The authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, one of my favorite unsolved mysteries, has been solved. The shroud originally came to my attention in the early 1980's. There were many books about it and I was very intrigued. Science could not easily explain away this amazing piece!
The shroud is a long (14 ft.) linen cloth with a ghostly 3D image of the body and face of a man (both back side and front) that looks a lot like our depiction of Jesus, and a man that has been crucified. To make matters more convincing, there is also blood caked on the cloth, and the image is not painted on.
In 1988 scientists did carbon testing on the shroud, and dated it to the Middle Ages (1260-1390). At this point I put the shroud out of my mind, and deemed it a medieval forgery. During the 1300's, Europe was rife with the display of religious relics and icons, in order to encourage pilgrimages and raise money for the church. In addition, the provenance, or historical record of the piece, was dated to the 1350's.
Recently some scientists challenged the accuracy of the earlier carbon dating. Burns on the shroud, which we know occurred in the Middle Ages and were fixed by nuns with patches of cloth, may have affected the outcome of the carbon testing. Most importantly, no one had yet to duplicate or explain how the image was created. It was intriguing to wonder: "How could people from medieval times have such sophisticated methods that even modern scientists can't explain?"
Last week an article appeared, reporting that an Italian scientist Luigi Garlaschelli had duplicated the image by rubbing pigment on a model with a mask, then baking the pigment off (very simplified version). This technique leaves a faint stain similar to the shroud image. Others scientists have now successfully used other methods, that have also produced eerie images.
I must say that I'm slightly disappointed, but bow down to the God of science. One thing that always bothered me about the shroud was that Jesus looked exactly like Jesus. We know in reality the real Jesus living in the Middle East at the time probably would have been short, with an olive complexion, and curly dark hair. This is what always made me suspicious that the shroud was of European origin.