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Mystery Man Exhibit

The Mystery Man: Hyperrealistic Reconstruction of the Body Under Shroud of Turin to be Exhibited in Spain

Many people consider the controversial Shroud of Turin to be nothing more than a Medieval forgery. Some others think it was actually created by none other than Leonardo DaVinci employing rudimentary camera obscura techniques for the first time in history. Yet millions of devout Catholics – despite the fact it is not a strict article of faith for the Church – believe the shroud was the one used by Jesus’s followers to cover and inter his body after his death by crucifixion, and that the enigmatic markings are not only an accurate (albeit ‘negative’) depiction of Christ’s body and the wounds he suffered during his torture and execution (as they are described in the New Testament’s gospels) but the imprint itself is proof of some miraculous process which took place during his alleged resurrection.

Several scientific analyses –including radiocarbon dating– performed on samples taken from the sindone have done little to resolve the controversy, with the skeptics still being skeptical and the believers still firm in their beliefs. But now a new exhibition which opens today at the Cathedral of Salamanca, Spain, does not pretend to settle the matter one way or another; it instead aims to allow visitors to experience the Shroud in a more tangible and visceral manner, by painstakingly recreating the exact dimensions and gory details of the body imprinted in the Shroud using latex silicone and even human hair.

The exhibit, “Mystery Man,” which is located behind the chorus section of the cathedral, will also include several sections displaying objects relevant to the figure of Jesus of Nazareth, his life and passion, according to religion. The exhibit will remain in Spain until December, after which it is scheduled for a global tour.

Like most Mexicans, I was raised a Catholic. I studied all my life in religious schools (including college) and there was even a brief time when I seriously considered becoming a priest (shocking, isn’t?). I renounced my faith long ago, and nowadays even enduring a Catholic mass or some religious ritual is something of an ordeal for me. Yet after all these years I confess to remain deeply fascinated by the mystery of the Shroud.

Yes, I’ve read all about the carbon dating – and the counterarguments, too – and also how 1st century Jews would have had curlier hair and worn it shorter…never mind the fact that the man in the shroud is considerable taller (1.78 meters) than your average Palestine male. I’ve seen Nat Geo’s multiple ‘scientifically accurate’ reconstructions of Jesus –including the one in which he looks like a clueless schmuck; and let’s not even get into the heated debate regarding the skin tone used to depict Jesus over the centuries – which will certainly get reignited due to the rather light tone of latex used in this latest reconstruction.

But despite the fact that the imprints were not only not made with any type of brush of tool we can discern, and also depict an uncanny forensic knowledge of how a human body would suffer under the duress of the torments suffered by Christ in the biblical tale – including how people in Medieval times didn’t comprehend how the weight of an adult body would cause the nails pierced right in the middle of the palm’s hand to rip through the carpal bones (all the way to how plasma fluid would settle down under the body after death) – I am at peace with the idea that the Shroud will always remain a fascinating curiosity which can neither prove nor disprove the story of Jesus.

That’s why they call it a leap of faith.

H/T Aristegui Noticias.

  1. Thanks for the essay, it comes in handy with my current WIP.

    – I have people covered by shrouds, then transcend Reality, leaving the same negative picture on the shroud.

    That’s a fun visual.

    Read “Jesus from Outer Space” by Richard Carrier. and juxtapose it with “The Immortality Key” by Brian Muraresku. That will melt your brain.

    BTW, Years ago, I saw a picture of a statue of Jesus, reclining, in a church in Mexico City that is also hyperreal. covered with wounds, and I can’t locate the image again.

    Have you seen that carving/statue?


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