By Donald P. Ames
A great deal of publicity has been given the Shroud of Turin in the past few years. Some claim the evidence is “overwhelming” that it is the actual burial cloth used on Jesus On. 20:6-7) and that some sort of brilliant flash at His resurrection produced an actual negative of the body of Christ on the cloth. It is claimed that it shows the blood stains, the whip marks, and even the Roman coins of the time of Christ (if you have a good imagination). Catholics have made much of this “evidence,” and feel great pride in their “find” and the money and publicity they are getting from it.
Several have asked me what I thought about it; I suggested they be patient and just wait before they jump to any conclusions. The Roman Catholic Church has a great track record of producing “great finds” with “positive proof,” only to have them later exposed as a fraud. There were just too many unanswered questions about this to convince me that it was all that conclusive. And, the information is not all one-sided. More is now coming to light to show the highly publicized shroud is just another of those fakes.
For those who would like detailed information on this expose, may I urge you to take a trip to your local library and look at the November 1979 issue of Popular Photography, p. 97. Joe Nickell has an article there entitled “The Turin Shroud: Fake? Fact? Photograph?” It is well worth reading!
Mr. Nickell points out the cloth first appeared in the mid-1350’s at a new little church in Lirey, France, and the deCharny family (who owned it) began raking in the funds from pilgrims who came to see it. However, the artist who actually produced it was soon located, and “he confessed to forgery.” The issue was quickly and quietly dropped until 1452 A.D. when the granddaughter of the original owners sold it to the Italian monarchy. Repeated attempts to exhibit it as a genuine relic persisted, and so did the refutation and scandel. In 1532, it was nearly destroyed in a fire, and then faded from view until 1898 when it was first photographed, and the positive picture of a man developed. Several theories (none of which could be supported scientifically) were advanced to “explain” how it was possible for the negative on the cloth to be created and how it was “impossible” for it to be a fake – despite the admission of the original artist who created the forgery in the first place!
Mr. Nickell went on to show why the claims to the cloth being a “perfect negative” were invalid (if a true 3-D representation, the features turn out to be way out of proportion to the relief in the shadowing). He further noted some of the original photographs were actually reproductions of pictures from books and not actual photographs at all. The “blood stains” were tested by a secret commission (1969-76), and their report (now revealed) said there was no blood but “probably was the result of painting.” Of course Catholics point out that the image itself was not painted, but nothing is said about the “blood.”
Finally, using 14th century technology (in harmony with Biblical information), he began in 1978 and reproduced the same results on another piece of cloth. Using a bust of Bing Crosby, he even explains how you can produce a shroud as valid as the Shroud of Turin! His expose was also published in The Humanist (December 1978), and referred to briefly in Science News (December 23, 30, 1978). He has been invited to present his research on a nationwide TV program on the shroud (per Popular Photography).
Catholicism has sought many relics to make money off people who pay first and investigate later. Nearly every one has turned out to be a fake. Be cautious about believing such claims, and you may avoid embarrassment later.
Truth Magazine XXIV: 27, p. 443
July 10, 1980