Blog Archives for February 2013

Return of “Spontaneous Human Combustion”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 21, 2013

Here we go again! In 2011 it was an elderly Irishman who allegedly perished by “spontaneous human combustion” (SHC). Now it is an elderly Oklahoman—according to the Sequoyah County sheriff—who supposedly died by SHC.

A Ni¢kell’s Worth

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 20, 2013

Some musings from one who is now well into his fifth decade as a skeptic, humanist, and paranormal investigator:

Shaker Digestive Cordial

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 14, 2013

My collection of pseudoscience and paranormal artifacts—online at—has received a new addition: a bottle embossed “Shaker Digestive Cordial/A.J. White New York.” It arrived as a gift from a thoughtful skeptic, Alan Harris of a La Cañada, California, who had queried me about it a couple of years ago. (Thanks Alan!)

“Dr.” McLean’s Nostrums

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 08, 2013

While my wife Diana and I visited an aunt in Kentucky during the holidays, from the winter solstice to New Year’s, I paid a visit to Georgetown, where I saw—for the first time in 17 years—my old friend Jerome Redfearn, proprietor of Central Kentucky Antique Mall. As we talked and I browsed, looking for items for my Skeptiseum collection, something caught my eye—a quack medicine item of more than a century ago (pictured here). The price proved to be perfect: Jerome presented it to me as a gift!

Photographing Sasquatch

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
February 04, 2013

Here is an unaltered photograph I made of a Sasquatch my wife and I encountered on December 22, 2012, in rural Pennsylvania. Take a good look: They don’t get much more real than this.