The Holy Shroud of Turin and a New Binary World View


Q. Does the Holy Shroud of Turin – with its mysterious, negative image of a scourged, crucified man – date  from the 1st century A.D. ?

                   Q. Is this Shroud the authentic burial shroud of Jesus Christ?

Q. What is the nature of the image on the Shroud? How did the image of a dead man’s body get transferred onto a linen cloth?

Q. What are the scientific facts?

Q. What are the scientific implications?

           This website is dedicated to providing current, comprehensive answers to such questions.

  CONTENTS                                                            MISSION                               

Shroud Research 1898-1988

          Since 1898, research on the Holy Shroud from a great variety of  approaches such as history, anthropology, archaeology, theology, physics and chemistry, photography,  forensic science, numismatics, iconography, medicine, botany, biology and so on, has all tended   to point to its authenticity as the true burial shroud of Christ, dating from around 33 A.D., and as described in the accounts of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ in the New Testament.



§        Current Update (Feb /07 ) Scroll down

§         The Historical Facts

§         The Scientific Facts

§         Links to Other Shroud Websites

§         The ‘Side Strip’ on the Shroud

§        Carbon 14 Dating

§         Carbon 14 Calculations


·    The Shroud Image and Radiation


·    Properties of a Universal Wave Field (UF) (Nov/05)


·   A Logarithmic Scaling of the Cosmic Time Events  to Base Seven


·  Cosmology of a Binary Universe (April/07)      New      


·  The Soul/Body Problem: An Exploratory Reassessment New


·  Cosmology of a Binary Universe Part II: Evolution of Complexity;



1989 Radiocarbon Dating Doubts

From 1989 to around 2000, the scientific and scholarly interest in the Shroud has been dominated by a dispute over a radiocarbon dating of the Shroud carried out in 1988, which asserted that the Shroud was of mediaeval origin, dating from the period 1260-1390 A.D., thus completely contradicting the great mass of evidence from all other branches of research.    


Authenticity Now Favored

In the last few years, however, a consensus has emerged that the conclusions from the radiocarbon dating were off by 1000 years or more, because they failed to correct the radiocarbon count for the presence of massive organic contamination of the small test samples which were cut from a corner of the Shroud that had been heavily handled by human hands over the course of many centuries.


The Present Position

The nature of the image on the cloth is now scientifically understood to be a chemical alteration of the linen, technically called an oxidation, which has produced the straw-yellow image elements. The chemical change was brought about by means of either a vapour diffusion process, or more likely by a certain kind of radiation. This much is generally agreed.


There is no consensus yet on the exact nature and source of the required image-forming radiation. This is the major research problem at the present time.



UPDATE,  February  2008


A new page has been added to the Website, entitled : Cosmology of a Binary Universe: Part II. The Evolution of Physical and Biological Complexity . In Part I, the evolution of the UF, both before and after the Big Bang, was examined. In the new page, the  role of the Universal Field ( UF) and its orderly forces in the evolution of physical and biological complexity is examined


This ends a rather long detour from our main subject of this Website, namely the scientific problem of the origin and nature of the Image on the Holy Shroud. The last page added to the Website on this main subject was (The Shroud Image and Radiation ) in October 2004. Then the concept and properties of the Universal Field ( UF) began to be explored and pages since then ( Properties of a Universal Wave Field (UF) Nov/05;  A Logarithmic Scaling of the Cosmic Time Events to Base Seven, May/06; Cosmology of a Binary Universe : Part I,  April/07; The Soul/ Body Problem: An Exploratory Reassessment,   May/07) have dealt with this new scientific field.


Work has now resumed on two specific Shroud problems:  (1) energy transformations which might have given rise to the mysterious shroud image, and (2) the nature of any radiation emitted during energy transformations which could account for the known scientific properties of the shroud image. 


Update (May/07)


Further exploratory work on the Universal Field (UF) into Quadrant II on the p-v energy diagram has pointed to rather remarkable correlation of its properties with those of the traditional western philosophical concept of the human soul. This is contained in a new Page  entitled The Soul/Body Problem: An Exploratory Reassessment


Update (April/07)


Continued work on applying the theory of compressible fluid flow to the problem of the image formation on the Holy Shroud, which is the principal concern of this Website, has resulted in the formation of an entirely new approach to cosmology which is presented here in a new Page entitled Cosmology of a Binary Universe: Part I .


Present day cosmology is based on the theory of General Relativity. This has a number of fundamental limitations, such as being unable to account for the concentration of energy at the Big Bang and for the reconciliation of the nature of gravity with the facts of quantum physics.  It cannot account for the cosmic inflation postulated to explain the physical evolution of the stars and galaxies, nor for the nature and origin of dark matter and so-called dark energy, which together make up about 96% of the universe.


In the course of examining the properties of the Universal Field presented on this Site in May 2006, it has been found that a Carnot cycle in the UF can provide answers to present cosmological problems such as the origin of the Big Bang, the physical basis for cosmic inflation, the origin of ordinary matter, dark matter and dark energy, and moreover can do so from a single physical postulate and without requiring any new laws of physics. The new theory is available at  Cosmology of a Binary Universe :Part I.   



Update (May /06)


1.The cosmic time scale yields  ‘seven logarithmic intervals of creation’


The appearance of an Update on the topic of creation may at first sight appear to be a departure from the main theme of this Website which is devoted to the scientific investigation of the nature and origin of the mysterious image on the Shroud of Turin.


The current dispute between the U.S. scientific establishment  and those who propose teaching an alternative theory about Evolution termed “Intelligent Design” in  schools has occasionally strayed off into the religious and philosophical subject of  ‘creation’, and this in turn  brings in  the venerable Hebrew account of creation in Genesis. In the course of discussions of  the matter we ( J. F. Power and Bernard A. Power)  have found  an interesting  aspect of the cosmic history time series, namely  that,  when the obviously logarithmic cosmic times  are graphed -not to base 10 logarithms as is  usually done -   but instead to the base 7 - an  intriguing result emerges. On this new logarithmic scale the cosmic data for the whole immense time interval from the Big Bang at 13.7 billion years ago to the emergence of mankind in the last one hundred thousand years or  so become compressed  into just seven equal logarithmic  intervals.  


We have seven equal ‘days’ of creation in Genesis  and now seven equal logarithmic  intervals in science. While the result is socially and polemically interesting, its scientific meaning probably depends on whether or not  there is some  actual physical reason or evolutionary process  involving the logarithmic  base 7.  If there is such a physical basis  then  it could lead to a new insight into evolutionary processes.  It is because there does appears to be such a  link  between the new findings  and the  theory of compressible energy transformations that this Website deals with so extensively  that the subject is introduced here.


The data and calculations on the new logarithmic findings are available in a new Page added to our Site entitled :  ( A Logarithmic Scaling of the Time Series of Cosmic Evolutionary Events to the Base Seven )


2. A new insert entitled “Thermodynamic Properties  of an Isothermal Gas Law for the Chaplygin/tangent Field”  has been added to the Webpage. The recent introduction of the exotic Chaplygin gas into cosmology has been done because it provides a negative pressure to account for the recently observed increased rate of expansion of the cosmos. However, most other aspects of the strange new field have not been investigated; for example its astonishing  ability to support transverse waves was archived here in the Update of November/December/05 ( see below). Since then the thermodynamic properties of this field, and especially its unusual entropy changes, have been studied and a new insert has been added to  Properties of a Universal Wave Field




Update (November/December /05)


New Research  Offers the Possibility of a Complete Radiation Theory of Shroud Image Formation.


Readers of this website will be aware that we have advocated a  theory of Holy Shroud image formation involving an indirect transmission of image forming  radiation to the Shroud via a radiant heating of micro-size saline water droplets condensed  onto the Shroud  fibrils.


The original proponents of direct radiation as the image forming mechanism  included  Dr. John Jackson who presented a theory of direct transfer of ultraviolet or other energetic ionizing radiation  This view was opposed by the  late Dr. Ray Rogers who maintained that direct energetic radiation absorption would have  damaged the Shroud fibrils in a way that is  not observed in the microphotographs.  The Jackson/Rogers controversy was discussed in the last Update on October 15/ 04 (below).


Our proposal of a moderately energetic radiation with an indirect coupling to the linen fibers of he Shroud  via the heating of micro-droplets of condensed water on the linen fibres does not suffer from the defect pointed out by Rogers, and so it remains a viable radiation theory.


But, no matter how strong the evidence that some kind of image forming radiation came from the dead body of the Man in the Shroud, it is still clearly against all human experience and completely foreign to physical science. In addition, this radiation would have to have a tie to gravitation in a manner unknown to modern electromagnetic radiation theory.

The possible line of progress seemed to lie in continued exploration of the World B hypothesis previously presented on  this Website  through continued study of exotic compressible fluids or fields such as the  so-called Chaplygin/Tangent  gas - an exotic theoretical fluid known for over a hundred years, but which is only recently being applied to explain the increased acceleration in the expansion of the universe. This exotic  fluid  has  negative energy partition parameters  (− n, and −k) and so is a current example of  the application of an exotic World B fluid to cosmology. 


Major new development in the radiation problem

We now report a major new development in both electromagnetic and gravitational theory, which it seems may eventually answer  major Shroud radiation questions.

In brief, the Chaplygin gas and its closely related Tangent gas  have now been found not to be separate ‘gases’ but, instead are simply the adiabatic (zero heat flow) equations of state of a single compressible field, which is now seen to also have an isothermal  equation of state.  The adiabatic and isothermal equations of state are orthogonal ( at 90 degrees to one another)  and this has some very unusual  consequences:   this new universal field or “fluid”  can generate and transmit not just longitudinal compressible waves (such as sound waves in air),  but, in addition, it becomes a unique ‘fluid’ capable of transmitting transverse waves, which ties it directly into the transverse electromagnetic waves of light and other radiation.

The possibility that any fluid could transmit transverse waves has been investigated by science with negative results  for  over a hundred and fifty years. This new exotic compressible  field  is therefore  unique, and moreover,  seems to require that  that light and all other electromagnetic radiation (which are known to be  transverse waves ) are actually waves in this new  Universal Field (UF).

This opens a  new avenue of  study for  radiation theories of Shroud image formation.  Moreover, the new UF also appears to be the  medium for transmitting Newton’s force of gravitation through space. This offers the possibility of explaining  the apparent link between the visual characteristics of the Shroud image and  gravity, which seems to be required by the pronounced ‘verticality’ of the image details.

Scientific details of this proposed new universal cosmological wave field (UF) are archived in the new page which has been added to this site:  Properties of a Universal Wave Field

Update (October/04)


1. Energy, Relativity and Shroud Image-forming Radiation


A New Page has been added to this Website  (The Shroud Image and Radiation )  which deals with energy, a new theory of energy compressibility, the effect of energy compressibility on radiation and on the speed of light, and the problem of the image formation on the Shroud.  


The nature and origin of the type of energetic radiation which could have formed the image of Christ on the Shroud of Turin requires first an examination of the nature of energy, the most basic of scientific concepts.


The minimum energy needed to form the image seen on the Shroud when calculated is found to lie in the range of 286 to about 10,000 Joules. Such modest energies indicate a mild radiation image formation process, and thereby rule out any nuclear disintegration process being involved.


Since the image formation process involves radiation, the  speed of light ( electromagnetic radiation)  is necessarily also involved.


The new concept of the compressibility of energy provides a physically based, variable speed of light (VSL) theory, and leads to an examination of the theory of relativity.


A review of physical relativity is given  which shows how a variable speed of light  (VSL) theory corrects and replaces it successfully.


The new theory then points to  possible transformations of the atoms of our ordinary physical matter  (A ) into  an invisible form of matter (B) which may be the so-called ‘dark matter’ of the universe,  known to makes up  24% of the cosmos but which is undetectable except through its gravitational  attraction.  This A to B transformation also would release  small amounts of energy, and  this energy is examined as a possible source of the weak energy which apparently formed the image on the Holy Shroud.


These  topics are discussed in the New Page to this Website: (The Shroud Image and Radiation )  


For a detailed, scientific presentation of the theory of compressible energy flows, see a separate science Website



2. Two new television programs on the Holy Shroud now essentially present it as being ancient and authentic.


Since the last Website Update of March/04,  PBS and the BBC have presented new items on the Shroud



The PBS program on 04/06/2004 was billed by some new media releases as controversial, but the main impact this time around was  factual and interesting. Its main points were the findings of the textile expert Mecthilde Flury-Lemberg that the stitching which attaches the “side strip”  to the main Shroud (see The Side Strip) is of a rare and very fine type that she has seen only in textile fragments from Masada dating from the Herodian era. This finding agrees with an ancient origin for the Shroud. [ However, on historical grounds, the most likely time and place for the attachment of the side strip would seem to be during its stay at the Imperial Reliquary in Constantinople after 944 A.D.( see  The Historical Facts)].


In the PBS program, for the first time, the Carbon 14 “mediaeval date” affair was discounted, with photographic evidence by Barrie Schwortz  ( being cited to the effect that ultraviolet photos show the Carbon 14 samples came from an unrepresentative area of the Shroud - a heavily handled corner.



The BBC on its International News around the same date presented  a new and potentially very important piece of evidence as to the characteristics of the Shroud Image, namely that,  in certain bodily areas, the image on the inner side of the Shroud also appears very faintly  on the outside of the cloth.


 During the 2002 A.D. restoration, when the old ‘Holland cloth’ backing of 1532 A.D. was removed, and before the new backing was attached,  photographs of the outside or ‘ non-image’ side of the Shroud were made by Ghiberti (2002). These have since been analyzed by Fanti and Maggiolo (2002). Their findings were reported by the BBC as having established that the facial image of the Shroud is also faintly reproduced on the back of, or outer side of, the cloth. Moreover, they claim that faint images of the hands also show up in photos of the outside of the Shroud in that area.  However, there is no discernable image of the dorsal image of the Man in the Shroud on the outer side of the cloth.


This finding of a “double” superficial image, if confirmed, would be essential for any theory of image formation to explain. However, some reports also indicate that the custodial Shroud authorities in Turin deny that there is any image on the reverse side of the cloth. See Shroud of Turin Website   The full text of the Fanti and Maggiolo paper is available on the Collegamento pro Sindone Website  ( .


3. Radiation versus Chemistry


Although, radiation is the most commonly proposed explanation for the image formation on the Shroud, chemical theories are still being put forward and debated. A current round in the debate is set out on Shroud of Turin website where papers are available from John Jackson supporting his vacuum ultraviolet radiation mechanism, opposed by Ray Rogers with a chemical transfer process. These exchanges will be reviewed in later Updates.  


4.  To Come


In the next Update ((2005) an examination will continue into the current problems with the nature of the ‘dark matter’, and ‘dark energy’ of the universe, and into the possibility that our present universe is a binary one  in which the AB transformation of matter are occurring which may release radiation.


The nature of the radiation produced in an AB transformation of matter will be further examined in relation to the Shroud image formation mystery.


Update (March/04)


1. A new solution to the puzzling ‘side strip’ on the Holy Shroud?


Ever since the Shroud was first photographed in 1898 questions have been asked about the presence of a puzzling ‘side strip’ along the entire length of one of the long sides of the Shroud. This strip is about 8 cm wide and 4 meters long. It has been carefully sewn onto the main body of the cloth, and analysis shows it is of the same weave as the rest of the Shroud, and was probably part of the original piece of linen. Without the side strip the image of Christ on the Shroud would be off centre on the cloth. And so the general conclusion has been that it was added to one side of the Shroud so as to centre the image on the cloth for public display purposes on ceremonial occasions.


But the question remains: Why was the image of Christ off centre on the Shroud in the first place? See (The Side Strip)




2. A Wrap-up on the Carbon-14 dating of the Holy Shroud in 1988.


1989 Radiocarbon Dating Doubts

From 1989 to around 2000, the scientific and scholarly interest in the Shroud has been dominated by a dispute over a radiocarbon dating of the Shroud carried out in 1988, which asserted that the Shroud was of mediaeval origin, dating from the period 1260-1390 A.D., thus completely contradicting the great mass of evidence from all other branches of research.


Authenticity Now Favored

In the last few years, however, a consensus has emerged that the conclusions from the radiocarbon dating were off by 1000 years or more, because they failed to correct the radiocarbon count for the presence of massive organic contamination of the small test samples which were cut from a corner of the Shroud that had been heavily handled by human hands over the course of many centuries.


While the focus of this Website is on the scientific aspects and implications of the physical aspects of image formation on the Shroud , some may still want to look over the Carbon-14 affair for themselves, as it is a staple of many superficial and outdated media references to the Shroud. 

Two new pages are therefore added to the Site for the sake of completeness. The first deals with carbon-14 dating in general

(Carbon 14 Dating ) . The second gives computation details and worked examples on the 1988 dating measurements (Carbon 14 Calculations)


3. To Come


In the next planned Update ( August/September, 2004) the first of a series will begin on the fundamental remaining scientific problem, namely the nature and origin of the mechanism – probably some type of radiation- which formed the image of Christ on the cloth.


Part 1 will deal with the subject of energy- , light and ‘dark’-  and will explore the energy requirements for any scientific explanation  of the Shroud image formation mystery.



Update (Nov. 23/03)


What is the current status of  Shroud research?


1. Authenticity: The general expert consensus today is an unstated working agreement – on the weight of all the evidence – that the Shroud is the authentic burial shroud of Christ which is mentioned in all four gospels of the New Testament, and that the image on it is not a human artifact, that is to say it is not a painting, photograph or a forgery. It can be argued even that  the level of  proof on this research conclusion  is now ‘beyond reasonable doubt’: (See  The Historical Facts; The Scientific Facts).


2. Nature of the image on the cloth:  The image on the Shroud consists of arrays of  micro-size dots of straw-yellow colour which have been formed in the image areas along  the individual cellulose fibrils of the linen cloth.  This yellow colour is due to a chemical change that has occurred to alter  the  normally colourless cellulose.  Such colour is brought about in cellulose by applying either very strong acids or near- scorching heat ( less than 250 deg C) both of which  can cause a certain kind of oxidation of the cellulose.  Yet, in the case of the Shroud, there was no strong acid involved  (which  would have dissolved the linen), and the image is definitely not a scorch (since the image areas do not  fluoresce as would a scorch). The consensus is that the image is the result of an oxidation/dehydration chemical  change in the linen, and that it is definitely not caused by a  scorch,  painting,  photo process, or human fraud of any kind.  ( See  The Scientific Facts)


If the Shroud is authentically that of  Christ, and the image on it is not a human artifact, then we are, curiously enough, back to the situation in 525 -944 A.D. when the Shroud, preserved at Edessa (now Urfa, Turkey), was famous  all over the Eastern and Western Empires as the Mandylion or  ‘The Image Not Made By Human Hands’ ( in Greek as ‘the  image of Christ   acheiropoietos’).    The difference  today is that, in our age of physical science, we go one step further than our ancestors and make a distinction by now asking  whether the image – clearly not a human artifact - might  still somehow  be a result of, or involve natural physical mechanisms which still remain to be scientifically investigated.


3. How did a detailed, negative image of a crucified Man in the Shroud, with blood stains, wound marks, images of Roman coins over the eyelids,  etc., get formed on the Shroud by a chemical process which  chemically altered  the linen to form micro-spots of straw-yellow colour? 


The majority opinion today is that the coloured image on the Shroud was formed by some sort of radiation. The type of radiation could be electromagnetic ( light, infrared, microwave ), or it could be a stream of particles, such as protons or electrons. Microwave radiation, for example, would heat the cellulose to oxidize and colour it as required, and at the same time would be gentle enough not to otherwise attack or damage  the cellulose.


An alternative natural process theory has been that the image was brought about by the chemical action of ammonia-like vapours emanating from the enveloped dead body, accompanied by heat radiation.  The interaction of the vapours with adsorbed embalming spices on the Shroud, such as  aloes and myrrh, is then postulated to have formed the image colour.  Linen has been experimentally shown to become  coloured  pale yellow by such a process. However, this is a complex, multi-step process, and today it is the view of  a minority, since it also has serious difficulties with producing  required image characteristics such as definition and  sharpness.


4. Where could image-forming radiation come from?  If radiation did form the image of the body on the Shroud, then it clearly must have originated from the enveloped body.  But dead bodes do not emit radiation, (apart from very low energy  heat radiation which rapidly declines as the body cools to the ambient temperature soon after death and rigor mortis sets in).  This leaves us with the conclusion that, if radiation is the cause of the image, then the radiation must have originated in some very extraordinary circumstance.


Are we then to say, since the source of the radiation which formed the image on the Shroud is presently unknown, that this now puts the entire matter outside the limits of physical science?


Those researchers on the Shroud who believed that the  image was formed in connection with the Resurrection of Christ have frequently suggested that some ‘burst of radiation’ accompanied that  Event and caused the image, but no one has offered a plausible, physically related explanation for such an extraordinary radiation event. Some of these researchers would now argue that, having verified the Shroud as being that of Christ, and having agreed that the image on the Shroud is also authentic, ‘not made by human hands’, and that the image was probably brought about physically by some sort of presently inexplicable radiation, science may  now  logically also have to conclude that it is beyond its powers to further explain the  physical origin of the image. In other words, the question being raised by a few is:  Should science now bow out of Shroud research and leave the problem entirely to theology?


Most scientific researchers have preferred to keep away from any ultimate aspect of the problem as long as possible, and to concentrate on the details of the image which can still be studied scientifically. In other words, these scientists concentrate on the study of an artifact and the image on it which are associated with an Event having profound religious and theological implications, but they do not investigate that Event per se.


Our position here is that any ultimate question for science may still be premature. This is because there now exist several scientific theories which may eventually offer a scientific explanation - although not an ultimate reason - for the extraordinary generation of the necessary image-forming radiation.


In astrophysics there are currently crucial problems involving (a) possible variations in the fundamental physical constants of nature such as the speed of light in space, and (b) the  so-called ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’ which although they make up 96% of the universe are, as to their origin and nature,  nearly a complete mystery. Two main explanatory theories are currently being explored. One is the variable speed of light  (VSL)  theory, and the other is the proposal that an exotic fluid called a Chaplygin gas may exist in the cosmos. These new scientific theories may permit a transformation  of matter which could release radiant energy in the strength necessary to form the Shroud image. (See The Scientific Facts).


Therefore, the scientific examination of the Shroud image is certainly not yet closed, and the matter will be explored in successive Updates of this Site.




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Copyright © 2003/2004/2005,   Bernard A. Power