Category Archives: Multiverse


Ong’s Hat creator Joseph Matheny on the blurred lines between fiction and reality

Sat down and had a discussion with Greg, one of the curators of one of my favorite OG websites, The Daily Grail. LINK: Ong’s Hat. For those who were on the early internet and into Grail-like topics, those two words likely spark a heady sense of conspiracy, alternative science and history nostalgia. Across websites, email lists and forums devoted to those topics, there was discussion about how much of the mythos behind the many-threaded, multi-media story of Ong’s Hat was fiction, and how much might be based in truth. Could the rumours of portals to alternative dimensions have any truth? Were conspiracy theories about it being hushed up? In retrospect, thirty years later, it all seems a little quaint. We now know Ong’s Hat was co-created as a piece of ‘guerilla storytelling’ by a number of individuals which morphed into what is now known as an alternate reality game (ARG). It’s influence, nevertheless is huge – both on the ARG business and in various modern stories which echo some of its themes, like Stranger Things. But a more shady part of its influence is on the conspiracy scene, in particular the way in which it revealed how blurring fiction and reality can give birth to myths that can no longer be controlled by their creators – and create a horde of ‘true believers’ who cross the line from having fun in a game to being particularly toxic, and possibly dangerous. Those who have followed the trajectory of Pizzagate and QAnon in recent years might recognize a similar pattern, with myths that started on messageboards as LARPs (live action role-playing games) propagating out into the real world and being co-opted by bad actors. As such, when I got the chance recently to sit down and chat to the creator of Ong’s HatJoseph Matheny (embedded below), these topics dominated our discussion. I think it’s one of the most important areas worthy of talking more about, in a world now dominated by social media and influencers, in which myths of all kind are now spreading through society and being taken as reality by far too many. Especially in the conspiracy, and alternative history and science scenes, such as we’re currently seeing play out with ‘UFO Twitter’. Enjoy! From the description: Pioneering storyteller and artist Joseph Matheny joins us to talk about his seminal ‘Alternate Reality Game’ (ARG) Ong’s Hat and how, in recent years, the techniques he employed have been weaponized by others, blurring the line between fiction and reality and leading to the rise of political cults like QAnon.

These Scientists Ripped A Hole In Reality From A Cabin In The Woods

Ever wondered about the wild, wacky and wonderful world of quantum physics, alternate dimensions, and internet hoaxes? Well, buckle up for a roller-coaster journey as we uncover one of New Jersey’s most captivating tales, the story of Wally Fard, and his spiritual commune, the Moorish Science Ashram. We spin a vivid narrative on how a carpet salesman became a spiritual leader, buying 200 acres of Pine Barrens forest land to build a pseudoscience and meditation haven.

The Worst of All Possible Worlds: 111 – Slender Man and Marble Hornets

THIS IS A PREVIEW. FOR THE FULL EPISODE, GO TO Anne Huston (Caveat NYC) joins Brian and Josh to do battle with the Slender Man and other monsters from 2009’s viral YouTube horror series Marble Hornets. Their journey takes them from semi-incoherent college memories to the content cornucopia of the Something Awful Forums, Reddit, and early YouTube: reminders of an internet where people could create freely without extreme commercial pressure. They also talk a lot about something called Ong’s Hat. Hope you had a happy Halloween! Anne Huston is the General Manager at Caveat, a cabaret comedy theatre located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Want more TWOAPW? Get access to the rest of this episode, our full back catalogue of premium and bonus episodes, and add your name to the masthead of our website by subscribing for $5/month at! Media Referenced in this Episode: Marble Hornets Season 1 dir. Troy Wagner and Joseph DeLage (independent, 2009). Full playlist on YouTube The Blair Witch Project dir. Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez (Artisan Entertainment, 1999). BoxOfficeMojo // Letterboxd // TMDB Ted’s Caving Page on “Ong’s Hat: The Early Internet Conspiracy Game That Got Too Real” by Jed Oelbaum. Gizmodo, February 21, 2019. The Wyoming Incident Original Upload on YouTube The “Wyoming Incident” discussion thread on the Something Awful Forums Max Headroom 1987 Broadcast Signal Intrusion Incident on YouTube Create Paranormal Images thread on the Something Awful Forums.

Listen-111 – Slender Man and Marble Hornets (feat. Anne Huston)

Portal in Ong’s Hat, A Story of Interdimensional Travel and Ong’s Hat Science Camp Collections

Ong’s Hat Science Camp Collections

@samanthaleighdigitalart Show your love for, and flex your knowledge of internet lore and ARGs with my original design tribute to the godfather or internet urban legendry, ONG’S HAT! Ong’s Hat is widely recognized as the first (or at least one of the first) fictional internet consipracy ARG (Alternate Reality Game). It was a colaboration between creators dating back to the 1980s that tells the story of a real ghost town in New Jersey, USA becoming the location where rogue physicists experienmented with Chaos Theory and quantum physics, uncovering a portal for interdimensional travel. After facing threats from government military officials, the scientists and physicists decided to pack up and leave this dimension for another, leaving behind only a shack and a gateway to another world. Show your nerdy side and flex your extensive knowledge of internet lore with my original design tribute to this fantastic work of fiction…or is it…*wink* Available in my shop now! *Link in bio* #ongshat #internetlore #arg #alternaterealitygame #sciencefiction #scifi #science #physics #quantumphysics #wormhole #alternateuniverse #americana #fringescience #conspiracies #internetconspiracies #interneturbanlegends #classicarg #analoghorror #nerdart #fanart #internetculture #internethistory #creepypasta #scienceart #redbubble #femaleartists #femaleartistsofinstagram #digitalartist #argmerch #argart ♬ original sound – SamanthaLeighDigitalArtistry

Der vielleicht älteste Internet-Mythos überhaupt: Das Mysterium von Ong’s Hat

“Perhaps the oldest internet myth of all: the mystery of Ong’s Hat”

I had a wonderful conversation with Michael Förtsch, the author of this piece for the German Scifi mag 1E9. Here is a link to the original German, and below is a PDF of a machine translation into English. I hope you enjoy it.

Der vielleicht älteste Internet-Mythos überhaupt: Das Mysterium von Ong’s Hat

Ong’s Hat: Das unglaubliche Geheimnis einer anderen Dimension!

Willkommen in der Welt von Ong’s Hat, dem Ort, an dem Wissenschaft und Mystik aufeinandertreffen, um die Grenzen unserer Realität zu sprengen! Ein bisher unbekanntes Phänomen, das euren Verstand herausfordern wird. Taucht mit mir, in eines der faszinierendsten Rätsel der Menschheit ein. Lass uns gemeinsam die Grenzen des Vorstellbaren ausloten!


6 Abandoned and Forgotten Ghost Towns in New Jersey: Ong’s Hat

Ong’s Hat

Not much remains of Ong’s Hat (or Ong’s Hut, depending on which legend you believe). Although a ghost town, it’s not forgotten! Ong’s Hat has a long history. Although historians aren’t sure when the village got its name, it’s older than the revolutionary war. This name appears in a 1778 map of Hessian encampments in New Jersey. The town’s peak may have been in the 1860s. However, by the 1930s, while the town’s name remained on maps, there was nothing there but a few brick remains, an open clearing, and an abandoned shed. Some historians aren’t sure if Ong’s Hat was ever a real village. Today, it is a terminus of the Batonia Trail, one of the longest in the state.

If you think Ong’s Hat is strange, you aren’t the only one. According to a conspiracy theory-based story dating back to the 1980s, a group of scientists travels to a creepy parallel universe from Ong’s Hat. One of the core writers/storytellers wrote a book titled, The Incunabula Papers: Ong’s Hat And Other Gateways To New Dimensions. Although he stated that this work was pure fiction, some people believe that Ong’s Hat is part of a bigger conspiracy.

Magnolia Road (County Route 644) passes through Ong’s Hat in the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest.©Mr. Matté / CC BY 4.0 – License