Maybe the Trickster Did It

when you eat of it your eyes will be opened

imageThe Stumbler, in this part of his “long and circuitous journey from a childhood with two alcoholic parents, through the weird world of anomalous phenomena, to an iconoclastic Christian faith based on experience, observation, study and intuition,” tells us in his blog posting, Oh, no, surely not that old fake the Shroud of Turin?:

It’s highly unlikely you know more about the Shroud than I do.  For one thing, since 1997 I’ve been a devoted follower of www.Shroud.com.  This amazing site was created in 1996 by Barrie Schwortz, Official Documenting Photographer for the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project.  It’s one of the truly great Internet sites, highly organized and with virtually everything published about the Shroud in every language.

The Stumbler tells us:

A First Century result from the carbon dating would’ve been nice, of course, but this didn’t happen.  The tests showed a date range of 1290-1360 AD.

I wasn’t fazed, for two reasons:

First:  As I’d said before the testing, there’s simply too much other evidence the Shroud dates to long before 1290.  Physical evidence, from the cloth itself.  Historical evidence, meticulously pieced together by Ian Wilson and other serious researchers…

Second: If the Shroud were a 14th Century fake, it’d still be the strangest artifact in the history of mankind.  When the carbon dating results were announced, it was very telling to me that the media and the great mass of casual followers seemed almost relieved and chortled at Shroud believers as though they were and always had been credulous fools….

The Stumbler goes on to tell us about “more recent test” with date ranges of 300 BC to 400 AD. And he believes these new tests why?

and:

Please, don’t take my word for it.  Spend at least an afternoon on www.Shroud.com.  Even before you do that, spend a few bucks on Ian Wilson’s The Shroud: The 2,000-year-old mystery solved (2010), a wonderful introduction to Shroud studies. . . .

Just don’t do what too many people do: Don’t dismiss the Shroud because you “once saw a program” on CNN or “once read an article” in Time or on the Internet or, worse yet, “once talked with a guy” whose opinions you respect who thinks the Shroud is a blatant fake and not worth bothering with….

Then there is this. Does this trump the KGB Hacker conspiracy theory or what?

What about our old friend the Trickster?  Haven’t I suggested his antics have infected just about every other area of weirdness studies, from ufology to NDE-ology?  Just because I’m a Christian, do I think Shroud studies are immune to the Trickster?

imageNot at all.  The carbon dating results certainly could be the Trickster at work.  Some of the Shroud studies themselves are major turn-offs, at least for me.  A segment of the research fraternity has purported to find so many additional images on the Shroud we’re only a step away from someone spotting a Domino’s pizza box or a Ford hubcap.  This sort of stuff is eerily reminiscent of what the Trickster has done in ufology and NDE-ology, and I fear it has seriously diminished interest in the Shroud.

But did you notice what is says on the side of that Domino Pizza box?  Maybe there is a hubcap or a coin over the eye or a whole bunch of flowers. That’s got to be good for some strange speculation.  The Stumbler continues:

But still, the Shroud is in a different category from UFOs and NDEs. Unlike them, it isn’t a phenomenon.  It’s an artifact.  It’s right there in front of you.  It can be observed, photographed, handled and even sampled.  It challenges you, head on, to find an explanation.  The Trickster may divert your attention with his antics, but the Shroud remains.

Or has the Stumbler been tricked by the Trickster? 

It would help if we had a better understanding of what tricks the Trickster can do and which tricks he cannot do. Does he change carbon 14 content or does he hack the AMS Control Computer?