You see I’ve spent most of the day catching up on all the stuff I missed over Christmas. And so far it’s been one colossal disappointment after another. First off we have the rugby match between my home team the Ospreys and their fierce rivals the Scarlets, a game that the Ospreys not only managed to lose but was so poor in terms of quality that calling it “garbage” would be an insult to empty crisp packets everywhere. Then we had the news that some remains of the Pangboche hand had been discovered in
Following that we had the ball bustingly exciting news that a bona-fide Yeti had been captured by Russian authorities, only for it to turn out to be a man in a monkey suit (Gee Note: I imagine he gave up the goose when he spied a vet approaching wearing a rubber glove). And to top it all off I eventually managed to watch the festive episode of Doctor Who, and it was largely awful. Unless you happen to love boring trees being boring of course. If that’s you’re thing then this was the TV event of the year. Sadly as I have not recently had a lobotomy, it left me feeling cold and vaguely angry about wasting an hour of my time watching it.
So yeah, since Christmas decided to make its excuses and leave things have pretty much gone downhill quicker than Sonny Bono skiing. Although maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m just grumpy that Christmas is over for another year and now I have to go back to my regular duties (Gee Note: As opposed to drinking beer all day and shouting at whatever happens to be on the TV). Maybe it’s the stress of it all. Being a new dad, not getting any orders for a signed copy of RAINBOWS ARE MADE OF CHOCOLATE BUT THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT, living through yet another year when no one has found definitive proof of a sea monster or something cool like that, maybe it’s all just getting to me. Maybe I need a break from it all. A holiday perhaps.
But where to go? That’s the question. It will need to be somewhere I can unwind. Relax. Somewhere filled with enough positive energy to make the cast of Sesame Street look like a right bunch of miserable bastards. And it will also need a great big rock as well. Because nothing says “Here is a place you can recharge and feel connected with a higher level of existence” more than a great big rock.
Thankfully the answer arrived in the form of a link sent to me by a wonderful lass named Jenny.
Because out there somewhere deep in the Mojave Desert in California is The Giant Rock, which believe-it-or-not fits the bill perfectly. But don’t just take my word for it, ask the folks at Labyrinthina.com. Specifically an article written by Kathy Doore entitled “George Van Tassel's Amazing Integratron at Giant Rock”.
Now if you’re sitting there and asking yourself “Who’s George Van Tassel? And while we’re at it, what the hell is an Integratron?”, never fear brave reader. I have painstakingly taken the time and effort to reprint the important bits of the article here for you to read, as well as adding helpful notes along the way. No need to thank me. I do this out of love, not for any type of reward. I’m like Robin Hood. Except I don’t have a bow and arrow. Or ride a horse. Or wear tights on a daily basis. So not really like Robin Hood at all when you think about it. Anyway the article in question kicks off with…
To researchers, Giant Rock is significant for many reasons. For starters it was the home and workplace of the enigmatic George Van Tassel, known as (Gee Note: “The All-Night Delight” to travelling salesmen and truckers looking for some love on the road?) "Van" to his friends (Gee Note: Oh. OK).
Van allegedly made contact with extraterrestrials in the 1950's and was tutored by them on a variety of subjects, including human cellular rejuvenation leading to the building of a structure called "The Integratron”. (Gee Note: They also helped him out with his Math homework, and gave him the courage to ask Suzie Rubenstein to be his date to the prom. As well as showing those no good jocks a thing or two by defeating them in a game of basketball. It’s true. I saw it on the Lifetime TV Movie “Van and his alien tutor”, with Harry Hamlin giving the performance of the decade as Van’s best friend who happens to be an imaginary duck. If you haven’t seen it you should check it out. It’s emotional stuff.)
After arriving in California from Ohio in 1930, Van, a young pilot and engineer, lived with an uncle who owned an automobile repair shop in Southern California. One day during that period, he met Frank Critzer, a down and out prospector who needed to have his Essex car repaired. Van found the prospector to be an engaging fellow and the two of them soon became friends. Owing to Critzer’s financial difficulties Van agreed to repair the car for free. Critzer was even allowed to sleep at the garage while repairs were made to his car. Van's largess didn’t end there. He gave Critzer a trunk full of canned goods along with $30, which, as Van put it, was a lot of money then. In return, Critzer promised to include Van and the uncle in any mining claims he might make in the future. (Gee Note: Lucky Van wasn’t married at the time, otherwise he’d have probably have said something along the lines of “Hey Frank. Look I know it’s a bit difficult picking up chicks, what with you living in a car an’ all. So I was thinking, why don’t you have sex with my wife? No really. Why don’t you? Seriously I’d be happy to let you slip one to my missus. In fact, why don’t you go and send a meaty missile in to my wife’s red love zone right now? And when you’re done I’ll have a tray of freshly baked hot scones waiting for you”).
A year later, Critzer mailed a map to Van showing him how to get to Giant Rock - a massive boulder surrounded by a dry lake bed sacred to the native Americans, who called it the "Great Stone", the place where Critzer was living. Map in hand, Van set out to visit his friend. When he arrived, he was (Gee Note: Raped by a marauding pack of Grizzly Bears who were fraudulently sending maps to random addresses hoping someone would bite. This in turn taught Van a valuable lesson about being gullible) surprised to find that Critzer had dug under the massive boulder in order to carve out a place to live. He had made an alcove within the cavity to set up house.
During WWII, Critzer ran afoul of the government and was accused of stealing dynamite and later of being an enemy spy. Conflicting stories about this colorful character abound. But whatever the truth, a confrontation with the police resulted in his death in August of 1942. Interestingly, Van Tassel claims the prospector was an "advanced thinker" who researched innovative methods of manufacturing plastic. However details of that matter are sketchy. (Gee Note: There’s no real great mystery to Critzer’s demise by the way. Basically US Marshalls responded to anonymous tip that Critzer was a German spy and went to arrest him. When he refused to come quietly they set about bombarding his home with tear gas. Alas the dynamite which Critzer had in fact pinched was ignited by one of these tear gas canisters, and proceeded to blow the poor sumbitch to smithereens. Which suggest that he wasn’t really that much of an ‘advanced thinker’ after all. Unless of course by ‘advanced thinker’ you mean ‘dumber than a bag full of tortoises with astonishingly low IQs’).
During the ensuing years, Van Tassel became an aeronautical engineer, flight inspector, and test pilot (he'd obtained his pilot's license while still a teenager), and worked for Douglas Aircraft during the 1930s, and alongside Howard Hughes in the 1940s at Hughes Aviation as Hughes' personal flight inspector for testing experimental aircraft (Gee Note: “Hey. This helicopter we made out of silly string and nitro-glycerine doesn’t look very safe. Get George on the phone would you?”). During this time he continued to visit Giant Rock with his wife on vacation. In 1945, he made an application to the Bureau of Land Management to lease the property. And in 1947, he quit his job at a Lockheed aircraft plant and moved his wife and three daughters to the Mojave Desert near Landers, leasing four square miles of land surrounding Giant Rock from the government.
The area was covered with decomposed granite making it a natural site for a small airport where Van Tassel created Giant Rock Airport and Cafe, which he operated from 1947 until 1975. Howard Hughes was a frequent guest who flew in for the delicious pie that Van Tassels wife made (Gee Note: I hope “pie” isn’t some sort of euphemism).
Van Tassel believed the rock's crystalline structure possessed great channeling power by virtue of its piezo-electric characteristics. In 1953, he began a series of weekly meditations in the rooms under the boulder where it was said the meditations led to contact with extraterrestrial beings. On August 21, 1953, a ship from Venus landed and a man wearing a jumpsuit stood at the foot of his sleeping bag, announcing “I am Solganda, and I would be pleased to show you my craft”. (Gee Note: To which Van replied. “Um… OK. I guess. Although how long is this going take? Howard Hughes has just been on the line. There’s an exciting new helicopter he wants me to be the first to fly.”). Van Tassel wrote that he was led to a hovering spaceship, and stepped into what he described as a “butter colored” light emanating from the underside of the craft. He was taken on a tour of the ship and told that he had been chosen to bring a message of peace and interplanetary brotherhood to his fellow earthlings. (Gee Note: Also his tight firm buttocks would give the ladies something to talk about. Phoooaaawwwrrrr) He was shown the principals of cell rejuvenation which later led to the creation of The Integratron.
Designed specifically to carry out anti-aging processes to prolong human life, the Integratron schematics called for recharging human cell structure using a powerful negative ion field. Although Van Tassel died before he could complete the structure (Gee Note: Wait. He died? Not much of a cell rejuvenator is it?), what was left behind continues to focus and amplify powerful geomagnetic forces running through its location, built over a large underground aquifer, while the unique all-wood construction created, sets up a resonant sound field (Gee Note: I have a similar thing at home. I call it “THE SHED”).
George Van Tassel called his Integratron "a time machine for basic research on rejuvenation, anti-gravity and time travel". The structure stood four-story's high and 55 feet in diameter. It was of non-metallic structure, sited over a magnetic vortex--an essential part of its functioning. Van Tassel erected a sign at the entrance which simply stated: “Integratron: Dedicated To Research In Life Extension.” (Gee Note: “If you’re looking for Mrs. Van Tassel’s “pie”, please use the rear entrance and have a credit card to hand”). The placement of the Integratron was chosen based on a complex set of theories involving the earth's magnetic field, with the Integratron's relationship to the Great Pyramid in Egypt and Giant Rock, presumed to be the world's largest freestanding boulder at the time.
With no written plans for completing the project, Van Tassel's family abandoned the site (Gee Note: Hi Bill. Bill? It’s Mary. Your cousin. Did you hear? Crazy-ass uncle Van died. Left you his alien building or whatever. Bill you still there? Bill?). The buildings at Giant Rock were vacated and gradually Vandalized until the Bureau of Land Management found it necessary to bulldoze the remains, leaving only the nearby dome intact as you see it today.
In his many hundred radio and TV appearances, George Van Tassel compared the Integratron to the Tabernacle of Moses. He claimed that he was instructed by a higher intelligence to build a 21st century version of the Tabernacle that Moses constructed, using the same positive power principle of the Great Pyramid of Giza, and was given the name The Integratron. He was told it would revitalize and rejuvenate the physical bodies of humankind. George Van Tassel openly shared much of the technology with his supporters and followers, but those close to him say he kept much of it secret, sharing it only with his closest, trusted colleagues. (Gee Note: They wants to take it from ussssss. The precioussss. Filthy hobitsesss wants it for themselvesss).
According to Van Tassel, the Integratron is located on an intersection of powerful geomagnetic forces that, when focused by the unique geometry of the building, will concentrate and amplify the energy required for rejuvenation and healing. In 2005, a geophysicist measured the earth's magnetic field for up to 15 miles in every direction from the Integratron and then inside the dome. She proclaimed that there is a significant, unexplainable spike in the earth's magnetic field in the center of the Integratron. (Gee Note: A geophysicist who didn’t want to be named apparently. Sad really. Obviously suffering from crippling shyness. Or as it’s known in the trade “the geophysicist’s curse”).
George Van Tassel's literature describing the project stated that the machine's purpose was "to recharge energy into living cell structures, to bring about longer life with youthful energy." He theorized that the body is an electrical device, and aging was a matter of the cells running out of power. The Integratron, capable of collecting up to 50,000 volts of static electricity from the air, would be a multi-frequency, electrostatic charger for the human body. (Gee Note: It’s amazing that no one had thought of pumping electricity through a human body before really. I mean it sounds perfectly safe and in no way potentially fatal).
The 16-sided Dome was built of wood and concrete and held together by glue and gravity-electrically neutral materials. The generating core was made of copper wire. Had it been placed into operation, candidates would have walked through the building, essentially a huge air capacitor, while wearing white outfits. The charges, distributed over a wide range of frequencies, would affect every cell. Integratron became a Noah's Ark, "a vehicle or vessel that could deliver a chosen lot of followers to a secure place. It's the dream as old as mankind to live forever and have some control in governing our time on earth." (Gee Note: I bet Mumm-Ra The Ever-Living was first in line. Was always on the look out for a wacky never dying scheme that one).
Recently honored with a dedication and historical monument by the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus, Billy Holcomb Chapter, the Integratron today receives many visitors drawn to experience the Integratron's enhanced energy fields. An overnight stay at the Integratron is said to result in waves of peace, heightened awareness, and relaxation of the mind and body. (Gee Note: As well as the feeling of a great weight lifted from your wallet). Affectionately called "The Dome" by the Karl sisters (Joanne, Nancy, and Patty), who together own and operate the Integratron, say "Our work at the Integratron has been about honoring the old history and getting the story straight about George Van Tassel's life's work, what we call the New History of the Integratron, which we believe is about creating an environment that is a gathering place where science and spirit meet. We're dedicated to the research and the understanding of what the Integratron's gift to humanity really is." And many agree, including a very high-ranking Tibetan Buddhist lama who has been teaching out of the Integratron, purportedly sent there by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. (Gee Note: Which suggests that no one has actually confirmed that he was sent there by the Dalai Lama. For all they know he could just be a bald bloke in a dressing gown. “Heyyy. Whatchoo mean I ain’t no lama or nothing? I’d kick your ass if I weren’t all peaceful and shit.”).
So there we are then. Sounds perfect doesn’t it? I’m packing my bags as we speak.
Now where did I put my white suit?