Cover image for The mystery chronicles : more real-life X-files
The mystery chronicles : more real-life X-files
Nickell, Joe.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lexington, Ky. : University Press of Kentucky, [2004]

Physical Description:
xvii, 360 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF1031 .N517 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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With a foreword by James Randi Paranormal investigator Joe Nickell has spent more than thirty years solving the world's most perplexing mysteries. This new casebook reveals the secrets of the Winchester Mystery House, the giant Nazca drawings of Peru, the Shroud of Turin, the "Mothman" enigma, the Amityville Horror house, the vicious goatsucking El Chupacabras, and numerous other "unexplainable" paranormal phenomena. Nickell has traveled far and wide to solve cases, which include a weeping icon in Russia, the elusive Bigfoot-like "yowie" in Australia, the reputed power of a headless saint in Spain, and an "alien hybrid" in Germany. He has gone undercover -- often in disguise -- to reveal the tricks of those who pretend to talk to the dead, accompanied a Cajun guide into a Louisiana swamp in search of a fabled monster, and gained an audience with a voodoo queen. Superstar psychic medium John Edward, pet psychic Sonya Fitzpatrick, evangelist and healer Benny Hinn, and many other well-known figures have found themselves under Nickell's careful scrutiny. The Mystery Chronicles examines more than three dozen intriguing mysteries. Nickell uses a hands-on approach and the scientific method to steer between the extremes of mystery mongering and debunking. His investigative skills have won him both acclaim and controversy during his long career as one of the world's foremost paranormal investigators.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

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-Files0 (2001) is a compilation of 41 investigative reports, most of which have appeared in issues of the Skeptical Inquirer0 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 Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. XI
Forewordp. XIII
Introductionp. XV
1 Mystery of the Nazca Linesp. 1
2 The Fiery Specterp. 10
3 The Exorcist: The Case Behind the Moviep. 14
4 The "Goatsucker" Attackp. 28
5 Undercover Among the Spirits: Investigating Camp Chesterfieldp. 31
6 Alien Hybrid?p. 46
7 Image of Guadalupe: Myth-perceptionp. 51
8 Human Blowtorchp. 56
9 Remotely Viewed? The Charlie Jordan Casep. 61
10 Amityville: The Horror of It Allp. 73
11 Sideshow! Investigating Carnival Oddities and Illusionsp. 78
12 "Mothman"' Solved! Investigating on Sitep. 93
13 Relics of the Headless Saintp. 100
14 Circular Reasoning: Crop Circles and Their "Orbs"' of Lightp. 115
15 Zanzibar Demonp. 124
16 Winchester Mystery Housep. 128
17 Voodoo in New Orleansp. 140
18 Secrets of the Voodoo Tombp. 152
19 A Case of "SHC" Demystifiedp. 162
20 Tracking the Swamp Monstersp. 165
21 John Edward: Talking to the Dead?p. 176
22 Scandals and Follies of the "Holy Shroud"p. 187
23 "Pyramid Power" in Russiap. 200
24 Diagnosing the "Medical Intuitives"p. 207
25 Alien Abductions as Sleep-Related Phenomenap. 218
26 "Visitations": After-Death Contactsp. 228
27 The Sacred Cloth of Oviedop. 241
28 A Typical Aries?p. 248
29 The Case of the Psychic Shamus: Do Psychics Really Help Solve Crimes?p. 252
30 The Pagan Storep. 258
31 Benny Hinn: Healer or Hypnotist?p. 261
32 Australia's Convict Ghostsp. 271
33 Psychic Pets and Pet Psychicsp. 277
34 Cryptids "Down Under"p. 289
35 Joseph Smith: A Matter of Visionsp. 296
36 In Search of Fisher's Ghostp. 304
37 Ghostly Portents in Moscowp. 311
38 Mystique of the Octagon Housesp. 315
39 Weeping Iconsp. 324
40 Spiritualists Gravep. 331
41 Incredible Stories: Charles Fort and His Followersp. 335
Indexp. 341