Category Archives: Joseph Matheny

Red Pages Podcast: Episode 154: Chatting with Joseph Matheny

Justin sits down to talk with ARG pioneer Joseph Matheny about politics, conspiracy theories, games and the future of America.

Haps Discussed: Independent art production, marginal voices in marginal spaces, propaganda, misinformation, QAnon, social media, owning your data, Rockefeller Republicans

Books Discussed: Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski

Games Discussed: Ong’s Hat, Majestic, Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Myst


Links
Paralax Views Podcast episode Adrian Hon: What ARGs Can Teach Us About QAnon Conspirituality Podcast

 

This is not a game

By Tom Dove

Link to the entire article: https://medium.com/@illexical/this-is-not-a-game-44142be5ff2c

Ong’s Hat.

A funny little name. A name on a map of a town that can’t be found.

Emerging on the nascent public internet at some indeterminate point in the late nineties, Ong’s Hat was the prototype for what would become a genre of participatory literature called the alternate reality game, or ARG. An ARG is part adventure story, part puzzle, part esoteric mystery, part scavenger hunt, part online community, all quite weird. They are mostly played on public forums, to capture the widest audience, but their content often spans multiple platforms, and typically multiple media. There have been many thousands of ARGs now, tiny and massive, but one of them was first, and it was wilder than the rest.

Ong’s Hat was by turns surreal, goofy, cosmic, and sinister, drawing heavily on classic counterculture and conspiracy theory lore. In the very early days of the worldwide web, it was doing something in a dispersed form that Mark Z. Danielewski would shortly be hailed as a postmodern genius for doing in the novel House of Leaves: playing adeptly with our ideas about how and why we find things to be true. What makes us believe a thing is real? The course of the game, its story, exists only in inaccurate second-hand reports and archived materials stripped of context now. By accident or by design, all the original online content has long since subsided into the digital sands, but the ghost of Ong’s Hat haunts us still.

 

Prequel to Q Anon | #16 – RAP Drugs Pod

This weekend we reflect on Q Anon & the corporate state; Ong’s Hat: The Early Internet Conspiracy Game That Got Too Real. “On a sunny morning in early 2000, Joseph Matheny woke up to find conspiracy theorists camped out on his lawn again. He was making coffee when he noticed a face peering in a ground-floor window of the small, three-story building he rented in Santa Cruz. Past the peeper, there were three other men in their early 20s loitering awkwardly. Matheny sighed and stepped outside. He already knew what they wanted. They wanted to know the truth about Ong’s Hat. They wanted the secret to interdimensional travel.” https://gizmodo.com/ongs-hat-the-earl…

Chrissy Teigen is well-known for her Twitter presence and witty tweets but now the model has blocked over a million Twitter users, made her account private and deleted over 60,000 of her own tweets after conspiracy theories connected her to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein https://globalnews.ca/news/7188815/ch…

Online Conspiracy Groups Are a Lot Like Cults. Inside these closed online communities, outside voices are discredited and dissent is often met with hostility, doxing, and harassment. Sound familiar? https://www.wired.com/story/online-co…

What are the similarities between an Italian novel from the ’90s and the QAnon conspiracy theory that’s resulting in armed standoffs with police in the US? “Dispatches signed ‘Q’ allegedly coming from some dark meanders of top state power, exactly like in our book.” They also pointed to the fact that the Q from the QAnon community is described almost exactly like Luther Blissett used to be described, “an entity of about 10 people that have high security clearance.” https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/…

Is the QAnon Conspiracy the Work of Artist-Activist Pranksters? The Evidence for (And Against) a Dangerous Hypothesis. The history of “Luther Blissett,” the Italian media jamming movement, is suddenly relevant to the US political discussion. https://news.artnet.com/opinion/q-ano…

Some Q followers break away when they recognize the content of the theories is not self-consistent, or they see that some of the content is directly aimed at getting donations from a specific audience, such as evangelical or conservative Christians. This then “breaks the spell” the conspiracies had over them. Others start watching Q-debunking videos. Disillusionment can also come from the failure of the theories’ predictions. Q had predicted Republican success in the 2018 US midterm elections & claimed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was involved in secret work for Trump, with apparent tensions between them a cover. When Democrats made significant gains & Trump fired Sessions, there was disillusionment among many in the Q community. Further disillusionment came when the predicted Dec 5 mass arrest & imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay detention camp of enemies of Trump did not occur, nor did the dismissal of charges against former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. For some, these failures began the process of separation from the QAnon cult, while others urged direct action in the form of an insurrection against the government. Such a response to a failed prophecy is not unusual: apocalyptic cults such as Heaven’s Gate, the People’s Temple, the Manson Family, and Aum Shinrikyo resorted to mass suicide/murder when their expectations for revelations or the fulfillment of their prophecies did not come about. Psychologist Robert Lifton calls it “forcing the end”. This phenomenon is being seen among some QAnon believers. Travis View echoes the concern that disillusioned QAnon believers might take matters into their own hands as Pizzagate believer Edgar Maddison Welch did in 2016, Matthew Phillip Wright did at Hoover Dam in 2018 & Anthony Comello did in 2019 when he murdered Mafia boss Frank Cali. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QAnon#A…

Right Where You Are Sitting Now: Authoring Reality with Joseph Matheny

LINK TO SHOW: http://sittingnow.co.uk/episode-51-authoring-reality-with-joseph-matheny/

This week Ken sits down with our old buddy Joseph Matheny.

Joe is an innovator in the ARG space and is well known for his Ong’s Hat mythology, he also used to rub shoulders with some pretty impressive people, including Robert Anton Wilson and Christopher Hyatt.

This week we discuss: Conspiracy theory, ARG, that flu thing going around, and much more.

This Is Not a Game

Conspiracy theorizing as alternate-reality game

From Pizzagate Neon (2017) by Warren Neidich. Neon glass sculpture, installation view. Photography by Karolina Sobel. Courtesy Priska Pasquer, Cologne.

“Many quotes from a long and enjoyable conversation I had with the author made it into this article. I hope you find it as enlightening and thought-provoking as I did.”  -JM

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AThttps://reallifemag.com/this-is-not-a-game/

The alternate reality game began in the late 1980s, when multidisciplinary artist Joseph Matheny pioneered the format with Ong’s Hat, a transmedia narrative about an interdimensional cult run by Princeton scientists at an ashram in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Drawing on real people and places, Matheny crafted a series of documents as supposed evidence for the cult’s existence. He seeded them to the public through snail mail, posts on early internet bulletin boards (some of which can still be seen at alt.conspiracy and alt.illuminati), and Xerox copies planted inside independent weeklies and esoteric literature at libraries, book stores, and coffee shops. Over the course of a decade, the story’s media range grew to include CD-ROMs, books, video, and radio, including some interviews on the popular paranormal radio show Coast to Coast AM, which exposed Ong’s Hat to a wider audience of conspiracy enthusiasts.

Ong’s Hat was a unique hybrid of speculative history and speculative autobiography that participants could co-author by joining the investigation onlineIt was meant to be defamiliarizing and immersive; Matheny envisioned Ong’s Hat as a playground for experiencing synchronicities and then comparing them with other players’ — an exercise in intersubjectivity. But immersive storytelling and the intersubjectivity it constitutes can have a dark side, wherein communities can form around shared delusions that take on a momentum of their own. To Matheny’s surprise, some participants confused his fictional narrative with an actual conspiracy. When he broke character to remind them it was just a game, these true believers accused Matheny of being part of a disinformation campaign or running a mind-control experiment. He lost final say over the universe he invented.

Engaging in conspiracy culture is like playing a secret game based on insider knowledge, and it is this feeling that propels Q’s current popularity

When I spoke to Matheny, he partly attributed this reaction to the Coast to Coast segments attracting conspiracy-minded participants, to those who used Ong’s Hat to fulfill their X-Files-inspired “I want to believe” aspirations, and to proto-trolls looking for a pot to stir. Eventually these elements escalated their participation in Ong’s Hat to harassment, threats, and attempted home invasions, and Matheny was forced to discontinue the project in 2001. The term ARG, he says, began to be used on conspiracy and trolling forums around this time as a euphemism for gamified harassment campaigns. Matheny told me that he has since seen hardcore Ong’s Hat believers resurface in other conspiracy movements, including Weinergate, Gamergate, Pizzagate, QAnon, and the coronavirus cluster of 5G, vaccine, and quarantine paranoia. To Matheny, the 20th century U.S. tradition of conspiracy theories was “great folklore, great Americana,” to be taken figuratively. But he perceived this rightward and more serious turn in conspiracy circles at the turn of the century, with a crescendo in 2014, the year that some of his formerly left-leaning friends came out as neo-reactionary monarchists.

Matheny now refers to Pizzagate and QAnon as “dark ARGs,” signaling their family resemblance. “There was a bonding that happened, and probably a cooptation of troll culture into conspiracy circles,” he says. “This converged with fundamentalist people who were also doomsday preppers, and they had all adopted trolling behaviors, speaking in bad faith, giving circular arguments. All these weird subcultures have come together. How it happened was gradual. There wasn’t a puppeteer, but there are definitely people who took advantage of it. Breitbart, Bannon, Spencer.” This convergence of fundamentalism and trolling in conspiracy culture proved to be a toxic brew, facilitating zealous delusion and selective insincerity simultaneously. “The irony helps these people sidestep criticism,” Matheny says. “‘I’m just kidding, I’m just trolling.’ So I shouldn’t take anything you say seriously? Then they react with anger. And now there are movements being crafted to take advantage of this.” Irony serves as a gateway to belief as well as a source of plausible deniability, the same dynamic that can lead anti-PC trolls to become actual neo-Nazis. As George Orwell put it, “He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AThttps://reallifemag.com/this-is-not-a-game/

Repost: CORRECTIONS TO BRIAN DUNNING’S SKEPTOID PODCAST ABOUT ONG’S HAT

A rebuttal on the site josephmatheny.com regarding a recent podcast and article that ran on Skeptoid, by Brian Dunning.

An excerpt:

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.

Link to full article: https://josephmatheny.com/2019/03/18/corrections-to-brian-dunnings-skeptoid-podcast-about-ongs-hat/

The tl;dr version

 

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 Archive.org , Smashwords and as a Kindle version on Amazon.com

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


adelitas

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 Archive.org , Smashwords and as a Kindle version on Amazon.com Cranston also gave one more interview to a Greek magazine in 2002, archived here.


Cranston

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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