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The Mystery of the Shroud Of Turin

Shroud Of Turin
March 26th, 2015

The mystery that has always surrounded the Shroud of Turin might as well be a riddle because although it was pronounced as a forgery in 1988 by results of carbon dating, there has been no rational explanation to date of how the ghostly image on the cloth came to be there. The Vatican, the owner of this disputed icon since 1983, has accepted the carbon-dating results as conclusive.




A Hoax Perpetuated in the Medieval Ages?

No artifact in history has been as extensively studied as the Shroud of Turin, a linen cloth with a rectangular shape that measures 4.37 meters in length and 1.13 meters in width. Imprinted on it are images of the front and back of an apparently naked and mutilated man with wounds resembling those from a crucifixion, including one in his side which is similar to that inflicted on Christ when he was hung on the cross.

The linen has been woven in a variation of silk, wool, and linen as a three-to-one twill of herringbone, a weaving style popular in ancient times. Although the Shroud was damaged quite heavily in a 1532 fire, with burn marks still prominent, it has, apparently withstood the test of time, a reason why the 1988 carbon-dating declared it a forgery and described it as hoax perpetuated in the medieval ages.

If It Wasn’t the Burial Cloth, What was It?

The carbon-dating yielded a 95% probability that the linen was cut between 1260 and 1390. Yet a question, one of several, remains: how could anybody living in the medieval ages have created such as an image that has a photographic negative effect, something that could only have happened with a camera that has still to be invented? Additionally, if the Shroud was not the actual burial cloth, what was it and who was buried with it?


Shroud Of Turin 2
Full Length Negatives Of The Shroud Of Turin

Last year, a group of scientists of Italy’s Politecnico di Torino led by Alberto Carpinteri presented the theory that the neutron emissions from an earthquake which rocked Jerusalem could be responsible for the creation of the image on the Shroud. These neutron emissions, according to Carpinteri, may have directly interacted with the linen’s nitrogen fibers and induced chemical reactions that created the distinctive face image.

Why Neutron Emission Could Not Have Created the Image

In his book, “Il Mistero della Sindone,” published two years ago, Padua University’s Giulio Fanti, a mechanical engineering professor, argued that neutron emissions are not the only source that may have created the body image; his own theory includes a “corona discharge.” He said that the 1988 carbon-dating had furnished the wrong results, “probably” because of a neutron emission.

Still, according to Carpinteri, this reaction could have also led to wrongly carbon date the linen. But according to University of Glasgow’s environmental geochemistry professor Gordon Cook, the theory that neutrons generated by an earthquake can cause this reaction still doesn’t address the question: why hasn’t this effect been seen elsewhere as per archaeological record?

People Will Believe What They Want To

Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit Director Christopher Ramsey asked why the linen has been affected when other material – geologically and archaeologically – was not. Ramsey added that radiocarbon dates from the Jerusalem area have been available for much older materials but these haven’t shown an intense, in-situ production of radiocarbon.

Trying to explain the mystery that is the Shroud of Turin may go on until the next century for as long as there are new “theories” on the artifact. People will believe what they want to believe.


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