Shroud of Turin Facts

Shroud of Turin FactsMore Facts Previous: Vanillin clue to the age of the Shroud  Next: Chemical nature of the images

Second Face Found on the Back of the Cloth

The peer-reviewed scientific journal, Journal of Optics from the Institute of Physics in London, announced April 14, 2004, that Giulio Fanti and Roberto Maggiolo, both of the University of Padua, Italy, have found a second face image on the back of the Shroud of Turin. This image corresponds to the front image but is much fainter. And this image, like the front image, is completely superficial to the topmost crown fibers of the cloth.

Because both images are superficial, meaning there is no image or colorant of any kind between the two image layers on the extreme outer faces of the cloth, and because the images are in registry with each other, all so-far-proposed fake-relic proposals are moot. The images are not painted and are not some form of medieval proto-photography.

When the Shroud was examined in 1978, the backside of the cloth was not accessible. At that time, the Shroud was sewn to a backing cloth. Quoting from the Institute of Physics press release of April 14, 2004: "Because the images are extremely faint, the duo [Fanti and Maggiolo] has used an array of image-processing techniques -- including Gaussian filters, Fourier transforms and template matching -- to highlight human features."

They found that the face of the man that can be seen on the reverse of the cloth matches that observed on the front. The image shows faint details of a nose, eyes, hair, beard and moustache . . . The Italian team was also able to make out weak images of the man's hands, but could not produce images of his shoulders or back.

These new findings could help to shed light on the origins of the cloth but are more likely to fuel further debate over it. In 1989 (sic 1988), carbon-dating techniques revealed that the Shroud dated from medieval times and therefore could not have been used to bury Christ. However, many scientists have argued that the carbon-dating techniques used to study the Shroud were flawed.

Fanti and Maggiolo are now saying that the Shroud is unlikely to be a fraud because the image of the face is superficial on both sides of the cloth and only involves the topmost fibres of the material. "It is extremely difficult to make a fake with these features," says Fanti.</h6>

While this discover of imaging on the backside of the cloth makes artistic and photographic methods significantly more implausible, it does lend credence to the possibilities that gaseous amines released by the body reacted with the carbohydrate layers. Some gases would have penetrated through the weave of the cloth and reacted with the backside carbohydrate layer. (And it does not rule out miraculous cause or effect).

  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