I’m not done looking into this. The big thing that slowed me down is that there seems to be a lot of different information from Dr. Ricardo Castañón Gómez, the man who actually took the samples from the church. But his writings and videos are all in Spanish, which I am gradually learning, but I am far from the being able to comfortably read technical information.

However, people keep asking me to finish this. So I’m going to try to make a table of the different information I have and which possible theories about what happened are consistent or inconsistent with the various data. I reserve the right to add and/or modify to this table as I discover more information.

There are possibilities that I’m not listing in the table largely because the data is irrelevant to them. For example, what if the story was made up entirely? The only independent sources I’ve found are Tesoriero, Castañón Gómez, and the church website. The books could be fiction with a fake website created to support them. But if that’s the case it’s odd that the three sources have different information. And the number of people appearing in the various videos is large, so you would need a large group of people or paid actors. There are some recognizable people like Zugibe, and the videos mostly predate good quality deepfakes. So that seems unlikely to me. But it also just doesn’t fit in the table because if the data is all made up I don’t know what I should expect it to look like.

Similarly, if we’re allowing supernatural possibilities there are infinite options we have no way of discounting. The church thought the wafer was tampered with by a Satanist, what if Satan set up this whole thing to make Catholics look silly? But again, I can’t say what I’d expect the test results to be if that was the case.

Normal rotting communion wafer with Serratia marcescens and fungiSample was replaced / mixed with an animal heartSample was replaced/ mixed with/ contaminated by human skin tissueMicroscope slide was replaced with a slide from a human heart attack victimGod miraculously turned the wafer into human heart tissue at the moment the priest blessed the wafer or a couple weeks later when the colour change occurred
PicturesThis is exactly what the pictures look like.The pictures do not look anything like the heart tissue of any animal. However, I suspect that if the sample was replaced with an animal heart it was done after the pictures were taken.The wafer is visibly dirty and was found in a dusty candleholder. The pictures would have been taken before the substitution, so presumably the pictures are just of a mouldy wafer as they appear.The pictures do not look like human heart tissue.
Stereo Microscope ObservationsConsistent with observationsI would expect a forensic lab to identify muscle. The red/brown being attached to fibrous white that dries to brown particulate matter also does not seem consistent with this possibility. If the contamination was small and they were looking mostly at mouldy wafer this could work.The stereo microscope examination would have been taken before the substitution, so presumably the pictures are just of a mouldy wafer.I would expect a forensic lab to identify muscle, and it should dry to jerky not particulate matter.
Negative ortho-tolodine testExpectedShould have been positiveSkin alone would be negative. If the red colour is from Serratia and the sample was intentionally or unintentionally contaminated with skin negative is expected. If the red was blood it would be positive.The ortho-tolodine test would have been taken before the substitution, so presumably the test was just of a mouldy wafer.Should have been positive.
QuantiBlot found trace human DNAExpected (wafer has visible hair on it)Should have been more than trace if it was from a primate. This is consistent with a cow or chicken heart contaminated by human contact.Contamination by human skin cells definitely explain these results, however, if there was enough contamination to explain the microscope observations this should have been more than trace.The DNA tests would have been taken before the substitution, so presumably the test was just of a mouldy wafer.Should have been way more than trace. Unless Jesus’s DNA is too weird to show up as human on a QuantiBlot I suppose.
Yield gel evaluation of total DNA yield found plenty of good quality non-human DNAExpected (most of the DNA in the sample is bacteria and mould)Consistent with cow or chicken heart.Expected (most of the DNA in the sample is bacteria and mould)The DNA tests would have been taken before the substitution, so presumably the test was just of a mouldy wafer.I’d say this would be unexpected, but I can’t imagine anyone looking at the real pictures denying that there’s a lot of bacteria and mould in that sample. Way more of it should be human though.
Human PCR STR typing obtained no resultsExpected (trace human DNA insufficient for typing)Consistent with cow or chicken heart.If there were enough human cells to explain the slides I would expect resultsThe DNA tests would have been taken before the substitution, so presumably the test was just of a mouldy wafer.Unexpected, unless Jesus’s DNA can’t be typed for some unexplained reason.
Light microscope examinations by Dr. Lawrence, Dr Peter Ellis, and Dr Thomas Loy who concluded a slide showed a skin lesion with white blood cell infiltrationPossible mistakePossible mistakeConsistentPossible mistakePossible mistake
Light microscope examinations by Dr. John Walker who concluded a slide showed muscle tissuePossible mistakeConsistentPossible mistakeConsistentConsistent
Light microscope examinations by Dr. Linoli and Dr. Zugibe who concluded a slide showed heart tissuePossible MistakeConsistentPossible mistakeConsistentConsistent
Dr. Zugibe’s conclusion that the heart had been beating for a minimum of 48 hours after the damage occurredPossible MistakeUnlikely in a normal slaughtered animalPossible MistakeConsistentInconsistent with heart being from Jesus at moment of resurrection
Scientist taking sample for single cell MDNA test said white blood cells don’t look like white blood cellsExpectedPossible MistakePossible MistakePossible MistakePossible Mistake

Personally, at this point I’m not willing to entertain the idea that the sample that arrived at the forensics lab was anything other than a mouldy communion wafer. The clearest, most objective, best documented tests with the least opportunity for human error all clearly show that the sample they received was not heart tissue. The ortho-tolodine test result alone is clear, there was no blood or heart tissue in this sample.

That leaves two options that I can see (that don’t involve supernatural pranksters):

  • The slides contain dead/dying microorganisms, and the expert’s reported conclusions are wrong. I don’t think this is unlikely for a few reasons:
    • No matter what, three of the experts I know of were wrong. Three saw heart, three saw muscle. I also know that more experts have seen the sample (some reports have double digits) and I don’t know what they said. There is clearly selective reporting of the expert’s opinions. To find information from the first three doctors that thought it was skin, you have to go back in history to the time when Tesoriero was satisfied that it was skin. As soon as someone told him it could be heart, the doctors that thought it was skin are edited out of the story. How many unreported experts saw something else that we just don’t know about?
    • The experts tend to report it’s something in their field. When they take it to a cardiologist, he sees heart. But obviously, when a lawyer shows up in a cardiologist’s office with a slide, he’s expecting that it’s going to be heart, and is focusing, as Zugibe clearly was in the videos, on determining cause and time of death. They are not looking at the big picture.
    • I have a few reasons to believe Zugibe was not convinced that this was the heart of Jesus. I’m less clear what his reasons were, but I think that’s significant when his assessment is the main evidence on the side of it being heart tissue.
    • The slides show cellular debris. There is not much distinctive about them.
    • The expert that would have looked at the cells under the highest magnification, the one taking the sample for the single cell DNA test, did not think the cells looked like white blood cells.
  • The microscope slide was swapped out, either accidentally or on purpose, for a slide from a heart attack victim, after it was made in the lab.
    • I don’t like this option. That’s probably partially my own bias because lab accidents and fraud are boring. If some tech mislabeled a slide and that’s the whole story, I feel like I’ve been wasting my time. But that doesn’t make it any less likely. Accidents happen everyday, even in places like forensic labs where they shouldn’t.
    • Dr. Lawrence also noted the presence of fungi on the slide, which would be odd if the slide had just been mixed up with a heart attack or car accident victim. However, it sounds like he looked at multiple slides, and it’s unclear to me if the one slide that was identified as skin/heart tissue, which seems to be the only one passed on to the other experts, also had fungi on it, or if it was a bunch of slides of fungi and one that just had skin/heart tissue. But if that was the case, you would think they’d double check if there had been a mistake.
    • As for fraud, it would have had to taken place after the sample left the church. That doesn’t rule out all suspects, Tesoriero and Castañón Gómez certainly have motivation, they’re both still trying to profit off of this incident. It would also explain why Tesoriero kept shopping for experts after the first three said it was skin, he knew that was the wrong answer. But, if that was the case, I would have expected him to find an expert with the right answer before publishing his first book. But why would they not alter the sample before sending it to the forensics lab? Why include the original forensic report in their books? That seems like an odd choice if you know those tests were done on mouldy bread.

At this point, I think both are possibilities.