Guided by aliens, a man builds a desert time machine. Can the Integratron work? Will he finish it before the government finishes him?
Calling All Earthlings (2018) is a sincere documentary focusing on the life and influence of aeronautical engineer George W. Van Tassel as well as the people who have attempted to pick up where he left off in realizing the dream that is The Integratron–a domed building in the California desert designed, according to Van Tassel, by extraterrestrial influence during a chance encounter one night. It is a tale of coincidences and intrigue that begins at a sacred Morongo site and ends with a suspicious heart attack in a Pasadena motel room.
New age religionists claim that the Integratron building is a device designed to “reprogram” human DNA, giving the opportunity for prolonged life while the site’s caretakers claim that it’s a time machine that runs off the natural bioelectric field of the human body. Van Tassel’s own family claims that it is a source of free electricity based on Nikola Tesla’s Wardenclyffe prototype. The US government–particularly the FBI–in the 1950s frequently investigated Van Tassel’s activities in the Mojave desert and black helicopters from the nearby Twenty-Nine Palms USMC base add to the intrigue.
Did the government murder George Van Tassel for his work in free energy? Are there spirits roaming the Big Rock site, waiting for contact with the corporeal world? Will the Integratron work as intended? Like all good conspiracy theory stories, the answers are left open-ended, but the journey is a fun one for anyone who enjoys entertaining the idea of “alternative science” (even as a skeptic). The subject matter is treated with the respect that human beings deserve, and makes no judgement into their enlightenment or their quackery–much like Art Bell, et al. have done with Coast To Coast A.M. Interviews with locals, academics, and Integratron “stewards” dive into the feelings and emotions that one experiences in the area and pose questions about the madness that solitude in the desert can bring about.
Did George Van Tassel really have a close encounter with an extraterrestrial being? We may never know the real answer, but in Calling All Earthlings, the idea seems to be less answering the facts and more about exploring, documenting, and even celebrating the interesting characters who continue Van Tassel’s legacy.