Luigi Garlaschelli

brunumb wrote: Mon Jan 16, 2023 6:20 pm Has anyone commented on this article yet?

Italian scientist reproduces Shroud of Turin

By Philip Pullella

“ROME (Reuters) – An Italian scientist says he has reproduced the Shroud of Turin, a feat that he says proves definitively that the linen some Christians revere as Jesus Christ’s burial cloth is a medieval fake.” … HL20091005

Note, this was published in 2009, so many shroud researchers have commented on Luigi Garlaschelli’s work since then.

I’ll start with a few of my own observations of the article:

As is typical with the media, the headline is deceiving. It says “Italian scientist reproduces Shroud of Turin”. No, the TS was not reproduced. It gives the impression that the TS has been fully replicated, but in fact it was not. For one thing, the blood stains was added after the body image was created. For the TS, the blood was on first.

“They then added blood stains, burn holes, scorches and water stains to achieve the final effect.”

As typical from the pro-forgery side, they overstate their claims and say it “proves definitively” it’s a fake. No, it doesn’t prove it’s a fake. He might have a possible explanation, but to claim it “proves definitely” is an overstatement.

“An Italian scientist says he has reproduced the Shroud of Turin, a feat that he says proves definitively that the linen some Christians revere as Jesus Christ’s burial cloth is a medieval fake.”

“We have shown that is possible to reproduce something which has the same characteristics as the Shroud,”

Don’t see if he also had subject it to 3-D imaging techniques to see if the entire body has 3-D information encoded into his replica. Also, the edges of his replica are too sharp compared to the shroud. It should have a greater gradient effect like on the shroud.

The article doesn’t mention anything about his research being published in any peer-reviewed journal, but will just be presented at a paranormal conference.

“Luigi Garlaschelli, who is due to illustrate the results at a conference on the para-normal this weekend in northern Italy, said on Monday.”

Skeptics claim the STURP team was biased because they were religious. However, there’s no source I can find to support this. However, in this article it explicitly states Garlaschelli was funded by atheists and agnostics.

“Garlaschelli received funding for his work by an Italian association of atheists and agnostics but said it had no effect on his results.”

I don’t challenge his objectivity in his findings, but I’m pointing out if one claims STURP members were religious and that should call into question their findings, then to be consistent, we should apply that here too.

Finally, I am unable to find his original paper. I did find his website: … h-homepage

But the link to his shroud study is blank.

On to what others have to say….

Barrie Schwortz comments:

I was away from my office and in Los Angeles yesterday when the story broke in the media that an Italian professor had “reproduced” the Shroud using techniques that were available in the 14th century. Although I didn’t have my computer with me, my mobile phone rang again and again with friends calling to read me the story, so I heard the news almost immediately.

Upon my return late last night, my mailbox was flooded with e-mail, my answering machine was nearly full of messages and more than 20,000 people had visited the website since Tuesday morning. I finally was able to read the story myself at around 1:00 am.

Normally, I don’t respond to this type of story, since the media rarely publishes the rebuttals anyway and the stories usually disappear by themselves after only a few days. In the end, giving it any attention at all usually only helps the author of the article and garners even more publicity for him because someone is publicly disagreeing with him. However, since so many viewers have written me, I decided to write this brief response in which I am expressing my own personal opinions on this topic. That is why I titled it an “Editorial” Response.

Frankly, knowing that the Shroud will go on public display again in around 6 months, I am not very surprised to see this type of story coming out, along with its resulting media coverage. This seems to happen every time the Shroud is about to go on public display. Yet whenever a serious scientific article about the Shroud is published in a peer reviewed journal, there is barely a ripple in the popular media. And now, once again, someone claims to have “reproduced” the Shroud, “proving” it is a medieval forgery. They made their claims via nothing more than a press release and got instant global media coverage. However, that is NOT the way science actually operates.

The author who made these claims states that he will make the details available “next week.” In the real world of science, a researcher must perform his experiments, compile his data, draw his conclusions, write a formal paper and submit it to a scientific journal for peer review. The work is then examined by other experts, usually of the same discipline, before it is accepted for publication (or rejected). The data must provide a sound basis for the claims and be there from the beginning. Not “next week.” And certainly not made public via a press release!

Sadly, in reviewing the article, it is apparent immediately that the author knows very little about the actual Shroud of Turin. 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, 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. STURP’s instruments could detect parts per billion (a very small amount) of any substance on the Shroud and ALL known paints and pigments (including iron oxide) were excluded by the data. Interestingly, 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.

I have stated on more than one occasion that making images on linen is relatively easy. However, making images on linen with the same chemical and physical properties as the Shroud is another story. Considering the massive amount of scientific data that now exists about the Shroud of Turin, anyone making claims such as these must submit their work for careful scrutiny and comparative analysis before drawing such dramatic conclusions. That has not been done in this case. Anyone making such claims must create an image with ALL the same chemical and physical properties as the Shroud, not just a few, if they wish to be taken seriously.

It has been demonstrated scientifically that the bloodstains on the Shroud came from direct contact with a body and are all forensically accurate. It has also been shown that the bloodstains were on the Shroud BEFORE the image was formed since the blood and serum acted to inhibit the image formation mechanism. There is NO image under the blood and serum stains on the Shroud.

However, to make this new “reproduction,” the “blood” was added (using a different pigment) AFTER the image was created. Obviously, it is much easier to add the blood to the image than to first create the blood stains and then create the forensically accurate image around them, which is exactly what a medieval forger would have had to do to duplicate the actual physical properties of the Shroud!

Many of the bloodstains on the Shroud show a surrounding halo of serum stains that are ONLY visible with UV fluorescence photography. Also, the blood has been chemically analyzed and determined to include components of actual blood, NOT pigment.

A proper, detailed scientific response to this press release is now being drafted by the online Shroud Science Group and I hope to publish an in-depth article by true Shroud experts addressing these claims in the near future.

However, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the press release also stated the researcher “received funding for his work by an Italian association of atheists and agnostics but said it had no effect on his results.” This is an interesting statement from someone representing a segment of the skeptical community that has frequently charged the STURP scientists with religious bias, implying that their data was somehow flawed because some of them happened to be Christians! Until such time that the data is made available so it can be properly examined and compared to the known data about the Shroud, I will not take these claims very seriously. And neither should you.

Response by Petrus Soons:

In the last few days, a story appeared in the mass media that an Italian professor of chemistry at
the University of Pavia (Italy), reproduced the image on the Shroud of Turin using materials and
methods that were available in the 14th century, concluding that the experiment proves the relic
was man-made. Basically, he used a linen cloth in scale 1:1, that was baked at 215 degrees C for
3 hours and then put it in a washing machine with water only. Then they put a person dirtied with
RED OCHRE (IRON OXIDE) on the linen and corrected by hand the colored image. A chalk
bas relief was used for the face printing, liquid tempera simulated the blood and sulfuric acid at
1.2% in water added with Aluminium and Cobalt modified the linen surface. An artificial aging
was the final treatment before the pigment was washed. The final goal was to show that it was
possible to create a fake in the 14th century.

Now, there is nothing new to this. In 1979, Walter C. McCrone (1916-2002), an internationally
recognized microscopist and the director of the famous McCrone Associates Research
Laboratory in Chicago, reported that the Shroud image was due to the application of RED
OCHRE, also known as Venetian red (an earth color) a red artist’s pigment, which is a red IRON
OXIDE, so probably Prof Garlaschelli took over this idea from Walter C. McCrone.

This theory was already disproved by the scientific STURP team (and others in the years after
that) that conducted the investigations in 1978 on the Shroud of Turin.

The STURP team employed microprobe Raman spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy, optical and
infrared spectroscopy, micro FTIR spectroscopy, pyrolysis mass spectroscopy, X-ray and a
variety of microchemical tests on the fibrils, and came to the conclusion that there was NO ochre
or other pigments, dyes or stains on the fibrils of the Shroud.

Prof Garlaschelli told Republica 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.”

Well, the reason why serious scientists do not believe Prof Garlaschelli’s work has been

Prof Garlaschelli explains the absence of any traces of iron oxide on the original Shroud by
stating that the pigment on the original Shroud faded away naturally over the centuries. This is
not a statement that you would expect from a serious scientist. The spectroscopic investigations
being done in 1978 would even show the slightest traces of iron oxide present on the Shroud and
it is a little bit “unscientific” to state that they disappeared “naturally.”

He also mentions the fact that his image shows 3D qualities. Well that is a field that I am very
familiar with having produced with a team of experts the first holograms of the Shroud image.
The uniqueness of the Shroud-image is that hidden in the gray-scale (image density) is distance
information, meaning that the image on the Shroud varies inversely with the cloth-to-body
distance. When converting the grayscale from 2D to 3D, the result is an anatomically correct
image of a human being, contrary to the result that you will obtain using any other image
(photograph, painting etc.), including the one of Prof. Garlaschelli, that always will show
distortions, like the nose pressed into the face and protruding cheeks etc. etc., which means that
this unique distance info is not present.

Comments by Thibault Heimburger:

Recently, a new hypothesis about the origin of the image seen on the Turin Shroud has been presented by
Prof. Luigi Garlaschelli 1 during a press release. The results of the experiments based on this hypothesis
were shown and the explanations and photographs are available on the author web site 2 .

The hypothesis of Prof. Luigi Garlaschelli (L.G. in the rest of the text) can be briefly but accurately
A medieval artist originally used powdered ochre and applied it on a linen sheet laid over a body using a
simple frottage technique. Only the most prominent features (elbows, hands, knees, upper parts of the
legs and arms) were rubbed in such a way, otherwise large distortions would have been observed
(experimental observation). Therefore the sheet was removed from the body and the image free-hand
completed on the flat cloth. For the face, a bas-relief must be used. This is the original Shroud image as it
was made and probably seen in the first decades or centuries. As red ochre is an earth pigment, it is “safe
to assume that it should contain at least traces of non neutral compounds …like humic acids, salts or
organic impurities” (personal communication). Such impurities will cause with time a discoloration of the
fibers. This discoloration results from the degradation (chemical etching) of the cellulose of the linen fibers.
Meanwhile, the pigments particles which were not bound to the fibers fall down so that the image, as it is
seen today, is almost only due to the discoloration described above.

It is important to understand that 2 different experiments were carried out.

In the first experiment, the dry powdered pigment (“red ochre only”) was rubbed on the sheet as
described above. The result is shown in Fig. 1a and 1b 3 . As explained, for L.G., this is probably the kind of
image originally seen on the Shroud. LG tried to find solid acids or salts to be mixed with the pigment to
mimic the impurities assumed to be present in the original medieval red ochre. He failed and found that
“solid acids or salts without water do not leave any trace in the following artificial ageing process”
(personal communication).

Therefore, he tried another method (second experiment) with 1.2% of sulfuric acid in water mixed with a
blue pigment (cobalt blue). He got a semi-fluid “paste” that he applied on the sheet in the same way. Then
the colored sheet was artificially heated (3 hours, 140°C.) to mimic ageing and washed to remove the blue
pigment. The lack of blue color after heating and washing shows that the resulting image is only due to the
action of the diluted acid. The resulting image is shown in Fig.8 and

LG concluded: “We have also shown that pigments containing traces of acidic compounds can be artificially
aged after the rubbing step (by heating the cloth in an oven) in such a way that, when the pigment is
washed away, an image is obtained having the expected characteristics as the Shroud of Turin. In
particular, the image is a pseudo-negative, is fuzzy with half-tones, resides on the topmost fibers of the
cloth, has some 3D embedded properties and does not fluoresce”.

It is important to recognize that, for the first time, an impressive entire Shroud-like image has been
produced. However it is very difficult to comment and discuss the conclusions of the author.

Why? Because, if we try to truly understand the Shroud image, according to his image formation process
hypothesis there should be some kind of mixture of his two different experiments.

The first experiment (“red ochre only”) is supposed to show the spatial distribution of the color on the
Shroud (after the removal of the dry pigment), while the second experiment is supposed to show the color
and some physical characteristics (reflectance, lack of fluorescence) of the image resulting from the
degradation of the cellulose by the non neutral impurities associated with the dry ochre pigment.

Why does L.G. think that the medieval forger used a dry powdered pigment and not a paint in its usual
sense (pigment in a binder or alternatively in water)? Because he found that it is much easier to obtain a
Shroud-like image than with a fluid mixture: “this would explain why the image is so fuzzy, with half-tones
and different from a purely contact imprint” (personal communication). L.G. recognizes that it is a
“drawback” of the method. “Rubbing slurry will not produce the same fuzzy results as rubbing a powder. If
you compare the “ochre-only” image from my webpage and the “final reproduction” (done with acidic
slurry), the differences are obvious”.

We must realize that the “modern artists and researchers” (including LG), know that they have to work in
such a way that they have to produce a Shroud-like image with these properties (half-tones and the related
true 3D characteristics). Up to know they all failed. What is the probability for a medieval forger, who
obviously could not have in mind these properties, to produce by chance an image having these
properties? Probably about 0%. In other words, this method does not work in practice although it could
work in theory.

Beyond the resemblance, there are many positive points in this attempt to reproduce the Shroud image:
the author implicitly agrees with some of the most fundamental results of the STURP: the image color, as it
is now, comes from a chemical discoloration of the fibers and not mainly from pigments particles. L.G.

Because the chemistry of the Shroud-like image and that of the real shroud image
are very similar, the lack of fluorescence and the similarity of the color and of the reflectance spectra are
not surprising.

The difference is obvious: the LG pseudo-shroud image is made of accumulations of more or less dark
stains without any half-tones and again no color at all in non-contact areas (here between the nose and the
cheek for example). The Shroud shows exactly the opposite properties.

At fiber level: unfortunately, we have no image of colored fibers from L.G. experiment under the
microscope. However, it is also doubtful that the color distribution on L.G. fibers resembles that seen on
the body-image fibers of the Shroud. If the color results from a chemical reaction between impurities
associated with a pigment and the fibers, we have to assume that the color is more or less spatially
distributed as the pigment is.

I think to the contrary that the image has none of these characteristics (except negativity and non-
fluorescence). L.G. used a sophisticated method and a new interesting hypothesis, and he got the best
Shroud-like image today. It is interesting to notice that even so, the properties of his image remain in fact
very far from the fundamental properties of the Shroud image.