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A breakthrough discovery on the Shroud of Turin is leading some to believe it really is the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ.
Researchers from the Institute of Crystallography said they found signs of blood from whomever could have been wrapped in the shroud.
Tiny particles on the linen fibers of the shroud "have recorded a scenario of great suffering, whose victim was wrapped up in the funeral cloth," said Elvio Carlino, a researcher at the Institute of Crystallography.
The Institute of Crystallography is a research facility that studies the arrangement of atoms and molecules.
Researchers there said these particles, called "nanoparticles," were a "peculiar structure, size and distribution," said University of Padua professor Giulio Fanti.
Tests on the nanoparticles reveal they are not typical of the blood found in a healthy person.
Instead, they show high levels of substances called creatinine and ferritin. Both are found in patients who suffer severe and forceful traumas like torture.
"Hence, the presence of these biological nanoparticles found during our experiments point to a violent death for the man wrapped in the Turin Shroud," Fanti said.
Fanti says the latest discovery debunks the age-old claim that someone simply painted on the image of the shroud.
The characteristics of these nanoparticles "cannot be artifacts made over the centuries on the fabric of the Shroud," he said.
The shroud is one of the most well-known relics associated with Christ, and researchers have poured over the haunting image of the crucified man who appears on it.
Researchers say the latest discovery was made possible because of new technology.
"These findings could only be revealed by the methods recently developed in the field of electron microscopy," said Carlino. He said the research marked the first study of "the nanoscale properties of a pristine fiber taken from the Turin Shroud."