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Entities Hardcover – March 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; 1St Edition edition (March 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879759615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879759612
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,060,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joe Nickell (Amherst, NY) has been called "the modern Sherlock Holmes" and "the real-life Scully" (from the X-Files). He has been on the trail of man-beasts and other mysterious creatures and phenomena for four decades. Since 1995 he has been the world’s only fulltime, professional, science-based paranormal investigator. His careful, often innovative investigations have won him international respect in a field charged with controversy. He is the author of numerous books, including most recently Real or Fake? Studies in Authentication and Adventures in Paranormal Investigation. See www.joenickell.com for more.

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.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Stefan Isaksson on October 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Joe Nickell isn't just a member of CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal). He's also a former detective and stage magician, and in paranormal circles he's known as a diehard skeptic who prefers to base his research on first-hand investigations. This latter quality becomes very evident in Entities, where he personally carries out a large number of investigations. On more than one occasion during the reading you'll find a section where it's mentioned how this or that case for a long time has remained forgotten. Until Nickell finds out about it, that is. And after investigating it he always comes to the same conclusion: there is no such thing as the paranormal; everything can be explained using traditional scientific methods and rationality, it's just misinterpretations, hoaxes, and so on.

The book deals with, just as the title says, all kinds of possible and impossible "beings", from poltergeists and ghosts to angels, demons, spirit entities, lake monsters, extraterrestrials, and much more. On page after page, Nickell demonstrates how even the most outrageous reports can be explained without using anything paranormal whatsoever, and he uses tons of different sources to back up his claims. For example, chapter two, which deals with ghosts and haunted houses, is 33 pages long with a total of 100 footnotes. Not only that, each chapter ends with a list of recommended reading for anyone interested in pursuing his or her own research.

But I had a real problem with this book, the meticulous research aside. It completely lacks unexplained cases. Every time Nickell, for instance, cannot find a definite explanation to an alleged haunted house or encounter with an extraterrestrial he simply concludes that it was all imagination or a hoax.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I know, “Entities” isn't Joe Nickells newest (it's almost 20 years old, by now), best or most important book. But as I just happened to have lend it from my local library and read it, and it is still available for kindle, I might as well review it. And, I am afraid, the review will not turn out too favorable.
The book argues – as Nickell's mentor Robert A. Baker summarizes in the afterword – that entities like ghosts, spirits, poltergeists, devils, demons, angels, aliens, monsters, and fairies “all are human products”, “produced by the ever-active, image-creating human mind.” Well this is a clear-cut position, worth being argued for, given all the nonsense, myths, and credulity surrounding such purported “entities”. It certainly is a noble pursuit to inject a heavy counterdose of critical thinking and sober information into the discussion. Alas, Nickell's attempt to do so, soon becomes morally dubious, or – to be more precise: – hypocritical.
Let me explain how I come to this rather harsh judgment: I am in no way an “expert” on the subject of poltergeist phenomena, but I have read enough on them – beginning with Gauld/Cornell's classic casebook, over Thurston, Owen, Roll, Rogo, to several eyewitness accounts –, to see that Nickell's handling of the topic is highly inadequate and selective. He tends to ignore or facilely dismiss any evidence that may contradict or impede a naturalistic explanation, while rhetorically conflating all evidence that proves or suggests fraud and illusion, and generalizing from them to the whole phenomenon. It's a blatant case of cherry-picking. And he is using similar strategies throughout the book.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an update to my review from 2004.

Ten years later, I've gone over this book again, it's not bad. It offers a brief overview of many different paranormal "creatures" but doesn't go into a lot of detail about anything in particular. I thought the best sections were the ones on spiritualism in the 1800's (the Fox sisters in particular), the sections on the cottingley fairy photograhs, and the alien abduction section. The book does get a little bit repetive in the middle concerning ghosts/haunted houses... that type of stuff. It seems to drag in that section.

I'm not an atheist anymore, I belive in Christ now, but that doesn't lessen my enjoyment of Joe Nickel's book Entities. I wouldn't say this book debunks religion, nor is it the aim of the other to debunk religion. At the very least, it's an informative look at false beliefs and other things on the fringe. In that regard, it's a useful resource.
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