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Pilgrims pray before the Shroud of Turin  at the Cathedral of Turin, Italy, on Aug. 12, 2000, the last time the shroud was displayed publicly. Most of the time it is kept locked in a special protective chamber in the cathedral. The next showing is in 2010.  (File Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Pilgrims pray before the Shroud of Turin at the Cathedral of Turin, Italy, on Aug. 12, 2000, the last time the shroud was displayed publicly. Most of the time it is kept locked in a special protective chamber in the cathedral. The next showing is in 2010. (File Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

Shroud of Turin called medieval fake

Italian debunkers say relic man-made

ROME – Scientists have reproduced the Shroud of Turin – revered as the cloth that covered Jesus in the tomb – and say the experiment proves the relic was man-made, a group of Italian debunkers claimed Monday.

The shroud bears the figure of a crucified man, complete with blood seeping out of nailed hands and feet, and believers say Christ’s image was recorded on the linen fibers at the time of his resurrection.

According to the Italian Committee for Checking Claims on the Paranormal, scientists used materials and methods available in the 14th century to create a reproduction – further evidence, they say, that the shroud is a medieval forgery.

In 1988, scientists used radiocarbon dating to determine it was made in the 13th or 14th century. But the dispute continued because experts couldn’t explain how the faint brown discoloration was produced, imprinting on the cloth a negative image centuries before the invention of photography.

Lead scientist Luigi Garlaschelli said the scientists’ result “clearly indicates that this could be done with the use of inexpensive materials and with a quite simple procedure.”

Garlaschelli, a professor of chemistry at the University of Pavia, said in an interview with La Repubblica daily that his team used a linen woven with the same technique as the shroud and artificially aged by heating it in an oven and washing it with water.

The cloth was then placed on a student, who wore a mask to reproduce the face, and rubbed with red ochre, a well-known pigment at the time. The entire process took a week, Repubblica said.

The Catholic Church makes no claims about the relic’s authenticity, but says it is a powerful symbol of Christ’s suffering.

Garlaschelli told Repubblica he didn’t think his research would convince those who have faith in the shroud’s authenticity.

“They won’t give up,” he said. “Those who believe in it will continue to believe.”


 

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