I wrote this on Valentine’s Day thirteen years ago. Valentine, Venus, Vesuvius, Venezuela, Vhiessu…
I had several projects I wanted to work on this evening, and a whole bunch of straightening I could be doing, but instead I fell down a rabbit hole — I’d been perusing Anne’s copy of The Dictionary of Imaginary Places last night (after reading some non-Lovecraft Cthulhu stories), looking for the kinds of entries I might like. Plenty of Narnia and Middle Earth, and other things I could do without, but nothing about the Miskatonic River (small blurbs about Arkham and Innsmouth), and then I flipped to the back to read the entry for Vhiessu — nothing.
So today, after a pretty trying day, I sat down at the computer to do those projects (more on them at some other time), and instead I Googled Vhiessu. There really isn’t a lot about it, though it was used as the title for some rock album, and, on obscure fan pages for Pynchon and Jorge Luis Borges, I found some reference to a fictional travelogue by the “accidental founder of Rosicrucianism,” which also mentioned Vhiessu, and which was in the 1740’s the inspiration for some intentional community outside Prague, which collapsed into “cannibalism, orgies, and mass suicide.” WTF?
I tried to find more, and found that some of what was referenced was real, but other parts seemed to lead to weird Internet dead ends: circular references, missing articles in archives of dead journals… In the end, I may have been the victim of an elaborate literary prank.
Now I have to read some Borges, and I’ll have to see if Anne’s book has any references to Ukbar or Tlön.