Nikolai Gogol was passionate about opera, which is not a strange obsession. However, Shostakovich made an opera out of Gogol’s story, “The Nose,” which was first performed in 1930, around 80 years after Gogol’s death. In 1931 Gogol was disinterred by Soviet authorities for removal to a different cemetery, and he was found lying face down in his coffin. Presumably he heard the music and did the conventional thing.
Or else he had been buried alive.