The Turin Shroud is the most famous relic in the world. Millions believe that it is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ bearing his crucified and bloodied image. The cloth is kept at Turin in Italy. The cloth is an enigma. Many say it is a miracle.

Some say that it may be the only known instance of the power of thoughtography - the claimed power of Ted Serios that there is power to project images from the mind onto some surface such as film or whatever. If so then it is paranormal not miracle. Jesus having an image produced that way would prove he could have been using psychic ability to pretend to be a real miracle worker.

Many feel that somebody connected to Leonardo or Leonardo himself knew a lot about how the shroud image was done. Leonardo had much learning thanks to the alchemists and to occultists like Tomaso Masini. Guiliano de Medici was another occult associate - the brother of the pope, Leo X.

Believers in the shroud boast that nobody can make anything exactly like it. But you don't have to! It is enough to make something that has all its scientific characteristics.

There are errors and distortions on the shroud image. Eg the back image is bigger than the front one and there are no side images which you would expect if a body had been wrapped in it. And where there should be distortion there isn't. The man's face for example is too picture-like to have been printed by accident on the cloth from a body. The bloodstains are too tidy and you would expect a lot of smearing and there isn't. And why are they positioned on the body image as if it were a painting? They should not be on the cloth as if they were put there by design. You would expect them to be more disorganised and random. The believers ignore these errors and insist that a dead body lay in the cloth. They rationalise the errors but despite using dummies and corpses they are unable to make any kind of image from them with the blood images for example appearing in similar locations as on the Shroud. They tell sceptics that unless they can reproduce the Shroud they should not be saying it is forged. But they themselves cannot make a print from a body with the image, an image of any kind such as sweat or paint, and the blood positioned as on the Shroud.

All you need to make the shroud is to find a way to make an image that sits on top of linen fibres and that is caused by oxidation. 3D is easy - just use two tones and make what is furthest away darker and what is nearest lighter. The image will also look better when a negative image is taken of it. That is not difficult.

The following website shows how to make an image with all the features of the Shroud that shroud believers pretend to find amazing. It can be done by using a linen cloth and putting painted glass over it. The clean side of the glass is put on the cloth. Then it is put out in the sun until a superficial image appears.

There is no reason to think the blood on the cloth is real. The blood might not have been painted on but rubbed on first. Perhaps it was dabbed on with a tiny sponge and then the image was imposed on top of it. This would explain why there is no image beneath the blood. The makers of the Shroud wanted to give the impression that the blood when on before the image which is what you would expect.

People say the cloth is not a painting for it does not look like one. But think of this. The cloth was meant to pass for what came from Jesus' tomb. A portrait of Jesus would give it away as a fake. If it is a painting then it is a painting of blood and sweat. There was more to worry about than blood and sweat. The artist did not paint mud on for it would not stick and brown and black paint would be too artificial.

Perhaps the blood being put on by sponges or whatever led to the Shroud being classed as a painting in the mid-thirteen hundreds when it seems to have first appeared. So the various natural theories about how the image was made fit what the sceptical bishops back then said about the cloth being a painting and that they knew the artist. The blood is the most visible part of the image and it would have been daubed or dribbled on and would classify the cloth as a painting.

But we must remember that though there is no image below the blood now that proves nothing. The forgers expected the blood to flake off in time so they had to be careful and perhaps take preventative measures. It could be that the blood contained chemicals that dissolved the image underneath. Another possibility is that the blood was put on when the image had started to form. A chemical reaction could have removed the image under the treated blood. The image under the blood would have been very weak to start with anyway.

The Shroudies object that the image is too vague to be just for display. But what right have they to say that when they don’t know the circumstances in which it was produced? Perhaps the Church stole it from the makers before it was finished. Anything could have happened. And the image can be seen okay if you stand far from it so it sufficed as a display of Jesus. It might have been the best the forgers could do. If it had been too plain to the sight it would have been harder to palm off as a real relic for it would have seemed too much like an artwork or a drawing. The vagueness of the image close up adds to its attractiveness and mystery.

Chemical by-products cause some features but these could have been washed out of the Shroud. Washing the image would have ensured that the strongest image would have been on the surface fibres of the cloth and the weakest would have been underneath and been washed away. It would fade away in time. Time is what makes the shroud a puzzle - nothing else. We cannot replicate the shroud exactly because we cannot know exactly what it went through since its origin.

Some say using a hot metal relief image to scorch the image on is a possibility. The image does not go down further than the top threads of the cloth which suggests to some that it was burnt on by the sun and is a kind of scorch.

It is claimed that burns fluoresce unlike the image of the Shroud indicating that it is not a scorch mark. Plus when the image is so faint it would be hard to tell if the image could or could not fluoresce. It is centuries since the scorch was made and that is not to be forgotten.

Others worry that the scorches on the cloth from the 1532 fire fluorescence while the shroud image does not. This tells against it being a scorch. It is worth noting that the view of some that the image was formed by miraculously caused radiation is nonsense. "No known radiation [is] capable of achieving the shallow penetration of the images" (Christianity in the Light of Science). Again there is no fluorescence which would be there if radiation did the scorching. And the radiation would have to be strong but in that case it would have ruined the cloth. I prefer the view that it might be a scorch but a scorch that is not like the usual kind. The mechanism involved more than heat but also chemical changes. That could explain the non-fluorescing.

It has been proven that images as good as if not better than the Shroud can be made by primitive photography to mention one out of a number of methods.

We must remember that the image of "Jesus" is not the only image on the cloth. There are a few images of creases. If a crease can appear, and nobody suggests God would miraculously make such an image, then the rest of the image is non-supernatural as well. The creases are evidence of man-made intervention to produce the image.

It is agreed that since the back image of the Shroud is not denser than the front that there was no body inside the cloth for a body lying in it would make the back image the clearest due to the pressure of it being on the cloth.

The image on the Shroud is not unique and you have one in every village.  I mean similar images do exist but of dead flowers and plants. Jean Volckringer's 1942 research is invaluable here.  Like the Shroud the images are eerie, sepia and they are negative images. by Linda Moulton Howe explains that the Volckringer Effect, when leaves pressed between the pages of a book for many years leave an image of themselves on the pages, is the same as what happened with the Shroud for a three-D image was made and the characteristics of oxidation are shared by both. Why she does not argue that the image was made by cutting up leaves and making an image of Jesus on the cloth is a mystery to me.

That would be an odd scenario but if it explains the image then so what?  The Effect has shocked people through history.  If an artist thought the Effect was a miracle then he was trying to make a miracle happen perhaps?

She chooses to say that this cannot happen except miraculously with a body and takes a long time while the Shroud man’s image was made quickly.  Nobody knows how long it took.  You only assume it was fast if you assume there was a real body in the cloth and there is no evidence for that at all. 

A case where a man called Les died and an imprint of part of his body particularly his buttocks was found on the bed that would not wash off reminds you a bit of the Shroud.  With Les there was pressure ruining the image coming from his body weight and there is none to be seen on the Shroud.  There was no body in the cloth and that is all that really matters.

Anyway she says that a natural explanation is possible and she turns away from it to affirm a miracle. That is totally against the rules. Her natural explanation proves that the Shroud man is not Jesus Christ. It proves that there was no body in the cloth for the natural and simple possibility comes first.

Volckringer found that the image appears and can even pass through to a second sheet below. The Shroud has two facial images which helps us to wonder. One is very clear and the other is much less clear. He found the images may not be apparent for several years.

The Effect raises a good question. Did whoever made the image need several years, perhaps a few decades to do it? Nobody knows how long it took to get the image on the cloth. Gelatin can make images but there is more need for research on that subject. It is affected by light which reminds us of how the shroud likes to look as if it were the product of some light.

It is possible that the shroud was two sheets one overlaying the other. The top one with a good painting on it had a chemical effect on the underlying cloth producing the body image. It was found when they came apart. The blood from the top did not seep through. So then the bottom image had to be touched up with blood.

Back to later we read that scientists cannot explain the image as if there are no scientists who say they can! Of course there are.

We are told by some cranks and "experts" that the image was produced by sweat oxidising. If so, then why is the image not less uniform than what it is? Did somebody smear it with sweat? Why do parts of the body that don't sweat much if at all clearly show up?

Somebody could have discovered that this can be done by accident and then painted the Shroud with light paint to see what he was doing with loads of sweat in it and years later the image was washed to get rid of the paint and leave only the print. This would have been done in order to make the image seem to hold not only the blood but the sweat of Christ. The result could have been worth a huge fortune. It was worth the effort. The blood was put on according to a diagram of what the result should look like and was put on after the image had formed.

Sweat mixed with streptococci bacteria which exists on the skin could have created the image for pro-shroud expert Professor Stephen Mattingly has created images this way which duplicate all the features of the shroud. He denies that there is anything miraculous about the image. This bacteria is what makes the yellow marks on the collars of white shirts and the Turin image is yellow in a similar way. But to me the only problem with this is that in his experiments though he creates images they are distorted. Could it be that Leonardo or someone saw how something to do with sweat and the skin could create yellow images and put the sweat and bacteria on linen perhaps by rubbing it on and lay on top of it on the other side to provide body heat to create the image? This would evade distortion. Better still he could have used a willing victim with a fever. In Stephen’s experiments twelve hours would be needed for the image to bond to the cloth. As the intention was to create a fake relic it is likely the artist wanted to use body fluids and emissions. Paint could have been used to get the image made realistic and then washed out leaving only the oxidation caused by the sweat and bacteria behind on the cloth. The cloth was intended to be seen as a relic of the sweat and blood of Jesus Christ and this was inspired by the late legend of the Veronica. According to Catholic mythology, a woman called Veronica wiped the face of Jesus as he made his way to the cross. The towel left a print of his face in sweat and blood.

Leonardo had plenty of access to dead bodies and cut them up in the name of anatomy so Heaven knows what else he was up to - making fake Jesus relics such as the Shroud maybe?

There is a lot of disagreement about the 3 D data and whether the effect is enough to even matter. Many experts say that there is something artificial about it for it would mean that the original cause of the 3 D effect was something distorted not a human body. Bas relief rubbing can result in strange 3 D information because the relief is meant to leave a lifelike image while it may not be very lifelike itself.


Joe Nickell created images like the Shroud by rubbing with pigment using a bas relief that avoided distortion and the result had an image that sat on top of the fibres of the linen, had 3-d qualities, and was a quasi-negative like the Shroud that was vague and subtle when looked at in the light of day (page 28, Looking for a Miracle). This could be described as painting in the common tongue so is that is what the bishop, D’Arcis, who first exposed the Shroud soon after its first appearance as a fake in the 1300's meant when he said it was painted by cunning methods to which the artist confessed? Other methods have involved using a bas relief and heating it and laying it in linen. The result in many cases was identical to the Shroud which may also be a scorched image.

In The Skeptic’s Guide to the Paranormal pages 29-31, several points are made that refute the Shroud.

The shroud is a negative image. Such images can be created by bass relief rubbing. The blood has a chemical composition matching paint. The iron oxide used to make the red colour has turned yellow in many places. The irons and proteins found in the “blood” were also available in medieval pigments. Mercuric sulphide used in pigments is also easily found on the shroud image. Sodium and potassium are present in real bloodstains but are absent from the bloodstains on the cloth. The blood is paint.

The weave of the linen was not used in first century Palestine.

Many pathologists and anatomists do not agree with those who say the shroud is consistent with the pathology of crucifixion and with anatomy.

Anybody who looks at the cloth can see that the body is just too elongated.


The errors on the Shroud show that it is man-made.  That is what matters.  We may never know the exact method now at this stage.  Does that even matter?  It is a very long time ago so it stands to reason we are not going to get it all figured out.

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