The Turin Shroud is the most famous relic in the world. Millions believe that it is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ bearing his crucified and bloodied image. The cloth is kept at Turin in Italy. The cloth is an enigma. Many say it is a miracle. The Shroud image is a kind of photograph semi-negative. If the forgers used primitive photography of some sort to make the image, then photography would have been considered to have been alchemist black magic or supernatural so the forgers would have worked in great secrecy for fear of the Catholic inquisition.

The Christians were always into ghosts. A ghostly Jesus on the Shroud may tie in with that. Maybe the forgers some method to create a light ghostly image because they thought it was occult and that the end result would be a true image of Jesus. Spiritualists use ordinary paints for the "spirits" to paint so the forgers may not have seen themselves as forgers. It may be they never intended to be forgers but to use supernatural forces or what they thought to be supernatural forces to capture the image of Christ. Maybe they intended to create not a fake burial cloth of Jesus but a copy of what Jesus looked like in the tomb. The miracle of the image was what mattered to them not how unimpressive it was with the naked eye. Maybe they thought the occult powers needed the image of a body and face to focus their energies so that the image was not that of what they photographed but of the real Jesus.

Believers claim that the Shroud is too faint to be a fake and not a painting because nobody could have known that photography would come in and make the image plainer. They say that no artist puts details on a painting that only a science he can never imagine coming in could show up. But if the Shroud is a photograph from medieval times or if it is a bad photo that was touched up with some paint, perhaps the person creating it knew that one day science would be able to see all the details. When an artist discovers a photographic technique he knows that one day there will be people who will be able to do better than him. The Shroud maker might have been excited at the thought of how people in centuries to come would be mystified. It made him feel important.

Just because we have the technology to see the image plainly does not mean that whoever forged the Shroud knew that one day we could do this. He only intended to make a subtle image and did not realise that the end result was a semi-negative. Attempts to replicate the shroud quite easily make subtle images that come out like negatives.

Perhaps a lot of experimentation was done on the Shroud which is why it bears images that have only been found in recent years. The forger might have taken a few trial runs with the cloth. The fact that the other images are very hard to make out and many believe they are just imagined might show that the forger had much bad luck. It doesn’t make any sense that these images should be so vague that they are hardly there at all. What they show was that there were many failed attempts to fix images on the cloth except the forger didn’t quite fail as badly as he thought!

Perhaps the image was vague because the forgers were trying to create a plainer image and it turned out subtle. If they used materials and a dead crucified body (which could be hard to get) it was understandable that they might make do with the Shroud they ended up with rather than attempt another.

Perhaps the image was originally plainer and after a few decades started to fade.

Perhaps the image was made so subtle to keep the Church wondering what it was to give it a chance of becoming popular enough so that the Church would have to come to terms with the existence of the cloth. Otherwise the Church would have come down too hard too soon and the Shroud would have ended up on a pyre.

I think the real reason that the image is subtle is that it is some kind of oxidation of the linen fibres or a scorch. Perhaps it had to be made that way rather than painted. The problem with painting is that the cloth was going to be tested by being laundered at some point and the paint would have been washed off. That was how the Church at the time would have tested the cloth for magical abilities. If it survived the laundering it could be considered miraculous.

Another reason the image is subtle is because the Church had devotion to Veronica on the basis that she wiped the sweat and blood off the face of Jesus. This would have created a need to forge a relic that seemed comprised of Jesus' bodily fluids. The body image looks like it was made from sweat. The Church was fond of trying to get bits of Jesus and his blood. It had even gone as far as to claim that communion wafers had turned into physical pieces of Jesus's body!

Perhaps the image was fairly vague because if it was too distinct people might recognise whose face it really bore! The face is plain enough when looked at with the naked eye. The face was the most important part and was plain enough so the subtlety cannot be used then as an argument for the Shroud being real. The rest of the body was not important. What was most important probably, was the blood on the cloth which made it appear to hold the magical saving blood of Jesus Christ.

Despite reason, believers continually tout the image’s subtlety as an argument for its authenticity!

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