Monday, March 17, 2008

Shroud of Turin

~from National Catholic Register
Beyond the compelling attraction of the image itself, the answer lies in part with the dozens of men and women around the world, experts and amateurs working in a wide range of unrelated disciplines who spend their free time studying the Shroud.

They have uncovered enough anomalies and unexplained phenomena to be certain of one thing: Whatever the Shroud may be, it clearly is no run-of-the-mill medieval forgery.

One such researcher is Dr. August Accetta, an obstetrician-gynecologist from southern California, husband and father of three daughters and founder of the Shroud Center of Southern California (

First opened in 1996, the center is dedicated to discovering the truths within the Shroud.

While appreciating the importance of the work done by researchers seeking to confirm the date of the artifact — for instance, three years ago Dr. Ray Rogers showed that the 1988 Carbon-14 dating was not done on the original burial cloth, but rather on a Shroud patch that in the Middle Ages had been cleverly re-woven into the border area — Accetta focuses on uncovering the mysteries that lie within the Shroud itself.

Image of Suffering

Accetta is particularly interested in the image’s photographic aspects, including its three-dimensional qualities and its human anatomical features. He has published four peer-reviewed papers on the Shroud in the area of nuclear imaging.

The doctor’s work with nuclear imaging demonstrates that in terms of the Shroud’s inverse color intensity (often described as being like a photographic negative, but actually a mere reversal of light and dark), the image encodes only about the top 1.5 inches of the face and body in three dimensions.

“It’s like a relief sculpture,” he said, “sort of like when Han Solo was frozen in carbon in" Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Of equal interest to Accetta is the X-ray-like imaging upon the Shroud; the image reveals the roots of several upper teeth, the metacarpal bones in the left wrist and the femur under the left hand.

Furthermore, the image reveals bruising on the cheek just below the left eye. Bruising, according to Accetta, is completely part of the body image, not at all like the bleeding wounds that left blood residue on the surface of the Shroud.

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