The Shroud of Turin is a fake, at least according to a team of scientists who recently completed an investigation into its authenticity. The results of their experiments, which were published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, appear to debunk the claim that the image imposed on the linen cloth is actually that of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Shroud of Turin as it appears today.

For hundreds of years, many Christians, especially Catholics, have accepted the Shroud of Turin to be the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ. The linen sheet, roughly 14 feet long and 3 and a half feet wide, features a double image of a man, laying with his arms crossed, featuring injuries consistent with those received by Jesus during his crucifixion.

Since the first mention of the shroud over 600 years ago, there has been non-stop controversy regarding its authenticity. The first verifiable reference to this burial shroud specifically can be traced to 1353 when it was gifted to a monastery in Lirey, France. However, in 1390, a French bishop wrote a letter to the Pope claiming that the creator of the shroud had anonymously confessed to fabricating it himself.

Regardless, the Shroud of Turin has passed through hundreds of years of personal and scientific security from countless Christians and non-Christians alike.

Over the centuries, no one has been able to put forth a valid explanation that accounts for all of the bizarre physical and chemical properties of the image found on the shroud. The image on the shroud is colored like a photographic negative hundreds of years before the creation of photography; it contains no artificial pigments; the coloration of the linen fibers only goes to a depth of 0.7 micrometers, far too shallow to have been painted; and every attempt to recreate the effects of the image have proven unsuccessful.

The shroud acts like a photographic negative, creating this image when exposed to photosensitive film.

The best explanation science has found so far is exposure of the linen to extreme levels of UV light. When researches blasted a small section of linen with incredibly powerful UV light, they were able to achieve a result similar to that on the shroud. The only problem is that in order to create the desired effect, it would require more than the combined strength of every UV light on the planet (several billion watts) exposed to the sheet for less than one forty-billionth of a second. Definitely not the type of technology available during the time of Jesus, or even now.

The most recent investigation into the blood stains found at the hands, feet, and face found no more conclusive evidence. While the stains contain chemicals that point to real blood being spilled onto the shroud, the way the blood flowed when using a volunteer to replicate the conditions didn’t provide any evidence to support the authenticity of the blood stains.

Carbon dating carried out by three independent groups in the 1980’s determined with 95% confidence that the Shroud of Turin can be traced to between 1260-1390. Coincidentally, that is when we find the first historical reference to the shroud itself, as well as a letter confessing its forgery.