Written by Joe Nickell
Release date: October 24, 2001
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 miraculous. 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.
Nickell is no armchair skeptic. In order to debunk paranormal claims effectively, he knows it's not enough to make ill-informed pronouncements from a distance. In this collection of articles reprinted from Skeptical Inquirer magazine, Nickell does excellent background research, which he follows up in many cases with on-site investigations of mysteries ranging from crop circles and lake monsters to spiritualist mediums and stigmata. His previous forensic experience as a private investigator is put to good use when he looks into apparent spontaneous human combustion. He tackles the mysterious and elusive treasure of Nova Scotia's Oak Island--the "money pit"--and concludes that it is a natural formation and that Masonic groups may have had a hand in planting some confusing artifacts. Some of his targets are little more than curiosities, such as Magnetic Hill, where cars seemingly roll uphill, or the giant Coleman frog, which is rather obviously a manufactured model. Others seem more worthy of deconstruction, like mysterious faces appearing on rose petals, spirit paintings, and Fox-TV's famous alien autopsy film. George Eberhart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"Nickell does excellent background research, which he follows up in many cases with on-site investigations of mysteries ranging from crop circles and lake monsters to spiritualist mediums and stigmata." -- Booklist
"Examines forty-seven paranormal cases, ranging from a supposedly petrified girl buried in eastern Kentucky, to spontaneous human combustion, to UFO visitations, to auras, to stigmata, to haunted houses, to ghostly photos, to police psychics, to communicating with the dead." -- Ozarks Mountaineer
"Whoever said that the truth is both stranger and more entertaining than fiction describes this book exactly." -- Skeptical Inquirer
"It may not be as fun as being fooled, but it's refreshing to see an experienced professional who has investigated hundreds of alleged paranormal occurrences.... A fascinating book." -- WTBF
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky; 1ST edition (October 24, 2001)
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