Blog Archives for April 2014

More on Mummies

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
April 30, 2014

Regarding my previous blog, “Mummies’ Secrets,” here are two artistic responses to the same exhibition; a poem (in my “improvisational rhyming” style) and a sketch of a natural mummy (a 17th-century nobleman discovered in 1806 in a German castle crypt, dressed in fine boots).

Mummies’ Secrets

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
April 25, 2014

On April 12, 2014, I visited the Buffalo Museum of Science to view an excellent traveling exhibit, “Mummies of the World.” Mummies are interesting in their own right, of course, but they also provide insights into cultures that imagine mummies’ supernatural potential.

Father John’s Medicine

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
April 23, 2014

Father John’s Medicine is the name of a cough remedy with a long history and accompanying legend.

St. Hyacinth’s Miracles

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
April 18, 2014

Known as “The Apostle of the North,” Saint Hyacinth (ca. 1185–1257) is a much honored figure in Roman Catholicism. He is the subject of a painting, Apparition of the Virgin to Saint Hyacinth by Ludovico Carracci (1592, now in the Louvre) and, among lesser artworks, a mosaic mural dominating the front of a church named for him in Dunkirk, New York. (CFI colleague Tom Flynn, Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism, called it to my attention, and I visited it to take the accompanying photo.) The mural depicts the future saint performing miracles, and therein lies a tale—or rather, several tales.

A Sighing Debunker

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
April 14, 2014

A TV producer, visiting me to shoot segments for a new series, told me of his experience with another skeptic, unnamed, whom he had talked with by phone.


Mystery of Belgium’s Glowing Virgin

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
April 02, 2014

On two trips to Belgium (in 1998 and 2006), I investigated several “miracle” claims, including a healing shrine, known as the “Belgian Lourdes”; the “Holy Blood of Christ” at Bruges; and a wonderworking statue at Belgium’s most-frequented pilgrimage site. (See my The Science of Miracles, 2013, pp. 23–25, 101–103, 187–190.) Now, another remarkable statue there—one that glows!—has come to light (so to speak); however, its mystery was quickly solved by scientists. (Belinda Robinson, We have seen the light! MailOnline []; March 26, 2014.)