Oh No –The Shroud of Turin Is a Fake!

Our world is crumbling. Look at this headline in the Daily Express, a national tabloid newspaper headquartered in London: Shroud of Turin SHOCKING revelation DISMISSES link to Jesus Christ. They have a comments feature. Here are some excerpts from the news story, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

For centuries, Christians had believed the Shroud of Turin was used to wrap Jesus Christ’s deceased body in after he had died. Many even thought you could still see the imprint of his face. However, new evidence has emerged which would suggest the Shroud of Turin is fraudulent.

Gasp! Everyone knows about the Shroud of Turin. It wasn’t enough for godless scientists to concoct their abominable theory of evolution. Now they’re attacking the Shroud! The tabloid says:

Forensic evidence revealed the blood stains on the cloth came from a vertical position as if someone were standing over it. This would mean the stains are not consistent with someone who had just been crucified.

How do they know? Were they there? The tabloid goes on:

John Moores University, Liverpool, forensic expert Matteo Borrini and his team had been hoping to see if the blood stains were consistent with someone who had been executed on a T-shaped or Y-shaped cross. Instead, the research found the blood splatter came from neither. The team say the blood splatter would look very different if they had been soaked in from someone who had just been crucified, but rather they look as if they had fallen vertically.

Humbug! The news story continues:

The study says: “The two short rivulets on the back of the left hand of the Shroud are only consistent with a standing subject with arms at a ca 45 degree angle. [We assume that’s circa 45 degrees.] This angle is different from that necessary for the forearm stains, which require nearly vertical arms for a standing subject. The BPA [Huh?] of blood visible on the frontal side of the chest (the lance wound) shows that the Shroud represents the bleeding in a realistic manner for a standing position while the stains at the back — of a supposed post-mortem bleeding from the same wound for a supine corpse — are totally unrealistic.

Here’s our last excerpt:

Previous research also suggests the Turin Shroud is a fake. If it were the real burial cloth of Jesus, it would date back to around 2,000 years ago. However, carbon dating shows that the Turin Shroud also only goes back to the Middle Ages.

Okay, dear reader, make of it what you will. And as long as we’re discussing sacred relics, we may as well link to Amazing Discovery: Eve’s Brassiere Is Found!

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21 responses to “Oh No –The Shroud of Turin Is a Fake!

  1. Eddie Janssen

    It doesn’t take much time to make stuff up, it takes ages to show it is nonsense.

  2. This is hardly news – the shroud was dated years ago and the conclusion was that it’s considerably less than a thousand years old.

  3. It was obvious that the shroud was fake even before radio carbon dating. Red pigment was used to depict the blood stains, otherwise they wouldn’t be red.
    The shroud might be interesting as one of the first examples of photography, however.

  4. ca. or c. is an abbreviation for the Latin circa, meaning “about”, in reference to an approximate date.

    BPA is an abbreviation for “Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (BPA), one of several specialties in the field of forensic science, involves the study and analysis of bloodstains at a known or suspected violent crime scene with the goal of helping investigators draw conclusions about the nature, timing and other details of the crime” (from Wikipedia)

  5. It also didn’t take much to notice the arm length and position were wholly inconsistent with anybody’s anatomy. The arms are different lengths for example and out of proportion with the body.

  6. In addition to the fact that the myth of someone arising from the dead is obvious nonsense, I remember that radio carbon dating a number of years ago (maybe 40 or so) showed it was a creation of a forger in the middle ages.

  7. “The shroud might be interesting as one of the first examples of photography, however.”

    Not really. It has the appearance of a negative only because of the way that the pigments were applied. By stretching the shroud cloth over a carving and then dabbing on the pigments with a cloth ball (filled with the pigment) you naturally get a negative looking result. See Joe Nickell’s book “Inquest on the Shroud of Turin”, first published back in 1987, if you are unfamiliar with various methods of painting without using brushes. In fact the Shroud true believers (an amazingly brain dead lot) claimed that the lack of brush strokes proves that the image was not painted! I guess that those ancient cave paintings showing the outline of the authors hand (done by spraying pigment from the mouth or using a hollow reed) are also “evidence” of the supernatural as well since there are no brush strokes. All but one of the members of STURP were true believers attempting to “prove” that the shroud had a supernatural origin (science doesn’t work that way). The one dissenter was world recognized microscopist Walter McCrone who had pronounced the shroud fake since, among other things, he found actual paint pigments in all of the large number of sampled areas on the shroud.
    As if the “blood” in the image being red isn’t enough of a clue (blood turns black as it dries out). The image is also quite highly distorted and yet there are true believers claiming that the image is accurate to microns (this is your brain on religion).

    By the way, closely examine the “shroud” photo on the cover of Nickell’s book, that isn’t a photo of the actual shroud, but rather of the version that he created using only well known 14th century methods. Of course there is still an on-going apologetics industry trying to “prove” that this recognized fake is “real”.


  8. Dave Luckett

    The definitive carbon-14 residue dating was carried out years ago, with the approval of the cloth’s custodians and the Holy See. Six different samples of frayed threads from the edge of the cloth were tested by six different labs, separately and “blind”, and the results showed conclusively that the flax that made the linen was harvested in the latter half of the thirteenth century CE. The Catholic Church accepted this result as correct, pretty much, although I believe that nobody has said that the cloth is NOT to be venerated as a relic.

    This business of veneration and of relics is officially very complicated. As far as I understand the Catholic Church, only God alone is worshiped, and the purpose of relics and of art is to direct the mind to that worship, not to become objects of worship in themselves. Therefore, an object that expresses the suffering and and sacrifice of Jesus, be it a crucifix or a painting or a statue – or a representation of His burial cloth, even if it be no more than a representation – is meet for that purpose. Its actual provenance and origin is beside the point. To act as though it were the point is to concede that it is the object that is being worshiped, which is, of course, anathema.

    Thus the position of the Holy Catholic and Universal Church of Rome. But for many of the faithful, the objects they venerated became “graven images” in the sense of the Second Commandment. This inconvenient fact was one point of bitter dissension between that Church and the Protestants – but really, that came later. The actual causes for the Reformation or the Second Schism (select your own term) were money, power and authority. These are the usual causes for religious divisions, of course. Cf the division between Sunni and Shia in Islam, for another instance.

  9. “How do they know? Were they there?” As soon as I read those words I immediately thought of Trump’s River of Blood fictional battle.

    “How would they know that?” Mr. Trump asked when told that local historians had called his plaque a fiction. “Were they there?”


    Sorry, I know I’m off topic but I’m despising Trump more than ever after his treasonous kowtowing to Putin.

  10. Cucumber-time. The interesting news – even for creacrappers! – is this:

    It would be … ahem … interesting to see what Ol’Hambo, the Good Rev and/or the IDiots from Seattle have to say about this.

  11. bewilderbeast

    Constantly fascinated by folks who have an ALMIGHTY GOD yet desperately need little signs in a sheet (and in their morning toast) that he does indeed exist.

  12. I believe there’s some speculation that the Shroud’s original purpose might have been for use as a prop in some sort of medieval Easter ceremony, along the lines of a Mystery or Miracle play.

    Kind of like a stage manager for a Broadway production of the musical ‘Camelot’, dressing the set with various items, and eight hundred years later- long after New York has fallen into ruin- someone comes across an old prop chalice, encrusted with costume jewellery, and says, “Hey! You know what? Maybe this is the actual Holy Grail!

  13. Any art historian could tell you that the iconography of the face in the Shroud places it in the Renaissance. And long before the 14C dating, optical microscopy had established the use of pigments.

    I was therefore amused when the 14C dating seemed to come as a shock to many people.

    The Express has, before now, headlined the possibility that the Ark Encounter exhibits constitute evidence that humans and dinosaurs lived together. It also headlined the completely baseless claim that twelve million Turks were about to immigrate to the UK if the UK remained within the common market (of which Turkey is not, and now probably never will be, a member).

  14. “However the presence of the Turin Shroud in Lirey, France, is only undoubtedly attested in 1390 when Bishop Pierre d’Arcis wrote a memorandum where he charged that the Shroud was a forgery.”
    For all of the gulibility of the church in the Middle Ages, there were apparently limits.
    The existence of limits to gullibility in the 21st century are being called into question.

  15. That quotation is from the Wikipedia article on the History of the Shroud of Turin.

  16. They actually asked Galileo at the time if he had forged the shroud, and he VIGOROUSLY denied it.

    So, there you go. He’s innocent.

  17. @Zetopan I haven’t read the Joe Nickell works you cite, but as far as I know the Shroud has never been reproduced. Rubbing cloth over a mannequin creates the photographic negative image and that makes that technique a strong possibility. One issue is that the shroud image doesn’t contain discernible pigments suggesting a chemical change rather than adding paint.

  18. From WP (my bold):
    The shroud was damaged in a fire in 1532 in the chapel in Chambery, France. There are some burn holes and scorched areas down both sides of the linen, caused by contact with molten silver during the fire that burned through it in places while it was folded.[28] Fourteen large triangular patches and eight smaller ones were sewn onto the cloth by Poor Clare nuns to repair the damage.

    Damage caused by molten silver repaired by people who have sworn an oath to poverty. The RC Church is a precious thing to behold.

  19. Troy, there ARE discenible pigments, and this was known before the 1988 14C work; see here and link therein:- https://www.mccroneinstitute.org/v/64/The-Shroud-of-Turin; “The faint sepia image is made up of billions of submicron pigment particles (red ochre and vermilion) in a collagen tempera medium.”

  20. @Troy: “as far as I know the Shroud has never been reproduced.”
    Many people actually mistake Nickell’s image with the image on the shroud since they are so very similar. Hence your “never been reproduced” claim is more than slightly suspect. Nickell even used art techniques that were restricted to what was well known in the 14th century.

    @Troy: “One issue is that the shroud image doesn’t contain discernible pigments suggesting a chemical change rather than adding paint.”

    Since *every* “one” of the many sampled image areas contains paint pigments your claim is 100% counterfactual. I had even previously provided a link to the McCrone Institute that refutes your statement. Where are you getting your incorrect information?

    Some true believers claim that the resulting paint pigments actually came from restoration that was done in some areas, but since all sampled areas included regions that had not been “restored” that claim is merely yet another apologetic.

    There are also true believers claiming that the (red ochre pigment!) blood stains have been DNA sequenced and they prove that the stains came from a male. Sadly, one can never actually locate any organization that did this alleged blood DNA sequencing or see the resulting data. Otherwise we would either know something about some their god’s DNA or else how a human haploid could ever be male!

  21. @Zetopan I’m not making claims, nor do I think the shroud is anything more than a work of medieval art.

    Yes it is easy to create something that superficially looks like the shroud, as for Nickell’s reproduction I was suggesting that it needs to be compared at both the microscopic and macroscopic level. Of course because the Vatican owns the thing that kind of comparison might be difficult to do.

    My impression is that the only pigments were for phony blood stains, that the image wasn’t created without pigments. You suggest I’m wrong on this, it’s been a while since the shroud has been on my radar but I’ll look into it. If the image was mere pigments, why would anyone entertain the notion of the shroud image being a product of silver nitrate chemistry with a camera obscura?
    Of course phony blood stains is enough to flag it as a fake. So we’re arguing minutia here.