Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Mystery of Ong's Hat

In New Jersey's famed desolate Pine Barrens there is a town, which is little more than a ghost town, like many of the towns in the Pines. This particular town is called Ong's Hat. There is a story that one of the chief proponents, a Joseph Matheny now says was a hoax. The story is this. In the eighties there was a small ashram located in the woods near Ong's Hat where a mysterious cult of people lived and worked. They were mainly mystics, hippies, and Princeton physicists. They allegedly achieved trans-dimensional travel using psychedelic drugs, quantum mechanical formulae and biofeedback, and left this universe for brighter pastures. A few years later, a mysterious xeroxed catalog, called the Incunabula Catalog circulated, claiming to sell the books and articles that the travel cult used for their inter-dimensional travel. The documents can be found here:

Another website, which claims that Matheny claiming hoax was in fact a hoax:

The Ong's Hat Travel Cult makes more than a cameo in A Dancer in the Infinite, which includes fictionalized accounts of these true facts:

My grandfather had a copy of the original 1990/1991 Incunabula Catalog. Prior to that. In 1986 I spent a week at Bodine Field in the Pine Barrens. When my grandfather picked me up he took me down all kinds of dirt roads and by an encampment of tents and trailers. The people waved and said, "Hi, Frank" to him. He waved back and said hello. I asked him who these people were and he said, friends of mine from Princeton. I believe that may well have been the Ong's Hat ashram.

There's nothing left of the ashram today. But, there's always weird shit going down in the Pine Barrens. And a sense that anything is possible still permeates the area around Ong's Hat.

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