The Pollen Scam?

"I regret that, from what I’ve learned from our research, we can not currently use the pollen to define any geographical indication.” — Avinoam Danin*

clip_image001Recent discussions about pollen on the Shroud of Turin, reflected in three recent postings in this blog…

… compels me to want to dig deeper.  Joe Marino kindly sent me, in Google translation, The Shroud of Turin: The scam of pollen. The complete file (In Italian, La Sindone di Torino: La truffa dei pollini. Il dossier completo). It is a paper by Gaetano Ciccone published in June of 2011 at La Sindone di Torino (

To the reader who asked why I permit so much negative information about the shroud to appear in this blog, permit me a quote by Thomas Aquinas:

The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.

Of, course, I would substitute Christian for Catholic (even if I was Catholic).

Here is a Google translation of an early snippet from The Scam of pollen:

Therefore below will be made an examination of what has been written and published on the subject ‘pollen Shroud’, bearing in mind always that the opponents of the authenticity is denied access to the source documents: the Shroud of Turin and the same material derived therefrom. So here there is proposed at all to study the Shroud pollen, but to study ‘the study of pollen Shroud’. It is, essentially, a work of ‘history of science’ or, as it would be preferable to express themselves, ‘history of pseudoscience’. Ultimately, it is a historical research.

Have been four scholars who took samples of powder with pollen from the Shroud of Turin: Max Frei in 1973 and in 1978, John Riggi in 1978 and 1988, Raymond Rogers in 1978 and then Pier Luigi alien autopsy in 1978 and 2002. Of these researchers, only the first results announced sensational and decisive. Others have not reported anything on their studies, apart from a few hints disappointing.

In consideration of Sindonisti, Frei has by far the most important scholars of the Shroud palynology. John Riggi in 1982 defines it as "the great Frei" [Riggi 1982, p.105], "the illustrious man" [Riggi 1982, p.119], stating that "I was very honored to know this great little man" [ Riggi 1982, p.140].

Even today the figure of Frei and his work is hailed uncritically accepted by some Sindonisti such Emanuela Marinelli, Marco Tosatti, Barbara Frale, Bruno Barberis:

And a later snippet from somewhere about mid-point:

Aside from the quick examination of the tapes made ​​by McCrone in 1988 and the review carried out by Baruch in 1998, in 2001, Professor Thomas Litt, Institute of Paleontology, University of Bonn, has been able to observe the remains of Frei in his laboratory in Bonn, but we do not know the details. The minutes of that examination was dispatched from Litt to Danin and spouses Whanger. Whanger I have never announced anything on the subject, while Danin, following this report, changed his mind than his previous convictions, denying practically all the work done together with his assistant Baruch, and drew the conclusion that the study of Shroud pollen could not get any geographical indication: "I regret that, from what I’ve learned from our research, we can not currently use the pollen to define any geographical indication ‘[Danin 2008, p.54]. It seems that ever since Baruch no longer interested in pollen or Shroud [Wilson 2010, p.65]. Danin, as is known, continues to support the authenticity of the shroud on the basis of hundreds of fingerprints of plants or parts of plants, which he views on the cloth and on the photos of the towel. It appears that the material is more designed by Frei palynologists specialists. And we’re now at 28 years after the death of Frei.

* From a translation of a translation.

4 thoughts on “The Pollen Scam?”

  1. As I have said before, I am not a scientist. But I think that common sense should tell us that the Shroud would have pollen on it from where ever it had been kept, open up, laid down, folded up etc. for it’s about 2,000 year history, Some of it may even have dirty smudges from hands, or what ever it was laid down on and/or stored on or in. The Shroud is the Lords present to us, we must honor it and take care of it.

  2. I was indebted to Gaetano Ciccone’s paper for some of my research in ‘Problems with Pollen’, in the BSTS Newsletter June 2014. Since then, Giulio Fanti’s DNA research and Gerard Lucotte’s SEM examination have only served to muddy the waters even further.

  3. The Pollen Scam? NO

    Opponents of Shroud authenticity use the «difficulties» in interpreting the data of pollen studies as an argument to dismiss all the honest work done on this issue.

    If it’s true that Professor Danim changed his mind relative to his previous assertions on pollen classification and no longer used it as an evidence of including Palestine in the geographical track of the Shroud I must ask?

    1-Was Palynologist Professor Baruch wrong interpreting Dr. Max Frei tapes?

    2-Could the difficulties in classifying pollen on Dr. Max Frei tapes be caused by age deterioration of the samples?
    IWe must remember that Dr. Frei’s classification was challenged namely by Professor Litt more than 20 years after he got the pollen samples.
    Several botanists did agree with Dr. Frei classification and botanist Dr. Mariotti-Lippi wrote«I concluded that the Shroud in some unspecified period of time stayed in the Middle East.»in

    Click to access VALENC-6.PDF

    It seems to me that Professor Fanti’s et al studies on Shroud plant DNA is a serious study and a careful reading allows us to conclude that the Shroud had been in Middle East during a period of its existence.
    Professor Lucotte’s paper allows to conclude likewise.

    Perhaps authenticists cannot use the Pollen evidence as a very «strong» one for establishing an exact geographical trail of the Shroud but skeptics cannot use these problems with pollens to dismiss the Shroud’s authenticity or claim an european mediaeval origin either.

    So it turns out that the importancet of Professors Fanti and Lucotte’s studies (remember that the last one also mentioned the finding of mineral particles from a desertic soil) was to grant the possibility that the Shroud had been in Plalestine during a period of it’s existence.
    Were not these important papers, with all the controversy(possibly unjustified) on the Pollens, even the fact that the Shroud had been in the Middle East would be challenged by the skeptics.

    Antero de Frias Moreira
    Centro Português de Sindonologia

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