Blog Archives for September 2011

Irish “Spontaneous Human Combustion”? Blarney!

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
September 27, 2011

In a classic instance of faulty logic—what is known as "an argument from ignorance"—an Irish coroner has proclaimed "spontaneous combustion" as the cause of death of a 76-year-old man, Michael Faherty, whose body was found extremely burned at his home in Ballybane, Galway. Although his remains were found lying "with his head closest to an open fireplace," fire officers nevertheless concluded that that blaze was not involved! They did not explain how they had ruled out the obvious source of the ignition (BBC News Online, September 23, 2011).

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“The Debt” (A Nickell-odeon Review)

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
September 21, 2011

The Debt is a riveting thriller about Mossad secret agents David, Stefan, and Rachel, who are played—in scenes of 1966 and 1997—by two sets of actors.

Outlaw-Imposture Syndrome

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
September 07, 2011

The targets of impostors are not only the noted but the notorious also. Numerous persons have claimed that they were an erstwhile presumed-dead outlaw, like Jesse James or—the latest target—Butch Cassidy. So similar are the features of such cases that they define what I now call the Outlaw-Imposture Syndrome.