Thursday, January 21, 2010

Aliens! Desert! California!

I want to visit the Integratron! And it's all because of someone in my documentary class, whose name I can't now remember, who brought it up. How can I not have heard of the Integratron!

According to its website, the Integraton is " an acoustically perfect tabernacle and energy machine sited on a powerful geomagnetic vortex in the magical Mojave Desert." Van  I've never even been, but I already want to write about it--like the Salton Sea, it's one of those places that, well, if I could kind of understand it and write about it, then I feel I might understand something essential about Southern California. The history, briefly:

George Van Tassel was an aeronautical engineer and test pilot who worked for Lockheed, Douglas Aircraft and alongside Howard Hughes at Hughes Aviation. After retiring from his aviation career, Van Tassel and is family moved to a place called Giant Rock--a 7-story high, freestanding boulder--in the Mojave Desert near Landers, California, where they opened an airport and restaurant.

Van Tassel initially learned about the rock from a prospector and desert dweller named Frank Critzer, who had created a cave-like dwelling under the boulder. Because Critzer was a prospector, he always had a lot of dynamite, and one day he died in an explosion. Van Tassel eventually acquired the land surrounding the boulder from the Bureau of Land Management, and went on running the airport and the cafe.

Until....he began hosting/conducting meditation sessions in 1953 in the rooms underneath Giant Rock, which "led to UFO contacts and finally to an actual encounter with extra-terrestrials when, in August of that year, a saucer landed from the plant Venus, woke Van Tassel up and invited him onto the ship. There the aliens gave him the technique for rejuvenating living cell tissues."

Aliens! Desert! California! Prospectors! Meditation meetings! Men in the aeronautics industry! Huge boulders! UFO conventions that were eventually held at Giant Rock! The word on the street that Giant Rock was a sacred site for the Native American people(s) who originally lived in the area! The weird utopian, anti-government, anti-tax subtext of so much UFO literature!

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