Home > Image Theory, Other Blogs > Checking In On Colin Berry: A New Image Model ‘forming in my mind’

Checking In On Colin Berry: A New Image Model ‘forming in my mind’

March 3, 2015

So one mixes up some alum and some thickening agent – a gum or starch etc

imageColin is is toying with a new image formation scheme. He is blogging about it though it is difficult to know this. Instead of posting new entries in his blog, Colin adds more text to old ones, so much so that even Google is gasping for air.

In what follows, we are looking at some new text added to a posting for February 20, Might the Shroud of Turin properly be described as a ‘proximity imprint’ in sweat and blood, real or simulated, to distinguish it from Freeman’s faded painting? If you want to follow along you can find the latest text (as of this morning) roughly 4/5 of the way down what is now a very long webpage:

… Am presently  researching, thoroughly I hope, a distinctively different angle on the manner in which the Shroud image may have been produced. It’s a difficult call to beat contact thermal imprinting, while still  producing a negative  non-directional image with 3D properties etc etc. But the new model that’s been forming in my mind, with some prompting from the writings of Luigi Garlaschelli and Joseph Accetta, might be more suited to the medieval mind (and technology) than the heated inanimate  templates (horse brasses, brass crucifixes)on the cooker hob in this blogger’s 21st century kitchen.

A few paragraphs later:

Here’s a few broadbrush ideas to be getting along with.

Firstly, there had to be template.One does not paint a negative image freehand, at least not one so photograph-like as the TS (when submitted to 19th/20th century technology). The template may have been totally inanimate (14th century provenance), e.g. a metal or ceramic bas relief, or it may been a real person (allowing for a 1st century provenance, if one is willing to junk the radiocarbon dating – count me out).

So one mixes up some alum and some thickening agent – a gum or starch etc – applies it to one’s subject of template, then presses down linen to get an imprint. What then?  Knowing what we now know about the properties of alum, one could suggest an immediate roasting at a temperature that leads to chemical sehydration of the linen carbohydrates in areas in immediate contact with the alum paste. Knoock off the surplus paste when doen and one has (maybe) a faint yellow negative image.

clip_image001And – to be expected:

Briefly, the Lirey Pilgrim’s Badge provided a possible rationale for imprinting the image of a bearded man who was NOT Jesus, but a Knight Templar, indeed the most prominent, Jacques de Molay. Why? Because de Molay, Grand Master of the outlawed order was burned at the stake in Paris 1314. Alongisde him was a fellw Templar, Preceptor of Normandy, Geoffroi de Charney. That name is almost but not quite identical to that of the Lord of Lirey whose widow placed the Shroud on its first recorded public display in 1357, shortly after he husband’s death at the Battle of Poitiers. Her husband is said by celebrated genealogist Noel Currer-Briggs to have been the nephew of his quasi-namesake who died in 1314, some 43 or so years earlier.  Might the TS image have been intended to represent a Knight Templar and the manner of death, especially as the "burning at the stake" had in fact been performed sadistically by slow-roasting? Was it a tribute (initially) that had remained in the family, a closely guarded secret initailly for obvious reasons when Templars were still being dispossed and worse by an alliance of convenience between the then heretic-seeking Papacy and cash-strapped French monarchy? Was it ‘reinvented’ to represent the victim of crucifixion rather than "scorching".

Was there supporting evidence that might corroborate that interpretation?

More to come:

I can hardly wait.

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  1. mickeymullen
    March 3, 2015 at 7:23 am

    When I was redeemed outside of a gas station at 9pm at night after leaving a protestant church the Spirit that did the work was a light, and that might be what put the image on the cloth. [mickeymullen@yahoo.com}

  2. Louis
    March 3, 2015 at 8:24 am

    It does not correspond to what is seen on the Shroud. In a few days I will post more details about another image formation process.

  3. Louis
    March 3, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    There was no agreement between the Avignon papacy and Philip IV, both Boniface VIII and Clement V had a hard time with the king, whose main problem was that his treasury was empty.
    Clement summoned Jacques de Molay, who was in Cyprus, to France to discuss plans for a new crusade. No heretic would consent to this. It was also in the Templar Grand Master’s interest to boost Templar morale after the fall of Acre and that was when Philip pounced on the opportunity to try and lay his hand on Templar funds.
    The Chinon parchment demonstrates that there was no heresy, a favourite theme for conspiracy theorists and quasi-historians, and Pope Clement could not really put it into effect because of pressure from the monarchy:

  4. March 4, 2015 at 1:52 am

    I suppose I should be flattered that Dan hoovers up my words within minutes of my writing them, uncorrected typos and all’, to bring them here. But anyone reading this account of a work in progress could be forgiven for thinking I was still pushing a Templar connection. On the contrary, I was merely explaining what had attracted me to it in the first place, especially details on the Lirey badge, but how the more recently discovered Machy mould for a second Lirey badge had offered a new more chemical avenue for research as an alternative to a model based purely on thermal imprinting. It was the Veronica motif, and the implication that the Shroud had been intended to portray a bodily imprint, probably sweat, real or simulated, that led to a growing disillusionment with thermal technology, despite its ability to account neatly for negative image and 3D properties. That’s not to say that scorch technology could not have been used to simulate a sweat imprint, but my current posting, nowfinally complete, has me converging with Joseph Accetta in thinking that the TS image was made by imprinting from a woodcut using a soluble organic dye or dye/mordant combination (not to be confused with solid particles of inorganic paint pigments, prone to dropping off!) There is a lot worth pursuing in those ideas of Accetta’s, one very thoughtful and perceptive individual, with scope for more experimental modelling.

    In passing, does anyone here have access to data from STURP or elsewhere on the distribution of ionic aluminium on the Shroud, especially in body image v non-image areas? I’m sure I have seen some passing reference to there being higher than expected levels of aluminium but have mislaid the link. Alum – the most obvious source of aluminium – has of course been used as a mordant in dyeing and fabric imprinting for millennia, but there’s a risk of leaving sulphuric acid behind that can (theoretically at any rate) create a ghost image if or when it chemically dehydrates the more superficial and sensitive linen carbohydrates, especially those in the primary cell wall, or maybe gum or starch adjuncts used to increase dye viscosity.

    • Dan
      March 4, 2015 at 5:07 am

      Some places to start:

      1) [PDF]Speculations on the 14th Century Origins of the Turin Shroud by JS Accetta
      alum or a combination of alum and tannic acid. There are many different techniques for this process and many are based on a percentage of dry fabric weight to …

      2) [PDF]The Setting for the Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud by E Marinelli
      Alum has been used as a common mordant for millennia. Furthermore, UV fluorescence photograph shows that the area of the radiocarbon sampling.

      3) [PDF]An Alternate Hypothesis for the Image Color – The Shroud of …
      Then Jumper, Adler, Jackson, Pellicori, ….. (a) Wet Ice (b) Wood (c) Glass (d) Paper (e) Clay (f) Copper Oxide (g) Aluminum Oxide (h) Aluminum Paint (i) Bismuth.

      4) [PDF]Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – The Shroud of Turin by RN Rogers
      aluminum found by Adler), and Madder. UV fluorescence photograph of the 14C sample area. The small, white triangle (bottom left) is the location of the Raes.

      5) [PDF]Perspectives for the Future Study of the Shroud
      However, as Alan Adler always asserted, this experiment would … Rogers deduced the presence of madder (alizarin) or of its aluminum metal complexes since …

      • March 4, 2015 at 6:18 am

        Thank you for providing the links Dan, which I’ve quickly scanned. However I find they do not provide the hard analytical data I seek on aluminium, or as you would say aluminum, levels in the main body of the Shroud.

        One assumes the data exist, on the strength of this comment from Raymond Rogers in his FAQ paper (my bolding)

        “Al Adler had found large amounts of aluminum in yarn segments from the radiocarbon sample, up to 2%, by energy- dispersive x-ray analysis. I found that the radiocarbon sample was uniquely coated with a plant gum (probably gum Arabic), a hydrous aluminum oxide mordant (the aluminum found by Adler), and Madder root dye (alizarin and purpurin). Nothing similar exists on any other part of the Shroud.”


        Is there anyone reading this who has access to that data and can provide a summary and/or link?

        The occasional references one sees to potassium, calcium and other minerals of TS interest usually refer to X-ray fluorescence (XRF) data, without links generally (again, hard to locate for oneself, at least by googling). But that’s unlikely to be of much use or relevance anyway, since XRF is too insensitive to work with elements of atomic number much less than 20 (Al is 13). Maybe/hopefully the energy-dispersive technique cited by Rogers, with which I’m less familiar, works better.

  5. Louis
    March 4, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Hi Colin,
    Would you know which energy dispersive technique by Ray Rogers was referring to?

    • March 4, 2015 at 8:27 am

      Presumably Rogers’ reference was to energy dispersive XRF that can read several wavelengths and thus elements simultaneously, Louis. That’s as distinct from wavelength XRF that reads single wavelengths and single elements. There are claims and counterclaims naturally as to which is best suited for particular applications, so one has to be prepared to dig deeper than might wish into the technical literature if one’s in the slightest bit sceptical about claims made by generalists as to what is (or is not) present on the TS. Like aluminium (signalling presence or absence of alum – an acidic dye-binding mordant).

      Nullius in verba.



      • Louis
        March 4, 2015 at 8:52 am

        Thanks for explaining, Colin. I will be posting something on the image formation process within the next few days.

  6. Louis
    March 4, 2015 at 6:56 am

    Sorry, ignore the “by”.

  7. Max patrick Hamon
    March 4, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Moons ago (i.e. as early as 1994), I told Raffard de Brienne the TS image resulted from a pre-mordanting or light mordanting process of which result can look like a light scorch. Many a time (since 2012 on this very blog), I have kept telling Colin it was. Now as usual, he is recycling one of my ideas to have it fit with his new theory. Yet methinks It could take another twenty years until the Shroud sphere get aware I finally was right…

    • Max patrick Hamon
      March 4, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Nil desperandum

      • Louis
        March 4, 2015 at 11:33 am

        Hi Max
        Do you think the cloth used for burial shrouds in Palestine during that time passed through this process?

    • March 4, 2015 at 9:07 am

      But what if I’m as wrong about mordanting as I was about thermal imprinting? Can I blame MPH for putting false ideas into my head?

      It’s the focus on imprinting that matters. Imprinting, not freehand painting, provides the negative 3D-enhancible image (Charles Freeman please note).

      The precise mechanism of imprinting – thermal, thermochemical or chemical – is mere detail.

      Dyeing, which unlike painting involves permanent irreversible chemical bonding onto linen, with or without mordant-assistance – is detail secondary to detail, especially as mordanting itself may at least theoretically leave a ghost image, lurking underneath the mordant, if the latter, like alum, were to be strongly acidic (alum dissociates in water to produce sulphuric acid that could discolour superficial fibres).

      It’s the details that lead one to the big picture. Thermal imprinting was in retrospect a side show, albeit a useful one in demonstrating the ease of modelling negative/3D properties. Mordanting could well be a side show to a sideshow, albeit a different sideshow. Whether one or other or both leads to the big picture remains to be seen.

      Science, real science that is, should be curiosity – not agenda-driven.

      • March 4, 2015 at 9:31 am

        This comment should be promoted. Keep being curious, one and all!

  8. Max patrick Hamon
    March 4, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    CB wrote: “Science, real science that is, should be curiosity – not agenda-driven”.

    The man as an anti-authenticists IS agenda-driven and would like us to believe, he just stands aloof arch-scepticism pairing at his finger-nail out -of-mere curiosity re the TS authenticity!

    Details building into crucial evidence, thinking experiment and experimental archaeology is what really matters to make the difference as far as unravelling the truth of the TS is concerned.

    However what is sadly lacking is truly experimental archaeology and the money that could permit it. What is STILL needed is a full body silicone medical mannikin ( = realistic replica of the Sindon Man corpse) with water chamber (to be filled with heated water to simulate body and body hyperthermia temperatures) and fully jointed neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles (to provide a deathlike range of similar rigor mortis positions) + 3-4 sets of ad hoc linen cloths (industrial, medieval and late antique replicas) so that the Sindon’s Man specific burial can be reconstrusted in state-of-the-art experimental archaeology (no pigs please!).

    • March 4, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      “Details building into crucial evidence, thinking experiment and experimental archaeology is what really matters to make the difference as far as unravelling the truth of the TS is concerned. ”

      That’s exactly what Colin has been doing, except his hypothesis starts with a medieval provenance, whereas yours would begin with a 1st century. Both are valid starting points.

      With Colin there’s been a bit of “Aha, I’ve got it! Wait, no hold on….aha now I’ve got it. Wait…”

      That’s how science is supposed to go. Not: “Aha, I’ve got it. Take my word for it, I got it.”

      • Max patrick Hamon
        March 5, 2015 at 3:43 am

        Reminder for David G.: details building up into smoking gun evidence and state-of-the-art Experimental Archaeology has nothing to do with CB’s easy kitchen science experiment based on photographic pareidolia.

  9. don
    March 4, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Figuring out which is worse-Freeman’s paint flaking or Colin’s charred de Molay. Wow. Funny how human minds work. Sort of like Einstein failing school but a genius at Theory of Relativity.

    • March 4, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      Thanks for reminding me Don why I prefer now to post ideas to my own site, and not waste time with this one. (I’ve been steadily retreating from the Templar link for over a year now, but you wouldn’t know it from reading this posting from the site’s host).;

      • March 5, 2015 at 5:48 am

        PS Have been able to track down a 1980 paper from STURP’s Morris, Schwalbe and London with results from X ray fluorescence scans of the Shroud performed in situ. Whilst the abstract and first page only are available without charge, my worst fears are confirmed: the equipment used was able to detect alements with atomic number greater than 16. That means there could be no indication as to whether or not the TS has either aluminium (element no. 13) or sulphur (element no 16).

        But as MPH correctly points out, kitchen experiments on whether alum is able to leave a ghost image on linen via an H2SO4-mediated chemical dehydration, producing (one might predict) an end result that is comparable to that with scorching off a hot metal template, should be relatively “easy”. The advantage over thermal imprinting, as Joseph Accetta points out, is that a carved wooden template can be used in place of metal for dye-imprinting. If alum (potassium aluminium sulphate) had been used a mordant, one has a ready explanation for a permanent ghost image that could survive long after the dyestuff had faded, given its tendency to produce free sulphuric acid by hydrolysis under moist conditions.

        That’s all have to say on this somewhat unsatisfactory posting (with its curious focus on an abandoned Templar link). Reminder: my working hypothesis is (and has been for over a year) that the TS was fabricated to appear as if a whole body version of the Veil of Veronica, in which an initial sweat (and blood) imprint had been captured on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen, and there had been no further image enhancement of the negative imprint, least of all miraculous. So the fabricator’s task was ‘simply’ to simulate ancient sweat, for which it seems reasonable that dye/mordant combinations would have been used, essentially as proposed by STURP’s Joseph Accetta, someone to whom I raise my hat in admiration, especially as he is still thinking and publishing (see his St.Louis presentation).

  10. March 5, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Are you saying that no one can say anything about Alum on the Shroud?

  11. Max patrick Hamon
    March 5, 2015 at 10:01 am


    On November 4, 2014 at 10:48 am and 5:57 pm, I already wrote as comments:

    “Nice to read now Colin is no longer literally referring to a/his ‘scorch theory’ but ‘a near-scorch theory’ or ‘mordanting theory’, which BTW is mine from 1994!
    On February 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm, indeed I wrote:

    “Reminder for Colin Berry et al:
    Archaeo(crypto)logically speaking, in the most likely hypothesis the TSM is Yeshu’a, a natural cloth-to-corpse thermal chemical physical imprinting should account in turn for a high resolution superficial body image, undisturbed bloodstains and a two thousand years’ old degraded blood still looking fresh on the cloth. To trigger up such an accidental/providential image formation process, it requires:

    1/pre-mordanting conditions (i.e. burial linen cloth in-soaked with aqueous alkaline solution such as ashes of the Red Heifer, Jerusalem limestone dust and/or ammonia present in urea residues mixed with pure living water/collected rainwater), could have been then subjected to a low temperature accidental/providential thermal imprinting process (e.g. ritual fumigation and/or corpse hyperthermia)

    2/auto-collimation. The Maillard reaction, in of itself, is not sufficient to explain the (uniform) degree of resolution of the collimated TS image. Adhesion of water insoluble (e.g. iron oxyde and/or other “opaques”/silica particles present in the desert of Judea dust) onto the blood-covered body skin and/or receiving flax surface are most needed, which implies first a tightly wrapped up coth-to-body configuration (with relatevely few air gaps front and back) and then slight and gradual unsticking, back and front, of the long shroud used as inner shroud, through shrinking up. Reminder: the Sharaf (the biblical RuHa Qâdim or East Wind) is an Israel dust wind more commonly known as Khamsin or the Dark Breath of the desert of Judea.body covered with “opaques” present in the Judean desert and/or Jerusalem limestone/Melky stone dust

    3/heating source such as corpse in hyperthermia and/or fumigation as a purifying and drying-out ritual. Reminder 1: Dead kings’ cave tombs and corpse could be fumigated (see 2 Chronicles 16:14 – 21:19 Targum). Hence, in the hypothesis the Turin Shroud is Yeshu’a’s, the body could have been subjected to a specific purifying/drying out ancient Judean ritual in the shape of fumigation/burning aromatic woods/spices and at least one incense pan to hold burning charcoal could have been used. Most likely the body image only affected a superficial thin layer of impurities made of starch, lignin, pectin, saponin, hemicellulose deposits and/or flax wax. Note: in case no aloetic-myrrhic particles could be found neither on the surface nor in the threads, that could mean the shroud was not in direct contact with the fumigation but shorter outer shrouds AND/OR a longer outer shroud also wrapped up the corpse and acted as a screen

    4/ low temperature alkali gelatinisation of starch residuals present in ancient linen cloth is also a possible factor as printing paste to be taken into account in the Shroud image formation process. Now Jerusalem limestone dust mixed with water can gelatinize starch at 55°-85°C and act as as a extremely fine printing paste.

    5/ in-soaked 3:1 twill weave linen mechanical return force. Most likely the in-soaked long inner cloth burial shroud was first tautly wrapped lengthwise and then compressed widthwise around body with dry outer shrouds and then slightly unstuck back and front through drying out and got sort of taut again lenghtwise while still compressed widthwise (by the second layer and/or third layer of dry shorter outer shrouds AND/OR a longer outer shroud) and shrinking up”

    “Naturally pre-mordanted linen once naturally mordanted, the mordanting looks like a very light scorch or ‘pre-scorch’.”

    Absent Yeshua’s return to life/resurrection that could account for his inner cloth burial shroud having been kept as a memorial of his dramatic event and the relic being not deteriorated (prior to the 1532 Chambery Sainte-Chapelle fire), this reaction I theorize could have been relatively or even totally unsusual to Second Temple inner cloth burial shroudss ince Yeshua’s shed innocent blood had to be purified (via the ashes of the Red Heifer combined with spring water or just Jerusalem limestone dust?) since it could not be avenged (all the members of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin that sentenced him to deah just could not be killed all the more so as Yeshua’s taught his disciples to love his/their enemies). Besides as a victim of a violent death, his body should be buried with his shed innocent blood.”

    “I went as far as thought experiment allowed me to go. Methinks the image formation process aka pre- or light mordanting, can be replicated. Methinks alkali-water solution vapor/fumigation in conjunction with linen textile substrate can reveal bodyprint all right (in the no-air-gaps areas in conjunction with the first cloth-to-body inner shroud configuration)

    On May 22, 2013 at 9:20 am, I also wrote as notes:

    “During the whole image formation process, the TS man’s stiff rigid corpse could have been first wrapped up and then laid out in extra height (first on its left side and then right side) on two raised stones to be subjected to a ritual myrrhic aloetic fumigation/drying ritual in the antechamber. Reminder: this implies the presence of 5-6 buriers. Also note: A resin such as that of the fragrant myrrh has always been associated with fumigation and purification rituals. As a ‘funeral’ herb, myrrh is said to ease grief and heal emotional wounds, bringing peace and calm. Besides it has anti-microbial properties. When burned with moistening rotten aloe wood chips (moistening helps produce more smoke), some carbon monoxide is liberated along with smoke.

    On January 29, 2015 at 8:07 and 8:41am and on March 16, 2013 at 11:40 a.m. (#5 Reply) and 7:35 p.m. (#21 Reply), I wrote:

    “(Now) blood intensifiers (such as pre- or light mordanting, carbon monoxide liberated along with smoke in the course of a Judean ritual in the shape of fumigation/burning aromatic aloetic woods/myrrh etc) could account for the aged/archaeological blood colour changing (upon exposure to bright sunlight or UV exposure) from standard old brownish to bright carmin rose via brownish mauve.”

    “In terms of ancient bloodstain pattern analysis, the TS crucifixion victim haematic cartography is flawless. It strongly suggests a cloth in-soaked/moistened with aqueous alkaline solution, remoistened freshly dried blood and both a cloth-to-body very close contact and gradual loss of contact 2D to 3D image resulting from a collimated/auto-regulated light (or pre-)mordanting (of a thin carbohydrate and/or dust, dirt and body fluid layer of impurities). Most likely, the neat haematic cartography resulted from a sticking-gradual-unsticking transfer mechanism implying first the clean long inner body sheet soaked in a watery solution was compressed widthwise (with smaller dry clean outer shrouds + large all-envelopping burial cloth– now kept in Kornelimïnster and known as sudarium domini = the Johnian soudarion) while taut lengthwise back and front as all parts of the body should be wrapped-up (see Naḥmanides, Torat ha-Adam; Inyan ha-hoẓa’ah) and then the tightly wrapped-up bloody corpse, lying in extra height first on one side and then the other side, was subjected to fumigation (in the proscess the long inner body sheet somehow got taut again back and front through shrinking up).”

    “Natural mordanting of dry blood remoistened with aqueous alkaline solution along with drying through myrrhic-aloetic (wood aloe) fumigation could account for:

    – The aged bloodstains still “looking fresh” today when seen in full day on the long inner burial cloth as if the blood had just been shed the day before. Mordant is known to be used for INTENSIFYING STAINS e.g. in cell or tissue preparations
    – Potassium giving only a weak signal in Shroud bloodstains while hydroxyproline (a marker for collagen) giving strong signal. Now it is well known gelatine is a breakdown product of collagen. The true fact is low temperature (55°-85° C) alkali gelatinisation of starch residuals present in the ancient linen cloth could be a possible factor as bubbling very fine printing paste to be taken into account in the Shroud image formation process.
    – Bilirubin being neither the problem nor the solution, just probably one part of the whole equation as it could have been trapped (along with carbon monoxide?) during the image formation process.
    – Most likely dust, dirt and body fluids should be found in the very impurity layer that makes up the body image and the neat haematic cartography results from a sticking-gradual-unsticking transfer mechanism implying first the clean long inner body sheet soaked in a watery solution was compressed widthwise (with smaller dry clean outer shrouds + large all-envelopping burial cloth– now kept in Kornelimïnster and known as sudarium domini = the Johnian soudarion) while taut lengthwise back and front as all parts of the body should be wrapped-up (see Naḥmanides, Torat ha-Adam; Inyan ha-hoẓa’ah) and then the tightly wrapped-up bloody corpse, lying in extra height first on one side and then the other side, was subjected to fumigation (in the proscess the long inner body sheet somehow got taut again back and front through shrinking up).”

    And on June 4, 2013 at 8:00 am (#63 Reply), I also wrote:

    “The presence of oozing from the wounds + the very fact the buriers took great care not to disturb the blood is consistent with an ancient Judean/Jewish burial custom in terms of bloody corpse tahara (purification ritual). It has nothing to do with a supernatural event.
    Aged/archaeological human blood is definitely not human fresh blood. The former could have been degraded through a specific burial ritual, which both shroudies and anti-shroudies seem to totally overlook.”

    “My thesis neither include nor preclude the TSM’s resurrection or coming back to life.”

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