Shroud of Turin Facts

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No Paint: Walter McCrone Was Wrong

The claim by Walter McCrone that he found paint on the Shroud of Turin is completely discredited by facts, facts that appear in peer-reviewed scientific journals, facts that are disputed by chemical evidence.

The public and many scientists are coming to realize that:

  1. The images are in fact a caramel-like browning, in places, of an otherwise clear coating that covers the outermost fibers of the cloth. This coating is between 180 and 600 nanometers thick. This is a carbohydrate substance of starch and various sugars in trace amounts. It is not paint.
  2. Spectral tests, some of them undertaken at the National Science Foundation Mass Spectrometry Center of Excellence at the University of Nebraska, clearly show -- beyond any doubt -- that McCrone did not see through his microscope what claims to have seen; at least not in quantities sufficient to form a visible image.
  3. McCrone's work is really nothing more than his interpretations of what he visually saw. No one else, who has examined the same microscope slides, sees what he said he saw. His work violates one very basic fundamental of science. An observation must be confirmable. The work must be repeatable. McCrone's is not.
  4. McCrone has made some sensational claims that call into question his credibility. For instance, in Biblical Archeological Review he wrote: "The paint on the Shroud was dilute (0.01 percent in a 0.01 percent gelatin solution)." How in the world does one look at dried gelatin many hundred years later and know how much water was used to dissolve it. It is a ridiculous, unscientific claim.

    Simon Dennington, Ph.D. wrote on the web site: "I am a research chemist who works a lot with paints, and am amazed by this statement. Though McCrone, with his massive experience might be able to very roughly estimate the proportion of pigment to collagen present on the fibres as being of the order of 1 part in 10,000 (that is to say, 0.01%), to state this exact figure without any mention of the enormous error involved is really bad practice. And as for claiming it was applied as a 0.01% gelatin solution, well, it is quite simply IMPOSSIBLE to know this. You cannot, by any means known to science, tell by looking at dried gelatin what strength of solution it was applied from!!! To authoritatively present these wild guesses as "facts" looks like a cheap trick to 'blind people with numbers' and makes me suspect his other arguments."

  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