Other Physical Factors

Unknown to most of these forensic scientists were matters of physiology relating to other anatomical characteristics of the two men, including eye color, height, hand size, foot size, and physical markings. They must also be taken into account in assessing the similarities or differences of the two men.

Eye Color
Eyewitnesses in 1895 noted that Schlatter’s eyes were generally blue-gray—variously described as “deep blue,” steel gray and bright gray, “pure blue,” “light blue,” and “deep-set blue.” The 1910 police report describes the Toledo healer’s eyes as hazel, and the coroner’s report, prepared after this man’s death in 1922, gives the color as blue. The consensus would be that both healers had light blue to hazel eyes—though in the mug shot they appear darker, perhaps from the room’s lighting or an aberration of the flash.

Reports of the healer’s height in 1895 vary so widely that they are unreliable—from 5 feet 5 inches to 6 feet—and he stood slightly bent over, presumably from chest pain caused by chronic TB, which both men seemed to share. The most reliable assessment comes from Dr. Mary Ingersoll, in whose Denver boardinghouse Schlatter lived as a cobbler in late 1892 and early 1893. She stated that he was about 5 feet 9 inches (Rocky Mountain News, July 18, 1895). The 1910 Toledo police report gives a height of 5 feet 6 inches. But in 1922 the St. Louis coroner measured the healer’s postmortem body at 5 feet 9 inches—a more accurate and reliable measurement.

Hand Size
In 1895 witnesses testified to the unusually large size of Schlatter’s hands (Denver Republican, September 19, 1895). Measurements taken of the Toledo healer in 1910 reveal a remarkably large hand size based on length of the left middle and little fingers—4.3 inches (10.9 cm) and 3.2 inches (8.2 cm) respectively. To indicate how large a hand this suggests, in an anthropometric study conducted by the U.S. Army in 1991, measurement of the middle finger (third digit) in over 1,000 men found that the maximum length in the entire group was 4.1 inches (10.5 cm). Thus, by scientific measurement, the Toledo healer’s finger length and corresponding hand size would have been very rare (for the report, see Thomas M. Greiner, “Hand Anthropometry of U.S. Army Personnel, U.S. Army Natick Research, Development, and Engineering Center, Natick, Mass., December 1991).

Foot Size
Toledo police measurements of the healer’s feet, on the other hand, indicate that they were small—9.3 inches long (23.6 cm) for the left foot. This would appear to be a major departure from that of the 1895 healer, who had shoes made for him in Albuquerque that measured 13 inches long by 4-3/4 inches wide (Albuquerque Morning Democrat, July 27, 1895). However, a portrait of Schlatter taken a day earlier shows him wearing rather small shoes, although with one toe worn through. Schlatter believed he was growing physically as well as spiritually, even at nearly forty years old, and claimed he was six feet tall. If there were a great disparity between the size of his hands and his feet, it might well have been an embarrassment for him—and an inducement to falsify his shoe size, which could easily have been done, since he was a cobbler himself.

Physical Markings
The most distinguishing characteristics of the two healers are markings that two unrelated witnesses separately observed in 1895. One of them was Lillian Middaugh, an Ohio woman who noted a “slight mark” on the side of Schlatter’s nose in Denver (Canton Repository, October 20, 1895). The other, interviewed in Atlanta in 1898, also commented on the mark—stating that it was “a small and almost imperceivably shaped scar” on the side of the healer’s nose (Atlanta Constitution, November 22, 1898). The Atlanta witness also testified to a cicatrix, or scar, on the healer’s left forearm, which was noted by the Toledo police in 1910 and confirms the Atlanta witness’s reliability.

Dr. Robert Pickering’s verbal analysis of the differences in the two healers’ earlobes remains an important consideration (as do the other scientists’ points about differences in particular anatomical features of the two mens’ heads and faces). In fact, a comparison of drawings—one made in 1895 from an early photograph of Francis Schlatter and the other made in 1897 with the posthumous healer—show distinct differences in the earlobe. However, it’s important to note that earlobes can lengthen with age (see R. Azaria, M.D., et al., “Morphometry of the Adult Human Earlobe. . . ,” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 111 [June 2003], 2133).

Holistic Evidence and Probabilities
The primary focus of all forensic experts in these reports has been on close examination of facial details and measurements of the two healers’ faces—an important set of distinctions if the only evidence lay in direct visual (biometric) appearance. However, given other pieces of physical evidence mentioned here, along with non-physical evidence discussed in The Vanishing Messiah, the general shape of the two men’s faces—even if not meeting exacting degrees of measurement—is significant. As a side-by-side comparison of the two faces shows, they are in very close proximity, and might be indistinguishable if the 1910 healer had a thick beard. Most important, however, the probability that two different men shared all these physical and behavioral characteristics, especially when one of them was impersonating the other, leads to the reasonable conclusion that they are the same man.

Drawings of FS

Forensic experts used fine-tuned measurements to compare the faces of the two healers. But when studied in context with other evidence, the simple geometrical resemblance of the two men’s heads is significant.