Twenty years ago, after our closing shifts at Tower Records in Carle Place, my coworkers and I used to drive to the tip of Long Island, arriving at Montauk Point between 1 or 2 in the morning. We did this repeatedly, ceremoniously, as we inducted new recruits. Together, we’d clutch each other while walking the pitch black path to the rocky shore, illuminated briefly and reliably by the rotating beam from the Montauk Lighthouse. The light functioned as it did for the vessels, steering us safely alongside the scary abyss of an immense dark expanse. Once within it, we would sit on the beach marveling at the stars so plentiful. We’d yell ridiculous battle cries against the lapping waves. Our restless spirits at ease and aligned in our makeshift, desperate exploration–our entrance into the dark, far from the cozy suburban world we so vehemently resented. Then… we’d drive back to our parents’ houses and go to bed. We were kids. And in these preserved parts of my kid archives, Montauk will always hold magic.
Since this time, Montauk has grown. And I have grown, the magic dulled by more practical dealings. But every once and a while, Montauk beckons again, like Clementine whispering in my ear. Of course, like visiting places held in nostalgic high regard, you kind of resent it changing, developing, welcoming the hipsters and yuppies you’d sneer at then and you sneer at now. You resent waiting in line for a downright terrible tofu scramble wrap from Joni’s. You would prefer the zero options of yesteryears to highway robbery with no public bathroom and a wrap that tastes like nothing and pees orange liquid at each bite.
But there you are again, letting yourself feel the magic within, magic you historically accredit to so many other things because it’s way more fascinating on others. And that same lighthouse sits in the same place but seems different every time you go, like it’s aging with you. And you forget the tofu wrap and the yuppies. And you feel grateful to live on the island that allows you to its very tip, surrounding you with ocean.
Over in the distance, beyond the bluff, lies Camp Hero. Now a state park and partly registered as a National Historical Site, Camp Hero used to be the Montauk Air Force Station, commissioned in the during World War II to protect New York in the case of a coastal invasion. Many of the large concrete remnants of its former life remain in the park eerily. Even more eerie are the claims of an intricate tunnel system below the park’s grounds and the most extraordinary urban legend involving government-sponsored experimentation in mind control and time travel in the 1970’s to early 80’s. [Record skips..] These long held and documented allegations make some of the most spectacular claims of conspiracy in the history of our nation.
Fascinated to all heck, I did some sleuthing and watched The Montauk Chronicles. I dug and dug into the corners of the world wide web. With a hundred and one tabs open on my browser for almost two weeks, I officially am overwhelmed with the prospect of even summarizing this theory to you. But I will try very, very briefly and invite you to dive into the dark hole of this and other such related projects and doggy-paddle through the murky layers of The United States complex history yourself. Allegedly, the “Montauk Project” was part of the Monarch Project, a CIA-created mind control program that used trauma to fragment and then program the mind of runaway or “lost” youth (Montauk Boys) deemed expendable for the purpose of experiments related to the creation of “PSY Soldiers,” specialty soldiers trained in psychic warfare between 1971 and 1983. Ok, but that’s not it. Legends alleges that these soldiers were sent on missions. And some of these missions were through “stargates” to fulfill inter-dimension/time travel with the support of alien technology, analysis of vibrational energy, and biorhythm coordinates. After the goal of widespread Illuminati-esque mind control for the masses was identified as the program goal and project members grew increasingly morally concerned, the Montauk Chair, a mental amplifier chair that had technology to download one’s thoughts, create digital representations and then project them, would help bring the end to the experimentation. After Montauk Chair test subject Duncan Cameron conjured a hairy creature (called The Beast of the Id) who attacked and destroyed parts of the base, concerned project members sabotaged equipment. The Montauk Project soon ended after these events. But with all conspiracy theories, there are many more inter-related pieces. Regardless of whether or not you believe the legend, Camp Hero is certainly a creepy place, this old S.A.G.E. radar still looming above the trees.
A fascinating stop in Montauk.
Follow some of the park’s trails and you’ll discover some beautiful places, like this view from the bluff.
Then, more creepy concrete things, sealed forever.
Sci-fi at its finest.
For more info on all of this conspiracy buiness, this Q&A is pretty thorough.
And on a lighter note, the Big Duck.