The Glory of the Blood: The Shroud, Part 5

Here is the 5th installment of my series on the Shroud of Turin. (There are seven parts, and I'll be posting the last two parts tomorrow; be sure to come back and check them out.) Enjoy, and be sure to let me know what you think...


Disclaimer: Though I believe the Shroud to be the authentic burial cloth of Christ (as you shall see), I do not believe it to be an object of worship; only Jesus Himself and God the Father are to be worshipped. However, I do believe that the Shroud provides sufficient evidence of the Resurrection. It is for this reason that I present this material. For more information, visit, hosted by Barrie Schwortz; he presents all views on the Shroud, as well as the latest information.

In 1898, Secondo Pla, an Italian lawyer and amateur photographer, was given permission to photograph the Shroud.[1] Three days after an unsuccessful attempt to photograph the Shroud, he had the opportunity to try again. On May 28, 1898, after taking a picture of the Shroud, “he took a hansom back to his apartment, put the plate in a tank of developing fluid, watched anxiously, and…he saw an image begin to form on the glass. When the developing process was complete, he took the plate out of the tank and nearly dropped it; he was so shocked by what he saw.”[2] What Pla saw was the image of the Christ. After hearing this story, you may now be wondering, “How was the image (on the Shroud) formed?” Well, there are a few different views as to how this was done. Paul Vignon, a first-class artist, began to investigate the Shroud in 1931. He soon came to the challenge of trying to find out how the image was formed. He wondered, “What could possibly have projected from the skin of the man in the Shroud and what could possibly have been on the cloth to react to something from the skin?”[3] He researched with a scientist by the name of Rene Colson, and found that the burial fluid of the Jews was a pasty combination of olive oil, myrrh, and aloes. A chemical compound of aloes, aloetin, is willingly corroded with alkalies. When Vignon and Colson moistened a strip of linen cloth with ammoniacal water, and then dipped it into a mixture of olive oil and aloes, the result was a brown stain that was identical to that of the image on the Shroud![4] The next question to tackle was “How could ammonia vapors come from a human body?”[5] They found that when an individual dies in great agony, this individual has morbid sweat.[6] “This sweating is very heavy in urea. The fermentation of urea results in the chemical change to carbonate of ammonia. This compound consistently gives off ammonical vapors...”[7] Today, scientists believe that the image was formed by electromagnetic radiation. It is “just like light coming from a light bulb, the microwave energy that cooks your hot dog or delivers signals to your cellphone; differing only in frequency, wavelength, source and of course energy level. Electromagnetic radiation is a photon of energy traveling the speed of light in a sine wave through space with no mass.”[8] It should be pointed out that “the way the image was burned onto the Shroud is also flawlessly accurate in terms of how a body emitting energy would imprint itself on a cloth that was covering it.”[9] Dr. John Jackson, a member of STURP, said, “I cannot discriminate between the color variation of the body image and the burn image.”[10] Remember, the burn marks were caused from intense heat in the 1532 fire. This suggests that the image on the Shroud was produced by the same kind of intense heat, namely, electromagnetic radiation. Dr. Don Lyan said, “...The fact that it's very much of a surface phenomenon would tend to indicate that its probably a short time scale phenomenon such as a burst of radiation.”[11] However, since scientists have tried to reproduce images like that on the Shroud by lightly burning a piece of Shroud-like cloth and have failed to do so, they have not way of knowing how this could have been done.[12] This would seem to conclude, even more so, that the image on the Shroud was produced supernaturally. There is yet another area of conflict regarding the Shroud of Turin. Tests were taken on bloodstains that were found on the Shroud. The tests results revealed type AB blood. X and Y chromosomes were found, which confirms what we already know – the image on the Shroud is that of a male. It also showed “degraded DNA… consistent with the supposition of ancient blood.”[13] “This blood type is rare…the highest percentage being found in northern Palestine.”[14] There was found to be a high concentration of bilirubin in the blood, which is much more than is found in a regularly healthy human being.[15] “The only possible interpretation was that at the time of his death the man of the Shroud must have been severely, horribly jaundiced, with huge quantities of bile pigments present in his bloodstream… Outside actual illness, the conditions in which such severe jaundicing can occur are severe concussive injuries, such as occur in road accidents, but which would also be consistent with the sort of severe beating and scourging which the man of the Shroud appears to have undergone.”[16] Skeptics argue that if this were ancient blood, it would be black, as all ancient blood is. However, since the blood on the Shroud is red, skeptics say that it is either paint or not blood at all. Sticky tape has revealed that this is indeed blood. There is an easy explanation for red blood on the Shroud. “Ancient cloth, as it was manufactured in the Middle East during the first century, was starched on the loom and then washed in suds of the Soapwort plant. Ingredients of this natural soap are hemolytic, which would keep the blood red. We know, as well, that the blood on the Shroud is rich in bilirubin…Bilirubin is bright red and stays red.”[17] What’s more, “It should be noted that the latest DNA analysis of the bloodstains found on the shroud of Turin also came up with only 24 chromosomes (23 from Mary and a y to make Him a him) which coincides with the blood testing done of the dried blood found on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant, which was found 25' under the crucifixion post. Remember the earthquake that occurred as Jesus was near the end; it opened up a crack in the rock beneath the crucifixion post and when the Roman soldier speared Jesus in the side; his blood and bodily fluids fell down the 25' crack and landed on the ark of the covenant that had been placed there almost 600 years beforehand.”[18] “…there is now strong evidence that the bloodstains were on the cloth prior to the body image.”[19] This suggests that when Jesus’ body was wrapped in the linen cloth, blood from His wounds got all over the cloth, and it was some time after this that the image appeared. And there are a few more interesting facts about the blood on the Shroud:

*Critics make up various theories to try to disprove the Resurrection. One of the most common is that Jesus didn’t really die. However, if He were not dead, the blood would have pumped out of His living heart when He was pierced, but we are told in John that “blood and water came out.” This indicates that “the blood oozed out as from a heart that had stopped.” The Shroud supports this: “blood had obviously collected and had begun to separate into its constituent parts of red blood corpuscles and white watery serum, because the stains of blood that flowed from the wound had gathered in the middle and spread across the back. Around the edges of them is the clear indication that the blood had divided into its elements.”[20] The blood on the Shroud shows that the man on the Shroud was clearly dead.

*Repeated tests have shown that if the body of a bloody person is taken off a burial cloth, the blood will be smeared or broken. However, when examined microscopically, there is not the slightest smear or crack in the bloodstains on the Shroud. “…scientist have no conception of how that shroud was taken off the body. It could not happen, and yet it did. In short, He appears to have gone right through the cloth.”[21]


[1], [2] A Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus, Frank O. Adams, Psychical Aid Foundation, Tucson Arizona, pg 16, 1972 [3] ibid, pg 23 [4] ibid [5] ibid [6] ibid [7] ibid [8], Ber here [9] [10] The Silent Witness, 1978 video recording, Dr. John Jackson [11] ibid, Dr. Don Lyan [12] [13] [14] ibid [15] [16] ibid [17] [18], Ber Here [19] [20] Risen Indeed, by D. James Kennedy, p 70 [21] ibid, p 71


  1. Miss S,

    Happy Easter!

    Thank you for your in-depth discussion of the Shroud.

    I must confess that I am a doubter as to its authenticity. Well, that is I don't necessarily doubt that it's a real burial cloth, but that the image is Jesus Himself.

    However, I just watched the interesting "Real Face of Jesus" yesterday on the History Channel, and I must say that after seeing it and reading your articles, I have opened my mind a bit more that it may in fact be real. I'm still skeptical, but a little less so than before.

    I have some questions about it though, that you may be able to answer, as I haven't really spent a lot of time studying the Shroud.
    1. First of all, it seems that anytime I see something on the Shroud, it's always focusing on the fact that it's Jesus' image on there. There have been millions of people buried in shrouds like that, I'm sure. Why do people insist so strongly that it's Jesus' image and not one of the many, many other dead people?
    2. I find the discussion of how exactly the image was created very fascinating. If in fact it was created by some sort of radiation or light source, that would be very exciting to think about! But this layman's first thought is that the image was created by the sweat and oils from the skin of the dead man placed in the shroud. You bring this up yourself when you talk about 'morbid sweat'. So why does it have to be radiation and not simply normal bodily oils?

    Lastly: "landed on the ark of the covenant that had been placed there almost 600 years beforehand."

    What?!? I've never heard *anyone* make this claim before, that the ark of the covenant was found 25 feet below the exact spot where Christ was crucified. If this were true, the whole world would know about it. Whoever this guy is that you're quoting sounds like a quack to me.

    In spite of these doubts, however, I'm glad you're writing this series. I'm finding it very interesting to read!

  2. Hi SB,

    I'm glad your enjoying the series, and thank you for your questions.

    Why do I (and others) believe that the image on the Shroud is Christ's and not merely some other man's? Here are some of the main points in it's favor:

    1) Though Jesus was not the only Person to be crucified during the time of the Romans, He is the only known Person in history Who was pierced through in the side by the soldier, Whose leg's weren't broken, and Who wore a crown of thorns; all of these points are visible on the Shroud, and no other person has had ALL of these features present at the same time. (And, of course, we know that image of the man on the Shroud was crucified, as is evidenced by the nail marks in his wrists.)
    2) But given the possibility that this person were not Jesus, there is some evidence which narrows it down to a specific TYPE of person. First, the individual pictured on the Shroud must have been from Palestine, because pollen samples taken from the Shroud have been known to exist only in Palestine; we know that Jesus was from Palestine. Second, coins were seen in the eyes of the man on the Shroud; these coins dated to the time of Pontius Pilate, and we know that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate! And lastly, the blood on the Shroud had a DNA of 23 X chromosomes, but only one Y chromosome; we know that even if a woman has a child out of wed-lock, that child will still have 23Y chromosomes from the father. But here, there is only one Y chromosome; I believe that this indicates strongly that the image is Christ's, for He is the only person in history Who has ever been truly born of a virgin without the aid of a man to provide the extra chromosomes.

    To be continued (see my next comment)...

  3. ...

    As for your second question -- When I began to research the Shroud, I was intrigued by how the image was formed; those were the two opinions I found. I think I tended to go with the radiation view, because it seems like that's what would have happened upon Christ's Resurrection -- a huge burst of radiation creating the image. However, I don't think it necessarily HAS to be radiation that caused the image. It is possible that it could have been sweat, since Jesus was in so much agony prior to His crucifixion (remember His sweat dripping like blood?); this would make sense, because the sweat would mix with the spices to create the image. But even if it were the sweat, I don't think that necessarily undermines the whole fact that this is (as I believe) the face of Christ; God can use natural means to accomplish a miracle (though I don't buy the "everything supernatural must have a natural explanation" garbage). Something else of interest is that STURP stated in their Shroud report, "Microchemical evaluation has indicated no evidence of any ... biochemicals known to be produced by the body in life or in death." This seems to narrow it down to radiation, but I wouldn't totally rule out the sweat factor. I'll look into it; hope this helps.

    And your question about the ark of the covenant -- I had heard this before, which was why I included it in my research. There is a man named Ron Wyatt who did research on this and discovered this very fact and much more; however, the Lord told Him that it wasn't time for people to see it yet (Revelation 11:19 states, "Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple...." which seems to imply that at one point it was not seen, as we know is true at present). It may sound quack to you, but I saw his DVD (not sure if it's still available -- his statements have been taken out of circulation). When you watch him speak of it, his face is glowing like Moses' must have been -- it's obvious that something happened to him, and he seems like a very sincere man. I'll let you know if I can find any of his research to show you...

    And lastly, I wanted to add my own remark to the last post in the series -- You'll notice that STURP undermines the fact that it is highly probable that the image is Christ's by saying that Shroud is not "scientifically sound, from a physical, chemical, biological and medical viewpoint." However, this does not negate the fact that the image on the Shroud is Christ's; it only proves God's wisdom -- Science has not been able to figure it out, and yet the Shroud has stood the test of time! And what science HAS figured out, has very accurately supported the Gospel descriptions about Christ's crucifixion.

    Thanks again for your comment, and thank you for taking the time to read my wordy response. ;)

    Happy Easter!

  4. I just realized that I made a small mistake in the first comment -- in the instance of Jesus' crucifixion, the reason that Jesus' legs were not broken was because He was already dead when the soldiers came to do so. In other words, just because Jesus' legs were not broken, does not mean that he was the ONLY one in that time period who did not have his legs broken.

    However, this does not negate any of the facts of the Shroud of Turin, for, in addition to what has already been stated, we know that the coins in the man's eyes were dated to Pilate's time, and the stripes, pierced side, holes in wrists, etc. which mark a horrendous and gruesome death, only seem to verify that the image on the Shroud is Christ's.

  5. I understood what you meant ;)

    Thanks for the reply. I'll look forward to studying this topic more in the future for myself.

    The whole idea of radiation/light from the actual Resurrection event creating the image is very cool to me--that would be awesome if it were true! I've always wondered what exactly it looked like, did His body pass through the grave clothes, did His old body vanish in radiation and light, to have His new body created many interesting possibilities.

    I think you (& the Catholic church) have it right when you say it doesn't really matter whether it's authentic or not, but as an object of contemplation and identification with the suffering Christ went through, it is quite valuable.


Post a Comment

All comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Please keep in mind that the topics are not open to debate; however, I do allow (and encourage) friendly discussion and dialogue. Check out the comment policy for details before commenting. Thank you for visiting!

Popular Posts

Did Pontius Pilate actually exist?

April Fools

Quote of the Week: Ravi Zacharias On The Problem of Evil