New Jersey March 27, 2018
Most People Have Long Forgotten About This Vacant Ghost Town In Rural New Jersey
New Jersey is home to numerous mining and milling ghost towns, several of which are well preserved and open to the public. This rural ghost town isn’t one of those. Little remains, other than the stories. Most aren’t even familiar with the strange tales surrounding an area they drive past on a daily basis. Now’s a great time to learn about a Garden State legend!
Ong's Hat is an unincorporated community in Pemberton Township.
Located in the Pine Barrens, there are several stories about how this town got its name. Some say a man named Jacob Ong threw his hat into the air out of frustration, at which point it became stuck in a tree. More likely, the town was originally named Ong's Hut after a way station/rest area along a grain transportation route.
The area can be seen on maps dating back centuries; pictured is a map from 1778. Legend says that the town had just a handful of houses, along with a thriving dance hall. However, industry left the area and Ong's Hut/Ong's Hat slowly became abandoned.
The last resident left the town in 1936, but not before some strange disappearances.
A Polish immigrant, John Chininiski, and his wife lived in the area. She disappeared without a trace, and shortly after he went missing as well. Years later, a single skeleton was found in the woods nearby. Could it have been hers? If not, who did the body belong to?
But the story gets even stranger...
According to an urban legend (and a handful of conspiracy theorists), Ong's Hat contains a portal to another dimension. Disgraced Princeton professors, mocked for their quantum physics theories, fled to the area in the 1970s. They are said to have discovered the secret of inter-dimensional travel.
This legend first sprung up in the 1980s, circulating around online bulletin boards. It was actually one of the earliest online conspiracy theories and eventually inspired a book. Or, perhaps, the book inspired the legend?
The book, titled "Ong's Hat: The Beginning," claims that the area had cult ties and was the site of a bloody standoff between the U.S. government and cult members responsible for creating the portal. The portal was accessible via "the egg," a sensory deprivation device combined with brain wave manipulators (like drugs) that could unleash the full power of the mind. Those who survived the raid now live in an alternate dimension, similar to Earth.
While I may not be a believer, this story is certainly interesting. Buy the book online to learn more and keep an open mind. After all, if any state had an inter-dimensional portal, it would be New Jersey. Simply because our state is out of this world! Bad puns aside, this is certainly one of the strangest stories surrounding a New Jersey ghost town, but I’d love to hear yours. Share your favorite legends/conspiracy theories in the comments.
For more on the ghost town of Ong’s Hat, check out the short video below:
To learn more about New Jersey Pinelands legends, check out
this spooky article!