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Email of the day: Addressed to Yannick (& Barrie)

Paulette writes:

But Yannick, dear scholarly friend, you know perfectly well that Colin Berry has addressed the bloodstain issue. Medieval monks used medieval Magic Markers (felt pens) from the firm of Leeches & More, Ltd. They waited 217 years after scorching the image with a hot brass statue produced by the Barbizon School of Post-Napoleonic Forensic Realism. The monks waited until Whizzo Scorch Remover was invented in order to fool future scientists into thinking there was no image beneath the bloodstains.  Of course most of the bloodstains were added by Barrie Schwortz and are copyrighted.

Seriously, Yannick, you make a very important point, and I agree.

Paulette was responding to this message from Yannick.

There’s a message I want to give to all the persons who could be tempted to believe the Shroud of Turin represent one form or another of clever artistic forgery. Reading Matt’s comment yesterday made me realized that there’s one MAJOR SCIENTIFIC TRUTH that I should have emphasized in my paper concerning the authenticity of the Shroud, but that I did not (or not enough). Here is this truth that is SO OFTEN FORGOTTEN : In order to explain the Shroud, one MUST take account of all the known and accepted data about the relic, AND THAT INCLUDE THE BLOOD AND SERUM STAINS PRESENT ON THE CLOTH !!!

Too often I see people proposing all sorts of artistic techniques to explain the body image but, AT THE SAME TIME, these people don’t offer any rational explanation whatsoever concerning the blood and serum stains !!! From a scientific point of view, this kind of acting represents a total lack of credibility and professionalism. In fact, this is purely unscientific to act like that… I’m sorry but the Shroud IS NOT just a body image !!! People tend to always forget that essential FACT. It is ALSO, AT THE SAME TIME, a blood and serum stained cloth !!! You can’t proposed an explanation that would only account for the body image without even considering the blood and serum stains… But unfortunately, almost all the skeptics out there do exactly what I just describe !!! I thought I made it clear enough in pages 9 and 10 of the English version of my paper, but I realized that it’s probably not the case.

So, I repeat it to make sure that anyone who’ll read this will remember it until the end of his life : Any image formation proposition SHOULD, AT THE SAME TIME, be able to explain rationally the blood and serum stains that are present on the cloth as well as the body image !!! It is scientifically forgiven to make a proposition for just one of these 2 main aspects of the Shroud of Turin ! You simply cannot separate one from the other. Both are linked together. In other words, every person who tries to explain the Shroud, SHOULD come up with a global explanation that would account rationally for EVERY ASPECTS of the cloth, including the blood and serum stains and not just the body image.

And please, don’t come talking to me about the “fact” that the blood and serum on the cloth don’t really come from a real tortured and crucified man, because this conclusion is one, if not the most solid that exist concerning this relic !!! And this aspect of the Shroud is well enough to understand that this cloth is a real burial shroud of someone who bled a great deal prior to his death (and even after death). In these conditions, I think that we should completely forget every proposal based on any kind of artistic technique and concentrate the debate on the 4 possible scenarios I proposed in pages 6, 7 and 8 of my paper. If we can do this, I firmly believe that the Shroud authenticity debate would gain much credibility and valor ! Why constantly losing our precious time in sterile debate about some kind of artistic forgery, while these options were set aside long ago. The STURP team drove the last nail in that coffin at the beginning of the 80s and even before, thanks to the work of Barbet and Vignon, among others, these options were already judged inadequate regarding the real nature of the Shroud (that include the blood and serum stains and not only the body image) !!!

And to be even more punchy, I leave the place to William Meacham ! Here’s what he wrote in page 47 of his book The Rape of the Turin Shroud : “These conclusions (note: Meacham talk about the FACT that the Shroud is not some artistic forgery and, on the contrary, that it is an authentic burial shroud of someone who was tortured and crucified) should now be considered WELL-DOCUMENTED ARCHAEOLOGICAL JUDGEMENTS, approaching the level of certainty if normal standards are applied, ESPECIALLY SINCE THEY AGREE EXACTLY WITH THE EVIDENCE FROM MEDICAL STUDIES.”

Once you realize that the Shroud is a real burial cloth of someone who suffered the same tortures than Jesus of Nazareth, as reported by the Gospels, there’s not too much options that is left on the table. In fact, I truly believe that there is just four and none of them involved some kind of artistic technique, even if one still involve a forger (see my recent paper, pages 6 to 8) !!!

It would be nice if this eternal debate about the authenticity of the relic could focus ONLY on these 4 options and disregard completely all the rest, especially those involving an artistic technique. If we really want to find the TRUTH (and not just our little truth), I don’t think we should lose one minute searching in a direction that was set aside by science long ago…

To conclude, I would like to give you a very clever quote from John Heller and Alan Adler that we can find in page 50 of Meacham’s book and that fits perfectly with my comment : “The multidisciplinary nature of these publications (note : they talk here about all the STURP papers), ranging from mathematics, physics and chemistry through biology and medicine, is part of the complex Shroud problem and MUST BE CONSIDERED IN ITS ENTIRETY FOR AN EVALUATION OF THE EVIDENCE.”

I think they could have add “and for an evaluation of any hypothesis of image formation.” !!! Meditate on that folks !!!

The value of blogs is being able to clarify. Thanks, Yannick. And thanks for the laugh, Paulette.

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