In 1947 George van Tassel, a former aircraft mechanic and flight inspector for Howard Hughes, moved to Landers, California where he purchased “Giant Rock,” a massive 7 story freestanding boulder. With the intent of launching a tourist attraction, van Tassel opened a café and airport near the rock, which happened to be a sacred site revered by the Native Americans. Years before, a prospector named Frank Critzer excavated a series of tunnels and caves beneath the sacred rock. Critzer was considered somewhat of an eccentric, and as he was a German immigrant “mining” beneath the Rock during World War II, he came to be suspected a spy. He was tragically killed in a police siege at the base of the Rock in 1942. Van Tassel occasionally worked with Critzer in his uncle’s garage and learned of Giant Rock through him.
After acquiring the site, van Tassel began to regularly meditate within Critzer’s caves. In 1951 he claimed that during meditation he had “astrally projected” to an alien spaceship orbiting the earth, where he met the omnipotent Venusians (travelers from the planet Venus). Purportedly, after several “astral” visitations, the beings from the “Council of the Seven Lights” visited him on earth and instructed him to build a structure to “extend human life.”