DURHAM, N.C. -- A Duke University professor says comparison of the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium face cloth proves the two objects were placed on the same person -- possibly the crucified Jesus Christ - at about the same time.
Dr. Alan Whanger, a shroud expert, said Wednesday he and his wife Mary compared the facial similarities between the shroud and the facial cloth with a polarized overlay technique they developed in 1981.
'We noted about 130 points of congruence between the shroud and the facecloth,' Whanger said. 'We feel this is hard evidence that both were in contact with the same person.'
The Whangers also said they may have found an explanation for how the impression of a man was transferred to the shroud. Working with a German physics teacher, Oswald Scheuermann, Whanger said he has been able to produce images similar to those on the shroud.
'By using a high voltage, high frequency electrical current we can produce very detailed images,' he said. 'This suggests that some kind of electrical current may be responsible for the image.'
The shroud, which carries the impression of a man, is believed by some to be the burial cloth of Christ. It has been kept in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, for more than 400 years.
The supposed facecloth, called the Sudarium, has been kept in a cathedral in Oviedo, Spain, since the 9th century.
Whanger said he believed the facecloth, 2-feet-9 inches by 1-foot-9 inches, was placed on the body shortly after death and before entombment because it is much bloodier than the shroud. The blood, researchers believe, came from wounds made by the crown of thorns.
In other aspects of their research, the Whangers said they had identified two apparent bands and a V-shaped marking on the forehead of the facial image on the shroud.
Based on computer enhancements made by Dr. Robert Haralick of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Whanger said the person buried in the shroud apparently wore a phylactery, a small leather pouch containing scriptures worn by Jewish men during prayers.
'We feel the V-shape is a desecrated phylactery,' he said. 'The front part of the four little scripture packets had been torn open.
'This would appear to fit in with what we know of Christ's crucifixion. He was mocked as king with a crown of thorns and was probably mocked as a Jew with a descrated phylactery.'