Science and the Shroud

The Shroud of Turin is a sheet of white linen of herring-bone weave 14 ½ by 3½ foot linen cloth that is reputed to be the burial cloth that covered Jesus after the crucifixion. Its geographical path throughout history has been traced by the identification of at least six  pieces of pollen only found in Jerusalem at the time of Christ, embedded in the linen. In 1898, the Church in Turin was about to relegate the Holy Shroud to a museum. A picture was taken of the cloth for catalogue purposes by Secondo Pia. He found that the image of the Shroud was, in fact, a negative. It looks exactly like a typical negative of a black and white photo. A medieval forger could not possibly have conceived of producing a detailed negative, substituting lights for      darkness, with all the subtle variations involved. Historically no other picture of any subject has ever been discovered with these same    photographic qualities. Scientists are in general agreement that they would be unable to produce such an image with today’s technology.
      ExperimentsScientists at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs were stunned when they placed a photograph of the face of the Shroud in a VP8 computerized image enhancer that had been designed for the Mariner Space Program. The Shroud picture mysteriously contained encoded information which produced an uncanny three-dimensional image. It is therefore possible that the image of the Shroud contains X-ray information. This is not possible with any ordinary photographic technique and certainly could not be duplicated by a forger, medieval or contemporary.

The coins on the Shroud?These relief pictures reveal the existence of two small disks on the man’s eyelids. These disks have been identified through high magnification as coins which were minted by Pontius Pilate in Palestine between October 28 A.D. and October 31 A.D.

Investigators working with computers from the Viking Space Mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasedena, California established that the image was not made by pigments, and appears to be strictly a surface phenomenon similar to a scorch. Because of this, scientists theorize that the image resulted from a very brief but intense burst of radiant energy called “flash photolysis,” of unknown origin but certainly like no other. It somehow emanated from the body under the cloth. The Resurrected Christ is usually pictured in just such a transcendent light. If the body in the Shroud had decayed in the normal manner, or even remained in the      Shroud for more than a few days, the Shroud would have been discolored and eventually itself have decayed.

Professor Max Frei, Director of the Scientific Laboratory of the Swiss Police, detected and identified 48 classes of pollen on the tissue of the Shroud. Some belong to plants, long extinct, which flourished in first century Palestine; some to plants from Syria, Anatolia, Constantinople; some from France and Italy. Thus, the new branch of microbotanics, called Palinology, has fixed the date and      itinerary of the Holy Shroud in its origins and migrations.