How to build a trippy meditation chamber, from PopSci 1970 archives

"The Meditator," a personal isolation tank fashioned from 12 pentagons decorated with photo collages. "You may find the sensation akin to that mystical communion with nature that you experience when alone in a forest," according to Popular Science writer Ken Isaacs in November 1970. At, they've republished a photo gallery with enough detail that serenity-seeking DIYers in 2012 can once again roll their own.


  1. Reminds me of Coverdale’s hermitage in Hawthorne’s “The Blithedale Romance,” except less leafy and tree-toppy.

  2. Made my own about 25 yrs. back when I was first learning Rinzai Zen. Took the lazy man’s route though: framed it 8 X 8 X 8 with wood (so I wouldn’t have to cut the stock); wrapped the frame in this thick, dark purple felt with a velcro-edged opening. Then I loaded the inside with candles, incense burners, zabuton cushions. Slept a lot in there, very comfortable in winter. As for meditation, I’ve since found out that ordinary life provides a better setting than my old purple sanctum:

  3. “My faces are many; my sides are not few.
     I’m a dodecahedron …and what are you?”
     – The Phantom Tollboth

  4. “Machine screws pass through predrilled panels into washer and wingnut.”

    That’s no way to talk about your dad.

  5. “Mitt, honey, it’s time to come out of the meditation chamber.  You’ve been in there for 27 hours straight.”

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