Colin Berry has some preliminary results

imageClick in to his site to see First test of the quicklime hypothesis (Turin Shroud image) – in pictures.  Don’t knock him for having produced only scorch marks and not an image yet. Who really has, so far?  Nicholas Allen, Joe Nickell,  Craig-Bresee, Luigi Garlaschelli?  Actually, Colin has with hot metal. Let’s see where he goes with this.

Experimentation is always a step forward no matter the results.

In this case only a qualified chemist who knows what he is doing should be experimenting this way.

24 thoughts on “Colin Berry has some preliminary results”

  1. Thanks for the flagging up of my current mini-project Dan. I’ve just this minute added the following as a cautionary tale (please be assured it was not pre-planned).

    Update: Sunday 29 June

    It’s said that one picture is worth a thousand words. On that basis, the blog posting so far should be worth 8 thousand words. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. To convey the truth where quicklime and its possible relevance (or lack thereof) to the Shroud of Turin is concerned, I would need a lot of words, maybe not 8000, but a lot. Why? Because I have (deliberately) committed the cardinal sin in science reporting by being highly selective so far in what I have chosen to report. Thus far, anyone looking at the pictures might think to themselves “Wow, that’s a lot of heat coming from that reaction between quicklime and water- so much so that plastic pots are melting, linen is being scorched. OK, so there’s no image as yet, the starter experiment not being set up to produce an image, but the system clearly has great potential.”

    No it doesn’t. It’s actually of exceedingly limited potential. That I know already, not just from the highly localised nature of the scorching (reported) but from events (notably up-and-down thermometer readings) that preceded the spectacular meltdown of the plastic container.

    Nope, I haven’t been dishonest, just selective in the nature of my reporting, and later in the day I shall start to fill in the gaps, using up my quota of 8000 words to describe the profound limitations of the quicklime model, and why already I suspect it to be non-starter. It’s to do primarily with the two physical states of water in this system (liquid or gaseous, hint hint).

    I see my little punt has been flagged up on No comments as yet, which is perhaps just as well. I’ll now do the decent thing and copy and paste what I’ve just added here.

    Moral: beware selective attention to particular details, indeed selective reporting in general. Trouble is, you don’t know when it’s being done (but with long exposure to gee-whizz press announcements etc one can develop a nose for it. Indeed, it was that “nose” that ‘attracted’ this science bod into shroudology some 30 months ago. The amount of selective reporting that goes on in shroudology is nobody’s business (except mine – see blog credo above).

  2. Maybe you should try to see what happens with a mixture of aromas and calcium oxide over
    a linen sheet that covers a feeble IR source (or a dead body).
    In other words you can observe what happens with (hot) vapours on linen treated (with CaO and aromas).
    See also : the question about the presumed fumigation (“Judean Burial Rite”, by Max P Hamon)…
    I have some doubt about these attempts. In any case I am curious about the possibilty to obtain something…
    What is your idea ?

    1. I tried responding to most of your earlier points yesterday, Piero, and the earlier ones of daveB’s as well. See tail end of posting (my replies appear in blue font).

      Theoretically speaking, quicklime had a lot going for it…

      OK may be rude about experimentalists, and I’d be the first to admit that the scientific method allows one to address only a severely limited range of propositions – those that are testable. But I for one never cease to be amazed at the revisions in one’s thinking that can become necessary in the light of cold hard experimental data. It makes one highly suspicious of all those ‘incontestable’ points that others marshall in support of their case,

      Whenever I’m faced with an ‘incontestable’ argument, I think of those paradoxes, like Zeno’s with the “proof” that Achilles can never catch up with, far less overtake, a tortoise that has been given a head start. I see that the wiki entry concurs with my view that the description of the paradox in terms of differential calculus and limits still leaves unanswered a metaphysical question re the limitations of the human mind.

      1. I do not want to waste other time and words about possible experiments (which I never saw) …

        In fact, I came in at an alternative that I do not think it is really credible … the application of quicklime instigated an initial acceleration of decay! (see the abstract of the study by Eline Schotsmans : “Short-term effects of hydrated lime and quicklime on the decay of human remains using pig cadavers as human body analogues: laboratory experiments” [Forensic Science International, 2014])

        I was just trying to indicate the alternative: a particular mixture of calcium oxide powder and aromas (B.T.W.: Where are the inherent [useful] archaeological findings for this question ?). But .. what is the real result obtainable from a mixture of calcium oxide and aromas? This is a point that should be discussed. The rest (IMO) is waste of time…

        The main issue to solve is the age and the second question that requires an answer is the formation of the image on the cloth.
        The only way that I think makes sense is the analysis of the textile material with appropriate tests (see also: Age
        [= cellulosic DP, three point bending tersts] and BIF[= controls about thin layers present on linen fibrils]). But, after centuries, the material may have undergone alterations that distort the reality of the original process.
        Being able to prepare some preliminary test (and appropriate artificial aging) is an important step.

        I have read that :
        >One litre of water combines with approximately 3.1 kilograms (6.8 lb) of quicklime to give calcium hydroxide plus 3.54 MJ of energy.

        Self-heating cans have dual chambers, one surrounding the other…
        Link :

        instead our “mixture of calcium oxide and aromas” … how it behaves on wet linen?

        I see very few knowledges in the field of Applied Thermochemistry…

        How could perform the operation of the “fumigation” (=Judean Burial Ritual, see : M.P. Hamon) with the use of the CaO/aromas mixture?
        In any case the anointing was not done as they found the tomb empty of Yeshua’s body (see also : the bloodstains and the blurring/smearing effect with the oils!).

        1. OK, Piero. So you are not interested in my responses to your original questions. That is your position, bluntly expressed, and I have no strong feelings about it one way or the other.

          However, I shall be deleting my responses to your previous questions from my blog posting forthwith.

          No meeting of minds…

          Kindly don’t ply me with your questions in future.

  3. I have read the words.
    Your irritability (for a little bit of words…) is evident, I think your answer is quite angry.
    Why that irritability about the inaccurate words ?
    IMO is an overreaction …

    You wrote:
    >One tries not to “really believe anything” when approaching a problem scientifically. One sets hypotheses, aka working models, one tests them experimentally or through literature searches. So no, I don’t really believe it could be J. de M. But Iit (My note : this was a typographic error [… and why ????]) might be him. (My note : strange idea).
    >We know from Barbara Frale’s rooting around the Vatican Secret Archives that the Templars had some kind of initiation rite that involved paying homage to the image of a man on LINEN. … etc. etc.
    We know the Templecombe panel …
    Templecombe: It is almost too exciting to think about. (September 28, 2012)

    What a waste of time!
    See also : no comments about the study by Eline Schotsmans!

  4. Colin, are you a chemist or biochemist?

    The reason I ask is your photo, detailing the melting of the polyethylene container, sends out a red flag.

    As a rule, polyethylene containers are used (when an ice bath is required) for the purpose of cooling down an exothermic reaction (in an Erlenmeyer flask) as an example. The flask, containing the heated reaction mixture is placed into either ice or dry ice that is held in the polythene dish (container).

    Pyrex is always used for reactions that give off heat (exothermic), especially when there is a chance of a runaway reaction. This appears to be the case in your photo, evidenced by the melted container.

    Yet, I’m not certain if you realize, polyethylene (polythene) also contains phthalates (plasticizers) that ameliorate the physical properties.

    When your polythene container melted, you actually inhaled a significant amount of the plasticizer and this is, in reality, is dangerous to your health.

    See the following link.

    What Is Polyethylene?

    Quote. “Polyethylene is a type of polymer that is thermoplastic, meaning that it can be melted to a liquid and remolded as it returns to a solid state.

    For future experiments, where heat is given off (exothermic), I would suggest purchasing a *Pyrex* container, especially if you are unaware there may be a chance of a runaway reaction.

    *Pyrex* is cheap enough on Amazon and is also sold at Walmart.

    You, more than likely, know this, and as is the case with chemists, may have just become careless.

    In all sincerity, I am concerned about your health, especially if you continue with future experiments. There is always a possibility of an out of control or runaway exothermic reaction occurring; therefore, go with *Pyrex.*

    Take care of yourself!


  5. Thanks for your concern, Angel.

    I’m in fact a biochemist by training, as it happens, but as a teenager in the late 50s/early 60s with a home laboratory, I should, theoretically speaking, be dead by now, given the chemicals that my friendly local pharmacist supplied to order, no questions asked (couldn’t happen now). Would you like me to list them (elemental bromine, sodium metal, nitrates, chlorates, concentrated acids etc etc).

    I chose a plastic container for the first experiment, not realizing how much heat is generated from the slaking of quicklime with water. There was an additional reason – I wanted to have the reaction contained in a plastic container, sealed so as to trap any heat with a PLASTIC lid that would allow me to melt holes through which to drip water, and a separate one for the thermometer. It was the base of the container that melted!

    Since last commenting here, and saying I had no success with the quicklime (at least where modelling the TS image is concerned) I’ve realized there is an obvious experiment that needs doing, admittedly a bit of a blunt instrument. It’s one where I make a layer of quicklime powder, then sprinkle the ‘right’ amount of water on top to create a hot bed, substituting for a Bunsen burner, then quickly place linen on top, then try to create an ‘impactograph’ by pressing in an appropriate template (maybe metal, maybe ceramic, maybe something organic to model a corpse).

    We shall see. Maybe I’ll see an image, maybe not.

    There’s still everything to play for with the quicklime (thermochemical) model. The science seems OK. It’s now a matter of getting the technology right.

  6. Dear Colin,

    Wow! “Elemental bromine, sodium metal, nitrates, chlorates, concentrated acids etc.”

    You were lucky, Colin.

    When I had my own home lab, before I enrolled in chemistry, I added Logwood and acetic acid (vinegar) and one other compound to a test tube and heated it. The reaction mixture turned to a beautiful burgundy color and the entire test tube filled with golden threads. I actually thought I had synthesized gold. Yet, it was just some side product that had crystallized out as long golden needles. My chemistry professor, when I told him about my experiment and how I had synthesized gold, had a good laugh.

    Yet, after seeing so many accidents in the chemistry labs, as a result of someone heating
    a closed system, or instead of adding water to acid (dropwise and slowly), the person added acid to the water too quickly.

    I had a German professor that punched one of the male students in the back, when the student, in error, added 10 mL of concentrated hydrochloric acid to 100 mL of water as a bolus (all at once). The contents, from the heat of the reaction, splashed all over the lab table.

    Another time while working in the pharmaceutical industry, where many of the Phd chemists work in the labs until the wee hours of the morning alone, there was a death.

    One Phd working at night, with no one around, dropped an entire bottle of Methyl Iodide on the floor and proceeded to clean it up with either a sponge or paper towel. When the scientists came to work the next morning, they found him on the floor dead. Methyl Iodide alkylates all the amino groups on the DNA chain.

    Although my views are antithetical to yours, referencing the Shroud (I believe it is authentic), I wouldn’t want you to have an accident that could have been prevented.

    Just be careful. :)


    1. If you don’t mind my saying, Angel, I think you meant to say conc.sulphuric acid (conc.HCl is far less hazardous to dilute). I and some others once got splattered with hot sulphuric acid when a young inexperienced technician tried adding water to acid instead of vice versa – just feet from where we were working. Then there are those who park their gamma radiation sources in one’s refrigerator without proper lead protection – to be discovered weeks later when the guy comes round with the Geiger counter. Happy days.

      I would not have dared place an order for sodium or bromine with my local pharmacist, feeling that would have invited ridicule. However, after months of buying tamer chemicals, I went in one day to be told that he was having a clear out, and would I be interested in having a few extra chemicals for free. Oh, I forgot the mention the white phosphorus. That was one memorable day.

      Rest assured I shall be careful. Thank you for your concern.

      1. ***Angel says: No, it was hydrochloric acid. and this was an undergrad lab.

        The error was not the result of a dilution, but the order of addion, water to acid, not acid to water.

        The undergrad added in the reverse order.

        The same thing would happen if you added sulfuric acid to water instead of adding water (slowly, a drop or two at a time) to sulfuric acid.

        It is the order of addition that many people are not aware of.

        Fischer Scientific used to sell products to people that weren’t chemists. If they’re still in business, there are many chemicals and supplies you can purchase from them.


  7. Colin, I reversed my order of addition, in error. Acid must be added to water (slowly), not water to acid. The undergrad added 10mL of water to 100 mL of hydrochloric acid and it heated up and splashed.

  8. Therefore, if you add water to concentrated sulfuric acid instead of sulfuric acid, slowly and dropwise to the water, the same thing would happen, as with the case of hydrochloric acid, except the reaction would be even more exothermic./

    So, the correct order of addition is to slowly add one drop at a time of the acid (hydrochloric, nitric or sulfuric ) to the water.

    1. Thanks Angel. I’ve bookmarked your link.

      Re safe dilution of conc acids: if you follow the correct procedure with H2SO4 (98%), which is much denser than water, you add it in a thin stream with constant stirring (since it would otherwise tend to collect on the bottom). As the temperature rises you get a rumbling sound, which is water in the immediate vicinity of the acid reaching boiling point and then cavitating.

      Those foolish enough to add water to conc H2SO4 are in for a very dangerous surprise. The water, being less dense sits briefly on top, but then the heat of dilution at the interface causes instant boiling of the water, which then hurtles out of the container bring most of the contents with it.

      I would follow the same routine when diluting conc HCl, conc HNO3 etc but the heat of dilution and smaller density difference makes the splatter scenario much less likely. Conc H2SO4 has an exceptionally high affinity for water. That’s why it chars sugar etc – not finding free water, it proceeds to strip out the H and O atoms of sucrose in a 2:1 ratio (“removing the elements of water” as the old textbooks used to say).

  9. Colin, other than dilutions, I remember performing acid – base titrations (neutralization reactions) to determine the end point using, as an example, a certain normality of base titrated against the same normality of an acid. Included was a pH indicator, that turned a certain color at the endpoint. However, this was my first job as an analytical chemist, after graduating, and it was decades ago.

    Today, removing the elements of water is referred to as either a condensation or a dehydration. I worked with sugars and remember they had to be protected as an acetonide and then when several synthetic steps were completed in the synthesis, the sugars had to be deprotected.

    Actually, I’ve been out of the field for decades now, and don’t keep up with scientific journal articles much anymore, unless there is something I am interested in,

    I wish you luck with your research. And even though I know in my heart of hearts if you do succeed in obtaining the scorched image on linen, it will not pass the tests, such as 3D imaging, that the shroud underwent. Just sayin’ :)


    1. Thanks Angel. I’ve just this minute tacked a new section on my posting that took its cue from your comment re apparent feminization. I think the explanation is more mundane, and down to levels of contrast, especially in the Enrie image (excessive!).

      3D imaging the real test? Not if the model studies with simple heat scorches off hot metal are anything to go by. Maybe thermochemical other scorches respond less well. We shall have to wait and see.

      1. You’re welcome, Colin.

        You must admit there have been hundreds of paintings of Jesus during medieval times; however, there are less than a handful depicting the feminization.

        Most medieval painters would not have seen the shroud image, as evidenced by their paintings portraying nails through the hands, rather than the wrists.

        With that in mind, the few painters who actually had exposure to the shroud, all depicted the feminization. Enrie was the photographer; therefore, what was captured on film was a reality and not the result of some artist’s imagination.

        If proven, through genetic studies, that the sex-linked gene is determined to be XXY, then the image is more likely to be that of a Jewish male, since Kleinfelter Syndrome is prevalent in Jewish men.

        This increases the probability the shroud was enfolded about Jesus, as opposed to de Molay.

        At any rate, only time will tell, but truth will always prevail.


  10. Good morning, Angel

    Allow me to add some comments:

    The “feminization” you write about could be true, the Sepharadim/Mizrahim are more pure Jews, particularly those who can trace their origin to Yemen (formerly Aden).

    As for de Molay and the Templars, see the following:
    Hopefully there should be enough time to begin working more on this topic next week, a lot depending on some genealogy, image processing and doubts that have to be cleared about just how much the knights really knew and from where they may have obtained their information.

    All the best.

    1. Thanks, Louis.

      I have been saturated with the de Molay theory from atheists on other sites and have determined it to be erroneous, at best.

      My belief is the “Shroud of Turin” did not cover de Molay, for one reason solely.

      The Sudarium of Oviedo predates de Molay and testing has determined both cloths (Sudarium and Turin Shroud) covered the same man. Blood experiments determined the AB blood type on both cloths and the spots aligned perfectly. .

      Remember too, there were 70 points of coincidence and each of the cloths contained pollen from Jerusalem.

      If the Sudarium has been in Spain since approximately 745 AD (BCE) and it was C-14 dated to the 7th century by Professor Baima Bollone (although he could not vouch for the test’s validity), how is it possible the Turin Shroud covered de Molay or was the genius of Da Vinci?

      Therefore, if the Sudarium predates de Molay and DaVinci, then so does the Shroud.

      And if further DNA testing proves the XXY trisomy (Kleinfelter Syndrome), then it also proves the man on the Shroud was Jewish. I doubt either de Molay or DaVinci were Jewish, but I may be incorrect.

      Just an opinion though.


  11. You’re welcome, Angel.
    One can never really say who had or did not have Jewish ancestors. Now, the point is, Why de Molay? He was summoned by Pope Clement V from Athens to France to discuss plans for a new crusade and this was also in his interest because he wanted to boost morale among the knights after Acre fell to the Saracens.
    The link I asked you to see takes you to the historian who found the “Chinon parchment”, dated 1308, a document which demonstrates that the Order was not involved in any heresy. Philippe IV had de Molay sent to the stake before Clement could issue a document in their favour, and the pontiff was doing his best to avoid a schism in France.
    No one could really claim de Molay as someone who disobeyed the pope, denied Christ secretly, and then produced a shroud with his image. His last gesture before dying, at the stake, was to request to face Notre Dame cathedral.

    I am not sure about the DNA. The information I obtained was that just too little information could be derived through this means. Anyone who touched the Shroud also left some DNA on it.


    1. Thanks for the link Louis.

      I was unable to view the article in pdf format, since I recently uninstalled Adobe
      Reader 9. I have dial-up and the newer version of Adobe Reader is too many MB to download with dial-up. I did make an attempt to access the article through other google URLs, but all were pdf files.

      At any rate, I have asked a friend (who heads a genetic testing lab) to give me some detail on XXY (Kleinfelter Syndrome) vs. XX male (de la Chapelle Synsrome) and I received an email from him stating he would check into it.

      You may not think the XXY gene is important, but I do, since it would prove the man featured on the Shroud of Turin was a Jewish male.

      Atheists claim the Shroud image is representative of a Caucasian male from Europe and further state he is too tall and his hair too long to have been a Hebrew man in biblical Jerusalem.

      We shall see.


      PS Happy July 4th to all patriots.

  12. Hi Angel
    Dial up can be a problem when accessing the Internet and you will probably have low speed with this system. Adobe is important to read articles and papers, so I wonder how you will get around the problem.
    Regarding your research, have you tried Moshe Dayan? I think you will find a lead there.

  13. Thanks Louis.

    No I’ve not tried Moshe Dayan, but I have found, with research, that men with de la Chapelle Syndrome are small in stature, as opposed to those with Kleinfelter Syndrome, who are tall and tend to have long arms and legs.

    Some men with Kleinfelter have no symptoms at all and other men have only a few of the symptoms.

    The man on the Shroud appears to have long arms and legs as well as being tall in stature, therefore, it is quite possible de la Chapelle Syndrome (video on this site) is a misdiagnosis for Kleinfelter Syndrome. Yet, I am not certain.

    Thanks again and happy July 4th. :)


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