|The upper limbs|
|The lower limbs|
Everyone knows that when you injure yourself, and put a dressing on the wound, that unless you take the precaution of putting some ointment on it first, the dressing sticks to the wound. When you pull the dressing off, it hurts, and even bleeds a little. The blood and blood serum have soaked into the fibres of the dressing (or the cotton wool if you made the mistake of using cotton wool), where they dried and clotted. When you pull that dressing off, the blood clots are torn, some parts sticking to the skin, other parts to the dressing. On the skin, stuck by the dried blood, you will see textile fibres from the dressing. On the dressing you will see that some fibres are missing, and that the blood which impregnated it has glued itself into the material.
Let us re-examine the Shroud for traces of such clots, to see how deeply they are glued in, and how they have been torn at surface, when the Shroud was pulled off them. Nothing of the sort can be detected, even in places where the pinkish stains are very distinct, the forehead, the wounds in the side and in the foot. This is an extremely important observation : and nobody, nowadays, is capable of explaining in a satisfying manner, how the blood that should have been clotted into the Shroud, could have come out of it without leaving some clots cemented into the matrix of the cloth. Yet, the body is no longer there, and it left before it had suffered the slightest trace of decomposition !
The gap between the traces of blood and the images of the body
What is even more curious, is that when
you examine the image carefully, you realise that the stains of blood do not
systematically coincide with the images of the body. This is particularly obvious at the
level of the face, and some traces of blood can be found in the hair !
There is a certain lack of agreement between the places where the blood appears on the Shroud, and the places where they should logically have occurred on the body. Does this mean that we were wrong from the beginning and that the Shroud has at last proved to be only a fake ?
Let is recapitulate briefly. The main observations are.
We have a negative three dimensional image, on which there is no trace of paint or drawing. It bears information that was unknown in the 14th century, and that nobody up until now has been able to reproduce ? No, No, No! the hypothesis of a fake is not credible. So, how can we explain this phenomenon ?
Here is a hypothesis, studied by Paul CHAUSSEE in his book, but let's admit that this is a mere hypothesis -- that the image was formed in two stages :
In the first stage, in the warm dampness of the tomb, the blood prints
were transferred onto the Shroud while the latter was wrapped around the body it covered.
Lets now conduct a closer examination of the Shroud, to check for confirmation of this hypothesis. Let us look at two sections of the head, one going through the forehead and the other going through the cheeks, according to the plan below :
In the end, this apparent anomaly of the position of the blood stains, which initially posed a problem, proves to be rich in lessons :
Let us look at another detail which has always been known : there is no image between the two representations of the head, that of the front and that of the back. In other words there is no image of the top of the head. Some evoke the possibility of a chin strap, (the well known "othonia" of the Gospel according to St John), to keep the mouth shut, but this is improbable for two reasons :
The distance on the Shroud between the base of the occiput (on the back view of the head), and the root of the nose (The place where the nose pads on your glasses sit - see the view of the face) is 39-40 cm, a measurement that corresponds well to anatomic reality. Therefore, when these blood stains were formed, the body was indeed in the Shroud, as in the representation by Della Rovere, the cloth being wrapped around the skull from the back and then covering the front of the body following its curves.
Then, the body disappeared!!! This is a statement of the obvious - we must accept it. The disciples found the tomb empty, without understanding the mechanisms involved. And we find ourselves in front of a cloth without any trace of the decomposition of the body, without any trace of the separation of body from cloth, less than 36 hours after the death when the body should still be stiff, and we don't understand it either. We can however, even if we don't understand, observe. When the image of the body was formed, the shroud was "empty". Its two faces, front and back, lying flat, one on top of the other. (This accounts for the free interval of 40 cms). Everything happens as if the image of the body was formed at the moment when the body "vanished into thin air". Christians use the word "resurrection" to refer to this disappearance, volatilisation, this rising from the dead...
The hypothesis that we have formulated above, about the formation of
the image in two stages, does fit in with everything we have observed and discussed so
far. On the other hand, it reveals no information about the mode of formation of the image
-- but this is another story...