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.