We recently wrote about new evidence, based on a seam in the cloth, showing that the Shroud of Turin may be real. Now it’s been discovered that the back side of the cloth, which has been covered up for hundreds of years, shows a ghostly image of the face as well. However, the image could not have “bled through” from the other side, since it’s only on the surface on both sides of the cloth, with a layer of bare fabric in between.

Rossella Lorenzi writes in Discovery News that the back side of the shroud has remained hidden since it was covered by another layer of fabric in 1534, after the shroud was blackened in a fire. Swiss textile expert Mechtild Flury-Lemberg has dated the shroud to the first century AD by the sewing style used to attach the backing.

The backing was removed for the first time in 2002, when the shroud was restored. At that time, the back surface was photographed in detail by Monsignor Giuseppe Ghiberti, and the photographs were published in a book. Researcher Giulio Fanti says, “As I saw the pictures in the book, I was caught by the perception of a faint image on the back surface of the shroud. I thought that perhaps there was much more that wasn’t visible to the naked eye.”

Using sophisticated image processing, Fanti revealed the image of a man’s face on the back surface. The new image matches the one on the front in form, size and position. Fanti says, “Though the image is very faint, features such as nose, eyes, hair, beard and moustache are clearly visible. There are some slight differences with the known face. For example, the nose on the reverse side shows the same extension of both nostrils, unlike the front side, in which the right nostril is less evident.”

Using his enhancing procedure, Fanti did not uncover the full body image as it appears on the front side, only the face. Of the remainder of the body, he says, “If it does exist [on the back side of the cloth], it is masked by the noise of the digital image itself. But we found what it is probably the image of the hands.” Does this prove that the shroud is a fake and the image, which was painted onto the cloth, bled through to the other side? Fanti says, “This is not the case of the Shroud. On both sides, the face image is superficial, involving only the outermost linen fibers. When a cross-section of the fabric is made, one extremely superficial image appears above and one below, but there is nothing in the middle. It is extremely difficult to make a fake with these features.”

What’s the truth about Mary Magdalene? Margaret Starbird has devoted her life to finding out.

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