} Dear Mr. Fichman;
} I appreciate the opportunity to answer historical enquiries; it gives
} me something to do other than listen to the meanderings of petty
} supplicants. It is a pleasure to help you decypher the expedition log
} entry that you sent to me, on behalf of the British Historical
} Edgar G. McGuinness was a member of the Himalaya Mountaineering Club
} from 1865 to 1898. Before his fated final climb, he was noted as a
} capable, albeit an eccentric, explorer.
} I can understand the confusion here, but "Orrie" is a name reserved
} solely for the use by my closest friends. In the log entry, "Orrie"
} was the nickname of his pet toucan, Orlando, found on Mr. McGuinness's
} South American Amazon expedition in 1863.
} On June 15, 1898, the McGuinness party, including geologist Matthew
} Simpson, botanist Avery Brewster, his personal physician Dr. Peter
} Bridges, and 5 Sherpa guides, started their ascent of K2, at that time
} thought to be the second highest peak in the world.
} On July 1, 1898, Mr. McGuinness appeared at the Sherpa village
} Shanzai, claiming that the other members of his party had met with an
} unfortunate accident on the North Slope, buried by a freak avalanche.
} He said that he was spared because he had climbed ahead to assess
} passability. He produced the expedition log, stating that before the
} accident, there had been one other unusual occurrence, that being the
} sickness of one of the guides, but that the physician had returned in
} time to perform the operation. The bodies of the others were never
} There was one other survivor of that expedition. One of the guides
} was found at the base of the mountain, incessantly repeating, "No,
} doctor, I don't need an operation." When questioned, he could only
} add that Mr. McGuinness had told the other members of the party that
} he had seen a thousand points of light at the summit, and that the
} others needed cleansing in order to see it. Since the guide was
} obviously mad, his story was not believed and the incident drifted
} into obscurity.
} However, now that you have asked, I can tell you that the deaths were
} by no means an accident. Mr. McGuinness had indeed hallucinated the
} thousand points of light and had systematically murdered his party in
} a bizarre ritual. Starting with Dr. Bridges, he operated on them in
} their sleep. The lone guide survived because he had gone outside to
} urinate in the middle of the night. Upon returning, he met Mr.
} McGuinness with his hunting knife bloodied by his diabolical work.
} Mr. McGuinness called to him, saying that the guide was "... sick;
} woefully lacking the purity of your precious bodily fluids. I can
} cleanse you. Let me share your pain."
} The guide fled for his life, but the shock of seeing his countrymen
} and his charges viciously mutilated so scarred the him that he died
} soonafter, stubbornly refusing the care of any of the village doctors.
} Since the truth was never known, Mr. McGuinness was allowed to retire
} from a life of adventure and settle in Hollywood, California, where he
} became a celebrated silent movie producer.
} I am sorry that your quest to discover the character of such a man did
} not end in the triumph that you must surely have imagined. In this
} case, I shall not require payment. Instead, please accept my donation
} to your Society Museum of 7 pairs of used hiking boots, 3 pairs only
} slightly worn.
} With highest regards,
} The USENET Oracle