The desert is an unforgiving place. It has attracted the daring, the outcasts, and the visionaries for centuries. Certain souls have flocked to the desert whether called by God, aliens, the earth, or the lawless lifestyle and have miraculously adapted and flourished here. Perhaps it’s heat stroke or maybe it’s the drugs, but true geniuses thrive in the desert. The things I saw in the Southern California desert were so unexpected and alien that they seemed like a mirage.
The stark white geodesic dome, dubbed The Integratron, is easy to spot in the dusty desert landscape of Landers, California. It was constructed in 1954 by George Van Tassel (a student of Nikola Tesla) based on the directives given to him by aliens from Venus. Yes, aliens. The purpose: to rejuvenate living cell tissues. Perhaps because of this, it is the only one of its kind standing 38 feet high with a 55 foot diameter built entirely of wood on a powerful geomagnetic vortex. However, it’s not the architecture that is so intriguing, it’s how it sounds. This is a building with perfect acoustics. It brings visitors to the desolate desert town 40 miles north of Palm Springs, by offering “sound baths”, a 20+ minute session of swirling crystal bowls that create sounds that dance around the dome and reverberate in your chest, all the while suspending and cleansing your cells. Hence, the cell rejuvenation and the “bath”. Though some claim to see magnificent colors as they are lying in the chambers or feel the touch of loved ones long gone, others just take the time to relax and reflect. It’s a glorified adult nap time and quite literally the epitome of good vibes.
Giant Rock, as it is so aptly named, is a 7 foot tall, 5800 square foot rock that is located down a dirt road in Landers, California. In the 1930s, a gentleman by the name of Frank Critzer excavated under what was considered the world’s largest single boulder to create a dwelling. Critzer was a resourceful and shrewd man and reckoned since he didn’t have the resources to build a home, digging out a dwelling under the boulder was his best bet. This proved to be a perfect desert abode as the rooms would remain cooler in the summer, and warmer in the winter. It was through Frank Critzer, that George Van Tassel learned of Giant Rock, which was the key factor in his contact with aliens and thus, the building of The Integratron. In the 1950s Van Tassel acquired the rock and the land it was on and began holding meditation meetings to contact aliens in the room beneath the rock. In August of 1953, a saucer landed from Venus (as the area next to the rock was conveniently ran as an airport landing strip) and Van Tassel was invited on the ship where he learned of cell rejuvenation and time travel. Forget the UFOs – can you imagine living under a giant boulder? Those guys were crazy!
“God is Love” is the main message at Salvation Mountain, an incredible folk art…