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  • Kevin Sullivan / Orange County Register file

    Nancy Karl uses the "singing bowls" to produce the sounds heard by those who sign up for a "sound bath" in the Integratron.

  • Chris Reynolds / Los Angeles Times file

    The Integratron was built in the 1950's by George by George Van Tassel, an aeronautical engineer who became interested in UFOs and claimed he'd been visited by aliens. Today the buildings's qualities in conveying sound are played up.

Discoveries: Integratron near Joshua Tree has cool vibe

Published: Sunday, Apr. 7, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1H
Last Modified: Sunday, Apr. 7, 2013 - 7:15 am

LANDERS – So, apparently, my body, or "carbon unit," is running dangerously low at the cellular level. Unless I "change frequencies" in my electromagnetic field, I will die, someday.

You, too, of course.

The aliens, as well as some scientists, said so.

We all are like cellphones that get only one-bar reception – two, if we're particularly spry.

What's needed, I'm told, is to plug in and "distort the space-time continuum" by lying in a "rejuvenation machine" that essentially is something of a cosmic battery charger in a primo geologic and magnetic spot here in the high desert of Southern California.

As extraterrestrials once told a "connector" named George Van Tassel during a "visitation," if you build a conductor of negative ions at this precise location north of Joshua Tree and near a giant rock called, well, Giant Rock, people will plunk down $25 a shot to try to give their waning cells a little goose.

This is not New Agey, folks; it's other-worldly.

So, whattya say? You with me?

Are you ready to temporarily suspend disbelief and climb to the magical second floor of a huge, white parabolic ediface called the Integratron, to lie supine for the better part of an hour while listening to the reverbrative echoes of music from quartz crystal "singing bowls" whose eerie notes correspond to our seven chakras?

I knew you'd be game.

About a dozen other "amoebic life group" members joined me for a "sound bath" on the handsome, impeccably polished Douglas fir floors, supported by mats, Navajo rugs and an open mind about such things as a higher consciousness, other life forms and the healing properties of acoustic alchemy.

These must be people interested in aural sects, you're probably thinking.

But you'd be wrong.

These were nondemoninational grandmothers in white tennis shoes, moms and dads with teenagers, the occasional 20-something. No one reeked of patchouli and there was nary a dreadlock in sight.

I spoke with visitor Tammy Ishibashi, husband Todd and teen son John before entering. They were hardly the crystal talisman types.

Ishibashi said they saw the Integratron featured on the Travel Channel show "No Reservations" and thought, what the hey.

Not even our musician- docent-cosmic facilitator Drayton ("no last name, please") looked the part of seer; he wore jeans and parted his short hair on the side. It was only when he talked that things got a little metaphysical.

By the way, the above phrase bracketed by quotation marks came from Drayton's prefatory remarks before putting pestle to his singing bowls and making beautiful (and loud) music.

At times, his talk was a lot to wrap one's head around. But we seekers listened carefully as Drayton's soft-spokenness bounced off the curved wooden walls and swirled around us.

"The original intent of this building was to rejuvenate human cells, so that we could eventually live for maybe 50 more years," he said, "(Van Tessel) asked (his alien pals), 'Why in the world would you want to?' They said, 'You need to wise up and save your race.' I think that time is coming soon. All humans need to be happy again and eventually die with love in their heart and a smile on their face, or they miss the whole point.

"We're not spending any time in the out-of-body school of life and, subsequently, we're giving our solar system and our galaxy in this sector of the universe a headache."

Head nods, all around. But a little part of me could only think: 50 more years? Gee, and you think we've got a major headache funding Medicare and Social Security now? Just wait until baby boomers live to 140.

"So," Drayton continued, "your electromagnetic energy field is the same diameter as this acoustically perfect sound chamber, if you're a healthy adult. That would be 55 feet across, measurable by your electric footprint. … This is truly an international power amplification point. These bowls get flying around and your (magnetic) field is having its way with it, raising the frequency of everything. You may have shown up stuck in your attennae, but (the sounds) are going to go through your body faster than you're hearing them because of the density properties of water."

Wait, he was losing me. I was an English major. Don't go throwing science at me.

Fortunately, I had boned up on the history of Mr. Van Tassel, his Integratron and the supposed magnetic properties of the area by checking out the website. Let me boil it down thusly: Van Tassel was an aeronautical engineer by trade who moved to Landers in 1947, became a leader in the UFO movement and had a visit from a saucer from the planet Venus in 1953. Shortly therafter, on the advice of the aliens and inspired by the work of Nikola Tesla and other scientists, he devoted his life to building a "time and rejuvenation machine and an anti-gravity device."

Van Tassel died in 1978 at age 68 (just a wee bit short of 150, alas), but his dream of extending life and finding psychic harmony with the universe has lived on with a dedicated group of adherents, including the current owners, the three Karl sisters.

But back to Drayton. Just when he concluded the science portion, he started to brief us on what we'd experience, so as to quell any anxiety.

"You're going to float this way and that way to check out what's going on," he said. "And you'll realize you're filling your field up with your awareness and you're stabilized somewhere between awake and asleep, which gives you access to time-space … where your little 6 or 7 ounces of spirit go flying out of your head at night when you rest these carbon units (sleep, I think he meant). We're not allowed to remember where we go when we get back. A flash here and a flash there, perhaps. So, that's kind of it."

One last thing, actually: It seems the body gets so relaxed and rejuvenated during a session that people tend to fall asleep. Snoring, however, is verboten. It kind of harshes the mellow of your fellow seekers. In fact, any noise in the Integratron is amplified way out of proportion, so try to not even sigh loudly.

OK, enough jaw-flapping. How about some sound?

For 23 minutes, Drayton played the bowls deftly and sublimely. Sound did, indeed, bounce off the walls and vibrate to my very core. It was the most visceral experience I've had since the time I ate bad clams at Fisherman's Wharf.

Seriously, though, it was a trip. A late-afternoon desert wind kicked up and, combined with the vibrations, truly made this an echo chamber. When the 23 minutes were up, Drayton encouraged us to spend the rest of the hour "bathing" in the lingering good vibes.

Afterward, I admitted to Drayton that I did, indeed, feel more relaxed.

"You feel like Jell-O, right?" he said.

Well, a bit.

As she left the Integratron, Tammy, too, was impressed but not ready to fully commit.

"This is why I'm never good at meditation," she said. "I can't turn my brain off."

Her disbelief, apparently, never was fully suspended.

But me? I can feel my dying cells perking right up.


THE INTEGRATRON

Website: www.integratron.com

Cost for sound baths: $25

Call for sound bath times: (760) 364-3126

Directions from Joshua Tree: From Twentynine Palms Highway east, turn left on Sunburst Avenue, right on Golden, left on Border. Follow Border and continue until the pavement takes a hard left, about 6 miles, and becomes Reche Road. Continue into Landers, about 6 miles. Less than 1/2 mile past the Landers post office, turn right onto Belfield Boulevard. Continue about a mile to the Integratron. The entrance will be on the right.

Call The Bee's Sam McManis, (916) 321-1145 Follow him on Twitter @SamMcManis.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Sam McManis



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