Wednesday, July 30, 2014

STURP approached the Shroud with a major blind spot for negative imprinted images. Time to send in a new STURP team, properly constituted.



How could STURP's Final Conclusions have omitted to mention the most striking and unexpected feature of the Shroud's image - its light/dark tone reversal (left), as first revealed by Secondo Pia's photographic negative (right).



STURP (The Shroud of Turin Research Project) got its priorities entirely wrong with its obsession re a “painted” Turin Shroud.  See this cut-and-paste summary in blue font (my choice!) from shroud.com of its Final Report:


A Summary of STURP's Conclusions


Editor's Note: After years of exhaustive study and evaluation of the data, STURP issued its Final Report in 1981. The following official summary of their conclusions was distributed at the press conference held after their final meeting in October 1981:

No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found on the fibrils. X-ray, fluorescence and microchemistry on the fibrils preclude the possibility of paint being used as a method for creating the image. Ultra Violet and infrared evaluation confirm these studies. Computer image enhancement and analysis by a device known as a VP-8 image analyzer show that the image has unique, three-dimensional information encoded in it. Microchemical evaluation has indicated no evidence of any spices, oils, or any biochemicals known to be produced by the body in life or in death. It is clear that there has been a direct contact of the Shroud with a body, which explains certain features such as scourge marks, as well as the blood. However, while this type of contact might explain some of the features of the torso, it is totally incapable of explaining the image of the face with the high resolution that has been amply demonstrated by photography.
The basic problem from a scientific point of view is that some explanations which might be tenable from a chemical point of view, are precluded by physics. Contrariwise, certain physical explanations which may be attractive are completely precluded by the chemistry. For an adequate explanation for the image of the Shroud, one must have an explanation which is scientifically sound, from a physical, chemical, biological and medical viewpoint. At the present, this type of solution does not appear to be obtainable by the best efforts of the members of the Shroud Team. Furthermore, experiments in physics and chemistry with old linen have failed to reproduce adequately the phenomenon presented by the Shroud of Turin. The scientific consensus is that the image was produced by something which resulted in oxidation, dehydration and conjugation of the polysaccharide structure of the microfibrils of the linen itself. Such changes can be duplicated in the laboratory by certain chemical and physical processes. A similar type of change in linen can be obtained by sulfuric acid or heat. However, there are no chemical or physical methods known which can account for the totality of the image, nor can any combination of physical, chemical, biological or medical circumstances explain the image adequately.
Thus, the answer to the question of how the image was produced or what produced the image remains, now, as it has in the past, a mystery.
We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist. The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and also give a positive test for serum albumin. The image is an ongoing mystery and until further chemical studies are made, perhaps by this group of scientists, or perhaps by some scientists in the future, the problem remains unsolved.


It should have focused on imprinted NEGATIVE images, especially SWEAT imprints, real or simulated (about which more later).

NOTE THE ABSENCE OF SO MUCH AS A SINGLE MENTION OF THE NEGATIVE IMAGE!!!!




Even if one had grounds for thinking the TS was a painting, despite the lack of brush marks, the generally indistinct fuzzy image with no clear edge, the absence of pigment (not even hang-up in the interstices of the weave as per “blood”) there would be a major question staring one in the face.

Why does the image show a reversal of normal light/dark tones such that one needs a Secondo Pia type conversion to negative to see it’s a “real person”, indeed the popular image of Jesus.? How can one ignore so obvious a feature of the TS – its negative character, and fail to ask why, if testing for fraud  (or well-intentioned simulation) it was done that way? If one’s going to assemble a largely self-appointed team of detectives, then one should do what detectives do, and try to think like a criminal might, and start by establishing a motive. What possible motive might a medieval forger have for depicting Christ, especially when newly-deceased, in the negative (an unattractive image some might think when placed alongside the 19th/20th century negative)?

What makes it especially annoying is that there was an obvious motive that becomes clear from even the most superficial reading of devotional art in the medieval era, but there’s scarcely if any hint in the STURP final report that it was considered. One can postpone asking why for later, but for now I’d suggest that STURP had too many folk bringing pro-authenticity leanings with them, and were not making an effort to delve into the medieval mindset, preferring to stick with simplistic questions like “Is the image made of known artist’s pigments” which as I said earlier is to miss the point entirely re negative image characteristics.

So what did those STURP members, with few if any image analysts among them, and NO art historians fail to take on board? Answer: the obsession in that era with allegedly genuine images of Christ obtained as IMPRINTS, mainly in sweat, purportedly, with or without a contribution from blood. Straightaway one needs to flag up the obvious – that a contact imprint from a 3D subject, or part thereof , like a face is ALWAYS a negative image. Why? Because a contact imprint captures only the highest relief ( rather more with manual moulding) and not the recessed hollows. The highest most light-reflecting relief is the BRIGHTEST parts of a photographic positive, but the DARKEST part in the intermediate silver salt negative of traditional photography.

My blog, by the way, is a real time log of a research project begun some 30 months ago, with ideas and findings reported in real time. It is not a billboard. It praises good science when it sees it
(occasionally) and condemns bad science, especially when its agenda-driven, which is far too often, but beyond that has no ideological or propaganda purpose. Nor is it a collection of pretentious more-scientific-than-thou pdfs (lacking both peer review and a comments facility). It is emphatically not a resource for others to pillage and misrepresent, accusing me of saying things I did not say to divert attention off the main content or poking fun in titles no less of one's home-technology.

So I shall stop here, take a break, and be back later to spell out what STURP should have done  had it got its priorities right and concentrated on the crucial questions, like:  

 Why is it a negative image?  

 How was that negative image likely to be interpreted, indeed intended BY DESIGN  to be interpreted,  way back in 1357 when the TS received its first public display in that tiny French village of Lirey.

What are -or were - the most easily-realizable options for imprinting a negative image onto linen, using medieval technology?  Chemical? Thermal? A combination of the two (thermochemical?). 

I shall then conclude with some suggestions for what a STURP Mark 2 with a more focused scientific AND historically-informed approach needs to do to improve the chance of writing a report that ends up as more than a string of feeble negative statements.

One thing’s for certain. The recruitment to any future STURP team should be entrusted to learned societies (scientific, artistic, historical, image analysis etc) with no axe to grind in the outcome. STURP Mark 2 must not be driven by personal agendas, certainly not religious ones.

New addition 09:30, still 30 July

Any approach to the Shroud's NEGATIVE image that takes account of its historical setting, around the time first public display, and indeed first definitive mention in written records, in 1357, must take account of the then celebrated so-called 'Veil of Veronica'. Before asking what that was, or rather became with much image-embellishment at the hands of artists, let's first turn to wiki (italics, my bolding) to see the evidence for the Veil's celebrity at the era in question:

However, firm recording of the Veronica only begins in 1199 when two pilgrims named Gerald de Barri (Giraldus Cambrensis) and Gervase of Tilbury made two accounts at different times of a visit to Rome which made direct reference to the existence of the Veronica. Shortly after that, in 1207, the cloth became more prominent when it was publicly paraded and displayed by Pope Innocent III, who also granted indulgences to anyone praying before it. This parade, between St Peter's and The Santo Spirito Hospital, became an annual event and on one such occasion in 1300 Pope Boniface VIII, who had it translated to St. Peter's in 1297, was inspired to proclaim the first Jubilee in 1300. During this Jubilee the Veronica was publicly displayed and became one of the "Mirabilia Urbis" ("wonders of the City") for the pilgrims who visited Rome. For the next two hundred years the Veronica, retained at Old St Peter's, was regarded as the most precious of all Christian relics; there Pedro Tafur, a Spanish visitor in 1436, noted:

Note carefully: from 1300 onwards until 1500 or thereabouts it was the Veil that was regarded as "the most precious of all Christian relics". If my arithmetic serves me well, it took some 150 years for the Shroud to displace it -  strange one might think for something that was supposed to be one-and -the same as the fabled Image of Edessa, folded and framed such that only face was visible according to the ingenious hunch of  historical  researcher and writer Ian Wilson. Why was not another veil, the veil of secrecy lifted once the TS was on public display? Why did its entire claimed provenance from the 1st century not become common knowledge?

Historical note (italics, my bolding, from the shroud.com site.

February 6, 1464: By an accord drawn up in Paris, Duke Louis I of Savoy agrees to pay the Lirey canons an annual rent, to be drawn from the revenues of the castle of Gaillard, near Geneva, as compensation for their loss of the Shroud. (This is the first surviving document to record that the Shroud has become Savoy property) The accord specifically notes that the Shroud had been given to the church of Lirey by Geoffrey de Charny, lord of Savoisy and Lirey, and that it had then been transferred to Duke Louis by Margaret de Charny.

Me  again : so it required some 40 or so years of Savoy ownership (Savoy being a pre-unification Italian mini-state) for the Shroud to finally surpass the Veil in crowd-pulling power. Why did it take so long? Lack of documentation re pre-Lirey ownership? Early opposition from the local bishop at Troyes who opposed claimed authenticity?


 But this is where the story starts to get complicated, inasmuch as there are those who claim the Veil of Veronica was also the (folded) image of Edessa. Let's not get bogged down in all the historical controversy (and fanciful guesswork) - let's focus entirely on image characteristics, real or imagined, of the Veil of Veronica and ask what bearing that has on the TS. I say it has a great deal, and am frankly amazed that STURP and more recently others were not spotting the same cues and clues.

So what was the nature of the image that so captured public imagination. How was it formed, in reality, or supposed to have been formed, after much embellishment over the centuries? If one takes the trouble to understand the fixation on the Veil in the early 14th century and beyond, it seems eminently reasonable that one might have a more secure basis on which to understand how another negative image, both bigger and better, gradually came to eclipse it in importance, but not as a historical accident, but (I maintain) as a meticulously planned and executed marketing exercise.

More later.

Later has arrived (11:20am July 30)

Since I have other things to attend to, here are a couple of extracts from recent comments I posted elsewhere that should give a  pointer to the direction this  argument is headed, focused on the whys and wherefores of the TS negative image:



"...but the TS image is NOT purely within the confines of art, because it’s on linen, not canvas. It was not intended to be seen simply as an artistic representation of Jesus, but as a kind of facsimile copy, captured in the first few hours or days after crucifixion, in other words, not just an icon, but a holy relic
So any attempt to replicate the TS image ran the real risk of being viewed not as artistic competition, but as an attempt to replace one “genuine relic” with an “even more genuine” one. The newcomer’s unwelcome efforts could or would have been viewed as sacrilegious, which would not have been a smart move in a relic-obsessed era of medieval history.

The TS image was intended to be seen as the last word (OK, image) on the subject. It achieved its objectives with 100% success, thanks to the (near-guaranteed) lack of competition.

and then in response to this question from another commentator (in italics):


…does not that reference to the sweat of Christ on the Shroud lend some basis to the theory that much earlier references to a sweaty mandylion image were referring to the shroud?

"It might, Thomas, but that would be to lose sight of the distinction between the ‘original’ alleged relic on linen, and the numerous representations of it on canvas that took progressively greater liberties with reality, causing confusion in the collective medieval mind.

One has only to look at the wiki entry on the Veil of Veronica to see the problem. One starts with an alleged sweat imprint on fabric, with any number of those claiming to be the real “Veil” (which of course is a matter of legend with no biblical backing). You then get works of art on canvas in which there is less and less attempt to represent a negative imprint. Instead the images become indistinguishable from life-like painted portraits (‘positive’ images needless to say). Presumably the sceptics were told that it wasn’t just anyone’s sweat imprint, but that of Jesus, so had superior supernatural characteristics. In fact there’s a reference making clear that Jesus’s crucifixion sweat could be assumed to have special image-forming properties:

Here, from Pam Moon (italics, my bolding)


“The Holy Mandylion arrived in Constantinople from Edessa on 15th August 944, in the last year of Romanos I’s reign. On August 16th it was carried in a casket around the city and taken to Hagai Sophia. At the cathedral the Archdeacon Gregory, preached a sermon in which he said the Holy Mandylion showed ‘the drops of sweat from the agony [from Gethsemene] which flowed from [Christ’s] face like drops of blood but also ‘blood and water’ [haima kai hudor] from his very side. From this we can deduce the Mandylion was not just a face image. Ian Wilson has argued convincingly for many years that the Holy Mandylion was the Shroud of Turin.” 


But what has all this to do with the TS, I hear you say, which is a negative imprint, not a proper portrait?

Yes, but it’s scarcely conceivable that it was a real sweat imprint. It has sufficient detail to make one suspect that someone set out to create an simulated sweat image that would look better than any real-life, non-miraculous sweat imprint, but not too good, too portrait-like, one that could then score both on credibility “(it’s a supernaturally-enhanced sweat imprint, stoopid”) AS WELL AS on what today we would call photogenic appeal.

So, to answer your question: “does not that reference to the sweat of Christ on the Shroud lend some basis to the theory that much earlier references to a sweaty mandylion image were referring to the shroud?”

It’s almost certainly the other way round: progressively hyped-up versions in art of the ‘sweaty mandylion image’, ones that evolved over centuries, creating a skewed reference point in Western art, helped to ensure that the “newly discovered” Lirey Shroud seemed by contrast to be more conservative, more subtle, more understated, more instantly credible. Thus was skilfully engineered a pre-emptive strike that ensured there was only ONE genuine long-lost Shroud, and that no one in their right mind would dare challenge its authenticity, far less attempt to produce a superior “more genuine” version.

In passing, it's fascinating to google (veil veronica shroud turin) and cast one's eye down the list of entries, page by page. You'll see any number of claims that the two are or were contemporaneous to begin with (Edessa era, pre-Lirey) or are actually one and the same. What I don't see yet (but shall continue looking for) is any suggestion that the Veil of Veronica, whatever that was or imagined to be, served as the inspiration or model for fabricating a bigger and better 'sweat imprint' in the early to mid 14th century.

More later.

19:00  July 30   One of the greatest misconceptions one finds on visiting internet sites discussing scientific method is that it's all about collecting data, almost robotically some seem to imagine. Collect enough data, eschewing preconceived ideas, and the answers will arrive, or so we are told. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. One could sit on a mountain of data and fail to see any unifying patterns, and if there's no pattern, no making sense of it, then one's no further ahead.

The scientific method is about developing those pejoratively-labelled 'preconceived ideas', but only if they are testable by experiment. and able to become working models to assist with interpretation of new data. Science is essentially about model testing via experimentation. The model not only serves to interpret existing data. If it's any good it will allow one to make predictions as to the outcome of new untried experiments, which then become crucial tests of one's model, i.e. that it has to have predictive utility.

So what's this all got to do with STURP and Shroud research? Answer: everything. It is/was not  enough  to recruit specialists able to deploy this or that sophisticated piece of technology, and expect the answer to fall out. Why not? Because by common agreement the TS is unique. But if it's unique then one has no reference points, no benchmarks for comparison,  by which to evaluate the data from all those shiny instruments.

In other words, there had to be a working model, or better still, a range of scientific working models at the outset. But there weren't. Inexplicably, there was not even a working model for the most fundamental  characteristic of the TS image, namely its negative character.  Why not?  I shall be providing a shortlist of the relatively small number of instances where a negative image is to be expected,  and flagging up the kind of working models that could or rather SHOULD have been arrived at 35 years ago. Yes, I anticipate the inevitable ripostes  re "wisdom of hindsight bla bla".  It cuts no ice with me. This ex-scientist expects fellow professionals to display a reasonable wisdom of foresight. They would expect it of me, so  it cuts both ways. But wisdom of foresight was never displayed by the STURP team, and I think I know why. More on that later. The first task is to list the instances where negative images are to be expected.

1. Branding of cattle and other livestock (practiced since time immemorial, e.g Ancient Egyptians). A new branding iron may be shiny, but the scorched areas are black - a negative image of whatever is on the template.

2. Brass rubbing. the template is usually a shallow bas relief. The image is a negative of the shiny brass.

3. Any kind of wet contact imprinting process, from the most primitive, e.g. a child's potato print, with carved out features and coloured paint, to the traditional typeset in metal using carbon-based printers' ink.

4. Any situation, whether by design or accident, in which a 3D object, serving as template,  becomes coated with a transferable material, either liquid, paste or powdered solid, and is then pressed into fabric, or the fabric manually formed around the contours of the template.

There may be more, that will do for now.

So medieval man would not have been totally unfamiliar with the idea of negative images, even if not describing them as such. By the same token he would not have been familiar with the idea of tone-reversal, restoring some of the look of the original template, the negative image being simply "the way things are".

Is there an instance in which a negative image might have achieved celebrity status?

Answer: most certainly. Admittedly, and it fits the fourth category in the above list, a wet imprint off a 3D "template". Admittedly the imprinting medium is/was colorless or nearly so to begin with, but could be imagined to yellow progressively with age to make a more conspicuous imprint with those tone-reversed characteristics. I refer of course to the fabled Veil of Veronica, which according to legend  bore a sweat imprint of Jesus, taken while he was bearing his cross en route to Calvary.

We now come to the interesting part of this little narrative, or shall we see reconstruction of early 14th century history. It's like this. With each passing century, artists could progressively more and more carried away with their representation of the Veil of Veronica. Search image files and you are unlikely to find anything that resembles a simple sweat imprint. But that's hardly surprising, is it? Sweat imprints by their very nature are not what we could describe as fetching likenesses of their subject, or a challenge to artists wishing to cater for the popular demand for icons of the shortly-to-be-crucified Jesus. In fact they resemble nothing else than studio portraits of a mildly inconvenienced man, usually with well-tended beard, carefully parted hair, with or without a crown of thorns for a positive ID.

How were artists able to get away with what some might consider gross artistic licence? Presumably by pushing the line that the sweat of Jesus was not just any old sweat, but divine sweat with a miraculous ability to portray the exact likeness of the imprinted face, as seen in life.

So when it comes to divine imprints, the medieval painter could get away with anything at least on canvas. But that was less likely to be the case with the original artefact, the sweat-stained face cloth. There one imagines that a less easy-going attitude would be taken of over-embellishment. Art is one thing. Reality is something entirely different.

Suppose now that person or persons unknown spot a golden opportunity to create an icon, nay "genuine relic" that does not simply attempt to compete with the Veil of Veronica, inviting litigation, reprisals etc, but to exploit the latter's claimed provenance as a "sweat imprint", while eschewing all the credulity-stretching artistic add-ons. In other words to create something that can be displayed as a simple unadorned sweat imprint, albeit with an aged appearance. Which aspect of the Passion narrative (see, I'm learning the lingo) could be used to produce  something bigger and better than the sweat-imprinted face cloth of Veronica? Which aspect of the Passion would have greater veracity, being an essential part of the biblical record, not mere legend?

Answer: Christ's burial shroud itself. But how does one make it immediately apparent to pilgrims that a WHOLE BODY image is likely to be a sweat imprint, as per Veil of Veronica, and that it ENVELOPED a crucified man, imprinting not just one but BOTH sides, i.e. that it was a shroud, THE Shroud, and not just a bed sheet? Apologies for the UPPER CASE. It means I am warming to my subject.

Goodnight. More to come, tomorrow.

Tomorrow has arrived (July 31)

I see that Dan Porter has had a visit on his site from that friendly and engaging Mr.Barrie M.Schwortz of STURP, STERA, SWAT (sceptics) and probably much else besides. 

 Shame there wasn't room on Porter's driveway to accommodate that vehicle of his, forcing him to park on the lawn instead.



The real target was this blogger, but for now our Barrie has his sights set on Porter for describing this posting of mine as "significant" criticism of STURP. Oh my, Dan Porter does like to live dangerously.
I may pick up in due course on one or two of the points in Schwortz's note through the Porter letterbox (correction, window, with attached brick). But I'm in no hurry to do so (that being one of the perks of being deemed a Non Person). 

Back to the topic in hand: STURP and its Big Blind Spot for the negative TS image, and for its oversight (if that's what it was) in not giving  proper consideration to an imprinting mechanism requiring direct physical contact between a template and linen. Or maybe that was too obvious, and not worth a moment's thought.


The TS image essentially no different from a brand on cattle's hide? Perish the thought.

And no, one cannot claim that the negative image was outside of STURP's remit, terms of reference, call it what you want. A research investigation is not a Committee of Inquiry. Words like "remit" etc are meaningless and redundant in the context of a scientific investigation. Nothing that is so obvious a clue to imprinting mechanism, which in a forgery scenario would be due to design, not accident, can be declared off-limits, least of all retrospectively when one has drawn a complete blank, the result of going into a research investigation without a working model (or models).

What STURP needed was someone with the focus and determination of that memorable team-leader from the Apollo 13 film.

"Failure is not an option"


07:30 July 31



OK, let'’s take stock. The TS image is a negative. It's what's known as a fact, an inescapable fact.

The first question is to ask why is it a negative, and how that was achieved, examining a range of options. (This might be a good point at which to raise my hat to that Italian Professor of Chemistry, Luigi Garlaschelli, who made a passable imitation of the TS image using a contact model that began by employing a kind of 'brass rubbing technique' except that the template was a student volunteer in his birthday suit.).

Given the absence of any definitive written record of the TS prior to its 1357 Lirey public display, one's first priority is to look at the historical context of that era (delving straight into Pliny accounts of 1st century linen technology, as did Raymond N.Rogers,  is an instance in my view of misdirected authenticity-leaning focus).

Straightaway one sees that a particular claimed relic, the Veil of Veronica, was perceived at least initially as a sweat imprint, which had therefore to be a NEGATIVE image. So why was that not followed up. Why did not STURP make specific reference to the possibility that the TS image was either a real or simulated sweat imprint? Well, maybe they did, but it’s not in the Conclusions, and since there is no mention of image negativity either, then I’m not inclined to give STURP the benefit of the doubt. 

See my title – there WAS a blind spot for image negativity, despite it being the chief distinguishing character of the image, the reason why the Secondo Pia discovery in 1898 came as such a sensation, and which endowed us with Pia’s negative as the “stock” image of the TS, showing how Jesus “really looked”.

In fact the blind spot is not just confined to STURP. It continues to this day. Think of how many times one reads of this or that theory of image formation (Maillard reaction, flashes of radiation, uv excimer laser beams, radioactive xenon, earthquakes, corona discharges). When did you ever hear “sweat imprint” being mentioned, despite imaging-by-sweat being a fixation/obsession with medieval and later pilgrims (see the St. Francis de Sales letter to his mother written as late as 1648). Even the common French description of the Shroud as the "Suaire" ("face cloth")  instead of a "linceul", an oddity picked up by French Canadian Mario Latendresse, provider of the stupendous Shroud Scope,  on his site under the intriguing' Machy mould' gives a strong clue as the way the Shroud was initially perceived as a bodily imprint left by bodily secretions.

It cannot be an accident or oversight that sweat-imaging is and has been all-but-invisible, and we all know why. The so called ‘shroudie’ literature is dominated by promoters of authenticity. They have no time for sweat imaging hypotheses. Why not? Because the chances of a sweat imprint being authentic are minute (given the degree of detail in the TS images) thus making the probability of  a ‘sweat-imprint’ having been simulated by medieval technology hugely greater. 

More to the point, while the shroudie knocking brigade wastes no time in telling Luigi Garlaschelli that his model imprints fail to match the TS in this or that detail, they cannot be bothered themselves to model their own pet theories to see how they stand up in the real world. Shameless, and, worst of all - pseudoscientific, indeed ANTI-SCIENTIFIC. Where are the learned societies (National Academy of Sciences, Royal Society etc? Why aren't they blowing a whistle on this charade?

Enough of the polemics. Back to the science. A few minutes ago I checked with wiki on the composition of human sweat, aka perspiration, which confirmed my recollection that the chief components, apart from water, are urea, lactate (the salt form of lactic acid that exists around neutral pH) and an assortment of mineral salts. On that basis one would not expect a real sweat stain to leave a yellow stain, at least in the short term. So it came as a surprise to find the wiki entry accompanied by this photograph:

wiki caption: "sweat stain on a white cotton T-shirt"

That picture is a bit of a mystery, one I shall be looking into more closely. Is that really a sweat stain? Or is it deodorant and/or anti-perspirant, the components of which (perfumes, aluminium salts etc)  no doubt attack and degrade cotton creating yellow stains that don't wash out. Then there's the adventurous hypothesis that Knight and Lomas advanced in their book, the 'Second Messiah' , the one claiming that the TS image was not of Jesus, but of the Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay, obtained prior to his burning at the stake in 1314, during prolonged torture sessions during his 7 year imprisonment. From recollection, their mechanism involved a reaction between lactic acid of sweat and something else (?) that generated the chemically-reactive singlet oxygen, and it was that species that then reacted with linen components to produce a yellow imprint. (I had reservations re that mechanism, having worked with a alleged singlet-oxygen mediated system at the start of my research career,i.e. the phototherapy of neonatal jaundice, in which singlet oxygen in fact bleaches pre-existing yellow pigment).

(Late edit: oops, I'm forgetting. There are two types of sweat gland, one producing the watery secretion mentioned, the other producing oils (thus greasy skin). So it's possible, nay probable, that the yellow stains in that picture above may be due to oxidized lipids ("oils and fats"), Bacterial action too may play a role in yellowing. I shall read around some more.)

So, there may or may not be a real chemical basis for thinking that sweat can leave an imprint, the claimed scenario for the Veil of Veronica. But that hardly matters if we move forward from an account in legend from the first century AD to a hypothetical 'forgery' scenario in the early 14th century, one in which an attempt was made to simulate an aged sweat imprint on a whole-body scale, and to pass off the result as the long-lost burial shroud of the founder of Christianity.

More to come.

Here it comes (09:50)

OK, so you're a medieval forger of 'genuine' holy relics, but with a difference. You think big, so  big in fact that the product of your work continues to captivate to this day, and leaves scientists still scratching their heads, post STURP, thinking "now how on earth did he manage that?".

Let's put ourselves in the forger's position. He wants to simulate an ancient sweat imprint on linen that can be passed off as the Big Brother post-mortem version of the small sister Veil of Veronica.

What are the options? He could try, using his medieval understanding (or lack thereof) of sweat to put together some kind of chemical cocktail that mimics the action of sweat (with the caveats noted above). While medieval folk were totally ignorant of the chemical basis of acidity (provision of hydrated protons in solution, H3O+, usually written simply as H+) they would have been aware of the general properties of acid as a class (sour taste, ability to attack and dissolve zinc and other reactive metals, probably action on vegetable indicators like red cabbage huice etc). Might they have experimented first with acids, either fruit and vegetable-derived, e.g. citric, ascorbic etc, or the acid in vinegar from oxidation fo wine (acetic). They may well have,  but there's a problem with using liquids. they tend to soak through linen to the other side. Given you have already decided on that clever double-image, the last thing you want is a quadruple image. You might have tried working with pastes that limit penetration, but while they could be painted on, that's not the appropriate methodology is you are aiming to produce an IMPRINT off a template of some description.

While on the subject of acid-imprints, it's worth flagging up the fact that these are not new ideas. The STURP Conclusions recognized that the TS image might be due to chemical modification of linen components by heat (though the word "scorch" was never used) and that the discoloration that accompanies the chemical reactions (dehydration, conjugation etc) are equally well obtained using acids as well as heat. Sulphuric acid would be a prime candidate, seen in pure chemical terms, since pure H2SO4 is involatile at ordinary temperatures, so if one started with dilute sulphuric acid, known to medievals from the distillation of green vitriol, FeSO4.7H2O, its water could be evaporated off, slowly or quickly, to make progressively more concentrated H2SO4. It is the latter that is especially prone to brown or char linen and other fabric, via its ability to abstract the elements of water from carbohydrates. It's also worth pointing out that the ochre (red iron oxide) that Garlaschelli used for "rubbing" in his experiments may well have provided acidic impurity (H2SO4 no less) is as seems likely it had been made by calcination of green vitriol, that possibility being alluded to by Garlaschelli and an earlier investigator. Let's not forget another possible 'acidic' agent that leaves a brown colour on linen, namely lemon juice, the subject of a posting many moons ago on my other site. It's the basis of the invisible ink trick, that needs the fruit juice AND heat to develop the colour. I suspect that there is more to the reaction than citric acid alone (having failed to model it with pure citric acid) and what's more the colour may be on the linen fibres, rather than part of them, given that lemon juice goes brown then black on its own when heated on an inert glass surface.
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Aside: my reporting of those preliminary experiments with lemon juice in 2012 attracted this comment from a well-known authenticity-promoter (who shall remain nameless):

"It just seems to me if Colin is as good a scientist as he claims, he would already be beyond this kind of thing. What I am thinking is his doing experiments and failing to provide measurements and other objective data that other scientists and anyone else can review and compare against their own experiments. This reminds me of what Walter McCrone did with his ‘science.’"


It's folk like that who give their brand of sneering authenticity-promotion a bad reputation, resorting to  troll-like tactics on internet forums. For the record, I may well return to the 'invisible ink' thermochemical system at some point, since it has much to commend it (and indeed one might find some common ground with Rogers' impurity coating hypothesis). I may even think about doing quantitative experiments (but the ranging- shot qualitative ones come first).

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But as I say, with at least some of these chemical, or even thermochemical systems, there is the ever-present risk of bleed-through, which can really ruin one's day if one has invested in a long length of premium grade linen with a herringbone weave.

So might there be a totally dry system that could simulate a sweat imprint, with little or no risk of reverse-side coloration?

More to come (after lunch). Focus (that word again)? Yes, the next few paragraphs will consider purely thermal means for simulating a sweat imprint, especially that "scorch hypothesis" this blogger has been pushing since early 2012. But no, it won't be yet another listing of the pros (and dwindling list of cons). It will be asking why STURP members, collectively or as individuals, summarily dismissed contact-scorching as a mechanism, at so early a stage, failing to mention it in their Conclusions  despite it being the simplest, quickest way of producing a NEGATIVE imprint. Even now, there have been relatively few attempts to study thermal imprinting, at least in a systematic way, and at least two interventions have been by those determined to dismiss scorching out-of-hand deploying dubious technology and/or methodology. (Yes, they know who they are).  Additionally there have been any number of folk fielding what are little more than debating points ("it can't be a scorch - it doesn't fluoresce under uv light") without taking the trouble to consider the complex mix of physical and chemical variables that operate with an aged artefact like the Shroud, especially when one considers the numerous chemical agents to which it has been exposed over the centuries.

More later.

So what was the thinking in the STURP team ahead of its famous 24/7 trip to Turin? What would a fly on the wall have heard or seen? For me at any rate, that has to be a matter of speculation. However, here's a pointer. The lead chemist was Raymond N.Rogers, a thermochemist specializing in the storage and safety testing of chemical explosives., and its clear that his thinking listened to with great respect.

I was made aware of Rogers thinking on the matter of heating and scorches immediately after my first posting in December 2011.  It was one shroudstory.com (where else), posted Jan 2 2012. and here was the cut-and-paste of the Thoughts of Team Leader Rogers at a time when I had not even become wedded to the contact scorch hypothesis (my first experiments tested a radiation hypothesis with a thermo-opaque sensitizer, what I called "thermostencilling"




The Arrhenius Law describes the effect of temperature on rate constants for all consistent chemical reactions, as follows:
[One must consider t]he Arrhenius Law [which] describes the effect of temperature on rate constants for all consistent chemical reactions, as follows:


k = Ze-E/RT

where k is the rate constant at any specific temperature, Z is the Arrhenius pre-exponential (related to the probability that any specific molecule(s) will react), E is the Arrhenius activation energy, R is the gas constant, and T is any specific, constant absolute temperature (degrees Kelvin). If the image were a scorch or any part of the Shroud had been heated enough to make significant changes in the rates of decomposition of any of its components, we would see changes in the structure of the flax fibers and blood. The blood still evolves hydroxyproline on mild heating, and the cellulose crystals are largely undistorted. Image and control fibers show identical crystal properties. The image is not a scorch. The cloth was not heated, not even boiled in oil.


My reaction on reading that in 2012 was the same as reading it now: it was a cobbled-together list of irrelevancies and indeed errors that failed to make the slightest dent in any thermal model for tehy TS image. (Being a thermochemist does not make one an expert in imaging mechanism).

Briefly, here's why. The first section is freshman chemistry, showing the Arrhenius equation that links rates of chemical reaction to temperature. It is a generalization for all temperature-sensitive reactions (essentially all) that has no specific bearing on the scorching. I do not understand what it's doing there at all, though I can understand layfolk being impressed, though not better informed.

Changes in the structure of flax fibres? Where are the model experiments with contact scorches that show that it's not possible to achieve a superficial scorch without altering the physical properties of the fibre cores? Did Rogers ever carry out a single scorch experiment? if he did, I've never come across. Had Rogers done some scorch experiments and read up on the botany of flax and fibre, he'd have learned that there is more to a fibre than its cellulose core. There is a superficial layer called the primary cell wall (PCW) that by virtue of its exterior location must be considered as the prime target for a superficial scoerch, more so than the much thicker, interior secondary cell wall (SCW). Yet I don't recall seeing a single mention of the PCW in any of Rogers' writings, and only passing references to the chemically-reactive hemicelluloses of the PCW, which he dismissed as an "impurity.

Blood?  If one sets out to study the properties of the TS image, the fewer assumptions one makes about other components, notanbly blood, the better, It's called the reductionist approach that serves science well. Sometimes one finds that the individual components do not behave independently. They may act in concert, and one is then forced to adopt a more holistic approach. But one does not do that at the outset, even if in Rogers' case he had accepted the "blood first, image second" dogma (which frankly needs more supporting evidence, preferably physical). In short, one should NOT assume that the blood was there prior to imaging, even if you think it was. 

Hydroxyproline? I've criticized Rogers' ad hoc technology, pluckedform blue sky elsewhere (insert link) . I think he was mistaken on both chemical and biochemical grounds.  Any hydroxyproline in his "blood" was likely to be as part of a connective tissue contaminant (notably collagen) and probably not free hydroxyproline but part of a protein. It cannot be used as a marker for heated versus unheated blood.

Cellulose crystals largely undistorted? Maybe, since cellulose of the SCW is physically and chemically highly resistant to "melting" as measured by DSC etc, far more so than the PCW mentioned earlier. Who's to say that there was not selective disruption of the PCW carbohydrates, leaving the SCW cellulose intact? Or that there was some melting of the SCW cellulose, but that a degree of crystallinity was restored on cooling (the so-called retrogradation phenomenon - I thank Adrie Van Hoeven for pointing out that possibility).


Back again (14:40)

Oops. That list of Rogers could not have been available to STURP team members before the Turin visit, since it relies on findings from Rogers' sticky tape samples harvested in Turin.

Apologies for the oversight. But now we have a problem, Houston. Who said what in the run-up to the 24/7 marathon as to put folk off the scent re contact imprinting? If it wasn't Rogers, then who was it, and is there any record, formal or informal,  as to why the team went in , blinkered up, quietly persuaded (or pressured) not to explore a particular avenue? Or maybe they did not need any pressure or persuading if the majority saw where the avenue was leading - to a rejection of authenticity - and decided in advance that was not the direction they wished to go. Uncharitable thought? Maybe, but look at the response from so many of the more prominent team members when the results of the radiocarbon dating  (1260-1390) were announced a decade or so later.

More to come (Yup, this may end up being my longest posting ever, but so what? Look at the length of some of the pdfs that we are required to read). At least my site has a comments facility, if only for those who dare venture off the collective security that is offered by shroudstory.com. (Have just had a quick look at the comments appearing over there. It's like listening to a barrel organ that plays the same refrains over and over again: crank the handle, out comes the musak).

However, here's just a couple (of comments) that are both needing to be quashed:

1. STURP’s analysis has indicated that the image was not produced by contact with a liquid (the image is very superficial, discolouring the top 2-3 microfibriles at most) also the image formation mechanism was not a contact process since the image is visible where there is no contact, and not visible in some areas where there should’ve been contact. These two observations stand against a sweat imprint. Nonetheless, it wasn’t even ignored by STURP members, Rogers, promoter an image by Maillard reaction who’s is basically a sweat imprint. There is nothing new here!

Visible when there was no contact? How does one know when there was or was not contact? That depends on whether the linen was loosely-draped over a recumbent subject (the pro-authenticity assumption) or whether a template was pressed into linen, or had linen moulded manually  to its contours. Shroudology is weighed down with its self-serving assumptions, rarely explicit, usually implicit. It's the task of scientists to identify and  root out all those covert little assumptions.

A Maillard product essentially a sweat imprint? Oh come now....  A Maillard reaction is claimed to operate across  air gaps, implicitly rejecting a contact-only model, all part and parcel of an attempt to bury contact-imprinting by any means possible. This is not science. This is mischievous propaganda.

2. How about this one, which must take the prize for Most Bizarre Comment of the Day (my bolding)

Dan has my support for one simple reason: As a scientist with significant experience Colin has the right to question some of the things that he finds doubtful. What he should not do is to question facts that are established, as was the case when he questioned the negative properties of the Shroud image.
This is nothing more than fair play, given that Shroud websites and publications give both sides of the story, both pro- and anti-authenticity camps have room to express themselves there.



 So I am supposed to have questioned the negative properties of the Shroud? When? Where?

As I say, bizarre. Here I am devoting an entire post to STURP's failure to acknowledge the "iconic" negative properties of the TS image, at least in its Conclusions, but am now accused of having doubts about the negative property of the TS image.

What's the point of carefully articulating one's thoughts on web forums when folk persistently misrepresent, presumably in an attempt to make one look foolish. I have a simple way of dealing with such people. I ignore any further comments from them unless or until I see a mending of their devious little ways.

Now then, where were we? Ah yes. The a priori indictment of contact-imaging. But whose indictment, and on what grounds, given it could not have been informed by STURP's later findings from the Shroud itself?  Was it on grounds of superficiality, i.e. that no scorch could ever be as superficial as the TS image (probably mistaken)? But the latter claim for ultra-superficiality was based on Rogers' sticky tape samples from the Shroud, about which more later (there's an instance of premature publication of a vague impression masquerading as quantitative science if ever there was, basing a 200-600nm estimate of image thickness on failure to see something under a microscope). So it couldn't have been superficiality that was the sticking point. So what was it? I'm racking my brains here, trying to reconstruct what was said, or might have been said, back in 1978, and frankly getting nowhere.

 Here's another  uncharitable thought. Maybe it was not based on any cogent reasoning whatsoever. Maybe the prime movers in STURP simply didn't want to go there, and Group Think and synchronized hymn book singing did the rest.

Poor Walter McCrone. Maverick he may have been, but he did not deserve the Big Freeze treatment. He should simply have been told to submit his findings to peer review, stressing that he was not co-opted as a last-word-on-the-subject consultant (while recognizing that was his customary MO) but as a member of an interactive research team willing to face the hurly burly of integrating his expertise with that of others.

Still July 29  The next session will place the spotlight on this paper by Giulio Fanti et al, probably the most important to appear in Shroud studies in recent years.


There is much that can be learned from it - but it's important to note not only where there's a wealth of useful detail (most welcome) but also where there are important gaps in the record contrary to what one might imagine.

Note first that its focus is on image superficiality. Fair enough - it's an important  feature of the TS. But is it unique to the TS?  Is there any attempt to make it seem like a UNIQUE feature, and if so, is it based on comparisons with other images, e.g. thermal scorches?

But first, let's make a mental note of another aspect of the paper. It virtually ignores the negative character of the Shroud's image. There are just two mentions, close to one another.

"Scientific interest in the TS developed after Pia photographed it in 1898 and observed that the negative image of the TS looked like a photographic positive. In 1931, G. Enrie photographed the TS at high resolution using orthochromatic plates. In these photographs, the TS body image again looked like a photographic negative." 

Given that the paper begins with an acknowledgement that much of its content derives from two peer-reviewed papers published by STURP members after the joint studies had concluded, so is very much STURP-orientated so to speak.



1. E. J. Jumper, Archaeological Chemistry III, ACS Advances in Chemistry 
(American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C., 1984), Vol.205, pp.447- 476


2. L. A. Schwalbe and R. N. Rogers, Physics and chemistry of the Shroud of Turin, a summary of the 1978 investigation” , Anal. Chim. Acta   135 ,3 – 49 (1982)

(Incidentally, where can one find the published work of all the 'image experts' recruited to STURP, and listed by Barrie M.Schwortz in that tank shell directed at the Porter site?  I've made a start on attempting to track down THEIR post-1980 published work  using  Google Scholar. I shall say no more for the moment).

Might the paper 'explain itself' and provide some clue as to the seeming indifference to the negative image, despite the bearing that might have on likely image-imprinting mechanisms. As it is, negative character is totally eclipsed by the superficiality aspect. Indeed, the brief abstract ends with these words:

 "The description of image superficiality here reported will be useful for the formulation of future hypotheses about the body image formation process."

What about image negativity? Has that no bearing? Do the authors let us into their thinking?

Watch this space.

Still July 31, 20:44

Well, I've been through that paper yet again with a tooth comb. Guess what? Despite the paper being focused on image superficiality, and frequent references to the image layer being a mere 200nm thick, i see no high grade evidence to justify it. That's not to say it's wrong, merely to point out the way these snippets of supposed data creep into the literature, and before you know what they become regarded as har5d and unchallengeable. It seems from that Rogers guesstimate of 200nm (more correctly 200nm -600 nm I was once informed) rests on nothing more that Rogers inability to see stripped image "ghosts" in cross section under his light microscope, and knowing the wavelength range of white light, he stated that as the upper limit of image thickness. Shame he then immediately assumed that superficiality and strippability implied an impurity coating (starch? degraded starch?). So it was nice to see that ill-founded assumption, lacking analytical confirmation, at least of an even impurity coating, challenged by Fanti rt al, who proposed that what Rogers thought was impurity was in fact part of the flax fibre - the primary cell wall, mentioned earlier. But here's the rub - that 200nm figure is again rolled out in the context of the PCW, but with no reference source. It may be right, or it may be in error by 100nm. Either way, it seems extraordinary to this blogger that something so fundamental as image thickness, on which so much emphasis is placed re "ultra-superficiality" surpassing (we are told) anything expected from a scorch should be little more than a guesstimate.

But as indicated- there's a more serious complaint. What write do people have to make invidious references to model contact scorches when they have (a) never experimented with model scorches, far less measure their thickness and (b) do not even have a reliable estimate of the TS image thickness or know for certain whether it's on the PCW or an impurity layer.

Is it not extraordinary that after decades of Shroud research we still cannot say with absolute certainty where the image layer resides or its precise thickness relative to other surface discolorations, especially contact scorches from a heated template?

The next session will try to grasp the nettle: why the fixation with image superficiality? Why the neglect of negative image character? Is there seen to be more mileage in one than another. What kind of mileage? Scientific? Or audience-titillating pseudoscientific?

19:30  Given all the emphasis on superficilaity (which as will become clear I view with an increasingly jaundiced eye) is it instantly assumed by the pro-authenticity tendency that contact scorching can never be superficial, so is hardly worth studying? Well, I have a simple answer to that. They are wrong. I've read their arguments and reasoning and I know precisely where they have gone wrong.  Those who make these dismissive claims re contact scorches are for the most part physicists, not chemists or biologists. They view a hot template as a source of stored thermal energy that will quickly enter a fabric on one side, and proceed via unhindered conduction to scorch the reverse side. Nope. They have overlooked an important factor, and it wasn't until I started to protect linen from scorches using just dried sheets of onion scale leaf epidermis just one cell thick that I too cottoned on to the missing factor.

It's to do with strongly endothermic (heat-abstracting) nature of carbohydrate scorch reactions . The conversion of carbohydrates to brown products and steam (probably other gases too) not only takes a lot of heat out of the template, but allows some of that heat to escape as hot gas, so it does not and.or cannot penetrate into the weave.

Analogy: protection of a space craft against heat of re-entry using an ablative heat shield (which vaporises slowly, dissipating heat as it does so).

One of the authors of that paper above came onto shroudstory.com, claiming that a contact scorch would always produce reverse-side scorching, reporting a quickie experiment with a hot coin to "prove" his point. But he used a thermostatted system to maintain the coin's temperature, preventing it cooling down below scorch-temperature, and if that wasn't enough, the coin was held against the linen until the reverse side scorch was seen.  (Serial stamping a hot coin across fabric demonstrates the speed with which heat is abstracted, and scorching intensity reduced).  There are times when words fail me. That was one such occasion, especially as one is supposed to remain scrupulously polite to the self-appoi9nted big shots of shroudie research. Well, I have news for them. Their antics, their liberties with science, fill me with distaste and despair.  Science is supposed to be above this sort of thing, of engineering desired outcomes, which in a way is exactly what that putative Shroud-faker was doing all those centuries ago.



So here's the game plan (yes, that's exactly what it is - a puerile little game played by clever people to bamboozle the impressionable). You start with a model which you claim is reality (pro-authenticity narrative) by throwing  a cloth over a model and measuring air gaps. You then claim that all the variations in image intensity are due to those air gaps, which still allow for imaging, but greatly "attenuated" by air. You claim that contact imaging is ruled out, because it cannot work across air gaps (correct as far as it goes). You then say that is must be radiation (miraculous self-focused or self-collimated radiation) that was able to project an image across air gaps. You then bang on incessantly about the ultra-superficiality of the TS image, based more on impression than serious scientific measurement which you can then claim is a signature of your miraculous radiation. You scoff at any idea that contact scorching can also produce ultra-superficial images, despite your never having produced a single contact scorch to test the truth or otherwise of your seemingly-authoritative assertions. And let's mot forget the 3D aspects that embellish this tale. When you demonstrate that the TS image can be 3D-enhanced, you immediately say the 'depth information' is a function of cloth-body distance, having folk believe that 3D properties are dependent on image-imprinting radiation crossing air gaps. You turn a blind eye to the fact that simple contact scorches also show the same 3D-enhancibility (if not better), which is absolutely nothing to do with image projection, but due to software that reads image intensity as height.

In short you bullshit, because you're always assured of an audience who will lap up this kind of mystique-mongering that allegedly pulls the rug from under those tedious sceptics. One has only to peruse the current affairs web forums on an assortment of topics, from conspiracy theories to climate-change denialism  to see that what I've described is hardly confined to shroudology. The latter is just a microcosm of what I regard as manipulation of public opinion by the hidden persuaders deploying their pseudoscience, cynical charlatans and control freaks to a man and woman.

Friday 1st August 06:30


Click to enlarge


Here you see a 3D rendering of the positive Durante 2002/Shroud Scope  image in ImageJ. It shows some 3D enhancement. Attempts to get more 'relief' had to be abandoned. More relief meant more distortion, and in any case the final settings were close to those which I have previously reported as being optimal for obtaining the closest match between model bas relief templates (e.g. horses brasses) and scorch images obtained therefrom. Indeed, I did a post recently in which TS and model scorches were 3D-enhanced in ImageJ directly alongside each other: the settings (z axis control, smoothing, lighting etc) that worked best for one were best for the other. Yet how many times do we read that the TS shows unique 3D-enhancibility unlike any other image, without a shred of supporting evidence, certainly not from model scorches. One can even take pictures of everyday objects that have no 3D history, e.g. flags, and get striking 3D effects in ImageJ which make them look as if they have been carved or  moulded from wood or plastic.

Even STURP was not immune from over-hyping the 3D-enhancibility of the TS image.

"Computer image enhancement and analysis by a device known as a VP-8 image analyzer show that the image has unique, three-dimensional information encoded in it."

 No, it doesn't. It is a distribution of image intensity that may or may not reflect the 3D relief of a template from which it is derived, depending on whether there was a template (which I believe there was) and depending on how the relief was captured and imprinted off that template. The 3D-ness in itself tells one nothing. The onus is the scientist to back up any assertions of "uniqueness" with independent supporting data. It cannot be assumed, and it is unscientific to so much as suggest that it can, or to promote the TS image as having some kind of unique and mysterious properties based on that image above. But that is precisely what is happening, here and now, some 35 years after STURP, and how is this mystique-mongering sustained? Answer: simple, by making constant references to 3D-enhanced pictures of the TS image, while at the same time incanting "cloth-body distance", "cloth-body distance", "cloth body distance", implying there can be no 3D effect without image projection across air gaps, despite any number of demonstrations that scorch imprints give results as good and often better when there is NO IMAGING ACROSS AIR GAPS. Oh, and note too the way that the 1532 scorches on the TS respond just as well, if not better, than the TS itself, something this blogger pointed out over 2 years ago, and which I'm pleased to see is recognized in the wiki entry on the Turin Shroud.



More later

Here's a comment (my bolding) from writer and historian Charles Freeman that has just appeared on Porter's vexatious site (from which I am taking a holiday/rest cure at present):

"Antikythera mechanism, apparently a hoax? No, simply look it up and you will see that it is genuine of its time and apparently a lone survivor of what must have once been several prototypes. Whenever anyone says that the Turin Shroud must be first century and genuine on the sole ground that it is unique and many aspects of it are apparently inexplicable, I just think of the mechanism!
The difference is that the Greek authorities allow access to bone fide scholars and as a result more is known about the mechanism every year as technology and x-rays develop more sophisticated ways of examining it. Not possible for the Shroud at present. We will learn a great deal more about it if it is ever given over to a laboratory for a proper investigation ."

That last sentence chimes with my call for a second STURP-style investigation
(see title of this posting). But can it hope to tell us much more, even with more up-to-date technology, if restricted to non-destructive sampling, or those pussy-footing "sticky tape" samples? Maybe I'm being over-pessimistic, but at the same time I can think of certain crucial tests and analyses that need doing (details later) that would almost certainly be destructive, and where I for one would feel hugely inhibited from pressing for those and other destructive tests to be done if subsequent viewers of the TS were able to see the sampling sites and get uptight at the 'vandalism'. There is a solution to this, but it requires grasping a nettle.

It's time for a quid pro quo, or returning of a favour. Interest in the TS has been greatly increased by the application of modern science and photography since 1898, and while the radiocarbon dating has failed to support authenticity, the response of the 3 labs to the onslaught of criticism and abuse has been dignified (and I expect will remain so). I believe the time has come for the Shroud's custodians to do the decent thing, and make a gift to science.  I'm sure they know what I mean, without me having to spell it out. OK, so it's 50% of the total but it's the less attractive 50%. Once definitive answers have been obtained, leaving most curiosity sated, what remains of that less than 50% could be displayed far from Turin, far from the prime 50%, say in an Italian science museum. There would then be twin centres for the TS - one restricted to occasional displays only, the other for permanent display. How about the Museo Galileo, in Florence?


Museo Galileo, Florence


Future exhibit?


Future research?

First, I'll insert links to previous ideas I've posted, good, bad or indifferent, if only to demonstrate that there needs to be fresh thinking.

1. http://shroudofturinwithoutallthehype.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/my-immediate-response-to-a-comment-on-did-the-bloodstains-really-precede-image-formation-on-the-shroud-of-turin/

2. http://shroudofturinwithoutallthehype.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/can-one-bottle-a-scorch-image-could-similar-technology-be-applied-to-the-shroud-image-scorch-or-otherwise/

3.http://shroudofturinwithoutallthehype.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/heres-what-alan-d-adler-could-should-have-done-to-investigate-the-porphyrins-of-those-anomalous-shroud-bloodstains/

4.http://shroudofturinwithoutallthehype.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/a-possible-new-approach-to-learning-more-about-the-chemical-make-up-of-the-shrouds-image/

These ideas and approaches are for the most influenced by this blogger's background in nutrition and biomedical  research. But none of them really address the central issue, namely that negative image, which as I have repeatedly stressed should be the main focus of Shroud research (not superficiality in my opinion, if the latter is then used as a peg on which to hang wacky ideas re mysterious collimated radiation). So now I have to doff a different cap, namely that of amateur physicist and rookie image analyst (more about the restricted sense in which I employ that term later),

Here's the gist of what I propose. Apologies if it's already been done (if so, please supply links).

Scan the TS image electronically, as one does when one takes a photocopy of a document. (I'll reveal my ignorance once more in asking whether the existing photoscans described as Durante 2002 and Shroud 2.0 were in fact digitized photography and/or 'photocopying', and thus capable of being described as electronic scans).

Sudden thought: up till now I have been using a digital camera to record my model scorches. Maybe I should scan the scorches instead, using the scan (or photocopy) mode on the ink jet printer. Might scan mode give even better 3D-rendering when uploaded to ImageJ? 

Hot from the press: here's my first 3D-enhancement in ImageJ of scorch imprints from way back, using heated horse brasses as templates, that have been scanned (slowly!) on my Kodak ink jet printer instead of being photographed.

 

Click to enlarge



Better, worse, or as good as photographic images?  Methinks the result is at least as good (and must presumably store a lot more digitized information that could otherwise be usefully processed)

Now comes the difficult bit. Use reverse-engineering, if one can so describe it, in order to create 3D models (on screen initially, 3D-printing can come later) that make different assumptions, i.e. that there is contact with an applied 'envelope' (e.g. linen sheet) at all image locations OR that there is bridging of that envelope between points of  highest relief (whether the latter be real or merely imputed) from the relief distribution OR that there MUST HAVE BEEN imaging across air gaps. One then looks at those 3D models and decides which of them in the real world could serve as a template from which the TS image was or could have been obtained by imprinting.

Here's my prediction: that the TS image could well have been obtained by a contact-only imprinting off a 3D subject/template. It's then of secondary importance whether it could have been obtained by assuming air gaps, since the latter is the soft option that requires exotic physics and a host of other qualifying assumptions.

 Contact-only does NOT require exotic physics. If the modelling were to support a contact-only imprinting process, then my response to the arch-radiationists who glibly refer to cloth-body distances, or "air attenuation" of unspecified radiation etc etc etc would be immediate:

PUT UP OR SHUT UP!

There's more I could say, quite a lot more, about the cynical self-serving deployment of agenda-driven pseudoscience that greets us, each time we open a newspaper or log onto an MSM  web-forum.

The reason for this blogger/retired scientist to focus here yet again on the over-hyped Shroud of Turin with its authenticity-promoting circus is as follows. The dubious and in many cases false claims made for the Shroud are in principle  testable - once the Shroud's custodians are persuaded of the need to give access to 'STURP team Mark 2', comprising real objective scientists with track records of success in scientific research.