Is the beard of the man of the shroud an impactogram?

imageIf I could just stop laughing, I think I could take Colin Berry seriously when he asks, “Does the Man on the Turin Shroud really have a beard and moustache? (Or is the image an ‘impactogram’?).”

It compelled me to wonder if there were other possibilities. Perhaps shaving cream. Was a part of the preparations in the tomb a shave but while doing so they ran out of time. In other words, in situ shaving cream. Certainly the top panel of the Hungarian Pray Manuscript illustration shows that this was what imagewas going on. Or maybe it was a combination of shaving cream and impactography as seen below on the left.

Note: The top picture was cropped from one suggested by Colin that appears on dozens of websites. The one to the left only appears on five websites.

15 thoughts on “Is the beard of the man of the shroud an impactogram?”

  1. Stop laughing, Dan, this is in fact quite serious issue.

    For some time, I am wondering why the Manoppello face has almost no moustache visible (only some traces of it left and rigt to the mouth). And I have shown that the faces on the Shroud and Manoppello are the same! (see )


    4. The man whose face the Sudarium covered had a beard, moustache and long hair, tied up at the nape of his neck into a ponytail.


    It is at least theoretically possible that what we may see on the Shroud as a moustache, may in fact be illusion.

    Impactogram? Quite possible. We can say, in some sense, that the Shroud “impacted” the Man’s face.

    1. It was the picture that got me laughing, not the idea of false imaging from compression. The shaving cream idea came from the other picture. I’m still laughing at the silly little girl.

  2. The Scriptures, Isiah 50, speak of the suffering Servant having his beard torn and Luke says the same of Jesus while he was under arrest. I think this may be a more logical, if less whimsical, place to find an explanation than impactograms.

    1. Nope. Luke does NOT make any specific reference to a beard, David, yet I see there is an isolated and imaginative misquoting to be found via googling, which you have just given undeserved credence.

      In any case, the issue for a scientist is not whether or not Jesus had a beard. It’s whether the higher-than-average image density below the nose of the TC man and on the chin can be blithely assumed to be a moustache and beard, given that we can be fairly confident we are NOT looking at a photograph, and indeed know nothing whatsoever about the mechanism of image formation.

      We need to scrutinise every tiny detail of the image minutely to stand any chance of gaining an insight, no matter how tendentious initially, into the mysterious mechanism of image formation.

      1. I’m not a Biblical scholar so I’ll defer to your google expertise on the Luke passage — which would have been referencing the Isaiah passage anyway of course.

        I’m not saying your idea is silly either. But perhaps some of our 1st century experts (Max?) can confirm if beard pulling was indeed a common penalty for blasphemers. Given the beard in that period had religious/cultural significance to Jews, especially rabbis, it does seem logical that the Sanhedrin forces may have ripped the man’s beard. But what kind of damage does that do? I’ve never seen what that might look like in practice, body waxing not withstanding.

        But back to impactograms. That would only be a relevant idea if the body was a corpse, right? Not a bas relief.

        1. Given the absence of any recognizable extrinsic pigments on the TS, it’s easier to envisage as a (heated) metal template. But it’s not impossible if using a corpse. It just needs a different mechanism that works with a cold or still-warm corpse. Thus my dabbling with quicklime to test a conjectural imprinting mechanism that might be described as thermochemical as distinct from just thermal. No joy with that one, thus far.

          Time now to address Angel’s point re allegedly feminine chest. Methinks it fits with a standard male chest, creating an ‘impactograph’ by virtue of elevated plane, rigidity and thus resistance to deformation (regardless of the precise nature of template/linen interaction at the molecular level).

          Time now for a long walk and further reflection.

  3. No impactogram re the moustache and beard, just ‘eneilicograms’ as most likely, both were compressed by the taut TS and the Cahors skullcap fastened on top.

    1. …not to mention the probable presence of a small ‘jaw-box’ in conjunction with skull-cap.

  4. Colin is a specialist in introducing good questions into a joke. I like it.

    The joke is (from Colin): ‘the TS face having a “pressed against glass” look about it’, so that the beard and mustaches could be artifacts of ‘impactography’.
    If mustache and beard were artifacts created by impact, we should see the nose completely crushed/flattened. It is obviously not.

    But the only interesting question is: ‘Come to think of it, why is it not possible to differentiate between hair and skin on the TS image? Why is there no ‘strandedness’ to the hair?’

    I do not understand the term ‘strandedness’.

    Colin and others, can you give us more insight about this problem ?
    In other words: why is it necessary for the hair (or mustache, or beard) to leave an image different from the image of the skin?

    1. “why is it necessary for the hair (or mustache, or beard) to leave an image different from the image of the skin?”

      Because it retains fluids.

  5. Just think of all the image “differences” we’ve been told are there – coins, flowers, lettering etc. Shame on us if we can’t see them.

    Now I’m expected to defend the proposition that one expects to see a difference between skin and hair (the latter comprising strands, thus my term ‘strandedness’ for something that comes in strands rather than sheets).

    The only reason we see “hair” on the TS is because image density is in the ‘right’ places. But is not odd that we see no differences in the way the two imprint? That is certainly not the case with conventional photographs where enlargement of “hair” at reasonably high resolution shows strandedness,

    Repeat: the TS image is NOT to be viewed as a photograph: the “hair” alone makes that truism abundantly clear.

    Given there is only one TS, we have to be exceptionally careful in the way we interpret that ‘one-off’. Nothing can be taken for granted.

  6. As early as October 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm, I wrote:

    Forensically speaking (…), the slight deviation of the fleshy tip of the TS man’s nose (with enlarged left nostril) was detected in the1970s. Iconographically speaking, the same feature happens to be also detectable on the Manoppello face colth and a dozen of Justinian solidi obverse. In the mortuary/morgue, corpses with “a slight deviation of nasal septum” is a well known fact. It is mainly due to having a corpse fit in a zipped up body bag that was originally too small and has caused excessive pressure on the defuncted’s face.”

  7. Reminder Two: Most likely, on image formation process, the TS man’s dried blood, sweat and dust pasted long hair side strands were hard like cardboard.

  8. Besides, most likely a small “jaw-box” (made of three wood-pieces sawn/cut off Yeshus’a titulus damnationis) was used to counter-act tilted head rigor mortis and keep his mouth closed.

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