James Tillich was born in a college philosophy class in December of 2006. A student suggested the name “James Tillich” as an incorrect option on part of a hypothetical test question. Upon hearing the name “James Tillich” the instructor burst out laughing and said, “There never has been a James Tillich.” He immediately went over to the computer and Googled an exact word search for “James Tillich.” Both instructor and class were amazed when “No results found” popped up. Later that night one student searched both English and German databases for the exact words, “James Tillich.” Results? Zip. Nada. Nechevo. Nothing. There was no trace of such a person ever having existed. The instructor decided, “Well if he never existed, then I must create him.” At the now defunct picture sharing site, Webshots, the teacher created the James Tillich picture album and Tillich began to pop into existence in future Google searches. The best way to find James Tillich online is to do an exact word search for “James Tillich.” The project has grown as other individuals besides the college teacher have joined in the creation of this virtual personality. Just a few days ago, a student from another class (“Technology and Human Values”) created a Myspace* page for James Tillich. My students, ya gotta love ’em!
*The Myspace page no longer exists nor does the article written by the student. Perhaps Myspace has disappeared into Tillich’s homeland, Tillichlandia, the land of the nonexistent…?