Category Archives: Ong’s Hat

That IMDB Thing

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Apparently some of you have a Google Alert for the term “Ong’s Hat” and therefore have seen the recent addition to IMDB. Specifically this listing (you’ll need IMDB Pro to see complete information).  I had planned on doing a full interview with the two people responsible for this new venture when they return from shooting in Europe and I still plan on doing that. So, you’ll have to wait for that post for more info, but in the meantime, I’ll fill you in on a few “who and what”  details.

Continue reading That IMDB Thing

Chapter on Ong’s Hat included in Mack Maloney’s Beyond Area 51 (Chapter 9: The Mystery of Ong’s Hat)

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You may view some excerpts here or buy the book.

Beyond Area 51 - Mack Maloney - Google Books_20130806-134008
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Few have ventured into the many heavily guarded, top-secret locations scattered across the earth. Even fewer have emerged with stories to tell. Yet every now and then the common man is given an illicit glimpse of something extraordinary…

In Beyond Area 51, Mack Maloney explores the truths behind the many myths and legends surrounding some of the world’s most mysterious locales. From the Homestead Air Force base in Miami, Florida to Russia’s Kapustin Yar, Maloney investigates incredible reports of extraterrestrial experimentation on animals, UFOs with road rage, and other unbelievable tales beyond our wildest imaginings. Filled with fascinating, true accounts, Beyond Area 51 will convince any skeptic of the infinite possibilities of what exists on, and beyond, our tiny planet.

Taking Back Transmedia

From the Eyeless Owl

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“Might we contrive one of those opportune falsehoods … so as by one noble lie to persuade if possible the rulers themselves, but failing that the rest of the city.”

– Plato in The Republic

“If you read it, you will be infected. If you are infected you will be InFicted. If you are InFicted, you will get UnFucted. “

– Joseph Matheny

Those who entered the digital world in the late 80’s and early 90’s were introduced to a nearly unfathomable host of possibilities for media and creativity. DVD’s offered the potential for integrative experiences that tracked user preferences and allowed for multiple story formats which changed with each viewing based on previous use, virtual reality models held the possibility for turning these experiences fully immersive, cell phones and wireless technology promised an unthought of openness to it all, and the internet allowed everyone to dream of a fully connected, creative global conversation that synchronized each aspect into a beautifully coordinated whole. Looking back on those dreams in light of growing concerns over surveillance, advertising, neuromarketing and the like one might wonder what happened to turn the dream into a lousy cold war sitcom.

Continue reading Taking Back Transmedia

The Rise Of The ARG: games™ investigates alternate reality games and what the future has in store for the curious experiment.

Game magazine: Issue 135, available now at newsstands, print or digital. The article runs about 6 pages, with citations to Incunabula/Ong’s Hat and myself throughout.

pdficon_largeComplete article here: The Rise Of The ARG: games™ investigates alternate reality games and what the future has in store for the curious experiment. 

Here is a small excerpt (used with permission) from that article:

Excerpt: 

“But what exactly is an ARG? For the community, that definition is largely rooted in the ‘this is not a game’ aesthetic. ARGs are games that do not acknowledge that they are games; they pose as alternate realities hidden away in streams of dormant internet code. Their stories exist not in unified narrative, but are spread across phone lines, email addresses, websites and any other forms of media that the puppetmasters – that is, the game’s creators – deem to be useful. ARG’s exist in real-time as constantly evolving, potentially boundless storytelling experiences.

Continue reading The Rise Of The ARG: games™ investigates alternate reality games and what the future has in store for the curious experiment.

Ong’s Hat: Piney Ghost Town or Gateway to Another Dimension?

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If one takes the Turnpike to exit four and follows Route 70 east, they will come to Route 72 at Four Mile Circle. Taking a hard left leads to a place known as Ong’s Hat, and a trail that some say leads to a mysterious portal to another dimension.

The New Jersey Pine Barrens have a plethora of deserted villages, most of them simply abandoned decades, even centuries ago. One of the most infamous of these is Ong’s Hat in Burlington County. The true reason as to why anyone would name a village Ong’s Hat may be shrouded in mystery forever. The facts are not clear, but the folklore surrounding the town’s name is well known.

Legend has it that at one time a resident of the area was a flashy young gentleman by the name of Ong (while his first name is unknown, Ong is an old time Pine Barrens name––one of the earliest Pines settlers was Jacob Ong). He was a fixture at local dances, where he was famous for being able to woo the ladies with his fancy dance moves and suave attire––most notably his silk hat.

Apparently, Ong was something of what modern youth call a “player,” in that he would flirt and dance with all the ladies he could. One of his love interests caught on to this practice at a dance and attacked Ong, taking his hat and stomping on it. Ong, who was very drunk and very upset that his chapeau had just been ruined, ran outdoors and tossed the hat into the air out of frustration. It caught in the high branches of a pine tree and stayed there for years. It became a landmark by which people could find the small village, and the area was dubbed Ong’s Hat.

As the Pine Barrens themselves became less and less populated with the dying out of local industry, Ong’s Hat was all but forgotten. Today Ong’s Hat is home to no residents. Instead, there are piles of rubble, overgrown building foundations, and other reminders of a bygone age. Ong’s Hat might have been nothing more than a footnote in the local history books were it not for a very weird development that some believe occurred there in the last quarter of the twentieth century––the opening of a gateway to another dimension.

The following, more recent, history of Ong’s Hat and its mysterious inter-dimensional portal can be found in a book entitled “Ong’s Hat: The Beginning.” The author of the book, Joseph Matheny, is coy as to whether he intended the work as fact or fiction. “The split between who believes the book is fiction vs. nonfiction is pretty even,” he has said. Some claim that the book is pure fantasy, and has set up a hoax that many have come to accept as real.

According to Matheny’s history, the Moorish Orthodox Church of America was founded in the 1950’s by a group of white jazz musicians and poets who were formerly members of the Newark founded Moorish Science Temple. The members of this small sect traveled the world, learning different philosophies and spiritual practices from all different masters of the eastern world. One of these travelers was known as Wali Fard.

When Fard returned from his travels abroad in 1978, he spent all of his savings on 200 acres in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Along with a group of runaway boys from Paramus and two lesbian anarchists, he moved onto the property and formed a newer, even more exclusive sect, the Moorish Science Ashram.

Fard published a series of Xeroxed newsletters proclaiming his beliefs. Those on the fringe who had read his words began flocking to his land. Among these refugees were two scientists looked down upon for their radical views, Frank and Althea Dobbs.

The Dobbs twins were raised in Texas, among a UFO worshipping cult founded by their father. Needless to say, they were used to life on the outskirts of the mainstream. When they arrived in the Pines they set up a laboratory inside a ramshackle trailer. They began making discoveries that shook the small commune to its core.

The siblings had previously been working at Princeton, where they submitted as their PhD theses a series of equations that led to what they called “cognitive chaos.” They were dismissed from the university and found their way to the Pines. In the remote locale they were free to work further on their ideas, whether the academic establishment wanted them to or not. Their theories promoted the idea that people could tap into the unused portion of their brains and do things such as stop their aging and purge diseases from their systems. The Ashram used their research to found the Institute of Chaos Studies.

Progress occurred even quicker than the scientists involved could have predicted themselves. Within three years they had stumbled upon an extraordinary, bizarre device that came to be known as “The Gate.” This was one of a series of devices the scientists referred to as “The Egg.” They hooked people up to computers and charted their brain waves. By experimenting with sex, drugs, and other mind wave manipulators, the scientists learned how to control the chaos they found within the mind.

The fourth version of the Egg was tested on one of the Paramus runaways. When it was activated, he and the device itself disappeared. Moments later it rematerialized. The boy claimed that he had traveled to the dimension next door to ours. This was the opening of The Gate.

 

The members of the ICS had to leave their Pine Barrens compound due to a chemical spill from Fort Dix that was leaking nuclear material into the area. Instead of fleeing outward, they fled inter-dimensionally. They used the Gate to transport themselves and all of their possessions into an alternate dimension. In this dimension they still lived in Ong’s Hat, but humankind did not exist.

According to some, the experiments at Ong’s Hat led to a violent and bloody confrontation. They claim that the government got wind of the experiments being conducted at Ong’s Hat and stormed the compound there, killing seven members of the group. Some say it was Delta Force who did the killing, while others blame operatives of the Russian or Danish militaries.

Skeptics of this far-fetched tale believe that Joseph Matheny’s book “Ong’s Hat: The Beginning” is nothing more than a work of pure fiction, bolstered by an elaborate Internet hoax. Others claim that Matheny has had to hint at the book being a hoax to preserve his efforts to tell the truth and to protect his own safety.

Matheny first became involved in the Ong’s Hat saga when he posted a book catalog he had found, known as the “Incunabula Catalog,” on BBS and FTP systems around the Internet at the turn of the 90’s. Then he produced one of the essays reviewed in this catalog. From there he claimed to have interviewed one of the physicists mentioned in these papers, as well as the original author of the book catalog he had posted. These four documents make up what are known as the “Incunabula Papers.” It is somewhat unclear as to whether there ever was any documentation of these alleged events other than the ones that Matheny “found” and posted himself.

So was Ong’s Hat ever the home of a mysterious cult of science nerds, or is this inter-dimensional Gate merely one of the earliest known Internet hoaxes? Whatever the case may be, the story of Ong’s Hat is truly a bizarre one, and believed to be more fact than fiction by more than just a few sci-fi fanatics.

http://weirdnj.com/stories/ongs-hat/

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This Internet story is only an excerpt of the information we have published on this subject. For the full story we suggest you refer to past issues of Weird NJ Magazine.  To keep up to date on this story and all the other weird goings on in the state subscribe to Weird NJ and we’ll deliver it to your door. If your local book seller, newsstand or convenience store doesn’t carry Weird NJ, just tell them to call us toll free at 1-866-WEIRDNJ and we’ll be happy to stock your favorite store for you.

Legend Tripping and the Search for Ong’s Hat Reviewed in Folklore Volume 124, Issue 2, 2013

Óli Gneisti Sóleyjarson Technilcal College of fHafnarfjordur, Iceland

Folklore Volume 124, Issue 2, 2013

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The Hat, The Egg & the Chaos (Ong’s Hat: Hidden History or Piney Mythology)

The Hat, The Egg & the Chaos

Ong’s Hat: Hidden History or Piney Mythology

“…to vanish without having to kill yourself may be the ultimate revolutionary act…” The Sacred Jihad of Our Lady of Chaos

“..That story again! Man, that’s old hat..” …some Buddtown local

I remember 1978. I was an eight year old boy, in Brooklyn, where Avenue H meets Kings Highway. After battling my older brothers for the last bowl of Cap’t Crunch’s Peanut Butter Crunch, I’d settle in front of the tube for my all-time favorite morning show, (and still today – now owning all three seasons on DVD), Sid & Marty Kroft’s Land of the Lost. Kid TV shows of the 70′s were especially wrought with invasive weirdness; New Zoo Revue, The Magic Garden, The Patchwork Family…OH! and GIGGLESNORT HOTEL!! (what the F#@K was that about?) But Land of the Lost, for me, was the Led Zeppelin IV of children shows.

Continue reading The Hat, The Egg & the Chaos (Ong’s Hat: Hidden History or Piney Mythology)

A Hat, a Hut, or a Tavern: The Tale of Ong’s Hat

By Ben Ruset on NJPinebarrens

It all started with a road map of New Jersey. A little north of the Red Lion Circle, in the heart of the Burlington County Pine Barrens, the map depicted a tiny hamlet marked with the unusual name of “Ongs Hat.” In the early 1930s, Henry Charlton Beck, a reporter with the Camden Courier Post, became curious. After convincing his editor that a story could be found there, he and a photographer packed up a car and set off to investigate.[1] Little did he know that his explorations at Ongs Hat, and a succession of later voyages to mysterious places in the hinterlands of New Jersey, would inspire generations of other “lost town hunters” –pouring over ancient maps, exploring dismal cellar holes in the middle of nowhere, and sharing their discoveries with one another – first by telephone and letter and presently through online forums.

Continue reading A Hat, a Hut, or a Tavern: The Tale of Ong’s Hat

Ong’s Hat Ashram Remnants?

We were told to look at this map to see a strange egg shaped ridge which some locals swear is the remnants of the old Ong’s Hat Ashram. Sure enough, there it is. Spooky!

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=39.922524,-74.665103&spn=0.010038,0.022724&t=h&z=16&source=embed

Ref: http://incunabula.org/2012/09/ongs-hat-ashram-remnants/

The Surprising Online Life of Legends – Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat

A very interesting article/review of Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education: Now, from the you-can-learn-something-new-every-day files, comes Michael Kinsella’s Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat.

Read it here: http://chronicle.com/blogs/pageview/the-surprising-online-life-of-legends/29221

From the article:

The response of Joseph Matheny to Legend-Tripping Online suggests the success of Kinsella’s read on the Incunabula Papers. On his Web site, Matheny wrote that Kinsella “did an excellent job and only missed the mark with two or three of his conclusions,” which Matheny said he would clear up by writing a complementary account.

Continue reading The Surprising Online Life of Legends – Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat

Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat

Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat

My review: I was expecting to hate this book, but I didn’t. Michael Kinsella did an excellent job and only missed the mark with two or three of his conclusions. Of course, this is forgivable since he wasn’t in possession of all of the facts from behind the scenes. As a remedy to those few slight errors, and in interest of keeping the record straight I will issue a free companion guide to this book in a few weeks.  Since the book is primarily about myself, my friends, my project and my methods, I do admit to being  somewhat close to the subject.  However,what colors my decision to release the guide is simply that I’d like the record to be as clear as possible if this is to become a subject of “study” by academia.

Other than a few forgivable gaffs (and I do mean a very few), this book is quite enjoyable, insightful and entertaining.  I’m glad someone in academia was able to decipher many of the the objectives and methodologies of this project and I highly recommend it (with the soon to be released companion guide, of course).  If you choke at the price of $55 USD, you may want to wait for the paperback (if they publish one) or the inevitable ePub that’s sure to show up in the wild. (added 8-12-11: Looks like it showed up on Google Books.)

Continue reading Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat

Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat Review for Fortean Times

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As is the custom with “conspiracy/paranormal” types, this article tells you to dismiss the “Ong’s Hat” project (the subject of the book) as “a post modern art project” and a “prank”. I was thinking the other day about this kind of attitude and recalled someone once expressing disappointment that Incunabula: Ong’s Hat was JUST ART, which was pronounced with a dismissive sneer. Are you as puzzled and even slightly disturbed as I am by the statement and/or attitude that something is MERELY ART ? Well, each to his/her own I guess.

Anyway, here’s the review, for what it’s worth.  It’s the first “sort of negative” review  of “Legend Tripping” I’ve seen to date and mostly the  reviewer just wants to snark on Ong’s Hat.

Of course, this is a review from a non-academic source, by a non-academic conspiranoia type,  about an academic subject, so the expectation bar should be low to begin with. 😀

I remember the days when Fortean Times was a publication with a healthy skeptical bent,  but like so many other institutions, it seems to have been overrun by “believers”, who of course will expend a lot of energy and spittle protesting such an accusation.

pdficon_largeFortean-Times – June-2012-Ongs-Hat

 

Free Versions of Ong’s Hat: Incunabula

Disclaimer: While I am quite proud of the framework I created to deliver the OH story (as outlined here, here, here and other places) I can no longer endorse some of the ideas used in the actual story content (co-created) or some views held by some of the people behind those ideas. I’ll leave it at that  since I also despise gossip and those that traffic in it. This is not intended as Internet drama. I merely leave this as a historical record.

 

Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat Reviewed by The Journal of Folklore Research

From The Journal of Folklore Research

Reviewed by David J. Puglia, The Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg

In a day and age when legends are as likely to be transmitted online as they are face-to-face, folklorists have begun assessing how our established concepts apply to the digital realm. The convergence of different forms of media has increasingly diminished the traditional boundaries between folk and popular culture and the digital and analog world. If the legend continues to thrive under these new conditions, folklorists will want to determine how the closely related legend-trip has similarly transitioned to the online environment.

Continue reading Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat Reviewed by The Journal of Folklore Research

OTHER WORLD RADIO

I’ll be on OTHER WORLD RADIO tonight at 8pm PST

OTHER WORLD RADIO
with Sandra D. Sabatini, Host
www.OtherWorldRadio.ning.com
Show starts USA: 11PM EDT USA / 10PM CDT / 9PM MST / 8PM PDT
Overseas listeners please check for your local time difference at: http://www.WorldTimeEngine.com/

 

IF YOU MISSED THE SHOW AN ARCHIVE IS HERE

Ong’s Hat eBook Now on iTunes

Ong’s Hat: The Beginning is now available on iTunes for your iPad, iPhone and other ePub compliant readers. It is reasonably priced at$4.99 USD.

I will also be releasing an official audiobook through Audible.com later this year.

All this is in preparation for a new Ong’s  Hat spin-off novel (a sort of meta-sequel) that is in the works for release early next year.

In the meantime, enjoy the “beginning” in your favorite format.

Get it here

Monoskop Log reblog – Michael Kinsella: Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat (2011)

Sourcehttp://monoskop.org/log/?p=8717

On the Internet, seekers investigate anonymous manifestos that focus on the findings of brilliant scientists said to have discovered pathways into alternate realities. Gathering on web forums, researchers not only share their observations, but also report having anomalous experiences, which they believe come from their online involvement with these veiled documents. Seeming logic combines with wild twists of lost Moorish science and pseudo-string theory. Enthusiasts insist any obstacle to revelation is a sure sign of great and wide-reaching efforts by consensus powers wishing to suppress all the liberating truths in the Incunabula Papers (included here in complete form).

In Legend-Tripping Online, Michael Kinsella explores these and other extraordinary pursuits. This is one of the first books dedicated to legend-tripping, ritual quests in which people strive to explore and find manifest the very events described by supernatural legends. Through collective performances, legend-trippers harness the interpretive frameworks these stories provide and often claim incredible, out-of-this-world experiences that in turn perpetuate supernatural legends.

Legends and legend-tripping are assuming tremendous prominence in a world confronting new speeds of diversification, connection, and increasing cognitive load. As guardians of tradition as well as agents of change, legends and the ordeals they inspire contextualize ancient and emergent ideas, behaviors, and technologies that challenge familiar realities. This book analyzes supernatural legends and the ways in which the sharing spirit of the Internet collectivizes, codifies, and makes folklore of fantastic speculation.

Publisher University Press of Mississippi, 2011
ISBN 1604739843, 9781604739848
208 pages

  • review (Peter Monaghan, Chronicle of Higher Education)
  • review (David J. Puglia, Journal of Folklore Research)
  • review (Óli Gneisti Sóleyjarson, Folklore)
  • Legend tripping at Wikipedia

publisher
google books

Download
Download (alt link)

THE BUSINESS OF STORYTELLING: PRODUCTION OF WORKS, POACHING COMMUNITIES, AND CREATION OF STORY WORLDS

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THE BUSINESS OF STORYTELLING: PRODUCTION OF WORKS, POACHING COMMUNITIES, AND CREATION OF STORY WORLDS
by Bakioglu, Burcu S., Ph.D., INDIANA UNIVERSITY, 2009, 402 pages; 3373494

Accepted by the Graduate Faculty, Indiana University, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

pdficon_largeA paper [PDF] that uses copious quotes from This is Not a Game: A Guide to Alternate Reality Gaming and has  section about the Ong’s Hat project.

Abstract:

My study is an analysis of the divergent ways the materiality of works affect the process of meaning-making across various media and investigates how it influences the production of works. A work born in media convergence inevitably elicits hybrid forms of story-telling that offer immersive and interactive environments in which users are expected to perform certain activities. In such an environment, I argue that storytelling becomes a collaborative, and more importantly, a participatory process. My dissertation, ultimately, interrogates the nature of performativity and collaboration in works that extend across various media. I develop the model of performative narratives to refer to works that encourage and rely on such activities for the formation of their texts, such as experimental novels, YouTube videos, Alternate Reality Games, and multi-user virtual environments that are based on user-generated content such as Second Life. As such, my study investigates how works become sites of struggle because the stories that they narrate are in a state of constant negotiation between its producers/creators, the medium of the work, and the communities that these works mobilize.


Now see me blather and spew on Kindle as well!

Just an update: Some titles I wrote and/or contributed to are now available on Kindle.

Ong’s Hat Chapter from This is Not a Game: PDF

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Incunabula OriginalsOng’s Hat Chapter from This is Not a Game

Scans of the original mail-art version of the Incunabula: Ong’s Hat documents: PDF

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Incunabula Originals Incunabula Originals Scans as a PDF

 

Mail Culture and Historical notes: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:

High Weirdness by Mail
Factsheet Five
Fringeware Review and many others

Historical Notes

Dear DW,

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.

Additional Notes: 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.

Ruins Left Behind by the California Travel Cult: Incunabula- Ong’s Hat

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Recently I found myself in the northern California town of San Jose on business. Looking at the map I realized that I was only minutes away from the infamous Santa Cruz mountain region. On a lark I decided to drive my rental car up and see if I could scout any of the infamous travel cult sites. If you remember from the Incunabula
catalog, page  67 in Ong’s Hat: The Beginning,  it is stated that Nick Herbert came into contact with a California Travel Cult while writing Faster than Light. In Advances in Skin Science (pg. 109) and in a later video document, a Travel Cult is said to reside near Boulder Creek, California, which is in the center of a large wilderness area known as Big Basin.

Taking highway 9 out of Los Gatos I ventured into this wilderness area and eventually came across the town of Boulder Creek. The first thing I saw upon arriving in the city limits was none other than Adelita’s Mexican Cantina, the place that is noted as the spot of both interviews.

Pulling over I intended to take a picture but noticed that my disposable camera only had 11 pictures left on the roll so I decided to wait and see if anything better presented itself. If not I planned to snap a picture of Adelita’s on the way back out. Before you ask, I did check around the town to see if I could buy another disposable camera somewhere but it was Sunday and they seemed to have rolled the sidewalks up. I guess that’s the perils of a small mountain town. I asked around at the diner and a person or two actually knew Nick but didn’t know where he lived or at least they weren’t telling me.
pdficon_largePt. 1 of story with pictures The mysterious shacks

pdficon_largePt. 2- Ruins found in the Santa Cruz Mountains Down the hillside from the shacks
Showed signs of recent “ceremonial” activity with small stone piles and incense ashes.

What Really, Really, Really Happened at Ongs Hat?-DarkPlanet

“Note: This is just an opinion piece based on vague feelings, concepts and ideas with no foundation in reality. I cant back up one shred of what Im talking about here. In the end Im just talking out of my ass. Read at your own discretion”By: Denny Unger

What really did happen at Ong’s Hat and has this just been one gigantic experiment in behavioral-belief system modification? We have asked the question many times and more recently we were given “another” answer (Sort of):

8/9/01

Open letter to conspiracy community

Nick and I decided today to publicly announce in the near future that the Ong’s Hat Project has now concluded. We will be contacting Peter L. Wilson as well and see if he’d like to make a statement. I think it would still make a good book from a cultural anthropology perspective, your call.

My program has finished running and I am being recalled from duty. I think we were successful in laying the groundwork for the coming change. The gateways are open now.

I am glad to finally be myself again: 7:37 PM PST.

PS: This is not a joke.

The Real Joe Matheny

AKA/ Michael Kelly

And one final statement:

8/14/01

Ong’s Hat Tantric Egg Research Center
was a necessary ruse for deflecting
attention from our real project–
to open up your conduits, brother and sisters,
to rip off the confining condom of language and
to Fuck Nature Unprotected.
Doctor Jabir
Public Relations
Quantum Tantra
Huh? I think I was mind controlled…
What eBook?
Joseph Matheny
Incunabula Research Center
Fuck Off!
Peter L. Wilson
AKA
Hakim Bey
Don’t, don’t!
Don’t unplug me!
EmoryBot 3.0
(unplugged)
Permission to repost
Copyleft 2001

The Analysis of an Idiot

So what are we to make of these obviously humorous final statements from Joseph Matheny and friends? Well, I think the implied message is that Ong’s Hat/Incunabula was an experiment in messing with belief systems, culture jamming or whatever term suits your mood. Of course this is not an obvious assumption but with very little research you find that this is implied heavily.

It would seem that humour was used as a device to invalidate Ong/Inc as quickly and efficiently as possible. Guess what?…It worked! Strangely enough the vast majority of “Eggheads” accepted these scant comments and moved along. For such a long running , multi-faceted, controversial conspiracy don’t you find it odd how silently it ended? A whimper, a quiet breeze, an utterly boring ending to a fantastic, expansive story.

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.

A portion of the population just wont “get” the Incunabula and will pass it off as”that weird web thing” but some are captured by it, obsessed by it’s mystery. This obsession generally lasts until that person has extracted whatever meaning is vital to them from the story. There is also another class of Incunabula explorer. This person extends beyond the initial obsession and begins to see a larger picture by piecing together seemingly unrelated bits of information. What this person also sees is a series of carefully constructed tests designed to filter out certain personality types and draw in successful “candidates”.

A grand picture of the Incunabula evolves. It all seems very reminiscent of cult like initiations but very different in the sense that they are looking for a very unique personality type. A person who is hedonistic, open minded but skeptical, spiritual, scientifically minded, creative, free spirited, educated, critical. Not the typical initiate of your standard cult. I can break the apparent process down in five simple steps:

  1. Create a interactive medium that immerses the public in an addictive, tantalizing story but keep the content restricted to certain personality types. Reveal concepts and ideas that generally represent your beliefs.
  2. Along the way, feed this portion of the public information which may or may not be true about the story. (Filtration of the idiots)
  3. Those that breach the truths and untruths may pass to the next level of information. Introduce more directed and personal information. Once again reveal accurate and inaccurate information. (Further idiot filtration)
  4. As this select group narrows, inject information that more specifically reveals their personal belief systems, ideals, goals.
  5. If the users ideals, beliefs and goals have been properly modified by the process or the user already fits the mold, those persons are then accepted into the “fold”.

So what is the “Fold” all about any ways? Well…You got me, I never made it that far therefore I fit into the “idiot” category. lol. The bottom line here is that I’m not sure what lies beyond door number 2 in this complex game called Incunabula. This brings me back to the final statements voiced by Joseph and his crew. If this really is some kind of recruiting program then the question becomes: why the sudden sabotage? I can think of many reasons why it was time to end it but here’ s my top three:

  1. Sorry…No new members permitted. Were all full up! Fuck off!
  2. Jeez…People really are stupid. I quit!
  3. Times up. Time to leave this stinking hole we call Earth before it’s to late. “Pack your bags Sally, were goin to Java 2…YEEEHAAA!”

Personally like number 3 the best as it brings the story to a much more appropriate close.

Mastebatory Q and A

So…Is Ong’s Hat/Incunabula a bunch of lies?

  • YES and NO. It’s both and its designed that way for a reason.

Do parallel universe exist?

  • Incunabula aside there is more evidence every year to support this theory by actual scientists, so YES!

Does Ong’s Hat exist?

  • YES. Ong’s Hat was an actual town and it is an actual place on our actual planet we call Earth.

Did Hippies in Airstream trailers live there?

  • I have no idea and as far as I know not one person has a shred of evidence to back up that one.

Do travel egg’s exist?

  • From my own research I can tell you that these egg’s do exist but I’m not sure if they “travel” very far. I would guess that the travel experienced by the user is closer to a intense drug trip than a trip to Java 2. You could call them training pods.

Is this group travelling to parallel worlds?

  • At the risk of sounding like a fool (too late) my gut instinct tells me against all rational thought that these people are travelling to parallel worlds. How do they travel to other worlds? My feeling is that (And I can’t prove one word of it) this is accomplish by a mixture of methods: Technology, Magik, sex, drugs and good times all around.

This is the End. Beautiful friend the end.

This little rant of mine is really for my own sake. A chance to let off Ong/Inc steam and let it all come out. Does this mean that what I am saying is the “Truth”? That depends on how you view truth I suppose. This was my “long time coming” commentary on the meaning of it all. Not a collection of research links but an impression of the extended moment. I have talked uncountable hours with those involved (on all fronts), I have read the boards, ingested the slander, followed the bread crumbs and experienced the strangeness of synchronicity and chaotic destiny. I have come to my own conclusions as you all have and I am satisfied with the mystery. The bottom line here is that Ong’s Hat/Incunabula may be dead in the eyes of many but there are still those of us who play the game. Not to validate the elusive but to simply play.

Denny Unger

Ong’s Hat Ashram Survivors?

harrisville-dscf0063-520x245

Joseph Matheny speaks to “Rupert” and “Abel” about their alleged upbringing in the Ong’s Hat Ashram and their witnessing of the alleged delta force raid.

pdficon_largeOng’s Hat Survivors: Interview Transcript (PDF)

 

Ong's Hat Ashram Survivors: Audio Ong’s Hat Ashram Surivors Interview: Audio

Joseph Matheny’s Journal: The Emory Cranston Interview

This material is also available in tablet and ebook reader friendly formats at Archive.org , Smashwords and as a Kindle version on Amazon.com Cranston also gave one more interview to a Greek magazine in 2002, archived here.


Cranston 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)

Advances in Skin Science: Quantum Tantra An Interview with Nick Herbert by Joseph Matheny

This material is also available in tablet and ebook reader-friendly formats at Archive.org , Smashwords and as a Kindle version on Amazon.com

Also see: 2019- Scientific American: Chasing the Quantum Tantra
Hippy physicist Nick Herbert pursues a lifelong love affair with nature

This interview also appeared in Boing-Boing  11  when it was still a print zine in 1993.


 

adelitasAdvances 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

Journal entry:

October 13,1992

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.”