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Scientist claims he’s reproduced Shroud of Turin

capt.3d1ba33463204fb2b4719671358cc0ff.italy_shroud_of_turin_rom123.jpgThe age-old debate about the authenticity of one of the world”s most famous religious relics now has a new wrinkle. 

From  Reuters:

An Italian scientist says he has reproduced the Shroud of Turin,
a feat that he says proves definitively that the linen some Christians
revere as Jesus Christ’s burial cloth is a medieval fake.


The shroud, measuring 14 feet, 4 inches by 3 feet, 7 inches bears the
image, eerily reversed like a photographic negative, of a crucified man
some believers say is Christ.

“We have shown that is possible to reproduce something which has the
same characteristics as the Shroud,” Luigi Garlaschelli, who is due to
illustrate the results at a conference on the para-normal this weekend
in northern Italy, said on Monday.

A professor of organic chemistry at the University of Pavia, Garlaschelli made available to Reuters the paper he will deliver and the accompanying comparative photographs.


The Shroud of Turin shows the back and front of a bearded man
with long hair, his arms crossed on his chest, while the entire cloth
is marked by what appears to be rivulets of blood from wounds in the
wrists, feet and side.

Carbon dating tests by laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Tucson,
Arizona in 1988 caused a sensation by dating it from between 1260 and
1390. Sceptics said it was a hoax, possibly made to attract the
profitable medieval pilgrimage business.

But scientists have thus far been at a loss to explain how the image was left on the cloth.


Garlaschelli reproduced the full-sized shroud using materials and techniques that were available in the middle ages.

They placed a linen sheet flat over a volunteer and then rubbed it with
a pigment containing traces of acid. A mask was used for the face.

The pigment was then artificially aged by heating the cloth in an oven
and washing it, a process which removed it from the surface but left a
fuzzy, half-tone image similar to that on the Shroud. He believes the
pigment on the original Shroud faded naturally over the centuries.

They then added blood stains, burn holes, scorches and water stains to achieve the final effect.


The Catholic Church
does not claim the Shroud is authentic nor that it is a matter of
faith, but says it should be a powerful reminder of Christ’s passion.

One of Christianity’s most disputed relics, it is locked away at Turin Cathedral in Italy and rarely exhibited. It was last on display in 2000 and is due to be shown again next year.

Garlaschelli expects people to contest his findings.

“If they don’t want to believe carbon dating done by some of the
world’s best laboratories they certainly won’t believe me,” he said.


The accuracy of the 1988 tests was challenged by some hard-core
believers who said restorations of the Shroud in past centuries had
contaminated the results.

The history of the Shroud is long and controversial.

After surfacing in the Middle East and France, it was brought by Italy’s former royal family, the Savoys, to their seat in Turin in 1578. In 1983 ex-King Umberto II bequeathed it to the late Pope John Paul.

The Shroud narrowly escaped destruction in 1997 when a fire ravaged the
Guarini Chapel of the Turin cathedral where it is held. The cloth was
saved by a fireman who risked his life.


Garlaschelli received funding for his work by an Italian
association of atheists and agnostics but said it had no effect on his

“Money has no odor,” he said. “This was done scientifically. If the Church wants to fund me in the future, here I am.”

Comments read comments(5)
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posted October 6, 2009 at 7:43 am

Yeah, right…

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RP Burke

posted October 6, 2009 at 8:30 am

All this energy about the shroud, the claims on which are outrageous, would be better spent elsewhere.

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posted October 6, 2009 at 9:00 am

I remember reading a book about this when I was in high school, and continue (as a scientist) to be fascinated with the ongoing research (and speculation) in the area.
I’m curious if he will publish this — a level of review higher than conference presentation.

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posted October 6, 2009 at 12:24 pm

And how did they recreate the 1st Century pollen using 14th Century techniques?
When you are trying to prove something you will find a way to do it. This is a perfect example of people stopping at nothing to prove a hypothesis, that is not real science.
This is a non-story. I don’t have any allegiance to the Shroud, but this certainly won’t make me doubt it’s potential authenticity.

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Anglican Peggy

posted October 8, 2009 at 12:53 am

Much like modern scientists strive to create life, if a modern scientist tries hard enough they surely could reproduce the Shroud of Turin.
The question remains, where in the world would a medieval person get the idea of a photo negative much less develop a technique to accomplish it that would fool people for centuries.
It seems quite a phenomenal leap of the medieval imagination doesn’t it? They would not only have to dream up out of whole cloth 😉 the idea of the Resurrection generating light, heat and/or radiation (which is hardly an obvious idea), but they would also have to connect that process to an image of Christ burned into the cloth. Whats more they would have to literally think of everything including creating the representation in 3-D.
In other words, scientists may be able to create “life” in a lab using organic “tools” that have already been created, but that doesn’t explain how life arose from nothing in the first place. The same goes for this guy. All he has proven is that he can replicate an object after the fact of its original creation however that was originally accomplished. His recreation cannot answer the question of how and why The Shroud came to be created in the first place.
And for the record, like many here, I am also neutral regarding the Shroud as an object of faith. I just happen to think that junk science and bad logic should not go uncontested.

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