Comparing Colin Berry’s Methods to Those of Sam Pellicori

imageI spent considerable time in the car yesterday on Interstate 10 between Pensacola and Tallahassee. Just sightseeing; I had never seen the Florida Pan Handle. Lots of trees. Lots of rivers. Lots of time to think about…

Colin Berry’s 1) comparing his methods to those of Sam Pellicori (pictured):

My experiments match those of Pellicori’s almost down to the last detail, but with one crucial difference. My imprinting medium is macromolecular, indeed whole cell in size, namely the crushed endosperm of wheat grains (“white flour”) so greatly reducing the theoretical risk of “capillarity”, though I still have to do detailed microscopy.

2) Colin’s supposition that the shroud is meant to be thought of not as a burial cloth in the tomb but as a stretcher of sorts to transport the body to the tomb.

3) Colin’s strident distain for our all too frequent way of begging the question (he is right on this point, of course).

<!>  reminded me of a paper by Serge N. Mouraviev, published in Applied Optics in 1997 and now available as a reprint of The Image Formation Mechanism on the Shroud of Turin: A Solar Reflex Radiation Model (the Optical Aspect) at

Previous studies have shown that both images appear like rectilinear orthogonal projections of an unknown nature coming from the body and oriented in two opposite directions onto both halves of the Shroud such as would have been possible if the source of the image had had only two dimensions and been suspended between the flattened planes of both halves of the Shroud. Such a situation, which is scientifically untenable but helps us better understand the geometrical proportionality of the images, has been labeled the vertical alignment of the image and strongly speaks in favor of a radiational acting-at-distance transfer mechanism.xxi

On the other hand, the high resolution of the images [at least as good as 0.5 cm (Refs. 11, 16) or even approaching 0.1 to 0.2 cm (Ref. 22)] suggests rather a contact mechanism of transfer. But in that case the way the Shroud must have been laid on the body seems to require the formation of lateral images on both sides and of an uninterrupted transition between the image of the face and that of the back of the head with all the distorsions they involve.

The so-called tridimensionality implies a reverse correlation between the intensity of the shading and the estimated distance from the body, which indicates that only the darkest parts of the image could have been in direct contact with the body whereas other parts were acted upon at a distance.

Finally, note that the image itself was produced by some agent that left on the Shroud a superficial brownish degradation of the cellulose by oxidation, dehydration, and conjugation of the polysaccharide structure of the topmost microfibrils of the linen, changes that can be obtained by sulfuric acid or heat but usually at the expense of superficiality.12

Such are the main elements of the problem that led STURP to the conclusion that the image is “an ongoing mystery”.

3. Misleading Presuppositions

The contradictions just described — between vertical alignment and wrapping, full contact, partial contact and action-at-distance, the uniformity of both images, the gravitational asymmetry of the frontal and dorsal sides of the body, etc. — are the logical result of a number of tacit presuppositions none of which has been questionned so far.

Three are particularly important.

Presupposition 1. The images were produced by some chemical or radiant agent originating inside the body.

Presupposition 2. The images were formed while the body lay in the tomb.

Presupposition 3. Both images, the frontal and the dorsal, were produced simultaneously.

None of these presuppositions is substantiated by anything except the involuntary association of these images with the subsequent resurrection of Jesus, as described in the Gospels. In our opinion, resurrection is not a matter for scientific investigation, and the only assumption we are entitled to as scientists is that the images could be either a natural accidental byproduct of the burial procedure itself, not of the mysterious disappearance of the body, or a forgery (but, as stated, the hypotheses based on the latter assumption must cope with new problems and reject an important part of the available evidence).

Once we eliminate Presupposition 1, we no longer need to look for sources of energy, radiation, evaporation or whatnot inside the corpse of a dead man or try to understand how their pluridirectional diffusion or emission could have produced on a complex surface an image the optic quality of which requires either a focalizing lens or at least a beam of strictly parallel rays and a flat surface.

Once we eliminate Presupposition 2, we immediately identify the nature of those parallel rays. On a spring afternoon in the Middle East the whole atmosphere vibrates under the burning rays of the Sun. They could not have sprung out of the body, but they could very well have been reflected by it.

Eliminating Presupposition 3, we have solved once and for all the problem of alleged gravitational asymmetry between the frontal and the dorsal images. The rays of the Sun could not have reached the body on both sides at once, but nothing prevented the body from being turned over alternatively from front to back. And if so, there would have been no asymmetry.

Certainly this does not solve the main problem, and it even creates new ones, e.g., why both sides of the body were exposed to the Sun, but it clears up many sources of confusion.

Hence we have the following hypothesis. Both images were created by solar rays when and because the Shroud containing the body was exposed to the Sun, first face up, then face down (or the other way around). The rays were transmitted through the linen, reflected by the body and projected onto the inner side of the Shroud.

Could this lead to the formation and transfer of an image of the body onto the cloth such as what we have? This is the optical aspect of the problem. And if yes, how was this image imprinted on the linen? This is the photochemical aspect of the problem. Finally, what combination of circumstances could have created the unusual photochemical and optic conditions required to produce and record the image? This is the historical or, rather, philological (exegetical) aspect of the problem.

We answer the first question exhaustively in Section 4 (although without discussing in detail the concrete local effects on the accuracy of the image), suggest with others the most likely answer to the second question in Section 5, and try to reconstruct in Section 6, on the basis of the Gospels, the most probable sequence of events, acts, and motives that accidently created the necessary and adequate conditions for the images to be produced and recorded on the linen.

And there was this from Colin:

Coming next: my comment placed on shroudstory (though increasingly I ask myelf why I bother with that wet-blanket of a site, one that  persistently evades the detail, trotting out the cut-and-paste words of this or that ‘expert’ to say in effect “You’re wasting your time and ours chum”).

Wasting time? Not at all. Your ideas may in the long run be right. Or they may get us – together even maybe – going down new unintended paths of exploration and thought.

123 thoughts on “Comparing Colin Berry’s Methods to Those of Sam Pellicori”

  1. Is it really science to claim that the Resurrection is outside of science thus any explanation involving the Resurrection must ipso facto be discarded?

    That not’s science that’s agnostic bias or atheistic predisposition.

    Assume arguendo that the resurrection event was a transfer of the body into another dimension or universe. It would probably make sense than that the body traveled both up and down simultaneously AS WE WOULD PERCEIVE IT.

    In the final analysis, Piczek’s description of the the Shroud being an event horizon may just be the best description or metaphor for what happened.

  2. Dan, please explain to me, on “2) Colin’s supposition that the shroud is meant to be thought of not as a burial cloth in the tomb but as a stretcher of sorts to transport the body to the tomb.”

    Would not such a shroud, used as a stretcher, contain smeared blood all over the place? There is not such an effect on the SoT, true?

    1. I’m not defending Colin on this; just reporting. You are probably right if it is real. But if it is a man-made pseudo-relic then the creator of it may not be as smart as the two of us.

  3. Hypotheses (scientists like their hypotheses, on condition they are testable) :

    1. The Shroud is a painting.
    2. It was produced naturally, by chemicals or volatile products from the body, of fluids produced by a combination of processes involving organic reactions and/or materials.
    3. Rapid heating might be the cause of the images.

    Those were the three specific possibilities as Rogers saw them. Of course there was no mention of any miraculous creation or a by-product of Resurrection; that type of thing is totally outside the purview of science.

    Scientists are in the data business, or, as they phrase it, mass, energy, time, and so on. And after all, the Shroud was not a mythic object like the Holy Grail, but an actual linen cloth with images on it. It was made up of atoms and molecules, which science can measure. ;-)

    1. A prediction. Science constrained as you describe it will NEVER explain the image on the Shroud. It’s been trying for 117 years and has come-up empty.

      1. It’s a pity your favorite guru is not around to read that, since it’s his exact words I quote (below the dotted line). See Chapter 8, p. 84/85.

        Yup, John Heller MD no less, that giant among pygmies who, as you constantly remind us, sat at the feet of Albert Einstein. Yet he still signed up for STURP – and wrote a book, packed with meticulous scientific detail. ;-)

  4. The (bio)chemist expert wrote: “And after all, the Shroud was not a mythic object like the Holy Grail. How does he really know? Has he ever researched in and studied the Medieval Arthurian literature? Most likely the Medieval Holy Grail “poetic’ semblances and visions were triggered off by the TS image behaving like an oversized Rorschach (what I have named dormant archaeopareidolias).

  5. To paraphrase Mouraviev, I would tell re “the only valid assumption we are entitled to as scientists and/or archeaeologists and/or professional cryptologists is that the double bloodied body image could be a natural accidental/providentaial byproduct of the Judean main burial procedures itself, not of the mysterious disappearance of the body, or a forgery (but, as stated, the hypotheses based on the latter assumption must cope with new problems and reject an important part of the available evidence).”

  6. With every “scientific” experiment and every hypothesis Colin comes up with – the more I am convinced the Shroud is authentic. I hope he continues his research. Thomas Edison made 10,000 attempts before getting the light bulb rigtht. Colin may try 10,000 times but it seems we will still be in dark as to the true nature of the Shroud. Colin’s failures are enlightening. I do respect his efforts.

    1. You want subtlety? I can do you any level of subtlety you want at no extra cost. I can make you an image so subtle that you’ll need to step back a yard or two, simply to distinguish it from background (just like the real thing).

      The impossible we do today. Miracles take a little longer (like putting the blood stains UNDER the body image – but rest assured – we have the technology).

      1. Looking forward on how you explain all the aspects of the shroud “just like the real thing”..not just one aspect. Glad you’re back…..though you had signed off this site for good.

        1. Strange. I don’t recall ENEA’s Paolo di Lazzaro being required to tick off lots of boxes when he produced a faint brown discoloration of linen with his uv excimer lasers. All he had to do was flog his never-mind-the-lack-of-image-just-feel-the-superficiality message and hey presto he had the whole of shroudology AND the world’s press eating out of his hand.

          I’m only here now for the larfs.

      2. Colin Berry says: “Miracles take a little longer (like putting the blood stains UNDER the body image – but rest assured – we have the technology).”

        ***Angel says: Blood stains under the body image is merely a confirmation of what occurred initially and then finally in the real life of Jesus.

        He was first beaten (scourged) – blood image on the Shroud

        and then He resurrected – Shroud’s body image

        The Shroud was meant to be an historical record for all of mankind, trumpeting the events in the order of their occurrence.

        1. I should maybe have said “ensuring” the bloodstains were underneath etc, i.e ensuring a match with Adler/Heller’s result with the protease.

  7. “Comparing Colin Berry’s Methods to Those of Sam Pellicori”

    Sam Pellicori has published his work.
    Colin Berry is blogging.

    I think Thibault Heimburger had suggested Colin to publish at least a finite pdf. Point an error in Colin’s latest hypothesis and you get 10 posts, 100 comments and 3 new versions of the hypothesis.

    1. Don’t you just love these medics/anaesthetists/clinical lab technicians (whatever) who don’t have the faintest clue as to how scientific research works in the real world (via repeated cycles of hypothesis/experimentation)? That’s to say nothing of their touching faith in solitary unrefereed pdfs, inviting no comments, which supposedly make a stronger case than a similarly unrefereed blog posting (but always open to comments and criticism, though invariably accompanied by the odd troll or two, always ready to display their inadequacies).

      They say one picture is worth a thousand words. Compared with Paolo di Lazzaro’s picture of a faint discoloration of linen after blasting with pulsed laser beams, my pictures are worth a million words.

      1. Colin,
        I think your “real-world” scientific research is showing how truly perplexing the shroud is, even if it is not authentic. Now back to your real-world research, and get us some real-world proof of how it was made.

        1. You make it sound like a quest to disprove the authenticity of the “Shroud”, Timothy. That’s never been this blogger’s quest. It was Di Lazzaro’s claim, December 2011, based on his employers’ lasers, that the “Shroud” image was not reproducible with conventional science, that it needed something extra unknown to science, which made me drop other interests and get experimenting. Di Lazzaro had no business speaking to the press on behalf of ‘scientists’ being more by way of a technologist (oh boy, does it show when you look closely at his papers and press releases). But those distinctions mean nothing to the media. Anyone these days who spends half an hour on the internet considers themselves a scientist.

  8. “Is it really science to claim that the Resurrection is outside of science thus any explanation involving the Resurrection must ipso facto be discarded?” Yes and no. If the Resurrection is explicable in scientific terms, then both it, and the image on the Shroud, and any relationship between the two, can be explored scientifically. If, however, the Resurrection is defined as an event outside of science, then obviously it is not accessible by scientific inquiry, and if the Shroud image is related to the Resurrection, neither is its formation. That being so, it is reasonable for a scientist, simply for the sake of the validity of his exploration, to adopt the first alternative. Such then, is the default position for almost all the scientists to have worked on the Shroud, even di Lazzaro and Giulio Fanti, who hope that some scientific source for their radiation/discharge hypotheses may eventually be found, and John Jackson, who seems vaguely to hope for some ‘new physics’ to come to the rescue of his collapse hypothesis.

    “Assume arguendo that the resurrection event was a transfer of the body into another dimension or universe. It would probably make sense than that the body traveled both up and down simultaneously AS WE WOULD PERCEIVE IT.” Now that’s not science at all. Why should anyone assume that Resurrection involves a transfer of the body into another dimension? But if one did, why would it “probably make sense than that the body travelled both up and down simultaneously”, even “as we would perceive it.”? It’s not impossible, but it’s not science, and as such, it doesn’t have to make sense. There is no need to pretend that it might. If I were compelled to say what a Resurrection miracle might ‘probably’ be, I would look towards those other examples of people raised from the dead by Jesus, namely Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter and the son of the widow of Nain. No suggestion of transferring bodies into other dimensions there, upwards or downwards.

    On the other hand I don’t hold much of a candle to Mouraviev, whose knowledge of optics, chemistry and the burial practices of 1st century Jews appears to be little more than the wildest guesswork.

    Another of my ‘Spot the Scientist’ quizzes. Anybody who includes the following in his writing: “We believe that we have shown or suggested convincingly the following:” is invariably pushing his luck.

    1. Hugh says: “If I were compelled to say what a Resurrection miracle might ‘probably’ be, I would look towards those other examples of people raised from the dead by Jesus, namely Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter and the son of the widow of Nain. No suggestion of transferring bodies into other dimensions there, upwards or downwards.”

      Excellent point. Thank you. This is a case of where Logic and Precedence combine to actually become Science, IMHO. No machines, calculators, test tubes, but still Science.

      1. Except Lazarus et al weren’t resurrected. They were resuscitated. No less awesome a miracle, but resurrection would appear to be something of another strata.

        1. As you so blithely try to pass off…incorrectly.

          Lazarus is the only resurrected person that Jesus personally refers to as “dead.” Jesus said the daughter of Jairus was “sleeping”, but this could have been a use of “sleeping” as a synonym for death.

          From John: When Jesus arrives in Bethany, he finds that Lazarus is dead and has already been in his tomb for four days. Martha laments that Jesus did not arrive soon enough to heal her brother and Jesus replies with the well-known statement, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die”.

          From Luke: “Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
          Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.”

          Wrong again, DG

        2. I should have been clearer in my reply. I didn’t mean that those other people were not dead. The Gospels clearly state they were. I was trying to point out that Jesus’ rising from the dead is much different the other cases, though the process may have commonalities.

          In each case you mentioned, the person was easily identified by their kinfolk. But in Jesus’ case he is not recognized at all at first. Lazarus and the others are brought back to life, they go about their lives in exactly the same way as before they died — and they eventually experience death again.

          The Gospel writers clearly saw the other cases as similar to each other, a person died and then was restored to life by Jesus. But Jesus is not merely restored to the life he had, he is the new Adam.

          The Gospel writers had less trouble detailing the others restored to life. There is clarity in the story – a person was dead, and now is alive again – their death almost a hiccup in their earthly life. Jesus’ resurrection is less easily described to the Gospel writers. He is different now. Something they have never experienced before.

        3. Yes, that is clear in the NT, where we have narratives about the poster-Easter experiences.

        4. All very true. However, in the absence of any other comparison, these revivals from death are all we’ve got, and they seem to have achieved it without dematerialising in vertically opposite directions. Why that particular activity should be considered “probable” eludes me.

  9. An allegory: Friday evenings my wife and I go to our club, meet with friends, and have a few drinks and a meal. But it’s a noisy environment, people mumble, and the several simultaneous conversations become confusion. I’ve been having great difficulty in hearing what people are saying, much of it is trivial, but I’ve been missing important pieces of conversation. Earlier this week I had my hearing aids retuned hoping for some improvement, and I’ll be able to test the results this evening on our regular outing.

    It’s a bit like this site really. Distractions and deviations into irrelevancies, confused thinking, ideas badly expressed, too much noise, a fair bit of garbage, only a few precious pearls of wisdom, but we are not hearing the true message of the Shroud. We need to retune.

    1. “True message of the Shroud”? Is there some faint writing that’s been overlooked? If not, it’s maybe time this blogger made for the hills…

      1. I should think that an important requirement of an experimental scientist is that he needs eyes to see. But even the best of them have been known to miss the obvious.

        1. Es muy común entre los escépticos tener graves problemas de INTERPRETACIÓN VISUAL…..y Colin NO (negación) escapa a ello.

          Las malas imágenes de Broch, Nickel, Garlaschelli presentadas como “casi indistinguibles” de la Sábana de Turín, con el APLAUSO escéptico, es una buena muestra .

          Colin nos muestra una posición de manos “..roughly as seen on the “Shroud” body image.”

          ¡Que barbaridad!

          ¿No verá Colin que en “Hombre de la Sábana” la mano izquierda cruza a la mano derecha a la altura prácticamente de la muñeca y que en su fotografía las 2 muñecas están totalmente “libres”?

          Se entiende perfectamente su “auto-aquiescencia” al resultado de sus experimentos……


        2. The chief purpose of that brief posting, Carlos, was to show how thumbs can easily disappear from sight in the context of reconstructing a medieval modelling, based on a live cooperative volunteer. In that photo shown, one thumb and the angle it makes with the adjacent forefinger is used pincer-like to get a grip on the other thumb and hey presto one then sees fingers-only on the imprint. But you’re quite right – that thumb-to-thumb lock is too low to match the “Shroud” image. Well spotted, and a portion of humble pie will accompany breakfast this morning. But it’s a detail that is easily rectified. The pincer thumb can be used to grip round the wrist of the other hand, i.e. higher up (which makes for a better match with the TS). The pincer thumb disappears from sight in the subsequent imprinting. The other thumb, or the tip thereof, is still visible, but with a live volunteer one simply instructs him to move it out of sight, under the palm, by contracting the appropriate set of muscles. Drat: that introduces a qualifying assumption into the model, i.e. that an arbitrary decision has been taken that was not needed in the discredited thumb/thumb configuration required merely for grip. It can be defended, I hazard to suggest, on artistic grounds – that the strategic withdrawal to a thumb/wrist configuration leaves part of a thumb visible as a stump that looks untidy on the imprint, so one politely asks the volunteer to tuck it out of sight. Personally. I have a low tolerance threshold for qualifying assumptions in other people’s models, like the dozen or so (conservative estimate) needed for a certain well known rival model to work, the one needing clothes pegs on the nose when attempts were made by a certain BSTS newsletter editor to reproduce it in a school laboratory out-of-term time, as happened a year or so ago. Might I be allowed just one qualifying assumption please? I’ve been exceedingly parsimonious in the use of them so far, so feel I’m entitled to this one indulgence. I shall now post as a single paragraph and hope that puts folk off reading this uncharacteristically back-to-the-wall response.

  10. “Hence we have the following hypothesis. Both images were created by solar rays when and because the Shroud containing the body was exposed to the Sun, first face up, then face down (or the other way around”

    ***Angel says: No, unfortunately this could not have occurred.

    I mentioned this 2-step theory about a year ago, similar to getting a sunburn, first frontal area, then turning over where the rays hit the back and Hugh Carey gave an excellent reply that clearly detailed why this couldn’t have occurred.

    Hugh may be able to elaborate, but I recall him stating something to the effect, if the front part of the body was exposed to the sun, the frontal image would have appeared on the top half of the Shroud.

    Yet, if the body were turned over, where the back was exposed to the sun, then the dorsal image would also have appeared on the top half of the Shroud, because the sun’s rays would be hitting the back, not the front. If you are lying on your stomach, under the sun, your back will be sunburned, not your front.

    Both frontal and dorsal images would appear on the top half of the Shroud (like a double-image) and nothing would appear on the bottom half of the Shroud.

    With that in mind, Jesus’ body had to have given off uv pulsed-light (laser light) from both the front and rear of the body simultaneously. The only way this could have happened is if the body were suspended between the top and bottom sections of the cloth, like Isabel Piczek detailed in her “Event” Horizon theory.

    The other scenario for image formation is a Maillard reaction. Colin Berry has continued to trumpet an acid fumigation (rubbing) technique.

    1. I failed to include the alternate scenario and I believe this is the one that was outlined by Hugh Farey.

      If light was projected from the front of Jesus’ body, it would produce the frontal image on the top portion of the Shroud.

      Yet, if Jesus then turned over, the light emitted from the front of His body would produce the frontal image on the lower half of the Shroud.

      With that in mind, there would either be a double-image on the top half of the Shroud, according to my first post or a frontal image on both the top and bottom halves of the Shroud as detailed by Hugh Farey.

      Either of the two scenarios mentioned; however, would not give both the desired frontal and dorsal images on the cloth.

    1. hello Ryan. Call me Colin, assuming that’s not reserved for your goldfish..I was afraid someone would ask me that, since the answer is NO, inevitably inviting flak.

      If the technology required were gee-whizz, requiring say a a collimated beam of pi-mesons, I might have considered a paper to Nature. But a Blue-Peterish 10 minute job with flour paste and a hot iron (or oven) is hardly the stuff for serious science journals, unless meticulously backed up with detailed microscopy. But what does one use for comparison? I gather that the unusual microscopic features of the “Shroud” image fibres (striations, discontinuities, half-tone effect etc) rest entirely on the Mark Evans photographs, probably only some of which are available online , and which in any case show bundles of fibres, not individual ones, scarcely “microscopic”, little better than one would see under a good hand lens.

      Nope, I suggest that anyone who has doubts as to the validity of the flour imprinting model try it for themselves at home. It’s more cookery than science.

      I have hung up my experimentalist’s cap – it’s a lot more fun watching the myriad number of ways in which the pro-authenticity tendency resorts to what I now call cherry jam manufacture (the end stage of cherry picking the data to support an argument).

      1. What about the Berry-Cherry jam manufacturing (it is a fake preconception so it took him a Blue-Peterish 10 minute job with flour paste and a hot iron (or oven) to demonstrate (beyond the shadow of an irrational doubt) it is a fake? Most sadly Colin Berry-Cherry does think his approach is “scientifc objectivity” (he cannot even correctly “read” a cartoonlike drawing!). A real shame!

  11. I am glad to see that Colin now reads John Heller’s book.

    Pellicori wrote two papers:

    – ” The Shroud of Turin through the Microscope” (with M.Evans) in which we read : ” The Shroud is not a product of a clever Medieval artist” ( Archaeology, January-February 1981- Vol. 34)
    – ” Spectral properties of the Shroud of Turin” (Applied Optics, 15 June 1980, Vol. 19, N° 12, p. 1913-1920) in which Pellicori described his experiments. From the abstract: ” Simulated aging by air baking reproduced the color of the background linen. Simultaneously, an invisible deposit of perspiration plus skin oils became visible and displayed a reflection spectrum closely resembling that of the body image. Lightly scorched areas on the Shroud are also somewhat similar spectrally, suggesting that a resultant chemistry is possible for dissimilar causes ..”

    There are many methods to obtain a faint yellowish discoloration of the linen.

    Colin’s method is just one of them.

    Looking at his results:

    I just can say that the imprint of his hand does not at all look like the TS hand.

    Is it necessary to explain the differences ?

    1. “I just can say that the imprint of his hand does not at all look like the TS hand.”
      “Is it necessary to explain the differences ?”

      This is not the language of science. I refuse to engage with any more of this pomposity.

      1. Yannick. If you want to rewrite your last two comments to eliminate the insults I might allow them. Capisce?

    2. I agree 100% with Thibault and I would love to add one important thing: Where’s the reproduction of the blood and serum stains that MUST go along with the body image? Most people (Berry is one of them) seems to continually keep the focus only on the body image while forgetting that there are also blood and serum stains on the cloth and these biological stains are also integrant part of the Shroud! Therefore, before someone can seriously claim he has found a method to reproduce the Shroud, he MUST not only reproduce the image with all its known characteristics but he must ALSO reproduce the very particular kind of blood and serum stains that are present on the cloth, which is something no one has ever come close of doing… I don’t think we’ll see Colin Berry coming close to achieve such a gruesome feat one day because, quite frankly, to achieve this, he would need to get a crucified corpse!!!

      The Shroud is not a forgery and the impossibility to artificially reproduce the particular kind of blood and serum stains we see on the cloth (which can only come from moistened or remoistened blood clots from a highly traumatized corpse) is the best proof of this! That’s one of the most important conclusion of STURP by the way… These biological stains are telling us one important thing: The Shroud of Turin is a real burial cloth of a real crucified man and, in all logic, the image on it came from some interraction between the cloth’s surface and the Shroud man’s corpse. That’s another important conclusion of STURP, which is very solid.

    3. One last thing: Pellicori never wrote anything about the depth of color penetration he got from his tests, but in all logic, because of the nature of his method, it’s pretty sure the color was not restricted to the top-surface of the cloth, which, if I’m right about that, indicates that his method of coloration was DIFFERENT from what produced the color on the Shroud…

    4. Let me just remind Thibault Heimburger the route by which I arrived at flour imprint/hot iron in the current model, and ask him to reconsider that extraordinary comment that it’s just one of many ways of making yellow.

      It began with Joe Accetta’s abstract for the St.Louis conference, suggesting that medieval oak gall ink had been used for imprinting, i.e. a liquid medium that I and others had previously ruled out on the grounds of capillary spread. He added two extra ideas that warranted attention, first that something else was added to increase viscosity, and second that there may have been a mordant added to improve fixation. Not having oak galls to hand, I chose another source of tannins, namely pomegranate rind, extracting into hot water to get a yellow dye. So at this point, yes, there was “just another way of making linen turn yellow”. But it didn’t stop there. I tried adding gum arabic (mentioned by JA) but the increased viscosity did not significantly reduce capillary migration.

      I then thought about dye mordants, and added alum, which made the pomegranate go green, but that was all. I then wondered about the long term action of alum mordant in cloth due to a well known effect of its hydrolysis to sulphuric acid, there being plenty of suggestions in the literature that the “Shroud” image was the result of acid etching by H2SO4 (Nickell, Garlaschelli, STURP 1981 Summary, Hugh Farey). So that was the cue for looking at the effect of sulphuric acid directly, adding battery acid to linen and allowing it to evaporate and become more concentrated. Finally there was a faint brown discoloration, but it needed heat to make it a credible etching agent for leaving images.

      But there is another common mineral acid, one that stains skin yellow – nitric acid. So that was tested on linen, producing a light tan aged effect that looked promising. What was the nitric acid reacting with? Maybe traces of protein, via the well known xanthoproteic reaction that is responsible for the yellow colour of nitric acid stains on skin. That was the cue to coat linen with extraneous sources of protein – milk, egg white, gelatine, white flour etc etc. Pure starch was no good. That’s when two unexpected advantage of white flour were spotted,one, its particulate nature –whole plant cells – gives it an immediate advantage over soluble dyes remaining behind the migrating water vehicle, helping rehabilitate wet-imprinting technology, and two: its adhesive properties either as cold dispersion or hot gelatinized paste proved a bonus when imprinting off skin, helping linen stick under light pressure. Further testing showed that the nitric acid was reacting with the gluten (protein) of the white flour. Might there be a simpler way of developing a white flour imprint?

      Flour has protein and much else besides – reducing sugars etc. Maillard reaction? That was the cue to apply a hot iron to the white flour imprints, or simply place in the oven. Either method works, making the imprints first turn yellow, then brown. One finally had a credible means of imprinting off a human subject with a harmless paste, with convenient adhesive properties, and then developing the yellow colour by the simple application of heat to get a presumed Maillard reaction at temperatures below those needed to scorch linen.

      It’s taken some 3 months of experimentation to reach this present point, some of it involving work with messy dyes and highly corrosive acids. All of it was initiated by cues and clues from the existing science re wet-imprinting, noting its pros and cons, and attempting to refine the wet imprinting model. I now discover from reading Heller’s book that fellow STURP team member Sam Pellicori was not only thinking in terms of wet-imprinting but attempting to model sweat imprints (my idea, or so I thought!) too, but without the benefit of additions to improve viscosity and/or stickiness. Somehow Sam Pellicori’s work got overlooked and forgotten, and here I am 37 years down the line reviving that highly promising line of investigation (which TH must surely have known about, seeing he too has read John Heller). To say that I am disappointed by Thibault’s comment, one that frankly trivializes the science, mine and that of Pellicori, Accetta, Garlaschelli etc in the most cursory and dismissive of terms would be an understatement. I am frankly APPALLED. Best I stop there.

  12. PS: From Heller’s book:

    “Sam Pellicori, a champion of the body-contact hypothesis, had done some interesting experiments. In three separate experiments, he had placed oil, lemon juice and perspiration on his fingers. Then he placed linen on top of his hand and pressed it gently to his flesh. He then placed the cloth samples in an oven at low temperature to produce an accelerated aging effect. In each case there was indeed a yellowing of the contact area. He had brought the linen samples with him. The team examined them and, although there was a surface effect, several of us insisted that we could see some capillarity in several of the fibrils, which is not the case of the Shroud.”

    Note it was capillarity that was the concern – not something as mundane as having the right look or colour. They can change with age. Capillary spread, lacking in the Shroud image, constitutes a far better criterion where liquid-based models are concerned. One wonders if Pellicori experimented with viscosity-increasing agents, as did Joe Accetta later, or whether he got disheartened by the negative feedback from those who forgot, if only momentarily, that preliminary models exist to be refined.

    At least he was spared being told “Oh, stop wasting our time Sam. There are lots of ways you can get a yellow colour on linen. Yours is just one of them”. Lucky Sam. Would that I were so fortunate…

    Model building is clearly something that should be left to scientists. We need no reminding of its limitations. It’s our stock in trade. Our brief is to focus on something that transcends the details. Our quest is to understand a new and possibly previously unrecognized effect or phenomenon that the model might be revealing, one that may well be obscured initially by background “noise”.

    I suspect that we scientists – real ones – the model-building variety – have a greater tolerance for low signal to noise ratio than most. We have to – or nothing new and original would ever be discovered. Isolating an initially feeble signal from the noise is the name of the game. Enhancing the signal, eliminating the noise, is downstream R/D, and can often be left to those whose bent is more towards technology than science.

    1. Colin says: “Our quest is to understand a new and possibly previously unrecognized effect or phenomenon that the model might be revealing, one that may well be obscured initially by background “noise.”

      ***Angel says: Colin, your views are antithetical to many on this forum; however, as a scientist, you are performing exactly as you were trained. Proving or disproving an hypothesis is and has always been the scientific method.

      With that in mind, you should continue with your experimental research.

      Yet, as strongly as you wish to prove the Shroud is a fake, there are those of us (with an opposing view) that will work just as hard as you have done to prove it is authentic.

      Don’t give up though!

      In the end, the truth will prevail.


      1. Thanks Angel. Yours is the first of 16 new comments to appear in my inbox overnight, and better than I dare hoped, given the derisive tone of what appeared late yesterday. Yes, model building, hypothesis testing, retesting, tweaking the model, more re-testing is what it’s all about, and is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some see only the over-simplification in the model and instantly declare it invalid, not realizing that the model serves simply to generate ideas for new experimentation that might not otherwise have occurred to one, and each new set of data can help narrow the field. Yes, models can be the means by which one rids oneself of unhelpful ideas too – one’s own or other people’s. Models are a ‘coping mechanism’ in a situation which Donald Rumfeld summed up beautifully – “We do not know what we do not know”.

        Incidentally, I’m not trying to prove the Shroud body image is a fake (blood will have to take its place in the queue) merely that it does not require unknown science to model it. A model based on a bag of white flour and a hot iron has surely to be more credible than one based on late 20th/early 21st century lasers producing coherent uv light that may not (and probably does not) exist anywhere else in the Universe, unless we are not alone.

        Now to those other 15 comments. On second thoughts, a think first about today’s Topic 13 (having just responded to piero with Topic 12). Clicking on my blue monicker tranports one instantly to the weird and wonderful world of scientific model-building.

        1. That is interesting. Colin is trying hard to find out how the image was formed.
          If shroud is a fake, then creating an image on a piece of linen cloth 14th feet long and 3 feet wide was a responsibility of a technologist who lived either on 1st century or 14th century.
          However we know that that sort of technology was not available as there are no other linen clothes where we can’t find a image similar to the shroud.

        2. Colin, what you state, concerning science, is truth.

          Even accepted theories are disproven each day, as new technology is made available.

          Experimentation by dedicated scientists, such as yourself, will result in a series of failures, before success is finally achieved. So, don’t give up!

          Heck, if we didn’t have people like you, who continue on despite the setbacks, we’d still believe the world was flat.

          And either way, it will be of great reward to finally comprehend how the image was formed through a natural process.

          Thanks for claifying the fact you were not attempting to disprove the Shroud. :)

    1. Yes indeed, I do think the “shroud sphere'” DOES need people like Colin Berry (no matter how wrong or wrong he can be), Hugh Farey (no matter how wrong and right he can be) and me (now matter how “right and right” ;-) I can be).

      1. Yes, Max, what you state is true. :)

        Imagine, those who trumpet the Shroud’s authenticity, with no one to argue with but themselves. Same holds true for atheists.

        At least there is an honest discourse, whether one believes in what the other side posits or not.

        We just can’t afford to be thin-skinned.

  13. All I can say is must have been truckloads of linen cloths available in the 13th century.

    1. Paul says: “All I can say is must have been truckloads of linen cloths available in the 13th century.”

      ***Angel says: Have you found one such linen cloth with a 3:1 herringbone weave?

      Are you confident witht the C-14 dating results, as they related to the linen cloth?

      My belief is the C-14 dating WAS correct, but ONLY correct for the contaminated samples.

      Had the linen Shroud samples tested been pure, the cloth would have analyzed to the 1st century, rather than the 13th-14th centuries.

  14. I don’t know what Paul meant by truckloads of linen. But today we have only one and only one piece of linen which have an unexplainable image of a crucified person with a sign of a crown of thorn and pierced wound on a chest. Furthermore also with a tortured body with scourge marks, and a dislocated shoulder.

    1. I am saying with all the ways that have been tried to replicate the shroud that have not suceeded has required a lot of material so apparanly it would have been required by the original forger. Then my next question is why would the forger been satisfied with such a terrible representation of a human body?

        1. Michelangelo’s David is a sculpture and what we see on the Shroud is an image. Shroudies are convinced that the image is that of a body. A forger would probably try to be more “perfect”, and we must not forget that the image has minute details that no pro-forgery scientists have been able to reproduce.

        2. OK, Paul. No one has been able to produce an image with the microscopic details we see on the Shroud. Above all, the image lies on the crown of the fibres.

  15. Has anyone here ever seen or heard a reference to the mysterious blood on the “Shroud” of Turin? Has anyone here ever seen or heard a reference to the less-than-mysterious body image on the “Shroud” of Turin?

    Nope. Didn’t think so.

    So it’s body image first, then blood. That’s assuming one is relying on more than the deadly duo of loquacity and logic (premises withheld) to wear down the opposition. Like, you know, that boring and oh-so-tedious scientific method with its quaint adherence to the reductionist principle, at least for starters. Claiming that a holistic approach is required is as often as not a desperate rearguard attempt to conceal the poverty of one’s initial preconceptions as they become progressively exposed by the reductionist scalpel.

    1. No it’s not the body image first and then the blood! Unless you can reproduce BOTH things with the same chemical and physical properties, you are losing your time and ours… And you know as well as me that you will NEVER succeed to reproduce correctly the blood and serum stains, because to do this, you must need to find a crucified corpse, which you will obviously never got.

      Look, you’re very far from achieving a reproduction of the body image and you have completely forgotten the blood and serum stains in your reproduction… Can you please be a little more serious in the future?

      1. One thing’s for sure: I never saw one single example of a so-called reproduction of the Shroud through a man-made process that has come close to reproduce the blood and serum stains with a level of authenticity that could be seen as “good” or even “fair”. That’s very telling… The Shroud is not a forgery or, if it is, it has been done by someone who used the real burial cloth of a real crucified man who has been executed in the very same manner as Jesus, which is a scenario far from being probable or even rational…

  16. “No one has been able to produce an image with the microscopic details we see on the Shroud. Above all, the image lies on the crown of the fibres”.

    One wonders if that description “microscopic details” is really justified, based on what one sees in the eight Mark Evans photomicrographs that were cited in 2005, each given added contrast in my photoediting program. Even the celebrated ‘half-tone’ effect may be mistaken, when taken in conjunction with the so-called striations.

    Here is an attempt (see latest Topic 13 at start) to clear out the semantic clutter before addressing in similar detail those so-called microscopic details in my current model (which is now expanded to a 3 stage process: imprinting, image development, image attenuation).

    Yes, most of the image lies on the crown of the fibres, which is precisely what one expects of an imaging-by-contact only process. Sorry Rogers (RIP) Sorry Jackson. Sorry Di Lazzaro etc etc. The commonsensical contact model is/was that pursued by the likes of Pellicori, Garlaschelli, J.Accetta etc. Consider this blogger part of the etc.

    1. Colin,

      No half-tone effect ??

      To “demonstrate” the lack of half-tone effect (as observed in situ by STURP) you have used the ME photographs after applying a very high contrast effect.

      You can’t.

      Do you know how contrast/brightness works ?.
      If not, ask Barrie, a true expert.

      Regarding your experiments, I agree with your approach.

      But, for now the results are not convincing (see my previous message).
      1) the imprint of you fingers shows sharp borders, contrary to the shroud.
      2) No 3-D, contrary to the Shroud
      3) Distortions, contrary to the shroud.

      We need much more.

      1. 4) sure that you got some color penetration deeper Inside the cloth and not restricted to the topmost fibers of the cloth.

      2. I hope and trust that no one else here thinks I would be so crass or cavalier as to propose a model that failed to tick the 3D-properties box (see earlier comment)

        I’ve finally got around to addressing that point. On the positive side, it was an opportunity to flag up some thoughts as to the right and wrong way to use ImageJ.

        The right way is to incorporate a small benchmark into one’s test image that has no 3D history, and to avoid using the z (height) control if at all possible. ImageJ has a non-zero default setting that elicits a small 3D response in one’s benchmark (not everyone knows that, despite it being visible from the initial position of the pointer on the numbered scale). A reasonable 3D response in my imprints is demonstrable using the unidirectional lighting control (the software creating virtual shadow effects) remembering to start with some minimalist smoothing to fell the dreaded needle forest.

        One can read more here if interested, and see the 3D response with one’s own eyes.

        There’s even better model in the offing that will hopefully fend off for a short while at least that other death sentence – one that is never long in coming to those of us with the sheer effrontery to model the TS – namely the lack of defining – or even indefinable “Shroud”-like fuzziness. We have the technology…

  17. Can sweat leave an imprint on linen of a body image? Salt water? Blood? I ask because if I was a medieval forger attempting an image of Christ taken from a transport linen I’d likely start with these relevant mediums. Failing these natural first choices, I might branch out to lemon juice, urine, etc – other materials that are known to leave a stain. If any of these methods produced a decent image, then why would I go with the more complex (by comparison) ones – such as flour?

    BTW, an image of the dead Christ imprinted in his own blood — now there’s a relic that would pack the house.

    1. Are you acquainted with this info from John Heller’s fact-laden book (1983) DavidG?

      “Sam Pellicori, a champion of the body-contact hypothesis, had done some interesting experiments. In three separate experiments, he had placed oil, lemon juice and perspiration on his fingers. Then he placed linen on top of his hand and pressed it gently to his flesh. He then placed the cloth samples in an oven at low temperature to produce an accelerated aging effect. In each case there was indeed a yellowing of the contact area. He had brought the linen samples with him. the team examined them and, although there was a surface effect, several of us insisted that we could see some capillarity in several of the fibrils, which is not the case of the Shroud.”

      I wish I’d known about it early 2012 :-(

      I wish someone on this site had flagged it up :-(

      Here’s a link to my very first hypothesis (thermostencilling), posted just one week after starting in Jan 2012, which suggested lemon juice and starch/sugars as sensitizing agents in a thermal imprinting model, though without suggesting them as a proxy for sweat (not entering this senescent head till SUAIRE was spotted on the Machy mould two years later).

      Sadly it suggested mummified monks, as in the Brno monastery, as a possible template in order to achieve the ‘bony’ look to fingers etc, instantly attracting the scorn of a certain archaeosteganocrypto- wotsit who never misses an opportunity to remind me of those ‘thinking out the box’ semi-skeletal mummies.

      Now if someone had mentioned Pellicori and his “lemon juice” , dismissed by sceptical STURP colleagues as posing a problem as regards capillary spread, I’d probably not have bothered with dry imprinting (scorch hypothesis) and instead looked for ways round the capillarity problem (viscous additives etc). Who knows – a certain scientifically-challenged loose cannon of a historian might have been stopped in his tracks if the Pelilcori contact-imprinting approach had gained traction or been resurrected sooner. Instead it had to wait till late 2014 (Joe Accetta, St.Louis) to see attempts to breathe life back into the suspended-animation wet imprinting model. Our historian is still riding high in Google ratings, more’s the pity… It’s a funny old world. So much depends on chance, but unlike Mother Nature, all too often seems to devolve… They say history never repeats itself. Historians do. ;-)

      1. Thanks for the background, Colin. I knew these materials had been looked at as a possible explanation for the Shroud and subsequently were found wanting — in that they do not match what we have on the Shroud therefore they are not part of the icon’s image formation. BUT (I like big ‘buts’ as the song goes) I’m not worried about what material was or was not used for the purposes of my question.

        If one can get a serviceable image using lemon, sweat, blood etc, then why wouldn’t a medieval relic-maker have used those mediums? Why complexity when simplicity would suffice? It’s not a question for a scientist, more so a detective, but it’s one that does perplex me.

      2. It’s important to set the record straight concerning Pellicori’s experiments… As a member of STURP who agreed with the general concensus that the Shroud is a real burial cloth of a real crucified man and that the image must come from some interraction between the corpse of this crucified man and the cloth’s surface, he tried to find the most rational and probable way that such a faint image could have been produced through a natural process that would be related to the burial of the Shroud man.

        That’s why he tried different burial products and also human perspiration. For the lemon juice, I wasn’t aware of this or, at least, I don’t remember he refers to this particular product in the scientific papers he wrote for STURP.

        In other words, Pellicori’s experiments were not intent to prove the image formation was the product of a human forgery but to find the most probable way a human corpse could left that kind of faint imprint on his burial cloth, which, in Pellicori’s mind (as well as in Rogers mind and some other researchers) must have been completely natural and directly in link with the biological state of the body and/or the kind of burial procedure that was done.

        And here’s a personal reflection: Pellicori’s experiements are strongly pointing against the idea that there has been some burial ointment of the Shroud man’s body before he was placed Inside the cloth. Effectively, taking Pellicori’s results into account, it’s pretty evident that if burial products like that (especially in liquid or paste form) would have been used for the burial of the Shroud man, a lot of yellow stains would have been created on the cloth after some time and these stains would have produced color that would not have been restricted to the top surface of the cloth. Therefore, it seems to me highly probable that no burial product (at least in liquid or paste form) have been used for the Shroud man and this fits perfectly with what we know about Jesus’ burial, which was hasty.

        For the aloes and myrrh, Barbet told us that it’s truly possible that these products were in solid state and placed in bags all around the Shroud (and not in direct-contact with the body and the cloth’s surface), simply as a way to remove the bad smelling in the tomb, while the participant of the incomplete burial of the Shroud man knew perfectly well that they would have to come back to the tomb to finish the job after the Sabbath.

    2. David Goulet says: “BTW, an image of the dead Christ imprinted in his own blood — now there’s a relic that would pack the house.”

      ***Angel says: What about an image of the dead Christ’s face imprinted in someone else’s blood? If the image was exact, including the reverse epsilon or blood “3” on the forehead, would that be convincing enough to prove the Shroud is, in fact, authentic?

  18. “If one can get a serviceable image using lemon, sweat, blood etc, then why wouldn’t a medieval relic-maker have used those mediums”.

    I once worked in a Philadelphia lab next door to a cystic fibrosis researcher, and saw with my own eyes his efforts to harvest sweat from a young patient, which involved tying a polythene bag round his hand and then doing something to provoke sweat. (CF sweat is abnormal – due to a defect in chloride transport). It took a lot of time and patience to collect enough sweat for the next round of experiments.

    It was smart of SamP to test sweat – his own – in order to authenticate his model. But a medieval relic-reproducer was not required to convince modern-day sceptics. All he needed was a proxy for sweat that could be imprinted onto linen, and then turned yellow or brown by second-stage colour-enhancement. Think white flour imprint then heat? That’s not to say that other combinations of chemicals and energy might not have done the trick. Alternatively, there might have been pulsed beams of coherent light from a 21st century uv excimer laser, drawing momentarily on vast sources of unspecified input energy. Ask nicely and Italy’s ENEA will no doubt fill you in on the details. ;-)

  19. I have done my part of the job by reporting the research on both the Turin Shroud:
    and the Sudarium of Oviedo:
    Now it is left to the scientists, both pro- and anti-authenticity, to discuss what is now being said, taking the research on both relics into account, which means both body and blood.
    I presume we will get at least some prominent Shroudies to comment here, since Dan is now being strict about what comments can be posted and he is in a position to invite comments from them.
    That is all I can say for now as my field is not science and I am concentrating on a bit of history to write a small paper, with images, to try and fill the 1204 – 1353 gap with more evidence. There is apparently a book that says that the mandylion was at Sainte-Chappelle:
    Jannic Durand, “Les reliques de Constantinople”, in Dossier d’archéologie, Faton, vol. 264 « La Sainte Chapelle », juin 2001, p. 60-65 (ISSN 1141-7137).
    Assuming that this mandylion was the folded, face-only Turin Shroud, one is bound to ask why Louis IX kept quiet about it, or for that matter, all the people who saw it for the next five hundred years, till the French Revolution. Or was it stolen twice, once during the Fourth Crusade, and the second time by someone who gave it to Geoffrey de Charny?

  20. Louis.

    I tend to accept the case for the Mandylion and the Shroud being to separate objects. Jack Marquadt made a very persuasive argument on that at the St. Louis conference. Also, the Mandylion appears to have disappeared during the French Revolution which was four centuries after the Shroud was displayed in Lirey.

    There was no secret how the Mandylion came to Sainte Chappelle, Louis IX purchased it.

    1. Nice to read some rational comment concerning this topic…

      I think one of the most compelling piece of evidence to understand the Mandylion was not the Shroud is the fact that, for many centuries, there was a shroud of Christ AND a Mandylion that were kept in Constantinople and, among these 2 objects, only the shroud was considered as a relic of the Passion of Christ. In no list of relics from Constantinople you will find any kind of link between the Mandylion and the Passion of Christ, which is very different than many other relics that were, along with the Shroud, considered as being authentic relics of the Passion of Christ…

  21. Hi John

    Thanks for the remarks. The Sainte-Chappelle theory also never convinced me, therefore I am working on the paper.

  22. Sam Pellicori was prepared to consider that the “Shroud” was authentic, as the following extract from a 1979 newspaper article demonstrates, but that is NOT the same as him assuming it was authentic, especially as he is referred to as adopting a thoroughly professional scientific approach and having no religious axe to grind:

    The Milwaukee Sentinel, October 6, 1979
    “Professional doubter on team testing shroud”.,1120753&hl=en

    The history of the shroud can be documented to the 1350s .Beyond that the evidence of its authenticity is circumstantial.

    How did the image get there?

    Pellicori exercises scientific caution in answering that question. The team (ed. STURP) is not to make its conclusions public for a year. By then more study will have been done, possibly including carbon-14 analysis that could date the shroud.

    Pellicori said there were currently two hypotheses. One is that the image is the result of chemical reactions of the cloth and some bodily emanation.
    The second more metaphysical theory is that it was caused by a “sudden burst of energy from the body”.
    He would not say whether the analysis indicted (sic) if stains on the shroud actually are bloodstains as some believe.

    Pellicori himself is not a religious person. His interest in the shroud is scientific he said. For Pellicori, though, it would be nearly impossible to “prove” that the shroud is what it is purported to be. “All you have is circumstantial evidence at this point, and maybe that’s all we’ll ever have.”

    Suppose his modelling with persiration, oil and lemon juice had closely matched the “Shroud”body image? Does anyone here seriously believe that he would have immediately trumpeted that as evidence for authenticity? The tone of the article suggests otherwise, As an emotionally detached and conscientious scientist, he would have proceeded to set up two hypotheses – one based on authenticity, the other based on medieval forgery.

    Maybe Sam will get to read this sometime, and hopefully confirm my hunch.

    1. I think you misunderstood Pellicori about the whole issue. Lemon juice was probably used by him as some kind of control while using something that could evidently caused some oxidation of the linen fibers. In his scientific paper, he never refers to that product. He only talks about what kind of color some known burial products or skin perspiration could produced on a linen shroud many years after a contact occurred. His whole paper was intent to give a rational explanation for the image Under the assumption that this cloth is a real burial shroud that enveloped for a short period of time a real crucified corpse.

      In no place in his paper you can find any reference to the possibility of a human forgery. Pellicori never believe this and so is the STURP team as a whole. Their main conclusion about the Shroud is clear about that. The Shroud is a real burial cloth. Therefore, Pellicori (just like Rogers by the way), was trying to find what natural process in link with a Jewish burial could have produced that kind of faint image. That’s where he came up with the idea of a direct-contact transfer between some burial ointment or some skin perspiration on the Shroud man’s corpse and the cloth’s surface. However, because his hypothesis would surely produced a penetration of color much deeper than what has been detect on the Shroud, most of the STURP members have rejected Pellicori’s hypothesis or, at the very least, have cast great doubts over it…

      And when Pellicori said: “For Pellicori, though, it would be nearly impossible to “prove” that the shroud is what it is purported to be.”, he was not talking about the question of whether the Shroud is a burial cloth of a real crucified man or not. This question was resolve by the STURP team. It is. What Pellicori meant here is that it is virtually impossible to prove without any doubt that this shroud is the one in which the dead body of Jesus of Nazareth was placed on Good Friday.

      Now, the record as been set…

  23. I don’t think it’s up to Yannick to tell us what Sam Pellicori meant. He was, and as far as I know still is, a scientist, and scientists don’t on the whole “prove” things. In his 1980 Spectral Properties paper he says that his work “suggests that contact with a human body plus the passage of time played a significant role in the later appearance of an image imprint of that body,” and he was clear in saying that he did not think the image was a product of human “chicanery.” However, although aware of its distortion problems, he was in favour of a natural body covering causing a degradation of the linen by direct contact before being washed off. His experiments with lemon juice played an important part in helping him reach that decision. If he reads Colin’s suggestion that an effective sweat substitute on a live model could also produce the result he suggested, I think it probable that he would admit of the possibility.

    1. The scientific paper you quote is quite clear about the fact that the main goal of Pellicori’s coloring experiments was not to show how a brilliant forger could have produced the Shroud in the Middle Ages, but to show one possible way in which the image could have been formed naturally through a direct-contact process coming from the interraction of the Shroud man’s body and the cloth’s surface.

      To understand this, you simply have to consider STURP main conclusion, which is that this is not a forgery and the image on the cloth must have come from some kind of still undetermined interraction between the corpse and the cloth.

      In sum, to understand correctly the purpose of Pellicori’s experiment, you must always keep in mind the main conclusion of the STURP team for whom he was a member. In the light of such a conclusion, it’s pretty evident that he never thought about a man-made forgery while he was doing his coloring experiments.

      1. I doubt that STURP required that everyone agreed on everything. Moreover, there is no way that you can know what anyone thought about from time to time unless you have obtained some specific information from them. I know you want to believe it. That’s fine. But because you believe it does not make it a fact.

        1. [First paragraph redacted]

          Read again the quote given by Hugh: ““suggests that contact with a human body plus the passage of time played a significant role in the later appearance of an image imprint of that body.” and he was clear in saying that he did not think the image was a product of human “chicanery.”

          Read his paper and we can exchange… This is EVIDENT that his experiments were done to evaluate the potential of a natural process that would have come from the interraction of a real crucified corpse and the cloth.

          And you know why this is evident? Because of the blood and serum evidence! At the time he wrote his paper, Pellicori was sure that these stains were genuine and, therefore, he knew (just like anyone else in the STURP team) that the Shroud was a real burial cloth of a real crucified man. Something that some people around here seems to have a great difficulty to understand. The blood and serum stains PROVES that this is not a forgery and Pellicori knew this as well as me. His experiments were done to check his idea that the image came from some burial products reacting with the the cloth or from the perspiration of the Shroud man reacting with the cloth.

        2. Hi Yannick- Did STURP find the traces of burial products. Only Gospel John tells us that body was wound with the spices where as other 3 synoptic Gospels tell us that body was wrapped with a clean linnen and on Sunday women went to annoint the body of Jesus with spices.

        3. Hi Sampath
          Sorry to have to butt in. Remember I told you not long ago to buy Ian Wilson’s “The Shroud. The 2000-year-old mystery solved”? You will find everything you are looking for in the book.
          It is important for you to read the book. Why? Because you are keen to learn more about the Shroud, and Rome will not allow another hands-on examination, certainly not in our time.
          You may ask, And why will Rome not allow another hands-on examination so soon?
          Response: It is written all over the walls.

        4. Thank you Louis.

          I want to find out whether the spices had any role in the formation of image on the Shroud.

        5. It is not known whether any myrrh, spices, oils, bodily secretions, pigment, paint media or any other coating had a role in the formation of the image. The STuRP team was generally agreed that nothing remained today but the original material, and that the image was the result of the deterioration of that material. However, various people have suggested various intermediate substances, both natural and artificial, as a result of the suffering and funeral of Christ or as a medieval process, in order to achieve this deterioration. In an article Pellicori wrote for Archaeology magazine with Mark Evans, he said: “The hypothesis that these changes [to the cellulose] were catalysed by natural skin secretions or preservative burial ointments is in no way diminished by the absence of these substances today – they could easily have evaporated or even been washed away over the centuries.” Some scientists feel that it is unlikely that every single trace of any intermediate substance could have vanished completely, be it pigment or spice or whatever, so that either some trace does in fact remain, such as McCrone’s red ochre or Rogers’s starch coating, or that its total absence means it was never there.

        6. Directed to Sampath Fernando:

          यीशु मैं जिस तरह से सत्य और जीवन हूँ ने कहा
          Hi Sampath
          Don’t misunderstand me, the above line is to help clear the confusion with regard to your query about reincarnation, which you mentioned not long ago. If there is reincarnation then Jesus wasted his time coming to our world.

          As for the spices, you may have found something refuting this theory in the discussion about the Maillard effect in the interview with Dr. Di Lazzaro:

          Hundreds of Jews were buried with spices and wrapped in shrouds during the time of Jesus. The conclusion is obvious.

          If you want the latest about the Shroud, also encompassing all the research, get hold of a copy of John Klotz’s book:

          You will learn everything there.

        7. Thank you Mr. Farey and Louis and for the valuable information.

          Still I can’t understand why women went on Sunday morning to annoint the body of Jesus if that body was already annointed by Joseph of Aramathia on Good Friday.

        8. Hi Sampath
          The gospel of John says that Jesus’ body was wrapped in the burial shroud together with spices, not that the body was anointed.
          It seems that there was no time to do everything, that is why Mary Magdalene went on Sunday morning to do the rest.

        9. Well, received wisdom is probably that the Friday burial was an extremely hurried affair consisting of little more than laying the body on the cloth, packing preservatives around it and folding the cloth over the top. The proper rites were reserved for when there was time – on Sunday morning. Max, for one, totally disagrees with this, and others make time for at least some of the prescribed ritual, perhaps including washing, on the Friday evening.

        10. Hugh, what difference does it make if Max agrees or does not agree with this? Is he a biblical scholar? You yourself have poked one at his trade on this blog.

        11. Only to say that different people have different views. There is a whole range of possibilities between Max’s elaborate rituals and the hurried packing of bags of spices around an unprepared body, any one of which may be what actually happened.

        12. So what? You yourself dismissed his views as imaginary reconstruction, just a few days ago.

        13. Correct, but to a certain extent. When one reconstruction is proferred as though it comes from an eyewitness, worth publishing in a book like the one by Bauckham, then it is obviously something that has gone beyond limits.

      2. It’s part of the job description of the scientist to:

        (a) scan the literature in search of any data that might assist with a solution to his or her own current research objectives

        (b) to evaluate and maybe use that data feeling under no obligation whatsoever to buy into that other researcher’s views.

  24. “… PROVES … ” Tsk, tsk. But Yannick has missed the thrust of my argument. Pellicori felt that the Shroud image was formed entirely as a contact image between secretions on the skin and the cloth. If it had been suggested to him that these secretions could just as easily have been simulated, I think he would have admitted the possibility. Furthermore, if it were shown that simulated sweat actually produces a better likeness to the image on the Shroud, particularly as regards the superficiality of the image, I think he would give the hypothesis a fair hearing. It must be remembered that the majority of the STuRP team retained their objectivity and retired rapidly from public pronouncement as the team leaders lost theirs.

    1. Not he wouldn’t have admit the possibility, for the good and simple reason of the blood evidence, which proves that if the Shroud is forgery, it MUST have been done with the use of a real crucified body and, between you and me, this idea is very far-fetched, especially when you know like me the kind of relics that were done in Medieval time.

  25. Question for you Hugh : Why is it so hard for you to understand the crucial significance of the blood and serum stains on the Shroud? Have you read my paper about that? This one :ément-The-evidence-of-the-bloodstains.pdf
    I think I’ve succeed in this paper to emphasize the great importance of this aspect of the Shroud, which PROVES that the Shroud is a REAL BURIAL CLOTH OF SOMEONE WHO WAS BEATEN, SCOURGED AND CRUCIFIED IN THE SAME MANNER AS CHRIST!

    Because of this FACT, the only possibility left for a forgery is to think of someone who would have used a real crucified body to produce a false relic of Jesus showing all his bloody stigmata. This is possible, but frankly, this idea is very far from being probable and, among the 4 possible scenarios I wrote in my paper to explain the Shroud, this is probably the one that rank lower than all the rest…

  26. “Why is it so hard…”
    “… PROVES …”
    “… FACT …”
    ” … the only possibility … ”

    We live in different mindsets, Yannick. I am aware of all the observations, arguments, discussions and conclusions that have been made about the bloodstains, even yours, although I prefer to work from primary sources. On the whole, I think the evidence points to the blood being actual blood and quite probably human, although that is validly disputed by some. However I do not find any of the extrapolations convincing; that it is dried blood remoistened, or consists of serum retraction rings, or that every stain is surrounded by a fluorescent ring of serum, or that there are no corpuscles, or that venous and arterial blood can be distinguished, or that pre- and post- mortem blood can be distinguished. I do not agree that the bloodstains are ‘undisturbed’, and I do not find the evidence that the blood appeared before the image convincing, particularly in the light of Rogers’s contradictory evidence.

    None of this is hard for me to understand, nor for any other scientist. Some think that on the whole the evidence supports authenticity, and others that it doesn’t, but none of them would be so unscientific as to image that the issue is proved as a fact (or PROVED!! as a FACT!!!) either way.

    1. The blood PROVES that the Shroud is a real burial shroud of a real crucified man. The blood evidence is the most solid piece of data we got from the Shroud and it’s not even enough for you, even though it was for the STURP team and for numerous blood and medical experts who studied this relic, starting with Barbet… I’m sorry, but a medieval forger who would have put the blood artificially would never have been able to fool all those experts. It’s just to much.

      You remind me of what Jesus said in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus: “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” Except that, in your case, I would say: “If Hugh do not listen to Barbet, Adler, Baima, Zugibe, Bucklin and all the other experts, he will not be convinced even if a new series of chemical tests on the Shroud blood would show him that the blood is real blood and that it comes from a highly traumatized individual.” In such a context, I think I will let you with your thoughts and keep mine for myself.

  27. “The blood PROVES that the Shroud is a real burial shroud of a real crucified man.

    It does for you, Yannick, and that’s fine. Now can you quote one single sentence from any of those experts: Barbet, Adler, Baima, Zugibe, Bucklin, Heller, Adler, Rogers or whoever, saying that they thought the same? Just one sentence? From any one of them? As I say, it’s more of a mindset thing than a real disagreement.

    1. Read this:

      And particularly this sentence: “We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist. The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and also give a positive test for serum albumin.”

      IT IS NOT THE PRODUCT OF AN ARTIST. Therefore, like 1 + 1 makes 2, it’s EVIDENT that it is a real burial shroud! Now, the question of whether or not it is the one of Jesus of Nazareth is another story… No proof there.

  28. I just got another look at the second paper Pellicori wrote for STURP with Mark Evans, which is called The Shroud of Turin Through the Microscope and it didn’t take me long to confirm all that I said the other day about the FACT that Pellicori never thought that the Shroud was the product of a forger and, therefore, his own hypothesis for image formation can’t be taken as giving some potential clues about how a medieval forger could have produced this relic!

    Here’s an important quote from that paper concerning the image (emphasis in caps lock are mine): “The Shroud IS NOT THE PRODUCT OF A CLEVER MEDIEVAL ARTIST. And we now have some FIRM AND GENERALLY AGREED UPON EVIDENCE about what caused this hauntingly mysterious image – the accelerated structural degeneration of cellulose fibrils as a result of NATURAL, CHEMICALLY INDUCED MOLECULAR CHANGES IN THE MATERIAL.” Note: for Ray Rogers, this last sentence is close to be correct, except for the fact that this natural, chemically induced changes happened not in the structure of the linen fibers but in a thin and uneven layer of impurities.

    Now, here’s the following sentence from Pellicori’s paper, which is very telling and interesting: “The hypothesis that these changes were catalyzed by NATURAL SKIN SECRETIONS (note: he said “natural” and not “artificial”) OR PRESERVATIVE BURIAL OINTMENTS (note: no word about lemon juice, which was surely used by Pellicori simply as a form of control substance for comparison with skin secretions and burial ointments) is in no way diminished by the absence of these substances on the Shroud today…”

    And here’s another important quote, now concerning the blood evidence (which is the kind of strong evidence that most certainly helped Pellicori and the STURP team concluding that the Shroud is a real burial cloth of a real crucified man and that the image is most probably the result of a natural interaction between the Shroud man’s corpse and the cloth): “But there seems little doubts that these stains, which penetrate to the reverse side of the cloth, ARE THOSE OF BLOOD. In areas where the particulate clumps have been removed, they have the DISTINCTIVE AND CORRECT homogeneous reddish-orange COLORATION. It seems that these areas were probably soaked with a colored liquid less viscous or dense than whole blood – most likely BLOOD SERUM which separates from whole blood at death. Optical spectrophotometry and microchemical analysis have since CONFIRMED that the suspected blood stains in fact CONTAIN HEMOGLOBIN.”

    Do I need to continue? I hope that these quotes will be enough for anyone to understand that Pellicori coloring experiments were not done to back-up the idea of a man-made forgery and to find a sort of alchemist formula that could have been used by a medieval forger, but were done to evaluate his hypothesis that this body image came from some form of natural interaction between the Shroud man’s corpse (or some burial substances placed on his corpse) and the cloth’s surface. I also hope these quotes will be enough to understand that Pellicori’s conclusions about the Shroud was exactly the same as the main conclusions of the STURP team, which is that 1- the blood on the Shroud is most probably human blood. 2- the Shroud is therefore a real burial cloth of a real crucified man. 3- the image on it most probably came from an interaction between the Shroud man’s corpse (or some burial products placed on his corpse) and the cloth’s surface.

    Now, if Colin Berry want to reproduce the Shroud image using skin perspirations and/or burial ointments, that’s fine, but he must understand that, whatever the level of success he can get by doing so, his copy of the Shroud will forever be incomplete (and therefore, not alike) because he will forever be unable to reproduce correctly (forensically speaking) the blood and serum stains that we see on the Shroud and which, alone, are enough to prove the Shroud is not some kind of man-made forgery! In the end, if he wants to lose his time, that’s is choice and he’s totally free to do so…

  29. Yannick, thanks for telling again us about the blood and serum stains. Maybe after you repeat yourself another 450 times I’ll begin to understand.

    1. I’m not sure… After reading all the comments in this page, I think I will need to repeat it 1000 times or more.

    2. By the way, your comment prove what I just said, as it is evident that you did not understand the purpose of my long comment, which was to prove to Hugh and others that what I said the other day concerning Pellicori’s main purpose with his experiments was 100% correct.

  30. Last thing I want to say about Pellicori’s experiments is that they were highly considered by the great Ray Rogers when he started to built his own image formation hypothesis and that’s one of the things I tried to underline in this paper of mine:

    What’s very interesting is the fact, at first, Rogers thought that the main catalytic compound responsible for the Shroud image could well have been skin perspiration, which would have caused a caramelization process with a layer of carbohydrate impurities and, after more reflections on the subject, he changed his mind (which is something not a lot of Shroud researcher is able to do obviously) and proposed instead a Maillard reaction process coming from post-mortem gases, while still keeping the hypothesis of the layer of impurities intact concerning the image chromophore.

    Thanks again to Joe Marino for having dig up this unpublished paper of Rogers, which is an important piece of history when it comes to understand how this great scientist built his image formation hypothesis.

  31. It is very clear from Yannick’s post that it was not the blood that convinced STuRP that the Shroud was not the product of an artist, but the image itself. The blood, as the quotes above confirm, assists, but is not the crucial factor Yannick finds it to be himself. The insertion of the word “therefore” in “1 – the blood on the Shroud is most probably human blood. 2 – the Shroud is therefore a real burial cloth of a real crucified man” is gratuitous. There is no need for Yannick to repeat anything. Sam Pellicori thought that the image was a contact image caused by secretions and ointments. He experimented to see if such a hypothesis was worth pursuing. Had it been suggested that his experiments could have been performed on a living body, he would no doubt have considered the possibility. He did not base his belief that the Shroud was authentic on the bloodstains.

    1. And then there are potentially realistic bloodstain scenarios suggested by Crossan: “My best understanding is that the Shroud of Turin is a medieval relic-forgery. I wonder whether it was done from a crucified dead body or from a crucified living body. That is the rather horrible question once you accept it as a forgery.”

      Yannick’s “proof” maybe allows for such a forgery.

      1. I agree that the only possible forgery scenario is the one that involves the use of a real crucified man, just like Crossan thought (a dead crucified body since the Shroud image shows evident signs of rigor mortis and there are post-mortem bleeding on the cloth). Other than this it’s pure fantasy. At least, you can see that I don’t completely reject the forgery hypothesis, but I include it in a scenario that can fit the data we know from the Shroud, which is obviously not what Colin Berry is doing right now.

        And concerning the last comment of Hugh, I still disagree with his assumption concerning Pellicori since he stated clearly that the Shroud was NOT the product of some form of artistic forgery. He was totally convinced of this, so it’s evident that he would have reject the idea proposed by Hugh of the use of a living body to produce artificially the image. And if he was so sure the Shroud was not a forgery, it’s in good part due to the evidence of the bloodstains. Pellicori talked a lot about this solid evidence in his papers and it’s surely not due to hasard.

      2. In fact Dan, if you read my paper « Concerning the question of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin: please, don’t forget the evidence of the bloodstains!!! » in Page 6, you’ll see that I describe a scenario involving the use of a real crucified man, which could potentially explain the Shroud (even if such a scenario is, to me, far from being the most probable). Here it is:

        1- It is a real burial shroud of someone other than Jesus of Nazareth who suffered the same tortures as he with a forged image done by someone without using any art technique. In this case, a forger “naturally” produced the image while using a real human corpse. Because of the great resemblance between what happen to Jesus in the Gospels, we must assume that this forger did it in order to produce a false relic of the Passion of the Christ. Also, because of the presence of many differences between any known artistic depictions of the Passion of the Christ prior to the first known public exhibition of the Shroud in the 14th century and the bloodstains and the body image that are on the Shroud (for example, the nailing in the wrist instead of in the palms, the wearing of a cap of thorns instead of a crown and the very distinct dumbbell shaped marks of scourging coming from a Roman flagrum), we must assume that if he tortured and crucified himself (with the help of some collaborators), this forger was well aware of the Roman procedures concerning scourging and crucifixion. In fact, it is even more rational to think that this forger used the body of a real crucified victim who was put to death by the Romans, before the crucifixion was banished by the emperor Constantine, in the last years of his reign that ended in 33720. We also have to assume that this forger took the dead body out of the shroud before it started to corrupt in such a way that this extraction did not disturb the bloodstains, never broke the linen fibrils under them and did not disturb the body image21. In sum, this scenario can be described like a “natural” forgery using a real tortured and crucified body. And whether or not the forger knew that he would obtain a body image on the cloth, along with the bloodstains, is not completely clear. In fact, the formation of an image like that could have well been just an accident.

    2. Last thing: Hugh, your assumption versus Pellicori is as ludicrous as thinking Rogers would have agree with a forgery scenario involving a living man covered with a substance that would release ammonia gases in order to produce the image! Rogers, just like Pellicori, knew perfectly well that the Shroud is a real burial cloth of a real crucified man and this is the blood evidence that tell him this the louder…

  32. Like all scientists worthy of the name, Pellicori was, and I dare say still is, open to the possibility that he could be wrong.

    1. That’s not the question was debated during the past few days Hugh. You were constantly claiming that Pellicori would surely be open to the idea of a man-made forgery and I disagreed with you completely. You even forced me to go back to Pellicori’s papers and that’s when I gave you PROOFS that he was totally against such an idea. This is 100% clear in his papers that his conclusion about the Shroud was in total sync with the main conclusion of STURP, which is that the Shroud is a real burial cloth of a real crucified man and, therefore, the image can’t be the work of a medieval artist. The only possible scenario involving a forgery is to think that a forger would have used a real burial cloth of a real crucified man to reproduce Jesus’ bloody stigmata and, for an unknown reason, he would have get in bonus a faint imprint of that crucified body (most probably through pure luck). And I will tell it again: such an idea is far from being the most probable explanation we got for the Shroud…

    2. I think that if a new series of direct test would proves that the blood is not human blood, then me and Pellicori and many others would be ready to change our minds about the Shroud, but you can bet your house that such a day will never come, since the blood evidence is probably the strongest piece of evidence we got from the STURP inquiry.

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