Unprejudiced logical analysis of the main available data, in the first instance, those collected in 1978 by the American interdisciplinary team known as STURP, suggests that the image of the dead man on the Shroud of Turin resulted from (a) the reflection by the anointed body of transmitted solar rays and their projection onto the inner side of the cloth and (b) the chemical registration of this reflex image by the topmost fibers of the linen, probably with a water or oil solution of aloes and myrrh acting as a catalyzer. This reflex radiation model requires the following: (1) action at the shortest possible distance (i.e., a maximum clinging of the Shroud to the body except for a narrow intervening liquid film), which explains the high resolution and the absence of serious distortions, and (2) double exposure—of both the face and the back—of the enveloped corpse to the sun, which accounts for the presence and optical symmetry of both the frontal and the dorsal images. An attempt is also made to reinterpret the so-called three-dimensional information encoded in the image. Although some chemical issues are also mentioned and a historical reconstruction of the burial procedure is suggested, first and foremost the optical aspect of this mechanism is addressed here.
© 1997 Optical Society of AmericaFull Article | PDF Article
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