It has been a long road since October of 1988 when the Shroud was relegated to being just another phony relic, the work of some medieval scam artist. Since that time doubtful historians have dug deep and hit the pay dirt needed to show something was awry with the alleged carbon date of 1260 to 1390. The Hungarian Pray Manuscript proved beyond doubt that the Shroud was indeed in Constantinople in 1204 and was seen there by the artist between 1160 and 1170, a full 100 years before the oldest carbon date. It doesn’t prove the Shroud is First Century but it does prove the carbon date is in error. Ray Rogers with the help of Joe Marino and Sue Benford gave us a plausible clue as to what went wrong. Was that controversial corner, the only sample location taken in 1988, somehow effected by the introduction of newer threads to make a repair? All the ingredients of such a reweave appear to be evident, madder root dye, starch, and cotton. Does it prove it was in fact rewoven? No. But given that that specific corner is the most handled area of the Shroud, grabbed and held at precisely that location during dozens of public exhibitions gives one pause to wonder if the authorities involved were even interested in getting an accurate date in the first place. You couldn’t pick a worse location. In order to know for sure what went wrong, we need direct access to the cloth once again to truly assess what may have happened. To date, no such access has been granted. Now enter the ENEA, an Italian group of scientists. Working with lasers for five years they were able to replicate both the coloration (looks like a scorch but isn’t because it doesn’t fluoresce as do the burns in UV light) and the extreme superficiality of the image (less than 1/1000th of a millimeter in depth). This is a significant breakthrough because it establishes for the first time ever that light could have been a factor in creating the Shroud image. Until now all such experiments with light, heat or radiation have failed to meet these two significant criteria. Does it prove anything? No. But it at least establishes with scientific plausibility that light was somehow involved with the image. What will 2012 bring besides the end of the Mayan calendar? Perhaps a new round of tests will finally be authorized. Until then, the Shroud remains the greatest unsolved mystery in the world and one that I am deeply gratified to have studied and lectured on for over 30 years. My interest has never waned because I am gripped with the prospects of possibility. Perhaps the Shroud will never be proven authentic to the satisfaction of scientific scrutiny, yet I remain satisfied that even the possibility of it being authentic is astounding. If it was an obvious hoax or artwork, we would have figured that out a long time ago. Happy New Year!