There have been numerous attempts to replicate the Shroud. Another was recently announced by an Italian scientist who was presenting at a paranormal conference. It appears to be just the latest version of many such attempts and was financed by the Italian Association of Atheists and Agnostics.
At the time of writing this article, all the details of his image are not yet available. According to press reports, they took a volunteer, covered him with red ocher pigment along with a mild acid solution. The body was wrapped. After leaving an ocher imprint, he was heated to simulate aging and then washed to remove the pigment. The result is an image that resembles the Shroud. The claim is that by using materials available during the Middle Ages, he proves that the Shroud is a medieval forgery. Is that the case?
One of the things proven by numerous tests is that the pigment is not responsible for the image. We won’t know what they’ve really accomplished until they have samples available to look at under a microscope. The problem with all those attempts to reverse engineer a Shroud-like image is that it’s not a credible argument. We can make a rhinestone that looks real, but it’s still not a real diamond. Making something that looks like the Shroud doesn’t prove it’s a medieval fraud.
The qualifying criteria are very specific. The image should be so shallow that it penetrates only the top two microfibers, about the depth of a single bacterium. There can be no coloration beyond the crowns of the fibers and no image on the side of the fibers or below the fibers. For this we need a microscope to validate. The image must prove to be an accurate negative image and also possess accurate distance information where parts of the body still reveal an image even though they are not in direct contact with the fabric for distances up to 4 cm. However, this is only half the problem. There are two sets of images: the body image and the blood image.
Interestingly, there is no image below the blood, which means the order of events is the blood first followed by the image. This is the correct sequence if it is authentic but almost impossible for an artist. As such, according to the article, they added blood after the image was already created. That fact alone invalidates his claim.
Another interesting fact is that the blood on the Shroud is not painted blood. They didn’t just go out and kill a goat and paint the blood on the cloth. The chemistry of the blood is very specific. It’s blood from real wounds. We don’t see whole blood, we see exudates from blood clots, blood oozing from the wound. There are very few red blood cells because they seem to be in the body forming the clot. We see blood components like bile, bilirubin, heme, serum, but not whole blood. Some blood flowed before death, but most of it after death. The side wound and the blood pooling on the lower back are post-mortem bloodstreams… blood that flowed after death and shows a clear separation of blood and serum. Even the flogging marks on his back reveal a distinctive halo effect under ultraviolet light, where the blood constricted leaving a ring of clear blood serum. There is also serious evidence that these injuries were inflicted while the body was in an upright position. The blood is also high in bilirubin which would have been released into the blood under conditions of severe stress. Bilirubin has a bright red color which also explains why much of the blood on the Shroud still has a reddish tint instead of turning black, which old blood usually does.
There is further evidence from forensic specialists and medical examiners indicating that a body was on the Shroud and the body died from wounds staining the cloth. No one knows how the image got there, but one thing is for sure: the blood was on the cloth before the image. This fact alone negates this recent claim of successfully faking the Shroud image.