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Joe Nickell

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Joe Nickell
Lexington, Kentucky

Joe Nickell (born 1944, in Lexington, Kentucky) one of the world's only full-time professional paranormal investigator [1]


At one time or another, Nickell has been a carnival pitchman, stage magician, clown, political cartoonist, black-jack dealer, freelance broadcaster, prospector, riverboat manager, museum-exhibit designer, armed guard, and movie extra.

On moving to Toronto in 1968, he renewed his childhood interest in conjuring, beginning my career as a magic pitchman in the carnival at the Canadian national Exhibition. For each of the next three years (1970 to 1972), Nickell was Resident Magician at the Houdini Hall of Fame in Niagara Falls, Ontario, during the summers. The rest of the year he was on the school circuit as Janus the Magician, Mister Twister the Magic Clown and Mendell the Mentalist. He also worked at the toy department of Simpson's department store in Toronto at Christmastime demonstrating magic for sale. He did his last shows as a full-time professional in 1973 as he began work as a Private Investigator.

As a (skeptic) paranormal investigator, Nickell attends séances, healing services, and other events where connections with otherworldly entities are claimed to occur. He also writes the "Investigative Files" for Skeptical Inquirer science magazine.[2]

Honors Awards

  • Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal fellow, 1988–2005.


  • The Magic Detectives, Prometheus Books (Buffalo, NY), 1989 (And illustrator)
  • Wonderworkers! How They Perform the Impossible, Prometheus Books (Buffalo, NY), 1991 (And illustrator)
  • Inquest on the Shroud of Turin, Prometheus Books (Amherst, NY), 1983, reprinted, 1998.
  • (With John F. Fischer) Secrets of the Supernatural, Prometheus Books (Buffalo, NY), 1988.
  • (Editor) Psychic Sleuths: ESP and Sensational Cases, Prometheus Books (Buffalo, NY), 1994.
  • Real-Life X-Files: Investigating the Paranormal, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2001, published as Investigating the Paranormal, Fine Communications (New York, NY), 2004.
  • The Mystery Chronicles: More Real-Life X-Files, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2004.
  • Secrets of the Sideshows, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2005.