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The Integratron: UFOs, Sound Baths, and the High Desert

I stand in the sand next to a fire pit and hot tub in a fenced in backyard. 

There is an old RV trailer parked in the backyard of the house next door, with unreadable green graffiti tagged on the driver’s side. The moon is about 90% full and the white light shines on the open horizon, shadowy mountains, and neighboring one story houses.  

Renting a desert house for a weekend, I’m in Joshua Tree. 

About a mile away, I see a glowing white light speeding around the night sky in the background. The object is too low to the ground to be an airplane or star. It’s zooming back and forth.

I see what appears to be an unidentified flying object.

Wait, is that a UFO? 

I am tense, and consider the next natural question. 

Am I ready to meet aliens tonight in Joshua Tree? 

You may be asking why I would have aliens on my mind. Let me tell you a story.

The previous night I experienced an intense sound bath at the Integratron, twenty miles away in Landers, CA. 

A sound bath is a healing meditation where people lie on their backs listening to the humming sound of crystal quartz bowls performed by a practitioner. It’s often a relaxing and therapeutic experience. 

What is the Integratron? 

Ryan Williams in The Integratron
The Integratron at sundown

The Integratron is a four story white dome that resembles an Italian renaissance church structure.

Except this dome is not built to be a house of worship. It originally was intended to be a time machine. 

In 1953, a former high-ranking inspector at Howard Hughes’ aircraft company, George Van Tassel became inspired to build an all wood dome. 

He encountered an alien from Venus named Solgonda who gave him the plan to build this structure. The goal was to help humans rejuvenate themselves in addition to traveling in time. 

The Integratron is a psychedelic UFO temple in the middle of the high desert of Southern California. 

While intended to be a time machine in the 1950’s and 60’s, the modern day Integratron hosts regular sound baths. Three white sisters from New York took it over in the early 2000’s and began to use it to host sound meditations. 

The Integratron is like a shrine to Van Tassel, UFOs, and sound. 

Driving up to the structure I have a few questions. 

Did Van Tassel see aliens? Am I about to see aliens?

The property surrounding the land is wide open desert. The Integratron leases the land from the United States Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau owns the miles of vacant land surrounding it.

Knowing full well about the UFO history of the land, I have high expectations for the sound bath experience. 

After checking into the property, looking at crystals in the gift shop, and filling my water bottle up with well water from an aqueduct that runs down from Mount Shasta, one of the caretakers of the Integratron announces that it’s go time. 

Entering the Integratron

Around forty of us enter the white dome structure through a wooden door. 

I have a child-like sense of wonderment as I prepare for the unknown. 

One of the caretaker sisters, who appears to be in her sixties, gives us an introductory pep talk about the history of the Integratron. 

She tells us that the land has electromagnetic energy that is beyond normal. Pre-colonialism, Native Americans inhabited the land and saw the neighboring Giant Rock as sacred land. 

Van Tassel first encountered the aliens at Giant Rock, who inspired him to build The Integratron.

We are standing on Native American sacred land, in a time machine, and about to walk upstairs to take a sound bath. I am tripped out. 

Next, all forty of us wait one by one to walk up a steep set of wooden stairs to the top floor. It’s a cool desert night, people are wearing hats, scarves, and jackets to keep warm. COVID-19 is still a problem in the U.S., and everyone is required to wear a mask.

It feels like we are walking up towards a scary attic in my grandma’s old house. 

How Does a Sound Bath Feel?

On the second floor of the Integratron, the room is nearly dark. The sun is down and the windows are bringing in the dark sky.

There is a bald man who appears to be in his thirties sitting down on one side of the room surrounded by microphones and seven singing bowls. He is the son of the caretaker, it’s a family affair. Two generations of the caretaking family run the Integratron.

We meet the son of another caretaker sister. This guy has has a black pony tail. He is in charge of the audio. He comes upstairs to check on the microphones around the singing bowls. 

Integratron Sound Baths
Integratron Sound Baths with Singing Bowls

There is a crowd of thirty people assembled outside the Integratron. These people will be hearing the singing bowl performance projected outside the space. 

Our group lays down our backs on mini sleeper soft pull out chairs. Each pull out has a clean white sheet as an extra COVID-19 precaution.

My head faces towards the singing bowls, while my feet face the cylinder wall. 

Before the sound bath, the man asks us to focus on love, gratitude, and forgiveness. 

He conducts a sound bath. Humming noises come through these bowls. Some make me feel like I’m hearing nails on a chalkboard. While others make me feel calm like the waves of the ocean. It feels like nature, like I am connecting to the core of myself.

I feel tension rise and fall throughout my body for the next thirty-five minutes. 

A few thoughts that come up for me during the meditation. Many of these thoughts tense up my body, while others allow me to relax. 

  • I give my two daughters lots of love during the opening of the meditation, which help calm me down
  • Focusing on my family, I forgive myself and I forgive my Dad for our past differences
  • I recall a time when I ate psychedelic mushrooms at a concert in the Everglades in college, and I’m reminded of that energy tonight 

I feel a mix of physical stress and tension, and then I relax. It gives me a psychedelic experience. 

I define a psychedelic experience as a natural, mystical, unexplainable feeling that comes over someone as in meditation, psychedelic medicine, or a spiritual moment. It is a healing experience yet may feel intense, scary, and even unbelievable. 

I remind myself to stay on Earth. I do not want to get too wrapped up in the alien mythology, and would rather focus on my own healing journey.

As I remain grounded, a final thought comes to mind. 

I am at my best when I speak truth to power. Speaking my truth is what is important. That is when I’m reclaiming my power that I have given away.

I am in a state of deep relaxation. 

We lay down after the sound bath ends, listening to ten minutes of soothing music coming through the speakers. This is called integration. 

The goal with integration is to try and apply what we experienced to our life. Later that night I go and journal my thoughts to help integrate them and make sense of the experience. Some of those words are in this article. 

After feeling the Integratron, my friend and I go out for pizza to a local spot in Landers. It looks like a restaurant full of local artists. We listen to a woman singing over an electronic music instrument, while we sit outside in the cool desert air. We eat a pizza and a salad, as I sip a beer.

I am relaxed. I am calm. I am peaceful. 

Meeting an Alien

The next night I am still feeling the effects of the sound bath, and intrigued by the possibility of seeing aliens. The flying object moves around in the night sky, begins to head towards my direction. 

The object is moving to my backyard. I am more tense. 

There are no street lights in Joshua Tree. The sky is clear, I see the North Star, planets, and airplanes in the clear pollution free sky. 

Yet this object is due to fly over the backyard.  

If this is an alien, what do I say?

Am I ready to encounter an alien?

Am I having another psychedelic experience? 

The object looks more like a drone the closer it gets. I break out my video camera just in case this is truly an alien aircraft. I want to show people the proof.

I am excited to consider that this could be an alien ship, even as my rational brain convinces me it’s not. 

I have a wonder like I am a child again. I am in awe of this craft heading towards me. 

I am not prepared to meet an alien.

My body tenses up.

The object flashes its high beams in our backyard about twenty feet above me. It is a drone. 

I am relieved because I am not ready to encounter an alien.

Laughing out loud. I realize how funny that sounds. 

A couple hours after the possible UFO encounter, my friend and I were run off the road by a car speeding down the street. Walking back from a nighttime flea market in Joshua Tree, a fast moving car laid on its horn and came barreling down the road. With no sidewalks or street lights, we dove off of the street, stumbling onto a vacant lot, and briskly walked back to our house. 

A woman with pit bulls came out of her house on the scene as we continued to walk. She and a man came out after hearing the honking car. She asked:

I thought someone had hit my dogs. Are you okay?

Yes, that was scary. That person had bad energy. 

Thanks for checking on us, have a nice night. 

That was crazy, have a nice night.

We continued walking home, with a heightened sense of concern for our safety.

I cannot help but think the tension here is not too different from what the United States is experiencing in 2021. 

I’ve been back from Joshua Tree for a few weeks, and I’m still processing what happened. 

The Integratron helped me to feel tension, calm myself down, and I am now integrating what I went through. 

And I’ll be ready for the aliens next time. 

Big thanks to my editors: Beccy Lee, Cameron Zargar, Kym Ellis, and Joel Christiansen.

Do you know that breathwork is psychedelic, read more here!