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Joe Nickell

Joe Nickell (born December 1, 1944) is a prominent skeptical investigator of the paranormal. He also works as an historical document consultant[1] and has helped expose such famous forgeries as the purported diary of Jack the Ripper. In 2002 he was one of a number of experts asked by scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to evaluate for authenticity the manuscript of Hannah Crafts' The Bondwoman's Narrative (1853–1860), possibly the first novel by an African-American woman.[2]

Nickell is Senior Research Fellow for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) and writes regularly for their journal, the Skeptical Inquirer. He is also an associate dean of the Center for Inquiry Institute. He is the author or editor of numerous books.[3]

Early life and educationEdit

Nickell holds B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Kentucky. His Ph.D. is in English for graduate work focusing on literary investigation and folklore.[4][5]


Nickell has worked professionally as a stage magician, carnival pitchman, private detective, blackjack dealer, riverboat manager, university instructor, author, and paranormal investigator, as well as listing over 200 "personas" on his website.

Nickell has evaluated manuscripts and written works for authenticity, including the purported diary of Jack the Ripper (which he helped to reveal as a forgery), and Hannah Crafts' mid-nineteenth century novel The Bondwoman's Narrative, whose authenticity he supported.

The protagonist of the 2007 horror film The Reaping is loosely based on Joe Nickell. He was brought onto the set to consult with actress Hilary Swank.[6][7]

Public and media appearancesEdit

Nickell is frequently consulted by news and television producers for his skeptical opinion.[8][9][10] He was profiled by The New Yorker.[11][12] Nickell is a recurring guest on Point of Inquiry, and conducts the annual Houdini Seance at the Center for Inquiry every Halloween.[13]

Nickell has appeared on the following national TV shows[14]:


Nickell received the 2004 Isaac Asimov Award from the American Humanist Association and was a co-recipient of the 2005 Robert P. Balles Prize in Critical Thinking, awarded by CSICOP, now called CSI.

He was also presented an award for promotion of science in popular media at the 3rd Annual Independent Investigative Group IIG Awards, held on May 18, 2009.[15]

In October 2011 asteroid 31451 (1999 CE10) was named JoeNickell in his honor by its discoverer James E. McGaha.[16]

Published worksEdit

  • Real or Fake, University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 2009.
  • Adventures in Paranormal Investigation, University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 2007.
  • Template:Cite book
  • Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures, University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 2006; with co-author Benjamin Radford.
  • Cronache del Misterio (Newton Compton editori: Rome, Italy; 2006).
  • Secrets of the Sideshows (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 2005).
  • The Mystery Chronicles: More Real-Life X-Files (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 2004).
  • The Kentucky Mint Julep (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 2003).
  • Real-Life X-Files: Investigating the Paranormal (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 2001).
  • Investigating the Paranormal (Barnes & Noble Books: New York; 2004).
  • Crime Science: Methods of Forensic Detection (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 1999; with co-author John F. Fischer).
  • The UFO Invasion: The Roswell Incident, Alien Abductions, and Government Coverups (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1997; co-edited with Kendrick Frazier and Barry Karr).
  • The Outer Edge: Classic Investigations of the Paranormal (CSICOP: Amherst, NY; 1996, co-edited with Barry Karr and Tom Genoni).
  • Detecting Forgery: Forensic Investigation of Documents (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 1996, 2005).
  • Entities: Angels, Spirits, Demons, and Other Alien Beings (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1995).
  • Camera Clues: A Handbook for Photographic Investigation (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 1994, 2005).
  • Psychic Sleuths: ESP and Sensational Cases (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1994).
  • Looking for a Miracle: Weeping Icons, Relics, Stigmata, Visions and Healing Cures (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1993, 1998).
  • Mysterious Realms: Probing Paranormal, Historical, and Forensic Enigmas (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1992; with John F. Fischer).
  • Missing Pieces: How to Investigate Ghosts, UFOs, Psychics, and Other Mysteries (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1992; with Robert A. Baker).
  • Unsolved History: Investigating Mysteries of the Past (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 1992, 2005).
  • Wonder-Workers! How They Perform the Impossible (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1991).
  • Pen, Ink, and Evidence: A Study of Writing and Writing Materials for the Penman, Collector, and Document Detective (Oak Knoll Books: New Castle, DE; 1990, 2000, 2003).
  • The Magic Detectives: Join Them in Solving Strange Mysteries (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1989).
  • Secrets of the Supernatural: Investigating the World's Occult Mysteries (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1988, 1991; with John F. Fischer).
  • Inquest on the Shroud of Turin: Latest Scientific Findings (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1983, 1998).


External linksEdit

Template:Persondatafr:Joe Nickell nl:Joe Nickell

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