Ong's Hat

Ong's Hat

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.



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]


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


  1. ^ a b Kinsella, Michael (2011). Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat. University Press of Mississippi. 
  2. ^ Aspray, William. The Princeton Mathematics Community in the 1930s, Transcript Number 41(PMC41) . The Trustees of Princeton University, 1985

Further reading

  • Matheny, Joseph (1999). The Incunabula Papers: Ong's Hat and Other Gateways to New Dimensions. Santa Cruz: iMMERSION. ISBN 0-9674890-1-6. [unreliable source?]
  • Matheny, Joseph (2002). Ong's Hat: The Beginning. New York: Sky Books. ISBN 0-9678162-2-X. 

External links

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