6. How do we know that this is the shroud of Jesus? © 1978, Vernon Miller

1. No scientific study can tell us that this is the shroud of Jesus. A properly done carbon dating study can only give us a ballpark date beyond what history, archeology and science have already told us, but it cannot tell us that this is the shroud of Jesus.

2. Yes, forensic medicine and botany (study of flowers) tells us that there was a crucified man under this cloth who was buried in the Jerusalem area; the man was put to death in the very same manner that Jesus was. We also know that Jesus was not the only person who was crucified in Jerusalem.

3. Science tells us that this remarkable negative image found among the blood marks of a crucified man, is not a painting and remains a wonder without explanation. But the mystery of the formation of the shroud image is not the only unanswered enigma in this world. No one would argue that the mystery of how the shroud image was created is a necessary requirement for one to even start to ask if this could be the shroud of Jesus.

4. Science gives us more information. The blood marks tell us that this man was laid out on his back in burial and wrapped by this cloth. It has been assumed for centuries that the image is also that of a man laid out in burial. However, the image that is now known to be distinct from the blood marks is not that of a man laid out in burial. Rather, it has been recently discovered that the image is that of a man who is upright and suspended in midair. The following photographs tell their own story.

1. Shroud face, negative image
© 1978, Vernon Miller

2. Negative image of face, lying position ©1998, Gilbert R. Lavoie
Note: that there are no light areas around the eyes, under the nose and at the lips as can be seen on the shroud face. The volunteer is lying down with light coming from above.

3. Negative image of face, upright position © 1998, Gilbert R. Lavoie
Note: that there are light areas around the eyes, under the nose and at the lips. These light areas in the negative photo are shadows in the positive photo. These shadows are the result of the same volunteer now upright with light coming from above. Compare this image to the shroud face above.

4.Frontal image of the shroud, negative image © 1978, Vernon Miller
Note: that these light areas are not only on the face but also under the pectoral muscles of the chest, between the fingers and under the hand

5. Negative image of a man, upright position, light coming from above © 1998, Gilbert R. Lavoier
Note: that the same light areas are seen on the negative image of the man who is upright with light coming from above. The light areas are on the face, under the pectoral muscles, and at the hands. These light areas are similar to what you see on the shroud image above.

By comparing light areas (shadows) of real negative photos, to what look like light areas (shadows) of the photographic qualities of the shroud image, we can conclude that the overall visual impression is that of an upright man.

Is there anything else on this image that is consistent with an upright man?

Frontal negative image of volunteer with long hair, upright position © 1998, Gilbert R. Lavoier
Note: that the hair of the upright volunteer falls to the shoulders.

Frontal negative image of the shroud © 1978, Vernon Miller
Note: how the hair of the shroud image falls to the shoulders.

Back negative image of volunteer with long hair, upright position © 1998, Gilbert R. Lavoie
Note: that the hair falls to the back and shoulders.

Back negative image of the shroud © 1978, Vernon Miller
Note: how the hair of the shroud falls to the back and shoulders.

Frontal negative image of volunteer with long hair, lying position © 1998, Gilbert R. Lavoie

Note how the hair falls to the ground following gravity. It is simple enough. Long hair responds to gravitational force and takes on a typical appearance that is familiar to everyone. The hair of the man of the Shroud is that of an upright man.

Back image of the shroud, positive image
© Holy Shroud Guild

Front image of the shroud, positive image © 1978, Vernon Miller
Note: that these pictures show that he is upright, but not standing. The position of the soles of the feet indicates that the man of the shroud is not in the standing position. Rather, it appears that this man is suspended in mid air.

This study tells us that, in contrast to the blood marks that indicate that a crucified man was laid out in burial, we have a remarkable negative image of a man that is upright as if suspended in midair. (Note: We are studying the photographic qualities of the shroud image and comparing it to photographic qualities of real photos. This does not in any way imply that the shroud is a photograph or that it was made like a photograph. We do not know how the shroud image was made nor has anyone been able to reproduce this image with its unique photographic and three-dimensional qualities at the microscopic fiber level.)

Science helps us understand that the blood marks on the shroud are from a man who was scourged, crucified, and then given a Jewish burial in the Jerusalem area probably in the first century. It tells us that the image is not the work of an artist and that the body-to-cloth mechanism, as well the process or energy that caused the image, is unknown. It tells us that the blood came first and the image is a second event. Finally we find that this remarkable negative image is not that of a man lying in burial, but that of an upright man, as if suspended in midair. This is as far as science can go. It cannot tell us the identity of this man.

Where does one look for the answers to such an enigma? This is where science and the Gospels come face to face.

1. The Gospels tell us how Jesus Died.

a. Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. Then the soldiers put a crown of thorns on his head. (John 19:1-2)
b. They crucified him. (John 19:18)
c. One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear and at once blood and water came out. (John 19:34)

2. Jesus tells us of his resurrection and ascension:

a. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. (John 12:32)
b. At Capernaum, they asked Jesus:
“What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you?”(John 6:30). He answered, “Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?”(John 6:62).


Raymond Brown, a well-known commentator of the Gospel of John, tells us that being
“lifted up” includes Jesus’ being lifted up in crucifixion, lifted up in resurrection and lifted up in ascension. Therefore, the imagery that Jesus speaks about regarding his resurrection, “…when I am lifted up from the earth…” is the very same imagery that we see on the shroud – that of a man being lifted up above the earth. We can only begin to understand the mystery of the upright man of the shroud, an image not made by hands, when we look to the Gospels and discover that the image of the upright man is the same imagery that Jesus uses to describe his resurrection.

Remember, the transfer of moist blood clots to cloth is a mechanical and physical event that we can all understand. The wounds on the man of the shroud are identical to those of Jesus but could belong to any man. However, the formation of the image of the upright man of the shroud is an event that defies a mechanical and physical explanation. The image of the man suspended above the earth does NOT belong to just any man. It is unique in the world and points to only one event – the resurrection of Jesus.

In the days of Jesus, the Gospels tell us that he performed signs so that the people would know who he was. The shroud image is one of Jesus' last signs. It is the reflection of his greatest sign - the resurrection.

“Christian faith depends on believing the original witnesses of the Resurrection – the Shroud is another witness.”

Gilbert R. Lavoie, M.D., author
For more read
Resurrected, chapters 8 & 9.


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