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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.

The Secrets of Oak Island

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 24.2, March / April 2000

Investigative Files
The Secrets of Oak Island

Joe Nickell on Canada's best-known mystery

Spirit Painting (Part I)

Skeptical Briefs Volume 10.1, March 2000

Investigative Files
Spirit Painting (Part I)

During the heyday of spiritualism, among the "physical phenomena" commonly manifested were so-called spirit paintings.

Sideshow! Carnival Oddities and Illusions Provide Lessons for Skeptics

Skeptical Briefs Volume 9.4, December 1999

Investigative Files
Sideshow! Carnival Oddities and Illusions Provide Lessons for Skeptics

Like Robert Ripley, I have always been attracted to the odd and the curious.

Miracles or Deception? The Pathetic Case of Audrey Santo

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 23.5, September / October 1999

Investigative Files

As we near the millennium, the media have been pointing to "millennial madness" as the source for a wide range of divine claims.

Springer Psychic: A Study in ‘Clairvoyance’

Skeptical Briefs Volume 9.3, September 1999

Investigative Files
Springer Psychic: A Study in ‘Clairvoyance’

On March 16, 1992, I appeared on The Jerry Springer Show with what were billed as "today's outrageous psychics."

Still a Miracle?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 23.4, July / August 1999

News & Comment

Good Friday, 1999, a claim of a miracle becomes the subject of an investigation by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans

Fatal Non-vision

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 23.4, July / August 1999

News & Comment

Although billing himself "Canada's world renowned super psychic," Maha Yogi A. S. Narayana failed to foresee his own murder.

The Church Poltergeist: It’s the Village Mayor

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 23.4, July / August 1999

News & Comment

"Just in time for Halloween," was the wry comment of Leon Harris, news anchor for CNN's "Early Edition," October 22, 1998.

Review of Psychic Medium Van Praagh on CNN’s Larry King Live

June 8, 1999

On-air séances are nothing new. Thirty years ago I arranged one in a dimly lit radio studio in Toronto...

Paranormal Lincoln

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 23.3, May / June 1999

Investigative Files
Paranormal Lincoln

Guiding the United States through its greatest crisis has caused the shadow of the sixteenth president to loom still larger.

The Gypsies’ ‘Great Trick’

Skeptical Briefs Volume 9.1, March 1999

Investigative Files

Everyone knows what fortunetelling is supposed to be, but sometimes it is best defined as "the art of absconding with fortunes."

The Silver Lake Serpent: Inflated Monster or Inflated Tale?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 23.2, March / April 1999

Investigative Files
The Silver Lake Serpent: Inflated Monster or Inflated Tale?

On July 13, 1855, in Wyoming County, New York, two boys and five men were fishing from a boat on Silver Lake.

Peddling Snake Oil

Skeptical Briefs Volume 8.4, December 1998

Investigative Files
Peddling Snake Oil

Questions about the origins of the term provide the basis for an interesting investigation.

Helix to Heaven

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 22.6, November / December 1998

Investigative Files
Helix to Heaven

The Staircase Stands but the Myth Falls

Investigating Spirit Communications

Skeptical Briefs Volume 8.3, September 1998

Investigative Files
Investigating Spirit Communications

Thanks to modern mass media, old-fashioned spiritualism is undergoing something of a revival.

Talking to Heaven — Who’s Answering?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 22.4, July / August 1998

Book Review
Talking to Heaven — Who’s Answering?

Review of James Van Praagh's Talking to Heaven

Italy’s Graveyard “Ghost” Photo

Skeptical Briefs Volume 8.2, June 1998

Investigative Files
Italy’s Graveyard “Ghost” Photo

On January 24, 1998, CSICOP received an e-mail letter and scanned photograph from Dave Esch...

Fiery Tales That Spontaneously Destruct

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 22.2, March / April 1998

Investigative Files
Fiery Tales That Spontaneously Destruct

Spontaneous human combustion cases continue to spark controversy, largely due to the efforts of nonscientist journalists.

A Case of ‘SHC’ Demystified

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 22.2, March / April 1998

Investigative Files
A Case of ‘SHC’ Demystified

Sidebar to this month's article on spontaneous human combustion

A Case of Reincarnation — Reexamined

Skeptical Briefs Volume 8.1, March 1998

Investigative Files
A Case of Reincarnation — Reexamined

Perhaps not since an American housewife supposedly discovered she was the reincarnation of an Irishwoman...

The Roswell Legacy

Skeptical Briefs Volume 7.2, June 1997

Investigative Files

Fifty years ago this summer, the modern UFO craze began...

Spontaneous Human Nonsense

Skeptical Briefs Volume 6.4, December 1996

Investigative Files

Follow up to the earlier article in Skeptical Inquirer

Not-So-Spontaneous Human Combustion

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 20.6, November / December 1996

Investigative Files
Not-So-Spontaneous Human Combustion

Like Count Dracula, the mythical specter of "spontaneous human combustion" (SHC) refuses to die.

Nessie Hoax Redux II

Skeptical Briefs Volume 6.3, September 1996

Investigative Files

A reader's response

Ghostly Photos

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 20.4, July / August 1996

Investigative Files
Ghostly Photos

A rash of new “ghost” photographs is plaguing the Western world.

Levengood’s Crop-Circle Plant Research

Skeptical Briefs Volume 6.2, June 1996

Investigative Files

The question of bias is important since Levengood's attitudes and assumptions reveal him as a partisan crop-circle "believer."

A Study of Fantasy Proneness in the Thirteen Cases of Alleged Encounters in John Mack’s Abduction

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 20.3, May / June 1996

Investigative Files

Since Robert A. Baker's article appeared in the Skeptical Inquirer, a controversy has raged over his suggestion...

Nessie Hoax Redux

Skeptical Briefs Volume 6.1, March 1996

Investigative Files

In 1934, a photo of "Nessie," the fabled Loch Ness Monster, was allegedly snapped by a London gynecologist named Robert Wilson.

Miracle Photographs

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 20.2, March / April 1996

Investigative Files
Miracle Photographs

October 27, 1995, the television program "Unsolved Mysteries" aired a segment that included investigative work by CSICOP.

The Skeptic-raping Demon of Zanzibar

Skeptical Briefs Volume 5.4, December 1995

Investigative Files

The scene is modern-day Zanzibar where a terrible monster is swooping into bedrooms at night and raping men.

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