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The Mystery Chronicles: More Real-Life X-Files Hardcover – April 23, 2004

3.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this sequel to The Real-Life X-Files: Investigating the Paranormal (2001), Nickell, a senior research fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), collects 41 short pieces sure to please skeptics. On the other hand, believers drawn by the "X-Files" in the subtitle and the paranormal category label may be dismayed to discover that the author provides rational, often mundane explanations for such phenomena as crop circles, the Nazca lines in Peru, the shroud of Turin, the Winchester mystery house, various ghosts and haunted houses, spiritualism, voodoo and much more. In straightforward, understated prose, Nickell describes frauds, deceptions and instances of superstition among vulnerable and gullible victims, some of which he exposed by covert investigations. Those looking for further reading on these topics will welcome the reference lists at the end of each chapter.
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From Booklist

Nickell is a hands-on skeptic, who prefers to visit the scene of a good mystery, testing for trickery among the psychics, or tramping around in the swamps looking for monsters. When he can't visit a site personally, he makes a reasonable effort to research the facts of the case and engage in critical speculation. His varied work experience as a private investigator, forensic document analyst, stage magician, carnival pitchman, and English professor gives him credibility as a hard-nosed researcher and writer. This sequel to his Real-Life X-Files (2001) is a compilation of 41 investigative reports, most of which have appeared in issues of the Skeptical Inquirer magazine. Some of the mysteries he chronicles (and, for the most part, finds explanations for) are supposed hauntings such as the "Amityville horror" in New York and the ghost of voodoo queen Marie Laveau in New Orleans. Nickell considers himself an investigator rather than a debunker, so this is no slash-and-burn diatribe against true believers; however, the book does offer some cautionary tales that uncritical paranormalists should take to heart. George Eberhart
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky (April 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813123186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813123189
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,171,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
For anybody who likes reading Joe's "Investigative Files" column in Skeptical Inquirer magazine (the I only reason I read it), this book is a much better investment than a subscription. I can't wait for the next volume.

Contents of this book:

1) Mystery of the Nazca Lines

2) The Fiery Specter

3) The Exorcist: The Case Behind the Movie

4) The "Goatsucker" Attack

5) Undercover Among the Spirits: Investigating Camp Chesterfield

6) Alien Hybrid?

7) Image of Guadalupe: Myth-perception

8) Human Blowtorch

9) Remotely Viewed? The Charlie Jordan Case

10) Amityville: the Horror of it All

11) Sideshow! Investigating Carnival Oddities and Illusions

12) "Mothman" Solved! Investigating on Site

13) Relics of the Headless Saint

14) Circular Reasoning: Crop Circles and Their "Orbs" of Light

15) Zanzibar Demon

16) Winchester Mystery House

17) Voodoo in New Orleans

18) Secrets of the Voodoo Tomb

19) A Case of Spontaneous Human Combustion Demystified

20) Tracking the Swamp Monsters

21) John Edward: Talking to the Dead?

22) Scandals and Follies of the "Holy Shroud"

23) "Pyramid Power" in Russia

24) Diagnosing the "Medical Intuitives"

25) Alien Abductions as Sleep-Related Phenomena

26) "Visitations": After-Death Contacts

27) The Sacred Cloth of Oviedo

28) A Typical Aries?

29) The Case of the Psychic Shamus: Do Psychics Really Help Solve Crimes?

30) The Pagan Stone

31) Benny Hinn: Healer or Hypnotist?
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
The Mystery Chronicles is a collection of 41 reports on a wide range of different mysteries and paranormal occurances, many of them quite well-known, thanks to other books with titles like "Great Mysteries" or "The Greatest Unsolved Mysteries" -- you know what I mean. (In fact, if I didn't know the author, I would have dismissed this book as yet another one of those books because of its sensational-looking cover.)

What sets this book apart from the rest is that the author Joe Nickell is well-qualified to investigate these mysteries with his skills in private investigation and professional magic. Best of all, he has personally gone down to many of the mystery sites to experience first-hand the mysteries for himself, rather than relying solely on second-hand information. Many of those experiences have been detailed in the book.

Each report forms a chapter, and most of them are quite short (around 5 pages), with only a few exceeding 10 pages. They are not linked nor arranged in any particular order (as far as I can tell). Each report ends with a list of references -- I doubt it's necessary for most readers, but it lends credibility to the author.

Although the inclusion of the references does make the book appear academic (in contrast to the cover design), the writing style is hardly so. On top being easy to read, the book is well-illustrated with photographs/illustrations. Along with the mostly-short chapters, this book is just perfect for the busy reader.

For those who don't know the author, Joe Nickell is a skeptic, and the conclusions of his reports will not helpful (nor welcome) for those who prefer to believe in those mysteries. For those who are open-minded, this book will prove to be a great eye-opener. For the hard-core skeptic, there's nothing new here, but still a good read.
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Format: Hardcover
Self-taught paranormal investigator Joe Nickell's new book The Mystery Chronicles is sub-titled "More Real Life X-Files" with good reason: it includes over three dozen mysteries in supernatural X-file style, with powerful documentation of solutions and focus on some of Nickell's most significant cases, from crop circles to New Orleans voodoo. There are scientific explanations for seemingly paranormal happenings: Nickell's inquires expose these underlying truths, while his background as a scientific researcher exposing paranormal events lends credence and authority to a fine investigative study.
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