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"We are now drawn to the wounds of the crucifixion itself. First we must establish that we can be quite confident we are dealing with a crucifixion victim. The principal evidence for this lies in the flows of blood from the wound in the left wrist. One of the most important aspects is the angle of the two streams of blood closest to the hand, flowing toward the inner border of the forearm. Other, interrupted streams run along the length of the arm as far as the elbow, dripping toward the edge of the arm at angles similar to the original flows. The first two flows are about ten degrees apart, the somewhat thinner one at an angle of about fifty-five degrees from the axis of the arm and the broader one closer to the hand at about sixty-five degrees. This enables us to do two things:

to compute that at the time the blood flowed, the arms must have been raised at positions varying between fifty-five and sixty-five degrees from the vertical, i.e., clearly a crucifixion position; to compute that because of the ten-degree difference the crucified man must have assumed two slightly different positions on the cross, that at sixty-five degrees representing full suspension of the body, that at fifty-five degrees a slightly more acute angle of the forearm produced by flexing the elbow to raise the body.

"We are enabled to deduce then that the crucifixion forced on the victim an up-and-down or seesaw motion on the cross - perhaps, according to one school of thought, in order to breathe, the arms in that position taking a tension equal to nearly twice the weight of the body, inducing near-suffocation if there was no crutch support; perhaps, according to another school of thought, by the victim attempting to relieve himself of one unbearable agony, the pain in his wrists, by raising himself, at the price of yet more pain, on the living wounds in his feet. "The very thought is harrowing, but it is intensified by detailed study that has been made of the actual wrist-wound area itself. The great point of interest for medical men is that the nail seems to have pierced the wrist rather than, as traditionally depicted by artists, the palm of the hand. This was observed early on by both Vignon and Delage, who regarded it as one of the many features of the Shroud that carried absolute conviction. They knew that suspension of a body on a cross by nailing through the palms would have afforded no support, as the weight would simply have caused the nail to tear through the flesh.

"Research in the 1930's revealed the full significance of wrist-nailing. The experiments were carried out by Dr. Pierre Barbet, then chief surgeon at St. Joseph's Hospital, Paris, one of the city's largest teaching hospitals. He had at his disposal excellent facilities for experimental work, both on corpses and amputated limbs. Barbet, aware of the complexity of the bones in the wrist, was concerned to establish the exact point, according to the Shroud, that the nail had penetrated. He felt that there was a likelihood that small wrist bones would have been broken in the process, and that was contrary to the Old Testament prophecy regarding the Messiah, that not a bone of his should be broken. (Ps. 34:20 and Ex. 12:46; cf. Jn. 19:36)

"Taking a freshly amputated arm, he held a nail at the point the Shroud seemed to indicate, the chief bending fold of the wrist, at the very junction of the hand and forearm. He gave the nail a firm blow. To his surprise it diverted slightly upward and, with renewed blows, passed cleanly through the wrist. It had found and enlarged a passageway that was already known by anatomists as the "space of Destot" but was thought too small for a nail to penetrate. It was clear to Barbet that the spot had been known and sought for by one of the obviously experienced men who had carried out the crucifixion. "What astounded him was a quite unexpected inward contraction of the thumb, which happened spontaneously at the very moment of driving the nail through the wrist. Careful probing with the scalpel revealed the reason. The median nerve, one of the great nerves of the body, had been touched by the nail, and this mechanical stimulus had "worked" the muscles, making the thumb snap, as by remote control, into the palm.

"He referred to the Shroud. No thumbs were visible to either hand. In life, the piercing by the nail had made this happen to the man of the Shroud. In his own words: 'Could a forger have imagined this?' "Although this experiment was carried out forty years ago, it has been recognized by medical men even today as a brilliant piece of research, and one of the many which carry absolute conviction for the Shroud's authenticity."  

Dr. Heller's Summation"As mentioned earlier, you cannot see the man in the Shroud unless you are one or two meters away. An artist cannot paint if he cannot see what effect his brush is producing. Our putative artist, then, must have had a paintbrush one to two meters long. It must have consisted of a single bristle, since it painted single fibrils that were 10 to 15 microns in diameter. The finest paintbrush bristles I know of are sable, and a sable hair is vast in diameter compared with a linen fibril. In addition, the artist would have had to figure out a paint medium that had no oil or water, because there were no indications of capillarity. Now, to see what he was painting he would have needed a microscope with an enormous focal length that would permit the brush to operate under it. The physics of optics preclude such a device, unless it is attached to a television set. In this case, it would have had to be a color TV, for the straw-yellow is too faint to register on black and white.

"Another constraint the artist must have dealt with is the limit of the human nervous system. No one can hold so long a brush steady enough to paint the top of a fibril. One would need a twentieth-century micromanipulator, which would have to work hydraulically at a distance of one to two meters. It would have to be rigged to a device called a waldo, which is an invention of the atomic era. Also, the artist would have to know how many fibrils to paint quantitatively, and do the whole thing in reverse, like a negative.

"Our hypothetical artist obviously must have used blood - both pre-mortem and post-mortem. And he had to paint with serum albumin alongside the edges of the scourge marks. Since serum albumin is visible only under ultra-violet, not white light, he had to paint with an invisible medium." Dr. Heller continues:

"Nothing in all the findings of the Shroud crowd in three years contained a single datum that contravened the Gospel accounts. The stigmata on the body did not follow art or legend. They were of life. They were medically accurate evidence of a man who had been scourged with a flagrum-type device, both front and back, by two men; who had carried something rough and heavy across his shoulders, which had been bruised; who had had something placed on his head that had caused punctate bleeding wounds over the scalp and forehead; who had lesions on nose and knee commensurate with a fall; who had been beaten about the face; who had been crucified in the anatomically correct loci, the wrists; whose blood running down the arms had drips responding to gravity at the correct angles for the position of the arms in a crucifixion; whose legs appeared unbroken; who had an ellipsoid lesion in the side, whence cells and serum had come, and, lying on the cloth had post-mortem blood dribbling out of the wound and puddling along the small of the back; whose lacerating scourge marks were deep enough to be bloody, with serum albumin oozing at the margins; whose feet had been transfixed with a spike and bled; and on the soles of whose feet there was dirt.

"All in all, it is a startling medical documentary of what was described so briefly in the Gospels. Nor was there anything else on the Shroud that would negate the actual presence of a scourged, crucified man lying on that linen."

Dr. Heller further states:

"We do know, however, that there are thousands of pieces of funerary linen going back to millenia before Christ, and another huge number of linens of Coptic Christian burials. On none of these is there any image of any kind. A few have some blood and stains on them, but no image.

"The Shroud bears the image of a man who has had incredible, violent damage done to his body, yet whose face is filled with serenity and peace." Reference"Report on the Shroud of Turin,"

 Dr. John H. Heller, Houghton Mifflin Co., NY, 1983

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