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Mc Crone, having noted that the shroud had suddenly appeared in 1356 in the hands of a French knight who would not say where it came from and that a local bishop soon thereafter claimed that an artist “cunningly painted” it, declared it a painted fake.

Had I noticed the story in 1979, I would have certainly accepted his conclusion. A decade later, when three radiocarbon dating laboratories, using carbon 14 dating, supposedly proved the Shroud of Turin was medieval, I didn’t notice. Moreover, I am naturally skeptical about any relic with a historical footprint in medieval Europe.

And an artist, if he is imaginative, like Picasso, can alter that perception in stylistic ways.

But the one thing he cannot easily do is to perfectly reverse black and white and all the darker and lighter shades of grey while painting a face. How would he know he had done it correctly without technology to test his results? In an age so undemanding as the medieval, when any sliver of wood could pass as a piece of the "true cross" and any bramble as a piece of the "crown of thorns," why bother?

Adding to the political turmoil, the Pope was in Avignon, not Rome.

Indicative of the thinking in this age, some believed that the plague was God’s retribution on the whole world because the Pope was not in the eternal city.

I was so convinced that the Shroud of Turin was a fake that I doubted the images were negatives. I was certain that no artist, no craftsman, no faker of relics, could possibly paint a negative of a human face.

It might have been a treasure of the early church, he thought. I remember being surprised that I knew so little about the Shroud of Turin.Then in my mid-fifties, I had always been an avid reader of history, particularly early church history.I could not recall ever reading anything about the Shroud of Turin.I must admit, with some embarrassment, that until a few years ago I knew nothing about the Shroud of Turin.And when I first did read about it, while on a flight to Miami, I laughed out loud, something I rarely do alone in the company of strangers. How can anyone think the Shroud of Turin is real: the actual burial shroud of Jesus?Had I, I would have certainly accepted the conclusion. The year 1356 was a time of unbridled superstition in demons, witches, magic, and miracle-working relics.It was a time of frequent famine and the Black Death plague.So entrenched was my skepticism, it would take me a year to change my mind about the Shroud of Turin.I learned that Mc Crone’s identification of paint was a subjective judgment.The second face supports the idea of a chemical reaction and adds more proof that the image is not a work of art or a photograph.And in 2005, we learned that the carbon 14 dating was flawed.


  1. AceHistory2Research says Second Face on the Shroud of Turin `Fact or Fiction’ according to the latest news’ Institute of Physics ^ April 13, 2004.

  2. Shroud of Turin Books Online Selected books available directly from and other Internet resellers

  3. New scientific tests on the Shroud of Turin, which was on display Saturday in a special TV appearance introduced by the Pope, dates the cloth to ancient.

  4. Posts about The Shroud of Turin written by frenz64

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