A unique photo of the Shroud of Turin, taken during the 1998 Exhibition, has recently come to light.
The Shroud, believed by many to be the cloth that covered Jesus Christ’s crucified body when he was laid in his tomb, remains the most controversial and emotional ambiguity in history. Since 1898, only seven individuals have received authorization to photograph it. In each case the photos were taken exclusively for scientific research, not for exhibition or sale, and original prints remain by and large unavailable to the general public.
Recently, a Florida collector of ancient Roman silver coins and medieval documents, Reecy Aresty, asserted that his camera took a miraculous picture of the encased artifact when he viewed it in 1998.
While the faithful avow that the Shroud is genuine, considerable doubt resulted from carbon-14 tests in 1988 which dated the cloth to the 13th or 14th century. However, in June of 2002, technicians moved the Shroud to a secret location where it underwent a major restoration. Swiss textile expert, Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, whose task was to renovate it, unlocked a secret never before discovered. She matched and dated the unique stitching of the cloth to the 1st century, putting to rest any doubt raised by the carbon-14 testing. Nonetheless, the controversy continues.
Aresty, who contends that his authorization came from a higher power, stated, “I have been a student of the Shroud ever since I first saw a picture of it in the August, 1971 issue of Esquire. I did extensive reading, obtained out-of-print books on the subject, and have always believed it to be the genuine burial cloth of Jesus.” His story continues…
Early in 1998 when I was reading my local newspaper, The Sun-Sentinel, I saw a photo of the man on the Shroud. It had been 20 years since it was last displayed, and it would be available for public viewing from April through June. I immediately called my travel agent and booked a trip to Italy, as a birthday gift from me to me. While in my heart I knew the cloth was authentic, my beliefs would now be put to the test.
I placed a call to Italy to arrange for my ticket and exhibit reservation and basked in the realization that one of my life’s dreams would actually come to pass at 11:00 AM on the morning of April 24th. The days slowly ticked by until I was on a plane from Miami to New York where I transferred to a flight to Milan. I spent one day there and the next morning I awoke early and drove to Turin, a distance of some 90 miles.
At about 9:15 AM, I arrived at the designated location to obtain and validate and my admission ticket (See image below). Although I do not speak Italian, and no one there spoke English, I was fortunate enough to converse in French with one of the attendants. I confirmed my reservation number, received my admission papers, purchased a special bus ticket (to the left is the front of the ticket, to the right is the back of the bus ticket) and was told to follow the couple ahead of me and take the next bus to the chapel.
The Italian couple got off the bus, and assuming they knew where they were going, I followed. It turned out they didn’t. We had gotten off one stop too soon, but it was only a minor inconvenience. As I was early, I decided to explore the grounds.
When the Shroud was previously displayed in 1978, more than 100,000 people a day waited as long as 10 or more hours, often in the rain, just for a brief view. Many had religious experiences, and some even passed out. Now, there was a first aid station at intervals of 50 feet – an attendant in a purple vest standing ready with water and smelling salts.
I reached the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, entered one chapel, then another, and finally, I was about to enter the chapel where the Shroud was displayed. Would there be guards hustling people in and out I wondered? Would I have enough time to carefully view the Shroud? Would I be close enough to see the image of Christ? Could the students in front of me hear my heart pounding?
Much to my surprise, there was no crowd at all and only a few of the faithful were praying in the pews. A class of school children stood between me and a railing, and the Shroud in all its majesty was just a few feet beyond that.
I entered the chapel from the northeast corner, proceeded south, then west, and could see the encased linen in front of me less than 10 feet from the railing. Incredible, I thought; incredible and amazing. I stood there in awe unable even now to describe the feelings that raced through my body. Although the relic’s history and authenticity had been shrouded in mystery, as I slowly approached closer and closer, all that I could think about was that in a moment I would actually gaze upon the face of Jesus Christ and his crucified body.
To take advantage of the zoom lens on my trusted Pentax IQZoom 140, I removed it from my bag and hung it around my neck. When I was about to approach the railing, I activated the camera and fully extended the lens. Gripping it firmly with both hands I slowly raised it, but before the viewfinder reached my left eye something inexplicable happened – incredibly, the flash went off!
As God is my witness, I had no intention of taking a picture. Despite my fingers being nowhere near the shutter, the camera had taken a picture of God only knew what, and to this day I am certain there were other forces at work.
I looked up at the Shroud for a final view, turned the camera off and placed it in my bag. I left the chapel, disappointed at not having had enough time to actually study the Shroud, returned to my car and began the scenic drive to Pisa.
The next morning I drove to Rome, dropped off the car and revisited the Coliseum, the Forum, and the Catacombs. On Sunday morning after seeing the Sistine Chapel, I joined a multitude of the faithful who had gathered in St. Peter’s Square and was fortunate enough to get a glimpse of the Pope.
Later that week I went to Pompeii, which had changed quite a bit since I was last there in 1972. I also went to Ostia, but due to foul weather, was unable to explore the entire excavations.
I returned home with 13 rolls of film that CVS developed three days later. I organized the photos by date so my pictures of Milan and Turin were in the first envelope. I looked at each one silently critiquing my photographic skills, when suddenly I came upon a shot that immediately caused my heart to race. There, before my eyes was a clear picture of the school children in front of me and the exhibit that was immediately in front of them.
Miraculously, my camera had taken a picture of the Shroud! However, much to my dismay, part of the right side had been cut off. Frantically, I searched through my negatives hoping more of the Shroud was actually visible. Finally I found it and lo and behold, my camera had captured all of it. CVS’ processing had cut off my picture, but the negative revealed the entire Shroud!
The next day I called a professional photographer and had the photo blown up to 15×5. The details were very faint, but clear enough to identify two impressions of the man who had been crucified twenty centuries earlier.
Now that state-of-the-art digital technology has enhanced the image revealing unmistakable details, I am making one-of-a-kind prints available.
Once you hold one in your hands and gaze upon it, I know you will agree beyond a doubt, this is truly the Shroud of Christ! But the story continues…
If any student in this picture can identify themself, or if the teacher or anyone who was a member of the class who saw the Shroud on April 24, 1998 can verify they were there, we will be happy to send them a set of photos free of charge!
Se qualsiasi studente in questa fotografia si riconosce, anche se é un maestro di questa classe, che ha visto la Sindone in Aprile 24 1998, e puó verificare di esserse stato lì, vi invieremo un set di foto gratis!