The Biggest Shroud of Turin Mystery

imageA reader writes:

The biggest mystery attending the shroud is how people lock onto an image theory that best fits their worldview. Then they swear by it as though it was proved.  Facts and myths that support their theory are all that they will look at or mention. Facts that prove them wrong are conveniently ignored.

So it was when Chris Sullivan wrote, “Jacques di Costanzo and historian Paul-Eric Blanrue proved that such an image might easily have been achieved in the middle ages by simply rubbing an iron oxide mixed with gelatine onto cloth.” Conveniently, Sullivan fails to tell us that this was only the latest bas-relief attempt. Others had not worked out. Painted and proto-photographed and dry dusted and reverse bleached and scorched images had also failed. It was because Costanzo’s and Blanrue’s attempt had also failed that Luigi Garlaschelli tried another bas-relief technique in 2010. We now await the next something else while all the proponents of everything else continue to swear by their own something, facts be damned.

Of course one doesn’t find any better theories among the many theories of those who think it is a real image of Jesus.

But I know how the image was formed. In 1356, Merlin the Wizard touched a piece of homespun wool with his magic wand. The wool magically turned into linen. I know this is so because 3 over 1 herringbone cloth had never been seen before or since. The image is of King Arthur because it looks like him. And we know it was magic because science has failed to figure it out. And there is an image of a magic wand near the right shoulder.

30 thoughts on “The Biggest Shroud of Turin Mystery”

  1. Good comment. I would add this one : It’s not because nobody has been able to fully explain the image formation mechanism of the Shroud that it mean it came directly from an ACT OF GOD (in the miracle sense of the term) ! When I see interviews about the Shroud, more than half of them are done in a supernatural or a paranormal context and it bugs me alot. For me, the Shroud is a material object that can be analysed by science. It doesn’t fit in the same category than ghost, UFOs, etc. And if science has not been able to fully understand the images, for me, it’s just because science didn’t fully test every possible natural process and also, because finding the correct process is not something easy. Why ? Just because nobody know every elements that were present 2000 years ago when the images were supposedly formed. We don’t know the exact conditions. We don’t know what was the temperature. We don’t know what was the exact humidity level. We don’t know what kind of biological products could had been present on the skin of the dead man. We don’t know how much gas and what kind of gas could have been rejected by the corpse. We don’t much ! In this context, finding the correct “chemical recipe” that could have been acting is not easy at all… So, I’m not surprise that the mystery is still alive and well. But that doesn’t mean we need Merlin the Wisard to solve it ! What we need is honest and competent scientists that will keep on the scientific research and keep testing and testing. And, let’s hope they could do it someday with direct access to the cloth.

  2. The reader wrote “Of course one doesn’t find any better theories among the many theories of those who think it is a real Image of Jesus”, and I must agree yet Yannick, I am convinced you are fixated on a ‘natural process’ theory to be honest. I’ll admit I’m fixated on the ‘Direct Act of God’. Only difference between our theories? No one has come forth with any FACTS or theories that can prove my theory wrong or even questionable! (I understand it is a tough thing to disprove), only bias against a supernatural being or event prevails…hense my fixation. Among the writers obviously humorous theory lies an error, in that the 3 to 1 weave has been seen before. ;-)


    1. I focus on the natural hypothesis because the Shroud is a material object that show a dead man !!! ;-) Why looking elsewhere to find the truth about the body images ? Since we’re sure there was a corpse in the Shroud and we’re not sure of anything else, I think it’s pretty wise to look for some kind of natural interraction between the corpse and the cloth. Call it a fixation if you want but personnaly, I prefer to call it “rationalism”. Also, I don’t have doubts that some people can think of me as a little “integrist” in my point of view but I can ensure you that I’m not. I don’t defend one particular hypothesis saying that this is the one that can explain everything. I love Rogers hypothesis because I think it is logical that it took some part in the process but I will never say that this hypothesis alone can explain everything… I still think the question of the image formation is left open but, since I want to stay pragmatic, I prefer to look in the “natural” direction.

      1. Why look elsewhere? The cloth itself may be a material thing and we may be certain a body was once incased in it. But are we NOT sure about anything else? …We’re pretty sure the body was removed from the cloth without leaving any signs of doing so!…This my friend is a huge reason towards looking for another image causation. You may believe Rogers hypothesis makes logical sense, but in reality it may not, as like many other theories it fails to explain ALL the attributes of the image and looking for a secondary complementary causation for it is simply grasping at straws.


  3. One last comment : I just want to say that I really think the scientific era has done a great damage to the Shroud potential has a spiritual tool. Since science started to examine this cloth (circa 1900) and much more since the STURP team has done his job in 1978 and the years following, the attention of the public have been far more focussed on things like “mystery”, “surpernatural”, “paranormal”, “Questions unanswered” etc., etc., instead of just focussing on the images themselves. For me, believe it or not, even if I did some nice debate over the past few weeks on the question of the image formation (no doubt that it is a very interesting subject to discuss), what is on the Shroud (the body and bloody images) is far more important than to learn what kind of transfer was involved.

    As a believer, I don’t need a proof of the resurrection to see a great sign of it on the Shroud and, furthermore, to believe in it ! And except for the scientists that studied the cloth and will surely keep on in the future, I think it would be a very nice thing if people start to turn a little bit more their attention on what the images have to say about Jesus, his humanity and the gift of his life for mankind than to focus only on what kind of mechanism was at work to create those images.

    On this particular aspect of the question, I think the medias didn’t helped because, in the past decades, almost 99% of the documentaries, interviews, news headlines or TV shows about the Shroud, only talked about the mystery surrounding it instead of what the images have to say to humanity… But I’m not surprise at all that it is this way because “mystery” sell more than “spirituality” ! But at the same time, it’s kind of sad.

  4. Except for the rediculously bumbled 1988 C-14 dating, which by far has hurt the ‘spiritual’ power of the Shroud more then anything. I feel that most other science done, has only actually strengthened it. In the sense that it has baffled EVERYONE who as studied it seriously!….What more does one need?
    I too am a believer and can say wholeheartedly I do not need the Shroud as proof but I can look at the Shroud as a very amazing ‘sign’. I agree completely with you that the ‘media’ as a whole has not done much to help and on the contrary they are probably more responsible in hurting the ‘truth’ of the Shroud. But lately that seems to be the vogue thing to do, most networks, Hollywood, all seem to have an agenda to wipe out God and replace him with paranormal infactuation, fantasy and a material lifestyle….it’s sad but worse is that people ‘in general’ are following it.


    1. Archaeocryptologically, I have studied the Turin Shroud. IT JUST DID NOT BAFFLE ME as an image tranferred onto a linen cloth! IT BAFFLED ME THE BLOOD AND BODY IMAGE OF RABBI YESHUA WAS PROVIDENTIALLY RECORDED ON IT!

    2. I dream of the day when people will focus more on what is on the Shroud than how it get there…

  5. Ron, you’re free to believe what you. All we are sure is that there was a DEAD corpse in this cloth and the image is that of a DEAD man. Of course, there’s a sign that the body disappeared but why do we have automatically to link directly this event with the body images ?

    Anyway, there’s one aspect of your comment that I want to point out : Rogers hypothesis. Read me again ! I only say that a gaseous diffusion have some good chances to have been PART of the image formation process. I never said Rogers hypothesis can explain everything. But, to believe that there was no gas at all in this burial cloth and that this gas didn’t create no coloration at all, someone need more faith that I have ! ;-) Coloring linen is pretty easy ! Look at the water marks ! Even water was able to leave is trace on the cloth. And Pellicori made experiment and proved that sweat, aloes, myrrh, olive oil, were able to cause also a coloration on linen. And you will tell me that there was no gas at all in this cloth or that the gas present there left absolutely no coloration at all ???

    But anyway, it’s your point of view and I have mine. I don’t care you believe something else.

    Having say that, now, can we focus on what the image can tell us instead of just focus our attention on the possible image formation process ??? I think that would be more positive…

  6. Yannick, you have something in common with Fanti. He also believes that PARTIALLY, the image was formed by contact and/or chemical reactions….. So, I conclude that if each and every aspect of the Shroud is to be explained, perhaps we have to start thinking of a certain number of formation mechanisms operating simultaneously or sequentially on the same linen.

    1. Mentioning Merlin the Wizard, I have studied the Turin Shroud in the light of the Grail literature. This name, for instance, can be read in French to mean “honey white” or “ivory” refferring to a colour. In Latin, the same word can be read as the short for M[orte] E[t] R[esurectionem] LINUS, “The Death and Resurrection Linen”. In Welsh (via the word Myrrddhin), it means “WITNESS, MARTYR”. The very name of Merlin MIGHT WELL refer to the “M-martyr” Jesus and his ivory-like time patina yellowed linen Shroud…

      1. Max, I speak french. I don’t know what you mean by saying that the name Merlin in french can be read to mean “honey white” or ivory” ! In fact, the last part of the name (“lin”) mean, in french, “linen”, but I really don’t see any connexion there with the Shroud ! For the first part (“mer”), in french, it mean “sea”. A sea of linen ? Doesn’t mean anything to me really… It’s just the name of a character !

  7. I didn’t know that I get something in common with M. Fanti ! :-)

    The thing is : only a diffusion process (whatever it can be) seem to be unable to create a body image with such a high resolution. That’s why I think another process was at work and it imply mostly a contact process. What confort me in this idea is that most if not every body parts that get the highest resolution (the hands, the face) was probably in direct contact with the cloth (or in a very close proximity). But at the same time, a diffusion process (whatever it can be) is necessary to explain every parts that most probably were not in direct contact. That’s why I think an hybrid process is the best possibility. It’s just a logical deduction from all the scientific data that we know about the Shroud.

  8. I see a diffciulty hear, because all the affected fibers have exactly the same level of coloration. It only changes the proportion of coloured fibers by unit area. This works for very close areas (with more likely contact between body and linen) and also for more distant areas from the body which according to your theory, are more likely to have been originated by a gas diffusion mechanism. If it is so, how is it that two different mechanisms (contact/chemical-diffusion reaction) originate in the affected fibers the same level of coloration and the only difference goes to the proportion of affected fibers by unit square?

    1. My answer to your very good question, at least for the moment is this one : the thin layer of impurities suggested by Rogers ! The very good probability that the image formation process affected only this thin layer can explain why the coloration is the same at a fiber level, no matter if it was a contact zone or not. If this is true, that would mean that the image formation process was very mild and wasn’t able to color the linen fibers but only the thin layer of sugar and carbohydrates. By the way, this is pretty logical since it is proven (see Rogers book) that, when it gets in contact with a gas, a layer of impurities composed of sugars and carbohydrates is easier to color than the linen fibers themselves. And I’m pretty sure it is also true for other biological products…

      If it was the linen fiber that would have been colored, your right, it would be VERY HARD to understand why the coloration would be the same at fiber level no matter if it was a contact zone or not (a close proximity zone). Normally, we would expect that the coloration of the zones in direct contact would have penetrated the cloth more deeply and would have created a coloration more intense on the fibers that were on the top surface of the cloth. We would expect to see a gradation in the coloration from the surface to the interior of the cloth. That’s not what we can see on the Shroud.

      I really think the idea of Rogers that it was just the thin layer of impurities present mainly on the top surface of the cloth that was colored can answer your question. Otherwise, I don’t know what could be the reason for the observation you report. It wouldn’t make sense.

  9. Archaeocryptologically speaking, the Shroud man image formation process implies “a contact and gradual loss of contact process”.

  10. Such a process is consistent with the corpse (in hyperthermy or not) being tightly wrapped up into the Shroud soaked with a watery solution and subjected to a fumigation. When will you consider the possibily, for God’s sake?

  11. My friend Max, you should suggest your hypothesis to a chemist and ask him to make some experiment to test it. It’s the only way to know if your idea have some chance to be correct. You can think it’s the solution but, unless there’s some real scientific experiment to verify your claim, who can be sure ? Try to find a real scientist to test your hypothesis.

    1. It just needs a team of a dozen of specialists and… money to archaeologically reconstruct the Shroud Man’s burial.

  12. Yannick Clément :
    Max, I speak french. I don’t know what you mean by saying that the name Merlin in french can be read to mean “honey white” or ivory” ! In fact, the last part of the name (“lin”) mean, in french, “linen”, but I really don’t see any connexion there with the Shroud ! For the first part (“mer”), in french, it mean “sea”. A sea of linen ? Doesn’t mean anything to me really… It’s just the name of a character !

    In old French “merlin” and “mellin” are synonymous. “Merlin” for “mellin” does mean “honey white” or “honey yellow” as a colour very close to ivory. Thus it might well refer to the patina of the age old linen Shroud.

  13. The Shroud shows a zigzag pattern (said of the herringbone). In iconic reduction or symbologically, the zigzag pattern stands ALSO for a river or of the sea (“mer” in French).

  14. Yannick you write: “the last part of the [Merlin] name (“lin”) mean, in french, “linen”, but I really don’t see any connexion with the Shroud !

    No comment!

  15. I meant a connexion between the word “linen” being part of Merlin’s name and the object “the shroud”. I know the Shroud is made of 100% pure linen (let’s say 99.9%) but I don’t see any connexion at all with Merlin as a character…

  16. Merlin here is not to be taken as a character but only as A NAME WITH A MEANING! A name whose meaning in old French (merlin/mellin) PRECISELY refers to the YELLOWED LINEN Shroud of Turin bearing the image of the CHRISTIAN M-“MARTYR” (in Welsh “Myrddin” which is also the Welsh name of Merlin). CANNOT YOU UNDERSTAND? DON’T YOU WANT TO UNDERSTAND?

  17. Yannick, I would understand you cannot understand the Franco-Latin pun M[ortem] Et R[esurrectiónem] LIN[us] and should not be able to see the connexion with the Latin name MERLINUS and the old French name “MERLIN” but now YOUR BAD WILL does stare in the eyes!

  18. In the very Shroud Man Image seen as that of an old man with white hair and a red beard IS to be found the origin of the legendary character created by medieval story-tellers and poets…

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