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Post Sit Down and Die: One More for the List
Created by John Eipper on 01/28/19 3:42 AM

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Sit Down and Die: One More for the List (Enrique Torner, USA, 01/28/19 3:42 am)

Ha! Gary Moore's riddle (January 27th) is an easy one, and I bet nobody knows, but I'll be giving away the end to an upcoming story of mine.

Not only did he die sitting up (well, just about), but he passed away with his glasses on, holding onto some papers that had a list of people he was planning to fire. That's why somebody probably murdered him. He died with his pants on, though it's disputed whether he actually died that way, or somebody put them on him after he died. He was probably poisoned. He was, however, sitting (technically, reclining high up, with pillows behind him), with his eyes open, and smiling. Who was he? Pope John Paul I!

More details coming soon, hopefully within a month, God willing! (Sorry, Tor, not the Universe willing!)

And I apologize for my long absence from WAIS: many things have prevented me from participating.

JE comments:  Happy New Year, Enrique!  And welcome back.  I hope the things keeping you away from WAIS have all been joyful and productive.

This is a bizarre topic, but I must add another twist.  In ancient Peru, you were buried in a sitting position.  This better prepared you to spring into the afterlife.

Any guessers for Gary Moore's original riddle?  And finally, do popes wear pants?

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  • More on Sitting and Dying; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 01/29/19 6:05 AM)

    Gary Moore writes:

    Congratulations to Enrique Torner (January 28) for his addition to the pantheon
    of died-sitting-straight-up.

    I confess, however, that Pope John Paul I was not the
    example I was cryptically citing (that example was perhaps also the one JE found
    independently, without giving away the name). Wow, I never knew the phenomenon
    could extend, as Enrique described, to eyes open and smiling.

    So now we know of two. How many others?

    JE comments: I Googled "people who died while sitting" and came up with this scatological result--those who expired on the toilet.  We all know about Elvis, but add Judy Garland, Evelyn Waugh, Lenny Bruce, and at least two monarchs.  I squeamishly offer the following:


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    • When Google Comes Up Empty: The Dying-While-Sitting Riddle (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA 01/31/19 4:35 AM)

      Gary Moore writes:

      John E finds that Google, when asked the Who-Died-Sitting-Straight-Up riddle,
      can offer only an unseemly asterisk, in what might be called the Elvis direction,
      arguably the opposite of what I was talking about, since the sitting-straight-up
      phenomenon implies an act of will to preserve dignity.

      As another corollary,
      Houdini was said to use an act of will to choose his death date, prolonging the
      burst appendix until Halloween. An example from fiction goes the other way:
      the wise old Cheyenne chief in Little Big Man says, "It is a good day to die,"
      then lays himself down in a magnificent mountain setting, only to open his eyes
      quizzically a few minutes later, having found he couldn't command himself to
      pass away.

      Still, JE's journey with Google-Charon on the cyber-Styx reveals something else:
      The Sitting-Straight-Up riddle may be one of those rare historical gems that can't
      be teased out by Googling. There are individual historians who know the cases that
      could be added to the list, but where or how would such knowledge be indexed?
      Is this a tiny preserve of folkloric mystery, surrounded by the roar of the Information

      (...aber, Herr Schopenhauer, wollen Sie nicht frühstücken?)

      JE comments:  So ol' Arthur will skip breakfast today.  But Gary, you've let the cat out of the bag.  My inquisitive Assistant Editor (a cat) asks, what kind of sick mind would put a cat in a bag?

      Dying in a seated position is an interesting topic, but how about dying in Detroit?  Harry Houdini (October 31st, 1926) belongs to that elite club.

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