Friday, July 23, 2010


Big Bear City is slow-moving today, locals riding bikes and humming with a rhythm that is familiar to mountain resorts during summer months. It’s a combination of business owners and craftsmen covering their daily chores and ski resorts performing maintenance on lift chairs high on the slopes. A rider in street clothes, lank gray hair and flannel shirt, slides his cycle into the rack in front of Vons, hangs in front of the store for a few moments, as if wondering if there’s enough money to buy what he wants,  settling instead maybe for what he needs. The sun is bright at 7000 feet and feels hot on my forehead and arms, thin air letting the sting of ultraviolet rays tingle on my skin. The lake is deep blue-green, boats bob in the breeze. At the back end of the town the lake reaches shore near the airport and a few twin-engine planes position for takeoff, their props a blur of motion as they crawl across the tarmac to the head of the runway.
The highway splits at the corner back of the airport behind the airplane hangers and I head northeast around Baldwin Lake, up the pass that dips and winds into the Lucerne Valley through spectacular transitional forest. Pinion pine and sage covered with deep blue sky give way to dry chaparral scrub hanging on steep rock walls, before the road empties out past metal silos and rock quarry conveyors onto the widening hot desert floor. I peel off to Old Woman Road and head south through the valley. There aren’t many cars roaming through this part of the desert, and that’s the lure for me, a solitary ride on a weekday.  I wheel along through shimmering heat down towards Landers.
Off in the distance is a white globe poking up on the landscape amid low-slung buildings where people live out here. It’s the Integraton, a once-futuristic and now anachronistic-sounding geodesic bubble. 
The website says The Integratron is the creation of George Van Tassel, and is based on the design of Moses’ Tabernacle, the writings of Nikola Tesla and telepathic directions from extraterrestrials. This one-of-a-kind building is a 38-foot high, 55-foot diameter, non-metallic structure originally designed by Van Tassel as a rejuvenation and time machine. Today, it is the only all-wood, acoustically perfect sound chamber in the U.S.
A dust-covered road leads into Landers, to a sign that points the way to the Integraton. A sign in front of the gate says it’s only open by appointment. No one is around the structure, not at the bungalow that spreads out just to the edge of the fenced off property, and no one hangs about the old trailers that lie at the outside of the graded dirt that circles the dome. Heat bakes my skin and seeps into my clothing and stays there while I photograph the structure and the surrounding low scrub and trees. The white dome gleams, little squared off windows circle its equator.  It's set on what looks like a cement block foundation that forms a circular base. No one appears. Moving along the shoulder of the dirt road I set up for a few photographs, take a couple of close-up shots, medium and longer range views and pack it in. The Jeep fires up, inside a cold blast of air freshens the cockpit. I pull around in a U-turn and head back to the road.
Bruce Cathie, author of Harmonics 33 pronounced: "The Integratron has the same harmonic value that is built into the King's Chamber in the Great Pyramid. I believe that this harmonic is connected with inter-dimensional values. The yin/yang or gateway to dimensions." 
According to Van Tassel, the Integratron is located on an intersection of powerful geomagnetic forces that, when focused by the unique geometry of the building, will concentrate and amplify the energy required for rejuvenation and healing. In 2005, a geophysicist measured the earth's magnetic field for up to 15 miles in every direction from the Integratron and then inside the dome. She proclaimed that there is a significant, unexplainable spike in the earth's magnetic field in the center of the Integratron.
It is a hidden treasure, out of the way of most Southern California travelers, secure in Mojave Desert lore. The website announces a star gazing party for the Perseid Meteor Shower later in the summer.
It seems the perfect place to watch stars fall from the sky. 

1 comment:

Timecheck said...

I remember Big Bear well. It was one of our resupply points on the Pacific Crest Trail where we stayed in the luxurious Motel 6 and actually got to sleep in a bed, and had a real shower. You must eat at Thelma's there. A few weeks ago you would have seen a lot of scruffy pct hikers there, but by now the herd has passed by.

Didn't see the Integratron. If you are on foot, it is a long way away.

May 12, 2006 we were at a group dinner of about eight hikers at Thelma's, sitting next to Ray and Alice, a couple about our age. The next day Ray fell to his death from a steep part of the trail. We stayed in touch with Alice, who subsequently published a book Ray had been working on.