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Not superficial? The implications could be staggering.

February 8, 2019 26 comments
Colin Berrys Microscope Picture


Left: the arrow points to a THREAD that is displaying a cut edge, i.e. much needed transverse section. Why the speckled appearance? Right: enlargement, showing that it’s the SCW cores of some but not all individual FIBRES that contain the dense pigment, probably Maillard-derived melanoidin, the latter possibly having penetrated via this investigator’s proposed reticular network of capillary channels existing between the MICROFIBRILS.

If Colin Berry is right, the implications could be staggering. It’s enough, I thought, to warrant waking up this blog for at least one posting. Your comments are, as always, welcome.

I retired from blogging just over three years ago.  Until today, I stayed away from this blog and every other Shroud of Turin related website and newsletter.

A few days ago, I decided to jump back in, at least for one posting. That was after getting an email from Dr. Colin Berry. He wanted me to know that he now suspected that the Shroud’s image is not superficial.

Not superficial? But Isn’t it a fact that it is? Isn’t it something we all believe is true?
On his blog, he told of …
…   a realization that the supposed ultra-superficiality of the TS body image – pointing we’re told to a supernatural origin –  had scarcely a single solid fact to back it up. …
No, not on the surface PCW (primary cell wall) but hidden away, out of sight, deep within the microfibril-packed core of the SCW (secondary cell wall).  Oh dear: has sindonology got it entirely wrong with its ‘out-of-this-world ultra superficial’ body image?

Colin’s email to me invited me to look at his blog.  Colin tried to boil the ocean in his last posting, something that I used to do myself, sometimes. I would do so again, this time in a reply to him. In addition to my reaction to Colin’s non-superficiality grenade, I had three years of pent up thinking to unload. When I realized my reply was too long to be a reasonable blog posting or email, I turned it into a PDF file called,The Resurrection is Just Too Mysterious to Be Described & A Response to Dr. Colin Berry. 

Long walks with the dog, away from the blog, gave me the chance to think a lot about the Shroud.  Colin and I are closer than I thought we were. It is mostly in the conclusions about the authenticity of the cloth that I disagree with him. I think we are very much in agreement about not finding any basis for an image being created as the result of the Resurrection.

What Colin is now saying about the lack of superficiality in the image reminds me of the 3D problem. It was often said that it is impossible to plot 3D information from paintings and ordinary photographs. Bill Meacham put it this way:

Unlike ordinary photographs or paintings, the Shroud image converted into an undistorted three-dimensional figure, a phenomenon which suggested that the image-forming process acted uniformly through space over the body, front and back, and did not depend on contact of cloth with body at every point.


Unfortunately, that wasn’t true.  At an international Shroud of Turin conference in St. Louis in 2014, Joseph Accetta proposed that a photograph of a certain death mask might contain all the information needed in exactly the same way as the image on the Turin Shroud.  He was right; Colin did so and confirmed it.  That challenged the belief, stemming out of an erroneous assumption that the grayscale values on the Shroud represented cloth-to-body distance or body shape.  It was a classic case of an assumption being treated like a fact. See:  It is really, really time to rethink what we think about 3D.

Colin is a scientist. If he is wrong about the non-superficiality of the Shroud image he certainly wants to know it. And he wants to know why.  And if he’s right he wants you to know. And I want you to know that this might challenge a generation of postulating about how the image was formed.

Categories: Uncategorized

Computer Hacking Theory for Carbon Dating Continues

November 21, 2015 12 comments

“If so, then this itself was a form of scientific fraud,
or at least scientific dishonesty.”  Surely, you’re joking, Mr. Jones.

“The AMS system is clearly designed so that if there was a problem with the dating process at a laboratory, then its target (Shroud) and control sample dates would wrongly agree together, and disagree together with the correct Shroud and control samples dates of the other two laboratories.”  Again, surely …



imageOkay, I know the subject is over-reported. But I like the quotation by Richard Feynman. It’s a quotation I have always liked, never thought much about, and now am seeing again in the context of the shroud. It is from his famous book, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself-and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists.

It did strike me as odd that Stephen Jones would use this quotation in his never-ending quest to convince skeptics of the shroud’s authenticity and non-skeptics alike that the results of the 1987 carbon dating of the shroud were the product of a computer program planted in all three AMS labs by a computer hacker, possibly on behalf of the Soviet Union’s KGB.

Is it that Stephen’s theory is preposterous or is it that it seems preposterous and we’re all of us fools? It’s fair, I guess, to ask, given what Feynman said. But then, too, we might think a little introspection by Stephen may be in order.

This part of the theory may be new to you. Stephen writes in his blog, The 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Turin Shroud was the result of a computer hacking #4. It makes for interesting reading:

The uncalibrated dates of sample 1 (the Shroud) in Table 2 of the 1989 Nature paper are widely different. As can be seen in Table 2 of the 1989 Nature paper (see above), sample 1 (the Shroud)’s average uncalibrated radiocarbon date by each laboratory was widely different, unlike the non-Shroud samples (2, 3 and 4). Prof. Gove criticised the 1989 Nature paper for having been, “opaquely written” and “difficult to comprehend … even by experts in the field“:

“On 27th February the 16 February 1989 issue of the British journal Nature (volume 337) finally reached the library in my lab. On pages 611-615 appeared the article titled ‘Radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin’ by P E Damon et al. … The article was rather opaquely written-difficult to comprehend in complete detail even by experts in the field …”[20]

Presumably this was deliberate so as to conceal the inexplicable fact that the Shroud sample dates between the three laboratories were widely different. If so, then this itself was a form of scientific fraud, or at least scientific dishonesty.

So says Stephen. Now, dear reader, figure this out:

As stated above the process was fully “under computer control” so human error cannot have intervened in the process, to cause the Shroud sample dates at each laboratory to disagree widely (as they did-see next), while the control samples dates had “exceptionally good agreement. The AMS system is clearly designed so that if there was a problem with the dating process at a laboratory, then its target (Shroud) and control sample dates would wrongly agree together, and disagree together with the correct Shroud and control samples dates of the other two laboratories. Otherwise AMS radiocarbon dating in general would be unreliable and this “mediaeval … AD 1260-1390” AMS radiocarbon date of the Shroud would have to be disregarded anyway (as it should have been)!

So again it is inexplicable if the Shroud sample dates were real (and not computer-generated by a hacker’s (allegedly Timothy W. Linick‘s) program in this fully computerised process), for “the agreement among the three laboratories for [control] samples 2, 3 and 4” to be “exceptionally good,” yet the “spread of the measurements for sample 1[the Shroud]” to be somewhat greater than would be expected (my emphasis).

He does provide a nice graph to help us see this*:

Anyway, I like Feynman’s quote.  I may find a way to feature it on every page of my own blog. It is useful. You can invoke it, probably, for every argument you have about the shroud. It makes for great ad hominem slinging, too. Just make sure you are not the person who has fooled himself.

*The image of the graph is inline from Stephen’s site so he can’t complain that I’m copying his material.

Categories: Uncategorized

Russ Breault will also be in St. Louis, November 15

November 7, 2015 Comments off

After speaking on Friday and Saturday in Chester, Illinois, Russ Breault travels to St. Louis to speak at Incarnate Word Parish on November 15, 2015. The church’s website informs us:

Encounter the Shroud of Turin

imageIncarnate Word is pleased to sponsor international Shroud of Turin expert, Russ Breault on November 15, 2015 in our Kent Center at 7:30PM. Admission is free!

Russ Breault is bringing his FAST PACED, DRAMATIC, VISUAL, UNFORGETTABLE, BIG SCREEN EXPERIENCE titled "SHROUD ENCOUNTER" to Incarnate Word!  Russ uses over 200 images covering all aspects of the history, science, art and theories of how the image on the Shroud may have been formed.  He will have two small displays, as well as a full size 14 ft by 3.5 ft replica of the Shroud available for up-close viewing.

The Shroud of Turin (reportedly the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, bearing his image) is the most analyzed artifact in the world. At the direction of Pope Francis it will once again be on public display next year in Turin, Italy. Russ’ presentation has been called  "Tour de force", "Spellbinding", "Mesmerizing", "Riveting": and more.  He has appeared in numerous documentaries seen on History Channel, Discovery and CBS.  He was interviewed last year on Good Morning America for an update on the latest research concerning the Shroud. Russ has also lectured at some the country’s most prestigious universities including Duke, Penn State, Johns Hopkins, West Point, Cal State, Auburn, GA Tech, U Mass and many more.

Please plan to attend and explore the mystery of the Shroud. See you there!

Categories: Uncategorized

Checking in on Stephen Jones’ Blog

September 1, 2015 1 comment

imageStephen has been discussing the side strip: Sidestrip #5: The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic!


Problem for the forgery theory. That the Shroud has almost invisible stitching in its seam that is identical to stitching found elsewhere only at the Jewish fortress of Masada, which was last occupied in AD 73, is yet another (see #1, #3 and #4) problem for the forgery theory. Since a medieval forger would be most unlikely (to put it mildly) to even know about almost invisible first century Jewish stitching; and even if he did know about it, he would be even more unlikely to go to the trouble of adding it to his forgery (what use would almost invisible stitching be to a forger?); and even if he wanted to use it, he would be most unlikely to have the high degree of skill needed to do such stitching. So again the forgery theory would need to resort to the pre-1988 fall-back position of the late leading anti-authenticist Walter McCrone (1916-2002), that "a first century cloth could have been found and used by a 14th century artist to paint the image":

"A carbon-dating test would be final if it led to a date significantly later than the early first century. A first century date, on the other hand, would remove almost all obstacles to universal acceptance of the `Shroud’ as authentic. Only the careful objective scientist might still point out that a first century cloth could have been found and used by a 14th century artist to paint the image"[18].

But, leaving aside whether that would be "objective," for anti- authenticists to claim that a medieval forger forged the Shroud’s image on a 1st century cloth would, as we saw in parts #3 and #4, mean admitting that the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud claim was wrong…

Does Stephen mean this is overwhelming – the emphasis on the word in the title of his posting is his – or that this argument, in conjunction with a gazillion other (or a few other) arguments, is overwhelming. I think he means the latter. I’m just not a big fan of piling up weak arguments one on top of the other. But then, again, that’s just me. And maybe it’s not weak.

Your thoughts?

Categories: Uncategorized

Cherry Jam, the Metaphor

July 31, 2015 109 comments

That Dan Porter should allow a serial commentator on his site, one with no blogsite of his own, and unable for one reason or another  to provide links to a published model – any model – to make baseless charges time and again against a  senior investigator like myself, albeit long retired,   is quite simply unacceptable, totally unacceptable.

— Colin Berry

Can anyone explain this from Colin’s blogsite?  I think it was posted today but it is hard to figure that out:

… here’s a graphic I made yesterday for which there’s an immediate use on shroudstory (by way of emphasizing the difference between the scientific method, and the pseudo-scientific method that attempts to ape it.


Beware pseudo-science. It’s worse, much worse, than cherry-picking to support a case. It’s more akin to cherry jam manufacture!

And one cherry jam manufacturer has the nerve to accuse this retired scientist (with three published models under his belt, one highly cited and attracting patent applications) of plagiarizing his idea! Why? Because he used words like “alkali”, “fumigation”, “mordant”, “compression”, “paste” etc. As I say, I shall give a brief summary as to how I came to deploy those words in the course of my post Machy-mould modelling, and did so as a series of practical experiments, all reported in real time here or on my sciencebuzz site. That Dan Porter should allow a serial commentator on his site, one with no blogsite of his own, and unable for one reason or another  to provide links to a published model – any model – to make baseless charges time and again against a  senior investigator like myself, albeit long retired,   is quite simply unacceptable, totally unacceptable.

Categories: Uncategorized

Posting For a Slow News Day

July 28, 2015 13 comments

Psychosis set in when the radiocarbon dating results for the Shroud of Turin were
announced, or when the due date of the Mayan apocalypse came and went.

imageIt is about apophenia and pareidolia: the short essay, Beware of the Man in the Ashtray by Neels Blom appearing in Business Day (BDlive of South Africa). Well, no, not really. It is about politics. Well, no, not really. Well maybe if you lived in South Africa you might think so.

Oh, did I mention the Shroud of Turin is mentioned. But it is not about that.  Fly fishing? Pluto?

It is entertaining. And if is very well written. And it is not an essay. It’s and Op Ed. That’s enough.

By-the-way, we’ve discussed apophenia and pareidolia many times in the blog (those are links to pages in this blog). We discussed fishing once.  Well, no, not really.

Categories: Uncategorized


July 14, 2015 Comments off

imageArt Lind writes to St. Louis Conference attendees (published here with permission):

Yesterday I viewed Russ Breault’s video1 of my presentation, Hypothesis that Explains the Shroud’s Unique Blood Marks and Several Critical Events in the Gospels, at the St. Louis Shroud Conference 20142. At 6 minutes into my presentation I noticed that I made a statement concerning Dr. Lavoie’s studies of blood transfer from skin to linen that I wish I had better clarified, so I am doing it now.  The statement I made in my presentation made it seem that I did not believe Dr. Lavoie’s results as presented in his book, Unlocking the Secrets of The Shroud.  That was not my intent, as I do believe his results are as he reported.

In my presentation I said that the results of my experiments indicated that blood coagulated and dried in less than 15 minutes, which prevented me from transferring blood on skin to linen more than 15 minutes after the blood was put on the skin.  I also said that Dr. Lavoie reported that he was able to make transfers as long as 2 hours after the blood was put on the skin. It was not 2 hours. Actually, he reported on page 94 of his book, “At room temperature, transfers could take place up to one and a half hours after the blood was taken from a volunteer.”  More importantly, I failed to mention in my oral presentation that I used a blood collection method different from that used by Dr. Lavoie.  As a medical doctor, he used a blood collection method that he believed better duplicated the conditions surrounding Christ’s crucifixion.  Thus, our different blood collection methods could explain why we obtained different results.  I must acknowledge that during my research Dr. Lavoie and I talked many times and he was of great help to me because of his knowledge of blood and its clotting factors.

In my written paper3 I more completely described Lavoie’s methods and results, as summarized above.  Unfortunately, many who attended my talk and/or only viewed Russ Breault’s video1 of my oral presentation may not have read my written paper.  Thus, I am sending this email to all attendees of the conference to correct misunderstandings that may have resulted from my verbal presentation.




Thanks for letting us know.

Categories: Uncategorized
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