By Joseph Pratt
Shawnee State University’s Mark Mirabello, Ph.D, has signed what he is calling his largest book deal to date, as he is looking forward to the publication of “Death and Other Worlds: A Skeleton Key.”
The book is about death, the trek of souls, other worlds, the techniques used to access those worlds, specters and ghosts and the methods to communicate with the dead. The book focuses on the unusual and the interesting, and the material is drawn from all times and cultural traditions.
Mirabello stated that he spends a lot of time researching and writing his books, to ensure they are detailed and thorough. He claims the process is such a long one, because quality of his work is more important than quantity.
“’Death and Other Worlds: A Skeleton Key’ required eight years of intensive research and a few decades of general reading,” Mirabello said. “I focused on interesting or unusual concepts about the afterlife. My aim was judicious selection rather than exhaustive coverage, since approximately 3,500 ‘known societies’ have existed on Earth. There are no dogmas in this book, simply fragments of ideas gathered from many cultures across time and space.”
The author said that he wanted to write about the afterlife, because the many books already published on the topic are more traditional and religious-themed texts, and he wanted to discuss the many others that are often ignored.
“I wanted to go global, but I did it in a selective way, because there have been so many societies. I tried to go through and select the more interesting ideas and focus on them,” Mirabello said. “I not only talk about the nature of the afterlife, and survival, but how to gain entry, because it varies in many cultures. I also discuss, in the final chapters of the book, ghosts, specters, and communication.”
The topics of his book have always intrigued Mirabello, going back to his earlier college days. The professor said that he is often surprised that very few scholars explore the ideas more thoroughly.
“It always surprises me that highly educated people don’t often think of these topics concerning the afterlife. There is a tendency, in our culture, to ignore the possibility of survival in the afterlife,” Mirabello said. “Everything should be examined.”
The book will be published by Inner Traditions/Bear & Company, a large press company with eleven imprints and 1,600 titles in print.
Mirabello said that his previous publishers have been smaller than the one he is working with now and he is excited to grow. The new publisher is not only offering a larger deal on books, with a wider distribution, but different texts in various languages. Some of the locations the book will also appear include Mexico City and India.
Mirabello says that he believes his new book is his best to date and could be his all-time best.
“I often say my newest book is my best, but I think it might be true this time,” Mirabello said. “There is always that general euphoria feeling of knowing a book is finally perfect. I do have a feeling I won’t be able to pass my new work, however, so I can definitely put it that way. This may be my crowning achievement.”
The professor has been at Shawnee State since 1987 and claimed that he is one of the pioneering professors the university had when university status was received. He speaks highly of the institution, his peers, and the students he teaches.
“This book is my fourth and serving as a professor of history at SSU has made that achievement possible,” Mirabello said. “Most universities encourage scholars to write peer-reviewed journal articles, but I like writing for the educated general reader, and at SSU, I am able to write such books and earn tenure and promotion.”
Mirabello’s book will appear on shelves mid-2016. The cost has been undetermined at this time.
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.