This is part #8 "Bears the faint image, front and back, head to head, of a naked man" which is part of my series, "Shroud of Turin: Burial sheet of Jesus!." The series is based on a PowerPoint presentation that I am preparing. The previous post in this series was part #7 "Kept in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Turin, Italy, since 1578." For more information about this series, see parts "#1 Title Page" and "#2 Contents" .
[Click on the above image to enlarge it.]
Here are some quotes in date order (oldest first) which serve as references to the points I make in the PowerPoint slide:
"FOR MORE than half a century, scholars in the most divergent fields have been at loggerheads over the authenticity of what is commonly called the Shroud of Turin. An immense literature both pro and con has grown up over the decades. The Cloth in question is a piece of linen, 171 inches long by 43¼ inches wide (4.36 by 1.10 m.), preserved in a chapel of the cathedral of Turin. The Cloth today is marred by numerous burn marks and water stains, sustained in 1532, during a fire in the castle chapel of Chambéry. But over and above these, it has peculiar markings of its own-the frontal and dorsal image of a full grown man." (Bulst, W., 1957, "The Shroud of Turin," McKenna, S. & Galvin, J.J., transl., Bruce Publishing Co: Milwaukee WI, p.1. Emphasis original).
"There are marks on the Turin Shroud. Some (the most obvious) are accidental and easily explained. Other are remedial and present no problem. But the central markings seem to be intentional and baffle all natural explanation. The accidental marks are burns and singes caused by molten silver in a fire which broke out in the Sainte-Chapelle at Chambéry on the night of 3-4, December 1532. The remedial marks are triangular linen patches applied to the worst of these burns by the Poor Clares of Sainte-Claire-en-Ville in April 1534. But the marks down the centre of the Shroud's length are mysterious in the extreme. Quite what they are, or how they were caused, no one can honestly say, least of all the scientists who have examined therm. They are not marks caused by paint or any pigment. They have not penetrated the linen fibres, as paint would have done, nor have they insinuated themselves between the fibres, nor do they appear on the back of the cloth. These marks have shape and figure. At first sight they might suggest two ghostly brass-rubbings of some medieval knight bereft of armour. On closer inspection they are seen faintly but perceptibly to represent the naked body - both back and front - of a mature bearded male with long hair who would have stood about 5 feet 11 inches [178 cms] tall and weighed in the region of 12½ stone, or 175 pounds [79.5 kgs]. It appears that he has been laid supine on one half of the cloth, while the other half has been doubled back to cover him from face to feet, so that the two life-size images lie head to head down the centre of the Shroud." (McNair, P., "The Shroud and History: fantasy, fake or fact?," in Jennings, P., ed., 1978, "Face to Face with the Turin Shroud ," Mayhew-McCrimmon: Great Wakering UK, pp.22-23).
"The Turin Shroud is a linen cloth the color of old ivory measuring 4.4 by 1.1 m. It bears the faint front and back, head to head, imprint of a naked man. This remarkable image depicts all the stigmata of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as described in the Bible. As a result, it is thought by many to be the actual burial cloth of Jesus. The shroud's known history dates back to about the year 1357 when it was displayed in a church in Lirey, France. The shroud, or some version of it, eventually passed into the hands of the House of Savoy. The shroud was stored in a silver chest in a chapel in Chambery, France and in 1532 a fire raged through the chapel. Part of the chest melted and gouts of molten silver burned through the shroud, fortunately outside the image, in a symmetric fashion due to the way it was folded in the chest. The shroud was doused with water before further damage could occur and the burn holes were later patched. In 1578 the seat of the House of Savoy was moved to Turin, Italy and the shroud moved with it. In 1983 the last king of Italy, Umberto II, a member of the House of Savoy, willed the shroud to the Vatican. It is presently stored in a silver reliquary in a glass case behind the main altar of the Cathedral of John the Baptist in Turin, under the custody of the Archbishop of Turin." (Gove, H.E., Mattingly, S.J., David, A.R. & L.A. Garza-Valdes, 1997, "A problematic source of organic contamination of linen," Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research - Section B, pp.504-507, p.504. My emphasis).
"In November 1973, while I was living in Bristol, England, a call came through from the United States alerting me that for the first time in forty years the Shroud was to be brought out for public gaze from its then normal repository in the Royal Chapel. It was to be shown on Italian television, and there was also to be an unprecedented opportunity for journalists and interested individuals such as myself to view the cloth at first hand. ... By lunch-time on 22 November I found myself, with some thirty others, being given a brief preliminary introduction by Turin's then archbishop, Cardinal Michele Pellegrino. The group was escorted up a grand marble staircase of Turin's Royal Palace and into a huge, frescoed hall, the Hall of the Swiss. At the far end of this the Shroud hung upright in a simple oak frame, its fourteen- foot length brilliantly illuminated by high-powered television lights. ... It did not look at all as I had expected. Everything that I knew of the Shroud up to this point - and I thought I knew quite a lot - had been based on black-and-white photographs that, whether they are in positive or negative, make it look a lot darker than it really is ... To see the original's faintness and subtlety was really quite breath-taking. Framed by the burns and patches from the other fire in which the Shroud came perilously close to destruction - a similarly ruinous chapel blaze while it was being kept at Chambéry in 1532 - there was the familiar `body image' that to me was the Shroud's central mystery. If you stood back you could make it out readily enough: a bearded face, a pronounced chest, crossed hands, legs side by side, together with, as one looked up at the back-of-the-body image, a long rope of hair, taut shoulders and buttocks, and soles of the feet. But the image colour was the subtlest yellow sepia, and as you moved in closer to anything like touching distance .. it seemed virtually to disappear like mist. Because of the lack of outline and the minimum contrast to the ivory-coloured background, it became well-nigh impossible to `see' whatever detail you were trying to look at without stepping some distance back again. To me, as a practising life-painter and an enthusiast of art history, it seemed absolutely impossible that any artist-faker could have created an image of this kind, certainly not one of centuries ago. The succeeding day and a half during which I was allowed some eight hours of further direct examination served to reaffirm my conviction, despite all the obvious rational objections, that this cloth simply had to be genuine." (Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, pp.3-4. Emphasis original).
"All around the forehead of the face can be discerned overlying trickles in a distinctively redder colour. Although the only logical interpretation of these trickles is as blood stains, their colour under artificial lighting is more magenta than is normally associated with blood which is even a day old, let alone twenty centuries. In room interior daylight ... they can appear more maroon, deepening in places where the trickling of droplets has terminated. In this same colour there is also a large `blood' flow overlying the right-hand side of the figure's chest. More, similar-coloured `blood' trickles down the figure's forearms, one larger, distinctively V -shaped stain at the one visible wrist seemingly indicating the source of this. In the `body' image colour, bony-looking hands are very clearly discernible crossed over the genitals region. And yet more `blood' is apparent at the cloth's far left end, where the figure's feet might be construed to have been. ... When we turn our attention to the right-hand half of the cloth there are several more `blood' trickles in the back-of-the-head area, resembling those earlier noted on the forehead. These trickles overlie a head-shaped `body' image suggestive of long hair, together with what seemed ... to be an unbound pigtail lying in parallel with the spine ... Again in the `body' image coloration, there is the impression of shoulders that became peppered with faint but distinctively regular-size marks, each having a characteristic dumb-bell shape. In the `blood' colour a chain-like complex of rivulets runs across what would appear to be the small of the figure's back, while a scattering of more 'body'-coloured dumb-bells can be discerned on faintly indicated buttocks. Limbs are similarly vaguely indicated in the `body' image colour, the back of the figure's upper or left-hand leg seemingly slightly more strongly imprinted than its partner. At the cloth's far right we can make out the surprisingly well-defined sole of a foot, with its `body' image colour almost completely covered over with heel-to-toe `blood'. From the heel/ankle area a rill of more `blood' seems to have spilled sideways directly onto the cloth, arguably as the figure was laid in it, while a complex of further `bloodstains', as from a second foot, is also evident, though rather less clearly delineated. Yet, although this enigmatic `body and blood' imprint is the Shroud's very raison d'etre ... it is by no means its most conspicuous feature. That most doubtful `honour' must instead go to two lines of brownish marks and add-on patches that each run the length of the cloth transversely, only just beyond the sides of the two head-to-head figure imprints, thereby effectively framing these. These brownish marks are scorches from a fire in December 1532, when the Shroud was being kept in the Savoys' then capital of Chambéry, high in what are now the French Alps. As the cloth lay in an ornate silver casket, secure behind a multi-locked iron grille, the Savoys' Sainte Chapelle burst into flames, leaving no time for the clergy to obtain the keys from the various worthies holding them. Although a hastily summoned blacksmith managed to prise the grille open in the nick of time, the Shroud's casket was found to have melted in the heat. Inside the cloth had been stored away folded up in forty-eight folds, and upon its being opened up a drop of molten silver fell on one corner, causing it to burst into flame, and necessitating a hurried dousing with water. Although the Shroud had not been destroyed, as some rumoured at the time, it was undeniably seriously scarred and blemished with a sorry patchwork of burn-holes, scorchmarks and water-stains." (Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, pp.19-22).
"The Shroud of Turin ... is a sheet of linen fourteen feet six inches long by three feet nine inches wide [442.5 cm x 113.7 cm], these dimensions being a broad approximation because of two missing corners. Most of those who have had the opportunity to view it close up describe its general background coloration as ivory. Even so, one of the first surprises on any viewing is just how clean the fabric appears for an object theoretically two thousand years old. ... Another surprise is the Shroud's general state of repair. Any examination in close-up clearly reveals the cloth's tight herringbone weave, and how fundamentally strong it remains, with no sign of disintegration. Yet the texture is not at all coarse in the manner of sailcloth or sacking. Instead, as was possible to determine with a surreptitious touch during the 1973 showing, it has the basic lightness of a modern-day linen bed- sheet. But what principally draws the eye during any direct viewing is the Shroud's famous and all-important double image. Like the subtlest of shadows, cast on the cloth can be seen faint imprints of the back and front of the body of a man with long hair and a beard. He seems to be quite naked, bloodstained in places, and laid out in the attitude of death. To those unfamiliar with the Shroud, the head-to-head arrangement of the two imprints ... can only appear most curious without some explanation of the basic theory behind how they seem to have been formed. First the body the Shroud wrapped was laid on one half of the cloth, thereby creating the back-of- the-body imprint; the remaining half of the cloth was then drawn over the head and down to the feet, creating the front-of-the-body imprint. Given a corpse soaked in sweat and blood, each side of the body thereby acted like some kind of printing plate. Yet another of the surprises arising from viewing the Shroud directly rather than via a photograph is discovering just how pale and subtle the two body imprints appear. First-hand assessments of their colouring range from straw-yellow to sepia, much depending on the prevailing light conditions. Nevertheless there is universal agreement on their most enigmatic property: the closer one tries to examine them, the more they seem to melt like mist." (Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, pp.6-7, 311n1).
The next post in this series is part #9, "The man has wounds and bloodstains matching the Gospels' description of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ."