[Above: Perfect fit of Sudarium of Oviedo (right) to the face on the Shroud of Turin (left), in Bennett, J., 2001, "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo: New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin," Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA, p.122]
As historian Ian Wilson summarised: 1) the Sudarium of Oviedo has a documented Spanish history from at least the "ninth century" and "can with reasonable plausibility be traced back to early first- millennium Jerusalem"; 2) the Sudarium's "blood and body fluid ... stains" are "very compatible with gospel writer John's observation that at the conclusion of Jesus' crucifixion `immediately there came out blood and water' (John 19:34)"; 3) if "the Oviedo cloth's back-of-the-head group of bloodstains" are "photographed to the same scale as their equivalent on the Shroud, and then matched up to each other, there are again enough similarities to indicate … that these two cloths were in contact with the same wounded body"; 4) "Exactly as in the case of the Shroud, whoever bled onto the Oviedo cloth was of the same comparatively rare AB blood group"; and 5) on "the Oviedo cloth" were "found ... pollens representative of Israel, North Africa and Spain, exactly in accord with the cloth's known history" and "among those Israel pollens was" at least one species found on the Shroud, "Gundelia tournefortii" (my emphasis):
"But while the debate over the Shroud's DNA therefore necessarily remains far from resolved, a major new development, also with its own bearing on the Shroud `blood', concerns a relic with its own authenticity controversies, the so-called sudarium of Oviedo. Although this bears bloodstains, like those on the Shroud, with every semblance of authenticity, because these are not accompanied by any similarly meaningful body image I have long shied from taking any interest in them - until a recent development. This was the emergence of a new, serious researcher on the subject, Mark Guscin, a British-born classicist resident in Spain, with an excellent book The Oviedo Cloth … published in 1998. In this he shows that historically the Oviedo cloth's origins can with reasonable plausibility be traced back to early first- millennium Jerusalem, having been moved from there to Spain in the seventh century apparently to keep it safe from the Persian invasions of that period. By early in the ninth century, due to Arab incursions into southern Spain, it had quite definitely moved north to Oviedo, since the cathedral's still extant camera santa or holy room was specially built for it at that time. And in 1075 it was similarly reliably recorded as being taken out of its still extant arca or chest in the presence of King Alfonso VI. Its certain history, therefore, significantly antedates that of the Shroud. It is also free of the early accusations of forgery that so dog the Shroud. But exactly like the Shroud, far more revelatory than the Oviedo cloth's history is its self-documentation. Although it bears no photograph-like `body' image in the manner of the Shroud, Mark Guscin and his Spanish colleagues have very convincingly demonstrated that its `blood and body fluid' stains exhibit shapes so strikingly similar to those on the Shroud that there has to be the strongest likelihood that both were in contact with the same corpse. Two groups of stains particularly indicate this. The first are what I would call the nasal stains, which appear to derive from a nose and mouth soaked in bloody fluids. These are repeated mirror-image-style, apparently because of the cloth having been partly doubled on itself. Forensic analysis indicates that they consist of one part blood and six parts pulmonary oedema fluid. This finding is therefore strikingly consistent with the strong body of medical opinion that the man of the Shroud's lungs would have filled with fluid caused by the scourging. They are also very compatible with gospel writer John's observation that at the conclusion of Jesus' crucifixion `immediately there came out blood and water' (John 19:34), as from the same oedematous fluid, when a lance was plunged into Jesus' chest. In the case of the Oviedo cloth's back-of-the-head group of bloodstains, if these are photographed to the same scale as their equivalent on the Shroud, and then matched up to each other, there are again enough similarities to indicate … that these two cloths were in contact with the same wounded body ... Exactly as in the case of the Shroud, whoever bled onto the Oviedo cloth was of the same comparatively rare AB blood group. ... Dr Frei took sticky-tape samples from the Oviedo cloth, just as he had from the Shroud. What he found was pollens representative of Israel, North Africa and Spain, exactly in accord with the cloth's known history. And among those Israel pollens was, yet again, Gundelia tournefortii." (Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, 2000, pp.77-78,92).
Here are further quotes to support these five points. But
first, to understand how the Sudarium of Oviedo complements the Shroud, watch Mark Guscin's demonstration of how it was used on the body of Jesus in the Shroud of Turin Education Project's Streaming Videos.
1) The Sudarium of Oviedo has a documented Spanish history from at least the "ninth century" and "can with
reasonable plausibility be traced back to early first- millennium Jerusalem" (my emphasis):
"What exactly is the Sudarium of Oviedo? First of all, it can be said that it is an ancient linen cloth that has been in Spain since the seventh century and venerated in Oviedo for more than 1,200 years. It was originally a white linen cloth with a taffeta texture, now stained, dirty, and wrinkled. It is rectangular, somewhat irregular, and measures approximately 34 by 21 inches [855 x 526 mm]. The principal bloodstains clearly form a mirror image along the axis formed by a fold that is still present. They are fundamentally light brown in color, in varying degrees of intensity. Although the linen has been traditionally called the `Holy Sudarium' or `Holy Face,' there is no visible image of a face on the relic, only blood that is believed to be that of Jesus of Nazareth. The cloth has always been known as the Sudarium Domini, or the Sudarium of the Lord ..." (Bennett, J., "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo: New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Shroud of Turin," Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA, 2001, p.13).
The Sudarium was "Located in Jerusalem until 614" when "it was moved to North Africa and then Spain to protect it from the advancing Moslems" (my emphasis):
"Since the eighth century, there is, in the Cathedral in Oviedo, Spain, the Sagrado Rostro or Holy Face, a face-cloth (83 x 53 cm.) also known as the Cloth of Oviedo (Sudarium Christi d'Oviedo). Located in Jerusalem until 614, it was moved to North Africa and then Spain to protect it from the advancing Moslems. The first historical information we have about it after the year 614 goes back to 1075 when Alphonsus VI of Leon recognized it as one of the relics in the Arca Santa or Holy Ark, a wooden reliquary which had housed the sudarium in Carthage, North Africa, and Monsagro and Toledo, Spain. Franca Pastore Trossello, a forensic scientist from the University of Turin, conducted a comparative study of the fabrics of the Shroud and the Cloth of Oviedo and found them to be of the same weave and texture. Dr. Alan Whanger studied the cloth and is convinced that it touched the face of Jesus. Dr. Max Frei matched at least four pollen on the Cloth of Oviedo with four pollen from the Shroud. Whanger found at least seventy matches between a polarized image overlay of the blood stains of the Shroud and those found on the Cloth of Oviedo. Further computerized comparative studies by Nello Balossino of the University of Turin, indicated that the traces of blood present on the two pieces of cloth matched perfectly." (Iannone, J.C., "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, 1998, p.91).
And from then "The sudarium has been in Oviedo ever since":
"The key date in the history of the sudarium is 14 March 1075. On this date the ark or chest where the sudarium was kept was officially opened in the presence of King Alfonso VI, his sister Doha Urraca, Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (el Cid Campeador) and a number of bishops. This official act was recorded in a document which is now kept in the Capitular Archives of the cathedral in Oviedo, Series B.2.9. This is not the original document from the year 1075, but rather it is a copy, which was made in the thirteenth century. The copy is so exact that even the signatures are imitated - the vertical signature of Urraca is clearly legible. ... The document states that even in the year 1075, the chest had been in the church for a long time ... The sudarium has been in Oviedo ever since, kept in a wooden ark. Alfonso VI had this ark covered with silver plating, on which the twelve apostles, the four evangelists and Christ are portrayed. There are inscriptions in Arabic and Latin, both of Christian origin. After the reconquest of the kingdom of Toledo, Christian- inscriptions were often written in Arabic. The Latin inscription invites all Catholics to venerate this relic that contains the holy blood. The silver plating dates from the year 1113, and gives a list of the contents of the ark. One of these items is clearly registered as `el Santo Sudario de N.S.J.C.' These letters stand for `Nuestro Senor Jesucristo', and the inscription means, `The Sacred Sudarium of Our Lord Jesus Christ'." (Guscin, 1998, pp.17-18)
2) The Sudarium's "blood and body fluid ... stains" are "very compatible with gospel writer John's observation that at the conclusion of Jesus' crucifixion `immediately there came out blood and water' (John 19:34)" (my emphasis):
"The image of the back of the man on the Shroud is covered with wounds from the scourging he received before being crucified. The wounds on the man's back are obviously not reproduced on the sudarium, as this had no contact with it. However, there are thick bloodstains on the nape of the man's neck, showing the depth and extent of the wounds produced by the crown of thorns. This crown was probably not a circle, as traditional Christian art represents, but a kind of cap covering the whole head. ... The stains on the back of the man's neck on the Shroud correspond exactly to those on the sudarium." (Guscin, M., "The Oviedo Cloth," Lutterworth Press: Cambridge UK, 1998, pp.30,32).
3) If "the Oviedo cloth's back-of-the-head group of bloodstains" are "photographed to the same scale as their equivalent on the Shroud, and then matched up to each other, there are again enough similarities to indicate … that these two cloths were in contact with the same wounded body" (my emphasis):
"The most striking thing about all the stains is that they coincide exactly with the face of the image on the Turin Shroud. The first fact that confirms the relationship between the two cloths is that the blood on each belongs to the same group, AB. If the blood or each cloth belonged to a different group, there would be no sense in pursuing the comparative investigation, and little meaning in any further points of coincidence. This test is the starting point for all the others, and the results are positive. Blood of the group AB is also very common in the Middle East and rare in Europe. According to Monsignor Ricci's method of numbering the stains on the sudarium, the main group, corresponding to the liquid which came out of the nostrils, receives the number 13. The length of the nose which produced this stain has been calculated at eight centimetres, just over three inches, which is exactly the same as the length of the nose on the Shroud. In a case like this, it is very easy for sceptics to say that the investigators have just come up with the measurement they needed, but this is not a scientific or rational argument. The only to be expected, if, as seems obvious, both cloths covered the same face. Nobody would be surprised, for example, if we had two gloves that belonged to Napoleon, and the size of the hand that used each one was calculated to be the same. This would be the obvious measurement." (Guscin, 1998, pp.27-28).
In particular, "the most obvious fit when the stains on the sudarium are placed over the image of the face on the Shroud, is that of the beard; the match is perfect" (my emphasis):.
"Perhaps the most obvious fit when the stains on the sudarium are placed over the image of the face on the Shroud, is that of the beard; the match is perfect. This shows that the sudarium, possibly by being gently pressed onto the face, was also used to clean the blood and other fluids that had collected in the beard. Stain number 6 is also evident on all four faces of the sudarium. If stain 13 is placed over the nose of the image on the Shroud, stain 6 is seen to proceed from the right hand side of the man's mouth. This stain is hardly visible on the shroud, but its existence has been confirmed by Dr John Jackson, who is well known for his studies on the Shroud using the VP-8 image analyser. Using the VP-8 and photo-enhancements, Dr Jackson has shown that the same stain is present on the Shroud, and the shape of the stain coincides perfectly with the one on the sudarium. The gap between the blood coming out of the right hand side of the mouth and the stain on the beard is mapped as number 18. This gap closes as the stains get progressively more extensive on faces 1, 2, 3 and 4 while at the same time they are less intense. Stain number 12 corresponds to the eyebrows of the face on the Shroud. As with the beard, this facial hair would have retained blood and this would have produced the stains on the sudarium when it was placed on Jesus' face. There is also blood on the forehead, which forms stain number 10 on the sudarium." (Guscin, 1998, p.28).
In addition to "a notable similarity between both linens in the back part of the head, which match essentially in size, position, and genesis, which means that both contain vital blood" there is another place where "the blood stains on the back of both linens correspond" perfectly and that is "found on the two right and left lower corners on the Oviedo cloth" (it was folded twice):
"Bloodstains. The bloodstains have geometrically compatible sizes and have very similar positions on both linens. The stains are of human blood of the group AB. ... The stains produced from vital blood, those produced by the puncture wounds at the back of the neck, are the same on both linens. Remember that the linen of Oviedo was fastened to the head in the back with sharply pointed objects, perhaps thorns. The cloth fell on the left shoulder and upper part of the back of the person, and wrapped the left part of the face. This entire area that was touched by the cloth was completely bloody before blood flowed from the nose and mouth after death had occurred. There is a notable similarity between both linens in the back part of the head, which match essentially in size, position, and genesis, which means that both contain vital blood, or blood which flowed before the death of the victim. In addition, the blood stains on the back of both linens correspond, found on the two right and left lower corners on the Oviedo cloth." (Bennett, , 2001, p.85. Emphasis original)
In fact "Dr Alan Whanger" using a "Polarised Image Overlay Technique" (PIOT) which "allows comparison of various objects and images with the Shroud images or stains ... image by image, stain by stain" (my emphasis):
"The PIOT methodology (Whanger & Whanger, 1985, 1998) allows comparison of various objects and images with the Shroud images or stains. This affords for confirmation, image by image, stain by stain, painstakingly, of the historical authenticity of the Shroud. Representative observations include: … Sudarium (face cloth) of Oviedo, dated to the 1st century in Jerusalem, kept in El Salvador Cathedral of Oviedo, Spain, since the mid-8th century (Guscin, 1998), 120 points of congruent bloodstains between the Sudarium and the Shroud." (Whanger & Whanger, 1998)." (Danin, A., Whanger, A.D., Baruch, U. & Whanger, M., "Flora of the Shroud of Turin," Missouri Botanical Garden Press: St. Louis MO, 1999, pp.6-7)
found that "The frontal stains on the sudarium show seventy points of coincidence with the Shroud, and the rear side shows fifty" (my emphasis) :
"Dr Alan Whanger has studied the points of coincidence and relationship between the Shroud and hundreds of Byzantine paintings and representations of Christ, even using coins, from the sixth and seventh centuries. This was done using a system called Polarised Image Overlay Technique. His conclusion was that many of these icons and paintings were inspired by the image on the Shroud, which means that the Shroud must have been in existence in the sixth and seventh centuries. This coincides with Ian Wilson's theory that the Shroud was `rediscovered' in Edessa just before this. Dr Whanger applied the same image overlay technique to the sudarium, comparing it to the image and blood stains on the Shroud. Even he was surprised at the results. The frontal stains on the sudarium show seventy points of coincidence with the Shroud, and the rear side shows fifty. The only possible conclusion, according to this highly respected scientist, is that the sudarium covered the same face as the Turin Shroud. If this is so, and taking into account that it is impossible to deny that the sudarium has been in Oviedo since 1075, it casts a great shadow of doubt over the results of the Shroud's carbon dating." (Guscin, 1998, p.32).
4) "Exactly as in the case of the Shroud, whoever bled onto the Oviedo cloth was of the same comparatively rare AB blood group." While:
"Caution is needed .... since some researchers have noted a tendency among blood samples more than several centuries old always to test AB." (Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.76)
the point is that "If the blood or each cloth belonged to a different group, there would be ... little meaning in any further points of coincidence":
"The first fact that confirms the relationship between the two cloths is that the blood on each belongs to the same group, AB. If the blood or each cloth belonged to a different group, there would be no sense in pursuing the comparative investigation, and little meaning in any further points of coincidence. This test is the starting point for all the others, and the results are positive. Blood of the group AB is also very common in the Middle East and rare in Europe." (Guscin, 1998, p.27) .
5) On "the Oviedo cloth" were "found ... pollens representative of Israel, North Africa and Spain, exactly in accord with the cloth's known history" and "among those Israel pollens was" at least one species found on the Shroud, "Gundelia tournefortii" (my emphasis):
"The Pollen We have seen that historical testimony fits in with what we know about the sudarium, and there is no reason to doubt the historicity of the few references that exist. Its stay in Jerusalem and its route through the north of Africa can be further confirmed by studying pollen found on the cloth. As is well known, this method of study has also been used on the Turin Shroud, and the pollen found coincides with the historical route of this cloth through Edessa, Constantinople, France and Italy. ... From the pollen found, it is undeniable that the Shroud was in Palestine, Edessa and Constantinople. Most people who have read any book about the Shroud will be familiar with the name Dr Max Frei, the Swiss criminologist responsible for the pollen studies related to the Shroud. Before Dr Frei died, he also analysed pollen samples from the sudarium in Oviedo. The results perfectly match the route already described. He found pollen from Oviedo, Toledo, north Africa and Jerusalem. There was nothing relating the sudarium to Constantinople, France, Italy or any other country in Europe." (Guscin, 1998, p.22. Emphasis original).
Guscin concludes, "There are two irreconcilable conclusions, one of which must be wrong", i.e. Either the sudarium has nothing to do with the Shroud, or the carbon dating was wrong - there is no middle way, no compromise." But then "If the sudarium did not cover the same face as the Shroud, there are an enormous number of coincidences, too many for one small piece of cloth" and so "the carbon dating must be mistaken" (my emphasis):
"Carbon 14, Again We are faced with a choice. There are two irreconcilable conclusions, one of which must be wrong. All the studies on the sudarium point to its having covered the same face as the Shroud did, and we know that the sudarium was in Oviedo in 1075. On the other hand, the carbon dating specialists have said that the Shroud dates from 1260 to 1390. Either the sudarium has nothing to do with the Shroud, or the carbon dating was wrong - there is no middle way, no compromise. If the sudarium did not cover the same face as the Shroud, there are an enormous number of coincidences, too many for one small piece of cloth. If there was only one connection, maybe it could be just a coincidence, but there are too many. The only logical conclusion from all the evidence is that both the Oviedo sudarium and the Turin Shroud covered the same face. As we have already seen from the Cagliari congress, there are also many inherent reasons why the Shroud cannot be fourteenth century, reasons that nobody has been able to disprove, and only one that suggests a medieval origin-carbon dating. Those who believe in the carbon dating have never been able to offer any serious proof or evidence to explain why every other scientific method practised on the Shroud has given a first century origin as a result, most have not even tried. It can hardly be considered rational or scientific to blindly accept what conveniently fits in with one's own personal ideas without even taking into consideration what others say. And after all, carbon dating is just one experimental method compared with dozens of others, and it stands alone in its medieval theory. If both the sudarium and the Shroud date from the first century, then the carbon dating must be mistaken, and it is the duty of those who believe in the dual authenticity of the cloths to show why carbon dating has shown the Shroud to be first century. Those who have attempted this can be broadly divided into two bands, those who think that the particular process of the Shroud's carbon dating was a fake, a deliberate deception by the scientists involved, and those who believe that the whole process of carbon dating is not as reliable as it is made out to be, and is far from infallible." (Guscin, 1998, pp.64-65) .
Likewise, Danin, et al., conclude, "This pollen association, congruence of blood patterning, and probable identical blood type suggests the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud to only the Middle Ages... as untenable" (my emphasis):
"The finding of Gundelia tournefortii pollen on the Shroud with its Near Eastern predictive value is a striking observation. That G. tournefortii pollen also occurs on the Sudarium of Oviedo adds to the strong link between these two traditional burial cloths. Independent indication for this linkage has already been established by the presence of about 120 congruent blood stains on the two cloths (Whanger & Whanger, 1998). The blood on the Shroud of Turin is of the group AB (Bollone et al., 1983a, 1983b). Guscin (1998: 56) reported `Dr. Baima Bollone spoke about the blood on the Sudarium (of Oviedo), confirming that it is human blood of the group AB, the same group as the blood on the Shroud.' However, Adler (1999) suggested that ancient blood stains may be hard to interpret. This pollen association, congruence of blood patterning, and probable identical blood type suggests the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud to only the Middle Ages (Damon et al., 1989) as untenable." (Danin, A., et al., 1999, pp.23-24).
As Prof. Danin, one of Israel's leading botanists and author of Flora of Online put it at the 1999 XVI International Botanical Congress, "There is no way that similar patterns of blood stains, probably of the identical blood type, with the same type of pollen grains, could not be synchronic covering the same body" and these "similarities ... in the two cloths provide clear evidence that the Shroud originated before the 8th Century" (my emphasis):
"The location of the Sudarium has been documented from the 1st Century and it has resided in the Cathedral of Oviedo in Spain since the 8th Century. Both cloths also carry type AB blood stains, although some argue that ancient blood types are hard to interpret. What is clear is that the blood stains on both cloths are in a similar pattern. `There is no way that similar patterns of blood stains, probably of the identical blood type, with the same type of pollen grains, could not be synchronic covering the same body,' Danin stated. `The pollen association and the similarities in the blood stains in the two cloths provide clear evidence that the Shroud originated before the 8th Century.' Danin stated that this botanical research disputes the validity of the claim that the Shroud was from Europe during the Middle Ages, as many researchers had concluded in 1988 based on carbon-14 dating tests. The authors do not question the accuracy of the carbon-14 dating test which was done on only a single sample taken from one highly contaminated corner of the shroud, he said. However, their research looked at pollen grains and images from the entire piece of fabric and compared them with a fabric that has a documented history." (XVI International Botanical Congress, "Botanical Evidence Indicates `Shroud Of Turin' Originated In Jerusalem Area Before 8th Century, " Science Daily, August 3, 1999)
Not only is "the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud to only the Middle Ages... untenable" in the light of this perfect match between the Sudarium and the Shroud, but so are all forms of the fraud theory. That is because, since "the wounds, facial characteristics, manner of death, pollen, and other evidence on both relics ... match exactly" and "the Sudarium of Oviedo has been in Spain since the seventh century" therefore "the so-called fraud would have had to have occurred twice" but this "would be impossible, since the Sudarium of Oviedo was not removed from its chest in the thirteenth century, not even for kings" (my emphasis):
"There is one more consideration. That is that the Shroud of Turin was supposedly `dated' to the thirteenth century, while the Sudarium of Oviedo has been in Spain since the seventh century. This means, of course, that the so-called fraud would have had to have occurred twice, and that the wounds, facial characteristics, manner of death, pollen, and other evidence on both relics would have to match exactly. This, quite frankly, would be impossible, since the Sudarium of Oviedo was not removed from its chest in the thirteenth century, not even for kings, not to mention the fact that its use was unknown at that time. Blood typing, forensic medicine, pollen identification, the electronic scan microscope, photography, and all of the other scientific means at our disposal today did not exist. Microscopic information cannot be falsified, and it is for that reason that criminals are convicted today on the basis of DNA, fibers, and other evidence, because it is indisputable." (Bennett, 2001, p.89).
See the `tagline' quote below by Guscin, which draws out the implications of Bennett's point above that, "the so-called fraud would have had to have occurred twice," but concludes that "Such a story ... is more incredible than the Shroud's authenticity" (my emphasis)!
I originally intended to continued this series in a part #11: "Coin images minted by Pontius Pilate between AD 29 and 32 cover the eyes of the man on Shroud." But I later covered that topic in "Re: There is compelling evidence it is the burial cloth of Christ, or a man crucified during that time #3 ." So this is the end of my "Bogus: Shroud of Turin" series
"However, let us suppose for a while that the results obtained from the carbon dating of both the sudarium and the Shroud are accurate, and neither cloth ever touched the body of Jesus. In that case, the following story would have to be true. Sometime in the seventh century, in Palestine, after reading the gospel of John, a well known forger of religious relics saw the opportunity of putting a new product on the market - a cloth that had been over the face of the dead body of Jesus. This forger was also an expert in medicine, who knew that a crucified person died from asphyxiation, and that when this happened, special liquids fill the lungs of the dead body, and can come out through the nose if the body is moved. The only way he could get this effect on the cloth was by re-enacting the process, so this is exactly what he did. He crucified a volunteer, eliminating those candidates who did not fulfil the right conditions - swollen nose and cheeks, forked beard to stain the cloth, etc. When the body was taken down from the cross, he shook it around a bit with the help of a few friends, holding the folded cloth to the dead volunteer's nose so that future generations would be able to see the outline of his fingers. He even stuck a few thorns in the back of the dead man's neck, knowing that relic hunters would be looking for the bloodstains from the crown of thorns. Being an eloquent man, he convinced people that this otherwise worthless piece of cloth was stained with nothing less than the blood and pleural liquid of Christ, and so it was guarded in Jerusalem with other relics, and considered so genuine and spiritually valuable that it was worth saving first from the invading Persians and later from the Arabs. A few hundred years later, some time between 1260 and 1390, another professional forger, a specialist in religious relics too, decided that the time was ripe for something new, something really convincing. There were numerous relics from various saints in circulation all round Europe, bones, skulls, capes, but no, he wanted something really original. Various possibilities ran through his mind, the crown of thorns, the nails from the crucifixion, the table cloth from the last supper, and then suddenly he had it - the funeral shroud of Jesus! And not only that, but he would also put an image on the Shroud, the image of the man whom the Shroud had wrapped! The first step was difficult. Being an expert in textile weaves, (one of his many specialities, the others being pollen, Middle East blood groups, numismatism of the years of Tiberius, photography, Roman whips, and electronic microscopes) he needed linen of a special kind, typical of the Middle East in the first century. Once this had been specially ordered and made, he folded it up before starting his work, as a neighbour had suggested that such a cloth would have been folded up and hidden in a wall in Edessa for a few hundred years, so the image would be discontinuous on some of the fold marks. Leaving the cloth folded up, he travelled to Oviedo in the north of Spain, where he knew that a forerunner in his trade had left a cloth with Jesus' blood stains. On obtaining permission to analyse the sudarium, he first checked the blood group - AB of course, common in the Middle East and relatively scarce in Europe - then made an exact plan of the blood stains (carefully omitting those which would have already clotted when the sudarium was used) so that his stains would coincide exactly. After his trip to Oviedo, he went on a tour of what is now Turkey, forming a composite portrait of Jesus from all the icons, coins and images he could find. After all, he needed people to think that his Shroud had been around for over a thousand years, and that artists had used it as their inspiration for painting Christ. He didn't really understand what some of the marks were, the square box between the eyes, the line across the throat, but he thought he'd better put them on anyway. He didn't want to be accused of negligence, because he was an internationally famous forger and had a reputation to maintain. Once he was back home, he somehow obtained some blood (AB, naturally) and decided to begin his work of art with the blood stains, before even making the body image. Unfortunately, he miscalculated the proportions, and the nail stains appeared on the wrist instead of on the palms of the hands, where everyone in the fourteenth century knew that they had been. `Well', he thought, `it's just a question of a few inches, nobody will notice.' Now, even the omniscient author is forbidden to enter in the secret room where the forger `paints' the image of Christ, a perfect three dimensional negative, without paint or direction. His method was so secret that it went to the tomb with him. After a few hours, he opened the door, and called his wife, who was busy preparing dinner in the kitchen. `What do you think?' `Not bad. But you've forgotten the thumbs' `No, I haven't. Don't you know that if a nail destroys the nerves in the wrist, the thumbs bend in towards the palm of the hand, so you wouldn't be able to see them?' `But didn't the nails go through the palms?' `Well, yes, but I put the blood on first, and didn't quite get the distance right' `Oh, in that case ... and what about the pollen?' `What pollen?' `Well, if this Shroud has been in Palestine, Edessa, and let's suppose it's been in Constantinople too, it's going to need pollen from all those places.' Our forger loved the idea, got the pollen from all the places his wife had indicated, and delicately put it all over his Shroud. And then, the final touch. Two coins from the time of Christ, minted under the emperor Tiberius, to put over the man's eyes. Our man had a sense of humour too - he decided that the coins would be included in the image in such a way that they would only be visible under an electronic microscope. Such a story, even without the embellishments, is more incredible than the Shroud's authenticity." (Guscin, M., "The Oviedo Cloth," Lutterworth Press: Cambridge UK, 1998, pp.84-88)