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.

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