Is the Shroud of Turin the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ or is it a very clever man-made artifact? Skeptic Daniel Porter, after investigating the shroud, exclaims on his website: “It is real, or it is the world’s most amazing and unexplained hoax!”

The shroud of Turin measures roughly 14-by-3.5 feet and bears the faint head-to-feet image of the front and the back of a man. Forensic pathologist Dr. Robert Bucklin describes the image as that of an adult man, 71 inches tall, about 175 pounds, with shoulder length hair, moustache, and a forked beard. He had been scourged, shoulders and knees were abraded, his side had been pierced, the wrists and feet had been pierced by nails and blood stains from the wrist run toward the elbow as would occur in a crucifixion.

The shroud can be traced to the Middle Ages and is believed to be the same as the “Edessa cloth” discovered in Turkey in 544 and moved to Constantinople in 944. For centuries it had the reputation of protecting whoever possessed it from harm. In 1204 the shroud disappeared from Constantinople and is believed to have been in the possession of heretics until 1349. It was then moved to Chamberry, France, where it was almost destroyed in a fire in 1532. It has been in Turin, Italy, since 1578.

In 1898 the shroud attracted worldwide attention when Secondo Pia was allowed to photograph it during one of its rare public displays at the cathedral in Turin. On developing the film, when light and dark were reversed, much to his amazement he saw in his darkroom the positive version of a face that was extraordinarily lifelike, haunting, hollow-eyed, showing clearly a contused cheek, slight displacement of the nose, and puncture wounds about the head that might have been made by some thorny cap. Pia wondered: Could it be possible that he might be looking at the first-ever photograph of the face of Jesus Christ? Read the rest of this entry »