what I would wish to say to John Heller, were he still alive, regarding the likely origin of the negative tone-reversed image. It will feature a neologism I introduced here yesterday: “impactograph”.  Yes, the TS is not a photographic negative (Stephen E.Jones please note) or indeed any kind of photograph, protophotograph etc that required visible light or indeed any other kind of electromagnetic radiation or stream of subatomic particles etc etc. It’s almost certainly an “impactograph”, the result of interposing an imprinting medium between cloth and body (or bas relief), applying manual pressure to capture an imprint off the flatter more elevated planes only, NOT the sides, followed by a secondary image-development step that converted the imprinting medium to a faint yellow chromophore, probably with conjugated double bonds, probably a melanoidin (on that I’m in agreement with the late Raymond N.Rogers – it’s a polymeric melanoidin, bleachable with Adler and Heller’s diimide reagent which selectively hydrogenates C=C double bonds).

Why go to all that trouble? See title of this posting, with its reference to an entity I unleashed upon the bored, indifferent, know-all world of sindonology back in November 2014: the simulated sweat imprint. Those early custodians and viewers of the Shroud mentioned here, from the 16th and 17th century, probably recognized an IMPRINT when they saw one,  conscious of and unphased by an imprint’s tell-tale reversal of light/dark tones seen in a conventional painted image.

TS negative face v positive photograph and pencil sketch

Two positive images, one photographic, the other pencil-drawn versus the  tone-reversed  TS negative image.


Instead, they briefly- and in my view correctly-  interpreted the body image as a sweat imprint.. whether real or simulated.

John Jackson tried to kid us there was a “simple and global mathematical relationship” connecting image intensity with presumed length of (entirely imaginary) air gap between recumbent body and loosely draped linen. Shame there was not a shred of evidence or even theoretical physics for imaging across an air gap.  Pseudo-science does not get much worse than this! What Jackson was doing, needless to say, was dreaming up his preconception first, then arranging the evidence  to fit, which is about as far removed as one can get from the scientific method. But then what can you expect from someone who flaunts his  scientific so-called “doctorate” awarded by a military academy (which should have confined itself to awarding military ranks).?

Jackson (and those who followed) should have experimentally modelled not just pro-authenticity “loosely draped linen” if investigating a contact model, but linen that was forcibly impressed against a recumbent body to close up all but the most-difficult-to-access hollows and crevices in a medieval ‘simulation’ scenario.

Too many  sindonologists’ insistence on seeing only what they want to see, of ignoring or spurning anything and everything that fails to conform to their blinkered view, while professing to be “scientific”, flaunting  their supposed research qualifications, is a major insult to genuine science. Shame on the new BSTS Newsletter editor (David Rolfe) for having previously followed them around with his movie camera, attentive to their every word, treating those words as if gold dust…

I’m hoping that someone will point out the anomaly of the supposed ‘negative tone-reversed image’ of the Shroud face shown earlier. Be prepared for an unconventional opinion regarding a facial feature that is not skin (hint hint). 

“Impactograph”?  Neologism?  Oops – I was deploying that term well over 3 years ago. See this posting on Dan Porter’s retired site, with its link to a discussion on another of his postings.

Friday October 13th

(Noting the date, it’s just as well I’m not superstitious by nature!)

In passing, am I the only one to think that (the amazingly youthful-looking) Professor Christopher Ramsey of the Oxford University continues to be hideously misquoted, most recently by STERA’s front man – Barrie M.Schwortz in his current (October) update?

Ramsey has made it clear that he cannot conceive of any mechanism whereby the 1988 radiocarbon dating (1260-1390) could be wrong by some 1300 years (which considers and rejects among other things Jackson’s carbon monoxide theory,  having himself failed to find a scrap of experimental evidence to back it up). Ramsey – a committed Christian  btw- ends his statement with these charitable words (my bolding):

” There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow and so further research is certainly needed. It is important that we continue to test the accuracy of the original radiocarbon tests as we are already doing. It is equally important that experts assess and reinterpret some of the other evidence. Only by doing this will people be able to arrive at a coherent history of the Shroud which takes into account and explains all of the available scientific and historical information.”

Now compare with Barrie Schwortz’s truth-bending words in his current (October 2017) update:

(My bolding)

This issue also marks the last issue from current Editor Hugh Farey, who is retiring from the position he has held since December 2013 and handing it over to long time BSTS member, David Rolfe. David is best known in Shroud circles for his films on the Shroud which include The Silent Witness, the BAFTA-winning production from 1978 which introduced so many to the subject for the first time. His second film for the BBC in 2009 – Material Evidence – included Prof. Christopher Ramsey, Head of Oxford’s Radio Carbon Center, who conceded, memorably, that in the light of the new evidence and the lack of any substantive explanation for the Shroud’s image, the C14 should be looked at again.

Ramsey has conceded nothing! He’s merely noting the existence of a powerful lobby, seeking any and every opportunity to dispute and discredit his data, not just on radiochemical grounds, but highly suspect so-called ‘historical ‘ evidence.  In short, he was merely being polite and civilized in ending his statement in the (overly?) accommodating the way that he did.

Late insertion (14 Oct): see also this posting on Dan Porter’s site from as long ago as December 2011 asking why Ramsey had ‘changed his mind’ and whether it was due to failing to find evidence to back up the C-14-O hypothesis.

Incidentally, where in the whole of recorded history pre-1355 (first recorded appearance of the Lirey-displayed TS in the written record, tallying needless to say with the radiocarbon dating) is there a single image of the iconic two-fold dorsal/frontal head-to-head configuration of a crucified man?. There isn’t needless to say, since it doesn’t exist… The TS is almost certainly a simulated sweat imprint onto a mid-14th century mock-up of Joseph of Arimathea’s fine linen, intended to rival, nay trump, the immensely-lucrative pilgrim-attracting Veil of Veronica. Indeed, one suspects the Veil provided the inspiration for the imprinting-technology – an initial “sweat” imprint drying, yellowing and morphing into something rather more impressive and eye-catching – while retaining a modicum of credibility as ‘authentic’. But that is/was only the case if there’s perceived to be simultaneous imprinting of newly-shed blood and sweat. It loses all credibility if the body image is attributed not to sweat but to  ‘resurrectional incandescence’ days after the clotting and drying of the blood, unless, that is, one suspends all critical judgement and buys into one or other of the various re-bleeding/remoistening scenarios

Sorry to repeat myself, which I’m forced to do for reasons I’m minded shortly to address.

Moving on, I was reading (Christian) Hugh Farey describing  (BSTS Newsletter No.85) his position on the TS (pro-Resurrection/anti-authenticity) vis-a-vis that of  (Jewish) Barrie Schwortz’s (anti-Resurrection/pro-authenticity).

Late addition: Hugh Farey’s words verbatim:

The following weekend sees this year’s Jalsa Salana, the annual
gathering of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Hampshire, UK,
which itself looks set to become a minor Shroud convention of its own.
Half a dozen experts are due to attend, including Barrie Schwortz, whose
pivotal role in Shroud studies not only includes STERA and,
but the deliciously ironic fact that as a Jew he believes in the authenticity
of the Shroud, but not in the Resurrection, while I believe in the
Resurrection, but not the authenticity of the Shroud. The other Christians
believe in both the authenticity and the Resurrection, while the
Ahmadiyya Muslims don’t think Jesus died on the cross. I doubt if a
similar variety of opinions will be found in Pasco.

It occurred to me that what we see there are just two of four possible overlap areas in one of those handy Venn set theory diagrams (5 if one includes a background grey area for total DON’T KNOWs!).

Venn diagram - positions on TS authenticity and Resurrection

Where do you stand, dear reader?

A= pro-authenticity/pro-Resurrection (John Jackson, Giulio Fanti, Paolo di Lazzaro, Stephen E.Jones etc etc)

B = anti-authenticity/pro-Resurrection (Hugh Farey, Christopher Ramsey)

C = pro-authenticity/anti-Resurrection (Barrie Schwortz)

D = anti-authenticity/anti-Resurrection (moi and millions of other free-thinkers who refuse to be brain-washed, especially by the likes of Group A true-believers who persistently abuse the scientific method and/or principles)

Saturday October 14: there’s another significant, generally well-informed  sindonologist who could be mentioned in that Group A – namely Thibault Heimburger MD. But he seems to have disappeared from view – his most recent comment on this site – one of many – being February of last year! Has anyone heard from him of late? Has he maybe given up on the Shroud? That would be a shame – he being a rare example of a pro-authenticity sindonologist who at least until some 20 months ago was prepared to interact with the likes of me and fellow sceptics. It makes a welcome change from the more typical sindonologist (Barrie Schwortz, Mark Antonacci,  Giulio Fanti etc etc) who tries to pretend one does not exist!  That’s not restricted to pro-authenticity scientists, mind you –  Professor Luigi Garlaschelli never responds to my emails, sent to his listed Milan address.

It is counterproductive to scientific progress, needless to say, to operate as if contrary voices with contrary ideas, repeat IDEAS, do not exist. Science is essentially about the world of ideas – not people and their good or bad points… Isaac Newton was for the most part a pain in the butt in his dealings with fellow scientists, but still had a few useful things to say…

Sunday October 15

I’m realizing that my abject failure to get recognition for what I consider a simple and coherent theory for the TS – a scientific alternative to the fanciful pseudo-science alternatives that dominate the media – is lack of a memorable shorthand name or tag. What’s in a name? Everything, one suspects.  Coin a memorable name, and that’s probably half the battle where achieving visibility is concerned.

But what tags have been suggested thus far? Just a handful, by me alone, and no one else. But “simulated sweat imprint” or “impactograph body image” don’t really do the business, do they?

Time to put on one’s thinking cap, and come up with a snazzier alternative. Suggestions invited.

The first outside suggestion has just been provided at the breakfast table (from spouse):

1. The Truth.

Other ideas:

2. The MOTSI model (Miss-Out-The-Sides Imprinting model)

DSC07540 slightly cropped

3. The PXBF model (Pre-Xerox Body Fax model)

4. The CAGI model (Create A Good Impression model)

But acronyms are better if they spell a real word, preferably with some connection or mere connotations with the given subject?

5. As per:  the TRIFLE model (Topical Relief Imprinted, Flour/Linen Enabled)

6. The FRIGHTFUL model (Forget Resurrectional Incandescence, Ghostify Human Topography, Flour Upon Linen)

7. The FOSSIL model (Flour-Obtained Simulated Sweat Imprint – L-ementary my dear Watson)

8. The NONSCIFI model (The NoNonsense Scattered- Inventively Flour- Imprinting) model

9. The ICONIC model (Imprinting, Contact Only, No Image Cinematography)

Well, the problem now seems clear – namely the inability to express in a few words the essence of what’s being proposed, and/or to do so in a manner that is not instantly yawn-provoking.

Yes, how can an explanation for the TS as a product of medieval inventiveness, intended to reconstruct in material terms a particular brief narrative of the Gospels  – namely Joseph of Arimathea’s collection of a crucified body from the cross to a place of burial – possibly hope to compete for attention with the notion that the body  image only arrived later, after bloodstains – in a miraculous flash of resurrectional radiation.

It can’t, obviously, and pro-authenticity advocates of imaging-via-resurrection know it.

All they have to do is to carefully drip-feed the media, month by month, year by year, with their own agenda-promoting narrative, and scrupulously avoid giving so much as the slightest reference to more mundane, down-to-earth explanations for the TS, mine included. Chief culprits? Do I really need to name names?  Most are US or Italy-based.

Welcome to the 21st century, where control-freak fanatics attempt – and largely succeed -in exercising mind-control over the gullible and impressionable, keeping their tawdry little pseudo-science show on the road.

They know the media will lap up each and every one of their sensation-seeking pronouncements.

Monday October 16

Hugh Farey’s replacement as Editor of the BSTS Newsletter  (David Rolfe) is introducing an online forum, but apparently for subscribers only (shame it’s not open to all, but ours is not to reason why). So I’ve submitted my application which provides two years membership for a very reasonable £20. It asks one to say a little about oneself, how one came to be interested in the Shroud etc etc. I’m taking the liberty of reproducing my short submission here (blue font):

I have maintained my specialist Shroud website, since Feb 2012, reporting hands-on modelling of the TS body image in real time.

Hugh Farey did a report on my investigations in a BSTS Newsletter up to and including Model 9 in June 2015. Current Model 10 is a variant of Model 9, using solid white flour as imprinting medium onto wet linen instead of flour slurry onto dry linen, and using a hot oven (including its infrared radiation) for thermal development of the flour imprint in place of nitric acid.

I believe the TS body image to be a simulated sweat imprint of medieval design and manufacture, the technology having probably been inspired by the legendary Veil of Veronica. I am frankly amazed (and indeed appalled) that what I consider to be a commonsensical interpretation of the TS has achieved virtually zero penetration of sindonology, excluding the brief mention in Hugh Farey’s report. There be something rotten in the state of sindonology if it cannot bring itself to acknowledge the existence of an hypothesis, nay comprehensive theory, one that ticks so many boxes.


Here’s a C&P of what Hugh wrote in 2015 (BSTS no.81). (My bolding)

Hugh Farey
For several years Colin Berry has been investigating ways by
which the image on the Shroud could have been manufactured, and he
has finally arrived at what he hopes is a satisfactory explanation. In many
ways, though, the journey has been more valuable than the final
achievement, as the variety and imagination of his experiments have
enhanced our understanding of many of the characteristics of the Shroud,
and demonstrated inaccuracies in long held beliefs.
His exploration began with the idea that the image on the cloth
was essentially a scorch, produced by the imposition of a hot statue. The
image was described as looking very scorchlike by almost all the scientists
of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STuRP), although its failure to
fluoresce under ultraviolet light, unlike the marks of the known scorches
from the 1532 fire, led them to reject scorching as a valid hypothesis. Berry,
however, investigated whether there might not have been a process which
could produce a scorch which didn’t fluoresce, and began work using
heated horse-brasses, and later a brass crucifix picked up in a French street
market. He soon discovered that, contrary to accepted credo, it was easily
possible to scorch only one side of a linen thread, and even only one side
of a flax fibre, and began to quantify the distance at which heat radiation
was essentially ineffective. This proved to be very small, much less than
the 4cm or so required by the hypothesis that a life-sized statue could
have been the heat source, but he also showed that difference in contactpressure
produced difference in scorch intensity. He demonstrated that
almost any scorch will produce both an effective ‘negative’ image, and can
be converted into a ‘3D image’ using similar software to that of the
famous VP-8 Image Analyser, demolishing any miraculist claim that only
the Shroud was capable of such effects.

Along the way, Berry, whose principal research job has been into
dietary fibre, explored exactly what components of a flax plant cell (such a
cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin or lignin) were likely to be most easily
discoloured by heat, and how it might be transmitted through and along a
fibre. He also experimented with methods of producing the most
‘realistic’ image, as simply laying a hot model on cloth, or even simply
laying a cloth on a hot model, had not been satisfactory. To ensure a good
image, good contact is required, and some form of soft underlay or
overlay is needed for the cloth to mould slightly around the model. This
led to Berry’s two designs to test: LUWU (Linen Underneath the model,
With an Underlay beneath the linen) and his currently preferred LOTTO
(Linen On Top, Then Overlay).

Although all this led to numerous peripheral investigations,
including attempts to scorch linen in oxygen-free environments, the
fluorescence problem remained, so Berry turned his thoughts towards
chemical, rather than thermal, scorches, rather as Luigi Garlaschelli
hypothesised when he painted a shroud with a small percentage of
sulphuric acid in the pigment carrying medium. Tests involving various
acidic extractions from pomegranate rind in conjunction with possible
mordants like alum were not very satisfactory, so Berry turned his
attention to nitric acid instead.
Alongside all the chemistry, Berry was considering the rationale
that might lie behind a forger’s technique. If the image was a scorch, it
may have been an attempt to represent an image made by a man who had
been burnt to death, such as the Templar Jacques de Molay, and if it was a
chemical imprint, it may have been an attempt to represent the action of
sweat on an enveloping sheet. The word ‘suaire’ on one of the Lirey
pilgrimage badges, and the legend of Veronica’s ‘sudarium’ were
indications that this was not unreasonable. He also wondered if, since
there were certainly other ‘authentic’ burial shrouds already in existence,
this one might have been an attempt to represent the one Christ was laid
in as he was lowered from the Cross. There is some biblical justification
for this, and it was certainly used as an apologia for the existence of at
least two ‘shrouds’ in later centuries.
Covering a live model in acid was always likely to be unpopular,
so Berry now proposes a two-stage model, in which something
representing sweat is imprinted, colourlessly, on cloth, and the image
developed on the cloth with nitric acid. To get the best impression, it turns
out that a more viscous medium than sweat itself is required, so Berry
experimented with various things such as milk, egg-white and starch
before settling on a slurry of flour and water. This can be smeared over a
volunteer and the linen cloth applied, LOTTO, to achieve the imprint. If it
was appropriately viscous, the flour would not touch anything but the
crowns of the threads, as observed on the Shroud. The cloth can then be
heated with an iron to develop the image, or treated with nitric acid,
which turns the gluten in flour yellow in a xanthoproteic reaction.
The full story of Colin Berry’s research is quite difficult to follow
on his two websites, but he has recently assembled it all at https:// to which readers are
directed if they want to find out more about his ideas, his experiments, his
conclusions, and his answers to opponents. His other site is
Although Berry says he has hung up his test tubes for the present,
several loose ends are still available for tying up. Although Ray Rogers
was convinced there was a thin starch coating all over the Shroud, Heller
and Adler, in 1988, didn’t find any. And if the image relates, as the STuRP
team suggested, only to the material of the Shroud and not to any coating
or imprinting medium, then some interaction between the xanthoproteic
events on the medium and the underlying linen should be investigated.

Tuesday October 17

Up until now, I’ve been largely content to argue the positive aspects of my ‘simulated sweat imprint’ model while awaiting responses from (curiously) mainstream ideas from sindonology based on ‘resurrectional incandescence’. But apart from that one article over 2 years ago in the BSTS Newsletter and a few postings on Dan Porter’s retired shroudstory site  (which I overlooked to mention yesterday) there’s been nowt but a deafening silence (that’s despite that so-called International Shroud Conference at Pasco, Washington State in July).

So what’s this non-person supposed to do next?  Make a direct approach to the media? I tried that once, approaching the chief reporter of a UK national newspaper who called on me earlier out-of-the-blue for assistance with a different matter of scientific/medical interest . Sticking point (nay, road block: he said I’d need to do a full-size modelling of the TS if he and his paper were to provide publicity! I mentioned David Rolfe as a possible source of finance  and logistic back-up (recalling his Enigma Challenge to Richard Dawkins) and heard no more. Later I mooted the idea of a  possible partnership with Professor Luigi Garlaschelli on the International Skeptics Forum to repeat his ‘powder frottage’ modelling using  student volunteers with my white flour as imprinting medium instead of his acidified metal oxides etc , but that and later emails regrettably elicited zero response. Maybe I should have got my English translated into Italian ( I did start by apologizing!)!

(Good, isn’t it, that his compatriot Italian Government employees at ENEA can discolour linen with their uv excimer lasers, but despite admitting an actual image as distinct from faint discoloration was beyond the capabilities of the technology, have the UK media spellbound?  The same media sets the bar much much higher for me  when I come along, hat in hand, proposing homely medieval instead of 21st century technology!).

I was approached a couple of months ago by a Spanish language publication, asking for a summary of my model in relation to others.  I duly obliged, receiving thanks for doing so.  The initial October publication date was postponed for ‘logistical reasons’ and November, possibly December suggested in its place. For now it’s a matter of waiting, with no idea as yet what the reporter’s copy will say and not say.

For now I have no alternative than to challenge the ‘radiationists’ more directly on what I consider the more obvious weaknesses of their hugely unrealistic model. There are I believe serious inconsistencies between theory and results (notably the vertically UPWARDS emitted/collimated radiation needed for obtaining the frontal body image) reliant we are told on imaging across air gaps and ‘encoded distance information’ in contrast to imprinting by physical contact ONLY needed for the dorsal image from a recumbent subject under loosely-draped linen. So how come the frontal and dorsal images look so similar, BOTH giving a 3D response in Image J, not just the frontal one with sizeable air gaps we’re told, the dorsal one largely without, assisted as it is by body weight (Stephen E.Jones please note)?

My own preference is to stay positive, pressing home – or merely drip-feeding- the advantages of my own model. But that becomes impossible when one finds one’s message almost entirely airbrushed out of existence by the vast majority of authenticity-proselytizing sindonologists who see one as the ‘enemy’, not a fellow scientist.  Pasco  (to say nothing of STERA’s so-called research ‘updates’ on its  twice-yearly refreshed site)  to say nothing of the excessively clubbish, some might say furtive MO of the self-styled ‘Shroud Science Group’  have left me in no doubt whatsoever as to the real message-proselytizing nature of the defiant  sindonological  public relations machine.

Whole body imprint? The trickiest part of the anatomy to imprint onto linen is the face, thanks to the angular relief. But it can be done, at least on a good day, as I showed back in May 2015 when using Model 9 (nitric acid vapour as developing agent).

Yes, here’s an imprint from that posting (skip the initial section using the hand) of my own face, before and after light photo-editing:

flour selfi may 2015 sciencebuzz pre v post editing

(Btw: I have neither a beard nor moustache. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Never interpret an ‘impactograph’ as if it were a photograph!)

Frankly I see absolutely no reason why the  Models 9/10 flour imprinting technology developed by this investigator/blogger should not be able to generate a whole body imprint of comparable quality to that on the TS.

OK, so I used wet flour slurry rather than powdered dry white flour – which gives a sharper image with better defined edges, and I used a chemical developing agent for the above image, rather than heat.

Late insertion: No! I’ve just taken a close look at that May 2015 posting. Amazingly those photos you see above were taken BEFORE colour development with nitric acid. In other words there was sufficient colour in the flour imprint alone to give a visible negative image of my demonic countenance, allowing one to enhance the contrast  just a little, and then immediately upload to the 3D-rendering program. In other words, the ‘old’ Model 9 data dredged up for this late addition to the posting is to my mind still highly relevant to current Model 10, the only difference being the physical state of the flour and linen (to do with which has the additional water initially!).


But those are practical details. I have no strong attachment one or other  aspect of technology: what matters is the principle – imprinting from a real person (or inanimate bas relief  or statue ) via physical contact under applied manual pressure, using an innocuous organic  imprinting medium that can be developed at leisure in a separate second step to give the requisite faint yellow colour. How much longer does one have to wait for the obvious merits of my contact  model to be recognized by those radiation-obsessed proponents of resurrectional incandescence? But it’s no longer about the science and technology, is it? It’s about the message, and our mass media are letting them have a field day, Correction –  serial field decades, virtually unchallenged….

PS. I never did check out that flour slurry imprint of my face in ImageJ, to see if it responded to 3D-rendering. Answer: yes it does!


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

 Here’s a variant on the above, more highly cropped:

new 3D highly cropped


OK, so it’s not the most sophisticated of 3D-results. It used flour paste, not dry flour powder.

What’s more,  it was a completely DIY job, no outside help, requiring me to spread dry  linen over a cushion, and then forcibly press my face down ( LUWU as distinct from LOTTO mode, with no precision manual patting of  linen onto face – just passive brute-force imprinting in a single ‘take’ that among other things deforms the problematical  nose).

But as stated already, it’s the principle that counts – there’s no, er,  earthly reason why simple technology, available in the 14th century, should not reproduce the main features of the TS body image (colour, negative character, 3D-responsive etc etc).

I say the problem  (or as some would say ‘enigma’)  as to how the TS acquired its body image is largely solved  (well, in principle at any rate).

Wednesday October 18

Congratulations to those few who have made it thus far in the posting, which is already way, way too long  (it happens, blog postings being living things that occasionally evolve way beyond the initial plan, even assuming there was one).

Probably best I stop here, and await feedback, hoping I get some, before pondering what to do next.  Frankly I consider the ball to be in The Other Court (mainstream pro-authenticity sindonology). How much longer can the latter continue the way it does, year in, year out,  pushing its miraculist notions, feeding its titbits to the media, kidding itself  and the rest of humanity that conventional science can never hope to explain the Shroud?

Oh, but it can  (provided one’s willing to remove those rose-tinted spectacles supplied gratis by sindonology’s activist clique).

Comments invited (though I can’t guarantee to respond to all of them)…


Added October 27:  Symmetrical “poker holes” graphic needed for Comments (click tab at end of this posting|): culled from the internet (saves me having to duplicate it myself, and the source is worth a read, if only to witness pro-authenticity thinking in full swing).

Added October 28:  today’s plan for modelling of the 4 symmetrical sets of burn holes to reproduce the rapid fall-off in damage to linen. (Needed for Comments)

modelling of TS to reproduce symmetry and falloff in 4 sets of burn hole2


Flour imprints will be allowed to air dry before folding the linen as shown to prevent cross-contamination (shown yesterday to work as well as my previous heating of imprints on undried linen ). Face 1 will be closest to the heat source (modern fan oven with infrared-emitting element substituting for charcoal fire, at least for now!). Faces 2,3 and 4 are progressively further away from the heat source (though Face 4 will be receiving more convected hot air than the inner protected faces 2 and 3).

Added October 29

Also needed for Comments – serial step-wise photographs from yesterday’s imprinting off an oil-smeared, flour-sprinkled plastic figurine (“Incredible Hulk”)

inc hulk plus 3 stages of imprinting final

  1. Figurine; 2. Oil-smeared, then flour sprinkled from above; 3. Shake off surplus flour 4. First stage pre-washed flour imprint after 60 mins in fan oven at approx 160 degrees C

Added November 1, 2017

And here’s how I think the “bloodstains” were added, at least in principle, in two separate stages, separated by decades, perhaps centuries.

4 stages in blood imprinting

= flour- dusted subject; = addition of trickle(s) of a  treacly slurry of reddish clay/water to represent Mark 1 blood; C = appearance of flour imprint  with Mark 1  “blood” after heat-processing over charcoal fire (clay “blood” unchanged); D= final touched up imprint, with brighter red blood (or,  more probably,  passably-authentic blood substitute) dabbed carefully onto original clay imprint.


See this link to the 10 page pdf by Prof.G Lucotte’s impressive and exhaustive  microscopy    performed on  a Shroud sticky-tape blood sample supplied to him from the 1978 samplings (by “Riggi de Numana”). See the reference to reddish clays being a major contribution to the red-brown colour of the particular sample (right eye brow) , the same colour we’re told as ALL the bloodstains!

November 12, 2017

Have just been re-reading a Paolo Di Lazzaro paper from 2015 (one of those open access communications – free of charge, but questionable re the thoroughness of ‘peer review’).

Here’s a photomicrograph from that paper with an attached claim that I’ve been pondering for quite some time with ever increasing scepticism – fuelled by my own model system, my own microscopy/

Di Lazzaro 2015 pdf broken fibre with claimed yellow PCW

Am I the only one to see the serious methodological shortcoming in the above ‘experiment’ with what is described as a ‘mechanically damaged’ fibre (how seriously damaged???).

What should PDL have done instead? Clue: view the “TS” (short for something other than Turin Shroud, something to do with microscopical technique…).

Yes, if one really wants to know where the colour is in relation to the outermost layer of the fibre (the PCW, i.e. primary cell wall) AND the inner layers too (S1, S2 layers of the secondary cell wall) one does not, repeat NOT, rely entirely on the kind of image and methodology displayed above!

Ever heard of a microtome,  wax-embedding, transverse sections  etc Dr.Di Lazzaro?

See this posting of mine from Jan 2013!

End of lecture (shorter I hope and/or less insufferable than the ones I get periodically  from Dr.High-and-Mighty PDL).

Posted in Shroud of Turin | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

A solution (at last!) to the Turin Shroud – based on my 5 years of continuous experimental research.

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).

Note added 28th September, 2017:

Here’s in blue font below is a copy of the final two paragraphs of this posting, which serve as Summary of my TRANSPORT (NOT burial!) Shroud hypothesis. Correction: medieval simulated TRANSPORT “Shroud” …

Well, I’ve said it many, many times before these last 3 years or more, but the message for some reason is failing to sink in. The Shroud of Turin is a 14th century simulation/modelling/reconstruction/mischievous forgery (take your pick)  of what a whole body imprint in sweat and blood of the crucified Jesus onto Joseph of Arimathea’s fine linen, supplied to the cross, formed en route to the rock tomb place of burial, might have looked like some 13 centuries later. It was inspired by the Veil of Veronica, an alleged imprint of the face of Christ onto a proffered piece of  bystander’s cloth acquired en route to the cross. Note the symmetry: first, a facial imprint formed en route to the cross, then, a few hours later, a whole body imprint formed en route from cross to tomb.

There you have it folks. Note that the explanation offered does not require that one accurately models or reproduces the TS blood/body image for it to be true. I regard my flour-imprinting procedure merely as a reasonable approximation, one that can account for several features of the body image especially. But I repeat: acceptance of the ‘transport-shroud’ hypothesis, with rejection of  any significant imprinting post-interment (whether in a 1st or 14th century time-frame) does not depend on getting the image modelling 100% right, or even 10%.  What matters is that medieval artisans set out to ‘trump’ the Veil of Veronica, producing a bigger and better image of the founder of Christianity, and despite the initial setbacks at the hands of the local bishop and Pope, could be said to have been phenomenally successful, given the millions today who believe in the authenticity of the Shroud, thanks to 20th/21st century agenda-driven pseudoscience (groan!).

Start of original posting:

Here’s a new image-modelling result for starters, obtained this very morning:

DSC07540 slightly cropped



It shows my own hand, sprinkled with an imprinting medium (plain white flour) from above. First, there was  addition of  two enveloping  circles of black adhesive tape (wrist and finger) to show where the flour settles and (more importantly) where it DOES NOT (the vertical sides, as distinct from higher flatter planes).  Note the fairly abrupt transition from horizontal planes – where the flour settles – and the vertical planes – where it doesn’t, with a fuzzy boundary separating the two.

Relevance to the Turin Shroud? One would have needed to read some two years worth of postings on this site since August 2015 to know why I think, and indeed KNOW the relevance. One would need to know that the flour one sees in the above photos can be imprinted onto wet linen, draped over the top of the flour-coated-hand and pressed firmly.  One would need to know that the flour imprint can then be thermally developed in an oven (or glowing charcoal embers?) to produce a resistant yellow or brown NEGATIVE (tone-reversed) image, displaying a 3D-response in the appropriate computer software.

Here’s the initial imprint of my hand from the above pressing, first as seen when removed from the oven.

DSC07576 roasted hand imprint no oil as is

Shroud-like?  Yes, more so after washing, but let’s put the above image into ImageJ (3D-rendering software that converts image density to image height plotted onto an entirely artificial vertical z coordinate):

roasted hand imprint no oil pre wash 3D




Yes the contact flour imprint on exposure to heat (radiant heat especially) produced a Shroud-like NEGATIVE (tone-reversed) image with 3D response in the appropriate software! Coincidence? I think not. The Shroud image is also a contact imprint, made with white flour (probably) and not a miraculous ‘selfie’ of the crucified Jesus! Clever these medievals!

More to come, much more. (John Jackson and other proponents of imaging via mystery corpse-generated radiation via one-off  ‘resurrectional incandescence’  I say simply this: BRACE YOURSELVES! The time of reckoning has finally arrived (after some 35 years of your fairly non-stop, self-indulgent blitzing of the media with your fanciful PSEUDOSCIENCE!).

Friday Aug 25

I repeat a question made on this site a few days ago.

Where is there a single shred of evidence that the Shroud body image is anything other than one formed by physical CONTACT alone between  linen and a  human body (or inanimate version of the latter, 3D or bas relief)?

None of the evidence I have encountered thus far for imaging across air gaps (requiring uv, x-ray radiation  or bombardment via sub-atomic particles etc) stands up to close scrutiny. Maybe my scrutiny  has been too close – in which case, please disabuse me quickly of my lack of understanding.

In the meantime, I say this to all you ‘radiationists’  out there and your ilk.  Fantasize by all means. But kindly desist from resorting to pseudoscience. You risk damaging the reputation of  science (real science that is).

The laws of physics and chemistry are just that – laws. They are not there to be re-fashioned to suit your own convenience, far less to pander to the over-impressionable or gullible…

Saturday 26th Aug

Here’s an image that appears in the highly proactive  lawyer (“Test the Shroud”)  Mark Antonacci’s 2000 book entitled “The Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical and Archaeological Evidence”. It’s on Page 7 no less, one of the first images to appear in the book:DSC07599 yellow arrow


Notice anything unusual, dare one say overlooked, maybe studiously ignored? The pictures are 3D-renderings (VP-8 Image Analyser), dorsal body on the left, frontal on the right.  What’s that to the left of my yellow arrow?  What’s image density doing there, one might ask,  immediately beneath the chin, indeed beneath the recognized ‘beard’,  image density that responds so well to 3D-rendering? Has there been any comment and speculation about so prominent a feature? If so, then this investigator has missed it completely, despite nearly 6 years of continuous reading and research.

It’s the neck of the Man on the Shroud, right? So what’s image density doing on the neck? Isn’t the neck supposed to have been too far below loosely draped linen that ‘tents’ from the tip of the chin to the chest?

Isn’t that what we have been told repeatedly by the ‘radiationists’, promoting their imaging via ‘resurrectional incandescence’, namely that image formation does not require physical contact between body and linen, that imaging can occur across air gaps, decreasing rapidly with distance, ceasing altogether at about 4cm separation?

Would one expect imaging of the neck? Here’s another figure: it’s from Page 39 of Antonacci’s book.  It would suggest there should be little if any imaging of the neck:

DSC07596 cropped


Yes, there’s that sizeable gap between linen and body in the neck area, surely at least 4cm in height. Look too at the ‘microdensitometer intensity plot’ above the recumbent figure. Note the way that image intensity falls precipitately from chin, moving left to right, and only starts to re-build when the linen meets the chest.

So why the “ruff” on the 3D-image of the neck region?

What about the Shroud body image prior to 3D rendering? Does it show zero, low or high image intensity in the neck region, relative to chin and chest?

Again. let’s look at a third image from Antonacci’s book:

DSC07598 yellow arrow


So what’s that region of high image intensity doing on the neck for the ‘as is’ negative image shown on the right, to the left of my yellow arrow?

It should surely not be there, based on the ‘loosely draped linen’ model of John Jackson and others. based on his “correlation paper” of 1983, based also on that microdensitometer plot above. But it is, and it’s  plain for all to see  in the 3D rendering, yet seems to have been ignored completely (ah, those inconvenient facts!).   But it wasn’t ignored by this investigator some 4 and a half years ago. Indeed, it was the subject of a posting all to itself in Feb 2013.

Here’s a pair of side-by-side images from that paper:

The right side side shows a Shroud Scope image of the face (added contrast). Note the dark zone (labelled “neck?”) with a paler zone separating it from the chin (and ‘crease’).

The image on the left is a doctored version of the same, showing what one might have expected, given the size of the air gap in the ‘loosely draped linen’ model.

Why the discrepancy between model and actual image? The answer should be obvious: the model is wrong, and even the data supporting it, which fails to flag up the ‘neck anomaly’

There was NO loosely draped linen, at least in the neck region. Regardless of whether the subject was a real face, living or dead, or an inanimate facsimile thereof , the linen did NOT drape loosely. The nature of the image suggests that the linen was PRESSED firmly onto the neck, and less firmly to the underside of the chin to account for the pattern seen.

Manual pressing of linen is not totally inconsistent with authenticity. One could (idly) specuate that a band  had been manually secured in place at neck level to prevent sliding of cadaver within shroud during transport from cross to tomb.  But there’s another scenario that needs to be considered, nay SHOULD have been considered before settling with indecent haste on the ‘loosely-draped’ model, namely medieval ‘forgery’ (or as I prefer to say, medieval simulation of a body (sweat/ newish blood) imprint acquired on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen en route from cross to tomb. The notion of imaging across air gaps via some kind of (still undefined) electromagnetic radiation, corona discharge, sub-atomic particles etc is totally, and I mean TOTALLY unscientific!

Tomorrow I shall take a brief look at that splendid but much-neglected pdf produced by Bernard Power in 2002 which, despite an error in the author’s  asides on chromophore chemistry, frankly puts the Shroudie ‘radiationists’ to shame for its attention to the detailed SCIENCE  requirements and limitations of imaging across air gaps via radiation.

Sunday Aug 27

I’ve changed my mind. Sindonology is just one vast echo chamber, with scarcely anything coming back, except one’s own voice.

Yup, I could summarise some of the key points raised in that  Bernard Power analysis, and request that today’s  radiationists respond to the points he raised. But they won’t. They simply deliver their set pieces, ignoring the detailed physics and chemistry, ignoring the voices of sceptics and critics. I could also pick up on Power’s recognition that a form of electromagnetic radiation (microwave) that of itself has insufficient energy to break chemical bonds could (theoretically at any rate) still play a role in image formation via its generalised thermal effect, triggering chemical reactions that would not otherwise take place at ordinary environmental temperatures on account of the absence of the necessary ‘activation energy’ needed to surmount the energy hump. I could then cross-reference with my own modified Model 10 that features the more energetic infrared radiation – incident radiation I hasten to add from a medieval bed of hot charcoal or similar –  and give hints as to my latest thinking re ‘hotspots’ on the flour-imprinted linen that preferentially absorb rather than reflect infrared radiation (wheat bran particles?). But I’m now minded not to bother. Sindonology frankly does not give a toss for the detailed science, being entirely about promoting its ‘resurrectional incandescence’ agenda* to the general public via a cooperative or compliant media. Science and pseudoscience do not mix. Internet debate and the general mass media do not mix. As for Google’s so-called search engine, read systematically-biased pro-authenticity click-bait e-commerce directory, words fail me…

If there’s anyone out there who wants to discuss or debate the detailed science, then I’m here, ready and willing to participate. But I’m no longer willing to talk to myself (excluding sole respondent Hugh Farey,  Editor  of the BSTS Newsletter – see most recent comments).

*  Am I the only one to think that incandescence/dematerialization would make a lot more sense in the context of the final one-way Ascension (to heaven) than Resurrection, given there would need to be energy-ABSORBING reversal of resurrectional dematerialization? (See Gospel accounts of the various post-resurrectional encounters between the Risen Christ and his disciples etc). 

September 17, 2017

IMG_0015 The Shroud Conspiracy with my markers of Veronica Veil induced 'miracles'


See my own comment regarding this crass so-called novel, which I’m loath to advertise (given its conjuring up THREE modern-day miracles no less enacted by a Vatican archive employee, into whose hands has fallen (allegedly) the  entire Veil of Veronica, tucked into a pocket of a long-lost volume).  Shame on  Simon and Schuster for publishing this tosh…

Tuesday 19th Sept, 2017

Some folk have asked if I’m bothered by the slow (or, as some would say, non-existent) take-up of my modelling studies on the Shroud. Answer: yes, but not unduly. Why not? Well, here’s a clue – the second paragraph in the Introduction to a paper that appeared last year, addressing  “resistant starch” a subject this retired biochemist/food scientist worked upon years ago – some 30-40 years  to be precise while Head of Nutrition and Food Safety at the (then Chorleywood-based) FMBRA:


The debranching enzyme, pullulanase is gaining popularity in the processes of starch conversion. Berry (1986) reported that amylopectin of potato starch when debranched using pullulanase before applying heating and cooling cycles considerably improved the RS3 content. The increased degree of debranching would give chains a more opportunity to align and aggregate to form perfect crystalline structure, thereby leading to the formation of more RS.

Yup, a finding I reported back in 1986 is only now “gaining popularity”!

Here’s a screen shot of the 2016 paper in question, coming from a Saudi institute.


saudi paper 2016 resistant starch pullulanase

And here’s a screenshot of my 1986 paper:


Berry 1986 resistant starch pullulanase


Here’s my current listing on a Google search under (dietary fibre resistant starch):


screen grab from google my resistant starch paper 1986

523 Citations?  Peanuts – given they have accumulated over a mere 30+ years !  Or there again… What’s the opposite of ‘ephemera’, that eternal blight  (oops) of sindonology?

Yup, one needs to take a long-term view where scientific research is concerned!  Anyone who expects instant attention and interest in their latest thinking is definitely in the wrong line of business! If not pearls before swine, think shiny semi-precious stones before blinkered mules…


Thursday Sept 21

Might there be a way of  chemically testing my medieval-era flour-based “toastograph” hypothesis for image formation? Answer: yes, in principle, though it would need some excised body image fibres from the Shroud, and would regrettably be destructive.

Would such a test, based on confirming the presence or absence of  high molecular weight melanoidins  (NOT chemically modified cellulose!) as the image chromophore,  allow one to distinguish my flour-derived end-product from that of the naturalistic 1st century purified starch/volatile amine-derived product proposed by STURP’s Raymond N.Rogers in his post-mortem putrefaction model – he being the first to propose melanoidins as body-image chromophore ? Answer: probably yes, at least in principle.

Experimental details can be provided here (on request). 

In the meantime, here’s a link to a 1984 paper (Dutch/Israeli authorship) that provides a clue to the promising ‘chemical-fingerprinting’ technology.

curie point pms 1984

Saturday 23rd September

A unique feature of my flour imprinting/melanoidin Model 10 is the ‘mobile chromophore’ hypothesis, with migration of the yellow pigment as a LIQUID initially, probably within rather than merely on the surface of fibres.

It was mooted as long ago as August 2015 on Dan Porter’s now retired shroudstory site. (See comments especially).  Experimentally it’s tricky, very tricky as I’ve found to my cost, needing a lot more work, but will be aided hopefully (a) by my two new microscopes and (b) with a new Canon digital camera that is proving better at capturing what one sees down the eye piece. (The image-capture software that came with one of the microscopes is simply dreadful!).

The main challenge will be to see how image chromophore is able to migrate from one side of the weave to the other, leaving little trace of its whereabouts en route between contact and non-contact side of the linen. I shall shamelessly make full use of the contrast-enhancement tool on my graphics software, notwithstanding the uneasiness expressed by Dan Porter as regards artificial contrast in the link to that 2015 posting! One is dealing with an exceedingly faint yellow chromophore,  at least when seen at the individual fibre level – so adding contrast – making it progressively darker tones of brown – becomes a no-brainer!

The ultimate aim is to arrive at a further diagnostic tool with which to implicate a Model 10  imprinting mechanism for the actual Shroud of Turin. That depends needless to say on there being a return visit to Turin by STURP ensemble Mk2, not restricted next time to Stateside researchers only! Far too many of the latter were not true (i.e., ideas-driven) researchers, but mere instrumentation specialists, unconcerned about having no hypothesis to test, apart from the tedious “it’s probably just a painting”).

Sunday 24th September: Can someone please explain to me how a team of 30+ physicists, engineers, chemists, photographers etc could have closed their eyes to the obvious – namely that a tone-reversed, i.e. “negative” image that predated photography by hundreds of years should have been seen in the first instance as a CONTACT imprint, NOT a painting or proto-photograph. That’s especially the case, given the artefact is life-size, both frontal v dorsal surfaces of supposedly the same subject, and bearing biological material suggestive of contact, namely blood (or “blood”) even if that latter ingredient had been painted rather than imprinted. The working assumption that the body image as well as blood was acquired from a free-hand artist’s paint brush – without serious consideration being given to a more obvious alternative – doth simply pass all understanding! Talk about closing one’s eyes to the obvious – or being blinded by minimalist overhyped “science” as it existed back in 1978.

Wed 27th September

Realization (unflattering  I have to say to  mainstream sindonology)  has set in where current and past promotion of the TS is concerned.

I’m thinking of the supposed conceptual links – as one might reasonably take for granted – between the Shroud on the one hand and the biblical Joseph of Arimathea’s “fine linen”on the other, delivered to the site of crucifixion to receive  the body  directly from the cross as temporary transport stretcher, No,  NOT delivered to the the final resting place (rock tomb) as if the biblical linen had been intended  to serve as the permanent burial shroud. Sorry to have to repeat myself…

I’m working my way as we speak through two  previously highly quoted  pro-authenticity text books , seeking out those rare mentions of J of A.

I say, if you want to understand  the TS, then THINK JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA if it’s biblical authority you seek or insist upon.

There is now no doubt in my mind whatsoever that  pro-authenticity ‘sindonology’ has been a huge smoke-and-mirrors distraction  exercise, one that can’t even be bothered to acknowledge, far less  respect, the biblical account regarding J of A’s ” fine linen”, despite the Shroud’s expensive herringbone weave).

Sindonology tries to fast-forward from delivery of a crucified body from the cross into J of A’s linen quickly onto that aforementioned  rock tomb,  and then (pause for further fast forward) to that supposedly whole-body imaging  via ‘resurrectional incandescence ‘ on the third day.

Shame about those pre-existing blood stains complicating the narrative! Cue that little known branch of medicine known as sindonological post-mortem bleeding…

More to come when I’ve finished searching those  two books for references, however slight, to Joseph of Arimathea. One thing’s for certain – he was clearly no star turn where sindonology is concerned.  I wonder why …

Thursday 28th September

Task 1:  have just re-read John Heller’s 1983 “Report on the Shroud of Turin” from cover to cover (all 225 pages, sadly no index).

john heller report shroud turin

Care to guess how many mentions are given to that Joseph of Arimathea (you know, the respected elder who supplied the “fine” or “clean” linen that is the sole biblical corroboration for the involvement of a single sheet of fabric?) One would expect at least one, correct? Indeed, one might expect more than one if there were some discussion as to what would have been considered fine linen in the 1st century, maybe with some information on then current weaving technology (herringbone weave etc).

Be prepared for a surprise. There are NO mentions, not a single one. There was no attempt to fit the pro-authenticity narrative – one that ever so gradually  makes its appearance towards the end of Heller’s book – with the biblical narrative, notably the involvement of that key figure with his strategic purchase.

Why not?  Maybe someone can someone explain to this dullard why that should not have been considered desirable, indeed essential, if writing a book ostensibly on the SHROUD of Turin.?

Task 2: re-read Mark Antonacci’s  (2000) “The Resurrection of the Shroud” from cover to cover, all 328 pages no less.  This later book looks more promising, given the reproduction on the front cover of the Deposition from the Cross of the crucified Jesus into Joseph of Arimathea’s linen. (credited as 16th century, by Della Rovere).

antonacci resurrection of shroud

And there’s an Index this time, which should surely have at least a few entries by name to the supplier of the fine linen in that painting.

Oh dear. Joseph of Arimathea does not appear in the Index!  So, once again, it’s a case of laboriously  (re-) reading Antonacci’s book from cover to cover, marking any and all pages that mention our man.

There are just 4 mentions: Pages 117,119, and Pages 261/262 (Appendix B).

Let’s just make a brief aside before quoting the actual words. One the back cover, there are recommendations from various folk. Here, verbatim, blue font, is the first (my italics at the end):

“What a splendid irony it would be if science, after opposing religion for centuries, should finally provide the strongest confirmation of biblical claims! Mark Antonacci, a lawyer trained to evaluate evidence, uses science itself to rebut the arguments against the authenticity of the Turin Shroud (including the widely publicized carbon dating), and also to show it corroborates not only the crucifixion of Christ, but even his resurrection

-E.La B.Cherbonnier, Professor of Religion Emeritus, Trinity College, Hartford, CT

Er, yes, but let’s not forget that resurrection did not follow instantly from crucifixion. There were those intermediate steps involving J of A’s linen – deposition from the cross, transport to the rock tomb, preliminary preparations for burial etc. Presumably Mark Antonacci would have addressed those on one or more of the 4  of 328 pages where Joseph of Arimathea gets a specific mention, not only as supplier of the linen, but using it personally to receive, transport etc the crucified body from cross to tomb.

Does he?

The two mentions in the Appendix B can safely be ignored, being simply biblical references linking Joseph of Arimathea with “myrrh and aloes”. Folk have looked for traces of those on the Shroud and drawn a blank. So we can now proceed to focus our beady-eyed gaze solely upon what Mark Antonacci has/had to say on Pages 117 and 119.

Verbatim cut-and-paste – Page  117  (blue font):

Several very convincing arguments refute assertions that Jesus’ body was washed. In the first place, the burial that Jesus received was hurried and incomplete. It was the Day of Preparation and the Sabbath was approaching, and all work had to cease before sundown. Not only was this the Sabbath, but this particular Sabbath was also the Passover, one of the holiest of all Jewish occasions.
It was already evening when Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus (Matthew 27:57-58, Mark 15:42-43). This would have been at least a 10 minute journey (and possibly longer because of the crowds gathered for the Passover). There most likely would have been some additional delay in gaining an audience with Pilate, and even further delay as Pilate awaited confirmation of Jesus’ death from the centurion (Mark 15:44-45). Since the release of the body would have involved a legal act of some importance, more than likely a document of release would have been prepared as well, especially since the Jews had sought permission a short time before to have the bodies of the crucified taken away (John 19:31). Joseph of Arimathea then had to proceed back to Golgotha, purchase a linen shroud along the way, take the body down from the cross, and transport it to the tomb…

So, here we are regaled with all the time-consuming steps involved in getting a body from cross to tomb (for reasons that do not concern us for now). Suffice it to say that no mention is made of the importance of that step from cross to tomb, one where an unwashed  body was transferred direct from cross to J of A’s fine linen, when there would have been what might have been at least Stage 1 imprinting of shed blood and probably much else besides, notably body sweat. Yet neither John Heller (earlier) nor Mark Antonacci considers that early imprinting opportunity to warrant attention, merely glossing over the transport step, loading the narrative with other distracting detail.

Why this black hole at the very start of the process that led from real body on cross to image of body deposited on a sheet of linen?  It simply beggars belief that folk would take the trouble to write lengthy books that skim over the first few hours of the most crucial period where the alleged history of the Shroud is concerned. Why have both authors failed to do justice to that crucial part of the narrative? Was it by accident, or was it by design?

It’s time to put my cards on the table. No, correction: my cards were put on the table almost 3 years ago when first articulating an alternative to the TS as a “burial shroud”, suggesting instead what I described as a ‘new paradigm’, namely that it should be seen as a ‘pre-burial’ TRANSPORT shroud, with image as sweat/blood imprint being acquired, whether authentically (or more probably via medieval simulation) in the course of TRANSPORT between cross and tomb.  Needless to say, that notion did not come as music to the ears of those who make their living from claiming that the Shroud body image defies scientific explanation, that ipso facto it did not arrive until the instant of Resurrection!

Yes, it’s nigh on 3 years since this researcher first proposed that the TS was a medieval simulation of a sweat/blood image left on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen while being transported from cross to tomb (indecorously referred to as a ‘body-bag’).

The Makeshift Body Bag of Turin

Sindonology does not challenge it, and indeed ignores it, hoping it will reach as few eyes and ears as possible. Body imaging during transport, whether real (1st century) or as I prefer to say, simulated (14th century) deflates sindonology’s  garish party balloon, the one labelled resurrectional incandescence.

My transport model is testable. Indeed, the flour-imprinting model is/was an attempt to think like a medieval, asking how best to simulate an ancient sweat imprint onto linen, to produce a negative, 3D-enhancible image with the peculiar microscopic properties at thread and fibre level matching those of the Shroud.

Yes, the flour-imprinting model is testable, unlike resurrectional incandescence which isn’t, and indeed is pseudo-science posturing as science. That pro-authenticity sindonology should totally ignore rival models tells one all one needs to know about sindonology. It’s the preserve of closed minds, intent on pushing an agenda that is about mystifying things that are in principle, practice or both capable of rational explanation. Repeat: sindonology has a self-imposed mission to mystify.

Well, I’ve said it many, many times before these last 3 years or more, but the message for some reason is failing to sink in. The Shroud of Turin is a 14th century simulation/modelling/reconstruction/mischievous forgery (take your pick)  of what a whole body imprint in sweat and blood of the crucified Jesus onto Joseph of Arimathea’s fine linen, supplied to the cross, formed en route to the rock tomb place of burial, might have looked like some 13 centuries later. It was inspired by the Veil of Veronica, an alleged imprint of the face of Christ onto a proffered piece of  bystander’s cloth acquired en route to the cross. Note the symmetry: first, a facial imprint formed en route to the cross, then, a few hours later, a whole body imprint formed en route from cross to tomb.

There you have it folks. Note that the explanation offered does not require that one accurately models or reproduces the TS blood/body image for it to be true. I regard my flour-imprinting procedure merely as a reasonable approximation, one that can account for several features of the body image especially. But I repeat: acceptance of the ‘transport-shroud’ hypothesis, with rejection of  any significant imprinting post-interment (whether in a 1st or 14th century time-frame) does not depend on getting the image modelling 100% right, or even 10%.  What matters is that medieval artisans set out to ‘trump’ the Veil of Veronica, producing a bigger and better image of the founder of Christianity, and despite the initial setbacks at the hands of the local bishop and Pope, could be said to have been phenomenally successful, given the millions today who believe in the authenticity of the Shroud, thanks to 20th/21st century agenda-driven pseudoscience (groan!).


End of posting. 

The final two paragraphs,  constituting a summary of sorts, have been copied/pasted to the start of the posting by way of Introduction.


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