Blog Archives for December 2013

“Mandela”—A Nickell-odeon Review

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
December 30, 2013

The death of one of the great people of the twentieth century, South Africa’s Nelson Mandela (1918–2013), had mixed consequences to the movie based on his life: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

“The Book Thief”: A Nickell-odeon Review

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
December 18, 2013

Based on the book of the same title (the very popular novel for young adults by Markus Zusak), The Book Thief is as endearing a story as seems possible given its setting in Nazi Germany.

Ghost-hunter Arsonists?

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
December 16, 2013

In folklore studies, a “legend trip” is the term for a visit to a site that has a legend (a narrative reflecting a folk belief) about uncanny events there—say the activities of ghosts; the visit is made to test the legend. Such a legend trip resulted in seven men being arrested for the suspected arson of a historic Louisiana plantation house on November 21, 2013.

Bones of Contention

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
December 11, 2013

On Sunday, November 24, 2013, the Vatican, via Pope Francis, publicly unveiled for the first time several bone fragments that some have claimed are those of St. Peter himself. Retrieved in 1942 from beneath St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, they have since been bones of contention.

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Awardee

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
December 06, 2013

I am very grateful for two awards recently bestowed on me.

Martin Gardner’s Autobiography

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
December 04, 2013

The man whom Stephen Jay Gould called rationality’s “single brightest beacon” has given us yet another fine book, his posthumously published Undiluted Hocus-Pocus: The Autobiography of Martin Gardner (Princeton University Press, 2013). It has an introduction by Persi Diaconis and an afterword by James Randi.

Visiting an Urban “Village Church”

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
December 03, 2013

My wife Diana and I went on another religabout—our contraction for religion and walkabout, which describes an excursion to observe or experience some religious activity.