About 10 minutes into Joe Nickell’s workshop, we began to hear a disembodied voice. It was, though, immediately obvious to everyone that a technical malfunction had occurred and we were simply hearing the audio from the workshop in the next room (it helped that what we first heard was the voice of DJ Grothe thanking Jamy Ian Swiss for his introduction). This didn’t stop Joe, or anyone else, from having fun with the malfunction. Comments about poltergeists brought laughter and Joe glibly noted that ‘you can’t fake evidence like that – if you could, why would you?’
Nickell’s workshop focused on investigative strategies with examples from some of his investigations over his 40-year career as an investigator (not debunker) of the paranormal. The general theme was that skeptics need to be respectful, thorough investigators who resist the temptation to quickly reach conclusions. Addressing the burden of proof and the all-too-common argument from ignorance, he urged skeptics to avoid the trap of shifting the burden of proof.
Nickell is a well-respected investigator, an engaging speaker and someone I have a great deal of respect for. I’m not sure that we see eye-to-eye on a few things, but that’s probably because we’re different people working on different things. If I were busy investigating paranormal claims, I can think of no one better to emulate.
There’s a reception tonight at 5 and then we’ll be going to the Jamy Ian Swiss/Mac King/Banachek show at 8pm…and, I’m sure there will be plenty of partying later this evening.