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Joe Nickell, Ph.D. (University of Kentucky, 1987), is Senior Research Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) - an international scientific organization - and investigative columnist for Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

A former professional stage magician (he was Resident Magician at the Houdini Magical Hall of Fame for three years) and private investigator for a world-famous detective agency, Dr. Nickell taught technical writing for several years at the University of Kentucky before taking the full-time position with CSI at its offices at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, New York.

Utilizing his varied background, Nickell has become widely known as an investigator of myths and mysteries, frauds, forgeries, and hoaxes. He has been called "the modern Sherlock Holmes," "the original ghost buster," and "the real-life Scully" (from "The X-Files" ). He has investigated scores of haunted-house cases, including the Amityville Horror and the Mackenzie House in Toronto, Canada. Nickell was an inspiration for Hilary Swank's role as a miracle investigator in The Reaping (2007).


Nickell is the author (co-author or editor) of more than twenty books, including Inquest on the Shroud of Turin (1983, 1998); Secrets of the Supernatural (with John F. Fischer, 1988, 1991); The Magic Detectives (1989); Pen, Ink, and Evidence (1990, 2000, 2003); Wonder-Workers! (1991); Ambrose Bierce Is Missing (1992); Missing Pieces (with Robert A. Baker, 1992); Mysterious Realms (1992); Looking for a Miracle (1993, 1998); Psychic Sleuths (1994); Camera Clues (1994); Entities (1995); Detecting Forgery (1996); The Outer Edge (1996); The UFO Invasion (1997); Crime Science (1999); Real-Life X-Files: Investigating the Paranormal (2001); The Kentucky Mint Julep (2003); The Mystery Chronicles (2004); Secrets of the Sideshows (2005); and Lake Monster Mysteries (with Benjamin Radford, 2006), Relics of the Christ (2007), Adventures in Paranormal Investigation (2007), Real or Fake (2009), and Tracking the Man-Beasts (2011).

Media Appearances

He has appeared on numerous national TV shows, including CNBC's "News with Brian Williams," "Dateline NBC," "TLC's Best Kept Secrets," "Larry King Live," "Oprah," "Ricki Lake," "Jerry Springer Show," "Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious Universe," "Unsolved Mysteries," "Politically Incorrect," "20/20," A&E's "The Unexplained," "48 Hours," and "Exploring the Unknown," in addition to several documentaries on the Discovery Channel (such as "The Science of Magic," "America's Haunted Houses," and the "Science Mysteries" series), History Channel, National Geographic Channel, and many others. Nickell has been profiled in the New Yorker magazine and on the Today show.

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