As fanciful theories go, this one is hard to beat. In a book entitled The Second Messiah: Templars, The Turin Shroud and the Great Secret of Freemasonry, author Christopher Knight argues exactly this. He believes that the face on the shroud in Turin Cathedral believed by many Catholics to be that of Jesus Christ is in fact the impression left by the dead Jacques de Molay – last Grand Master of the Knights Templar.
Carbon dating has already placed the shroud in the late 13th or early 14th century. That would work for Jacques de Molay. It’s not such good news for those who want to believe the Turin shroud is the cloth that was used to bind Jesus after he was taken down from the cross.
My only issue with the de Molay theory is that he was burnt at the stake – so how could he be wrapped in a burial cloth? I will confess to not having read the book so need to find out how the author deals with that conundrum. In support of the theory, one owner of the shroud back in the Middle Ages does appear to have had a familial connection to the Templars – which may add some credence.