The Shroud of Turin | Real or Fake?

(12 Minute Read)

The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth that features an image of a man. Some say this man was Jesus of Nazareth (due to all wounds the bible describes being present), and others say it is nothing more than a hoax. Let's observe the facts in the first edition of Evidence For God.
How The Image Was Found
The story starts back in 1898, a photographer by the name of Secondo Pia was allowed to take photographs of the shroud. He discovered that the photo negative of the image on the shroud actually showed much more detail than what a normal observer could see with their bare eyes. This shocked him and news started to spread. The phenomenon was later confirmed by future photographers.
The 1988 Carbon Dating Results
So, what is so special about a image of a man on a shroud? There is no paint or dye that is the source of the image, and there is real blood on it. The image was formed by an unknown energy source that is similar to radiation.
"If the image is credited to low energy X-rays supposedly emitted during the weak dematerialization we have, once more, something quite unlikely in Physics. X-rays are produced in processes where an excess energy is liberated, not when energy must be supplied, as in the case at hand. In the second part of this study it will be shown that no radiation, transmitted through space according to physical laws, can explain the properties of the image. Nor is there any experimental basis to say that the radiation would have the exact wavelength to affect only the surface of the linen fibrils, without penetration, causing only the slight yellowish color of the image." -Emmanuel M. Carreira, S.J.
The Properties of the Shroud Include:
  • It is formed by a weak yellowish stain, visible clearly only from a distance of about 2 meters or more, that shows a double view -front and back- of a naked human body, covered with multiple wounds, that have also left blood stains on the cloth.
  • There is no image of the top of the head nor of the sides of the body. - The human figure, especially the face, is anatomically accurate, without clear distortions.
  • There is a perfect congruence of the front and back images, obviously implying that a 3- dimensional body was wrapped in the cloth. 
  • The stains have some properties of a photographic negative: only when photographed in 1898 by Secondo Pia it became possible to really appreciate the information contained in the image.
  • While in a photograph, be it positive or negative, there is no correlation between density of the imprint and distance to the object, the image on the cloth appears more intense in the areas where the vertical distance to the body would logically be shorter. This allows the use of a simple mathematical function to recover the 3-dimensional quality of the body (something that cannot be done with any ordinary painting or photograph, even if the ―bas-relief‖ process is used in the darkroom). 
  • Fine detail, down to millimeter size, can be observed with contrast enhancing techniques. This is especially surprising in the case of a small coin visible on the right eyelid.
  • There is no added pigment, solid or with binding medium, on the surface of the linen fibers, nor in their inside, even under microscopic examination. Nor is there any fluorescence that would imply the presence of foreign substances in the image areas.
  • There is no change in the linen fibers themselves (no dehydration or chemical alteration of the cellulose). The color seems to reside exclusively in a thin layer covering the fibrils that make up each linen fiber, as if some surface impurity were affected by the image process, which did not change the cellulose itself. Next to a colored thread, one can find another thread without image color, implying that the threads reacted differently to the image-producing stimulus. The color layer can be dissolved with diimide. 
  • There is no image under dried blood crusts: the image seems to have been formed after the crusts, unless the crust pulls the color layer when disturbed.
  • The spectral signature of the yellowish image stains is similar (but not identical) to that of the burns caused on the cloth by the 1532 fire.
  • The image was not affected by the high temperature or the water from the 1532 fire.
  • Possible interest: there seem to be images of teeth and bone structures in the face, as well as indications of the finger bones all the way to the wrist, and of a hidden thumb.
Described by: Emmanuel M. Carreira, S.J.

In an interview with national geographic Italian scientist Paolo Di Lazzaro adds stating he tried for five years (using state-of-the-art excimer lasers to train short bursts of ultraviolet light on raw linen) to replicate the image and concluded that it was produced by something like ultraviolet light, but the ultraviolet light necessary to reproduce the image “exceeds the maximum power released by all ultraviolet light sources available today.” The time for such a burst “would be shorter than one forty-billionth of a second, and the intensity of the ultra violet light would have to be around several billion watts.”
(Click HERE to learn more about Di Lazzaro's work)
You would think 21st century technology not being able to replicate it would be enough proof that there is something supernatural going on, but to most atheist it's not. Back in 1988 the shroud was carbon dated by major institutions and universities. The results came back with a 95% probability that the shroud was from around the 13th-14th century. The 13th century you ask? How is it possible that it could be an actual photo of Jesus if it is only from the 13th century? 
Debunking the 1988 Results
In 1532, the shroud was caught in a fire in a chapel of Chambery. The molten silver casing melted and stained the shroud, leaving it in bad condition. Poor Clare Nuns repaired the damage using patches. These repairs left contamination on certain parts of the shroud with newer fabric. The researchers wouldn't have taken a contaminated part of the shroud to test right? Wrong, they did. When the nuns repaired the shroud they used cotton, then put dye over the area to make the color match with the original linen. The spot they tested was much darker from the rest of the cloth around it. Despite this, Raymond Rogers (an American chemist and leading expert in thermal analysis that worked on examining the shroud) concluded in a peer-reviewed journal that the carbon dating results were correct, but that the area that was carbon dated was contaminated. He came across this contamination conclusion after trying to disprove Joseph Marino who proposed the shroud has a repair seam. Because Raymond worked on the shroud, he still had samples left over and put them under a microscope. What he found shocked him, cotton with dye. It is important to note that Raymond had terminal cancer at the time, and died soon after publishing his findings. The remaining fibers that Raymond had were sent to independent research labs and it was confirmed cotton and linen were interweaved. Furthermore, the carbon dating results from the three labs showed a transition of age from 1238-1430. This change in age could point to a transition of the amount of contamination from the separate samples sent to them from around the same area. Raymond's partner, Schwortz reexamined false-color x-ray fluorescent photographs of the Shroud and showed that the sample that had been carbon dated was taken from the only piece that was viewed as green, indicating it had different chemical properties from the rest of the Shroud. He pointed out that nobody has seen this because the green section did not feature the image, so it was overlooked. The Discovery Channel made a documentary on their findings in 2008 called "Unwrapping The Shroud". 
Above is a Replica of the Shroud of Turin
10 Reasons the Sample Taken Was Not Part of the Real Shroud (by Ray Rogers):
1) It did not fluoresce; i.e., its chemical composition was different. There is absolutely no question about that statement.
2) The yarn was coated with a gum that contained both dyes and mordants (common technology through millennia for dyeing linen). It had been colored for a purpose. Most of the added color appears on the outer surface of the yarn in that area. Photomicrographs document this fact. None of the main part of the cloth had any of the same gum-dye-mordant coating.
3) The linen had been bleached by a different technique than the main part of the cloth: it shows very little lignin at growth nodes.
4) The lignin in the anomalous area gives the microchemical test for vanillin, a component of lignin that decreases with time. The lignin in the main part of the Shroud does not give the test (nor does lignin from Dead Sea Scroll wrappings). The anomalous area has a different age than the Shroud.
5) As Raes observed, there is cotton in the yarn of the anomalous part of the cloth. It is easy to find inside the segments of yarn. The only cotton that is found on the main part of the cloth is a superficial impurity.
6) SEM analyses by Adler proved that fibers from the anomalous area have twice (2X) the concentration of aluminum as other areas. Aluminum is used as a mordant for the ancient Madder root dye that exists in the anomalous area. Microscopic views, documented with photomicrographs, prove the presence of Madder dye on hydrous aluminum oxide mordant.
7) Madder root dye is largely alizarin and purpurin. These can easily be detected in the anomalous area. No other area of the Shroud is coated with Madder root dye. Alizarin has been used for over a century as an acid-base indicator in chemistry: its properties are known in detail, and its presence in the area has been documented with photomicrographs.
8) The hydrous-aluminum-oxide mordant is instantly soluble in hydrochloric acid. The color of fibers from the anomalous area changes instantly when treated with the acid, and the colors obtained depend on the pH of the solution (as expected from the dyes),
9) The gum coating on the outside of the yarn is soluble in water. It can be observed under a microscope, and the soluble gum is redeposited when the water is allowed to evaporate. The gum is not a biogenic polymer, and it does not give any test for proteins. The gum quickly hydrolyzes in acid, and it hydrolyzes somewhat more slowly in sodium hydroxide solution. It gives the color test with iodine that is common to plant gums like gum Arabic (bright yellow). There is nothing like that on the rest of the cloth. Such gums were items of commerce for millennia, it was not a natural impurity on linen, and it was used to stain/dye the yarn. Photomicrographs are available to document these observations.
10) Careful microscopic viewing of yarn segments from the Raes sample showed a unique, end-to-end splice (photomicrograph available). The main part of the cloth was woven using overlaps of yarn when one batch of yarn ran out and another was added to continue weaving. Photographs of the Shroud show the method, and historical documents discuss it. The "bands of different color" seen in the Shroud correspond to areas that were woven from different batches of yarn. The bands also show different concentrations of lignin (each batch of yarn was bleached separately).
His Challenge: I invite anyone with competence in chemistry to view samples that show the extent of the compositional differences between the anomalous (low-fluorescence, different chemical composition) area and 32 authentic Shroud fibers. I can supply some samples: Turin can supply more. I challenge the custodians of the Shroud to have a competent chemist perform a few simple chemical tests on retained samples of the radiocarbon area. These differences are obvious, and they cannot be waved away by an "appeal to authority." I seriously doubt Flury-Lemberg's credentials to make pronouncements on the chemical properties of the radiocarbon sample. 
Written by Raymond N. Rogers Fellow, University of California, Los Alamos National Laboratory Los Alamos, NM, USA.
Proving the Shroud's Authenticity Historically
Now that we have disproved the Shroud of Turin's radiocarbon dating results, can we use other historical resources to date it at a younger age? Yes, let's do it. This is mainly overlooked, but the Bible speaks of the shroud and the head cloth which we will get to later.
John 20:6-7

"Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,

And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself."

So, what we are speaking of is clearly biblical. Next, let's go over some artifacts that many have found that lead them to the conclusion that the Shroud existed before the age of the carbon dating results.
The Pray Codex, which dates back to the 12th-13th century features a painting of what many believe to be the Shroud of Turin. Striking similarities include the position of the body of Jesus, the herringbone weave pattern, the "L" burn mark shape, and only four visible fingers on the hand matching the shroud depiction.
Art that dates back before the carbon dating results show a shocking similarity to what is seen on the shroud. For example, the hair cowlick, long nose, space in between the beard, big eyes (as the shroud may show coins over the eyes) because the early artist did not have the photo negative to discern. 
Even Byzantine coins featured the likeness of the shroud, and these were from the early 7th century. Later art, some of which you see above used these coins as inspiration. 
The Biomedical, Forensic, & Textile Evidence
The dirt that was found on the shroud was travertine aragonite limestone, which is very present in Jerusalem (where Jesus died). Furthermore 45 different types of pollen from Jerusalem were found on the shroud, out of a total of 58. The shroud also includes pollen from a thorn plant (so does the headcloth), myrrh and aloes (as stated in the bible), AB blood type (same as headcloth), rare calcite from tombs around Damascus (same as headcloth), and pulmonary edema fluid (same as headcloth - exits nose and mouth). The weave from the shroud is 1st century according to Gilbert Raes of the Ghent Institute of Textile Technology in Belgium. Flury-Lemberg goes on to state "The linen cloth of the Shroud of Turin does not display any weaving or sewing techniques which would speak against its origin as a high-quality product of the textile workers of the first century." Dr. Robert Bucklin (Professor of Forensic Pathology) has stated "The markings on this image are so clear and so medically accurate the pathological facts would say the suffering and death of the man depicted here are beyond dispute." Dr. Robert Bucklin has done over 25,000 autopsies and is considered one of the top forensic pathologist in the world. 
The Sudarium of Oviedo (Headcloth)
The Sudarium of Oviedo is mentioned in the bible as the head cloth of Jesus. Like the bible's description, it is a separate piece of linen cloth that was folded. The purpose of the cloth was to catch the blood that came out of the face of Jesus while he was taken down from the cross. Let's go over the "coincidences" of similarity between the shroud and sudarium.
  • Blood types are both AB
  • The length of the nose, also which the pleural oedema fluid came onto the sudarium has been calculated at eight centimetres. That is just over three inches. This is the exact same length as the nose on the Shroud.
  • When placed on top each other the blood stains fit exactly with the beard of the face, as the sudarium would have absorbed the blood.
  •  Thorn wounds on the nape of the neck also fit perfectly with the bloodstains on the shroud.
  • Dr. Alan Whanger used the Polarized Image Overlay Technique to the sudarium, comparing it to the bloodstains on the Shroud. The frontal stains on the sudarium show seventy points of coincidence with the Shroud, and the rear side shows fifty. The only conclusion is that the sudarium covered the same face as the shroud. 

It is also worth noting that because we can strongly provide evidence that the same head was under both this cloth and the shroud it also provides historical evidence that brings the shroud of turin back in age. The sadarium has been dated using radiocarbon dating to an age of 700 AD. However, historical evidence shows that the sadarium can be traced back to 570 AD. The lab later stated that oil contamination could have provided wrong results. This paper has more information if you are interested.

Update (10/2/2019) : There are a few "methods" people have used to show that the image on the shroud could be explained somewhat. However, these methods do not explain all of the details on the Shroud. The most compelling argument against the shroud is the possibility that early camera technology/ideas existed before the year 1725. This book shows that before 1725, there were no ideas of what one would think of as photography. If the Shroud were a fraud, and it was created around the late 1200's it is the first photograph known to us. This would mean that photography existed over 500 years before previously thought. Some argue that because light sensitive materials such as silver nitrate were known of around the same time (1200-1300 AD) the fraud date of the Shroud is usually depicted, that the image could have been formed naturally. However just because the material exist does not mean the technology or the knowledge does. One could say the material to build an iPhone was around at that time, but that does not mean they knew how to harvest the material, shape it, and build it into an iPhone. These "medieval chemist" would have to have great understanding of how light reacts with silver nitrate via a lense and also know how to soak the cloth in a solution to "glue" the image on. At the end of the day, unless camera technology existed 500 years before previously thought and the Shroud of Turin is the only preserved photo from that time there has been little progress made to explain the image. Isabel Piczek wrote this article on explaining how this idea does not follow logic: "The event horizon of the Medieval Milieu has been badly crossed with this theory; a corpse hanging in the sun for several days at about a 15 feet distance from an optical quality quartz crystal inserted into the pinhole of a giant Camera Obscura, while inside the Camera, again at a fifteen feet distance, a 14 feet long cloth hangs evenly covered with silver nitrate. Later on, to fix the image, the cloth is washed in a 5% diluted solution of ammonia or urine. Bingo. The first photo, a giant one at that, has been made, after the corpse has been turned upside down for a repeated performance for another seven days or so, the first position matching the second one perfectly.

Again, we hear the magic words; I quote "using materials that were available in the 13th century." Never mind that an analytical and scientific thinking was not developed yet in the 13th century capable of bringing together the following process: a camera obscura not in use in the 13th century, the classics not yet translated, chemistry not yet invented, yet knowing the exact chemical properties of silver nitrate, knowing its light sensitive properties, without any knowledge of optics or the properties of light employing a bi-convex, finely ground quartz lens, knowing the properties of UV radiation before electromagnetism was known at all, knowing how to stabilize the image by ammonia or knowing the chemical properties of urine. Knowing that some day, from the negative through photography a positive image will be achieved. But how come, that not knowing the most evident fact, that corpses do not maintain rigor mortis or that they cannot hang for 14 days in the sun, or else you would not care to see what the camera obscura would bring in onto your canvas."


I will leave you with a quote from Dr. Gilbert Lavoie M.D.

"There is no question there was a crucified man on this cloth."

The position of the body cemented into the Shroud due to rigor mortis shows that the man was almost definitely crucified as his legs are bent downward like a nail went straight through his feet. The wounds are even there to prove it. Does this mean that this man is 100% Jesus or that we are 100% correct? No, however here at Almighty we are confident that this is the most likely explanation. You can never been 100% sure of anything, but after viewing the evidence all it takes is a little faith.

 Want to look into this topic more? (Believe it or not there are more details) Research the following Shroud of Turin experts:

Dr. Alan Adler, Professor of chemistry | Dr. John Heller, Biophysicist | Dr. Robert Bucklin, Professor of Forensic Pathology | Dr. Frederick Zugibe, Chief medical examiner of Rockland County New York | Dr. Gilbert Lavoie, Medical Doctor | Dr. Sebastiano Rodante, Medical Doctor | Dr. Max Frei, Forensic Botanist | Dr. Pierre Barbet, Chief Surgeon in Paris France, a battlefield surgeon | Dr. Baima Bollone, Professor of forensic pathology | Dr. Herman Moedder, Radiologist from Germany | James Malcolm Cameron, a British Forensic Scientist | Dr. Sam Pellicori, Optical Engineer | Professor Guilio Fanti, A mechanical engineer | Dr. Flury-Lemberg, Swiss textile expert

Click HERE to visit a website dedicated to listing shroud of turin evidence from a wide range of areas.

Thanks for reading our first edition of Evidence for God. Check back soon for a new topic!

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