Venusian time machine: the strange tale of California's "Giant Rock"

In 1953, George Van Tassel, an aviation engineer with a background at companies like Douglas and Lockheed Martin, was roused from sleep by a being from Venus named Solgonda. According to Van Tassel, the kindly Venusian carried him aboard a spacecraft and provided him with a formula for a time machine designed to stop the aging process. This encounter took place at Giant Rock, a massive boulder in the Mojave Desert that has since become a pilgrimage site for UFO enthusiasts and spiritual seekers.

Van Tassel wasn't just any UFOlogist; he was deeply rooted in Southern California's booming aviation industry. He moved his family to Giant Rock, taking over an airport and opening a restaurant called the Come On Inn. He hosted meditation sessions next to the rock, and thrilled attendees by channeling messages from extraterrestrials.

From Alex Wigglesworth's LA Times article, "Who's visiting Mojave Desert's Giant Rock? 'Hoodlums,' conservationists, seekers … aliens?":

In 1957, he broke ground on what would eventually come to be known as the Integratron, a dome-shaped building of laminated plywood designed to have no metal, including screws or nails. It was intended to one day act as a sort of electrostatic energy generator capable of recharging people's cells like batteries. Howard Hughes, Van Tassel's friend and former employer, was a major backer.

Before Van Tassel's close encounter, Giant Rock was home to Frank Critzer, a prospector who dug a large hole beneath the rock and called it home. He went out with a bang in 1942, by blowing himself up with dynamite while the cops were sniffing around.

The rock sits on the ancestral land of the Serrano people, and has long been considered sacred. Today, it continues to draw a diverse crowd, including UFO enthusiasts, party-goers, and conservationists.

From the LA Times:

Overseen by the federal Bureau of Land Management, Giant Rock is a designated off-road area. People can camp there for up to two weeks at a time, but there are no facilities. Some pack out their trash; others leave behind broken glass, debris from fires and shotgun shells from target shooting. The secluded spot attracts illegal dumping.

The rock is studded with more than 80 pieces of climbing hardware, according to Newman, although she says some local rock climbers recently agreed to remove some of it.

And Giant Rock has long served as a spot to party. In 1996, 15-year-old Lucas Bielat died beside a campfire during what authorities described as an impromptu rave. A local aspiring musician was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter for providing the teen with a fatal quantity of homemade GHB.

FILM: 'Calling All Earthlings' explores Integratron Time Machine of UFO 'contactee' George Van Tassel