THE JESUS PHOTO

Is this how Jesus looked? Are these the eyes of our Elder Brother? There are several interesting accounts to consider. Trance channel Edgar Cayce described Jesus as having reddish-colored hair. At the end of his life, famous American portrait painter Howard Chandler Christy was granted a life-long desire to have a vision of Jesus, which he then painted. In his portrait, Jesus has reddish-brown hair and blue eyes. Kenneth Wapnick used Christy's painting on the cover of his book Forgiveness and Jesus.

The origins of the photo we show here are not clear. Ruth Hanna and Robert Ferre discovered this picture hanging on the wall of the meditation room at the Ramala Center in Glastonbury, England, in 1985. Inquiring as to its origin, we were directed to a woman, Carol Bruce, who had received the photo from a close friend, Barbara McAlley. Barbara related the story of her visit in 1985 to the ashram of Sai Baba in India. The major event of the day there is darshan, when Sai Baba walks among those gathered and gives them his blessing. During this event, Barbara held up a crucifix and a computer-generated, black-and-white printout of the Shroud of Turin, which is believed to be the burial shroud of Jesus. According to Barbara, Sai Baba did not bless the crucifix, but took the page of computer paper in his hand and manifested a glossy color photo of Jesus, the markings of which correspond to those on the Shroud of Turin. We received permission to reproduce the photo and make it available to people through our website.

Subsequently, we have been contacted about other accounts relating to tins fascinating image. We received an email from Diane Fulbright, director of research at the Shroud of Turin Center, in which she stated that the photo came from a painting by Paul Tebay and that Sai Baba was helping only in its dissemination. However, further investigation showed that Tebay was commissioned to make that painting in 1991, some years after the photo was already in our hands. Tebay may, in fact, have used it as the basis for his own paintmg. He didn't get the eyes the same, though, which makes Jesus look rather sad in his depiction.

There was, however, an earlier painting with a remarkable resemblance to this photo, produced by Pasquale Ariel Agemian in 1935. We received an email with a copy of Agemian's painting from Russ McClay, who owns an art print of the portrait and believes that the markings are identical to our photo.

We also received an email from Barrie Schwortz, editor and publisher of the Shroud of Turin website. He pointed out that the folds in our photo are clearly reflective of a photograph made of the Shroud in 1931 by an Italian professional photographer, Giuseppe Enrie. The sharp fold across the top of the forehead was a result of lus particular lighting and is very distinctive. In 1978, Schwortz was able to pull the shroud tighter for another photograph, which no longer accented the crease in the material. Could Enrie's photo have been the basis for Agemian's painting four years later? If so, that would explain the similarity of the crease. And if Sai Baba did manifest the photo, who is to say that he didn't "take" it from an existing source?

There was yet another version of this photo being distributed in Italy in the 1980s, with a bit more of a greenish cast. It was said to be the result of a darkroom miracle, in which the details of Jesus' face appeared during the developing of a photograph of the Shroud taken by an Italian journalist.

While we have no definite explanation as to the origin of tins photograph of Jesus, one thing is sure - it has a great presence and power, particularly in what the eyes convey. We know of many people, including ourselves, who prominently display the photo in their meditation and altar areas. Whatever its past may be, it has an exceptional present and presence. We are happy to have it available.