If Mindy Kaling told me to watch a 350-hour documentary about standing in line at the post office, I’d probably do it. So when she ‘grammed her excitement for a book about death fraud, you know I screenshotted that shit. And thank goodness I did, because when I returned to her Instagram to find the post, it had disappeared. (The only possible conclusion I can come to is that Mindy is getting really into the whole “disappearing” theme, and I admire her commitment.) Either way, I had to find out more about this bizarre-sounding book.
As it turns out, Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud (out tomorrow!) is exactly what it sounds like: a true story of one woman’s investigation into the somehow-thriving world of pseudocide. With six figures of student loan debt, Elizabeth Greenwood was tempted to find out if it was still possible to fake your own death in the 21st century. The result is this shocking, fascinating, and weirdly charming book filled with stories about people who have hired a consultant to make them disappear.
Greenwood talks to a man who staged a fake kayaking accident, people who are contemplating pseudocide, proprietors of black market morgues in the Philippines, and many more er, colorful characters. But most unbelievable is what she reveals in this video—that she actually acquired her own death certificate. Just watch.