Ong's Hat

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This article is about a literary work. For the New Jersey Pine Barrens locality, see Ong's Hat, New Jersey.

Ong's Hat was one of the earliest internet-based secret history conspiracy theories created as a piece of collaborative fiction (aka Incunabula) by four core individuals, although the membership propagating the tale changed over time.

History[edit]

The threads of the story can be traced back as far as the 1980s on bulletin board systems, old xerox mail art networks and early zines. The aim was to create a fictional story line, and embed it in various media cultures to establish backstory. It may have started as an in-joke, or the first alternate reality game, a work of transmedia storytelling or as a memetic experiment, to see how far the meme could spread or a combination of all of the above.[1] The story eventually used print, radio, television and digital mediums (CD-ROM, DVD, Internet, BBS) in its dissemination.

The initial ground rules acknowledged the possibility that such an experiment could end up going down darker paths, and they specifically ruled out Ong's Hat being used for cult-like activity. Even though it is a fiction, the tale may be based on earlier works.[2]

Joseph Matheny was intimately involved and eventually concluded the project.[1][3] "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."[4]

Plot[edit]

The urban legend (or alternate history) states that a facility manned by renegade Princeton professors conducted quantum physics and chaos theory experiments, and according to conspiracy theories, discovered a new theory for dimensional travel using a device called The EGG. This device was to later inspire a children's TV series called Galidor to use an interdimensional travel device of the same name.[citation needed]

They were largely based in the ghost town of Ong's Hat, New Jersey, hence the name of the project.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kinsella, Michael (2011). Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong's Hat. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1604739831. 
  2. ^ Aspray, William. "The Princeton Mathematics Community in the 1930s, Transcript Number 41 (PMC41)". The Trustees of Princeton University, 1985
  3. ^ "The Ong's Hat Mystery Revealed: An Interview with Joseph Matheny". New World Disorder. Archived from the original on July 15, 2006. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  4. ^ McMahon, Chris (May 2013). "The Rise Of The ARG: games™ investigates alternate reality games and what the future has in store for the curious experiment.". Games TM 135: 88. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Matheny, Joseph (1999). The Incunabula Papers: Ong's Hat and Other Gateways to New Dimensions. California: iMMERSION. ISBN 0-9674890-1-6. 
  • Matheny, Joseph (2002). Ong's Hat: The Beginning. New York: Sky Books. ISBN 0-9678162-2-X. 
  • Szulborski, Dave (2005). This Is Not A Game: A Guide to Alternate Reality Gaming. California: Hukilau. ISBN 978-1411625952. 
  • Kinsella, Michael (2011). Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong's Hat. Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1604739831. 
  • McMahon, Chris (May 2013). "The Rise Of The ARG: games™ investigates alternate reality games and what the future has in store for the curious experiment.". Games TM 135: 88. 

External links[edit]