It all started with a road map of New Jersey. A little north of the Red Lion Circle, in the heart of the Burlington County Pine Barrens, the map depicted a tiny hamlet marked with the unusual name of “Ongs Hat.” In the early 1930s, Henry Charlton Beck, a reporter with the Camden Courier Post, became curious. After convincing his editor that a story could be found there, he and a photographer packed up a car and set off to investigate. Little did he know that his explorations at Ongs Hat, and a succession of later voyages to mysterious places in the hinterlands of New Jersey, would inspire generations of other “lost town hunters” –pouring over ancient maps, exploring dismal cellar holes in the middle of nowhere, and sharing their discoveries with one another – first by telephone and letter and presently through online forums.
A very interesting article/review of Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat.
From The Chronicle of Higher Education: Now, from the you-can-learn-something-new-every-day files, comes Michael Kinsella’s Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat.
From the article:
The response of Joseph Matheny to Legend-Tripping Online suggests the success of Kinsella’s read on the Incunabula Papers. On his Web site, Matheny wrote that Kinsella “did an excellent job and only missed the mark with two or three of his conclusions,” which Matheny said he would clear up by writing a complementary account.
My review: I was expecting to hate this book, but I didn’t. Michael Kinsella did an excellent job and only missed the mark with two or three of his conclusions. Of course, this is forgivable since he wasn’t in possession of all of the facts from behind the scenes. As a remedy to those few slight errors, and in interest of keeping the record straight I will issue a free companion guide to this book in a few weeks. Since the book is primarily about myself, my friends, my project and my methods, I do admit to being somewhat close to the subject. However,what colors my decision to release the guide is simply that I’d like the record to be as clear as possible if this is to become a subject of “study” by academia.
Other than a few forgivable gaffs (and I do mean a very few), this book is quite enjoyable, insightful and entertaining. I’m glad someone in academia was able to decipher many of the the objectives and methodologies of this project and I highly recommend it (with the soon to be released companion guide, of course). If you choke at the price of $55 USD, you may want to wait for the paperback (if they publish one) or the inevitable ePub that’s sure to show up in the wild. (added 8-12-11: Looks like it showed up on Google Books.)
We’ve upgraded the Incunabula site for 2012. Hopefully it will be a bit neater and more organized for you to find what you need here.
- We still need to add some graphics and expand on some text areas to several pages to make it more “shiny”.
- We did make the site mobile friendly so you can browse it on your phone easily.
- We’ll try and update news more often in 2012 then we have recently and we’ll be announcing new books and other media projects here soon.
- We’ll also be updating the library page soon with a bevy of books for you to read and enjoy.
Enjoy and happy 2012!
Here’s some free versions of Ong’s Hat for Kindle and as an ePub (for iPad, Nook, Sony Reader, Adobe Dimensions, et al). I’ll be putting these up on the newly redesigned incunabula.org (see design here) in 2012. Thought you might want to grab one now as my holiday present to you. Thanks to Matt for doing the great work to get these done. If you would like your Kindle edition (free or otherwise) of Ong’s Hat signed it is now on Kindlegraph.
Reviewed by David J. Puglia, The Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg
In a day and age when legends are as likely to be transmitted online as they are face-to-face, folklorists have begun assessing how our established concepts apply to the digital realm. The convergence of different forms of media has increasingly diminished the traditional boundaries between folk and popular culture and the digital and analog world. If the legend continues to thrive under these new conditions, folklorists will want to determine how the closely related legend-trip has similarly transitioned to the online environment.
I’ll be on OTHER WORLD RADIO tonight at 8pm PST
OTHER WORLD RADIO
with Sandra D. Sabatini, Host
Show starts USA: 11PM EDT USA / 10PM CDT / 9PM MST / 8PM PDT
Overseas listeners please check for your local time difference at: http://www.WorldTimeEngine.com/
From Hidden New Jersey
Much, much later, Ong’s Hat became the setting for a very strange supernatural tale that takes a variety of different directions, depending on who you talk to. The writer Joseph Matheny claims that it all started with a man named Wali Fard, who bought a few hundred acres of the Pinelands in the 1950’s. Along with a couple of anarchist lesbians (or are they lesbian anarchists? You decide!) and some runaways from Paramus (why is it always Paramus?) he started a cult called the Moorish Science Ashram.
Accepted by the Graduate Faculty, Indiana University, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
A paper [PDF] that uses copious quotes from This is Not a Game: A Guide to Alternate Reality Gaming and has section about the Ong’s Hat project.
I found it rather interesting.
Yeah, yeah. Anarchy, rules suck, chaos poetry, blah-blah-blah. Good Got it all out of your systems now?
So, way back in the stone age (2002) I started a personal blog called sTaRe, which eventually grew into a moblog and then a network and it was like herding cats. Endless squabbles between writers about who went “above the fold”, ex-girlfriends trolling the site and so called freethinker participants looking for the next yellow journalism style scandal (including encouraging the exs), coupled with a workload that had me rising at 4am to start scavenging through newsfeeds, looking for the next story, always trying to top the last big story to take the traffic to the next level or at least maintain the crazy numbers we had attained and BLAM! I was tired, done and bored shitless. It had become a job. Bleh. Besides, because I chose to run the blog on my server, incunabula.org the blog was forever doomed to be trafficked and critiqued by the paranormal-conspiranoia-occultist-tin-foil-hat-crowd. Double bleh.
So, I killed sTaRe and ran a bunch of other projects which were goal oriented, such as using blogs to write a new form of a novel (el centro), audio/video and torrent distro (greylodge, incunabula audio, Alterati and some others I have yet to step forward and take credit for). Plus, I went back to work in the tech industry and had less spare time.
I also neglected keeping my personal website current, so finally I decided to open up a personal blog, slowly integrate the elements of my personal website and update it with things that I have a closet full of that have not yet seen the light of the Internet. I will do this all as time allows. On my own time on my own terms.
Which brings me to another reason I stopped personally blogging years ago. I grew tired of the whining and moaning that erupted if I skipped a day or a few days between posts. Hell, speculation would even arise as to the “real reason” I had stopped posting. Whatever. if you post a comment bemoaning my lack of chop-chop-punctuality in posting every 5 minutes, talking about my hemorrhoids and the behaviors of my dog, your comment will be deleted. Yes, that’s right. Deleted and then ignored. I will post what I want, when I want, how I want. Period.
Any questions? I thought not.
Have a nice day.