Shroud of Turin Given New Life

Author: Times


Six years after the cloth was declared a fraud, researchers say hidden images prove it held Jesus in his tomb

by Larry Witham "The Washington Times"

The Shroud of Turin, a fraud to some and to others proof of Jesus' resurrection, contains hidden images that support its authenticity as the Nazarene's burial cloth, a medical doctor said yesterday.

With a new technique that helps decipher the faded contours of shapes imprinted on the fabric, a team of shroud researchers says it found a Tiberian amulet, Roman nail, spear, sponge and crown of thorns.

"Images like these abound all over the shroud," said Dr. Alan Whanger, professor emeritus at Duke University Medical Center and a researcher with the Association of Scientists and Scholars International for the Shroud.

The images also include flowers; a "titulus," a sign attached to a cross at Roman crucifixions; and what appear to be the bone structures of the face, teeth and limbs.

"We have clear confirmation that these images were created by radiation," Dr. Whanger said in a telephone interview.

Because the objects were stained with the victim's blood, they would have been wrapped in a burial shroud according to Jewish custom, he said.

In its negative photographic image, the 14-by-31/2-foot shroud shows a bearded man with nail wounds in his wrists and feet and a gash in his side.

In 1988, labs doing carbon-14 testing in Arizona, England and Switzerland announced they had simultaneously ruled it a 13thcentury forgery. Before that, the last access to the shroud for researchers was in 1978.

Researchers such as Dr. Whanger have dismissed the 1988 carbon tests as skewed by contamination of the shroud samples. "Those labs still won't open their data for scrutiny," he said.

The archbishop of Turin at the time of the tests, who controlled the shroud as a local church treasure, accepted the forgery verdict--a view he held before the tests. According to Catholic press reports, the new archbishop may believe the shroud is authentic.

After a two-year silence, the Vatican said in 1990 that the carbon testing methods had been "strange" and that more tests should be conducted. Pope John Paul II, advised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, recently called the shroud a "relic," which means authentic.

"The detail in the shroud is remarkable' said Dr. Whanger, a rare Protestant in shroud research and advocacy. "The image on the shroud has no directionality [from brush strokes] to it at all." Two University of Tennessee scientists explained that in February ~hen they announced they had created an image comparable to the shroud by pressing a powder drawing on cloth.

"This is the last nail in the coffin regarding the authenticity of the shroud:' Randall Bresee, a textile expert who published his findings in the Journal of Imaging Science and Technology, said at the time.

He and medical illustrator Emily Craig used powder pigments and aloe, a plant jell, to make an image with materials available to medieval forgers.

"The image they created isn't anywhere near the detail or quality of the shroud," Dr. Whanger said in dismissing the findings.

Dr. Whanger said the only explanation for the images is radiation. He said a kind of radiation called "coronal discharge" jumps off the high surfaces of objects. A second kind called "autoradiation" comes from within an object--as when a drop of radioactive medicine allows doctors to scan a patient's internal systems.

Taken from the April 3, 1994 issue of "The Washington Times."