Category Archives: Incunabula

Mack Maloney’s Military X-Files: ANGELS, DEVILS & THE MYSTERY OF ONG’S HAT

The gang talks to Bishop Ron Feyl-Enright about what’s really happening when people experience visions of the Virgin Mary. Also, a report on a mysterious ghost town in the middle of New Jersey called Ong’s Hat. Plus, ten technical questions for Coco, finding out what’s inside America’s National Quiet Zone, Raven cooks the brain of UFO Mechanic, Al Renaldo and the free MMMX swag giveaway continues. Special Guest: Lois Lane .

Note for the impatient: The Ong’s Hat material comes in about 1 hour 30 minutes in.

Augmented Reality Games, Interactive Narrative and the Documentary TV Series Hellier

Preview of presentation to be given by David Sweeney (@dktrdm Twitter), The Glasgow School of Art Fri, August 6, 2021 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM PDT Interactive Film and Media Conference 2021 Panel 5. Players in Interactive Films and Games About this event This virtual edition of the Interactive Film and Media conference on ‘new narratives, racialization, global crises, and social engagement’ is dedicated to the development, analysis, and research processing of the digital experience that is transforming our contemporary world vision through the immense range of storytelling practices, including visual arts, cinema, digital/graphic/interactive narratives, virtual reality, and games. The purpose of this conference is to bring together researchers and practitioners working in diverse disciplinary areas to establish an interdisciplinary framework for research on contemporary narratives, including case studies of the multimodal narratives across media and cultures. The conference will convene entirely online and will be hosted by several universities. The organizers believe that now is the right moment to evaluate the saturation and fragmentation of media during the pandemic experience of the last year, as well as to discuss new online media interactivities in a virtual environment. FREE ZOOM PRESENTATION, REGISTER HERE

We the Sheeple: Episode 13: Ong’s Hat

Hats are neat. Where would a high-class Kentucky woman be on derby day with out her hat? How many fly ball would outfielders have missed without their trusty baseball caps blocking the sun? How would we have opened a gateway to other dimensions if not for Ong’s Hat? I reiterate, hats are neat.

On this episode we’re talking about Ong’s Hat, one of the early Internet’s oddest legends. Who’d have though all you need to travel to other dimensions are a couple of Ivy League dropouts, a dash of eastern spiritualism and an egg? I’d have guessed you’d need at least an alien or two.


The Math of Hunting Lions

Bibliography of papers on math & physics methods of hunting lions in the Sahara Desert.

The fascinating history of identity and document spoofing by esteemed mathematicians with a wonderful sense of humor. I cited this in the book, Ong’s Hat: The Beginning.

The material was written up by R. P. Boas and F. Smithies [Smithies 2002, personal communication] and appeared in [Pétard 1938]. Part of JWT’s assistance was in keeping the nonexistence of the nominal author, H. Pétard and of Pondiczery quiet when the Monthly enquired about the paper’s author. The full identification of Pondiczery was Ersatz Stanislas Pondiczery at the Royal Institute of Poldavia. The hope was that someday a document could be signed ESP RIP [Aspray & Tucker 1985]).

…Albert Tucker: Was it that group that used the pseudonym “Pondiczery”?

Tukey: Yes, but with a somewhat broader reference.

Aspray: For what purpose?

Tukey: Well, the hope was that at some point Ersatz Stanislaus Pondiczery at the Royal Institute of Poldavia was going to be able to sign something ESP RIP. Then there’s the wedding invitation done by the Bourbakis. It was for the marriage of Betty Bourbaki and Pondiczery. It was a formal wedding invitation with a long Latin sentence, most of which was mathematical jokes, three quarters of which you could probably decipher. Pondiczery even wrote a paper under a pseudonym, namely “The Mathematical Theory of Big Game Hunting” by H. Pétard, which appeared in the Monthly. There were also a few other papers by Pondiczery.

Tukey: Somebody with a high principle. Pondiczery’s official residence was in Ong’s Hat, New Jersey3⁠, which is a wide place in the road going southeast from Pemberton, but it does appear on some road maps. There is a gas station that has a sign out about Ong’s Hat.

Aspray: But no sign for Pondiczery?

Tukey: No sign for Pondiczery. Spelled c-z-e-r-y, by the way. Not like the area of India, Pondicherry, which is spelled c-h. Anyway, this was a good group, and it enjoyed its existence. I learned a lot from dinner table conversations.


HEX: The Human Exception- Ong’s Hat

The town’s not actually a town, as such. And not just because it’s an unincorporated community with a population of zero. The Hat may have only ever comprised one single building: Ong’s Hut. In fact, it’s possible Ong’s Hut is the correct name of the place, but it said Ong’s Hat on the map (the “town” appeared on maps as recently as 2006), and there’s an Ong’s Hat Road nearby.


QAnon, Ong’s Hat, and Robert Anton Wilson: Joseph Matheny discusses ARGs and conspiracy theories in the Internet era


When the QAnon movement began garnering more widespread attention a couple of years ago, a number of game designers pointed out the similarities between the ‘Q drops’ – and the associated

When the QAnon movement began garnering more widespread attention a couple of years ago, a number of game designers pointed out the similarities between the ‘Q drops’ – and the associated community puzzle solving in regards to those – and the techniques used in alternate reality games (ARGs) (see here and here, for example). Not necessarily that it was an ARG, but that it (knowingly, or unknowingly) used the methods found in ARGs to hook in new players, and to blur the boundaries between reality and fiction.

So I was fascinated to listen to a recent interview with Joseph Matheny, creator of the now-legendary Ong’s Hat – described by many as the world’s first ARG – in which he discussed QAnon from his own viewpoint (see video embedded below). Matheny notes that he feels obligated to talk publicly about QAnon and Ong’s Hat, because “they’re using my methods and I don’t like that”, and also because people have been comparing the two, which upset him. “I mean…it follows the formula,” Matheny says, “but content-wise, and intention-wise, it’s definitely nothing like it.”

“This is something that follows the strategy of an ARG, but it’s weaponized,” he warns. Which is similar to what I was saying a few years ago (though in terms of conspiracy theories, rather than ARGs).

The entire interview is fascinating, providing insights from the history of Ong’s Hat (if unfamiliar with it, see this article) through to where we are now with technology enabling the spread of things like QAnon. I’ve posted a couple of fascinating grabs below, but be sure to watch the entire thing (embedded at the bottom of this post).

On how the development of QAnon mirrors the thinking of how an ARG developer might set things up – and how a background in Discordianism and the writings of Robert Anton Wilson might prepare you to not be fooled by your own confirmation bias:

It’s basically asking you to suspend common sense, to throw critical thinking out the window and believe these ideas which are unsubstantiated… so I could say somebody’s name and I could say that they’re a Satan-worshiping pedophile who’s killing children to extract adrenochrome…if i’m smart I probably wouldn’t do it with my real name attached to it because I could get sued, so I would be anonymous.

On top of it what I would do is I would get a bunch of people interested in searching for clues in material that really doesn’t have any clues, but it’s nebulous material – kind of liminal – so it could mean anything it wants to mean to anybody who wants it to mean something to them. So they’re looking for patterns; they’re going to find them, right? We know this as Discordians, it’s called ‘Starbucks pebbles’: if you’re looking for fives you’re going to find fives, if you’re looking for 23s you’re going to find 23s. But unfortunately most people have not read Cosmic Trigger, most people have not read Principia Discordia, most people have not read Illuminatus! trilogy.

On how QAnon has the attributes of a cult – and once again how familiarity with RAW can help protect you against falling for their tricks:

…These days I’m not really sure that the Q people who were puppet-mastering it even knew what they were working towards other than selling merch, but in the beginning at least it was to build a belief system around the cult of Donald Trump, which is a cult of personality. And they were there to build his reputation as some sort of do-gooder, like you know Donald Trump’s going to ride in on a white horse, he’s going to take all these people and what they call the ‘Great Awakening’ and then ‘The Storm’ is coming, and they’re going to round all these people up like Hillary Clinton and her friends, are going to put them in prison and there are going to be public executions and blah blah blah blah…basically just like any cult they were promising something that that was never going to happen, there was no way to substantiate that. If you were using your common sense you could say probably not, but most of these people weren’t using common sense, they were looking for something to believe in.

So just like a cult, you find damaged people that are looking for parental figures, they’re looking for love, they’re looking for a community, they’re looking for all these different things that they feel like they don’t have, and instead of looking in the right places – right around them – they look in the wrong places…so they end up hooking up with some person who’s charismatic or enigmatic. In the case of Q, enigmatic…because if you’ve read these drops, they’re pretty uncharismatic but they’re very enigmatic. But they do hit the high points of repeating the slogans – again, another quality of a cult, to have simple, digestible slogans. Doesn’t matter if they really make that much sense, but there’s something that’s repeatable and they seem to make sense because they simplify complex issues to a sentence, so they’re bumper-stickerisms right? And so they can repeat them to each other they can repeat them in large groups and in rhythmic shouting and chanting – all the things that make a cult, which is basically a giant brainwash that’s happening to a bunch of people. Mostly doing it to themselves, because a cult can never be successful unless the cult members are participating willingly in this brainwashing.

So it’s partly the bad intention of a bad actor, i.e the cult leader, but mostly I would put the blame for what happens with a cult on the shoulders of the cult members, because they’re participating – they’re not questioning, they’re not practicing ‘Maybe Logic’. I don’t think we can expect them to, to be honest with you, because I don’t think the ideas of somebody like Robert Anton Wilson…most people have not been exposed to that.


#LiveCONARTE | 15/19: ONG´S HAT | XXXVI Encuentro Metropolitano de Danza Contemporánea

Translation: “Dir. Estrella Fematt⁠
Ong’s Hat, New Jersey 1930. We were the scene of great economic activity, we had the focus of many but the contact of few. What was your concern? We translate by object, shape, gravity, noise and reality. To you hustler, who through consciousness could shape the universe itself, cause chaos and, consequently, have a portal to the strangest. You are left with only the bricks of the structures that once stood there, an old shed and an incompetent curiosity.”⁠