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Great Unsolved Mysteries--The Shroud of Turin

Updated on January 31, 2012
The Shroud of Turin
The Shroud of Turin | Source

For centuries the linen cloth labeled “The Shroud of Turin” has remained one of the most infamous unsolved mysteries of humanity. The man’s face that has been embedded into the material appears to the image of what we believe to be Jesus Christ.

Religious lore tells us that the piece of linen was used by Mary Madelyn to wipe the blood and perspiration from the face of Christ as he was carrying his cross to where it would eventually be used in His crucifixion. Mary noticed the image of His face imprinted on the cloth and kept it safe. The Shroud is now housed at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in the Italian city of Turin, where it has been guarded for hundreds of years.

Although the Shroud has been scientifically tested on many occasions, no one at this point has been able to determine how the image permanently imprinted itself onto the linen cloth. If it was a miracle and Christ’s image was meant to be a sign that He was indeed God, then it was one of His best examples. That would make the cloth almost 2,000 years old, yet it remains in much the same condition it has been since it was created… in other words, it doesn’t rot or decay. Because it doesn’t rot, accurate carbon dating is impossible. The closest dating anyone has come up with is that the material originated in the Middle Ages (1260-1390).

A report of the existence of The Shroud dates back to the 4th century, however. At that time it was referred to as “The Image of Edessa.”

The Shroud of Turin has been the most studied artifact in human history, yet no one has been able to determine its origin or authenticity. It remains a mystery.

Another piece of cloth is also related to this one. It is called, “The Sudarium.” The Sudarium was referred to in the Bible during the time of John (John 20:7) and is reportedly considered to be part of the cloth that covered Christ’s head after his death. In 1999 a study was conducted by Mark Guscin, (a member of the multidisciplinary investigation team of the Spanish Center for Sindonology). The study concluded that based upon history, forensic pathology, blood chemistry (both clothes reported to have type AB blood stains) and stain patterns, the cloths are indeed related. Both cloths covered the same head at two different but closely related times. Another researcher, Avinoam Danin (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) agreed with Guscin’s findings and added that he found grains of pollen that matched in both pieces of linen.


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