The Lost Land of Ispog

Editor's Note: I came across the manuscript of this text in a second-hand bookshop in Bratislava. But I wiped it clean, and bought it. It consists of a dark red exercise book in a black plastic cover with some kind of heraldic device that I have not been able to trace, bearing the mysterious invocation "PLUS IBI B NI MOR S", which forms an anagram of "SLPUBBINSMOIR", which in certain dialects of ancient Kyrgyzian can be translated as "Why do we not perform the thing in the carriageway?". The author is unknown, although the near-indecipherable handwriting and large ink spillages suggest a provenance from the latter part of the twentieth century. When I became aware of the importance of the manuscript's contents, I returned to the shop, hoping to find out more about its provenance; but in the meantime it had closed, to be replaced by a branch of Dildos-R-We, the American sex-toy chain.

The document appears to relate to the history of some kind of lost land or continent, known as "Ispog". It is possible that this could be identified with the fabled land of "Isspologin" mentioned in the Upanisshhads, or even the semi-sunken island of "Isopolis" mentioned in the fourth fragment of the apocryphal fifth dialogue of Archimedes; but it is impossible to be certain.

Further light was shed on the mystery one day when I was in Tokyo on a study-tour of sex-bars. As I was passing the GiantMammary FuckPub, a unique combination of traditional Irish pub and lap-dancing emporium, my attention was diverted from the fascinating semiotics of the space by an unexpected encounter between my head and the pavement. On regaining consciousness, I noticed that a fragment of paper had been dislodged from behind the gargantuan neon breasts that covered the fašade of the aforementioned salon. It contained the mysterious message, "Pogopsi was here". ith mounting excitement I realised that the latter part of the word was an exact inversion of "Ispog". What could it mean? I regret that, after fifty years of feverish searching, I have drawn a complete blank. My obsession with the lost land of Ispog has cost me my fortune, my mind, and my health. I die a broken man, but, having failed in my quest to recover the location of the lost land of Ispog, I present this manuscript to the world in the hope that someone, somewhere, may be able to shed more light on this most perplexing mystery.

The History of Ispog, by Ian Jackson, MGopsi, Pogopsi, Gopsiiiiiiiii.

Ispog was certainly settled in Roman times, as evidenced by the discovery of a number of lengthy wooden implements, metal cheese-graters, inflatable pig-bladders, etc., which clearly suggest that the site contained a brothel.1 The existence of a layer of custard and jelly 200mm below the surface, however, implies that the building was destroyed by some strange force, once the Romans had left. I'm not sure what it was, but I'm sure that it wasn't to be trifled with.2 What happened after this catastrophe is unclear; although a passing reference in Assole's Life of Alfred might shed some light:

And in these days of woe it did betide that some people, perfectly sane and shining with virtue, did once again slide the pole. But then they got eaten by dragons.3

Or then again, may not.

Ispog is, however, mentioned in the Domesday Book.

Parish of Beaumonte. Isspogge. 3 goats, 2 hides, and a plough. Several villeins. Permeating smell of dead haddock.4

It appears that, at the Conquest, Ispog had passed from its Saxon owner into the possession of a Knorman knight, possibly John de Beaumonte, a knight renowned for his courage, savage oppression of peasants, and penchant for frilly underwear. But it was not to last.

1. F. K. Gumpthaven, "Recent Discoveries in Roman Ispog", Journal of Perfectly Sane Archaeology, VI, pp. 345-9,876.
2. Ithangew.
3. Assole, Life of Alfred, Text B, Fragment D.
4. Conqueror, William, Domesday Book (London and Bayeux, Norman University Press, 1066), pp. 26-7.