That is not what one would expect to see if the blood-first dogma were true.

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?

55 thoughts on “That is not what one would expect to see if the blood-first dogma were true.”

  1. What is blood ? RBC ? Serum ?
    What I can see on few spots on the shroud are what seem to be halos of serum around blood stains with no image.

    Are there any zones where image seems to be continuous to blood stains ? Yes.

    Wait a minute… where does image come from ? blood/serum ? exudate ? skin ? sweat ? Is it really a mystery that both image and blood stains are clothely related ?

    Colin is struggling to distinguish image and blood because scorching and blood stains are two exclusive mechanisms.

  2. Microphotographs of all the wound/bloodstained areas are most needed than ever to reach (additional) conclusive pieces of evidence and stop CBaying at the moon. Reminder for CB: Archaeological blood is not fresh blood.

  3. This is a good question. I do think Colin is assuming too much about flaking and is maybe taking advantage of not having high definition images in order to jump to conclusions. Of course, none of us have the high definition images we need.

    1. I don’t think any high definition picture could distinguish definitely blood from image.
      In the meantime, does Colin see image under serum ?

  4. Going by the image above, the Shroud Scope image that Colin Berry is referring to is of a bloodstain in the Man’s hair alongside His right temple. But as Lavoie showed, and Adler agreed with, the bloodstains which appear to be in the Man’s hair alongside His face and temples were actually on the sides of His face and temples. That is, those bloodstains and image are out of stereoregister. So looking at an image under those bloodstains is looking at the wrong place.

    This is explained by John Jackson’s Cloth Collapse Theory, as being due to the Shroud around Jesus’ head flattening out as it fell into the source of radiation where Jesus’ resurrected body had been.

    Note that Lavoie arrived at his conclusion by experimenting with a cloth around a man’s head with imitation bloodstains copied from the Shroud and daubed on it. It was unexpected by him and he was not trying to make his facts fit Jackson’s theory. In fact he made his discovery in 1983, eight years before Jackson proposed his theory. Read Lavoie’s book, “Resurrected: Tangible Evidence That Jesus Rose from the Dead” (2000) or his “Unlocking the Secrets of the Shroud” (1998).

    Coincidentally, my latest but one post on my The Shroud of Turin blog, “The Shroud of Jesus?: 2.5. The bloodstains” covered this:

    “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]. …

    50. Lavoie, G.R., 2000, “Resurrected: Tangible Evidence That Jesus Rose from the Dead,” [1998], Thomas More: Allen TX, pp.114-115. [return]
    51. Adler, A.D., “The Shroud Fabric and the Body Image: Chemical and Physical Characteristics,” in Scannerini, S. & Savarino, P., eds, “The Turin Shroud: Past, Present and Future,” International scientific symposium, Turin, 2-5 March 2000,” Effatà: Cantalupa, 2000, pp.51,59. [return]
    52. Jackson, J.P., “An Unconventional Hypothesis to Explain all Image Characteristics Found on the Shroud Image,” in Berard, A., ed., 1991, “History, Science, Theology and the Shroud,” Symposium Proceedings, St. Louis Missouri, June 22-23, 1991, The Man in the Shroud Committee of Amarillo, Texas: Amarillo TX, pp.325-344.”

    Stephen E. Jones

      1. I agree, cloth collapse is pure pseudo-science, not that what Colin is doing with the “Cluny” isn’t just as much pseudo-science.

      2. If it is observed accurately that the bloodstains in the hair are actually aligned with the sides of the face or the temples of the shroud Man and not with the hair does that suggest that the blood transfer mechanism happened at a different time than the image forming mechanism? Before perhaps? I say this because the cloth had to be touching for the blood transfer on the head to have happened – how long might that take in a humid sepulcher? It would seem to follow that the image formation process had to kick in after the cloth came away from the head perhaps as the bindings came loose?

        Does it seem possible that they acted simultaneously? If they did wouldn’t the image on the face be more distorted and far less focused because the cloth would necessarily need to be against the sides of the head for a lot of the image forming time? The cloth would also have to be in motion, even if ever so slowly, to allow the blood stains to come away from the head and register in the hair image. I would think that would produce major distortion and lack of focus. Complete speculation of course.

        If they could not have happened at the same time I wonder how long each process took. And what kind of clue would this be in the image formation process?

  5. – For some reason, the blog didn’t recognize me the last time — but whatever, I need to ask my question again. Does anyone know whether or not Colin accepts that the “bloodstains” are, in fact, real blood?
    – Thanks.
    — Rich

    1. Er, why not ask him directly, Richard/Jabba? If you can post comments to the Randi forum (where I failed not just once but twice to register) surely it’s not beyond your ability to post to another WordPress site (mine!)?

      PS It depends what you mean by real blood… ;-)

      1. Colin,
        – I’m slow — and, haven’t been able to find your WordPress site (!#$%^&*!). Nor, did I realize how closely you follow this blog.
        – Anyway, by “real blood,”I meant “the red fluid that circulates through the heart, veins, and arteries of animals” ( Actually, in this case, I meant “the remains of red fluid that had circulated through the heart, veins, and arteries of an animal.”
        – Thanks. I look forward to corresponding with you. Hope you have the time…
        — Rich

  6. In pursuing me from pillar to post (for a year or more), P has been doing a very passable imitation of an internet troll. I shan’t be here to read any reply, having a plane to catch, but I do think it’s time she stopped trying to over-empathize with, or fight other people’s battles.The victims of my terrible verbal onslaughts are not shrinking violets,so should be perfectly capable of defending themselves. (Wouldn’t you agree Miss?)

  7. If the author of the Letter to Hebrews has been proven to have been written by Lucas and Paul using machne learning algorithms (*), most probably the same approach will be soon applied to images. By comparing the Shroud with the artworks of well known medieval artists, this could open new ways of research. I have previously commented on this and the power of state-of-the-art machine learning techniques and tests like Benford’s or Zipf’s on pixel values represent in my view a very exciting and promising line of research if………….high resolution images are freely released, of course

    (*)PLOS ONE is a peer-reviewed journal

  8. CB is just mistaking body-to-cloth aged decals of re-dried UNSTUCK remoistened dried blood clots and rivulets for mere flaked off aged bloodstains. The true fact is CB is neither a professional nor even a well-informed amateur archaeological bloodstain pattern analyst and just cannot become one overnight.

  9. El Dr.Lavoie tiene razón.

    Todas las medidas que se hagan sobre el rostro del Hombre de la Sábana y que pasen por la PUNTA DE LA NARIZ (top of the nose) demuestran que la Sábana estaba PLANA y la proyección es ortogonal, y sin contacto con la Sábana, por ello el Dr.Lavoie habla de Resurección ( las manchas de sangre demuestran el “contacto” cuerpo-sábana y la imagen ortogonal demuestra el “no contacto” cuerpo-sábana, 2 posiciones distintas en 2 momentos distintos.
    1.- Medir la distancia entre lo que crea ser el centro de los ojos en el Hombre de la Sábana, aunque tenga algún error no es importante.

    2.- Traslade con una cuerda esa distancia a su propio rostro, pasará por encima de la RAIZ DE LA NARIZ ( root of the nose), la medida ( aún con error) será bastante congruente con la de su propio rostro.

    3.- Traslade esa misma medida a su propio rostro poniendo poniendo la cuerda en el medio de la PUNTA DE SU NARIZ ( top of the nose) ¡LA INCONGRUENCIA ES ABSOLUTA! y los extremos de la cuerda sólo alcanzarán las aletas de su nariz (wings of the nose), mientras que el el Hombre de la Sábana (proyección ortogonal) esa distancia alcanzará el inicio de los PÓMULOS.

    Aunque sea muy elemental 2+2 son 4…… y sigue siendo ciencia.

    Carlos Otal

  10. Carlito/escipion me parece más exacto decir que “las manchas de sangre demuestran el “contacto” cuerpo-sábana y la imagen demuestra la “pérdida gradual de contacto” cuerpo-sábana, 2 posiciones distintas en 2 momentos distintos (el inicial y el final).

  11. Does anybody see what CB “sees” ? I don’t.

    In any case it is definitely impossible to know if the blood came first (or not) with this kind of so-called observations. For example, there are several locations where I see white areas (serum, Background ??) in the bloodstains (for instance the backside of the head).
    But what does it mean ? Nothing.

    Because the image is superficial and because the blood marks are not, the only way to know the truth is to remove the blood and look at the surface fibers.
    And you know the results.
    These tests were described by Heller and Adler not only in their 1981 report (” A chemical investigation of the Shroud of Turin”) but also in their study : ” The nature of the body images on the Shroud of Turin”(1999)” with surface fibers coming from different areas.
    The conclusion was always the same: ” The protease was only active against the serum coated fibers and as in previously study revealed smooth, non-corroded fiber surfaces indicating that the blood images went onto the cloth before the image forming process and protected the underlying cloth”.

    Where is science and where is pseudo-science ?

    1. Thank you Thibault! Someone finally speaking from reason. It’s funny how people can just simply disregard or question evidence from world class ‘EXPERTS’ such as Adler and Heller. This evidence SHOULD NOT be questioned or diregarded so easily, otherwise then, we should question so much ‘worldy’ evidence we have come to accept in all respects…

      This statement says it all; The protease was only active against the serum coated fibers and as in previously study revealed smooth, non-corroded fiber surfaces indicating that the blood images went onto the cloth before the image forming process and protected the underlying cloth”…this is science not pseudo-science as Colin is so found of practicing.


      1. But Ron, if blood stains edges match perfectly the image contour and if (as have found out Heller and Adler) there is no image under blood stains… image can’t be a scorch.

        Colin Berry has just highlighted another argument against scorching.

    2. Why am I reminded of people who see Noah’s Ark in a fuzzy aerial photos of Mt. Ararat in Eastern Turkey? It is almost certainly cognitive bias on CB’s part, an essential part of his elaborate conspiracy theory and pseudoscientific claim that the shroud is of a roasted Jacques DeMolay. I do, however, enjoy reading about it in his rambling, multi-day postings.

  12. Sadly, the “I think I see” syndrom has killed most of the credibility of Shroud science in the eyes of many real and honest scientists in the world…

    By the way, I don’t see ANY GOOD REASON to doubt Heller and Adler’s finding about the absence of an image under the blood AND the serum stains… And, as Ray Rogers said many times in his writings, this single fact strongly suggests a very MILD IMAGE FORMATION PROCESS. Much milder in fact than any hypothesis involving any kind of energetic radiation! And everyone should recognize that a mild process like that strongly suggests a natural and chemical process for image formation…

    1. agree Yannick
      I would still view the process you propose as a ‘miracle’, just as the hard to believe radiation theory would be a ‘miracle’.
      Because it would obviously be a very rare and perhaps historically unique record of the wrapping of a dead corpse, which just happened to be that of Christ
      Not a miracle in terms of contradiction of laws of nature necessarily, but miracle in a different sense ie. a unique realisation as a historic record of Christ through the laws of nature

      1. And why not seeing the Shroud as a WILL OF THE FATHER to leave us a portrait of his Son and of his Passion for us with the use of HIS laws of nature ? I think Matthias, we (unlike most shroudies) can both agree on that beautiful manner of seeing the Shroud !!!

      2. This has a name: it is called a providential event.
        For such an event to occurr on the TSM’s burial, the buriers had to abide by G.od’s Law in terms of Halakha and man’s law in terms of Judean specific custom and practices as they performed the core procedures namely speedy burial and purification (the latter = wrapping in shrouds, purifying and drying).

  13. Which came first, the blood or the image? Without contradicting Heller and Adler’s findings, there is another consideration. The image, it must be remembered, is confined to the topmost fibres of the topmost threads. A random collection of fibres from the image areas of the shroud might consist of 5 per cent with “image” on them. The blood (or at least the serum, as most of the red blood has worn off) covered all the surface, has seeped into the cloth and emerged the other side. A random collection of fibres from a bloodstain might consist of 90 per cent with “blood” on them.

    Over the years, it is clear from photos that the upper surfaces of the threads (where the image is) have been almost completely denuded of red blood, which is confined to little crystals and concretions mainly in the interstices between threads, and one might speculate that most of the serum from those locations has also been rubbed or crumbled away.

    It is thus deduced that, in most of the areas where there is “blood,” there never was any “image,” and in most of the areas where there is “image,” the blood, if it was ever there at all, has been eroded away.

    In short, whether the blood arrived before or after the image, I would expect hardly any sample tested with protease to reveal any image underneath it. I do not know how many fibres Heller and Adler tested with protease, but unless they had clearly “image free” results from well over 100 samples, their results do not demonstrate that the blood preceded the image.

    1. I do not understand the problem.
      Remember that almost all the bloodstains are found in image areas.

      The blood samples available for Heller and Adler came from:
      – 3EF: ” Wrist blood, image area. Front”.
      – 3 CB: ” Blood image, back, lance blood flow”
      -3 FB: ” Blood-waterstain margin, back”
      – 4 CB: ” Scourge blood image, middle,back”
      – 6 BF: ” Blood image, front, lance image”
      – 6AF: ” Blood-scorch image margin”

      I don’t know where the fibers came from.
      Obviously, all the fibers tested came from image+blood areas.

      Hugh, you wrote: ” In short, whether the blood arrived before or after the image, I would expect hardly any sample tested with protease to reveal any image underneath it.”

      To the contrary, because all the fibers tested are in image areas, I would expect an image fiber having the characteristics of an image fiber. Remember that the protease have absolutely no effect on image-only fibers. All the blood covered fibers, after digestion by the protease do show the characteristics of image-free fibers.

      For me the protease test is reliable.
      To the contrary, the test proposed by CB on his blog is meaningless because he does take into account the fact that the blood did seep into the cloth.
      Surface tests only can answer to the question: ” Which came first. the image or the blood”.

      I think we have the answer.

      Where is the problem ?


      1. The “blood areas” consist of many interwoven threads. Nearly all the fibres of all threads were soaked in serum.
        The “image areas” also consist of many interwoven threads.
        Very few of the fibres of these threads are marked with image.

        Imagine, for a moment, that there is image under the bloodstains. When a number of fibres from the bloodstains are removed with sticky tape, they are nearly all covered in serum, but very few are marked with image. I estimate 95% of the fibres testing positive for blood would show no image underneath, even if they came from an image area.

        Unless about 100 fibres were tested from each area, and not one of them showed image underneath, we cannot claim that the blood preceded the image on the shroud. How many fibres were tested? I don’t know.

      2. This figure (100) is speculation.

        What is the ratio of image fibers on a sticky tape from an image area ?
        How many fibers came on a sticky tape ?

        Anyway, since they compared image and blood+image areas, they had their control sample to state their is no image under blood. I don’t see your point either.

  14. Reminder for Hugh: body-to-cloth aged decals of re-dried UNSTUCK/STUCK remoistened dried blood clots and rivulets can ALSO flaked off and crumbled away…

    Most likely the bloodied body was wrapped up ‘as is’ i.e. all covered with its dry blood mixed with (Judean desert?) dust. Hence not only the flaking off (apparent ‘instances of hang-up in the interstices and crevices of the weave’) but ALSO the body-to-cloth gradual unsticking/sticking process along with the presence of ‘original dust(s)’ mixed with blood can ALTOGETHER account for the fuzzy imprint and slightly disturbed/nearly undisturbed haematic decals.

    Mere flaking off through time just cannot account for all ‘what is or is not now there’ in the bloodstains.

    1. Reminder: the haematic anatomic map is palaeopathologically and archaeologically accurate in terms of Judean burial of a crucifixion victim.

    2. There may be good circumstantial reasons for deciding that the blood preceded the image – I don’t dispute that for a moment, but they are outside my field. I merely point out that the absence of image on fibres which show a reaction with protease does nothing to substantiate them.

      1. No doubt it should be investigated further, I do agree with you. However don’t you lose sight of the (very) good palaeopathological and archaeological reasons that leads to deduce the blood can only precede the image.

  15. Aged human blood no matter how degraded through natural mordanting on the cloth is still… human blood.

    Now (and just in case CB would ignore it), mordant is known to be used for intensifying stains (e.g. in cell or tissue preparations). Natural mordanting could account for the aged bloodstains look still fresh today on the long inner burial cloth as if the blood had just been shed the day before.

  16. CB wrote: “If the [blood-first] dogma is to be maintained, then it must surely be founded upon more than one quickie, visual, subjective result.” I would agree with him if the only snag is, with the Lirey Medallion, we’ve already had a most telling example of how prone the same CB was to rely on ‘quickie, visual, subjective result’ and “think he sees” things that were not really there but he wanted hard to be there to give allegedly ‘historical’ ground to his scorching hypothesis.

    As far as the bloodstains issue is concerned, now all we see is how prone again he is “to think he sees” things that are not as they really are. The man keeps CBaying at the moon the blood images ‘are on’ the body images and not underneath just because he wants it so hard it could be so in order to push on his cheap novelistic scorching hypothesis and create a new dogma: the ‘blood-second dogma’ and impose/sell it to “Shroudies’ as the historical, archaeological and scientific sole true dogma and endword.

    Now what about his own way to found his ‘blood-second dogma’? How truly scientific, archaeological and historical is it? To ask yourself the question is already to know the answer.

  17. Dear Hugh,

    You wrote: “The “blood areas” consist of many interwoven threads. Nearly all the fibres of all threads were soaked in serum.
    The “image areas” also consist of many interwoven threads.
    Very few of the fibres of these threads are marked with image.”

    This last sentence is not true. Why do you think that “very few of these threads are marked with image, remembering that the samples tested came from the SURFACE.

    Look at the ME photographs of image-only areas. Almost all the SURFACE fibers in those areas are colored.
    Almost all the “blood samples” given to Heller and Adler came from areas where a large majority of colored image fibers is expected under the blood.

    Under the hypothesis that the image came first and then blood, let’s assume that only 50% of the surface fibers are colored by the image process and all the fibers are covered with blood or serum..
    If you use the protease to remove the blood on 20 fibers, you will find about 10 corroded yellow fibers.
    H and A never found a single fiber with image characteristics under the blood.

    In my opinion the H and A tests are reliable.


    1. Thanks, Thibault, at least you understand my idea, even if you disagree with it. And maybe your 50% of expected “corroded fibres under the bloodstains” is closer to the truth than my 5%. Anoxie was quite right in remarking that I was speculating. Do you know how many fibres were tested?

      In my first comment (34 above) I noted that on any blood stain, the blood on the surface fibres (where the image is) has almost completely eroded away, leaving encrustations and concretions mostly in the interstices of the threads (where there is no image). I cannot say if the serum has also rubbed away, but if it has, then any blood/image coincidence would become less common than your 50%, and more like my 5%.

      So, I take your suggestion that “of 20 threads, 10 should be corroded,” and return it with “of 20 threads, 5 should be corroded” (which is a big concession on my part). But do you know how many fibres were tested and examined? Was it 20? Or 5?

      1. No Hugh, I don’t know how many fibers (and not “threads”) had been tested. I simply notice that the protease tests were performed at least in 2 different occasions. No doubt that at least 10, 15 or 20 fibers were tested.

        It is true that the blood on the surface fibers has almost completely eroded away leaving most of the red encrustations in the interstices. But the threads and fibers left behind are not at all white or yellow, they are reddish (in fact a color made of red, grey and olive green). Certainly a mixture of serum, hemoglobin and (bilirubin ?).
        A sticky tape applied to the surface of this area would give us many red coated fibers, golden yellow fibers and many shards and red to orange micro-concretions as described by H and A.

        You wrote:” I cannot say if the serum has also rubbed away, but if it has, then any blood/image coincidence would become less common than your 50%, and more like my 5%”.
        But even if all the blood and the serum has rubbed away (which is not the case, see above), this has nothing to do with the “blood/image coincidence”.

        Finally, the only true problem is: how many “image fibers” do we find in a given image area and particularly near the blood samples? Your 5% are certainly underestimated.
        It depends on the location of the samples (half-tone effect).
        Looking carefully at the ME collection, I “think” that the number of image colored surface fibers range from 25% up to 90%. But this is not science.

        More work is needed.


  18. Thibault,

    A question regarding the bloodstains that soak through by capillary action, below the surface, do you know if a demarcation exists in color-from a more reddish hue (surface) to a browner color (beneath), more typical of older, deoxygenated blood? I might have overlooked this, but going through Heller & Adler’s articles (and others), I didn’t see mention of such observations. I thought I might have seen it somewhere, but maybe not. S. Pellicori recently told me that no spectral data was gathered on such threads (beneath-any recollection/ thoughts?

    1. Dear Kelly,

      No I can’t answer to your question.
      I have only an image of the “epsilon” bloodstain from the backside taken in 2002.
      It seems that the same reddish hue is found on the backside as on the front side.
      If you want it just ask Dan my private email address.


      1. Well I certainly agree more investigation would be a good thing. Kelly, there are a couple of frontside/backside pictures on the internet (at, which I have superimposed, and then slid an opacity filter up and down to compare the two. As far as I can see (I’m working off full length images), there is no difference in the colour of the blood stains; they are just smaller on the back.

  19. CB wrote: “no amount of wishful thinking or fantasizing by people, some who should know better, like those who claim to be scientists. is likely to return the “correct” answer on any prospective re-testing”.

    ‘Wishful thinking’ , ‘fantasizing’, ‘should know better’, who claim(s) to be (a) scientist(…)’… is Colin Berry referring to himself?

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