This is a story about a man who lived under a giant rock and was visited by aliens: eccentric visionary George Van Tassel. As legend goes, Van Tassel was paid a visit one night by a Venusian, who telepathically communicated a plan—instructions to build a machine that could time travel, defy gravity, and extend human life. The Integratron is Van Tassel’s realization of those plans, a blinding white beacon located off of an unassuming road in the Mojave desert. With a circular foundation and domed-roof, the structure sits atop powerful geomagnetic forces that Van Tassel believed the building’s specific geometry could channel, and ultimately, use to amplify the earth’s magnetic field. It was designed to be “an electrostatic generator for the purpose of rejuvenation and time travel,” according to the Integratron’s website.
Van Tassel died in 1978, and in recent years his peculiar apparatus has become an unexpected destination. In 2000, three sisters bought the Integratron and have since opened it to the public for the first time, transforming Van Tassel’s mystic construction into a venue of rejuvenation and spirituality—not so very far from its original intention. The Sound Bath they offer is a metaphysical sonic experience that utilizes the structure’s unique architecture and interior acoustics—its mythic geographic magnetic location, a vaulted wooden ceiling—to optimal potential. A sequence of quartz crystal singing bowls —”each one keyed to the energy centers or chakras of the body”—resonates and reverberates within the space, creating a sensation of suspended time, as the awesome sounds wash over and drown out all other noises, both in your own mind and outside it.
Photography: Brendan Burdzinski for NeueJournal (Burdzinski’s Polaroids document a surreal journey through the desert to the Integratron. These Polaroids are for Edward.)