Joe Nickell and Chris Brown at NECSS

Joe Nickell is Senior Research Fellow with the non-profit educational organization the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He has been called “the modern Sherlock Holmes,” the “real-life Scully” (from the X-Files), and other appellations. He is well into his fourth decade as an investigator of historical, paranormal, and forensic mysteries, myths and hoaxes. In contrast to mystery-mongerers on the one hand and so-called debunkers on the other, he believes that mysteries should actually be investigated with a view toward solving them.

Nickell is the world’s only full-time professional paranormal investigator — the “Investigative Files” writer for Skeptical Inquirer science magazine who travels around the world investigating strange mysteries at the very fringes of science. The role utilizes his varied background: former stage magician (Resident Magician at the Houdini Hall of Fame), private investigator (for a world-famous detective agency), and academic (Ph.D in English, focusing on literary investigation and folklore, and author of some two dozen books).

Christopher Brown is the host of the Meet The Skeptics podcast ( and is a North American distributor of Placebo Bands (