For my Small-Press Books, click here; for Books Contributed To, click here.
Click on the book cover or the title to purchase the book at the publisher's website
American Hauntings: The True Stories Behind Hollywood's Scariest Movies --- from The Exorcist to The Conjuring (Praeger: Santa Barbara, CA ; 2015; with co-author Robert E. Bartholomew). In-depth analysis of the evidence behind each of seven major cases. Michael Shermer calls the authors "the world's foremost ghostbusters.". 172 pp.
The Science of Miracles: Investigating the Incredible (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 2013). The definitive treatise on miracles from a scientific viewpoint. (Selected by the BBC's Focus magazine as its science book of the month for June 2013.) Well illustrated. 450 pp.
The Science of Ghosts: Searching for Spirits of the Dead (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 2012). The first comprehensive, consistently science-based, book-length treatment of ghosts, including the haunting impulse, worldwide hauntings, communicating with the dead, and ghost hunting. Well illustrated. 290 pp.
CSI Paranormal: Investigating Strange Mysteries (Inquiry Press: Amherst, NY; 2012). A manual for investigation, discussing methodology and evidence, logic, ethical concerns, investigative strategies, and more, including the application of forensics and "fauxrensics," plus numerous case studies. 151 pp.
Tracking the Man-Beasts: Sasquatch, Vampires, Zombies, and More. (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; March 2011). An investigation A-Z (Abominable Snowman to Zombies) of the historical, geographical, and cultural ranges of various "manimals" and other creatures that are more or less in man's image
Real or Fake: Studies in Authentication (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 2009). A textbook and casebook focusing on how to authenticate -- or not! -- documents (like the Jack the Ripper diary), photographs (e.g. an "Emily Dickenson" one), and other artifacts (such as an alleged Jefferson Davis musket), with case studies from the author's own investigations.
Treatise on Relics by John Calvin; introduction by Joe Nickell. (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 2009). Includes a brief life of Calvin, a discussion of Calvinism, a critique of Calvin's Treatise on Relics, and an investigative look at the Christian relics themselves, from the perspective of modern scholarship and science.
The Jesus Relics: From the Holy Grail to the Turin Shroud (History Press: Gloucestershire, UK; 2008). British edition of Relics of the Christ (2007), published in hard cover (with illustrations grouped in a central insert and the type reset).
Adventures in Paranormal Investigation (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 2007). Like Real Life X-Files and The Mystery Chronicles, a casebook of hands-on paranormal investigations: snake charmers, castle legends, crystal skulls, Jack the Ripper, a Russian girl with x-ray eyes, a haunted gas chamber at Dachau, and dozens more -- from alien abductions to zoological enigmas.
Relics of the Christ (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 2007). A thoroughgoing study of Christian relics, notably those attributed to Jesus (like the Shroud of Turin, the Holy Grail, the True Cross), but also the multiple heads of John the Baptist, the "miraculous" blood of St. Januarius, and the controversial James Ossuary.
Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 2006; with co-author Benjamin Radford). Wide-ranging, in-depth study of purported creatures at Loch Ness, Lake Champlain, and elsewhere by two intrepid cryptozoologists; includes their expedition -- with National Geographic Television -- to Lake Okanagan, British Columbia, in search of the fabled "Ogopogo."
Cronache del Misterio (Newton Compton editori: Rome, Italy; 2006). Italian translation of The Mystery Chronicles (2004), published in paperback (complete with all photographs and the foreword by James Randi).
Secrets of the Sideshows (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 2005, 2008). A behind-the-scenes look at the secrets of sideshow acts and exhibits, including revealing details of the personal lives of those billed as freaks. Explains fire eating, sword swallowing, and other feats, as well as illusions such as the metamorphosis of "Atasha the Gorilla Girl" and various "gaffed" (faked) exhibits.
The Mystery Chronicles: More Real-Life X-Files (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 2004). A second collection of first-hand investigations of paranormal enigmas, including Mothman, Psychic Sleuths, the Amityville Horror, exorcisms, voodoo, talking with the dead, medical intuitives, fortean phenomena, swamp monsters, pyramid power, etc. Foreword by famed magician and paranormal investigator James Randi.
Investigating the Paranormal (Barnes and Noble Books: New York; 2004). Barnes and Noble Books' own bargain edition of the author's Real-Life X-Files -- slightly smaller in size but otherwise identical in text and photographs.
The Kentucky Mint Julep (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 2003). A witty and informative look at Kentucky's signature drink -- complete with history, lore, and recipes, including "Colonel Nickell's Perfect Julep." (The author is an honorary Kentucky Colonel.)
Real-Life X-Files: Investigating the Paranormal (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 2001). Hands-on investigations for the Committee for the Scientific Investigations of Claims of the Paranormal, including alleged hauntings, UFO visitations, spontaneous human combustion, crop circles, and other cases investigated with the intent of solving the mysteries rather than promoting or dismissing them.
Entities: Angels, Spirits, Demons, and Other Alien Beings (Japan Anti-Pseudoscience Activities Network: Japan; 2000). Japanese translation of Entities (1995), published in paperback with some added illustrations.
Crime Science: Methods of Forensic Detection (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 1999; with co-author John F. Fischer). A comprehensive guide to forensics, with each subject -- fingerprinting, firearms, etc. -- illustrated by the study of a famous case on that topic; used as a textbook at Johns Hopkins University and elsewhere. Features the Atlanta child murders, the O.J. Simpson case, the death of Marilyn Monroe, the Lindbergh Kidnapping, and other controversial cases.
The UFO Invasion: The Roswell Incident, Alien Abductions, and Government Coverups (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1997; co-edited with Kendrick Frazier and Barry Karr). Examination of flying saucers, crop circles, extraterrestrial contacts, and other claims of alien life. Nickell's own contributions include discussions of the "alien autopsy" hoax, crop circle mania, fantasy proneness in cases of alleged alien abductions, and a UFO "dogfight."
The Outer Edge: Classic Investigations of the Paranormal (CSICOP: Amherst, NY; 1996, co-edited with Barry Karr and Tom Genoni). Anthology of strange cases investigated by the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, including near-death experiences, firewalking, "moon madness," Sasquatch footprints, fortunetelling, and more.
Detecting Forgery: Forensic Investigation of Documents (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 1996, 2005). Complimenting the author's Pen, Ink, and Evidence, a textbook on questioned-document examination with information on scientific tests as well as historical information on famous forgers and their deceptions. Discusses selecting exemplars, comparing handwriting and typewriting, identifying disguised writing, detecting forgeries, and much more.
Entities: Angels, Spirits, Demons, and Other Alien Beings (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1995). An in-depth study of alleged paranormal beings, from the Abominable Snowman to zombies; includes discussions of such phenomena as hauntings, poltergeist disturbances, demonic attacks, Marian apparitions, alien abductions, monster sightings, and more. Afterword by noted psychologist Robert A. Baker.
Camera Clues: A Handbook for Photographic Investigation (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 1994, 2005). Guide to the identification and dating of old photos, photographic deceptions, forensic and paranormal photography, and more; intended for detectives, attorneys, reporters, historians, genealogists, photo archivists, paranormal researchers, and others.
Psychic Sleuths: ESP and Sensational Cases (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1994). Edited compendium of reports from a "task force" of experienced researchers -- private detectives, magicians, paranormal investigators -- each examining the claims of an alleged psychic crimebuster, such as Dorothy Allison, Peter Hurkos, and Noreen Renier. Afterword by psychologist James E. Alcock.
Looking for a Miracle: Weeping Icons, Relics, Stigmata, Visions and Healing Cures (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1993, 1998). A careful examination of the evidence relating to specific claims of the miraculous, including magical icons, speaking in tongues, snake handling, exorcism, visionary revelations at Fatima and Lourdes, etc.
Mysterious Realms: Probing Paranormal, Historical, and Forensic Enigmas (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1992; with John F. Fischer). Tantalyzing mysteries including the Beale Treasure, crashed-saucer documents, Piltdown skull, liquefying blood of St. Januarius, the Gray Lady's ghost, Oswald's "double," eyeless sight, and more.
Missing Pieces: How to Investigate Ghosts, UFOs, Psychics, and Other Mysteries (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1992; with Robert A. Baker). Manual for conducting paranormal investigations of every type, featuring usable tactics and techniques for getting at the truth; features rules of evidence, investigative strategies, case studies, psychology of belief, media tips, and much more. For the beginning or experienced paranormal investigator.
Unsolved History: Investigating Mysteries of the Past (University Press of Kentucky: Lexington, KY; 1992, 2005). Step-by-step investigations of historical enigmas, including the disappearance of writer Ambrose Bierce, the identity of a Nazi death-camp guard, questioned Daniel Boone artifacts, the mystery of the Nazca Lines, a questioned Lincoln letter, and several others (originally published as Ambrose Bierce is Missing and Other Historical Mysteries).
Wonder-Workers! How They Perform the Impossible (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1991). Revealed secrets of famous magicians, psychics, and mediums -- for young readers. Provides biographies and secrets of escape artist Harry Houdini, medium Daniel Home, "Sleeping Prophet" Edgar Cayce, mentalist Joseph Dunninger, etc.
Pen, Ink, and Evidence: A Study of Writing and Writing Materials for the Penman, Collector, and Document Detective (Oak Knoll Books: New Castle, DE; 1990, 2000, 2003). A detailed history of handwriting and its accouterments throughout history; "In a class by itself," according to Bookman's Weekly. Profusely illustrated with photographs of the author's collection (now at the University of Kentucky).
The Magic Detectives: Join Them in Solving Strange Mysteries (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1989). Thirty real paranormal cases, complete with clues that invite young readers to solve them, including The Haunted Stairs, The Amityville Horror, The Mummy's Curse, The Vanishing Olivers, The Idol of Bel, The Homing Coffin, etc. Explanations follow each case, printed upside down.
Secrets of the Supernatural: Investigating the World's Occult Mysteries (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1988, 1991; with John F. Fischer). A collection of case studies regarding such intriguing mysteries as spontaneous human combustion, mysterious disappearances, psychic prospecting, gem of death, the case of the "two Will Wests," phantom pictures, and the restless coffins of Barbados.
Inquest on the Shroud of Turin: Latest Scientific Findings (Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY; 1983, 1998). Updated edition of the authoritative book about the world's most controversial relic, believed by many to be Jesus' burial cloth; traces the historical, iconographic, forensic, physical, and chemical evidence, including the radiocarbon-dating tests. According to Science Books & Films, it "shows how 'paranormal' claims can and should be analyzed."