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'At least half Holy Shroud bloodstains fake'

Forensic tests raise fresh doubts about holy relic

'At least half Holy Shroud bloodstains fake'

Rome, July 16 - At least half the bloodstains on the Holy Shroud of Turin are fake, a new study says. Only some of the stains are compatible with the position of a crucified man, while others do not find justification in any position of the body, either on the cross or in the tomb, said the study carried out by Matteo Borrini of the University of Liverpool and Luigi Garlaschelli of pseudoscience expose group CICAP. The experiment, which used forensic-science methods to reconstruct the formation of the stains, was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Forensic Sciences. "We did not analyze the substance that formed the stains but we wanted to verify how they could have been formed on the shroud," Borrini told ANSA. To do this, crucifixion was simulated on one of the authors of the study, Garlaschelli, using both real and artificial blood. "We simulated crucifixion on crosses of different shapes, different types of wood and using different positions of the body, such as with horizontal arms that were parallel to the ground and ones in which they were vertical, above the head," Borrini said. Thanks to this experiment in the line of how crime scenes are reconstructed, the researchers reconstructed the way in which the blood stains were formed on the wrists, forearms, those due to chest wounds and blood stains around the waist on the shroud. This showed that the stain on the trunk is compatible with the position of a crucified man, as well as the "stains on the forearms, which indicate that the arms were stretched very high, in a position over 45 degrees". However, the stains on the wrist and in the lumbar area "cannot be justified in any position of the body, either on the cross or after buried", he noted. The experiment showed that one of the stains is entirely unrealistic, one that is shaped like a belt around the lumbar area, due to the possible bleeding after the death from a wound to the side, whether when the body was laid in its burial position or when it was wrapped in the shroud. "Our experiments on a mannequin," the researcher said, "showed that in this case the blood would not have arrived at the kidney area, and would have instead accumulated in the area of the shoulder blade." The researchers believe that this stain, similar to a belt, "seems a mark made in an artificial manner, using a market or a finger". All of these results, taken together lead to the conclusion that the shroud is an artistic product "in line with previous analyses, such as carbon dating, which have shown that the shroud was made in the Middle Ages".

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