Radiation Could have Caused the Image in the Shroud of Turin

by Max Andrews

A recent paper published by Professor G. Fanti (University of Padua) in the Journal of Imaging Science and Technology arguing that the Shroud of Turin’s image may have been caused by the corona discharge effect (a form of electrical discharge).  Fanti told the Italian, La Stampa, newspaper that:

[Ever] since the Italian photographer Secondo Pia obtained the first photographic reproductions of the Shroud in 1898, many researchers have put forward image formation hypotheses, many interesting hypotheses have been examined to date, but none of these is able to explain the mysterious image fully. None of the reproductions obtained manages to portray characteristics that are similar to the ones found on the Turin Shroud.

Fanti continued,

During my research I also considered the possibility of the combination of more than one mechanism in the image’s formation, returning to the ideas of those who, as of the second half of the last century, started to doubt the authenticity of the Shroud and therefore started suggesting image reproduction techniques used by medieval artists.

What is interesting and important about this aspect is that just a year or two ago an Italian scientist claimed to have been able to re-duplicate the shroud with items available to a 1300’s (or medieval) artist.  So, it’s not as if Fanti is ignoring all contemporary theories.

Among the “artistic” theories cited in the article, are those put forward by Delfino Pesce and Garlaschelli. “I emphasised the fact that even the results of experiment results obtained in the 21st Century are hugely different from the extremely unique characteristics of the Shroud.” Many academics have presented excellent artistic copies from a macroscopic perspective; but unfortunately these fail to reproduce a number of microscopic elements, making the final result valueless… The radiation theory allows us to come closer to the particular characteristics of the shroud image, but still poses one important problem: only small sections of the image, measurable in terms of square centimetres can be reproduced; otherwise resources that are not yet available in the laboratory would be required. The experiments carried out by Professor Fanti in Padua, in collaboration with Professor Giancarlo Pesavento, have required “voltages measured at approximately 500.000 volts in order to obtain Shroud-like images that were just a few centimeters long…” This seems to provide an answer to all the unique characteristics of the image of the body on the Shroud,” event though, in order to get such a large figure as the one depicted on the Turin Shroud, “you would need voltages of up to tens of millions of volts. Or, you would have to look outside the field of science and see the phenomenon as linked to the resurrection,

I’m not sure what to do with the Shroud of Turin.  There have been multiple competing hypotheses about this and none of them have exhaustively explained away all the data.  I would consider myself agnostic on the authenticity of the shroud, though I certainly hope it’s genuine and I think this most recent paper strengths the case for authenticity.  It’s not a hill for me to die on.  To continue reading more of Fanti’s interview and the subject manner please see the Vatican Insider.


4 Responses to “Radiation Could have Caused the Image in the Shroud of Turin”

  1. “Assuming the Shroud to be genuine, as I can’t help doing, my problem, and I think that of like-minded others, is the sheer wonder that such an extraordinary object should exist at all.

    “Dead bodies do not normally leave imprints of themselves. So why has this extraordinary ‘imprint’ phenomenon happened in the case of the one person in history claimed to have broken the bounds of death – Jesus Christ?

    “Also why, against all historical odds, has such an ostensibly frail object survived down to our own scientific age, when so many scientific approaches can be applied to it?

    “Just to consider the list of applicable disciplines – photography, forensic medicine, anatomy, chemistry, physics, microbiology, pollen analysis, textile analysis, archaeology, art history, to name but a few – is mind-blowing in itself.”

    Thus says Ian Wilson, former agnostic and well-known author on the subject of the Shroud.

    “For the agnostic in me, the Shroud ought to have been just another of Roman Catholicism’s many obviously forged ‘relics’.

    “But I also had a very strong interest in art and art history, fancying that I could identify the artist behind any Old Master painting simply from the style.

    “And for that side of me the Shroud’s now so famous negative image seemed far too unerringly like a real photograph to be the work of any conceivable artist-forger. My formerly complacent agnosticism therefore suffered its first, and ultimately fatal, blow.”

    Genuine or not, the Shroud has served to bring unbelievers face-to-face with the possibility of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like you, Max, I am an “agnostic” who hopes that the Shroud might be the real deal. This desire was strengthened by Warren Carroll’s comments on the subject:

    “At the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, Peter and James and John had seen Jesus radiating light from His body and clothes, in a manner outside all earthly experience. The evidence of the Holy Shroud of Turin, analyzed scientifically by micro-densitometer, VP-8 image analyzer, spectroscope, and other modern scientific instruments and methods, suggests that the extraordinary impressions upon its cloth could only have been formed by a brief scorching flash at a level of energy approaching the thermonuclear.

    ‘Let there be light….'” (Warren H. Carroll, The Founding of Christendom, Christendom Press, 1985)

    That is surely something to lie awake nights meditating upon – that divine moment of the Resurrection of the Crucified One – “Let there be light!”

  2. I point you to a new book on the Shroud called “Test the Shroud”. Gary Habermas is in the credits (along with myself). I wont go into it but a strong case can be made that only the body could be the source of the radiative event in which protons and neutrons seem to be the main agents.


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