One of the strangest buildings in the world is known as the Integratron, and it was once the site of gatherings that attracted 10,000 or more UFO devotees to the desert 20 miles north of Joshua Tree National Park. Originally aired April 28, 2006, on KLAS TV in Las Vegas.
George Knapp: Weird humming coming from a spacey-looking building known as the Integratron sounds like a UFO warming up its engine for a quick jaunt to Reticulum. It wouldn’t be out of place. For the past half century, the high desert area around Landers, California, has been a mecca for ET believers and enlightenment seekers. In the early ’50s, an aircraft mechanic named George Van Tassel says he received telepathic messages from space aliens that told him how to build the Integratron — part healing chamber, part time machine.
Nancy Karl: The Integratron is a historical building that was originally meant to be a big electrostatic generator.
Knapp: New Yorker Nancy Karl and her sister came out for a visit to the Integratron and were hooked. That was 18 years ago. Even if the design really wasn’t supplied by ETs, and even if there isn’t an energy vortex here, people say there’s something about the place.
Karl: It just happens to be a very zappy place. And people seem to pop … pop, you know, through whatever seems to be happening for them.
Knapp: Van Tassel died before finishing the Integratron so it’s never really worked as he envisioned it. Nancy Karl says the bottom chamber was supposed to generate negative ions that would heal the tissues of anyone who walked through.
Karl: We should go upstairs. I think you’re gonna like it.
Knapp: No nails or screws were used to build the Integratron, which makes the place as resonant as the inside of a giant violin. The top chamber is acoustically perfect, Karl says, but can play games with your head.
Knapp: George Van Tassel, where are you …
Karl: Go ahead and stand right in the center here, right over that hole, and say something.
Karl: And it’s … you know, we don’t hear it like you hear it.
Knapp: The Karl sisters offer visitors what they call a sound bath. They rub little sticks on the sides of pure crystal bowls and the sound that comes out feels like it passes right through your body.
Karl: It’s non-invasive, but it’s everywhere.
Knapp: Not surprisingly, the Integratron attracts a lot of artists, writers and showbiz people for soul searching, even corporate retreats. Whether or not it’s really tapped into the cosmos, there are worse ways to spend a day.