Transgressive Storytelling


Who Authored the John Titor Legend?
In the year 2000, a man calling himself John Titor introduced himself to the Internet as a time traveler from the year 2036. He weaved a rich tale of being sent back to 1975 to retrieve an IBM 5100 computer. Those who interacted with John were impressed by the depth and apparent realism of his story. In the years that followed select details would emerge to help further legitimize John Titor. The question of whether or not John Titor was a real-time traveler remains a subject of contentious debate. This book sets that question aside to examine several figures who may be responsible for the posts. Among the principal suspects are entertainment lawyer Larry Haber and alternate reality gaming pioneer Joseph Matheny. Key players involved in the John Titor phenomenon who are not suspected of authoring the story are also profiled. These include a Ph.D. who filed a patent based on John Titor’s time machine schematics, an Internet sleuth called The Hoax Hunter who has worked to debunk the story, and even Art Bell, the legendary late night radio host who received several faxes from John Titor.

Funny thing, I don’t recall being interviewed or contacted about this. LOL. Because I WASN’T. Modern so-called “journalism” I guess.

The Gamecaller
Not written by me, but ebook created and distributed by me with the permission of Tobe Terrell.

Third Realm (The Yellow King)
Written and executed by me, produced in conjunction with Foolish People

My first foray into the True Crime arena. Formula:  Just put up a single, spooky web page, that purports to be a recruitment drive for an organization whose actual existence is speculative at best and at worst is fiction presented as fact or paranoid, hysterical hand-waving in the interest of selling books and you will get all kinds of reactions. In all fairness, I think the theories mentioned read as good fantasy crime fiction and this was a conceptual attempt at that very thing. Apparently, it succeeded. The unnerving side of this was the equal amount of applications I received asking to join (Really? Join a group of underground serial killers? Really?) or outright death threats by people who really believe in such things.   (Someone summed it up pretty well in this article from The Fenris Wolf)

 Fenris Wolf the-fenriswolf-iss-no-4-pp-87-116

El Centro & OMEGA
This was an ARG/Transmedia style story with occult/horror/conspiracy elements, started in 2004 and ended in 2006. It utilized Web, print (booklet), radio, phone trees, theater and newswire services. [A version of the doughnut shop scene from this story was used in Amsterdam production of Terra: Extremitas by Foolish People.] This project was done in collaboration my late friend Dave Szulborski. There’s a LOOOOOONG story about this project. So long in fact that it will take up at least three chapters in a future book.

The Incunabula: Ong’s Hat Project
[ Reviews | Interviews, etc. | Wikipedia | History] This was an ARG/Transmedia style story started in 1988 and ended in 2001. It utilized zines, BBS, early Internet, Web, CD ROM, CD Audio, DVD, print (book, graphic novel and magazine), radio, phone trees, fax, and news wire services. I gained and leveraged exposure in both the mainstream and alternative media to distribute over 2 million copies of CD ROM, ebook and print versions of the story combined. Story elements from Ong’s Hat were also included in the EA Game,Majestic which unfortunately ended prematurely due to 9/11. It was the subject of a full 4-hour show on Coast to Coast AM, been the subject of an article on the Weekly World News and been covered on many radio shows worldwide, books, newspapers, magazines, etc.Links to media here.

Description: “…a bizarre Internet phenomenon: an “immersive” online experience—part mystery, part game, part who knows what—known as both the Incunabula Papers and Ong’s Hat. The Incunabula Papers/Ong’s Hat was, or is, a “many-threaded, open-ended interactive narrative” that ”weds an alternate history of chaos science and consciousness studies to conspiracy theories, parallel dimensions, and claims that computer-mediated environments can serve as magical tools…. the documents provoked a widespread “immersive legend-trip” in the late 1990s. Via Web forums, participants investigated the documents—manifestos—which spun up descriptions of brilliant but suppressed discoveries relating to paths that certain scientists had forged into alternate realities. Soon, those haunted dimensions existed in the minds and fantasies of Ong’s Hat’s many participants. That was evident as they responded to the original postings by uploading their own—all manner of reflections and artifacts: personal anecdotes, audio recordings, and videos—to augment what became “a really immersive world, and it was vast”. – The Chronicle of Higher Education—-

“Ong’s Hat was more of an experiment in transmedia storytelling than what we would now consider to be an ARG but its DNA – the concept of telling a story across various platforms and new media- is evident in every alternate reality game that came after.” – Games Magazine 2013

Though Ong’s Hat may not have set out to be an ARG, the methods by which the author interacted with participants and used different platforms to build and spread its legend has been reflected in later games. –Know Your Meme

The Incunabula Papers are arguably the first immersive online legend complex that introduced readers to a host of content, including what religious historian Robert Ellwood has called the “alternative reality tradition. – Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat

As a companion piece to understanding some of the history of the transmedia work that centered around Ong”s Hat you may also want to read Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat,  reviewed here.

The Incunabula Papers CDROM was recently included in the BNF (Bibliothèque nationale de France) digital art collection.

Transmedia Litany (with Genesis P’Orridge)

My idea for an Exquisite Corpse jacket blurb using faxes. (WSB missed inclusion by a day). Used on Esoterrist

Banishing Ritual (cover) with Illusion of Safety (audio here)

The Last Book



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ars est celare artem | Monty Cantsin | Luther Blisset | Reality Hacker | Artisanal Legend Crafter | Feral Scholar | Collarless Dog | Gamecaller | Mytho-Poetic Bricoleur | Labyrinthos Mythologicus Architect | Transgressive Storyteller | Caput Gerat Lupinum

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