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Joe Nickell

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Joe Nickell, Ph.D., is Senior Research Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) and "Investigative Files" Columnist for Skeptical Inquirer. A former stage magician, private investigator, and teacher, he is author of numerous books, including Inquest on the Shroud of Turin (1998), Pen, Ink and Evidence (2003), Unsolved History (2005) and Adventures in Paranormal Investigation (2007). He has appeared in many television documentaries and has been profiled in The New Yorker and on NBC's Today Show. His personal website is at joenickell.com.

‘Hex’ Signs: Searching for the Magic

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.6, November / December 2008

Investigative Files
‘Hex’ Signs: Searching for the Magic

My introduction to Pennsylvania Dutch "hex" signs came when I was a teenager running my own sign-painting business...

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Lighthouse Specters

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.5, September / October 2008

Investigative Files

Remote sentinels on rocky shores, lighthouses have been called "America's castles." Certainly, they are places of scenic...

Padre Pio: Wonderworker or Charlatan?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.5, September / October 2008

Special Report
Padre Pio: Wonderworker or Charlatan?

Of the twentieth century's two most famous stigmatics, both were suspected of fraud, but Pio went on to be canonized in 2002.

Grilled-Cheese Madonna

Skeptical Briefs Volume 18.3, September 2008

Investigative Files
Grilled-Cheese Madonna

It has become the quintessential holy image to appear on an item of food: the Virgin Mary on a grilled-cheese sandwich.

Charles Fort: Purveyor of the Unprobed

Skeptical Briefs Volume 18.3, September 2008

Book Review

Review of Charles Fort: The Man Who Invented the Supernatural.

Photoghosts: Images of the Spirit Realm?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.4, July / August 2008

Book Review

Review of Ghosts Caught on Film: Photographs of the Paranormal By Melvyn Willin.

A Skeleton’s Tale: The Origins of Modern Spiritualism

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.4, July / August 2008

Investigative Files
A Skeleton’s Tale: The Origins of Modern Spiritualism

At the home of a blacksmith named John Fox, strange rapping noises began to occur in the bedroom of Fox's young daughters...

Catching Ghosts

Skeptical Briefs Volume 18.2, June 2008

Investigative Files
Catching Ghosts

Despite the popular antics of inept "ghost hunters," ghosts continue to remain elusive.

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Sir Edmund Hillary, Explorer, Skeptic (1919-2008)

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.3, May / June 2008

News & Comment

The conqueror of Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary, who died January 11, 2008, was a man of many famous exploits.

Eucharistic ‘Miracles’

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.3, May / June 2008

Investigative Files
Eucharistic ‘Miracles’

Did an incident that reportedly occurred in Turin, Italy, in 1453 offer unimpeachable evidence of the supernatural?

Entombed Alive!

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

Investigative Files
Entombed Alive!

It is a horrifying concept: being buried—or walled-up—alive. Fears of such possibilities were once rife.

Werewolves—or Weren’t?

Skeptical Briefs Volume 18.1, March 2008

Investigative Files
Werewolves—or Weren’t?

Among those creatures that inhabit the night, or at least the nightmares of the credulous, are vampires, zombies, and werewolves

Exciting UFOs Become Bland IFOs

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 32.1, January / February 2008

Investigative Files
Exciting UFOs Become Bland IFOs

Most "flying saucers" are eventually identified as planes, balloons, meteors, or other objects, or even as illusions or hoaxes.

A Case of Automatic Writing From Robert G. Ingersoll’s Spirit?

Skeptical Briefs Volume 17.4, December 2007

Investigative Files
A Case of Automatic Writing From Robert G. Ingersoll’s Spirit?

Did famed orator Robert Green Ingersoll communicate posthumously through a spiritualist medium to recant his atheism?

The Netherlands: Visions and Revisions

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.6, November / December 2007

Investigative Files
The Netherlands: Visions and Revisions

Like people everywhere, the Dutch can also be superstitious--hence the conference theme, “the paranormal.”

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The Loch Ness Critter

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.5, September / October 2007

Special Report

Gordon Holmes caught on camera a "jet black thing, about forty-five feet long, moving fast in the water."

‘John of God’: Healings by Entities?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.5, September / October 2007

Investigative Files
‘John of God’: Healings by Entities?

A Brazilian faith healer claims spirits take control of his body to enable him to perform surgeries without anesthesia.

The Bermuda Triangle and the ‘Hutchinson Effect’

Skeptical Briefs Volume 17.3, September 2007

Investigative Files
The Bermuda Triangle and the ‘Hutchinson Effect’

Calling it "the world's greatest mystery," Gian J. Quasar revisits the enigma of the Bermuda Triangle.

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Peru’s Ancient Mysteries

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.4, July / August 2007

Investigative Files

Peru, like all the Americas, was relatively recently settled. A succession of native cultures flourished in various regions...

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Little Audrey: The Life and Death of a ‘Victim Soul’

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.4, July / August 2007

Special Report

A milestone in supernatural claims has been reached: Audrey Santo—the brain-damaged girl in Worcester, Massachusetts...

Lake Monster Lookalikes

Skeptical Briefs Volume 17.2, June 2007

Investigative Files
Lake Monster Lookalikes

As a cryptozoologist--albeit a skeptical one--I have long been on the track of fabled creatures...

‘Psychics’ Fail to Foresee Their Own Fortunes

May 18, 2007

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia's fortune tellers failed to foresee the closure of their shops

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A Pathologist Among the Spirits

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.3, May / June 2007

Book Review

Beyond Knowing: Mysteries and Messages of Death and Life from a Forensic Pathologist. by Janis Amatuzio, MD

Deciphering Da Vinci’s Real Codes

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.3, May / June 2007

Investigative Files
Deciphering Da Vinci’s Real Codes

Leonardo da Vinci was something of a cryptographer, and much attention has been given his various "codes".

The Making of The Reaping: Behind the Scenes of a Supernatural Thriller

April 5, 2007
The Making of The Reaping: Behind the Scenes of a Supernatural Thriller

If you were a filming a supernatural thriller, would you have Hilary Swank play a Joe Nickell type, or Joe Nickell play himself?

Mysterious Entities of the Pacific Northwest, Part II

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.2, March / April 2007

Investigative Files

Some assume that UFOs are a modern invention, but since ancient times men have reported seeing strange things in the sky.

Mysterious Entities of the Pacific Northwest, Part I

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 31.1, January / February 2007

Investigative Files

Mankind's imagination has always been excited by the possibilities of unknown regions.

Headless Ghosts I Have Known

Skeptical Briefs Volume 16.4, December 2006

Investigative Files
Headless Ghosts I Have Known

In the popular imagination, ghosts are a form of “energy” that survives death.

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Spirited Defense: William James and the Ghost Hunters

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.6, November / December 2006

Book Review

Review of Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death. By Deborah Blum.

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Shame on Shamus Sham

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 30.6, November / December 2006

Special Report

The false confession of American John Mark Karr—that he had murdered child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey in 1996...

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