Ed, you are a funny mf. Lunch on me next time! (Promise it won't be squirrel)
Feels like this category is starting to get competitive!
How about the back story?
Is that a skull?
When I first walked into the basement and looked at the top of the water heater I did a double take and said to the auditor I was with, "Hmmmmm. Doesn't that look an awful lot like a vertabra?" I rapped my knuckles on the vertical flue and it felt oddly . . . well . . . stuffed -- like a sausage casing. It was hard not to note the evidence of long-term spillage. So I gave it a shake and the bones began to tumble out . . .
Looks like you stumbled into some kind of Voodoo Ritual Site!
You have raised the bar for WTF? The real question for building scientists is, did he/she die of CO poisoning, or heat exhaustion?
Playing Santa Claus?
I've wondered how, if I ever had kids, I would explain that, "Yes, we have a chimney; but no, we don't have a fire place; the chimney comes out in the furnace and the water heater vent. So logically, Santa must then enter the house via a gas-fired appliance." I fear this would be distressing for a young child - and leaving milk and cookies on top of the water heater lacks a certain festive cheer.