by Michael Day
Using the Turin Shroud, the supposed burial cloth of Jesus, police
investigators have generated a photo-fit image from the negative facial
image on the material. And from this they reversed the ageing process to
create an image of a young Jesus, by reducing the size of the jaw,
raising the chin and straightening the nose.
effectively reverses the method that Italian police use to generate
current likenesses of criminals, including senior mob bosses, for whom
new photo fit images are needed when they have been on the run for
Such techniques were used to produce an image of Mafia
boss of bosses Bernardo Provenzano, from a photo taken in 1959.
Provenzano was eventually captured in 2006.
This image of Jesus as a young boy, and the methods used to create it,
will be the subject of an upcoming programme on Italian television. But
the exercise was done to mark the latest ostensione – a rare public
display of the Shroud at Turin Cathedral.
The 14-foot-long sheet,
made of herring-bone linen cloth, appears to show the front and back
impression of a bearded man with long hair.
The body imprinted on
the cloth appears to bear numerous injuries consistent with crucifixion,
plus a gash in its side, consistent with the lance-wound suffered by
It will be on public display for two months, with millions
of visitors expected. Pope Francis is due to visit and pray before the
relic on June 21.
The ingenuity of the Italian police is unlikely to dispel the doubts of
the many regarding the veracity of the image on which their detective
work was based, however.
Carbon dating tests reported in 1998 in
the prestigious research journal Nature, appeared to spell curtains for
Shroud wavers. The researchers estimated that the image was made between
1260 and 1390 – and therefore nothing more than a medieval hoax.