Shroud of Turin Facts

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How We Know the Blood on the Shroud is Real

Using ultraviolet-visible reflectance and fluorescence spectra, S. F. Pellicori analyzed the spectral properties of the Shroud's image color, the blood, and the non-image areas. These are quantitative measurements. They are based on reflectance and not a person's visual interpretation of indefinite splotches of different optical density. The spectra carry much important information, and they can not be ignored. This is documented in Applied Optics (1980). pp. 1913-1920]. These show the properties of the

Alan Adler, an expert on porphyrins, the types of colored compounds seen in blood, chlorophyll, and many other natural products concluded that the blood is real. In collaboration with John Heller, the conclusions that the blood is real was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Applied Optics (also 1980). The heme was converted into its parent porphyrin, and this was confirmed with spectral analysis.

Baima Bollone also found both the heme porphyrin ring of blood and the globulin in flakes of blood from Shroud samples, independently confirming the work of Adler and Heller.

In addition, the x-ray-fluorescence spectra showed excess iron in blood areas, as expected for blood. Microchemical tests for proteins were positive in blood areas but not in any other parts of the Shroud.

Qualitative chemical analyses are designed to detect the presence of specific substances. If they detect one, it is almost certainly present. Such tests are designed to have no or few false positive results. The tests can be repeated with fresh reagents by independent observers, and the results should agree. There are usually multiple tests for the same compounds or functional groups. Detection limits are generally known. If a material is not detected, it can probably safely be rejected. Analytical results can be used objectively to test many different hypotheses.

Chemical tests by E. J. Jumper, A. D. Adler, J. P. Jackson, S. F. Pellicori, J. H. Heller, and J. R. Druzik are documented in "A comprehensive examination of the various stains and images on the Shroud of Turin," ACS Advances in Chemistry, Archaeological Chemistry (1984)

Other material is provided by J. H. Heller and A. D. Adler in "A Chemical Investigation of the Shroud of Turin," Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal and by L. A. Schwalbe and R. N. Rogers, Analytica Chimica Acta (1982)


  The scientific study of the Turin shroud is like a microcosm of the scientific search for God: it does more to inflame any debate than settle it.”

  And yet, the shroud is a remarkable artefact, one of the few religious relics to have a justifiably mythical status.

  It is simply not known how the ghostly image of a serene, bearded man was made.”

Scientist-Journalist Philip Ball
Nature, January 2005

Nature, that most prestigious of scientific journals, that once had bragging rights to claim that the Shroud was fake, responding to new, peer-reviewed studies that discredit the carbon 14 dating and show that the Shroud could be authentic.


  1. The Shroud of Turin is certainly much older than the now discredited radiocarbon date of 1260-1390. It is at least twice as old and it could be 2000 years old.  FACTS
  2. Though no one knows how it was made, the image is a selective caramel-like darkening of an otherwise clear coating of starch fractions and various saccharides.  FACTS
  3. The blood is real blood.  FACTS
  4. Much of what we think we see in the image is an optical illusion FACTS

Shroud of Turin Facts Check: 2005 Facts