Is Colin Berry Onto Something?

a chemo-graphic (à la photo-graphic) explanation for the shroud image

imageA reader from Palo Alto writes:

You and your blog mates are being unfair to Dr. Colin Berry. As I see it he is the real successor to Raymond Rogers. With imagination and exploratory experimentation Berry is developing new hypotheses for how the image on the Shroud might have formed. That is what Rogers did. Berry thinks out loud and shows us his trials along the way. That is also what Rogers did.

At this stage of development Berry is suggesting the image may have formed from a wet or moist organic coating on a body or statue. When a cloth is applied and removed some coating comes away on the cloth forming a latent image. That latent image is then developed into a visible image by a browning reaction, possibly a Maillard reaction.

Berry may be onto something, a chemo-graphic (à la photo-graphic) explanation for the shroud image. His latest method may help to explain an intentional fake image or an accidental natural one. An accidental image may have been from the tomb of Christ or a later reenactment. Mankind is forever reenacting important events.

There are many questions that need to be answered. Will a suitable chemical and physical process be found by Berry or a successor? I’m thinking about soaps, oils and spices. Can Berry’s process produce an image with many of the Shroud’s image characteristics? Can unmet characteristics be explained by age or circumstance?  I’m thinking about a damp cloth which might blur or soften away an outline and produce more plausible 3D like characteristics? A damp cloth may also produce a more superficial image.

Berry is certainly right to suggest that the image evolved over time because of handling, temperature, humidity and exposure to light.

I part company with Dr. Berry on the radiocarbon dating. There is too much historical evidence to believe it is correct. If the Shroud’s image was faked it was faked many centuries earlier.

Yes, but, Rogers was always respectful to others. That is a big difference. And, no, we have not been unfair to Colin.  I’d like to hear more.  I’d like to see his work continue. Maybe he is onto something. But there is some bad chemistry in this blog and his blog that is making this difficult.

Click on the image to see a larger version of this ImageJ 3D rendering by Colin. CLICK HERE to read Colin’s latest posting about his work.

24 thoughts on “Is Colin Berry Onto Something?”

  1. Okay … then I think you have to perform comparative
    analyses for what you have been achieved, with respect
    to other Shroud-like materials … because I do not believe
    that in order to find the truth suffice graphics or
    “chemo-graphic explanations” (for the Shroud image).

    In my opinion the ATR-FTIR technique could already
    be another very interesting analytical way …
    Indeed, about ten years ago (in August 2005)
    I received a brochure from the HUT (= Helsinki University of Technology),
    it was titled:
    “FT-IR and UV Raman spectroscopic studies on thermal
    modification of Scots pine wood and its extractable compounds”
    It was a Dissertation [for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology]
    by Mari Nuopponen (April 2005).


    In the section “Research methods”, in the study by Nuopponen,
    there was a paragraph about the “Attenuated total reflectance tecnique”
    (= ATR-FTIR), with a simple schematic picture of the ATR-FTIR spectroscopy
    (with a rough indication about the sampling depth…).

    Nuopponen wrote:
    >… Usually the analysis depth is in the range of 0.3-3 micrometres. …

    Instead Wikipedia write:
    >…The penetration depth into the sample is typically between
    0.5 and 2 micrometres, with the exact value being determined
    by the wavelength of light, the angle of incidence and the
    indices of refraction for the ATR crystal and the medium being probed. …


    If I correctly remember, unfortunately, Heimburger then tried to do something
    with a UVRR technique, but apparently he failed to get anything good.
    Also I do not even know the exact details of that particular story …
    and searching other informations (surfing the Web) I have found nothing.
    — —
    How to use the PCA (= Principal Component Analysis):

    The infrared spectroscopy combined with the multivariate analytical
    method principal component analysis (PCA) and Gaussian peak fitting
    is an efficient approach to probing structural change in polymers during heating…

    For example, I have read that:
    >… Discrimination between spectral data and repeatability of measurements have been magnified and verified using principal component analysis, in order to verify the effectiveness of the method in distinguishing the four resin categories …

    Source, the study:
    “Application of ATR-far-infrared spectroscopy to the analysis of natural resins”
    by Silvia Prati, Giorgia Sciutto, Rocco Mazzeo, Cristian Torri, Daniele Fabbri

    published in:
    Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
    March 2011, Volume 399, Issue 9, pp 3081-3091
    Date: 11 Nov 2010

    Here another “ATR-FTIR study”:

    Application of ATR-FTIR spectroscopy and principal component analysis
    in characterization of 15-acetyldeoxynivalenol in corn oil
    Yongwei Fu, Kiyohiko Toyoda, Ikko Ihara

    Here two very short excerpts from the abstract:
    >… The feasibility of ATR-FTIR spectroscopy with
    Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was investigated for detecting
    15-AcDON in crude and refined corn oils. …
    >… The results suggested that ATR-FTIR spectroscopy could be
    a promising method for rapid screening of 15-AcDON in crude
    and refined corn oils.

    — —
    “Analysis of the physical properties of developing cotton fibres”
    Alenka Kljun, Hassan El-Dessouky,Thomas A.S. Beniansm, Florence Goubet, Frank Meulewaeter, Paul Knox

    European Polymer Journal

    Here the beginning of the Abstract:
    >Cotton fibres develop over four stages: initiation, elongation,
    secondary-wall thickening, and maturation.
    >They develop a significant crystalline structure during the
    secondary wall thickening stage of development.
    >Cotton fibres were harvested from 17 days to 60 days after flowering (dpa).
    >Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), Interferometry,
    Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier-transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy, immunofluorescence labelling, and fluorescence spectroscopy were used to characterise the cotton fibres in different stages. …
    — —
    Now I see that I overdid a bit (perhaps are already sufficient
    for us just the simple analyses in Optical Microscopy),
    in fact the interesting tests by Colin could perhaps be a
    lot more rough (compared to textile reality of the Shroud)
    than it appears, and I have to wait the inherent images.
    Then now I have to close my extremely boring message.

  2. Colin has been for two years onto a scorch hypothesis.

    Can our reader explain his scorch hypothesis and why Colin has given up?

    1. Yes he seems to have abandoned the scorch theory and was probably wrong. But that doesn’t mean his new theory or subsequent theories are wrong. Good on him for exploring.
      I still think the Shroud dates from the time of Christ, though :)

  3. What if Jesus’ body was washed with Saponaria officinalis and his body sprinkled with a spice? What if loving hands then smoothed the cloth down on his body? Has Colin maybe found a way to make Rogers’ hypothesis viable?

    1. What is needed to make Rogers’ hypothesis viable are to find out the reactants. Flour is not one of them.

      “Spice” “oil” “myhrr” “sweat” “urine” “saponaria” or “loving hands” mean i don’t know.

  4. So he has been “probably” wrong (does he/you explain why?) for years, promoting a scorch hypothesis and insulting “shroudies”.

    Now he is probably “onto something”, something being somewhat a bad melting pot of the very same shroudies’ theories.

    The only serious “breakthrough” being “probably” a Maillard reaction as an explanation for the browning. Wow.

  5. On second thought I doubt Colin is getting a superficial image. So maybe the cloth was washed in the manner that Rogers proposed. What Colin has done is shown how contact might work with a coating of something on the body. So many variables!!!

  6. If the Shroud did indeed wrap the body of Jesus then it is difficult to see how a Maillard reaction was involved. Maillard requires high temperature and we will have to assume that Jesus’ tomb was inside a furnace, while other Jews were buried in air-conditioned tombs.
    Ray Rogers wrote about a Maillard-like reaction and ruled out hot irons and statues, and his suggestion led Dr. Paolo Di Lazzaro to say that experiments have to be made to prove this hypothesis. In this case all the Shroud’s image characteristics will have to be reproduced, and we know that it is not just a contact image.
    It is important to note photograph no.2 in the link below and compare it with the images Colin posted on his blog:
    A lot more experiments will be needed.

  7. Actually who is the chemist here is Colin and Ray Rogers believed that Maillard would only be one component, and he did not press the point, being open to other views.
    Jesus’ body would have been baked at 165º C to get that image. Remember that Rogers ruled out hot irons and statues. Did you have a look at the two images?

    1. Thibault has given an argued answer. Not considering it claiming “Colin is the chemist here”, is not convincing, to say the least…

    2. Interesting point.
      Do you know the 2005 paper by Steven D. Schafersman, Ph.D. ?

      “A Skeptical Response to Studies on the Radiocarbon Sample from the Shroud of Turin
      by Raymond N. Rogers Thermochimica Acta 425:189-194, 2005”
      Steven D. Schafersman, Ph.D.

      I have just read the strange claims…

      Here some excerpt:
      >… McCrone frequently complained that anyone with a simple polarizing microscope …
      [… omitted words …] could easily see and identify the abundant (millions) of tiny red ocher pigment particles that coat all the fibers in the image and blood areas.
      >Undoubtedly, STURP members did see these abundant and colorful reddish particles on the Shroud image and blood fibers–but never on the Shroud non-image fibers–but, against all reason and evidence, decided they were naturally-occurring alkaline iron precipitates and then ignored them!
      >To this day, STURP members continue to ignore the pigment particles …
      >… Red ocher/iron oxide/hematite is easily identified by its color and by crossing the polarizing filters of the polarizing microscope and examining the refractive index of a particle. Hematite has a very high refractive index, blood a low RI, and they are easily distinguished using the proper technique. This technique is known to every forensic microscopist, optical mineralogist, and rock petrologist …
      >… But STURP members never used this simple and powerful technique. They apparently never observed the Shroud sticky tape sample fibers with a polarizing microscope, for if they had, they would have no trouble identifying the bright orange and red particles as red ocher/iron oxide/hematite, not “blood sherds” or “alkaline iron precipitate,” which is what they incompetently called them. …

      I do not think that McCrone and Schafersman were right.
      Also I understand that you are not a scientist, however
      I’m curious to read your answer …
      Today I have found another ATR-FTIR study:
      “ATR-FTIR as a thickness measurement technique for hydrated polymer-on-polymer coatings.”

      Here an excerpt from the abstract:
      >… We propose a new method, that is, attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) to determine the relative thickness, combined with atomic force microscopy to calibrate the ATR-FTIR measurements. This technique was successfully employed to determine the hydrated thickness of a series of crosslinked tetraglyme coatings on ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene substrates intended to reduce wear of acetabular cups in total hip replacements. The hydrated coatings ranged from 30 to 200 nm thick and were accurately measured despite the relatively high root-mean-square (RMS) roughness of the substrates, 20-35 nm (peak-to-peak roughness 55-100 nm). The calibrated ATR-FTIR technique is a promising new method for measuring the thickness of many other polymer-on-polymer and hydrated coatings.

      It should also be a curious method to work considering the fact
      that (in absolute) AFM (= atomic force microscopy) controls
      have more resolution than ATR-FTIR controls…
      — —
      The reader from Palo Alto wrote:
      >You and your blog mates are being unfair to Dr. Colin Berry.
      >As I see it he is the real successor to Raymond Rogers.

      Dr. Raymond Rogers claimed to be able to work using the petrographic
      microscope (…then, unless Steven D. Schafersman is truly right in his
      remarks, Rogers was able to work!).
      Instead I don’t see the same scientific behavior for Dr. Colin Berry.
      But this seems to be turned as a lesser question with respect
      the interesting graphic presentations shown by Colin…

      It is for these reasons that I have mentioned the idea of checks
      to be carried out with the ATR-FTIR technique, although I prefer
      the SPM way (and, in particular, the AFM techniques…).

      Anyway I hope you forgive my little confusion (around the term:
      Optical Microscopy) made yesterday.
      Even the way ATR-FTIR is in “optical field” (and thus for
      the ATR-FTIR must see the “sampling depth”, that is, the value of D)
      and then yesterday, when I spoke of Optical Microscopy
      I was referring to the very simple controls, using the Light Microscopy.

      Here the last vague “ATR-FTIR reference”:
      “Effect of short wavelength UV-irradiation on
      ageing of polypropylene/cellulose compositions”
      Halina Kaczmarek, Dagmara Ołdak, Przemysław Malanowski, Hanna Chaberska


      >Polypropylene compositions containing 5–30% cellulose
      were pre-irradiated (λ=254 nm) and then composted in garden soil
      in laboratory conditions.
      >The effect of photochemical reactions on the course of further
      degradation during composting was investigated.
      >Photo- and bio-induced changes in samples were studied using
      reflectance infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) and tensile tests.
      >Destruction of surface morphology were also observed by
      scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
      >It was found that photo- and bio-induced changes in PP/cellulose compositions are accelerated compared to these processes occurring in pure components. The mechanical properties of sample tested are lower than those for PP alone but the influence of cellulose amount on the mechanical strength of compositions is insignificant.
      >ATR-FTIR spectroscopy combined with SEM is very useful
      for fast estimation of polymer surface changes
      during environmental degradation.
      — —
      If you want to deepen the argument:
      “ATR – Theory and Applications”,
      there is the following link:

      Click to access ATRAN611.pdf

      (= only three pages!)
      and you can read someting about the
      “depth of penetration (dp) of the IR beam into the sample” at page 2.

      λ is the wavelength of light
      θ is the angle of incidence…

      1. I have found other “ATR-FTIR” links:

        Click to access ATR_FTIR.pdf

        Click to access FTIR%20Reflection%20Techniques.pdf

        — — —
        All ATR crystals have different spectral ranges.

        The following factors contribute to the depth of light penetration for ATR measurements:
        – 1) Wavenumber,
        – 2) angle of incidence, and
        – 3) refractive index.

        Based on these factors, the depth of penetration into the sample at the contact position is given by the inherent
        And, from the equation, we can see that:
        penetration depth increases at lower wavenumbers (longer wavelengths). …
        — —
        I think that using the ATR-FTIR technique is also possible to draw some interesting information about the composition of
        thin layers present on linen fibers involved in Body Image …

        I think that you can perform the appropriate experiments (with Crown Discharge, or VUV, or using the Maillard pathway, etc ….) in order to obtain a sort of useful database for the subsequent comparison of the spectra.
        Then: using ATR-FTIR, AFM and AFM “three point bending”
        we can hope to solve the Enigma ….

        What is your opinion on this matter?

        I hope in your answers.

        1. I wrote:
          “…Then: using ATR-FTIR, AFM and AFM “three point bending” we can hope to solve the Enigma ….”

          I beg your pardon, because I wrote that phrase with reference to the “chemical-physical enigma”. Instead, speaking from a religious (= Christian Faith) point of view, this is only a nonsense…

          Probably the hasty and incorrect phrase originated from the fact that my mind was a bit ‘doubtful due to the fact that the layers that originate the picture of this body on the Shroud have been shown as having a thickness of 200-600 nm and instead our friend Colin B. said that the thickness varies, but he has never measured exactly (if I’m not mistaken) the value of the thickness …
          This boring question for thickness measurement has its importance when you want to use the technique ATR-FTIR and in fact there are limitations to the thickness (de = “depth of penetration”) ..

          Also if you want to consider the AFM techniques, these do not have not a significative penetration into the material (= so… you have to cut it into the thin slices if you want to investigate it in the sense of the “z direction/verse”) and then there is not a true meaning about the use of AFM regarding the thickness (= z parameter). Taking apart the use of ATR-FTIR, other surveys in the direction of the thickness can be carried out with the use of TEM (or with SNOM, but I believe that the penetration into the material with this microscopy technique is much more limited than the TEM ).

        2. I am disappointed about my rough interventions, with errors that are turning in a ridiculous manner my thought.
          For example:

          >the picture of this body on the Shroud

          instead of:
          >the Image of the Body on the Shroud.


          de = “depth of penetration” instead “dp” … perhaps this happened because I wanted to write something on effective depth of penetration (de = depth effective), but I had only few minutes at disposal, etc. …
          and then
          I have seen that I also forgot to write something about
          the combination of ATR spectroscopies with SPM analyses (= AFM, etc.), this is the non-destructive way to follow!

          So, you can try to read something about:
          “Vibrational analysis with scanning probe microscopy”.
          An overview of techniques is available at the address:

          >The technique of vibrational analysis with scanning probe microscopy allows probing vibrational properties of materials at the submicrometer scale, and even of individual molecules.
          >This is accomplished by integrating scanning probe microscopy (SPM) and vibrational spectroscopy (Raman scattering or/and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, FTIR).
          >This combination allows for much higher spatial resolution than can be achieved with conventional Raman/FTIR instrumentation.
          >The technique is also nondestructive, requires non-extensive sample preparation, and provides more contrast such as intensity contrast, polarization contrast and wavelength contrast, as well as providing specific chemical information and topography images simultaneously. … etc. …
          — —
          Here the hypothesis, a possible (or not?) future title:
          “Christian Faith Eroded to the Very Core after the discussions of results obtained from Advanced Microscopies”
          I don’t write for denying the Resurrection and disturbing the blog…
          — —
          In any case, trying to stay more balanced, I would also like to say that quoting (and only in part) Maria Valtorta (or other visionaries) is a thing that should not have much sense from a scientific point of view.
          In fact (for example) this mystic /visionary person spoke of two different things:
          – the influence of severe kidney dysfunction (= production kidney toxins) in the formation of Image (on the linen cloth)
          and also of
          – a lightning coming from deep space that strikes (or pierces?) the stone of the tomb (and then I think that this second alleged fact was mentioned by prof. Fanti
          [to reinforce his Corona Discharge hypothesis], but now I have not the exact words of the book at hand…).

    1. a/ Maillard reaction happens at room temperature, that was the point

      b/ What candidate reactants may have been at stake? He was looking for it, ask him directly, i don’t think he has given any clue so far on this blog.

  8. And what room temperature would that be and why have clues not be given? As I said, I want to see a Shroud-like image produced by Maillard and published in a peer-reviewed journal. Image no 2. in the link above can serve as a guide.

    1. Image n° 2 is a superficial coloration, not a shroud like image. Rogers had produced a superfical coloration by Maillard.

  9. Dan, you wrote: “Rogers was always respectful to others. That is a big difference.”

    Not until he re-examines Benford-and-Marino’s theory, Ray Rogers (Peace be upon his soul), had FIRST earlier dismissed both of them as being from “the lunatic fringe”. Is it what you think is being respectful?

  10. Ray Rogers was a thermochemist. He was NO Second Temple period archaeologist, NO forensic archaeologist NO archaeological bloodstain pattern analyst and NO archaeocryptanalyst. As such and irrespective of body hyperthermia, he failed to imagine the possible practice of a (myrhic?) aloetic fumigation to dry out the TS man’s bloodied body (I do hope Louis C. de Figueiredo won’t make any disrespectful ad hominem attacks on me again just because I am telling the truth re what the real field of a shroud researcher really is and I think he is/may be(totally) wrong or subjective while substantiating my opinion).

    Re the TS image formation process: Colin Berry mostly kept recycling my own ideas he first discarded (such as light or pre- mordanting, collimation (via cloth-to-body compression/decompression), use of dust — limestone and/or Judean desert-sand dusts and/or Red Heifer ashes).

    Re the most superficial volumetric negative (in the photographic sense) image formation mechanism, my theory is thermal vapours from the gradually decompressing/loosening long inner winding burial sheet tautly compressed lengthwise —and widthwise in smaller outer dry shrouds—and in-soaked and reacting with a lightly/pre-mordanting alkaline water-based solution (made of deposit of mixed starch and detergent on the outside of the linen threads + human lactate residues, limestone dust and maybe Red Heifer ashes) moisturizing the crucifixion victim’s stiff rigid bloodied body have formed the dorsal-and-frontal imprint through a cloth-to-body “sticking-and-gradual-unsticking process” to account for the integrity of the blood clots.

    1. Colin Berrry just “Hey presto” replaced the limestone and/or Judean desert-sand dusts and/or Red Heifer ashes I advocated by his white flour dust.

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