Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Turin Shroud looks for all the world like a man-made contact imprint, probably from a hot metal template, NOT the product of a supposed flash of radiation.

 This posting had an Introduction in draft stage, but to keep the length down, I've made that the subject of a separate posting, immediately preceding this one.

Preface to my next posting, one that pinpoints the liberties being taken with so-called modelling of Turin Shroud "cloth-body distances".

Here then, without further ado, are 10 reasons, based on Shroud Scope/Durante 2002 imagery, for thinking that the Turin Shroud is simply a contact print (think "rubber stamp").

1. The negative image (reversal of normal light/dark tonal values).

Skip this and other accompanying blurb in italics  if all you want to know is what's in the 10 point checklist of the title. Scroll down: look for the bold font against numbers 1-10 inclusive.

The negative double image is undoubtedly the most distinctive, dare one say iconic feature of the Turin Shroud. Was it a result of a 1st century miracle, or is there a more mundane explanation that fits with the radiocarbon dating  (1260-1390)?.I believe it is the latter. An attempt was made to simulate a "sweat imprint", a medieval fixation where claimed images of Jesus were concerned (hordes of pilgrims queued to see the "Veil of Veronica" despite it having no biblical provenance).

A sweat imprint, whether real or (more probably faked) has to be a negative image to stand any chance of being seen as credible. Any  medieval artisan , producing the  TS from scratch, would have, needed to ensure that any simulation of aged sweat would be a negative image, capturing highest relief only. He could not  afford to have it look like an ordinary painting, no matter how well executed.  So, no paint brush or brush marks. Instead:  find a means for imprinting onto linen from a 3D or semi-3D template, where only the highest parts of the relief, in direct contact with the cloth, leave behind a  "sweat-like" imprint. Thermal imprint, e.g. heat scorch? Maybe. Indeed that's the most probable, but chemical or thermochemical technologies, while having their difficulties,  are not excluded. (See the impressive Garlaschelli reproduction, using a 2-stage technique that is best described as first purely physical ("frottage") and then thermochemical (heat-assisted etching of linen with a presumed acid-contaminated ochre pigment used for frottage).


2. No imaging of sides of the body, or the top of head or even the sides of face, consistent with a “stamping action” with applied pressure acting best on horizontal over angled or vertical planes, and which does not need to invoke make-believe orthogonally-beamed collimated radiation. (Yeah, right).

Optional screed:  here's where the "rubber stamp" like imprinting technology comes into its own.  One has a template with two sides - upper /frontal  and lower /dorsal. One imprint, probably sequentially,  off those two surfaces, to simulate the enclosure of a corpe in an up-and-over shroud. Try explaining the twin-body result in terms of miraculous radiation. What kind of radiation could leave an image of the top and bottom surfaces but not the sides? How can it produce an image if there is no optical hardware for focusing or collimating the radiation?


3. No obvious difference in the imaging of  “hair” and “skin” suggesting use of heat-resistant template

"Hair" image (left); "skin" image( right). The two are indistinguishable.

Any prospective radiation model that has sufficient energy to permanently "scorch" linen (I use the term loosely) would surely singe hair, and if it didn't one would surely expect the imaged hair to look different from skin. But it does not. The "hair" on the TS is indistinguishable from the skin. The latter is easily explicable in a contact-only model: it was not a real person being imaged, but a representation of one, cast in metal or other heat/chemical resistant material. Both skin and hair were part of a textured template.


4. The baked-in twin-track crease at chin level.

Screed:    One of the most conspicuous but least commented-upon features of the TS image is the disfiguring furrow mark in the region of the chin and neck. (I say furrow, because it's twin track, but being 2D the term furrow is used loosely).

What is the explanation in a radiation model? Who knows?It is ignored.

It is NOT ignored in a contact-only model, because it is readily explained. Instead of linen being loosely draped over subject  as in  woolly obscurantist radiation models,  it is forcibly impressed against a 3D template in order to image the neck. That causes the fabric to make a sharp right-angle turn at the tip of the chin, trapping a fold of cloth, resulting in a baked-in crease. There is another consequence:


5. The complexity of the neck imaging (light/dark) banding, not be confused with "banding" due to weave/yarn differences, explicable as imaging of underside of chin as well as neck.

Probably no region of the TS image attracts more puzzlement and conflicting interpretation than the "neck", with some saying it's too long, others that "there's no neck".

The reason for the confusion is explained in a contact-imprinting model by recognizing that the TS image if NOT a photograph, but a 2D imprint off a 3D template in which arbitrary decisions had to made as to which complexities of 3D relief to imprint, which to ignore.

The neck was imprinted, visible as a dark transverse band that some descibe as a "collar". But above it is a lighter band. What is that? It is almost certainly the underside of the chin, linking the chin crease (No.4 above) and the neck.

"Could this be clinching evidence etc ... ?  See old posting (Feb 2013)

6. Probable imaging of the tips of the toes, explaining the absence of the rest of the foot due to tenting, aka short-cutting, i.e. loss of contact between cloth and 3D subject through following the diagonal of a triangle seen in cross section, avoiding the longer route that maintains contact. (There might be a better word than "tenting").

Late addition: yes there is. It's called BRIDGING. Maybe that's what I meant to say in the first instance,

Screed: the so-called missing foot is supposed to cross over onto the other (one nail for both feet has been suggested as I recall in pro-authenticity narratives). So why do we see something that could be the tips of toes (inside that admittedly tiny yellow oval at the bottom).

Cropped region:

Same, magnified at high contrast. Note the two blurred brown 'blobs' at the bottom. I propose they are the tips of toes, (Yes, that interpretation is model-driven, but at last it's not agenda-driven).

The imaging of toes (or just tips thereof) without imaging of the rest of the foot to which they are attached is precisely what is expected when a cloth drapes over legs and feet, the latter orthogonal in   the graphic below of a brass crucifix.

It is constistent, and indeed predictable, from imprinting mechanism in which direct physical contact is obligatory, i.e. no air gaps.

 Link to my toes posting:


7. The crossed hands – overlap of hands, gaps between fingers.(5)

Screed:  so how does one put the two rival mechanisms to a crucial trest - based on the TS image alone (theoretical considerations are another matter)?

Simple: the contact-imprinting method requires physical contact. If there's the slightest separation, the smallest air gap, there can be no imaging. Contrast that with radiation, which allows air gaps between cloth and body. There's  a proviso that is frequently cited on websites, namely that the cloth-body separation must not exceed 3-4cm (the theoretical basis for which is obscure). 

So all one has to do is seek out locations on the TS image where the cloth-body distance is smaller than 3-4 cm, but greater than zero, and see if there is imaging or not.

There is such a location - the crossed hands, resting on the abdomen. Let's deal with the hands first.

The height difference between two hands  is unlikely to exceee 3-4 cm. Despite falling within the allowable zone, there is a  non-imaged stripe at the junction of the two hands. That is explicable in the contact-only model, but not the radiation model, even with its seemingly arbitrary restriction on distance.

There's an even more telling test. It's the fingers. The TS fingers have long been the subject of interest, being "bony" and, some say, excessively long. The "boniness" is easily explained in the contact model. One can coat one's hand and fingers with a safe and convenient "paint"(I used  the predictably mirth-provoking Nutella chocolate spread) and despite holding fingers together one gets a TS- like imprint, seemingly with fingers spread.i.e separated. That is explicable by failure of cloth to penetrate each of the grooves between fingers. In a radiation model, there should be imaging across those very shallow grooves (less than 1cm in depth).

See the 'Nutella' spread posting , two before this one.
The bony looking fingers on the TS look as if splayed,  but can be modelled with hands that have fingers touching via contact imprinting.

Note there is scarcely any imaging where one of the crossed hands abuts on the other, explicable as "tenting" of linen, and thus no-imaging in a contact-only model that rejects the possibility of imaging across air gaps, as allowed in fanciful plucked-from-blue-sky radiation models.


8. Abdomen poorly imaged around crossed hands, due once more to a predictable tenting effect.

 High contrast image, designed to highlight the lack of image intensity on thighs and abdomen around the crossed hands, explicable as tenting of linen, and creation of air gaps that preventing contact-only imprinting.

Screed: this is closely related to the previous entry, and is dependent on the relatively small height difference between crossed hands over groin and neighbouring thighs and abdomen.

Note the relatively poor imaging in and around the cross hands, explicable in a contact-only image, where there was no manual pressure applied to achieve imaging right up to the contact zone of the hands.

The pale area is presumably explicable in the radiation model, but only by invoking that oft-cited-but-unquestioned 3-4cm rule.


9. Imaging of underside of one foot. 

Surprisingly, perhaps, the entire sole of one foot has been imaged from heel to toe. Manual turning of fabric around heel onto sole of foot by an artisan ? Washe determined to make a complete recognizable image, i.e. no mere "accident".

That speaks of close contact between cloth and body, indeed actual physical contact, that is unlikely to have occurred unless linen were manually and forcibly pressed against the sole. That's understandable in a contact-imprinting model in which the "subject" is first pressed into linen, maybe with a soft and yielding underlay, and to avoid a sudden cut-off at the heels (the last part still in contact) is then turned upwards through 90 degrees to imprint the entire sole of the foot as well.

Why should the sole be imprinted in a radiation model when neither the sides of the body nor the top of the head is imaged. Yes, one encounters a host of reasons, but they hedge the model around with any number of qualifying assumptions, making it less credible on practical as well as (non-addressed) theoretical reasons.


10. Pleasing result, at least aesthetically, when imaging off a  brass crucifix, with 3D enhancement.

Note that I made a deliberate attempt to image the soles of the feet (see previous entry), by turning the fabric up through 90 degrees, and thus avoiding an odd-looking cut-off at the heels.

It was looking at those images above, with the well-defined calves, but relatively poorly-defined thighs, that made this blogger think of those diagrams we see many times in the Shroud literature, illustrating assumptions about "cloth-body" distance. Here's just one, selected at random, to which I've added some spacer bars in yellow to highlight the 'problematic' region between pelvis and heels if, indeed, knees are drawn up:

Looking at that, would one not expect poor imaging of most of the thigh/calf region, even in a radiation model, or at any rate one in which there's said to be a cut-off at 3-4 cm. One does not need to stray far to the right of the buttocks in the above diagram, or to the left of the heels, for those yellow verticals to exceed 3-4cm in height.

Yet here's the TS image, too, dorsal view, showing the same preferential imaging of calves over thighs.The poor imaging of the thighs is understandable. But why the calves so well imaged?

Let's be absolutely certain of that intensity difference. Here are two more images, shown horizontally this time. The lower one has had a major adjustment of midtone values which tends to accentuate body image (blood too as well, but one tries to mentally subtract the scourge marks and other markings attributable to "blood".)

There seems little doubt in this blogger's mind that there is excessive image density in the calves relative to thighs to match the radiation model, even one that allows itself a 3-4 cm air gap.

How does one account for the differential imaging in a contact model, especially a contact-only model? That is not difficult, and it's to do with the underlying support surface, In the authenticity model, it is pictured, not unreasonably, as rigid and unyielding, being a stone shelf or similar. Not so in the 14th century scenario, where one starts with a rigid template from which one wishes to imprint as much of the surface relief as possible (but not the sides to avoid lateral distortion). How does one ensure that? One lays the linen sheet over several layers of sacking or similar (sand?) then presses the heated template down into yielding underlay. It's not difficult to see how one could image either calves, thighs or both, depending on the precise geometry of the template (knees raised higher or lower) and where one decides to apply most pressure. There will in any case be a tendency of the template to pivot of its own accord towards the heels, accentuating the calves, due to to expansive buttocks area acting as a fulcrum, aided by the small angular heels preferentially burrowing in..

Summary: I have listed 10 features that are visible in Shroud Scope/Durante2002 images of the Turin Shroud which do not accord well with imaging via projected radiation across air gaps, even small ones that have been restricted to 3-4cm. The images are better explained by supposing that there is no imaging across air gaps, and that non-imaged areas of the TS are due to loss of contact between a template and linen (the slightest air gap being sufficient to prevent imaging). What the template model loses through having relief  changes  in rigid metal, plaster, ceramic etc that are occasionally too abrupt to allow for imaging on a hard flat surface would be compensated for, at least partly, by the likelihood of there having been a soft, yielding underlay beneath the linen which allowed linen to make contact with more template 3D relief than would be the case on a hard surface.

Update 25 July:

Have just recalled, and tracked down the source of an intriguing observation that founding STURP member John P.Jackson *made in 1991 (my italics):

"A third problem arises in the comparison of the shading structures of the frontal and dorsal images. There are certain similarities between these images, for example, in color; however, there are noteworthy dissimilarities as well. The frontal image, appears as a blended, continuous shading structure that, as we have seen, contains a correlation with presumed cloth-body distance. The dorsal image, on the other hand, is discontinuous in shading and has a mosaic-like appearance; see Figure l b. We see, in particular, that the shoulder region is bounded by a sharp, discontinuous change in intensity. However, running through this boundary, is a pattern of scourge marks. Since these marks contain dried blood material, they could only have been placed onto the cloth by direct contact. Accordingly, if the body image was correlated with cloth-body distance over the same several centimeter range deduced for the frontal image, the sharp discontinuity would not have occurred. Rather, we would have observed, at most, a blended intensity variation from the base of the shoulders to a several percent lower intensity in the small of the back. Instead, we see a complete and abrupt dropout of intensity at the base of the shoulders into the lower back region. Thus, the dorsal image has an intensity structure more like a direct contact image than one that is correlated with cloth-body distances over centimeter range as for the frontal image."

 More later on Jackson's 'collapsing cloth' paper, which I have to say is not an easy read for this simple science bod, so I'm going out now, and may be gone some time.

However, I will say this immediately: there is a most fundamental flaw in that author's approach. He cites the evidence of bloodstain distribution and patterns to claim that the Shroud must have enveloped a real human body, and then goes on to match the body image with that presumed "real body". I leave readers to draw their own conclusions, but here's a tiny clue: most successful applications of science to unfamiliar problems set out by adopting a ruthlessly reductionist approach. Holistic remedies are usually invoked much later when the reductionist approach has failed to deliver answers to the questions posed (caveat: sometimes it's the framing of the questions that is wrong, or not amenable to scientific enquiry).

*now Director of the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado (link given against Jackson's name). There on its website you will find the following under the Research tab:

"The Turin Shroud Center of Colorado (TSC) seeks to understand both the scientific and theological attributes of the Shroud from a comprehensive and unified perspective. This is made possible only if the research methods of these two major disciplines are respected and properly integrated. Difficulties arise when research activities of one discipline intrude into the legitimate domain of the other. The human mind is capable of asking six questions concerning reality: "who, what, where, when, how, and why". We consider that science pertains to essentially addressing the first five questions using the empirical/theoretical standard described by the scientific method. Theology relates, however to the last "why" question which is a matter of meaning. Science proceeds by an empirical analysis that is rooted in physical observation of nature, ultimately through the sensory apparatus of the human body. Theology, on the other hand proceeds by the rational analysis of the spiritual human soul of that revealed to it by God. TSC accepts these two disciplines as legitimate approaches to human understanding and insists that the domains of each are properly respected in its studies of the Turin Shroud and related artifacts."

How does one "properly integrate" research methodology in science and theology?
As I've said already, "theoscience" for want of a better name (sciency theology?) simply ain't science, which is why I'm in no hurry to dissect that "collapsing cloth" theory. When I do, it will be with a view to hoovering up useful facts, like that intriguing reference above to a qualitative difference in character between frontal and dorsal body images (for which there may be a simple explanation in a template-imprinting scenario - clue "LOTTO" for the cognoscenti).

Second update: 25 July

That quoted paragraph from John P Jackson is  PURE GOLD DUST!!

I'm already mentally composing a new post with the following title.

There are grounds for thinking that the TS image was made by simultaneous imprinting of both frontal and dorsal surfaces (LOTTO and LUWU configurations respectively).

LOTTO (for frontal imprinting) = Linen On Top, Then Overlay

  LUWU (for dorsal imprinting) = Linen Underneath, With Underlay

No comments: