Felix Resilleserre

Felix Resilleserre was born in New York City, in June 1969, in the back seat of a taxi.  As was to prove typical of him, Felix was early; he had been expected to arrive the following day[1].

This was, perhaps, the first hint that there was something unusual about Felix, something which would not fully blossom until that last bizarre flight across North Africa, driving a stolen bus, accompanied by a tank truck filled with heavy water.

Early Education

Felix's education proceeded with astonishing rapidity.  It was said of him that at the age when most children were learning to read, Felix had already finished reading his family's old copy of the Merriam-Webster Second International dictionary.  Felix was reportedly bored by elementary school, which he attended only to the age of 6.  After that he was privately tutored, until age 8, when he was admitted to Bronx School of Science.  Despite his young age of entry, he completed their academic program in just 3 years, graduating at age 11[1].


Poster of the Cat's Eye nebula found on the wall of Felix's office:
Cat's eye poster from Felix's wall
Unfortunately, we have been able to turn up almost nothing about Felix's family life as a young child.  It's believed that he was the youngest of several children[1], but attempts at locating his parents or siblings have failed.

By all reports, his interest in astronomy started early.  While in high school, he had a backyard telescope which he used on clear nights throughout the summer.  Since he grew up in New York City, not much was visible from his back yard, but whatever there was to see, Felix wanted to see it.  Later in life, as a professor, his office walls were often home to astronomical photos and posters of various sorts.

Felix also loved languages.  Much of his later work had to do with ancient languages, but his love for modern languages was equally strong.  By the time he entered Harvard, Felix already spoke French, Latin, and Farsi, and in addition he appears to have been able to read some Chinese, Japanese, and Sanskrit.  His later anthropological studies would be built on this strong foundation, as would a part of his reputation for eccentricity:  Felix sometimes seemed to delight in interjecting short phrases in random languages into conversations with people who spoke nothing but English.

We also know that Felix was fascinated by science  fiction.  Despite the time consumed by his meteoric academic career, Felix found the time to read everything written by Doc Smith, and was frequently seen at fan conventions in New England[17].  His interest in the field stayed with him throughout his life; a substantial science fiction library was unearthed during the excavation of his office[23].

Despite his fascination with the stars and his wholehearted interest in stories of people who traveled to them, the two authors who had the largest influence on Felix were more interested in tales of aliens visiting Earth than Earth people visiting aliens.  The first of these was H. P. Lovecraft. 
by H. P. Lovecraft

There is in certain ancient things a trace
Of some dim essence - more than form or weight;
A tenuous aether, indeterminate,
Yet linked with all the laws of time and space.
A faint, veiled sign of continuities
That outward eyes can never quite descry;
Of locked dimensions harbouring years gone by,
And out of reach except for hidden keys.
Felix was sometimes said to have memorized every word ever published by Lovecraft; while that seems unlikely, he was known to occasionally quote from the Sonnets at slow moments during department meetings.  A copy of the first stanza of sonnet 36, "Continuity", was found on the wall of his office (see box at right); it apparently had some special significance for Felix.

The second was Erich von Daniken.  Felix not only read all of von Daniken's books, he also studied everything he could find about the author himself.  Felix was not bothered by the disdain in which many of his co-workers held von Daniken's theories, and occasionally claimed to see something of deep significance in von Daniken's writings.  He seemed to feel that they showed signs of having been inspired by some truly anomalous events or evidence, however much the author may have fictionalized the kernel of truth, either as intentional misdirection or as a result of exaggeration[16].

Higher Education

At age 10,  Felix was promised admission to Harvard University, conditional on his first receiving a high school diploma.  He eventually entered Harvard at age 12, in the fall following his graduation from Bronx School of Science.

Felix graduated from Harvard at the age of 14, with a double degree in anthropology and physics[1].  (We have, however, been unable to locate any record of his matriculation from Harvard, and he doesn't seem to be listed in any of the yearbooks for any likely graduation year[4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14].  We are not sure what to make of this.  Perhaps Harvard lost his records.)

Felix entered the graduate program in anthropology at Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts at age 15.  He could have had his pick of graduate schools, and it's not known why he chose the relatively unknown Miskatonic rather than, for example, Yale or McGill, where he had also been admitted[1].  Since he subsequently carried a concentration in astrophysics, which is an unusual subject to pair with anthropology, a flexible graduate program may have been a priority for him.

Felix completed the requirements for a doctorate in five years.  He might have done it sooner had he not been earning a masters in astrophysics simultaneously.  He also suffered a setback when his initial thesis topic, "The Previously Unrecognized but Vital Role of Mice in the Empire of the Upper Nile Prior to 3000 B.C.", didn't work out[1].  After pursuing it for two years Felix decided he was at a dead end, and started over with a new adviser and new topic.  His second choice for a topic was far more successful, and his doctoral thesis, "A Comparative Study of Ancient Pantheons with Particular Reference to Several Unique Features of Bast and their Possible Origins in the Milieu of Bubastis", was to become very well known among other workers in his field.

After receiving his doctorate, Felix joined the faculty of Miskatonic as an associate professor at the age of 21, and at 26 was granted a full professorship, becoming the university's youngest tenured faculty member[15].  This gave him the freedom he had always wanted to pursue his research interests.

Felix the Fast

Despite the freedom from external pressure, Felix's internal drive was relentless.   His interests were legion.  Consequently, there never seemed to be enough time in his life, and he was always rushing, with occasionally unfortunate results.  Faculty members who knew him have claimed that one of Felix's most frequently used expressions was "Oops!"[16].

Coffee was one of his great enemies; more than one typewriter succumbed to the brown flood of a morning cup, accompanied by the inevitable cry of "Oops!".

Office moves were particularly dreaded around Felix.  On the occasion of his last move, the movers didn't arrive on time, and Felix decided to move his equipment himself.  As usual, he was in a hurry, and didn't want to make more trips than he had to.  So, after piling a laptop computer, his desktop computer with its old fashioned CRT monitor, and a Selectric typewriter onto his swivel chair, he proceeded to roll the whole load down the second floor hall.  His new office was located in the basement, which meant he and his load had to descend two floors.  There was an elevator located at the other end of the building, which would have made it easy.  However,  Felix had determined that if he just tilted the chair back a bit, he'd be able to roll it gently down the stairs, one step at a time, and cut 200 feet off the length of the trip, and avoid the need to wait for the elevator.  No doubt all would have been well had he done exactly as planned.  Unfortunately, the stairs were about 100 feet from his office, and Felix was in a hurry, so he ran most of the way to the stairs, planning to slow down before reaching the top step.  All might still have been well, had the hall floor not been waxed the previous day, which rendered his attempts at putting on the brakes almost entirely futile.  His cry of "Oops!" echoed throughout the building as he skidded off the top landing in hot pursuit of the swivel chair, typewriter, and computers[16]

Felix was, himself, unhurt in the incident, as was his swivel chair.  The computers and typewriter were not so lucky.  After purchasing replacements for the shattered equipment, university officials apparently decided to leave well enough alone in the future:  Felix was never moved to another office again.

Felix was also known in the anthropology department for his driving.  Apparently his incessant need to save time and get things done extended to his behavior behind the wheel.  It was often said that nobody rode as a passenger in Felix's car more than once -- the experience was too terrifying.  We have also run across claims that the Jeep used by Felix when doing archaeological field work had a roll bar, unlike all the other Jeeps owned by Miskatonic University, but we have been unable to substantiate this assertion.


Felix's friends had been known to speculate that Felix would never be able to slow down enough to marry.  They were proved wrong, when, on an archaeological dig in South Dakota, Felix met Felicia Vitechat.  It was a perfect match; by all accounts Felicia was as intense as Felix[18].

It's uncommon in such an esoteric field to find someone compatible who lives anywhere near you, but in this respect, also, Felix and Felicia were uncommonly lucky: Felicia was a junior faculty member in the archeology department of Miskatonic University.  It is, perhaps, surprising they had never met at the University, but Felix, as an archaeological anthropologist and somewhat of a recluse, had never gotten to know most of the faculty at Miskatonic outside the anthropology department.


Once Felix and Felicia were married, their friends joked that they'd never be able to slow down enough to have children.  Their friends were wrong, once again.  Their daughter, Isis, was born just one year after their marriage.

Early Research

Unfortunately, while Felix had many interests, he was not a disciplined researcher, perhaps due in part to his early receipt of tenure and the almost complete freedom it gave him.  Consequently, though he started many projects, his output of peer reviewed papers was nil.  Since he was teaching just one class during this period, we are left wondering what he was spending his time on.  It's hoped that further excavations in the deeper regions of his office may provide more information regarding this "dark period" in his life.

Felix's First Sabbatical, and the Journey to Egypt

Four years after his receipt of tenure, Felix was eligible to take a sabbatical.  He left the University for a year.  His stated plan was to spend the year in Egypt, studying certain tomb paintings which he claimed showed anomalous images which could not be accounted for by the conventional model of Egyptian history.

Kosti station:
Kosti railway station
Apparently completing his studies in the first few months, he took what would prove to be a momentous excursion up the White Nile.  Stopping at Kosti, Felix decided to follow up certain rumors he'd heard regarding something unusual which had been seen by a goatherd near El Obeid.  The rumors proved to be well founded, and Felix spent most of the remainder of his sabbatical doing field work in the desert.

When Felix returned at the end of the year, he was still extremely excited about the find in the desert.  His comments in the lunchroom made it clear that he thought the find was going to have very broad consequences, but he would not be specific about exactly what it was which had been found.  When pressed, he promised to tell everything when his research was completed (but, as usual, he couldn't say when that might be)[24].

By all accounts, Felix also felt the work he'd done with the Egyptian tomb paintings had major ramifications.  Unfortunately, when he submitted a rough draft of a paper to the peer-reviewed journal "Archaeology Today", it was returned with an encouraging letter, but also with numerous suggestions for changes from the referees.  Felix had no patience for reading critical comments or making changes to please some random reviewer. 
"d'OVNI" magazine (click on image for larger view):
OVNI cover
So he looked for a venue where he could expect to have his paper accepted with no challenges from "reviewers".  To the complete surprise of most of the Anthropology department, that venue was "d'OVNI", the journal of the Société d'OVNI of Paris.  That magazine was best known for its lurid covers and frequent references to Roswell (see example, to the right).  But Felix had been a regular subscriber for several years, and had in fact first heard about the discovery near El Obeid through an item in the Letters column of d'OVNI.  So, when he wrote the final version of what was to be his first published paper in several years, he wrote it in French.   The paper, now titled "Soucoupes volants geantes entrevu dans certaines dessins dans des tombeaux d'egypt antique", was accepted by d'OVNI with no changes and published in their next issue[20].  Unfortunately, though the claims in the paper were truly groundbreaking, it was almost entirely ignored by the anthropology community, possibly because few of its members had ever heard of the journal in which the paper appeared[24].

A Strange Path to Stock Market Success

By all accounts, Felix's behavior after his return from sabbatical became increasingly eccentric.  Several of his interests seemed to have become intermixed in some rather peculiar ways.

During the first weeks following his return, he began bringing his cat, Nim-nim, to the office with him.   This by itself was not strange; many cats were seen around Miskatonic.  But Felix, who almost never closed a door in his life (due, no doubt, to his tendency to collide with closed doors when hurrying from one room to another), started closing his door for an hour after lunch each day.  Since his door had a large glass panel in it, this certainly wasn't for privacy; rather, he seems to have wanted to shut out all extraneous sound during what appeared to curious faculty members peering in through the door to be private language lessons.  Well and good; Felix's interest in languages of all sorts was well known.  Many people take language lessons; many professors give language lessons to pupils; that, by itself, was not strange.  But what was strange was that Felix appeared to be giving language lessons to his cat -- or perhaps, as department wags suggested, the cat was giving language lessons to Felix.  Be that as it may, the hour after lunch was spent with Felix in his swivel chair, and Nim-nim sitting on his desk facing Felix.  And, as far as the onlookers could tell through the closed door, cat and man, both apparently concentrating intently, alternated in making sounds, or at least alternated in moving their mouths.  If it wasn't a language lesson, then no one in the department could guess what it might have been[24].

Nim-nim, who gave every impression of being a typical cat, spent most afternoons after the "language lesson" sleeping.

A few months after his return from sabbatical, Felix, who had always treated money more as a necessary evil than as something desirable, suddenly did an about-face on the subject.  He started subscribing to the Financial Times, and every morning, early arrivers would find Felix at his desk, poring over the stock pages.  Nim-nim, as a dutiful cat, could always be found on top of the paper, positioning herself exactly where Felix was looking ... but that is where all resemblance to normality ended.  For Nim-nim wasn't sprawled languidly on the paper; nor was Nim-nim chasing imaginary mice under the edge of the paper; nor was Nim-nim batting pencils off the desk.  Rather, Nim-nim was sitting up, alertly, staring at the paper along with Felix -- and to make the scene even stranger, Felix and Nim-nim appeared to be mumbling words to each other from time to time, just as though they were discussing the merits of various investments.  But the words, if they were words, were unintelligible.  If they were actually part of a language, it was not known to anyone in the Miskatonic Anthropology Department; so said those who happened to overhear some of the mumbled phrases[24].

According to rumors in the department, Felix's investment strategy, whatever it might have been, was remarkably successful.  By the time of Felix's second sabbatical, it was said that he was independently wealthy, and that he only continued at the University out of love for his research[16].

Feral Cats

It was about a year after Felix's first sabbatical that the Arkham animal control office first took official notice of the feral cat colony which was living behind the Miskatonic dining hall.  Since feral cats don't keep records, and since no one in Arkham had previously censused the cats, we have no way of knowing how long the colony had been there before it was officially noticed, nor whether the colony had been there before Felix's return from sabbatical.  What is known is that Felix became a feral cat advocate at this time.

He successfully opposed all attempts at removing the colony, and even opposed proposals for a trap-neuter-release program.  His claim -- improbable, if not absurd on the face of it -- was that this was a stable colony, and that the cats in it were controlling their population on their own.  His second, equally implausible claim was that the cats were living entirely from handouts from the cafeteria and were not molesting wildlife in the area.

Felix's strategy in fighting for the cats was, first, to overwhelm the opposition with data.  To this end, he and his wife and their young daughter spent large numbers of hours working with the cats.   Night after night, they could be seen holding video cameras, sitting among the cats.  Oddly, the cats seemed to trust them, and didn't act in the least bit disturbed at having these large two-legged intruders in their midst.  The resulting video footage showed a colony which apparently consisted almost entirely of adult cats, cats who could be seen, night after night, waiting patiently for the garbage from the dining hall to be put out.  Cats which, furthermore, were never seen hunting, never seen catching birds, voles, or other small animals.

The second part of Felix's strategy was to overwhelm the opposition with lawyers.  At the first hint that someone was going to move against the cats, Felix's legal team filed briefs in both state and county courts demanding restraining orders, and simultaneously filed suit to deny the organizations in question the right to operate on University property.

If nothing else, this multipronged attack demonstrated with startling clarity Felix's new-found financial clout.  Though a portion of the legal talent was pro bono, the legal team was large, and even the very nominal fees which were charged still amounted to a great deal of money.

Later Research

While Felix's output of papers remained nearly nil, the pace of his research accelerated.  However, his interest was now almost entirely consumed by studies of something which he had found in Sudan.  His promise to tell all once his research was completed showed no sign of either being fulfilled, nor of being broken, as there was no evidence that his research -- into whatever it was -- was coming to any kind of conclusion.

Felix did publish one short paper, detailing some of the work he was doing and some of what was being found.  Once again, the paper appeared in d'OVNI[21].   While there were tantalizing hints of something outlandish going on, few details were given.  In summary,
Had Felix submitted the paper to any recognized journal it would have been challenged on multiple points.  If Felix was working out a Romanization, then he must have had an idea of the pronunciation of the language.  Yet, if the language was heretofore unknown, and (presumably!) dead, how could he have come by such knowledge?  Was he just guessing?  He did not say.

Felix also included translations of several words -- but he said nothing about how he had determined their meanings!  How could he know, for example, that iemy meant snood?  What was his Rosetta stone?  The article did not say.  No one would deny that Felix was brilliant, but even the most inspired reasoning requires data to work from.

But years passed, and while Felix continued to make frequent journeys to Sudan, no further papers were forthcoming.  The mysteries remained unsolved.

Strange Musings

Felix continued to teach one course at Miskatonic, but he spent his summers in Sudan.  His entire family accompanied him, including Nim-nim, despite the difficulties this entailed due to stringent laws in Egypt and Sudan regarding importation of foreign domestic animals.

By all accounts, upon his return from his last summer vacation from Miskatonic, Felix was visibly excited.  More than once, he was heard to exclaim that he had "found the key", but when pressed to say what key he had found and what it might unlock, he refused to give details, saying only that he wasn't ready to publish anything yet.

On one occasion, a graduate student, passing Felix's partly open door, heard Felix in what seemed to be an animated conversation with someone.  The student just caught the phrase, "With the key, you can finally go home!".  Curious as to who it was who might be leaving the department to go home, the student looked in through the panel in Felix's door.  Strangely, there was nobody in the office except Felix -- and, of course, Nim-nim.[30]

Accusations of Terrorism; Black Market Deuterium

Things started to fall apart for Felix when the FBI contacted university authorities regarding a possible violation of the recently passed Nuclear Materials Act.   Rumors spread like wildfire:  Felix was a terrorist; Felix was buying plutonium; Felix had an atomic bomb hidden in his office (it was such a mess, he could have had six A-bombs hidden in it with nobody the wiser); Felix had actually made his (apparently vast) fortune by selling mini-nukes to Al Qaeda, not by playing the stock market.  For a week, nobody but Felix showed up for classes in the anthropology building, for fear of radiation poisoning from Felix's supposed cache of plutonium.

The actual accusation was not quite so frightening, but was certainly strange.  Felix was suspected of having attempted to purchase deuterium oxide, also known as heavy water.  Since this was an ordinary reagent, frozen into ice cubes by grad students to prevent hangovers, and consumed by the gallon by the Miskatonic department of cold fusion research,  it was not immediately clear either why Felix would have tried to buy it on the European black market (as the FBI report alleged) rather than going through the University's normal supplier, nor why anyone would have cared had he actually done so.

The problem, it seems, was that Felix had been attempting to purchase twenty tons of it.  This was far more than he could have obtained through "ordinary" channels, and had necessitated his going to the black market.   That, in turn, had gotten the FBI interested.  But since purchasing heavy water was not, in itself, illegal, and because there was as yet no evidence concerning any illegal use Felix might have put it to, they didn't immediately do anything beyond making inquiries.[25]

A Second "Sabbatical" in the Desert

With ongoing FBI inquiries into Felix's actions, and with world concern over terrorism already at fever pitch, the University apparently felt they had to do something about their "rogue professor".  They announced that they were conducting their own investigation of the FBI's concerns, and that Felix would be going on leave until the conclusion of the investigation.

The FBI, in turn, requested that Felix remain available for questioning.  Apparently some people in the United States government were still deeply concerned over the fact that Felix had refused to say what he might have wanted all that deuterium for -- in fact, he had not even admitted to the (attempted) purchase, claiming the FBI must have had him mixed up with someone else.  As evidence that he couldn't have done such a thing, he asked, very reasonably, what an anthropologist could possibly want with all that deuterium!  But since that's exactly the question the FBI was hoping Felix himself would answer, his "reasonable" defense didn't get him very far.

Felix's legal team eventually negotiated a compromise with the FBI:  Felix would be allowed to leave Massachusetts if he kept the government apprised of his location.  To no one's surprise, Felix immediately notified them that he would be leaving for Sudan.  Once again, he would be taking his family and cat along.

There is evidence that Felix intended to abide by the agreement.  He actually purchased plane tickets for the trip, and made arrangements to transport his usual collection of paraphernalia which he took along on research trips, along with some unspecified additional luggage.  But at the last minute there was a problem with the airline; the "additional luggage" turned out to be forty crates of "delicate equipment" which he said could not be safely carried in the cargo hold.  They would need to be transported in the cabin, with the passengers.  Felix was willing to purchase a ticket for each crate, and even to pay a substantial premium above what a normal ticket would cost -- he would pay whatever the airline felt was reasonable.  But he absolutely had to have his crates brought along.

The crates weren't especially heavy -- perhaps ten kilos each.  There was, therefore, no physical reason why they couldn't be flown in the cabin, as Felix wanted.  But there was a problem:  The airline absolutely demanded that Felix specify what was in each crate, which he refused to do.  They also demanded the right to open each crate and inspect the contents, a demand which he also refused.  And so things reached a standoff -- the airline would not fly Felix along with his mysterious crates, and he would not go without them.

Felix had his lawyers negotiate with the airline.  In turn, the airline asked Felix's lawyers to try to talk some sense into Felix, which they tried mightily to do:

Lawyer:  "Felix, you have to tell them what's in the crates.  Why, you could be carrying terrorists in those crates!"

Felix:  "Right, terrorists who weigh 10 kilos each.  Ça, c'est entierement fou!"

Lawyer:  "What?  What?  What?"

Felix:  "Désolé, didn't mean to be obscure; that was just a bit of French.  I said it's a silly idea.  Just get them to be reasonable, OK?  Could we offer them more money -- would that help?"

Lawyer:  "Felix, you could have a bomb in every crate!  You have to let them look in the crates!"

Felix:  "Das ist ganz lächerlich!"

Lawyer:  "C'mon, Felix, you know I don't understand French!"

Felix:  "Wasn't French, it was German.  I just said that's ridiculous.  First of all, I'll be on the plane too, along with my family, and I'm certainly not going to blow it up.   And second, they can tell if it's a bomb just by having one of those dogs of theirs sniff each crate.  C'mon, can't you get them to come around somehow?"

Lawyer:  "Short of buying the airline I don't think there's any way we can get them to fly these things if you won't say what's in them."

Felix:  "Iȓtuine yȓk irarj eet aȓfar yt etyȓ!!"

Lawyer:  "Enough with the German, Felix!"

Felix:  "That wasn't German."

Lawyer:  "Look -- even if you can't let them know what's in the crates, if you want me to get anywhere with them, at least tell me what's in them!  What is it?  What can't you let them see?"

But Felix wouldn't say.  And so the day of Felix's planned departure approached, and nothing had been worked out.[25]

The Great Disappearance

When Felix's flight finally took off,  neither he nor his family were aboard,  as negotiations with the airline had remained deadlocked to the end.

And then Felix vanished.

In total contravention of his agreement with the FBI, Felix simply dropped out of sight, along with his family and his cat.  An all points bulletin was issued.  Nobody boarded a plane (or bought a roll of stamps) within 100 miles of Arkham without being compared with photographs of Felix, Felicia, and Isis.  Even Nim-nim's photograph was put up in post offices throughout the state of Massachusetts.  No more the merely eccentric professor; now, he was Felix the Fugitive.

Taking the Low Road

It was only months later that Felix's actions were pieced together.

Whether he was ever really planning to fly is not known.  However, what is now known is that Felix had alternative travel plans in place from the start.  The "Chatonnoire", a small freighter, was sailing from Boston to Tripoli "in ballast", after delivering 1000 tons of dried poppies.  The ship owner's plan to pick up a shipment of 400,000 cases of baked beans had fallen through and they had no other customers lined up, so it was returning home empty.  Consequently, Felix's offer to charter the whole ship for the trip had been welcomed -- and if Felix wanted to bring along 40 crates, or even 400 crates, that was fine with the owner.

As to the contents of those crates, long before Felix was tracked down, members of his department had already guessed what must have been in them.  For, it seems, Felix and his family were not the only members of the community who had vanished.  The feral cat colony behind the dining hall had apparently up-stakes and left the very same day Felix stopped coming into the office.   While nobody could hazard a guess as to why Felix might have wanted to take the cats along to Sudan, it was widely believed that that was exactly what he had done.  For further support to the idea, it was widely agreed that this explained why Felix wouldn't tell anyone what was in the crates, beyond saying it was "delicate equipment".  Surely, Sudan would never have willingly allowed him to import an entire colony of feral cats, whether or not each colony member had a first class passenger ticket on the airplane.[27]


As far as anyone can tell, the Chatonnoire landed at Tripoli as planned, and Felix and his retinue debarked.  After that the story starts to become hazy.

According to Ali Roulevite, an unemployed auto mechanic who was lucky enough to be on the docks that day and who watched the performance, there was a bus waiting for the Chatonnoire when it entered the harbor.  It was a retired Greyhound bus, of the sort where you need to climb a few steps to get to the passenger cabin, which rides on top of an enormous luggage bay.  Felicia, who was first off the boat, hurried up the dock and entered the bus; moments later, she left the bus with another woman whom Ali thought was the driver.  Felicia and the driver entered what looked like a small office in a dockside building.

Meanwhile, the crew of the Chatonnoire lugged Felix's baggage from the ship to the dock, where a local stevedore ran it up to the waiting bus on a small truck.   The baggage, including all of their clothing, a few cartons of archaeological equipment, and a number of 40 pound sacks of something which the watcher on the dock thought looked like animal feed, was stowed through a door in the side of the bus, as usual; it fit with no problem, leaving room to spare in the baggage compartment.

Ali saw no sign of the supposed forty crates.

And then the real show began.  Felix and Isis walked down the gangplank from the ship ... and they were followed by what Ali could only describe as a herd of cats.  The very concept is an offense against common sense; we compare managing a group of difficult people to "herding cats", because cats go their own way as individuals, and never travel in a herd.  But these cats supposedly did.  As Felix and Isis walked from the end of the gangplank up the quay to the bus, the cats followed them, still in a group.

Some time after Felix, Isis, and the cats had boarded the bus, Felicia and the driver came out of the office.  They shook hands, and the driver was heard to say "good luck", which is, roughly translated, "Good luck!".  Felicia boarded the bus, the motor started up, and the bus proceeded to drive away, as the (former) driver stood by the side of the road and watched, after which she returned to the office.[26]

That, at any rate, was the story told by Ali, who claimed to have been sitting on the dock watching the affair.  The bus driver, Fatima Souriciére, who also was the owner of the bus line, had a very different story to tell when Interpol descended on her office a few hours later.  She said Felix and Felicia had stolen her bus at gunpoint.

She told the Interpol agents that a woman wearing a ski mask and carrying an AK-47 had burst into her bus and had ordered her out, and told her to lie face down in the road.  She claimed to have been in that position, seeing nothing but the dust of the road, until after the bus drove off.   She said she had no idea where they were going or what they wanted the bus for.  She knew nothing of anything loaded onto the bus, because she'd been lying face down in the road from the time they started loading the bus to the time they drove away. She became very agitated during the interview, and demanded that Interpol get her bus back as quickly as possible.[28]

The Chatonnoire left port immediately after dropping off Felix and his family, without filing an itinerary.  Neither its captain nor crew have been located.  The stevedore has not been located, either.  When asked about the statements of Ali Roulevite, Fatima scoffed, saying he was a worthless bum and a liar, widely known for his fanciful stories, and added that she had not seen him at all that day and doubted very much that he was anywhere near the docks during the incident.  Thus we are left to guess as to what really happened on the dock that day.

Flight, and Pursuit by Interpol

How had Interpol gotten involved?  Why were they interested in Fatima's bus?

The answer, it seems, is that Felix had been trying to purchase heavy water on the black market -- and what's more, he had succeeded.  Interpol had apparently been tipped off regarding the sale, and had apparently received a tip regarding the bus, but they had failed to intercept the alleged heavy water delivery.  Someplace in North Africa, there was a tank truck filled with heavy water, which Interpol believed was now in the hands of Felix -- for what reason, nobody knew.

Souriciére, the bus owner, was of no help in locating Felix.

The best guess anyone could make was that Felix and Felicia would head east into Egypt and then up the Nile, turning off at Kosti.  So Interpol set up road blocks on Highway 1, which runs along the coast.  They were now claiming that Felix was a nuclear terrorist, working for a rogue state, and that nobody was safe from him.  With panic in the air, Interpol received the grudging cooperation of both Libya and Egypt, and blocked the highway on both sides of the border.  And so they tied international truck traffic completely in knots for several days while they waited for Felix to arrive at one of their barricades.

Satellite photo of Wigh (from Google Maps):
Satellite view of Wigh
But GPS receivers have changed the world, and Felix was probably equipped not just with a GPS receiver, but also with a laptop and satellite link and full Internet access.  Felix didn't take the coast road; he headed south along barely marked tracks scratched in the desert.  He crossed the border into Chad somewhere near the city of Wigh (see image to right), and from there went directly east to Sudan.   His pursuers only realized what route he took much later, when astonished witnesses near the border crossings started telling tales of having seen a bus cruising through the desert, filled with cats.  Once again these cats weren't acting "normal" -- they weren't wandering around the bus meowing to be let out, or standing on the dashboard in front of the driver's face, or climbing down on the floor and getting under the brake pedal.  Rather, they were sitting in the seats, looking calmly out the windows at the world passing by.

According to the stories, the cat bus was followed by an unmarked tank truck.  Some stories had a woman driving the tank truck, and a man driving the bus; others had it the other way around.  One point all stories agreed on, however:  They were traveling as though all the hoards of Hades were chasing them.  The dust cloud they raised could be seen for miles in all directions.  The bus was bouncing over the chuckholes and moguls in the road like a crazed frog riding a pogo stick, and some claimed that the tank truck was rocking and jolting so badly that you could hear the liquid inside sloshing.  Some said the drivers must not be humans at all, but demons.  Those whose villages they passed through were utterly terrified by the careening vehicles ... much like everyone who ever encountered the driving of Felix or Felicia.  This, alone, would have been enough to convince anyone who knew them that Felix and Felicia were certainly the ones at the wheels!

And the little caravan never came within 500 miles of any roadblock set up by Interpol.


None of the roads in Sudan were blockaded.  It appears that the Sudan government was less impressed than some others with the hysterical claims that Felix had become a "nuclear terrorist".  Despite the fact that he was traveling around with enough heavy water to fuel several thousand cold fusion experiments, the fact remained that nobody had a clue how any amount of deuterium oxide could be used to make a bomb.  In short, it was weird, but it wasn't dangerous.

Consequently, once Felix crossed the border into Sudan he was "home free".

Interpol had expected Felix to cross into Egypt, at the earliest, two days after leaving Tripoli.  They reasoned that even highway 1 on the coast was not very good, and with two drivers and two vehicles, they could only drive half the time.   By this reasoning, it should have been at least another two days after that before Felix could cross into Sudan from Egypt -- and there were roadblocks on the Egyptian side of the border with Sudan, as well.

So it was only after four days that they began to wonder if Felix had somehow gotten through their net.

After another day passed, it occurred to someone that they should try to guess where Felix was going, and get to his destination before him.  The exact location of his "dig site" wasn't known, but they knew about where it was, and by using helicopters they thought they could locate it in short order.  Since helicopters move much faster than buses, it was assumed that, even if Felix had somehow evaded the barricades, they would still get to the site before him.

So the helicopters were sent out, and they quartered the area north and west of El Obeid, and in short order they found what they felt must be Felix's fabulous site, and they closed in, prepared to intercept Felix, Felicia, and their cargo of heavy water and cats, and stop them from doing whatever it was they intended to do.

But as usual, Felix and Felicia had arrived ahead of schedule.

From the air, the helicopter pilots could see a bus, a truck of some sort, and a crater.  When they landed, they found that the bus was empty, the cargo hold in the bus was empty, and there was no driver in the truck, which was, indeed, a tanker.  A quick check of the tank showed that it, too, was empty -- the heavy water, if that's really what it had been, was gone.

And the crater ... presumably, the crater was the site of Felix's archaeological dig, but the dig, too, seemed to have vanished.  There was nothing there but an empty hole.  Several hundred feet across and fifty feet deep, it was just a crater -- no half-buried building, no palimpsests, no scrolls, no carved stones, nothing to show there had ever been anything of interest there.[25]

How can you steal an entire archaeological site?

And how can three people, forty cats, and 5000 gallons of heavy water simply disappear?

Interpol found no answers to these questions.

Felix's Grad Students

Interpol was at a loss -- Felix might as well have simply vanished into thin air.  But there were clues, if one knew where to look.  And the Miskatonic Monthly staff looked.  Professor Schnarchhund, who had the office next to Felix, wrote an article for them, after talking to a number of students who'd taken Felix's classes.  We obtained permission to reprint the article, in its verbose and weird entirety:

The Footprints of the Cat
by Johann Schnarchhund

Well, folks, our Felix has done it again, this time better than ever!  After terrorizing half of Africa he vanished out from under the noses of the best cops on three continents.  And the best part is, nobody has a clue where he went -- not the Dean, not the Academic Council, not the FBI -- and certainly not Interpol!

But what about Felix's students?  Do they have a clue?  I wondered.  So, I asked them.

Our Felix has been teaching one course every semester for the last ... oh, who knows, it seems like forever.  He's one of the fixtures of the University:  One-course Felix.  But Felix never taught just any course -- he taught just what he wanted to teach.  (Why do some profs have all the luck?)  And what Felix wanted to teach was something he called "Topics in Anthropology".   Prerequisite:  Permission of Felix.  Meeting time:  12:00.  Location:  The cafeteria.  In other words,  a few kids Felix liked would sit around with him twice a week and have lunch.  (For this, he was paid ... oh well, some profs have all the luck.)

But I'm getting catty here.  Really, Felix did some good stuff in that class -- or, rather, that seminar; that's what it's called in the course catalog.  "Graduate seminar, 2 credits. pre: Perm instr".  On days when the discussion really got going, they'd all retire to a seminar room after lunch and keep at it until somebody had to go to another class, or until they had to break for dinner.  (In fact I heard they sent out for pizza and just kept going until the next morning a few times -- believe that if you like!)

So what were these classes really like?  I talked to Fred Frohtete, who took Felix's seminar last year.  Here, in his own words, is a description of the class:

The Prof would sit at one end of the table, and we'd, like, sit around the table, like, y'know, Jesus at Supper, and Felix -- we all called him Felix to him, but, y'know, he was 'the Prof' when we talked about him -- he'd like fire these questions at us, and we'd like try to answer them, with, y'know, answers that might be OK, not just dumb stuff.  OK, I know, that sounded really dumb here, but what I mean, he'd ask these questions that were, like, totally weird, and then get us to cough up serious answers.  OK, look, here's one:  We're all sitting down in the caf, like munching and stuff, and the Prof goes 'What do you do if your spaceship runs out of gas?'  and looks at me.  Dumb-like, I go, "Uh, walk home?" and everybody laughs, but not the Prof -- he wants a real answer.  So I try again, "Uh, I guess it depends on what your spaceship might burn, huh?"  and the Prof's a lot happier.  But that's not the end of it; we talked for like a couple hours that time, all about what to do if your spaceship runs out of gas -- what a gas, if every anthro course was like that I'd be an anthro major for sure!

Sounds great, doesn't it?  Sort of like basket weaving with lunch served.  Was there really any content to these classes at all?  I got a different opinion from Sally Jones, who took the course first semester of this year:

You want to know if Felix's class was really easy?  You mean, like an "easy A"?  Since Felix gave us all A's I guess you could say so, but really, I worked really really hard in that class. It was really one of the hardest classes I ever took.

Some of the questions Felix asked sounded really silly, like the one Fred talked about, but every one of them was tied into archaeological anthropology, and Felix really made you think.  And it wasn't just Felix asking questions -- he lectured a lot, and he answered a lot of questions, too.  And he expected everybody to listen, all the time, and really think, all the time.  And it wasn't just one question, one class, boom, we're done.  Sometimes we'd work on the same question for weeks, and sometimes Felix would start on a topic, and just lecture us about it, and that could go on for weeks sometimes, too.  It was really really free form.

He could be really annoying too, though.  Like, he didn't always answer questions in English.  And sometimes part of his lecture wouldn't be in English.
[I asked her what language he'd use instead]
  What language?  Oh, sometimes it was French, sometimes it was German, sometimes it was Latin, or Spanish, or ... Oh, I don't know.  Anyhow it wasn't so bad when it was German, because I could understand it OK.  And when it was Latin or French, Sarah -- she was in the class -- would translate for the rest of us -- Felix was really cool with that.  It was really rough on the days when Felix decided to speak Sanskrit, though.  And when...  [she trailed off]
[I asked her what she was about to say]   Oh, I dunno -- it's just, Felix sometimes spoke, well, he, uh, he really knew a lot of languages.  And he'd always tell us what he was speaking, except -- well -- sometimes there was this language he spoke, he never told us what it was, and we had a really terrible time following him those days.  It sounded like ... oh, I don't know what it sounded like.  [She laughed.]  I heard a rumor he could talk to animals, too, like that Doolittle guy [she laughed again].  Anyhow he really did make us work really hard in that class.

So, folks, Felix was conducting classes that were stranger than any of the rest of us on the faculty realized.  I guess we should pay more attention to our colleagues!

But we're still not any closer to knowing where he went.  When I asked a couple of his students where they thought he went, they just said they didn't know.  But maybe, if we knew what Felix taught in this class, we could make a guess.  I, for one, would really love to know!  So, even though I avoid hard work as a matter of policy, I took the time to interview every one of his former students I could locate, and compiled a list of the topics which were "taught", or should I say "discussed", in his class.  And then I discarded all the topics which Felix brought up for just one class and didn't repeat.

And I looked at the list of topics which he'd used repeatedly, or which he'd spent lots of time on in one semester, and tried to fit them together into some kind of coherent whole.

And when I saw the picture which emerged, for the first time in my life, I, Johann Schnarchhund, was at a loss for words.

Here's my list:
  • When were cats first domesticated?
    Felix had serious doubts about the commonly accepted age of "the domestic cat" -- or at any rate that's the impression his students were left with.
  • Were African Wild Cats domesticated?
    Among anthropologists, the "African wild cat" is normally assumed to be the ancestor of "the domestic cat".  Felix didn't agree, and spent weeks working on the domestication of the cat with his students in an effort to figure out, as he put it, what really happened.
  • If aliens had landed on Earth long ago, and couldn't leave, where would we find their descendants?
    Felix treated this rather weird little question as a sort of "brainstorm starter".  He brought it up every semester, but never discussed it for more than one class period.
  • How durable would a starship need to be?
    His students found this question really strange -- until they thought about it.  For, when you think about it, you realize you don't ever want your spaceship to break down -- you can't just get out and wait by the side of the road for AAA to come and tow you, and you can't just sit down on a nearby planet and wait for the Highway Patrol to stumble over you.  So, you would want it to be very very durable.
    Felix treated this as a "lead-in" to an additional, tantalizing question:  If a starship was abandoned somewhere on Earth, how long could it remain in a usable state?  Years, centuries, or millennia?
At this point I started feeling a little strange about Felix and all his trips to Africa.  But there's more.
  • Omens:  What effect do they have on advanced civilizations?
    You may think this is a no-brainer, but apparently Felix didn't.  He used this topic roughly every other semester.
    According to his students, he was thinking of really powerful "omens" -- like, for instance, a supernova exploding in your backyard.  Suppose a star just a couple lightyears away blew its top, and the planetary nebula it spat out started swallowing the night sky afterwards.  What would people think?
    Would would aliens  have thought if it had happened to them?
  • Synchronicity:  When Is Coincidence Stretched Too Far?
    This was sort of a "gee whiz" thing, a survey of things that happened together, for no apparent reason.  Felix brought this up several times over the years, as a kind of introduction to the next question:
  • How Old is the Catseye Nebula?
    Felix seemed to think this was really important; he brought it up every semester.   This seems odd, because it's a no-brainer: published estimates make it about 4300 years old, and there's no good grounds for challenging them.  (Felix seems to have looked long and hard for such grounds!)
    After they'd talked about the age of the Nebula for a while, Felix would lead the conversation around to the question of when cats were domesticated, and ask if it happened before or after the supernova which created the nebula.  Of course, they always concluded it happened before the supernova, and Felix would end the discussion with the phrase, "Well, maybe it did."
So far we've got a bunch of pieces which don't fit.  But the next few topics really got my attention -- his trips to Africa were finally getting an explanation, of sorts:
  • If you travel by warp drive can you arrive before you leave?
    This sounds like he was asking about paradoxes, and that's what his students always thought at first, too.  He'd use this question as a lead-in to a series of lectures on relativity. (He did this in an anthropology seminar -- did Felix ever pay attention to established rules?)  And the conclusion he led his students to, each time he covered this, was that we don't know.  If warp drives exist, then there can't be any paradoxes in their use, because nature doesn't contradict itself -- but "now" isn't the same everywhere, and if you travel thousands of lightyears by warp drive, you may find the time is off by a a thousand years or more from what you expected.
    Or, at any rate, that's what Felix claimed, and after listening to his lectures on the subject, (most of) his students eventually agreed.
    Sometimes, at the end of this unit, he'd go back to the question of when the Catseye nebula formed, and ask if a traveler from the Catseye who left the year it formed could have arrived on earth before cats were domesticated.  And this time, based on his rather strange lectures on relativity, the conclusion was always:  "Maybe."
  • What if your spaceship runs out of fuel?
    Felix brought this up several times, and it was a lot less fatuous than Fred made it sound.  The question Felix really wanted to ask seemed to be, "What if a spaceship came to a primitive planet, like Earth several thousand years ago, and didn't have enough fuel to go home?"
  • What kind of fuel would you use to power a warp drive?
    Felix presented this topic just once, shortly before his last vacation in Sudan.
    His anthropology students were totally out of their depth on this; he should have given an astrophysics seminar.  But they worked on this as well as they could, with guidance from Felix, who was an astrophysicist by training.  And they concluded -- get this, people! -- that Star Trek got it wrong, antimatter is no good, it's too hard to handle.  You'd probably want to run your warp drive from a fusion engine -- and the best fuel for that might very well be ... are you ready for this?  ... deuterium.  And what form would you want your deuterium to be in?  Lithium deuteride, maybe -- or for ease of handling, maybe you'd want to design your motor to run on deuterium oxide.
And finally, there was one topic which stood out like a sore thumb -- not just any sore thumb, mind you, an infected and swollen bright purple thumb -- so much so that I included it on the list despite the fact that Felix brought it up just once, in his last semester here, and didn't spend much time on it:
  • Is there any evidence of alien languages on Earth?
    At least this was on-topic for an anthropology class.  But the family tree of languages is pretty tight, and everything the kids could think of seemed to fit, without any "leftover bits" which might have come from outside.  After they'd hashed it over for a while Felix went to the board, and, very quickly, wrote phrases in a dozen languages on the board and challenged the class to trace the origin of each of them.
    And they did so, for all but one of the languages.
    The last, untraceable one was unfamiliar to them all, written in graphemes which were unlike any they had seen, and Felix finally explained that it was from an inscription he'd found in Sudan.  This was more information than he'd ever published on the subject!
    Sally had written the Romanization of it in her notes; the phrase was, "aȓt zfea enz onaȓt oun".  She didn't know what it meant.
So, there you have it.  Or maybe you don't.  I really don't know.  After all this, all I can conclude is... I wish Felix well, where ever he is.

Excavation Begins

One year after Felix's disappearance, the University placed him officially on "permanent leave" and started to clean out his office.

It was a huge, windowless room in the basement.  Felix had been in it for a number of years, and had accumulated more junk than anyone would have thought possible in that time.  It was utterly without organization, with textbooks, computer parts, personal papers, drafts of never-published research papers, notes on ancient civilizations, miscellaneous broken bits of office equipment, a few parts from a car he was rebuilding "in his spare time", a number of unmatched galoshes and gloves, and a lot of stuff that simply couldn't be identified, along with large amounts of obvious trash, all heaped against the walls, on the tables, on the floor, and behind the furniture, with much of it stained or sticky with ancient spilled and long since dried coffee.[29]

Since everyone wanted to know where he'd gone, and since the University really wanted to know what he'd been doing for his unpublished "research" all those years, all of his papers were to be sorted and examined.  Consequently the cleaning out proceeded slowly.

Discovery of the Book of Iem, and the Grammar of Iemy

A lot of the "obvious trash" consisted of papers which were crumpled up and left on the floor in heaps, as well as papers which had completely illegible scrawls on them, or which had text that had been obliterated by spilled coffee.  Much of this "trash" had already been dumped in recycling when someone ran across a paper which had more of the "illegible scrawls" on it, along with an English translation.  It was only then that people realized that at least some of the "trash" must have been notes on the mysterious language which had come up in his seminars and which had been mentioned so briefly in his published work.

And so the recycling bins and dumpsters which hadn't yet been emptied were brought back and dumped out on the floor, and the job was begun a second time, this time with every crumpled leaf being carefully flattened and photographed and sorted.  And so, very gradually, the Book of Iem began to emerge from the mounds of detritus.  And from time to time a sheet would be found with tables of words in Iemy and vague scribbles in English; these represented no text from the Book.  These were Felix's notes on the grammar of Iemy -- precious notes on a previously unknown language, notes which Felix had never published.

Unfortunately, when Felix was in a hurry (which was almost always), his English writing was nearly as hard to read as his Iemy writing.  Consequently it has taken a great deal of time to assemble the Book of Iem from his notes, and it is still not complete.  And the process of compiling his grammatical notes has been every bit as slow and difficult.  As more of the Book of Iem is discovered and deciphered, and as we learn more of the language from Felix's fragmentary grammar notes, we'll continue to update our pages on the subject.

This concludes the reliable information we have on Professor Resilleserre.  Since completing this page, however, we have been in communication with Professor Johann Schnarchhund and have received what appears to be detailed information regarding Felix's subsequent activities.  For further information, please see the Iemy Papers.


  1. "Felix Resilleserre:  The Unauthorized Biography", Minou [self published]
  2. "The Feral Cats of the Miskatonic University Campus", Report 132-K, Arkham Office of Animal Control
  3. Private communication, Bursar's Office of Harvard University
  4. Harvard University Yearbook for 1980
  5. Harvard University Yearbook for 1981
  6. Harvard University Yearbook for 1982
  7. Harvard University Yearbook for 1983
  8. Harvard University Yearbook for 1984
  9. Harvard University Yearbook for 1985
  10. Harvard University Yearbook for 1986
  11. Harvard University Yearbook for 1987
  12. Harvard University Yearbook for 1988
  13. Harvard University Yearbook for 1989
  14. Harvard University Yearbook for 1990
  15. Faculty records for the years 1980-1999, Miskatonic University archives
  16. "Shoggoths at the Birdfeeder:  My Strange Years at Miskatonic; A Memoir", Lavinia Upton  [Yog-Sothoth Press]
  17. "Minutes of the Convocation of the Council of Boskone  (subtitled: Seconds, Hours and Days of Total Strangeness at a Hotel in Boston)", Euphemia E. Smith  [Eich Publishing House, a division of Eddore Limited]
  18. "Marriages, Deaths, and Doings About Town", Flora Dittout [Miskatonic Minuteman]
  19. "Antediluvian Rocs of the White Nile", Felicia Vitechat  [Miskatonic University Press]
  20. "Soucoupes volants geantes entrevu dans certaines dessins dans des tombeaux d'egypt antique", Felix Resilleserre [d'OVNI issue 121 pp 11-13]
  21. "Sommaire de la recherche dans les environs de le grand trou à l'ouest d'El-Obeid",  Felix Resilleserre  [d'OVNI, issue 143 pp 111-112]
  22. "Annual Summary of Persons Reported Missing", Federal Bureau of Investigation
  23. "A partial inventory of the effects of Felix Resilleserre, PhD", Miskatonic University archives
  24. "Belling the Cat",  Johann Schnarchhund [Miskatonic Monthly] -- Ed. note:  Johann had office 10, next door to Felix's.  This somewhat satirical essay appeared in the Miskatonic University student newspaper, which occasionally ran pieces by faculty as well as students.
  25. "Fast Felix:  How to Morph a Staid Professor of Archaeology into an International Terrorist in One Easy Lesson", Daren Cotenoire [Dark Horse Press]
  26. "Un Peu Trop:  Interpol Outrepasse la Ligne",  Editorial  [Le Quotidien Tunisien]
  27. "The Strange Case of the Missing Mass (of Cats)", Suzette Suivrechat [Miskatonic Monthly]
  28. "AK-47:  Still The Best when you Need it Light, Reliable, and Now",  Jorge Tirevite [Mercenary Today, issue 220 p 11]
  29. "Ugh! What a Mess!", Sally Jones  [Miskatonic Monthly]
  30. "Ghosts in the Basement",  Joseph Serruretrou  [Miskatonic Monthly]


Page created on 4/11/2009; first uploaded on 6/22/2009