NEW YORK, March 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Over the years there have been numerous
attempts to create images like those on the Shroud of Turin. Someone suggested
that they might have been painted with lemon juice to create a reverse
bleaching effect. Others have suggested that the images might have been formed
by draping a cloth over a scorching hot statue, by painting them with pigment
dust or by photographing a corpse using some unknown medieval photographic
process. The latest such attempt to explain the images was recently proposed
by Nathan Wilson, a 26-year-old English professor at New St. Andrews College
in Moscow, Idaho. Wilson created an image by painting a picture on a pane of
glass positioned over a piece of linen that he left in the sun for several
days. The resulting image, caused by sun-bleaching away the background while
leaving darker color where the painted picture on the glass masked out the
sun, is called a shadow shroud. The image Wilson produced is similar in a few
ways to the Shroud of Turin images.
ABC World News Tonight reported the story on March 22, 2005. In a segment
entitled, "Shrouded in Mystery No More," anchor Peter Jennings stated, "The
Shroud of Turin has mystified scientists for years. Now a literature professor
from Idaho says he can prove it's a fake."
"I was amazed at the national television coverage," said shroud researcher
Dan Porter in a letter to eighty Shroud of Turin researchers. "Neither Peter
Jennings nor ABC's Bill Blakemore, who reported the story, seemed aware of any
substantive facts about the shroud. It seems as though they did not do any
research and did not consult any scientists to see if the shadow shroud made
any sense. It does not."
Porter explains his rationale on the Shroud Story website at
Anthropologist William Meacham, a Research Fellow at the Centre of Asian
Studies at the University of Hong Kong, added, "I would like to know how this
unscientific idea could possibly get such major coverage, when it so clearly
and obviously does not fit the known facts about the Shroud image."
The Shroud of Turin is a fourteen-foot-long cloth with front and back
images of a man who appears to have been scourged and crucified. The shroud is
kept in St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Turin, Italy.
In recent years the Shroud of Turin has been the subject of intense
scientific investigation with numerous findings published in secular peer-
reviewed scientific journals. Publishing in peer-reviewed journals is the
normal way that scientists present their findings. From these findings three
prominent facts emerge.
One fact is that that the outermost fibers on the cloth's thread are
coated with a fine layer of starch and saccharides that is thinner than most
bacteria. The images on the shroud are wholly contained within this layer as a
caramel-like, conjugated double-bonds substance, a brown polymeric material
that resists bleaching. The images can be removed with adhesive sampling tape.
They can also be decolorized with strong reducing agents leaving clear
color-free linen. Several scientists have published papers about this in
scientific journals such as the Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal,
Analytica Chimica Acta and Melanoidins. The images are not unbleached linen as
Wilson suggests. That is scientifically impossible. Photomicrographs
available at http://www.shroudstory.com show the image substance.
Another fact is the presence of a faint second face image on the backside
of the cloth. Researchers Giulio Fanti and Roberto Maggiolo of the University
of Padua in Italy discovered this image using advanced image analysis
techniques. Their scientific findings were published in the peer-reviewed
scientific Journal of Optics on April 14, 2004. The two images, one on the
front and one on the back directly behind the front image, are completely
There is no color between them. It is not possible, with sunshine, to
bleach the insides of threads while leaving the outside surfaces unbleached.
Chemist Raymond Rogers, a Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellow, showed
that the sample used for carbon-14 dating in 1988 was from a discrete newer
repair patch that is chemically unlike the cloth of the Shroud of Turin.
Moreover, Rogers found definitive chemical evidence that the Shroud of Turin
is at least 1300 years old and possibly much older. Rogers published his
findings in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Thermochimica Acta on January
Flat pane glass suitable for the shadow shroud technique did not exist
1300 years ago, or even six hundred years ago.
"These facts alone prove that Wilson's shadow shroud idea is without any
merit," said Porter. "I found it interesting that ABC's Blakemore said that no
one could explain how medieval artists could make such an image until
literature professor Wilson figured out how. I wonder how many times similar
words have been used to describe each of the other failed attempts. Frankly,
no one knows how the images were formed, but it wasn't by reverse bleaching in
the sunshine. That just will not work."
Commenting on Wilson's theory, Barrie Schwortz, who has studied the shroud
since 1978, said, "I have pointed out so many times in the past, any attempt
to duplicate the Shroud image must match all of the chemical and physical
properties of the image. This result does not. In fact, it gives no
explanation for the forensically accurate bloodstains found on the Shroud
which, according to forensic experts like Dr. Fred Zugibe, are the result of
direct contact between a body and a cloth."
Photographs and a list of peer-reviewed journal articles:
Daniel R. Porter
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SOURCE Daniel R. Porter