A Gedankened Image Forming Process

We believe our hypothesis can readily be tested simply by . . . 

our hypothesis depends on a completely natural mechanism.
It does not conflate the image formation mechanism with the Resurrection

imageWhen I spotted Electric Charge Separation as the Mechanism for Image Formation on the Shroud of Turin: A Natural Mechanism by D.S. Spicer and E .T. Toton on shroud.com’s St. Louis Conference page, and I read the abstract again, I quickly looked for something else to read. It’s  the non-scientist in me; this was going to be difficult paper, I realized.

I was wrong. It was very interesting and easy to understand.

I always jump to the end where I found this under Discussion and Conclusions on page 15:

As should be clear, our hypothesis depends on a completely natural mechanism. It does not conflate the image formation mechanism with the Resurrection, nor should it. The image is not the recording of the Resurrection but it is an image capture of the body of a crucified man consistent with the historical records of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. That no hitherto satisfying mechanism for image formation has been discovered is not proof that a supernatural explanation must be the only other choice, nor does the discovery of a credible mechanism of image formation impugn the belief in the reality of the Resurrection. If it were possible to take a photo of the Ascension-where is the miracle? Is it the Ascension or the photo of it? We believe that the Shroud Image is indeed the image of Jesus Christ’s lifeless body only and it strengthens the historical argument for His existence, death, and His Resurrection.

Got it!  That’s clear.  Now back to the beginning. This part of the introduction had me hooked. Read on!

In this paper we examine a novel image formation mechanism that comprises a uniform low frequency quasi-electrostatic field and polar molecules to produce the image of a crucified man on a linen cloth known as the Shroud of Turin. Given that to date the historical evidence tracks the origins of the cloth back to at least the 6th century AD, that forensic evidence strongly supports the conclusion that the man enclosed by the Shroud was in fact crucified, which totally undermines the assertion of forgery by revealing details in physics, chemistry and medical knowledge only available in the 20th century, and that there are additional physical tests, other than the one-off and often cited C14 test against the authenticity of the Shroud, that date the Shroud to the 1st century AD, we will assume that the crucified man was in fact Jesus of Nazareth and use the New Testament Gospels as a source of information for Jesus’ crucifixion.

Among the many STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) findings regarding the images of a crucified man found on the Shroud of Turin (ST) there are six that point to a clear and natural explanation for both the dorsal and ventral images of the cloth [21, 16, 1, 2, 3, 8, 20]. These are:

  1. Images on the cloth exist only of the dorsal and ventral surfaces of body and these images lie only on the fibers found at the extremities of the cloth
  2. No image or discoloration exists between the two surfaces of cloth, i.e., within the cloth
  3. There is no image of the top of the head or sides of the body enclosed by the cloth [14]
  4. The image density on the cloth appears to embody information on the vertical distance between the cloth and the portion of the ventral body imaged, as if the cloth were held flat and horizontal slightly above the body or, in the case of the dorsal image, between the cloth on either the floor or shelf on which the body lied and the back of the body. In essence, the closer the cloth was to the body the darker the image, and the farther away the fainter the image [13]
  5. A body image is visible in areas where there was no contact between the body and the cloth
  6. The coloration does not appear under the threads where they cross in the weave of the cloth

And there was this timely paragraph that pertains to recent discussions on this blog about why the image does not fluoresce – of course, assuming . . .

The STURP measurements showed that the Shroud fluoresced everywhere except in regions of the image. This suggests to us that the image formation mechanism somehow changed the allowed atomic transitions that permits the rest of the cloth outside of the image areas to fluoresce. This fact suggests that identifying what is allowing fluorescence can help to determine what chemically causes the image. A good start would be to see whether calcium fluoride or residual pectins (an Alan Adler suggestion[1]) are present on the cloth.

[1] Brian Walsh private communication

17 thoughts on “A Gedankened Image Forming Process”

  1. I think it’s a pity when any researcher with a new idea begins by laying his authenticist, or non-authenticist cards on the table too forcefully. The impresson is not that of a searcher after hidden truth, but an explainer of already revealed truth, which implies that what follows will carry all sorts of conscious or unconscious bias with it. The last paragraph quoted above is untrue, and suggests that the authors have not, in fact, seen the UV photographs upon which their research is entirely based. In fact it often seems to me that, given the difficulty of obtaining them, very few people know what they are commenting on when they talk about the fluorescence of the Shroud.

    from Ultraviolet Fluorescence Photography of the Shroud of turin, VD Miller & SF Pellicori, Journal of Biological Photography, Volume 49, Number 3, July 1981.

    Notice that the UV lamp coverage was roughly circular, so the fade-out of fluorescence to the sides of the photo is an artifact of the experiment, not the cloth. The whole cloth, including “in regions of the image”, fluoresces. The image merely suppresses the fluorescence slightly. Near the right hand side, at the fringes of the scorchmarks covered by patches, can be seen the faint reddish-orange fluorescence observed by Miller and Pellicori. At high magnification the famous “serum-ring” around the tip of one of the ‘fingers’ of the nail-wound can be seen, but there is no extra fluorescence at all around the scourge marks which can be seen on the leg below it. Miller and Pellicori do not claim that “every wound has a serum-halo around it”, because it isn’t true, but it has often been claimed that it is.

    Now I must get on with Spicer and Toton’s paper!

    1. “Near the right hand side, at the fringes of the scorchmarks covered by patches, can be seen the faint reddish-orange fluorescence observed by Miller and Pellicori.”


      At high magnification the famous “serum-ring” around the tip of one of the ‘fingers’ of the nail-wound can be seen

      Why just the tip of one of those ‘fingers’, given that the “blood” stains are not whole blood, or so we were told (Adler and Heller) but a serum exudate of retracted blood clots? If the latter were the case one would surely expect the entire stain to fluoresesce, or at least around its entire perimeter if some natural chromatography on linen is needed to separate the albumins from red pigments etc.

      1. “Really?” They’re pretty faint, I agree, but are a bit clearer in other photos. they were described as “plumes” by somebody, and are the feathery tips of those dark lines projecting from the patches, I suppose, although there is a bit of it fringing the burnmarks along the bottom as well.

        As for the blood, well quite. Spot the serum-ring. There are undoubtedly a few, here and there, but to claim each scourgemark is surrounded by one is gratuitous misreading.

        1. “They’re pretty faint, I agree, but are a bit clearer in other photos.”

          We’re all of us given a quota of 1 where that response is concerned Hugh. You’ve just used up yours. ;-)

    2. Excuse me, I seem to see a sort of rough “duplicate of hands”
      (located on the right side of the picture presented to us).
      Am I wrong in my vision?
      Does the alleged “duplicate of hands” (…or “plumes” )
      occurred during bending of linen sheet?
      So, I might have an exact answer on this particular interpretation of the image?
      I hope you understand what I ask about that Ultraviolet Fluorescence Photography.

      1. Interesrting idea, Piero, but I think the “duplicate of hands” you observe is usually interpreted as scourgemarks on the front of the thighs rather than a reflection of the image of the hands caused by a folding of the cloth from left to right.

        Colin is correct to distinguish the scorchmarks of 1532 from the scorchmarks (if so they be) of the image. The 1532 burns appear to cover the whole range of damage from complete disintegration and possible combustion, through to carbonisation and charring, then ever fainter scorching, ending in barely visible yellowing which seems to fluoresce orange under UV light. I have never been able to duplicate this orange fluorescence. The dark marks theselves do not fluoresce – that’s why they are dark – only their fringes. If the image were a scorch, then I would expect the barely visible yellowing in optical light to be much easier to distinguish under UV, which it isn’t. However, it is just possible that this fluorescence is masked by the overall background fluoresence.

  2. Well I’ve read it and it seems to be quite an ingenious combination of vapour and electric field theories in such a way as not to require city-shattering bursts of energy. However, their “completely natural mechanism” does presuppose this electric field. Fair enough, but now we need a “completely natural” way of establishing that!

  3. Completely natural mechanism? I think I have the explanation for it, assuming that the relic did indeed wrap Jesus as he lay in the sepulchre:
    Being executed as a criminal he had no right to an air-conditioned tomb. So what happened?
    There are several explanations: Maillard effect, calcium flouride, temperature side the tomb and so on.
    Now we must ask, Why did it happen only to Jesus’ body if dozens of Jews were executed by the Romans as criminals in Palestine. Not all of them were left to rot on the cross.

    1. Very interesting paper.

      Some believe that every living cell produce some sort of Bio Field (very faint electrical field). After the death this field vanishes due to extinguish of blood circulation. Recent research detected very weak electrical fields around the living things including plants.

      To my knowledge no one has resurrected from death except Jesus. So no one knows exactly what sorts of mechanisms are involved in this resurrection process.

      Furthermore no one knows, exactly, how much energy is required to start the blood re-circulation after 3 days of death.

      If Jesus resurrected from death and his blood circulation started again, then at the inception of that blood circulation, there is a high probability that some sort of electrical field generated. No one knows how strong that electrical field is? This could have been the reason to print the image on the burial cloth of Jesus.

      Although not related, I want to mention the following:
      After reading Gospels I have realised that Jesus was a unique human being born to this world. He preached about the kingdom of God and also attacked the religion of Jews at that time. He used parables to explain the Kingdom of God and told that Kingdom of God is for everyone and not only for the Jews. That was the one of the reason reasons Jewish religious leaders killed him. According to Gospels Jesus did many miracles such as healing sick, casting out evils, walking on water, calming storms and feeding more than 5000 people from few fish and bread. Furthermore he raised 3 people from the dead and most famous one was raising Lazarus from the death. Unfortunately Lazarus did not have a burial cloth like Jesus. If he had a burial cloth like Jesus then his body image also would have got printed on that burial cloth.

      Before his death Jesus predicted that Jews will kill him and but he will resurrect on the third day from the death. According to gospels there are witnesses for his resurrection and also to the burial cloth.

  4. We have no description of the Resurrection, only of the (final) Ascension. What happened between the two events? Jesus “steps on the accelerator” and enters our “frequency”, “takes his foot off the accelerator” and moves out of the material world, impassive, beyond the possibility of suffering.

      1. Sampath – another miracle.
        Agreed to a certain extent. A miracle for us humans, but not for God, divine attributes taken into account.

  5. Unfortunately Lazarus did not have a burial cloth like Jesus. If he had a burial cloth like Jesus then his body image also would have got printed on that burial cloth.

    I have read that the alleged burial shroud of Lazarus is today in Autun in France together with other his relics -so perhaps your hypothesis may be checked…

  6. Fluorescence.

    I have just read that:
    >Wood cell walls are naturally fluorescent due to the presence of lignin…

    Softwood and Hardwood Lignin Fluorescence Spectra
    of Wood Cell Walls in Different Mounting Media

    Author: Lloyd Donaldson

    IAWA Journal, Volume 34, Issue 1, pages 3 – 19

    Publication Year : 2013

    Here an excerpt from the Abstract:
    >Wood cell walls are naturally fluorescent due to the presence of lignin. Autofluorescence offers a more specific method for localising lignin than staining and can potentially be used to assess cell wall modification resulting from a range of biological, chemical and physical treatments. In order to optimise conditions for imaging lignin by autofluorescence and to evaluate possible differences in fluorescence between softwood and hardwood lignin, wood sections of radiata pine and poplar were examined by confocal laser scanning microscopy to measure fluorescence spectra in a range of mounting media …

    >… Poplar lignin was four times brighter than pine lignin with excitation at 488 nm at pH9, and showed characteristic differences in spectral emission under these conditions. This characteristic fluorescence was localised to the inner secondary wall of fibres, expressed as a gradient from the outer S2 region increasing towards the lumen, as visualised by spectral unmixing. …
    Link: http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/10.1163/22941932-00000002

    From another source:
    >… plant cells contain various autofluorescent compounds,
    such as cell wall polymers and chlorophyll, that affect the spectral detection
    of some fluorophores. Therefore, it is important to acquire
    both reference and experimental spectra under the same
    biological conditions and through the same imaging systems. …

    — — —
    I am curious about fluorescence microscopy and lignin deposition…

    — — — —
    Now, however, I would like to make a clarification:
    I once went up to San Marino to follow a UFO conference and
    one other time I went back to San Marino (in 1997) to follow
    a series of reports on the Holy Shroud.
    And, obviously, this has nothing to do with the topic I have covered here…

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