Yannick Clément on Paul Maloney’s St. Louis paper

. . . the idea of a man-made forgery became completely obsolete . . .

One person who read Paul Maloney’s St. Louis paper was Yannick Clément (pictured with his guitar in photo supplied by him). What he wrote in an email to me is the reason I moved discussion of Paul’s paper up in the queue. But it also meant I had to delay sharing Yannick’s email until I read the paper. You should read Paul’s paper first. Then read Yannick’s additions, for that is what he offers us here:

imageIn the very long paper written by Paul Maloney entitled « Joseph M. Gambescia, M.D. and the Position of the Feet on the Shroud of Turin. The History of an Investigation. », which he presented at the recent St Louis conference, there is a very interesting list of what he called « Shroud’s anomalies » that represent, as he say, real problems for the painting hypothesis. This list can be found in pages 80 and 81 of his paper.

First, I want to say that I agree with Mr. Maloney that everyone of these « anomalies » are truly problematic for the painting hypothesis (except the second and fifth ones, for which I have serious doubts). But I think this list can be extended and I also think that such an extended list of « anomalies » must be seen as being good enough to discard not only the painting hypothesis for image formation but every hypothesis involving a forgery that would have been done with anything else than a real beaten, scourged and crucified corpse!

I’ll let you judge for yourself… Here’s the « anomalies » I would add to the list of « Shroud’s anomalies » described by Mr. Maloney in his paper:

1- The presence of serum stains surrounding most of the bloodstains and the kind of transfer that is responsible for these blood and serum stains (i.e. a transfer done from exudates of moistened blood clots instead of liquid blood) is enough to discard any idea of a forger who would have artificially created bloodstains on the cloth as a reminder of the bloody stigmata of Christ. Here’s what Alan Adler said about this issue in his book The Orphaned Manuscript: "We have shown by immunological tests that the blood is definitely primate blood, and that it must have been taken from the exudate of a clot at a certain point in the clotting process. An artist would therefore have needed the exudate from the wounds of a severely tortured man, or baboon, and he would need to take the substance within a 20-minute period after the clotting had begun, and paint it on the cloth with the serum edges and all the other forensic precision that we see there. I believe most reasonable people would conclude that it is simply impossible that an artist could have produced the blood imprints on the Shroud of Turin. Rather, it is logical to conclude, from the nature and characteristics of the bloodstains on the Shroud, that the cloth once enfolded the body of a severely beaten and crucified human being."

2- The fact that there are some missing parts in the body image (in the frontal as well as in dorsal image) is totally inconsistent with the idea of a forger that would have artificially crafted these body images in order to create a false relic of Jesus’ burial shroud with body images that would eventually been showed publicly to the faithful. Here’s some of these missing body parts: A) The thumb of the left hand is missing in the frontal image. B) Good portions of the feet are missing in both images (frontal and dorsal). C) The back of the knees are missing in the dorsal image.

3- Except for maybe one or two exceptions, Byzantine and Medieval artists have always depicted scenes of the Passion of Christ with some kind of cloth covering the groin, pelvic and buttocks areas, while on the Shroud, the image is showing a man completely nude.

4- The body image on the Shroud strongly support the hypothesis that the Shroud man had to carry only the patibulum of the cross instead of the entire cross, which is contrary to the vast majority of the artistic depiction of the bearing of the cross by Byzantine or Medieval artists.

5- The minute traces of aragonite dirt that have been found by the STURP team in a few « relevant » places like the heel or the nose for example are truly inconsistent with the idea of a forger using some kind of artistic or artificial technique to craft a false relic of Christ, because such traces of dirt (just like the serum stains surrounding most of the bloodstains by the way) would not have been visible for most faithful who would have look at the Shroud. On the contrary, these minute traces of aragonite dirt are consistent with the idea that the Shroud man would have walked barefoot on the way to his crucifixion.

6- Outside the image of the feet on the dorsal image, there is a clear mirror (or doubled) bloodstain that really seems to have been produced when the cloth was folded in that region. The idea that a forger would have wanted to artificially created such a mirror (or doubled) bloodstain in that particular region goes beyond any rationality, while such a strange feature truly have an « authenticity » signature.

7- The Shroud is a non-homogeneous cloth made of two distinct parts that came from the same original long piece of linen cloth. Such a cutting and later stitching is inconsistent with the idea of a forger who would have wanted to create a perfect relic of Jesus’ burial cloth that would have eventually been showed publicly to the faithful. On the contrary, this very odd feature truly have an « authenticity » signature.

That’s the 7 additional « Shroud’s anomalies » I wanted to add to Mr. Maloney’s list and I think that they are very relevant. In my mind, some of them, like the first one for example, are even more relevant than the ones he pointed out and especially the second and fifth anomalies he described, which are far from being proven. I think that once you take into account all the « anomalies » I described + those described by Mr. Maloney (even if we decide to left aside the second and fifth ones), the idea of a man-made forgery became completely obsolete and you don’t have too much choice to conclude that the blood and serum stains as well as the body image that we see on the Shroud MUST have been left there by some form of (probably natural) interaction between a real bloody and traumatized body and the cloth…

Of course, as I underlined in my paper entitled « Concerning the question of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin – Please don’t forget the evidence of the bloodstains, such a conclusion doesn’t completely discard the idea of a « natural » forgery done with the use of a real crucified body or the idea of the Shroud being the burial cloth of an anonymous crucified man other than Jesus, but it certainly lead to completely discard any scenario involving a forgery done with the use of some artistic or artificial technique… And this is true not only for the blood and serum stains, but also for the body image.

And when you understand that this is a real burial cloth that enveloped for only a short period of time a real crucified body showing all the bloody wounds of Jesus (as reported in the Gospels) and that such a gruesome burial cloth had been taken out of a tomb in order to be well-preserved (which is something that would have been considered a legal impurity for a Jew in the time of Jesus, not because of the bloodstains on the cloth, but because this cloth had been in contact with a dead body and which can explain, at least partially, why there are no traces of such an important Christian relic in ancient sources), it became obvious that the answer must be positive with a very high level of confidence (which I estimated quite ironically in the same way than the dating results of the C14 labs in 88, i.e. positive with 95% confidence). Effectively, after having analyzed the two possible scenarios that do not involve the body of Jesus of Nazareth (i.e. the scenarios #1 and 2 in my paper about the bloodstains evidence), I came to understand that those two were highly improbable and, honestly, I consider both of them to be very far-fetched (which explain the high level of confidence I just expressed in favor of the authenticity of the Shroud as being the real burial cloth of Jesus).

Yannick Clément, Louiseville, Québec, Canada

10 thoughts on “Yannick Clément on Paul Maloney’s St. Louis paper”

  1. Very nice piece Yannick.
    your number 3 is always compelling for me. The one or two rare exceptions are small or private pieces. Very different from a “forgery” designed for wide public viewing!!!!

    1. The no.3 feature you find so compelling, Thomas, namely the absence of a loin cloth, is maybe not so unexpected if you think through the logistics of producing an artefact that is hardly a ‘forgery’ (there being no ‘original’ for us to view) but something maybe better described as an elaborate hoax.

      The key question that needs to be asked is “What was the hoaxer attempting to portray, especially as regards the faint, almost ghost-like body image?” A ‘photocopy’ captured at the instant of resurrection seems unlikely: it may appeal to 20th/21st century imagination, but there’s no evidence I’m aware of that it was ever interpreted in those terms by the first cohorts of pilgrims, least of all St. Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, in that 1614 letter home to his mother. He saw the image as one of ‘sweat and blood’, and that to me would seem as good a starting point as any: the TS body image was (as I have proposed here a number of times) skilfully engineered as a ‘Veil of Veronica’ -like sweat imprint.

      OK, so one sets out to fabricate what a sweat imprint might look like if taken shortly after crucifixion. Does one show a loin cloth on one’s body image? Answer: NO!. Any loin cloth would have absorbed the sweat and blood seat and ‘stolen’ the imprint of the problematical midriff region, preventing it appearing on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen.

      Was there an alternative way of preserving modesty? Yes, indeed there was. Show hands crossed over groin, even if, as some suggest, no one really has arms long enough to do that naturally after death. Buttocks? Ensure they get their fair share of those 372 scourge marks. Indeed the latter – flagellation overkill — serves a crucial role anyway in allowing one to make a visual spectacle of a very faint body imprint:a spectator may not be able to make out the body image clearly from a distance, as Charles Freeman has been at pains to point out (then proceeding straight to the scene of the accident – his misguided paint theory) but he can make out the form of a naked male if the latter is covered from head to foot with blood and scourge marks.

      A gory spectacle did not need an intense background body image, and indeed it, and a “painting-like’ loin cloth would have detracted from credibility. The genius of the TS lies in the hard logic and self-discipline that determined not only what was to be imaged, but,just as important, what NOT to image. I say it was designed and executed to represent an imprint in sweat and blood. Artistic add-ones like a loin cloth or crown of thorns, even tears and/or punctures in body flesh, were ruthlessly rejected at the planning stage. Everything had to be “just right”. Nothing that was allowed to feature in the TS image that would leave no imprint in sweat or blood . That’s one of the reason why its held its fascination for so long (that and the 3D properties that show it was template-derived, not a freehand portrait in artist’s pigments).

      1. Berry said: “the TS body image was (as I have proposed here a number of times) skilfully engineered as a ‘Veil of Veronica’ -like sweat imprint.”

        Again, what sources are you quoting who ever observed the Veil of Veronica as a “sweat imprint”?

        The only person who has seen (close up) what the Vatican says is the Veronica was Jesuit art historian Joseph Wilpert who saw only “a square piece of light coloured material, somewhat faded through age, which bear two faint rust-brown stains, connected one to the other”. (Nothing about looking like a sweat-imprint).

        Further, all of the probable copies and all of the suspected copies of the Veronica from the Middle Ages (from all over Europe) attempted to portray a full-color face, not a sweat imprint. You can see them on-line. No one attempted to portray, in their copy, a “sweat imprint.”

        Therefore, NO ONE would have attempted to “engineer” a TS body image as a “sweat imprint”. Is there a burial shroud anywhere in Europe that would have inspired a hoaxer to try such a scheme, and have other people (who had also not seen such a thing) believe it?

        1. Nabber: my advice to you is to start thinking BIG and out-of-the-box. You will never be able to understand the impact of the TS, past and present, unless or until you are prepared to do that.

          Regard the Veronica as a trial run, one that conceptually allows an instantaneous sweat imprint to morph by degrees, over years, maybe decades, into something altogether more striking, the process aided and abetted by generations of artists, all exercising artistic licence, all pushing the envelope (if you’ll forgive modern parlance).

          Their likely medieval defence when credibility was questioned: simply invoke the supernatural. It’s the Son of God we’re dealing with here, after all, immediately prior to crucifixion (Veronica legend ) and then immediately post-crucifixion (biblically endorsed, generating a FANCIFUL, dare one say Veronica-like imprint onto Joseph of Arimathea’s linen). Don’t ask for supporting evidence for fanciful imprints. That’s to miss the point entirely.

          Oh, and never underestimate human imagination and ingenuity in situations where anything seems possible. Personally, I try to keep an open mind. Some things are not possible in conventional scientific terms, but nothing is impossible for those prepared to think BIG. Medieval artists knew that intuitively in progressively ratcheting up the Veronica from monochrome sweat imprint to fully-fledged life-like facial image.

          The TS, with its non-photogenic negative image, with spare and uncompromising gory realism., was somewhat conservative in comparison. That is and was surely the secret of its enduring success – the in-your-face realism as distinct from artistic fancy.

        2. CB:
          1.You have cited no other sweat prints during medieval times–do so or abandon your Veronica and TS as sweat prints theories. 2. You have cited no one who ever described the Veronica as a sweat print (except you). 3. You have described a magical concept in which medieval artists (and oh by the way, ALL of them) turned a sweat print into a painting rather than what really happened, simply turned a painting into a copy of a painting.

  2. Hello Nabber.


    You once mentioned on this blog that some archeologist found red old blood on some artifact.

    Do you have some reference for that?

    If so, maybe it would be a good idea to send them to Dan.

    1. I was looking for articles about the discoveries of Thomas Loy. Let me search again and get back to you. It was first mentioned by Kelly Kearse, who had seen it in Ian Wilson’s writings.

    2. Loy et al. (1990) reported on material found at rock-art site DMP6 from Laurie Creek, Northern Territory, Australia. The material was described as a brown-red “pigment” that had naturally exfoliated from a rock shelter. The material was dissolved in water and applied to an Ames Hemastix test strip and gave a positive reaction for the presence of blood. The solution was then subjected to a dot-blot test using SP-A and produced a positive identification for IgG. The substance was then examined with a sandwich ELISA test. The first antibody was supposed to bind primate serum albumin in the residue; the second antibody was monoclonal for human serum albumin. The test was positive for human blood. The AMS radiocarbon date on the material was 20,300 yrs +3100yrs -2300yrs B.P.

      Loy (who died in 2005) found lots of Red-Blood-Cells on lots of artifacts — the problem we are talking about, though, is whether the observed color was red, or brown/black, of any of the discovered Red Blood Cells. I couldn’t find any more of the “observed red”.

      Source: A Consumer’s Guide to Archaeological Science, 2011

Comments are closed.