The Turin Test

Turin Shroud courtesy of in Italy a scientist has reproduced the Shroud of Turin, thus proving once and for all that the so-called relic wasn’t actually Jesus’ burial cloth, but was in fact nothing more than a fake.

The Turin Shroud, as I’m sure you’re all are aware, is one of the most famous relics in the world. Many Christians believe the shroud is the cloth that covered Jesus when he was placed in his tomb and that his image was recorded on its fibers at or near the time of his resurrection. In fact the relic was endorsed by Pope Pius XII in 1958, who offered official confirmation that the cloth did in fact bear the image of Christ. Which is interesting, of course, because the Pope is God’s spokesperson on Earth and his word is meant to be directly the word of God, and thus infallible. Clearly, however, in this case God had just been having Pope Pius on, because in 1988 the fakery was discovered when radiocarbon-dating placed the creation of the cloth at somewhere between 1260 and 1390, whereas Jesus was meant to have died in 33 AD. Because Jesus was born in 1 AD, which is the very definition of the term 1 AD. Obviously.

Since 1988, the scientific world has considered the burial relic as one of many religious hoaxes, but until now the question of how it came to be created had gone unanswered. This is where Luigi Garlaschelli, professor of organic chemistry at the University of Pavia, comes in. Using only methods current to the time of the fake’s creation, professor Garlaschelli was able to create a replica of the item, in order to show how medieval forgers could have easily created it. To do so, he placed a linen sheet over a volunteer and then rubbed it with an acidic pigment. The shroud was then aged in an oven before being washed to remove the pigment. He then added blood stains, scorches and water stains to replicate the original. The image on the reproduction closely matched that of the Turin shroud with differences explained as the result of natural fading over the centuries. Luigi said of his forgery.

“We have shown that is possible to reproduce something which has the same characteristics as the Shroud” – Source: Yahoo News 05/10/09

However, he’s confident that true-believers in the religious forgery won’t be swayed by his evidence:

“If they don’t want to believe carbon dating done by some of the world’s best laboratories they certainly won’t believe me” – Source: Yahoo News 05/10/09

Relic-forgery is, of course, nothing new – the Turin Shroud is just one of a large number of religious relics that have turned out to be unsurprisingly of a more Earthly nature. The James Ossuary, for example, was believed to belong to James the Just – brother of Jesus – but is now known to be a modern forgery. With the ongoing desire to try and both prove Jesus’ existence and cash in on the story, all manner of relics have been postulated – including of course the Holy Grail, but also the Holy Sponge (used to feed Jesus vinegar during the crucifixion), the Holy Lance (used to pierce his side), the Holy Coat worn by JC on his march up the hill, and even – and this is easily the best by a long way – the Holy Prepuce. Which is the Holy Foreskin.

Hear this and more on Righteous Indignation

Hear this and more on Righteous Indignation

Jesus’ foreskin has been claimed by many people over the years – being a Jew, he was of course circumcised at birth. Those who claim to have had possession of the saintly schmuck over the years include Pope Leo III in 800AD, the Cathedral of Le Puy-en-Velay, Santiago de Compostela, the city of Antwerp, Coulombs in the diocese of Chartres, France as well as Chartres itself, and churches in Besançon, Newport, Metz, Hildesheim, Charroux, Conques, Langres, Antwerp, Fécamp, Calcata, Auvergne and Stoke on Trent. Sadly, no Holy Foreskin survives to this day.

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  1. #1 by Mike on October 14, 2009 - 16:11

    Just a quick note, the Pope is only infallible in some matters, not all.

    And why would they keep Jesus’ foreskin when he was circumcised?

  2. #2 by Andy on October 15, 2009 - 11:23

    I can’t decide whether this is pedantic of wrong.

    Surely Christ would be born in 0 AD (zero). If he was born in 1 AD then he’d have been the second coming, which must have been preceded by a second coming unless you believe in immaculate conception.

    I think we should be told.

  3. #3 by Mike on October 15, 2009 - 11:53

    There was no AD 0 – the calendar goes from 1 BC to AD 1. Which is fun when you’re doing date-based maths because you have to compensate.

    Bloody Christians.

  4. #4 by Trystan on October 15, 2009 - 13:25

    Thanks Mike – I will make sure he issues a public apology on the next RI episode.

  5. #5 by Jason on November 26, 2009 - 01:33

    The fact that they created a pretty accurate copy doesn’t really prove anything. This is really nothing new and it certainly does not prove it “once and for all”… of course there are questions about the radiocarbon dating being flawed and influenced by microbes on the surface of the shroud…

    Modern historians long ago found an error in Julian calendar calculations… Jesus was born about 4 or 5 BC, died probably in AD 30.

  6. #6 by Marsh on November 26, 2009 - 10:53

    I think that an accurate copy of the shroud, made using methods available at the time the shroud was found to be made (1260 to 1390) does prove something – it proves it was possible to fake a shroud at that time. Ironically, possible anomalies in radiocarbon dating themselves don’t prove anything about the shroud being real – even if you were to remove the evidence (and I use that word literally) presented by radiocarbon dating, we’re still left with ‘fake created by man using proven methods for creating fake’ versus ‘purportedly real shroud which purportedly really covered the purportedly real son of the purportedly real God – none of which is backed by any proof at all’.

    Where multiple lines of proof converge, it’s more logically sound to go with the convergence of these proofs, rather than find anomolies in each which lead you to jump to the unproven alternative. If the shroud is truly the burial coverings of the messiah, we’d happily believe that if we were shown sufficient, rigourous and logically-sound evidence.

  7. #7 by ana on January 20, 2010 - 12:40

    The article is incorrect. It was later proven that the sample taken from the shroud for carbon dating was a place where the shroud had been very well repaired sometime in the 16th century. Then dyed to blend in. The repairs were done at thread level so the new and the old threads were twined. How they found out? The “new” material is cotton and not linen as the rest of the shroud. The reason the carbon dating results came back with such a wide range from 4 different labs is they used different samples from the same cut off piece and therefore the mix of cotton and linen was different. This has been well documented and televised on History Channel among other. By even closer examination they also found dye on the cotton fibers. It is noteworthy that the man who verified this was the same man who did the carbon dating and who was very resilient to the ide from the beginning (dont recall his name). The final solution would be another carbon dating from another sample of the shroud but even if the vatican would agree to it another issue has appeared. The vatican at some point feared that insects or bacteria would damage the shroud so they put it in a metal container that was first “washed” using a “kill all” checmical i dont recall the name of. The fear is that remains of this toxin could contaminate the shroud and make the carbon dating more inaccurate. Feeling that my statements here need a little sourcing I quickly googled up the following ( If you are interested it would surely be easy to find more about it.

  8. #8 by Dr R.E.CRAIG on February 2, 2010 - 15:01


  9. #9 by uatesamich on June 14, 2010 - 20:52

    The image doesnt even look anything like the shroud. Plus where is the information on how it was made? it almost looks like they used the negative of the shroud to make the fake. Furthermore. Lets use common sense beyond relative evidence. The shrouds image was only discovered due to photography that was invented in the 1800s at best. Why would middle ages make a fake that would only be discoverable many centuries later?

  10. #10 by Cris on December 30, 2010 - 04:44

    Peer reviewed science has discredited the carbon dating from the 1980s

    In 1988, radiocarbon laboratories at Arizona, Cambridge, and Zurich determined the age of a sample from the Shroud of Turin. They reported that the date of the cloth’s production lay between a.d. 1260 and 1390 with 95% confidence. This came as a surprise in view of the technology used to produce the cloth, its chemical composition, and the lack of vanillin in its lignin. The results prompted questions about the validity of the sample.

    Preliminary estimates of the kinetics constants for the loss of vanillin from lignin indicate a much older age for the cloth than the radiocarbon analyses. The radiocarbon sampling area is uniquely coated with a yellow–brown plant gum containing dye lakes. Pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry results from the sample area coupled with microscopic and microchemical observations prove that the radiocarbon sample was not part of the original cloth of the Shroud of Turin. The radiocarbon date was thus not valid for determining the true age of the shroud.

  11. #11 by jean marin on January 27, 2011 - 07:29

    Actually the carbon dating test was flawed because parts of the shroud suffered a fire and newer clothe was sown on. When the carbon dating was done, it was done using the newer cloth sown on in later years and not the orignal pieces closer to the center.
    With the technology we have now, they have proven it to be real! There’s more to consider than just carbon dating. Watch ” The real face of Jesus” on the history channel or youtube. And you’ll see where scientist have done more updated test since the 70’s and have come up with undisputable proof that someone was flogged and crucified and rapped in that clothe. Now if you don’t believe that was Jesus himself that’s your problem. But there was some form of really bright light that imprinted that image on the shroud in 3D! Not 2D like a painting but 3D.

  12. #12 by Mike on April 18, 2011 - 17:30

    This article reports only conclusions driven by tests done more than 20 years ago, without reporting the latest tests disputing those conclusions and showing the near impossibility of creating such a fake in medieval times, reproducing all of the intricacies possessed by the shroud of Turin. Anyone can “paint” an image on a cloth, using paint or acid. But that does not even begin to explain all of the properties of the Turin shroud.

  13. #13 by Marsh on April 18, 2011 - 17:35

    Hi Mike

    Actually, I’ve actually since touched the replication of the shroud mentioned here, and have had dinner with the scientist who created it. Luigi used only methodologies available at the time in which the shroud was found (medieval times, as you put it). This replication of the shroud would have been very much achievable given the tools available at the time.

    Regarding the intricacies of the shroud – producing those exact intricacies identically exactly is not easy to do, but producing intricacies that share identical properties and show identical features is possible. Certainly more possible than the related circumstances surrounding the mystical interpretation of the shroud.


  14. #14 by Brenda on June 8, 2011 - 23:36

    So….how did he get the replication to show the whites of that guy’s eyes? The picture shown here looks painted.
    I don’t see how the Shroud could ever be proven to be Jesus, but I do believe it is a true crucified individual.

  15. #15 by william on March 5, 2012 - 19:54

    christ himself would call you an idiot. belive in him for he is the son of god

  16. #16 by Ryan on October 4, 2012 - 16:48

    haha… If that is a pic of the replica…It looks ridiculous, and nothing like the original. “Once and for all”?? really. You people are so hell bent on disproving something you will never disprove…. Jesus. Look at real evidence instead of filtering everything through your own opinion and agenda.

  17. #17 by Mike Sr on September 19, 2013 - 14:34

    First off, to all that responded to this with a religious rebuttal, you first have to prove Jesus existed. There is no archeological evidence to prove his existence. But, if you insist that he is real, you must also agree that Buddha, Mohammed, Krsna and all the other great teachers are real too as there is no evidence to prove them either. There was an interesting story about da Vinci, who was known to have drawings of a camera obscura, making the Shroud of Turin and using his image. Most people want to believe in the representations of their beliefs but not one item has shown up for any religion that is a proven item showing that their is something more than faith to back up their beliefs. Like Ryan above, the burden of proof lies not in those who don’t believe, it lies in those who believe but have nothing tangible to substantiate their claims. Believing is not proof of existence. A cloth shroud does not make a savior.

    All believers in Abrahamic religions are very fierce in their convictions of their beliefs, yet most of those ideas come from places so much farther back than Abraham and Sumer. The Vedic scripts are much older than any Western religion yet the same guys calling Jesus real call the old Vedic scriptures fake or Satanic. Some people will believe anything. Just like the shroud. If da Vinci made this, which it appears there are people who believe this, it just attests to his great talent as an artist.

  18. #18 by Joseph Atanacio on April 18, 2014 - 22:33

    The photo posted with this outdated claim is actually the Face on the Holy Shroud superimposed with the image of another miraculous cloth – the Veil of Manopello..Please indicate the latest findings of NASA scientists…all your skepticism are baseless .

  19. #19 by Charliechar on June 10, 2014 - 21:57

    Funny how gullible ‘skeptics’ can be when their prejudices are supported. Here’s a strong critique of this bogus claim to have reproduced the shroud image: … the link in this post is dead but it’s to a 2009 Yahoo news story, which suggests it refers to Luigi Garlaschelli’s claims. The methods used were flawed (as L.G. admitted in his paper, they couldn’t actually have worked) and the images he produced don’t match the shroud in several respects.

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