The Shroud of Turin Replica - A Field Trip & Guest Post by my Dad

It was a blessing of many facets to be able to see and touch an exact of only 9 in the world....approved by the Vatican and touched to the actual.... of The Shroud of Turin!

A local, Ukrainian Catholic Church  hosted the event and our Pastor asked if the homeschoolers would like to join him on a tour and visit. The turnout was great and their hospitality was like a warm embrace amidst their sumptuous gold and jewel-toned soaked Church. The highlight, of course, was learning so much about this incredible object. but each of us also felt delighted to meet the fine pastor of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and learn about their Mass. We plan to pray the Mass with our new friends one Sunday.

Some members of my homeschool group and the pastors
I could link to many articles, books and DVDs to share with you info and studies on The Shroud of Turin. You can google it, too, if you'd like to read more. But I'd like to share something from a devotee. All my life, my Father ( a retired attorney) has had an interest in The Shroud and so I asked him to guest blog, once again, and share his findings. Hope you enjoy his analysis.

Another Guest Post
by my Dad


 The year was 1988. Peter Jennings was still alive. He had reached the pinnacle of T.V. News journalism. ABC's Nightly News with Peter Jennings was ranked # 1 and had the largest viewing audience of any of the competing 6 O'Clock evening news shows. He came on that night with a blazing headline. “Shroud of Turin is declared a fake”. I was personally astonished, having had some contact with members of the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project members, Dr. John Jumper and photographer Barrie Schworz. The 1978 report of STURP, as it was known, was very positive and encouraged belief on a purely scientific basis, that the shroud was the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ.

I listened carefully and heard that the Cardinals in Rome, who had temporary custody of the sacred garment (on loan from the House of Savoy, its owners for 8 centuries), had permitted a small “slice” of the garment to be submitted to radio carbon-dating testing. In the interests of creating a “triple blind” experiment, the small slice was, itself, cut up into 3 smaller slices. Each smaller slice was then sent to independent carbon dating labs around the world: one in Zurich Switzerland; one at Oxford University in London and one at The University of Arizona in America.

 Each lab did its independent testing and then converged to share their findings. All 3 found that the cloth, submitted for testing, could be dated somewhere between 1240 at the earliest and 1350 at the latest. It was, therefore, a thirteenth (13th) or fourteenth (14th)century artifact and not the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. Jennings, never a fan of organized religion or religious groups, had a wonderfully smug look on his face . By characterizing it as a “fake” he had gone a bit too far because the proofs, that were offered, only established that the slices that were examined were not, and could not be, cloth of first century Palestinian origin. Nonetheless, as a supporter of the Shroud's authenticity, I was immediately disheartened. For the debunkers and cynics ( all my life I have challenged thoughtless debunkers and cynics on many subjects including UFOs) this became their triumphant chant. That's It. The whole shroud story is a fake and a “con job” --- gerber baby food---------- for the intellectual 'babies' who need to believe in mysteries and resist the relentless advance of science. Well, I did not believe in mysteries, legends, old wives' tales, folklore and the rest. I was a trial lawyer who had taken over 104 cases to a verdict in courtrooms and knew how to present a scientifically accurate case. Yet the evidence was truly scientific, verifiable and came from 3 totally independent testing sources who presumably had no personal or professional contact during the testing period. More importantly, they had no reason to fabricate a result . The 'true believers' were devastated and walked away.

Then a series of aggressive challenges were mounted that assailed the legitimacy of the testers themselves. Those testers , after all, were hand-picked by the Catholic Church's cardinals in Rome and one could hardly believe that the Cardinals had a vested interest in destroying public confidence in a magnificent artifact that, for 8 centuries, had been regarded with the utmost solemnity, as the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. Well, then, who is to be blamed if, indeed, blame is to be found? Some of the backlash to the carbon dating test results must be characterized as religiously inspired retaliation and scientifically flawed. It is a sad fact that “those who want to believe in something, will believe in it no matter what the evidence. “ I never fell into that category. I was never so interested in seeing my inherited beliefs proven correct, that I would support bogus science or any chicanery. If it isn't true, I have no time for it. I cannot engage in silly self-deception.

 The most thorough rebuttal to the 1988 carbon dating findings came from a man who had been a member of the 1978 Shroud team. He was Raymond Rogers a research chemist, who had as much access to the garment itself as any scientist or person alive. The Shroud has BURN MARKS AND HOLES THAT ARE CONSPICUOUS TO THE UNTRAINED EYE OF ANYONE LOOKING AT IT. IT WAS SAVED FROM INTENTIONAL ARSON IN THE 13 TH CENTURY BY A FEW DEVOUT NUNS !!! The fact that it is intact at all is the “miracle”. People have pulled at it; tried to burn and destroy it; carried it through the streets of Lirey, France in the 13th century; displayed it on podiums thereafter. Its edges had become frayed . Those cherished souls, anxious to preserve the garment for posterity …..and cognizant of the fact that the frayed periphery of the garment could lead to further tearing of the garment....... commissioned the good women of that era (probably nuns) to sew a border around the periphery of the garment to protect it from further deterioration. That makes perfect sense doesn't it?

Well, if that is what happened, when the Cardinals decided to cut off a piece, along the periphery or edges of the garment, for carbon -dating-testing purposes they were, inadvertently, setting up the garment for test failure. To be fair to the church officials and Cardinals, they did not have direct knowledge of the Shroud's sensational history. It did not belong to the Catholic Church in 1988. It belonged to KING UMBERTO, PRETENDER TO THE CROWN OF FORMER KINGDOM OF ITALY, BETTER KNOWN AS THE 'HOUSE OF SAVOY'. In 1993, Umberto donated the Shroud to the Pope, John Paul II. 

Chemical detectives like Rogers* found that the remaining tiny segments of “slices” left over ,after the testing showed high concentrations of cotton. This was backed up by Chemist Robert Villareal, in a peer-reviewed presentation to Ohio State University's Blackwell center, published in Chemistry Today (August 2008). Without going into the technical nature of these presentations, suffice it to say that the existence of cotton in the tested sample is inconsistent with the fact that the original shroud is 100% linen.

 *Thermochimica Acta 415/1-2, peer reviewed scientific journal 189-194 (2005) “Scientific Method applied to Shroud of Turin” 

Linen was the only ingredient of the original cloth . So where did the cotton come from? Cotton was discovered later than first century Palestine. We need only look back upon our own past history to realize that cotton was , along with tobacco, sugar and rice, one of the chief exports to Europe, from America, that made us wealthy and a desirable destination for generations of immigrants . A simple mistake was made by submitting a sample for testing which did not represent the original cloth. Presumably dedicated women , in the 13th century had sewn a border on the shredding Shroud to protect if from further deterioration . So we are back to square one !!! We can look at the Shroud with fresh eyes and renewed enthusiasm.

That means that we can look at the crown of thorns, wounds on the hands and feet, lash marks on the dorsal spine, the piercing evidence of a lance thrust into the dead man's side. Is it a miracle of circumstantial evidence that every wound on this man's body conforms to the gospel accounts of the death of Jesus Christ? Then ….......there is the enigma of how the image was created .


 Monochromatic is one of those multi-syllabic words often found in technical treatises. In blunt English it means “ the whole thing is in one color”. That color is a faint shade of yellow, like a scorch burn on a linen cloth. Sophisticated image enhancing equipment from the labs of NASA ( Dr. John Jumper) conclusively demonstrated that the image is three dimensional. Why is this important and what does it mean? If you are lying on the beach with paint or some resin all over your body and someone covers you with a soft blanket there will be an 'image transfer” from your body to the blanket. However only the portions of your body that touch the blanket will transfer the image. The tip of your nose but probably not the portion of your neck just below the jawline. Your forehead but not the outline of your ear lobes. Your knees and feet but probably not the long shaft of your tibia bone. Certainly not bruises and contusions on your back !!! That is positively out of the question. If you performed this experiment (and both believers and debunkers have) what you would see, transferred onto the blanket, would be a mish-mash of smudges and smears bearing no intelligent resemblance to a human being or a human body. If you doubt me, TRY IT OUT YOURSELF !The image on the Shroud is darker and very clearly defined , where there is contact between the linen cloth and the dead man and yet much lighter on those areas where there would be no contact or minimal contact. This rules out the tenuous , highly debatable, theory that the image came from a “transfer' of image onto the linen cloth , from ointments and oils applied to the body.

 Then, as a last resort, there was the persistent claim ( still being hawked by some ) that the image on the cloth was painted there by a medieval artist. Eighteen scientists at Turin Italy in 1978 including the Jewish photographer Barrie Schworz, meticulously examined the Shroud for 4 consecutive days having extraordinary access to the garment . Not one saw a morsel of paint on the Shroud. One lone dissenter, banned from personal access to the Shroud, by King Umberto himself--- Walter McCrone-----claimed it was paint. To be sure he offered not a scintilla of credible evidence in support of his thesis. This tells us more about the integrity of the debunkers, than it does about the Shroud itself. There is no “respectable” evidence that the image on the Shroud was painted on.

(It is known that the blood type on The Shroud is AB, universal receiver  The same blood type as the myocardial heart tissue the consecrated host became , from 700 A.D., in the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano, Italy.)

Afterwards, BBC documentary on The Shroud and refreshments in the Church basement
 My Personal “Clincher” 

There is one more dramatic finding that, for me, becomes the “CLINCHER”. I call it my “clincher” because it totally satisfies my own skeptical and inquisitive instincts. Travel Europe and look at every fresco or painting by every one of the old masters, who depicted the crucifixion of Christ. The Sistine Chapel. St. Peters in Rome . The Grand Cathedral of Seville Spain, St. Mark's in Venice.The Hagia Sophia in Instanbul Turkey built in the 6th century St. Patrick's in New York City. Caravaggio, Da Vinci, Raphael, Michaelangelo., El Greco, Bernini … gorge yourself ! What do all of them have in common ? ….. DRUM ROLL................. The crucified Jesus has nails driven into the palms of his hands. Look at the crucifix in your own church. Look at the crucifix that you wear around your neck, if you wear one . Look at every painting in every art gallery in the world. Nails driven through his palms. Now brace yourself. The man of the shroud shows dislocated and elongated wrists. So... what is the point ??? The Romans were barbarians. No one doubts that. Force and cruelty were the weapons used to keep subjugated and conquered people in line. They were there to be slaves for Rome and pay duty to Rome and nothing else mattered. Thus crucifixion was not only a punishment but a horrific way to keep people obedient to the whim of Rome. In order to keep their victims on the cross for the longest time so that the terrified subjects would “see with their own eyes the cruelty of Rome”, they had to make sure that the crucified man hung on the cross for a long time. They found that if they drove the nails through his palms, there was insufficient bone mass to hold him up and his hands “ripped through and he collapsed off the cross.”  Being efficient killers, the Romans adapted to changing circumstances and modified their crucifixion technique so that nails were driven through wrists where there was strong bone mass. This allowed the dying man to “hang better and longer” assuring the maximum impact of the event .

Final Thoughts for all serious people

The carbon dating tests done in 1988 were not, and are not, correct. They do not date the Shroud of Turin to the 13th or 14th century. They date the snippet of cloth that was cut by Cardinals, unfamiliar with the garment's mending history. That cut of cloth came from the border of the Shroud , not the main body of the Shroud. That keeps the debate alive as to the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin.

The image was scorched onto the cloth.  If a medieval painter painted the Shroud (preposterous for other reasons) he would not have placed the dead man's hands so that they cover his genitalia. That conformed to the Jewish custom of personal modesty for the burial of any Jew, even a convicted criminal . Da Vinci, Raphael, Michaelangelo, El Greco, Caravaggio , displayed both male and female genitalia in their paintings and their magnificent sculptures. A medieval artist would NOT have painted a dead man with stretched, elongated wrists. He would have painted what he had often painted, as a medieval artist: A DEAD MAN WITH NAILS DRIVEN INTO THE PALMS OF HIS HANDS. Only in the 20th century did we find out that the Romans drove nails through the wrists for the grisly purpose of keeping the dead man hanging on the cross for much longer periods of time. A medieval painter simply could not have known this. He had no scientific capability , in the 13th or 14th centuries ----nor do we have it, even today-- to transfer a monochromatic image onto a linen cloth ,in precise 3 dimensional detail , from the corpse of a dead man. The man whose image is on the Shroud was crucified by Romans, first century A.D. , not duplicitously painted onto a linen canvas by an artist in the 13th or 14 th century .

This dead man is JESUS CHRIST. 
The Shroud is a “snapshot” of his resurrection
From inside his dead body, by a sudden internal burst of heat and blazing white light, he transferred , onto his burial cloth, a perfect 3 dimensional image of his crucified body
 That is more than what I believe. That is what I know to be the scientific truth.

Thank you, St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church for a day we'll not soon forget.

+++ UPDATE +++ Rome 3/26/13 "New scientific experiments carried out at the University of Padua have apparently confirmed that the Shroud Turin can be dated back to the 1stcentury AD. This makes its compatible with the tradition which claims that the cloth with the image of the crucified man imprinted on it is the very one Jesus’ body was wrapped in when he was taken off the cross. "


Gamble Gilbertson said...

Wonderful guest post by your Pop!

Anonymous said...

The vanillin testing was interesting as well. Has your Dad seen the comparison of the Shroud to the original Divine Mercy painting? You can see an image comparison here:

I have to admit, I really dislike the current textbook I'm required to teach from for one chemistry class. Rather than use something appropriately stored and well suited to carbon testing as an example, it talks about how the Shroud was proven to be a forgery, sigh. Of course that gives me an opportunity to talk about the importance of sampling, storage of the samples, errors inherent in various testing methods (beyond the annoying student standard of "human error"), issues with deciding a data point is an outlier etc. It's certainly interesting to see student reactions to other methods that indicate the shroud could be much older or that the sample was inappropriately chosen. I'm looking forward to when we change to a different textbook, though.

Mom2Seven said...

I always enjoy the posts written by your father! Please thank him! +JMJ+

Jamie Jo said...

Beautiful. My favorite image of our Lord is the Shroud. An actual picture of Jesus.

TLW said...

Job well done Allison's dad! I am fascinated by the Shroud and would have enjoyed this presentation. Excellent presentation, thank you!

Allison said...

Hey Anonymous, you were quoted too in the website that picked up this post!

Arley said...

Wow, what an extraordinary post. I want to thank your Father for writing such a beautiful and informative post. I have always found the Shroud to be breathtaking. I did know about the testing, however I did not know about the barbaric hanging methods. That makes total sense and has me convinced as well!

Micaela Darr said...

I always love the posts by your dad too! I knew next to nothing about the Shroud before reading and have since become fascinated.

Just came across this article and thought it very interesting! New tests now date the Shroud to the 1st century!

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