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 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).


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Might John P.Jackson have been right in thinking the frontal and dorsal images of the Man on the Turin Shroud are subtly different? Different imprinting configurations ("LOTTO" v "LUWU")?

For background, see the post preceding this one, and the 200+ from this blogger that preceded that.

You see, thinking evolves as one experiments and collects accumulates more data, one's own and occasionally other people's.

Early on, here on this site, I proposed that the TS image was produced by heating a hot metal template, in the form of a naked man with hands crosses over groin, and then pressing into linen that was placed over a sand bed or similar (layers of sacking etc|. I didn’t give that technology a name, but will now. Let’s call it LUWU (pronounced loo-woo), short for Linen Underneath With Underlay.

Mark 1 "LUWU" method of imprinting from a heated metal template (Linen Underneath, With Underlay)

Later I began to have doubts as to whether the image so produced was a good enough match to the real TS. The scorch marks had well-defined edges, in contrast to the fuzzier image one sees on the TS. Might there have been a subtler way of deploying the template, while still retaining the idea of a contact imprint? 

Mark 2 "LOTTO" method of imprinting (Linen On Top, Then Overlay)

Thus was born the reversal of the initial technology, in which the hot template was laid onto a hard, heat-resistant surface, covered with linen, then an overlay, and the two layers (linen and overlay) then moulded with hands around the contours of the relief for a minute or two, using conducted heat (and discomfort) to signal when it’s time to stop. That methodology was given a name (LOTTO - Linen On Top, Then Overlay).

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).


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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

 What could be a more established unquestioned, unchallenged tenet of Shroud (pseudo)science than the notion that variations in image intensity are related to cloth-body distance? Try googling (shroud “cloth-body distance”) and see the 4 pages pages of returns, 10 entries per page, all deploying, or as I would say, bandying around, those words “cloth-body distance”.

 Remove the search-narrowing quotation marks  and there are 30 pages of returns in Google (its maximum?) with enshrined  references to cloth/distance/body, not necessarily in that order.


2nd entry ( “The point is that the intensity I correlates with cloth body distance (which is ...

3rd entry:   G.Fazio (recently enjoined with Yannick Clement): “…tion between image intensity and cloth-body distance, shows codified information re-.”

4th entry:    “The empirical fact that the Shroud frontal body image is highly correlated with cloth-body distance presents major problems for hypotheses describing the origin ...£

5th entry:  Mark Antonacci, 2001:   In addition, to encode all of the body image and off—image ... in the number (density) of engraved lines that represent cloth-body distance, ...
6th entry: NASA   The controversial shroud is a 4 1/2 meter, 7.62 centimeter long linen cloth that .... to white) and cloth-body distance, Air Force Academy professors and students ...

6th entrytheshroudofturin.blogspot   Figure 2 shows how the image intensity on the Shroud can be converted to a three-dimensional plot of cloth-body distance by a single ...”

7th entry: Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince:   “… and begs the question of whether or not the Shroud ever enveloped a real ... They took their measurements of cloth-body distance manually from ...”

and so it goes on…

Btw: the 1st entry was to my specialist TS site. No liberties were being taken with "cloth-body distance " there.

Anyone perusing these entries could be forgiven for assuming  there was a general consensus that image intensity was related to cloth-body distance.

Well, Houston, we have a problem. How do we know what the cloth-body distance was at the instant of image imprinting? Or what was being imprinted:  a real person, living or dead, or even a bronze or plaster model thereof? How was the image being imprinted (by  unspecified "radiation" conveniently able we are told to project across air gaps, or boring old heat conduction, that cannot do so, needing direct physical contact, nor miracles)? Was the cloth simply draped loosely over the subject, like a dust cover? Or was it wrapped tightly around the subject, maybe with additional securing strips? Or was the “subject” pressed into linen, or the linen pressed against the “subject|” so as to get a better contact for imprinting by direct contact?

If one cannot answer those questions, then how on earth can “cloth-body” distance be reliably estimated, far less used to “explain” the Shroud image, as if the latter were simply a photograph taken with exotic light/or other mysterious radiation source, somehow focused or collimated onto linen with no external optical hardware, and somehow able to pyrolyse linen in a precise and metered fashion as to produce a faithful Xerox copy of the original.

It was through addressing these issues that this researcher came to realize that “cloth-body distance” was at the root of what can only be described  as “pseudo-science”. Instead of looking at an image, and attempting to deduce cloth-body distance, those pro-authenticity models, if one can so dignify something so agenda-driven, were being used to estimate cloth-body distances from a wholly imaginary standpoint, and those measurements were then being used to “explain” why some Shroud  features were more easily visible than others. As I say, it's pseudo-science, or more charitably, theoscience, which has now become received wisdom in the stagnant confines of Shroudology's so-called congresses,, with those words cloth-body distance being deployed mantra-like as if they were real measurements taken at the instant of image-imprinting.Thus the reams of pages when one googles that term, with scarcely a word of criticism.

As already indicated, there is an alternative to the pro-authenticity model, one that rejects the idea of cloth being loosely draped or tied around a real human being. It takes the radiocarbon dating as the starting point. It is a viewpoint that needs to be heard. Otherwise the purveyors of pseudo-science will continue to foist their convenient assumptions as if they were fixed parameters that no one should even think of challenging (certainly not at the succession of dreary shroud congresses that come most years, all attempting to sustain the same played-out fiction).

Time now to re-examine the TS image, detail by detail, and to ask at each step: what is the image telling us about cloth-body distance. More to the point, is there ANY imaging at places where it’s unlikely there was actual physical contact between subject and cloth? If the image characteristics are consistent with imaging-by-contact only, then references to “cloth-body distance” need to be ruthlessly purged from the literature (the scientific literature that is).  What any prospective "Journal of Theoscience" wishes to say is its business. 

Update Thursday: here's the main posting to which the above was a ground-preparing preface. 

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.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Here, in just 10 sentences, is a summary for fellow sceptics/iconoclasts of my current thinking re that grotesquely over-hyped Turin Shroud.

1. The admittedly provisional radiocarbon dating says the TS is 13th/14th century, so,  leaving aside the increasingly desperate attempts on the part of diehard defenders of 1st century authenticity to discredit the (admittedly preliminary single-shot) data from 1988, that makes the TS approx 700 years old - way, way more youthful than 2000.

2.While it’s anyone’s guess at the original reason for creating the Shroud with the appearance of a  ‘scorched-on’ double image, it quickly began to be seen and promoted as a giant life-size version of another crowd-drawing icon, or maybe holy ‘relic’ – the fabled Veil of Veronica, the latter allegedly and no doubt fancifully bearing a sweat imprint of the face of Jesus, captured by a lady bystander as Jesus bore his cross.

3. When in 1357  the TS was first displayed in the tiny French village of Lirey attracting not only hordes of pilgrims but profound misgivings on the part of the Church, it was intended to be seen as a sweat imprint on a burial shroud; to help promote that belief an inset image of the Veil of Veronica was added to the Lirey Pilgrim's badge (essentially a tourist souvenir) above the word “suaire”, the latter with connotations of “sweat”.

4. 250 years later, the founder of the Salesian order, now known as  St.Francis de Sales, writing to his mum from Annecy of his visit to Turin to pay homage to the Shroud, used the word “sweat”, referring to his own and that of Jesus, no less than 7 times*, but you would never know from current “shroudiie” literature that the TS was originally viewed essentially as an image formed simply with sweat, at least initially

5. If one accepts the radiocarbon dating, and the view that the TS was perceived and promoted as an image formed in sweat, then the negative character of the TS image immediately makes sense, being an imprint that after ageing and yellowing would have captured only the most prominent features of a face and body, those that would intercept and reflect most light in modern-day  photographic “positive”.
Some sweat imprints have an amazing ability to morph spontaneously over time into photograph-like positives, but not so the Shroud of Turin. (Francisco de Zurbara, the Veil of Veronica).

6. So the TS image is not, and never was intended to be viewed as one would a painting or a modern photograph, but as a sweat imprint of the recently-deceased founder of Christianity, an image that trumped the crowd-drawing Veil of Veronica’s image, similarly captured it was suggested by a similar sweat-imprinting mechanism a day or two earlier on the road to Calvary.

7. In asking how a medieval artist, or merely artisan, would have set out to manufacture a fake burial shroud with an entire body sweat imprint of both sides of a body, one has to consider a gamut of possible art-and-craft techniques and technologies, ranging from simulated sweat, possibly some kind of acidic paste, (e.g. acting in a Luigi Garlaschelli-proposed mechanism) on and discolouring linen to leave a negative image or (more audaciously) a shortcut method that used a heated metal template to produce a faint surface scorch that could be passed off as ancient sweat.
I and my helpers are continuing to experiment with whole-body imprinting, using pigment as a more user-friendly substitute for thermal energy.

8. A variety of evidence suggests that the TS image WAS produced by imprinting off a template in a manner that left a negative image, as distinct from being produced freehand, with a particular detail - the peculiar crossed hands -  providing the most compelling evidence , i.e. the seemingly bony fingers and lack of thumbs, both of which are easily modelled used real live hands and any imprinting medium, even Nutella spread.

TS hands left (skeletal fingers, no thumbs) modelled on right using my own hands(note again the diagnostic absence of thumb and gaps between fingers, despite my fingers being together during imprinting with the sophisticated non-allergenic pigment medium)

9. The STURP team could find no evidence that the TS image was painted, based on the absence of known pigments (with one dissenting voice, that of the ‘maverick' hastily-dumped Walter McCrone) and was forced to assume that the TS image was some kind of degradation of the surface fibres, or coating substance, of the linen, approximating in chemical constitution to dehydrated carbohydrates, and thus not dissimilar to a heat scorch.

One picture (OK, a composite of 4) can be worth a thousand words. But note the take-away message of this posting - namely that a heat or other scorch could have been used to model a proxy sweat imprint - which centuries later displays precisely the same behaviour in modern photography on  light/dark inversion to produce a more attractive image, one that the originators made possible through use of a template for image-imprinting, NOT painting with pigment.

10. A sensible working hypothesis is that the TS image was produced by some kind of thermal, or maybe thermochemical process that captured the image off a 3D template (a bronze statue or bas relief, or combination of the two? ) that left a negative image with 3D-enhancible properties on the linen, one that was seen originally as a sweat imprint, with none of today’s wild too-clever-by-half theorizing about miraculous flashes of  radiation (miraculous not just for emanating spontaneously from the mortal remains of a bloodied victim of crucifixion,  or so goes the narrative, but also for imprinting  across air gaps between cloth and body) or less aesthetic models based on migration of  chemically-reactive putrefaction products.

(Sorry about the length of some of my sentences, but I only cheated once with that semi-colon in No.3.). I’ll be back later to add references, and maybe a few images. For now, I want folk to be absolutely clear as to where this sceptic is at, since the style of my blogging as a real-time research project may have caused misunderstanding to creep in. Yesterday was a case in point, when it became obvious that my Nutella experiment  reported here just 3 days ago was viewed as a move away from thermal imprinting towards some kind of pigment-based one. No so – the Nutella was simply a means of quickly showing the kind of imprint that would have been left by the hands of a heated life-sized bronze crucifix had they been pressed down into linen. This blogger/retired biomedical scientist still believes that the TS image is essentially a thermal imprint, though that does not preclude the possibility of some chemical assistance, e.g. the invisible ink effect that can be achieved at low temperature with, say, lemon juice, the subject of a much earlier posting. Btw - I have omitted non-essential detail. notably a possible Templar connection that might have produced a Mark 1 TS to represent a slow-roasted Jacques de Molay. That image could have been re-invented as an image of the crucified Jesus by judicious addition of blood in all the biblically-correct places, but I have not rejected the possibility that the TS image was made-to-order to represent Jesus with no Templar connection).

*   Annecy,  4 May 1614. (Note the writer's focus, some might say, obsession, with bodily sweat).

Whilst waiting to see you, my very dear Mother, my soul greets yours with a thousand greetings. May God fill your whole soul with the life and death of His Son Our Lord! At about this time, a year ago, I was in Turin, and, while pointing out the Holy Shroud among such a great crowd of people, a few drops of sweat fell from my face on to this Holy Shroud itself. Whereupon, our heart made this wish: May it please You, Saviour of my life, to mingle my unworthy sweat with Yours, and let my blood, my life, my affections merge with the merits of Your sacred sweat! My very dear Mother, the Prince Cardinal was
somewhat annoyed that my sweat dripped onto the Holy Shroud of my Saviour; but it came to my heart to tell him that Our Lord was not so delicate, and that He only shed His sweat and His blood for them to be mingled with ours, in order to give us the price of eternal life. And so, may our sighs be joined with His, so that they may ascend in an odour of sweetness before the Eternal Father.
But what am I going to recall? I saw that when my brothers were ill in their childhood, my mother would make them sleep in a shirt of my father’s, saying that the sweat of fathers was salutary for children. Oh, may our heart sleep, on this holy day, in the Shroud of our divine Father, wrapped in His sweat and in His blood; and there may it be, as if at the very death of this divine Saviour, buried in the sepulchre, with a constant resolution to remain always dead to itself until it rises again to eternal glory. We are buried, says the Apostle, with Jesus Christ in death here below, so that we may no more live according to the old life, but according to the new. Amen.

Francis, Bishop of Geneva
The 4th of May 1614

That's St.Francis de Sales, about whom I may have a few more words to say in connection with the announcement from the Turin custodians of a surprisingly-long public/private exhibition of the  Shroud scheduled for 2015, the sketchy details of which, to say nothing of an intriguing subtext re a "hoped-for" visit from the new Pope have raised some eyebrows, this blogger's included. 

Francis de Sales (from wiki) 

"There he made up his mind about becoming a priest. Intelligent and handsome, he went through various conversion experiences that moved his heart to serve God rather than money or the world. In one incident, he rode a horse, and his sword fell to the ground and crossed another sword, making the sign of the Christian cross.  He interpreted this and other signs as a call from Jesus Christ to a life of sacrifice and self-giving love for the Church".

So what would our Francis have done with his life, one wonders, had the two swords formed an equally probable L, T or V?  L for licentiousness? T for timewasting? V for vagabondage? The possibilities were endless, at least in the English language.

Update: 10:40 still 19 July

I have added some images, as flagged up earlier. This might be a uitable opportunity to repsond briefly to some critical comment from Thibault Heimburger recently. I'm still waiting for a response to my considered reply, and have not forgotten that he is requesting a full critique of the second of his anti-scorch pdfs.

Well, it's for me to order my own priorities, and previous attempts to criticize his work, especially on what I regard as unsuitable methodology leading to false conclusions, have drawn a blank. however, i cannot let pass his claim that it is only intense scorches that are 3D-enhancible.

Here are some cut-and-paste images form his pdf2 that he provides by way of evidence:

That's his lighter scorch on the left, heavier on the right, from a heated metal template (see below)

This is what he sees after applying 3D rendering in Image J, though the other way round (heavy scorch left, lighter scorch right). Based on this comparison, one might indeed think that it is only heavy scorches that respond to 3D.

But that is not the case.  Here's what I obtain when I take TH's lighter scorch, and first adjust contrast and brightness in MS Office Picture Manager before uploading to ImageJ. Note the much improved 3D enhancement. TH seems to imagine that images for 3D rendering have to be entered 'as is'. Why? On what grounds.  One is justified in pre-processing an image if that assists 3D-rendering (which is an entirely man-made operation, given that 2D objects like flags can be rendered as 3D purely as a consequence of their light/dark contrasts, as I showed recently. I'm sure that a a skilled photo-editing specialist could improve considerably my enhancement above, obtained using standard home/office photo editing software.
Oh, and just to reiterate a previous point, the ability to give 3D enhancement to an image does not mean that it contains embedded and/or encoded 3D information, as shown by entering images that have no 3D history, but merely a range of tonal contrasts.

Having said that, there's a much better chance of obtaining a realistic life-like result, starting with a contact  imprint ("impactograph") off a reasonably accurate 3D template (whether obtained in life, or death, or, in the case of my preferred thermal imprinting, off a metal effigy) than from a painting. I say that for the benefit of those who still consider the TS to be some kind of painting, including those ingenious albeit heavily qualified models that imagine the paint has flaked off with age leaving some kind of ghost image on the linen.

Update Sun 20th July

Here's a response I have just made to a comment from kiwi "daveb" on

July 20, 2014 at 3:50 am
Thanks too for your detailed reply to my detailed reply, daveb, even if I profoundly disagree with most of its contentions. As before, it’s not possible to respond to all points. Let’s focus on the most crucial aspect, namely that “permissible” 3-4 cm air gap, routinely conjured up, at least on the internet, like a Hogwarts magical spell (or missile-deflecting force field if your prefer Star Wars to Harry Potter).
At least you agree that there’s a non-imaged zone around the hands (Giulio Fanti please note) but then you qualify that by saying, in effect “Ah, but it’s not very wide, and there’s still some belly visible”.
In my book, not written by J.K.Rowling, if there’s no contact, then there’s no imaging. That’s the uncompromising contact model of image-imprinting, the one I am defending against proposed (or more generally assumed) magical mystery radiation-imaging.
Note the self-denying ordinance. Defending the contact-image model requires far greater self-discipline than the oh-so-malleable radiation model, one that self-indulgently allows imaging in expected non-contact zones provided the air gaps don’t exceed the generously-provisioned 3-4 cm air gap.
OK, so that forces me to confine attention to locations where any air gap is expected to be less than the pseudo-scientific 3-4cm fudge factor. But if one sees failure to image, no matter how restricted the zone, then that’s it for the radiationist school of thought, correction, fantasizing. Puff of white smoke – gone. Poetic justice, some might think.
There is indeed just such a location (shame there aren’t more). What’s more it’s plain for all to see on those crossed hands. Look carefully at the region where the edge of the more visible upper hand overlaps the hand it covers..
I’ll add a labelled photograph to my site, then copy-and-paste its location here in a comment to follow later, maybe not till later in the day (social engagements).
Prepare to be put on the spot, all you shameless proponents of radiation modelling who through deploying your magical 3-4 cm smokescreen have got away with mystery-mongering for far too long, bringing science and scientists into disrepute.

Here's the crucial graphic, showing a non-imaged zone in the angle between the two crossed hands (yellow rectangle), exactly as expected in a contact-imaging model.

Click on image to enlarge. Note the pale area due to expected tenting of fabric across the junction of the two hands.
 Why should it exist in a radiation model, which permits imaging to occur where air gaps do not exceed 3-4cm?  Is the step difference more than 3-4 cm between one hand and another? I'll check later with my steel rule, but for now it looks like curtains for that hugely self-indulgent radiation model that I've always regarded as an egregious example of pseudoscience, but never had the damning evidence until now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It seems so obvious now (why the Man on the Turin Shroud has bony fingers and no thumbs). The image is NOT a photograph. It's an 'impactograph'.

Not for nothing is this site called 'science buzz'. I and other experimentalists get a real buzz out of research. One gets up in the morning, not knowing what each day will bring. Nothing in science is predictable, cut-and-dried. All is a glorious and uncertain state-of-flux, which no doubt irritates those with excessively tidy minds with everything neatly pigeon-holed.

Yesterday provided a perfect illustration, leading to today's triumphant post. I was being got at by someone on, to explain the fingers on the Turin Shroud. When it became increasingly difficult to understand precisely what I was being asked to explain, a sudden thought entered my head - why not do a simple EXPERIMENT to cut through the semantic fog?

Here's the result, reported as an addendum to the previous post.

Yes, they are hand prints, my hands, using a highly sophisticated imprinting medium known only to a tiny, er,  handful, of science bods like myself (Nutella chocolate/hazelnut spread).

The image on the left was produced by coating the back of my hand, being careful to go in-between fingers too, then laying cotton sheet on top, then using the other hand to mould fabric to the contours, while all the time KEEPING FINGERS TOGETHER.

The image on the right was produced with reverse geometry: after coating the back of the hand, the hand was then placed back-side DOWN i.e. palm up, onto the cotton, and pressed firmly, without any rocking motion.

It's that second mode of presentation that gives the fascinating result - with an imprint that would have the observer believe that the fingers were thin and bony AND with spaces, ie.air gaps between them, which was not the case.

Close up of the press-down presentation

Now compare with the crossed hands on the Turin Shroud, the fingers of which have been the subject of so much interest (to say nothing of wild speculation),

TS hands: Durante 2002 image from Shroud Scope, with extra contrast in MS Office Picture Manager

Conclusions: 1 The fingers are NOT bony. They are exactly as one would expect if produced as a contact imprint ("impactograph") under applied pressure, modelled as in my Nutella spread experiment.

2. The thumbs are absent for a very simple reason. Place your hand down on a surface with the palm up. Is your thumb touching the surface? Answer: if it's a typical hand, then NO, except the very tip of the thumb maybe.

To think I've been researching the TS for some 30 months, but did not think of doing yesterday's simple experiment before, and only did so when coming under sniper fire.

I love research. While I occasionally brag about new ideas, new results, research teaches one humility - constantly reminding one of limitations  to say nothing of mental lacunae, blind spots etc

There was another rewarding discovery today for this science blogger. Some 28 years ago he published the very first research paper in the peer-reviewed science literature devoted specifically to "resistant starch", arguing that it should be regarded as a legitimate contribution to dietary fibre (which brought him into conflict not just with other scientists but his own paymasters at the then Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, "MAFF" for short).


Heat processed foods can contain appreciable amounts of resistant starch (RS) that have the ability to survive prolonged incubation with alpha-amylase and other amylolytic enzymes. The occurrence of RS has important implications for dietary fibre (DF) determination and, possibly, for human bowel physiology also. Studies using cereal and potato starches have identified three key factors that influence yields of RS after heat-processing, ie amylose content, processing temperature and water content. The highest yields of RS (20-34% of total dry weight) were obtained from amylomaize starches, either raw or processed, and from amylopectin starches (32-46% RS) after incubation with alpha -(1->6)de-branching enzyme (pullulanase) followed by heat-processing. In contrast, the lowest yields of RS (0.2-4.2%) were obtained from intact (ie non-debranched amylopectins), with or without heat-processing. Yields of RS from wheat starch were affected primarily by processing temperature, reaching levels of about 9% in a single cycle of autoclaving at 134°C with excess water and subsequent cooling (cf levels of less than 1% in uncooked wheat starch) and higher levels still (about 15%) after 5 repeated cycles of autoclaving and cooling. A similar increase in yields of RS was seen in dilute (1%) starch suspensions that were subjected to repeated cycles of heating to 100°C, followed by cooling and storage. The time of storage after gelatinisation was only important in these dilute systems: levels of RS in freshly-prepared concentrated starch gels(typically 57-67% H20) or in white bread did not alter significantly on storage.

There was one interview with the Independent's science correspondent (John Emsley) on his home ground at Kings College London, way back in 86.  But resistant starch never really attracted the attention of the UK media, until that is TODAY.  Hooray. Yes, there's a front page article in the Daily Mail that not only mentions resistant  starch, but advises people to select foods high in RS (green bananas etc). Steady on chaps.

In fact the write-up,  indeed quoted words from the Liverpool expert, are not quite right as regards detail. One can't describe resistant starch (RS) as "soluble dietary fibre", since it's a form of insoluble re-crystallized starch (it's reckoned to be linear short chain double helical starch fragments).  But it does behave like soluble DF, inasmuch as it is easily fermented in the lower bowel, and much importance attaches to the fact that is becomes degraded partly to the 4-carbon butyric acid that, unusually,  is a metabolic fuel for the epithelial cells lining the bowel, a splendid example of symbiosis, possibly, probably associated with protection against bowel cancer.

Incidentally, the successors to MAFF recently agreed that resistant starch IS dietary fibre, and has stated that during a transition period when people are still using analytical methods for dietary fibre that fail to measure resistant starch, they must incorporate a "fudge factor" that estimates the resistant starch as part of total DF for labelling purposes. But why has it taken 30 years for that to happen. despite the EURESTA (European Resistant Starch) inter-laboratory collaborative studies and other work that showed years ago that RS behaves as DF. It's because people get wedded to ideas and can't let them go, even when confronted with overwhelming evidence to the contrary. That I'm afraid is the downside to science, and why I for one would never encourage any school leaver to make a career in specialist scientific research, at least in the UK with its media and even public antipathy to science and scientists (don't get me started).

Late addition: Tuesday 23:00

Have just spotted this quote from Professor Giulio Fanti that he made in the course of an interview with regular "Louis", or to give the latter his full name (supplied on that posting): Louis C. de Figueiredo

"Radiation has been proposed as the source of the body image because we know that the image also resides where body-cloth contact is not possible, for example in the zone between the nose and the cheek or between the hands and the belly, therefore I agree with it."

The question of contact v non-contact areas between cloth and 'body' is one that readers of my  blog will know has occupied me greatly in the course of the last few postings. It's crucial to my belief that the TS image is best described as an impactograph, or more simply, a pressure imprint, the imprinting medium and/or energy source being a matter for conjecture. So here we have one of shroudology's most celebrated authenticity-exponents attempting to dismiss contact imprinting in  a sentence or two, referring to just two specific sites on the TS frontal image.

Do these words stand up to close scrutiny?

I say no, and for the following reasons:

First point: quote: "body-cloth contact not possible in the zone between the nose and the cheek" ? Does that refer to a cloth that is loosely draped over the face such that there is ‘tenting’ from the bridge of the nose to the cheek bone, creating an air gap? 

 But who says that cloth is loosely draped?  Given the radiocarbon dating one has to at least acknowledge the possibility that the image WAS made by human hands.  Whatever the nature of the imprinting process, it would have lacked for detail if the material had carelessly been allowed to tent  (i.e. shortcut) between prominences. So a conscious effort would have been made to ensure there was moulding of fabric around important contours. 

Now there are two ways that could be achieved in the case of the frontal body, face included. One is to press the subject down into linen, with some kind of soft underlay, such that fabric conforms to relief better than would be the case if simply draped over the top. The second, leaving nothing to chance, is to place linen on top of subject and then use fingers to manually press and mould the fabric around all the important contours. 

Here's a series of progressive enlargements of the nose are, starting with the high resolution Face Only option in Shroud Scope, with additional contrast (-7,100,0 Brightness/Contrast/Midtone value  in MS Office Picture Manager):

 Here, for the sake of completeness, is the first in the series after light/dark inversion in ImageJ:

 I'd have added a 3D photo-edit  from ImageJ, but there was scarcely any useful or photogenic enhancement of the above picture. Indeed the end-result seemed to be artefactual distortion more than anything else.

What do these pictures tell us, if anything, about the extent of tenting between bridge of nose and cheek?

ed: I'll need some time to think about that - expect to see some extra words added here later today (message timed at 06:38 Wed 16 July) 

07:11  Back again.  Frankly  I fail to see why Fanti has drawn particular attention to the imaging of the nose and its immediate surrounds. I think the nose looks somewhat wider, dare one say impacted, than might a real nose in a real photograph, but that has to be conjecture, not having seen the subject in life,  or death for that matter. Looking at the series of enlargements, the only sound conclusion would be that the imaging of the nose results in a fairly homogenous distribution of pixels that incorporates little information content as to the 3D nature of the original subject, and indeed the 2D image responded poorly to ImageJ in its 3D mode. 

My overall conclusion: the nose tells one nothing about the likely mechanism of imaging - whether imprinted by direct contact or by that 'mysterious' unspecified radiation. If Professor Fanti thinks it does, then he should explain his thinking in greater detail, since it's not in my view self-evident despite having  accumulated hours, nay days or even weeks of poring over  and scrutinizing closely Shroud Scope images.

Second point: image “also resides between hands and belly”? 

Really? The predominant impression one gets from looking at positive images is surely the low image intensity in and around the crossed hands, suggesting in this instance that tenting did occur (or was tolerated), whether the linen was underneath or on top of the subject.

I've shown Shroud Scope images previously, with captions that draw the viewer's attention to pale zones in the lower abdominal area around the crossed hands.

So at to leave no doubt in the viewer's mind. I've just this minute entered the same graphic into MS Office Picture Manager, first setting the brightness/contrast/midtone value to my preferred standard values (-7,100,15), and then, keeping the first two numbers constant, steadily decreasing the midtone intensity, a device for delineating zones of exceptionally high image intensity.

Here's the sequence:





There seems little doubt that there is indeed a pale, poorly imaged zone around those crossed hands. The belly region contiguous to those crossed hands is not, repeat NOT well imaged as claimed by Giulio Fanti. The fact it is not well imaged is precisely what is expected of a contact model , with the minor qualifying assumption that unlike the nasal region earlier, no deliberate attempt was made on this occasion to image around the crossed hands, as might have been possible in the Linen-On-Top procedure.It's a large area, and any attempt at moulding on and around those crossed hands risked rucking the fabric, producing unsightly creases.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Could this be the Turin Shroud image that puts paid to imaging via mysterious radiation?

I hinted a short time ago on that I could see Shroud body image that was out of stereoregister with itself, i.e.misaligned. Here's the comment in question:

July 13, 2014 at 3:49 pm
The current blog topic put the spotlight on blood stains being out of stereoregister with body image. Today I discovered a place where ‘body’ image, in the widest sense of the term, is out of register with its own image, with implications for imaging mechanism. Where you might ask?
Clue: it’s the chin/neck region, produced by a re-routing of linen to follow facial contours as it was forced onto the underside of the chin before impacting on the neck and later the chest. It put surrounding image (hint hint) out of stereoregister. In short – no tenting of linen from chin to chest, as per Vignon diagram, but close conformity (under applied pressure) with body contours.

And here's the inevitable response.

July 13, 2014 at 5:03 pm
I am wondering if you can show with some imaging technique. I’m sure it would help to get a clearer picture..

OK, let's assemble this posting in small instalments (my preferred MO as it happens).

Look at this image closely in the chin/neck region (Durante 2002 from Shroud Scope with some added contrast):

Look carefully at the left hand side immediately under the 'baked-in' twin-track crease under the chin (the subject of a number of previous postings on this site). Then look what's immediately above it, separated by a gap.

Now look at this labelled version (yellow marker).

Do you see what I see?

Methinks the hair extends BELOW that chin crease, but is slightly out of stereoregister. Why?

Answer: because the chin crease marks where the linen was forced to make a right-angle turn under the chin, following the underside (scarcely imaged due to light force of contact only) then makin a second right angle turn on meeting the neck, giving rise to the darker band as it impacted the neck 'square-on'.

In other words, the deformation of the linen caused a break-up in the surrounding image. The hair on the left (your left) did not end at chin level. It extended lower, shown by the solid yellow line, but was shifted to the right, due to the re-routing and distortion of the cloth.

There may or may not be a similar effect on the opposite side.It's hard to be certain, due to the hair being less well imaged on that side. There's maybe a hint of longer hair that side, shown by my (faint) dashed yellow line.

Late edit: have just spotted that low-hanging bloodstain on the hair, right side as viewed, corresponding to the cut-off region on the left. It supports the notion that the hair on BOTH sides was longer than might seem to be the case at first sight, extending well BELOW that chin-crease.

Implications? Profound, actually, for the mechanism of imaging (radiation, with air gaps allowed  versus contact /conduction, no permitted air gap).

See my earlier post on the routing of linen along the underside of the chin, as distinct from 'tenting' as per the Vignon radiation model.

(late edit: am I misinterpreting what Bernard Power says re the diagram below? Is it HIS diagram, not Vignon's? Irrespective, it's a valuable one since it shows the paucity of sites at which there would be sizeable air gaps: one can usefully focus on the neck/chin, the groin and the feet  - not forgetting to address the top-of-head anomaly).

More tomorrow.

Monday July 14.  Tomorrow has arrived. In fact most of what I need to say re that crucial diagram above has already been said, here on this site. The imaging of feet (partial at best) was the subject of a recent posting, which took the model you see above as its starting point. "Where are the tips of the toes?" was the question asked and after a diligent search, some tell tale evidence, maybe not 100% convincing, was found. If the tips are/were there, then why not the rest of that particular foot, the one that is generally assumed to be missing through being crossed over onto the other? Answer: it's  missing because imprinting requires actual physical contact in a conduction-scorch model. The slightest air gap as in the diagram above does not permit imprinting, unlike the  attenuated-radiation model that permits air gaps 3 to 4cm wide.

In other words, the finding of imprinted tips of toes with scarcely any evidence if any of the accompanying foot is prima facie evidence for scorching, aka thermal imprinting, by contact conduction, NOT any kind of radiation.

Similarly, the 'folded hands over groin region' was also addressed recently (see July 3 addendum at halfway point) , pointing out the failure to see imprinting exactly where one woulod expect due to tenting of linen.  No, we are not talking about partial or token imaging across air gaps, as allowed in radiation models. We are talking about NO discernible imaging, except maybe with the eye of faith.

Whenever I look at a graphic, I try to imagine myself in the position of someone claiming to see things I don't, and having to defend that position against myself and other sceptics. I would not envy anyone who had the task of saying there WAS imaging, albeit weak, across the small air gaps that exist in that diagram above in the hand.groin location.

Top of head 'anomaly'?

Yes, there's an anomaly there, whether one subscribes to a radiation or contact/conduction model. In both instances one would expect it to be imaged, due to zero-distance separation between cloth and body.

It was the topic of discussion on back in January, and a couple of occasions since.

The radiation model says the reasons for the top of head not being imaged are the same as the reasons why the sides of the body are not either, namely that the (miraculous) source of radiation also had miraculous properties, namely of being emitted orthogonally from the subject parallel to the Earth's magnetic oops, gravitational field.  Being thus collimated, no converging lens is then needed to form an image, though some kind of attenuation is needed to achieve 3D-encoding (thus the additional hypothesizing re air attenuation making for complete loss of image at cloth-body separation distances greater than those (3-4cm) that would be expected if  Newton's Inverse Square Law were operating in air as well as a vacuum.

How is it explained in the contact/conduction model?  Well, let's be candid, and admit that the latter is generally seen as a "forgery scenario", and if the aim is to create a look-alike body shroud that had enveloped both sides of corpse, then one would not want the two sides joined at the head, as would be the case if the top of head had been imaged. At the same time, one wants the two images, frontal and dorsal, separated according to a Goldilock's principle - not too little, not too much, so as make it seem that an up-and-over shroud had been used. All that's needed to achieve the optimum-sized gap (optimum that is for artistic purposes) is either to imprint frontal and dorsal sides separately, being careful to get the gap right, OR to imprint in one operation, say frontal side down, bringing the linen around a PROTECTED top of head so as to ensure no imprinting of those crucial few centimetres.

Caveat: unless or until Heller and Adler's  'blood before image' dogma  is independently confirmed, preferably by recordable physical, non-destructive techniques, then there is still (at least in this observer's mind) a question of doubt as to whether the Man on the TS is actually Jesus, or meant to have been in a "forgery" scenario. Without the bloodstains, the  image is simply that of a naked man with no obvious signs of trauma or other lesions. It is not impossible that the base image was intended originally to represent someone else (a Knight Templar? Jacques de Molay? Geoffroi de Charney?) and that it was subsequently morphed by deft application of blood (or blood substitute) in all  biblically-correct places. Thus my aversion to incorporating "forgery" as a tag at the end of postings, albeit at the risk of getting fewer visitors via search engines. I need a term other than "forgery". But what?  False flag operation?

Instant experiment
Update: had to extricate myself earlier in the day from a hostile commentator with a bee in his/her bonnet about the imaging of hands on the TS. It was difficult to make out precisely what point was being made and I shan't even try to guess at what point was being made,
All I could say was that one could hold one's hand up to the light and see scarcely any air gaps if one kept fingers together.  While TS image does show separate fingers, i.e. with apparent spaces aka air gaps, that was not inconsistent with pressure imprinting, given that fingers are rounded and have a central bone.

The fastest way to make that point was to model thermal imprinting, but using an applied "paint" for imprinting.

Imprint of back of hand with fingers held together, with coated hand being pressed DOWN into the cotton sheet.

Reversed geometry: the  cotton sheet was placed ON TOP of the hand, then pressed firmly all over.

Comparison of the two methods

Results: coating one's hand with the chocolate nut spread, then pressing down in cotton, keeping fingers together, produced a result rather similar to the TS image. There were apparent gaps between the fingers, but they were an artefact of imprinting: the full width of each finger is not imprinted, thus making the fingers look 'bonier; than they really are (ring any bells?).

Reversing the geometry produced an image with unsightly lateral distortion, quite unlike the TS image, with smaller gaps between the fingers.

Tentative conclusion: if as I suspect the TS image is a thermal impactograph, then it's likely that the frontal side at least was imprinted by pressing DOWN into linen, with some kind of soft underlay.

No, I haven't missed a very important observation - my thumb was not imaged in the first method!  Why not? What's the relevance to the TS. More on that soon.

Update Tuesday July 15th

Have just placed this comment on in reply to New Zealander daveb:

July 15, 2014 at 1:36 am
One of the most obvious details of the TS image is its incompleteness. Not only is there no imaging of the sides of the body, but there is no imaging of the top of the head, nor the sides of the face.
That’s not all. When scientists in the past have modelled the effect of placing a shroud over a corpse (see this simple sketch diagram in the Power paper) they reveal a fairly limited number of places where one expects an appreciable air gap between cloth and body:

(a) under the chin, assuming correctly (or otherwise) that the cloth tents between chin and chest
(b) the area around the crossed hands
(c) the frontal feet, assuming tenting at the tips of the toes.

I have examined each of those three crucial points in my current posting, and in each instance find the facts fit the model albeit with some minor qualifying assumptions, supportive of a contact model, fitting with everyday experience, and obviating the need for mysterious radiation that can image across air gaps.
It’s proposed that the linen followed the contours of the chin, underside of chin, neck, chest to produce the peculiar alternation of light and dark we see in the neck region of the TS, where light and dark is not due to size of air gap, but to applied pressure (or directional vector thereof) between cloth and subject’s contours.
Yes, In the region of the crossed hands, we do see the effect of air gaps between hands and abdomen, producing an either/or imprinting. Put another way there is scarcely if any imaging of those areas of the abdomen that abut on those raised hands, due to a tenting effect.
The hands and fingers themselves are interesting, and despite yesterday’s sniping, I have anoxie to thank for prompting my quick experiment with the Nutella that explains why the TS man’s fingers look so bony. I regard those results as a major step forward in my own understanding of those peculiar fingers, though I can’t speak for anyone else here.
Reminder: no matter how close together one’s fingers are when contact-imprinted, they will look skinny and separated on the imprint, at least when pushed DOWN into fabric.
As for the feet, I believe I also scored a first in showing that the “missing foot” (missing we were told because it is crosses over becoming superimposed onto the other) is in fact not entirely missing, that the tips of the toes were (if one looks closely) imaged exactly as one expects from tenting in the body-cloth profile referred to earlier. It’s that tenting effect, not overlap, that explains why it’s only the tips that are imaged, the sizeable air gap explaining the absence of the rest of the “missing “ foot.
Talk about spheres etc in the context of the TS is somewhat of a needless distraction methinks (I speak as an experimentalist, not a mathematician).. In modelling studies the human form could be said to behave more like a bas relief in the impaction model, albeit with those crucial “awkward bits” listed. But it’s the focus on those very same awkward bits that allows one to test model against reality, and though I say it myself I consider the model emerges with added credibility and dare I say scientific respectability (Thibault Heimburger and other anti-scorch evangelists please note),
Meanwhile the radiation model looks increasingly improbable, lacking not just theoretical rigour but a complete absence of experimental confirmation.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Why don't we see a double-blood signature, one as real blood, one as 'body image', at least when out of stereoregister?

 There's a new posting on right now that renews the claim that the teeth are imaged on the Shroud of Turin (previously  the subject of  wacky notions about X-ray imaging).

(Incidentally, the second of those two links credits "August Accetta" with being a member of the 1978 STURP team. That is mistaken identity. It was Joseph Accetta of the Lockheed Corporation who was a STURP associate).

Personally,  like many others, some proponents of authenticity included, I don't see teeth, and have just this minute added a couple of high magnification, high resolution Shroud Scope images, contrast-enhanced, to the tail end of a recent posting re other questionable body features (beard, moustache, closed eyes etc)

Why should teeth, the outer layer of which is hard, dead, highly mineralised enamel (96% crystalline calcium phosphate) produce an image on linen? Why should anything image for that matter, at least in those other wacky radiation models?

To specifics:

 We see hair (dead keratin, a protein, even in life) imprinting its image as well as exposed skin (also dead keratin) and now we are told that tooth enamel does too.   So why not blood one may ask, which is not only predominantly protein, but also has  living cells (red blood cells, white blood cells) up to, and probably for a short time after death which must in any case leave fibrin blood clots, dead cell debris  etc still loaded with proteins.

Ah, but blood DOES image, I hear folk say, but directly as real bloodstains  Sure it does  if we  accept, for the sake of argument,  that they are real 2000 year old human bloodstains on the TS.. But there are other difficulties with identifying the TS blood as authentic. I refer to the splashes and trickles on or down the hair. Blood does not trickle from head wounds ("crown of thorns") down hair as if the latter were continuous unbroken surface like skin. It would tend to matt hair before reaching the surface of the strands.

But there's an explanation for that, we are told, and it's clever, like so many other "explanations" where TS oddities and inconsistencies are concerned.   The  reason for there being blood trickles down the hair is allegedly because the blood was imaged directly by a blotting paper effect prior to body imaging, so  ends up out of stereoregister with body image*. As I say, smart...

If that's the case, then why isn't there a double blood image, one set on the cheek,  as a subset of "body image" say, matching exactly the blood trails on the adjacent hair?

I repeat: if  dead protein like keratin, whether fibrous or not, and even mineralized tooth enamel can leave an image, then why not the distinctive cell debris and proteins of blood?  The  latter should remain in stereoregister with the fabric of the Shroud, right through the imaging process, regardless of where the "real blood" relocated due to relative shifting of corpse within Shroud or that highly suspect "orthogonal imaging" assumption that accompanies radiation models.

* See this  graphic and accompanying explanation (below)  on Stephen E.Jones's   theshroudofturin.blogspot site:

Jones's words (my bolding):
"The blood marks in the hair along the sides of the face (see above) are actually on the sides of the face and temples of the man's body[50]. That is those blood marks on the cloth are out of stereoregister with the Shroud's image of the physical face and temples upon which they were[51]. As we shall see in "10. How was the Image Formed?", this is explained by Dr. John Jackson's "Cloth Collapse Theory"[52].