There’s this guy named Joe Nickell. There’s a distinct non-zero chance of me going over a few of his books or articles here. I’m a pretty big fan of his, and he’s always been super nice to me when we’ve met. We hung out for much of CSIcon in 2012. Here’s us in Halloween costumes.
He did his makeup himself, by the way. He’s done everything. He even has a list of what he calls “personas” on his website, numbering in the 4 digits, most of which have documentations. So, from this zombie thing, he is now a makeup artist, a movie actor, and a zombie. Three personas right there! The guy’s pretty cool. He also doesn’t have a computer.
One of the things I’ve been trying to do lately is write more things down. Dr. Nickell carries a notebook of good ideas with him at all times, then works on them. And, due to his wide range of interests, he stays productive and goes through his notebook much faster than one would think. If he gets tired of writing, he’ll paint. If he gets tired of that, he’ll do something else. The guy’s really amazing. Magician, private investigator, glass blower, poet, this guy’s done it all.
Anyway, his primary job is as a writer, and I love that stuff. I read things he writes in The Skeptical Inquirer, some of which can be found online at http://csicop.org, but some of which can’t. In addition to this, he’s written a few dozen books. They are all interesting, and indeed excellent bathroom reads. This is a major category of books for me. He put two out in the last year, if I recall correctly.
CSI Paranormal, which is available from CSICOP for only $5 (I bought two copies at that price), focuses on the art of paranormal investigation, but in a light manner. Benjamin Radford’s book, on the other hand, couls almost be seen as a textbook on how to investigate the paranormal, albeit an interesting one. Dr. Nickell instead tells us all about how he does things, some past stories he likes to tell, and how his process allowed him to keep abreast of the reality of the situation, and not get caught up in either the gullible believer mindset or the armchair debunker mindset like so many of us on the internet.
The Science of Ghosts was also released, and it’s about twice as long as CSI Paranormal, with a special focus on ghosts, investigating them, and how their existence is perceived to have been evidenced, at least by those who buy into it. Split into many 8-10 page chapters discussing specific cases and subjects for which he’s specifically researched, the book is almost a definitive skeptical book on ghosts; a specificity often lacking in modern skeptical literature. I love it.
Anyway, as said, there is a non-zero chance of me going into further detail on these books later.