New research: Shroud of Turin bears blood of a torture victim

New research indicates that the Shroud of Turin shows signs of blood from a torture victim, and undermines arguments that the reputed burial shroud of Jesus Christ was painted.

Very small particles attached to the linen fibers of the shroud “have recorded a scenario of great suffering, whose victim was wrapped up in the funeral cloth,” said Elvio Carlino, a researcher at the Institute of Crystallography.

These particles, called “nanoparticles,” had a “peculiar structure, size and distribution,” said University of Padua professor Giulio Fanti.

And the nanoparticles are not typical of the blood of a healthy person. Rather, they show high levels of substances called creatinine and ferritin, found in patients who suffer forceful multiple traumas like torture.

“Hence, the presence of these biological nanoparticles found during our experiments point to a violent death for the man wrapped in the Turin Shroud,” Fanti said.

The shroud’s latest researchers published their findings and measurements in the U.S. open-access peer-reviewed journal PlosOne, in an article titled “New Biological Evidence from Atomic Resolution Studies on the Turin Shroud,” the Turin-based newspaper La Stampa’s Vatican Insider reports.

The findings contradict claims that the shroud is a painted object – claims which are common among those who suggest it is a medieval forgery. The characteristics of these particles “cannot be artifacts made over the centuries on the fabric of the Shroud,” Fanti said.

Among the most well-known relics believed to be connected with Jesus Christ’s Passion, the Shroud of Turin has been venerated for centuries by Christians as the burial shroud of Jesus. It has been subject to intense scientific study to ascertain its authenticity, and the origins of the image.

Appearing on the 14-foot long, three-and-a-half foot wide cloth a faintly stained postmortem image of a man – front and back – who has been brutally tortured and crucified. The image becomes clear in a haunting photo negative.

The study of particles took place on the nanoscale – ranging from one to 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth the length of a meter.

“These findings could only be revealed by the methods recently developed in the field of electron microscopy,” said Carlino. He said the research marked the first study of “the nanoscale properties of a pristine fiber taken from the Turin Shroud.”

Researchers drew on experimental evidence of atomic resolution studies and recent medical studies on patients who suffered multiple acts of trauma and torture.

The research was carried out by the Instituo Officia dei Materiali in Trieste and the Institute of Crystallography in Bari, both under Italy’s National Research Council, as well as the University of Padua’s Department of Industrial Engineering.

Vatican Insider said the research confirms the hypotheses of previous investigations, like that of biochemist Alan Adler in the 1990s.

The Catholic Church has not taken an official position on the relic’s authenticity. The shroud is presently housed at Turin’s St. John the Baptist Cathedral. During his June 21, 2015 visit to the cathedral, Pope Francis prayed before it.

“The Shroud attracts (us) toward the martyred face and body of Jesus,” he said in a noontime Angelus address at a Turin plaza. “At the same time, it pushes (us) toward the face of every suffering and unjustly persecuted person. It pushes us in the same direction as the gift of Jesus’ love.”



  1. Tom Rafferty Reply

    ” – – – it is accepted that the image is not anatomically correct — the head is 5% too large for its body, the nose is disproportionate, and the arms are too long.”
    “There are also claims of “bloodstains” on the cloth, but Hebrew law dictated cleansing of the corpse before wrapping and bodies don’t bleed after death. Chemist Walter McCrone identified the substance as a “combination of red ochre and vermilion tempera paint.” However only fibrils lifted from the shroud on sticky tape were tested for blood (This was done in order to avoid damaging the cloth). It should be pointed out though that the color observed was still an unfaded red, which would not be expected of real blood, which browns with age. Dr M. M. Baden, a pathologist, pointed out the blood trickles from the scalp are evidence of forgery, on the grounds that blood from a scalp wound does not flow in rivulets but mats the hair.”
    “Also of note is the lack of wrap-around distortion. For a shroud that was supposedly wrapped around the body of Christ, the lack of wrap-around distortion across the torso, thighs and legs is striking. If the cloth were genuine, the face and body should be hardly recognizable as such, and should look something more like this. The figure does not satisfy the geometric conditions of contact formation.”
    Nice try. SMH

    1. Paul Combitsis Reply

      It appears that Mr. Rafferty is a non-believer and is trying to discredit the authenticity of the Shroud. I would like to preface my comment with the assumption that this cloth IS (for the sake of argument) the authentic burial cloth of Christ. First of all, there is a “distortion factor” that needs to be taken into account when analyzing the Shroud. No one said that the Shroud was “anatomically correct”, and it stands to reason that since it was wrapped around (or even laid over) the body, there would be a certain amount of distortion of the image that we should account for. Mr. Rafferty’s 5% is a reasonable margin of error. Second, although Hebrew law “dictated cleansing of the corpse before wrapping”, we must remember that the body of Christ was removed just before the Sabbath, so there was no time to do the proper burial preparations. That is why the women mentioned in the Gospels were going to go to the tomb on the day after the Sabbath (i.e. Sunday morning), and as the Gospels attest, they had bought spices with which to anoint the body, prepare it for burial, etc. Third, the burial shroud was not “wrapped around” the body, because remember: PROPER burial preparations were NOT yet done. It would make no sense to do a proper burial wrap with no spices, fragrances, etc. that were customary to Hebrew burial practices. So, the cloth was first laid on the stone, then the body was placed on it, then the remainder of the cloth was “folder over” the top of the body. Mr. Rafferty, thank you for cutting-and-pasting the relevant parts of the Wiki article… nevertheless, there has been, to this date, NO explanation on HOW the image got on the cloth. Yes, there is blood on the cloth, but the entire image is NOT formed by blood. Older reports indicate that the image was caused by a burst of light, perhaps a sort of “scorching” of the cloth. Again: nothing has been proven yet. Other than Pope Benedict’s declaration that this is the “authentic” burial cloth of Christ, there has been NO other official statement that says that it is…. but then again, there has been NO official statement saying that it ISN’T.

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