A rebuttal on the site josephmatheny.com regarding a recent podcast and article that ran on Skeptoid, by Brian Dunning.
There’s a podcast/website called The Skeptoid that is run by one Brian Dunning. The website seems to consist of a collection of transcriptions of the Skeptoid podcast, links to the podcast and a personal vita for Mr. Dunning. I learned that recently, Brian Dunningran an episode of the Skeptoid titled: Ong’s Hat, which was, predictably about the Ong’s Hat literary game.
Brian Dunning claims that his podcast, “Skeptoid: Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena is an award-winning weekly science podcast. Since 2006, Skeptoid has been revealing the true science behind popular misinformation and urban legends.” His words.
While I haven’t sampled any of the other offerings on that Skeptoid website, I did read the text transcription of Mr. Dunning’s “investigation” into the Ong’s Hat urban legend and found it dismissive and misinformed in the following areas.
The Surprising Online Life of Legends- The Chronicle of Higher Education –He holds the original Incunabula documents, in all their oddness, in high esteem, he adds: “People inserted themselves into the story; the story seemed to take on a life all its own; and it had this far-reaching narrative. I thought it was absolutely brilliant, but I didn’t know what exactly was going on,” he says. Unmistakable, however, was that the writings and their Satan’s spawn were suspending acolytes’ disbelief, and feeding their fantasies.
UFO Digest – Back to Ong’s Hat, baby! There are those who claim Matheny’s 1990s legend is true, as the author remained vague concerning the authenticity of his posts. Whether or not one believes the Ong’s Hat saga, is beside the point, contends its creator, who claims his work stemmed from an actual written narrative known as the Incunabula Papers.
The Ong’s Hat Mystery Revealed New World Disorder – The Ong’s Hat meme – and its curious and intoxicating blend of quantum physics, tantric sex, chaos magick/theory, parallel universes, and conspiracy theory – has spread through the noosphere over the last decade or so and developed into a mini-mythos, eventually transmitting itself through such mass media portals as Coast to Coast AM (the Art Bell show) and Jane Magazine, even becoming the starting point for successful alternate reality game Chasing the Wish.
Jane Magazine(April 2003) A Target-Marketing Success Story I got really into this “time-travel cult” called Ong’s Hat when a computer-game programmer I know told me she was contacted by a physics scholar who said that a bunch of her recent games reflected their canon. This dude told my friend that someone from Ong’s Hat had befriended her and inspired her to create certain games without her realizing it. Whoa, right? I started researching them on the Internet and mailed off $18 for Ong’s Hat: The Beginning, a typo-riddled yet super-fun book explaining their “clandestine” beliefs (a bunch of LSD-popping physicists figured out interdimensional travel through a portal in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens in the 1970s, among other things). Anyway, 85 years after it should have, it dawned on me that the whole thing is probably a hoax. “The split between who believes the book is fiction vs. nonfiction is pretty even,” says the nice but evasive author, Joseph Matheny. It’s too bad–I think we all want to believe in scientists who party. –Kate Hambrecht
Galidor– A kid’s television show show wherein a kid from New Jersey travels across dimensions in a interdimensional travel device called The Egg. (Wonder where they got that idea?) There was even a Lego Egg.
November 2000 Coast to Coast Am Show: Ong’s HatShow Info (Nov. 1, 2000)After trying in vain for 2 years to negotiate with Coast to Coast (Clearchannel geeks) and getting what amounts to the royal run around, we have decided to release the November 2000, Coast to Coast AM (Art Bell show) on MP3, via Kazaa. Keywords for finding the files are: Joseph Matheny, Art Bell, Coast to Coast AM, Ong’s Hat. They are broken into eight separate 30-minute segments and numbered accordingly. Download them and share them off your P2P clients so others may more readily access them. We will be releasing these files via the web here for a short time, due to popular demand.
Disinfo.com Ong’s Hat Dossier You’ve got your chaos; sex magick; applied quantum physics; shadow conspiracy; crypto-palaeontology and enlightenment hopes all wrapped up in one neat package. What the Hell more do you want?
Magdalen Sez…Joe Matheny’s been documenting a man who literally travels to the Other Side… or does he? The secret lies in Ong’s Hat… Find out for yourself by gettin’ the book Ong’s Hat: The Beginning.
technoccult.net a web portal for free thinkers – Few “conspiracy theories” are quite as bizarre as the legend of Ong’s Hat. The confused story is told through a book catalog and numerous interviews and contains many contradictions.
AOI This is a story, which is told, for the most part, in the descriptions of the books in a Catalog of Rare Books, and in a brochure for the Institute of Chaos Studies. We were first pointed to this material nearly two years ago, by a correspondant who found parallels between the egg-shaped capsule, and the material we started writing about in the Crowley’s Egg? series…Did the events that are written of in these various works, actually take place? Do any of these books exist in reality, or their authors? All we know is that the story given does parallel in some ways, things taking place in the late 70s, in the group surrounding the Consciousness / New Physics / Psychotronics crowd; in the late 80s / early 90s, in our own circle and among the Typhonian OTO people, involved in the “Secret Dikpala of LAM” – see our comments on The LAM Statemen…In the Catalog, we can spot at least a couple of familiar names — Nick Herbert, Fred Alan Wolf, both players in the New Physics crowd mentioned above; as well as Henry Corbin, whose writings we have run across, and of course, Mircea Eliade. It would be nice to find out: does Escape from Earth-Primeactually exist? Is it a real book? That one we find interesting. And, too, the story involving Dr. Kamadev Sohrawardi. Some of these events seem (to us at least) to parallel the events taking place in the 1970s, around the work of Puharich, Bearden, Sarfatti, Ira Einhorn, which involved developing Psychotronics, Tesla Tech, Free Energy, receiving science from the future, etc.Five Stars for the whole work. This is really excellent material.
Borderlands SciencesFiction as reality and reality as fiction, breaks one away from the restraints of what is possible. The Incunabula Mystery provokes such evolutionary mentation. I’d like to see every hip kid in America to smirk knowingly about the dimensional egg. Kind of like the old Sub-Genius Rant, too absurd too be true..but too true to be comfortable. It can be unnerving when you stumble on the ether-ship in the basement and whirl down to the hollow earth dance club for the first time. If your imagination has been well conditioned with high weirdness, one can function with relish in bizarre alternate realities as they manifest themselves to the individual.
Cameron Wilson Columnist forThe Inverness Herald(July 2002) Judging from the advanced copy I received unsolicited (how they found my address, I’ll never know), it is easy to see the reason why that malefactor lad Joey is in hiding these days. No? Find out for yourself and order the Great American Noodle from Amazon.Com and crack the code to his real whereabouts if you can. It is hidden somewhere in the subtext as the semioticians say. As you Americans are found of quipping: In order to make an omlette, you need to break some real synchronicity inducing eggs. The proof is in the albumin. Go see for yourself!
obsucrantist_to_zotaMarketing as NarrativeThere’s an old conspiracy theory/secret history/urban legend narrativized in the form of a book catalog.(Oh yeah, it’s true — disinfo has all the dirt on Ong’s Hat , if you’re sure you want to know. But that’s a whole other story. )Using epiphenomenal commercial structures to create an ambient narrative through accretion. That was the genre used by Henry Raddick, star Amazon Reviewer, who became a famous [1–2–3] for being tangental in review comments. For example his take on the bookGod, Why Did Dad Lose His Job? A truly wonderful guide which has enabled me to explain my recent sacking for vandalising company property to my children in terms of a minor act of redemption. First rate.
That Blasted Catalog One of the oldest and most twisted of the scraps that one can find on the web is the story of the Incunabula Catalog. I’m not sure exactly how old it is, but the catalog is reported to date back to BBS’s back in the early 90’s. And I’ve found, what look to be, logs from old BBS’s that are now on the web, and sure enough the catalog is listed in some of these.One of the first summaries of the story that I came across is atTechnoccult.net. A quick look through there shows that the story is long and twisted, and makes the Illuminatus Trilogy look like a children’s tale.I do not think the catalog’s meme will ever fully die. I think it will bop around the fringe, occasionally being picked up by new comers who’s eyes are wide and are willing to experiment with anything.
The 23 Apples of Eris Dr Cornelius Confusion The Ong’s Hat conspiracy has just come to my attention, thanks to someone asking if it bore any relation to the Dimensional Gateway Technicians League (an allied branch of our tentacular conspiracy, which it didn’t really before, but now really does. Rumour has it this is entirely partially realmaginary but also a long running Hakim Bey und RAW mindfuck. I spent two days travelling the Ong’s Hat Chapel Perilous, delighting in my rapid total confusion, and the fact that the more I looked the more complicated everything got…
MSP University Maybe it was the weed. I’ve taken to mixing up the sativa with Yerba Mate, the south american ibogaine-cousin alertness herb, and strange things happen, is all I can say. Strange things happen.I’d read the Incunabula (“rare texts”) once before: didn’t really pay attention, so it seemed pretty boring, like a dumb practical joke laid out by a tripping mathematics major. It’s worth noting, here at the outset, that it could actually be a dumb practical joke laid out by a tripping mathematics major.Cheese, yeah, but lots of interesting tidbits that really jump out at you after you’ve read all the Incunabula material. If this is all a web hoax, these cats are flat-out fricking geniuses.So maybe Ong’s Hat is a little bit not-so-true. The usual reaction of con-heads, when faced with such ugly possibilities as Reality, or, say, the Truth, is to make things even more convoluted: Ong’s Hat is CIA disinformation. The purpose of this whole wild goose chase is to take the spotlight away from the sinister Montauk Project, which is about as insane, deeply disturbing and totally paranoid as conspiracy theory gets.
Robert ForteFilmmaker/Editor/AuthorThe Road to Eleusis, Entheogens and the Future of Religion andTimothy Leary Outside Looking InI’m sitting down for my third reading of Ong’s Hat since November when Joe and I synchronistically renewed our friendship after not seeing each other for many years; a friendship that began a decade and half ago at that marvelous nexus, 321 2nd Street in Santa Cruz we were both lived, fortunately graced by the embodied wisdom of Nina Graboi, our psychedelic god mother, who lept from this plane in 1999, who I am sure is delighted at all this occuring. Ong’s Hat isn’t just a book to me. Its a cipher of mystery, the dimensions of which I am just beginning to grok….
Curiouser and Curiouser I never know what to make of this site; mainly because it seems to change dramatically every few months. Right now it’s a blogwith assorted news of interest, and an ad for the book about Ong’s Hat, which is what brought me to this site to begin with. But don’t ask me to explain it. I’m writing this review to get this one out of my “to review” folder; I don’t know what else to do with it. (Reviewed January 2003)
Some Amazon Reviewers said- William Courson – Since before the continents assumed their present shape, countless ages before intelligent proto-hominids walked erect and began using sticks to scratch signs in the mud, immeasurable aeons before alphabets and settled agriculture were new-fangled, Ong’s Hat – a now deserted (?) village in southernmost New Jersey – was fated to become the most important locale in humankind’s history, a critical juncture in time and space, and the nexus of a vast, uncountable quanta of probability matrices joining at the confluence of those temporal streams called past, present and future.Since the event referred to as the “Opening of the Gate” occurred at Ong’s Hat some thirty-three years ago on a spring equinox, much of the paltry amount of writing on that cosmic shifting of gears has been of an intendedly “disinformational” character for reasons apparent to all serious students of alternative history in general and OH in particular. The time has arrived when the truth can be told, neat and naked, complete and uncensored. And that story is, to put it mildly, a circuitous one.In brief, a black Sufi cult founded in Newark, New Jersey in the 1920s by a circus magician has (with the help of a small group of Columbia University students, jazz musicians, beatniks, homosexuals and LSD experimenters) evolved by the late 1960’s into a techno-tantric Moorish Orthodox commune and physics research institute centered in Ong’s Hat, New Jersey, whose members managed to escape from this addled dirt-ball into a parallel universe through the intermediary of the “Egg” – a mechanism that enabled trans-dimensional travel into other worlds in other dimensions.Add to the story a benevolent race of red-necked humanoids descended from Javanese lemurs on a parallel Earth, chaos magick, alternative sexualities, applied quantum physics, conspiracies galore, and heretical Eastern Orthodox bishops and you have an epistemological smorgasbord fit for a king.This is a delightful piece of writing that leaves its reader hungry for more (and we are assured there will be more), that deserves to be read and read again, believed or disbelieved, shared with someone you love, and maybe even memorized!
Bishop Sotemohk A. (“Billy”) BeeyayelelOng’s Hat: A Moorish Orthodox ViewBefore the continents assumed their present shape, countless ages before intelligent protohominids walked erect and began using tools, aeons before alphabets and settled agriculture were new-fangled things, Ong’s Hat – a now deserted village in southernmost New Jersey (USA) – was fated to become the most important point in all of space and time, the nexus of uncountable quanta of probability matrices joining at the confluence of those temporal rivers known as past, present and future. Dr. Joseph Matheny and his collaborators have produced a breathtakingly scholarly work in writing “The Incunabula Papers: Ong’s Hat and Other Gateways to New Dimensions,” which is a tour-de-force not only of the Ong’s Hat incident, but of quantum mechanics, temporal theory and the systematic theology of Moorish Orthodoxy as well I wholeheartedly and unreservedly recommend this masterwork to all serious students of the Ong’s Hat phenomena.
MEDIAGABHow could anything that has Javanese Lemurs in it be less than a masterpiece?
abuddhas memesThey tell us how to get there, where they went, and invite us to join them; but leave to serendipity and intent our ability to do so. Ong’s Hat – Gateway to the Dimensions describes a disparate group’s journey to the shore of chaos, where they discover surfing.
Leading Edge ReviewAllegedly, the experimenters achieved the success with the accessing of parallel universes. Up to now, the truth about the cult has been vague and indecisive, but the legends, technology and quantum theory surrounding it are more than tangible.
Incunabula/Ong’s Hat was a August 2000 “Cranky Award” winner on CrankdotnetAlso:See this this month’s issue of Commander X’s Conspiracy Journal(Print Edition)
Arcturus Books Inc. Catalogue (Print) Ong’s Hat is one of those odd places in central New Jersey, supposedly the site of a “clubhouse” where a group of Princeton physicists experimented with time travel and were successful in accessing parallel universes. … it gets all mixed up with the usual mis-wired, schizophrenic-type hallucinating …-and is therefore likely to appeal only to drug-freaks (who will no doubt understand) or overdosed video gamers.
Quiche.org I had to think long and hard before including these papers within this website. It’s a difficult subject.I eventually came to the conclusion, that this is why it fit so perfectly within Quiche – it is just so ambiguous, it’s wonderful.
What really, really, really, really, really, happened at Ong’s Hat???– Darkplanet Ong’s Hat/Incunabula has always been about levels of understanding. As you research each aspect of the story you are presented with a challenge. That challenge is usually based on twisting and distorting your belief systems. For example: You find a piece of compelling info that takes you down one path only to find that its a invalid path but wait…it turns out that the path you thought was a false path is actually the correct path and so on, and so forth. This is the dance of the Incunabula. Destroying rational assumptions of what is true and what is false.Also: More at theEGGROOM
The Elusive Ong’s Hat– The WandererOK, so if there’s nobody there and the town’s gone, what’s the point of looking for it? Well, this story is similar to others I’ve heard. I heard that there was a group in the woods near Fort Dix that had a compound (Ong’s Hat is very close to Fort Dix; one of the base’s fences is about a mile from the old town, and if you look at any map, the base’s property actually makes a crescent around where the group supposedly was). Sometime in the 80’s, the army base (Dix) was called in to smash this compound. About 10 of the cult members were killed. None of this ever hit the press. So then why am I searching for this place? These people obviously knew what they were doing if the army had to go in and stop them and destroy the place. I’m hoping something is left over from either the group or the smashed compound. And again, most of this is based on things I’ve heard; none of this is guaranteed. But remember, every story is based on some truth. And at very least, I’ll see the remains of a town that is nearly 200 years old.
Virus! – Danish (Expanded Print Article ) Also, Ong’s Hat was a special 2 hour segement on Danish Public Radio.
Fringewire Review Out of all the fringe stories on the net I’ve read about over the years, the story of Ong’s Hat and the Incunabula Catalog has to be the single most bizarre tale ever told as it involves every freaky motif you could ever want in a conspiracy theory – drugs, hippies, renegade physicists, sex, magic, time travel, parallel dimensions, quantum mechanics, lies, truths, deep throats, missing persons, fiction, and reality (whew). It’s the perfect combination of elements to create a story that will surely be debated over a century from now.
Casusbelli– (French review) Incunabula, un texte bizarroïde en version PDF avec pleins d’illustrations et de liens vers le net. De quoi ça parle ? Disons que c’est une nouvelle écrite sous la forme d’un catalogue commenté de livres rares. L’ambiance y est franchement à la conspiration sous l’angle techno-anarchiste-fringe-science-réalités parallèles. Difficile à décrire sans dévoiler l’histoire qui se développe au fil des commentaires des ouvrages cités. Ajoutez à ça que de nombreux livres réels y sont référencés et vous obtenez une confusion totale entre le réel et la fiction. Un objet bizarre, en anglais uniquement.
404 Not Found – Weirdest of the WeirdThis is easily the weirdest site that we have ever come across. Purporting to be the work of an underground community of persecuted heretical scientists and chaoticians, this site truly is a gateway into the Twilight Zone. It contains links to a vast network of sites that just get stranger and stranger as you delve more deeply into the dark genius of their creators. Chaos theory, metaphysics, time travel, alien entities, the ultimate conspiracy. Beware: not recommended for the unstable or the unhinged!