Sunday, February 12, 2006


I Read Dead People

The Bookseller is running its annual Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year. Contenders include Nessus, Snort and Ethereal Powertools (Elsevier) and -- wait for it -- How People Who Don't Know They're Dead Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It.

The latter title almost sounds too good to be true. But I have indeed found an interview with author Gary Leon Hill.

And oh, it's a corker:
Q: How did you become interested in this subject originally?

A: When my Uncle Wally Johnston told me he'd been talking to the spirits of people who were dead and didn't know it, I wanted to know more about it. I borrowed the audiotapes of their sessions and wound up transcribing 300 pages of dialogue -- Wally talking through his psychic friend Lorraine with various entities stuck on the other side. As a psychologist, ghost counseling was a natural extension of Wally's counseling work. The difference being, in these cases, his clients were dead.

Later, when asked who is at risk for picking up, er, People Who Don't Know They're Dead, he explains:
Those most at risk are people who drink heavily or use a lot of drugs, and people who work in or hang out in bars, where people routinely lose consciousness.... But, according to Wally, I doubt if you could walk through a mall without picking one up, which is the source of my title for Chapter 8 Walking Through the Mall.

Wow. Surely this book should have a lock -- a death-grip, you might say -- on The Bookseller's prize.

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