”Jack, my friend, I have something you need to see, about who Veronika Larsson really is. No more here - contact me in Second Life if you're interested in talking about the girl I called K.”
If anything, my story about the fake online personality Veronika Larsson has resulted in its emails. I’ve received so many emails. Emails about how well written and interesting it was, how it sucked and that I should go searching for a new job as well as fascinating questions about who she really is. One reader had added all the claims about Veronika’s life story and concluded that it must be the owner of a well-known media company that was behind the fake person online. Another believed that it was a well-known conman from Malmö. A third recognized Veronika from a Norwegian’s theft of a Swedish punk singer’s identity.
My aim has been to follow every lead.
That’s why the email from a man we can call Tom lured me to restart my old account on Second Life. I logged in and began looking for him. It wasn’t hard. Second Life is nowadays more or less a ghost world.
The virtual reality game that allows the user to create a digital body reached its peak in 2007. Then foreign minister Carl Bildt started a Swedish embassy in the game and hundreds of thousands of people logged in every day. But since then it has gone downhill, and in an article from December 2012 Hanna Fahl wrote in Dagens Nyheter that the world was an empty and deserted place, a “doomed world”. But that information had obviously not reached Veronika who at the same time as the article was published posed for a virtual photo laying on a lion statue in fictitious city Warrumbungles.
A few minutes after I logged in a chat message appeared on my screen. It was an offer to teleport to where Tom was.
”Join me in Rhianna,” he wrote.
When I arrived there I looked over my shoulder nervously to see if any of my colleagues were peaking at my screen. Rhianna turned out to be an island specifically devoted to virtual prostitution. Escort Island. In front of me was an avatar with black, flowing hair and an open shirt showing a broad manly chest. It was Tom.