GEORGE VAN TASSEL
Author, inventor and controversial
UFO advocate. Some agreed, some
disagreed with his philosophy.
None found him boring.
the Lord said "Go"
And I said "Who me?"
And He said "Yes, You,"
And I said
"But I'm not ready, yet,
And there is company
And I can't leave the
And you know there's
no one to take my place."
And He said "You're stalling."
Again the Lord said, "Go"
And I said, "But I don't want to."
And He said, "I didn't ask if you wanted to."
And I said,
"Listen, I'm not the
kind of person
to get involved in
besides my family
won't like it,
And what will my
And He said, "Baloney"
And yet a third time the Lord said, "Go"
And I said, "Do I have to?"
And He said, "Do you love me?"
And I said,
"Look, I'm scared,
People are going to
and cut me up in
I can't take it all
And He said, "Where do you think I'll be?
And the Lord said, "Go"
And I sighed...
"Here I am, Send me."
A Brief History of Giant Rock Covering
the Last 90 Years (1887-1977)
by George W. Van Tassel
When I came out here in 1947, I became
a close friend of Charlie Reche. Later, I bought Charlie's
property, which was known as Reche's Wells.
Charlie Reche had been here since 1887,
at which time the people living in the area were all Indians.
Most of the information I gathered concerning the history of
Giant Rock was from both the Indians and Charlie Reche. So I
figure this information is right from the horse's mouth, so
to speak, because they were the ones who were here before it
became what it is now.
According to the Indians, this was an
Indian Holy Ground, where the north and south tribes met
annually. The Chiefs held their seances and meetings close by
the Big Rock, which they called the "Great Stone,"
because to them it symbolized the Great Spirit, as it was the
largest single object in the area. Today, it is still known
as the largest single boulder in the world.
The Indians assembled for their
meetings here for up to three days at a time. During their
meetings, none of the tribesmen were allowed close by as the
meetings, per se, were actually a collection of the Chiefs
and the VIPs in the tribe. The rest of the people in the
tribe had to camp about a mile or so away so as not to be
near the actual meeting place.
I had the honor of being able to speak
to the son of an Indian Chief. This man was ten years old
when his father put a mark on the Giant Rock, on the north
side. The Indians called this mark "the Sign of the
Scorpion." To the Indian's understanding, this means a
good place. Also, wherever an Indian Chief put a sign, no
other Indian was allowed to put other signs. This being the
reason for only the one sign on the big Rock. Whenever one
finds an area where there are numerous Indian hieroglyphics
on the rocks, this is an area where Indian children have been
practicing the art.
Charlie Reche, having homesteaded here
in 1887, was allowed the privilege of meeting with the
Indians many times. Reche's homestead included the area where
the Integratron now stands, as well as several acres besides.
In 1930, while I was still in Santa
Monica, a very interesting person arrived at my uncle's
garage. This fellow had taken up prospecting because he had
been in a fishing fleet and also in the Merchant Marine, and
as a result had acquired too much moisture in his lungs.
Therefore, under doctor's orders, he had discontinued these
activities where he had to be in fog and moisture all the
time. He had a four cylinder Essex car which had a rod
knocking in the engine and he had no money.
My uncle, Glenn Paine, had his garage
on 2nd Street, just off of Broadway in Santa Monica, across
from the Carmel Hotel. He engaged mostly in the selling of
overnight parking for the hotel inside his garage. He also
did repair work and was a Buick specialist.
When I came to California from Ohio, in
1930, to see my uncle, he needed someone to help him. So I
stayed with him and that's how I happened to be there.
This man I spoke of happened to be
Frank Critzer. When he came into my uncle's garage, he was
looking for someone to correct that rod knock in his Essex,
who would do it without charge.
Being interested in mining and having a
period of lull during the depression, we just happened to
have a little time on our hands when this fellow drove in
with his Essex. So, that same day we took him to lunch with
us. We discovered he was a very intelligent person and that
he did know quite a lot about prospecting. Thus, in the
course of getting acquainted we became instant buddies, so to
speak. My uncle allowed him to sleep in the garage and we
repaired his Essex.
When Frank Critzer was ready to leave,
we gave him $30.00, which was a lot of money in those days.
We also stocked his car full of canned goods and headed him
out. He told us that wherever he would settle down then he'd
write to us, and also that we would be included in any mining
claims he should happen to declare.
A year went by before we finally heard
from him. We had practically given up on him when we received
a letter in which he had drawn a map showing how to get to
Giant Rock. The following weekend my uncle and I went to
Giant Rock to see him.
Frank had already started to dig under
the big Rock to make a place to live. Banning was the closest
town in which one could purchase supplies for building, so
Frank was getting by with what was there. Too, he had only
squatter's rights and a mining claim on Giant Rock. He didn't
own the property, for it was government land. By digging
under the Rock he could have a place to live without having
to purchase materials to amount to anything.
Frank had shrewdness and comprehension,
so he reasoned that if he dug a room under the north side of
the Giant Rock, the boulder would take all summer getting
warm and hold the warmth beneath it during the winter. By the
same reasoning, the Rock would get cold during the winter and
keep the room temperature cool during the summer. Thus there
would be little need for heating or cooling. This would
amount to six months' delayed thermal reaction.
This has proved to be good engineering
on Frank's part because the maximum temperature under the
Rock is 80ƒF without any refrigeration in the summer time,
and a minimum of 55ƒF in the winter time with no heating.
The outside temperature will vary from approximately 25ƒF to
The Giant Rock covers 5800 sq. ft. of
ground and is 7 stories high. The rooms dug out from beneath
it amount to approximately 400 sq. ft., so one can readily
see that this is a very small fraction of the total area of
the bottom side.
Frank was falsely accused of stealing
dynamite, failing to register for the draft, and several
other things, in 1942, while the US was at war with Germany.
Having a German name, it was assumed by many people that he
had to be a German spy in order to live in such a desolate
place as Giant Rock.
The only radio Frank Critzer had was
one that Charlie Korell had given him. I spoke to Charlie
later about this as he made frequent trips to Giant Rock. The
radio was a little 3 dial, A & B dry battery Atwater
Kent, with the tubes exposed and no case around it. It wasn't
any good for transmitting messages to Germany, although it
was a superhetrodyne receiver.
The stories had generated from some
people's erroneous thinking. Frank did have a German name. He
had served in the German Navy as a mess boy on a German
submarine in World War I. But he had come to our country,
worked in our Merchant Marine, and was a naturalized citizen.
Besides, he had no further affiliation with Germany
whatsoever. But because he did have a big radio antenna on
top of the mountain, some people assumed he was using his
radio for spying purposes and, without first checking with
the FBI, these people started the rumor that Frank surely
must be a spy. Consequently, in August of 1942, three
deputies came to Giant Rock, supposedly to take Frank in for
I spent many weekends visiting with
Frank at Giant Rock. Frank had a big kitchen table, and a big
wood-burning cook stove, on which he prepared, cooked, and
served German pancakes for anyone who happened to stop in. He
usually had a case of two of dynamite and a partially opened
case under the big kitchen table. We would put our feet on
them when we were with him. He also had some caps, as he was
doing some prospecting and dynamiting, and he knew how to use
When the three deputies came to take
Frank in, the first thing he noticed was that they were from
Riverside County. Giant Rock being in San Bernardino County
and Frank being a man of principle, he knew they had no
authority in this county and he told them so.
According to Bill Royal, who had
brought the deputies out here -- as they didn't even know
where Giant Rock was, Frank, after a lot of arguing, said
that if they were going to take him in anyway, that he needed
to get his coat. When he went into his living quarters
beneath Giant Rock to get his coat, he pulled the 2 x 4 bar,
which he had across the door on the inside to hold it in
place, and thus barricaded the door. The deputies immediately
assumed Frank was defying them, so they lobbed a tear gas
grenade in through the north side window. The unfortunate
part of this whole incident was that the grenade landed
underneath that table, thus setting off the caps and
dynamite. The explosion killed Frank Critzer, blew the
windows out, and injured the deputies.
Newspapers ran the story that he was a
German spy. I had personally talked with the FBI; they knew
the newspaper stories were not true.
Frank had written a manuscript called
the "Glass Age" which he'd given to a friend to
type. In 1936 he had already in print all of the plastics we
use today, and some of which we do not have yet. He was an
advanced thinker in his own right, with a brilliant mind.
When I finally had the time from work
to come to Giant Rock after reading about Frank's death in
the newspapers, there was nothing left but the hole under the
rock. All of Frank's belongings had been hauled away,
including the 4 cylinder Essex. The place was literally
stripped. I was working for Douglas Aircraft at the time, and
about a month had passed before I could come to Giant Rock.
On numerous occasions, after the death
of Frank, I came with my wife and family to spend our
vacations here camping out -- because we all loved this
When the war ended in 1945, I made
application to the Bureau of Land Management to acquire this
property, and wanted to make and airport here. Frank had
already cleared an area and many airplanes had landed.
However, it wasn't on the airmaps. Being of hard decomposed
granite, it is a perfect natural runway. But it was not until
1947 when the paperwork which was involved was finally
completed [that] we were able to move to Giant Rock.
It was in 1953 when we began the weekly
meditation meetings in the room under Giant Rock which led to
the UFO contacts. This resulted in the information which led
to the principles of rejuvenation and to the creation of the
I operated the airport from 1947 until
December 1975 at which time I sold it to Phyllis and John
Brady, who in turn turned it over to Jose Rodriguez and his
family in 1977.
Giant Rock has been known world-wide
for a long time for its unusual UFO activities and for the
many unmatched annual Space Conventions which have been held
Text courtesy of Cabot's Old
Indian Pueblo Museum, 67-616 E. Desert View, Desert Hot
Springs, CA 92240
Mailing Address: PO Box 3461, Landers, CA 92285
Street Address: 2477 Belfield Boulevard, Landers, CA 92285
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