In the early 1930s, Clark Ashton Smith wrote a story called "The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis" about a disconcerting archeological discovery on the planet Mars. The tale was eventually published in Weird Tales.
Robert Barlow, an anthropologist and friend of H.P. Lovecraft used the story's title as the name for his closet, where he kept his collection of Weird Tales. Barlow, fearing that he would be outed, committed suicide in 1951.
George Hass then started using the name--The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis--to describe his home, which was given over not only to Weird Tales (kept in a wooden chest), but books on related topics, sculptures by Clark Ashton Smith, collections of oddities collected during Haas's time with the Navy.
Of course, much of this material is Fortean--in nature (unexplained) or in inspiration (challenging to scientific conventional wisdom). There is a strong element of Romance--capital R--in the collection, hope that the objects will inspire one to think weird thoughts.
[And Forteans are collectors, if nothing else right? Fort collected. And the Forteans collect.]
Don Herron writes,
“Our man Haas us no George-come-lately to the field of Fortean research, having been a member of the original Fortean Society’s San Francisco branch . . . .” (5)
Eats and meets up at Dave’s Cafe, 42nd and Broadway (5).
“To visualize events so vividly that they come to pass is George’s brand of sorcery. When he read White Shadows in the South Seas and the other volumes dealing with the South Pacific, for example, he was compiling a large and detailed mental picture of that area. George believes his powers of visualization took him to those lush isles by means of a Navy hitch even more surely than working and saving for a tourist cruise would have.” (13).
“A good imagination is essential in making this brand of parapsychology operate, and reading fantasy and science fiction is one thing George credits his imaginative abilities to.” (13)
“Robert Barbour Johnson was a writer for the original Weird Tales magazine. He penned “Far Below,” They,” Lead Soldiers,” and several other shockers. Both he and George belonged to the San Francisco branch of the Fortean Society. The group met in a writer’s studio to discuss UFOs and other strange phenomena." Johnson an artist, interested in the circus, and wrote about Gold Gate Park. For many years lived on Telegraph Hill, under the shadow of the Coit Tower, though moved away from the Bay Area. He and Haas still correspond. “These two men keep the Fortean spirit and the sense of the fantastic alive and very well indeed” (24).
“Another of George’s friends is a self-proclaimed ‘ultra-weird’ artist.” Ralph Rayburn Phillips. “Phillips often came down from Portland, Oregon, where he has lived for many years, to attend various Bay Area science-fiction conventions and Fortean meetings. He has known the Inhabitant of the Vaults for about a quarter of a century. A Zen Buddhist, Phillips is the author of the booklet Bulls of Zen. His artwork has appeared in many fanzines and gallery showings over the years, and a good number of articles in Portland newspapers have been devoted to this ‘ultra-weird’ figure who draws much like Lovecraft writes” (26).
“‘Never-Throw-Anything-Away’ Haas" (29).
“His interest in Bigfoot grew naturally from his Fortean activities. During the 1950s George collected flying saucer reports, which led after awhile to the collection of Bigfoot reports. His file on Bigfoot and miscellaneous outre subjects comprise on of the best Fortean reference libraries in the world” (31)
Haas says, “As a good Fortean and as a student of Buddhism, I don’t ‘believe’ in anything, accepting anything and everything, so-called natural laws included, on a temporary basis only” (33).
Nb: Robert Payne’s The Lord Comes influenced Haas; he shared it with Clark Ashotn Smith, who credited the book with stimulating his interest in Buddhism.