Adam Selzer was born in Des Moines and now lives in Chicago, where he writes humorous books by day and researches history, ghost stories and naughty playground rhymes by night. After sixteen published books, including the acclaimed Smart Aleck's Guide to American History and I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It, he is just famous enough to have a page on wikipedia.

His most recent novel is Play Me Backwards. In 2015 he will have two new nonfiction books; one on silent film production in Chicago (Flickering Empire, co-written with Michael Glover Smith, Columbia University Press) and one on Abraham Lincoln ghostlore (Ghosts of Lincoln, Llewelyn).

He is pretty sure he's the subject of the song "You're So Vain."


Adam was raised by wild Iowan orangutans, a very rare form of ape. They tried their hardest.

He was the inspiration for the movie "Bedtime for Bonzo," which starred Ronald Reagan and a chimpanzee.

He is a noted acrobat.

Spider-Man has him on speed dial.

According to he is the great-great-gread grandson of Count Chocula.

He is occasionally known to dress up as "Obi-Wan Quixote" or "Darth Longbottom."

His aliases include William Griffith, SJ Adams, and H.A. LaSoul.

He moved a rubber tree plant nearly 14 feet in 1987.

That same year, shot off a bottle rocket which, briefly, orbited the moon.

He once bought a Donkey Kong arcade machine for twenty bucks at Goodwill.

He saw the best minds of his generation destroyed by The Blob.

In 1986, as a contestant on Double Dare, he nearly choked to death trying to eat a four-foot-long piece of spaghetti. The episode never aired, and Nickelodeon still won't acknowledge that the event ever took place.

He ran for Mayor of McDonaldland, but was beaten out by Richard McCheese. He lost his early lead by being unable to identify what Grimace was supposed to be in a public debate. (click here to see Adam's poem, "Howl (for Mayor McCheese)".

He'll tell anyone who will listen that despite Mr. McCheese's campaign promises, the Hamburglar is still at large. Richard McCheese was soft on crime.

He once hopped a freight train from Dribble, AL to Tinklescent, OK.

He is the second cowboy from the left in the famous "Lost Thunderbird Photo."

As a small child, he discovered six dinosaur bones, two lost cities, and a busted tractor while digging in his sandbox.

He was a close friend and confidant of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

He has actually been to North Dakota.

In one hour, he beat two men with cities in their names at pool (Seattle Phil and Toledo Taylor), as well as a man named for a Canadian territory (Saskatchewan Sal).

He owns Jim Morrison's old doorbell and a strand of Charles Dickens's hair.

On two occasions, he went trick-or-treating dressed as a building. Neither occasion happened to be Halloween.

His first band was called Supernatural Anarchy, a metal-type band in which he sang and played lead bass. His second band, Scapegoat, was, for lack of a better term, punk. They still record when members are in the same city. (See their recent triumphant single, "Smells Like Family Matters.")

He invented the Franklin Stove.

The mall in his hometown used to have a life-sized statue of a naked angel on a tricycle.

He once dug through Bob Dylan's garbage and retrieved a sculpture made from a bent-up coat hanger.

He was best known in middle school as "that dork who's really into Star Wars."

He is the last surviving person to have voted for Roosevelt in 1912 when he ran on the Bull Moose ticket, and is the only living person visible in what MAY be the only genuine picture of Roosevelt's ghost.

He is a noted expert on "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

He once wrote an entire book about the Chicago gallows that was deemed "too grisly" to be published under his own name.

He was cussed out by George Washington, an honor he shares only with former Secretary of War Harry Knox.

He is the elusive author of "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells," and his silhouette can be seeing for a split second in The Dark Knight.

At his wedding, the officiant was dressed sort of like Clone Wars-era Obi-Wan Kenobi, and said "By the power vested in me by the state of Illinois and the Jedi Council."

He has a cat named after Victorian illustrator George Cruikshank.

He survived an attempt to be banned from Idaho.

His books have been translated into several languages, none of which he speaks well (though he can usually get the gist of things written in French).

He is the 18th great grandson of Geoffery Chaucer.

He wrote what is believed to be the first text book on how to be a 19th century grave robber.

He reached the peak of coolness on 9/1/1987. It's been downhill since then.

He has seen Bob Dylan in concert more than 40 times and can talk about Dylan for hours. Don't get him started.

Adam's New Book: Sept 2013