Category Archives: Ong’s Hat

The Pine Barrens: New Jersey’s weird, wondrous, wild world all its own

Excerpt of an article behind a paywall. The original article requires a subscription.
Is there a portal in the Pines? In his 1936 book, “Forgotten Towns of Southern New Jersey,” Henry Charlton Beck calls Ong’s Hat a “vanished town of murder, of prize fights and of isolated country dances,” a place that “a hundred or so years ago, we were told … was a center of life among the Pineys,” with “brawls and fisticuffs, some of them bloody enough.” While the book outlines Ong’s Hat’s somewhat sketchy origins, including how the ghost town got its unique name, there’s another, more mysterious narrative. WeirdNJ, the indispensable guide to all things strange and unusual about our great state, dove into Ong’s Hat’s paranormal possibilities in a post entitled “Ong’s Hat: Piney Ghost Town or Gateway to Another Dimension?” Drawing on a book by Joseph Matheny, “Ong’s Hat: The Beginning,” WeirdNJ tells the story of a 1950s quasi-church/sect and one of its “travelers,” Wali Fard. According to their tale, Fard bought 200 acres in the Pine Barrens and, joined by “a group of runaway boys from Paramus and two lesbian anarchists,” he formed his own breakaway sect, publishing newsletters and drawing the attention of a pair of Texas twins and UFO enthusiasts, Frank and Althea Dobbs. The pair, rejected from Princeton after submitting a PhD thesis on “cognitive chaos,” believed people could tap into the unused portions of their brains to perform extraordinary tasks, including halting the aging process; the sect formed the Institute of Chaos Studies. WeirdNJ’s post says that within a couple of years, the Dobbs twins discovered “the Egg,” a device they used to chart brain waves. Experimenting with mind manipulation, they believed they could “control the chaos they found within the mind,” the post says. But one version of “the Egg” appeared to open a portal to another dimension, opening “the Gate.” And when a chemical spill from nearby Fort Dix (now called Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst) forced them to abandon the Pines, they did so not physically, but “inter-dimensionally.” “In this dimension,” WeirdNJ writes, “they still lived in Ong’s Hat, but humankind did not exist.” So, is Matheny’s book fact or fiction? According to WeirdNJ, the author isn’t saying, so you’ll have to decide that one for yourself.

Center your Schizowave (An interview w Joseph Matheny)

Link to original post with transcript: https://chapelperilous.us/f/center-your-schizowave-an-interview-w-joesph-mathenyLink to the original post with transcript: 

July 9, 2022|#ChapelPerilousTheLifeandThoug, #Joesphmatheny, #Ongshat, #PropAnon, #qanon
(This interview took place between Joesph Matheny and me not long after the January 6th failed Trump coup. Q Anon was getting lots of headlines. So, I decided to speak to the guy who nearly single-handedly creating Alternative Reality Games.

I first learned about Ong’s Hat from Bradley Sands, bizarro fiction writer extraordinaire, back in the late 90s. Hearing the story of paranormal activity happening in a New Jersey ghost town reminded me of other conspiracy theories involving the tri-state area and travelling through space and/or dimensions-like the Montauk Project and the Philadelphia experiment, which I found intriguing at the time. Later, I heard about how groups of people were venturing to Ong’s Hat in search of the secret magical remnants of a secret village of inter-dimensional time-travelling ex-Princeton professors.

Ong’s Hat was alive. It was so because of the active participation of its readers. It had become an urban myth where “legend trippers,” searching for a fun and free night of entertainment, went to the place and then by added interpretations of the everything on the Ong’s Hat internet forum. The story’s enigmatic quality and its exoteric insistence that it was true and not a fiction fantasy made it that more much engaging. However, as you will read, Matheny watched as groups of anonymous people swooped into the forum and attempted to high jack the story he created.

As you will read, it wasn’t just the plot of Ong’s Hat that made it so engaging. It was also the structure. Ong’s Hat is the original alternative reality game. As such it laid the tracks and created the foundation for many of the ARG’s that came after. For those still making sense of and deconstructing the destructive quality of QAnon, which looks to me like a propaganda campaign representing as a distorted and schizophrenic alternative reality game, Matheny’s insights offer a way out of the angry confusion.

Interdimensional Travel and the Legend of Ong’s Hat

LINK TO ORIGINAL STORY In recent years, the idea that there are other dimensions lying side by side with our own has come out from the realm of science fiction to plant itself firmly into real theories in physics. It is no longer a completely ludicrous assumption that there may be a multiverse all around us, with many different parallel realities laid out and which operate independently past the veils that separate us. With the possible reality of these alternate dimensions existing there is an idea that goes hand in hand with it, and that is the question of whether we can perhaps punch through that veil to travel between dimensions. This is still very much in the domain of science fiction, but there have amazingly been stories of this actually being accomplished, and one of the weirdest of these is an urban legend that has gained much discussion in recent years. Here we have the story of a remote, rural town in which strange experiments opened the gap between alternate realities, for better of worse. The setting for this particular tale is the ghost town of Ong’s Hat, merely a speck on the map and one of the numerous abandoned old villages scattered throughout the remote Pine Barrens of the U.S. state of New Jersey. Purportedly getting its name from a man named Ong, who once threw up his fancy silk hat in frustration when the jealous lover of a woman he was having an affair with stomped on it, after which it became stuck on a pine branch, the town supposedly started as a single hut. By the 1860s, the village had apparently grown into quite a lively town known for bootlegging and supplying booze to the outlying areas. However, the town declined dramatically in the following years, and by the 1930s was all but abandoned, although it still showed up on maps, and in modern days it is merely feral, weed-choked ruins, crumbling buildings, and empty lots. The small, rural town would perhaps have forever remained an obscure backwater ghost town if not for a curious book called Ong’s Hat: The Beginning, which was written by Joseph Matheny and published in 2002, although the tales go back farther than that. The book claims that in 1978 a man by the name of Wali Fard settled in the New Jersey Pine Barrens after purchasing 200 acres there. Fard, who was a member of the secretive cult the Moorish Orthodox Church of America, had allegedly just returned from traveling the world studying various philosophies, magical practices and spiritualist techniques in such exotic locales as India, Persia, and Afghanistan, and he would then join another cult called the Moorish Science Ashram. He was apparently an eccentric man to say the least, moving onto the property with a ragtag group composed of some runaway boys and two lesbian anarchists.
Once relocating to New Jersey, the book claims that Fard went about spreading the teachings of his sect and managing to draw about him quite a number of followers. Among this motley group of misfits, cultists, weirdos, and general oddballs were two scientists by the names of Frank and Althea Dobbs, who were brother and sister and had their own bizarre history, as they had been apparently raised within a UFO worshipping commune run by their father in the badlands of Texas. The two had been doing research at Princeton on something they referred to as “cognitive chaos,” which is quite complex, but basically entailed utilizing untapped parts of the brain to unlock vast human potential in the form of a wide variety of powers such as ESP, telepathy, curing diseases, conscious control of autonomic functions, and even halting the aging process, but they had earned the ire of their peers for their far-out fringe theories and been kicked out for what the university called “seditious nonsense.”  It seems that the two siblings had never really been accepted in the mainstream or in academia, but with Fard they found themselves among outcast kindred spirits willing to listen to them. As soon as they migrated to the remote Pine Barrens, Frank and Althea supposedly immediately went about creating a makeshift lab in an abandoned barn, from which they could continue their work unfettered by the harsh criticism they had been subjected to before, with a blank check to do whatever they wanted. So intrigued with their work was Fard and his cult that they subsequently established the “Institute of Chaos Studies” based on it, and this enabled the two scientists to have the funding and equipment that they needed to make progress the likes of which they had never seen before, as well as attracting two more local fringe scientists named Harold Acton and Martine Kallikak to help them. Among their many bizarre experiments were using various psychedelic drugs in an attempt to unlock mind powers, monitoring brain activity, and using electrical stimulation to try and manipulate the brain waves to produce the abilities they were convinced were lurking untapped within the mind. These experiments made use of an array of odd machines and devices, all slapped together and unorthodox to say the least. Among these was a device they called “The Egg,” which was supposedly more or less a modified sensory deprivation chamber hooked up to computers and with various electrodes attached to a human subject to measure physiological responses, as well as a helmet equipped with “brain wave manipulators.” Apparently there were several versions of the machine built, which showed some promise in allegedly providing better control of autonomous body functions and bestowing various other powers such as inner heat, enhanced healing, and remission of sickness. However, it wasn’t until the 4th iteration of the device that things allegedly got truly bizarre.
By the third generation of the egg they had already been experimenting with trying to descend consciousness down to the quantum level, which they believed would enable actual travel to parallel dimensions, but they had not been successful. With the 4th generation machine, they further refined the process and tested it on one of the runaways, who was nicknamed Kit. During the test, the machine purportedly completely vanished before everyone’s eyes, only to reappear 7 minutes later with a startled but excited Kit, who claimed that he had been briefly transported to another dimension. The scientists were astounded by this, and called the portal they had apparently opened “The Gate.” They purportedly made several more successful jumps to this alternate reality, which was described as having an abundance of plant life and water, but no humans. To add to all of this weirdness, Ong’s Hat was supposedly eventually threatened with a leak of dangerous nuclear material from nearby Fort Dix. In response, the residents began to use The Gate to flee to the parallel dimension, where they intended to stay and reestablish their town. According to the tale, the government found out about the experiments and the capabilities of the machine, which prompted them to storm the compound in a raid that killed several people there who were in the process of jumping over. The writer of the accounts, Joseph Matheny, apparently claimed to have found documents outlining these events and even interviewed one of the scientists involved with the creation of The Gate, which he had then posted online and later made into his book, but there has never been any corroboration that these alleged documents ever existed at all. Making matters further muddied is that Matheny has been rather vague on whether any of it was intended as fact, fiction, or a fusion of both.
Considering its remarkably dramatic nature, a lack of any evidence at all, and the sci-fi feel to the whole story, there are many who believe that this is all just that; science fiction that was picked up by the Internet, elaborated upon, and turned into a big conspiracy hoax. The story first started making the rounds in the 1980s, so it is also thought that it may have been an early attempt to create an alternate reality game (ARG), a work of transmedia storytelling across platforms, and indeed it eventually spread from Internet bulletin board systems to CD-ROM and DVD mediums, or it may have been a sort of memetic experiment to see how memes spread and how far. The main idea now is that it is all most certainly a fiction that was picked up and made into a pseudo-documentary style of book, although originally created by who or for what purposes remain unclear. However, despite the fact that the tale of Ong’s Hat is mostly regarded as a fiction and urban legend, there are still those who think that it is in fact a reality, or at least based on reality, that has perhaps been made to merely look like a hoax to protect those behind its release to the public or to keep people from actually believing any of it. Whatever the case may be, it is certainly a weird story, and Ong’s Hat continues to fuel conspiracy theories and is occasionally brought up as a potentially real case of interdimensional travel. Whether any of it really happened or not, it certainly is an interesting tale, and a fascinating glimpse of how urban Internet legends are born and propagate.

Mad Tower Radio #8: Pentagon UFOs, Origins of the Rake, & Ong’s Hat, NJ

 

RSS Feed: https://anchor.fm/s/1d51ead8/podcast/rss

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/1PkGxG5

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjaP2Sdyc5LrllMBf8K6UxA

We cover the new insight on UFO’s given out to the public recently, learn about a popular creepy pasta beast and discover a sweet little spot nestled in southern New Jersey’

https://anchor.fm/s/1d51ead8/podcast/play/54383080/https%3A%2F%2Fd3ctxlq1ktw2nl.cloudfront.net%2Fstaging%2F2022-6-4%2F5ae4d73b-c8f4-a2bd-26ed-8fd77518320b.mp3?_=1

 

Information Golem: New Mini-Series from TOOWi Arts about Joseph Matheny and Origins of the Ong’s Hat ARG

The Origin Story of Joseph Matheny and the Ong’s Hat ARG

Information Golem: New Mini-Series from TOOWi Arts
I sat down with Jerry Gaura of TOOWi Arts to discuss the origins of me as an artist and the Ong’s Hat ARG. We logged countless hours which Jerry patiently trimmed down into a 2 episode series with a bonus episode that is exclusive to his Patreon and readers of this mail list. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed talking about things past with Jerry.

Information Golem -Chapter One

INFO An artist struggles to manage the chaos unleashed by the world’s first ARG “Ong’s Hat.” Chapter One – “Born To Be Weird” Books, punk, drugs, HAM radio, and “The family weirdos” inspire Joseph on his way to the mystical encounter that inspired Ong’s Hat. *Listen loudly or with headphones* #1970s, #1980s, #ghoststory, #hamradio, #josephmatheny, #ongshat, #psychedelics, #punkrock, #truestories

Information Golem – Chapter Two

INFO Chapter Two – “My Name is Emory” Joseph Matheny gets plugged into California’s countercultural elite and enlists the help of some greats. Steeped in tech, drugs, and San Fran’s rave scene, the project takes off with the 90’s internet boom. True weirdness unfolds when a person claiming to be a character Joseph invented for the Ong’s Hat game appears. *Listen loudly or with headphones* Visit toowiarts.com or pateron.com/toowiarts for more info #josephmatheny, #mysteries, #ongshat, #robertantonwilson, #true, #truemystery

Information Golem – Bonus Scene

INFO

“Super Odds” – Joseph Matheny reflects on “LSD-Day,” a 1993 Bicycle Day celebration where his path crossed with comic book legend Grant Morrison. *Listen loudly or with headphones* More info @ patreon.com/toowiarts or toowiarts.com #bicycleday, #coincidence, #grantmorrison, #josephmatheny, #magick, #supergods, #truemystery

Incydent w Ong’s Hat

W latach 1980., w opuszczonym od lat 1930. miasteczku Ong’s Hat w USA, przeprowadzono pewien eksperyment całkowicie finansowany przez prywatny budżet. Czego dotyczył? Kto go sponsorował? Jaki miał cel? I dlaczego zainteresowało się eksperymentem wojsko? Czym było tajemnicze “Jajo”? Kto dzisiaj korzysta ze skradzionej w brutalny sposób wiedzy?

Death of a Moor

Dr. Jabir has recently written a eulogy titled, “Death of a Moor” and published it on his Quantum Tantra site.

Peter Lamborn Wilson (1945-2022)

Peter Lamborn Wilson is dead.

Peter Lamborn Wilson was a prolific, controversial writer and researcher into the lives and beliefs of mavericks, misfits, hobos, punks and heretics. He is best-known for his coinage of the term Temporary Autonomous Zone or TAZ which can be applied to any spontaneous association of free people from Burning Man to improv dancing, especially those gatherings which maximize what Wilson liked to call “ontological anarchy”.

As an Ontological Anarchist, Peter necessarily acquired an unusual resume’. Educated at Columbia, Wilson left New York in 1968 for a spiritual “Journey to the East” across the Islamic world from Morocco to Katmandu, seeking wisdom and teachers in tea houses, palaces and opium dens and settling finally in Tehran, where his presence coincided with Empress Farah Pahlavi’s desire to spread Iranian culture into the West. At the Iranian Academy of Philosophy, Wilson was put in charge of English publication where he was able to translate the works of famous Islamic philosophers and poets, for instance (my favorite) The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry with Nasrollah Pourjavady.

Wilson’s academic tenure in Tehran was cut short in 1979 by the Iranian Revolution in which the Shah and his wife were replaced by the Ayatollah Khomeini (a minor poet himself in the tradition of Khayyam and Hafiz).

Back in New York, Wilson aligned himself with various fringe organizations among which was the Moorish Orthodox Church of America which Wikipedia describes as “a syncretic, non-exclusive, and religious anarchist movement originally founded in New York City in 1965 and part of the burgeoning psychedelic church movement of the mid to late 1960’s in the United States.” MOCA traces its lineage back to a black Chicago religious leader from the 1920’s, Noble Drew Ali, whom the Black Muslims also claim as their founder. More detailed information concerning this “religious anarchist movement” can be found on the web at the Moorish Orthodox Information Kiosk or in Wilson’s own Sacred Drift: Essays on the Margins of Islam published by City Lights in San Francisco.

Wilson obituaries have appeared in such wide-ranging venues as The Global Ganja Report and the New York Times (!) so I will not repeat here what others have written but instead publish a brief account of how this ontological anarchist affected my own life.

In the early 80’s computers were just beginning to enter our lives. Instead the photocopier gave rise to a web-like phenomenon called “zines”, short for “magazines” in which anyone with a few dollars for stamps and access to a Xerox machine could become their own publisher. The quality of zines ranged from semi-professional to unreadable but what they all had in common was quirky originality and instant access to off-beat topics. I cannot locate in my records the zine in which I first encountered the writings of Peter Lamborn Wilson but it might have been Popular Reality which one archivist described as “distinguishing itself as an open forum for the most unpopular of opinions.”

Connecting via one of the zines of that era Peter and I began a letter exchange concerning the Moorish Orthodox Church and he invited me to come visit him in New York should opportunity arise. So in the spring of 1986 on some errand involving physics and publishing I met the man himself in his third floor apartment on West 107th St just a few blocks from the Nicholas Roerich Museum.

Wilson lived in a rat’s warren of books, papers and unusual objects from his Islamic travels, the centerpiece of which was an old mechanical Remington typewriter on which he composed his voluminous works, He seemed to have a dislike for computers and never quite moved into the digital age. Over a few tokes of crumbly hashish he regaled me with tales from his travels and invited me to become a member of the Moorish Church. It is customary to take an Islamic name and I knew nothing of that faith. Wilson’s own Moorish name was “Hakim Bey” and several of his books, articles and performances appear under that name. “Well, you could do worse, Nick, than “Jabir”, the 9th Century Islamic alchemist.”

So Jabir it was. To which I later added “‘abd al-Khaliq”, designating myself as servant of one of the 99 names of God. A few weeks later I received from Hakim Bey a photocopied diploma certifying my new rank as “Adept of the Seventh Heaven.”

 

 

My first substantial adventure with the Moorish Orthodox Chuch was the Antarctic Astral Projection Project. On the night separating August from September 1987, various individuals would attempt by any means at their command to astrally project themselves to a location on the Antarctic continent aptly named “Cape Longing”. We would dutifully record our impressions which would then be collected and published in the zinosphere as part of the Akashic Records, one more fanciful account of the spiritual strivings of the human race. Doctor Jabir decided to go there as Mandrake the Magician and fancied the trip as a conclave of other fictional magician/scientists observing and producing new physical, mental and spiritual phenomena in the exotic low-temperature environment not far from the Earth’s South magnetic pole. As I recall music and dancing girls were involved as well as a spectacular display of the best Southern Lights that my human imagination could produce.

 

 

Another Moorish adventure as Doctor Jabir, this time in real space, was the Temporary Autonomous Zone San Francisco performance in 1993 organized and produced by the legendary Joseph Matheny. The site of TAZ SF was Komotion International, an art and performance space in San Francisco’s Mission district. This event featured a dozen or so performers, both male and female, some of whom mingled with the audience. Hakim Bey himself was one of the stars and calmly lectured on some obscure feature of Ontological Anarchy. Most of us were attempting to be as outrageous as possible but Bey trumped us all by affecting an utterly conventional academic normality in an ocean of freaks. Jabir read some of his newest quantum tantric poetry, Robert Anton Wilson shared some of his latest provocative prose. Circus acts and dances followed and there was some sort of bondage scene going on that I had helped to prepare back stage.

MOCA produced at odd intervals the Moorish Science Monitor to which I sometimes contributed. And once I was a guest along with Robert Anton Wilson on the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade, an after midnight series hosted by Hakim Bey on New York’s independent radio station WBAI.

Back in Boulder Creek I often enjoyed co-hosting our long running series of poetry readings with fellow Moor Omar abu Khan (aka Ed Cramer).  But all in all, Doctor Jabir achieved the height of his Moorish identity in the call for Tantric Jihad which he has performed in venues as various as house warmings and Esalen Institute,

My sheik is dead.
Hail and farewell
O noble teacher of the Way
Hakim Bey has crossed the Black Sands.
Jabir ‘abd al-Khaliq declares Tantric Jihad

Scary Clown Attacks While Weee are Searching for a Portal to Another Dimension – WeeeClown Around

Weee are on a road trip to Ong’s Hat, New Jersey to check out some local legends and mysteries when we are attacked by a Scary Clown. Ong’s Hat is surrounded by multiple legends including one of the oldest legends on the internet. The most intriguing mystery has to do with a mysterious cult, an abandoned town, and a portal to another dimension. Weee are searching for this portal to another dimension when we encounter a creepy clown in the woods. We have to traverse swamp land to get away from this scary clown. Will we also find ourselves lost in this inter-dimensional portal?

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