The Integratron – George Van Tassel
Legendary among sci-fi aficionados, George Van Tassel was a man of many things. An extraterrestrial contactee, aeronautics engineer, pilot, mechanic, Architect, researcher, prominent ufologist, author, and perhaps most importantly – the creator of The Integratron.
After gaining his pilot’s license, Van Tassel entered the aviation industry in 1927, first with Douglas Aircraft, then with Hughes and Lockheed. His work eventually brought him to Southern California; In 1947 quit his job, bought the land around Giant Rock (one the world’s largest free-standing boulders) and moved his family there, eventually creating a small airport and café.
In 1953, 40 desolate miles due north of Palm Springs and living (literally) under Giant Rock, he awoke one night to find a strange man standing at the foot of his bed. “Beyond the man, about a hundred yards away, hovered a glittering, glowing spaceship, seemingly hovering about eight feet off the ground.” Wearing a grey one-piece bodysuit, the scout ship captain introduced himself in English as Solganda from the planet Venus and invited Van Tassel to board his ship; it’s here where he divulged the secrets of telepathy, immortality, and the schematics to build the Integratron.
“The armature, 55 feet in diameter, has been the most difficult part of this whole project. Requirements for anti-friction, expansion and contraction from heat and cold, and wet and dry conditions, have made this armature a mechanical wonder. Four times larger in diameter than the largest armature ever built, it floats on 16 Teflon-bearing blocks, which are supplied with compressed air to “float” the armature on air. One-hundred and twenty pounds of air in each bearing block literally floats this 1,700 Pound spinner. The 64 Aluminum collectors are about to be mounted on the spinner.”
- George Van Tassel
Compelled to build the tabernacle via instructions from a man that came out of the sky, The Integratron was to be an electromagnetism structure for scientific research into time, anti-gravity and extending human life. Built partially upon the research of Nikola Tesla, The white wood-domed structure sits four stories high and 55 feet in diameter, just off Twentynine Palms Highway in Landers, California about an hour north of Palm Springs. Using money from his UFO conventions and a space-themed newsletter, Van Tassel worked for more than 20 years on the Integratron until his heart attack death in 1978, just weeks before it was scheduled for its first test run.
In 1957, Van Tassel broke ground on the Integratron; the all-wood structure with a copper coil at its centre was designed to harness electromagnetic energy to create a bathlike field of negative ions. The aim of the device, in theory, was so that when a person walked through the building, they would emerge from the other side 20 to 30 years younger.
Architecturally it is quite phenomenal. The upper level is a dome of all exposed wood. Solganda told him not to use any metal in the construction. The design is based on an aircraft fuselage. It’s a hemispherical umbrella dome made of Glulam ribs connected with wooden dowels. There is a 1.5 ton concrete and Micarta non-metallic oculus made by Westinghouse for aerospace use. It’s an immaculately preserved artifact of midcentury modernist design, and a totem of 1950s U.F.O.-ology culture.
The Extraordinary Equation of George Van Tassel. June 18, 1964. KVOS Channel 12 Films.
Giant Rock Interplanetary Spacecraft Convention
Much of Tassel’s notoriety was from hosting the annual Giant Rock Interplanetary Spacecraft Convention for over 20 years. The Mojave Desert was a mecca for believers in extraterrestrial visitors. 2 days of galactic love, universal brotherhood and eternal life. The event’s promise of an open forum for claims about curious contacts from space attracted a number of the early Space Brothers devotees, including Daniel Fry, Howard Menger, Orfeo Angelluci, Truman Bethurum, Dana Howard, and Gabriel Green, and even inspired one contactee, Wayne Sulo Aho, who claimed to have been contacted while attending the 1957 convention. In its heydays, these gatherings attracted an estimated 11,000 people.