Located in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, Ong’s Hat was listed as a town on early maps of the area. It may have been the site of a small village, but it was probably just the site of a Ong’s hut, a place a farmer named Ong stopped on his way to market. But even by the 1930s, Ong’s Hat still appeared on maps of the area, although there was nothing there but the remains of an old shack in the middle of New Jersey’s ancient forest.
Fast-forward to the 1980s, when strange stories started appearing seemingly at random on bulletin board services and ‘zines detailing an elaborate conspiracy concerning a group of mystics and scientists who opened a door between dimensions at Ong’s Hat.
The story, created by Joseph Matheny and detailed in his book The Incunabula Papers: Ong’s Hat And Other Gateways To New Dimensions, is a work of fiction, but many of the weirdos and cranks who followed the elaborate breadcrumb trail of clues Matheny and others left were convinced it was real. As late as the 2000s, truth-seekers were showing up at Matheny’s door looking for the true story of Ong’s Hat.