It has remained chief among religious relics that the likes of the Catholic Church and secret societies have touted for years as proof of the existence of Jesus. Now, Italian scientist Luigi Garlaschelli claims he has created a copy of the famous “Shroud of Turin” by wrapping a custom-made specially woven cloth over one of his students, painting it with red ochre pigment (iron oxide), baking it in an oven for several hours, and washing it. According to CNN News Garlaschelli’s results appear to mimick like the cloth that many Christians believe to be the actual burial shroud of Jesus.

“What you have now is a very fuzzy, dusty and weak image,” he said. “Then for the sake of completeness I have added the bloodstains, the burns, the scorching because there was a fire in 1532,” Garlaschelli says of his creation. Citing an interest in mysteries of history and the world, he took initiative to try and replicate the shroud years ago, until he finally happened upon this process. Now he says a similar shroud lookalike could be produced in as little as a week. Garlaschelli is also famous for the alleged debunking of myths such as Will-o’-the-Wisp, Kirlian photography and martial artists claiming to produce “touchless knockouts”.

In an opposing viewpoint expressed by Barrie Schwortz at the website Shroud.com, it appears that Garlaschelli may not be the first to claim iron oxide as a source for the mysterious images on the shroud. “It is apparent immediately that (Garlaschelli) knows very little about the actual Shroud of Turin,” Schwortz sasy. “He is not the first to suggest that the Shroud image was produced by red ochre pigment (iron oxide). In fact, he is at least the fourth to have proposed this theory in the last 30 years. Of course, this issue was anticipated by the STURP team in 1978 and a number of highly sensitive tests were performed that determined there was not enough iron oxide on the Shroud to be visible without a microscope. Iron oxide does not constitute the image on the Shroud. They also determined the image areas of the Shroud contain no more iron oxide than the non-image areas. It is more or less evenly distributed across the entire cloth.”

“Obviously,” Schwortz continues, “if the image were made in the manner detailed in the article, we would still find thousands of particles of iron oxide embedded into the image fibers of the linen and these would be clearly visible with just a good magnifying glass. Yet the microscopy done directly on the Shroud in 1978 revealed no such thing. These particles just don’t go away on their own.”

It is interesting to note that, in accordance with what Schwortz asserts about the presence of iron oxide, pollen spores around the forehead (where a crown of thorns was placed on Jesus according to tradition) and other minuscule traces of various substances have in fact been located on various parts of the shroud. STURP’s instruments could detect quantities as small as parts per billion of any substance; interestingly, no paints or pigments (including iron oxide) were included with the team’s findings in 1978. Schwortz also points out that “iron oxide is also a by-product of retting linen and the minute quantities found on the Shroud were pure and most likely the result of the retting process. The iron oxide used in red ochre pigment has many impurities and is rarely if ever found in its pure form.”

Regardless as to just what may have really caused the images to appear on the mysterious Shroud of Turin, debate over the ancient relic’s authenticity will no doubt rage on, in spite of what anyone–scientist or spiritualist–can present as evidence.

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Micah Hanks

Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at info@micahhanks.com.