In photos – 10 simple steps for reproducing a Turin Shroud-like image

Hello again. It’s almost  3 years since I last posted to this site. It was set up in March 2012, shortly after I set out to discover means by which the Turin Shroud’s ‘enigmatic’ body image could or might have been produced as a medieval ‘forgery’.  (More politely, a modelling of what Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘fine linen’ with a body imprint of Jesus might have looked like 13 centuries later).

Why this site, separate/in addition to my main Shroud site? Answer: the latter was intended to report, possibly for the first time, day-to-day, week-by-week progress in real time of an experimental research project. But when I started to attract flak on Dan Porter’s now discontinued shroudstory site for my second  model (the so-called “scorch” hypothesis)  I decided a separate site was needed to deal with the more disputatious aspects. In fact there were only 8 postings to this site, but one or two I still consider to have made useful points that will be returned to in future postings here (since the same old pseudoscientific mantra continue to be wheeled out, notably on the Stephen E.Jones site from which this investigator is repeatedly stated to be ‘permanently banned’ and his ideas not fit for the slightest mention. How’s that for Jones’s unique brand of , let’s not mince our words, religious bigotry (which wouldn’t be so bad were it not accompanied by his cavalier treatment of the science, full of short cuts, blind spots, over-simplifications etc etc.).

First, however, it’s necessary to flag up here the state of progress with this researcher’s latest and I believe FINAL model for the Turin Shroud. I refer to the two step thermal imprinting model that uses a combination of WHITE FLOUR and  VEGETABLE OIL  to imprint off a real live human subject, followed by THERMAL DEVELOPMENT of the imprint by oven-roasting.  (That’s as distinct from the hot metal templates used previously to scorch imprints directly in single step mode, now discarded, though having earned their keep in many  useful respects (about which more later).

Here in photos are the 10 or so easy steps for producing an image that matches up closely to many, indeed most of the pecuiar characteristics of that image in its argon-filled glass display case in Turin.


Fig.1: smear one side of hand with vegetable oil.


Fig.2: sprinkle with white flour from above, using a sieve. Shake off excess flour.


Fig.3: drape wet linen over coated hand. Add an extra layer of spare fabric, e.g. a towel. Press down firmly onto top surface only (not sides). Peel of linen with near-invisible oil/flour imprint.


Fig.4: now do the same with the other side of the hand, smearing first with oil.


Fig.5: dorsal side now coated with flour. Excess shaken off. (Note way that hair traps extra flour).


Fig.6: after imprinting onto the same sheet of linen, heat in fan oven up to max temp. of 190-200 degrees C. Note thermal development of the imprint (linen scarcely affected!)


Fig.7: linen after removal from oven, cut lengthwise (see below).  Back of hand on left, palm side of hand on right.


Fig.8: one of the cut halves washed gently in soap and water. Note the way the imprint ‘plumps up’ like a bas relief!. The linen is then vigorously washed with rubbing  to abrade off the loose crust, leaving a faint ghost TS-like image only, incorporated onto/into the linen fibres.


Fig.9: Comparison of unwashed versus final washed/abraded image, top and bottom respectively.


Finally, here’s the appearance of the  before-and-after washing images in the 3D-rendering program, ImageJ:

3d double hand.png

Fig.10: Imprint (before/after washing) with 3D rendering in ImageJ.

As stated many, many times before, 3D properties are by no mean unique to the Shroud image. They are shown by any imprint that has gradations of image density (the software simply elevates image density to height on an imaginary third  dimension (i.e. ‘height’ above the xy plane, the ‘z axis’). Imprints, indeed simple printed images like flags etc with no 3D history respond to ImageJ. There should be no mystique re apparent 3D properties, and no justification for the frequently encountered references in sindonology to the image having “3D-encoded” information as if it were a computer program waiting to be decoded. It’s simply a contact imprint that captured certain features of the relief more than others during the imprinting proocess,  due to factors like planarity  as well as height. (Planariry , i.e. level horizontal surface, favours retention of sprinkled flour in the present model).

More to follow.

About Colin Berry

Retired science bod, previous research interests: phototherapy of neonatal jaundice, membrane influences on microsomal UDP-glucuronyltransferase, defective bilirubin and xenobiotic conjugation and hepatic excretion, dietary fibre and resistant starch.
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