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Frei, who once pronounced the forged "Hitler Diaries" to be genuine, probably introduced the pollen grains himself or was duped and innocently picked up pollen grains another pious fraud had introduced (Nickell).

The shroud allegedly was in a fire during the early part of the 16th century and, according to believers in the shroud's authenticity, that is what accounts for the carbon dating of the shroud as being no more than 650 years old.

To non-believers, this sounds like an ad hoc hypothesis. The suggestions that modern biological contaminants were sufficient to modernize the date are also ridiculous.

Some believers think the crown of thorns was made of this type of tumbleweed. His sample of pollen grains originated with Max Frei, who tape-lifted pollen grain samples from the shroud.

Frei's pollen grains have been controversial from the beginning.

It is also claimed that the image is not a painting but a miraculously transposed image.

Skeptics believe that the shroud of Turin is just another religious relic invented to beef up the pilgrimage business or impress infidels.

It has been noted that if the shroud were really wrapped over a body there should be a space where the two heads meet.

It has also been noted that there is a space where the front and back of the head meet, and that what appears to be the outline of the back of the head is a water stain.

But even if there were blood on the shroud, that would have no bearing on the age of the shroud or on its authenticity.

It is claimed that the cloth has some pollen grains and images on it that are of plants found only in the Dead Sea region of Israel.

Avinoam Danin, a botanist from Hebrew University of Jerusalem claims he has identified pollen from the tumbleweed Gundelia tournefortii and a bean caper on the shroud.

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