Something new found on Shroud of Turin, WDTPRS POLL!

I find it fascinating that as new technology develops, we start finding new things in the Shroud of Turin.

As you may know the Shroud of Turin was recently placed on display in Turin, Italy.  Here is an interesting story about a feature of the Shroud.

There is a WDTPRS POLL below.

WorldNetDaily Exclusive
‘2nd face’ on Shroud points to supernatural origin …
Another image of crucified man revealed during restoration

By Jerome R. Corsi


Second face on backside of Shroud of Turin

Scientists examining the Shroud of Turin since the restoration that began in 2000 have found a "second face" on its reverse "hidden side," a discovery they believe adds evidence to the argument it is not a medieval painting or  photographic rendering.

As part of the restoration undertaken in the summer of 2002, the Holland cloth – the backing cloth placed on the shroud by the Poor Clare Nuns to preserve it after the 1532 fire – was removed, permitting for the first time in centuries an examination of the back side.

In 2004, Professors Giulio Fanti and Roberto Maggiolo of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Padua in Italy published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Optics their study, "The Double Superficiality of the Frontal Image of the Turin Shroud." They concluded there exists a second, even fainter face image on the backside of the Shroud of Turin, corresponding but not identical to the face image of the crucified man seen in head-to-head dorsal and ventral views on the front side.

The second face image on the back of the shroud was hidden for centuries, until the 2002 restoration when the Holland cloth was removed.

Fanti and Maggiolo used image-processing techniques, including Gaussian filters and Fourier transformations to highlight the extremely faint second face on the backside of the shroud, including details of a nose, eyes, hair, beard and mustache.

To the naked eye, the backside of the shroud appears to show no image whatsoever.

Like the face image on the front side of the shroud, the previously hidden image on the backside is a superficial image that exists only on the topmost linen fibers, created by the same dehydration process characteristic of the face and body image on the front.

Negative of image on front of Shroud of Turin

The backside of the shroud contains only a limited ventral image of the crucified man in which a stain appears to correspond to the crossed hands seen on the front.

Fanti and Maggiolo found no dorsal image of the crucified man on the shroud’s back side.

The researchers concluded the image of the face on the backside of the shroud was not created by a process of painting in which the facial image on the front "bled through" to create an image on the reverse side.

Similarly, if a photographic process created the image of the face, the photographic emulsion on the shroud must have been applied separately on the front and reverse surfaces, without any photographic emulsion soaking through the linen fibers at the center.

The two scientists demonstrated this by noting the image of the face impressed on the backside has "some slight differences" from the front image.

For instance, the nose on the back presents "the same extension of both nostrils, unlike the front side, in which the right nostril is less evident."

Moreover, Fanti and Maggiolo concluded "the central part of the fabric was clearly not involved in the creation of the image [on the backside] – i.e., the internal part of the linen fabric does not have an image."

The researchers, other words, found a "doubly superficial" face image on both the front and back sides such that "if a cross-section of the fabric is made, one extremely superficial image appears above and one below, but there is nothing in the middle."

The shroud, therefore, they concluded, was not created by paint soaking through the linen or by a photographic image printing through to the reverse side, because the front and back facial images are not identical and the center fibers show no image creation whatsoever.

Fanti and Maggiolo concluded the shroud image was created by a "corona discharge," understood as a radiant burst of light and energy that scorched the body image of the crucified man on the topmost fibers of the shroud’s front and back sides, without producing any image on the centermost of its linen fibers.

"Imagine slicing a human hair lengthwise, from end to end, into 100 long thin slices; each slice one-tenth the width of a single red blood cell," writes Daniel Porter, editor of "The images on the Shroud of Turin, at their thickest, are this thin."

Fanti and Maggiolo found the faint image of the face on the reverse side of the shroud contained the same 3D information contained in the face and body image of the crucified man seen on the shroud’s front side.

The current Exposition of the Shroud in Turin, underway until May 23, is the first time the Shroud of Turin has been displayed since the 2002 restoration.

The back side of the shroud is not being shown for public observation; a new backing cloth has been sewn on to replace the Holland cloth, hiding the reverse side once again.

Here is a WDTPRS POLL:


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. memoriadei says:

    I wonder what the image on the back means, if this is the true Shroud? Any ideas on that, Father?

  2. It seems to me highly probable that the shroud is the real thing. But suppose, just suppose, that it is a 13th century painting. Does that make it a fraud or a fake? No. It only makes it the handiwork of some artist or technician. Whether it was created with fraudulent intent reflects on the artist, not on the object itself. An artist could create such an object with intent to deceive. But he could also create it as a work of art or devotion that was never intended to be passed off as anything else.

  3. ejcmartin says:

    There was an excellent podcast on the website “the Catholic Laboratory” on the Shroud which may be found here:

    The Catholic Laboratory podcast is an excellent well researched podcast and may be of interest to many WDPRS’ers.

  4. Igne says:

    One of the great things about Catholicism, it that whether one accepts the authenticity of the Shroud, or the authenticity of Lourdes, Fatima etc or not doesn’t matter. The deposit of Faith is not altered by them. But if the Shroud helps bring anyone to the Faith, then no harm is done, as long as that faith is bolstered in time by other things.

  5. Phil says:

    Sometimes I wonder if the liberals see Fr.Z put up a poll and send out their own “poll alert” to their liberal followers? Doesn’t seem to be working if they are…

    btw, did anybody see the special on the History channel about this? I thought it was awesome! After all the scientific evidence, I really don’t see how anyone can seriously hold that the shroud is a forgery. Even if they don’t accept it as an image of Christ. One thing it is not is a fake.

  6. thecount says:

    Surely ,the ‘reverse side’ is a better way of describing the other part of the cloth?

  7. Erik P says:

    I have a very strong faith, but I have my doubts about the shroud. There is too much evidence that suggests it is not real. The image is too perfect; it would be more elongated/widened as it wrapped around Jesus’ face and body. The bone structure of the image is said not to be of a man from the region where Jesus was from. Many near replicas have been created with simple techniques such as placing a painted shroud above a piece of glass and a blank one underneath and letting them sit in the sun for extended periods of time. It explains some of the abnormal characteristics of the cloth, such as radioactivity, etc.

    Regardless, it is still a beautiful and mystical piece of renaissance artwork, and quite an intriguing artifact.

  8. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    I made a pilgrimage in 1998 and was in one of the early morning groupings (there was no waiting in line, so I barely saw any of the preliminarily exhibits. That year, you could attend daily mass without hindrance of the pilgrimages around you.

    What did I see? Well I was NOT the only one to fall upon my knees in adoration. I did not need to “see” to know, to believe. Like the “tunic” in the Trier Cathedral, this item, dates from the time of our Lord’s earthly existence.

  9. Michael in NoVA says:

    Fr. Z,

    I don’t know that I can choose either poll choice right now. If I had to choose a side, I would say “real” over “forgery” for the Shroud. But I don’t know that I can take the leap of faith necessary to say “Credo” in regards to the Shroud at this point. I would want a little more information regarding its history between Christ’s crucifixion and re-discovery. Some of the recent discoveries are quite amazing, but as Erik said, there are some significant questions that have not been answered yet.

    Perhaps there should be 1-2 more choices “Unsure but leaning towards real” and “Unsure but leaning towards forgery” to best gauge the faithful’s openness to the Shroud.

  10. PAT says:

    I can recommend the book The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence That the World’s Most Sacred Relic Is Real by Ian Wilson. The book is very well written and very informative.

  11. Christina says:

    Well…I’m not sold on the Shroud either way, but I find it hard to believe that such a sophisticated “fake” could have been made so long ago (even if it were merely centuries). Comments like yours, Erik P, make me wonder about its complete authenticity as an image created by God, but I find it hard to believe that someone so long ago would think to use them at the time.

    Regardless of who the artist was–God, man, or both–it’s certain that it’s a depiction of Christ and that it draws people to prayer.

  12. Carolina says:

    I need a “work of art since mistaken for the real thing” category!

  13. trespinos says:

    His Eminence Card. Severino Poletto, Abp. of Turin, quotes Blessed Sebastiano Valfre, a devotee of the Holy Shroud, as saying this: “The Shroud is a sign of Jesus comparable to the Cross, but with this characteristic difference: the Cross received the living Jesus and returned Him to us dead, while the Shroud received Him dead, and has returned Him to us alive.”

    “What is this?”, some will say, “doesn’t the Shroud show Jesus in death?” The good news, the Fifth Gospel, so to speak, is that some experts have begun to tell us that the data of the Shroud image are explained better by positing that they show a weightless or vertical body and NOT a recumbent corpse on a slab. Vertical…rising. No one could imagine a more awesome moment than that of the instant of the Resurrection, and yet that is what we may well be witnessing on the Shroud.

  14. trespinos: Vertical…rising.

    Very interesting. I am picturing that.

  15. albizzi says:

    The Shroud CANNOT be a fake for that simple reason that some scientists have found the imprints of coins in the eyes’s places appearing on the Shroud’s cloth.
    They could demonstrate these coins were “leptons” struck in Jesus’s times.
    How could a medieval forger know that the Jews had this custom to place coins on the eyes of dead persons befor burying them? And even if he had been aware of this, how could he
    get two coins of the exact time Jesus died? The numismatic science didn’t exist in the Middle Ages.

  16. albizzi says:

    I scheduled to come to see the Holy Shroud in Turin on next May 13th and I booked myself and my wife with that aim in the Shroud’s website.
    Unfortunately the doctors oblige my wife to stay home due to a strong sciatic pain.
    If anyone is interested I can give my bookings, free of charges of course.

  17. Mitchell NY says:

    Could the Good Lord be trying to tell us some things today? Coincidence that this comes after yesterdays announcement that some scientists believe that they have found Noah’s Ark? They believe there is a 99.9 % chance this is the Ark. As for the Shroud, I have always believed. Times are a tellin.

  18. irishgirl says:

    I believe that the Shroud is really and truly the burial cloth of Our Lord.

    I remember reading the account of Segundo Pia, who photographed it in the late 1800s. When he saw the ‘negatives’, he nearly had a heart attack! He was looking into the Face of Our Lord Himself! And a few years later, Celine Martin, the blood sister of St. Therese of Lisieux, made a chalk drawing of the Face on the Shroud, which became known worldwide.

    Mitchell NY-reading your post, I was ‘thinkin’ the same thing! Times are a’tellin!

  19. chcrix says:

    I can’t vote on this one. I don’t know. For many years I viewed it as a medieval fake. Now, I’m not as sure. I can’t vote yes and I can’t vote no. Verdict – the British “Not Proven”

    By the way Mitchell, the Ark story seems to be unraveling already.

  20. sejoga says:

    I didn’t vote in the poll, because I honestly don’t feel well enough informed to say either way. People on both sides of the issue to me seem to be equally well qualified and often the people who support the idea that the shroud is genuine are Christians, while those who insist it’s not are self-described “skeptics” generally. It makes it hard to know which side is more objective.

    In the end, I think it doesn’t wholly matter whether it’s genuine or not. It’s certainly the closest thing to the genuine shroud we have, and we should for the sake of propriety offer it the utmost respect and veneration just in case it is real. But if it’s not, it’s clearly a very effective and spiritually moving work of sacred art that is worthy of veneration in it’s own right, as much as Michelangelo’s Pieta or Da Vinci’s Last Supper.

    In the end what’s important is that it reveals a very true aspect of our faith, regardless of how it came into being, and for that reason alone we should use it as a way to draw closer to God.

  21. JohnE says:

    Another recent podcast on the shroud with Barry Schwortz, who was one of the photographers involved with the Shroud of Turin Research Project and also runs

  22. Irish says:

    In order to believe the Shroud of Turin is a medieval fake, you have to believe:
    A medieval artist developed the principles of photographic negatives 600 years before George Eastman and cleverly made the image a negative that would only really be discernible in the positive after someone took a film photograph of it in the 20th century
    This medieval artist, nay genius, would also know that in the 20th century scientists would be able to trace the pollen imbedded in the cloth to Palestine, so he made sure he got Palestinian pollen and imbedded it into the cloth
    This faker would also know that far into the future, scientists would also be able to trace the stone fragments–dust–at the foot of the cloth to the stones leading from the Jerusalem gate to Golgotha, so he imbedded that too
    This amazing artist, faker, genius person from Middle Ages (who, evidently only used his amazing psychic powers to produce this one object) would also know that scientists in the 20th century would be able to trace the blood and the DNA to a 1st century jewish man, so he or she somehow managed to get 1st century Jewish male blood and drip it on the cloth as well
    You also have to believe that all the 2nd century images of the shroud being displayed and venerated are fakes too

  23. Emilio III says:

    I have been very interested in the shroud for many years and have read all I could find that dealt with the subject without running into *anything* that could make me believe it is a fake. It is clearly an image of a crucified man made by means unknown.

    However, I have to leave open the possibility that if it was made by natural means it is not necessarily an image of Our Lord. It could be of someone else who was crucified, whether criminal or martyr. So I don’t think “Fake or Jesus” are the only two possibilities.

  24. Geoffrey says:

    I can’t really vote either way, as I am not a scientist, but I do lean towards it being real.

  25. mfranks says:

    I would like to see a third choice: Undecided – jury still out for me/I haven’t fully studied the matter to make an informed decision.

    As someone who was once a working scientist and now works in a technology field in a non-research role, I am naturally a skeptic. Before my reversion back to the faith (4 yrs ago) I used to subscribe to the Skeptical Inquirer – seriously. Therefore, I struggle in believing in ‘miracles’ per se. They really should have named me Thomas instead of my brother.

    I only have faith because of profound personal experiences – due to God’s infinte grace.

  26. Erik P says:


    Scientists have proved that the ability to produce a negative could be recreated quite easily in fact with a piece of glass, paint and sunlight, and would require no knowledge of 20th century “forensics.” Also, I’m not sure that they have DNA on file from the 1st century to match the dna on the shroud (as far as I know, no DNA was found on the shroud). Thirdly, the fact that there are 2nd century images of the shroud being venerated only strengthens the argument the shroud would be a coveted artifact for forgery, and only serve to increase its lore, i.e. the ark and the holy grail. Da Vinci is largely considered a genius and infamous as an incredibly clever “prankster” who was constantly doing experiments. I’m sure he was not the only intelligent artist/scientist to consider forging said relic.

    God created science as a means for us to understand our faith, not undermine it. I have no idea if the shroud is real or fake, as it’s authenticity has no impact on the strength of my faith. However, all the evidence points to the probability that it is a medieval artwork rather than the actual shroud.

  27. Irish says:

    Erik P:
    Your blanket statement: “However, all the evidence points to the probability that it is a medieval artwork rather than the actual shroud.” is untrue. There is more evidence today, than in the 1980s, that it is authentic.

    The 1980s carbon dating (now known to be most likely taken from repairs) dated The Shroud in 12C, or 1100s. Da Vinci lived during the Renaissance 1452 – 1519. If you’ve ever studied art history, you know there were huge differences between the 1100s and the 1500s.

    Of course a negative image could have been created primitively as you say, but how could someone from the Middle Ages, with no knowledge of photographic negative, even conceive of the idea of a negative?

    I notice you skip over the whole pollen and stone fragment issue.

    I just read an article a few weeks or months ago about the blood/DNA, can’t find it tonight, but did find this:
    The team determined that the image was not created by paint, dyes or stains; nor was it the result of a burn. Computer enhancement and the V-8 analyzer — the instrument used by NASA to draw relief maps of the moon by using dark and light shadows — revealed that the shroud has three-dimensional information encoded in it, which is not true of portraits or paintings.
    STURP concluded that the image is that of a “real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist. The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and also give a positive test for serum albumin.”
    The report went on to say that the image was formed by something that changed the actual structure of the microfibrils of the linen itself.

    The 12th century European forger would have had to see frescoes on visits to very remote Byzantine churches in order to replicate the long face we see on the Shroud. The early Christian images of people venerating a burial cloth of Jesus were not readily available in books, library in the 1100s.

    You can choose not to believe, but don’t say the evidence points to a forgery, when the opposite it true.

  28. Geremia says:

    The questions and answers given for this poll are loaded. I believe it is definitely an image of a crucified man wearing a crown of thrones, but it’s still difficult to know if it is of Christ. But how many crucified men were crowned with thorns? This makes the pro argument stronger, though.

    Here’s the chief photographer’s website:

  29. AnAmericanMother says:

    I’m another one of the ones falling in the middle.

    There is a lot of evidence being put forward for the Shroud’s authenticity. That weighs in favor.

    But as a historian, I’m a great believer in contemporaneous evidence, and there was a kerfuffle about the Shroud at the time of its discovery which resulted in a statement from a bishop that it was a forgery. Now, certainly, that has been elaborately explained away by modern advocates as a turf war over the revenues from exposition of the Shroud, but it nevertheless casts some doubt.

    Another point is that we moderns have a habit of thinking that we are infinitely superior in just about everything to our benighted ancestors. “Modern science” is simply an organization and codification of a lot of information that has been known for a long time. It is not outside the realm of possibility for a clever and well-educated forger.

    Finally, while it’s true that there are skeptics for skepticism’s sake, and that’s not objective . . . there are also folks who can only be called ferocious advocates for authenticity, and that’s not objective either.

    So, color me undecided.

  30. Erik P says:


    Thanks for the article. It was my understanding though, that the fire of 1550?? mutated the properties of the shroud so that they couldn’t accurately carbon date it. Is this correct? or is that why they can only estimate 12th century. Also, I have been unable to find anything on the pollen or stone. Which could also mean that the shroud had been brought to palestine at some point, not necessarily from the 1st century.

  31. mpm says:

    Erik P,

    In 1988 a radiocarbon dating test was performed on small samples of the shroud, at the University of Oxford, the University of Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, with 95% confidence concluding that they date from the Middle Ages, between 1260 and 1390. Some controversy has arisen over the reliability of the test.[Wikipedia]

    To review the facts about the above “controversy”, cf [], “Carbon 14 and the Shroud of Turin”. This is a good “state of the question” page, to get an overview for the scientifically minded.

  32. ghp95134 says:

    Eric P,

    The 1988 radiocarbon test was done on an anomalous section of the shroud which was later found to be a section repaired in the 13-14th century; the repair was blind weaving incorporating parts of the 1st century fibers with (then) modern fibers.

    From the sidebar to the link provided by mpm: “… A team of nine scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory has confirmed that the carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin is wrong. See the Fact Check and Carbon Dating Tabs at Shroud of Turin Blog. ….” Link:

    Another “fact check” link:


  33. LawrenceK says:

    I wish the poll had five choices: yes, probably, in the middle, probably not, and no. I would pick “probably”.

    Also, although I’m sure you were using the word “believe” in the normal English sense, it would make me nervous to state “I believe this is the Shroud that wrapped the Lord in the tomb and that is His image”. When I first saw the sentence, I took it to mean “credo divina fide quod hoc vestimentum contexi Christum”, which none of us should say unless we have personally received a private revelation of this fact. Upon reflection I realized this wasn’t what you meant, of course!

  34. trespinos said, “Vertical…rising.”

    That is exactly how I feel about the image on the shroud. Jesus was very disfigured after He was beaten and crucified. The image isn’t of a distorted, beaten face at all. I have often wondered if the imprint was left when He rose from the dead.

    Question….if the shroud is a fake then why have so many Popes venerated it as the real burial cloth?

  35. ssoldie says:

    I believe, yes I believe.

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