It's the ultimate religious artifact of our times, considering we still haven't found the Holy Grail yet. According to legend, Jesus was wrapped in a burial shroud after his crucifixion, and it retained the ghostly image of his face.
The shroud, mentioned only vaguely in the Bible, resurfaced in the possession of a knight in Lirey, France, in the year 1390 and made its way across churches in Europe. It eventually ended up in a chapel in Turin, Italy, after a fire damaged it in 1532. It remains there to this day and has since become known as the Shroud of Turin.
Wow, upping the contrast on a coffee stain can really work miracles.
It's considered one of the most holy relics in existence, and Pope Benedict XVI has declared it the authentic burial robe of Christ.
Unfortunately, it appears that the Church has been taken in by a 600-year-old hoax. In 1988, Oxford University in England, the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, and Tucson University in Arizona performed radiocarbon dating and found that the shroud was dated to around the 14th century -- the same time that it mysteriously appeared.
Be honest. You all wish those hands weren't there so we could see what the King of Kings is packing.
But even if the shroud is a medieval hoax, how was it created? According to Luigi Garlaschelli, a professor of chemistry at the University of Pavia, it was pretty simple. Using a linen sheet laid over a volunteer and an acidic pigment (tactics and materials available to a 14th century forger), then artificially aging the cloth to make it appear a couple hundred years old, he and his students created a pretty damn impressive replica of the shroud in 2009.
If the messiah was Hulk Hogan.