The Integratron is an acoustically perfect wood dome that sits in the middle of the Mojave Desert in Landers, California, 20 miles from Joshua Tree National Park. And I know this word is incredibly overused, but Richard and I went to visit the Integratron on Sunday, and it is AWESOME. George Van Tassel built it over a 20 year period, based on directions from extra-terrestrial beings from Venus. It was designed to be an electrostatic generator that could rejuvenate human beings and double as a time travel vessel. Indeed, when Stamford scientists came to visit, they found a significant spike in the magnetic field at the center of the Integratron, which is built on the intersection of magnetic fields. Van Tassel was the guy who held annual Spacecraft Conventions from the 1950s to the 1970s at the Giant Rock site, 3 miles north of the integratron. Tens of thousands of people attended these UFO events that included featured speakers in the worlds anti-gravity and “primary energy” research. He and his family raised money to build the Integratron through these conventions, and he worked on it for 20 years, but then died suddenly in 1978. His building plans mysteriously disappeared also, which is why the rejuvenation and time travel elements never got finished.What did get finished is a fabulously spectacular wood dome with acoustical properties that blow your mind. Van Tassel worked with ship builders, using no nails or screws, but instead many wooden layers bonded with glue. Indeed, it does feel like you’re inside a really cool ship from outer space when you’re inside. When you’re standing in the center point where the light comes through the circle in the ceiling, your own spoken words sound amplified in the most ethereal way. No one else in the room hears what you hear, which seems impossible. I stood in the center and said “Thank you,” and it felt like the sound of my voice was all around me, then suddenly shooting up through the ceiling, and back down through my feet. Another astounding feature is that you can stand under one beam of the dome, and the person directly across from you on the other side of the dome can hear your speaking voice as if you are standing right in front of them. Richard and I tested this out, and it was so cool! You could literally whisper in someone’s ear from 50 feet away. This is also why there are many, many warnings before the ‘sound bath’ experience about falling asleep and snoring, since the stranger on the other side of the room would hear your snore up close. Our host for the ‘sound bath’ was the daughter of one of the three owner-sisters. She explained a lot of the history to us, including the fact that Howard Hughes donated a lot of the wood for the structure, and that the crystal singing bowls she plays are made from liquified quartz crystal poured into molds that correspond to the notes on a musical scale, as well as the seven energy chakras of the body. Then she began to play! If you’ve ever heard crystal singing bowls in a regular room, like at the end of a yoga class, you know how trippy those sounds can be, and how powerful. Well, imagine that times a hundred in this acoustically perfect room. You could literally feel the sound waves swirling around the room, coming at you from one side of the room, then circling around to find you a moment later on the other. It was amazing. Even Richard was having an out-of-body experience! I was worried he might think the whole thing was a lot of hippie ridiculousness, but the power of the sound waves really moved him. And I loved it. My meditation has been so crappy lately, I just haven’t been able to turn off my mind and focus on nothing, but this experience got me back on track. You feel so connected to the universe in that chamber, you start feeling like maybe it’s not so crazy that Venutians came down to Earth to tell George Van Tassel how to build a time traveling fountain of youth.
The family who own and operate the Integratron really ‘get’ their clientele, which is eclectic, to say the least. They have created a whole compound that feels like a desert oasis combining native natural beauty with artful, simple design and a touch of whimsy. There is a ‘hammock village’ where you can hang out while you wait for your appointment, an H2O stand, lots of little details and sculptures, and a gift shop that sells yoga-friendly clothes with spaceship style graphics. And of course, the backdrop of the Mojave desert is a powerful force, and already feels other-worldly. Next time you happen to be in the middle of the Mojave, don’t miss it.