Barbara Harris: Strange History of the Integratron and Giant Rock

Barbara Harris is the president of the Morongo Basin Historical Society and an expert on the history of the Joshua Tree/ Yucca Valley/ Landers area of the California high desert.

Most people who listen to Radio Misterioso know about flying saucer contactee George Van Tassel and his famous Integratron. What many might not realize is that when Van Tassel moved his family from Los Angeles in the early 1950s, he didn’t just pick the desert at random. His friend Frank Critzer told him about the area and carved out an 800 square foot living space underneath one of the world’s largest freestanding granite boulders. In contrast to his reputation as a retiring hermit, Critzer also graded the roads and built an airstrip to encourage visitors. Critzer was accused of being a Nazi sympathizer (probably not true) and may have provided support to Japanese families hiding from arrest and internment camps during WWII. Barbara expanded on all of this, busted a quite a few myths and revealed much new information publicly for the first time during our interview, which lasted over two hours.

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10 Responses to Barbara Harris: Strange History of the Integratron and Giant Rock

  1. JT says:

    Great guest, despite the sound/connection issues. Love the subject. It made me think how much wonderful information there is in every little nook of the world, on local/historical level, if somebody just paid attention to it. And with this subject, if those local people wouldn’t just ignore or purposefully suppress it because of it’s peculiar nature. When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

    Anyway, what she’s doing is terrific, and I hope she can get it all together in a book. Publishing these days is so easy and affordable, that all you need to do is write a good story. Of course getting anyone to pay attention to it is another matter. I’d be happy to donate some design work to it, if she gets it on paper.

    • Greg says:


      Yeah skype finally failed me. Sorry. I don’t know what to do about it. If it happens again, I’ll try another service.

      I hope Barb can publish all of this in some form. I’ll try and help her and pass along your offer to her.

  2. Kandinsky says:

    It’s a good show and reminded me of Binnall’s Ann Druffel interview in the way it’s a living record of times, people and events that have passed. Harris managed to place Giant Rock against some vast backdrop of time going back centuries. I’m not a stranger to the history of the place and yet her account knitted it all together in a great narrative.

    It was intriguing that just about every facet of ufological lore is wedded to the place; Aerospace corps, FBI, NAZIs and onwards through UFOs, parties and NA mythology. Even as the interview touched on how the place will eventually become off-limits, it’s easy to see how the mystique will likely continue for a long time to come.

    • Greg says:


      I really enjoyed the interview too. Barbara and I were talking about two weeks ago and she started spilling over the side with all this info, so I told her to hold it for a show. Didn’t even notice that all the memes started to come into play. Good catch. If 29 Palms Marine Base has its way, maybe there will be a lot more “UFO” sightings in the future, although closed access would make me very sad.

  3. Barbara’s mentioning of the big petroglyph of a scorpion at Giant Rock reminded me of Vallee’s discussion of a certain Phoenician amulet depicting the typical Mesopotamic winged disk, being held by two ‘scorpion men’, in his book Dimensions.

  4. pete says:

    Greg please can you tell me who recorded the ‘Skyman’ song you played, I know this was the demo version [ which was great ] but I’d like to get hold of the original which I think I’ve heard you play before? I couldn’t find it on iTunes searching under ‘Skyman’?

    As usual great interview.

  5. Pete Diggens says:

    I didn’t realise this track was a Joe Meek production; I saw the stage play about his life a few years ago, I have a funny feeling that they were making it into a film? He was a real character recording all his stuff in his little flat in North London, tragic end though.

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