How to Play Dead from the Author of ‘Playing Dead’

Author Elizabeth Greenwood was struggling with the idea of having 6-figures of debt in student loans, like anybody in that situation would. In order to escape her debt, Greenwood began playing with the idea of faking her own death, officially known as pseudocide. If you’re dead, how can anybody collect on your debts! What a genius idea by Greenwood. Here are the three steps she came up with to successfuly fake your own death. 

Playing Dead by Elizabeth Greenwood


1. Plan the accident

This is the one part of the process where you can get creative. Personally, I would like to go out in an epic life and death struggle with a grizzly bear or a pack of feral house cats. Greenwood’s book details the stories of actual people who attempted to fake their death by jumping off a bridge onto construction net, or abandoning their plane with a parachute to make it seem like they died in the subsequent crash.

These are weak strategies. I say if you are going to go out, go out in style. If you are planning on faking your own death (which is not something I or Greenwood is seriously advocating) do something memorable. Fire yourself out of a cannon into a pool of sharks. Drive a monster truck into the Grand Canyon, or overeat at a feast in your honor like the late great Julien Offray de La Mettrie.


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2. Have a place to go

If you are going to fake your own death you need to get off the grid. You can’t use any kind of credit card or be recognized by anybody you know. A silly mistake outlined in the books is when the undead reach out to friends or family to tell them what they are doing. You must commit a vow a silence if you are going to play dead. If you are going to fake your own death, you might as well open up a new line of credit and buy a fully decked out RV. Fill the refrigerator with Mountain Dew and Doritos. Play video games until your eyes fall out. One of the perks of being dead is that nobody can judge your life choices anymore.

3. Acquire a death certificate

Greenwood identifies the Philippines as hotspot for the fake dead. Apparently, “there are black market morgues where unidentified people are brought in and kept on ice.” People can come in and “have them cremated immediately and then try to pass off the cremains as their own.” Once you get your jar of human ashes, the next step is to get some fake government documents.

Without going into too much detail, Greenwood was able to get an official document stating the nature of her death. She came up with the uncreative narrative of being in a car accident. Once she had the certificate in hand however, she immediately realized how silly the whole thing was and abandoned the process.

The moral of the story here is that faking your death won’t actually help you escape the things in your life that you don’t like. It’s as close as you can get to actually dying because you literally have to abandon everything you know and love. Again, nobody is actually advocating you do this, but if you do, be creative. Death by bear fight is my personal favorite. 

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