Today we’d like to introduce you to Nancy Karl.
Hi Nancy, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
We first saw the Integratron in the mid-80’s on a visit to the Mojave Desert from New York state. Luckily, there was a generous man named Richard who gave us a tour and told us a lot about the science behind the machine that George Van Tassel created. We were more than intrigued and inspired by what this machine could be, its history and how it worked. Shortly after that visit, a friend acquired the property and we were permitted to rent it and bring groups of people to the site for meditation retreats. It was in rough shape all around, but friends of the owner, and our visiting groups, worked hard to clear debris, large and small. We also tried to preserve the structure as best we could with caulk and paint because it leaked badly when monsoon rains came to the desert. We loved and cared about it more every time we stayed there. It changed us in so many wonderful ways that we can now only feel gratitude for the opportunity to be part of such an amazing project. There seemed to be a Conspiracy of Grace around the entire project.
Each time we needed something for the Integratron it mysteriously drove through the gate – people, advice, tools for repairs, so many “synchronicities.” Our connection to the Integratron deepened. In 2000, the three sisters purchased the property from the owners and began to renovate the property and the building as much as possible with very limited resources. We created guided tours for $5 and rented the facility to sound and music professionals who were inspired by the all-wood sound chamber. We gave public talks about the Integratron to Rotary clubs, Chamber of Commerce meetings and anyone who would have us. Shortly after the acquisition, we created the Sound Bath using quartz crystal singing bowls. Working with sound inside the dome is transformative and we wanted to share it. After some time and major media attention, the Integratron and the Sound Bath became well known with the many visitors who came to the desert from all over the world. It’s been a must-do experience for years which has allowed us to continue to renovate the property and the structure. We’ve also been able to complete the Integratron’s listing in 2017 on the National Register of Historic Places.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
If this question were asked of anyone who has ever been associated with the Integratron, the answer would most certainly be, “No, never smooth, never easy.” We can smile and laugh looking back at the seemingly impossible obstacles we encountered – flash floods raging through the property, thieves cutting fences and stealing equipment, tornadic winds tearing apart everything it could (including metal scaffolding on the structure), the water well shutting down every single day as you open to the public, the entire infrastructure on the property was extremely fragile… there were relentless mountains to climb and now we know that it was worth every minute. To be able to be at the Integratron and be part of its preservation, history and magic has been the greatest gift we could imagine. It helped that we’ve never been afraid of hard work. It helped that a strong community was developing in Joshua Tree, very often taking us the extra mile.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
The three sisters who steward the Integratron have career backgrounds that include: cardiac care nursing, law, and business (corporate and non-profit). They also taught meditation classes and led wilderness backpacking retreats and dolphin swims for 13 years. They created and volunteered with charitable organizations for decades – food pantries, hospice care, and doula birth services for unwed teens were a few of these.
How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
We have a few ideas for collaborative projects that will have to wait until we’re completely clear of the pandemic. In the interim, we’ve reopened for very small groups to have private sound baths and are conducting weekend outdoor events for people who want to experience the Integratron. The facility can also be rented hourly for meditation groups, music/sound events, weddings, etc. Smaller groups only at this time. We are not open to the public for spontaneous visits/tours but hope that can change in the near future. All reservations, visits and purchases from our gift shop help preserve and care for this unique and magical historic property.
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The Integratron, LLC