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Christmas Cards From Heaven
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.
Chet Fitch."

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.
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 25, 2007

I don't know about real life but hoaxes from beyond the grave have turned up in TV shows and movies. In particular I think of this episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents:

(If there's any chance you can see this anew, reading the plot summary might spoil it for you.) Also, in Dick Van Dyke's 1969 movie, The Comic, the title character arranges for a pompous speaker to get a pie in the face at the silent comic's funeral.
Posted by Phred22  in  Beltsville, MD  on  Wed Dec 26, 2007  at  04:18 PM
If anybody gets any mail from beyond the grave with my signature, I suspect the return address probably won't be "Heaven."
Posted by Big Gary  in  Paradise, Texas  on  Wed Dec 26, 2007  at  07:24 PM
You complaining, Big Gary? You already live in Paradise.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Thu Dec 27, 2007  at  03:31 AM
My foggy memory recalls some reference to a cigar left in a time capsule with instructions to light said cigar upon opening said time capsule, which promptly exploded upon ignition. The cigar, not the time capsule. I had a can of fart spray given to me twenty years ago, and just last Spring it finally rusted thru enough to release some Fart Juice. I thought my stereo was undergoing electrical stress by the smell, but upon closer examination, it was the leaky can. As to whether it was the intent of the can-givers to allow that can to autofart in twenty year's time is somewhat unclear, but that was the delayed effect, nonetheless. I've been keeping my eye on the fake dogcrap they gave me too, just in case it gains sentience and attacks me in the night. I also have a couple of whoopie cushions whom I suspect may rise up and overthrow Western Civilization- that's why I keep them fat and happy, giving them Ring-Dings and Malomars dipped in rubber glue. They also like old reruns of That's My Mama, because they like old Rerun. True story
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Mon Dec 31, 2007  at  09:15 PM
Bastard. I wanted to do this and that crafty sod has beaten me to it! Well he gets a 10/10 for this. What a prankster.
Posted by Renquist  in  Glasgow, Scotland  on  Tue Jan 01, 2008  at  11:07 PM
WRT the Douce bequest, shouldn't it be possible to verify whether the Bod does or does not (or did or did not) have the Douce papers? If they do, the story is falsified; if not, the BM's account is.
Posted by outeast  on  Wed Jan 02, 2008  at  05:27 AM
I saw Harry Secombe in an interview shortly after Peter Sellers died. He said that at the end of the funeral service they played Glen Miller's "In the Mood". Apparently it had been Sellers' request; a sort of last little joke from the grave.
Posted by Blondin  on  Wed Jan 02, 2008  at  09:08 AM
Cranky, "Paradise" is the name of a town in Texas. I don't really live there, but I visit now and then. We have another town called "Eden." I used to go there, but they threw me out. Something about some fruit tree ...
Posted by Big Gary, MoHDCiCoF  in  Gun Barrel City, Texas  on  Fri Jan 04, 2008  at  09:31 AM
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