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S y n o p s i s
As a former private investigator and forensic writer,
Joe Nickell has spent much of his career identifying forged documents, working
undercover to infiltrate theft rings, and investigating questioned deaths. Now
he turns his considerable investigative skill toward the paranormal,
researching the most well-known and mysterious phenomena all over the
world-spontaneous human combustion, UFO visitations, auras, electronic
poltergeists, and many, many more-with an eye toward solving these mysteries
rather than promoting or dismissing them. Real-Life X-Files: Investigating the
Paranormal examines the cases of over forty paranormal mysteries. Using a
hands-on approach, Nickell visits the scene of the so-called unexplainable
activity whenever possible and attempts to physically duplicate the
Whether he's inflicting stigmata on himself or recreating the liquefying blood of Saint Januarius, Nickell does whatever necessary to eliminate the probable before considering the supernatural. What is left is that much more fascinating.
Nickell reports on familiar legends from American history such as the
supernatural events surrounding Abraham Lincoln's death and the supposed crash
landing of an alien spacecraft near Roswell, New Mexico.
He closely examines claims of the miraculous, from rose
petals bearing the likeness of Jesus to photographs of a "golden door" to
heaven. Controversial mysteries such as clairvoyance and "spirit painting,"
haunted places, and freaks of nature are just a few of the many topics
covered. Suspenseful, engrossing, funny, and grounded in scientific
methodology, Real-Life X-Files provides real explanations for the "paranormal"
activities that have intrigued human beings for centuries.
B i o
Joe Nickell, the author or coauthor of more than twenty-five books, has an insatiable appetite for new experiences. He is an acknowledged expert in a variety of fields and continuously adds to his vast store of knowledge. Nickell's most famous persona is that of investigator, and he is known for examining a range of phenomena, artifacts, and mysteries. Careful to distinguish himself from the authenticators or the debunkers, Nickell believes in investigating each mystery with an open mind, seeking only to find the truth and not to prove a theory.
Nickell prepared for his current career by sampling a wide assortment of other jobs first. His website (www.joenickell.com) lists more than one hundred and fifty personas, including former and current jobs and interests. By learning as much as possible on an array of topics, he compiled a broad base of information to draw from as an investigator. Among this vast list of careers and hobbies are sign-maker, stunt man, professional stage magician and resident magician at the Houdini Magical Hall of Fame, private investigator for a world famous detective agency whose name he does not publicize, carnival pitchman, blackjack dealer, riverboat manager, gold prospector, writing instructor, handwriting expert, historical document consultant, photographer, antique dealer, calligrapher, academic with a Ph.D in English focusing on literary investigation, teacher, and of course, perpetual student.
Before moving to New York, Nickell was a resident of Kentucky where he became an honorary Kentucky Colonel. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in 1987 and is the author or coauthor of Inquest on the Shroud of Turin; Crime Science: Methods of Forensic Detection; Pen, Ink & Evidence; Detecting Forgery: Forensic Investigation of Documents; Real-Life X-Files: Investigating the Paranormal; The Mystery Chronicles: More Real-Life X-Files; The Kentucky Mint Julep; Unsolved History: Investigating Mysteries of the Past; Camera Clues: A Handbook for Photographic Investigation; Relics of the Christ, and his current book, Real or Fake? Studies in Authentication, among others.
Nickell currently holds the position of senior research fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), an international scientific organization. Nickell serves on the committee's executive council and on the editorial board of its magazine, The Skeptical Inquirer, for whom he also writes the column
"Investigative Files." In his work, he has uncovered hoaxes, solved mysteries, detected forgeries, and authenticated treasures.
A frequent guest expert, Nickell has appeared on such television programs as
"Dateline NBC," "20/20," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," and "Larry King Live." His document work was featured in Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s edition of The Bondswoman's Narrative, and Nickell himself was the subject of a lengthy profile in The New Yorker by Burkhard Bilger in December 2002.