imageIn April of 1982, Jerome Goldblatt, wrote in the National Review:

The mystery, if the body was removed by human agency, is that none of the precise imprints on the Shroud show any sign of being smeared or marred as one might reasonably expect if a bloodied body were removed from a cloth shroud.

I don’t know if anyone said this before Goldblatt but it has been said in countless ways since. Phillip H. Wiebe, a professor of Philosophy at Trinity Western University in British Columbia put it this way at the Sindone conference in Orvieto in August of 2000:

However, the act of removing the body, some parts of which would be stuck to the cloth by the dried blood, would tear the blood impregnated fibrils. The absence of torn fibrils suggests that the body was not taken out of the Shroud. It might be objected here that the body might have been taken out of the Shroud before the blood in contact with the cloth had a chance to dry. But then it is difficult to understand how the detailed Image of the Man on the Shroud could have been formed, for, according to this suggestion, the Man would have been in the Shroud only for only long as it takes blood to dry, probably an hour at most. This response is admittedly speculative, for no mechanism by which the Image might have been formed is presently accepted by those most closely associated with research into the Shroud, but it is difficult to conceive of an Image forming so quickly that the blood did not have time to dry (7)
[ . . . A] possibility is that the body somehow “disappeared,” perhaps by weak dematerialization

We like the idea of non-smeared, unbroken, intact, undisturbed bloodstains (collected blood, not really just stains) because to common sense plain thinking by anyone who has ever had a piece of medical gauze stuck to them by dried blood, we can rule out the idea that Jesus’ body was stolen or removed by others: No, no; it dematerialized, vanished into thin air or at least into the greater reality beyond time and space or something like that. Where did that idea come from, anyway?

Just a couple of days ago, a reader of this blog (along with his wife) wrote:

[A]fter 2000 years of rolling and folding the cloth, touching it, maybe brushing it, and holding it aloft outside and in windy cathedrals all of the outermost dried blood would have crumbled, flaked and worn away. There would be no evidence of the original removal of the cloth.

And what would that evidence be. Is there any basis for these claims? Has there been a valid scientific study in which these observations were made? If so, where is it published? Was the question about the wearing away of possible smears and once-evident broken blood marks ever addressed?

A document found, in the Proceedings of the International Workshop on the Scientific approach to the Acheiropoietos Images, ENEA Frascati, Italy, 4-6 May 2010, properly called the "List of Evidences of the Turin Shroud" by Giulio Fanti, Jose A. Botella, Fabio Crosilla, Francesco L.attarulo4, Niels Svensson, Raymond Schneider, Alan Whanger might shed some light. It is a revision of a similar document, known commonly as ‘The List’, that was presented (extra venue) in Dallas in 2005. This item is found in the document:

A78) No smears and no broken crusts are evident in the
blood traces [34].

then in following the citation by number we find: 

34. Bucklin R., Legal Medicine Annual, W.B. Saunders, Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania, USA, July, 33-39 (1982).

I have accessed a version of this article and in reading Bucklin’s paper have not been able to find justification for the claim. I hope I missed something or that there is a different source. (I have assumed that a shorter version of the article that appeared in the cited journal, itself, did not include additional information not found in the fuller version).

Does anyone know of any source for this claim that is earlier than Goldblatt?

Regardless, the claim seems to be a case of “I think I don’t see” something that may or may not have been there and that if it had been then it might or might not have been worn away over the centuries. “I think I don’t see” is also not a scientific statement.

Back in February, Hugh Farey brought this up here in the blog . . . 

I’m frustrated by not knowing what is meant by the blood was ‘not disturbed.’ I can see that it is not smudged or smeared, but once it’s dry, even if it is adhering to something, such as a wound, pulling the cloth off would not smudge or smear the bloodstains anyway. What might happen is that a lump or lumps of dried blood might flake off. And, well, I notice that most of the thickest clots, such as those at the back of the head, do indeed look as if their middles have been flaked off, and many of the trickles have sudden very pale sections, as if there has been more flaking there than at other places. Even in the bloodiest places it is clear that most of the surface of the blood has flaked or crumbled away as the pale colour of the cloth is clearly visible through it, and none of Mark Evans’s micrographs show continuous patches. None of the bloodstains looks as it did when first laid down; most of the blood has eroded away. Can someone explain what is meant by ‘not disturbed’?

. . . and the thread of discussion took a different turn. But it needs to be discussed.

Strike the fact from the list. It is not a fact. It never was. It never will be. And I hope I’m wrong.