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What Do We Know About the Images? By Colin Berry

I have long advocated for for increased engagement by and with qualified skeptics in Shroud science.  No one is perhaps better academically and experientially qualified than Dr. Colin Berry (PhD), a retired biomedical scientist in the UK, who has been studying the Shroud of Turin for many years. A look at "CS Berry" in Google Scholar shows the breadth and depth of his work over the years (not all of entries are his, only most of them, his name being so common). 

In the interest of seeking truth over advocacy, I asked Colin, what is it that we know and don't know about the image? I am delighted to be able to publish his well-formed, thought-provoking views. 

What do we know about the image that is crucially, repeat CRUCIALLY significant? Would it be  (a) its faintness and apparent superficiality,  dare one say, ‘ghostly’ character or (b)  its faint yellow colour, scarcely visible to the observer as that of a life-size adult male unless standing back a metre or two  (etc etc).

. . . might it be that the coloured “fibres” were not actually fibres at all?

keep reading . the answer will become clear

Nope, it would be an aspect, one that strangely, some might say perversely, one that gets no mention whatsoever in the 1981 STURP Summary, namely its negative, tone reversed character. 

If you mention  “negative image” to most (if not all)  TS authenticists,  what answer do you get? 

Answer: the image was generated via some kind of photography (supernatural input of some kind, needless to say, if 1st century as claimed, despite the 1260-1390 result from radiocarbon dating .  Yes, that’s assuming  – pro-authenticity generation in the 1st century AD via some kind of radiation outburst, whether from surroundings, or, wait for it – take a deep breath –  the corpse of the Crucified Jesus. 

 Yes, we’re assured there must have been some kind of miraculous photography operating in the 1st century. 

Where? How? Press harder and you may well hear about a miraculous flash of radiation occurring on the Third Day post-Crucifixion.   (Thus the referrals to the TS as a largely “later-than-Day 1  post-Sabbath “burial shroud” – rarely if ever seeing any mention to  Day 1  with its “Transport Shroud”   deploying the “fine linen” summoned up by that otherwise obscure Joseph of Arimathea (as per Gospels 1-3). . 

Yes, you’ll be told it has been modelled (after a fashion, albeit weak in the extreme) via 1st century “corona discharge”   ( Prof Giulio Fanti, Coordinator /Prime Spokesperson for the somewhat inconspicuous Shroud Science Group why???? ), or via pulsed UV laser beams ( similarly Italy-based governmental ENEA’s Paolo di Lazzaro et al) . 

So how, one might ask, did the “photography” link with a  (yawn-provoking?) negative tone-reversed image arise in the first instance? Was it the obvious conclusion to arrive at, given the basis of those ideas, namely the NEGATIVE, TONE-REVERSED IMAGE that we see on the TS. 

As indicated, a negative image is simply tone-reversed. Meaning what precisely? Generated by what background conditions? Miraculous or as encountered on an everyday basis, at least from time to time?

 Answer:   There are the so-called positive images: things in which the highest, most prominent relief, thus catching and reflecting most incident light,  appear the brightest to the onlooker, as expected.   Parts of the viewed item which have lower partially recessed relief,  i.e. shadowed by neighbouring higher relief, accordingly look darker.   

Yes, things that are shadowed look darker needless to say, when plunged partially or completely into obscuring shade.   

So what about “negative”, i.e. tone reversed images,   the kind that one would see if using old-fashioned photography, i.e. using light-sensitive chemically-based emulsions to capture a similarly negative image before  2nd stage printing off the tone-reversed positive? 

Is the negative tone- reversed image exclusive to 2-stage  19th century photography (namely snapshotted positive subject converted first to a negative image –  then back to positive at second stage printing off)? 

Answer: NO.  Resounding NO! 

To claim so would be a  massive logical fallacy (which is what the amateur photographer Secondo Pia  (described as a lawyer by profession) allegedly did so,  see below, way back in 1898).  And guess what,  he was largely believed, and – amazingly – his mistaken conclusions going largely unchallenged to this very day!. 

Let me explain. Negative images have been known for centuries, even if not described as such. 

Example? Think contact imprints, say the traditional brass rubbings from centuries ago, some still surviving..  Take something with a contoured surface, one where the highest relief looks brightest when viewed with the naked eye   (on account of  NOT being shaded by higher relief nearby)  one where the lowest relief looks darkest, i.e. through being partially or totally shadowed by neighbouring high relief. 

Visual aid? See my posting on the negative image from brass rubbings. 

Fig 1: Left: Brass rubbings from the 11th century. Yes, contact imprints (which goes without saying) i.e.showing negative, tone-reversed character. Right: the same photograph following (a) tone reversal, to return from negative to positive image (plus some optionally added entirely artificial 3D enhancement using ImageJ software). They were taken from a posting I did back in 2016.
https://shroudofturinwithoutallthehype.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/who-says-science-cant explain-the-shroud-of-Turin

So why for goodness sake did STuRP fail to flag up the key negative nature of the TS body image?

Answer: the claim is/was credited to the amateur photographer Secondo Pia (a lawyer by profession, invited to take photos of the TS in the late 19th century).  He used photography first of all to improve the definition/clarity of the TS body image, then viewed what was on his  Stage 1 photographic emulsion, then the secondary print. 

The first as we know was a tone-reversed image, as expected, given the chemistry of 19th-century photography, deploying light-sensitive silver salts to capture the initial image (lightest parts giving darkest image as metallic silver, darkest giving lightest). 

Secondo Pia was instantly surprised by what he saw, namely that his Stage 1 negative imprint looked like a POSITIVE of a human subject and vice-versa. How could that be, he wondered? 

 Answer: simple: the image of the subject was a tone-reversed negative to start with. The 19th-century photography merely reversed the tonal intensity, converting a tone-reversed negative back to a positive.   So was it scientifically credible to claim that the TS image had been generated initially via some kind of photography? 

Answer: NO, definitely NO!.  If a scientist (as distinct from Secondo Pia a lawyer by profession) one had to look for alternative mechanisms by which tone-reversed negatives could be generated, ones that did NOT require or involve obligatory photography. 

So what were the commonsensical alternatives? 

Answer: yes that brass rubbing as shown above could and indeed SHOULD  have supplied the answer – but sadly received no mention.  

So what is it about brass-rubbing that generates a negative tone-reversed image? 

Answer? No, not photography, but CONTACT IMPRINTING, where the highest relief (brightest on original viewing) generates the DARKEST image. Why?  Answer: through making first contact via the more localized pressurised contact due to 3D topology with the imprintable surface and vice versa.

TS faint body image: painted, imprinted, or another?

As already flagged up, STuRP referred to “linen/body ” contact as a means of diminishing, indeed dismissing “physical cloth-body main contact” per se as the (main) theoretical means by which the TS acquired its image. Contact alone, we were informed, could not account for the sharpness and detail seen in the FACIAL image, compared with the rest of the body.

But that as baldly stated was a somewhat misleading argument, given the complex relief of the facial features compared with the rest of body (torso, limbs, etc), given that powder imprinting CAN capture the fine detail, as displayed above on my Galaxy Warrior imprint.

Is there a quick and simple way of proving my point, one that does not require folk to attempt flour-imprinting at home, with the need for second-stage heating?

Yes, there is, and while a wee bit messy, it involves a simple ingredient, namely charcoal (the barbecue variety, crushed with a hammer to get a fine powder) plus a simple accessible part of the human anatomy – namely the back of one’s hand.

Yes, rub the latter with powdered charcoal, shake off the excess, then overlay back of hand with light coloured fabric (maybe linen, but cotton will do), then press the cloth down firmly onto one’s hand, TAKING CARE TO USE VERTICALLY-APPLIED PRESSURE ONLY. (Why? In order to capture the topography of the flat (upwards-facing part of the hand) thus avoiding the sides. Imprinting of the sides, even partially, would result in a distorted image that basically cried out “Yup, I’m merely an engineered contact imprint”.

Why that cautionary note? Answer see my photograph below showing the near photograph-like character, correction NEGATIVE TONE-REVERSED IMAGE of my hand , as obtained with charcoal-powder imprinting in a manner that tries to avoid the sides!).


Fig 2: LEFT: negative tone-reversed imprint of my left hand obtained using powdered charcoal. (Note the near photographic quality, arguably not too dissimilar from the TS in character and quality). RIGHT : The same image, as seen after tone-reversal (negative back to positive) using easily-downloadable ImageJ computer software.

Yes, there is some image distortion on the forefinger (extreme left) due to slight wrap-around of the linen, but one does not see it on the two middle fingers, where adjacent fingers to left and right prevent any wrap-around effect.

OK, so that’s a quick and simple visual aid, one that demonstrates the effectiveness of contact imprinting in producing end results that tick a number of boxes.

What about flour-imprinting followed by heat-induced browning to render the image visible? (My Model 10 for starters, Model 9 maybe coming later)

Fig 3: flour imprint taken from back of my own hand, as seen after heat-development.

Yes, there’s the initial negative image, roughly comparable to the previous charcoal-based version. (Oh and yes, it responds similarly to tone-reversal, and indeed to 3D-enhancing ImageJ!).

It’s anyone guesses as to why contact imprinting remains the poor relation in TS research to this very day. No, admittedly it did not get a good start from STuRP in 1978, given that earlier largely irrelevant reference to face versus body differences. Craig and Bresee came along in 1994 with a splendid but sadly somewhat sidelined science-based publication, talking up contact imprinting. (Dan gave a booster posting on it later, shortly before I personally came on the scene, which sadly I missed initially).

Yes, the resort to facial v body imprint as the sole means in the STuRP Summary to play down contact-imprinting was not in this experimentalist’s view an example for modern-day scientists to follow (kindly note, STERA Prezzy, given that pasting of yours claiming STuRP to be a model for today’s scientists!). My Galaxy Warrior imprinting above, plus that of hand (and much else besides, held back for now) shows that contact imprints, while maybe not as well-defined as paintings, least of all, one presumes, ‘supernaturally-aided snapshots’, can nevertheless be held up as models for the TS body image (we’ll discuss blood – or “blood” – later).

However, this brings us on to another issue that needs to be addressed if wishing as I do (admittedly) to promote my flour-imprinting/heating Model 10. (Sorry folks, it’s been some 10 years in the making, with scarcely an internet mention, other from the ideas-receptive Dan Porter on this and his multitude of previously retired/reawakened blog site postings). The new idea/issue in question? Answer: “Superficiality of image” as listed in Dan’s suggestions for issues for me to address in this posting.

Yes, powder imprinting avoids the common sidelining down the “just a painting” road when the evidence strongly suggests otherwise (negative image, lack of brush marks etc). But we then find ourselves transported to the opposite pole by SSG members and its Chief Spokesperson, aka “Coordinator” in their 2010 paper, Microscopic and macroscopic characteristics of the Shroud of Turin image superficiality, one is ever so gradually sold, para’ by para’, on the seductive idea of the TS body image being ultra-superficial, confined to a layer on the fibre’s PCW (primary cell wall) a mere 200nm thick (yes a mere 1/5,000th of a millimetre!). (One would hardly know it was there, but for its faint yellow coloration: but at least it explains, or tries to, why one has to stand metres back from that super-superficial TS image merely to see that one is observing the body of a naked male – making it just as well that it has also those bolder victim-identifying bloodstains!).

But there’s a big shortcoming where that 2010 paper is concerned. The particular sample of TS examined?

Answer: Rogers’ Mylar sticky tape sample, taken during the STuRP visit in 1978. No, not microscopy of the intact, unstripped TS. What one might reasonably ask might have changed or altered re body image v associated fibres if/when deploying that aggressive strip-off procedure.

It gets worse, much worse. Microscopy was restricted, mainly if not entirely to longitudinally- spread image threads and fibres(aka LS viewings), without inclusion of TRANSVERSE (TS cross-section) fibre specimens. Microscopy was introduced to me at school and university as joint LS versus TS – never one without the other!

Progressing from where we’ve reached thus far on this posting (notably the negative image, contact imprinting, etc) to that super-superficiality claim is not one that can be taken in a simple single step. One has first to “clear the decks” so to speak, to address a number of background details. Then and only then, one can look critically at the crucial, nay dominant, super-superficiality claim, one that underpins so much that appears in the media and elsewhere regarding the claimed “ghostly” and “miraculous” nature of the TS body image, generated by some kind of Third Day Resurrectional outburst of radiation. Yes, one has to look critically, as stated at microcopy employed, i.e. LS , mainly if not entirely lacking TS, at the nature of the sample (sticky-tape sampled versus untried alternatives, notably (still to come) mechanical fragmentation of TS image-bearing threads and fibres, or chemical solution of fibre cellulose.

Where you may ask does it end where this posting is concerned? Answer (supplied as a mere hint, a tiny clue: it ends with introduction of a new (ish) concept – my own – that can be summed up as follows: bogus/phoney image fibres, produced by capillary migration of a briefly liquified image chromophore along inter-fibre channels largely invisible within the TS, then solidifying to create the “bogus image fibre” in the microscopic channels that exist between genuine image fibres. Please bear with me before reaching that finale! Let’s return (as briefly as possible) to background detail first).

So what led me to powder-imprinting, as distinct from brush-stroke art (or flash of radiation image-capturing “photography” in the Gospel era!.

There were two main factors. First, as stressed earlier, there was the tone-reversed negative that largely excluded painting. But there was also a separate idea. It was the model developed by Ray Rogers (STuRP’s chief chemist no less) namely that the body image was not on the linen per se as some variant of chemically modified cellulose – as flagged up in the STuRP Summary. It was on some kind of coating that had been applied to the linen in the course of spinning and weaving. But what precisely?

Rogers proposed “starch”, purified no doubt from cereal grains, etc, i.e. freed from sugars, proteins, etc. Rogers proposed a chemical pathway that led starch to become yellow or brown.

Let’s not dwell on the chemical details, except to say that starch alone would not have supplied all the needed ingredients to achieve his so-called “Maillard reaction products” aka melanoidins, given the latter require amino-carbonyl reactions. (Indeed, starch would have been hard-pushed even to supply the needed carbonyl functions!). Cue Rogers’ stroke of genius: might it have been skin secretions ((sweat etc to put it crudely) on a crucified body that supplied the additional ingredients for a yellowish body image? Answer: maybe, or there again, maybe not! Cue science-based speculation, followed by experimental modelling.

There were other considerations that tended to back up the Rogers’ model, over and above that flagged up by STuRP. Members of the latter had discovered (importantly!) that the TS body image could be bleached using a number of specialized chemical reducing agents, notably diimide, hydrazine, alkaline hydrogen peroxide, etc. They fit with Rogers’ version of chemistry, inasmuch as they bleach melanoidins etc via reduction of colour-endowing conjugated double bonds. But here’s the rub where STuRP is concerned. Look at the quoted passage above, and you’ll see a reference to “sulphuric acid” as a means of modelling a body image starting with cellulose. But go to John Heller’s 1984 book on the STuRP operation, and what does one find? It was CONCENTRATED sulphuric acid that was deployed, which is not just a browning agent, but usually, given a short time, a CHARRING AGENT too, i.e. producing black elemental carbon. That would tend to exclude the possibility of total colour bleaching, given the inertness of elemental carbon to so-called “bleaching agents”. ! So big, big question marks hung not only over Rogers’ model, but STuRP’s too, inviting one to seek new alternatives, whether to simple added starch OR to intrinsic cellulose as the component responsible finally for a yellowish image-depositing chromophore after a complex series of chemical reactions.

Not mentioned thus far is the Mark Evans of STuRP. No, not a chemist but a skilled photographer and microscopist, one who took pictures entirely off the intact undisturbed TS, i.e. prior to Rogers’ sampling/STuRP investigation with “sticky tape” specimens. What he spotted through his microscope at relatively low magnification, looking at threads and fibres from image and non-image zones, was truly bizarre (so much so that his findings have if the truth been told, been largely sidelined and/or overlooked in the subsequent 40 years and more. Evans described the image fibres as displaying what he called a “half-tone” effect, plus “image discontinuities”.

“Half-tone” effect? Image colour is evenly dense wherever one looks. It’s merely a case of that even colour being present or absent!

Image discontinuities? Look along the image “fibres”, and the colour can abruptly cease!

I, along with most others, did not give Mark Evans’ descriptions a lot of thought, until viewing my own Model 10 flour imprints, whether from toys, my own hand etc under home-based (cheapo) microscopes. Suddenly, the penny dropped. The image threads and fibres, viewed sideways on were displaying, guess what? Yes, a “half-tone” either/or effect” (Shame the view was somewhat blurry, which Is why I did not immediately publish the side-on view – one that matched Evan’s too. But it didn’t stop there., seeing at least of hint of sudden “image discontinuities”. Modelling can work – just once in a while, even if less than perfect.

I wasted no time in taking TS (transverse) cross-section, and found something totally unexpected. While coloration looked even, viewed from the side, that was not the case in cross-section. There was a speckled appearance to the cut ends of threads, suggesting (at first sight!) that one was seeing a mix of coloured “fibres” directly alongside uncoloured ones.

I have Dan (Feb 2019) to thank for flagging up my transverse sections of my Model 10 flour-imprinting/heated linen fibres.

See image below:

Fig 4: note the speckled appearance on right hand side (ignore left) , suggesting that “fibres” are intermixed with intensely coloured ones immediately adjacent to uncoloured (????) . But who’s to say that one is really looking entirely at “fibres” (coloured v uncoloured) when viewing the cut ends of threads?

See my final science-based posting from June 2022 for ideas regarding inter-fibre channels along which a (briefly?) liquified chromophore can migrate via capillary action.

Here’s my simple no-nonsense explanation for the Turin Shroud. Think roasted whole-body medieval FLOUR IMPRINT.

Explanation: might it be that the coloured “fibres” were not actually fibres at all? Might it be that the colour was NOT within the core of as such fibre (e.g. the inner SCW – secondary cell wall as I first proposed) but in longitudinal spaces, i.e. the narrow channels running BETWEEN the fibres?

So why a half-tone effect? Answer: might the image-chromophore have been generated and released from the roasting flour imprint as a liquid (albeit briefly)? Might the liquid have leaked into channels BETWEEN the fibres, progressing along via capillary action, until suddenly coming to a dead halt (either because the supply of liquid from source had run out, or the liquid has quickly solidified, or maybe both!

So what impact if any would that sequence of events, involving a migrating LIQUID chromophore, have on what one sees if, like STuRP (and subsequently the 2010 pdf paper from the Fanti et al SSG group)?

What impressions, false ones especially, may have been created, especially if looking at fibres that had been stripped away from their mother-threads by means of Rogers’ sticky tape?

Thus far this has been mainly based on the chemistry. We now need to switch to physics to get a better grip of what relevance the otherwise unexplained Evans’ findings might have on those later claims for body image being confined to an ultra-thin layer on the PCW of fibres. Might an artefact have crept in unnoticed, one based on sticky-tape sampling, one that was absent from Evans’ viewing of intact threads and fibres?

Guilio Fanti (Team Leader) plus a selection of named Shroud Science Group colleagues used for the most part (it seems) image fibre specimens that had been harvested from the 1978 STuRP investigation using Rogers Mylar sticky tape. (The latter was pressed down onto the TS with limited pressure, then pulled away together with stripped-away fibre fragments with some attached image chromophore).

See: Microscopic and Macroscopic Characteristics of the Shroud of Turin Image Superficiality

The main conclusion of that 2010 paper? Answer: the TS body image is an ultra-thin layer that is some 200 nm thick ( i.e. a mere 1/5000th of a millimetre!). What’s more, it is specifically confined to the outermost PCW (primary cell wall) of the linen fibres. (The paper is packed with additional detail – some quite good and observant – that will have to pass without comment for now).

Can the incredibly thin PCW-confined claim be accepted without question? Or might there have been some disruption of the image-fibre relationship due to that sticky-tape sampling (chosen as a means of minimising damage to the TS).

I say (based on my Model 10 flour-imprinting studies) that there is a sizeable question mark over the 200 nm claim. Why?

Answer: the paper makes reference to Mark Evans of STURP, who, as already indicated, performed microscopy on the entire TS (not a stripped off sample). He observed and reported the so-called “half-tone” effect, he did likewise for “image discontinuities”. Yet neither effect receives interpreation in that otherwise authoritative-looking 2010 Fanti et al paper.

As already stated, my Model 10 microscopy suggests an unexpected mechanism whereby image chromophore interacts with linen fibres. No, not merely by binding of a (mystery) chromophore to linen fibres. No, far from it.

Evans’ finding can be interpreted as follows. The TS body image was developed by heating body-contact imprinted linen. The initial yellow chromophore exuded from the flour particles as a LIQUID initially. The liquid intruded into the channels between fibres (initially occupied in pre-retted flax by pectins etc), and then proceeded to be wicked along those channels by capillary action (the channels being exceptionally narrow). Thus the even coloration of the image chromophore along the LENGTH of fibres. Thus, additionally, the sudden discontinuities due either to a limited supply of chromophore OR to solidification of liquid chromophore, or maybe both.

Impact on microscopy, if viewing the threads and fibres spread on their sides? Inter-fibre channels, plugged with chromophore, may well have been mistaken for coloured fibres! Put another way, what was viewed and reported as image fibres may have been nothing of the sort. They could have been “bogus” aka “phoney” image fibres, masquerading to the unaware microscopist as image fibres when they were not!.

When viewing sticky-tape samples, the confusion gets worse – at least in theory. Who’s to say that the sticky tape has not merely stripped a thin layer of inter-channel chromophore off with the fibre, leaving most of the chromophore behind on the TS – such that what gets taken away from Turin in 1978 was simply a low yield sample of the chromophore? Might the claims for an exceptionally thin image layer, barely visible, “ghostly” etc be an artefact, based on selective, exceedingly limited sampling of the image chromophore? Might the decision to deploy sticky tape for sampling have carried with it a huge penalty, nay sting in the tail, unrecognized at the time, and indeed for decades thereafter, up to and including the 2010 SSG paper by Fanti et al?

So what can or might be done in a STuRP Mk 2 to explore the alternative interpretations that can be made of Rogers’ sticky tape samples, and whether or not there is a logical explanation for Mark Evan’s two main descriptors (half-tone effect, image discontinuities).

Were one to have access to the TS per se, and were one to be able to sample sufficient material, then two obvious means of avoiding sticky-tape sampling to better define image location/thickness spring to mind.

The first is to take image-bearing linen (yes, whole linen) and subject it to intense mechanical grinding so as to break up the cellulose and PCW cell walls into smaller particles. After monitoring the end-result by microscopy, there would be a further step, namely to employ separation techniques that exploit any differences in particle size and density, e.g density-gradient centrifugation. Might one then see chromophore fragments freed from inter-fibre channels that exceeded 200nm in size?

That’s the physical approach thus far. There’s a chemical alternative too, one that relies on a particular liquid reagent that is unique in dissolving cellulose cell walls etc, namely that intense blue cuprammonium ion, formula Cu (NH3)4 ++. (One makes it as I recall by adding ammonium hydroxide to a solution of copper sulphate, filtering off the precipitated copper hydroxide, then dissolving the latter in an excess of ammonia solution. Would that similarly free-up chromophoric material that may have been trapped within inter-capillary channels, allowing it to be seen separate from its (limited?) attachment to PCW?

This retired researcher, now TS experimentalist, decided against trying to get better microscopy of his LS v TS piccies from low-cost home-based microscopes. He felt that sophisticated microscopes were required? But where based, and belonging to whom.

The decision was made to approach the SSG Chief Spokesperson, namely Prof Giulio Fanti at Padua University. I supplied him via registered post with a roasted flour imprint taken of my 14cm Galaxy Warrior’ plastic figurine.

Response: have previously described the finally negative outcome of that approach in a previous comment on this site. Nothing (that I’m aware of) was done with my Model 10 sample. Instead, I got a 24-point list of why my approach to the TS was entirely wrong!

This is a cut-and-paste of a previous comment to Dan Porter’s posting, The Shroud’s 3D Problem Gets in the Way of the Truth:

Colin Berry

May 26, 2022

Back in Jan 2019 I contacted Prof Fanti at Padua University asking if he would be willing to examine microscopically a sample imprint (from a plastic toy) in first instance – with a human hand imprint maybe later). I gave reasons (theoretical, to do with his suggested superficiality of TS body image fibre, as put forward in his collaborative papers with fellow SSG members – though I made no reference to SSG as such).

The initial response looked promising. But he then began making references to “confidentiality”. Would he be free to discuss his findings with “friends” (again, no specific mention of the SSG). That issue (“confidentiality”) did nor concern me in the slightest, and I said so. It was the next development that got me initially worried, then somewhat irritated. I found myself on the receiving end of questions as to why I had resorted to my Model 10 technology, deploying white flour, oil, heat etc. with the focus taken off my prime reason for making contact, namely to see how an imprint generated with Model 10 compared with one of his own via that corona discharge idea of his involving sudden and intense burst of high energy radiation (whether natural or result, dare one say, of Third Day Resurrection).

Things went rapidly downhill. I got a reply acknowledging my sample had been received but that he was too busy at that particular moment to attend to it immediately. Fair enough, but I also got directed to a list of 24 points he and (SSG) colleagues had drawn up defending, albeit indirectly, the corona discharge and/or similar processes, asking me to defend my own more mundane hands-on technology. In short, I was being diverted away from a request merely to put our two chalk v cheese END-RESULTS side by side to compare similarities v differences via microscopy – much neglected TRANSVERSE MICROSCOPIC SECTIONS especially (not relying on LS viewing only). I was being being criticized for the sceptic thinking that had generated Model 10, despite my progressively sequential science-based self critical multi-year model building that considered and rejected 9 prior models no less.

I did not mince my words. I spelled out the nature of the scientific method, the self-critical approach.

Guess what. The correspondence came suddenly to a halt. Prof Fanti failed to come back with my request for microscopic evaluation, TS especially, of my Model 10 end-result, as distinct from the manner in which it had been obtained. My time, effort and expense in preparing and sending the sample (registered mail) had been wasted!

Later, in correspondence with another SSG member (winner of my £100 prize compo) I confided by email what had – correction had not- been achieved through my suddenly terminated dealings with his SSG head. Back came a communication from Prof Fanti, accusing me of breach of confidentiality! Yes that dreaded C-word – yet again!

Yes, call it what you will Dan – confidentiality, privacy, secrecy – it’s the SSG lead man – albeit not addressed by myself as such – who was first to flag up those issues, while at same time trying to shift focus from end-result to mode of production.

Sorry Dan, but I made feelings clear at start of my final posting re Model 10: the SSG needs either to drop “science” from its title if trying to wave aside model-building experimentation of the kind this accredited scientist had been pursuing. OR, alternatively, it needs pronto to get itself a new Prezzy if wishing to keep “science” as its main descriptor where that single sheet of mystique-laden linen is concerned.

Science – the real commodity – has zero patience with pseudo-science dressed up /masquerading as if the real thing.

Nuff said! My scientific credentials counted for naught where the SSG (or rather its Chief Spokesman) was concerned. Seems I lack their pro-authenticity tunnel vision!

Sticky tape sampling may have seemed OK to Rogers and others back in the late 70s (STuRP era), thinking, nay assuming without question that it would minimize damage to the precious TS. All it would do, they thought, was to strip away the superficial image-bearing fibres from the rest of the linen threads.

But as indicated, there may have been a fatal, totally unforeseen flaw in deploying that technique if what appeared via casual microscopy as a yellowish “image fibre” was nothing of the sort, being in fact a bogus, phoney fibre!

Applying sticky tape to a profoundly-altered architecture, one that has been transformed by penetration of a LIQUIFIED chromophore BETWEEN fibres, followed no doubt by solidication as described, alters the scenario completely. Sticky tape, to put it baldly, would wreck the new invaded architecture, pulling real fibres away from the bogus ones, taking with them that alleged 200nm thick film of chromophore, leaving most of the latter behind.

Assuming the above is correct, what is needed to rewrite the TS story from scratch? Answer: StuRP Mark 2!

In other words, go back to the TS (or to begin with at any rate, models therof!) with alternative means of separating image colour chromophore – not just from the rest of the linen thread, but from the individual fibres and their immediate surroundings, like those actual inter-fibre channels, whether unoccupied or, as suggested here, serving as hidden repository for chromophore.

In passing there’s a wee problem as regards new sampling procedures. How can one go back to Turin with one’s new sampling procedures, given there’s only on TS, still of celebrity status, whether 1st or 14th century origin?

There’s a drastic solution – namely to separate the frontal from dorsal sides of the TS via a simple side-to-side cut across the middle. Keep the frontal side, with its self-evident association with the crucified Jesus for its continued status as a religious icon (or genuine relic as some continue to maintain). View the dorsal side, with its lack of detail, as (wait for it) dispensable. Hand the dorsal side in its entirety over to the scientists recruited to a proposed STuRP Mk2, not just for a single week of intense research, but for continuous research over months, maybe years.

But that scenario, let’s face it, is unlikely to happen. Let’s immediately move on.

Realistic alternative, albeit less likely to generate instant answers? Answer: model building, genuine experimental model building, largely ignored in STuRP1 – not surprisingly given its time restricted time for TS access, its need to be content for the most part with those stripped-off sticky tape samples.

Don’t just check out what at first sight seem probable models. Check as wide a range of models as possible, deploying modern-day linen initially (maybe supplemented later with tiny squares of TS linen from relatively inconspicuous image-bearing locations).

Don’t forget to include POWDER-IMPRINTING among one’s models! Don’t forget to seek evidence for an initially liquified chromophore penetrating inter-fibre channels to generate phoney-fibres! Deploy the most sophisticated microscopes possible – whether designed for light, electron etc. Not home-based microscopes that give tiny blurred images!

Comments, questions invited, and indeed welcome. This writer used to be a school teacher as well as a lab-based researcher. Science (real science) thrives on questions, indeed openly critical input. Real science attempts to steer clear of the all-to-frequent “tunnel vision”, sadly displayed in so much of the pro-authenticity thinking re the TS!

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