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Adventures in Paranormal Investigation Hardcover – November 9, 2007


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Adventures in Paranormal Investigation + Real-Life X-Files: Investigating the Paranormal + The Mystery Chronicles: More Real-Life X-Files
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky (November 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813124670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813124674
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,301,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nickell, a senior research fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (Real-Life X-Files), relates short anecdotes about 40 years spent searching for the truth behind stories of psychic abilities, alien encounters, faith healing and other paranormal phenomena. As a former stage magician, private investigator and folklorist, Nickell has the right skills to separate truth from confabulation. Blurry photographs of ghosts said to haunt a historic Louisiana plantation or the gas chamber at Dachau are explained as photographic errors, if not outright fakery. Sightings of ghosts or religious figures in burnt tortillas most likely result from pareidolia, the ability to find shapes in random patterns like clouds. But Nickell's no-nonsense style fails to brings his stories to life. Confusion results from widely separated discussions of seemingly similar phenomena and from the inclusion of nonparanormal topics such as Jack the Ripper, the possible historical sources for Frankenstein and the fake cancer drug Laetrile. Finally, details are lacking on Nickell's Ghostly Encounters Questionnaire, which he claims shows that those who experience paranormal events have fantasy-prone personalities. Nickell's work is fascinating, but one wishes he were better at describing it. 68 photos. (Nov.)
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Review

"Joe Nickell has done his usual brilliant work here in the fields of scientific and skeptical investigation that, really, no one else does better." -- Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, contributing editor to Scient



""[Nickell] has an adventurous spirit tempered with an analytical mind. The result is a book that casts a rational light on phenomena that have frightened and bewildered people for generations." " -- Kentucky Monthly



""Nickell's writing style is direct and clear, and the illustrations are relevant and useful."" -- Choice



""The broad range of topics and up-to-date sources make this a definite read for believers and skeptics alike."" -- Dan Harms, Library Journal.com



""In this book - his latest of many - he offers a delightful but definite debunking of some of the paranormal's most-beloved creatures, enigmas, misunderstood occurrences, and mysteries.... 'Adventures in Paranormal Investigation' is a great book, mostly because Nickell isn't a bit stuffy in his chase for truth." " -- TAPS Paramagazine

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By William Holmes VINE VOICE on August 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Adventures in Paranormal Investigation" is the latest collection of Joe Nickell's investigative essays from "The Skeptical Inquirer" magazine. Previous volumes include "Real Life X-Files: Investigating the Paranormal," and "The Mystery Chronicles: More Real Life X-Files."

Many skeptics approach the paranormal with a condescending and even insulting tone, implying that those who believe in paranormal phenomena are stupid or venal or both. Not surprisingly, it's awfully hard to get someone to agree with you if you begin or end your argument by insulting them. Nickell avoids this mistake, and he makes a serious effort to evaluate and test claims about hauntings, UFOs, alien abductions, ghost towns, Roswell, the Nasca lines, ghost ships, bleeding statues, crops circles, crystal skulls and a whole host of other pseudoscientifc "mysteries." Generally speaking, Nickell is not too hard on the people he disagrees with, with the exception of fraudulent psychics and healers who use "cold reading" and other unscrupulous methods to separate grieving or injured people from their money.

True believers probably aren't going to be convinced by this book, but for the most part they won't be put off by it either. Skeptics, on the other hand, will learn to think about unexpected phenomena in new and different ways. This book will give the card-carrying skeptic some new insights that will make those cocktail party conversations with "true believers" even more entertaining.

If you enjoy this sort of "gentle but insightful" skepticism, you may want to pick up some of Nickell's other books--among my favorites are "Unsolved History" (an updated version of "Ambrose Bierce is Missing"), "Secrets of the Supernatural," and "Entities: Angels, Spirits, Demons, and Other Alien Beings." In the same spirit (so to speak) are Brian Dunning's "Skeptoid: Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena" and his ongoing "Skeptoid" podcasts.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bloomsbury on June 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Another fascinating collection from Joe Nickell. His background as a magician, private investigator & folklorist gives him the necessary skills to investigate paranormal events.

Nickell is refreshing in that he looks at all the facts before making a decision on the case, rather than attempting to squeeze the facts into a pre-existing hypothesis as so many authors do. This is a problem with authors on both sides of the paranormal fence.

My only quibble is that I would have liked all the cases to be longer. Many of the chapters would have benefited from more detail, & fuller descriptions of Nickell's investigative experiments.

A good addition to anyone's collection of books on the paranormal.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K12mom on March 12, 2015
Format: Audible Audio Edition
There are skeptics and then there are folks who understand the importance of experience . I only made it though half this book. Essentially a review of data that supports Nickell's viewpoint and world view this book was not what I thought I was purchasing. Just because some thing can be faked does not mean it is. After extensive reading over the last 20 years about the paranormal and experiencing it firsthand I was surprised by a book with such a decidedly limited ability to understand that science is not about failing to acknowledge that which we do not understand. The first chapter set the tone and went down hill from there. One night at one location that claims some paranormal activity does not prove paranormal phenomenon is fake or a product of human subconscious run amok. What a disappointment and waste of money .
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jonathon R. Howard on December 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A great, if brief, collection of Mr. Nickell's studies of various paranormal happenings across the globe in the service of Skeptical Inquirer Magazine. The book will not convince true believers of their errors but skeptics will find his tales light and entertaining reading. Several times I would have liked a more thorough study or investigation done, or perhaps more of the author's thoughts and insights... I guess we'll have to wait for Mr. Nickell's next "real" book for that!
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Gaubert on September 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr. Nickell once again takes on the forces of ignorance, superstition, and gullibility in his usual deliberate and easily-understandable fashion. Highly recommended!
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More About the Author

Joe Nickell has been called "the modern Sherlock Holmes." Since 1995 he has been the world's only full-time, professional, science-based paranormal investigator. His careful, often innovative investigations have won him international respect in a field charged with controversy.

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