|I say we're nearly there|
Let's stop beating about the bush shall we ? The image of the man on the Turin Shroud is an imprint (not a painting as Charles Freeman would have us believe), I repeat, an IMPRINT. It's a contact imprint, to be more precise (no physical contact, no image). This blogger/retired scientist has previously enumerated at least 15 reasons why the TS image an imprint, and does not need to repeat them here.(But since they are buried in the tail end of a previous posting, I shall be listing them here later as an appendix).
This posting focuses on just one feature of the Shroud image which is consistent with the view that the image is a contact imprint. I then make what some will see as a bald assertion, namely that if it's possible to reproduce the 'look' of that image, with its imprint features, then it almost certainly IS an imprint.
The onus would then be on others who think otherwise, who have their own hypotheses, or as often or not fantasies as to how the image was produced, to do what I (with some assistance from my wife) have done this morning, namely to model their ideas experimentally. If they cannot, or will not do that, then their ideas are unscientific, and need detain this scientist no further.
Here's the selected feature of interest - the crossed hands. Here's how they appear on the Shroud.
|Shroud Scope image (Durante 2002) no further enhancement|
|As above, with my standard photo-enhancement settings (-7,100,15 brightness/contrast/midtone values in MS Office Picture Manager.|
Why do I say that's a contact imprint? Answer: the spindly fingers (see previous modelling with a tacky paint-like substance) and the pale area immediately below the upper hand where the linen has bridged, leaving a non-contact air gap.
Can it be modelled?
Answer: yes. approximately, what you see here being the second attempt using the more controllable of two alternative modes of presenting linen to flour paste-coated subject.
Photoedited image? Certainly. used the same settings as the earlier ones for the Shroud Scope image(-7,100, 15). Fix? Judge for yourself. Here's the unedited photograph, prior to rotation to assist comparison with the Shroud.
|"As is' imprint., withoit photo-enhancement.|
Is the image reasonably permanent? Impossible to tell, unless one has a handy cathedral in which to store it, and lots of patience (several centuries at least). But the image does withstand (a) repeated rinsing and wringing out with cold water, drying and ironing:
|Water-washed, before (left) and after (right) photo-enhancement (-7,100,15)|
and (b)the above, followed by application of soap and water, followed again by drying and ironing.
|Soap -washed, before (left) and after (right) photoenhancement (-7,100,15)|
Conclusion:there would appear to be nothing in the least bit mysterious about the 2D image characteristics of the Shroud image, once it is appreciated that the image is a contact imprint (the negative light/dark reversed nature of the image alone should be sufficient to conclude that the image is an imprint - NOT a painting, not even a faded, degraded painting).
What about the "profoundly mysterious" 3D properties of the Shroud image? Do my imprints respond to 3D enhancement in ImageJ?
Judge for yourself, dear reader:
|3D rendering: click to enlarge|
|Simple light/dark reversal in Image J|
|As above, with 3D enhancement.|
That'll do for now. Publish and be damned.
I say the Turin shroud is a medieval fake, produced by a simple two stage procedure: imprinting with an organic substance (which may well have been white flour, which has convenient adhesive properties)followed by second stage colour development (thermal in this posting, though chemical development is also feasible - see previous postings which used nitric acid or limewater).
Update, Thursday 25 June: I shall repeat the above experiment today using my wife's crossed hands instead of my own. To show the versatility of the technique there will be subtraction of an unwanted feature (rings), simply by taping over, thus protecting from the imprinting medium and, conversely, maybe the addition of something else, e.g. paste in an area that would normally escape imprinting.
The result was broadly similar to the one above, except for the additional tests. The location of the protected ring can be see as a blank rectangle.There blank region where one hand abuts on the other was marked with three small dabs of flour paste from a paint brush. What these tests show is the ease with which wanted or unwanted features can be added or removed by masking or 'doctoring' the imprint prior to colour development.
The 3D-rendered version of the above image was somewhat disappointing:
The reasons are probably technical, to do with using too viscous a paste which did not apply evenly (see banding on right wrist). You win some, you lose some.
I shall also make a start on that Appendix (why the TS is an imprint, not a painting), but build it up in instalments (no need for a rush job: what's another few hours or days extra on a 3.5 year project now drawing to a close?). Expect the first 3 or 4 points later in the day. (They were added, and have since disappeared - the Blogger Editing Bug is back!)
Simple answers to simple questions
1. But what about the blood? You have to explain the blood.
The priority on this site has been the "enigmatic" body image (negative, superficial, 3D properties, impossible to reproduce by any known technology etc). So why divert attention to the blood when confronted with answers to the supposed image conundrum? Blood can wait till later (while noting that the new procedure allows the forger to 'paint' the subject with imprinting medium first, then 'paint' with blood on top of imprinting medium, then imprint, thus ensuring there's a strong, direct contact between blood and linen with imprinting medium on top instead of underneath (in agreement with the Adler/Heller results with protease enzyme).
2. To stand any chance of being taken seriously, you will have to match every single detail of the Shroud.
No I don't. The Shroud we see today is unlikely to be the same in all respects as the one that existed 700 years ago or longer. What has to be matched in a scientific approach are those features that make the Shroud uniquely different from all other images from the pre-photographic era, notably the negative image, the absence of known pigments, dyes etc, the extreme superficiality etc.
3. There was no white flour in medieval times, and even if there had been, it would have differed from the modern flour used in your experiments (genetics, added chemicals, nutrients etc.)
Flour in my experiments is a forger's 'proxy' for bodily sweat, because it makes a good imprinting medium, being sticky, and because it's easily convertible from white to yellow with heat or chemicals. However, the forger may have used something different that served the same purpose - imprinting medium/source of yellow colour. So it hardly matters whether white flour was available or not. In fact, it's a common misconception that white flour only became available after the arrival of 19th century roller milling. The well-off with deep pockets could purchase white flour, which was easily if laboriously made by sieving stone-ground wholemeal flour through fabric screens to remove the large particles of bran and wheatgerm embryo).
4. If the technology for forging the Shroud existed in the 14th century, then why is there only one Shroud?
Answer: because someone who had the resources to fabricate a convincing holy relic, one that can be claimed to be the actual linen used to envelop the crucified Jesus, would have needed to ensure that the technology remained a secret known only to the perpetrators. It would have compromised the mission objectives entirely if there had been so much as a single prototype version abandoned in the corner of a workshop.
5. What gives you the right to insult the intelligence of scores of academics and professionals, many with distinguished records of research, with your tacky simplistic model which you yourself have described as a Blue Peter 'make'?
If the model were that simplistic, this retired researcher, who also has a record of research and modest achievement, would not have needed 3.5 years to conceive of it. The trouble with arriving late to an active area of research is the deadweight of 'received wisdom' that in many instances has hardened into rock-solid dogma. It's hard not to be influenced by the big cheeses of Shroudology who descend onto websites to say one is barking up the wrong tree, that such and such was discounted decades ago, that one should "go acquaint oneself with the literature". In fact the current model incorporates many existing ideas - from Ray Rogers, Luigi Garlaschelli, Hugh Farey and Joe Accetta. But the key aspect was the realization that the body imprint was intended to represent ancient yellowed sweat, that it was not intended to represent a product of post-mortem putrefaction, nor a miraculous image imprinted by a flash of highly energetic radiation, of a type unknown to science, a signature of resurrection, or as some would have us belive, a love-letter to modern man (that being the case, why the 'wrong' answer for radiocarbon dating?).
6. It's just a rehash of the scorch hypothesis, and we all know that was ruled out a long time ago (only the most superficial layers of Shroud fibres are affected, no change to the central medulla, lack of uv fluorescence etc).
Sure, the current variant uses heat to develop the Shroud-like coloration in the imprint, but the temperature needed to do that was insufficient to affect that of the non-imprinted linen, except maybe for an exceedingly faint tinge which could be mistaken for aged linen (a beneficial effect?). But other alternatives exist - like nitric acid and other chemicals. Scorching is just one way of producing yellowing, one that requires pyrolysis (thermal degradation) of the linen fibres themselves. Use of an extraneous coating layer (flour etc) opens up additional possibilities where chemistry is concerned (caramelization of sugars, Maillard reactions between sugars and protein, nitration of proteins etc).
Update 30 June: comment posted to a Telegraph article (Science section) by Lily Willis: