Category Archives: Incunabula

ONG’S HAT:GATEWAY TO THE DIMENSIONS! A full color brochure for the Institute of Chaos Studies and the Moorish Science Ashram in Ong’s Hat, New Jersey.

This material is also available in tablet and ebook reader-friendly formats at , Smashwords and as a Kindle version on


You would not be reading this brochure if you had not already penetrated half-way to the ICS. You have been searching for us without knowing it, following oblique references in crudely xeroxed marginal ‘samisdat” publications, crackpot mystical pamphlets, mail order courses in “Kaos Magick”- a paper trail and a coded series of rumors spread at street level through circles involved in the illicit distribution of certain controlled substances and the propagation of certain acts of insurrection against the Planetary Work Machine and the Consensus Reality – or perhaps through various obscure mimeographed technical papers on the edges of “chaos science” – through pirate computer networks – or even through pure synchronicity and the pursuit of dreams. In any case we know something about you, your interests, deeds and desires, works and days – and we know your address.

Otherwise…you would not be reading this brochure.


During the 1970s and ’80s, “chaos” began to emerge as a new scientific paradigm,on a level of importance with Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. It was born out of the mixing of many different sciences – weather prediction, Catastrophe Theory, fractal geometry, and the rapid development of computer graphics capable of plunging into the depths of fractals and “strange attractors; “hydraulics and fluid turbulence, evolutionary biology, mind/brain studies and psychopharmacology also played major roles in forming the new paradigm. The slogan “order out of chaos” summed up the gist of this science, whether it studied the weird fractional-dimensional shapes underlying sworls of cigarette smoke or the distribution of colors in marbled paper – or else dealt with “harder” matters such as heart fibrillation, particle beams or population vectors. However, by the late ’80s it began to appear as if this “chaos movement” had split apart into two opposite and hostile world-views, one placing emphasis on chaos itself, the other on *order*.

According to the latter sect – the Determinists – chaos was the enemy, randomness a force to be overcome or denied. They experienced the new science as a final vindication of Classical Newtonian physics, and as a weapon to be used *against* chaos, a tool to map and predict reality itself. For them, chaos was death and disorder, entropy and waste.

The opposing faction however experienced chaos as something benevolent, the necessary matrix out of which arises spontaneously an infinity of variegated forms – a pleroma rather than an abyss – a principle of continual creation, unstructured, fecund, beautiful, spirit of wildness. These scientists saw chaos theory as vindication of Quantum indeterminacy and Godel’s Proof, promise of an open-ended universe, Cantorian infinities of potential…chaos as *health*.

Easy to predict which of these two schools of thought would receive vast funding and support from governments, multi-nationals and intelligence agencies. By the end of the decade, “Quantum/Chaos” had been forced underground, virtually censored by prestigious scientific journals – which published only papers by Determinists. The dissidents were reduced to the level of the *margin* – and there they found themselves part of yet another branch of the paradigm, the underground of cultural chaos – the “magicians” – and of political chaos-extremist anti-authoritarian “mutants”.

Unlike Relativity, which deals with the Macrocosm of outer space, and Quantum, which deals with the Microcosm of particle physics, chaos science takes place largely within the Mesosphere -the world as we experience it in “everyday life,” from dripping faucets to banners flapping in the autumn breezes. Precisely for this reason useful experimental work in chaos can be carried on without the hideous expense of cyclotrons and orbital observatories. So even when the leading theoreticians of Quantum/Chaos began to be fired from university and corporate positions, they were still able to pursue certain goals. Even when they began to suffer political pressures as well, and sought refuge and space among the mutants and marginals, still they persevered. By a paradox of history, their poverty and obscurity forced them to narrow the scope of their research to precisely those areas which would ultimately produce concrete results – pure math, and the mind – simply because these areas were relatively inexpensive.

Up until the crash of ’87, the “alternative network” amounted to little more than a nebulous weave of pen-pals and computer enthusiasts, Whole Earth nostalgists, futurologists, anarchists, food cranks, neo-pagans and cultists, self-publishing punk poets, armchair schizophrenics, survivalists and mail artists.The Crash however opened vast but hard-to-see cracks in the social and economic control structures of America. Gradually the marginals and mutants began to fill up those fissures with the wegs of their own networking. Bit by bit they created a genuine black economy, as well as a shifting insubstantial “autonomous zone”, impossible to map but real enough in its various manifestations.

The orphaned scientists of Q/C theory fell into this invisible anti-empire like a catalyst-or perhaps it was the other way around. In either case, something crystallized. To explain the precipitation of this jewel, we must move on to the specific cases, people and stories.


The Moorish Orthodox Church of America is an offshoot of the Moorish Science Temple, the New World’s first Islamic heretical sect, founded by a black circus magician named Noble Drew Ali in Newark, New Jersey in 1913. In the 1950s some white jazz musicians and poets who held “passports” in the M.S.T. founded the Moorish Orthodox Church, which also traced its spiritual ancestry to various “Wandering Bishops” loosely affiliated with the Old Catholic Church and schisms of Syrian Orthodoxy. In the ’60s the church acquired a new direction from the Psychedelic Movement, and for a while maintained a presence at Timothy Leary’s commune in Millbrook, New York. At the same time the discovery of sufism led certain of its members to undertake journeys to the East.

One of these Americans, known by the Moorish name Wali Fard, traveled for years in India, Perisa, and Afghanistan, where he collected an impressive assortment of exotic initiations: Tantra in Calcutta, from an old member of the Bengali Terrorist Party; sufism from the Ovayssi Order in Shiraz, which rejects all human masters and insists on visionary experience; and finally, in the remote Badakhshan Province of Afghanistan, he converted to an archaic form of Ismailism (the so-called Assassins) blended out of Buddhist Yab-Yum teachings, indigenous shamanic sorcery and extremist Shiite revolutionary philosophy-worshipers of the *Umm al-kitab*, the “Matrix Book.”

Up until the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the reactionary orthodox “revolution” in Iran, Fard carried on trade in carpets and other well-known Afghan exports. When history forced him to return to America in 1978, he was able to launder his savings by purchasing about 200 acres of land in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Around the turn of the decade he moved into an old rod & gun club on the property along with several runaway boys from Paramus, New Jersey, and an anarchist lesbian couple from Brooklyn, and founded the Moorish Science Ashram.

Through the early-to-mid-’80s the commune’s fortunes fluctuated (sometimes nearly flickering out). Fard self-published a series of xeroxed “Visionary Recitals” in which he attempted a synthesis of heretical and antinomian spirituality, post-Situationist politics, and chaos science. After the Crash, a number of destitute Moors and sympathizers began turning up at the Ashram seeking refuge. Among them were two young chaos scientists recently fired from Princeton (on a charge of “seditious nonsense”), a brother and sister, Frank and Althea Dobbs.

The Dobbs twins spent their early childhood on a UFO-cult commune in rural Texas, founded by their father, a retired insurance salesman who was murdered by rogue disciples during a revival in California. One might say that the siblings had a head start in chaos – and the Ashram’s modus vivendi suited them admirably. (The Pine Barrens have often been called “a perfect place for a UFO landing.”) They settled into an old Airstream trailer and constructed a crude laboratory in a rebuilt barn hidden deep in the Pines. Illegal sources of income were available from agricultural projects, and the amorphous community took shape around the startling breakthroughs made by the Dobbs twins during the years around the end of the decade.

As undergraduates at the University of Texas the siblings had produced a series of equations which, they felt certain, contained the seeds of a new science they called “cognitive chaos.” Their dismissal from Princeton followed their attempt to submit these theorems, along with a theoretical/philosophical system built upon them, as a joint PhD thesis.

On the assumption that brain activity can be modeled as a “fractal universe,” an outre’ topology interfacing with both random and determined forces, the twins’ theorems showed that consciousness itself could be presented as a set of “strange attractors” (or “patterns of chaos”) around which specific neuronal activity would organize itself. By a bizarre synthesis of Mandelbrot and Cantor, they “solved the problem” of n-dimensional attractors, many of which they were able to generate on Princeton’s powerful computers before their hasty departure. While realizing the ultimately indeterminate nature of these “mind maps,” they felt that by attaining a thorough (non- intuitive and intuitive) grasp of the actual *shapes* of the attractors, one could “ride with chaos” somewhat as a “lucid dreamer” learns to contain and direct the process of REM sleep. Their aborted thesis suggested a boggling array of benefits which might accrue from such from such links between cybernetic processes and awareness itself, including the exploration of the brain’s unused capacities, awareness of the morphogenetic field and thus conscious control of autonomic functions, mind-directed repair of tissue at the cellular/genetic level (control over most diseases and the aging process), and even a direct perception of the Heisenbergian behavior of matter ( a process they called “surfing the wave function”). Their thesis advisor told them that even the most modest of these proposals would suffice for their expungement from the Graduate Faculty – and if the whole concept (including theorems) were not such obvious lunacy, he would have reported them to the FBI as well.

Two more scientists – already residents of Ong’s Hat – joined with Fard and the twins in founding the Institute of Chaos studies. By sheer “chance” their work provided the perfect counterparts to the Dobbs’ research. Harold Acton, an expatriate British computer (and reality-hacker, had already linked 64 second-hand personal computers into a vast ad-hoc system based on his own I Ching oriented speculations. And Martine Kallikak, a native of the Barrens from nearby Chatsworth, had set up a machine shop.

Ironically, Martine’s ancestors once provided guinea pigs for a notorious study in eugenics carried out in the 1920s at the Vineland NJ State Home for the Insane. Published as a study in “heredity and feeblemindness,” the work proclaimed poverty, non-ordinary sexuality, reluctance to hold a steady job, and enjoyment of intoxicants as *proofs* of genetic decay – and thus made a lasting contribution to the legend of bizarre and lovecraftian Piney backwoodspeople, incestuous hermits of the bogs. Martine had long since proven herself a *bricoleuse*, electronics buff and back-lot inventor of great genius and artistry. With the arrival of the Dobbs twins, she discovered her tre metier’ in the realization of various devices for the implementation of their proposed experiments.

The synergy level at the ICS exceeded all expectations. Contacts with other underground experts in various related fields were maintained by “black modem” as well as personal visits to the Ashram. The spiritual rhythms permeating the place proved ideal: periods of dazed lazy contemplation and applied hedonics alternating with “peak” bursts of self-overcoming activity and focused attention. The hodgepodge of “Moorish Science” (Tantra, sufism, Ismaili esotericism, alchemy and psychopharmacology, bio-feedback and “brain machine” meditation techniques, etc.) seemed to harmonize in unexpectedly fruitful ways with the “pure” science of the ICS.

Under these conditions progress proved amazingly swift, stunning even the Institutes founders. Within a year major advances had been made in all the fields predicted by the equations. Somewhat more than three years after founding there occurred the breakthrough, the discovery which served to re-orient our entire project in a new direction: the Gate.

But to explain the Gate we must retrace some steps, and reveal exactly the purposes and goals of the ICS and Moorish Science Ashram – the curriculum upon which our activities are based, and which constitutes our *raison d’etre.*

The Curriculum

The original and still ultimate concern of our community is the enhancement of consciousness and consequent enlargement of mental, emotional and psychic activities. When the Ashram was founded by W.Fard the only means available for this work were the bagful of oriental and occultist meditational techniques he had learned in Central Asia, the first-generation “mind machines” developed during the ’80s, and the resources of exotic pharmacology.

With the first successes of the Dobbs twin’s research, it became obvious to us that the spiritual knowledge of the Ashramites could be re-organized into a sort of preparatory course of training for workers in “Cognitive Chaos.” This does not mean we surrendered our original purpose – attainment of non-ordinary consciousness – but simply that ICS work could be viewed as a prolongation and practical application of the Ashram work. The theorems allow us to re-define “self liberation” to include physical self-renewal and life-extension as well as the exploration of material reality which (we maintain) remains *one* with the reality of consciousness. In this project, the kind of awareness fostered by meditational techniques plays a part just as vital as the *techne’* of machines and the pure mentation of mathematics.

In this scenario, the theorems – or at least a philosophical understanding of them – serve the purpose of an abstract *icon* for contemplation. Thus the theorems can be absorbed or englobed to the point where they become part of the inner structure (or “deep grammar” ) of the mind itself.

In the first stage, intellectual comprehension of the theorems parallels spiritual work aimed at refining the faculty of *attention*. At the same time a kind of psychic anchor is constructed, a firm grounding in celebratory body-awareness. The erotic and sensual for us cannot be ritualized and aimed at anything “higher” than themselves – rather, they constitute the very ground on which our dance is performed, and the atmosphere or taste which permeates or whole endeavor.

We symbolize this first course of work by the tripartite Sanskrit term satchitananda, “Being/consciousness/bliss” – the ontological level symbolized by the theorems, the psychological level by the meditation, the level of joy by our “tantrik” activity. The second course (which can begin at any time during or after the first) involves practical instruction in a variety of “hard sciences”, especially evolutionary biology and genetics, brain physiology, Quantum Mechanics and computer hacking. We have no need for these disciplines in any academic sense – in fact our work has already overturned many existing paradigms in these fields and rendered the textbooks useless for our purposes – so we have tailored these courses specifically for relevance to our central concern, and jettisoned everything extraneous.

At this point a Fellow of the ICS is prepared for work with the device we call the “egg.” This consists of a modified sensory-deprivation chamber in which attention can be focused on a computer terminal and screen. Electrodes are taped to various body parts to provide physiological data which is fed into the computer. The explorer now dons a peculiar helmet, a highly sophisticated fourth-generation version of the early “brain machines,” which can sonically stimulate brain cells either globally or locally and in various combinations, thus directing not only “brain waves” but also highly specific mental-physical functions. The helmet is also plugged into the computer and provides feedback in various programmed ways.

The explorer now undertakes a series of exercises in which the theorems are used to generate graphic animations of the “strange attractors” which map various states of consciousness, setting up feedback loops between this “iconography” and the actual states themselves, which are in turn generated through the helmet simultaneously with their representation on the screen. Certain of these exercises involve the “alchemical” use of mind-active drugs, including new vasopressin derivatives, beta-endorphins and hallucinogens (usually in “threshold” dosages). Some of these tinctures are simply to provide active-relaxation and focused-attention states, others are specifically linked to the requirements of “Cognitive Chaos” research.

Even in the earliest and crudest stages of the egg’s development the ICS founders quickly realized that many of the Dobbs twins’ PhD thesis predictions might be considered cautious or conservative. Enhanced control of autonomous body functions was attained even in the second-generation version, and the third provided a kind of bathysphere capable of “diving “down even to the cellular level. Certain unexpected side-effects included phenomena usually classified as paranormal. We knew we were not hallucinating all this, quite bluntly, because we obtained concrete and measurable results, not only in terms of “yogic powers” (such as suspended animation, “inner heat,” lucid dreaming and the like) but also in observable benefits to health: rapid healing, remission of chronic conditions, absence of disease.

At this point in development of the egg (third generation) the researchers attempted to “descend” (like SciFi micronauts) to the Quantum level.

Perhaps the thorniest of all Quantum paradoxes involves the “collapse of the wave function” -the state of Schrodinger’s famous cat. When does a wave “become” a particle? At the moment of observation? If so does this implicate human consciousness in the actual Q-structure of reality itself? By observing do we in effect “create?” The ICS team’s ultimate dream was to “ride the wave” and actually experience (rather than merely observe) the function-collapse. Through “participation” in Q-events, it was hoped that the observer/observed duality could be overcome or evaded.

This hope was based on rather “orthodox” Copenhagian interpretations of Quantum reality. After some months of intensive work, however, no one had experienced the sought-for and expected “moment”…each wave seemed to flow as far as one cared to ride it, like some perfect surfer’s curl extending to infinity. We began to suspect that the answer to the question “when?” might be “never!” This contingency had been described rigorously in only one interpretation of Q-reality, that of J.Wheeler – who proved that the wave function need never collapse provided that every Q-event gives rise to an “alternating world” (the Cat is both alive and dead).

To settle this question a fourth generation of the egg was evolved and tested, while simultaneously a burst of research was carried out in the abstruse areas of “Hillbert space” and the topology of n-dimensional geometry, on the intuitive assumptions that new “attractors” could thereby be generated and used to visualize or “grok” the transitions between alternate universes.

Again the ICS triumphed…although the immediate success of the fourth-generation egg provoked a moment of fear and panic unmatched in the whole history of “Cognitive Chaos.”

The first run-through of the “Cat” program was undertaken by a young staff-member of great brilliance (one of the original Paramus runaways) whose nickname happened to be Kit – and it happened to take place on the Spring Equinox. At the precise moment the heavens changed gears, so to speak, the entire egg vanished from the laboratory.

Consternation would be a mild term for what ensued. For about seven minutes the entire ICS lost its collective cool. At that point however the egg reappeared with its passenger intact and beaming…like Alice’s Chesire Cat rather than Schrodinger’s poor victim.

He had succeeded in riding the wave to its “destination” – an alternate universe. He had observed it and – in his words – “memorized its address.” Instinctively he felt that certain dimensional universes must act as “strange attractors” in their own right, and are thus far easier to access (more “probable”) than others. In practical terms, he had not been dissolved but had found the way to a “universe next door.”

The Gateway had been opened.

Where is Ong’s Hat?

According to Piney legend, the village of Ong’s Hat was founded sometime in the 19th century when a man named Ong threw his hat up in the air, landed it in a tree and was unable to retrieve it (we like to think it vanished into another world). By the 1920s all traces of settlement other than a few crumbling chimneys had faded away. But the name appealed so much to cartographers that some of them retained it – a dot representing nothing in the midst of the most isolated flat dark scrub-pines and sandy creeks in all the vast, empty and perhaps haunted Barrens. W.Fard’s acreage lies in the invisible suburbs of this invisible town, of which we are the sole inhabitants. You can find it easily on old survey maps, even trace out the the old dirt road leading into the bogs where a little square represents the decrepit “Ong’s Hat Rod & Gun Club,” original residence. However, you might discover that finding the ICS itself is not so simple.

If you compare your old survey map with the very latest, you will note that our area lies perilously close to the region infamous in recent years, the South Jersey Nuclear Waste Dump near Fort Dix. The “accident” that occurred there has made the Barrens even more empty and unpopular, as any hard-core Pineys fled the pollution melting into the state’s last untouched wilderness. The electrified fence shutting off the deadly zone runs less than a mile above our enclave.

The Accident occurred while we were in the first stages of developing the fourth-generation egg, the Gate. At the time we had no idea of its full potential. However all of us, except for the very youngest (who were evacuated), had by then been trained in elementary self-directed generation. A few tests proved that with care and effort we could resist at least the initial onslaught of radiation sickness. We decided to stick it out, at least until “the authorities” (rather than the dump) proved too hot to endure.

Once the Gate was discovered, we realized the situation had been saved. The opening and actual interdimensional travel, can only be effected by a fully trained “cognitive chaote;” so the first priority was to complete the course for all our members. A technique for “carrying” young children was developed (it seems not to work for adult “non-initiates”), and it was discovered that all inanimate matter within the egg is also carried across with the operator.

Little by little we carted our entire establishment (including most of the buildings) across the topological abyss.Unlike Baudelaire who pleaded, “Anywhere! – so long as out of this world!” we knew where we were going. Ong’s Hat has indeed vanished from New Jersey, except for the hidden laboratory deep in the backwoods where the gate “exists.”

On the other side of the Gate we found a Pine Barrens similar to ours but in a world which apparently never developed human life. Of course we have since visited a number of other worlds, but we decided to colonize this one, our first newfoundland. We still live in the same scattering of weather-gray shacks, Airstream trailers, recycled chicken coops, and mail-order yurts, only a bit more spread out – and considerably more relaxed. We’re still dependent on your world for many things – from coffee to books to computers – and in fact we have no inclination of cutting ourselves off like anchorites and merely scampering into a dreamworld.We intend to spread the word.

The colonization of new worlds – even an infinity of them – can never act as a panacea for the ills of Consensus Reality – only as a palliative. We have always taken our diseases with us to each new frontier…everywhere we go we exterminate aborigines and battle with our weapons of law and order against the chaos of reality.

But this time, we believe, the affair will go differently- because this time the journey outward can only be made simultaneously with the journey inward – and because this bootstrap-trick can only be attained by a consciousness which, to a significant degree, has overcome itself, liberated itself from self-sickness -and “realized itself.” Not that we think ourselves saints, or try to behave morally, or imagine ourselves a super-race, absolved from good and evil. Simply, we like to consider ourselves awake when we’re awake, sleeping when we sleep. We enjoy good health. We have learned that desire demands the *other* just as it demands the self. We see no end to growth while life lasts, no cessation of unfolding, of continual outpouring of form from chaos. We’re moving on, nomads or monads of the dimensions. Sometimes we feel almost satisfied…at other times, terrified.

Meanwhile our agents of chaos remain behind to set up ICS courses, distribute Moorish Orthodox literature (a major mask for our propaganda) to subvert and evade our enemies…We haven’t spoken yet of our enemies. Indeed there remains much we have not said. This text, disguised as a sort of New Age vacation brochure, must fall silent at this point, satisfied that it has embedded within itself enough clues for its intended readers (who are already halfway to Ong’s hat in any case) but not enough for those with little faith to follow.


Location: The Pine Barrens are located in south-central New Jersey about 35 miles from Philadelphia and 80 miles from New York City. Nearby towns include Mount Holly, Toms River, and Hammonton.

Getting There: Take State Route 70 east from the New Jersey Turnpike (exit 4) to the point where Route 72 heads south at Four Mile Circle. Take a hard left for about a mile to Ong’s Hat (the name comes with a long story, so ask at the store). The trailhead is across the road. Or head south on 72 for about a mile to the Lebanon State Forest visitor center.

Advances in Skin Science: Quantum Tantra An Interview with Nick Herbert by Joseph Matheny

This material is also available in tablet and ebook reader-friendly formats at , Smashwords and as a Kindle version on

This interview also appeared in Boing-Boing  11  when it was still a print zine in 1993.

Also see: 2019- Scientific American: Chasing the Quantum Tantra
Hippy physicist Nick Herbert pursues a lifelong love affair with nature

Advances in Skin Science:
Quantum Tantra
An Interview with Nick Herbert
by Joseph Matheny

“It’s always gooiest before it solidifies”
Beverly’s Ovation, Beverly Rubik Ph.d 

“Quantum Tantra is not just another way to get high using common objects you can find around the house… Caution: Practicing Q.T. before you understand Bell’s Theorem of interconnectveness is like walking into the Amazon jungle without a map.” – Alternate Dimensions. Jabir ibn Hayyan

Journal entry:

October 13,1992

I finally get a line on INCUNABULA. Following a lead from a culture-jamming club in San Francisco (MediaKaos 415-789-8350), I arrive in the small New Jersey town of Ong’s Hat. The address that I have for INCUNABULA is a P.O. Box. The local postmaster/general store operator was very helpful. Almost too helpful! He told me that Cranston and INCUNABULA books had fled the area one night about a month ago. I gained access to Cranston’s P.O. Box key while the owner had his back turned and returned later to examine the contents. All I found inside were overdraft notices from his bank and some solicitations from a church of geniuses in Dallas, Texas or some such nonsense. Another dead end.

October 14, 1992

I arrive in New York City, get a room, restock supplies and think. I call New Jersey information to get the phone number for the Ong’s Hat general store and post office so I can ask the postmaster a few more questions. I am told by the inbred boob on the other end of the line that there is no such town listed in New Jersey, and after a long and heated debate, we terminate the phone call by mutually insulting each other’s gene pool. God, I hate the phone company.

October 16, 1992

Two days (and two bottles of Johnny Walker Black Label) later, I finally get lead on one of the most intriguing authors listed in the INCUNABULA Catalog, Nick Herbert, author of Quantum Reality, Faster Than Light: Superluminal Loopholes in Physics, and of course, the legendary Alternate Dimensions.

Herbert was a former SDI scientist turned renegade researcher. His past areas of renegade research involved pleasure dome technologies, Quantum Tantra (the Egg Yoke method), Time and Dimensional travel theories, and gelatinous substances.

I’ll give you a little background on Alternate Dimensions (A.D.). It was written in 1989 by Herbert, but was suppressed by the publisher, Harper & Row, for unexplained reasons in 1990. INCUNABULA was offering bound, uncorrected galley copies for $100.00 each, or at least they were, until Cranston disappeared with the whole kit-n-kaboodle. In A.D., it seems that Herbert gave away the inner secrets of a Tantrik-dimensional travel cult based in northern California. Using techniques that combined Herbert’s own theory of Quantum Tantra, and hardware technology, consisting of an egg-shaped craft of some sort, members of the cult were able to penetrate into other dimensions. There were also intense visualization techniques, and Tantrik-Egg-Yoke postures involved, but the Xerox copy I had purchased from MediaKaos seemed to be missing some of the key technical portions.

Herbert was now hiding out in the backwater town of Boulder Creek, CA, deep in the heart of the Santa Cruz mountains.

I hopped aboard a plane to San Jose, and drove a rental car up to Boulder Creek. About a mile away from Herbert’s farm house, I called him on my cellular phone. Surprisingly enough, Herbert was very cordial, and agreed to meet me in town for lunch and conversation. He suggested Adelita’s Mexican Cantina, gave me directions, and promised to meet me there in an hour.

I drove into town and went over my notes while I waited. About an hour later, Dr.Herbert appeared in the parking lot driving a electric Stutz Bearcat kit car. I recognized him instantly from his book jacket photos, even with the recently acquired beard. Was he attempting to change his appearance? Was he preparing to flee, like Cranston had 30 days ago?

I casually reached into my jacket and activated my pocket recorder. I waved him over to my table, and after shaking hands we settled down to a lunch of Dos Equis and Gorditas.

“Okay” I said, after some pleasantries about the weather, “let’s start with the obvious question: What is Quantum Tantra?”

“Well, psychology has used a lot of classic metaphors to explain the mind, like the hydraulic metaphor of urges building up, an even when repressed, they’ll find some way to spurt out to the surface. We’re told that releasing your repressions will relieve the pressure, and you’ll become healthy. That’s a very classical metaphor. Now we have this marvelous new way of thinking called quantum mechanics, and it seems right to use these metaphors to explain human behavior. So, what’s the most interesting human behavior of all? Sexual, of course. That’s the idea, to use quantum mechanical metaphors to explore sexuality, to look at it through the lens of quantum physics. I would consider Q.T. successful if we could find new things to do that never would have been thought, of using the old metaphors. I mean, of course, pleasant things. (laughter). The core idea of Q.T. stems from Heisenberg’s statement that “atoms are not things.” So, Q.T. naturally extrapolated that statement into “well than people are not things, either.” People are not things in the same way that atoms are not things.”

“What are things?” I asked

“Things are entities that have attributes, whether you look at them or not. They’re big, they’re solid and such. You can list their attributes. Non-things, or Quantum objects, like atoms or molecules, don’t have attributes. They are basically clusters of oscillating possibilities, the possibilities not even being well-defined. It might reward us to look that way at people, as oscillating possibilities.” He took a long draw off his Dos Equis, and signaled the waiter for another.

” So, try and think of what the essence of quantum theory is,” he continued,

“Three adjectives: Randomness, thinglessness, and interconectiveness. Randomness I associate with the spontaneity that is within people. Uncertainty is the very essence of romance. It’s what you don’t know that intrigues you.” “Now, thinglessness is even more renunciatory'” he went on. “The notion of treating people like possibilities rather than fixed structures is a healthy one, I think.” “Interconnectiveness is the most fantastic feature of Q.T. Things are connected in the quantum world in such a way that only did we not think of it before the discovery of quantum mechanics, but I don’t think we could have thought this way at all. It’s so strange. The terrestrial belief system that comes the closest to quantum connectiveness is VooDoo.”

“Sympathetic magick?” I queried. This was getting good.

“Yes, sympathetic magick,” he replied.

“Of course, the VooDoo conception is naive in comparison to Q.T.’s connectiveness. In VooDoo, you do something like burn someone’s hair to give them a headache. The Quantum connection isn’t that crude. It has more to do with timing. In the Quantum world, you burn someone’s hair, and maybe they miss an appointment. The Newtonian world view emphasized control over the world, whereas, the Quantum world view doesn’t emphasize control so much as timing. You could say that the Newtonian view emphasized force, where the Quantum world emphasizes finesse.” “One analogy is ordinary, steerable dish radar versus phased array antennae. Steerable dish physically moves the whole antenna structure. In the phased array antennae, you have a whole array that are all fixed. None of them move, but by changing the timing on these antennae, you get a virtual antenna that’s pointed in any direction. That’s an example of finesse, rather than force. Quantum connection is like that. It is set up like VooDoo by having something that the other person has interacted with, some sympathetic object.”

“But what does this have to do with sex?” I asked.

Herbert was quick to answer.

“I’m getting to that. In Q.T., the tantra part has to do with sex as well as religion. Every religion has their symbol. The Christians have the cross, Islam has the crescent and star, the Pagans have the pentagram, the wheel for Buddhism, and so forth. Q.T. has it’s symbols, also. One of them is this fork.”

He picked up a salsa-encrusted fork, and stared at it rapturously.

“It reminds us to see the world as possibilities,” he continued, “In the Newtonian world, starting from now, only one thing could happen.Q.T. sees the future as open possibilities, like the tines of this fork. Actually, if this fork were fuzzy, like Man Ray’s fuzzy cup and spoon…”

I was beginning to understand. That or the Dos Equis was kicking in. I felt lightheaded.

“So the borders would not quite be defined…” I replied.

“Yes,” he said, eyes twinkling in the candlelight.

“The possibilities are defined only by your intentions, by how you construe the moment. Quantum possibilities are not quite as defined as dice possibilities, even. With a die, only one of six numbers will come up, whereas with Quantum possibilities, it depends on how you look at the moment, and that again, is part of thinglessness. All of these elements have resonances in popular literature. Like the talk of the inexplicable chemistry that occurs between two people, or this notion of ‘it’s bigger than both of us’. The type of connectivity that’s possible in quantum theory allows two connected entities to be in indefinite states , but allows the couple itself to be in a definite state! The mathematics on this are clear. As Heisenberg said, ‘quantum theory has changed our way of thinking completely,’ and it’s changed in such a way that it didn’t dissolve into some unclear, fuzzy fog, but into this absolute clarity of a new mathematics. Now the mathematics describe the fog in a very precise way. So, it’s this kind of very precise unclarity.”

“You’re talking like a lot of mystics I know!” I scoffed.

He replied laughing, “Except, this is found in ordinary physics! This is stuff that was discovered 75 years ago, it’s not new stuff at all. It’s only now beginning to permeate popular culture. So, we have this system where each member of the pair, say, a man and a woman, or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, or whatever, are defined. They’ve gotten themselves into a state where their individualities are not as clear, but the couple itself as an entity, is better defined than the individual members of the set. We use symbols, like the fork, to remind ourselves of these things, because the human mind is not yet used to thinking in parallels.” “Our data rate is miniscule, compared to say, television data rates equivalent to megabits per second, or telephones, which are equivalent to thousands of kilobits per second. Morse code is about 10 bits per second, and that’s pretty close to our attention rate! I mean, when we’re not on robot, when we do come to attention, we don’t bring much to this moment in terms of quantity. It’s been estimated at about 16 bits a second. So, people need simple graphic symbols, like the fork, or the cross, or the crescent, to remind themselves that they’re Moslems, or whatever. So, one symbol I’ve invented to epitomize Randomness, Thinglessness and Interconnectiveness is the trinity of White, Hot and Sticky. White corresponds to Thinglessness, Hot to Randomness, and Sticky to Interconnectiveness. By white, I mean like white light, all the colors together, all human sexual potentials. Thinglessness is wrought with possibilities. As David Finklestein, the inventor of quantum logic said, ‘We are all white light, in the sense that we are all possibilities.’ Hot has to do with newness, spontaneity that we can bring to the moment to remind us that the moment can be ever new. That’s a hard thing to live up to, sexually, and otherwise. Sticky, of course, typifies the new kind connectiveness. A metaphor for achieving stickieness, are objects that you break in two, and each partner keeps one half. The fracture is unique, that I will only match one other person in the whole world! Quantum objects help to enhance this two-person white, hot, sticky state. And music is the connection in this technology.”

“Why music?” I asked.

“Because, these possibilities are vibratory.” he answered. ‘In the physical world, every atom, or possibility is vibrating at a certain frequency. The higher the energy level, the higher the frequency or pitch of the vibrations. We can’t hear, smell, see, or taste any of these vibrations except indirectly. I’m doing more research with solid state technology, sound sequences.”

“Ok, now what about Alternate Dimensions, the egg craft, the travel cults, Tantric-Yoke techniques, I mean, what about all this stuff!” I finally blurted, unable to hold back any longer.

“Young man, I have no idea what you’re talking about. All I can say is there are some questions that you should not ask directly, and some answers that may come as a result of finesse over force. This interview is now concluded.”

Joseph Matheny’s Journal: The Emory Cranston Interview

This material is also available in tablet and ebook reader friendly formats at , Smashwords and as a Kindle version on Cranston also gave one more interview to a Greek magazine in 2002, archived here.

1/23/94 After interviewing Nick Herbert and being stuck with the check for lunch, I discovered that Mr. Herbert had scribbled a phone number on the back of the receipt before leaving. It was a New Jersey exchange, I recognized it almost instantly,and underneath it the letters E.C. were scrawled. Finally, a lead ! This had to be the phone number for none other than Emory Cranston, proprietor of INCUNABULA books. So, Cranston was still on Earth Prime, and accessible by phone. I went back to my motel room and dialed the number. [ring] [ring] EC: Hello ? JM:: Hi, is this Emory Cranston ? EC: Who wants to know ? JM:: My name is Joseph Matheny. I got your phone number from Nick Herbert. I’m a reporter investigating the Ong’s Hat story, and I thought you might give me some insight into where you came across all the material in INCUNABULA. I got the Catalog from a group of Culture Hackers in San Francisco. (silence) Is this Emory Cranston ? EC: Who did you say you were again ? JM:: A freelance investigative reporter, doing a story on the travel cults and the Ong’s Hat Institute. EC: And who gave you this phone number ? JM:: Nick Herbert. I was trying to find out where INCUNABULA is located now. EC: (Audible sigh on other end of line) Oh, well. At least he could have warned me. But it doesn’t really matter…after all, there’s no “here” here anyway, so I won’t be here tomorrow. Does that answer your first question ? JM:: You mean INCUNABULA is located in “virtual space” ? EC: As far as you’re concerned, yes. JM:: Well, in the introduction to the INCUNABULA Catalog, you stated that you had uncovered “…a conspiracy so deep that no other researcher has yet become aware of it (outside of certain intelligence circles, needless to say)…” Is that still true? Why hasn’t this become a more popular conspiracy theory? How did you come across this information? EC: No, it’s no longer true. Since I published the Catalog, everything has changed. everything ! And look, this is no longer a “theory”. I admit, when I first published, I really didn’t know jack-shit about anything. Yes, I was a “conspiracy theorist”, how pathetic! Let me ask you, what kind of epistemological black hole…I mean, if the conspiratoligists “know” anything it wouldn’t be a “theory” anymore, would it? It’d be “fact”. Who killed Kennedy? Where are the UFOs from? They don’t “know”, do they? JM:: You have answers to these questions ? EC: Pal, I’ve got lots of answers! Alternative answers. Get it? But that’s not important. You ask why “my theory” isn’t better known or more “popular” ? Why aren’t they discussing it at UFO conferences, eh? Why isn’t it on TV? Well, there’s an easy answer to that. The truth is never popular, and it’s never seen on TV ! You know in your heart I’m right about this don’t you? If you think about what’s really important to you, you’ll realize it’s not popular and it’s never been seen on TV (or if it has…well then I’m sorry for you). It’s true, when I first came across the information…I was living in Chatsworth, in the Pine Barrens, near Ong’s Hat…I was doing a Catalog…Tesla, Reich, Bioshamanics, Hollow Earth, crop circles, Mae Brussell…that sort of thing. Strange stories were circulating about the Institute out at Ong’s Hat. They wouldn’t talk to me. Then they disappeared. That’s when I got “really” interested, and began collecting the literature. A few years later I published the Catalog to see if they’d get in touch with me. I wanted to flush them out. I wanted to know. JM:: So what happened? EC: Let’s just say I succeeded in stirring the shit beyond my wildest expectations. You know, most conspiratologists would die of shock if they suddenly received proof that their theories were real. You’ll notice that not one UFO “expert” has ever been abducted. And not one Kennedy-Conspiracy nut has ever been assassinated. These things happen to other people, not to Conspiracy Theorists, right? Well, let’s just say…that’s what I mean when I say…this isn’t a “theory” anymore. JM:: Do you feel endangered in anyway, being so outspoken about info that has obviously gotten some people killed? How do you deal with the danger, what precautions have you taken? Why are you talking to me for example? EC: Why am I talking to you? There are reasons…reasons you don’t really need to know. Just go ahead and do what ever you intend to do. Publish. But be careful. At this point, the cat’s out of the bag, as Alice Schröedinger would say, (laughs). I doubt they…I don’t think anyone would bother anymore…it’s gone so far beyond that. Now, as to my state of savvy when I published the INCUNABULA Catalog…you know how conspiracy buffs like to pretend they’re running a great risk…that hidden forces will try to silence them, blah blah. So buy my stuff now, before it’s too late, etc., etc. Not one of them really believes it. I didn’t believe it. I was extremely fortunate. The Catalog fell into the right hands…just about five minutes before it fell into the wrong hands. I was contacted. I was protected. Literally whisked away. In the nick of time. Next question, please. JM:: But… EC: No no no. Read the Catalog. Think about it. Chance are you’ll figure it out. You were smart enough to find this phone number, after all. That’s why I’m talking to you. Next question. JM:: Ok. How many books have you sold? How many people do you think you’ve convinced? EC: I’m not really running the catlogue anymore. It can’t be suppressed – it’s out there, it’s circulating. But I’m not selling the books now. Those who need the books, get the books. I don’t need the money, after all. Those who can really read the Catalog and figure out the next step…well, not everything in INCUNABULA is accurate, of course. But the clues are there. Follow the garden of forking paths. Ah, how many, you ask? I can tell you exactly. The answer is precisely 16 people have followed the thread so far. We’re aware of another dozen or so who are working on it. At a certain point in their researches they’ll be helped…if possible. One may blunder, you see. Some tracks lead to the Minotaur, know what I mean? And some of those dozen or so are working for the wrong people. They won’t be helped. JM:: How did you obtain the more “esoteric” material, like Alternate Dimensions by “Jabir ibn Hayaan” aka Nick Herbert? EC: Oh, Alternate Dimensions can hardly be called one of the more “esoteric” titles in the list. After all, Herbert was still a Theorist when he wrote it. The book is actually wrong on a number of points, though quite brilliant as an approach. The fact is, I tracked down Dr. Herbert when I was assembling the Catalog. I’d read his other work, and realized he must be heading in the right direction. At first he wouldn’t talk to me at all. He suspected I was an agent of whatever Shadowy Forces were trying to suppress the book, and succeeding. From various angry remarks he dropped I was able to piece together the story. His manuscript and files had been stolen right out of his house, and the publishers refused to return their copies, or any of the page proofs. They were stonewalling him. So I…well, I stole it. JM:: What? EC: I went to the publisher. I had a very strong intuition as to which group was blocking publication. I posed as an agent of that group. Apparently I was correct, and it seems I knew enough to convince the publisher of my bona fides, so to speak. He was so glad to hand over the book you’d’ve thought it was a bomb! Later he was fired. I suppose he’s lucky to be alive, the schmuck. I copied the proofs and returned the originals to Dr. Herbert. He agreed to let me list it. After all, it was the only way his work was ever going to be distributed. Of course it’s a moot point now. I mean, the book is seriously out-of-date and there’s not going to be a revised edition. JM:: Well, it’s obvious that you’ve been in contact with some of the travel cult members. Can you tell me who? EC: That would be telling. JM:: Aw, come on! This is not turning out to be much of an interview. EC: Nonsense, young man. What I’m giving you is gold, pure gold. All right, then…would it surprise you to hear that you’ve already met a fair number of “cult members”? The heiress in the Berkeley Hills who knows all about Tarantula venom? That Irish humorist who lives in James Joyce’s Martello tower in Howth, outside Dublin? The aging psychedelic guru…the so called Persian Anarchist…the so called Satanic rock-star…the Montana cowboy-secret-agent-hacker…the cyberpunk SciFi Surrealist… JM:: No! They would’ve told me… EC: Guess again. JM:: I believe you’re…you’re misinforming me here, Mr. Cranston. EC: Check it out. JM:: I will. EC: Do. Next question. JM:: Um, ok. Uh…what new information have you come across since the catlogue was published? What new developments have there been in this “science” of travel? EC: I can’t really tell you that. “Cult member” means nothing now. All the players know who the other players are. I’m not giving anything away. But…new developments on the tech end? No. Certain people could gain an edge just from a vague description…well, I can tell you a few things. A paper came out right after my Catalog, so it’s not listed, but everyone knows about it by now. It’s by Suhrawardi, it’s called Not the Egg, the Joke, a bad pun on yoga. Eggless travel has become S.O.P. for advanced travellers. Some permanent doorways have been constructed which work even for non-initiates, sort of like The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. They’re very nicely camouflaged – Fu Manchu couldn’t do better. And of course they’re guarded. JM:: Raiders of the Lost Ark… EC: Eh? Oh yes…booby trapped. Definitely. It’s a zero-sum game I’m afraid. Either you’re on the bus or you’re not on the bus. The Gateways…that’s what we call them, the Gateways have to be there for those few who, shall we say, solve the Catalog without any help from any group. People that smart do exist – I have to admit I wasn’t one of them! I compiled the Catalog and even I didn’t “get it”! But people who are capable of such…such quantum jujitsu, are people we need. For them the Gateways aren’t guarded, but protected. As for the others who might somehow locate the translational nexi…well, you know who I mean… JM:: No, who? EC: The Tri-Lateral Commission! Read the Catalog! Figure it out! Who knows? Maybe you’ll need to know, one of these days. JM:: Is the secret government still active in this area, and if so what do they hope to achieve? EC: Are you implying that because a “liberal” regime has taken over from a “conservative” regime, that you people are free of “secret government”? Haven’t you heard of the present leader’s fascination with “virtual reality”? Where do you suppose power comes from, an” Invisible College” of “Illuminati”? (I use the terms metaphorically , of course.) Nothing has changed – only gotten hotter. In Baghdad…no, forget I said that. Scratch that. Dump the whole file. Next? JM:: Hmmmm, ok. Have you been to Earth2 or any of the other “worlds” and is this where you’ve been hiding? EC: Well, no harm in telling you I suppose. Yes, in fact I’ve been spending quite a lot of time in Java2. It’s not even a security thing anymore, really. Or not always. The truth is that, well, you can’t possibly imagine – a whole world for a utopia, complete with flora, fauna, picturesque ruins, and maybe, oh, ten people per square continent. Fresh air! That alone is enough to…a universe next door, let’s go! (was it e.e.cummings who said that?) JM:: And if that one gets too crowded? EC: Precisely. A number of Davy Crockett types have already “moved on” where they can’t see the smoke of their neighbors fires, to put it mildly. We have no idea of the extent of the Series – it may be “infinite” for all practical (or impractical) purposes. JM:: Why not just tell everybody, then? EC: Would you want to be responsible for infecting the halls of infinity with, say the L.A. Police? Do you think the Pentagon deserves infinity? (and what if it isn’t infinite?) Etcetera? JM:: Who were the occupants of Java2 , that left behind the ruins? EC: Well, that’s the biggest news of all really. We found them – or rather they’ve found us. They claim to be an alternative evolutionary branch of Homo Sapiens through h.Javanesis and h.Neanderthalensis. They look like they’re descended from lemurs rather than chimps, like us. A bit like the characters from Javanese shadow puppet plays. They discovered how to travel long ago, in a time we might think of as the time of Atlantis or Mu (only we would be wrong…) It’s all rather Lovecraftian, in as much as they claim to be responsible for certain aspects of human culture, aspects which are uncanny, but not maleficent. Not only in Java. The Tuatha de Danaan of Ireland who vanished “underground “, and other “faery” and “hollow earth” clues…the whole idea of another physical world, not a heaven or hell, but a Magickal universe next door…anyway, we were wrong about them. Traveling in time, either fast forward or backward. They simply set out to explore the Series. They think it may be endless, and some decided to return “home” to Java2. They’re a completely non-hierarchic segmentary society, like primitive hunter/gatherers, but with a highly evolved culture. A lot of Terrans have completely “converted” to their way of life, even their language. You should hear their music! The returnees brought back some of their artifacts and…well, “furniture” I guess you’d call it. Their ancestors built a city during a “High Civilization” period in their history, but they rejected hard technology for cognitive sciences long ago. Our travel techniques are crude by comparison and lacking their whole mythopoetic value system. We’re planning soon to release certain archival material here in Earth Prime, certain bits of art and music, which we expect to act in a viral fashion to produce profound paradigm shifts. The traveller’s culture is now, I believe, our most effective “weapon”. JM:: So what’s your bottom line, is this all co-creative or what? EC: A smartass question. JM:: No, really. EC: Who can say? What about our own cosmic locale, our own provincial reality? You can’t make it go away by ceasing to believe in it. “Give me a place to stand and I’ll move the world” – but there is no place, no “outside” vantage point, from which to challenge consensus reality. “Magick” is notoriously difficult and vague, and terribly incremental – the utopian imagination seems futile – reforms of consciousness appear to fail, unless they implement the emergence of new ruling classes or elites. “Religion” is a perfect case in point. But was religion the cause of “civilization” – or the effect? Now, however, you see, it’s a whole new game. There is an “outside” now, maybe an infinite number of outsides, places to stand with a lever in one hand – and a magic mushroom in the other. The dispossessed have always believed in a millennium, a magickal resistance, a heaven on earth, a world turned upside down. This is it. Well, time’s up. JM:: I had a million more questions. In fact… EC: This phone number and address will become inoperative. Don’t call us, we’ll call you. And don’t worry. The Reality check is in the mail. [click] (JM’s note: the phone was indeed disconnected the next day, and the premises it was registered to vacated with no forwarding address left)



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A collection of Ong’s Hat reviews, interviews and theories.

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Original Boing-Boing Article: Advances in Skin Science

Part of the “original 4” pieces of the Ong’s Hat storyline. It appeared in print as Advances in Skin Science, later to be released on the Internet as ADVANCES IN SKIN SCIENCE: QUANTUM TANTRA AN INTERVIEW WITH NICK HERBERT BY JOSEPH MATHENY Boing-Boing issue 11