A laser beam was shone laterally over the fabric, detecting that the Image’s colors are not on the front or back of the tilma but rather float less than a millimeter above the cloth without touching it.
This is false. No such experiment has ever taken place. Likewise, not only are the Image’s colors on the tilma, but they pass through the cloth from front to back.
This actually shows how the tilma’s fabric is so seemingly inappropriate for producing this type of work, especially with no type of preparation or “rigging,” as it was called in the 16th century. The material has holes, imperfections and even a crude seam that crosses the middle of the tilma from top to bottom, and its very makeup allows colors to “bleed” from one side to the other.
What is surprising is that the Image “takes advantage” of these defects. For example, some holes create shadow effects, and knots of thread in the tilma highlight certain traits, such as the lower lip of the beautiful face of St. Mary of Guadalupe.