The Turin Shroud – surely the most cunning, dastardly con trick in history (14th century France)

Update: October 29, 2016

Oh dear. I have began to acquire a hunch regarding the Turin Shroud that no one, to the best of my knowledge, has previously suggested before. Er, I now strongly suspect that the fabric is NOT linen (derived from flax)  as universally assumed, but from HEMP (derived from a sub-species of cannabis). I have added a short section to the end of this posting, and will be setting out my reasons in the COMMENTS section under this posting, currently up to 25 pre-hemp appearance.

No, there will not be a new posting on the “hemp” hypothesis for the forseeable future. OK, so in  an ideal blogging environment there would be. However, thanks to manipulative, micro-managing Google and other so-called search engines the ‘blogosphere’ is NOT an ideal environment for the dissemination of new thinking. Indeed they serve merely  passively and/or actively to frustrate attempts to put new unconventional thinking online (the same applies to wikipedia). God bless Silicon Valley and environs.

Nuff said here. First see tail end below (once has to scroll down a long way)  then see future comments for why I think the TS is NOT linen, but hemp. Yup, an  expert and impartial re-examination of that relic is Turin is I belive needed as a critical test of authenticity (while reiterating that authenticity is not and never has been this blogger’s chief concern, my being more interested in the mechanism that produced the superficial body image that is said to ‘defy scientific understanding’.

Original posting:

One picture they say is worth a 1000 words. Here’s a picture. It’s assembled from this investigator’s own recent photoarchive, so is not new.


Centre: plastic Galaxy Warrior, approx 1/12 human scale, to represent full grown man. Left: the 2D negative imprint left by that 3D figure on linen, deploying this investigator’s  novel two-stage thermal flour/oil imprinting technology – see previous posting. Right: the same contact imprint, after image -processing with ImageJ software (conversion of natural colour to monochrome, tone reversal then 3D-rendering).

It’s posted here simply to make a point – science can at least MODEL the Shroud image and its peculiar characteristics (negative image, 3D properties, microscopic properties etc). Indeed, I said as much over a year ago, here and on the (discontinued) Dan Porter site. Response from sindonology (generally pro-authenticity, indeed emphatically so  with few exceptions) has been ZILCH (bar some unexpected and appreciative comment from Thibault Heimburger MD here on this site, see below, who previously expressed strong opposition to the Garlaschelli model, also deploying a powder  (mineral-based) as imprinting agent).


I leave it to others to produce a full-size replica if they wish (science being about models that demonstrate the underlying scientific principles – not having to produce exact replicas of other people’s artefacts, least of all one that is centuries old with no accompanying documentation).

I say that the Shroud body image was fully within the capability of medieval technology, once it’s appreciated that the imprinting agent (flour/oil) is no longer visible or indeed detectable, a consequence of the oven roasting/soap washing regime. All that was left at the end was the faint, fuzzy, ghost image,  deposited on the linen fibres by a coloured fabric-staining exudate seeping out from the imprinting agent when subjected to high temperatures (though insufficiently high, approx. 200 degrees C,  to colour the linen per se).

Sorry to repeat myself, but the TS image is NOT a photograph, nor a proto-photograph, or indeed any kind of photograph. It’s a THERMOGRAPH, easily mistaken for a negative photograph.

I may add postscripts (like some acerbic comment on the prospectus for the Shroud conference planned for July next year in Pasco, Washington State, USA, it being like no other prospectus for a scientific congress I have previously encountered in a lifetime of scientific research and education). Sample (in red):

What is on the Shroud?

1.  Rigor mortis in feet shows that the victim was on the cross for a significant amount of time after he had died.

Er, what victim? What evidence does the writer have that the imprinted figure of the Man on the TS was (a) a victim (b) dead, as distinct from alive (c) crucified, bar those bloodstains. Why assume that the TS image is a photograph, equivalent to that of a cadaver laid out on a mortuary slab? How can a diagnosis of rigor mortis, one involving muscle stiffness,  be made from an image, one for which nothing is known for certain as to the mechanism of imaging? Attempting to run before one can walk (in this instance running with the pro-authenticity ball)?

What about the recent Lucotte et al paper that,  based on detailed microscopy, identifies the “bloodstains”  on a Riggi di Numana (1978) sticky tape sample taken from the subject’s ‘face’ at the time of the STURP visit as accumulations of  specific named coloured minerals – hematite, biotite, cinnabar etc?

Why travel (in my case) 6000 miles to  a so-called conference for which the prospectus shows such glaring pro-authenticity bias, and indeed scarcely mentions forgery scenarios, with frequent references to the radiocarbon dating  (1260-1390) as if some kind of problem or mistake, at odds with everything else?

Monday 19th September:

On a lighter note:

A vicar returns to his parked car to find it looks like the one in this photo:


What should he do next?

  1. Search the neighbourhood thoroughly, on the assumption that missing wheels came off simultaneously without him noticing? In other words – a freak occurrence.
  2. Assume it was an Act of God, maybe some kind of personal message, and use it as the subject of his next sermon? In other words – a supernatural event.
  3. Assume that someone had jacked up his car to remove the wheels. (There might even be visible jack marks on the road, but one cannot assume that). In other words: a plausible explanation, not necessarily capable of immediate proof.

Clue: might something as simple and obvious as a jack and its human operators, neither visible in the photograph,  have been the true agent of change, both having to be IMAGINED, not conveniently left behind at the scene to assist with investigation…

Still Sep 19: it’s now just past midday here in the sunny Sarf of France:

Back, briefly, very briefly, to that venue for the 2017 Shroud Conference: it’s the TRAC Center, Pasco, Washington State. Here’s a Google Street View of the stunning architecture one will behold on arrival:

trac center, pasco, was.png

Er, yes. A fine example of its style (post modernist, indeed post most things one might say).

On a brighter note, Hugh Farey’s BSTS Newsletter (No.83) has just appeared on the site.

As usual, there’s some interesting and perceptive comment on a number of issues. I may return later with some of my own.

The main reservation one has with the BSTS Newsletter is that it doesn’t invite or accept comments (but then the same might be said for its host, bar those ancient undated comments that can be found on diligent site-searching – arguably mere window-dressing!).

I’m not sure what the solution is for a society  newsletter – given it has no ambitions to maintain a 24/7 internet presence. Suggestions invited.

Back again, Sep 21

So what am I doing to occupy my free time, while waiting for the world to notice there’s finally an explanation for the oh-so-enigmatic Shroud image? (Nope, I’m not relying on sindonology to spread the word, or even the UK’s hidebound anti-science media).

Answer: I’m attempting to marry the oil/flour-imprinting model with the “blood story”, notably the ‘blood before body image’ mantra.

Progress? Yes, there’s progress, the result of going back and taking another look at the contrast-enhanced (or as I prefer to say, contrast-restored) Shroud Scope pictures. Here are two from the same “spear site” in the side of the chest at two different levels of magnification.


I have just noticed this morning something I should have spotted years ago when first posting these pix. It was NOT necessarily ‘blood before image’, given that the flour-imprinting model provides TOTALcontrol over which parts of the body to imprint, or not to imprint. It could be ‘blood without  image’ in those parts where there’s blood!  Can anyone see what I’m driving at? Look for pale areas, paler, that is, than either the blood OR THE BODY IMAGE!

Yup,  I now suspect that at least some of the areas earmarked for blood were deliberately left free of body image, i.e. flour, at least for the site above, and I believe, for a number of other blood sites.

See this earlier experiment with masking/protection from imprinting agent that illustrated the principle of blood-without-image.

photos 1 and 2 side by side

Left: masking to protect underlying skin from imprinting agent. Right: roasted imprint before washing.

photos 3 and 4 side by side

Attenuated imprint after washing, both before and after addition of “blood” (beetroot juice) to the protected image-free areas.

I also believe these pix show evidence for two types of superimposed blood-imaging, maybe separated by a considerable time interval (decades at least).  The first blood was real, or a reasonable approximation thereof, while the second  ‘touching-up’ blood was entirely artificial, e.g. the particulate, non-organic mineral mix discovered by Lucotte et al  ( hematite, biotite etc). Which is which? Hard to be certain at present, but I suspect that the first blood was the wishy-washy plum-coloured areas, maybe much bolder to start with, and then largely flaked off. That was followed by the much denser red-brown additions of mineral paint that one sees above.

I may append more pix in due course that make the same points – painting blood initially onto image-free areas followed later by touching up with ‘artificial’ blood.

 Back again: here’s another enhanced Scope picture showing the bloodstain on the wrist:


Many moons ago, I was directed to this picture, and instructed to note the ‘serum halo’ at extreme top left, extending beyond that dense tip of the limb. My reply? How come it’s seen in a Shroud Scope photo, taken by Durante in 2002 in visible light? Aren’t those serum haloes supposed to be seen in uv light only? And if it’s a serum halo at the one location, why don’t we see them at the edge of every single bloodstain (no reply!).

Now hold your laptop at arms length, take in the entire image. Do you see what I see – namely a pale zone, as if blood had been painted onto an image-free zone?  In other words, what have been described as ‘serum haloes’ at least in visible light may be nothing of the sort, but parts of a blank image-free zone that were not completely painted over/infilled with blood.  One could go a step further (possibly a step too far) and suggest that the fluorescence attributed to “serum” exudate  under uv light is again nothing of the sort, or at any rate not the entire explanation. Linen has an intrinsic blue fluorescence under uv light that in my model survives oven-roasting in the areas that are free of flour imprint.  So who’s to say that the blue fluoresence in and around the Shroud’s bloodstains is not due to the linen per se in image-free zones deliberately selected by the ‘forger’ for painting with blood AFTER oven-heating and washing? It makes sense, does it not, to apply the blood to image-free zones AFTER those two drastic steps that generate the final fuzzy, washed-out looking body image, but which would damage or wash out blood that was applied too soon in the procedure.

 Back again (still Sep 21)

Here’s another example – upper part of one of the forearms: Note the many pale areas in and around the blood, paler than body image:


Serum haloes? I hardly think so, not in a photograph taken under visible light… Nope, I say the blood was painted onto carefully pre-selected  areas that were carefully kept free of  image-imprinting medium, ie. flour.

 September 22

Which of these two ‘event venues’ would you prefer to use for something billed as an ‘international conference’? The one on the left, or the one on the right (main entrance shown in both instances)?


In fact, they are pictures of the same venue – that chosen in Pasco, Washington State for the 2017 International Shroud Conference.

It’s amazing what can be done with a fish eye lens, one that makes straight facades seem pleasingly curved, and waiting till evening for some low-level artificial lighting…

Some might think that tarted-up TRAC image is not the only instance one could cite where a warped and glossy view has been substituted for the real thing. Warped and glossy sells so much easier and quicker!

Here’s a link for those wishing to book the TRAC Center Pasco for THEIR international conference!

 Sep 23 2016

In just 1 month and 1 day, the flour/oil imprinting model will be two years old!

I discovered it initially through trying to scorch linen with hot metal at lower temperatures, impregnating the linen with dry white flour. Success, as reported in the above posting on my sciencebuzz site (Oct 24 2014). That’s when a crucial step was taken – to see if one could ‘turn the technology on its head’, and imprint off cold metal, or any other 3D template for that matter!). Again, success! The horse brass or brass crucifix could be smeared with oil, dusted with flour, pressed onto linen to leave an oil/flour imprint, and then it was the linen that was gently roasted!

first flour-oil imprints using horse brass Oct 2014.png

First flour/oil imprint from a cold 3D template, October 2014, using a hot oven for image development.

I should have the tried imprinting off human flesh – like my own hand – but didn’t, not immediately. Instead the research took off at a  tangent in an entirely new direction, time-consuming and useful after a fashion (helping to exclude rival models like wet dye imprinting, sulphuric acid-etching etc.).  But it finally looped  back, some 6 months later, to the same science, the same technology, i.e. oil and flour.

Yup, two years almost since the flour/oil model was flagged up, but you wouldn’t know it from scanning the ‘mainstream’ sindonology literature, still hung up on its uv laser pulses, neutron beams etc! How  much longer before these narrative-driven enthusiasts return to planet Earth?

 Sep 24 2016



Venue’s chief attractions? Ample floor space – can easily accommodate the thousands expected! Spillover easily accomodated onto hundreds of square miles of surrounding fenland. Handy too for London (Stansted) Airport.  (Duxford’s present hangars and runways are presently being used temporarily for display of WW2 vintage aircraft).

Why Duxford?  Well, it’s part of a carefully-planned recruitment drive for sindonology, you see,  the surrounding area boasting as it does the highest concentration of PhDs in the UK – it’s called Cambridge University!

The fact that Duxford’s a mere half hour’s drive from where I happen to live had  ABSOLUTELY nothing whatsoever to do with  the decision…

My role?  I’m glad you asked that. I shall be the patron, prime mover and star attraction, needless to say,  using the Conference to promote my thermal flour/oil imprinting model for the Turin Shroud. (The old adage that goes: “Invent a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door” being demonstrably false …).

 Sep 26

Hey ho. One has just raised the model another notch on the dimensions scale, doubling the height (now approx 1/6th human) and trebling the width:


The “Hulk” left performed approximately the same as the “Galaxy Warrior” right, though it has to be said that plastic is somewhat inferior to human skin for imprinting purposes. (it’s to do with the efficiency with which a thin dusting of flour transfers from the plastic to the wet linen).

 Sep 28, 2016

See below the  snapshot of an experiment, correction, two related experiments, both performed yesterday. They are probably worth a posting to themselves. But there’s no point in my continually adding new postings to this site, for reasons that should be apparent to those who have noted my earlier observations re what is clearly a boycott by sindonology on a model that was submitted for scrutiny well over a year ago – including the shroudstory site while still active. (I exclude Thibault Heimburger MD and a handful of others from that, while awaiting with interest TH’s conclusions from his flagged-up experimental evaluation of my model when complete).


Expt.1 (left): effect of stepped temperature increases on colour development in the flour/oil imprinting model, using own hand as template. Expt.2 (right) :  testing a prediction from Expt. 1, namely that linen could be folded and scrolled into compact package for oven-heating provided there was careful control of time and temperature, with  option of intermediate inspection, i.e. removal from oven,  to check on progress and gauge when best to stop heating.

Late insert: note the two creases across the back of the hand in Expt.1. They unintentionally/fortuitously  model a feature visible on the TS, one I used to refer to as “baked-in creases”, notably the prominent one that is seen in the neck/chin region. I’ll expand on that detail here in a day or two. For now I’d simply say that I’ve always maintained that those creases on the TS that match the image colour, but have an image-free central zone, constitute prima facie evidence for a contact image that is imprinted under manual pressure, out of sight of the artisan(s), allowing the blemish to go unnoticed  until it’s too late.  More later.

And here’s the compact folded/rolled linen suspended in a fan oven.


The flour/oil imprinted wet linen was first allowed to dry, a spacer sheet of blank linen placed on top of the imprint, the two folded in half along the shorter of the two dimensions, and the assemblage then rolled up, starting at the fold.

This posting is long enough as it is,  without adding more screed, so the thinking behind the above experiments, and the unexpected windfall (Expt.2) will be continued in Comments below.


Here are the imprints, before v after washing, obtained from the rolled-up linen. Not bad, eh?

hands after 3d original colour.png

Here’s the same, after 3D-rendering in ImageJ. Not bad eh?

October 5, 2016:

This comment appeared from Stephen Jones yesterday on his cantakerous so-called “blog”, read poison pot. (Or should that be ‘plot’, given his madcap KGB theory re the Shroud’s radiocarbon dating?).

“Now that Porter’s blog has closed Berry has a problem in that he cannot post comments to the two major Shroud blogs (Porter’s and mine) so as to entice their readers to view his minor Shroud anti-authenticist blog.”

I’ve just this minute searched under (shroud of turin) and confirmed what I have suspected for a while, namely that this site has steadily been closing the gap with Jones’s. Right now, mine is immediately behind his in the listings (both currently top of page 4). Mine has been gently rising these last few weeks, Jones’s site site steadily sinking. See the first two returns on this morning’s Page 4:


Stephen will have to find this entry for himself. I have ceased alerting him to any new content here, or linking with his site.  All it does is elicit more abuse and misreporting (like claiming I post anonymously to his site – a mischievous and potentially damaging claim if ever there was, as he knows full well – given I always make my identity clear, previously  as “sciencebod”, as registered with Blogger,  or more recently appending my real name in full to the end of a brief comment, alerting him to my ‘thermograph’ model).

As for the description of my style as “discursive” (a term one rarely encounters), maybe Stephen needs to learn the difference between hypothesis-driven experimentally-based science on the one hand and his agenda-driven non-experimental polemics on the other, the first being open to new suggestions and ideas, the latter essentially closed. The first may seem aimless wandering to the impatient and uninitiated. It took this reseacher from Spring 2012 to Autumn 2014 to discover flour/oil imprinting. The last 2 years have been a process of cementing the model as feasible, realistic, soundly-based in theory  etc etc. Call it ‘discursive’ if you like Stephen. I say it’s patient and thorough, leaving no stone unturned.

 October 6, 2016

What was that you were saying about “minor” blog, Mr. Stephen E. Jones? You really do need to check and re-check your facts before getting too puffed up with your own self-importance – or dismissive of others…


Postscript: this investigator has other interests too, above and beyond the Shroud of Turin, having set up his generalist ‘sciencebuzz’ site in 2009. See the most recent posting, setting out my view on the true purpose of Stonehenge (and indeed, most stone circles and/or henges in Neolithic  Britain) namely as sites for AFS (avian-facilitated skeletonization), better known as “sky burial”, followed in many instances by facile end-stage cremation of the mainly-excarnated bones.

Nope, not pleasant to contemplate, but there were probably sound practical reasons for employing this method of disposal of the dead in an era that predated bronze and other metal tools for excavating graves and/or lack of dry timber for fuel- efficient funeral pyres.

October 9, 2016

Have just taken a quick look at Stephen Jones’s site. He seems to have erased all those pejorative references to me and this site that I was commenting on above!

Here’s a passage in his current posting that I consider totally bizarre:

… Turin amateur photographer Secondo Pia (1855–1941) took the first photographs of the Shroud and discovered that the negative on his photographic plate was a photographic positive, which meant that the Shroud image was a photographic negative! See the above negative photograph of the Shroud [right], which is a photographic positive, thus proving the Shroud image is a photographic negative [left].

Here’s the result of an exercise I did back in January this year.  Compare the two images, top and bottom. What would you, dear reader, or Stephen Jones conclude?


The one on top is clearly a negative, i.e. light/dark reversed, as can be seen by looking at the lower image that has been tone-reversed.

So that means the top image is a photographic negative, right, because it responds to tone-reversal to give a positive?

No, of course not. The top image is NOT a photograph (in the first instance). It’s a contact imprint, a brass-rubbing to be precise, selected from internet photo-archives. Like all CONTACT imprints, it is tone-reversed, compared with the brass from which the image was obtained by rubbing.

Jones’s logic is flawed, and seriously so, given the blind spot it reveals about the nature and provenance of the Turin Shroud. He may have other grounds for rejecting the idea that it’s a contact imprint, but baldly making the statement one reads above to support his “resurrection image” ideas  – ones that are emblazoned on his site’s tagline –  is frankly unbelievable, coming as it does from someone who boasts a science degree.

Note: the above exercise would have been better if I could have found a rubbing taken from a brass that had been cast in a mould to give smooth contours (as distinct from the line- engraving technique) since the retsored ‘positive’ would have looked even more ‘photograph-like’. I shall keep hunting those photo archives for just such a image that matches the TS image characteristics more closely.

Afterthought: for other recent results with imaging my own hand,  which some may prefer to plastic figurines, see the posting preceding  this one, and another on a resurrected site (abandoned 3 years ago, and presently below the search engine radar!):


Here’s a link to the  posting:

Having discovered that the above posting appeared briefly, then disappeared from my search engine listings (past 24 hrs, past week, past month  etc) I became curious, and posted to my currently dormant sciencebuzz site, addressing some of the more controversial aspects of sindonology, like the shameless intermixing of science and pseudoscience, which has been a bone of contention these last 5 years or so:

Here’s a screen grab of the title page:


Here’s the link (in full):

Guess what? It shared the same fate, appearing briefly, then disappearing completely (and I mean COMPLETELY, not even searchable under its full title!). It’s been ‘disappeared’, to use the current jargon. thanks those shadowy forces unknown – no doubt  with a big stake in keeping the age-old TS show on the road…

Go figure as they say…  It’s not just the print  and other mass media that are being manipulated (and filtered!)  by certain vested interests in sindonology, but the internet too! I shall continue to speak my mind, regardless of whether my views are searchable or not. The truth will out… It’s just a matter of time, with the need to remain patient and focused on essentials.

16:30, October 16, 2016

Here’s a screen shot of the sitemeter supplied by my sciencebuzz site, showing the cumulative number of visits to most postings:


Sitemeter for my sciencebuzz site, Oct 16, 2016

Just 18 hits in 6 days for my most recent posting? In fact, most of those 18 accrued in the first day or two when the current posting was first posted, and visible to those checking most recent postings. Then the number froze at the above 18 for several days (20 at the time of writing), coinciding with the disappearance of my site from searches under (shroud of turin) and  even the posting’s full title!

Why am I reporting this? Because my Shroud of Turin investigation was intended – probably uniquely – as a day by day, month by month, year by year report in real time on the INTERNET  of an actual hands-on  research project. Anything that prevents my findings – or conclusions therefrom – must, for an accurate and complete record,  also be reported. It’s as important, if not more so, to report these failures of one’s current thinking to be searchable online as it is to resolve difficulties and uncertainties re the nature of the Shroud image. To say that I’m less than enamoured with the internet’s most resorted-to search engine would be an understatement. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – its rankings are clearly get-attable by those with money, influence or both... Something needs to be done…

October 29, 2016: See update just added to the start of this posting.

Thank you Barrie M,Schwortz, STERA President for your splendid photo of the unused portion of the TS sample supplied to Arizona for radiochemical dating.


Linen?  “Fine linen” as per biblical account, supplied to cross by Joseph of Arimathea? ?  Really?

OK, so some consider it and the contiguous samples supplied to Oxford and Zurich are/were not part of the original TS, but medieval repaired regions. I don’t as it happens, but that’s by the way. I personally doubt that what one sees above is linen, and that it’s actually hemp. No, the reasons are nothing to do with the gross appearance, but far more subtle and indirect, ones that will take some time to explain. Please check comments on this thread, starting today (29 Oct) for why one should  not uncritically accept the dogma (probably 600 years old at least) that the fabric one sees above, and indeed the entire TS, really is “linen”, i.e. flax-derived fabric.

Afterthough added 1st Nov, 2016

The above photograph of the Arizona sample risks making the TS fabric seem more rustic, and sack-cloth like than is really the case, due to the enlargement. Assuming the scale is marked off in millimetres, I have shrunk the photogaph in MS Paint so as to get the scale to match the mm graduations on my own steel rule. Here’s the result, both for the above photogaph, and another picture of the same sample discovered in Google image archives, but without the scale.


Shame about the loss of definition. But I still think it unlikely that I personally would have immediately described the sample as linen if shown the above photographs ‘blind’ and unlabelled , so to speak, regardless of enlargement.  Indeed, I doubt whether I’d have been convinced otherwise if told that the samples were exceedingly old, making linen seem less like linen.

Incidentally, does anyone know whether Gilbert Raes, Ghent University’s textile expert expressed any opinion on the assumed flax-derived origin of the TS when removing his ‘Raes’ corner in 1973? (It was from the ‘side strip’ needless to say, a questionable site to sample, some might think, about which I shall have more to say later, maybe with a new and original explanation for why that strip was excised and then reattached.

Have belatedly tracked down Barrie M.Schwortz’s pdf report on his macro-photographic mission. Yes, the scale is in millimeters.

Note the fatness of the threads, elsewhere quoted as comprising some 200 fibres!

Hardly fitting the biblical description of “fine linen” one might think…

Have now tracked down a summary of Gilbert Raes’ investigation of TS fibres.My italics:

From textile expert Gilbert Raes in Shroud Spectrum International, 1991, available on

Analysis of the primary material of the threads
Several  microscopic  preparations  were  made  from  the  fibers  extracted  from  the  warp  and  weft  threads  of  Pieces  I  and  II,  as  well  as  from  the  sewing  thread.  The  preparations  were  examined  under  polarized  light  in  order  to  obtain  better  contrast.  The  basic  fiber  was  indisputably  linen,  for  both  Piece  I  and  Piece  II  and  for  the  sewing  thread.  The X-  and  V- structures observed are very characteristic and leave no doubt about the primary material.

But what are the “X-and V-structures”? Are they truly diagnostic for linen – there being no mention of hemp,  there being no specific reference to “X-and V-structures” in the admirably  detailed Czech paper by Wiener et al cited earlier (though it’s possible that X and V  are shorthand terms for the opposite directions of rotation described in Wiener et al’s  final section of polarised light microscopy).

Even as non-specialists, one would have wished for a fuller account of the techniques being applied, instead of being exposed  (as above) to telegraphic technical jargon, being kept in then dark as to the ‘shortlist’ of options re textile type that was under consideration.

There has to remain a scintilla of doubt as to whether hemp was positively excluded, or indeed considered… I repeat: is the TS really made of linen?

Here’s my initial attempt to estimate the number of fibres in a modern linen thread. I ‘unspun’ a stretch of dyed thread, then cut off a small section, approx 1cm, then teased out one end with a pair of needles.


Dyed linen, excised threads, needles, teased out fibres.


Closer view of above. Are there really 200 fibres per thread asclaimed for the Shroud? Half that number or less one would think…

Update: Nov 3

I began to have second thoughts about that estimate of 100 max fibres per dyed thread above, and started to suspect the rough and ready way of counting them (as per preceding image).

So I tried a different method, teasing out a short length of thread (less than 1cm) into small clumps of fibres, then ‘harvesting them’ with electrostatically-charged sticky tape (yup, the tape acquires an electrostatic charge when pulled from its reel!).


I’ve over- rather than underestimated the fibre count where there are still clumps of fibres, and counting all fragments, regardless of length, but with those two provisos, now consider that 200 is NOT an unreasonable fibre count for a modern linen fibre.

Update: Nov 13

Stephen E.Jones has this morning posted the following diagram to his current “image superficiality” posting, source unacknowledged.


Shame about his commentary, which imagines the “plant cell” shown on the left to be a magnified component of the fibril/microfibrils (right). It’s of course the other way round – the fibrils/microfibrils are a magnified part of the primary cell wall of the cell shown on the left.

Neither is it correct to describe the primary cell wall as “rigid” – it’s quite the opposite, in fact, being highly flexible and extensible.

I’ve sent him a corrective, but this demonised bogeyman does not expect to see a correction, far less a mention of me by name.

Update: 12:25 (still 13 Nov)

Glory be. Jones has replaced the above diagram with this one – and got the commentary right this time:


One day I may decide to devote an entire posting (on my sciencebuzz site) to the plant primary cell wall – a truly amazing piece of bio-engineering, given the multiple functions it has to perform.  There’s so much that folk (and the mass media) take for granted… The schools and universities too fail in my opinion to instil a proper sense of wonder as regards the natural world in which we live. Is it any wonder that those  same pupils in later life then fall prey to this or that snake oil salesman offering pseudo-scientific substitutes that ‘appeal to the imagination’. Less imagination please – more attention to the small miracles performed each day by living organisms.

November 30: Title  and image from the most recent posting on my sciencebuzz site (October 13, 2016):

“Turin Shroud : how the agenda-driven so-called science train came to be derailed”


Here we see the almost inevitable outcome of operating with a ‘one-track mind’.  The latter is fair description of most sindonologists who, with few exceptions, are unable to bring themselves to comment (whether favourably or otherwise) on my flour-imprinting model.  Yes,  most so-called (or self-styled) “scientists” who operate a one-track mind sooner or later come to grief in the above fashion, never to be see or heard of again.

2nd Dec 2016:


Buchner funnel with chemically-inert sintered glass filter. See proposed application (comments, this posting), after suitable modification (electrical heating element inserted/wrapped around the material on the disc).


Tuesday Dec 6, 2016

Here’s a tweet with accompanying piccy taken yesterday at the Royal Society of Medicine, London.


My daughter Miriam, a medical researcher in nephrology at Cambridge University, has just added another feather to her cap, in the form of a prize (awarded jointly with another Cambridge researcher in a different field) for her work in linking resistance to bacterial infection of the kidney with a properly functioning sodium pump.

Well done Miriam. You are a credit to us all, your Mum and Dad especially.

 Dec 11, 2016:   Day 2, Turin

Halleluja. Your blogger has finally been within a stone’s throw from where the Shroud is housed.  Admittedly it was from the top deck of the moving double-decker city tour bus, which explains the hand rail in my picture:

(Oops. The Hotel Urbani on Via Saluzzo  is not allowing me to upload my photograph – it’s a bandwidth thing you know – the hotel’s lousy wifi having  kept me disconnected from the internet for a full 24 hours no less until registering not just one but TWO complaints at the desk!).

Did you know that King Umberto only handed the Shroud over to Turin  on strict condition that it stayed in Turin (according to the running commentary on the bus tour)?

Dec 12, 2016

Let’s try again on that fleeting glimpse of the Shroud’s home , it being taken from a moving city tour bus with hand rail obscuring the view. . (Btw: the old historic heart of Turin, “old” being mainly 16th century, and later is truly, truly  impressive,  especially packed with swarms of Christmas shoppers,  despite – or because of – the largely rectilinear street grid plan).


 Added note: March 13, 2017

Here is some additional work on that “Hulk” imprint from earlier, requested on another site, to see the effect of the “Zeke” contrast filter available on Windows 10.

plastic figure pre post zeke

As-is photograph (left); post Zeke filter (right)

close up post zeke

Close-up of particulate imprinting medium (roasted flour/oil) , post Zeke filter

Posted in Shroud of Turin, Turin Shroud | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

Might invisible ink technology (mere child’s play) have been superbly fine-tuned to achieve whole body imaging?


Preview of the end-result achievable with white flour/oil imprinting,  i.e. ‘appropriate’ medieval technology, shown here using an approx. 1/12th human scale figurine. The image on the left is the first stage flour imprint after oven-roasting, before final washing. Note the absence of lateral ‘wrap-around’ distortion. The image on the right is the same negative imprint after tone-reversal and 3D rendering in  ImageJ.  The above is a late addition (Sep 17).

Latest: Sept 9, 2016:  Glory be! This site has finally managed to make it onto Page 3 listings of a Google (UK)  search under (shroud of turin), albeit at or near the bottom!

This morning’s screen grab:


There I was resigned to it rising no higher than Page 4 at best (where it’s been languishing for months, indeed years).

There I was muttering about unseen human eyes and hands, keeping me and my non-authenticity cold douche thinking out of the public domain. But let’s not get carried away with excitement. How many people search beyond Page 2 or 3? How many of those share what they see, with social media or other internet sites? The hovering ever-present blackhole of cyberspace is never far away…

Thus far, I have NEVER seen this site linked to elsewhere, including those that claim to report the latest “science,  or trumpet that “science” has failed to explain the Shroud. I’m excluding the now retired Dan Porter’s shroudstory site (closed for new postings and comments Dec 2015). It’s over a year since my flour-imprinting model was reported there, with virtually zilch by way of useful and constructive feedback (David Goulet and Thibault Heimburger excepted).

Maybe it’s time to consider a direct approach to mass media outlets, to COURT PUBLICITY (shock horror), maybe contriving one of those ‘man bites dog’ stories they say are needed to interest otherwise jaded journalists. Why go down that road?  Answer: ‘cos the internet simply ain’t working as a medium of communication, at least not for me. But then the message ain’t sexy – stripping away mystique never is….

First task is to think up some quotable quotes (dare one say ‘soundbites’) that sum up the various facets of the Shroud controversy – the radiocarbon dating, the wacky high-energy models with their invariable blindspot for down-to-earth chemistry etc etc.

Latest (Aug 26): have just updated this site’s ‘tagline’ that sits alongside the title above. It now reads:

The greatest conjuring trick in history, achieved with DISAPPEARING white flour/oil to imprint an entire body onto wet linen? First the imprint’s particles were micro-fried to a golden-brown in a HOT OVEN. Soap and water then removed the surface encrustation, leaving, hey presto, that tenacious ‘enigmatic’ ghost image. See banner below.

Aug 16 (start of original posting):

This posting conveys what I believe to be an important message regarding the provenance of the Turin Shroud – medieval, not 1st century. To keep the message simple, and ensure that this posting (my 340th approx on the Turin Shroud!)  gets seen and hopefully read from start to finish, I’ll write it in short instalments, making new additions every day or two. Comments and indeed criticism are invited (beware: WordPress holds up a site newbie’s first comment for the blogger’s vetting and approval).

Let’s begin then with a series of photograph that I took yesterday, which  I believe speak for themselves  (but I’ve added a few words).

DSC09743 writing longhand milk developed

Fig.1: Invisible ink (after applying heat).

The words were written on paper using using milk as ‘invisible ink’ The paper was then held over a hotplate for a few seconds to develop the ‘message’.  The ink quickly turns browner than the paper, being more thermochemically-sensitive to sugar-protein Maillard reactions etc than the cellulose fibres.

DSC09762 date stamp milk

Fig.2: Milk can also be used to imprint, although the result is somewhat uneven and blotchy. 

The above was the result of loading a rubber date-stamp with milk, pressing onto paper, then developing with heat as above. In principle, milk can be used to imprint as well as to write.

DSC09767 milk imprint hand on paper before development

Fig.3:  I smeared milk over my hand then pressed onto paper. Here’s the appearance before heating.

DSC09775 milk imprint hand on paper after development

Fig.4: Here’s the thermally-developed image of my hand, using milk as imprinting agent onto paper.

The above image shows promise that “invisible ink” might at least in principle be used (or HAVE BEEN USED)  to imprint part or all of a human body to obtain a contact imprint. Note that the image is a ‘negative’, i.e. tone-reversed  as per the body image on the Turin Shroud.  Why? Because the more prominent non-recessed  parts with the highest relief  that would appear brightest in a photograph, through intercepting and reflecting more light towards the camera, appear darkest through making the best contact when  imprinting a dark pigment onto a light background.

DSC09781 imprinting hand with milk  onto linen

Fig. 5: attempt to imprint a negative  image of my hand onto linen, still using milk as imprinting agent.

DSC09790 milk imprint on linen of hand after hob

Fig.6: result after heat-development.

So there’s an image of sorts, even using a crude imprinting agent, i.e. milk.  Might a better result have been achieved using an imprinting agent that was  less fluid, or indeed a solid, say a white powder, maybe assisted by a liquid vehicle?

DSC09800 flour on hand AFTER shaking off excess

Fig. 7. Hand smeared with oil, then sprinkled from above with white flour from a sieve, then inverted and shaken to leave a light even coating of flour.

Water-soaked  linen was then draped over the coated hand, pressed down using an extra layer of towelling so as to imprint from the highest relief only. (An oil-free slurry of flour in water was tested with dry linen in pilot experiments and found wantimg, for reasons that need not concern us at present).

DSC09818 milk versus flour imprint of my hand before washing

Fig.8: appearance after heat-development (holding over hot plate).  Milk imprint (left) versus flour imprint (right).

Result with flour (right):  vastly more superior than with milk (left) and arguably somewhat Shroud-like (fuzzy indistinct transition between image and non-image areas of the linen). Might the technology, derivative of  ‘writing with invisible ink’   be further improved?

DSC09882 hand imprint flour after non-abrasive soap washing

Fig.9: Appearance of the flour-imprinted image after GENTLE washing with soap and water, so as to avoid abrading encrusted material.

Something quite remarkable happens to a roasted flour imprint when it’s gently washed with soap and water. It ‘plumps up’, so to speak, to make a bas-relief, i.e. semi-3D image. One can just about see the effect in the above photograph. There’s a way of showing the effect to much better advantage. One uses an EXCESS of flour at the coating stage, i.e. one does NOT shake of the surplus before imprinting. Might this effect have been discovered by the putative fabricators of the Shroud in mid-14th century France? Did it have a role to play in the early displays of the Shroud, when we know it made an immediate impact before the showing were banned for some 30 years on the order of the Avignon-based Pope.

Before pursuing that line of enquiry, let’s see what happens to the flour-imprinted image after thorough and abrasive washing  with soap and water, intended to dislodge all encrusted cooked flour. What remains?

DSC09913 milk v flour handprint after final abrasive wash with soap

Fig.1o: final washed images, milk-derived imprint left versus flour-derived imprint right.

Again, note the arguably IMPROVED superiority of the flour-based image, i.e. the startling resemblance – though I say it myself- with the body image of the Turin Shroud, with that nebulous ghostly quality. Was this how the image was obtained in the 14th century – by use of a ‘secret ingredient’ – plain white flour-  that was then subsequently  washed out leaving no visible traces, either for contemporaries of that period, or for modern day analysts, notably the STURP team members of 1978, armed with their state-of-the-art instrumentation, but looking for artists’ paint pigments.

DSC09798 flour on hand before shaking off excess

Fig.11: Oil-smeared hand with HEAVY coating of flour, ready for imprinting  onto wet linen as before.

So what happens if one imprints off the hand you see above? Answer: something truly, TRULY remarkable,  something that might account for a peculiarity of the first known (double, head-to-head ) image of the Man on the Turin Shroud. namely the Lirey Pilgrim’s Badge, circa 1355,  at present in the Cluny Museum in Paris. Yes, there’s more to come, stuff you will not have read elsewhere, dare one say dramatic claims, but let’s stop here for now (and see how this posting fares in the search engine rankings). This site is presently on Page 4 of a Google search under (shroud of turin),  sixth entry down from the top. I feel after 4.5 years of research and regular progress reports it ought to be on Page 1, but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

Wednesday Aug 17 2016

There’s a vast research literature on the TS, accumulated over decades. That includes the ambitious STURP blitz of 1978, yet one that finally produced virtually zero insights into the physical and chemical nature of the body image.Why?

Hopefully what appears thus far provides a ready answer. Two properties of linen have been largely, perhaps ENTIRELY overlooked in the speculation on image-forming mechanisms.

And what might they be?

Answers: (a) the extraordinary resistance shown by linen towards heat that allows it to be imprinted with an image forming substance, and the ENTIRE LINEN then heated to 200C if necessary to develop the image. The linen emerges still WHITE, or at worst a little off-white (which in the case of the TS can be mistaken for ageing changes) and still STRONG. There is nothing in the appearance to suggest that the linen has been roasted!

(b) the ability to launder linen after one’s heat development, to leave just the fabric and its final image, washing away all traces of surplus imprinting agent.

Result: the best equipment in the world will fail to detect the deployment of a particular imprinting agent if the latter has been completely washed out. Nor would its presence be so much as suspected if one approached the TS convinced ahead of time it was a genuine 1st century burial shroud with an image of the actual in-the-flesh founder of Christianity formed by a process unknown to science. Sadly that seems to have been the case where several key members of the STURP team were concerned.

Science cannot rely on instrumentation alone to provide all the answers, no matter how state-of-the-art. Science operates by model-building, dare one say ‘having hunches’, indeed pure guesswork at times, while importantly wasting no time in putting those models to experimental tests. Science as often as not is more about weeding out the dud hypotheses, the better ones often being discovered by a process of patient and systematic elimination. Scientists who fail to go straight to the ‘correct’ answer are accustomed to being told they are “going round in circles”. Wrong. If conscientious and dedicated, they are more likely to be going round in a spiral, gradually converging on the centre with the least incorrect answer. It’s a process that can’t be rushed.

Returning to specifics. I promised to post what I consider a spectacular result when using a thick application of flour imprinting medium. Here is the 1st stage imprint, after colour development in the oven, after a gentle wash with soap and water:

DSC00013 plumped up 1st stage p soap v my hand

Fig. 12: My left hand, versus imprint of the same hand using a carpet (not dusting) of white flour as imprinting medium.

Yes, that’s an image of my hnad, would you believe it, and yes it’s 3D (or at any rate, a bas relief semi-3D). What did I do to see that amazing effect? Answer – the heat-treated linen was soaked in water and rubbed gently with soap. In a matter of a few minutes, it began to plump up. Later, after drying it collapses back flat again, but the 3D effect returns when one exposes a second time to  water.

Yet underneath that bold 3D image lurks a ghost image that can be seen by abrasive washing to remove all the surface encrustation.

DSC00049 washed v unwashed

Fig.13: Hand imprint from Fig.12, before and after abrasive washing.

So there is not just one image to consider in this new model for the Turin Shroud – but two – a bold first stage image, seen above, and a faint nebulous second stage. Might both types of images have been seen AND deployed at Lirey in the mid-1350s, but for different purposes, one being more controversial than the other?

Expect to see a brief section soon on the historical implications of there being TWO image types!

Thursday Aug 18

Time then to address that tantalizing possibility, namely that the Turin Shroud image as first displayed in the mid-1350s in the tiny hamlet of Lirey, near Troyes, was NOT the faint faded image we see today. Instead it was a bold, PLUMPED-UP image similar to the one you see above, because at that stage the decision had NOT been taken to wash abrasively to see what if anything survived.

First, let’s briefly ask if there’s any evidence in the historical record of the early TS having been washed. Yes, indeed there is. It’s the evidence of House of Savoy courtier  Antoine de Lalaing from 1503 which can be found in Ian Wilson’s splendid summary of Shroud history, as currently displayed on the STERA site:

Here’s the quotation:

“Lalaing adds that the Shroud’s authenticity has been confirmed by its having been tried by fire, boiled in oil, laundered many times ‘but it was not possible to efface or remove the imprint and image’.”

One can if one wishes reject the notion that the early TS would have been treated in so cavalier a fashion  for the improbable or misunderstood reason stated without rejecting the idea that being linen, and having come from an oven or open charcoal fire, it had been laundered.  And not just laundered once, but maybe several times with increasing vigour to leave a final resistant image  (deemed  perhaps to have the greatest  ‘pilgrim-pulling’ power).  The ‘back story’ whispered at each consecutive display could have been hardened to make it increasingly a claim for being THE actual burial shroud of the crucified Jesus, explaining why initial approval from the local Troyes bishop (Henri de Poitiers) quickly changed to spluttering outrage, as described in the celebrated missive from his successor Bishop Pierre d’Arcis sent to the Pope much later (1389). One’s tempted to refer to an initial bold artistic-looking image, albeit made unconventionally via a novel imprinting process,  gradually morphing into an altogether more subtle quasi-image, though  ‘de-morphing’  might be a more appropriate description.

Still to come: might there be supporting evidence for the speculative ideas above from the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge?

medallionComplete with dimensions

Fig.14: Lirey Pilgrim’s badge, circa 1355, Cluny Museum, Paris

lirey frontal v dorsal upright apposed

Fig.15: Close up, frontal v dorsal sides of the cast figure (lead/tin alloy), Lirey Pilgrim’s badge

As stated earlier, the Lirey badge is the first known depiction of the Turin Shroud as a double, head-to-head image (beware claims made for earlier images that lack those defining, dare one say iconic features). If it were the image we see now – faint, scarcely visible, ghostly-looking, then why did that artist/artisan who created the mould for the above badge go to all the trouble to make the figure on the cast appear in semi-3D bas relief? Maybe for immediate visual impact, given the medium gives scope for bas relief, not merely scratches or grooves as in simpler engraving? Maybe. But why is the figure so grotesquely bulbous, given it’s supposed to represent Jesus Christ.

Two alternatives spring to mind. One is that the figure on the first (of two) variants of the Lirey badge was NOT intended to represent Jesus, a hypothesis this investigator explored in detail some 3-4 years ago, suggesting instead the final slow-roasted fate of Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Templar order. The new findings with flour imprinting now suggest a second interpretation. Maybe the figure was intended from the start to represent the crucified Jesus, but what the souvenir badge-maker saw was the Stage 1 imprint on display, non-abrasively laundered i.e. the ‘plumped-up’ one, and it was that he duly attempted to replicate, and reasonably well one might say, given the small dimensions, and having to laboriously and painstakingly hollow out and smooth off  soft stone (assuming the second variant of the Lirey badge, the so-called Machy mould, is a reliable guide to extant 14th century metal-casting technology).

Here are two images from my previous posting, comparing those plumped images first with the two figurines from which they were imprinted, suitably aligned head-to-head:

DSC07629 crucifix v warrior stage 1


And here are those Stage 1, plumped up imprints compared with the Lirey badge:

lirey badge v double flour imp crux plus warrior


(Technical detail: I used a different method for ‘cooking’  the imprints in the above experiment; it was inspired by the 1503 de Lalaing testimony – see earlier- that was not solely about laundering. Can anyone guess what it was?)

Mechanism of imprinting?

This posting is long enough already without going into the detail of what appears to be a subtle process. Suffice it to say that the crucial geometry is to have 4 components in the following order: dry skin- oil – white flour – wet linen. When the linen is peeled off theorder is simply: oil-white flour-wet linen. The Stage 1 image is simple to explain – it’s simply a crust of reddish-brown roasted flour. It’s the faint fuzzy Stage 2 image that remains after abrasive washing that is subtle. It appears to be the result of a PUSH-PULL process  that occurs on heating. The flour”fries” due to the attached traces of oil, exuding tiny amounts of yellow-brown liquid. The oil PUSHES that liquid into the fibres of the linen, while the latter exert a PULL action due to capillary action (mainly the result it seems of narrow channels between the fibres of a thread), So the real imaging medium is LIQUID formed at high temperature that sweats out of  the roasting flour –   but there’s so little of it that the penetration into the weave is short range. That accounts no doubt for the peculiar microscopic properties reported for the TS and confirmed with my model system, namely discontinuities (abrupt colour cut-off along particular fibres) and uniform coloration of a small proportion of fibres, surrounded by a majority of non-coloured ones (the so-called ‘half-tone’ effect).

Friday Aug 19

This posting is still failing to get visibility in the big wide world, based purely one admits on Google ranking (still stubbornly stuck on Page 4 listings, though having briefly made the top of that page yesterday). Will it make Page 3 or better? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on how the algorithm works. There are days when I suspect that personal blogs such as this are tagged in such a way that they never get higher than a certain page, regardless of number of clicks, comments etc. We shall see.

In the meantime, research conmtinue with a view to confirming the proposed imprinting mechanism – see yesterday’s entry – which is not easy.

Here’s a snapshot from an experiment I did yesterday – or rather the first step in that experiment- in which I created two separate zones of vegetable oil and water on a single sheet of linen, and then imprinted across BOTH zones, using my oil/flour coated hand:

flour imprinted across separate oil and water zones

Fig.18: latest experiment using dual oil/water-pretreated linen.

Would anyone care to guess the appearance of that imprinted linen (a) immediately after oven-heating (b) after gentle non-abrasive washing in soap and water to obtain the Stage 1 image (c) after abrasive washing to dislodge the orange crust to be left with the final Stage 2 image (if any!)?

Please feel free to use comments facility at bottom of posting.

So, assuming the correctness of my model (about which I now have no doubt) might the TS body image be properly described a “heat scorch”? Answer: no, despite resembling one.

It’s better described as a dye-like STAIN produced by the ‘sweating’ of a high temperature-exudate from the imprinting medium, the latter probably white flour or similar. Chemically, the stain can confidently be assumed to  comprise high molecular weight (loosely speaking ‘polymeric’) MELANOIDINS, the same class of chemically-complex, indeed,  largely-uncharacterized substances that give baked or toasted products (bread etc) their attractive brown colour and flavour..

STURP’s John Heller and Alan Adler performed a chemical test that is consistent with the body image being organic, i.e. carbon-based in nature, a result that is all too often ignored or overlooked by those still claiming against all the evidence that the image is a residue of artist’s inorganic paint pigments. The test? Bleaching by diimide, chemical formula NH=NH. That reagent is highly specific in its action, hydrogenating -C=C- double bonds that are responsible for the colour in most organic compounds (normally due to CONJUGATED double bonds, i.e. alternating single and double, i.e.:

-CH=CH-N=CH-CH=CH- etc.

While I don’t have access to diimide, I have previously found and reported that ordinary domestic bleach (sodium hypochlorite) quickly decolorises my heat-developed flour imprints, both Stage 1 and Stage 2. .Did Heller and Adler test ordinary bleach? Answer: I don’t know, and sadly neither is still around to be contacted on that point.

I’m using my own Comments facility to add afterthoughts. See the inconspicuous Comments tab below. Alternatively, us this LINK.

Late addition, 25th August (to assist with responding to comment from DavidG):

enrie pos v neg autocorrected shroudscope vertical

Left. Enrie tone-reversed image from Shroud Scope. Right. the same after back-reversal using ImageJ, i.e. to approximate what Enrie would have seen initially on his photographic plate, the Shroud’s so-called  ‘negative image’ (arguably a highly unfortunate description, leading to decades of misinterpretation of an image captured for posterity via physical contact,  involving a degree of applied manual pressure, NOT passive distortion-free imaging by scattered light, needing anachronistic lenses or mirrors, photographic emulsions etc.).

Question: do these images really show the presence of a beard and moustache, given one is not looking at a conventional photograph, or indeed any kind of photograph? I say NO! (see comments).

See also this posting of mine on sciencebuzz from over 2 years ago: Does the Man on the Turin Shroud really have a beard and moustache?

It includes the following image:

face pressed againts glass 2

The chin and upper lip are especially prone to flattening, due to (a) their location and (b) being backed by hard tissue (bone and teeth respectively).

Update: 4th September 2016

It’s now almost a year since I posted this short video clip to YouTube entitled:

“Dynamic penetration of ink into spaces between linen fibres – a possible model for the Turin Shroud”.


Here’s a freeze-frame from the above clip (image needed for insertion in Comments – not this thread).




Response? Virtually zilch, such is the indifference, nay contempt that exists in sindonology for non-authenticists like myself (most commentators on this site, past and present, being a notable exception).

So why mention the video again at this point in time?

Look carefully, and at first sight it may seem as if the ink is spreading via the fibres themselves, given the thread-like appearance of the advancing ink. But it’s not. It’s wicking between the fibres! It’s the blotting paper effect, i.e. capillary action, due to a liquid’s surface tension/energy effect within narrow spaces.

I now believe the same to be true for the oil/flour-imprinting model of the Turin Shroud. In the oven the imprinted flour particles ‘micro-fry’ in their individual attached oil vehicle, releasing a coloured exudate comprising a trace of native oils, the added vegetable oils and (probably) dissolved and/or finely-dispersed products of Maillard browning reactions. This complex liquid exudate then gets wicked away via the channels BETWEEN the linen fibres and accounts for the subtle properties of the Shroud image. It’s a stain of sorts, but not on the surface of the cloth, but within the body of the threads, specifically  the channels between the fibres.

Experimental evidence? Ask and I shall supply here, either on the main posting, or comments or both. The data might be considered to warrant a new posting in my humble estimation, indeed the occasional mention or two on other Shroud sites, but preparing such a posting would be a complete and utter waste of time and effort on my part, for the reasons stated. Eyes and ears are firmly closed! See no new thinking, hear no new thinking etc etc. Most important of all: speak and disseminate no new thinking!


Late addition (Feb 24, 2017!) : here’s a before v after washing of the fingers end of my hand:


Further postscript: 18th March 2017


A  question has just been placed on my Jan 4 gluten posting (most recent at time of writing) regarding the faint image that is claimed by some to be visible (just!) on the opposite side of the linen (the side that was not seen for centuries until recent removal of the 1534 Holland cloth) but denied by others.

Here are two images that I shall park here, then transplant to Comments. The first is the ‘opposite side’ of the face image (not to be confused with dorsal body image) that appears on Mario Latendresse’s sindonology site.



The second is an enhancement of the same I have just done using the 5  brightness/contrast controls in MS Office Picture Manager, then flipped horizontally to restore the usual “reversed 3” (aka epsilon) bloodmark on the forehead. (The latter is in case I need to make future comparisons with the ‘proper’ frontal body image.).

Durante-verso-face duplicate -45,100,-50,30,-100


Is there of is there not an image on the opposite side of the linen?  Mario says there’s not… Note too the prominence of the ‘neck crease’ which some seem to consider a feature that appeared as a consequence of folding and refolding AFTER the imaging process. Hmmm! That’s something I posted on way back in 2012, with resort to the term “baked-in crease”. Nothing’s been said since to dissuade me from that view that the crease was a product of the imprinting process, one that relied upon direct contact and manual pressure between linen and subject, a process that is liable to trap creases that  entrap imprinting medium, subsequently developed in the oven and which consequently cannot be subsequently removed… I believe the neck crease to be represent  an important ‘giveaway’ to the technology deployed for image-imprinting (medieval era!).




Posted in medieval forgery, new theory, Shroud of Turin | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Shroud Question 1 from David Goulet: it’s to do with the testability of my 14th century flour-imprinting model.


It’s from that wise and perceptive Canadian author  (“Looney Tombs”) David Goulet, and was in fact posted nigh on a year ago when this researcher first unveiled his dry flour/wet linen imprinting model. (Thanks to sustained flak I was getting from others on the site in question for daring to challenge Shroud authenticity and/or my abject failure as a writer, scientist,  human being, properly blokeish male of the species etc etc I did not get round to answering it then – sorry David).

September 3, 2015 at 9:26 am

What would be interesting is to find a scientist, or two, who is not a Shroudie and present him Colin’s linen/shroud and see how long it takes him/her to discern how the image was formed. This would provide a baseline of sorts. If the scientist quickly deduces that flour/oil and heating was used then we would have to ask ‘how is it the mechanism was more easily observed on Colin’s shroud vs the actual one?”

If Colin’s model is ‘the answer’ what tell-tale signs would we have to find on the Shroud to corroborate his theory?

Or is my presumption wrong here and Colin is not saying this model is exactly how the Shroud image was created, but rather his model merely demonstrates that a simple mechanism can account for certain Shroud properties, which had previously been attributed only to complex mechanisms (lasers, etc).

Just trying to wrap my head around the various repercussions of the theory.


Thank you David. Splendidly put.

My long-mulled over answer, 11 month gestation period?

Please, give me time, more time…  Well, a few more hours at least while I look out suitable photos and other graphics to illustrate my answer with the results of recent experimentation and/or new interpretation. First, I must hit the SEND button such that visitors to the site, new ones especially,  see a posting that relates to the new site title (see comments and previous posting for why I  have decided to try the new Q/A format).

Watch this space folks. Back in a few hours (at most), barring  the arrival at my door of the sindonological thought-suppression police. (Just kidding, though it’s educational to input (shroud of turin flour-imprinting model) and see how many returns one gets that are NOT from my own postings, despite the several highly-commented upon secondary reports thereof that appeared in late 2015  on Dan Porter’s now lapsed shroudstory site).

10:30, Aug 4

Back again. First, it’s important to make one thing clear: there are two stages in the flour-imprinting method. Here’s the appearance at the first (intermediate) stage.


DSC07629 crucifix v warrior stage 1

Fig. 1 Intermediate stage with semi-3D imprints from both 3D figurines (plastic toy, brass crucifix).


What one sees above is the appearance of the linen after (a) imprinting onto wet linen after applying  a dusting of white flour onto the oil-smeared figurines, followed by (b) a heating regime up to approx 190 degrees C, followed by (c) GENTLE washing with soap and water so as not to detach the soft. encrusted material. Let’s call this the Stage 1 image.

Is it important? Is it relevant to the Shroud of Turin? Answer: not to the Shroud as we see it today. But it’s possibly relevant to the Shroud as seen by the first cohorts of pilgrims who descended on Lirey in their hordes in 1355 approx, possibly earlier, as can be seen by showing the Stage 1 image alongside the Lirey Pilgrim’s badge:

lirey badge v double flour imp crux plus warrior

Fig.2  central section of Lirey badge (top) verus Stage 1 imprint bottom).

I may have more to say later about the similarity of the two above, separated in time by more than 600 years. For now.let’s leave it at saying that the Stage 1 imprints have a pliumped-up “bas relief” i.e. shallow 3D appearance not dissimilar to the first known artistic representation of the TS on thbat Lirey medallion.

Let’s move now to the final Stage2 appearance of the imprint, after vigorous flexing  and rubbing of the soaped linen to detach the encrusted material, leaving a mere ‘ghost’ of the Stage 1 imprint.


Fig.3: Stage 2 image, after washing, only just visible, no photo-enhancement.

DSC08035 10,70,-80

Fig.4: as above, after adding photo-enhancement showing that the imprints are still present, but exceedingly faint.

It’s this final Stage 2 imprint that is considered a model for the Turin Shroud. For example, it responds to 3D-rendering in ImageJ:

imagej final washed cruc v warrior

Fig.5 Final stage imprint after 3D enhancement. (Apologies for the boldness of the central long axis, a result of experimenting with a space-conserving folded state at the heating stage.).

OK. That’s the visual preliminariws attended to. Back now to David’s first question. What if typical Stage 1 and Stage 2 imprinted linens had been submitted to an analytical laboratory without accompanying notes? Would the chemists have been able to figure out the methodology used to obtain the images?


Answer: YES, without a shred of doubt. They woud have taken one look at the Stage 1 image, quickly deduced that the encrusted material was ‘doughy’ and probably flour-derived, then done confirmatory tests for starch, total protein, wheat gluten etc. They would than have deduced that Stage 2 was what remained after detaching the encrusted Stage 1 material. They woukd have deduced (probably) that what remained was thermally-modified flour, the endproduct of complex chemical reactions that are either due to pyrolysis of carbohydrates alone (“caramelization”) or to interaction between reducing sugars and proteins to generate melanoidins via so-called Maillard reactions..

But what if the lab had been supplied with the Stage 2 imprint only? Would they have been able to arrive at the same conclusion?

With no encrusted material on the surface, there is nothing to detach and analyse. Had they looked under the microscope, they would see NO particuate material, merely discolored fibres, yellowish, maybe brownish. It’s unlikely that the cloth would respond to tests for either starch or protein, due to the vigorous washing.

So what’s left to analyse? A superficial tan-coloration, exceedingly thin, maybe a micrometre or less in thickess (probably less), a tiny fraction of the total fibre diameter, maybe 1/50 say (the figures are guesstimates).

So where does one go from there, starting as it were with a blank sheet? Do a uv/visible reflectance spectrum.? But there’s no reference point, as per Turin Shroud, one that would allow the analysts to spot a similarity between, on the one hand  the mysterious image chromophore, i.e. chemical pigment responsible for absorption of specific wavelengths of light and thus colour and the less-than-mysterious burn holes with charred edges on the Shroud, the result of the 1532 fire.

Maybe someone would have spotted a resemblance between image and “scorch” marks on fabric. due to ironing mishaps etc, and formed a hypothesis: “we’re looking at heat-degraded linen fibres” but with nothing else to go on.  But that’s no open-door to routine chemical tests. Enter melanoidins into one’s search engines and try to locate specific tests, or detailed information on their chemical structure. Chances are you will find the briefest of mentions, such as this one, stating that little is known about the structure of the melaoidins, being complex polymeric high molecular weight substances. One would quickly find oneself at the lonely coalface of analytical chemistry, which is not to say there are no analytical means available (there, are, pyrolysis mass spectrometry being one of them, as the above reference mentions) but one would need a strong motive to venture into so poorly-researched a field of chemistry.

Would the lab have been able to make sense of the Stage 2 image?  Answer, essentially no, except for vague references to chemically modified carbohydrates, possibly with a suggestion for protein involvement, probably not (so one would not even know if the images were due to simpler caramelization or more complex  Maillard suger-protein reactions).

Ring any bells?

I say yes. The flour-imprinting scenario, with the  final Stage 2 image only, essentially reconstructs the predicament in which the 1978 STURP taskforce under Raymond N. Rogers (chemical team leader) found themselves, with nothing but a faint tan discoloration and little else to go on, except for a scorch-like appearance and reflectance spectrum that closely matched the edges of the burn holes.

Did STURP pursue the idea of superficial scorching, not necessarily classical contact-scorch, as from direct contact between a hot solid e.g. metal object and linen or something more subtle and indirect, and if not why not?

Answer: sadly no. Why not? Sadly (again) faulty chemical logic seems to have been the reason. But that can wait. Back to the question as put.

If a scarcely-visible modern-day imprint is arguably too great a challenge, even for a modern well-equipped laboratory, then there are two conclusions:

  1. It’s pointless submitting samples of my model Stage 2 imprints unless the lab is specifically-geared up to test for traces of melanoidins or caramelised sugars.
  2. Any Mark 2 STURP  re-analyisis of the TS would also be a waste of time unless the lab was specifically set up to test for traces of melanoidins. Is that asking a STURP Mark2 to give pride of place to this researcher’s model? Answer?  No, because mine is not the only model to propose that the TS image comprises Maillard reaction products, i.e. melanoidins. So too did Raymond Rogers’ vaporigraph hypothesis, albeit for very different reasons, based on a pro-authenticity scenario involving amine vapours  (ammonia, cadaverine, putrescine etc) emanating from a decomposing corpse as the source of amino-nitrogen. A  conjectured “Pliny-era” starch-coating onto linen, a claimed technological aid, provided the reducing sugar, notably gluose, maltose etc, we’re told, the mechanism of starch de-polymerization unspecified. My flour-imprinting medium on the other hand provides BOTH the reducing sugars and the amino-nitrogen.  Whereas the Roger’s mechanism involves a problematical air gap between body and linen (problematical for sharp imaging) mine obligatorily requires actual physical contact. No contact  (i.e. the smallest air gap) would mean no imprinting. That is not a problem in my view, given that the TS image looks like an imprint, its negative character being diagnostic for a contact imprint (like a footprint in the sand where there are discontinuities  in the image corresponding with hollows and other recessed areas, e.g. between toes and ball of foot, those regions being unable to make direct contact).

Final part of question: do I think that flour imprining technologyt was the actual one used, or merely a method that has accidentally, so to speak, generated a TS-like image via a different mechanism?

I’ve had a year or more in which to consider the pros and cons.  I am now firmly of the belief that it was indeed THE method (though there might have been a different flour or other food source that supplied the necessary protein and reducing sugar for a Maillard reaction, and the heating may have involved something other than a standard oven, there being a promising  alternative currently under test,  conditions for which still  remain to be fully optimized).

Reasons? This response to David’s question is long enough already. Time now for me to take a break* and see what comes back, if anything, from cyberspace. Support? Brickbats? Only time will tell.

Signing off for now, but hoping to be re-engaged later.

* but am making a list of supporting observations (NOT polemical points) with  12  21 already for release when a suitable opportunity arises.

Update: Friday 5th August

Thanks first to David Goulet for visting this post yesterday, leaving three comments no less.

Things are looking up as regards search engine visibility too. Before posting this site was languishing on Page 6 of returns on a Google (shroud of turin) search. It’s now on Page 3, albeit near the bottom. Never mind, that’s solid progress. There’s no point using the internet as one’s prime means of communication if one’s invisible, or nearly so, to anyone imputting the major search terms free of restrictive qualifiers.

Moving on: I now have 24 points to make in response to the second part of David’s question as to whether I believe the flour-imprinting technology was a possible means of reproducing the TS image, or THE ACTUAL MEANS deployed (assuming in my case a 14th century provenance).

Having just this minute added No.24 to the list, I would say it’s probably the one that should feature prominently, either made first, or as now, made last as ‘take-away message’.

What is it, you may ask, No.24 that is (the rest can wait for now).

It’s this. Why does the image of the Man on the Turin Shroud have that washed-out look to it – scarcely visible it is claimed to observers of the real thing,  and not helped by looking too closely (it’s said one has to stand back a metre or two to discern that it’s an image of a naked man etc?)

Answer: Simple. It IS A WASHED-OUT IMAGE, as per Stage 2 of my model. Need I say more? That explains why the body image so subtle, faint, fuzzy, superficial etc etc. That explains why STURP was able to learn next to nothing about its chemical character. That explains why a second STURP investigation would be a complete waste of time unless one knows/knew exactly what one is looking for, with equipment capable of detecting the merest traces.

What should a STURP Mark 2 look for? Answer:high molecular weight MELANOIDINS, whether (a) linen-derived, or (b)  derived from a washed-out imprinting medium, or rather the bulk thereof,   with white flour as the chief missing-entity candidate, or  (c) a combination of the two. Yup, one  still has to establish ‘ownership’ of the final posited melanoidin image. Does it belong to the linen OR to the missing imprinting agent – a tiny carry-over of the latter having been left behind as a faint visual and chemical signature or  a combination of the two?

Here then in a few words is my explanation for why the washed-out looking TS image has eluded analysis and explanation for so long.  The external agent needed to produce it was indeed washed out , leaving nothing for the analyst to see or even suspect. We don’t even know if the final ‘ghost’ image was derived from that missing agent, or whether it’s merely a scorch-like impression the agent deposited on the linen per se – a kind of tide-mark, maybe from the ejection of hot fluid from the Maillard reaction mix which percolated via capillary action into and between the fibres of the linen threads, behaving essentially as a hot,  momentarily LIQUID yellow dye, accounting for those peculiar microscopic properties of the TS image (half-tone effect, discontinuities etc).

Might there be evidence lurking in the historical record that the Shroud may at some stage, early on perhaps,  have been exposed to water deliberately, maybe even SOAP and water?

How about this from the STERA site’s History page:

lalaing testimony

Yes, it’s Antoine de Lalaing being quoted, by all accounts  well-connected and with highly regarded admin skills, not one to be taken in by frivolous rumours. See his cv/resume on wiki.

The font’s a bit small above, so here is the relevant passage again from inside my yellow box:

“Lalaing adds that the Shroud’s authenticity has been confirmed by its having been tried by fire, boiled in oil, laundered many times ‘but it was not possible to efface or remove the imprint and image’.

There’ s another possible gem of information there that I may return to later. See my earlier photograph in which the “cooked” flour imprint had a fold down the middle. Can anyone suggest why I chose to fold the linen, and how the heating regime allowed me to do that so as to create a compact package? Clue: the final washing step with soap and water was not optional. It was OBLIGATORY!!!

Who can guess what the imprinting medium was in this photograph from my early archives?


DSC02410 thermostencilled TURIN

Clue: all traces of the imprinting medium were washed out before the photo was taken. Clue: the imprinting medium served as a trap for inputted energy, but the energy was neither conducted nor convected heat.

Suppose this image had been given to analytical chemists (or STURP for that matter). Would they have  been able to figure how it had been produced? I doubt it.

So how was it produced?  Answer: by what I called THERMO – – – –  – – – – ING.

Moral: beware images with a fuzzy washed-out look to them. One may never know what was washed out, or even know or suspect that something had been there originally and subsequently washed out. Analytical chemistry, whether armed to the teeth or not with modern instrumentation, has its limitations.

The imprinting agent used above (washed out)?  It’s in the pot at the back, with a brush for applying.  The energy source?  It’s almost directly above (out of picture) – power rating 60W.

Link to my posting with the above picture.

 Saturday 6th August:

Here’s a diagram of my current experimental set up, seen in vertical cross section (the toaster being flat-bed with a horizontal rack on which the slide assembly can be laid flat, directly over a heating element).slides toaster rack labelled


Note that the sequence of ‘layers’ from the top dowwards – oil, flour, wet linen – matches the geometry of my flour-imprinting off human skin. All that’s missing is the skin…

Can anyone guess what’s being investigated? Clue – there’s a gap between the two flattened mounds of flour, bridged by wet linen. In some experiments I take out the cross threads of the weave leaving just the long ones which run like ‘cables’ between the two heaps of flour.

Aug 6, pm

Am quietly pleased with the result of today’s experiment using the above set-up.

DSC09133 washed test linen flat bed toaster mic slides

What you see are the test linen samples after thorough washingwith soap and water  to dislodge all encrusted material, leaving just the ‘ghost’ image – a crude model for the TS.

Why am I pleased? Think oil, introduced initially as an aid to achieving an even dusting of skin with dry flour, but which was later found to have another entirely independent action later (in the oven!), confirmed here. There are other useful data and insights from this experiment, for which a hand lens is helpful, which I can discuss if anyone’s interested.

Needed for another site:

epsilon compare as is with -7,100, 15 plus minus zeke




Posted in new theory, Shroud of Turin, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Final posting in previous stodgy site format: “Shroud of Turin – and now for a retrospective look at the boring old (systematic) science”

Update: Aug 3, late evening, UK time:  Oops. The new title and format of this site, now into its 5th year, has been picked up by Google under a (shroud of turin) search sooner than expected – approx  14 hours! But there’s no initial posting ready just yet – one that invites questions to which I hope to give speedy but considered answers. Sorry about that. Expect the first posting by end tomorrow (Aug 4) at the latest. In the meantime there’s always the comments facility attached to this posting, most of them my own sad to say, but hopefully things will change for the better soon.


 Latest update: 15th July (2016), plus 6 comments (most my own – serving as  a handy spill-over area).

This is the first posting on this site since Jan 25 this year – 5 months ago no less. The previous one was meant to be the last, ideally, hopefully mission accomplished, but more probably mission approximated, namely to model the Shroud of Turin’s subtle and enigmatic body image.

So why a new one now?

Answer: 300+ postings from this blogger appear to have ‘exhausted’ his readers such that the final end point – the oven-roasted flour imprint – is greeted with a yawn  or a “so what” – just one more posting, one more “possibility”.

But as the chart below shows, one in which the carefully thought-out mapping of possibilities has been set out, the final endpoint is not just “one more possibility”.


Shroud of Turin – listing all the obvious lines of research considered at start 2012 (except those ringed in green). Convection model (orange box ) with flour imprint onto wet linen the final preferred model (December 2015). Pink boxes: models tested start 2012-end 2015

It’s one that is seen by this blogger at any rate to tick virtually all the boxes based on what we presently know (admittedly next to nothing) about the TS image bar its enigmatic properties (negativity, superficiality, 3D properties, but nothing concrete re its precise chemical nature).

That’s not to say that a repeat of a STURP investigation might not throw up something entirely new, requiring a hasty retreat to the drawing board. To which I say: “Bring it on!” Despite STURP and its commendable efforts we still know next to nothing about the chemical nature of the TS image! Who’d be a chemical model builder, working even now largely in the dark? Degraded carbohydrate? Modified lignin? Maillard sugar-protein reaction product? We simply don’t know, and can only guess. But science has to take what if finds, not what it would like to be there.

I’d planned a lot more screed, but let’s abandon the words, few of which create any lasting impression in the generally tight-lipped world of sindonology. Here’s the mental map this blogger fumbled towards 4 years ago. The PINK boxes show those possibilities that have been tested – the majority note – and the ORANGE box is the final preferred model – see preceding posting, namely the dry flour imprint onto wet linen that is then roasted to give a bold image, subsequently washed to give the final attenuated image. Dare I say faint, negative almost certainly superficial image with 3D properties, displaying some at least of the microscopic properties ( half tone effect, discontinuities, striations etc). The GREEN-boxed parts were not there at the outset but came later.

The scheme set out may ultimately be proved wrong. But I say it’s systematic, as science should be systematic, and I shall have some uncharitable things to say in the next posting about a spin- doctored  press release  from a hitherto prestigious government funded Italian research institute in December 2011 that in fact prompted this SYSTEMATIC search for the correct answer, one in which one checks out ALL the possibilities and more besides, even if it takes 4 years and causes layman eyes to glaze over.

Such is the nature of science – rarely the stuff of headlines, more akin to constructing a novel,  patiently chapter by chapter, avoiding gaps and contradictions in the extended narrative.  Instant pop “science” written for instant media impact is invariably ephemeral trivia.

Incidentally, I’ve developed an aversion to writing. It probably shows. Nothing would please me more than have someone else take over the task of writing. He or she can be as critical or complimentary as they please. Just free me from the task of endlessly writing. I’m a pithy comments-man by nature, not a poster. Please, someone, set up a web forum  to replace that of Dan Porter’s (though hopefully more researcher-oriented).

I’ll add links later to all those pink boxes highlighting  possibilities that were exhaustively tested between start 2012 and end 2015 but found wanting, except for the convection/roasted flour imprint model (orange box).

Anything omitted? Suggestions invited.

Addendum: the boxes in that checklist have been numbered 1-14. I shall be making a list below of representaive postings that addressed each of those 14 sets of conditions. For now just note the two main headings: type of energy input (thermal, chemical, thermochemical) and state of the linen receiving that energy input (untreated versus treated in some fashion, e.g. by impregnation with white flour slurry, or wetted then imprinted with dry flour etc etc).

Box 1: March 29, 2015

Can that weird and wonderful Turin Shroud be modelled? See my hands-on results with dye-imprinting, reported in real time.


Boxes 2 and 3: Jan 3, 2012

More progress in improving my thermo-stencilling technology for simulating the Turin Shroud


Box 4: Feb 24, 2012

The Turin Shroud Man is not a photograph, but a negative THERMOGRAPH – and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise…


 Box 5: October 24, 2014

Modelling the Shroud of Turin image with a flour-assisted Maillard browning reaction.


Box 6: Jan 25, 2016

Modelling the Shroud of Turin with white flour, olive oil and a real face – in pictures.

This, kindly note, is the preferred of all the 14 combinations investigated. Is the image a scorch? No, it’s not a scorch. The energy input is hot air inside an oven that has selectively roasted and coloured the flour imprint on linen. The energy input is CONVECTED heat, not radiated or conducted heat. The bold image that is formed in the oven might possibly be a Maillard reaction product formed between sugars and protein in the flour, but the fainter ghost image that survives washing with soap and water – see this site’s banner with Galaxy Warrior imprints, highly reminiscent some might think of the TS image-   may or may not be the same product. It may possibly be a reaction product that involves the linen fibres themselves, either the carbohydrate (cellulose, hemicellulose etc)  or the traces of endogenous protein or maybe both.

Box 7: October 25, 2012

Refining a model: children’s ‘invisible ink’ trick with lemon juice allows thermal imprinting (“scorching”) at a much reduced temperature


 Boxes 8 and 9: September 30, 2014

More on that enigmatic negative and superficial Turin Shroud image. Let’s not strangle at birth a possible working model based on invisible-ink technology.


Boxes 10: April 1, 2015

What does sulphuric acid do to linen fibres? Might it provide us with clues to the Turin Shroud?


Box 11: April 6, 2015

Might fumigation with nitric acid vapour and NOx gases have been used to artificially age the Turin Shroud? Just an idea at this stage.


Box 12: May 19, 2015

 A generic model for how the Turin Shroud could have been forged via a TWO STEP process (image capture, then separate image development).


Box 13: as Box 10 above: April 1, 2015

What does sulphuric acid do to linen fibres? Might it provide us with clues to the Turin Shroud?


Box 14: June 20, 2014

Might the Shroud image have been produced as a thermochemical scorch on linen? Quicklime?

So where’s this posting leading?

It’s leading to a number of  article that appeared in the UK press late December 2011, of which this one in the Independent newspaper was typical.

Here’s its opening few sentences. one of which I’ve bolded, nay highlighted in colour.

“Italian government scientists have claimed to have discovered evidence that a supernatural event formed the image on the Turin Shroud, believed by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.

After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists.

However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax.”

Please, can someone point this blogger to where “those years of work trying to replicate the colouring of the shroud” was published? Had I been able to locate it back in 2011, it might have saved me from having to do 4 years of systematic research of my own…

I may at some point report the single comment that the ENEA team leader made in respect of this blogger’s research.  It compares this blogger capabilities with that of his own research students re focusing skills in using a light microscope...   ;-). Yes, serious stuff, addressing the basic fundamentals, like how to focus on tufts of linen fibres  (shown ‘as is’, not flattened  between glass slides)….

Wait till you see the rest of that Independent article, dear reader, and see what else was there re those “basic fundamentals”…

Final aside (to conclude this posting): never ever underestimate the power of ENEA logic. ENEA logic can unlock all the mysteries of the Universe, given sufficient time and ingenuity.

You want to know how the TS image was formed? Simple. Start with a preconception – that it required an immensely intense flash of supernatural radiation, one that would scorch the linen. Then select the closest approximation one can think of – a proxy so to speak for that supernatural radiation – like an intense uv laser beam?  (Don’t worry about the little details like lasers being man-made, needing highly precise internal geometry etc etc). Mimic the intended outcome – a brown discoloration on linen. Claim it matches exactly the one on the Shroud.  (Don’t worry about age effects on colour). Hey presto – you have confirmed all your preconceptions using the most up-to-date, gee whizz instrumentation. Make frequent mention in your press releases and interviews to the “scientific method”. Make sure you are described as “scientists” in the headlines.

Well, you know what they say. If you can’t beat them, join them. Deploying the all-conquering ENEA logic, I’m able to announce two major breakthroughs – an answer for (1) how the ancient pyramids were built AND (2)  as a bonus, why the sky is blue.

Ancient Egyptian pyramids

Forget everything you have read about them being made from quarried rock. Nope, not true. How do I know? Answer: the blocks weren’t quarried. They were cast from ancient sand/cement/Nile water. How do I know? I know through careful choice of imitative proxy experimentation. I have simulated that ancient mix using modern cement and sand from my local builder’s yard. I have produced cubes of “stone” that exactly match the colour of the ancient pyramids. Hey presto – preconception confirmed. That’s the cue to tackle an even bigger mystery  – why is the sky blue?

Blue sky

Preconception? There must be a blue gas in the air, maybe natural, maybe a pollutant. Are there any blue gases? Only one – it’s CF3.NO. That’s trifluoronitrosomethane. Hey, but wait: that looks like it could be formed by reaction between a banned CFC (as used in fridges etc)  and diesel exhaust fumes (NOx). Clever eh? Two entirely different pollutants enter the atmosphere, and react together to make a pretty blue gas.

Yup, thanks to ENEA logic, thanks to proxy imitative experimentation,’thought experiments’  included, thanks to clever colour matching, needing none of that boring old chemical analysis,  yet another preconception has been confirmed.

Who needs boring old science, tedious systematic science, when you have all-conquering ENEA logic at your disposal, providing  desired results and press releases in a mere fraction of the time?


dog and tail

ENEA logic guarantees endless activity, but don’t bother looking for science.

 Thanks, shutterstock. One couldn’t ask for a better graphic. No, not an ordinary everyday dog,  straining to glimpse and catch its own tail, but one that has stretched itself abnormally in order to make its tail seem part of its normal everyday scenery!

Yup, an apt representation of that ENEA’s team self-indulgence, its  ENEA “logic”. No thanks. It’s not what one expects to read in one’s newspapers, least of all for those of us who have spent our entire careers pursuing the scientific method, knowing there are no quick and easy answers.  What’s required is patient, systematic testing of ALL the possibilities that can be envisaged, whether agreeing with one’s preconceptions or not. Setting out to prove one’s unscientific preconceptions – trumpeting one’s deployment of scientific instrumentation and terminology  to do so – is not science. It is PSEUDOSCIENCE. Shame on ENEA for lending its otherwise good name to that kind of theologically-driven snake oil medicine salesmanship.

 Update: Tuesday 28th June

Have made a simple change to the manner in which the flour imprint is thermally developed. The effect it has on the credibility of the model  (in my humble opinion) is out of all proportion to the minor change in procedure. An otherwise peculiar and rarely-commented upon passage in’s history of the Shroud, one that gels with the Lirey/de Charny period of ownership and display is immediately accounted for.  And as if that weren’t sufficient, a medieval military context now exists to explain how the flour-imprinting technology was discovered and exploited, first to create a crude thermometer  ;-), then an icon, later upgraded to a ‘genuine’ relic. Yes dear reader, such of you, that is,  who are still stoically following  this marathon endeavour, I am now firmly of the mind that the Shroud of Turin came about as spin-off from development of  medieval defensive “M – – – – –   H – – – ”  (French:  M – – – – – – – – – ) technology, though Roman emperor Vespasian was given a  foretaste centuries earlier at the hands of the Jews, hint, hint  😉  Oh, and I shall need to modify   (slightly) the name of this blog site which I expect to do in the next day or two. 😉

So, will there be one more posting , to add to the 300+ already posted here and on sciencebuzz, with scarcely any interest from authenticity-convinced ‘sindonologists’ or even those appalling so-called search engines?  Nope. Too much time has been spent already on the internet as a means of communication and, hopefully, enlightenment (while fine as means or reporting,  uniquely  I suspect,  i.e. a “first”, an extended research project reported hot-from-the-press  in  bite-size instalments).

I shall sit on the present result for a while, building up an archive of photographs that provide the underpinning for what is almost certainly the final step in model development. The imperative is to get the timing right – to release the final model at a time when it is likely to get most interest, most attention from the big wide world that exists outside the narrow claustrophobic confines of sindonology.

Update: 30th June 2016:

New title and tagline installed:

Shroud of Turin: simply a flour-based thermal imprint?

Did the effects on colour of heating flour-based foods (e.g. Maillard browning)  give medieval entrepreneurs a simple means of modelling that “enigmatic” sepia-tone body imprint for the benefit of credulous pilgrims?

Here’s a photo taken today at an intermediate stage using the new thermal processing (NOT the hot oven used previously).
new thermal processing after first wash

Stage 1 flour imprint onto linen, seen here  pegged out on washing line. It was  obtained using my revised thermal technology prior to a final more vigorous wash to detach the encrusted material, leaving a final Shroud-like ghost-image. Note 3D properties.

What you see is the flour imprint from my “Galaxy Warrior” template after (1) thermal treatment, then (2) an initial wash, but (3) BEFORE  the final more vigorous one.
Yes, the image is 3D  (though let me say I don’t think that has anything to do with the so-called “3D” properties of the real Shroud in modern computer software). What’s more, most of what you see is soft and easily detachable needing a second more vigorous wash to detach the velvety-looking cushion-like encrustation,  leaving the final faint attenuated image, the latter best seen on screen from a distance (ring any bells?).
Yes, I think the modified thermal technology ticks a lot more boxes than the previous one using the oven. Indeed, I  am now minded to think it was THE technology used in the mid 1350s to model what a whole body  imprint onto Joseph of Arimathea’s cross-to-tomb transport linen would look like 13 or so centuries later.
3rd July 2016
Chemical nature of the final “ghost image” (see banner)?  At this stage one can only speculate. My working hypothesis is that it’s  MELANOIDINS, i.e.  the yellow or brown high molecular endproduct of Maillard reactions, formed by condensation reactions between chemically-reactive low molecular weight substances (nitrogenous carbonyls etc etc). The alleged colour distribution on the TS (present on both air-facing sides of the cloth but not in between) could be explained if the reactants form and then diffuse along fibres and/or threads, only forming coloured high MWt  condensation products at both the surfaces. Melanoidins also have a propensity to flocculate into aggregates, facilitated by metal ions. That too may be a factor in how or where melanoidins  tend to be deposited.
Alternative hypothesis: it’s traces of intrinsic proteins of flax fibres that react with reducing sugar from the flour to make the final ghost image. I have suggestive evidence that is NOT the case, that flour provides both the protein (and/or other amino groups) and reducing sugar. It would be premature to divulge the experimental details at this stage.
4th July 2016 (am)
“Khymos” was able to speed up browning of onion rings by adding a pinch of sodium bicarbonate.
Today I shall try adding a pinch of NaHCO3 to my white flour to see if it (a) speeds up production of golden-brown coloration in the new thermal model and (b) whether there’s more or less of the “ghost image”  remaining after repeated washing of the linen with soap and water.
 4th July (pm)
DSC07004 NaHCO3 right control left after initial soap wash
Guess which of these had sodium bicarbonate added to the flour, seen here after 10mins of ‘new’ thermal processing followed by initial (gentle) washing with soap and water so as not to dislodge the plumped-up image.
 Next step: a more vigorous wash to dislodge the encrusted Maillard products. Prediction: the enhanced Maillard image on the right will leave a more intense ‘ghost image’ too.
July 4th (late afternoon)
DSC07018 prediction confirmed
Prediction confirmed!
And here’s that final TS look-alike ‘ghost image’ after rendering in Image J.
final washed image after Image J
Reminder: ImageJ creates a 3D effect by means of image density elevation on an imaginary vertical z axis, combined with all-important – though often overlooked – lateral lighting to create virtual shadow. Note that the z-axis gain control on the right at its minimum default value (0.1).
We now have TWO alternative thermal-development strategies, each with its practical advantages/disadvantages – but BOTH produce final ghost images after soap/water washing that display 3D properties in ImageJ.
Ladies and gentlemen: I present you with what I consider a highly plausible model for the Turin Shroud – a product  of ingenious medieval technology –  obtained using the simplest of raw materials – food ingredients no less – and a suitable source of heat to convert a white flour imprint on wet linen to yellow or orange melanoidins and/or other sugar/protein Maillard reaction products.
Here’s a photo of a result hot from the press using two different 3D artefacts of roughly the same size  (brass crucifix plus Galaxy Warrior as per site banner ) to model the TS double image, using not just one human volunteer but TWO. (See comment added Sunday 19th July for details):




What you see on the right are the flour imprints after the new thermal processing procedure (not a fan oven with circulating hot air as before). That’s after two gentle washes with soap and water, but BEFORE the final vigorous wash needed to detach the encrusted Maillard product needed to achieve the final attenuated TS-like image. What we see here is maybe more comparable to the ‘bas relief’ image on sees on the Lirey badge (“Mark 1 TS, circa 1355?”)

And here from the archives is the Lirey badge as a reminder. It’s the first appearance in history of the iconic double image (frontal v dorsal, head to head).  Note the bas relief, which may or may not be significant (see earlier).:


Lirey pilgrims’ badge, cast in lead/tin alloy, circa 1355.

 Latest: 15th July 2016

Have just started a search under (melanoidins chemical spot tests) and discovered this handy paper from 1972 that uses two easily-obtainable chemicals – ferric chloride and potassium ferricyanide.


FeCl3 melanoidinslow temperature (rock tomb!) pro-authenticity version proposed earlier by STURP’s Raymond N.Rogers. Needless to say I think it’s my system that is the correct one, but at some stage a return to the Shroud will be needed, if only with a micro-spotting test to confirm the essential  Maillard-nature of the image chromophore. We can then home in on how a Maillard product was formed, specifically the source of the amino-nitrogen (wheat flour protein side chains OR putrefaction vapours (the aptly named putrescine, cadaverine etc from a real deceased body in an semi-advanced state of decomposition!).

Update: Sunday 17th July:

An interesting question was posted by one “H.E.” to this site, but under the “About” (me!) tab next to “Home” where few are likely to see it, far less my answer, so here’s a cut-and-paste. I may add further thoughts later under “Comments”..

  1. H.E says:

    Hi Colin, not sure if you answered this before… but why don’t we see many more instances of images on shrouds, cloths, etc…?

  2. There’s no simple, self-evident answer to your question, which rephrased might be “Why is the Turin Shroud a ‘one-off’?”. But there’s a hint of an answer to be found if you go into the history of the Lirey chapel pre-1355 (first display of the Shroud). It was set up to begin with by a gift of land from Geoffroy de Charny’s comrade-in-arms, heir to the King of France, who, on becoming KIng himself, showered honours on his loyal but cash-strapped lieutenant, prompted in no small part by their sharing high-minded knightly ideals and a strong sense of religious piety.

    To cut a long story short, I believe the Shroud was initially created as a sure-fire attraction for ailment-afflicted and indulgence-seeking pilgrims, initially billed as a ‘realistic icon’ to represent Joseph of Arimathea’s linen. But when Geoffrey was killed at the Battle of Poitiers, his widow saw the potential in immediately upgrading an icon to “genuine relic”. The local bishop of Troyes. Henri de Poitiers, having initially approved the “icon” description, was quickly on the case. Banning the display for some 30 years allowed knowledge of its real provenance to gradually fade from public view, even assuming that the technology was ever known outside of the tight circle of 5 or 6 clerics appointed as ‘stewards’ (and in all probability covert part time icon-manufacturers) to Geoffroy’s VERY private chapel, well off the beaten track until acquiring its star attraction.

    Later stewards of the celebrated “Shroud” ( widow Jeanne de Vergy’s descendants and later still, under post-sale House of Savoy ownership) had a strong incentive to keep the innovative image-making technology under wraps, again assuming they were ever privy to the details.

 Update, Friday 29th July


EPSON scanner image

Thanks to the cartoonist (this being found in internet image files to which I’ve added the red labels).

This cartoon, my labelling, is needed in order to respond to a comment that’s just arrived on this posting  (from Liz Leafloor of the Ancient Origins site). Yup, it’s a quirk of the software that if I want to insert a graphic into a comment, it has to be inserted into a posting first.

 Update: Sunday 31st July  IMPORTANT!!!!!

As stated earlier, publishing to the internet is a total waste of time if the aim is to get one’s sceptical ideas and research findings re the Turin Shroud into the public domain: the sindonology ‘establishment’ and lackadaisical search engines between them see to that.

I have just done the first of a series of pilot experiments that (a) take  ON TRUST the Adler/Heller ‘blood-before-image’ claim, based on blood-digesting protease tests (dare one say current dogma)  and (b) see whether it’s incompatible or not with my flour imprinting model. The results warrant a new posting in my humble estimation, but there WILL NOT be a new posting for the reasons stated. Instead I’ll insert a few key images from that experiment here with a minimum of supporting detail (so as not to make this posting’s text  any longer than it is already) and use the extended ‘image archive’ here as a means of installing the new images into Comments, where I’ll discuss the findings and their significance (if any)  with anyone who’s interested.

first 3 stages

LEFT: artificial “blood” (a mixture of egg white and commercial beetroot juice food colouring) dribbled onto flour-coated hand. CENTRE: drape wet linen, press to get imprint with “blood-first”  RIGHT: appearance after heating to approx 190 degrees C in oven.

DSC08535 reapply colour to egg white area

Re-applying colour to the heavily-brown stained NON-IMAGE areas, either the original food colouring from bottle, or with fluorescent marker pen.

Further discussion to be found under Comments on this posting (mostly mine for the reasons stated).

Further update, Sunday July 31

There’s another way one can imprint in a manner that would appear to be “blood-before-image” in an Adler/Heller test, contrary to actual experimental sequence. It uses cut outs of linen shaped like blood stains that act as masks. They act like stencils, producing image-free areas of the same shape that can then be coloured in afterwards , either with real blood or blood-substitute. Here are 4 photographs from today’s pilot experiment which show the technology works, at least in principle, providing a further boost to the flour-imprinting model.

photos 1 and 2 side by side

Left: linen masks of desired shape, prepared beforehand, laid over flour-coated anatomy for imprintimg. Right: the appearance of imprinted linen and masking linen after separate heating in the oven at approx 190 degrees C.  The masks block imprinting leaving white space on a brown Maillard-background.

photos 3 and 4 side by side

Left: the same imprint of the hand, after soap-washing to leave the ghost TS-like image with image-free area still visible, with unwashed mask shapes for comparison. Right: the image free areas  selectively dabbed with blood-substitute (commercial beetroot juice) on the image-free areas to make it seem as if those shapes had been imprinted .

Comments invited.



Posted in Shroud of Turin, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 54 Comments

Modelling the Shroud of Turin with white flour, olive oil and a real face – in pictures.

By popular demand, here’s the result of using my flour imprinting model on a real human face, well, my own…

We’ll let the photos tell their own  story, postponing  the discussion for Comments (mainly), though as before, I might tack additions onto this posting  later in the light of comments, further thoughts or both.

Yes, this site and its content, started some 4 years ago, should be seen as a work in progress. All findings are preliminary, all conclusions are tentative.

To business: here are the results from today’s experimentation, dare one say model building:


1 polys DSC03632

Here’s a piece of thick expanded polystyrene. A hole has been inexpertly cut out. The purpose is to allow me to imprint my own flour-coated face onto TAUT linen that goes under the chin, so as to stand a better chance of imprinting the nose, lips and chin. (The nose has previously been an obstacle to complete imprinting off a fully 3D human face, as distinct from ‘soft option’ bas relief).


2. polys

Here’s the wet linen spread out across the cut out region of polystyrene, ready to receive a flour-coated face. The linen will be gripped at the sides, closer to the bottom than the top, to ascertain whether nose AND lips AND chin can be simultaneously imprinted. (Yes, I pushed my face into the linen before taking this picture, as a dry, correction, wet run).

polys frame photographed from other side DSC03789

Here’s a late addition to the photo gallery, This afterthought was prompted by what seemed like a beard on the final imprint. Here it’s not at all difficult to see how imprinting onto the semi-transparent water-soaked linen, stretched taut like a drum skin (or maybe allowed a little slackness and sag to allow limited moulding to 3D relief)),  should produce an entirely artefactual beard and possibly moustache too. Indeed, this prediction was made on this site many moons ago, suggesting there was a ” face pressed up against the glass” quality to the TS image that could have made the facial “hair” of the Man on the TS an imprinting artefact. Note too how the technique can generate trapped creases that subsequently get ‘baked in’ (see prominent one on TS at chin/neck level).

polys before and after flour imprinting

That’s me on the left, with face first smeared with olive oil, then dusted with plain white flour. Can you see the difference on the right? The flour is missing in places – most places in fact except the lower relief. Why? Because the picture was taken AFTER pressing my face down into the wet linen, stretched over the polystyrene cut out.

5 polys

Here’s the oil/flour imprinted linen, suspended in a hot fan oven (up to 200 degrees C). Note the browning of the imprinted regions. Note that it’s not necessary to have the linen stretched out.


Here’s the initial ‘raw’ imprint of my face, prior to washing to achieve that fuzzier attenuated TS look. No, it does not look immediately promising, but bear in mind that the primary aim in this experiment was to achieve imaging of the lower half of the face (nose, lips and chin). The eyes are ‘white space’, no attempt having been made to image the (closed) eyelids. But then the eyes are poorly imaged on the TS too, as expected from a contact-imprinting model – the eyes being recessed in the bony eye sockets.


my face stretched linen DSC03681 40,30,-10 inverted

Here’s the same image, after tone reversal and 3D rendering/enhancement in ImageJ. Nope, not King Neptune, but yours truly. I seem to have acquired a beard. Why is that one may ask? What about the ‘beard’ on the TS? Is that a real beard, or is that too an artefact of contact-imprinting? Discuss….


Late addition (29th Jan): the technique of smearing oil onto the template was first introduced on this site way back in October 2014 when exploring direct scorching from heated metal templates. As soon as the idea arrived that a cold template could  be used to create a flour imprint on linen, heating the imprinted linen instead of the metal, then an agent was needed to help the flour adhere to the metal. That’s when oil put in its first appearance here, and has since been routinely used with an increasing number of template materials – terra cotta, plastics and now human skin -hands initially.   (The oil only became necessary when the switch was made from imprinting with  (a) wet flour slurry onto dry linen,  to imprinting with  (b) dry flour onto wet linen – that being a late stage of method development designed to achieve a fuzzier more TS-like image). But vegetable oil, even as virgin olive oil, is not the most user-friendly of substances to have to smear on one’s face, eyelids especially, as has currently needed to be done. Or does it? An agent introduced initially for use with metal is not necessarily needed for skin (while noting that oil was found to speed image development in the oven).

So a quickie comparison has been done of three pretreatments of skin (my fingers) before coating with dry flour and imprinting onto wet linen:

  1. None (flour dusted onto skin directly with no binding agent)
  2. Smeared with oil, then dusted with dry flour.
  3. Smeared with a thin slurry of white flour in water, then dusted with dry flour.

Here’s a gallery of pix showing appearance at different stages. The captions describe the facts. Discussion of results and final choice of imprinting medium is in the Comments attached to this post.

hands before and after imprinting

3 (Left): precoating hands with flour paste then dry flour. 2 (Centre): precoating hands with olive oil then dry flour  1. (Right): dry flour only. (The numbering is in reverse, having been used for the reverse side of the linen, left to right, before imprinting) Top row: before imprinting onto wet linen Bottom row: depleted coatings after imprinting onto wet linen.

roasted flour imprint before v after washing

Top row: appearance of imprints immediately after removal from the oven, same numbering system as above. Bottom row: the same, showing final more TS-like attenuated images after thorough washing/grinding action with soap and water. Part of a bleached linen shirt was used in this experiment.


Extract of comment, received yesterday  (29 Jan) from Thibault Heimburger:

Looking again and again at the TS image of the face (positive and negative), the mystery remains. How is it possible for a medieval forger to produce BY CHANCE an imprint that after tone reversal gives a perfect (absolutely perfect) human face ?
It is NOT a question of aesthetic.
It is a question of subtlety of the imprint.

See my reply beneath it, to which I would add this image,  one that needs no further comment or explanation:

composite image

“Perfect” face? Perfect by what criteria? Scientific or non-scientific?


Update: 31st Jan 2016. 

Here’s a screen grab from two of yesterday’s comments. the first my own, and the holding answer from Thibault Heimburger:

comments CB and TH 30 Jan 2016

Comments, this site, 30 Jan 2016

I greatly look forward to hearing what Thibault Heimburger has to say regarding the density gradients in the TS image. It’s a topic that I explored a while ago, using the Thermal LUT mode of ImageJ to perform ‘easy’ visual analysis of  TS facial density gradients, avoiding a welter of numbers:

image gradient before and after thermal LUT in ImageJ

Grayscale density gradient (left) versus the same graphic’s response to Thermal LUT 3D mode in ImageJ (right)


scope face as is no extra contrast thermal lut trimmed

Shroud Scope, nose, “moustache” cheeks etc analysed in Thermal LUT mode in ImageJ (part of the 3D -rendering menu, but note there was no raising of the z-scale above the default(0.1) setting. What one sees here is the basal “needle forest” of the digitized image with minimal 3D and zero smoothing.


Update: Monday 1st Feb 2016: Am still fining-tuning the procedure for taking a minimally-distorted imprint off a REAL human face.

TS versus masked face

TS face (Enrie negative) versus R&D to find the optimal technique for modelling via facial imprinting. The creases (left) need no longer be a mystery (or ignored altogether by most pro-authenticity advocates).

Simple experiments with a hood have confirmed the importance of pulling the linen taut UNDER the chin, so as to stretch it over the nose and lips, together with a little diagonal tugging down over both cheeks so as to prevent creasing. But the technique does not prevent creasing altogether. Does that matter where matching the TS image is concerned? I’ve chosen the Enrie negative to remind folk of the two prominent creases at TOP and BOTTOM of the head. Why is there so little discussion as to where they came from???  My model provides a simple answer.

DSC04164 flour coated face cropped

Reminder: flour imprinting allows one to decide in advance which parts of the face will be in the final image, and which excluded, notably a preference for frontal over lateral planes so as to avoid image distortion. The underside of the chin can also be wiped, allowing one to pull the linen taut as described above without imprinting that area. In other words, the ‘mask’ like look of the TS, with those severe lateral cut-offs, are easily accounted for in the flour-imprinting model. Note too the sides of the nose have been wiped.  But as I had to remind a commentator here, models are for using, not believing. Much still remains to be done to get something that matches the subtlety of the TS image (while recognizing that some of that may be due to centuries of ageing).

2nd update: Feb 1

Have just received this comment from Thibault Heimburger regarding the use of ImageJ’s Thermal LUT mode to visualize image density gradients.


TH Feb 1 comment re Thermal LUT

Since this posting is already becoming too long, I’ll simply insert a graphic and caption here that responds to the first point raised (the use of the Min.% control bottom right). Further discussion can be found under Comments.

use of min% as scaler

The top row shows the lower face of the Ts at 3 different levels of contrast/brightness/midtone value. One cannot expect of all them to respond equally well to the Thermal LUT mode of ImageJ, displayed above with the circle and the colour-coded cone. The first picture, lower row left, is what one sees with the Min.% set to zero. It works well on the high intensity image, showing a range of elevations, less well with the lower intensity levels (smaller range of colours). One can improve the response of the latter by increasing the Min.% level (shown at 33%) but that setting is too high for the dense image, giving excessive elevation and lopping off of the tops of cones. The Min.% control is a trial-and-error scaling device that one sets to get the maximum numberof colours in the Thermal LUT mode from blue through white and yellow to red. It expands the scale between a fixed maximum (100%) and a variable minimum value.


New update: Tue 2nd Feb 2016

Re the second part of Thibault Heimburger’s question, I think I’m now in a position to explain the subtlety of the TS image (which I’ve always acknowledged) if as I now believe it is reasonably well modelled as a flour imprint – even if that is not the precise technology that was employed. The model merely serves as an example of how a seemingly mundane way of producing a contact imprint can give rise to “subtlety” which mirrors that of the TS image. But first it’s necessary to address the specifics, namely the intermediate levels of image density that are present in the TS image. In fact, one can see those in the standard images of the TS, viewed with the naked eye, whether as positive or negative images, whether as Enrie or Durante images. But the focus right now is on the tool offered by ImageJ to view image density mapped as colour coded artificial relief, as shown above with the simple example of a circle with increasing image density towards the centre being converted to a colourful conein the Thermal LUT mode (LUT= Look Up Table).

Yes, the same Thermal mode shows the expected gradation of image density in the TS, or as Thibault correctly observes, the highest relief (shown as red) having beneath it an intermediate relief colour (yellow). What was he expecting? The lowest relief immediately (blue) with no gradation? Why? Had that been the case the TS image would have looked like a rubber stamp imprint, a crude all-or-nothing imprint, showing a total absence of “subtlety”, read crudeness. But even my flour imprints (and before it the Mark 1 direct scorch imprints off a heated template) pass that test of “subtlety” in ImageJ’s Thermal LUT mode, as shall now be shown.

First, here are flour imprints off my own fingers shown earlier in this posting that will be used as indisputably an entirely man-made image:

roasted flour imprint before v after washing

See original caption above. Basically, images straight from oven in top row, the same after washing in bottom row.


fingers from flour imprinting in Thermal LUT, Min. 13%

Min. % = 13 (scale lower right)


fingers thermal Min. now  raised to 27%

Min. % raised to 27.

Note then that the intermediate yellow zone beneath the red is NOT exclusive to the TS image. Put another way, if that yellow zone is a marker for “subtlety” then the flour-imprinting model could be said to pass the subtlety test with, er, flying colours (well, partially elevated ones anyway, if not totally airborne).

I shall shortly be adding two images that I hope will demonstrate the manner in which  two entirely independent mechanisms of 3D image capture, mutually reinforcing, synergistic one might say, come into play that result in the semi-photographic like character of the final imprint. Time to get my camera out, and a bag of flour, and a sheet of linen…

If one set out to find a contact imprinting method that was most likely to capture 3D-ness, computer software-aided that is, it’s hard to imagine one that is better than the flour-onto-wet-linen  method.

3D–ness is captured in the very first stage of sprinkling flour from above the recumbent subject, since the flour settles under gravity  (read orthogonally in those radiation models) mainly but not exclusively on the flattest relief.

hand series composite 1 to 3

Left: flour sprinkled onto hand from above; Centre: excess shaken off; Right: flour attaches mainly but not exclusively to the flat relief, which tends to be the highest relief.

 In a recumbent human subject (e.g. the Man on the TS)  the flattest relief IS the highest relief!

Then there’s the moulding of wet linen to the body relief.

hand series composite 4 and 5

Wet linen pressed down onto hand. Note (left) the closer adhesion (additional transparency) to parts with hard underlying bone – about which more later. Note too (right) the somewhat bony skeletal look when fingers are held together such that the linen forms short bridges over the crevices between fingers, creating the impression of gaps in the final imprint that are not there, viz, the allegedly “X-ray” fingers of the Man on the TS in those radiation models (supposedly internal source of X-rays!).

Again, it’s the highest flattest relief that gets the most contact, the linen tending to make bridges  between one prominence and another where there are intervening crevices and hollows. So one has a second entirely independent mechanism that favours the highest relief over the lower relief, such that a 2D imprint will have gradations of light and dark that give visual clues to the 3D relief of the parent template.

That’s the imprinting in general terms. One also has detailed aspects to consider where particular features of anatomy are concerned, like the nose, mouth, chin, the crossed hands, the feet. Let’s postpone further discussion on those for a day or two. Suffice it to say that flour imprinting can and does deliver the goods!


 Two more images, by request from Thibault Heimburger (see Comments, this posting, 4th Feb, re his need for highest definition pictures).



Flour imprint of fingers, before washing, 164KB, 72dpi







After washing, 168KB, 72dpi


Afterthought, added Friday 5th Feb

Have just remembered that one can use one’s printer scanner to obtain higher resolution pictures if desired (in this case it is Thibault Heimburger who has made the request which I’m only too happy to oblige). Fortunately I had not thrown away the linen with those flour imprints from my fingers. Here’s some images from the first scan, with the resolution set at its maximum (300dpi), approx 4 times greater than those above from the camera (and without camera shake!).

minimally cropped printer scan 1.08 MB, 300 dpi

Approx 1MB file size, 300dpi. Oil-assisted imprinting on left, control (flour-only) on right. Both after vigorous washing in soap and water to dislodge encrusted material.



scan 300 dpi oil v flour only control magnified then screen grab

Slight enlargement then cropping of previous picture. Note that the weave is clearly visible in the scanned image, with no obvious pixellation, unlike standard photographs from the digital camera. These are ‘as is’ images: no adjustments have been made to contrast, brightness etc or other photoediting.


Final update: Thursday 11th Feb, 2016

OK, that’s it folks. I’ve now said all I want to say on the Turin Shroud. Have added this as my final comment.

This blogging investigator has been reporting his findings online for 4 years. Having chosen to use the internet as his medium of communication, he has quietly been monitoring the manner in which the major search engines allow his research to reach his target audience, namely those who input either “shroud of turin ” or “turin shroud”.

Google has largely delivered the expected performance, based on visits to my sites, links on other sites, whilst noting that is (which US-based searchers will access) demotes my postings relative to That is tolerable, while hardly conducive to the sharing of international research and scholarship, But as soon as one looks at the alternatives to Google, naming no names. one disappears almost completely off the listings, at least the first 10 or 20 pages of returns.

What is the point of carefully composing my flagged-up Manifesto, work in progress, if the Internet and its search engines are likely to disregard it completely?

After much deliberation I have decided to keep thoughts and suspicions to myself as to why my postings fail to appear on`those (it has to be said) mainly US-based search engines, while those on other “Shroudie”, mainly pro-authenticity sites do. Nuff said.

OK. maybe I’m boring or too sciency. But how do the search engines and their algorithms know that? Or is there human intervention that we’re not told about, or commercial influences via advertising, feeding through to what appears on search returns?


mountain view california google operations centre

Just some of the buildings comprising Google’s Mountain View HQ in California. How many employees? See next image.


number of fulltime google employees mountain view california

Yes, Google employs well in excess of 50,000 full time employees. How likely is it that the search engine rankings are entirely algorithm -driven courtesy of electronic robots when one has this number of employees?


As indicated earlier. Google is not the worst offender where returns for (shroud of turin) are concerned. Indeed, it might be said to be the best offender. But try casting your eye, dear reader, down that list of returns, page by page. Notice anything? Notice that homogenized quality, indicative of selection/rejection- or at any rate promotion/demotion? Yes. those homogenized returns put this investigator in mind of those squat little jars of food he used to spoon-feed to his sons and daughter at weaning stage – smooth, bland, pureed – totally TOTALLY  homogeneous and surprise free, and thus the total antithesis of the spirit of genuine scientific enquiry – always unsettling, always springing surprises.

Shame on you Stateside search engines for your PC, your control freakery, your attempts to stifle the agenda. You claim to be the guardians of a free society.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…..

My Manifesto now goes on the back burner indefinitely. It will not appear unless or until I detect some signs of objectivity and neutrality in the listings of the major internet search engines. That might take months, It might take years, But until it does, this hitherto internet-based research project is at an end.


Personal emails still welcome to sciencebod01 (at), replace (at) with@,  but this site is now closed. Thank you for your interest and contributions.

Note added May 24 2016

There are many more enigmas in this old world of ours than that scarcely visible image on a piece of linen, carbon dated to the 14th century. To quote just one example, there are those mysterious Neolithic and Bronze Age circles of standing stones, of which Stonehenge is probably the best known.

Care to see a view on those megaliths that you’ve maybe never encountered before (maybe because there are too many vested interests who don’t wish you to know something that  – I have to say in all honesty – struck this blogger as immediately obvious, way back in 1998 when the 4000 year old “Seahenge”  a rough-and-ready downmarket version of Stonehenge – was uncovered by storms on the East Anglia coast)?

Here’s a screenshot of my posting yesterday to ‘the other site’, namely science buzz.

stonehenge get real posting may 23 2016










Posted in Shroud of Turin, Turin Shroud | Tagged , , , , , , , | 100 Comments

More original, cutting edge stuff from Hugh Farey appears in his latest BSTS Newsletter No.82 (December 2015)

Newsflash, added Thursday Jan 21, 2016

The latest edition of the  BSTS Newletter  No.82 has just appeared online, courtesy as usual of a dedicated page on Barrie M.Schwortz’s site.

BSTS Newsletter No 82 appeared Jan 20 or 21 , 2016

BSTS Newsletter No.82, December 2015, Editor Hugh Farey

There is much of interest there, especially original ‘hands on’ research by Hugh Farey that bravely attempts (and at least partially succeeds) in modelling the 1532 fire and its alleged mechanism of action and consequences, notably  the resultant symmetrical pattern of burn holes. There is also  some welcome  and long overdue re-thinking about the “scorches always fluoresce under uv, quite unlike the non-fluorescing TS body image” mantra (see too this investigator’s recent contrary  postings) and much else besides (which I’ve yet to read)  e.g. that claim for allegedly ‘invisible’ not to say hypothetical mending that we’re routinely told invalidates the radiocarbon dating .  Enjoy, or don’t, according to one’s sindonological sensibilities…

PS. Work proceeds apace on my “Shroud Manifesto”,  flagged up recently in  “Comments”  now up to its 25th bullet point. There’s no immediate urgency to post, especially as there’s much refreshing of memory, re-checking of references etc still to be done.DSC03170 doll versus flour imprint

It will have some photos of my latest template for flour-imprinting – a 21cm long vinyl baby doll with a cute face and smile.  There’s one striking imprint  thus far in some half dozen trials, all with the expected  3D properties, but it’s proving difficult to get consistent results. Technique is all important when needing to transfer flour cleanly and completely from reduced-scale 3D synthetic polymer  to linen. One never had this trouble with a 1:1 scale human appendage (my hand!).


Update: Saturday 22nd Jan

Have decided not to bother any more with the doll. Handy though it is size-wise for modelling purposes (less linen needed!) its plastic “skin” is simply not the equivalent of the real stuff, like my hand: while it coats well when first smeared with oil or beaten egg yolk (a new test) and then sprinkled with white flour, the latter – the vital imprinting medium – fails to transfer cleanly and completely to the wet linen, leaving gaps in the image.

However, one good thing came out of the doll test: I decided to try egg yolk versus egg white in place of vegetable oil as the initial ‘adhesive’ on my hand, and obtained (dare one say) a somewhat spectacular result, probably my best to date, as shown by these 3D renderings of the positive and tone-reversed imprints after baking .

yolk v white all 3d pre and post inversion

Left: positive flour imprints using (a) egg yolk and (b) egg white. Right: the same after tone-reversal in ImageJ. The fingers were deliberately spread apart when using egg yolk, and deliberately bunched together with egg white.


Not bad eh? Note the spindly fingers, as per the Real Thing. It’s a consequence of imprinting cylindrical appendages where the cloth is pressed down ONTO them, not between them, ie. the linen makes bridges between  the fingers such that the top surfaces only are imprinted, making them seem thinner than is really the case.

The spindly fingers of the TS are frequently commented upon and have been the subject of some exotic physics and biology – like emission of X-rays!  Contact imprinting offers a more prosaic explanation.

I may well substitute egg yolk or white for vegetable oil in future work. While not as convenient as oil straight from the bottle, it’s less messy and easier to rinse off hands etc afterwards. The humble egg is just as ‘medieval’ as vegetable oil, especially in a region of France (like Lirey in the Champagne region) which lies well north of the sun-kissed Mediterranean and its olive trees.

Final postscript: 24th Jan 2015

Once again, this retired scientist is being lectured, nay chastised, by the French physician, he of the prescriptive – and all too often wrong – PDF-penning tendency,  on what are the priorities where MY OWN research programme is concerned. yes, see comments attached to this thread.

This is neither the time nor place to discuss the philosophy of science (and the scientific method) with physicians who while using the fruits of scientific research are generally not scientists (unless holding a PhD or UK-style research MD or similar). Suffice it to say that science is NOT about establishing the correct answers. It’s about asking the right questions, assisted by model-building.  The answers to those questions, obtained with one’s increasingly-refined model,  hopefully improve the probability that one’s answers are correct. But as I say, science is about asking the right questions. It’s not a skill that can be taught, but is one that with patient observation can be learned, by working with a team leader who asks the right questions (thus the attraction of the university environment where there’s a recognized “prof” heading a department who’s good at asking the right questions, often leaving it to his students and research fellows to deliver the answers – right or wrong.

Do i practice what I preach? Yes, I believe so, and here’s the proof from some model-building I did some 2 weeks ago using a home-made, small scale  terra cotta bas relief to model the TS face.


0 terra cotta DSC02635

Home-made terra cotta face, after painting to seal the baked clay.


1. terra cotta template DSC02654

Fresh flour imprints, immediately after oven-baking, obtained from the template using LUWU (Linen Underneath With Underlay) or LOTTO (Linen On Top With Overlay).  LUWU = face down; LOTTO = face-up. The latter is more ‘complete’ but is arguably less imprint-like with greater wrap-around elongation/distortion. That is not to say that the TS face was obtained by LOTTO rather than LUWU. It is still a moot point, an important question needing to be addressed before making any formal attempt to replicate the TS image at full scale (real face or bas relief?)

2. washed terra cotta for inversion and 3dDSC02727

Here are the arguably more TS-like attenuated imprints from the terra cotta bas relief after washing with soap and water, ready for tone-reversal and/or 3D rendering in ImageJ.

3. washed terra cotta DSC02727 after inversion

As above, after Secondo Pia-style tone reversal (“positive to negative”).

4. terra cotta after 3d no inversion

Positive imprints after 3D rendering in ImageJ. Important:  the z scale slide on right has been left at its default setting , i.e. 0.1.  What one sees is the software’s default 3D-enhancement, one that also elevates simple plane figures on an imaginary z (vertical) axis. In other words, what one sees here might be entirely artefactual 3D generated by the software that creates ‘fake’ relief through raising image elevation in proportion to image density. The same might be true needless to say for 3D renderings of the TS.


Response to Mutant Buzzard (Comments, this posting): here’s one I did earlier (June 2012) – response of those scourge marks on Shroud Scope, given extra contrast, then 3D-enhanced in ImageJ:


Scourge marks (blood imprints) from Shroud Scope, with restored contrast and 3D-rendering in ImageJ.


I see no reason why scourge marks could not be replicated, at least in principle, do you MutantB? All one would need are miniature dumbbell-shaped templates of some description  that are painted with fresh blood or something made to resemble blood, and then serially imprinted across the entire body image, front and back, all 372 of them! (Personally, from reading the NT and the exchange of conversation between Pilate and Jesus, and then Pilate and the baying mob, I’ve never believed that Pilate ordered a scourging anything like as severe as would be indicated had the TS been radiocarbon-dated to the first century. The recipient would have been in no state to carry a protest banner, far less a cross or transom thereof).

Also needed for Comments is this image:

cropped hood with eye cut outs DSC03618


Posted in Shroud of Turin | Tagged , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Contact prints from a 3D figure will always be wider and suffer from wrap-around distortion. True or false?

It began by asking a simple question. Suppose one dusted a 3D figure completely with white flour (now this blogger’s preferred imprinting medium, admittedly requiring an oven to ‘develop’ the image to a visible brown colour). Suppose one imprinted the two sides separately. Would there be a ‘frontal’ image and a ‘dorsal’ image, as per the Turin Shroud, with no imprinting of the sides, or would one see unsightly imprinting of the sides as well,  through having used a printing mode dependent on physical contact. ?

5.warrior coated evenly all over DSC02671

Fig. 1 Template entirely coated with flour,  sides included.

Using my “Galaxy Warrior” again as template, I  first smeared it all over, front, back and sides, with vegetable oil, then dusted liberally with white flour, then knocked off the excess. It was checked carefully to see that no parts had been missed, adding extra flour where necessary and again knocking off the excess. It was now ready for imprinting.

The frontal side was imprinted onto wet linen first, using what I call the LOTTO mode (Linen On Top, Then Overlay). The dorsal side was then imprinted onto the same piece of linen, reproducing in miniature the distinctive, some might say iconic Turin Shroud head-to-head configuration using the LUWU configuration ( Linen Underneath With Underlay).   The flour imprints were of course somewhat faint and indistinct at this stage, but on close inspection  there did not seem to be imaging off the coated sides of the template. So far, so good.  It’s presumably the vertically-applied pressure onto the template (LUWU) or the overlying linen that allows one to imprint off the frontal and dorsal surfaces without imprinting the sides as well (which would make for a unsightly end result).

The imprinted linen was then suspended vertically in a fan oven supplying  hot air by forced convection – the only source of thermal energy (i.e. no conduction, no radiation).  Some 10 minutes later there were the expected reddish-brown imprints, presumably the result of Maillard reactions between reducing sugars and protein in the flour. Again, on quick inspection, there was no obvious wrap-around distortion. Was that surprising? Some might think so, given the manner of imprinting, and indeed a photograph taken at the stage when linen was pressed onto the template in LOTTO mode shows considerable ‘wrap-around’ suggesting that the images would be too ‘expanded’, and suffering consequently from accompanying lateral distortion. Was the image expansion maybe there, but too small to be easily detected, and if so, why? These seem important questions needing to be asked, so I make no apology for using  a convenient 3D template, the ‘Galaxy Warrior, what was described today in comments as a “curious toy”.  If nothing else, it’s more economical on pricey linen than using my hand as template (see previous postings).

Here’s the double imprint. It seems OK at first sight, viewed alongside the template. There’s certainly no grotesque distortion, indeed scarcely any.

1. cropped double image with warrior comparison DSC02715

Caption here

Note that the buttocks have been imprinted on the dorsal surface, unlike the previous session. Why?  There was insufficient underlay (the second U of LUWU) last time. This time. several layers of woollen pullovers with plenty of ‘give’ under pressure were placed under the template. Problem solved.

Here’s a close-up of the dorsal imprint (left). Any lateral disortion due to wrap around effect?

2. cropped dorsal with warrior DSC02718


If it’s there, it’s not immediately obvious.  Neither was it apparent when the template was placed down directly  on top of the imprint:



Enough of the eye-balling. Let’s do some measurements to compare dimensions of the template and the imprint.


The distance between the two shoulders is essentially the same for template and imprint – 3.5cm.

Let’s do one more check from the frontal image – those thighs:



Again, the match is almost perfect.  How come? What am I doing NOT wrong?

Let’s take a look at the dorsal side too, bearing in mind that the imprinting method was different  (LUWU not LOTTO).



Is there not something wrong here? Should there not be a larger width for the imprint, compared with the corresponding two points on the template? Or are we taking too simplistic a view of the ‘wrap-around’ effect, assuming that it always results in expansion of image relative to template?  Let’s put pencil to paper and do some calculations.

geometry DSC02745


Here we imagine, purely as an intermediate starting point, that we are seeing a portion of the anatomy in cross-section, represented as a circle (yes, a simplification)  and that it is pressed down into a yielding linen underlay, represented as a thick blue line. What’s more the depth of penetration is 1/3rd of its circumference, which means there is an angle of 120 degrees (1/3rd of 360) subtended at the centre of the circle.

Now, the maximum width of the anatomical feature that is perceived by the eye or a camera is the diameter, shown in red.  How does the length of the imprint compare with that diameter, after the linen has been straightened out?

Let’s take the coward’s way out initially and use coloured cotton, red and blue, to compare those two  relative lengths.One sees that that circumference, or rather 1/3rd circumference, is longer than the diameter, due to that ‘wrap-around’ effect, but only SLIGHTLY LONGER, at least for the partial embedding of the circle/cylinder/sphere (whatever) in the linen and underlay. What if the half the circumference of the circle had been embedded, or any other fraction?  Can one derive a mathematical expression that compares the width of the image (“buried circumference”) with that of the template (“diameter”)?

The circumference of a circle is 2πr, so 1/3 of the circumference is 2πr/3. That is now to be compared with the diameter D, which is 2r. So let’s derive an expression for the partial (buried) circumference that finally gives the width of imprint:

Partial circumference (shown in non-wavy blue above) as a percentage of the diameter (real width of template) is (2πr/3 x 1/2r) x 100%, or more simply, 100π/3 = 104.6%. So yes, the length of blue cotton was just slightly greater than red. So for partial embedding of the template in  linen, as shown in the diagram, there is in fact scarcely any elongation of imprinted image relative to template, explaining no doubt my finding the same by experiment.

In fact, one can calculate the angle subtended at the centre of the circle where image width exactly matches that of template. It is 114.5 degrees, slightly less than the arbitrary 120 degrees used in the diagram. So it’s already obvious, or should be, that the wrap around effect only creates artefactual enlargement of contact imprint with respect to template when the subtended angle at the centre is greater than 114.5 degrees and/or the buried circumference is appreciable greater than a third (approx).

What is the effect of ‘burying’ one half of the circumference, were that physically possible in the template/linen situation, such that the subtended angle above increases from 120 to 180 degrees?  The buried circumference now becomes one half of 2πr, i.e πr, while the diameter stays the same at 2r. So the corresponding percentage of partial circumference relative to diameter can be calculated as (πr/2r)  x 100%. Now that is a big and indeed somewhat alarming number, i.e. 157%.  So there’s a huge shift in the ratio of apparent to real width in going from 1/3 to 1/2 of ‘buried’ circumference. But that’s not a basis for taking the worst case scenario where half is buried, and assuming that to be the routine norm for a template pressed into linen (LUWU)  or linen pressed onto a template (LOTTO) and declaring that ALL contact images must suffer from distortion due to wrap-around effect. Indeed, if the template were buried with appreciably less than a third of the circumference, then the image width would be LESS than actual: partial embedding, provided it is not too much, can actually IMPROVE the look of the imprint, making it a better match with actual width than would be the case if there were no wrap-around effect.

Finally, added as an afterthought (Wed 13 Jan) let’s generalize on the maths. Instead of choosing particular numerical values for the buried fraction of the circumference (e.g. one  1/3 above). let’s represent the fraction by the symbol F.  Let’s then introduce the ratio R, which is (width of imprint/width of template).

It’s then a simple matter to show that R= 2πrF/2r, or simply  πF. In other words, R is a simple linear function of F, with π as the proportionality constant. This can be seen by plotting R (vertical axis) against F (horizontal).

R versus F for imprinting from 3D DSC02850

Graph of R, the ratio of image to template width, against F, the fraction of the circumference of a spherical or cylindrical template being thrust into linen to make increasing degrees of physical contact.

As already stated, the most ‘virtuous’ zone of the graph when it comes down to the fidelity of contact imprinting is where the fraction of total circumference that is buried is close to a third, as indicated above by the orange lines.

(ed, 14th Jan:  I have removed the section that was here in the original posting, having had second thoughts about the the theory, and having realized there’s a simple experiment that can be done to make the intended point. It’s been tacked onto the end of this posting as a series of 10 photos. See Late Addition,  in large red font).

So what’s the more realistic scenario? Half the circumference buried, with gross image enlargement and distortion, or a more modest third?  Let’s continue the debate in Comments should anyone be interested in what they have read so far.

Afterthought: here’s a simple experiment anyone can do with a bottle and with thick padding (I used several layers of woolen pullover). Actually, it’s two experiments, one in LUWU mode the other with LOTTO (the mechanics  are different in the two instances, but arguably lead to the same conclusion).

bottle and woollen pullover test

See if you can get more than a third or so of the bottle’s circumference to make contact with the padding in the two situations: (a) by laying the bottle on top and pressing down hard, i.e. LUWU mode or (b) by draping the padding on top of the bottle, with or without pressure applied from above.


Late addition: here’s an extra experiment that’s just been done to see how much image elongation is generated when one imprints off a perfect cylinder (a cider bottle!) applying downward pressure with one’s  slightly cupped hand to capture surface relief, being careful to imprint off no more than half the facing circumference. White discs were attached to the bottle to provide the surface relief, which were then painted with vegetable oil, flour coated (sprinkled vertically), imprinted onto wet linen, followed by oven-roasting. In other words the bottle test conformed as closely as possible to the imprinting procedure developed here and unique to this site.

bottle 1 to 3



bottle 4 to 6



bottle 7 and 8


bottle 9 and 10


So, to repeat the question: how serious is the ‘elongation’ effect when imprinting off a curved surface onto linen?   (I’ll attach numbers later to the template v image widths you see above).

Is not the term ‘lateral distortion’ somewhat misleading? The shape of those discs – circular – did not distort on imprinting. How could it, given the linen stayed tangential to each disc at all points of contact? If the truth be told, it’s not the imprint that is distorted, excluding the elongation relative to the cross-sectional width of the bottle, i.e. diameter. It is the “appearance” of the template to the eye or camera that is distorted, inasmuch as those discs appear progressively slimmer and more oval-like as one moves away from the centre.

In fact, the problem with contact imprints, potential or realized, is not lateral distortion, but lateral non-distortion, in as much as repeated motifs, if present, maintain their shapes to the periphery INSTEAD of becoming distorted from the viewer’s perspective on the original template.  In fact, the eye depends on a number of cues for detecting that something is round rather than flat. the obvious one is light and shade, generated by oblique illumination, whether from daylight or artificial light. But there are those other subtle clue that come from shape changes, or rather APPARENT shape changes linked to curved surfaces.


What about the Shroud? What visual cues if any are we given to 3D-ness or otherwise? Answer. NONE, absolutely none that I can see. Firstly, the image is famously ‘non-directional’, i.e. lacking patterns of light and shade that give a clue as to direction of incident light (meaning there was no incident light, and effectively ruling out a brush-painted portrait – unless the artist was deliberately trying to imitate  the look of an imprint, but making too good a job of it, given the negative image).

What a pity then that we don’t have a recurring motif, like my little discs, or links on a chain, spanning the entire width of the body that could allow us to detect a maintenance of shape consistent with imprinting . Or at any rate,  we don’t with the image as we see it now. But what if it’s been altered or otherwise been tampered with?  What about that peculiar ‘coiled rope’ at waist level that one sees on the Lirey badge, and better on discoverer Arthur Forgeais’ line drawing? It’s not a lot to go on, admittedly, but it’s time maybe to take another long hard look at that ‘coiled rope’to see if there’s evidence of an initial image that was later seen as maybe too imprint-like*, and amended accordingly  (while acknowledging that it’s easier to add to a roasted flour imprint than to take away). Of course, one could always add something else on top, like blood, to mask what was underneath, turning a coiled rope into Wilson’s somewhat stylized “blood belt”.   Or there again, considering this blogger’s aversion to 99% of conspiracy theories, he might decide not to go down that road…


*This needs a little word of explanation, or at any rate qualification. The TS image may have been designed to look like an imprint of a crucified man, and then executed as such, i.e. by imprinting off a template, whether human or inanimate.

But there was a fine line to be trod: while looking at first sight to the medieval eye like an imprint, correction, double imprint on up-and-over linen (as might have been left by a real man 1300 years earlier)  it must not on any account have looked  like an obvious  ‘modern’ imprint (modern being mid-14th century). Indeed, there had to be a certain ‘ghostly’ quality about it, with fuzzy and indistinct features,  indeed, more ambitiously, an enigmatic negative image that may or may not have been immediately recognized as signalling an imprint rather than an artist’s portrait.

The genius of the TS was to create an image that was not immediately capable of being mentally pigeon-holed into this or that artistic genre, one designed to mystify. The rest as they say  is history – with many  layers of  ‘mystification’ added in later centuries by those who have fallen under its spell. Never underestimate the creativity and resourcefulness of the human mind, once  encouraged, determined  and no doubt rewarded to achieve a certain pre-set goal, especially if that is defined as curing the sick, averting ill-health or saving wayward souls.

Update: 23rd Feb 2016

Suppose, just suppose, that the TS image we see on the linen had suffered a degree of ‘lateral distortion’, or at any rate, lateral expansion, as a result of imprinting off a 3D subject. What would the “real” subject look like if one could somehow correct for that effect?

What you see below is a very crude attempt to make that correction. I have taken the Durante face from Shroud Scope, printed it out to get a photo that is approx. 1/3rd the circumference of a wine bottle, then stuck it to the side of the bottle, then re-photographed with the camera ‘square on’.

Here’s the very first result, with factors still to be controlled, especially colour, but which give an idea of the likely degree of distortion generated by a contact-imprinting model.


before and after curvature reconstruction

“As- is” TS face (left) from Shroud Scope.. As the real life/death face might have looked (right) if the image had been generated by contact imprinting. Note the curvature towards the wine bottle’s neck  near the top.

Ouch. The colour difference is a huge distraction, and the bottle-mounted image has been cropped too severely. Here’s the same after after tweaking:


That’s  “as is” control v bottle-mounted, positive orange images on the left, and the corresponding images after light/dark inversion on the right. The blue colour is an artefact of inverting a non-grayscale image.


Postscript, Feb 26, 2017

Here are some additional pix obtained from a larger plastic mannequin (approx half human scale) that I’m placing here first in order to upload to another very accommodating site! (At least as regards images, nuff said).







Posted in contact imprint, Shroud of Turin, Turin Shroud | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments