Another very interesting aspect to the body image is it is a result of discoloration on the topmost fibers. The image does not go all the way through the cloth as one would expect if it was painted on. There is also no cement material found to indicate it was a painting.
During the 1978 observations in Turin, I used a dissecting needle to push some of the individual,superficial, yellow, 10-15-µm-diameter image fibers aside and look under them with a microscope. I could not see colored fibers more than a relatively short distance from the top surface of a thread.Published photo micrographs of the surface show the discontinuous distribution of the color on the top most parts of the weave. The color density seen in any area of the image appears primarily to be a function of the number of colored fibers per unit area rather than a significant difference in the density of the color of the fibers. This observation was puzzling, and we called it the “half-tone” effect. No fibers in a pure image area were cemented together by any foreign material, and there were no liquid meniscus marks. These facts seemed to eliminate any image-formation hypothesis that was based solely on the flow of a liquid into the cloth. This also suggests that, if a body was involved in image formation, it was dry at the time the color formed
At high optical magnifications,up to 1000X, no coatings could be resolved on the surfaces of image fibers; however, the surfaces appeared to be “corroded.” Heller and Adler also reported that “ghosts” of color were stripped off of fibers by the adhesive of sampling tapes when they were pulled out of the adhesive and that the insides of the fibers were colorless. I have confirmed this observation (figure 5).
The STURP observation that the surfaces of image fibers appeared to be “corroded” suggests that a very thin coating of carbohydrate had been significantly dehydrated on the outer surfaces of the fibers.Dehydration causes shrinkage; therefore, any coating of carbohydrate impurities would “craze” during dehydration. Such a crazed coating would be easy to pull off with adhesive, explaining the easy removal of tapes from image areas. In the context of a discussion on radiation, these observations prove that only radiation-induced reactions that color the surfaces of fibers without coloring the cellulose can be considered.
The image discoloration does not even affect a thread, but only the superficial fibers in a thread.
The cloth is about 0.34 mm thick, with each thread containing 70–120 linen fibers. Microscopic examination reveals the man’s image is the result of yellow color found on the top two or three superficial fibers, each fiber ranging 10–15 micrometers in diameter, within the yarns of surface threads.
Here is a closeup shot:
These also show the “pixelation” affect that I mentioned above. Also, obviously the image was not painted on, unless the forger somehow was able to “paint” at the fiber level.
To this day, we don’t really know how the image got on the cloth. But, the only viable explanation so far is some sort of radiation.