Faking a Fake

on October 10, 2009
Featured in News to Know

BBC News: “Scientist Reproduces Turin ShroudAn Italian scientist has attempted to replicate the Shroud of Turin using materials and techniques available in the Middle Ages (when some believe the shroud was originally made).

A group of atheists and agnostics funded the scientist, organic chemist Luigi Garlaschelli of the University of Pavia. He is presenting his results this weekend at a conference on the paranormal.

The final version of the cloth showed “a half-tone image similar to that on the [s]hroud.”

Some believe that the shroud is the genuine burial cloth of Jesus, and that the mysterious human image on the cloth is Christ’s.

Garlaschelli’s procedure was to rub an acidic pigment over a linen cloth while a volunteer lay beneath it (whose face was protected). Garlaschelli then baked the cloth in an oven and washed it to give it the appearance of age. Finally, blood stains, scorch marks, and water stains were added to match the original. BBC News reports that the final version of the cloth showed “a half-tone image similar to that on the [s]hroud.”

“The result obtained clearly indicates that this could be done with the use of inexpensive materials and with a quite simple procedure,” Garlaschelli explained. But he added, “If [those who accept the authenticity of the shroud] don’t want to believe carbon dating done by some of the world’s best laboratories they certainly won’t believe me.” (Radiocarbon dating performed on the shroud in 1988 indicated that the fabric originated from the Middle Ages, but the findings have been called into question.)

The genuineness of the shroud can never be completely answered by scientific tests, since they can only be conducted in the present; we must also consider the biblical element. For an Answers in Genesis perspective on the shroud, see Testing the Shroud of Turin.

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