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.
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 online. It 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.”
A rebuttal on the site josephmatheny.com regarding a recent podcast and article that ran on Skeptoid, by Brian Dunning.
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.
In the late 70s and early 80s a network culture emerged that pre-dated information exchange via BBS/Fidonet/Internet (Arpanet) type networks. This was known as the “Mail Culture”. Using the guerrilla tactics of information networking started by such underground movements as the radical underground of the American 30’s, 50’s and 60’s and the Soviet Block ‘Samisdat” culture, the “Mail Culture” used the postal systems of the world to tie together outposts of radical/fringe thought and art into a loosely affiliated info-network. (All of course paying homage to the “chapbook” and “Pamphlet” cultures that sparked so many revolutions, including the American and French)
It worked like this
In the very early 80’s I became aware of a anarchist art collective in the Madison Wisconsin area known as “Xexoxial Endarchy” which for all intents and purposes functioned as a jumping off point for “Mail Culture” activity. One could write to XE, include a SASE, and receive in return a catalog (Xeroxed of course!) of weird pamphlets, catalogs and audio tapes of “experimental” music/sound collages, from the fringe of society (and beyond in some cases). Also, a list of names, addresses, and requirements (send us one of your things, we’ll send you one of ours, or send a SASE, etc.) which you would then add names of places/individuals that you had collected (as well your own)in the mix, make copies, and distribute in kind. I was putting out a xerox zine at the time called SNARF and used that as my coin to trade with. Over the course of a few years my collection of crackpot literature from this source grew to encompass 3 bookshelves. It is apparent from anyone who has been in contact with this culture that the first iterations of the Inunabula catalog as we know it today came from/was tailored for this underground movement. I put a xeroxed copy of the original color , in circulation in 1990/91 or so and watched several iterations of xerox of xerox of xerox- sans illustrations, plus new illustrations, appear from time to time in fringe science and crackpot literature catalogs, sometimes “for sale.It is still unclear who circulated the original color version and for what purpose.
Later, several compendium books appeared (late eighties, early nineties) that were commercially available such as:
Thanks so much for this! I’ve compared these to the color edition I have in a safe deposit box, as well as several other iterations I’ve seen and collected over the years and have the following to report:
Document 1. Xerox of a Xerox made from the original color catalog. By comparing a few markings made by scratches on the now ancient (heck, even then it was kinda old!) machine, I can tell that this is a Xerox made from a Xerox of the color brochure which I gave to a friend at Aries Arts in Capitola and which was sold for $2.00 (copy, handling, and postage costs) through a conspiracy mail-order catalog that the owners husband ran in the back.
I have seen several different versions of copies made from that original before, with artwork added, subtracted, etc. The main difference here from the original color is the puzzling absence of the other 13 pages of illustrations that was included with the color version. The cover of this one however is definitely a copy of the original cover. I can also attest to the fact that the text sections are exact replicas of the original color (done on a sandstone vellum bond). Maybe they left out the 13 pages of illustrations for the purpose of saving paper. Who knows?
I plan to make a high quality color PDF copy of my one and only color copy available in a few months to coincide with the release of some other material. All in all, this is still a cool collectors piece and I’ll put the copy you gave me in a polybag and store it with the rest of my “iterations” collection.
Document 2. This is not the original brochure but in fact a Xerox copy of the 1988 Edge Detector article. Note that is says (as I have said time and again in public) PLW’s admonition that he was merley “passing it on”.
A few years ago, I talked to a ranger at the Lebanon State Forest Ranger Station (some kind of tourist welcome center) and a lady who worked there told me that in fact a brochure that fit the description of the one in my possession had been in the racks for a while, but she was unclear where they had come from. This would have been mid-eighties or so by her recollection.
Since then two other people (Parsifal on DP and another lady who claimed to have known the Ashram residents) have repeated a similar story. Again, when I scan the color catalog, I will scan and include the copy of the brochure that I have in my possession.
Originals-1 contains the Edge Detector version of the OH Brochure that is the origin of the “written by PLW” rumor, and on page 16 of the PDF, the illustration has a black and white reproduction of the actual cover of the brochure, bottom left of the page.
This is undoubtedly the version a certain psycho was passing around in the early nineties, with PLW’s name blacked out with a marker. I also remember him saying on the some long gone web-board that the “original” brochure had plans or a schematic inside. This is what he’s talking about, since he was obviously using the ED version. This “schematic” is an artisitic rendering, added by the publisher of Edge Detector and does not exist in the original brochure. Anyone who’s read the catalog and brochure would be able to recognize that this image in no way represents the vehicle described in those documents.
INCUNABULA A Catalog of Rare Books, Manuscripts & Curiosa Conspiracy Theory, Frontier Science & Alternative Worlds Emory Cranston, Prop.Incunabulum: cocoon; swaddling clothes; cradle; in-cunae, in the cradle; koiman, put to sleep, winding- sheet; koimetarium (cemetery); printed books before 1501, hence by extension any rare & hermetic book… Introduction
This catalog is a reproduction. This is not a commercial advertisement. ECommerce links to the available books are offered a as courtesy to researchers. Consider this first file an unusually complete bibliography to the story that unravels in the companion files.
No book for sale here was actually printed before 1501, but they all answer to the description ” rare and hermetic” – even the mass market paperbacks, not to mention the xeroxes of unpublished manuscripts, which cannot be obtained from any other source!
The symbol INCUNABULA was chosen for our company for it’s shape – cocoon, egg-like, gourd-like, the shape of Chaos according to Chaung Tzu. Cradle: beginnings. Sleep: dreams. Silken white sheets of birth and death; books, white pages, the cemetery of ideas.
This catalogue has been put together with a purpose: to alert YOU to a vast cover up, a conspiracy so deep that no other researcher has yet become aware of it (outside certain Intelligence circles, needless to say!) – and so dangerous that the “winding sheet” imagery in our title seems quite appropriate; we know of at least two murders so far in connection with this material.
Unlike other conspiracy theories, such as Hollow earth, Men In Black, cattle mutilation, UFO, Reich & Tesla or what have you, the INCUNABULA Theory harmonizes with genuine frontier quantum mechanics and chaos mathematics, and does not depend on any quack nostrums, psuedoscience or ESP for proof. This will become clear to anyone who takes the trouble to read the background material we recommend and offer for sale.
Because of the unprecedented nature of the INCUNABULA File we have included short descriptions of some of the books, pamphlets, flyers, privately-circulated or unpublished manuscripts, ephemera & curiosa available through us. Some of this is highly inflammable and sexual in nature, so an age statement must be included with each order.
Cash (or stamps) only. No cheques or money orders will be accepted.
Written by a scientist for non-scientists, simplistic and jokey, makes you feel a bit talked-down-to. Nevertheless Wolf uses his imagination (or other scientists imaginations) so well he seems to hit accidentally on certain truths (unless he knows more than he reveals). For example: the parallel universes must have all come into being simultaneously “at the beginning” in order for quantum uncertainty to exist, because there was no observer present at the Big Bang, thus no way for the Wave Function to collapse and produce one universe out of all the bubbles of possibility (p.174). If an electron can disappear in one universe and appear in another (as suggested by the Everett/Wheeler material), a process called “quantum tunneling”, then perhaps information can undergo a similar tunneling effect. Wolf suggests (p. 176) that this might account for certain “psychic phenomenon, altered states of awareness,” even ghosts and spirits! Actual travel between worlds must of course involve tunneling by both electrons AND information – any scientist would have predicted as much – but the mention of “altered states” of consciousness is extremely revealing! Elsewhere (p.204), Wolf speculates that a future “highly developed…electronic form of biofeedback” will allow us to observe quantum effects in the electrons of our own bodies, making the enhanced consciousness and the body itself a “time machine” (which is what he calls a device for travel between universes). He comes so close to the truth then shies away! For instance (p.199) he points out that the Wave Function has a value BETWEEN zero and one until it collapses. If the wave function does not collapse, the “thing” it describes exists in two universes simultaneously. How strange of him not to mention that fractal geometry also deals with values between zero and one! As we know the secret of travel between worlds is rooted in the marriage of quantum and chaos, particularly in the elusive mathematics of fractal tesseracts (visualize a 4-dimension Mandelbrot Set – one of the simplest of the trans-dimensional “maps” or “catastrophic topologies”). Wolf appears so unaware of this, we must sadly conclude that he’s not part of the conspiracy.
Particularly interesting – and not found in any other material- are Wolf’s speculations about schizophrenia. Are schizophrenics receiving information from other worlds? Could a schizoid observer actually observe (in the famous double slit experiments) a wave becoming two particles and then one particle? Or could such an observation be made by an extremely blank and simple-minded watcher (a sort of Zen simpleton perhaps)? If so, the perfect subject for parallel-worlds experiments would be a paradoxically complex simpleton, a “magnetized schizophrenic” who would be aware of the split into two worlds which occurs when a quantum measurement is made. Oddly enough, such a mental state sounds very close to the “positive schizophrenia” of certain extreme psychedelic experiences as well as the meditation-visualization exercises of actual travelers between worlds.
A masterful and lucid exposition of the different versions of reality logically describable from various interpretations of quantum mechanics. The Everett/Wheeler Theory is here given it’s clearest explanation possible in lay persons terms, given the authors awareness (at the time) of experimental verification.
Some of the theorists who touch on the Many-Worlds “hypothesis” place too much emphasis on time distortions and the implication of “time travel”. These of course seem present in the theorems, but in practice have turned out (so far) to be of little consequence. Chaos Theory places much more emphasis on the temporal directionality than most quantum theory (with such exceptions as R. Feynman and his “arrow of time”), and offers strong evidence for the past-present-future evolution that we actually experience. As K.Sohrawardi puts it, “the universe is in a state of Being, true, but that state is not static in the way suggested by the concept of ‘reversibility’ in Classical physics. The ‘generosity’ of Being, so to speak, is becoming, and the result is not reversibility but multiplicity, the unmeasurable resonant chaos-like fecundity of creation. “Nevertheless, Herbert’s second book is a brilliant speculative work – and it led him directly to a certain circle of scientists and body of research concerned with dimensional travel, rather than “time travel,” with the result that his third book (see next item) finally struck paydirt.
4. “Jabir ibn Hayaan” (Nick Herbert). Alternate Dimensions (publication suppressed by Harper & Row, 1989); bound uncorrected galleys, 179pp. $100. (We have 5 sets of proofs for sale, after which only Xerox copies will be available at $125)
While working on Faster Than Light Herbert came into contact with one of the “travel cults” operating somewhere in California, perhaps one with a sufiistic slant (“Jabir ibn Hayaan” was a famous 10th century sufi alchemist); according to the preface of Alternate Dimensions, which is irritatingly vague and suggestive, this group seems to have trained him and sent him on at least one trip to America2. Herbert suggests that he already had so much experience of altered states of consciousness and ability to visualize complex space/time geometries that only a minimum of “initiatic” training proved necessary.
In any case, despite it’s vagueness and brevity, this book is the most accurate and thoroughly-informed work on travel between worlds in our entire collection. So far we have been unable to obtain any deep theoretical work, and only a few papers dealing with practical aspects – but Herbert provides a magnificent overview of the entire field. Written for the lay person, with his usual clear and succint approach to theory, Herbert’s is the first “popular” study to make all the basic links: the Everett/Wheeler hypothesis, Bell’s Theorem, the E/R Bridge, fractal geometry and chaos math, cybernetically-enhanced biofeedback, psychotropic and shamanic techniques, crystallography, morphogenetic field theory, catastrophe topology,etc.
Of course he’s strongest in discussing the quantum aspects of travel, less sure when dealing with the math outside his field, and most inspiring when describing (pp.98-101) visualization techniques and “embodied ecstasy” (ex-stasis, “standing outside” the body; hence embodied ecstasy paradoxically describes the transdimensional experience).
Herbert makes no claim to understand the traveling itself, and goes so far as to suggest that even the (unnamed) pioneers who made the first breakthroughs may not have completely understood the process, any more than the inventor of the steam engine understood Classical physics (p.23). This definitely ties in with what we know about the persons in question.
Unfortunately the six illustrations promised in the table of contents are not included in the galleys – one of them was a “Schematic for a Trans-dimensional Express” which might be worth killing for! – and the publishers claim that Herbert never supplied the illustrations. They refuse to say why they suspended publication of Alternate Dimensions and in fact at first denied ever having handled such a title! Moreover Herbert has apparently dropped out of sight; if he hasn’t met with foul play, he may have returned permanently to Earth2.
We regret having to sell copies of a flawed book for such an outrageous price; we’d like to publish a mass market edition affordable by all – but if Harper & Row ever find out what we’re doing, we’ll need the money for court costs and lawyers’ fees! So get it while you can – this is THE indispensable background work for understanding the Conspiracy.
5. Thomsen, Dietrick E. “A Knowing Universe Seeking to be Known” (Xerox offprint from Science News, Vol.123, 1983); $5
Unwittingly demonstrates the resonance between quantum reality theory and the sufism of (for example) “the Greatest Shaykh” Ibn’Arabi, who discusses in his Bezels of Wisdom a saying attributed to God by Mohammed (but not in the Koran): “I was a hidden treasure and I wanted (lit.’loved’) to be known; so I created the universe, that I might be known.”
5a. We also have a few offprints (at the same price) of Thomsen’s witty “Quanta at Large: 101 Things TO DO with Schrodinger’s Cat” (op.cit,129,1986).
Contains the valuable if somewhat whimsical article by D.Z. Albers,”How to take a Photograph of Another Everett World”. Also the very important “Macroscopic Quantum Tunneling at Finite Tempatures” by P.Hanggi (we suspect him of being a Conspiracy member).
9. (Anonymous). Course Catalog for 1978-79, Institute of Chaos Studies and Imaginal Yoga (no address); Xerox of mimeographed flyer, 7pp, $15
An in-house document from the Institute where the first breakthrough was attained (probably in the late winter or early spring of 1979) – therefore, although it makes no overt mention of Travel or the Egg, the Catalog is of prime importance for an understanding of the intellectual and historical background of the event.
According to an unreliable source (see ESCAPE FROM EARTH PRIME!, #15 in this list), the Institute was located somewhere in Duchess County, New York, where the founder and director, Dr. Kamadev Sohrawardi, was employed by IBM in the 1960’s, “dropped out” and began investigations into “consciousness physics”; it is also claimed that Sohrawardi was a Bengali of mixed English, Hindu and Moslem origin, descended from an old sufi family, and initiated into Tantra. All this disagrees with clues in other sources and is perhaps not to be trusted. Other groups take credit for the Breakthrough, and sohrawardi may have been a fraud – but we’re convinced that the Catalog is authentic and Sohrawardi’s claim the most certain.
At first glance, the Catalog appears an example of late-hippy/early-New-Age pretentiousness. Thus there are courses in “Visions of Color & Light in Sufi Meditation,” “Inner Alchemy in Late Taoism,” “Metaphysics of the Ismaili ‘Assassins,’” , “Imaginal Yoga & the Psychotoplogy of the Imagination,” “Hermetic & Neo-Pagan Studies,” (apparently based on Golden Dawn teachings), “Visualization Techniques in Javanese Sorcery,” “Stairways to Heaven: Shamanic Trance & the Mapping of Consciousness,” “Stirner, Nietzsche & Stone age Economy: An Examination of Non-Authoritarian Hunter/Gatherer Societies,”, and – interestingly enough! – “Conspiracy Theory”.
The “shamanic” course may have been a blind for research in psychotropic drugs, including such exotica asahuasca (yage, harmaline), ibogaine, yohimbine, Telepathine and Viatmin K, as well as the more standard psychedelicatessan of the late 70’s.
However, the Catalog also contains amazing courses in frontier science, any combination of which could have provided the key or final puzzle-bit to the Breakthrough: apparently Sohrawardi taught or supervised most of them. Thus “The Universe in a Grain of Sand” promised information on models of brain activity, cybernetically-enhanced feedback, Sheldrake’s morphogenetic field theory, Rene’ Thom’s Catastrophic Theory as applied to consciousness, lucid-dreaming research, John Lilly’s work on “altered states” and other mind-related topics. Then in “Strange Attractors & the Mathematics of Chaos,” Sohrawardi discussed discussed matters unknown outside of the margins of academia till the mid-80’s,and made the astounding prediction that Chaos in the macroscopic world somehow be found to mirror Uncertainty in the microscopic or Quantum World, a truth still unrecognized in “official” scientific circles today.He felt that n-dimensional strange attractors could be used to model the quantum behavior of particles/waves, and that the “so-called collapse of the wave function” could actually be mapped with certain bizarre ramifications of Thom’s catastrophic topology. Making references to work by Ilya Prigogine which was still being circulated in private “preprint” or samizdat form at the time, Sohrawardi suggests that “creative chaos” (as opposed to “deterministic” or entropic chaos) provides the link that will unify Relativity, Quantum, Complexity and consciousness itself into a new science.
Finally in his “Advanced Seminar on Many Worlds,” he states baldly that the alternative universes predicted by Relativity (Black Hole Theory) are the same as the many worlds predicted by Quantum, are the same as fractal dimensions revealed in Chaos! This one-page course description is the closest thing we have to an explanation of why travel to other worlds actually works. Hence the Catalog is an indispensable document for the serious student of the Conspiracy.
10. Beckenstein, J. “Black holes & Entropy” (Xerox offprint from Physical Review, Vol.D7, 1973; 28pp), $15
An early (pre-Breakthrough) speculation with suggestive hints about quantum and chaos-as-entropy – although no knowledge of actual Chaos Theory is demonstrated. This paper was referred to in an in-house memo from the Inst. for Chaos Studies & Imaginal Yoga, believed to have been composed by K.Sohrawardi himself (see #9).
11. Sohrawardi,Dr Kamadev. “Pholgiston & the Quantum Aether” (Offprint from the J. of Paranormal Physics, Vol.XXII, Bombay, 1966), $40
An early paper by Sohrawardi, flooded with wild speculations about quantum and oriental spirituality, probably dating from the period when he was still working for IBM, but making visits to Millbrook, nearby in Duchess Co., and participating in the rituals of the League of spiritual discovery under Dr.Timothy Leary, and the psychedelic yoga of Bill Haines’ Sri Ram Ashram, which shared Leary’s headquarters on a local millionaires estate. The basic insight concerns the identity of Everett/Wheeler’s “many worlds” and the “other worlds” of sufism, tantrik Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. At the time, Sohrawardi apparently believed he could “prove” this by reviving the long-dead theories of phlogiston and aether in the light of quantum discoveries! (Phlogiston Theory – based on the thinking of the sufi alchemist Jabir ibn Hayaan – the original Jabir – was propounded seriously in the 18th century to unify heat and light as “one thing”.) Totally useless as science, this metaphor nevertheless inspired Sohrawardi’s later and genuinely important work on alternate realities.
Unfortunately no scientific speculations, but a fascinating glimpse into the political background of the inventor of Travel (or rather, one of the inventors). Making reference to French Situationist and Dutch “Provo” ideas which helped spark the “Events” and upheavals of Spring ’68 all over Europe and America, Sohrawardi looks forward to a world without “the alienating prison of WORK,” restored to the “oneness with Nature of the Old Stone Age” and yet somehow based on “green technology and quantum weirdness.”
Wild and wooly as it is, this text nevertheless poses a fascinating scientific question in the light of the author’s later accomplishments – a question still unanswered. All the “First Breakthroughs” we know of with any degree of certainty (those in New York, California, and Java – the actual sequence is unclear) without exception entered parallel worlds without human inhabitants, virtual forest-worlds. Most science fiction predicated other worlds almost like ours, populated by “us,” with only a few slight differences, worlds “close” to ours. Instead-no people!
Two possible explanations:
1. We cannot enter worlds containing “copies” of ourselves without causing paradox and violating the consistency principle of the “megaverse” – hence only wild (or feral) worlds are open to Travel.
2. Other worlds exist, in a sense, only as probabilities; in order to “become fully real” they must be observed. In effect, the parallel universes are observer-created, as soon as a traveler “arrives” in one of them. Sohrawardi wanted a Paleolithic world of endless forest, plentiful game and gathering, virgin, empty but slightly haunted – therefore, that’s what he got! Either explanation raises problems in the light of what actually happened; perhaps there is a third, as yet unsuspected.
This bizarre document, disguised as a brochure for a New Age health retreat, reveals some interesting information about the activities of Sohrawardi’s group or a closely-associated group, a fairly accurate description of the Egg is provided, as well as a believable account of the first (or one of the first) Breakthroughs. However, everything else in the pamphlet is sheer disinformation. The New Jersey Pine Barrens were never a center of alternate-worlds research, and all the names in the text are false. A non-existent address is included. Nevertheless, highly valuable for background.
14. “Sven Saxon”. The Stone Age Survivalist (Loompanics, UnLtd., Port Townsend, WA 1985), Pb, $20
“Imagine yourself suddenly plunked down buck-naked in the middle of a large dark forest with no resources except your mind,” says the preface.”What would you do?”
What indeed? and who could possibly care? – except a trans-dimensional traveler! Loompanics specializes in books on disappearances and survival involving a good deal of escapist fantasy – but as we know, this situation is all too real for the Visitor to Other Worlds.
Part I: Flint-knapping, an excellent illustrated handbook of Paleolithic tool-production; II Zero-tech hunting and trapping; III, Gathering (incl. a materia medica); IV, Shelter; V, Primitive warfare; VI,Man & Dog: trans-species symbiosis; VII, Cold weather survival; VIII, Culture (“Sven” recommends memorizing a lot of songs, poems and stories – and ends by saying “Memorize this book – ’cause you can’t take it with you.” Where is Mr.Saxon now, we wonder?).
15. Balcombe, Harold S. Escape From Earth Prime! (Foursquare Press, Denver, Colo., 1986), Pb, $15
This – unfortunately! – is the book that blew the lid off the Conspiracy for the first time. We say “Unfortunately” because ESCAPE!, to all appearances, is a piece of unmitigated paranoid pulp tripe. Written in breathless ungrammatical subFortean prose, unfootnoted and nakedly sensationalistic, the book sank without trace, ignored even by the kook- conspiracy fringe; we were able to buy out unsold stock from the vanity press which published it, just before they went out of business and stopped answering their mail.
Balcombe (whom we’ve been unable to trace and who may have “vanished”), is the author of one other book we’ve seen – but are not offering for sale – called “Drug Lords from the Hollow Earth” (1984) in which he claims that the CIA obtained LSD and cocaine from Dero-flying-saucer-nazis from beneath Antarctiac. So much for his credentials. How he got hold of even a bit of the authentic Other Worlds story is a miracle.
According to Balcombe,the first breakthrough was due not solely to K.Soharawardi – despite his importance as a theoretician – but also a “sinister webwork of cultists, anarchists, commies, fanatical hippies and renegade traitor scientists who made fortunes in the drug trade” (p.3). Balcombe promises to name names, and out of the welter of rant and slather, some hard facts about the pioneers actually emerge.
Funding (and some research) emanated in the 70’s from a “chaos cabal” of early Silicon Valley hackers interested in complex dynamical systems, randomicity, and chance, and-gambling! – as well as a shadowy group of “drug lords” (Balcombe’s favorite term of abuse), with connections to certain founders of the Discordian Illuminati. Money was channelled through a cult called the Moorish Orthodox Church, a loose knit confederation of jazz musicians, oldtime hipsters, white “sufis” and black moslems, bikers and street dealers (see” A Heresologist’s Guide to Brooklyn”, #24 in this list) who came into contact with Sohrawardi in Millbrook in the mid-60’s.
Sohrawardi was a naive idealist and somewhat careless about his associations. He received clandestine support from people who were in turn connected to certain Intelligence circles with an interest in psychedelic and fringe mind-science. According to Balcombe this was not the CIA (MK-ULTRA) but an unofficial offshoot of several groups with Masonic connections! The Conspiracy was penetrated almost from the start, but was actually encouraged in the hope of gleaning useful information about parallel worlds, or at least about the “mental conditioning techniques” developed as part of the basic research.
By the mid-70’s, Sohrawardi and his various cohorts and connections (now loosely referred to as “the Garden of Forked Paths” or GFP) had become aware of the Intelligence circles (now loosely grouped as “Probability Control Force” or PCF) and had in turn planted double-agents, and gone further underground. In 1978 or 79 an actual device for trans-dimensional Travel, the “Egg” (also called the Cocoon or the Cucurbit, which means both gourd and alchemical flask) was developed in deepest secrecy, probably at Sohrawardi’s institute in Upstate New York, certainly not at a branch lab supposedly hidden away in the NJ Pine Barrens near the long-vanished village of Ong’s Hat (see #13 in this list), since no such lab ever existed, nor does it exist now, despite what some fools think.
The PCF were unable to obtain an Egg for several years and did not succeed in Breakthrough until (Balcombe believes) 1982. The California groups, however, began Egg-production and broke through (into “BigSur2”) in early 1980 (again, Balcombe’s chronology). (Balcombe clearly knows nothing of the situation in Java.)
It remains unclear whether the East Coast and West Coast groups both entered the same alternate world, or two different but similar worlds. Communication between the two outposts has so far proved impossible because, as it happens, the Egg will not transport non-sentient matter. Travellers arrive Over There birth-naked in a Stone Age world – no airplanes, no radio, no clothes … no fire and no tools! Only the Egg, like a diamond Faberge easter gift designed by Dali, alone in the midst of “Nature naturing”. Balcombe includes a dim out-of-focus photo of an Egg, and claims that the machine is part computer but also partly- living crystal, like virus or DNA, and also partly “naked quantumstuff”.
Eggs are costly to produce, so the early pioneers had to return after each sortie and forego permanent settlement on E2 until a cheaper mode of transport could be discovered. However, emigration via the Egg proved possible when the “tantrik” or “double-yolk” effect was discovered: two people (any combination of age, gender, etc.) can Travel by Egg while making love, especially if one of the pair has already done the trip a few times and “knows the way” without elaborate visualization techniques and so forth. Balcombe has a field day with this juicy information and spends an entire chapter (VIII) detailing the “perversions” in use for this purpose. Talent for Travel ranges from brilliant to zero – probably no more than 15% of humanity can make it, although the less-talented and even children can be “translated” by the tantrik technique – and extensive training methods have somewhat improved the odds. California2 now contains about 1000 emigrants scattered along the coast, and the eastern settlements add up to 500 or 600. A few children have been born “over there” – some can Travel, some can’t, although the talented percentage seems greater than among the general population of Earth-prime. And being “stuck” on E2 is no grave punishment in any case!, unless you object to the Garden of Eden and the “original leisure society” of the Paleolithic flintknappers.
Balcombe claims that the PCF was severely disappointed by the sentience “law” of Travel, since they had hoped to use the parallel worlds as a weapons-delivery system! Nevertheless they continued to experiment, hoping for a more “mechanistic” technique; meanwhile they devote their efforts to (a) suppressing all information leaks, (b) plotting against the independent GFP and infiltrating the E2 settlements, (c) attempting to open new worlds where technology might be possible. They are however handicapped by a shortage of talent: the kind of person who can Travel is not usually the kind of person n who sympathizes with the “patriotic discipline of the PCF” and rogue Masonic groups, but some of these end up defecting and “doubling”, and anyway most of them are much too weird for the taste of the rigidly reactionary inner core of PCF leadership, who wonder (as does Balcombe) whether these agents are “any better than the scum they’re spying on?”
More worlds have been discovered – E3 and E4 are mentioned in ESCAPE! (and we know that E5 was opened in 1988) – but all of these are “empty” forest worlds apparently almost identical with E2.
In summary, Balcombe’s style is execrable and attitude repulsive, but his book remains the most accurate overview of the Conspiracy to date. If you’re only going to order one item from us, this is it.
16. (Anonymous). “Bionic Travel: An Orgonomic Theory of the Megaverse”, (Xerox of unpubl. typescript headed “Top Secret – Eyes Only”; 27pp), $15
If this paper emanates from PCF sources, as we believe, it indicates the poor quality of original research carried out by the enemies of Sohrawardi and the GFP, and may explain the PCF’s relative lack of progress in the field (especially considering their much larger budget!). The author attempts to revive W. Reich’s Orgone Theory, with “bions” as “life-force particles” and some sort of orgone accumulator (Reich’s “box”) as a possible substitute for the Egg. An unhealthy interest is shown in “harnessing the force of Deadly Orgone” as a weapon for use on other worlds. References are also made to Aliester Crowley’s “sex magick techniques” of the Ordo Templi Orientis – even speculations on human sacrifice as a possible source of “transdimensional energy”. A morbid and crackpot document, devoid of all scientific value (in our opinion) but affording a fascinating insight into PCF mentality and method.
One of the few books mentioned by title in the Catalog of the Inst. of Chaos Studies & Imaginal Yoga (see #9 in this list). The “mundus imaginalis”, also called the World of Archetypes or the “Isthmus” (Arabic, barzakh), lies in between the World of the Divine and the material World of Creation. It actually consists of “many worlds”, including two “emerald cities” called Jabulsa and Jabulqa (very intriguing considering the situation on Java2!). The great 14th-century Hispano-Moorish sufi Ibn’Arabi developed a metaphysics of the “Creative Imagination” by which the adept could achieve spiritual progress via direct contemplation of the archetypes, including the domains of djinn, spirits and angels. Ibn’Arabi also speaks of seven alternate Earths created by Allah, each with its own Mecca and Kaaba! Some parallel-universe theorists believe that Travel without any tech (even the Egg) may be possible, claiming that certain mystics have already accomplished it. If so, then Ibn’Arabi must have been one of them.
The first and still the most complete introduction to chaos – required reading – BUT with certain caveats. First: Gleick has no philosophical or poetic depth; he actually begins the book with a quote from John Updike! No mention of chaos mythology or oriental sources. No mention of certain non-American chaos scientists such as Rene Thom and Ilya Prigogine! Instead, alongside the admittedly useful info, one gets a subtle indoctrination in “deterministic chaos”, by which we mean the tendency to look on chaos as a weapon to fight chaos, to “save” Classical physics – and learn to predict the Stock Market! (As opposed to what we call the “quantum chaos” of Sohrawardi and his allies, which looks on chaos as a creative and negentropic source, the cornucopia of evolution and awareness.) Warning: we suspect Gleick of being a PCF agent who has embedded his text with subtle disinformation meant to distract the chaos-science community from any interest in “other worlds”.
19. Pak Hardjanto. “Apparent Collapse of the Wave Function as an n-Dimensional Catastrophe” (trans. by “N.N.S.” in Collected Papers of the SE Asian Soc. for Advanced Research, Vol.XXIX, 1980), 47pp, Xerox of offprint, $15
An early paper by the little-known scientific director of the Javanese “Travel Cult” which succeeded in breakthrough, possibly in the year this essay was published or shortly thereafter. Hardjanto is known to have been in touch with Sohrawardi since the 60’s; no doubt they shared all information, but each kept the other secret from their respective organizations. The pioneers of Java2 became known to the GFP and PCF only around 1984 or 85.
This article, the only scientific work we possess by Hardjanto, shows him to be a theoretician equal or even superior to Sohrawardi himself – and if Hardjanto is also the anonymous author of the following item, as we believe, then he appears a formidable “metaphysicist” as well!
“Apparent Collapse”, while certainly not a blueprint for Egg construction, nevertheless constitutes one of the few bits of “hard” science published openly on our Subject. Unfortunately, its theorems and diagrams are doubtless comprehensible only to a handful of experts. The topological drawings literally boggle the mind, especially one entitled “Hypercube Undergoing ‘Collapse’ Into 5-Space Vortex”!
20. (Unsigned, probably by Pak Hardjanto). A Vision of Hurqalya (trans. by K.K.Sardono; Incunabula Press, 1988), Pb, 46pp, $20
The Indonesian original of this text appeared as a pamphlet in Yogjakarta (E.Java) in 1982. We ourselves at Incunabula commissioned the translation and have published this handsome edition, including all the illustrations from the original, at our own expense.
If one knew nothing about the Conspiracy or Many-Worlds Theory, A Vision would seem at first to be a mystical tract by an adherent of kebatinan, the heterodox sufi-influenced freeform esoteric/syncretistic complex of sects which has come to be influential in GFP circles, inasmuch as the idea of “spiritual master” (guru, murshed) has been replaced by “teacher” (pamong); some kebatinan sects utilize spontaneous non-hierarchical organizational structures.
However, in the light of our knowledge of the material existence of other worlds, Vision takes on a whole new dimension, as a literal description of what Hardjanto and his fellow pioneers found on Java2.
They discovered another uninhabited world, but with one huge difference. The author of Vision steps out of his “alchemical Egg” into a vast and ancient abandoned City! He calls it Hurqalya (after a traditional sufi name for the Other World or alam’e mithal). He senses his total aloneness, feels that the City’s builders have long since moved on elsewhere, and yet that they still somehow somewhere exist.
The author compares Hurqalya to the ancient ruined city of Borobadur in E.Java, but notices immediately that there are no statues or images, all the decoration is abstract and severe, but “neither Islamic nor Buddhist nor Hindu nor Christian nor any style I ever saw”. The “palaces” of Hurqalya are grand, cyclopaean, almost monolithic, far from “heavy” in atmosphere, despite the black basalt from which they seem to have been carved. For the City is cut through by water … it is in fact a water-city in the style of the Royal Enclave of Yogjakarta (now so sadly derelict), but incomparably bigger. Canals, aqueducts, rivers and channels crisscross and meander through the City; flowing originally from quiescent volcanic mountains looming green in the West, Water flows down through the City which is built on a steep slope gradually curving into a basin and down to the placid Eastern Sea, where a hundred channels flow dark and clear into the green salt ocean.
Despite the air of ruin – huge trees have grown through buildings, splitting them open – mosses, ferns and orchids coat the crumbling walls with viridescence, hosting parrots, lizards, butterflies – despite this desolation, most of the waterworks still flow: canal-locks broken open centuries ago allow cascades, leaks, spills and waterfalls in unexpected places, so that the City is wrapped in a tapestry of water-sounds and songbird voices. Most amazingly, the water flows at different levels simultaneously, so that aqueducts cross over canals which in turn flow above sunken streams which drip into wells, underground cisterns and mysterious sewers in a bewildering complex of levels, pipes, conduits and irrigated garden terraces which resemble (to judge by the author’s sketches) a dreamscape of Escher or Piranesi. Viewed from above, the City would be mapped as an arabesque 3PD spiderweb (with waterbridges aboveground, streams at ground level and also underground) fanning out to fill the area of the basin, thence into the harbor with its huge cracked basalt-block docks.
The slope on which the City is built is irregularly terraced in ancient SE Asian style – as many staircases and streets thread their way up and down, laid out seemingly at random, following land-contours rather than grid-logic, adding to the architectural complexity of the layer of waterways with a maze of vine-encrusted overpasses, arched bridges, spiralling ramps, crooked alleyways, cracked hidden steps debouching on broad esplanades, avenues, parks gone to seed, pavilions, balconies, apartments, jungle-choked palazzos, echoing gloomy “temples” whose divinities, if any, seem to have left no forwarding address … all empty, all utterly abandoned. And nowhere is there any human debris – no broken tools, bones or midden heaps, no evidence of actual habitation – as if the ancient builders of the City picked up and took everything with them when they departed – “perhaps to one of the other Seven Worlds of the alam’e mithal” – in other words, to a “higher dimension.”
Thus ends the Vision of Hurqalya, raising more questions than it answers! There is no doubt that it describes exactly what was discovered in Java2 in 1980 or 81. But if the “observer-created” theory of other-worlds travel is true, “Hurqalya” represents the “imaginal imprint” of what Hardjanto (or whoever) expected to find. Yet again, if that theory is false … who built Hurqalya? One current explanation (arising from time-distortion theorems which have so far remained unsolvable) suggests that the Builders “moved” in prehistoric times to Earth-prime and became the distant ancestors of the Javanese (“Java Man”). Another guess: the Builders have indeed moved on to a “distant” alternate universe, and eventually we may find them.
A small settlement now exists in Hurqalya. Once the American groups heard of the City’s existence, members of both the GFP and PFC were able to visualize it and Travel to it from America (the Javanese can do the same from Java-prime to America2). Since 1985 all three groups have expanded most of their exploratory effort on “opening up” new worlds in the Java series. Apparently Indonesian sorcerers and trance adepts are very good at this, and we believe they have reached Java7 – without, however, finding replications of the City or any trace of the Builders – only more empty forest.
21. Von Bitter Rucker, Dr R. ” ‘The Cat Was Alive, But Looked Scared As Hell’: Some Unexpected Properties of Cellular Automata in the Light of the Everett-Wheeler Hypothesis” (Complex Dynamical Systems Newsletter no.8, 1989), offprint, $10
Who is this man and what does he know? No other serious mathematician has so far made any connection between cellular automata and the Many Worlds. Tongue-in-cheek (?), the author suggests that Schrodinger’s poor cat might be both alive and dead, even after the box is opened, IF parallel universes are “stacked” in some arcane manner which he claims to be able to demonstrate with a piece of software he has hacked and is selling for an outrageous sum; we have also seen and ad for this program in a magazine called MONDO 2000, published in Berkeley and devoted to “reality hacking”. We’d love to know what certain members of the Conspiracy would make of this bizarre concept!
This writer appears to have inside information. The notion of a drug-induced hallucination so powerful it can be shared by many (in a proper “blind” experiment) and can actually come into existence, into material reality; the idea that drug-enhanced lucid dreaming can be used to discover objective information from “other ontological levels of being”; and finally the “prediction” that “a combination of these methods utilizing computer-aided biofeedback monitoring devices” will actually make it possible to “visit ‘other’ worlds in ‘inner’ space” (which suggests that the author adheres to the “observer-created” theory of parallel universes) – all this leads us to believe that the author is probably a member of one of the California Travel Cults – as well as an expert bruja!
23. (Anonymous). A Collection of Cult Pamphlets, Flyers, Ephemera & Curiosa from the Library of a traveler (Looseleaf portfolio of photocopied originals) sold by lot, $25
The unknown compiler of this Collection (whom for convenience we’ll call “X”) left it behind when he “vanished”, whence it came into our possession. We know something of the compiler’s career from an untitled document written by him and found with the Collection, which we call “The Poetic Journal of a traveler” (#24 in this list), as well as a pamphlet believed to be by the same author, Folklore of the Other Worlds (#25). (The Ong’s Hat Color Brochure was also discovered in the same cache, and is sold by us as #13.)
The Collection contains the following items:
1) A History & Catechism of the Moorish Orthodox Church, which traces the origins of the sect to early (1913) American Black Islam, the “Wandering Bishops”, the Beats of the 50s and the psychedelic churches movement of the 60s – deliberately vague about the 70s and 80s however.
2) The World Congress of Free Religions, a brochure-manifesto arguing for a “fourth way”, a non-authoritarian spiritual movement in opposition to mainstream, fundamentalist and New Age religion.The WCFR is said to include various sects of Discordians, SubGeniuses, Coptic Orthodox People of the Herb, gay (“faery”) neo-pagans, Magical Judaism, the Egyptian Church of New Zealand, Kaos Kabal of London, Libertarian Congregationalists, etc., and the Moorish Orthodox Church. Several of these sects are implicated in the Conspiracy, but no overt mention of the Travel Cults is made here.
3) Spiritual Materialism, by “the New Catholic Church of the Pantarchy, Hochkapel von SS Max und Marx”, a truly weird flyer dedicated to “Saints” Max Stirner and Karl Marx, representing a group claiming foundation by the 19th century Individualist Stephen Pearl Andrews, but more likely begun in the 1980s as a Travel Cult. Uses Nietzsche to contend that material reality itself constitutes a (or the) spiritual value and the principle of Infinity “which is expressed in the existence of many worlds.” It argues for a utopia based on “individualism, telepathic socialism, free love, high tech, Stone Age wilderness and quantum weirdness”! No address is given, needless to say.
4) The Sacred Jihad of Our Lady of Chaos, this otherwise untraceable group calls for “resistance to all attempts to control probability.” It quotes Foucault and Baudrillard on the subject of “disappearance”, then suggests that “to vanish without having to kill yourself may be the ultimate revolutionary act … The monolith of Consensus Reality is riddled with quantum-chaos cracks … Viral attack on all fronts! Victory to Chaos in every world!”
5) The Temple of Antinous, a Travel Cult of pedophile boy-lovers and neo-pagans devoted to Eros and Ganymede. (Warning: this leaflet contains some just-barely-legal graphic material.) “Wistfully we wonder if the boygod can manifest only in some other world than this dreary puritanical polluted boobocracy – then, gleefully, we suddenly recall: there ARE other worlds!”
6) A Collage, presumably made by X himself, consisting of a “mandala” constructed from cut-outs of Strange Attractors and various Catastrophic topologies interwoven with photos of young girls and boys clipped from Italian fashion magazines. Eroticizing the mathematical imagery no doubt helps one to remember and visualize it while operating the Egg.
24. (Anonymous). Poetic Journal of a traveler; or, A Heresologist’s Guide to Brooklyn (Incunabula Press, pamphlet, $15. Believed to be by “X”, the compiler of the Collection, & transcribed by us from manuscript.)
Apparently X began this MS with the intention of detailing his experiences with a Travel Cult and eventual “translation” to the various alternate-world settlements, but unfortunately abandoned the project early on, possibly due to PCF interference.
It begins with a summary account of X’s spiritual quest, largely among the stranger sects of his native Brooklyn: Santeria in Coney Island, Cabala in Williamsburg, sufis on Atlantica Avenue, etc. He is disappointed or turned away (and even mugged on one occasion). He becomes friendly with a Cuban woman of mixed Spanish, black, amerindian and Chinese ancestry who runs a botanica (magical supplies and herbs). When he asks her about “other worlds”, she is evasive but promises to introduce him to someone who knows more about such matters.
She orders her grandpdaughter, a 14-year-old named Teofila, to escort X through the “rough neighborhoods” to the old man’s shop. The girl is wearing a t-shirt that says “Hyperborean Skateboarding Association”, and indeed travels by skateboard, “gliding on ahead of me like Hermes the Psychopomp.” X is clearly attracted to Teofila and becomes embarrassedly tongue-tied and awkward.
The old man, called “the Shaykh”, who claims to be Sudanese but speaks “pure Alabaman”, runs a junk shop and wears a battered old Shriners fez. His attitude toward X is severe at first, but X is enchanted by his rather disjointed rambling and ranting – which reveal a surprisingly wide if erratic reading in Persian poetry, the Bible, Meister Eckhardt, William Blake, Yoruba mythology and quantum mechanics. Leaving the girl in the shop, the old man takes X into his back office, “crowded with wildly eclectic junk, naive paintings, cheap orientalismo, HooDoo candles, jars of flower petals, and an ornate potbellied stove, stoked up to cherryred, suffusing waves of drowsy warmth.”
The Shaykh intimidates X into sharing a big pipe of hashish mixed with amber and mescaline, then launches into a stream-of-consciousness attack on “Babylon, the Imperium, the Con, the Big Lie that there’s nowhere to go and nothing to buy except their fifth-rate imitations of life, their bullshit pie-in-the-sky religions, cold cults, cold cuts of self-mutilation I call ’em, and woe to Jerusalem!”
X, now “stoned to the gills”, falls under the Shaykh’s spell and bursts into tears. At once the old man unbends, serves X a cup of tea “sweetblack as Jamaica run and scented with cardamon”, and begins to drop broad hints about “a way out, not to some gnostic-never-land with the body gone like a fart in a sandstorm, no brother, for the Unseen World is not just of the spirit but also the flesh – Jabulsa and Jabulqa, Hyperborea, Hurqalya – they’re as real as Brooklyn but a damn sight prettier!”
Late afternoon; X must return home before dark, and prepare to take leave of the Shaykh – who gives him a few pamphlets and invites him to return. To X’s surprise, Teofila is still waiting outside the shop, and offers to escort him to the subway. The girl is now in a friendlier mood and X less nervous. They strike up a conversation, X asking about Hyperborea and Teofila answering, “Yeah, I know where it is, I’ve been there.”
The main narrative ends here, but we have added some other poetic fragments included with the original MS, despite the fact that they might offend some readers, in light of the importance of the “tantrik technique” of other-world Travel. (And let us remind you that a statement of age must be included with every order from Incunabula Inc.). These rather pornographic fragments suggest that X, too shy to attempt anything himself, was in fact seduced by Teofila, and that his subsequent “training” for Egg-navigation consisted of numerous “practice sessions for double-yolking” with a very enthusiastic young tutor.
We believe that X subsequently made an extended visit to America2 and Java2, that he returned to Earth-prime on some Intelligence or sabotage mission for the GFP, that he composed a paper on Folklore of the Other Worlds (see #25), that he and Teofila somehow came to the attention of PCF agents in New York, aborted their mission and returned to Java2, where they presumably now reside.
25. (Anonymous). Folklore of the Other Worlds (Incunabula Press, pamphlet,$15. By the same author as #24, transcribed by us from manuscript.)
Our anonymous traveler from Brooklyn appears to have composed this little treatise after his first extended stay in E2. It deals with tales of Travellers and inhabitants of the other-world settlements, pioneers’ experiences and the like. Of great interest is the claim that ESP and other paranormal abilities increase in the parallel universes, that the effect is magnified by passing through the series of discovered “levels”, and that a small band of psychic researchers has therefore settled on Java7, the present frontier world. The “temple” of Hurqalya (or whatever these vast buildings may have been) are used for sessions of meditation, martial arts and psychic experimentation. X claims that telepathy is now accepted as fact “over there,” with strong evidence for telekinesis and perhaps even Egg-less Travel.
Also intriguing are various accounts of “spirits” seen or sensed around the settlements, were animals supposedly glimpsed on higher levels, and legends which have arisen concerning the lost Builders of Hurqalya. Something of a cult has grown up around these hypothetical creatures who (it is said) are “moving toward us even as we move toward them, through the dimensions, through Time – perhaps backwards through Time”!
X points out that this legend strikes an eerie resonance with “complex conjugate wave theory” in quantum mechanics, which hypothesizes that the “present” (the megaverse “now”) is the result of the meeting of two infinite quantum probability waves, one moving from past to future, the other moving from future to past – that space/time is an interference effect of these two waves – and that the many worlds are bubbles on this shoreline!
This “bible” of the modern neo-shamanic movement also served as a metaphorical scripture for the pioneers of interdimensional consciousness physics and alternate-world explorers.Not only does it contain innumerable practical hints for the traveler, as well as a spiritual ambience conducive to the proper state of mind for Travel, it is also believed that Eliade’s mythic material on the prototypal Stone Age shamans who could physically and actually visit other worlds, offers strong evidence for the possibility of Egg-less Travel – which however so far remains in the realm of “folklore”, speculation and rumor.
You may remember that after the Patty Hearst kidnapping it was discovered that a cheap pornographic thriller, published before the event, seemed to foretell every detail of the story. Jungian synchronicity? Or did the Symbionese Liberation Army read that book and decide to act it out? It remains a mystery.
Maze of Treason is also a pornographic thriller, complete with tawdry 4-color cover, sloppy printing on acidulous pulp, and horrendous style. It’s marketed as Science Fiction, however. And there is no mystery about the author’s inside knowledge. “John Lorde” not only knows about the Conspiracy, he’s obviously been there. This book is probably a roman a clef, as it appears to contain distorted portraits of Sohrawardi and Harjanto (depicted as Fu-Manchu-type villains) as well as several actual agents of both the GFP and PCF – and even a character apparently based on the real-life “X”, author of several titles in our list (#s 24 & 25).
The hero, Jack Masters, is an agent of an unnamed spyforce of American patriots who jokingly call themselves the Quantum Police. Their mission is to regain control of the alternate worlds for “the forces of reason and order” and “make trouble for agents of chaos in every known universe.” The Q-Cops’ secret underground HDQ contains a number of Eggs granting access to hidden bases on the other worlds, including “the Other America” and “the Other Indonesia”.
Jack Masters is investigating the activities of a Chaote named Ripley Taylor, a “child-molester and black magician who runs a Travel Cult out of a comic book store in a “racially-mixed neighborhood” of New York. The Cops hope to catch Taylor with his “juvenile delinquent girlfriend”, blackmail him and turn him into a double agent.
The hero now becomes involved with Amanita, a beautiful woman performance artist from the Lower East Side who seems to know a lot about Taylor and the Travel Cult, but also seems quite attracted to the virile Jack Masters. At first he suspects her of duplicity, but soon decides he needs to “convert” her by making her “fall for me, and fall hard.” Jack’s problem is that his own “talent” will not suffice for solo Traveling, and in fact he has never managed to “get across” – since the Cops do not practice Tantrik techniques! He suspects her of being an “Other-Worlder” and hopes she can convey him thence via the “infamous ‘double-yolk’ method.”
Meanwhile Taylor has laughed off the blackmail attempt, burned down the comic shop and escaped “into the fourth dimension – or maybe the fifth.” Masters heats up his affair with the artist Amanita, and finally convinces her to “translate” him – after three chapters of unininterrupted porno depicting the pair in many little-known ritual practices, so to speak. (The author rises above his own mediocrity here, and attains something like “purple pulp”, an inspired gush of horny prose, especially in the oral-genital area.) Masters now rises to the occasion for yet a fourth chapter in which a “government-issue Egg” becomes the setting for a “yab-yum ceremony of searing obscenity.”
Immediately upon arrival in “Si Fan” (the author’s name for Hurqalya), Amanita betrays our hero and turns him over naked to one of the tribes of “chaos-shamans who inhabit these Lemurian ruins”. At this point Maze begins to add to our knowledge of the real-life situation by depicting more-or-less accurately the state of affairs and mode of life in present-day Hurqalya, at least as seen through the eyes of a paranoid right-wing spy.
The thousand or so inhabitants have made few changes in Hurqalya, preferring a life of “primitive sloth” and minimal meddling with Nature. Sex, hallucinogenic mushrooms and song-improvisation contests comprise the night-life, with days devoted to the serious business of “sorcery, skinnydipping, flintknapping and maybe a couple of hours of desultory fishing or berrypicking.” There is no social order. “People with bones in their noses sitting around arguing about Black Hole Theory or recipes for marsupial stew, lazy smoke from a few clan campfires rising through the hazy bluegold afternoon, children masturbating in trees, bees snouting into orchids, signal drum in the distance, Amanita singing an old song by the Inkspots I remember from my childhood…”
Masters, or rather the author, claims to be disgusted by all this “anarchist punk hippy immorality, all this jungle love!”, but his ambivalence is revealed in his continued desire for Amanita, and the ease with which he falls into his own curmudgeonly version of dolce far niente in “Si Fan”.
We won’t give away the rest of the plot, not because it’s so great, but because it’s largely irrelevant (Taylor flees to distant dimensions, Masters gets Girl and returns to Earth-prime in triumph, etc.,etc.) – the book’s true value lies in these pictures of daily life in Hurqalya. Sadly, Maze of Treason is still our only source for such material. The Conspiracy to deny the world all knowledge of the Many Worlds is maintained by both the forces active in the parallel universes – the GFP and PCF both have their reasons for secrecy, evasion, lies, disinformation, distortion and even violence. Maze of Treason is not our only source for claiming that people have lost their lives as a result of getting too deeply involved in all this. But we at INCUNABULA believe that truth will out, because it must. To stand in the way of it is more dangerous than letting it loose. Freedom of information is our only protection – we will tell all, despite all scorn or threat, and trust that our “going public” will protect us from the outrage of certain private interests – if not from the laughter of the ignorant!
Remember: parallel worlds exist. They have already been reached. A vast cover-up denies YOU all knowledge. Only INCUNABULA can enlighten you, because only INCUNABULA dares.
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 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.”
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.
CHAOS NEVER DIED!
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.
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
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.”
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)
The Surprising Online Life of Legends- The Chronicle of Higher Education –He holds the original Incunabula documents, in all their oddness, in high esteem, he adds: “People inserted themselves into the story; the story seemed to take on a life all its own; and it had this far-reaching narrative. I thought it was absolutely brilliant, but I didn’t know what exactly was going on,” he says. Unmistakable, however, was that the writings and their Satan’s spawn were suspending acolytes’ disbelief, and feeding their fantasies.
UFO Digest – Back to Ong’s Hat, baby! There are those who claim Matheny’s 1990s legend is true, as the author remained vague concerning the authenticity of his posts. Whether or not one believes the Ong’s Hat saga, is beside the point, contends its creator, who claims his work stemmed from an actual written narrative known as the Incunabula Papers.
The Ong’s Hat Mystery Revealed New World Disorder – The Ong’s Hat meme – and its curious and intoxicating blend of quantum physics, tantric sex, chaos magick/theory, parallel universes, and conspiracy theory – has spread through the noosphere over the last decade or so and developed into a mini-mythos, eventually transmitting itself through such mass media portals as Coast to Coast AM (the Art Bell show) and Jane Magazine, even becoming the starting point for successful alternate reality game Chasing the Wish.
Jane Magazine(April 2003) A Target-Marketing Success Story I got really into this “time-travel cult” called Ong’s Hat when a computer-game programmer I know told me she was contacted by a physics scholar who said that a bunch of her recent games reflected their canon. This dude told my friend that someone from Ong’s Hat had befriended her and inspired her to create certain games without her realizing it. Whoa, right? I started researching them on the Internet and mailed off $18 for Ong’s Hat: The Beginning, a typo-riddled yet super-fun book explaining their “clandestine” beliefs (a bunch of LSD-popping physicists figured out interdimensional travel through a portal in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens in the 1970s, among other things). Anyway, 85 years after it should have, it dawned on me that the whole thing is probably a hoax. “The split between who believes the book is fiction vs. nonfiction is pretty even,” says the nice but evasive author, Joseph Matheny. It’s too bad–I think we all want to believe in scientists who party. –Kate Hambrecht
Galidor– A kid’s television show show wherein a kid from New Jersey travels across dimensions in a interdimensional travel device called The Egg. (Wonder where they got that idea?) There was even a Lego Egg.
November 2000 Coast to Coast Am Show: Ong’s HatShow Info (Nov. 1, 2000)After trying in vain for 2 years to negotiate with Coast to Coast (Clearchannel geeks) and getting what amounts to the royal run around, we have decided to release the November 2000, Coast to Coast AM (Art Bell show) on MP3, via Kazaa. Keywords for finding the files are: Joseph Matheny, Art Bell, Coast to Coast AM, Ong’s Hat. They are broken into eight separate 30-minute segments and numbered accordingly. Download them and share them off your P2P clients so others may more readily access them. We will be releasing these files via the web here for a short time, due to popular demand.
Disinfo.com Ong’s Hat Dossier You’ve got your chaos; sex magick; applied quantum physics; shadow conspiracy; crypto-palaeontology and enlightenment hopes all wrapped up in one neat package. What the Hell more do you want?
Magdalen Sez…Joe Matheny’s been documenting a man who literally travels to the Other Side… or does he? The secret lies in Ong’s Hat… Find out for yourself by gettin’ the book Ong’s Hat: The Beginning.
technoccult.net a web portal for free thinkers – Few “conspiracy theories” are quite as bizarre as the legend of Ong’s Hat. The confused story is told through a book catalog and numerous interviews and contains many contradictions.
AOI This is a story, which is told, for the most part, in the descriptions of the books in a Catalog of Rare Books, and in a brochure for the Institute of Chaos Studies. We were first pointed to this material nearly two years ago, by a correspondent who found parallels between the egg-shaped capsule, and the material we started writing about in the Crowley’s Egg? series…Did the events that are written of in these various works, actually take place? Do any of these books exist in reality, or their authors? All we know is that the story given does parallel in some ways, things taking place in the late 70s, in the group surrounding the Consciousness / New Physics / Psychotronics crowd; in the late 80s / early 90s, in our own circle and among the Typhonian OTO people, involved in the “Secret Dikpala of LAM” – see our comments on The LAM Statemen…In the Catalog, we can spot at least a couple of familiar names — Nick Herbert, Fred Alan Wolf, both players in the New Physics crowd mentioned above; as well as Henry Corbin, whose writings we have run across, and of course, Mircea Eliade. It would be nice to find out: does Escape from Earth-Prime actually exist? Is it a real book? That one we find interesting. And, too, the story involving Dr. Kamadev Sohrawardi. Some of these events seem (to us at least) to parallel the events taking place in the 1970s, around the work of Puharich, Bearden, Sarfatti, Ira Einhorn, which involved developing Psychotronics, Tesla Tech, Free Energy, receiving science from the future, etc.Five Stars for the whole work. This is really excellent material.
Borderlands Sciences Fiction as reality and reality as fiction, breaks one away from the restraints of what is possible. The Incunabula Mystery provokes such evolutionary mentation. I’d like to see every hip kid in America to smirk knowingly about the dimensional egg. Kind of like the old Sub-Genius Rant, too absurd too be true..but too true to be comfortable. It can be unnerving when you stumble on the ether-ship in the basement and whirl down to the hollow earth dance club for the first time. If your imagination has been well conditioned with high weirdness, one can function with relish in bizarre alternate realities as they manifest themselves to the individual.
Cameron Wilson Columnist for The Inverness Herald(July 2002) Judging from the advanced copy I received unsolicited (how they found my address, I’ll never know), it is easy to see the reason why that malefactor lad Joey is in hiding these days. No? Find out for yourself and order the Great American Noodle from Amazon.Com and crack the code to his real whereabouts if you can. It is hidden somewhere in the subtext as the semioticians say. As you Americans are found of quipping: In order to make an omlette, you need to break some real synchronicity inducing eggs. The proof is in the albumin. Go see for yourself!
obsucrantist_to_zotaMarketing as NarrativeThere’s an old conspiracy theory/secret history/urban legend narrativized in the form of a book catalog.(Oh yeah, it’s true — disinfo has all the dirt on Ong’s Hat , if you’re sure you want to know. But that’s a whole other story. )Using epiphenomenal commercial structures to create an ambient narrative through accretion. That was the genre used by Henry Raddick, star Amazon Reviewer, who became a famous [1–2–3] for being tangental in review comments. For example his take on the bookGod, Why Did Dad Lose His Job? A truly wonderful guide which has enabled me to explain my recent sacking for vandalising company property to my children in terms of a minor act of redemption. First rate.
That Blasted Catalog One of the oldest and most twisted of the scraps that one can find on the web is the story of the Incunabula Catalog. I’m not sure exactly how old it is, but the catalog is reported to date back to BBS’s back in the early 90’s. And I’ve found, what look to be, logs from old BBS’s that are now on the web, and sure enough the catalog is listed in some of these.One of the first summaries of the story that I came across is atTechnoccult.net. A quick look through there shows that the story is long and twisted, and makes the Illuminatus Trilogy look like a children’s tale.I do not think the catalog’s meme will ever fully die. I think it will bop around the fringe, occasionally being picked up by new comers who’s eyes are wide and are willing to experiment with anything.
The 23 Apples of Eris Dr Cornelius Confusion The Ong’s Hat conspiracy has just come to my attention, thanks to someone asking if it bore any relation to the Dimensional Gateway Technicians League (an allied branch of our tentacular conspiracy, which it didn’t really before, but now really does. Rumour has it this is entirely partially realmaginary but also a long running Hakim Bey und RAW mindfuck. I spent two days travelling the Ong’s Hat Chapel Perilous, delighting in my rapid total confusion, and the fact that the more I looked the more complicated everything got…
MSP University Maybe it was the weed. I’ve taken to mixing up the sativa with Yerba Mate, the south american ibogaine-cousin alertness herb, and strange things happen, is all I can say. Strange things happen.I’d read the Incunabula (“rare texts”) once before: didn’t really pay attention, so it seemed pretty boring, like a dumb practical joke laid out by a tripping mathematics major. It’s worth noting, here at the outset, that it could actually be a dumb practical joke laid out by a tripping mathematics major.Cheese, yeah, but lots of interesting tidbits that really jump out at you after you’ve read all the Incunabula material. If this is all a web hoax, these cats are flat-out fricking geniuses.So maybe Ong’s Hat is a little bit not-so-true. The usual reaction of con-heads, when faced with such ugly possibilities as Reality, or, say, the Truth, is to make things even more convoluted: Ong’s Hat is CIA disinformation. The purpose of this whole wild goose chase is to take the spotlight away from the sinister Montauk Project, which is about as insane, deeply disturbing and totally paranoid as conspiracy theory gets.
Robert Forte Filmmaker/Editor/AuthorThe Road to Eleusis, Entheogens and the Future of Religion andTimothy Leary Outside Looking InI’m sitting down for my third reading of Ong’s Hat since November when Joe and I synchronistically renewed our friendship after not seeing each other for many years; a friendship that began a decade and half ago at that marvelous nexus, 321 2nd Street in Santa Cruz we were both lived, fortunately graced by the embodied wisdom of Nina Graboi, our psychedelic god mother, who lept from this plane in 1999, who I am sure is delighted at all this occuring. Ong’s Hat isn’t just a book to me. Its a cipher of mystery, the dimensions of which I am just beginning to grok….
Curiouser and Curiouser I never know what to make of this site; mainly because it seems to change dramatically every few months. Right now it’s a blog with assorted news of interest, and an ad for the book about Ong’s Hat, which is what brought me to this site to begin with. But don’t ask me to explain it. I’m writing this review to get this one out of my “to review” folder; I don’t know what else to do with it. (Reviewed January 2003)
Some Amazon Reviewers said- William Courson – Since before the continents assumed their present shape, countless ages before intelligent proto-hominids walked erect and began using sticks to scratch signs in the mud, immeasurable aeons before alphabets and settled agriculture were new-fangled, Ong’s Hat – a now deserted (?) village in southernmost New Jersey – was fated to become the most important locale in humankind’s history, a critical juncture in time and space, and the nexus of a vast, uncountable quanta of probability matrices joining at the confluence of those temporal streams called past, present and future.Since the event referred to as the “Opening of the Gate” occurred at Ong’s Hat some thirty-three years ago on a spring equinox, much of the paltry amount of writing on that cosmic shifting of gears has been of an intendedly “disinformational” character for reasons apparent to all serious students of alternative history in general and OH in particular. The time has arrived when the truth can be told, neat and naked, complete and uncensored. And that story is, to put it mildly, a circuitous one.In brief, a black Sufi cult founded in Newark, New Jersey in the 1920s by a circus magician has (with the help of a small group of Columbia University students, jazz musicians, beatniks, homosexuals and LSD experimenters) evolved by the late 1960’s into a techno-tantric Moorish Orthodox commune and physics research institute centered in Ong’s Hat, New Jersey, whose members managed to escape from this addled dirt-ball into a parallel universe through the intermediary of the “Egg” – a mechanism that enabled trans-dimensional travel into other worlds in other dimensions.Add to the story a benevolent race of red-necked humanoids descended from Javanese lemurs on a parallel Earth, chaos magick, alternative sexualities, applied quantum physics, conspiracies galore, and heretical Eastern Orthodox bishops and you have an epistemological smorgasbord fit for a king.This is a delightful piece of writing that leaves its reader hungry for more (and we are assured there will be more), that deserves to be read and read again, believed or disbelieved, shared with someone you love, and maybe even memorized!
Bishop Sotemohk A. (“Billy”) Beeyayelel Ong’s Hat: A Moorish Orthodox ViewBefore the continents assumed their present shape, countless ages before intelligent protohominids walked erect and began using tools, aeons before alphabets and settled agriculture were new-fangled things, Ong’s Hat – a now deserted village in southernmost New Jersey (USA) – was fated to become the most important point in all of space and time, the nexus of uncountable quanta of probability matrices joining at the confluence of those temporal rivers known as past, present and future. Dr. Joseph Matheny and his collaborators have produced a breathtakingly scholarly work in writing “The Incunabula Papers: Ong’s Hat and Other Gateways to New Dimensions,” which is a tour-de-force not only of the Ong’s Hat incident, but of quantum mechanics, temporal theory and the systematic theology of Moorish Orthodoxy as well I wholeheartedly and unreservedly recommend this masterwork to all serious students of the Ong’s Hat phenomena.
MEDIAGAB How could anything that has Javanese Lemurs in it be less than a masterpiece?
abuddhas memes They tell us how to get there, where they went, and invite us to join them; but leave to serendipity and intent our ability to do so. Ong’s Hat – Gateway to the Dimensions describes a disparate group’s journey to the shore of chaos, where they discover surfing.
Leading Edge Review Allegedly, the experimenters achieved the success with the accessing of parallel universes. Up to now, the truth about the cult has been vague and indecisive, but the legends, technology and quantum theory surrounding it are more than tangible.
Incunabula/Ong’s Hat was a August 2000 “Cranky Award” winner on CrankdotnetAlso:See this this month’s issue of Commander X’s Conspiracy Journal (Print Edition)
Arcturus Books Inc. Catalogue (Print) Ong’s Hat is one of those odd places in central New Jersey, supposedly the site of a “clubhouse” where a group of Princeton physicists experimented with time travel and were successful in accessing parallel universes. … it gets all mixed up with the usual mis-wired, schizophrenic-type hallucinating …-and is therefore likely to appeal only to drug-freaks (who will no doubt understand) or overdosed video gamers.
Quiche.org I had to think long and hard before including these papers within this website. It’s a difficult subject.I eventually came to the conclusion, that this is why it fit so perfectly within Quiche – it is just so ambiguous, it’s wonderful.
What really, really, really, really, really, happened at Ong’s Hat???– Darkplanet Ong’s Hat/Incunabula has always been about levels of understanding. As you research each aspect of the story you are presented with a challenge. That challenge is usually based on twisting and distorting your belief systems. For example: You find a piece of compelling info that takes you down one path only to find that its a invalid path but wait…it turns out that the path you thought was a false path is actually the correct path and so on, and so forth. This is the dance of the Incunabula. Destroying rational assumptions of what is true and what is false.Also: More at the EGGROOM
The Elusive Ong’s Hat- The WandererOK, so if there’s nobody there and the town’s gone, what’s the point of looking for it? Well, this story is similar to others I’ve heard. I heard that there was a group in the woods near Fort Dix that had a compound (Ong’s Hat is very close to Fort Dix; one of the base’s fences is about a mile from the old town, and if you look at any map, the base’s property actually makes a crescent around where the group supposedly was). Sometime in the 80’s, the army base (Dix) was called in to smash this compound. About 10 of the cult members were killed. None of this ever hit the press. So then why am I searching for this place? These people obviously knew what they were doing if the army had to go in and stop them and destroy the place. I’m hoping something is left over from either the group or the smashed compound. And again, most of this is based on things I’ve heard; none of this is guaranteed. But remember, every story is based on some truth. And at very least, I’ll see the remains of a town that is nearly 200 years old.
Virus! – Danish (Expanded Print Article ) Also, Ong’s Hat was a special 2 hour segement on Danish Public Radio.
Fringewire Review Out of all the fringe stories on the net I’ve read about over the years, the story of Ong’s Hat and the Incunabula Catalog has to be the single most bizarre tale ever told as it involves every freaky motif you could ever want in a conspiracy theory – drugs, hippies, renegade physicists, sex, magic, time travel, parallel dimensions, quantum mechanics, lies, truths, deep throats, missing persons, fiction, and reality (whew). It’s the perfect combination of elements to create a story that will surely be debated over a century from now.
Casusbelli– (French review) Incunabula, un texte bizarroïde en version PDF avec pleins d’illustrations et de liens vers le net. De quoi ça parle ? Disons que c’est une nouvelle écrite sous la forme d’un catalogue commenté de livres rares. L’ambiance y est franchement à la conspiration sous l’angle techno-anarchiste-fringe-science-réalités parallèles. Difficile à décrire sans dévoiler l’histoire qui se développe au fil des commentaires des ouvrages cités. Ajoutez à ça que de nombreux livres réels y sont référencés et vous obtenez une confusion totale entre le réel et la fiction. Un objet bizarre, en anglais uniquement.
404 Not Found – Weirdest of the WeirdThis is easily the weirdest site that we have ever come across. Purporting to be the work of an underground community of persecuted heretical scientists and chaoticians, this site truly is a gateway into the Twilight Zone. It contains links to a vast network of sites that just get stranger and stranger as you delve more deeply into the dark genius of their creators. Chaos theory, metaphysics, time travel, alien entities, the ultimate conspiracy. Beware: not recommended for the unstable or the unhinged!