SHROUD OF TURIN GIVEN NEW LIFE
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
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
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
"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
"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."