What people are saying about Joe Nickell



  • “He is the closest thing to it [James Randi’s possible successor], but I'm not sure he wants to take it on.” (James Randi, quoted in the 1997 book by Michael Clark, Reason to Believe: A Practical Guide to Psychic Phenomena, New York: Avon Books.)

  • “Keep up the great work! You may be preaching to the choir, but the choir loves it!” (Tom Gordon, letter to Nickell regarding an article, “Dr. Pierce: Medicine for ‘Weak Women,’” Skeptical Briefs Winter 2014/15.)

  • “Joe Nickell is one of the most prominent debunkers of purported miraculous or supernatural events in the country, maybe even in the world.” (Indre Viskontas, co-host, The Miracle Detectives, January 5, 2011.)

  • “To Dr. Joe Nickell, a great Skeptic, who may indeed evolve into a kinder, gentler version of Phil Klass [the UFO skeptic]!” (James Moseley, personal inscription dated 8-15-91 in his UFO Crash Secrets, 1991.)

  • [Note of thanks to Nickell for his] “Oscar winning performance during our filming visit. . . .” (Paul King, Researcher, BBC’s Science Mysteries series for Discovery, 1999.)

  • “Dr. Nickell is a rare specimen—a skeptic and a detective celebrity. He blends the great legacy of Carl Sagan with that of a Sherlock Holmes.” (Lukas Halim, president of Yale Skeptics, in press release for Nickell’s appearance at Yale where he gave a Master’s Tea at Silliman College, spoke to Yale Law School's Science and Technology Society, held a book signing for his Crime Science at the Yale Bookstore, etc.)

  • “International Skeptic Examines Local [Nova Scotia] Mysteries”: “Is the truth really out there? Do ghosts exist? Is there a treasure at Oak Island? One investigator of all things weird and wonderful spends his days examining these and other mysteries. Joe Nickell, senior research fellow for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, was in the area recently to examine the truth behind the Oak Island treasure.” (Kelly MacDonald, “Searching for the Truth,” The Bulletin and the Progress Enterprise, Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, July 7, 1999, p. 17.)

  • “Maritimers better lock up their ghosts and keep mum about that favourite aunt or uncle who died in the flames of spontaneous combustion. Professional skeptic Joe Nickell is touring the region this week and not a lake monster, a beloved specter or even the Oak Island treasure is safe from the penetrating glare of his cold, hard logic. Mr. Nickell, a former private detective turned paranormal investigator, was in Fredericton [New Brunswick] yesterday to address forensic experts at the annual meeting of the Canadian Identification Society.” (Chris Morris, Canadian Press, Fredericton, “Skeptic Shoots Holes in Martimes Tales,” The Globe and Mail, Toronto, June 30, 1999.)

  • “One of the foremost investigators in the country of miracles, psychic phenomena, pseudoscience, and extraterrestrial beings. . . .” (Program of the annual meeting of the Council of Biology Editors, Montreal, May 25, 1999.)

  • “There are a large number of fakes and frauds and misleading things out there, and we need somebody like (Nickell) to counter some of these misleading claims. He is an excellent speaker. He talks about his investigations. He will help people be more conscious about these things.” (Science professor Vic Zeller, Bristol Community College. Fall River, Massachusetts, in Penny Humphrey, “The Truth Is Out There,” The Herald News, March 27, 1998.)

  • “Nickell is the guy who debunked the Shroud of Turin, the reputed image of Jesus left on a burial cloth. As if to prove that his dedication to doubt is non-denominational, he spent last fall discrediting claims of milk-drinking statues in Hindu temples.” (Patrick Kurp, “Tain't So,” Daily Gazette, Schenectady, NY, April 2, 1996.)

  • “Joe Nickell is the nuts-and-bolts investigator, the one who tests claims of the paranormal and pseudoscience in the real world.” (Bob Ladendorf, “Nickell and the Mystery Mongers,” The REALL News, November 1998, p.5.)

  • “Paranormal investigator Joe Nickell made a valuable contribution to the field of photographic artifact [regarding ghosts] when he discovered, through experimentation and common sense, the camera cord effect.” (Robert Novella, “Photographic Fakery,” The New England Journal of Skepticism, winter 1998, pp. 3–5.)

  • “Joe Nickell knows all about hoaxes”—such as the Shroud of Turin. (Glenn Allen, “. . . It’s all a hoax . . . ,” The Express Times (Pennsylvania, March 29, 1998.)

  • “A weeping Mary? . . . Enter Buffalo investigator Joe Nickell, armed with his weeping icon kit. . . . Nickell scraped the droplets off. . . and gave samples to the Metropolitan Toronto Police Fraud Squad for testing. He said the substance clearly had been applied to the surface, and appeared to be oil” [as was later confirmed]. (Anastasia Kudrez, “Crying foul,” The Buffalo News, August 29, 1997.)

  • Regarding Dorothy Allison, “self-proclaimed psychic”: “Joe Nickell, the editor of ‘Psychic Sleuths’ (Prometheus Books, 1994) . . . describes her as a well-intentioned fraud whose compensation comes from her celebrity and her lucrative talk-show appearances. . . . Ms. Allison, meanwhile, dismisses her critics with a vulgar epithet and a wave of her hand.” (Dan Berry, “The N.Y.P.D.’s Psychic Friend,” The New York Times, July 21, 1997.)

  • Joe Nickell’s Ambrose Bierce Is Missing and Other Historical Mysteries (1992) “is a terrific collection of stories by a former private detective who knows that real mysteries are better than any concocted ones. . . . [a] marvelous book. . . .” (Dale L. Walker, review, Rocky Mountain News, June 16, 1996.)

  • “Super-skeptic and super-achiever Dr. Joe Nickell,” author of article on Ganesh idol drinking milk. (“Editor’s Page,” Indian Skeptic, July 1996, p. 3.)

  • “Nickell and I met in the early 1980s when we were graduate students pursuing degrees in English Literature [at the University of Kentucky]. . . . He’s a fascinating guy: a former private eye and, like [James] Randi, a former stage magician. . . . Joe’s made a name for himself as a professional skeptic, a term he insists upon as opposed to debunker.” (Religion writer and minister Paul Prather, author of Modern-Day Miracles: How Ordinary People Experience Supernatural Acts of God, 1996, 46–49.)

  • [Regarding Nickell’s criticism], “Nickell can p*** off. The man knows nothing. They [sic] are absolutely useless, these people. They are just expressing their own stupidity and laziness in not doing proper research.” (Guy Lyon Playfair, Enfield Poltergeist believer, quoted in Michael Hodges, radiotimes.com, May 3, 2015.)

  • “Joe Nickell, the ‘skeptic’s skeptic’” (Tom Flynn, “Introducing a New Publication,” Freethought in Action 1:1 [spring 2015], 1.)

  • “. . . One of my all time fav characters from the skeptic movement—paranormal investigator Joe Nickell.” (Chris Mooney, “The Intersection” (Discover Magazine blog), January 22, 2011.

  • “Our indefatigable Senior Research Fellow Joe Nickell takes on a claim in our cover story that goes back centuries . . .: the bizarre notion that William Shakespeare didn’t actually write the plays and poems attributed to him. If it seems to readers that Nickell has expertise in almost everything, they may be right. In this case his PhD in English Literature and his experience with claims about literary fraud serve him well. But this is not a stuffy academic paper. It’s a fresh, readable, and fun look at how anti-Stratfordian pseudoscholars examine data ‘through the looking glass,’ twisting all reason, logic, and evidence to see what they want to see.” (Kendrick Frazier, “From the Editor,” Skeptical Inquirer 25:6, Nov./Dec. 2011, p4.)

  • “The admirable Skeptical Inquirer magazine arrives from America, containing a splendid article by Joe Nickell demolishing the many bonkers theories about who actually wrote the works of Shakespeare. It couldn’t be better timed, as the film Anonymous, recently released, claims they were written by the Earl of Oxford.” (Simon Hoggart, The Guardian, Nov. 25, 2011.)

  • “. . . our [Center for Inquiry’s] world-renowned investigator, Joe Nickell. . . .” (Ronald A. Lindsay, then CFI’s CEO, in Skeptical Inquirer, September/October, 2015.)

  • “Joe Nickell, Homo sapiens skepticsiensis.” (Loren Coleman, cryptomundo website, 2010.)

  • “Joe Nickell, paranormal investigator extraordinaire.” (Bo Gardiner, Patheos blog, May 31, 2015.)

  • CFI’s “chief hitman and serial cherry picker Joe Nickell, in whose opinion I am a ‘crank author on paranormal subjects.’” (Guy Lyon Playfair, Skeptical About Skeptics website, accessed 2016.)

  • “I watch you [Nickell] on the Bigfoot shows and Alien shows. . . . You suck, dude! You are a government troll if I’ve ever seen one! You are an idiot!” (Anonymous, answering-machine message, August 14, 2016.)

  • “I love Joe Nickell, both in person and in his articles. He blows reason into very diverse subjects including who wrote Shakespeare’s plays.” (William B. Davis, interview by Geoff Cowan, The Skeptic, Australia, March 2013.

  • “We [Joe Nickell and I] had a great talk and the man actually disdains armchair skeptics. . . . He’s just as curious about these mysteries as we are.” (Steve Kulls, on Second Annual Chautauqua Lake Bigfoot Expo; Sasquatchdetective’s Blog, May 7, 2013.)

  • "On the whole, I enjoyed Nickell's book [The Science of Ghosts, 2012] even though he refutes the existence of ghosts and refers to paranormal writers like myself as 'credulous ghost mongers.' Nickell's arguments raise a lot of interesting points even if they do take the fun out of spooky tales." ("Ghostghoul" at ghostsnghouls.com, April 4, 2013.)

  • "Featured Author: Joe Nickell on Historical Forgeries." Nickell's book Real or Fake(2009) is "Highly recommended for the historian's thought process. Clues reside in the strangest places: a turn of phrase, hairstyle, kind of stamp, anachronisms, as well as technical analysis of ink, paper, handwriting styles and more." (Charles Allan, Alkek Library News [online], Albert B. Alkek Library, Texas State University, March 5, 2013.)

  • Nickell's The Science of Miracles (2013) "is an entertaining, yet comprehensive and science-based investigation into the world of miracle claims." (Waterstones booksellers, UK [online at Waterstones.com].)

  • ". . . one of our most prolific and acclaimed authors." (Lisa Michalski, The Promethean, an e-newsletter of Prometheus Books, Issue 59: June 2013.)

  • ". . . Joe Nickell-a 'real' Private Eye and a better investigator than all of those named in this book." (Authors Robert A. Baker and Michael T. Nietzel, personal inscription to Joe Nickell in a copy of their Private Eyes: One Hundred And One Knights, A Survey of American Detective Fiction 1922-1984, Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1985.)

  • "[An] all-around awesome person. . . . While he didn't speak at this year's CFICon, I . . . .got a chance to speak with him in his office. . . . I was sad when it was over, and I would gladly talk to him again." (Avery, "The Ten Best Things About CFI's Student Leadership Conference," posted on Teen Skepchick, August 1, 2013.)

  • "It has been my great pleasure to have worked with this recipient for several decades now, as both an esteemed colleague and as a fellow Fellow of CSI, and to continue to be amazed, even awe-struck about his extraordinary investigative skills, deep knowledge, insight, scholarliness, professionalism, fairness and literary productivity. . . . Both in the quality and quantity of his investigations and writings, he is a wonder, a true national treasure-international treasure really, because he investigates and is read everywhere he goes around the world. . . ." (Kendrick Frazier, editor of Skeptical Inquirer, in presenting Nickell with the 2012 Robert P. Balles Annual Prize in Critical Thinking at the CFI Summit in Tacoma, Oct. 24-27, 2013.)

  • "Joe Nickell reopened this cold case [of the Flatwoods Monster in West Virginia, 1952] decades later, when he had a chance to visit the location and talk to some of the people involved who were still alive. . . . [H]is clever and painstaking investigation (he is the Sherlock Holmes of paranormal claims) reconstructed the story from a less extraterrestrial perspective, while accounting for every detail reported in the press or recalled by witnesses." (Massimo Pigliucci, Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2010, 72-74.)

  • "The Science of Miracles is the magnum opus of the world's top paranormal investigator. Joe Nickell provides us with a grand tour of the full range of claimed miracles, examining each case with an honest, unbiased scientific eye and making no prejudgments. He lets the evidence speak for itself." (Victor J. Stenger [author of God and the Atom], jacket blurb for Nickell's book, 2013.)

  • "In this book, some of the most incredible supposed miracles are carefully examined by the watchful eye of the incomparable Joe Nickell, a magnificent storyteller and a splendid detective." (Massimo Polidoro, journalist and writer, executive director of the Italian Committee for Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, jacket blurb, 2013.)

  • "Probably the world's leading paranormal detective." (John W. Loftus [author of The Outsider Test for Faith], jacket blurb for Nickell's The Science of Miracles, 2013.)

  • "There is probably no-one in the world better qualified to write a book assessing the evidence relating to alleged miracles than Joe Nickell, Senior Research Fellow for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Nickell brings a wide range of skills to the task including expertise in forensics, psychology, handwriting analysis and folklore. The result is an expert evaluation of the world's most famous miracle claims along with many lesser-known cases." (Prof. Chris French, Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London; review of Nickell's The Science of Miracles in the BBC's Focus magazine, which chose it as its science book of the month, June 2013.)

  • "The Science of Miracles is a worthwhile and challenging book for both the skeptic and the believer. . . . Armed with sophisticated scientific instrumentation, a set of strong observational skills (developed in part by his investigations of fraudulent documents) and the innate intuition of the seasoned and successful investigator, Mr. Nickell rides forth to do battle against all the bad guys of fraud and fakery. . . . Mr. Nickell's discussion of the controversy over the Shroud of Turin is one of the many examples of the detailed scrutiny he brings to bear on a supposed miracle." (Donald F. Calbreath, New York Journal of Books, May 7, 2013.)

  • Nickell is "regarded as one of the world's great debunkers of religious and supernatural myths." The Buffalo News, "spotlight" section, Sunday, December 30, 2012.)

  • "He is "the world's longest-running full-time professional paranormal investigator" (Alan Boyle, NBCNews.com, October 26, 2012).

  • "Joe Nickell did a phenomenal job." (A caller to CSI, reporting on Nickell's two-and-a-half-hour appearance on the Coast to Coast AM radio show, July 5, 2012.) (Similar sentiments were expressed on Nickell's Facebook page.)

  • "To Joe, the Atheist with a Heart, May the God you don't believe in make his Presence felt in your heart. / F.A. Rauf." (Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, personal inscription in a copy of his Moving the Mountain: Beyond Ground Zero to a New Vision of Islam in America, New York: Free Press, 2012.)

  • "One of the most interesting skeptics in the world. . . . Joe Nickell is a coworker I see nearly every day, so I sometimes forget the fact he's ridiculously awesome. . . . Joe's done so many interesting and different things over the course of his life. . . . He's full of great stories." (Debbie Goddard, blog and follow-up to comments, online at skepchick.org/2012/joe-nickell-one-of-the-most-interesting-skeptics-in-the-world/; accessed June 7, 2012.)

  • "This is it—the definitive book on ghosts from a scientific perspective, written by the world's foremost science-based ghost hunter. Nickell is the go-to guy for all things paranormal, and with this book he has once again asserted himself as a fair and careful investigator whose conclusions we can trust." (Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, jacket blurb on Joe Nickell's The Science of Ghosts, Prometheus Books, 2012.)

  • ". . . Joe Nickell—the premier skeptical paranormal investigator alive today. . . ." (D.J. Grothe, president, James Randi Educational Foundation, jacket blurb on Joe Nickell's The Science of Ghosts, Prometheus Books, 2012.)

  • Nickell is a "walking encyclopedia" of paranormal claims. (CSI Executive Director Barry Karr, quoted in a profile on Nickell in Buffalo's Artvoice, cover story of May 24-30, 2012, by Charlotte Hsu).

  • "So far . . . Nickell has encountered nothing science can't explain. And yet, the stories he has to tell are strange and wonderful—extraordinary tales where spirits, phantoms, and marvelous beasts turn out, through Sherlock Holmes-type deduction, to have the most ordinary of explanations." (Charlotte Hsu, "Hunting Monsters, Chasing Ghosts: The Marvelous Life of Detective Joe Nickell," profile in Artvoice, Buffalo, NY, May 24-30, 2012. See also augmented version online at buffalo-storyproject.com.)

  • Nickell's books represent "a catalog of works that speaks to a lifelong fixation with sniffing out facts and unraveling secrets." Meeting him, "You are mesmerized. You see that he has lived the lives of many men. He has hunted for lake monsters on two continents, sought out the graves of vampires, unmasked phony psychics, and read the flattened wheat of crop circles for signs of hoaxers." (Charlotte Hsu, "Hunting Monsters, Chasing Ghosts: The Marvelous Life of Detective Joe Nickell," profile in Artvoice, Buffalo, NY, May 24-30, 2012. See also augmented version online at buffalo-storyproject.com.)

  • "Joe Nickell, a well-respected skeptic . . . did a fine job offering a coherent, yet sympathetic, response" to UFO witnesses in his appearance on Anderson (Anderson Cooper's syndicated TV series), which aired April 24, 2012. (Ed Stockly, Show Tracker, Los Angeles Times [online at latimesblogs.latimes.com; April 25, 2012].)

  • "I meet [sic] you on the Anderson show, and wanted to let you know how discussed [sic] I am, to meet a person like you . . . I know what I saw also think you could of [sic] been nicer to those lovely young girls [i.e., alleged alien abductees]." (Denise Murter, personal communication to Joe Nickell after taping of Anderson, April 16, 2012.)

  • "One of the most defended UFO cases, "the 1965 'Exeter case' may finally have fallen to the keen blade of skeptical investigation. . . . Now 'skeptical' investigators Joe Nickell and James McGaha . . . claim a USAF KC-97 refueling plane was the culprit. . . . Unsurprisingly, UFO buffs have ridiculed McGaha and Nickell's claims. . . . But [their] provocative cold case analysis [Skeptical Inquirer, Nov./Dec. 2011] has, once again, raised the importance of misperception as a fundamental mechanism in UFO experiences." (Andy Roberts and Dr. David Clarke, "Flying Saucery," London's Fortean Times 288 [2012], p. 28.)

  • Concerning the 1965 Exeter, NH, UFO incident, "This regards a debunking effort being made by notorious CSICOP member, Joe Nickell, and James McGaha" (Skeptical Inquirer Nov./Dec. 2011), which the writer refers to as "stupidity" that could not be offered by anyone "with a properly operating mind and conscience." As to CSICOP (now actually CSI), "They've been scaling to new heights of intellectual dishonesty and un-care for decades. All Hail the 'mental' criminals!!!" (Nearly hysterical-sounding, name-calling post from "The Professor" [online at http://thebiggeststudy.blogspot.ca/2012/04/recent-fuss-about-exeter-case.html]). (This is an alias for Michael D. Swords, Ph.D., longtime UFO buff and MUFON consultant—obviously a grimy pot calling a sparkling kettle black. He teaches at, and surely is an embarrassment to, Western Michigan University.)

  • "Nickell, though he loves mysteries, loves them most and best when and after he has solved them. All of his many readers and admirers—myself included—are delighted that this is so." (The late psychologist Robert A. Baker, afterward to Nickell's Entities: Angels, Spirits, Demons, and Other Alien Beings, 1995)

  • Describing Nickell (by referring to the mantra of The X-Files TV series, "The truth is out there"): "He knows the Truth" (Actor William B. Davis, "The Cigarette Smoking Man" of the X-Files, inscribed photograph to Nickell)

  • ". . . everybody's favorite cynic, Joe Nickell." (Apparently confusing the words cynic and skeptic, Christopher K. Coleman, author of the mystery-mongering Dixie Spirits: True Tales of the Strange & Supernatural in the South, 2011, p. 280)

  • One of the "giants of the [skeptical] field." (Booklist, November 15, 2011, in a review of another's book).

  • "Joe Nickell—a cracker of all ciphers." (Thomas Parish, personalized inscription in a copy of his The American Codebreakers, 1986).

  • "One of this Galaxy's brightest lights. . . ." (Senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, Seth Shostak, inscription penned in his book with Alex Barnett, Cosmic Company: The Search for Life in the Universe, 2003)

  • "The Detective of the Impossible: Using the scientific method and scrupulously checking 'paranormal' claims, Joe Nickell is the sole person in the world whose job is to 'uncover' such mysteries." (Massimo Polidoro, interview with Joe Nickell in Extra magazine, 2011)

  • "Although circus and carnival sideshows are nearly extinct today, author Joe Nickell brings them back to life with his nonfiction book, Secrets of the Sideshows. A former magician, Nickell is well versed in all aspects of the carnival world and he pays particular attention to the sideshow spectacle, examining its fascinating history and thoroughly profiling the innumerable performers and unconventional personalities that have shaped the bizarre, intriguing exhibitions throughout the centuries." (Book Review, 2011)

  • "Hats off to the young riverboat gambler who lived in Canadian exile for nearly ten years and set the town on fire with his charm and style." (Reb MacRath, posting on Nickell's Facebook page, September 24, 2011)

  • "This curiosity [of Nickell's] continues to take him all over the world, and his writing brings that world alive for the rest of us." (Rebekah Tilley, "Curiously Inclined," profile of Nickell on U. of Kentucky Arts & Sciences home page "& Alumni & Friends").

  • "The modern Sherlock Holmes" (Paul Kurtz, founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, quoted in Buffalo News, April 25, 1988).

  • "Joe Nickell is the master solver of major popular mysteries, and [in Tracking the Man-Beasts] he directs his formidable investigative and literary talents to a topic that endlessly fascinates us all—manlike monsters more or less in our own image. No one does such investigations better than Nickell, and I congratulate him on another superb effort in bringing clear thinking and strong evidence to bear on questions usually swamped in speculation and wishful thinking." (Kendrick Frazier, editor of Skeptical Inquirer, jacket blurb for Nickell's Tracking the Man-Beasts, 2011).

  • [In my interview with Joe Nickell,] "We enjoyed talking as two people who try to get to the bottom of . . . 'ghosts,' and I was reminded of [a classical Japanese poem] which says, 'We are born to play.' This well-aged man takes giving the world a smile with a deadly seriousness." (Takeshi Yamashina, Bureau Chief in New York, The Mainichi Newspapers, Japan, Feb. 2011)

  • "Joe Nickell argues that 'science has never proved a single miracle,' to which I respond: science has not disproved a single miracle. . . . We believers don't need scientific proof to explain everything. We need belief, and each individual has a right to believe what he will." (A religious respondent to Nickell in The Buffalo News, March 6, 2011)

  • ". . . Joe Nickell . . . has solved more paranormal mysteries than anyone else . . ." (Benjamin Radford, The Skeptic [Australia], Winter 2008, 24).

  • "It was a great pleasure and honor to share the stage with Joe on one or two of those Dragon*Con 2009 Skeptrack panels. His decades of practical, hands-on experience are unmatched anywhere in skepticism—and that experience is a peerless asset in any discussion of the paranormal." (Daniel Loxton on Investigative Briefs blog, Thursday September 17, 2009).

  • "The dean of scientific paranormal investigation" (Robert Carroll, creator of The Skeptic's Dictionary Web site, in Skeptical Inquirer, Sept./Oct. 2010, 56).

  • "[At the 2010 CFI Leadership Conference] I was lucky enough to get to spend an hour or two with Joe Nickell, CFI's senior research fellow and an all-around swell guy" (Amy Frushour Kelly, Secularism Online News, July 2010).

  • "Noted skeptic Joe Nickell of the New York-based Center for Inquiry" (E! Online, August 4, 2010).

  • "The celebrated investigator of paranormal claims" (Angie McQuaig, Huffington Post, July 14, 2010).

  • "Joe's talk [at University of Colorado Denver/Metro State, Dec. 3, 2009] was nothing short of spectacular" (Joel Guttormson and Sara Diaz, "Joe Nickell: Objective Search for Paranormal Phenomena," online at http://metrostateatheist.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/joe-nickell-secular-humanist-bulletin-article/).

  • "One of scepticism's leading investigators" (blurb for Richard Saunders' interview with Joe Nickell, The Skeptic [Australia], September 2009, 24).

  • "Dr. Joe Nickell has written an excellent article on the case [of the 'miracle' of Fatima]" in the November/December 2009 Skeptical Inquirer (Stephen Mason, Psychology Today Web site, October 30, 2009).

  • "Renowned paranormal investigator. . . . And on a personal note: I just interviewed Joe Nickell! This was very difficult for me; the only thing running through my head was, 'Holy crap, that's Joe Nickell' . . . Joe thanks so much for being on the show. It was a genuine thrill" (Brian Walsh, Rational Alchemy, KFRC Radio in Colorado, December 5, 2009).

  • Joe Nickell, "You are a TRAITOR and you are going to meet the FATE OF TRAITORS" (religious fanatic, deleted from Nickell's Facebook page, June 9, 2010).

  • "The Columbo of skepticism" (Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic, jacket blurb for Nickell's The Mystery Chronicles, 2004).

  • "Long before those history detectives hit PBS & Co., there was Joe Nickell.." (The Courier-Gazette, Rockland, Maine, August 25, 2005).

  • "One of the country's great citizen scientists" (online announcement of him as Keynote Speaker at the fourth annual National Citizen Science Conference, August 24-27, 2006).

  • "Considered the world's foremost paranormal investigator" (conference booklet, Second World's Skeptic's Congress, Heidelberg, Germany, July 23-26, 1998).

  • "The professional skeptic they [producers of Dateline] used as my foil" ("Psychic" John Edward, Crossing Over, 2001, 243).

  • "An internationally known 'paranormal investigator'" (Keay Davidson, San Francisco Chronicle, July 12, 2003).

  • "Nickell's contribution to the debate [on the paranormal] is serious and his work conscientious" (Library Journal, qtd. on jacket of his Secrets of the Supernatural, 1988).

  • "Joe Nickell is an anomaly in the autograph world: Neither dealer nor collector, but simply an extraordinarily knowledgeable and talented autograph detective. His objective is admirable, for he has no financial stake or agenda of any sort—he simply wants to get to the truth behind an autograph, and this he does articulately and expertly in books such as Pen, Ink, & Evidence" (Bill Butts, quoted in Autograph Collector, April/May 2007).

  • "Stupid #!??@!!" (a disgruntled flying-saucer believer in a voice-mail message to Joe Nickell).

  • "He has been known to shave his mustache, walk with a cane, or do any number of things to fool his suspects, who known his usual persona all too well. Nickell is the country's most accomplished investigator of the paranormal—a sharp-tongued and amiably pompous old gumshoe, with thinning gray hair and shopworn tweeds" (Burkhard Bilger, The New Yorker, December 23 & 30, 2002, 87).

  • "He is a man with a hundred faces, all designed to expose mystics, mediums, and frauds [by] applying scientific investigation techniques to the most unscientific phenomena" (The Licking Valley Courier, West Liberty, Ky., June 30, 2005).

  • "Joe Nickell has done his usually brilliant work here [in Adventures in Paranormal Investigation] in the fields of scientific and skeptical investigation, that, really, no one else does better" (Michael Shermer, jacket blurb for Adventures in Paranormal Investigation, 2007).

  • "One of America's best & most skilled handwriting detectives" (the late Charles Hamilton, penned personalized inscription to Nickell in copy of Hamilton's Great Forgers and Famous Fakes, 1996).

  • [Among] "UFO debunkers," [Nickell has been] "particularly persistent in his negative attack" [on the Flatwoods monster case of 1952] (Stanton T. Friedman, UFOlogist and conspiracy theorist, foreword to Frank C. Feschino Jr.'s The Braxton County Monster: The Cover-Up of the Flatwoods Monster Revealed [2004]).

  • "Joe Nickell is the embodiment of the MythBusters, Sherlock Holmes, and Richard Feynman: one part lab tinkerer, one part field sleuth, and one part theoretical genius" (Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic, jacket blurb for Nickell's Relics of the Christ, 2007).

  • "Well equipped by both experience and academic background, this author has literally roamed the globe sniffing for—and finding!—his quarry. From the Shroud of Turin to document forgeries, whether in Canada or Peru, no fakery is immune to his probing. He'll track a furry monster or poke at a holy icon, with the same strong interest and determination. Unlike so many other 'experts,' he doesn't sit back thumbing through the writings of others to glean enough information for a book; Joe actually gets out there in the field and runs down the data; he's physically there, pencil and lens poised and ready. His energy is surpassed only by his enthusiasm and dedication to his trade" (James Randi, famed magician and psychic investigator, foreword to Nickell's The Mystery Chronicles, 2004).

  • [Regarding Nickell's report on the authenticity of a questioned slave-written novel], "nothing in my experience as a graduate student of English literature or a professor of literature for the past twenty-five years had prepared me for the depth of detail of the results of Nickell's examination, nor for the sheer beauty of the rigors of his procedures and the subtleties of his conclusions" (Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Afro-American scholar and editor of The Bondwoman's Narrative, 2007).

  • "[A] philosopher, poet, scientist, private investigator, stunt man, magician, writer, historian, skeptic, colleague and friend! In other words a true multiple personality!" (the late Robert A. Baker, psychologist, penned personalized inscription to Nickell in copy of Baker's Hidden Memories: Voices and Visions from Within, 1992).

  • "I adored [Nickell's talk]. I loved his sense of humor" (Phyllis Layne, lecture attendee, Hanover, New Jersey, Morris County Library, October 12, 2003).

  • "[Regarding] the occult, the otherworldly and the just plain weird, . don't expect to impress Joe Nickell. He makes his living finding plausible explanations for the inexplicable and exposing the ordinariness of the extraordinary" (Minauti Dave, Hanover, New Jersey, Daily Record, October 12, 2003).

  • "Nickell's role in setting myths and hoaxes straight is essential to clearly define the boundaries of the authentic natural world" (Guidebook, the Kentucky Book Fair, 2007).

  • "One of the world's leading experts on the Shroud of Turin" (Skeptic magazine 7:3, 1999).

  • "The always compelling and entertaining Joe Nickell regaled the group with stories from recent excursions." (Becky Greben, review of a talk, Rocky Mountain Skeptic, July/August 1995).

  • "On Halloween, when legend says disembodied spirits return in search of living bodies to possess, Joe Nickell goes on the prowl, too—for ghosts, ghouls and other things that creep in the night" (Chaka Ferguson, Associated Press, online at AOL News, October 31, 2003).

  • "Nickell has the job of logging the miles, talking to the locals, and pulling the rug out from under many of the activities that have passed as 'paranormal' for years" (Chris Collins, Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington, Ky., October 14, 2007).

  • "Depois da morte de McCrone, em 2000, tornouse o mais famoso oppositor dos sindonologistas" ("After the death of [microscopist Walter C.] McCrone, in 2000, the most famous opponent of the sindonologists [i.e., Shroud of Turin proponents]," Pablo Nogueira, Gallileu, April 2003).

  • "His job is to use scientific techniques to debunk miracles. He keeps busy" (Joe Sharkey, New York Times, August 24, 1997).

  • "Joe Nickell pops up all the time and calls me crazy. I don't let it bother me" (Crop-circle crank Nancy Talbott, quoted by John Yemma, Boston Globe, Sept. 7, 1997).

  • "Joe Nickell is to religious miracles as Houdini was to spiritualism. The master investigator of the miraculous has compiled his years of experience into this marvelous volume [Looking for a Miracle, 1993], producing a reference work that should be the starting point for every probe of supernatural events" (Mike Epstein, Skeptical Eye 8:2, 1994).

  • "A top American paranormal investigator" (Scot Magnish, Toronto Sun, September 1996).

  • "CSICOP private eye" (Ian Simmons, Fortean Times, September 1996).

  • "A world-renowned paranormal investigator" and "sleuth of the supernatural" (Steve Cox, State University of New York at Buffalo Reporter, April 25, 1996).

  • "Paranormal detective [Joe Nickell]: Just call him the ghost-buster" (AP wire, Detroit, April 23, 1996).

  • "A fascinating guy" who "gave a riveting speech for the South Shore Skeptics a few years ago" (Page Stephens, The South Shore Skeptic, July/August 1995).

  • "Nickell has sleuthed haunted houses, probed the paranormal and solved world-famous mysteries" (L. Elisabeth Beattie, Kentucky Living, October 1991).

  • "Nickell, former magician and private eye, is a missionary evangelizing on behalf of the quasi-religion that worships at the altar of hard-boiled science and legalistic truth. In his crusade to debunk and dismiss any and all human experiences that fall outside the realm of rulers and gauges, Nickell still seems to be a practicing necromancer, though now in a literary venue" (Reviewer "G.G.," Rapport Pub. Co. -The West Coast Review of Books, Art & Entertainment, Los Angeles, August 1995).

  • "The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry's intrepid and indefatigable Senior Research Fellow": "Whether going undercover to ferret out the truth behind a charlatan or using forensic scientific analyses on alien body parts, Nickell's cases are always well-informed by meticulous scholarship" (Benjamin Radford, Skeptical Inquirer, Jan./Feb. 2008).

  • "(On a visit to the Center for Inquiry headquarters): "Well, faster than you can say 'spontaneous combustion,' a mini-magic show erupted from the jacket of Joe Nickell. This was much to the delight of my two daughters, Danielle, 9, and Brianne, 12. Miraculously, a deck of cards turned blank and then returned to its normal printed condition. Then we were entertained by some rope tricks including the magical moving knot ." (Bob Glickman, Phactum, newsletter of Philadelphia Association for Critical Thinking, October 1995).

  • "Folks here know Joe best as the author of 'Historical Sketches,' the very popular column on local history" (Earl Kinner, Jr., editor, The Licking Valley Courier, West Liberty, Ky., November 9, 1995).