Blood on the Shroud: An Interview with the Blood Investigator of the Shroud of Turin Research Project
A) It's chewed up all of my free time!
PJS. Are you hopeful of being there in 1988 when they carry out the carbon 14 process?
A) I certainly hope so.
PJS. What do you think they will achieve with that process?
A) Well it will certainly tell us what the date of the cloth is...it won't tell us what the date of the image is....it will only tell us the date of the cloth... If the cloth dates to the first century, well it certainly continues to add to the argument that it is not a 14th century artifact. I'm sure there will be people that will say that the 'artist' used a first century cloth...there are only so many of these ad-hoc hypotheses you can use before it simply becomes more reasonable to accept the fact that this isn't a 14th century artistic work!
The full length of the Shroud of Turin. Scientists and scholars cannot resolve the mystery of the shroud. ( Public Domain )
PJS) How, Alan, if you were pinned down, would you explain the image on the cloth?
A) Well honestly at this point that's the one thing we can't do! We know what the chemistry of the image is - we think we know what the chemistry of the blood is...we think that makes sense in terms of what one would expect of the pathological properties for one who was crucified, but the interesting thing is with all the work that we have done on it, we still can't suggest a simple process by which the image and the blood could have been put on the cloth by the same process... we now feel quite strongly that the blood got there by being in contact with a wounded body...but it is quite clear that the image had to go on there by a different process. We really don't know how to explain that at this point.
PJS) Your findings would indicate that the blood could not have been smeared on the cloth.
A) No...I mean the first thing we see - it looks to us that what we are seeing is not whole blood, but the exudation from blood clots, so there has to have been enough time for the blood to have clotted on this individual...before the cloth came into contact with it. And it seems most consistent with the forensic chemistry, with the forensic biology, with the medical findings and with the chemistry, that we have done.
PJS) The 3D image that appears on the cloth, did that impress you in any way?
A) It sure does, because that is the thing we can't explain...in a simple way. We don't have any simple process that we have been able to find that would explain why an image is the particular type of image that we see! It is definitely NOT a contact image.
3-Dimensional image of a male face that is imprinted on the shroud. ( Public Domain )
PJS) In hindsight looking back on the 1978 investigation is there anything that you feel was overlooked at that time; any particular test preformed at that time that should perhaps be looked at in the future.
A) Well there are certainly tests that should be done now, but you know one has to realize that the first time that someone does something like this the results are spotty, you make the best guesses you can. You go in and you try to test them. When you get through with a whole bunch of tests you decide you should have done this and you should have done that!
Actually, the tests that were done in ‘78 were really a very good set of tests; people made the best guesses they could, designed the best experiments they could design on the basis of that...and we established a lot of things. It is very important that we established that it WASN'T a painting!
Of course, a lot of the tests were designed to find out what kind of a painting was it. People in fact did go in there with the opinion that it probably was a painting...the idea that anybody went in there trying to prove that it wasn't a painting is bizarre, because all one has to do is look at the tests that were carried out. It is clear that we were trying to find out what type of a painting it really was. So it was quite a shock to find out that it isn't a painting. So of course what we need to do now is go back and look at tests now that tell us more about the kind of things we did find. We think it is some sort of an oxidation process - we want to explore that.