This is the final part four-part part series on the Shroud of Turin. You can read the first part, The Facts and History of the Shroud, here. The second part, The Physical Science study, can be read here. The third part, Biblical Accounts Corroborated by the Shroud, can be read here. I am using a video by Dr. Wayne Phillips (posted below) as the basis of my notes.
The Carbon Dating
Between 1978 and 1988, there were over 100 studies of the Shroud published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, all of which point to it being authentic. In 1988, it gets carbon dated to between 1260 to 1390. Based on this, claims of the Shroud go from it being authentic to being faked and a forgery. All studies and research of it shut down for 13 years. During this time, numerous people called up the scientists and wrote letters to them about what was wrong with the carbon dating. These people were called “the lunatic fringe” because everything they said didn’t make any sense. They were high-level scientists. But they dealt with it.
One day in August 2001, Sue Benford and Joe Marrino, members of the Lunatic Fringe, asked the right question. Sue Benford was a nurse who had been watching TV in 1997 and heard of the Shroud for the first time. Her husband, Joe Marrino, had been a Shroud fan since 1977. Sue wasn’t a Catholic. It’s possible that she wasn’t even a Christian. But she was convinced by the evidence that the Shroud was real. So for one to two years, she collected copies of photographs of the piece of cloth that the carbon dating was done on. She kept staring at it. What she noticed in 2001 (that was published in 2008) was that the cotton threads of the piece of cloth that the carbon dating was done on had differences from one side to the other. What was on the right side was different than what was on the left. The space and the tufts of the cotton were closer and tighter on the left side than they were on the right side of the piece, where the cotton was more scraggly and beat up. The “alleyways” between the cotton on the left side were skinnier as opposed to the right side where they were thicker, bigger, and wider.
What she proposed was that a weaving was done. She developed a theory that what was actually sent for carbon dating was from a medieval patch job, part 100% cotton mixed with linen that was from before the date proposed by the carbon dating. So she went to textile experts in New York and they agreed with her theory, saying that it was a French inweaving or reweaving.
She then goes back to the original carbon dating moment in Turin. International protocol recommends 6 sample sites for carbon dating. The Turin scientists and a cardinal, at the last moment, threw out that recommendation out and only took one sample site. The sample that they chose to take was from the corner close to where a piece had been cut out in the 16th century.
Then Raymond Rogers, the original chemist from Los Alamos who studied the Shroud back in 1978 with the American team, did a study from 2001 to 2005. He started this study after listening to Sue Benford, who had called him up. Initially, he didn’t believe it. But he had samples left over from the C14 dating as well as samples from 1976 when they had a few threads and some from 1978 when they had other threads. After 4 years of study, and getting a team to help him, he publishes in Thermochimica Acts Volume 425 in January 2005 that what was actually sent from the Shroud to be dated was actually a re-mending of the Shroud with cotton put together with the linen. Under a microscope, one can see cotton fibers and linen fibers mixed together, with end to end sticking. Also, under a microscope, it is apparent that the cotton was died to match the color of the linen. The French had the best reweaving techniques and the best tapestry re-weavers of the world in the 1500s. So they easily could have done this patch job.
The sample that was sent to the 3 carbon dating labs (that dated it somewhere between 1238 AD and 1430 AD), from left to right, it gets more and more cotton. Which is why the date kept getting more and more younger.
THE 2005 CONCLUSIONS
- C14 Labs Accurate. The Carbon 14 labs did a good job. They were given a bad sample.
- Sample Flawed
- A Reweaving Was Responsible For The Error
Shroud enthusiasm is restored. New theories on the image formation appear.
2014: WHERE THE DATA STANDS
Best guess according to science 2005-2014, with the knowledge of physics, the knowledge of chemistry, the knowledge of photographic principles, of how the image got on the Shroud. Characteristics to explain:
- No ears. No cheeks.
- Hair that’s flying off into space, looking like its blown by a hairdryer.
- Teeth sticking through the lips in an x-ray.
- Blood in the hair but not all over the face.
What the image is, what we now know since 2005 what the image is made out of:
- No image under the blood (weak energy)
- The image is perpendicular (no sides). Meaning that the Shroud was above and below the body. So whatever created the image had to come in a straight line.
- The image is superficial (1 micron depth fiber)
- The image is 3D (the closer to the cloth, the darker the image)
- Broken Carbon-Carbon bonds (aging). Whatever caused the image broke carbon bonds.
- No directionality of light (no shadow). When you look at a photograph of a person, you always know where in the room the light was that hit the body. The light in the Shroud came from inside the body. It did not come from outside the body.
- No distinct edges (no outline). A painter would have to put an edge before they draw a body. There’s no edge. The edge of the Shroud image just kind of falls away and disappears.
- Cloth image fades 4 inches away from the body. You can’t even see the image when you get 4-5 inches away. It disappears.
- Must be 3 feet away to see the image, to see the subtle differences between the light yellow and the darker yellow.
One of the issues that must be considered in any theory of how the image in the Shroud was formed is that the body was laid in the Shroud with the Shroud draped tightly. The body is leaking blood into the Shroud and forming blood clots. The issue is how to get the body out of the Shroud without breaking the blood clots. Because every blood clot is pristine, with perfect edges, and hasn’t been touched. Anyone who has bled into their shirt knows that when you take the shirt off, you break the blood clots.
The next issue is that when the image is made, it has to be photographically clear like a real person. The image has to be made by the photographically plate not wrapping him tight. If the linen is the photographic plate, it can’t be wrapping him tight. It has to be flat. The effect of the tightly wrapped Shroud should be a cylindrical distortion of the image, but there is no cylindrical distortion of the image in the Shroud. The image only appears clearly when the Shroud is flat.
The only way, in our knowledge of science and physics today, that the Shroud image was made.
- The Shroud unwraps and flattens out. The Shroud had to unwrap in a way that the blood clots didn’t break off.
- No gravity. The image went up and down into the Shroud. There is nothing on the sides and nothing on the feet. The energy that made the image came from inside the Shroud in all directions. The image only went perpendicular (up and down). The body didn’t weigh anything in the making of the image. There is no pressure from his back and legs in the image that you would expect from a body laying on a hard rock. There is no pressure in the image.
- The blood clots had to detach undisturbed from the body.
- The body does not move inside the cloth.
Dematerialization and Radiation. When we set off atomic bombs, there is dematerialization. Matter is converted into energy. All the matter in the body turned into energy and went somewhere. Atoms disintegrate, energy is released, and the electrons radiate perpendicular to the Shroud. His physical atoms turned into energy and went somewhere. We’re not going to figure out exactly how that happened, but we sure know how that event affected the Shroud’s surface. This is what we know.
The preponderance of the evidence, enough to convict somebody in a court of law, is overwhelming. All the details put all together. Is this a fake because carbon dating said that it was made in the middle ages? Or is the carbon dating wrong, and all the other data is accurate? 21st Century technology cannot duplicate the image on the Shroud. We still don’t know what made the image. That’s convincing that it is not within our capabilities. The data suggests that the image had to be from a form of radiation. It may be 500 years from now before we know it.