© Stephen E. Jones
Medieval photography: Nicholas Allen
This is the topic, "Medieval photography: Nicholas Allen," which is part #8 of my "The Shroud of Turin blog topics" series. See the Index "A-Z", and the sub-index "M" of this series. See also my update on Allen's 1998 book.
Medieval photograph theory. [13Jul07]
Introduction This is about the "medieval photography" theory of South African art historian Professor Nicholas Allen. It is not about the `theory' (so-called) of conspiracy theorists Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince who plagiarised Prof. Allen's 1993 theory without acknowledgment and used it to support their own 1994 Leonardo da Vinci `theory' (see Topics "L"), which `theory' Prof. Allen rejects. It is my emphasis below, unless otherwise indicated.
"...it is possible to postulate that somebody in the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century may have had the necessary knowledge and materials to have taken either a human corpse or even a life-like bodycast and have suspended it vertically in direct sunlight for an unspecified number of days such that it (the corpse) received an equal amount of morning and afternoon illumination."■ Vague. Note the vagueness of Prof. Allen's hypothesis. He claims that it is possible a 13th-14th century "somebody" only "may" have had the "necessary knowledge and materials" to imprint a photograph of the man's image on the Shroud. But as we shall see there is no evidence that anybody before the 19th century had the "necessary knowledge and materials" to photograph anything, let alone a double full-length image of a man on linen!
■ Who, when, where? Not only does Allen not know who took his claimed `medieval photograph', he also does not know when in "the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century," or even where, it was taken! And then Prof. Allen would need to give a plausible explanation (but does not) how the Shroud came into the possession of the impoverished French knight Geoffroy I de Charny (c. 1300–56) who first exhibited the Shroud in undisputed history at Lirey, France in c. 1355.
■ Corpse or bodycast? Note that Prof. Allen is unsure whether the photograph was of "a human corpse or even a life-like bodycast." But this shows that since Prof. Allen only used a bodycast (for obvious reasons), the photograph he obtained was not as realistic as that of the Shroud image (which he later admitted to Ian Wilson), otherwise he would have had no need to postulate a "corpse" alternative. Moreover, because Allen did not use a corpse, he cannot know that his method would work with a corpse.
■ How much time? Prof. Allen does not know how much time it would take ("an unspecified number of days") for the photograph (or rather "solarograph") of the man's image on the Shroud to be taken. Or maybe Allen does know that it would take far too many days than he can admit? In 2005 the History Channel attempted to repeat Allen's experiment:
"... with historical accuracy ... [using] ... simple lenses that would have been available in the thirteenth century as well as ... chemicals ... But ... the experiment failed ... it took 43 days to get a faint image, which completely disappeared once the image was fixed."This is consistent with non-authenticist chemist-photographer Mike Ware's calculations that if Allen had used "a typical lens of the fourteenth century" (see below), his "proto-photograph would require an exposure in the order of months" and would be "impossible to accomplish":
"For a more plausible assessment of what could have been achieved with a typical lens of the fourteenth century, see the table for a lens of focal length 2200 mm to provide a human life-size image with a more realistic aperture of f/96. Such a proto-photograph would require an exposure in the order of months, and is therefore effectively impossible to accomplish, especially in view of the diminishing returns guaranteed by reciprocity failure."■ `Simple' 180 mm diameter, optical quality, quartz crystal lens. Continuing in Prof. Allen's own words:
"This subject (corpse or bodycast) would have had to have been situated opposite an aperture (containing a simple bi-convex quartz lens) of a light-proof room (camera obscura)."By "simple" Prof. Allen means a "180 mm" (~7.1 inch) diameter optical quality, quartz crystal bi-convex lens:
"It must be stressed that this image can only be obtained if it is focused onto the linen cloth by means of a quartz (optical quality, rock-crystal) bi-convex lens. In addition, for this image to be life-sized (for example the dimensions of an adult human corpse), it is necessary for the combined image conjugate and object conjugate distances to total about 8,8 metres. In other words, the subject to be `photographed' must be positioned (that is outside the camera obscura) some 4,4 metres from the aperture, whilst the screen supporting the prepared linen cloth must correspondingly be placed at a similar distance from the aperture (inside the camera obscura). At these long distances it is essential that the lens should have as large a diameter as possible (for example, well over 60 mm) ... for full length figures the best results have been obtained with a 180 mm quartz bi-convex lens which has a focal length of 2,2 metres."
[Above (enlarge): Lens shown in Smithsonian mini- `documentary' featuring Allen. But by the length of the man's (presumably Allen's) fingers compared with my own, this lens would be more like 60 mm diameter (not 90 mm as I first thought), i.e. one-third the diameter of the lens that Allen claimed he had used. A 180 mm (18cm, ~7 inch) lens is very large and could not be held between the tips of a man's fingers on one hand.]
[Above (enlarge): Allen (presumably) fitting a biconvex lens to the aperture of a camera obscura in the same Smithsonian mini- `documentary'. But again, compared to the length of the man's fingers, it is evidently the same ~90 mm lens.]
If Allen did have a 180 mm quartz crystal lens (made from a huge quartz crystal "with only his hands and a piece of cloth with some sand on it." as his claimed 13th-14th century forger would only have had available) for his experiment, why didn't he use it in this `documentary'? Is it because: (a) Allen doesn't have/never had a 180 mm quartz crystal lens? And/or (b) viewers would realise how unlikely is Allen's claim that in the 13th-14th century (when the largest biconvex lenses were glass and in spectacles), some unknown genius made a huge optical quality, 180 mm quartz lens? Which moreover was used only once to forge the Shroud, and has not survived down to the present day?]
Ware wrote that it was "disingenuous" (i.e. "not truly honest") of Allen to claim that because optical quality quartz rock-crystal was available as a "substance" in the 13th century, therefore "a very large, accurately ground high-quality biconvex lens of long focal length" was also available back then, when they were "unknown until several centuries later":
"Allen states that rock-crystal was available in the thirteenth century 'as a substance' (which is certainly true) but it is disingenuous of him to imply that this 'substance' could at that time have taken the form of a very large, accurately ground high-quality biconvex lens of long focal length. He implicitly assumes, without evidence or justification, the existence of a lens technology that was unknown until several centuries later."If Allen did not hand-make his 180 mm crystal lens, which would have required a very large, flawless, optical quality quartz crystal, as well as a lot of time and skill, he would have had to have quartz melted at a temperature of about 3,500ºF (~1927ºC) in a high-temperature furnace, which did not exist until the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century:
"Allen ... uses a biconvex, optical-quality quartz crystal lens measuring more than seven inches (180 mm) in diameter. A lens made of regular glass will not transmit ultraviolet light, the portion of the EM spectrum that makes the image on Allen's treated cloth. Of course, no one in medieval times knew about ultraviolet light at all, much less what materials would or would not transmit it. Optical-quality quartz lenses are made by first heating quartz to about 3,500ºF [~1927ºC], at which point this material becomes flexible and can be shaped. Not until the Industrial Revolution could furnaces burn that hot. In medieval times, there would not have existed a container that could even hold the quartz at that temperature, for the melting point of iron is about 285°F [~141ºC] less than quartz."If this is so, then Allen is guilty of "scientific fraud," somewhere between "making results appear just a little crisper ... than they really are" and "inventing a whole experiment out of thin air":
"The term `scientific fraud' is often assumed to mean the wholesale invention of data. But this is almost certainly the rarest kind of fabrication. Those who falsify scientific data probably start and succeed with the much lesser crime of improving upon existing results. Minor and seemingly trivial instances of data manipulation-such as making results appear just a little crisper or more definitive than they really are, or selecting just the `best' data for publication and ignoring those that don't fit the case-are probably far from unusual in science. But there is only a difference in degree between `cooking' the data and inventing a whole experiment out of thin air."However, if Allen did use a lens made by non-medieval means, he may not be self-aware that what he did was fraudulent. It may be that he is an otherwise honest person who has unwittingly deceived himself in this matter:
"A continuous spectrum can be drawn from the major and minor acts of fabrication to self-deception, a phenomenon of considerable importance in all branches of science. Fraud, of course, is deliberate and self-deception unwitting, but there is probably a class of behavior in between where the subject's motives are ambiguous even to himself."■ Silver salts? Prof. Allen continued:
"Inside this room or camera, it would have been necessary for a large screen to support the linen cloth (Shroud), which had been previously treated with a very dilute solution of either silver nitrate (0,5%) or silver sulphate (0,57%)."But it was not until 1717 that Johann Heinrich Schulze (1687-1744) discovered that the darkening of silver nitrate was due to light:
"Schulze is best known for his discovery that the darkening in sunlight of various substances mixed with silver nitrate is due to the light, not the heat as other experimenters believed, and for using the phenomenon to temporarily capture shadows. Schulze's experiments with silver nitrate were undertaken in about 1717. He found that a slurry of chalk and nitric acid into which some silver had been dissolved was darkened by sunlight, but not by exposure to the heat from a fire. To provide an interesting demonstration of its darkening by light, he applied stencils of words to a bottle filled with the mixture and put it in direct sunlight, which produced copies of the text in dark characters on the surface of the contents. The impressions persisted until they were erased by shaking the bottle or until overall exposure to light obliterated them ... Though Schulze's work did not provide a means of permanently preserving an image, it did provide a foundation for later efforts toward that end. Thomas Wedgwood and Humphry Davy produced more substantial but still impermanent shadow images on coated paper and leather around the year 1800. Nicéphore Niépce succeeded in photographing camera images on paper coated with silver chloride in 1816 but he, too, could not make his results light-fast. The first permanent camera photograph of this type was made in 1835 by Henry Fox Talbot.".Allen is, or was, a Professor of Art History, so he must know this. A quote from a 2009 South African article indicates that he does indeed know this:
"Allen believes the Shroud of Turin is physical evidence that people understood at least the rudiments of primitive photography about five centuries before its accepted discovery in 1799 by Thomas Wedgewood."Except that Allen really is deceiving himself if he thinks that photographing the double full-length image of a man onto a ~14.4 x 1.1 metre sheet of linen, using a 180 mm optical quality quartz lens and silver nitrate, which photograph has existed for over 600 years down to the present as the Shroud, is evidence of "the rudiments of primitive photography"! Rather, as Ware pointed out, what Allen is claiming is "akin to positing a history of aviation in which Concorde preceded the Wright brothers":
"Chemical development ... consists in the chemical formation of a silver photograph from a latent image in crystals of silver halide ... to claim that it could have 'sprung forth, fully armed with 100 ISO', and with no tradition of prior art, would be akin to positing a history of aviation in which Concorde preceded the Wright brothers."■ Corpse or bodycast hung out in sun for days. Allen continued:
"The inverted image of the corpse would have been focused onto this prepared support and after a few days the UV sensitive silver salt would have turned purplish-brown, forming as it did a negative photographic image of the subject. To achieve the twofold image which now appears on the Shroud of Turin, it would have been necessary for this operation to have been repeated twice to obtain an impression of both the frontal and dorsal images of the sun-illuminated corpse."[Right (enlarge): Negative of Allen's "sun-illuminated corpse" plaster cast. Compare this with the corresponding negative of the Shroud image below. Also note the directionality of light and shadowing on Allen's `shroud' image and the total lack of both on the Shroud's image (see below).]
Allen here has lost touch with reality. He does not consider what would happen to a "corpse" hung out in the necessarily bright sunlight, "twice" both "frontal and dorsal, for even "a few days" each side, a total of six days. For starters, rigor mortis would be quickly lost, and therefore body shape:
"... if an actual ... human corpse really were suspended for `several days' in full sunshine, then its likely condition after such a length of time, particularly in any climate with the required sufficiency of sunshine, boggles both the mind and the olfactory system. ... rigor mortis would in any case never have held sufficiently long to create the impression of the figure ..."Indeed, decomposition would have rapidly set in:
"But how come, that not knowing the most evident fact, that corpses do not maintain rigor mortis or that they cannot hang for ... days in the sun, or else you would not care to see what the camera obscura would bring in onto your canvas."
"Under warm conditions, it is extremely difficult to think that decomposition of the body would not occur within a period of ... days".[Left (enlarge): Image on the Shroud corresponding to Allen's plaster cast image above. Note the following significant differences between Allen's image and the Shroud's: 1) Allen's image does not have bloodstains or scourge marks (see below); 2) Unlike the Shroud, Allen's face has no eyes (enlarge both to check); Allen's image has sun-illumination of the man's arms, legs and feet (see below) which the Shroud doesn't; and 3) Unlike the Shroud, Allen's image has directionality (see below).]
"A further difficulty in the Allen method is that after the requisite several days of exposure to strong sunshine, any actual body would have lost all post-mortem stiffness and begun serious decomposition. ... this would have meant a considerable change in shape, any image thereupon becoming more of a misshapen blob rather than the perfectly formed image on the Shroud."
■ Corpse or bodycast had to be white. Moreover, that there was a photographic image created by Allen's "sun-illuminated" plaster cast does not mean there would have been an image created by a "sun-illuminated corpse." Allen
[Right (enlarge): White plaster bodycast used by Prof. Allen to `photograph' its image onto his `shroud'. Note that the body- cast's hair is a different shape from the image above that Allen claimed had been formed from it. See below. ]
had to keep his plaster cast "white to increase its reflect- ivity" otherwise he may not have had an image at all (see "The Turin Machine"). In fact Allen states that if a "corpse" was "employed as the subject for the exposure [it] was more than likely painted white to increase its reflectivity"!
■ Image's hair does not match bodycast's. As mentioned above, the bodycast's hair [Left (enlarge)] is a markedly different shape from the image that Allen claimed had been formed from it [Below right (enlarge). Photo has been flipped horizontally to allow for left-right inversion of the negative image from the positive cast]. This indicates that Allen has `improved' the image of the top of the head which presumably would have been largely white (and therefore unrealistic since hair does not reflect light) from the directionality of the sunlight evident on the arms and feet (see above and below). If so this would be further evidence of scientific fraud (although perhaps unwitting self-deception-see above) by Allen: "improving upon existing results ... making results appear just a little crisper or more definitive than they really are (see above).
"After both exposures had been completed the linen cloth would have been soaked briefly in a dilute solution of ammonia (5%) or possibly even urine. This latter action would have ostensibly removed all silver (both exposed and unexposed) from the linen cloth and also would have allowed it to be exhibited outside the camera even in direct sunlight, without further discoloration occurring. Even though the silver salt had been removed, the cloth would have still contained a faint negative straw-yellow image -- one which seemed to be encoded in the very structure of the linen itself, albeit on the upper fibrils."The key word is "ostensibly," i.e. "to all outward appearances". In fact, STURP found no silver on the Shroud image areas:
"Allen has proposed a variation of the method just examined except that his charging photosensitizers are silver salts [but] ... there is no microscopic, chemical, or spectroscopic evidence for silver species or the expected products of their chemical reaction on the Shroud body image areas or sticky tape samples."As Ware pointed out, "the Shroud ... contains no detectable silver" and Allen admits that his `shroud' image contains "residual silver at a level of 0.4 mg/g":
"Heller and Adler conducted further tests on the fibrils to detect inorganic compounds. These results were consistently positive for iron and calcium but negative for manganese, cobalt, nickel, aluminum, arsenic, tin, lead, magnesium, and silver"
"Allen's theory is also in conflict with several important observations. If the cloth was soaked in silver nitrate or silver sulphate, traces of it would remain, yet the X-ray fluorescence spectrometry conducted by STURP found no trace of silver on the Shroud."
"There is also a photochemical difficulty with Allen's proposal in that the Shroud itself contains no detectable silver. In an attempt to ensure that the metal was likewise absent from his simulacra, Allen describes how his print-out images of purplish-brown colloidal silver were decolorized by washing in dilute ammonia (or possibly urine), and he claims that this demonstrates the removal of all the silver, both exposed and unexposed, leaving a fixed image of a faint straw-yellow colour like that of the Shroud, which he supposes to be due to oxycellulose in one of its various forms. However, decolorization of the silver does not prove its complete removal, because some silver could remain in the fibres as a colourless complex salt. Surprisingly, Allen cites analytical results that actually confirm this, and contradict his own assertion that the silver has been totally removed. His analyses find residual silver at a level of 0.4 mg/g in his linen substrates."Indeed, Allen actually states that only "most of the silver ... [was] removed" from his `shroud' image:
"In order to finally fix the image and remove the light-sensitive solutions after exposure to sunlight, Allen soaks or immerses his cloth in ammonia (5 percent) or urine. One of the purposes for this soaking is to remove all traces of silver from the pretreatment solution on the cloth. Yet even this may not accomplish the purpose. Allen does not state that all of the silver is removed. He merely states that `most of the silver is [was] removed' or that his immersion `would have ostensibly removed all silver'(italics added). If any silver remained, it would most likely be on the image features and would constitute another defect in the effort to duplicate the Shroud images."Further problems of Allen's "medieval photography" hypothesis include:
■ Crucified corpse? As mentioned above, Prof. Allen now maintains that the image on the Shroud (which he claims was a medieval photograph) is of a "fresh corpse" and not a plaster bodycast:
"I believe the image on the Shroud indicates a degree of naturalism that is normally associated with a fresh corpse. I believe this because the apparent bruising and `torn beard' feature of the image are just a bit too detailed to be casually reproduced by a body cast ... For this reason I presently advocate that the persons who produced this image most probably used a fresh corpse ..."Allen therefore has the problem of explaining (but doesn't) where his unknown medieval photographer "managed also to obtain a specially crucified body for his purpose". Especially given that crucifixion had been abolished across the Roman Empire (which included Europe) in 337, by Emperor Constantine the Great (c. 272–337).
■ Body ~9 metres from Shroud? As Allen stated above, "it is necessary for the combined image ... and object ... distances to total about 8,8 [8.8] metres.". However the Shroud's bloodstains and scourge marks, can only have been formed by the cloth having had direct contact with a crucified dead body (see below Allen's claim that they were painted on later). Moreover, STURP found that the darkness of the image was positively correlated with the body's distance from the cloth: the darkest parts of the Shroud having been in direct contact with the body
■ Directionality and shadowing As previously mentioned, Allen's `shroud' image has a strong directionality of light and
[Left (enlarge): Legs and feet of Allen's image showing a strong directionality of light from the sun. Compare this with the Shroud's legs and feet (below) which have no directionality. Also note that Allen's image has sharp edges compared with the Shroud's image below which has no edges (see below).]
shadowing compared to its total lack of both on the Shroud's image:
"Allen's photographs contain a strong directionality of light. This is obvious from the deep shadows cast on his subject by the strong overhead sunlight he used to create his images (Figure 1). These are clearly seen in the eye sockets, under the nose and chin and below the hands and is unlike the image on the Shroud (Figure 2), which demonstrates no such directionality of light at all. It is further confirmed by the `washing out' of detail in certain parts of the image, most notably the tops of the feet, which received far more light and cumulative exposure than the rest of the body (Figure 3)."
"The first and most important way in which the proto-photo differs from the Shroud is in its lighting. Allen's figure is noticeably top-lit, due to the sun passing daily overhead. The tops of the head, shoulders, chest, forearms, knees and feet all register as particularly bright, these being the areas on which sunlight fell most consistently and intensely. The Shroud figure, by contrast, looks as if it were lit from directly in front, since only the most forward parts of the body are visible. We can also tell that Allen's plaster cast was lit, during the course of the day, from either side. For example, the left calf is most strongly illuminated on the left, the right calf on the right, an effect that registers the shifting position of the sun. The Shroud figure, though, is not side-lit at all; it actually fades out completely at the edges [see below] ... The starkest difference between the two images is in the area of the feet. In Allen's proto-photo the feet are so strongly illuminated that it looks almost as if the figure was wearing white socks; on the corresponding section of the Shroud, there is no light on the feet at all. On the one hand, this is conclusive evidence that the Shroud was not produced by light reflected from a suspended body."
[Right (enlarge): Legs and feet of the Shroud's image showing no directionality of light. The white on the Shroud man's feet are bloodstains. Compare this with the legs and feet of Allen's image(above) which have strong light directionality. Also note that the Shroud image has no edges (see below). Note also that the Shroud man's legs have scourge marks and his feet bloodstains, compared to Allen's image which has none.]
So Allen has unwittingly proved that the Shroud image was not caused by the light of the sun, and since there was no other constant light source in the 14th century that could illuminate an object to project its image into a camera obscura (the electric light was not invented until the 19th century), Allen has also unwittingly disproved his own "medieval photography hypothesis"!
■ Bloodstains and scourge marks. Unlike the Shroud, Allen's "image lacks not only scourge marks (compare Allen's image with the Shroud's] but also wounds and blood marks of any kind". In fact Allen has simply ignored them, despite him writing in 1993 that they were "important findings [which] cannot be ignored"! Allen dismissed the wounds and bloodstains on the Shroud as "daubed on by [a] brush in real blood ... after the negative body image had been achieved". Yet, having studied STURP's findings, Allen must be aware that STURP found the wounds and bloodstains on the Shroud to be anatomically and forensically accurate, and that the blood was on the Shroud before the image:
"Allen makes no attempt to explain the forensic accuracy of the bloodstains on the Shroud. Since research done by the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) and others has shown that there is no image underneath these bloodstains, we have been able to conclude that they were on the cloth before the image was formed".■ Three-dimensionality. Allen accepts that a major characteristic of the Shroud is that it contains three-dimensional information due to the "intensity of the image [which] varies according to the distance of the body from the cloth". Allen further claims, rightly, that his image "contains a negative encoding of the three-dimensional characteristics of the original subject". That Allen's `shroud' image is "convincingly three-dimensional" has been conceded by Wilson. However, because the Shroud's "cloth-to-body distance" was a maximum of "approximately 4 centimeters" and that of Allen's `shroud' was 8.8 metres (see above), or 880 centimetres, the three-
whereas the same 1 cm relief body feature on Allen's image has a cloth-to-body distance ratio of 1/880 = ~0.001.
■ Sharp edges. As pointed out above, Allen's image has sharp edges compared with the Shroud's image which has no edges:
"There is one additional facet of Allen's image that is considerably different from the image on the Shroud. The Shroud image has no distinct or sharp edges, yet Allen's body image has a very distinct and sharp edge, much as one would expect from a properly focused photograph. This property of the Shroud reinforces the distance-to-density correlation mentioned earlier. In essence, the distance between the peripheral of the body and the cloth increased gradually until it reached the maximum imaging distance and caused very soft, gradated edges that simply fade into the background. Once again, Allen's image provides the necessary evidence to disqualify photography as the Shroud's image formation process."■ Photography invented in the 13th/14th centuries and then lost? Allen admits that for his theory to be true, an entire "photographic technology" involving the making of a very large, 180 mm, optical quality quartz crystal lens, the use of light-sensitive silver salts to capture on linen the double full-length image of a man (Jesus), and then the use of ammonia to fix that image, had to be invented and then was "lost" for over five centuries:
"...if this hypothetical account is in any way accurate, it strongly implies that the Shroud of Turin may be the only extant example of a lost photographic technology which is normally assumed to have been first discovered in the early nineteenth century ..."But as Wilson pointed out, Allen's theory that an unknown 13th/14th century forger discovered "photography's principles" (which were not rediscovered until the 19th century) and he/she used those principles to create "an object as large and complex as the Shroud," and then that knowledge and technology was completely lost, "beggars belief":
"... the Allen method demands additionally that someone in the Middle Ages had an extraordinarily highly developed understanding of photography's principles, principles which took decades to evolve among several different innovators even during the nineteenth century. For any single medieval forger to have hit upon these and successfully developed them in so highly creative a way for an object as large and complex as the Shroud, only to abandon them immediately, beggars belief."Indeed Allen has failed to convince even his fellow Shroud sceptics, including Joe Nickell who described Allen's theory as "astonishingly absurd":
"...the astonishingly absurd notion of an art historian named Nicholas Allen that the image was `the world's first photograph.' (The technique was supposedly invented to make a fake shroud and then conveniently lost for subsequent centuries!)"■ The Shroud existed long before the 13th/14th centuries. Allen ignores the evidence that the Shroud existed long before the 13th/14th centuries. For example, the Pray Codex is dated 1192-95 and yet agnostic art historian, Thomas de Wesselow has
"identified eight telling correspondences between the Shroud and the drawings on a single page of the Pray Codex."!]
"Prof J Le Jeune [sic] (who died only a few months ago) when interviewed by the same magazine [30 Days], had shown that 'historically' the Turin Shroud existed before 1192 ... (6)"The footnote "(6)" is "(6) 30 Days op cit [No 9, 193] p 63," which was an interview with the eminent geneticist Prof. Jérôme Lejeune (1926–94), reprinted in Shroud News, No 80 of December 1993. In that interview Lejeune recounted his personal examination of the "Pray Manuscript" which "cannot be dated after 1192," and that it has "four [sets of] `L'-shaped holes ... the holes the Turin Shroud still has today" and so "the Turin Shroud existed before 1192" and therefore the "Carbon 14 dating ... (1260-1390)" was wrong:
"In the National Library of Budapest, Hungary the country's most important manuscript is conserved - the so-called Pray Manuscript ... This highly valuable manuscript is dated without doubt because of the historic facts it reports and it cannot be dated after 1192, when it was bound. ... Last month I was granted the rare privilege of being able to examine it. There is a design on parchment in the manuscript ... Christ is depicted ... with a trace of blood on his right forehead, his right arm resting on his left, the thumbs bent back ... He is stretched out, nude (he was never represented in this way at the time) on a shroud folded in two perfectly equal parts ... But the most extraordinary image of all is to be found in the lower foreground of the image ... in that design the four `L'-shaped holes are perfectly visible, the holes the Turin Shroud still has today ... It is absolutely unthinkable that a painter could design, without ever having seen it, an image showing holes of the same size and in the same place ... as the holes that the Turin Shroud still has today. In short, the Turin Shroud existed before 1192 ... The Carbon 14 dating by the three laboratories ... (1260-1390) is in disaccord with the historic certainty that between 1100 and 1200 a painter saw all the details of the Shroud today kept in Turin"
"Prof J Le Jeune's views concerning the pedigree of the Shroud are irrelevant to my argument. I have deduced that iconographically the Shroud must date from sometime after the beginning of the 13th century. Due to the documented references of the Shroud's existence by the mid-fourteenth century together with the 1988 carbon-dating, I feel safe in stating that the Shroud was most likely produced sometime between 1280-1320."But significantly as a Professor of art history, Allen makes no attempt to offer an alternative explanation as to why there are depictions in a 1192-95 Hungarian manuscript of "four `L'-shaped holes" which "holes the Turin Shroud still has today," as four matching sets of "L-shaped" real burn holes (see my 06Mar13).
In a counter-response to Allen's dismissal of Prof. Lejeune's evidence, an Australian, Paul R. Smith, wrote in Shroud News that, far from being irrelevant to Allen's argument, "The contrary is true" in that Lejeune "showed that the Shroud was in existence" in the 12th century, which places it then in Constantinople and therefore also there in "944 AD," when the Shroud came to Constantinople from Edessa as the Mandylion (the Shroud tetradiplon = "four-doubled" - see my 15Sep12):
"Dr Allen states that Prof. J. Le Jeune's views concerning the pedigree of the Shroud are irrelevant to his argument. The contrary is true. Le Jeune's showed that the Shroud was in existence between 1100 AD and 1200 AD (Shroud News 80). Once this was established it was possible to show that the piece of cloth now housed in Turin was in existence before 944 AD. Dr Allen gives no reason for dismissing Le Jeune's claim, but to admit that Le Jeune's was right would bring into question the carbon dating tests."But as Smith pointed out, for Allen "to admit that Le Jeune's was right would bring into question," not only "the carbon dating tests," but also Allen's medieval photography hypothesis, which is based on "the 1988 carbon-dating" (see above) of the Shroud as "mediaeval ... 1260-1390."
■ Allen's is the best forgery explanation of the Shroud but it fails. Allen claims that "the only possible ... way that the image on the Shroud could have been produced was ... photographically" and his "photographic technique ... is the only plausible explanation of the "image ... on the Shroud":
"...the only possible and logical way that the image on the Shroud could have been produced was by a photographically related technique ... the hypothetical photographic technique, as elucidated ... in this article, is the only plausible explanation for image formation on the Shroud of Lirey-Chambéry-Turin"And Ian Wilson agreed that Allen's is the only replication of the Shroud which has "managed to get further than producing a face only" and he "has demonstrated that the Shroud's image really is photographic," and therefore all other forgery theories, including "Walter McCrone and others" are false:
"Perhaps the most impressive of all such features, however, was the result when Professor Allen photographed his `shroud' using black-and-white film and then viewed this in negative. Exactly as on the Shroud itself, there appeared the unmistakable naturalistic positive `photograph' of a naked man laid out in death, convincingly three-dimensional and quite impossible to interpret as the work of an artist. After all the unconvincingness of earlier replications of the Shroud ... none of which even managed to get further than producing a face only - the Nicholas Allen version has to be taken seriously ... Now it can also be said unreservedly of Professor Allen that more than anyone else before him he has demonstrated that the Shroud's image really is photographic in character. This is in fact something that those in favour of the Shroud's authenticity have been saying for years and is certainly bad news for Walter McCrone and others"
Albeit, as we saw above, there is evidence that what success Allen had achieved was by scientific fraud (possibly without Allen being self-aware it was fraud) in: 1) Allen claiming (or implying) that he had actually produced entirely by medieval means a 180 mm (~7 inch), optical quality, quartz crystal biconvex lens; and 2) Allen had replaced the image of the hair of his plaster bodycast (see above) because it would have refuted his theory. I have ordered Allen's 1998 book, "The Turin Shroud and the Crystal Lens: Testament to a Lost Technology," and if Allen does fully and satisfactorily explain in his book the above two points, I will publicly withdraw my imputation that Allen has by them committed scientific fraud, and publicly and unreservedly apologise on this page to Prof. Allen. But on the other hand, if Allen does not fully and fully and satisfactorily explain in his book these two points, I will report that on this page.
See my "Editorial and Contents," Shroud of Turin News, August 2016, where I reported:
"On 31 August I received Allen's 1998 book `The Turin Shroud and the Crystal Lens: Testament to a Lost Technology' and `I found in [it] where' Allen `indirectly admitted that he had used `synthetic quartz' (pp. 94, 96-97, 207, 240, etc.), that is `fused quartz,' made from quartz sand heated to ~2,000°C in a modern furnace, not rock crystal, the latter being what was only available in the Middle Ages to fashion a quartz lens. Therefore Allen's `medieval photography' theory fails through lack of experimental support. And, as we shall see, unless Allen can explain ... where he has clearly stated and shown that the materials and methods he used were entirely medieval, then I will have no alternative but to assume that Allen has indeed in this committed scientific fraud (although presumably due self-deception) ... I will document this in a separate post after I have read Allen's book more thoroughly."
Even if Allen did not achieve his results partly by scientific fraud, that would not then mean that his theory was true. As STURP photographer Barrie Schwortz pointed out, Allen's "own results provide the best evidence against ... his theory" because Allen has not accounted "for all of the image properties" of the Shroud but only "a few of them":
"To his credit, Allen has actually achieved what he set out to accomplish. He has, without question, used medieval raw materials to create a faint but good quality photographic image on linen cloth. As I will show however, his own results provide the best evidence against the validity of his theory. In the end, any attempt at duplicating the image on the Shroud of Turin must match all of its physical and chemical properties, not just a select few ... The proto-photography theory proposed by Prof. Nicholas Allen was able to create an image on linen cloth, but not one that duplicated the image properties of the Shroud of Turin. When attempting to provide a viable image formation mechanism for the Shroud, one has to account for all of the image properties, not just a few of them ... Allen was able to create a viable photographic image using medieval raw materials, but he did so from the perspective of 21st century science. ... If we accept the argument that the mere existence of certain raw materials is reason enough to believe someone actually used them to invent a technology that was still 500 years in the future, we should start searching archaeological sites around the world for the remains of medieval cellular phones, microwave ovens and nuclear weapons! Just because the raw materials for these highly advanced technologies existed, doesn't mean someone actually created them, particularly before human knowledge advanced enough technologically to truly make this possible."Finally, as Wilson observed (albeit with typical understatement), Allen's is the "only genuinely satisfying [and it isn't even that-see above] ... replication of the Shroud's image" but it "demands so much ... advanced photographic knowledge" of "someone of the Middle Ages" that it "may [sic does!] ... "represent ... better evidence for the Shroud's authenticity than for its forgery"!:
"Realistically, to date there has been only one genuinely satisfying [sic], albeit still only partial, replication of the Shroud's image, that by Professor Nicholas Allen. And that demands so much ingenuity and advanced photographic knowledge on the part of someone of the Middle Ages that it may actually represent rather better evidence for the Shroud's authenticity than for its forgery".
To be continued in part #9 of this my "Topics" series.
1. This page, and each page, in my The Shroud of Turin blog topics series, is copyright. However, permission is granted to quote from any part of this page (but not the whole page), provided it includes a reference citing my name, its subject heading, its date, and a hyperlink back to this page. [return]
2. Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, p.214. [return]
3. Email "Erratum," from Prof. Nicholas Allen, 23 April 2014 10:34 pm. [return]
4. Allen, N., 2009, "How Leonardo did not fake the Shroud of Turin," Unisa Press. [return]
5. Allen, N.P., 1995, "Verification of the Nature and Causes of the Photonegative Images on the Shroud of Lirey-Chambery-Turin," De Arte 51, Pretoria, UNISA, pp.21-35. [return]
6. Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.92; de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, pp.140-141. [return]
7. Wilson, 1998, p.260. [return]
8. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.28. [return]
9. Ware, M., 1997, "On Proto-photography and the Shroud of Turin," History of Photography, Vol. 21, No. 4, Winter, pp.261-269, 264. [return]
10. Allen, 1995. [return]
11. Ibid. [return]
12. "Is This the World's First Photograph?," Smithsonian Channel: Secrets - The Turin Shroud, July 22, 2013. [return]
13. Antonacci, 2000, p.92. [return]
14. Ware, 1997, p.264. [return]
15. Antonacci, 2000, p.91. [return]
16. Ibid. [return]
17. Broad, W. & Wade, N., 1982, "Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science," Simon and Schuster: New York NY, p.20. [return]
18. Ibid. [return]
19. Allen, 1995. [return]
20. Ware, 1997, p.265; "Johann Heinrich Schulze," Wikipedia, 12 March 2016. [return]
21. de Jager, S., 2009, "Turin Shroud back in focus," Weekend Post, South Africa, February 21. No longer online. [return]
22. Ware, 1997, p.261. [return]
23. Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B.M., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.125. [return]
24. Wilson, 1998, p.217. [return]
25. Piczek, I., 1996, "Alice in Wonderland and the Shroud of Turin," Proceedings of the Esopus Conference, August 23rd-25th, Esopus, New York. [return]
26. Antonacci, 2000, p.89. [return]
27. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, pp.125-126. [return]
28. Extract from Latendresse, M., 2010, "Shroud Scope: Enrie Negative Horizontal," (rotated left 90 degrees), Sindonology.org. [return]
29. Antonacci, 2000, p.87. [return]
30. Ibid. [return]
31. Allen, 2009. [return]
32. Wilson, I., 1997, "The Turin Machine: A 'Shroud' Peep-Show for Bristol," BSTS Newsletter, No. 45, June/July. [return]
33. Allen, 2009. [return]
34. Antonacci, 2000, pp.85-86. [return]
35. Allen, 1995. [return]
36. "ostensibly," Merriam-Webster Dictionary," n.d., accessed 13 August. 2016. [return]
37. Adler, A.D., 1999, "The Nature of the Body Images on the Shroud of Turin," in Adler, A.D. & Crispino, D., ed., "The Orphaned Manuscript: A Gathering of Publications on the Shroud of Turin," Effatà Editrice: Cantalupa, Italy, 2002, pp.103-112, 108. [return]
38. Schwalbe, L.A. & Rogers, R.N., 1982, "Physics and Chemistry of the Shroud of Turin: Summary of the 1978 Investigation," Reprinted from Analytica Chimica Acta, Vol. 135, No. 1, 1982, pp.3-49, 13. [return]
39. de Wesselow, 2012, p.141. [return]
40. Allen, 1995. [return]
41. Ware, 1997, pp.264-265. [return]
42. Allen, 1995. [return]
43. Antonacci, 2000, p.88. [return]
44. Wilson, 1998, p.260. [return]
45. Wilson, I., 1995, "From South Africa: Photography expert says he knows how the Shroud image was made," BSTS Newsletter, No. 39, January, p.9. [return]
46. "Crucifixion: Ancient Rome," Wikipedia, 21 August 2016. [return]
47. Buttigieg, M., 1995, "Challenge to Allen's findings," Shroud News, No 87, February, pp.15-17, 15 . [return]
48. Allen, 1995. [return]
49. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.125. [return]
50. Antonacci, 2000, p.85. [return]
51. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.125. [return]
52. Schwortz, B.M., 2000, "Is The Shroud of Turin a Medieval Photograph?: A Critical Examination of the Theory," Shroud.com. [return]
53. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.125. [return]
54. Schwortz, 2000, p.4. [return]
55. de Wesselow, 2012, p.142. [return]
56. Latendresse, 2010. [return]
57. "Timeline of lighting technology: 18th century," Wikipedia, 30 June 2016. [return]
58. Antonacci, 2000, p.85. [return]
59. Schwortz, 2000, p.3. [return]
60. Allen, N.P.L., 1993, "Is the Shroud of Turin the first recorded photograph?," The South African Journal of Art History, 11, November, pp.23-32, 26 [return]
61. Allen, 1993, p.31 [return]
62. Allen, 1993, pp.25-26; 1995; 2009. [return]
63. Schwortz, 2000, p.3. [return]
64. Allen, 1995. [return]
65. Ibid. [return]
66. Wilson, 1998, p.216. [return]
67. Schwortz, 2000, p.5. [return]
68. Schwortz, 2000, p.9. [return]
69. Ibid. [return]
70. Antonacci, 2000, p.85. [return]
71. Schwortz, 2000, p.6. [return]
72. Allen, 1995. [return]
73. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.126. [return]
74. Wilson, 1998, p.235; Ball, P., 2005, "To know a veil," Nature news, 28 January. [return]
75. Nickell, J., 2004, "PBS `Secrets of the Dead' Buries the Truth About Turin Shroud," Skeptical Inquirer, April 9. [return]
76. Wilson, 1998, pp.217-218. [return]
77. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, pp.114-116. [return]
78. Berkovits, I., 1969, "Illuminated Manuscripts in Hungary, XI-XVI Centuries," Horn, Z., transl., West, A., rev., Irish University Press: Shannon, Ireland, pl. III. [return]
79. de Wesselow, 2012, p.180. [return]
80. Buttigieg, 1995, p.16 . [return]
81. Lejeune, J., in Pacl, S.M., 1993, "All those carbon 14 errors," 30 Days, No 9, 1993, in Shroud News, No 80, December, pp.3-8, 6-7 . [return]
82. Allen, N.P.L., 1995, "Letter from Dr Nicholas Allen," 23rd October 1995, in Shroud News, No 92, December, pp.20-23, 23. [return]
83. de Wesselow, 2012, p.181. [return]
84. de Wesselow, 2012, pp.184, 186. [return]
85. Smith, P.R., 1996, "A scientific appraisal of the Allen hypothesis for the formation of the image on the Shroud of Turin," Shroud News, No 94, April, pp.10-14, 11. [return]
86. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, pp.611-615, p.611. [return]
87. Allen, 1995. [return]
88. Wilson, 1998, p.216. [return]
89. Schwortz, 2000, pp.1,6. [return]
90. Wilson, 1998, p.235. [return]
Posted: 7 August 2016. Updated: 5 September 2016.