The cloth that had it all…

Can you ever think a simple piece of cloth can cause a stir that runs throughout generations, mystifying not only the people but the researchers as well as the scientists? A lot of theories have
been conducted to arrive at one single conclusion regarding the mage the cloth bears on it, from times immemorial. The mystery behind this simple piece of cloth which is known as the Shroud of Turin is
still under wraps…

shroud of turin
shroud of turin

It was the photograph that got speculations. One hundred years ago this month, on May 28, 1898, an amateur photographer Secundo Pia applied the new science of photography to a inexplicable artefact
— The shroud of Turin. It is a linen cloth bearing the image of a man who had apparently died of crucifxion. Most Catholics consider it to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. It is currently held in the Cathedral of St John, the Baptist in Turin, Italy. Despite many scientific investigations, no one has yet been able to explain how the image has been imprinted on the shroud and no one has managed to
imitate it. Radiocarbon tests date it to the middle ages. However, some believe it is incorrupt and carbon dating can only date things which decay. Prior to the middle ages, reports of the shroud exist as the image of Edessa, reliably reported since at least the fourth century. In addition, another cloth (the Sudarium) known even from biblical times (John 20:7) exists which is said to have covered Christ’s head in the tomb. A 1999 study by Mark Guscin, a member of the multi-disciplinary investigation team of the Spanish Centre for Sindonology investigated the relationship between the two cloths. Based on history, forensic pathology, blood chemistry (the Sudarium also is reported to have type AB blood stains) and stain patterns. He
concluded that the two cloths covered the same head at two distinct but close moments of time. Avinoam Danin (a researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) concurred with this analysis
adding that the pollen grains in the Sudarium match those of the shround.
However, Secundo Pia’a photographs were stunning. The negative photographic plate revealed the image of a man in far greater clarity than anyone had ever seen on the shroud itself. Copies of Pia’s
negative image travelled around the world and generated tremendous interest in the cloth. What few were able to see earlier, now, that shroud could be seen by millions via photography. Scientists
began studying the image. Decades of research, especially intense during the 1970’s and 1980’s revealed many facts about
the shroud and raised even more questions. It seems that every time a scientist said something certain
about the shroud, another group of scientists would challenge the former’s results. That’s even true of
the 1988 carbon test that dated the shroud’s origins between 1290 and 1360.
In January, 2005, things took an about turn. An article appeared in a peer-reviewed scientific
journal, Thermochimica Acta, which proved that the carbon 14 dating of the Shroud of Turin was
fawed because the sample used was invalid. Moreover, this article, by Raymond N. Rogers, a fellow
of the Los Alamos National Laboratory explained why the Shroud of Turin was much older. The
Shroud of Turin was at least twice as old as the radiocarbon date.
Peer-reviewed scientific journals are important. It is the way scientists normally report scientific
theories. Articles submitted to such journals are carefully reviewed for adherence to scientific
methods and the absence of speculation and polemics. Facts are checked and formulas are examined.
The review procedure sometimes takes months to complete, as it did for Rogers.
Ball, who was familiar with the evidence, had confrmed what all shroud researchers had been
saying for years: the images were not painted. Moreover, a 2003 article in the peer-reviewed
scientific journal, Melanoidins by Rogers and Anna Arnoldi, a chemistry professor at the University
of Milan, demonstrated that the images were in fact a chemical caramel-like darkening of an
otherwise clear starch and polysaccharide coating on some of the shroud’s fibers. They suggested a
natural phenomenon might be the cause. If this could be proven, the images could be explained in nonmiraculous, scientific terms.
Ball also wrote: ‘And of course ‘authenticity’ is not really a scientific issue at all here, even if there were compelling evidence that the shroud was made in first-century Palestine, that would not
even come close to establishing that the cloth bears the imprint of Christ. In the meantime, Preservation of the shroud has become an issue. It belongs to the pope now (the last king of Italy gave it to him in 1983). The shroud will remain in Turin, but it has been decided that
the shroud will never be rolled up again. There is talk of a hermetically sealed, leaded crystal display case that would protect the shroud from further harm for future generations. Those generations, says
Father Brinkmann, will develop new ways to determine the date of its creation and discover how the image was created. “These things have natural answers because the things have natural answers because the thing exists in nature, “he insists. Until then the shroud will continue to be an enigma, he says, based on the Passion and the mystical thing that happened to Christ in the Resurrection “and the tantalizing notion that this is a relic of the Resurrection Itself.”

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