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Here is another classic that I couldn't find anywhere on the site:

A man is lying dead in a field. Next to him there is an unopened package. There is no other creature in the field. How did he die?

My notes to try and avoid this being too broad:

The man died where he lies. He was not moved to this spot. (He wasn't shot, stabbed, poisoned, etc.) Nothing happened earlier in the day to cause this death to be expected.
He did not die of natural causes, old age, etc.
He was not killed by lightning, or anything weather related.
He was not killed by an act of God (lightning, earthquake, forest fire, etc.)
There are no other objects of note anywhere in the field, and no objects have been removed or added since his death.
There are no tire tracks or other signs of another human being around him.
The man was not killed by any creature (snake, spider, etc.) that then moved (walked, slithered, flew) away.
The man did not kill himself.
This happened in the typical world, with regular laws of physics, a depressing lack of magic, and (sadly) no aliens.

After the first round of answers finding loopholes, a couple more notes. To those that this eliminates your answer, thank you for helping me find those loopholes:

The man's death was instant (no time for anything to leave the field before he died)
The man was not doing anything illegal.
The contents of the package did not cause his death.
There was nothing growing or living in, or recently added to the field that caused his death. The field is not toxic.

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closed as too broad by Bob, Spencerkatty, xnor, Doorknob Jun 23 '15 at 22:12

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think this question proves that I don't seem to learn my lesson with these types of questions... $\endgroup$ – Aggie Kidd Jun 23 '15 at 20:52
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    $\begingroup$ One VTC already - let's see how many loophole answers I can get in before it's closed! :-D (Don't take me the wrong way - I had this same experience with my policeman and lorry driver question earlier today.) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jun 23 '15 at 21:09
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    $\begingroup$ @randal'thor Hey, it survived my afternoon meeting. Better than I thought it would do! $\endgroup$ – Aggie Kidd Jun 23 '15 at 21:40
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    $\begingroup$ @randal'thor Nope! You can't! $\endgroup$ – Xandawesome Jun 23 '15 at 22:17
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    $\begingroup$ It's obvious the guy was deathly allergic to packages. $\endgroup$ – COTO Jun 24 '15 at 4:17

11 Answers 11

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The man had

jumped out of a plane.

The package is

his parachute, which had failed to open.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think I remember this is the correct answer $\endgroup$ – Alex Jun 23 '15 at 21:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Alex Correct, schmorrect. The challenge now is to find a valid loophole so that something else is equally correct! :-D $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jun 23 '15 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ I got one, just posted :D $\endgroup$ – Alex Jun 23 '15 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor And I sit here and make edits as quickly as answers come in. $\endgroup$ – Aggie Kidd Jun 23 '15 at 21:49
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    $\begingroup$ how can this be the right answer if the "contents of the package" did not cause his death? Certainly their failure to function properly was directly responsible... $\endgroup$ – KutuluMike Jun 23 '15 at 22:02
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The object was dropped from the sky (plane/helicopter) and killed the man. It then fell next to him where he lay dead.

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  1. He was highly allergic to the plants in the field. The package had nothing to do with it.

  2. He was highly allergic to whatever was in the package. He didn't know what was inside, so he carried it around for a while, then died.

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Taking advantage of the loophole found by @Richard...

The man was

decapitated by a boomerang, which left his body and the field while he was still dying (thus not "since his death").

The package is

a present for his Aunt Fanny, and irrelevant to his death.

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4
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The man had

heart stroke / heart attack

The unopen package next to him is

Drug / medicine for his heart stroke / heart attack that he fails to open in time

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'd say a heart attack falls under "natural causes." $\endgroup$ – Aggie Kidd Jun 23 '15 at 21:42
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The man is

a worker at a nuclear power station, who stole some plutonium and ran away.

The package is

the plutonium he stole.

He died of

radiation poisoning.

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  • $\begingroup$ How can this be the correct answer if ''Nothing happened earlier in the day to cause this death to be expected.''? $\endgroup$ – Peregrine Rook Dec 4 '18 at 5:37
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You've gone to great pains to explain that he wasn't killed by a human, nor was a creature involved in his death, nor an alien or a god, nor did he kill himself.

Therefore, I propose that he was hit on the head by

a robot

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  • $\begingroup$ You silly sod ;-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jun 23 '15 at 21:23
  • $\begingroup$ "There are no other objects of note anywhere in the field, and no objects have been removed or added since his death." $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jun 23 '15 at 21:23
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed. Presumably it took a minute or so for him to die, during which time the perpetrator left. - "no objects have been removed or added since his death" $\endgroup$ – Richard Jun 23 '15 at 21:23
  • $\begingroup$ Good catch! I've incorporated that in an answer too. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jun 23 '15 at 21:33
  • $\begingroup$ Or a drone...${}$ $\endgroup$ – Conor O'Brien Jun 23 '15 at 21:47
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The unopened package is a prophylactic. The man had a heart attack while trying to open it, but even then, his partner never arrived, so his death, while not technically being of old age, is technically related to him being of unhealthy heart.

Remember everyone: Heart disease is the number one killer, please take care of your body!

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "He did not die of natural causes" $\endgroup$ – Richard Jun 23 '15 at 21:47
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    $\begingroup$ Dying of a heart attack induced by attempting to open a package is not natural. You could alternatively say that it was one of "those damn clamshell" packages that some electronic devices come in. Those things could give anyone a heart attack. $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Jun 23 '15 at 21:53
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Clearly if there are no other living things in the field, then the field itself must be highly toxic. Perhaps the farmer had forgotten to dilute his pesticide and delivered a fatal dose of the stuff to every square inch of the field.

The package contains a peanut butter sandwich and an apple, which the man had been planning to eat for lunch before he succumbed to the pesticide's neurotoxic effects.

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Given the new restrictions, it seems obvious that he was accidentally killed during the...

...testing of a giant microwave transmitter in the next field.

Note that his death would indeed be instant, his death would not be anticipated and that nothing would leave the field afterwards.

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Oh my.... I'm going to start taking pride in how off the wall the answers to my questions are. $\endgroup$ – Aggie Kidd Jun 23 '15 at 21:55
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    $\begingroup$ @AggieKidd - I think the problem is that you weren't specific enough. If you'd said "a man is lying in a field, dead from extreme trauma consistent with a fall from at least 1000 feet, alongside him, there's an unopened parachute, what is the most likely cause of death?" you'd be in with a better chance of getting a sensible answer. $\endgroup$ – Richard Jun 23 '15 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ I'll keep that in mind. My intent was to try and keep it as close to the original format as possible. I will forgo that aim in the future. $\endgroup$ – Aggie Kidd Jun 23 '15 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ @AggieKidd If you really want off-the-wall, check out Richard's highest-voted answer (on the infamous "unlimited rope" question) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Jun 23 '15 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor That one is one of my favorites. $\endgroup$ – Aggie Kidd Jun 23 '15 at 22:18
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The man was killed by the package, this is obvious. The question is how.

The package is actually an quasialien spore that secrets a fluid, and when it is touched it gets into your skin and eventually into your bloodstream and nervous system. Once it gets into the brain is sends an intense electrical signal through the nervous system that activates the rest of the fluid that is in his body, causing him to drop and curl up into a ball and enter the gestation period.

Soon the quasialien will hatch and consume those who found the body.

Run!

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ He said no aliens! $\endgroup$ – Richard Jun 23 '15 at 21:46
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    $\begingroup$ What about quasialiens? Haha $\endgroup$ – rodolphito Jun 23 '15 at 22:41

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