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Nickell has worked professionally as a stage magician, carnival pitchman, private detective, blackjack dealer, riverboat manager, university instructor, author, and paranormal investigator, listing over 1000 personae on his website.Since the early 1980s, he has researched, written, co-authored and edited books in many genres.In the 2007 horror film The Reaping, actress Hilary Swank plays an investigator of the paranormal.Nickell was selected as a character consultant and invited to the movie set to meet with Swank.Nickell's books can be divided into four main categories—religious, forensic, paranormal, and mysteries.
But then it changed into the world of the supernatural, which, for good or evil, has never happened to me: I've never had frogs rain down upon me!
Calvin was more harsh than Nickell on those who believe in relics, writing: Now, as one evil never comes alone but is always followed by another, it thus happened that where people were seeking for relics, either of Jesus Christ or the saints, they became so blind that whatever name was imposed upon any rubbish presented to them, they received it without any examination or judgment; thus the bones of an ass or dog, which any hawker gave out to be the bones of a martyr, were devoutly received without any difficulty ... The only reply I can give to this query is, that they looked with contempt on those subjects, from which they did not anticipate any considerable gain ...
What a sacrilege to make use of the name of Jesus Christ in order to invent such absurd fables! Now, those who fall into this error must do so willingly, as no one can from henceforth plead ignorance on the subject as their excuse.
At the request of document dealer and historian, Seth Keller, Nickell analyzed documentation in the dispute over the authorship of "The Night Before Christmas", ultimately supporting the Clement Clarke Moore claim.
Nickell is Senior Research Fellow for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) and writes regularly for their journal, the Skeptical Inquirer.