Incunabula notes

The meaning behind the bird connection would come full circle when someone pointed out to me that the greatest bird in history was the Egyptian Phoenix who would renew itself in a funeral pyre every five hundred years. The name “Phoenix” is interesting because the Montauk Project was known as part of the Phoenix Project but more importantly, I discovered that it was also the code name Aleister Crowley used as the head of the Ordo Templi Orientis. So, my search for Wilsons led me back to Crowley again. It reaffirmed his connection and alle-gorically implied that he was in a position over all the “birds” or “aviary group”.

The above is background information and is terribly relevant my own state of consciousness when I finally received the package that Marshall Barnes had promised me months earlier. Soon after the lecture by Peter Wilson and right after my visit with Joy I received the long awaited package. Inside were some very mysterious docu-ments. First was a paper entitled “Ong’s Hat” from a certain “I? Wilson”. The first name, but not the first initial was blackened out. I would later find out that the “P.” was for Peter Lambert Wilson.

The term “Ong’s Hat” comes from a 19th century legend about a man named Ong who threw his hat up in the air and it never came down. Whether it landed in a tree or went into another world is the essence of the legend.  Ong’s Hat refers to the obscure location in the New Jersey Pine Barrens where some very secretive experiments took place that opened up a gateway to other worlds. All of this information appeared in a full color advertising brochure for the Institute of Chaos Studies and the Moorish Science Ashram in Ong’s Hat, New Jersey.

The information in this brochure centered around startling new developments in Chaos Theory that occurred during the 1970s and 1980s that placed it on a level of importance with the subjects of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. This new Chaos Theory was born out of mixing various different sciences including weather prediction, Catastrophe Theory, fractal geometry, developing computer graphics, hydraulics and fluid turbulence, evolutionary biology, mind/brain studies and psychopharmacology.

All of the above concerned progress in a field previously not contemplated by researchers in general. By the late 1980s the Chaos Movement split into two hostile factions. One school placed emphasis on chaos  itself, the other on order. The order people were known as Determinists and viewed chaos as an enemy. They interpreted the new theories as a vindication of Classical Newtonian physics.

The opposing faction experienced chaos as something benevolent. It was viewed as the necessary matrix out of which creation arises spontaneously. This is the principle of the wild which these scientists viewed as vindication of Quantum indeterminacy and the promise of an open-ended universe. Chaos was viewed as healthy.

Predictably, the Determinists won the funding and support of the government and intelligence agencies across the world. By the end of the 198Os, what was left of the Quantum/Chaos movement was forced underground after being virtually censored from prestigious scientific journals and large funding sources. Being on the edge, these dissidents found themselves part of the underground cultural chaos which included magicians, extremists and other anti-authority “mutants”.

When leading theoreticians on Quantum/Chaos began to be fired from their university and corporate positions, they continued to pursue their goals and interest.  A nebulous weave of pen-pals and computer network-ing arose. With the economic crash of 1987 happened, a vast but hard to view crack was opened in the social and economic control structures of America. Gradually these marginal characters began to fill up those fissures with a larger web of networking. Bit by bit, a genuine black economy arose along with a shifting and insubstantial but very influential “autonomous zone” which was impossible to map but real enough in its various manifestations. At this point, something began to crystallize. The influence of a New Aeon or magick in general could not be dis-counted.

In order to get additional insight into these matters, we will next consider one particular case.  In 1913, a black circus magician named Noble Drew Ali founded an Islamic heretical sect and called it the Moorish Science Temple. In the 1950s various jazz musicians and poets who belonged to this sect founded the Moorish Orthodox Church, tracing their spiritual ancestry to various “Wandering Bishops” loosely affiliated with the Old Catholic Church and schisms of Syrian Orthodoxy. In the 196Os, the Moorish Orthodox Church maintained a presence at Millbrook, New York at Timothy Leary’s commune. Several members discovered Sufism and under-took journeys to the East. One such American, Wali Fard, travelled throughout Asia and collected exotic initiations in all sorts of different schools including the tantric arts and different forms of shamanism. At the same time he engaged in his spiritual journey, he traded in carpets and other well-known Afghan exports. The Soviet invasion induced him to return to America in 1978 whereupon he laundered his savings by buying about 200 acres in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Around 1980, he moved into an old rod and gun club on the property along with  several runaway boys from Paramus, New Jersey. An anarchist lesbian couple from Brooklyn joined them and together they founded the Moorish Science Ashram.

Through the early to mid-1980’s, the communes fortunes fluctuated.  Much experimentation ensued. After the Crash of ‘87, Moors and sympathizers sought refuge at the Ashram. Among the most notable were Frank and Althea Dobbs, twin brother and sister and also chaos scientists who had been fired from Princeton University (the home of the Philadelphia Experiment). The Dobbs twins grew up on on a UFO-cult commune in Texas that was founded by their father, a retired insurance salesman who was murdered by “rogue disciples”. As undergraduates at the University of Texas, the twins had produced a series of equations which they felt contained the seeds of a new science they termed “cognitive chaos”. Their dismissal from Princeton was a result of their submitting these theorems, along with a  theoretical/philosophical system built upon them, as a joint Ph.D. thesis.

Their theory was that brain activity could be modelled as a “fractal universe” of random and determined forces interfacing. Based upon this assumption, the twins showed that consciousness itself could be presented as a set of “strange attractors” (could also be called “patterns of chaos” or “coherent units of attractions”) around which specific neuronal activity would organize itself. Keeping in mind that these attractors were not necessarily rel-egated to this dimension only, they sought patterns or “mind maps” through the actual geometry of the attractors themselves.

By grasping these shapes both intuitively and non-intuitively, one could learn to “ride with chaos” much like a lucid dreamer learns to direct the process of REM sleep. Their aborted thesis suggested a mind bog-gling array of benefits such as links between cybernetic processes and awareness itself, including exploration of the brains unused capacities, awareness of the morphogenetic field and thus conscious control of autonomic functions such as repair of tissue and aging. Their thesis advisor told them that even the most modest of their proposals would suffice for expungement from the Graduate Faculty. If the whole concept was not such obvious lunacy, he would have reported them to the FBI as well.

Two more scientists already resided at Ong’s Hat and by sheer synchronicity provided the perfect counter parts to the Dobbs twins’ research. One was an expert in computers from Britain and the other was a Pine Barrens native who was an electronics buff who had set up a machine shop. The synergy at the Institute for Chaos Studies or ICS exceeded all expectations. Contacts with other underground experts were maintained by “black modem” as well as personal visits. The environment was both scientific and natural and included a hodgepodge of Tantra, Sufism, Ismaili esotericism, alchemy, psychopharmacology, biodfeedback and brain machine meditation tech-niques. All of this harmonized beautifully with the “pure science” of the ICS. Under these conditions, progress proved amazingly swift, stunning everyone. Within a year major advances had been made in all the fields predicted by the equations. After more than three years, the major breakthrough had occurred which would reorient the entire project in a new direction: THE GATE.

The development of The Gate began with the communities concern for consciousness and the enlargement of mental, emotional and psychic activities. This began with the meditation techniques W. Fard had learned in Central Asia and the first generation psychotronic devices developed during the 1980s. Exotic pharmacology was also involved. After the first successes of the Dobbs’ research, the spiritual knowledge of the Ashram was reorga-nized into a preparatory course in “Cognitive Chaos”. All workers were trained in this and the consciousness of the community became a practical extension of the theories and community that had evolved up to that point. Thus the theorems were abstracted into literal contemplation of the community. They were one in the mind of the group and the individuals. This was all part of the process of “refining attention”. At the same time, a “psychic anchor” was constructed by means of a firm grounding in celebratory body awareness. This is through the means of the tantric arts which refers to the erotic or ensual faculties being aimed at a higher plateau. These states of ecstasy are the ground on which the sacred dance of life is performed.

There was a second course administered to the workers which involved practical instruction in the hard sciences from genetics to brain physiology, Quantum Mechanics and computers. These subjects were tailored for the relevance at hand. After this indoctrination, a fellow of the ICS was ready for a device called the “egg”. This consisted of a modified sensory deprivation chamber in which attention could be focused on a computer terminal and screen.  Electrodes were taped to various body parts to provide physiological data which was fed into the computer. The explorer would then don a highly sophisticated helmet which was a fourth generation version of the early brain machines. This could sonically stimulate brain cells either locally or globally and in various combinations, thus directing not only brain waves but also highly specific mental/physical functions. The helmet was also plugged into the computer and provided feedback in various programmed ways.

The explorer would then undertake a series of exercises in which the theorems were used to generated graphic animations of the “strange attractors” which map the various states of onsciousness. From this  setup, feedback loops were established between this “iconography” and the actual states themselves which were in turn generated through the helmet simultaneously with a representation being viewable on the computer screen. Certain exercises involved the “alchemical” use of mind active drugs (vasopressin derivatives, beta-endorphins and hallucinogens usually administered in threshold dosages).

At the outset of the entire project and despite censure from the academic community, the ICS founders realized that the Dobbs twins’ research predictions were probably cautious or conservative. Enhanced control of autonomous body functions were attained early on even down to the cellular level. Certain unexpected side effects occurred which would usually be classified as paranormal. It was no longer a question of hallucination. Measurable results were attained not only in terms of “yogic powers” (suspended animation, lucid dreaming and the like) but also in observable benefits to health like rapid healing and remission of chronic conditions.

At this point in the development of the egg (which was the third generation), the researchers attempted to “descend” to the Quantum level, They soughto reach the state of consciousness where a wave becomes a particle.  If this occurred at the moment of observation it implied that human consciousness is involved in the actual Q-structure of reality itself. They hoped to attain this by “riding the wave” in an attempt to experience (rather than observe) the wave collapse into a particle. After months of research, none of the “Quantum travellers” experienced such an occurrence. It was realized , according to J. Wheeler (of the Everett-Wheeler Hypothesis fame) that the wave function need never collapse provided that every Q-event gives rise to an alternative world (this is known to Quantum scientists as an instance of Scrodinger’s cat being both alive and dead). They decided to test this further.

A fourth generation of egg was evolved and simultaneously tested while at the same time a burst of research was carried out in the abstruse areas of Hilbert space and the topology of n-dimensional geometry on the intuitive assumption that new “attractors” could thereby be generated and used to visualize or “grok” the transitions between alternate universes. In other words, the geometry of infinite dimensions was contemplated against a scientific background so as to give the explorer a concept of an attractor that would or might lead to a transition to another dimension.

Success was attained but only after an unmatched moment of fear and panic. On the Spring Equinox, one of the original Paramus runaways named Kit did a run through. The entire egg vanished from the laboratory.  Everyone freaked out but after seven minutes, the egg reappeared with Kit beaming like the Cheshire Cat. He had succeeded in riding the wave to its “destination” - an alternate universe. He had observed it and in his words  “memorized its address”. Instinctively, Kit felt that certain dimensional universes must act as “strange attractors” in their own right and are thus far easier to access (more probable”) than others. In other words, he had not been dissolved but had found the way to a universe next door. The Gateway had been opened.

Ong’s Hat (very hard to locate) was just south of the South Jersey Nuclear Waste Dump near Fort Dix. A major nuclear accident made this obscure area even more empty and unpopular. An electrified fence now shuts off the nuclear forbidden zone and is less than a mile from the ICS area. Despite the accident, the ICS stuck it out and combatted radiation sickness with their own technology. They resolved to stay until the “authorities” proved too hot  to endure.

Once the Gate was discovered, an interdimensional doorway had been opened. A full scouting occurred in the next dimension. It was an area just like New Jersey except that the entire planet seemed never to have devel-oped human life. Little bylittle, the entire research center of the ICS was moved to the next dimension with trips back to our world. There was much dependence on creature comforts of our world and on technology like computers.

Does all of this mean that this new world must be colonized by the ICS? If so, how? Unfortunately, we are left with this question as this is where the story ends. It was presented like a New Age vacation brochure embedded with enough clues for its intended readers (who are already halfway to Ong’s Hat in any case) to follow but not enough for those of little reality or perception to follow.

This is where the brochure ended, but it is not where my story ends. In January of 1994, I was driving with Preston Nichols through the state of New Jersey. I hadn’t gotten around to copying the data on Ong’s Hat but told him a much abbreviated version of the story you have just read. He looked at me and said that he had worked there for a short period. Apparently, he had been sent to do something there from his employer on Long Island. The secret government was involved in some capacity. He also said that Duncan Cameron had worked there extensively in an activity known as Project Dreamsleep.