Not a particle of disgust, rather a wave, goodbye.

“Sometimes, in bookstores, I experience waves of nausea when I think about adding even one more word to all that fucking print.”  -Hakim Bey, the 1993 audio from the T.A.Z. conference.

“To paraphrase Hakim Bey; sometimes when I look at the Internet, I experience waves of nausea when I think about adding  even more more pixel to all that fucking noise.” – Joseph Matheny

Innovators and creators of the world, this is to put you on notice. The your creations, the results of your inspirations will eventually be co-opted and used as tools for exploitation. No matter how hard you try to design around this inevitability, the gut maggots (and there are many)  will find a way, they always do.

 

Multiple mixed metaphor alert

The parasites have taken over the asylum. The systems were designed by them, so naturally they were designed to favor them. It’s the Casino principle. The house always wins. Even when the occasional dupe slips through the cracks, they are paraded around as marketing material, to show all that “they too can win”. Just keep the faith! Even in this simulacra of winning, one becomes the bait.

They will take your creations, born of sweat and tears, agony and ecstasy, notes from that rare congress with “the other” and twist them, weaponize them and utilize them as cogs in the great machine to feed themselves and grow fat upon that inspiration by vampirising others who, sensing some original kernel of transcendence in the ghost of your work, will chase a phantom carrot which has long since been replaced with the sign of a carrot pointing to the place the original liminal message used to occupy. Sign>signifier>ghost dance. They will build grotesque and macabre temples to the ghost to entice as many as possible to worship it.

You have at that point become an unconscious agent in the ever increasing, intrusion upon and occupation of the realization of true desire.

In the end, even Debord and the Situationist were colonized, commodified, and co-opted. The détournement of the Détournement. Dada and Surrealism as a T-Shirt.

I offer no solution, I do not call for any great art strike or (god forbid) some Galt like withdrawal, mostly because I know most of you don’t have the moxy to follow it through. You’re too busy constructing justifications for why you continue to participate, why what I write here is wrong, why what you’re doing is “different”.

Therefore, this is not a call to action, or a call to inaction. It is not even a warning. It is a statement and my last on this subject.

I leave you with this quote:

“…the best and most radical tactic will be to refuse to engage in spectacular violence, to withdraw from the area of simulation, to disappear.” – Hakim Bey

humdog on the future then, which is now

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My dear, late friend humdog wrote this in 1994.  You may recognize the name as one of the people I dedicated the Ong’s Hat project to. Her name, in real life was Carmen, and while I did interact with her in real life from time to time, most of my interactions with her were online, so I will always remember her as humdog (lower case mandatory) or “hummy” as I sometimes affectionately called her. Carmen/humdog was a teacher who sometimes used some of my early on-line art stunts as examples in her classes about the then emerging on-line art scene and she was one of the people I chose to participate in my private Well forum, known as Kaos. Kaos was a invitation only forum where a few of the first on-line art projects were hatched and humdog was always there to give us constructive criticism and encouragement.

I read the following piece now and I wonder if hummy had some kind of inkling, some prescience of the coming age of the social network and the resultant commodification of the customer, that effectively rendered them the product. Then again, maybe it’s always been this way and I’m only now refreshing my view after wandering in the digital desert in a state of induced optimism. (Read denial)

Either way, I recently re-read this piece and was struck by it’s timelessness.


pandora’s vox: on community in cyberspace

by humdog (1994)

when i went into cyberspace i went into it thinking that it was a place like any other place and that it would be a human interaction like any other human interaction. i was wrong when i thought that. it was a terrible mistake.

the very first understanding that i had that it was not a place like any place and that the interaction would be different was when people began to talk to me as though i were a man. when they wrote about me in the third person, they would say “he.” it interested me to have people think i was “he” instead of “she” and so at first i did not say anything. i grinned and let them think i was “he.” this went on for a little while and it was fun but after a while i was uncomfortable. finally i said unto them that i, humdog, was a woman and not a man. this surprised them. at that moment i realized that the dissolution of gender-category was something that was happening everywhere, and perhaps it was only just very obvious on the net. this is the extent of my homage to Gender On The Net.

i suspect that cyberspace exists because it is the purest manifestation of the mass (masse) as Jean Beaudrilliard described it. it is a black hole; it absorbs energy and personality and then re-presents it as spectacle. people tend to express their vision of the mass as a kind of imaginary parade of blue-collar workers, their muscle-bound arms raised in defiant salute. sometimes in this vision they are holding wrenches in their hands. anyway, this image has its origins in Marx and it is as Romantic as a dozen long-stemmed red roses. the mass is more like one of those faceless dolls you find in nostalgia-craft shops: limp, cute, and silent. when i say “cute” i am including its macabre and sinister aspects within my definition.

it is fashionable to suggest that cyberspace is some kind of _island of the blessed_ where people are free to indulge and express their Individuality. some people write about cyberspace as though it were a 60′s utopia. in reality, this is not true. major online services, like compuserv and america online, regular guide and censor discourse. even some allegedly free-wheeling (albeit politically correct) boards like the WELL censor discourse. the difference is only a matter of the method and degree. what interests me about this, however, is that to the mass, the debate about freedom of expression exists only in terms of whether or not you can say fuck or look at sexually explicit pictures. i have a quaint view that makes me think that discussing the ability to write “fuck” or worrying about the ability to look at pictures of sexual acts constitutes The Least Of Our Problems surrounding freedom of expression.

western society has a problem with appearance and reality. it keeps wanting to split them off from each other, make one more real than the other, invest one with more meaning than it does the other. there are two people who have something to say about this: Nietzsche and Beaudrilliard. i invoke their names in case somebody thinks i made this up. Nietzsche thinks that the conflict over these ideas cannot be resolved. Beaudrilliard thinks that it was resolved and that this is how come some people think that communities can be virtual: we prefer simulation (simulacra) to reality. image and simulacra exert tremendous power upon culture. and it is this tension, that informs all the debates about Real and Not-Real that infect cyberspace with regards to identity, relationship, gender, discourse, and community. almost every discussion in cyberspace, about cyberspace, boils down to some sort of debate about Truth-In-Packaging.

cyberspace is a mostly a silent place. in its silence it shows itself to be an expression of the mass. one might question the idea of silence in a place where millions of user-ids parade around like angels of light, looking to see whom they might, so to speak, consume. the silence is nonetheless present and it is most present, paradoxically at the moment that the user-id speaks. when the user-id posts to a board, it does so while dwelling within an illusion that no one is present. language in cyberspace is a frozen landscape.

i have seen many people spill their guts on-line, and i did so myself until, at last, i began to see that i had commodified myself. commodification means that you turn something into a product which has a money-value. in the nineteenth century, commodities were made in factories, which karl marx called “the means of production.” capitalists were people who owned the means of production, and the commodities were made by workers who were mostly exploited. i created my interior thoughts as a means of production for the corporation that owned the board i was posting to, and that commodity was being sold to other commodity/consumer entities as entertainment. that means that i sold my soul like a tennis shoe and i derived no profit from the sale of my soul. people who post frequently on boards appear to know that they are factory equipment and tennis shoes, and sometimes trade sends and email about how their contributions are not appreciated by management.

as if this were not enough, all of my words were made immortal by means of tape backups. furthermore, i was paying two bucks an hour for the privilege of commodifying and exposing myself. worse still, i was subjecting myself to the possibility of scrutiny by such friendly folks as the FBI: they can, and have, downloaded pretty much whatever they damn well please. the rhetoric in cyberspace is liberation-speak. the reality is that cyberspace is an increasingly efficient tool of surveillance with which people have a voluntary relationship.

proponents of so-called cyber-communities rarely emphasize the economic, business-mind nature of the community: many cyber-communities are businesses that rely upon the commodification of human interaction. they market their businesses by appeal to hysterical identification and fetishism no more or less than the corporations that brought us the two hundred dollar athletic shoe. proponents of cyber- community do not often mention that these conferencing systems are rarely culturally or ethnically diverse, although they are quick to embrace the idea of cultural and ethnic diversity. they rarely address the whitebread demographics of cyberspace except when these demographics conflict with the upward-mobility concerns of white, middle class females under the rubric of orthodox academic Feminism.

the ideology of electronic community appears to contain three elements. first, the idea of the social; second, eco-greenness; and lastly, the assumption that technology equals progress in a kind of nineteenth century sense. all of these ideas break down under analysis into forms of banality.

as beaudrilliard has said, socialization is measured according to the amount of exposure to information, specifically, exposure to media. the social itself is a dinosaur: people are withdrawing into activities that are more about consumption than anything else. even the Evil Newt says that. ( i watched his class.) so-called electronic communities encourage participation in fragmented, mostly silent, microgroups who are primarily engaged in dialogues of self-congratulation. in other words, most people lurk; and the ones who post, are pleased with themselves.

eco-green is a social concept that is about making people feel good. what they feel good about is that they are getting a handle on what amounts to the trashing of planet earth by industrialists of the second industrial revolution. it is a good and desirable feeling, especially during a time where semioticists are trying to figure out how they are going to explain radiation- waste dumps to people thirty thousand years in the future. eco-green is also a way to re-package calvinistic values under a more palatable sign. americans are calvinists, i am sorry to say. they can’t help it: it arrived on the mayflower.

i also think that the idea of electronic community is a manifestation of the triumph of sign-value over worth-value. there is nothing that goes on in electronic community that is not infested with sign- value. if electronic community were anything other than exercise in sign-value, identity hacking, which is entirely about surface-sign, would be much more difficult. signs proclaiming electronic technology as green abound in cyberspace: the attitude of political correctness; the “green” computer, the “paperless” office and the illusion that identity in cyberspace can be manipulated to obscure gender, ethnicity, and other emblems of cultural diversity; the latter of course being both the most persistent and most ridiculous. both of these concepts, the social and the eco-green, are directly nourished by an idea of progress that would not have appeared unfamiliar to an industrialist in the nineteenth century.

i give you an example: the WELL, a conferencing system based in Sausalito, California, is often touted as an example of a “social cluster” in cyberspace. originally part of the Point Foundation, which is also associated with the Whole Earth Review and the Whole Earth Catalogues, the WELL occupies an interesting niche in the electronic-community marketplace. it markets itself as a conferencing system for the literate, bookish and creative individual. it markets itself as an agent for social change, and it is, in reality, calvinist and more than a little green. the WELL is also afflicted with an old fashioned hippie aura that lead to some remarkably touching ideas about society and culture. no one, by the way, should kid themselves that the WELL is any different than bigger services like America OnLine or Prodigy–all of these outfits are businesses and all of these services are owned by large corporations. the WELL is just, by reason of clunky interface, a little bit less obvious about it.

in july of 1993, in a case that received national media coverage, a man’s reputation was destroyed on the WELL, by WELLpeople, because he had dared to have a relationship with more than one woman at the same time, and because he did not conform to WELL social protocol. i will not say that he did not conform to ethical standards, because i believe that the ethic of truthfulness in cyberspace is sometimes such as to render the word ethics meaningless. in cyberspace, for example, identity can be an art-form. but the issues held within the topic, called News 1290,(now archived) were very complex and spoke to the heart of the problem of cyberspace: the desire to invest the simulacrum with the weight of reality.

the women involved in 1290 accepted the attention of the man simultaneously on several levels: most importantly, they believed in the reality of his sign and invested it with meaning. they made love to his sign and there is no doubt that the relationship affected them and that they felt pain and distress when it ended badly. at the same time it appears that the man involved did not invest their signs with the same meaning that they had his, and it is also clear that all parties did not discuss their perceptions of one another. consequently the miscommunication that occurred was ascribed to the man’s exploitation of the women he was involved with, and a conclusion was made that he had used them as sexual objects. the women, for their parts, were comfortable in the role of victim and so the games began. of the hundreds of voices heard in this topic, only a very few were astute enough to express the idea that the events had been in actuality caused more by the medium than by the persons who suffered the consequences of the events. persons of that view addressed the ideas of “missing cues” like body language, tone of voice, and physical appearance. none of this, they said, is present in cyberspace, and so people create unrealistic images of the Other. these opinions were in the minority, though. most people made suggestions that would have shocked the organizers of the Reign of Terror. even the words “thought criminal” were used and suggestions about lynching were made.

hysterical identification is a mental device that enables one person to take on the sufferings of a group of persons. it is something that until the 1880′s was considered a problem of females. in our society, many decisions about who a person is, are made through the device of hysterical identification. in many cases, this is brought about by the miracle of commercial advertising which invests products with magical qualities, making them into fetishes. buy the fetish, and the identification promised by the advertisement is yours. it is tidy, easy, and requires no investment other than money.

in october of 1994, couples topic 163 was opened. in this topic, user Z came on to discuss her marital problems, which involved a daughter who was emotionally disturbed. it began in a very ordinary way for this type of thing, with the woman asking for and receiving advice about what to do. in just a few days, though, the situation escalated, and the woman put another voice on the wire, who was alleged to be her daughter, X. the alleged daughter exposed her problems and expressed her feelings about them, and the problems appeared to be life-threatening. this seemed to set something off within the conference, and a real orgy began as voices began to appear to express their identification with the mysterious and troubled daughter X. the nature of the identifications and the tone of the posts became stranger and stranger and finally user Z set the frightening crown upon the whole situation by posting a twistedly lyrical monologue of maternal comfort and consolation directed at the virtual Inner Children who had appeared to take refuge within her soft, enveloping arms. the more that the Inner Children wept, the more that the Virtual Mommy lyricized and comforted. this spectacle, which horrified more than one trained mental health professional who read it on the WELL, went on and on for several days and was discussed privately in several places in disbelieving tones. when the topic imploded, the Virtual Mommy withdrew reluctantly insisting that only a barbarian would believe that she would commodify her own tragedy.

one of the interesting things about both of these incidents, to me, is that they were expunged from the record. News1290 exists in archive. that means that it is stored in an electronic cabinet, sort of like what the Vatican did with the transcripts of the trial of Galileo. it’s there, but you have to look for it, and mention of 1290 makes WELLpeople nervous. Couples 163 was killed. that means it was destroyed, and does not exist at all anymore, except on back- up tape or in the hard disks of those persons (like me) who downloaded it for their own reasons. what i am getting at here is that electronic community is a commercial enterprise that dovetails nicely with the increasing trend towards dehumanization in our society: it wants to commodify human interaction, enjoy the spectacle regardless of the human cost. if and when the spectacle proves incovenient or alarming, it engages in creative history like, like any good banana republic.

this, however, should not surprise anybody. aesthetically, electronic community of the kind likely to be extolled in the gentle, new-age press, contains both elements of the modernist resistance to depth and appeal to surface combined with the postmodern aesthetic of fragment. the electronic community leaves a permanent record which is open to scrutiny while maintaining an illusion of transience. in doing this, it somehow manages to satisfy the needs of the orwellian and the psycho-archeologist.

people can talk about cyberspace as a Utopian community only because it is literature, and therefore subject to editorial revision. these two events plus another where a woman’s death was choreographed as spectacle online, made me think about what electronic community was, and how it probably really did not exist, except like i said, as a kind of market for the consumption of sign-value.

increasingly, consumption is micro-managed, as the great marxists alvin and heidi toffler suggest when they talk about “de-massing.” so-called electronic community may be seen as a kind of micro-marketing of the social to a self-selected elite. this denies the possibility of human relationship, from which all authentic community proceeds. if one exists merely as sign-value, as a series of white letters, as a subset, then of course it is perfectly fine and we can talk about a community of signs, nicely boxed, categorized and inventoried, ready for consumption.

many times in cyberspace, i felt it necessary to say that i was human. once, i was told that i existed primarily as a voice in somebody’s head. lots of times, i need to see handwriting on paper or a photograph or a phone conversation to confirm the humanity of the voice, but that is the way that i am. i resist being boxed and inventoried and i guess i take william gibson seriously when he writes about machine intelligence and constructs. i do not like it. i suspect that my words have been extracted and that when this essay shows up, they will be extracted some more. when i left cyberspace, i left early one morning and forgot to take out the trash. two friends called me on the phone afterwards and said, hummie your directory is still there. and i said OH. and they knew and i knew, that it was possible that people had been entertaining themselves with the contents of my directories. the amusement never ends, as peter gabriel wrote. maybe sometime i will rant again if something interesting comes up. in the meantime, give my love to the FBI.


 

 

Cosmic Trigger Audiobook

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Here is a reading I did of  a segment of the late Robert Anton WIlson’s book: Cosmic Trigger. This reading was done at the bequest of the people putting on the play: Cosmic Trigger, currently showing in the UK.  There are other people reading chapters, I believe with the intention of there being an audio-book assembled out the pieces.

I hope you enjoy.

cm-listen-icon_0https://soundcloud.com/cosmic-trigger-play/05a

To see all the Robert Anton WIlson freebies available from this site, go here.

¿VIAJES A UNIVERSOS PARALELOS? AQUÍ ALGUNOS CASOS DE ESTOS SUCESOS

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Translated from Spanish

3. Ong’s Hat.
Translation: Ong’s Hat, New Jersey, was founded somewhere in the nineteenth century by a man named Ong after he tossed a hat into the air and it got caught on the branch of a tree … very interesting about hats history, but anyway, put that aside and turn our attention to parallel universes.
Already by the 1930s, the city had become a ghost town, but despite this, it was never forgotten: this abandoned city became the subject of one of the first conspiracy theories of the Age of the Internet.
Theory has it that during the 70s and 80s, a new scientific paradigm called “Chaos”, which sought to find the relationship between everyday situations, such as tying shoelaces or reading a book and all the consequences that each could bring – for example, you are going to tie your shoes, you find a book under the bed, you take the book with you, you’re going to read it to a place, a person goes, read the title on the cover, it seems curious, decide to buy the book, read the book and becomes a serial murderer because of that, that is, if you had not tied the laces at that exact moment, there would not have lost a serial murderer – began to gain popularity.
Two groups of researchers, led by one Dobbs developed the theory that through awareness could model the universe itself, provided the ability to control the chaos and had, consequently, making available to the observer the journey other dimensions. Dobbs even have invented a machine that developed the brains of people to confront this strange complexity: the first sensory deprivation chamber dubbed “The Egg”. However, like any good story, this alternative has even more sinister than what you just read.
One version says that Dobbs did nothing more than finding an interdimensional portal. Remember to Ong earlier this sub? Urban legend has it that he was a man who was always well dressed in a suit and a silk hat, who founded the city in 1920 and had serious problems with his hat did not stay on his head. Ong was a pretty weird guy and no one knew where he came from nor where he was … to be exact, no one knows where were all the villagers after 1936. All were very demure and only had contact with the inhabitants of the same village . Still, back in 1932, according to a local urban legend, things got weird. Gradually, the city seemed to be disappearing. In early 1936, there was no trace of the city, leaving only the brick structures that once stood up there and an old shed. No inhabitant, nothing but the wind always Ong defeated the hat.
In 1970, Dobbs had come to the small left with a team of specialized scientists is populated Underground Constructions. For some reason – that is not entirely clear – Dobbs was aware that there was something on this village.And his hunch was correct, Dobbs supposedly found in a bunker sort of a machine called “The Egg” that allowed any man could travel between dimensions.

Also a similar Portuguese story 

Translation: Ong’s Hat, New Jersey, was founded sometime in the 19th century by a man named Ong after he threw his hat in the air and lost it on a tree branch … a very interesting story about hats, but anyway, let’s leave it and then went back to the focus of the post!
By 1920, the city became a ghost town, but despite that, she has not been forgotten: the abandoned town became the subject of one of the first conspiracy theories in the Internet Age.
Account the theory that during the 1970s and 80s, a new scientific paradigm called “Chaos”, which is concerned with finding the correlation between everyday situations, such as tying your shoes and read a book and all the consequences that each of them can bring – for example, you were to tie the shoes, found the book under the bed, took the book with him, was read in a square, one person went, read the title of the cover, found curious, decided to buy the book, read the book and become a serial killer because of it, ie if you had not tied the cardaço that exact moment, there was no serial killer – began to gain popularity.
Two groups of scientists, led by Dobbs developed a theory that through consciousness can model its own universe, since it is able to learn to control the chaos, and therefore providing the observer travel to other dimensions. Dobbs would even made ​​up a machinery to develop people’s brains to meet this strange complexity: the first sensory deprivation chamber called “The Egg”. However, like every good story has even more sinister alternative versions that you just read!
One of the other versions say that Dobbs did absolutely beyond finding a Interdimensional Portal! Ong remembers the beginning of this item?For the urban legend is the fact that he was a man always very well dressed in a suit and silk hat who founded this city in 1920 and had serious problems with his hat that he kept in his head. Ong was a very strange guy and nobody knows where it came from or where it was … to be exact, no one knows where all the villagers were after 1936. All were very modest and only maintained ties with the residents of the home village. However, around 1932, according to local urban legend, things got weird. Gradually, the town seemed to be disappearing! In early 1936, there was nothing else in the city, but bricks representing the structures that once were there and an old shed. No inhabitant, nothing but the wind that always knocked the hat Ong.
In 1970, Dobbs would come to the small abandoned village with a team of scientists specializing in Underground Structures. For a Reason- it was unclear – Dobbs would have known that there was something beneath the village. And it seems that his hunch was right! Dobbs would be found in a bunker sort of a machine called “The Egg” that allowed that any man could travel between dimensions.
When this urban legend on the Internet came around 1999, received a new look at the story of Joseph Matheny. The urban legend hoax and ended up turning meme and eventually won hundreds of versions. The truth is that the towns of Burlington County always told lurid stories about this ghost town, though, where reality ends and fiction begins only Dobbs – if it exists – can say (although it is difficult to contact him now that he is in another dimension).

Legend Tripping Online:: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat reviewed by Lynne S. McNeill for Western States Folklore Society

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Legend Tripping Online:: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat reviewed by Lynne S. McNeill for Western States Folklore Society

http://folklore.usu.edu
http://www.folkloristics.com

 

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Also: Lynne and Legend Tripping Online:: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat are cited in this examination of the Slenderman phenomena over at Semiotic Review.  – http://www.semioticreview.com/index.php/thematic-issues/issue-monsters/22-the-sort-of-story-that-has-you-covering-your-mirrors-the-case-of-slender-man.html

Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search For Ong’s Hat Review from Religious Studies Review

coverReview by Joseph Laycock for Religious Studies Review

Texas State University, Philosophy, Faculty Member

Article first published online: 12 SEP 2014

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Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search For Ong’s Hat Review from Religious Studies Review

Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rsr.12144/abstract

Will Transmedia eat itself for lunch? Or is it the end of Storytelling as we know it?

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Transmedia as an idea of collaborative, multi-platform creation and narration origins in the 70’s and 80’s of the last century, in the area of telematic art, where artists experimented with collaborative narration and defined the idea of transmedia.

It soon moved on to the gaming industry, creating so-called Alternate Reality Games (ARG).These are  games that, based on the Internet as a main hub, use(d) multiple other technological platforms like telephones, email and real offline mail to tell and simultaneously create different parts of the game’s story in those medial habitats relevant to the players. So not just transmedia telling,  but transmedia engagement that requires interaction from every gamer in order to bring the game’s plot to the next level. In other words: “Players interact directly with characters in the game, solve plot-based challenges and puzzles, and collaborate as a community to analyze the story and coordinate real-life and online activities.” (Wikipedia) An early example being Ong’s Hat.

READ MORE

2014 Literary References to Ong’s Hat in Other Works: A Collection

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A few collected Ong’s Hat literary references from 2014. Other references pre-2014 can be found on the Reviews page. I only include the ones which directly relate to the legend as told in my works, not the historic references about the lost town itself.

Notice: Inclusion in this list in NO WAY IMPLIES AN ENDORSEMENT 

Ong’s Hat spin off novels by other writers:

Other references (non-fiction)

News and Popular Media

  • A political post from Salon, , AUG 26, 2010 which has the quote: “The summer of 1963, then, was marked by graduation from the liturgical approach of loose, liberal Christianity to the crazy quilt Moorish Orthodox Church of America, my natural next home. An offshoot or perhaps incarnation of the Moorish Science Temple, the MOCA comprised a group of jazz musicians, poets, artists, improvisational comics and a few deeply weird people like the guy with the mustache and cape (that’s all I ever knew of his identity — he much resembled Brian Stack’s “The Interrupter” from the Conan O’Brien show decades later). As an acolyte of Salvador Dali (along with one of my close friends from school, who also taught martial arts and built explosive devices), the MOCA was a natural magnet for someone like me. It’s served me well off and on over the years as it has waxed and waned as a force. The nominal headquarters still operate in Ong’s Hat, N.J., in case anyone might conceivably be interested.”

CREEPYGAMING & THE NARRATIVE: A THEORY-BASED POP CULTURE OF ‘PLAYABLE’ LORE

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Dominique Angela M. Juntado, M.A.
Doctoral Candidate in Social & Cultural Anthropology
University of the Philippines Diliman
Email: dmjuntado@gmail.com

International Journal of Social Sciences

Abstract
Having been written for fellow fans of video game creepypastas and students of media  anthropology and folklore, this article inspects said form of online lore as well as its  complementing interactive media in terms of how experimentation with playable content
can effectively deliver not only an understanding of what transpired in a narrative, but  more of a meaningful experience of a narrative. In theory, an interactive approach has  much to contribute for the breadth of legend complexes.

Keywords: Creepypasta, ROM Hacks, Lost Episodes, Haunted Gaming, Democratized  Production, Nontraditional Storytelling, Slender

To talk about a known, existing
contribution which encourages the inspection of
netlore and possible variants, Michael Kinsella‟s
[2011] work on internet-based folklore is worth
attention for having included guidelines on how
legends online could be assessed, the basics of
legend-tripping, as well as the importance of knowing how to go about ecologies of legends in
general. It is likewise memorable for its
ethnographic rumination on the Incunabula
papers and Ong‟s Hat which has previously
showcased the potential pertinence of alternate
reality games (ARGs) in both the reconstruction
as well as promotion of a legend. In his case
analysis, Kinsella [2011] spoke more of those
participating in the imersion within the legend —
their framing, emotions, and perceptions, as well
as their role in the legend‟s mortality.
On the one end, this discourse is in pursuit
of a personal inclination. But to place it in the
academic backdrop of the studies of media, it
complements the work of Russel Frank [2011]
and Michael Kinsella [2011] on the subject of
understanding how online lore works and
branches out through bringing the subject of
video game modification and hacking into the
academic theoretical limelight in terms of their
potential role in the deepening of netlore.

There is then a development into how
success of a video gaming creepypasta could be
assessed. The treatise then proceeds with an
analysis of how video game creepypastas with
playables could classify as a legend trip. This
segment is guided by Kinsella‟s [2011]
guidelines on understanding the structure of
legend trips, derived from the second chapter of
his book Legend-Tripping: Online Supernatural
Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat.
As a practical counterpart to the theoretical
ruminations, there is included a concise survey
of the existing forms of playable lore which
serve as the present genres. This is
complemented by a segment discussing classic
features to incorporate in the production of a
playable pasta as well as brief notes on avoiding
cliches.

Download

http://www.tijoss.com/TIJOSS%2025th%20volume/8dominique.pdf

Destinations Across Paranormal America 2

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Chapter dedicated to Ong’s Hat in Destinations Across Paranormal America 2  by Hugh Mungus

Excerpt:

It’s a widely held belief the legend of Ong’s Hat is the fictional brainchild of author Joseph Matheny. Matheny posted his saga on the Internet in the early 1990s, in attempts to insert the story into the collective consciousness of the then-burgeoning World Wide Web. If you’ve ever watched the lonelygirl15 webisodes on http://www.youtube.com, you’ll understand this anecdotal blending with online reality. To those not familiar with lonelygirl15, it was the precursor to Destinations Across Paranormal America 20 vlogging, videotaping oneself rambling about various subject matter, and posting it on the Internet for the world to view. Debuting in 2006, lonelygirl15 was created by a group of young filmmakers. Although fictional, the show was initially believed by its audience to be fact. The story followed the everyday existence of a teenaged girl named Bree. As the production gained popularity, and its fanciful nature was revealed, two derivative series — centered around conspiracy theories — were produced.

Back to Ong’s Hat, baby! There are those who claim Matheny’s legend is true. Whether or not one believes the Ong’s Hat saga is beside the point, contends its creator, who asserts his work stemmed from an actual written narrative known as the Incunabula Papers. To be certain, it’s a lot of information to digest. Reading Ong’s Hat: The Beginning, listening to the Incunabula Papers on-line (see the Bibliography) or visiting southern New Jersey, would be great initial steps to unraveling this mystery.

Much more in the book! Read it all on-line (Ong’s Hat chapter is  chapter 13)

or get it at Amazon

Lists as Narrative Structure: Hawkeye #3 and Incunabula

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Excellent observations on the Ong’s Hat/Incunabula  mythos  from Spittle Gauze

Lists seem to have a certain power over people. It is hard to find any form of media that does not utilize them often, since it is a way to convey a larger picture with a superficial set of objects. Since the efficacy of lists is so overwhelmingly apparent in modern media, it is a bit strange that they aren’t often used to create narratives, like hugely popular epistolary form. Recently, by happenstance, I’ve read 2 works of fiction (probably fiction!) that utilize lists to create their structure, Hawkeye #3 by Matt Fraction/David Aja and Incunabula by Joseph Matheny (probably!).

Although I read the Incunabula catalog first, it is a stickier topic, so I’ll start out withHawkeye. The 3rd issue of the new series by Fraction/Aja is a story created by the joining of two lists. The first is a series of bad decisions and the second a tally of different novelty arrows in the Avenger’s arsenal. The story starts out with Hawkeye in plain clothes attempting to label and clean up his assortment of trick arrows. To label them he needs some tape, so he travels out into the world where he commits a series of bad decisions. The narrative then unfolds as, out of order, Hawkeye makes a series of 9 poorly thought out actions. Punctuated between the action, which are given out of their list order, someone in the story uses each of his trick arrows (acid arrow, net arrow, boomerang arrow, etc). After setting up these two lists, the rest of the narrative unfolds almost solely by revealing the items of the list. The pace of the lists being revealed by word and image in the comic makes the story happen effortlessly and in a way that grabs the reader’s attention. Afterwards it is easy to see how painstakingly the structure was created to provide such a great read for the audience.

The other item on the list, Incunabula, is much harder to pin down. It is a catalog of print items available from a printed word distribution. The list of items available forms a narrative at least and, possibly, also a conspiracy theory. I happened upon this story as part of .zip file that supposedly contained a book of occult theory that discusses the Lovecraft Mythos as a nonfiction magickal construct. Inside the file was not only the book I wanted, but also Ong’s Hat: The Beginning by Joseph Matheny. I am not really sure why, but I ended up reading all of Incunabula and never even perusing the item I was after. The basis for the Ong’s Hat book is the Incunabula catalog that is reproduced in its pages.

While Hawkeye used lists inside a narrative to drive it, Incunabula was a rigid list that contained a story that appears after the whole catalog has been read. As the catalog progresses, certain points brought up in earlier entries are elucidated upon or given an erratic, confusing depth. The play on information as treasure is the reward for the reader trying to figure out what the story actually is. That is if it is a story at all and not a conspiracy theory or buried history. The gaps in the narrative require action from the reader outside of the text in the form of research. The end story in the audience’s mind ends up being as big or small as the amount of time and effort each viewer gives to the subject matter.

After encountering both of these stories in the span of a month or so, it seems strange that I haven’t encountered lists as narratives more often in my readings. After reading both pieces it is obvious that the bare bones list structure can create powerful narratives in a wealth of different applications. I also find it very strange that the two list based stories I read use the list in opposing methods, Hawkeye with the lists inside the story and Incunabula with the story inside the list. The synchronicity of the way these two items overlap is enough to make me believe in the conspiracy path theIncunabula attempts to lead its readers through. Maybe there are more examples of the list as a story and I’ve just never encountered them, but the complimentary aspects of these two works makes me start to cast myself in the role of the unreliable audience ( as opposed to the unreliable narrator structure). Hopefully I’ll notice a lot more of this method now that I am aware of it.

To read these stories yourself is pretty easy. The Hawkeye story can be purchased from comixology or at most comic book/regular book stores. Incunabula is available online at http://deoxy.org/inc1.htm or as part of Ong’s Hat: The Beginning from online retailers like amazon or its publisher Sky Books. If you know of any other stories similar, please drop me a line!

—[- Spittle Gauze

Link to original article

Also see Goodreads review by same author

Illumin’NOT’really – Adult Swim Creative Director’s SHOCKING REVELATION

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A few quotes from the article:

In a no holds barred interview exclusive onDisinfo.com, Jason DeMarco, the “Creative” Director for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swimprovides a shocking revelation:

THEY’RE JUST A BUNCH OF BORING EXECUTIVES WITH A LOT OF HYPE AND NO INSPIRATION!!!

All of this speaks to a question asked by media pioneer Joseph Matheny when he was reflecting on what happens to transmedia once it reaches the cold dead hand of corporate corruption: Who invited the Lobsters anyway?

Matheny describes the intentions of early transmedia as an attempt “to broaden and open up the storytelling process to mediums outside of the traditional publishing platforms, i.e. text/images. It was part Borges, part George Coates, part The Game (the move with Michael Douglas) and part other things.” Digital media has opened up the doors for a wide array of integral expression that can deeply accentuate our shared heritage of human endeavor. When the Creative Director for Adult Swim can’t cite much more than Instagram as an inspiration, and mentions the guiding philosophy of “wow that’s interesting to look at,” we know we’re in Lobster’land.

 

Read the rest here

TUTORIAL: HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN RELIGION?

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There is an Ong’s Hat section in this French article, from the site Tryangle about starting your own religion, titled: TUTORIAL: HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN RELIGION?

Excerpt (machine translation):

In fact we can find the origin ARGs “occult” or “sacred”, in particular through the myth of Ong’s Hat . In the 90s indeed circulated anonymous documents, Incunabula Papers, which told the story of a team of physicists, refugees in the ghost town of Ong’s Hat, which had succeeded in using tantric techniques to contact parallel universes. But this story myth, far from being presented in a linear fashion, as in a novel, was distributed over multiple independent media, browsing els networks (which at the time consisted mainly of small telephone servers because the Internet was still very accessible to the average person) or available via fax or photocopies … Especially at no time said document does not explicitly claimed as fictions. The game designer Denny Unger shows in the passage that follows the religious aspect, occult, the myth of Ong’s Hat:

Ong’s hat and Incunabula have always treated the problem of levels of understanding. When you look at every aspect of the story, you find yourself facing a challenge. You discover an exciting info that takes you on a path only to discover that it was a dead end, but … he is ultimately the way you thought wrong is the right truth, and so on .

A portion of the population simply does not grasp the incunabula and will be a “weird thing” but some will be captured by them, obsessed with their mystery. This obsession usually lasts until the person has extract of the story something that is vital for it. There is also another kind of explorer incunabula. This one goes beyond personal obsessions and begins to understand a more comprehensive picture by linking information apparently unconnected. What it perceives is also a series of carefully constructed to filter certain types of personalities and find suitable “candidate” tests. A general scheme of Incunabula appears. It reminds initiations sects, but is very different because this process selects a particular type of personality someone hedonistic, open-minded, but skeptical, with a free turn of scientific spirit, creative, thinker, educated, and critical. Certainly not typical of the standard sect initiated.

Read it here (in French or translate)

Lions and Tigers and Chinese Freemasons in San Francisco, oh no!

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A batch of emails has alerted me to another strange synchronicity re: the Ong’s Hat material.  This time it involves the infamous scene in the Ong’s Hat graphic novel (included with this post as a PDF) that plays out between Cranston and myself.  The scene takes place in front of the “red door” (a very real place) which is the entrance to the “Chinese Freemason of the World” organization. I ended up there one day, during a customary dérive through ChinatownBack then (2000’ish) I often embarked on a dérive through Chinatown when I was trying to think deeply about something

Now it seems that SF/CA Senator Leeland Yee has recently been arrested and charged with weapons trafficking, and the scandal involves the Chinese Freemasons in Chinatown. Pictures of the “red door” are currently all over the news. A few vigilant OH fans noted it and alerted me.

 

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FBI agents and a police officer stand in front of the Ghee Kung Tong temple and Chinese Freemasons building in Chinatown on Wednesday, March 26 during an FBI raid following the arrest of Senator Leland Yee earlier this morning. Photo by Jessica Christian / Xpress

According to FBI Special Agent Michael Gimbel, “the FBI is executing numerous arrests and search warrants around the Bay Area.” Included in this mornings raids are Yee’s Sacramento office, his home on 24th Avenue in San Francisco’s Sunset District, a building on the 1700 block of Hyde Street and the Ghee Kung Tong Chinese Freemason Lodge in Chinatown.

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It seems that 2014 is going to be a year chock full of personal synchronicities for me, as this site can attest lately. Since I am a fan of  the serendipitous experience, I  look forward to living the Chinese curse/blessing (depending on your outlook):  “May you live in interesting times.”

pdficon_largeOng’s Hat Graphic Novel

Transmedia, de la rébellion à la récupération

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Recent article from French magazine, Internet ACTU. The article is in French, so if your French is rusty you’ll need to run it through  the translation platform of your choice.

Excerpt (machine translation):

The ” transmedia “buzzword in digital media and its parent, the alternate reality game , they were diverted from their original mission, the subversion, the questioning of consensus reality? It is believed that Joseph Matheny , which can be considered the inventor of the domain. A recent post published on the blog of journalist Nicholas Belardes , strongly condemns the recovery of transmedia by companies and advertising agencies. This n is not the first time that Matheny complains about this fact . But he expresses in this post the full extent of his disappointment.

Read here: http://www.internetactu.net/2014/02/11/transmedia-de-la-rebellion-a-la-recuperation/

If you’re here for that Yellow King thing…

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A few years ago I produced an ARG to coincide with a live theater piece in London, put on by my friends The Foolish People. The name of that ARG was Third Realm (The Yellow King) see here. I called it The Yellow King rather than The King in Yellow,  which it was a reference to, so as not to be overt, but subtle because TKIY reference was only partially what this puzzle based ARG was about.

Coincidentally,  the new HBO series, True Detective has a reference to The King in Yellow where it is referred to as The Yellow King (see here).
For those who have come to this site because The Yellow King is referenced on the writing page, this is merely a coincidence that both myself (years ago) and the writers of the HBO series chose to use The Yellow King as a reference to the King in Yellow.  Sorry to disappoint you, but no rabbit hole here. It is merely a coincidence,  albeit an odd one.

In Beautiful Dreams – Nurturing narratives and the forgotten potentials of digital culture

“Might we contrive one of those opportune falsehoods … so as by one noble lie to persuade if possible the rulers themselves, but failing that the rest of the city.”

- Plato in The Republic

“If you read it, you will be infected. If you are infected you will be InFicted. If you are InFicted, you will get UnFucted.”

- Joseph Matheny

 

Matheny was one of the first to recognize the power inherent in the interconnected culture that is developing through the rapid technological progress driving globalization. His insights and accomplishments help us to understand the intricacies of transmedia arts and provides a valuable tool in becoming a co-creator in the world wide game already in progress called the “21st Century.”

Read more: http://realitysandwich.com/216411/in-beautiful-dreams-nurturing-narratives-and-the-forgotten-potentials-of-digital-culture/?u=22407

Transmedia: Who Invited the Lobsters Anyway?

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A new piece, the first in a long series I’ll be doing for my friend Nick Belardes new literary start-up. Wherein, I don the mantle of Jack Smith, reborn!

Transmedia: Who Invited the Lobsters Anyway?

http://www.nicholasbelardes.com/transmedia-who-invited-the-lobsters-anyway/

Also just noticed this article which just showed up on Reality Sandwich: http://realitysandwich.com/216411/in-beautiful-dreams-nurturing-narratives-and-the-forgotten-potentials-of-digital-culture/

And this one at French magazine Internet ACTU: http://www.internetactu.net/2014/02/11/transmedia-de-la-rebellion-a-la-recuperation/ (you’ll need to translate)

English 3700: American Folklore: Legend, Rumor, and Conspiracy Theory

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Sec. 1: MW 2-3:15 & T 6:30-9 (film screening) / Sec. 2MW 4-5:15 & T 6:30-9 (film screening)
This course examines three major folklore genres – legend, rumor, and conspiracy theory – focusing especially on those that manifest in different forms of media (film, television, Internet, social media, newspapers). From AIDS aggression and cannibalism to aliens, ghosts, and zombies, this class explores a range of “belief complexes.” In doing so, the class seeks to answer key questions, including: How are legends related to rumor, conspiracy theory, and myth? How and why are legends transmitted and performed? How do they shape human behavior? All films, research assignments, and in-class activities are geared toward providing the content knowledge and skills necessary to identify variants of contemporary legend, rumor, and conspiracy theory in context, analyze different variants in light of the above questions, and engage in a process of critical discussion and debate about these important genres. Cross-listed as Anthro 3150 and Film Studies 3005.

Required texts:
Aliens, Ghosts & Cults: Legends We Live (Ellis 2001); Bodies: Sex, Violence, Disease & Death in Contemporary Legend (Bennett 2005); Film, Folklore & Urban Legends (Koven 2008); I Heard It through the Grapevine: Rumor in African-American Culture (Turner 1993); Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat ( Kinsella 2011).

http://english.missouri.edu/resources/196-courses/spring-2014/3000-level-courses/1312-english-3700-american-folklore-legend-rumor-and-conspiracy-theory.html

Project Archivist: Episode 99 Joseph Matheny Ong’s Hat and artificial Intelligence » Project: Archivist

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Episode 99 Joseph Matheny, Ong’s Hat and artificial Intelligence.

Were back after our short fall sabbatical. In this episode we welcome Joseph Matheny, The man who pulls the strings behind Ong’s Hat.

Joe joins us from the middle of no place Via Cell Phone as he literally takes a walk through the woods. No We are not kidding!  We take a brief look back at the early days of Ong’s hat and talk about how it evolved and what it is now. We then move into a discussion about the concept of Artificial Intelligence.  We ask what A.I is. Why are we striving to make it and why are we so afraid of it.  Does Artificial Intelligence even still mean what we think it means and what is the current state of A.I.

Welcome to the machine.
http://www.projectarchivist.com/?p=1510

That IMDB Thing

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Apparently some of you have a Google Alert for the term “Ong’s Hat” and therefore have seen the recent addition to IMDB. Specifically this listing (you’ll need IMDB Pro to see complete information).  I had planned on doing a full interview with the two people responsible for this new venture when they return from shooting in Europe and I still plan on doing that. So, you’ll have to wait for that post for more info, but in the meantime, I’ll fill you in on a few “who and what”  details.

Continue reading That IMDB Thing

Chapter on Ong’s Hat included in Mack Maloney’s Beyond Area 51 (Chapter 9: The Mystery of Ong’s Hat)

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You may view some excerpts here or buy the book.

Beyond Area 51 - Mack Maloney - Google Books_20130806-134008
Click to enlarge

Few have ventured into the many heavily guarded, top-secret locations scattered across the earth. Even fewer have emerged with stories to tell. Yet every now and then the common man is given an illicit glimpse of something extraordinary…

In Beyond Area 51, Mack Maloney explores the truths behind the many myths and legends surrounding some of the world’s most mysterious locales. From the Homestead Air Force base in Miami, Florida to Russia’s Kapustin Yar, Maloney investigates incredible reports of extraterrestrial experimentation on animals, UFOs with road rage, and other unbelievable tales beyond our wildest imaginings. Filled with fascinating, true accounts, Beyond Area 51 will convince any skeptic of the infinite possibilities of what exists on, and beyond, our tiny planet.

Taking Back Transmedia

From the Eyeless Owl

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“Might we contrive one of those opportune falsehoods … so as by one noble lie to persuade if possible the rulers themselves, but failing that the rest of the city.”

- Plato in The Republic

“If you read it, you will be infected. If you are infected you will be InFicted. If you are InFicted, you will get UnFucted. “

- Joseph Matheny

Those who entered the digital world in the late 80’s and early 90’s were introduced to a nearly unfathomable host of possibilities for media and creativity. DVD’s offered the potential for integrative experiences that tracked user preferences and allowed for multiple story formats which changed with each viewing based on previous use, virtual reality models held the possibility for turning these experiences fully immersive, cell phones and wireless technology promised an unthought of openness to it all, and the internet allowed everyone to dream of a fully connected, creative global conversation that synchronized each aspect into a beautifully coordinated whole. Looking back on those dreams in light of growing concerns over surveillance, advertising, neuromarketing and the like one might wonder what happened to turn the dream into a lousy cold war sitcom.

Continue reading Taking Back Transmedia

Ong’s Hat: Piney Ghost Town or Gateway to Another Dimension?

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If one takes the Turnpike to exit four and follows Route 70 east, they will come to Route 72 at Four Mile Circle. Taking a hard left leads to a place known as Ong’s Hat, and a trail that some say leads to a mysterious portal to another dimension.

The New Jersey Pine Barrens have a plethora of deserted villages, most of them simply abandoned decades, even centuries ago. One of the most infamous of these is Ong’s Hat in Burlington County. The true reason as to why anyone would name a village Ong’s Hat may be shrouded in mystery forever. The facts are not clear, but the folklore surrounding the town’s name is well known.

Legend has it that at one time a resident of the area was a flashy young gentleman by the name of Ong (while his first name is unknown, Ong is an old time Pine Barrens name––one of the earliest Pines settlers was Jacob Ong). He was a fixture at local dances, where he was famous for being able to woo the ladies with his fancy dance moves and suave attire––most notably his silk hat.

Apparently, Ong was something of what modern youth call a “player,” in that he would flirt and dance with all the ladies he could. One of his love interests caught on to this practice at a dance and attacked Ong, taking his hat and stomping on it. Ong, who was very drunk and very upset that his chapeau had just been ruined, ran outdoors and tossed the hat into the air out of frustration. It caught in the high branches of a pine tree and stayed there for years. It became a landmark by which people could find the small village, and the area was dubbed Ong’s Hat.

As the Pine Barrens themselves became less and less populated with the dying out of local industry, Ong’s Hat was all but forgotten. Today Ong’s Hat is home to no residents. Instead, there are piles of rubble, overgrown building foundations, and other reminders of a bygone age. Ong’s Hat might have been nothing more than a footnote in the local history books were it not for a very weird development that some believe occurred there in the last quarter of the twentieth century––the opening of a gateway to another dimension.

The following, more recent, history of Ong’s Hat and its mysterious inter-dimensional portal can be found in a book entitled “Ong’s Hat: The Beginning.” The author of the book, Joseph Matheny, is coy as to whether he intended the work as fact or fiction. “The split between who believes the book is fiction vs. nonfiction is pretty even,” he has said. Some claim that the book is pure fantasy, and has set up a hoax that many have come to accept as real.

According to Matheny’s history, the Moorish Orthodox Church of America was founded in the 1950’s by a group of white jazz musicians and poets who were formerly members of the Newark founded Moorish Science Temple. The members of this small sect traveled the world, learning different philosophies and spiritual practices from all different masters of the eastern world. One of these travelers was known as Wali Fard.

When Fard returned from his travels abroad in 1978, he spent all of his savings on 200 acres in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Along with a group of runaway boys from Paramus and two lesbian anarchists, he moved onto the property and formed a newer, even more exclusive sect, the Moorish Science Ashram.

Fard published a series of Xeroxed newsletters proclaiming his beliefs. Those on the fringe who had read his words began flocking to his land. Among these refugees were two scientists looked down upon for their radical views, Frank and Althea Dobbs.

The Dobbs twins were raised in Texas, among a UFO worshipping cult founded by their father. Needless to say, they were used to life on the outskirts of the mainstream. When they arrived in the Pines they set up a laboratory inside a ramshackle trailer. They began making discoveries that shook the small commune to its core.

The siblings had previously been working at Princeton, where they submitted as their PhD theses a series of equations that led to what they called “cognitive chaos.” They were dismissed from the university and found their way to the Pines. In the remote locale they were free to work further on their ideas, whether the academic establishment wanted them to or not. Their theories promoted the idea that people could tap into the unused portion of their brains and do things such as stop their aging and purge diseases from their systems. The Ashram used their research to found the Institute of Chaos Studies.

Progress occurred even quicker than the scientists involved could have predicted themselves. Within three years they had stumbled upon an extraordinary, bizarre device that came to be known as “The Gate.” This was one of a series of devices the scientists referred to as “The Egg.” They hooked people up to computers and charted their brain waves. By experimenting with sex, drugs, and other mind wave manipulators, the scientists learned how to control the chaos they found within the mind.

The fourth version of the Egg was tested on one of the Paramus runaways. When it was activated, he and the device itself disappeared. Moments later it rematerialized. The boy claimed that he had traveled to the dimension next door to ours. This was the opening of The Gate.

 

The members of the ICS had to leave their Pine Barrens compound due to a chemical spill from Fort Dix that was leaking nuclear material into the area. Instead of fleeing outward, they fled inter-dimensionally. They used the Gate to transport themselves and all of their possessions into an alternate dimension. In this dimension they still lived in Ong’s Hat, but humankind did not exist.

According to some, the experiments at Ong’s Hat led to a violent and bloody confrontation. They claim that the government got wind of the experiments being conducted at Ong’s Hat and stormed the compound there, killing seven members of the group. Some say it was Delta Force who did the killing, while others blame operatives of the Russian or Danish militaries.

Skeptics of this far-fetched tale believe that Joseph Matheny’s book “Ong’s Hat: The Beginning” is nothing more than a work of pure fiction, bolstered by an elaborate Internet hoax. Others claim that Matheny has had to hint at the book being a hoax to preserve his efforts to tell the truth and to protect his own safety.

Matheny first became involved in the Ong’s Hat saga when he posted a book catalog he had found, known as the “Incunabula Catalog,” on BBS and FTP systems around the Internet at the turn of the 90’s. Then he produced one of the essays reviewed in this catalog. From there he claimed to have interviewed one of the physicists mentioned in these papers, as well as the original author of the book catalog he had posted. These four documents make up what are known as the “Incunabula Papers.” It is somewhat unclear as to whether there ever was any documentation of these alleged events other than the ones that Matheny “found” and posted himself.

So was Ong’s Hat ever the home of a mysterious cult of science nerds, or is this inter-dimensional Gate merely one of the earliest known Internet hoaxes? Whatever the case may be, the story of Ong’s Hat is truly a bizarre one, and believed to be more fact than fiction by more than just a few sci-fi fanatics.

http://weirdnj.com/stories/ongs-hat/

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This Internet story is only an excerpt of the information we have published on this subject. For the full story we suggest you refer to past issues of Weird NJ Magazine.  To keep up to date on this story and all the other weird goings on in the state subscribe to Weird NJ and we’ll deliver it to your door. If your local book seller, newsstand or convenience store doesn’t carry Weird NJ, just tell them to call us toll free at 1-866-WEIRDNJ and we’ll be happy to stock your favorite store for you.

Transmedium | Meta-Graffiti Artist | Reality Hacker | Artisanal Legend Crafter | Feral Scholar | Collarless Dog

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