Thirty-four people received Christmas cards from Oregon-resident Chet Fitch
this year. What made this unusual is that Chet died two months ago. The cards, written in his own handwriting, had a return address of "Heaven" and contained messages such as:
"I asked Big Guy if I could sneak back and send some cards. At first he said no; but at my insistence he finally said, 'Oh well, what the heaven, go ahead but don't (tarry) there.' Wish I could tell you about things here but words cannot explain.
Better get back as Big Guy said he stretched a point to let me in the first time, so I had better not press my luck. I'll probably be seeing you (some sooner than you think).
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.
The cards were Chet's final practical joke on his friends. Impressively, he had been secretly planning the joke for over twenty years. He had arranged with his hairdresser to send out the cards in the event of his death. Every year he gave her an updated list and a little more money to cover the rising cost of postage. And this year he finally died.
I can't think of many other examples of practical jokes perpetrated from the grave. I guess most pranksters like to be able to actually see their victim's reaction. The one other example that comes to mind is the Bequest of Francis Douce
. Douce was a wealthy British collecter who arranged to have his personal papers sealed in a box and donated to the British Museum after his death -- with the strange stipulation that the Museum would have to wait sixty-six years until they could open the box. When they finally did open the box, they discovered it contained nothing but trash and a rude note insulting the intelligence of the British Museum trustees.