Founded in 1954 by aeronautical engineer and ufologist George Van Tassel, the Integratron offers something called a “sound bath”, and though we were not quite sure what a “sound bath” would entail, we were pleasantly surprised to find that while the energy vortex may not have been rejuvenating our poor abused livers, the experience was indeed quite relaxing. For 30 minutes, our host “Tron” played varying tones on a set of quartz crystal singing bowls as we meditated, listened to each other breathe, cough, and in some cases, nap.
As it turns out, Van Tassel was not your run-of-the-mill UFO-chasing desert eccentric. An aeronautical engineer and test pilot who worked for both Lockheed and alongside Howard Hughes at Hughes Aviation, he moved to the Mojave Desert in 1947 to operate an airport and inn.
It was there that he claimed to be contacted telepathically by the Venusians, who were entrusting to him the secrets of cell rejuvenation. Acting on these instructions, Van Tassel began building the Integratron, a 38 ft. high dome inspired by Moses’ Tabernacle and the writings of Tesla. While not the rejuvenation center and time machine that Van Tassel had intended, it is does serve as the only all-wood, acoustically perfect sound chamber in the U.S.
According to Van Tassel, the site of the Integratron is actually a magnetic vortex, an intersection of geometric forces that would amplify energy required for human cell rejuvenation and healing. All that was needed to harness this great gift to the human race was a geometrically suitable channel for the energy to flow through. The 50 ft. in diameter parabolic dome was designed to focus that energy, much like it focuses sound, toward the center with it’s spherical shape.
Not meeting the standards of life-saving rejuvenation chamber just yet, the Integratron still serves a purpose as a meditation spot, event location, and unusual desert stop to feel closer to our Venusian friends in the stars. Outside of the dome itself there is a dry garden with a clump of hammocks serving as “Hammock Village”, and tons of interesting folk art and alien-themed knick-knacks such as the “Alien Clings to Rock” piece you see here.
To enjoy our sound bath, we found a blanket or yoga mat and claimed a spot in the circle, feet facing out. Our host described how the sound chamber works, and demonstrated how if we heard someone breathing or coughing as if they were right next to our ear, it was actually the person directly across from us on the other side of the dome. After a unusually long and stern warning regarding snoring during the bath, we closed our eyes as our host played the singing bowls. Bending the sound in ways that made it feel like it was coming in and out of our heads in waves, the intense sound was both soothing and unsettling. There was surprisingly a lot of snoring, and the earlier warning no longer seemed frivolous. After 30 minutes of hypnotic sound, we felt refreshed and ready to take on the rest of our desert adventure.
Photos by Ryan Swift & Rachel James
DO IT YOURSELF
The Integratron is located in Landers, CA. They offer walk in self-guided tours, but you must call ahead and make an appointment for docent tours and sound baths. See their website for more info.