The deserts of the American Southwest have long been associated with paranormal activity.  Doesn’t the thought of little grey aliens, UFOs and conspiracies make you feel warm and fuzzy all over?  Area 51 in Nevada may be the bull’s eye of all of this hoopla, but the 29 Palms Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command / Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center or MAGTFTC/MCAGCC comes in a close second.  This area has been a hotbed of supposed UFO sightings and contacts since the early 1950s.

I have to preface this blog by saying that I spend alot of time outside, in the daytime, and especially under the nighttime desert sky, very near the 29 Palms Marine Base.  I have never seen anything so unusual that  it could not be explained as a military vehicle, military flares, satellites or natural phenomenon.  Reports of UFO activity abound in the beautiful Mojave Desert, especially in this area. Where and when did it all begin?


Mr. George Van Tassel, a former test pilot for Howard Hughes, correctly predicted a UFO incident over Washington, DC one week before it occurred in 1952. This notoriety may have boosted his popularity.  Later, in August 1953, he lived adjacent to the 29 Palms Marine Base in a hollowed out crevice under what is considered by some to be the largest freestanding boulder in the world, “Giant Rock” in Landers California. Here, he  claimed to have been visited by the shadowy figure of a humanoid from Venus.  Standing at the foot of his sleeping bag, the alien announced, “I am Solganda, and I would be pleased to show you my craft”.  Van Tassel wrote that he was led to a hovering UFO and stepped into what he described as a butter-colored light emanating from the underside of the craft.  He claims that he was taken on a tour of the ship and told that he had been chosen to bring a message of peace and interplanetary brotherhood to his fellow earthlings.  Giant Rock then grew to become the UFO capital of the world and for a short time hosted huge UFO conventions.  In 1959 over 11,000 people attended a UFO convention at Giant Rock.

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Mr. Van Tassel also claimed that these aliens instructed him to construct a human rejuvenation machine, a 20th century Fountain of Youth.  In Mr. Van Tassel’s mediation sessions under Giant Rock, he believed he received vital information from alien sources on the design of this machine.  He developed the building and its location with direct input from his alien designers.  Van Tassel believed that this machine would someday rejuvenate human cells using the natural energy found in the atmosphere; he called the device the “Integratron”.  He worked on this project almost 20 years until his death. It was never fully completed.

To add to the aura of this area, it has been reported that there are caves on the 29 Palms Marine Base that are the center of alien activity.  Some say that the alien bodies from Roswell were brought to 29 Palms for underground storage in the 1950s.  There are reports of whole mountains opening up and cameras being lowered into these caves only to have the cables cut.  There are even stories of a Desert Bigfoot known as Yucca Man that some believe to be an alien manifestation.

On a side note, on the morning of February 21, 2000 a big chunk of Giant Rock broke off and fell to the ground.  Many people thought it was a warning sign of something larger, a supernatural event on the horizon.  Today Giant Rock sees an occasional visitor, and sometimes is the spot for teenage parties, but the home that was carved out underneath the rock is gone.  You can now visit the Integratron and for a nominal price enjoy a sound bath inside the structure, and occasionally they host a much smaller Retro-UFO Convention.  As far as the 29 Palms Marine Base, the Marines are exploring the possibility of growing and expanding the base westward. This is a hotly debated political battle between the U.S. Military and the off-road community.

As for me, I am still looking for my own signs from the heavens, or maybe these aliens have no interest in me?  Either way, thirty-six years in the Mojave Desert and I have seen nothing totally unexplainable.  I will keep looking and if I ever do have an encounter, this blog will be the first place that I will report the incident and attempt to convert you into a believer.

Take It Easy – Mojave

 

 

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For the purposes of this blog I call myself Mojave because of my love for the Mojave Desert. I have lived in the Yucca Valley area of the Hi-Desert since 1976, I have always loved our Mojave Desert. My appreciation for the Mojave has grown even more over the years. I am a Career & Technical Education teacher and coordinator at the high school level as well as a part-time college instructor. I also served on the Town of Yucca Valley Planning Commission for 5 years and am a current Town Councilman. In my spare time I enjoy researching desert facts, exploring the desert, geocaching and enjoying the many animals that keep my wife and I very busy.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Mojave,
    I thought the piece that fell away from Giant Rock did so during the Landers quake, not so? And what about the living space? Was it filled in or what? I remember partying down there, when we were soooo not supposed to be….can you say trespassing???
    Stacy

  2. Hey Stacy,
    Giant Rock withstood the Landers and the Hector Mine quakes though they could have weakened it. Some think that the nearby bombing on the Marine Base might have vibrated it to the point of breaking. Once a small crack develops water gets inside and freezes and the process begins. There were campers a few yards away that night that were pretty shaken up. Giant Rock has an interesting history before Mr. Van Tassel. Supposedly this rock was worshipped by Native Americans and legends told of the day that the rock would split and a new era would be upon us. There was also a German Prospector, Mr. Critzer, that lived in the underground house before Van Tassel, he was mistaken for a spy and the government threw tear gas inside which ignited his dynamite killing Mr. Critzer. I am not sure of the exact date but after Van Tassels 1978 death, the government filled in the underground house for safety purposes, I belive it was the early 1980’s. There is alot more to tell about Giant Rock’s history, maybe I will discuss it in a future blog, I only touched on the UFO aspect in this one. Thanks for the interesting question Stacy.

    Jeff

  3. Hey Linda, Yes you can its still there but a big chunk did fall off a few years back, it was pretty amazing. The underground house is gone also but the rock is still there to see. It has become a party place for youngsters. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Hey Mojave, I currently live in Yucca Valley and I am very interested in local lore, especially indigenous, as well as being a rockhound and a stargazer. I would very much appreciate any feedback or location tips someone with your experience might provide. I would also like to add that I have seen aerial phenomena of a very exotic nature in the High Desert skies recently. I may not get back to this blog but I believe you have my email and I would enjoy hearing from you and relating what I have seen if you ever have the time. Thanks 🙂

  5. I encountered Harold Dierdorff (about 92 years old) while waiting at Sams Club in Phoenix, AZ in December, 2015 and listened to him tell the tale of Giant Rock, CA. We are both USAF veterans and I love to hear the tales other vets have. He said he liked to explore the Mohave Desert as a teenager and encountered Frank Critzer, a German immigrant who was living in a room carved out under Giant Rock. He accepted an invitation to see the inside of Mr Critzers residence. He said there was a tunnel from the room to the other side of the rock to provide cross ventilation. The military detected short-wave signals coming from the rock and began investigating it. Dierdorff insists that Mr Critzer was a German spy and when he learned he was being investigated, he blew himself up in the cave in July of 1942, splattering his remains all over the interior of the room under the rock. The military eventually filled in the cavity and all was forgotten. But when Harold Dierdorff learned the rock had split in the year 2000, he knew it was caused by the dynamite explosion. He claims no one has put the two events together but he is convinced they are related. He said he has never told this story to anyone before, so I am passing it on to this blog. -Phil Smith, Sun City, AZ

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