The Shroud of Turin
Among the many unexplained mysteries, there is the Shroud of Turin. This relic, which was perhaps in antiquity the Mandylion (or Sindon), is preserved at Turin in Italy since 1578. It was studied by researchers and scientists with the most modern means available today. It is at the origin of the Sindonology, a new field of research involving 25 different scientific disciplines and which is set for objective to study and decode this relic.
The case of the Shroud of Turin is one of the strangest enigmas of our time. It is a great piece of linen very old about four meters long and one meter wide. There are the image front and back of a man who bears the traces of the flagellation and the crucifixion. Part and sides of this strange image you can see traces of at least three fires that the Shroud has undergone during its long history, and it came out burnt, patched and stained in several places.
This enigmatic case really began in may 1898 when Secundo Pia, an Italian lawyer, well known as amateur photographer, was allowed to photograph the Shroud exposed in the Cathedral of St.John the Baptist in Turin. Surprise, the resulting image was clear and infinitely more detailed that one present on the linen. This photographic impression seemed to be that of a scourged, crucified man.
Photos of Secundo Pia provoked an intense controversy and he was even accused of having rigged his shots. For 33 years nobody was allowed to re-examine the shroud. Finally, a second series of photos, taken in 1931 by Giuseppe Enrie, reproduced the phenomenon of 1898. Then, in 1969, other pictures were made, in color, black and white and with a Wood lamp (black light). They confirmed the results of the previous.
In 1973, to authenticate these photos, Max Frei Sulzer, a Swiss criminologist expert at the Court of Zurich, is invited to Turin. Authorized to perform dust samples in various locations on the Shroud, Max Frei applied adhesive tape manufactured and packaged in sterile environment, thus free from any impurity. He was thus able to recover all kinds of micro-debris and dust accumulated on the linen over the centuries.
Max Frei submitted its samples for microscopic examination. He could thus, in the middle of multiple microdebris identify 58 pollen of different plants growing in different regions around the Mediterranean basin. These pollen allowed to reconstitute the journey made by the Shroud more than 15 centuries.
Since then, several scientific teams made very fine analysis of the Shroud. It produced textile exams, blood tests, anatomical studies, a carbon dating 14 (which makes it a medieval fake and which is very controversial), several data image processing, multiple tests of reproduction of the image on flax, all this without any final outcome. Indeed, it is still not known explain how was formed this image and what happened to the body of this man.
Is it a painting or a medieval photographic artefact, or on the contrary a relic dating back over 2000 years? For supporters it is the Shroud which wrapped the body of Christ to his descent from the cross. For the protesters would be a clever fake produced in the middle ages.
If it is the work of a brilliant forger of the middle ages, painter, alchemist or otherwise, how to explain that in the 21st century there still so many difficulties to reproduce this image? It is indeed an extraordinary imprint containing three-dimensional information that were revealed by photography, computer processing, and instruments used for space research.
The feasibility of such medieval photography has however remarkably demonstrated by the use of a Camera Obscura. However, several questions remain: who would have made this picture, with what financial means, for what purposes, and that became the body?
In the book « Le Code Templier » by Franck Gordon, a Camera Obscura is used by the Templars to manufacture the Shroud of Turin and keep the original. Click HERE to download a 15-page paper explaining this hypothesis.
The history of the Shroud of Turin
Furthermore, the age of the Shroud is proved by tradition and serious indications from the 1st to the 13th centuries, and unmistakable historical evidence from the beginning of the 14th century to the present day.
During the pillaging of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, it was taken to Athens and then it disappeared for nearly a century.
Several historical indices, presented in an investigation entitled : « Shroud of Turin, the Mystery Unveiled », suggest that it was then in the hands of the Templars, and it remained there until their trial and the dissolution of their Order (1307 to 1314).
To 1357, the Shroud will reappear in Lirey, small champagne village near Troyes, France. Until 1453 it was in possession of the Charny family that keeps it in the Collegiate Church of the village.
In 1453 it was bought to a descendant of the family of Charny by Duke Louis of Savoy. He installed it in the chapel of his castle at Chambéry, capital of the Duchy of Savoy. In December 1532, the chapel was a fire that damaged the Shroud. In 1534, the Poor Clares of Chambéry restore it by placing pieces in the places where the fire had pierced the lin, then sew back a canvas of Holland.
September 14, 1578, the Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, is transferring the Shroud to Turin. Then, it is set in 1694 in the Guarini chapel built inside the Cathedral St John-Baptist. During the Second World War, it is secretly brought to the shelter at the Abbey of Montevergine (Avellino), and then he returned to Turin in 1946. In 1983, by testamentary dispositions of Umberto of Savoy its last owner, it becomes the property of the Vatican.
In 1997, caused by temporary kitchens installed during an official lunch near the Cathedral of Turin, a fire ravaged the Guarini chapel where the Shroud is installed into a showcase of armoured glass. It was saved narrowly by the Turin Fire Department. The Shroud escaped as well for the third time in its history a fire. Since then, it is kept in a secret location and is presented only very rarely in public.