A recent paper published by Professor G. Fanti (University of Padua) in the Journal of Imaging Science and Technology arguing that the Shroud of Turin’s image may have been caused by the corona discharge effect (a form of electrical discharge). Fanti told the Italian, La Stampa, newspaper that:
[Ever] since the Italian photographer Secondo Pia obtained the first photographic reproductions of the Shroud in 1898, many researchers have put forward image formation hypotheses, many interesting hypotheses have been examined to date, but none of these is able to explain the mysterious image fully. None of the reproductions obtained manages to portray characteristics that are similar to the ones found on the Turin Shroud.
During my research I also considered the possibility of the combination of more than one mechanism in the image’s formation, returning to the ideas of those who, as of the second half of the last century, started to doubt the authenticity of the Shroud and therefore started suggesting image reproduction techniques used by medieval artists.
What is interesting and important about this aspect is that just a year or two ago an Italian scientist claimed to have been able to re-duplicate the shroud with items available to a 1300’s (or medieval) artist. So, it’s not as if Fanti is ignoring all contemporary theories.
Among the “artistic” theories cited in the article, are those put forward by Delfino Pesce and Garlaschelli. “I emphasised the fact that even the results of experiment results obtained in the 21st Century are hugely different from the extremely unique characteristics of the Shroud.” Many academics have presented excellent artistic copies from a macroscopic perspective; but unfortunately these fail to reproduce a number of microscopic elements, making the final result valueless… The radiation theory allows us to come closer to the particular characteristics of the shroud image, but still poses one important problem: only small sections of the image, measurable in terms of square centimetres can be reproduced; otherwise resources that are not yet available in the laboratory would be required. The experiments carried out by Professor Fanti in Padua, in collaboration with Professor Giancarlo Pesavento, have required “voltages measured at approximately 500.000 volts in order to obtain Shroud-like images that were just a few centimeters long…” This seems to provide an answer to all the unique characteristics of the image of the body on the Shroud,” event though, in order to get such a large figure as the one depicted on the Turin Shroud, “you would need voltages of up to tens of millions of volts. Or, you would have to look outside the field of science and see the phenomenon as linked to the resurrection,
I’m not sure what to do with the Shroud of Turin. There have been multiple competing hypotheses about this and none of them have exhaustively explained away all the data. I would consider myself agnostic on the authenticity of the shroud, though I certainly hope it’s genuine and I think this most recent paper strengths the case for authenticity. It’s not a hill for me to die on. To continue reading more of Fanti’s interview and the subject manner please see the Vatican Insider.