Nicely Done: You must download this

imageIn response to a question by Ron, David Rolfe commented:

It was also quite a shock to see how much more subtle the image is to the eye in natural light. The nature of any image reproduction process tends to accentuate the inherent contrast of the image. When copies of the Shroud are reproduced there is an even greater tendency to accentuate contrast to enable the viewer to perceive the image easily. All ordinary computer screens vary in their contrast so I cannot predict what may actually be seen on any individual screen but I have tried to recreate an image that can be downloaded here: that more faithfully shows the actual colours. The background cloth is almost ivory and the image, even for someone as used to seeing its photographs as I am, is barely perceptible and – close up – is almost impossible to decipher.

However, as we well know, once “unlocked” by photography, so much more depth and contour becomes readily seen.

If you have an LCD monitor, try to look at it perpendicularly and try to size the face as close to real-life as possible.

22 thoughts on “Nicely Done: You must download this”

  1. Excellent. I wish this had been available to me when I started experimenting with scorches and UV radiation. I just could not understand why Miller and Pellicori claimed that scorches fluoresced, when every experiment I carried out showed that they didn’t. It was only when Thibault Heimbuger sent me one of Mechtilde Flury-Lemburg’s photos that I realised that I had invariably (and unwittingly) made my scorches too dark, following the contrast in Mario Latendresse’s shroud scope picture, and others. At the level of discolouration shown in Flury-Lemburg’s photo (same as David’s), I found that scorches did indeed fluoresce, and thus confirmed Miller and Pellicori’s conclusion that since the image on the shroud does not fluoresce, it cannot be a scorch.

    1. Could you not get any fluorescence from heavier scorches? If so, then perhaps the Shroud image could be a scorch and may have lightened over time?

  2. Just to confirm Hugh….you now consider the Shroud image is NOT a scorch????? (in earlier discussions with Colin B you seemed to be showing some sympathy with the scorch theory)

  3. Yup. As I say, as long as I could demonstrate that Miller and Pellicori were wrong, there was no reason to reject the scorch hypothesis, but when Thibault showed me what the shroud really looked like, I had to agree that, in the circumstances, they were right after all.

    1. wow.
      I really respect your views on matters scientific (me being an arts / humanities graduate) so to me that is significant, as I saw the scorch theory as being the only potentially credible ‘forgery’ explanation.
      To me, if its not a scorch then that significantly increases the likelihood of authenticity.
      What’s your current view of most likely candidate given you have discarded the scorch theory?

  4. Well I’m not really carrying a trumpet for any particular candidate at the moment. The problem of the superficiality of the image is probably what is bothering me most at the moment, and I’m wondering about the “backing cloth” hypothesis, in which the shroud we know is the result of transfer from something else. I’m not sure the idea doesn’t raise more problems than it solves, however, and heaven defend us from blunting Yannick’s favourite razor…

    1. Thank you Hugh

      The TS image can not be a scorch not only because of the faintness of the image or the lack of fluorescence but also because even a faint scorch does not match the color distribution at macro and microscopic level.

      Your observation underlines the danger to use pictures like the “Shroud scope” which are useful only to emphasize some details.

      What kind of “transfer” are you thinking about ?

      1. The problem of superficiality is a real challenge. I’m not persuaded that selective degradation of the upper fibrils of a layer of cloth can be achieved by any liquid or gaseous contact. Nor am I persuaded that the image has formed on an ‘evaporation layer.’ It does appear that radiation of one kind or another can achieve the effect, but light, heat and lasers do not appeal to me at the moment. That leaves direct contact with something more or less solid, perhaps some sort of gel. If, just as an instance, a painting on cloth (even after drying) is laid on a backing cloth, there may a possibility that while the pigment remains stable, the medium might nevertheless interact with the backing, by a Maillard reaction or something else.
        As you can see, this is not well thought out yet, and I haven’t come up with a satisfactory protocol for testing it; it’s just what’s mulling around in my mind at the moment!

  5. This is for David Rolfe.

    That’s quite amazing. I would love your permission to post this on so our visitors can see a truer to life image of the positive and negative images of the Shroud. I will add whatever copyright information you like. I don’t think we have any or maybe very few photos on our site without some copyright information.

    Thanks for your consideration,

      1. No, I’m not. However, the reason is not, perhaps, what you might think. When we describe something as unexplainable, we can mean one of two things. One is inexplicability due to a simple lack of evidence. I hear a noise in the night; in the morning I can’t discover any reason for it. There is no evidence. It is inexplicable. Here is the Pray manuscript. It has a diagonal line of crosses in a pattern made mostly of rectilinear ones. It may never be possible to account for this. It may be inexplicable. This kind of inexplicability is a source of frustration but it stimulates exploration, investigation, further study and consideration. I like it.
        The other kind is intrinsic inexplicability. This event is wholly beyond any human understanding, even if you had stood there with cameras, microscopes and the full panoply of forensic apparatus. Luckily, it is impossible to prove that any event is of this kind, but if it ever were, how dull! What would there be to do? Marvel? But for how long? I would get fed up with it very quickly and go and find something else to play with. That’s why no Scientist, whether convinced of the authenticity of the Shroud or not, can entertain the idea that it is truly unexplainable.

  6. Thibault write: “The TS image can not be a scorch not only because of the faintness of the image or the lack of fluorescence but also because even a faint scorch does not match the color distribution at macro and microscopic level.”

    My comment: Even if I don’t disagree with this opinion, I think you just need to consider the reality of the bloodstains on the cloth to realize, once and for all, that the Shroud IS NOT an artistic forgery of any kind (whether it could be a scorch or a painting or whatever else). It’s sad that we still see people believing these kind of artistic hypothèses nowdays, especially when you consider the fact that it has been already rejected totally by STURP at the beginning of the 1980s!!!

    The image on the Shroud cannot come from anything else than a natural or a supernatural interraction between the cloth and a real dead and crucified body, period. People who have not read my paper about the evidence of the bloodstains can read it here:

  7. Hugh
    The Pray manuscript image is certainly fascinating.
    Something I have never been convinced by is the explanantion that the rectilinear pattern represents the herringbone weave. I would have thought the herringbone weave pattern is only observale under microscope, not by the naked eye, in which case a 12th century monk wouldn’t have seen and depicted the pattern.
    Any thoughts?

  8. Hugh
    I am not sure what your religious beliefs are – atheist, agnostic, Christian etc.
    As a Christian, I believe in the resurrection. Not the physical resuscitation of Christ’s body, but a materialisation as a spiritual body as described by Paul.
    In my view, science will never explain this, unless one favours some kind of naturalistic explanation (eg. hallucinations etc)
    Although I search for an explanation of the Shroud image’s formation, I also acknowledge that if it was a product of Christ’s resurrection then our chances of explaining it in scientific terms is probably zilch.
    Despite much brain power over the years, no single theory convincingly explains the image. Of course there might still be a valid scientific explanation! But I think the fact that there isn’t, despite all the analysis over the years, is suggestive of a reasonable likelihood of a miraculous creation.
    My own view is that Christ’s body dematerialised, and the image is somehow a byproduct of that. He then rematerialised in a spiritual form that somehow had quasi physical characteristics eg. three dimensionality etc – that took his appearance beyond a “ghost” and that is the resurrection.

  9. Well, for what it’s worth, I’m a Catholic-born, card-carrying, practising Roman Catholic and Head of Science at a Catholic school whose school badge is the triple tiara and crossed keys of the pontificate. I couldn’t be any more institutionally Christian without becoming a monk! (I could no doubt be a much nicer person, but that’s another facet altogether).
    However, one of the Catholic version of Christianity’s core beliefs in is the rationality of the Universe, and the conviction that Faith and Reason cannot conflict. This was first expressed explicitly by St Augustine of Hippo, reiterated by Thomas Aquinas confirmed most recently by John-Paul II and Benedict XV, and is the rationale behind the Pontifical Academy of Science. (Is there another religion in the world with a scientific institution so close to its heart?)

    The nature of the resurrection may, perhaps, be inexplicable. To deny that anything happened at all, which is the usual atheist line, is absurd, but all attempts to pin down exactly what it was have proved fruitless, and theology has moved on. The science of the physical resurrection, in other words, has stopped. Inexplicable – leave it and move on.
    That’s exactly why, as I explained above, I won’t be treating the shroud as inexplicable.

    Several of the commenters on this blog (including yourself, it seems) would like to have it both ways, and try to intertwine the rational and the irrational, the scientific and the mystic. They would like Jesus to have exploded in a burst of radiation, or dematerialised in an instant vacuum, or even simply ceased decomposing, woke up and yawned; and they would like this to have happened ‘miraculously,’ but without disturbing the laws of physics. This may be permissible within the bounds of individual conscience, but it is not Catholic orthodoxy or teaching.

    By now, I can feel some of you stuttering with rage and thinking that I have demoted the shroud to the relevance of one of Napoleon’s handkerchiefs. Nothing could be further than the truth. Although St Augustine said that Faith and Reason could never conflict, he famously said that Faith ‘precedes’ Reason. He didn’t altogether mean that if there was uncertainty about a question then Faith should be given the benefit of the doubt, but more that unless you believe something is worth the bother, there would be no point in trying to find out more about it in the first place.

    The shroud will continue to be important even if it is no more miraculous than any of the great masters’ paintings and sculptures of the life of Christ. It can be an object of personal contemplation, a means of education, a focus of unity among those drawn to its image. It inspires awe, immanence and compassion. Whether it is eventually completely explained rationally, or abandoned as an object of scientific study altogether, it will continue to influence people in one way or another for as long as it lasts.

  10. Well, I storngly disagree. If you are a practising Catholic who believes in the resurrection, which you admit may be an inexplicable phenomenon, then why is it a jump to consider that the shroud is a by product of the inexplicable resurrection, and an explanation of its image formation is also inexplicable because it was caused by an inexplicable event? It is not a logical inconsitency at all!

  11. “an inexplicable explanation”
    Maybe my interpretation of ‘logical inconsistency’ is different from yours.

    Be that as it may, it misses the point somewhat. If I were to accept that there is an inexplicable explanation to the physics of resurrection, how would I begin to investigate it? You go for ‘dematerialisation.’ Shall we follow John Jackson’s idea, that the shroud collapsed “into and through the underlying body structure?” Or Isobel Piczek – that the shroud is a quantum hologram derived from an event horizon? Or di Lazzaro – that the resurrection involved UV laser radiation? The first two are incapable of exploration, as the vocabulary used is scientifically meaningless, and although UV laser radiation certainly does exist, if we accept that it occurred miraculously, then there’s nothing more to explore anyway. Remember that my point is not that the shroud cannot be inexplicable, but that if it is, there is nothing for a scientist to do about it.

  12. some things in life are inexplicable, and always wil be in my view.
    I’m happy to leave some mystery in life.
    There is a degree of human arrogance in our belief that we can explain everything ,predict everything etc.
    Despite the advances in science, we are still SO ignorant of so many things, and keep getting so many things wrong.
    Look, if a convincing comprehensive scientific explanation came out tomorrow for the image, I’d be happy to change my view. It’s just I think that’s unlikely

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