Autoradiography, here defined as X-ray-like images of internal body structures which were produced by radiation coming from within the body, does not happen in nature. Autoradiographs can be induced by medical radiologists through the process of injecting radioactive dye into the body and then using a detector to scan the body. But induced autoradiographs are fuzzy, while those on the Shroud of Turin are finely detailed. The only kind of radiation generally known that produces images of internal body structures is X-radiation. However, because the images on the Shroud are so unique, some physicists speculate that they may have been imprinted by a kind of radiation different from X-radiation and as yet unknown to humankind.
There has been a great deal of controversy over the years about why the fingers on the Shroud appear to be so long. To radiologists, the answer is that the Shroud contains the skeletal structures of the hands and the wrist. The reason the fingers look so long is because the metacarpal bones (those in the palm of the hand) are visible, as well as the bones in the fingers.
There is only place where it is possible to drive a spike through the wrist without breaking bones (Scripture records that Jesus did not have any bones broken.) That place is called the Space of Destot, and the experiment was done by Dr. Pierre Barbet, a French surgeon and Shroud researcher, in the 1930’s. In the photograph of the X-ray, you can see a white rectangle in the write area. That is the spike. While the crucifixion nail was removed before the images were made on the Shroud, the bones are still spread apart where the nail went in, in exactly the same place where the spike in the X-ray was driven in. Many of the separate bones of the wrist, which show up so well on the X-ray, are also visible and identifiable on the Shroud image.
It was previously thought that since the Man of the Shroud was in cadaveric spasm when the images were made, we were seeing the tendons on the back of the hand. If you contract the muscles in your hand and arm with your wrist extended and your fingers spread, you can easily see the ridges of the tendons on the back of your hand. Now we recognize the bones of the fingers, hands, and wrists as making the images on the Shroud.
Are there other skeletal images on the Shroud? Yes, and the most impressive is the skull of the Man of the Shroud. The bony structure of the orbits of the eyes are immediately apparent, and are, we feel, what accounts for the large, staring eyes found on so many of the early icons. The nasal bone may be seen, as well as the nasal cavities and maxillary sinuses. Perhaps most surprising of all is that twenty-four teeth with their roots may be seen. These images provide the explanation of why the lips on the Pantocrator icon at Saint Catherine’s Monastery appear to be chapped. Evidently the artist though he/she was looking at a life image, and interpreted the images of the teeth as chapped lips.
Careful examination of other areas of the body images on the Shroud revealed some images of the skeletal structure of part of the vertebral column and the foot. These are less clear than the bones in the face, the hands, and the wrist.
Something extremely interesting can be seen by looking carefully at the mouth area of the photographs of the face. In the center of the mouth, you can see the teeth with their roots extending both up and down. Just above the teeth, you can see the mustache; just below, you’ll find the beard. Follow the teeth to the left side of the mouth (your left as you look at the photograph), and suddenly you will see the beard. This is evidence of both kinds of radiation: X-rays coming from the depth of the body (autoradiography) as shown by the images of the teeth, and corona discharge from the surface of the body as shown by the images of the mustache and beard.
How could this possibly have happened? We have shown these findings to a large number of physicists and radiologists, all of whom agree that apparently we are seeing evidence of autoradiation, and all of whom say they have no idea how to explain it.
Image 1: X-ray of a human hand with nail (white square in middle of wrist) through the space of Destot.
Image 2: Hand images on the Shroud of Turin.
Image 1: X-ray of a human hand with nail, enlarged.
Image 2: Hand images on the Shroud of Turin.
Image 1: X-ray of a human skull.
Image 2: Head image on the Shroud of Turin.
Composite photograph showing (left) the Shroud face and (right) an X-ray of a human skull.