The New Jersey Pine Barrens houses dozens of long-abandoned, or barely inhabited, towns. But there’s a town in the spiraling, seemingly endless Pine Barrens that has become a bit too strange to ignore. Located on the unassuming Magnolia Road is the infamous Ong’s Hat.
In fact, Ong’s Hat was a lively town at the time, and has been on record since 1778 The name, it is believed, comes from an overnight shelter built by a farmer whose surname was Ong. There’s another wonderful folk tale, common amongst Pine Barren settlers, about the legendary Ong. The story goes: Ong had a fabulous silk hat, a luxury at the time. But, a jealous lover stomped on his hat, ruining it, and in frustration Ong tossed the elegant hat into the air, where it got caught on a very high pine branch. The hat remained there for many years and served as landmark which identified the small village. This isn’t the only version of the strange tale of Ong. Another version says Ong was a tavern keeper who either painted a silk hat on his sign or threw his hat into a tree after getting angry with a woman. The town seems to reflect the silk hat was renowned for alcohol, bootlegging, and ever prizefighting.
But, by 1936 Ong’s Hat, though still on maps, practically did not exist. By that time, nothing existed except a clearing, an abandoned shed, some crumbles of brick, and remnants of roofing that suggested houses had once been situated there.
So, what does all this have to do with other dimensions? Hold on – we’re getting to that.
Recently, “Ong’s Hat: The Beginning”, authored by Joseph Matheny, has brought the town gone in the blink of an eye back into the spotlight. Matheny does not clarify completely whether he intended the work as fact or fiction. He’s said, “The split between who believes the book is fiction versus nonfiction is pretty even.” Some claim that the book is pure fantasy, others a hoax, some folklore, and others a hint of truth.
According to Matheny’s book, the Moorish Orthodox Church of America was founded in the 1950s by a group of white jazz musicians, poets, and artists that were formerly members of the Newark-founded Moorish Science Temple. Its members traveled the world, learning philosophies and spiritual practices from all different masters of the eastern world. One of the more important travelers was Wali Fard.
When Fard finally returned home in 1978, he spent all of his savings on a large swath of land, 200 acres to be specific, in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Along with a ragtag group of runaway boys from Paramus and two lesbian anarchists, he moved onto the property and left the Moorish science Temple for an even MORE exclusive sect, the Moorish Science Ashram.
Fard then published a series of newsletters proclaiming his beliefs and those of the Moorish Science Ashram. Those on the fringe who read his words and seemed to gravitate towards him, and the Pine Barrens. Soon, he had people flocking to his land. Among these new believers were two scientists looked down upon for their radical views — Frank and Althea Dobbs.
If those names sound familiar to you budding UFOlogists, you’re not wrong. the Dobbs twins were raised in Texas in a UFO worshipping cult that was founded by their father. However, these siblings weren’t exactly something to mess with. Before the commune, both were working at Princeton where they submitted their PhD on something they called ‘cognitive chaos’.
When they finally arrived at Fard’s land in the Pine Barrens, they set up a laboratory in a trailer…and began to make discoveries that shook the commune to its very core.
In the remote locale provided by the Pine Barrens, they were free to work further on their ideas that pushed them out of the mainstream science community. So, what is ‘cognitive chaos’? Well, the Dobbs twins believed that people could tap into unused/under-used portion of their brains and do some incredible things, such as stop aging and get rid of diseases. Their research allowed the Ashram to found the Institute of Chaos Studies.
Within three years the twins, and the community at large, had stumbled upon an extraordinaryly bizarre device that came to be known as “The Gate” by the small community. This was one of a series of strange devices that the Dobbs, and others in the Institute of Chaos Studies, referred to as “The Egg.” In short, people were hooked up to computers and then their brain waves were charted. By experimenting with sex, drugs and other mind wave manipulators, the scientists learned how to control the chaos they found within the mind in hopes of being able to control it.
Multiple reiterations of the Egg were tested, but it was the fourth iteration that finally made something…’happen’. One of Fard’s Paramus runaways was the test subject. When the 4th Egg was activated, he and the device itself disappeared. Allegedly, 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’.
But on the heels of this discovery, disaster struct. The community had to leave their Pine Barrens compound due to a chemical spill from the nearby Fort Dix, which was leaking nuclear material into the surrounding area. But, instead of fleeing out of the Pine Barrens…they fled dimensions. The community used the gate to transports themselves, and all of their possessions, into an alternate dimensions. In this dimension, they claimed, they still lived in Ong’s Hat but humankind had ceased to exist.
After a return to our dimension, they claim that the government got wind of the kind of experiments being conducted at Ong’s Hat and stormed the compound there, and even killed 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.
This picture is from Flickr user Jim Luckah, and while it is not a picture of Ong’s Hat…it is a picture of the Pine Barrens, and is licensed under Creative Commons.