What if you didn't know you were dead? No, really. I know it could happen — because there's a book about it, by a guy who has been...

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What if you didn’t know you were dead?

No, really. I know it could happen — because there’s a book about it, by a guy who has been investigating this stuff. In fact, my first sentence is the book’s title, or part of it. Some people think it’s scary that Americans could be getting more and more of their information from blogs on the Internet, but is that more frightening than having spirits attach themselves to you, which they can do?

Blogs are often full of inaccurate information, and even the bloggers who try to be factual can make mistakes. Everyone who writes for public consumption needs an editor (a kind, gentle editor, preferably).

But the thing is, there have always been lots of Americans who choose to get information from less than reliable sources.

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Some people say that Tom Cruise was mistaken in his analysis of psychiatry and psychology. But I’m sure the Church of Scientology has studied these matters carefully and imparted to him special knowledge with which to make judgments about other people’s mental-health needs and about the practice of mental-health care.

They wouldn’t just make stuff up, would they?

Anyway, it wouldn’t do to mess with anyone’s religious beliefs. Heck, I might have to go out and buy a book on creationism. There are lots of them.

When it comes to deciding what’s true and what isn’t, I guess we’re not all operating from the same script.

A whole lot of people find that conventional media just don’t give them what they want, and they have always had plenty of other places to get real news. Supermarket tabloids, for instance, have long had a big share of the business of offering alternative news that delves more deeply into the stuff conventional media are too timid to report, such as stars being impregnated by aliens.

And there are tons of good old-fashioned books that give people news they can’t get in the average newspaper. Sometimes it really is important stuff that media self-censorship won’t let through, but sometimes it’s just dreck.

I received a catalog the other day that was labeled “Feature Ideas.” It was the size of a magazine and said it was full of interview ideas for radio and television reporters and columnists, so I took a peek inside.

There was a guy willing to discuss his book, which reveals “the secret about scripture that organized religion just can’t tell you.” And there was a new method for relieving stress that involved saying the word “Fred” and making rhymes with it.

I was about to toss the catalog out when I saw the headline about people not realizing they were dead and then attaching themselves to living people.

Fred is dead; don’t let him get into your head.

What’s really spooky is that I myself have often been taken over by a dead guy. This happens sometimes when I am supposed to be writing. The dead guy makes me wander off to get coffee and visit with people in the hallway. It’s really creepy.

Anyway, radio or TV hosts who need a lively topic can call up the dead-people guy, or the woman whose book explains love matches between humans and vampires. Next to her blurb is a book about fun projects to do with kids.

There are all the usual books, too: how to get rich, how to get spectacular abs, how to reverse homosexuality and cut your grocery bill in half.

There is someone who is an expert in just about everything. The ghost guy’s credentials say he is a filmmaker, so you know he knows what he’s talking about.

Bloggers don’t necessarily have those kinds of credentials.

Can a blogger top Nostradamus for staying power? He lived in France in the 1500s, and yet when 9/11 happened there were people who said he’d predicted it. Whenever anything happens there are people who say he predicted it.

For some reason the facts just don’t cut it for lots of people. They need something that resonates more deeply.

All you get in a daily newspaper is the unvarnished truth. Oh, and the horoscopes.

Jerry Large: 206-464-3346 or jlarge@seattletimes.com.