Close to the finishing line or the starting line?

clip_image001A reader writes:

My reading of things is that STuRP tried a few ways to try and create the image. Finding none, they declared the image a scientific mystery. The unfortunate consequence of this was a tendency of apologists for the faith to stupidly declare that modern science could not reproduce the image. The failure of STuRP only means that no one has yet found a way. It means nothing more, unless, of course, there was a miracle.

I have been reading Colin Berry’s blog posting about testing a method of coating a human subject with flour and imprinting an image onto a wet cloth which is then cooked in an oven. It is ingenious and possibly correct. Maybe modern science can find a way that does not count on a miracle. That means that a medieval craftsman might have been able to create the image on the Shroud. It does not mean that he did.



Philosophically, at least, this serves to remind us that there may be many other ways of producing the image that no one has yet thought of.  At least one of those methods might be a phenomenon of nature in the tomb. One might be the consequence of the byproducts of a miracle.  One might be an arts and crafts method.

Colin’s ingenious work warrants examination:

There’s something very odd about the coloration of the “Shroud” fibres at the microscopic level. It’s to do with (a) the unifomity of coloration between different fibres (b) discontinuities on coloration, i.e. a sudden loss of coloration on particular fibres and (c) the coloration affecting the entire circumference of each fibre (we’re told). The model studies to date reported here with the dry flour/wet linen imprinting seem to match at least two of those characteristics , i.e. (a) and (b) . Who knows, maybe (c) too if I make an effort to view each fibre in the round, maybe by using high magnification on coloured fibres that have separated – or been separated – from neighbours in a thread.


Where are we at? Close to the finishing line would be my guess as regards the body image. It can be accounted for as a dry flour imprint onto wet linen that seeped its natural flour oil (1.5% approx by weight) during oven roasting, causing the hot oil to track along individual linen fibres producing yellow half-tone coloration with discontinuities when/where oil was limiting. It is not impossible that imprinting of the TS body image was carried out, as here, using  flour supplemented with a small amount of added vegetable oil or some other lipid-like or lipid-rich material.

32 thoughts on “Close to the finishing line or the starting line?”

  1. I like your point, Dan, that if simple natural ‘ingredients’ like flour/flour oil could account for the image formation then what other natural medium might have also worked? While Colin may be winding down his experiments it’s really all just begun. Thanks to Dr. Berry for that.

  2. “…flour oil…” ????

    But you’re realizing that the oil in contact with the blood, may produce stains and therefore could not exist the same good resolution (which, however, we can observe on the Shroud) for the bloodstains?
    In short:
    So: …what did you say?
    Where are the useful experiments with bloodstains
    on linen, oil and flour?
    “Flour treatment – imprint” is an interesting way,
    but “flour and oil” seem to be a vague idea,
    until there is not a clear proof…
    Try to think what can be the result (= about the
    problem of resolution, on bloodstained areas) of
    an “oil migration” over the bloodstains…
    Am I wrong in my remark?

    1. Errata corrige:
      >But… Are you realizing that oil in contact with blood,
      may produce stains and therefore could not exist
      the same good level of resolution (which, however,
      we can observe on the Shroud) for bloodstained areas
      of the Holy Shroud?

      Instead of:
      >But you’re realizing that the oil in contact with the blood, may produce stains and therefore could not exist the same good resolution (which, however, we can observe on the Shroud) for the bloodstains?

      1. The bloodstains are not smeared, this is simply due to the fact that a vast majority (if not all of them) came from still moistened blood clots (in various degree of clotting) and/or re-moistened blood clots (which would have been dried at some point and then re-humidified).

        Do you agree on that?

        … and then: what can happen if there is oil?
        In short:
        How much oil should have the mixture with flour, to not make happen the phenomenon smearing/blurring for bloodstains?
        In short:
        What is the maximum allowable quantity of oil in the mixture of oil with flour, in order to avoid problems regarding “Image of blood” obtained with bloodstains and oil?
        In my opinion this is a very simple problem to solve (with some simple experiment).

  3. I believe you can try to use Patent Blue V
    (a dye useful in the case of the determination
    of the hydrophilicity of the textile material to be checked)
    in your experiments in order to show what happens (and then,
    see also another argument: capillarity and textile clothes).

    >Patent Blue V,
    [C27H31N2NaO7S2 (as Sodium salt)]
    also called Food Blue 5, Sulphan Blue,
    Acid Blue 3, L-Blau 3, C-Blau 20, Patentblau V,
    Sky Blue, or C.I. 42051 and is a dark bluish
    synthetic triphenylmethane dye used as a food coloring. …


    >…The color of the dye is pH-dependent.
    >In aqueous solution, its color will vary from
    a deep blue in alkaline or weakly acidic medium
    to a yellow–orange in stronger acidic conditions.
    >It is useful as a pH indicator for the range 0.8–3.0 …

    In laboratory tests Patent Blue V is noramlly
    used at a concentration of 5 g / L…

    1. Errata corrige:
      >In laboratory tests Patent Blue V is noramlly
      used at a concentration of 5 g / L…

      Instead of:
      >In laboratory tests Patent Blue V is normally
      used at a concentration of 5 g / L…

      But I have read somethin about another test:
      LINRA test (Wipe-off test)…
      using observations with a positioning of drops
      (with a paper and with an engine put in motion …).
      But, unfortunately, surfing the Web, I have found
      nothing about a dye (used in this LINRA test):
      Violet Lissamine 2BS…
      — —
      In any case:
      on the one hand there is the problem of
      the hydrophilicity and the other that of
      the affinity towards the oil (by blood)…

      1. Please excuse myself for my earlier words,
        these words were composed in a bit hastily.
        Here is the simple explanation: the library was about to close …
        I expressed myself badly regarding the exact action of the oil in his preventing the transfer of blood imprints on linen cloth …

        I appreciate the efforts of Colin Berry,
        but I would like to see appearing a bit more amount
        of precise informations…

      2. There has been a reversal in the message sent on August 21, 2015 at 9:59 am
        [Here the right errata corrige:
        In laboratory tests Patent Blue V is normally
        used at a concentration of 5 g / L…]
        this has happened between “errata” and the text as it was sent

    1. I’m not a scientist, can you explain why you say this? What exactly is problematic with the diagram, from a scientific perspective? I ask this sincerely.

  4. Whilst no longer willing to participate in discussion, for reasons that should again be self-evident, that won’t prevent me from adding links to back up the proposed new model, and/or defend it from ill-informed or malevolent comments.

    Of course the viscosity of oils, vegetable oils included, decreases markedly with temperature. Here’s an easy-to-read paper from just last year that documents that effect with vegetable oils.

    Who apart from me remembers the ads for “liquid engineering”, i.e. of engine oils, with some being marketed as “viscostatic”, meaning their composition has been engineered such that the viscosity does not decrease as the engine comes up to normal operating temperature? But re-engineered viscostatic engine oil is the exception that proves the rule.

    1. Of course the viscosity of oil decreases with temperature, but:

      “How’s that oil likely to behave when a flour imprint on linen is placed in a hot oven? My guess is that as it heats up, its viscosity will decrease. It will become runnier, and start to spread”

      a. Oil will start to spread as soon it touches the fiber
      b. Viscosity is not as much the issue as wetting and capillarity

      You should have blue spreading as well as red spreading.

    2. Maybe this ingenious medieval artist invented synthetic oil too…and oil which won’t saturate into cloth either…This guy was a miracle worker for sure. ; )

  5. I would object to the abrasive “stupidly declare.” It’s not stupid to say science cannot reproduce the image because even to this point, the FACT is science has FAILED to reproduce the image with all the properties of the image on the Shroud. This is no way means it CANNOT be reproduced, only that is HAS NOT been reproduced.

  6. Have just added a rider to the above as Topic 7 on the current posting, together with two new higher magnification images (sorry about the poor resolution, but that’s probably due to the cylindrical 3D light-reflecting/bending geometry of linen fibres).

    Might (just might) the coloration be INSIDE the fibres, not right on the surface. If so, why might that be?

    See the link to a paper reporting from detailed microscopy – light and electron microscope- that some of the lignin of flax bast cells (as used for linen) is not only inside the fibres, but in the S1 layer that would put it just below the PCW. Have we all been looking in the wrong place? Are Di Lazzaro’s laser-generated pulses of uv radiation actually targeting that S1 lignin, not “cellulose” as claimed, generating hot spots that may then cook what’s around them? First Law of Photochemistry: light – regardless of wavelength or how generated – has first to be absorbed by one or more chromophores for there to be any chemical reaction – which would include faint yellow/brown coloration. So the first priority of photochemists (I can’t speak for laser physicists) is to identify your chromophore. Uv light is far more likely to target an aromatic compound like lignin, albeit as a minor constituent of linen, than a non-aromatic carbohydrate like cellulose.

  7. Vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) photons are known to modify the chemical composition.
    Then I think we have to evaluate in an exact manner (and then see also my past suggestion to use SPMs techniques) the vacuum ultraviolet photon penetration depth …
    The penetration depth of VUV is very short, see also a simple fact: the attenuation by liquid water (and perhaps this can be indicated as a vague explanation)…

    That said, it is that with this I want not to then defend with a sword the works by Di Lazzaro & C…
    For example (in order to understand what can be the effect of FeOx dusts, etc.):
    try to see what the effect of a light, sunlight on linen samples exposed to the sun partially covered by a mask that effectively obscures the sunlight (a metal mask, suitably shaped, can fit).
    Therefore, try to see the difference in color (at the end of sun exposure) between samples of linen without any special treatment, and those contaminated with rust (iron oxides =) …

      1. This post will be deleted as soon as Dan sees it. A stern warning should also be issued to the contributor to refrain from this kind of absolute nonsense.

        1. I had to look the word ‘enthymeme’ up – so full marks for forcing me to enrich my word power. This at least is a reasonable criticism. I’ll give you a mulligan on the previous one, Stan. It’s not like I’ve never shared an off-colour joke that bombed (and regretted it).

  8. Things are proceeding apace on my site. As suspected, the oil-supplemented dry flour/wet linen system is making it far easier to see what’s what, not having to contend with the fainter halftone images generated in the non-supplemented system that relies (hypothetically speaking) on the tiny amount of natural oil in white flour.

    Under high magnification and with maximum contrast to aid visualization (but still visible once the eye knows where to look) one can see that the new pigmentation generated by heating (in this case microwaving rather than fan-oven) is not on the most superficial PCW as predicted. It appears to be in a layer that is (probably) just underneath, which I hypthesize to be a lignin-reinforced layer in the outer (S1) part of the secondary cell wall. See especially the image within the yellow rectangle.

    Does anyone have a well-equipped laboratory they can spare for a few weeks, supplied with with light and electron microscopes (and trained technicians) , histochemical staining chemicals, and dare one say, even piero’s AFM (I predict an unchanged surface topology, due to the image NOT being on the PCW!). Sorry piero. That’s sweet revenge for calling me ‘unprofessional’ just the other day ;-) No piero, I don’t respond to direct or even indirect questions on this site, for reasons that should by now be obvious, but I did respond to yours just the other day, placed on mine. Did you see it?

    1. Colin,

      “Note the coloration lies beneath a glossy reflective layer(PCW?) that is uncoloured!”

      No disrespect but the way you are using the microscope is a non-sense (at least in this case) !

      Your so-called “coloured fiber” (yellow rectangle) is not at all a fiber. It is the “space” between two fibers.


      If you want to try to know where the color is in your new model (very difficult), I suggest you to look at single fibers, using very high magnification, and without “maximum contrast”.

      Something similar to Fig. 19 or 20 in my old paper:

      Click to access scorch-2-eng-final.pdf

      More later.

      1. I have just the minute added an additional photomicrograph, low v high contrast, to Topic 8, current posting, by way of reinforcing my interpretation, and rejecting the above version.That’s all I’m prepared to say on this site.

        PS to David G: I’ll be responding to your question re oven size in a day or two on my own site, as a new “Topic” (Week 35 starting tomorrow). In the meantime, take a look at Shroud Scope, central long axis.

        Ever wondered about the two parallel tracks, paler than surroundings?

        1. Software glitch (see following comment) – happens all the time. The image was saved but not displayed.

          Here it is, low v high contrast.

          With the higher magnification x10 objective, most linen fibres look fat, with brown interiors after acquiring thermal imprints from flour +/- oil. Brown backgrounds are impossible, especially as the illumination is from above only (thus the black interstices).

    2. What I can see is another picture (which shows nothing interesting), that has nothing to do with what I wrote above

      I repeat your picture does not show a fiber.

      I repeat: Your so-called “coloured fiber” (yellow rectangle) is not at all a fiber. It is the “space” between two fibers.

      I repeat, you CAN’T demonstrate anything with this kind of picture.

      Your answer is not an answer.

  9. “…the tiny amount of natural oil in white flour. …”

    I ask another time:
    What is the exact amount of oil?

    now, here I have another question to pose:

    Have you tried to check which are the effects (on linen samples)
    using a scale based on different amounts of oil (in your mixture with flour)?
    I believe that bloodstains result as blurred
    and/or smeared images (on linen) with a certain
    quantity of oil (then I am curious to see what is the
    “critical percentage of oil”).

    Here another point for this message:
    Have you tried to see what happens with spinekard oil?


    >Spikenard, also called nard, nardin, and muskroot,
    is a class of aromatic amber-colored essential oil derived
    from Nardostachys jatamansi, a flowering plant of the
    Valerian family which grows in the Himalayas of Nepal,
    China, and India.
    >The oil has, since ancient times, been used as a perfume,
    as a medicine and in religious contexts, across a
    wide territory from India to Europe. …
    >… In Rome, it was the main ingredient of the perfume nardinum …
    >… Nard was used to perfume the body of Patroklos by Achilles
    in Book 18 of Homer’s Iliad … etc. …
    >… In the New Testament John 12:1–10, six days
    before the passover Jesus arrives in Bethany.
    >In Bethany, Mary, sister of Lazarus uses a pint
    of pure nard to anoint Jesus’s feet … … …

    >Coat of Arms of Pope Francis.
    >According to the Vatican, the flowering plant is
    a representation of the spikenard and
    symbolises St Joseph … (…are we sure of that?)
    — —
    See also another possible reference:
    “The Ethnocultural significance for the use of plants
    in Ancient Funerary Rituals and its possible implications
    with pollens found on the Shroud of Turin”
    by Dr. Marzia Boi
    Universidad de las Islas Baleares:

    >…In the funeral rituals of more than 2000 years,
    appears the use of the myrrh and of the incense
    in general, and more types of spices are not specified;
    in the burial rites the myrrh, oil of nard and other
    oils are utilized for the anointment of the corpses (Nielsen, 1986). … …

    See also the ideas (about oils…) by Norma Weller
    (1932-2007), a well known painter.

  10. OM = Optical Microscopy.

    Here a definition for “Becke line”:
    A bright halo which is observed near the boundary
    of a particle that moves with respect to that
    boundary as the microscope is focused.

    Here another phrase about this “Becke line”:
    >The bright halo observed near the boundary of a fiber
    in a medium having a different refractive index than
    the fiber, when viewed microscopically with transmitted
    light …

    And now I ask:
    Are we quite sure that the same “Becke line”
    has truly nothing to do with the image that (before)
    showed us Colin Berry?

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