Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Adam Selzer  

Pen Name: William Griffith, S.J. Adams

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult; Young Adult; Children;

Born: 1980 in Des Moines, Iowa

-- Adam Selzer on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Selzer lives in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Adam Selzer became a professional ghostbuster and founded ''Weird Chicago Tours'' in 2006 with Troy Taylor and Ken Melvoin-Berg. He writes humorous books for children and young adults and non-fiction for adults about forgotten bits of Chicago history, myths, legends and ghost lore. At night, he still gives ghost tours in Chicago.

Published Works

  • How to Get Suspended and Influence People , Laurel Leaf, 2007
  • Pirates of the Retail Wasteland, Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2008
  • I Put a Spell on You: From the Files of Chrissie Woodward, Spelling Bee Detective , Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2008
  • Weird Chicago , Whitechapel Productions, 2008 - written with Troy Taylor and Ken Melvoin-Berg
  • Your Neighborhood Gives Me the Creeps: True Tales of an Accidental Ghost Hunter , Llewellyn Publications , 2009
  • Fatal Drop , Whitechapel Productions, 2008
  • The Smart Aleck's Guide to American History , Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2009
  • Andrew North Blows Up the World , Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2009
  • I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It , Delacorte Books for Young Readers , 2010
  • Extraordinary
  • :
  • The True Story of My Fairygodparent, Who Almost Killed Me, and Certainly Never Made Me a PrincessDelacorte Books for Young Readers, 2011
  • Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Chicago History, Globe Pequot Press, 2012
  • The Ghosts of Chicago: The Windy City's Most Famous Haunts, Llewellyn Worldwide, 2013
  • Play Me Backwards, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014
  • Ghosts of Lincoln: Discovering His Paranormal Legacy, Llewellyn Publications, 2015
  • H. H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil, Skyhorse Publishing, 2017

Selected Titles At Your Library

How to get suspended and influence people :
ISBN: 0440421608. OCLC Number:

Laurel-Leaf,. New York :. 2008, ©2006.

Gifted eighth-grader Leon Harris becomes an instant celebrity when the film he makes for a class project sends him to in-school suspension.

Pirates of the retail wasteland /
ISBN: 0385734824. OCLC Number:

Delacorte Press,. New York :. ©2007.

When eighth-grader Leon decides what to do for his project in the gifted program, it involves coffee houses, pirates, and filmmaking.

I put a spell on you :
ISBN: 0385735049. OCLC Number:

Delacorte Press,. New York :. ©2008.

When Gordon Liddy Community School's resident tattletale-detective, Chrissie Woodward, realizes that the adults are out to fix the big spelling bee, she transfers her loyalty to her fellow students and starts collecting evidence. Told through in-class letters, administrative memos, file notes from Chrissie's investigation, and testimony from spelling bee contestants.

Weird Chicago :
ISBN: 1892523590. OCLC Number:

Whitechapel Press,. Decatur, Ill. :. ©2008.

Your neighborhood gives me the creeps :
ISBN: 0738715573. OCLC Number:

Llewellyn Publications,. Woodbury, Minn. :. ©2009.

Do ghosts really exist, or is "ghostly phenomena" just strange stuff that gets blamed on dead people? Giving you the real story, professional ghostbuster and skeptic Adam Selzer of Weird Chicago Tours delves into a mysterious death at a former funeral parlor, nightly ghost sightings at Hull House, and more. Proving that not all ghost hunters are kooks (some are just geeks gone wild), Selzer showcases true spooky tales worldwide, a history of hauntings, the art of ghost hunting, and cool evidence of paranormal phenomena and the supernatural. These ghost stories will make you want to investigate that cemetery down the road to see if it's haunted--or just dark and creepy.

Fatal drop :
ISBN: 1892523620. OCLC Number:

Whitechapel Press,. Decatur, Ill. :. ©2009.

The smart aleck's guide to American history /
ISBN: 0385736509. OCLC Number:

Delacorte Press,. New York :. ©2009.

Improve your historical knowledge with this witty and efficient presentation of pivotal themes and events such as the American Revolution, Civil War, and civil rights movement. This clever and informative work follows a chronological arrangement from early exploration to the inauguration of President Barack Obama in January 2009.

Andrew North blows up the world /
ISBN: 0385736487. OCLC Number:

Delacorte Press,. New York :. ©2009.

Ten-year-old Andrew North believes his father and brother are spies, and spends his time in middle school preparing to join the family business.

I kissed a zombie, and I liked it /
ISBN: 0385735030. OCLC Number:

Delacorte Press,. New York :. ©2010.

Living in the post-human era when the undead are part of everyday life, high schooler Alley breaks her no-dating rule when Doug catches her eye, but classmate Will demands to turn her into a vampire and her zombie boyfriend may be unable to stop him.

Extraordinary :
ISBN: 0385736495. OCLC Number:

Delacorte Press,. New York :. ©2011.

Fourteen-year-old Jennifer sets the record straight after a best-selling book, ostensibly written about her, declares that her life was improved by her fairy godparent, who is actually a creepy, unkempt drunk with greasy hair.

Speaking ill of the dead :
ISBN: 0762772913. OCLC Number:

Globe Pequot Press,. Guilford, Conn. :. ©2012.

The ghosts of Chicago :
ISBN: 0738736112. OCLC Number:

. .

From Resurrection Mary and Al Capone to the funeral train of Abraham Lincoln, the spine-tingling sights and sounds of Chicago's yesteryear are still with us-- and so are its ghosts. Selzer pieces together the truth behind Chicago's ghosts, and brings to light dozens of never-before-told firsthand accounts. Take a historical tour of the famous and not-so-famous haunts around town. Sometimes the real story is far different from the urban legend ... and most of the time it's even gorier ...

Play me backwards /
ISBN: 1481401025. OCLC Number:

. .

A promising and popular student in middle school, Leon Harris has become a committed "slacker" but with graduation approaching and his middle school girlfriend possibly returning to town, Leon's best friend Stan, who claims to be Satan, helps him get back on the right track--for a price.

Ghosts of Lincoln :
ISBN: 0738741531. OCLC Number:

. .

Abraham Lincoln is one of the most haunted--and haunting--presidents in U.S. history. Sightings of Lincoln's ghost, as well as the ghost of his assassin, have been reported for more than 150 years. Visited by eerie premonitions, morbid dreams, and unusual events that seem too bizarre to be coincidence, Lincoln has become the source of dozens of myths and paranormal mysteries. Investigating everything from obscure séance transcripts and nearly forgotten newspaper articles to the most peculiar paranormal claims, this digs deep into the annals of history and reveals the fascinating true stories behind the tales, rumors, and lore.

H.H. Holmes :
ISBN: 1510713433. OCLC Number:

. .

Herman W. Mudgett, better known by his alias, H.H. Holmes, is considered America's first-- and most notorious-- serial killer. During the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, the basement of his house in Englewood, Illinois contained a torture chamber with crematory. Mudgett confessed to killing 27 people, but legends say the number may be in the hundreds. Selzer reveals not only the true story but how the legend evolved, taking advantage of hundreds of primary sources that have never been examined before.


The Smart Aleck's Guide to American History

  • ILLINOIS READS Book Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2013
  • Play Me Backwards

  • Starred Review, VOYA
  • ILLINOIS READS Book Selection, Illinois Reading Council, 2017

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)