Tag Archives: incunabula

The Digital Underground: with The Grey Lodge’s Joseph Matheny

The Grey Lodge was an underground private torrent tracker used by millions of people per month in their quest to uncover the esoteric, strange and the downright weird. In this episode we hear from Joe Matheny, one of the founders of the site, about how it kicked off in the very early days of BitTorrent, online culture in the early days of the Internet, proto-copyright trolls, how even weirdos eventually get pursued by the MPAA, and how the demise of indie trackers from Grey Lodge to What.CD mean a net loss for our culture.

Coming soon: the second part of this interview, in which Joe discusses his work as an early creator of “this is not a game” ARG experiences and his well-known work Ong’s Hat, The Incunabula Papers. We’ll be making that available for supporters on the Patreon (and maybe more widely) in due course. In the meantime, if you’re curious to take a look at some of Joe’s work, he’s been kind enough to give us a free pack including Ong’s Hat and some samples from his ARG! Enjoy.

Links to show: https://stealthisshow.com/s02e07/ and https://torrentfreak.com/steal-show-s02e07-early-days-private-trackers/

Podcast: Download |  Torrent |  Magnet

Showrunner & Host Jamie King | Editor Riley Byrne
Original Music David Triana | Web Production Siraje Amarniss


Presented by TorrentFreak | Sponsored by Private Internet Access

Executive Producers: Mark Zapalac

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¿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

Audiobook- The Incunabula Papers: Ong’s Hat and Other Gateways to New Dimensions

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Above image used with permission of the artist.  Courtesy of James Koehnline : http://www.koehnline.com/

Available now:

A professional version of The Incunabula Papers: Ong’s Hat and Other Gateways to New Dimensions is currently available for Audible.com, Amazon.com and iTunes.com. (coming soon) It is narrated by the inimitable James Lewis.

REVIEWERS: Contact me for a free review copy. Just let me know what podcast/show/blog you intend to review it for.

Note to creatives reading this: If you have any audio v/o projects and you want to work with a consummate professional and all around nice guy, you can’t do better than James.

Of course, the free radio play version P. Emerson Williams and I did years ago remains and will always remain available for free in the commons

Here’s a sample of my conversation with Nick Herbert, read by James, so you can get a sense of the quality (Click the blue “Listen” button below to hear the sample).

Listen

Life in the Pines: Ong’s Hat

Story from the Asbury Park Press, a New Jersey newspaper on the legend(s) of Ong’s Hat.

Some excerpts:

“Two weeks ago there were these young kids, like 19 or 20, who came by asking about Ong’s Hat,” said bartender Jacky Colon. “I looked it up on my phone. It was this weird interdimensional thing. Hold on, I have to look it up, this is how I got all my information on Google.”

Very short synopsis of said legend: Mash-up of religious sect, jazz musicians, native Pineys and rogue physicists settle in Ong’s Hat, open a portal to other dimensions. More on this later. First, that name.

——-

During a lull, you can ask about those legends. The modern one about Ong’s Hat — that portal to another dimension somewhere out in the pitch pines — was popularized in the 2002 book “Ong’s Hat: The Beginning” by writer Joseph Matheny, who creates transmedia works and is a prominent figure in alternative reality gaming.

“Nineteen eighty-nine, I think this started. I had a friend who had a cabin out there in the Pine Barrens, and he hosted these parties. He was very bohemian and had artists and writers of all kinds out there,“ Matheny said. ‘He gave me a pamphlet that purported to be this story about Princeton scientists and something called the Ong’s Hat Rod and Gun Club, where they used to hang out and relax.“

During World War II the Pine Barrens were a testing ground for weapons development. Princeton scientists did explosives and ballistics work in the Forked Ruiver Mountains, and a Johns Hopkins University team fired crude surface-to-air missiles from the Project Bumblebee site at Island Beach. “There are kernels of reality to this legend,“ Matheny said.

With Matheny and other contributors writing, the story line arose ithrough the 1990s, first on computer bulletin boards frequented by gaming enthusiasts, generating online versions of urban legend that’s grown to an elaborate body of work. One consequence is an uptick in younger visitors seeking Ong’s Hat. Hence Colon’s close encounter at the Magnolia Bar.

 Folklorists call it legend tripping — the urge to visit supposedly haunted houses and the like. One infamous place is Leed’s Point near Smithville in Atlantic County. The supposed birthplace of the Jersey Devil — a half-human monster said to haunt the forest since the 1700s — attracts people around Halloween.

But the Ong’s Hat story is one of the first examples of “legend tripping online,” said Michael Kinsella, a scholar who studies new religions, paranormal beliefs and folk traditions at the University of California Santa Barbara. He’s author of the 2011 book “Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat,” published by the University Press of Mississippi.

“I’ve always been fascinated by supernatural beliefs,” said Kinsella, who like Ong’s Hat enthusiasts stumbled across the story online, and wrote a whole dissertation on it for his master’s degree in 2007, which led to the book. The cross-connections of various enthusiast websites — whether gaming, UFOs or conspiracy theories — lead like a trail of digital bread crumbs to Ong’s Hat.

He sees it as technology simply extending an ancient human compulsion. “People really want to seek out the eerie and paranormal,” Kinsela said.

There are other snippets from actual history in the Ong’s Hat portal legend, like radioactive waste. Around the time the legend was developing, the Department of Defense was figuring out what to do with thousands of tons of soil contaminated with plutonium when a nuclear missile burned up a few miles away at Fort Dix in 1961. That’s how modern legends grow, Kinsella said.

“It’s typical for these kinds of stories to mix up history and facts and legend,” he said. “So much weird stuff and stories seems to come out of the Pine Barrens, they reinforce each other.”

“If nothing else, it is a vortex of mysteries, legends, tradition and folklore…I’m interested in tracking it back as far as I can, but I don’t want to puncture that bubble,“ Matheny said. “There’s nothing in the structure of the story that I haven’t heard, in one form or another, from people in the area.”

Read it all here.

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.”

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

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

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

Alternate Reality Games | Ong’s Hat | Know Your Meme

Precursor: Ong’s Hat

In the 1980s transmedia artist Joseph Matheny[2] launched the Ong’s Hat game, inspired by play-by-mail multiplayer games run by Flying Buffalo.[3] Though Ong’s Hat may not have set out to be an ARG, the methods by which the author interacted with participants and used different platforms to build and spread its legend has been reflected in later games.[4] Also known as The Incunabula Papers, the game incorporated the practice of “legend tripping”[6] in which a group of people visit sites known in folklore for horrific or supernatural events. Matheny built a mythos around a supposed ghost town in New Jersey throughout the 1980s through works disguised as research shared on bulletin boards and physical zines.[8] One of the earliest archived theories about the alleged legend appeared in the October 1993 issue of Boing Boing and was posted online as early as February 11th, 1994.[7]

Between 1994 and 2000, posts about Ong’s Hat were planted on a number of different Usenet groups to spark discussion, including sci.math[9], alt.illuminati[10], alt.conspiracy[11] and alt.society.paradigms[12], among others. In 2001, Matheny stopped the project[13] and went on to publish two books about it, as well as archiving all the materials on the Incunabula website.[5]

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/subcultures/alternate-reality-games

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

ONGS-HAT-ILLUSTRATION

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.

A Hat, a Hut, or a Tavern: The Tale of Ong’s Hat

By Ben Ruset on NJPinebarrens

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.[1] 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.

Continue reading A Hat, a Hut, or a Tavern: The Tale of Ong’s Hat

The Surprising Online Life of Legends – Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat

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.

Read it here: http://chronicle.com/blogs/pageview/the-surprising-online-life-of-legends/29221

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.

Continue reading The Surprising Online Life of Legends – Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat

Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat

Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat

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.)

Continue reading Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat

Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat Review for Fortean Times

289 COVER UK.indd

As is the custom with “conspiracy/paranormal” types, this article tells you to dismiss the “Ong’s Hat” project (the subject of the book) as “a post modern art project” and a “prank”. I was thinking the other day about this kind of attitude and recalled someone once expressing disappointment that Incunabula: Ong’s Hat was JUST ART, which was pronounced with a dismissive sneer. Are you as puzzled and even slightly disturbed as I am by the statement and/or attitude that something is MERELY ART ? Well, each to his/her own I guess.

Anyway, here’s the review, for what it’s worth.  It’s the first “sort of negative” review  of “Legend Tripping” I’ve seen to date and mostly the  reviewer just wants to snark on Ong’s Hat.

Of course, this is a review from a non-academic source, by a non-academic conspiranoia type,  about an academic subject, so the expectation bar should be low to begin with.😀

I remember the days when Fortean Times was a publication with a healthy skeptical bent,  but like so many other institutions, it seems to have been overrun by “believers”, who of course will expend a lot of energy and spittle protesting such an accusation.

pdficon_largeFortean-Times – June-2012-Ongs-Hat

 

Free Versions of Ong’s Hat: Incunabula

Disclaimer: While I am quite proud of the framework I created to deliver the OH story (as outlined here, here, here and other places) I can no longer endorse some of the ideas used in the actual story content (co-created) or some views held by some of the people behind those ideas. I’ll leave it at that  since I also despise gossip and those that traffic in it. This is not intended as Internet drama. I merely leave this as a historical record.

 

Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat Reviewed by The Journal of Folklore Research

From The Journal of Folklore Research

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.

Continue reading Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat Reviewed by The Journal of Folklore Research

Monoskop Log reblog – Michael Kinsella: Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat (2011)

Sourcehttp://monoskop.org/log/?p=8717

On the Internet, seekers investigate anonymous manifestos that focus on the findings of brilliant scientists said to have discovered pathways into alternate realities. Gathering on web forums, researchers not only share their observations, but also report having anomalous experiences, which they believe come from their online involvement with these veiled documents. Seeming logic combines with wild twists of lost Moorish science and pseudo-string theory. Enthusiasts insist any obstacle to revelation is a sure sign of great and wide-reaching efforts by consensus powers wishing to suppress all the liberating truths in the Incunabula Papers (included here in complete form).

In Legend-Tripping Online, Michael Kinsella explores these and other extraordinary pursuits. This is one of the first books dedicated to legend-tripping, ritual quests in which people strive to explore and find manifest the very events described by supernatural legends. Through collective performances, legend-trippers harness the interpretive frameworks these stories provide and often claim incredible, out-of-this-world experiences that in turn perpetuate supernatural legends.

Legends and legend-tripping are assuming tremendous prominence in a world confronting new speeds of diversification, connection, and increasing cognitive load. As guardians of tradition as well as agents of change, legends and the ordeals they inspire contextualize ancient and emergent ideas, behaviors, and technologies that challenge familiar realities. This book analyzes supernatural legends and the ways in which the sharing spirit of the Internet collectivizes, codifies, and makes folklore of fantastic speculation.

Publisher University Press of Mississippi, 2011
ISBN 1604739843, 9781604739848
208 pages

  • review (Peter Monaghan, Chronicle of Higher Education)
  • review (David J. Puglia, Journal of Folklore Research)
  • review (Óli Gneisti Sóleyjarson, Folklore)
  • Legend tripping at Wikipedia

publisher
google books

Download
Download (alt link)

THE BUSINESS OF STORYTELLING: PRODUCTION OF WORKS, POACHING COMMUNITIES, AND CREATION OF STORY WORLDS

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THE BUSINESS OF STORYTELLING: PRODUCTION OF WORKS, POACHING COMMUNITIES, AND CREATION OF STORY WORLDS
by Bakioglu, Burcu S., Ph.D., INDIANA UNIVERSITY, 2009, 402 pages; 3373494

Accepted by the Graduate Faculty, Indiana University, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

pdficon_largeA 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.

Abstract:

My study is an analysis of the divergent ways the materiality of works affect the process of meaning-making across various media and investigates how it influences the production of works. A work born in media convergence inevitably elicits hybrid forms of story-telling that offer immersive and interactive environments in which users are expected to perform certain activities. In such an environment, I argue that storytelling becomes a collaborative, and more importantly, a participatory process. My dissertation, ultimately, interrogates the nature of performativity and collaboration in works that extend across various media. I develop the model of performative narratives to refer to works that encourage and rely on such activities for the formation of their texts, such as experimental novels, YouTube videos, Alternate Reality Games, and multi-user virtual environments that are based on user-generated content such as Second Life. As such, my study investigates how works become sites of struggle because the stories that they narrate are in a state of constant negotiation between its producers/creators, the medium of the work, and the communities that these works mobilize.


Scans of the original mail-art version of the Incunabula: Ong’s Hat documents: PDF

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Incunabula Originals Incunabula Originals Scans as a PDF

 

Mail Culture and Historical notes:In the late 70s and early 80s a network culture emerged that pre-dated information exchange via BBS/Fidonet/Internet (Arpanet) type networks. This was known as the “Mail Culture”. Using the guerrilla tactics of information networking started by such underground movements as the radical underground of the American 30’s, 50’s and 60’s and the Soviet Block ‘Samisdat” culture, the “Mail Culture” used the postal systems of the world to tie together outposts of radical/fringe thought and art into a loosely affiliated info-network. (All of course paying homage to the “chapbook” and “Pamphlet” cultures that sparked so many revolutions, including the American and French)

It worked like this: In the very early 80’s I became aware of a anarchist art collective in the Madison Wisconsin area known as “Xexoxial Endarchy” which for all intents and purposes functioned as a jumping off point for “Mail Culture” activity. One could write to XE, include a SASE, and receive in return a catalog (Xeroxed of course!) of weird pamphlets, catalogs and audio tapes of “experimental” music/sound collages, from the fringe of society (and beyond in some cases). Also, a list of names, addresses, and requirements (send us one of your things, we’ll send you one of ours, or send a SASE, etc.) which you would then add names of places/individuals that you had collected (as well your own)in the mix, make copies, and distribute in kind. I was putting out a xerox zine at the time called SNARF and used that as my coin to trade with. Over the course of a few years my collection of crackpot literature from this source grew to encompass 3 bookshelves. It is apparent from anyone who has been in contact with this culture that the first iterations of the Inunabula catalog as we know it today came from/was tailored for this underground movement. I put a xeroxed copy of the original color , in circulation in 1990/91 or so and watched several iterations of xerox of xerox of xerox- sans illustrations, plus new illustrations, appear from time to time in fringe science and crackpot literature catalogs, sometimes “for sale.It is still unclear who circulated the original color version and for what purpose.

Later, several compendium books appeared (late eighties, early nineties) that were commercially available such as:

High Weirdness by Mail
Factsheet Five
Fringeware Review and many others

Historical Notes

Dear DW,

Thanks so much for this! I’ve compared these to the color edition I have in a safe deposit box, as well as several other iterations I’ve seen and collected over the years and have the following to report:

Document 1. Xerox of a Xerox made from the original color catalog. By comparing a few markings made by scratches on the now ancient (heck, even then it was kinda old!) machine, I can tell that this is a Xerox made from a Xerox of the color brochure which I gave to a friend at Aries Arts in Capitola and which was sold for $2.00 (copy, handling, and postage costs) through a conspiracy mail-order catalog that the owners husband ran in the back.

I have seen several different versions of copies made from that original before, with artwork added, subtracted, etc. The main difference here from the original color is the puzzling absence of the other 13 pages of illustrations that was included with the color version. The cover of this one however is definitely a copy of the original cover. I can also attest to the fact that the text sections are exact replicas of the original color (done on a sandstone vellum bond). Maybe they left out the 13 pages of illustrations for the purpose of saving paper. Who knows?

I plan to make a high quality color PDF copy of my one and only color copy available in a few months to coincide with the release of some other material. All in all, this is still a cool collectors piece and I’ll put the copy you gave me in a polybag and store it with the rest of my “iterations” collection.

Document 2. This is not the original brochure but in fact a Xerox copy of the 1988 Edge Detector article. Note that is says (as I have said time and again in public) PLW’s admonition that he was merley “passing it on”.

A few years ago, I talked to a ranger at the Lebanon State Forest Ranger Station (some kind of tourist welcome center) and a lady who worked there told me that in fact a brochure that fit the description of the one in my possession had been in the racks for a while, but she was unclear where they had come from. This would have been mid-eighties or so by her recollection.

Since then two other people (Parsifal on DP and another lady who claimed to have known the Ashram residents) have repeated a similar story. Again, when I scan the color catalog, I will scan and include the copy of the brochure that I have in my possession.

Additional Notes: Originals-1 contains the Edge Detector version of the OH Brochure that is the origin of the “written by PLW” rumor, and on page 16 of the PDF, the illustration has a black and white reproduction of the actual cover of the brochure, bottom left of the page.

This is undoubtedly the version a certain psycho was passing around in the early nineties, with PLW’s name blacked out with a marker. I also remember him saying on the some long gone web-board that the “original” brochure had plans or a schematic inside. This is what he’s talking about, since he was obviously using the ED version. This “schematic” is an artisitic rendering, added by the publisher of Edge Detector and does not exist in the original brochure. Anyone who’s read the catalog and brochure would be able to recognize that this image in no way represents the vehicle described in those documents.

Ruins Left Behind by the California Travel Cult: Incunabula- Ong’s Hat

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Recently I found myself in the northern California town of San Jose on business. Looking at the map I realized that I was only minutes away from the infamous Santa Cruz mountain region. On a lark I decided to drive my rental car up and see if I could scout any of the infamous travel cult sites. If you remember from the Incunabula
catalog, page  67 in Ong’s Hat: The Beginning,  it is stated that Nick Herbert came into contact with a California Travel Cult while writing Faster than Light. In Advances in Skin Science (pg. 109) and in a later video document, a Travel Cult is said to reside near Boulder Creek, California, which is in the center of a large wilderness area known as Big Basin.

Taking highway 9 out of Los Gatos I ventured into this wilderness area and eventually came across the town of Boulder Creek. The first thing I saw upon arriving in the city limits was none other than Adelita’s Mexican Cantina, the place that is noted as the spot of both interviews.

Pulling over I intended to take a picture but noticed that my disposable camera only had 11 pictures left on the roll so I decided to wait and see if anything better presented itself. If not I planned to snap a picture of Adelita’s on the way back out. Before you ask, I did check around the town to see if I could buy another disposable camera somewhere but it was Sunday and they seemed to have rolled the sidewalks up. I guess that’s the perils of a small mountain town. I asked around at the diner and a person or two actually knew Nick but didn’t know where he lived or at least they weren’t telling me.
pdficon_largePt. 1 of story with pictures The mysterious shacks

pdficon_largePt. 2- Ruins found in the Santa Cruz Mountains Down the hillside from the shacks
Showed signs of recent “ceremonial” activity with small stone piles and incense ashes.