Fortunately, the very word dematerialization has itself mostly dematerialized among the majority of serious Shroud researchers. It is given no credence by scientists. Few proponents of the Shroud’s authenticity will so much as whisper the word. But, read newspaper stories or Internet blogs, and you might easily think that this was the belief of anyone who thinks the Shroud is real. There was an overwhelming amount of other evidence that suggested that the shroud might be authentic. There were other, more meaningful attempts to understand, in light of all the evidence, why the carbon dating might be wrong. But that is not what you will read in newspapers. Journalist, as late as 2009, in writing about the Shroud, note that carbon dating had proven it was medieval but that “hardnosed believers” say that the image formed when Jesus’ body dematerialized during the Resurrection. Some, in a more temperate way, write that scientists were at a loss to explain how the images were formed.
When I became interested in the Shroud—quite by accident, impressed by the evidence, and intrigued but not necessarily convinced by unexplained mystery—I kept mostly silent for fear of being thought of as some sort of fanatic. I did write some material and put it up on the Internet. I sought out and discussed it with those who seemed to me to not be part of the lunatic fringe. Eventually, I did provide my email address and that is how Molly and thousands of others were able to contact me.