Mysterious happenings. Famous apparitions. Things that go bump in the night. Since earliest times, public fascination and popular imagination have focused on phenomena known as "supernatural." But extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. When mysteries and coincidences seem too remarkable to be true, reason demands careful investigation and analysis of the facts rather than the invocation of "unknown forces."
Utilizing their experience as professional crime-solvers, authors Joe Nickell and John F. Fischer delve into the labyrinth of the unknown armed with open minds and the remarkable array of information sources and scientific methods available to the modern investigator.
Examined are such classic enigmas as the haunting of Mackenzie House (Toronto's rebel statesman is said to tread noisily upon the stairs of his historic home); the question of the "Crystal Skull" (the "grand-daddy of all crystal balls"); the case of "The Two Will Wests" (two prison inmates with the same name, identical features, and similar fingerprints); plus bleeding doors, phantom pictures, restless coffins, disappearing footprints, human fireballs, and miraculous portraits - a fascinating panoply of mind-bogglers, riddles, and ambiguities.
The methods, procedures, and sources used by Nickell and Fischer to solve these "mysteries" included forensic and microchemical analysis, controlled testing, archaeology, instrumental analyses, iconographic studies, genetics, deductive logic, photography, art history, pathology, engineering, genealogy, police records, and plain common sense.
Neither a mere collection of stories nor a categorical debunking, this book goes beyond the spine-tingling to focus on details of available evidence, appropriate investigative strategies, and convincing explanations for these intriguing "occult" mysteries. The answers provided may disappoint the determined believer in the supernatural - but the solutions, and the fascinating methodology used by the authors, are as unique and interesting as the perplexing cases on which they are based.
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Joe Nickell (Amherst, NY) has been called "the modern Sherlock Holmes" and "the real-life Scully" (from the X-Files). He has been on the trail of man-beasts and other mysterious creatures and phenomena for four decades. Since 1995 he has been the world’s only fulltime, professional, science-based paranormal investigator. His careful, often innovative investigations have won him international respect in a field charged with controversy. He is the author of numerous books, including most recently Real or Fake? Studies in Authentication and Adventures in Paranormal Investigation. See www.joenickell.com for more.
John F. Fischer is a forensic analyst with a Florida crime laboratory, an experienced crime-scene investigator, and an author.
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