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Chris Mentillo: "Name This Famous Author"

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  • Tip Bones

Do you know which famous writer lived in this mansion? Hint: Hew as born on June 24, 1842, Meigs County, OH. Here are some famous quotes of his:

* Sweater, n.: garment worn by a child when its mother is feeling chilly. 

* Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.

* Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage.

* Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.

* A cynic is a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, and not as they ought to be.

* All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.

* The hardest tumble a man can make is to fall over his own bluff.

* War is God's way of teaching Americans geography.

* History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.

* One of his most famous books was named as one of "The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature" by the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration.

Mysterious Disappearance:

At age 71, he departed from Washington, D.C., for a tour of his old Civil War battlefields. By December he had passed through Louisiana and Texas, crossing by way of El Paso into Mexico, which was in the throes of revolution. In Ciudad Juárez he joined Pancho Villa's army as an observer, and in that role, he witnessed the Battle of Tierra Blanca.

He is known to have accompanied Villa's army as far as the city of Chihuahua. His last known communication with the world was a letter he wrote there to Blanche Partington, a close friend, dated December 26, 1913. After closing this letter by saying, "As to me, I leave here tomorrow for an unknown destination," he vanished without a trace, his disappearance becoming one of the most famous in American literary history.

Skeptic Joe Nickell argued that no letter had ever been found; all that existed was a notebook belonging to his secretary and companion, Carrie Christiansen, containing a rough summary of a purported letter and her statement that the originals had been destroyed. 

There was an official investigation by U.S. consular officials of the disappearance of one of its citizens. Some of Villa's men were questioned at the time of his disappearance and afterward, with contradictory accounts. Pancho Villa's representative in the U.S., Felix A. Sommerfeld, was contacted by U.S. chief of staff Hugh L. Scott and Sommerfeld investigated the disappearance. He was said to have been last seen in the city of Chihuahua in January. 

Oral tradition in Sierra Mojada, Coahuila, documented by a priest named James Lienert, states that he was executed by firing squad in the town cemetery there. However, Nickell finds this story to be unreliable. He quotes the author's friend and biographer Walter Neale as saying that this writer had not ridden for quite some time, was suffering from serious asthma, and had been severely critical of Pancho Villa. Neale concludes that it would have been highly unlikely for him to have gone to Mexico and joined Villa. 

All investigations into his fate have proven fruitless, and Nickell concedes that despite a lack of hard evidence that he had gone to Mexico, there is also none that he had not. Therefore, despite an abundance of theories (including death by suicide), his ultimate fate remains shrouded forever in mystery.

Do you know who this famous author is yet? The famous author's name is Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce. He was most notable for his production of The Devil's Dictionary and his mysterious disappearance.