imageBack on August 1, last year, Colin Berry wrote the following in his blog:

As I’ve said before, the view, nay dogma,  that the bloodstains were imprinted before the body image arrived rests on  somewhat token and insubstantial evidence based on a single spot test with proteolytic enzyme on a microscope slide. I have to say that I am not in the least bit surprised that a STURP finding that provides a pro-authenticity answer should be instantly and uncritically accepted without anyone ever suggesting that independent confirmation is desirable by other workers using other methods. For my part I have used Shroud Scope to look closely at areas where there are both blood and body images. Not only do I see superimposition, but am fairly confident that where there is superimposition in patches where blood image has flaked away

A couple of days later a reader wrote to me saying:

A couple of days ago Dr. Collin Berry made a rather significant comment and you ignored it completely. Instead you mocked his ideas about the blood stains being touched up over the years by well meaning monks. This does not make for dialog that arrives at the truth, which you say you want.

imageThe criticism is justified. However, some of what Colin has to say gets lost in his extreme polemics and over-the-top speculations. Anyways, that’s my excuse.

At the time, or so I thought, we addressed the issue in a posting, Did the bloodstains really precede image formation on the Shroud of Turin?, with all of its comments and the reference to Adler’s paper. Kelly Kearse challenged the accuracy of Colin’s characterization of Adler’s analysis as being “somewhat token and insubstantial evidence based on a single spot test.”

You may recall, at the time, that I used the cartoon of the baying dog. The cartoon was right given that I had ignored Colin on this. Colin is still right in persisting because he is really looking and questioning. He writes today of the following contrast-enhanced picture from Shroud Scope:

imageIt’s a blood stain on the hair, with a nice contrast between blood (plum colour) and hair (greyish-brown). What seems clear is that blood has flaked off in places, shown by instances of hang-up in the interstices and crevices of the weave. Now look closely in those areas that are largely denuded of their blood, and one will see continuity of hair image across those regions. That is not what one would expect to see if the blood- first dogma were true. If an acquired blood stain on otherwise pristine linen subsequently acts as a barrier, preventing image being imprinted onto the linen carbohydrates, then when that blood flakes off, maybe centuries later, one should NOT see hair or other body image. But one does!

This does warrant our attention. (I would love to see the unenhanced side-by-side with the enhanced version of the image and information about exactly how the enhancement was done.)’

Is dogma the right word? Have we settled too much on merely citing papers rather than finding ways to seriously question ourselves over and over? Wait a minute! Has blood flaked off or are we jumping to conclusions? If Colin is right in that assumption then I must wonder if I am seeing what I think he is seeing?