30 Aug Hey, Earthlings, time to fire up that Integratron!
Though current examples might suggest otherwise, not all conspiracy theories have been based on hate, fear, and intolerance.
In late August 1953, George Van Tassel, an aeronautics engineer who once worked with Howard Hughes, was sleeping under the stars next to Giant Rock, a seven-story free-standing boulder in the Mojave Desert in Southern California. Solganda, a Venusian space traveler who spoke perfect English, woke him up and offered plans for the Integratron, a dome-shaped building with the power to extend lifespans by means of a supercharged magnetic field.
Van Tassel set to work constructing the dome, gathering a group of believers inspired by his new religion, which preached peace, love, and a utopia of eternal youth and renewable energy derived from the alien technology. In 1978, just as he was about to complete the project and put it into action, Van Tassel died of a heart attack. All his notes and plans and his secret machinery had vanished. Some of his followers suspected foul play.