(Investigator 13, 1990 July)
By 1978 the excitement was incredible. Major newspapers devoted almost entire editions to the Shroud of Turin.
National Geographic presented The Mystery of the Shroud. Hugh Schonfield who wrote The Passover Plot believed the Shroud would prove Jesus survived the cross. Stevenson and Habermas (in Verdict on the Shroud) claimed: "The evidence indicates that it is authentic." Scientists, films and books, everywhere, oozed confidence. (See Investigator 3 pp. 44-46)
The Shroud Unmasked (1988) takes us step by step through the known history of the Shroud, the enthusiasm and devotion it generated and the scientific tests done on it. David Sox writes: "Now with a cold date in front of us, most of the enthusiasm ... looks more than a little silly... What Amazes one, now that the dust has settled, is how many were taken in." (pp. 151, 152)
The main group of culprits in all this was STURP – Shroud of Turin Research Project. They did tests in 1973 and 1978. They spent 150,000 man hours doing most tests science could do except carbon dating. They took 5,000 photos including infra red, ultra violet, computer image enhancement, multi spectral analysis, X-ray fluorescence, etc. They used microprobes and lasers. They examined stains, pollen grains and every thing they could. Of the 50 STURP scientists almost all were members of churches.
The Shroud became mysterious in 1898 when photographer Secondo Pia discovered that the image was a negative "photo" that became positive on the negative photographic plate.
The first historical record of the Shroud was about 1350 A.D. when it went on display in the French town of Livey. The bishop in the area, Henry of Poitiers, and his successor Pierre d'Arcis declared that the Shroud was a fraud.
STURP concluded that the stains on the Shroud were blood. A direct test for blood was, however, another of the few tests they missed.
Other relics have also had their day. Another Shroud kept at Cadouin in France was shown in 1934 to have been woven around 900 A.D. Peter's Chair kept at St Peter's in Rome was dated in 1968 to about the 5th century.
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