Wilhelm Reich - continued

Image courtesy amazon.com

Image courtesy amazon.com

By Christopher Zoukis

Reich began constructing orgone accumulators in 1940.  By this time, Reich had defined orgone energy as the “primodial cosmic energy,” and asserted that it was blue in color.  In other words, God Himself is Big Blue.

Blue, of course, was omnipresent just like God, and was responsible for the weather, the color of the sky, gravity, the general structure of the galaxies, and the biological expressions of both emotion and sex.  Reich actually stated these as scientific truths.

Orgone accumulators were made with alternating layers of ferromagnetic materials, such as iron or nickel, which are highly magnetic, and insulators with high dielectric constants.  Dielectric insulators are materials such as rubber or glass, which do not conduct electricity.  They do permit the passage of electromagnetic fields but do not conduct the electromagnetic current.  Thus the orgone accumulators did exactly what their name implies.  They accumulated orgone or allowed orgone energy to collect.

The press, never cautious, caught wind of the orgone accumulators.  Speculation ran wild, rumors circulated, and before long the accumulators were designated “sex boxes.”  Entering one of the “sex boxes,” according to newspaper reports, produced raging priapism. 

Without the slightest dubiety or self-consciousness Reich forged ahead, designing his “cloudbuster.”  This machine manipulated the streams of orgone energy in the atmosphere, causing clouds to form or disperse.  Naturally, this produced rain. 

Reich traveled to Arizona with his “cloudbuster” machine.  He was going to cause rain in the middle of a drought.  While there, he asserted he observed UFOs.  This sighting provided fuel for his next assertion:  that UFOs were powered by orgone energy.  And not just UFOs, but UFOs accompanied by clouds, which he called DOR, Deadly Orgone.

All these marvels merely ministered to Reich’s General Orgone Theory, which stated that the primary etiology of all diseases in the human body were the direct result of low levels of or jammed up orgone energy.  To prove this, Reich had ill people sit inside the orgone accumulators.  Their bodies absorbed the “concentrated orgone energy” collected in the accumulators.  As a result of these practical tests, Reich announced that the accumulators not only fortified the immune system, but actually destroyed some types of cancer.  Reich, however, was reluctant to use the word “cure.”  Conveniently, the medical substantiation of the tests were never published or made available.

Reich believed orgone energy to be the universal panacea, akin to the healing power of Jesus. 

Seeking scientific endorsement, Reich visited Albert Einstein.  Reich told Einstein that the orgone energy collected in the accumulator could heat any object placed within it, which would obviate the laws of thermodynamics.  Einstein assumed the unenviable task of testing an orgone accumulator.

Einstein’s tests measured an increase in temperature within the accumulator Reich had provided.  However, Einstein concluded the increased temperature resulted from convection. 

Reich, of course, refuted the findings.  Einstein was wrong.

In 1947 The New Republic magazine ran an article called The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich.  In the article, Reich is portrayed as obsessed with sex and as claiming he could cure cancer.  Due to the magazine article, the FDA investigated Reich.  The FDA determined Reich was making fraudulent claims and running a sex racket.

The U.S. Attorney for Maine filed a complaint against Reich.  Reich refused to appear in court because to do so would “imply admission of the authority of this special branch of the government to pass judgment on primodial, pre-atomic cosmic orgone energy.” 

Merely writing the sentence quoted above, especially the part about “primordial, pre-atomic cosmic orgone energy,” made Reich’s sanity disputable.    

The presiding judge summarily ordered all Reich’s papers, books, and notes eradicated.  The court order also denied Reich the right to publish anything about orgone energy. 

Cataclysm entered:  Reich was arrested in May 1956, for violation of the court order.  Charged with contempt of court, he elected to act as his own attorney.  At the end of the fiasco, he was sentenced to two years in a federal prison.

All Reich’s books, papers, notes and machines were destroyed by federal agents.  While in prison, the examining psychiatrist found him to suffer from “paranoia manifested by delusions of grandiosity and persecution and ideas of reference.”  In other words, a neurotic nut case.

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Opinions about Wilhelm Reich were and continue to be exaggerated.  Which brings up the salient question:  was he right?  Doubtful. 

Additionally, many religious teachers maintain that certain types of thinking, such as fear, worry, shame, feelings of inferiority, and low self-esteem, along with a whole congerie of neuroses, result in various physical ailments.

In the remarkable book, The Body Electric, the author, who is a trained medical professional and physician, presents a cogent case for electromagnetic energy and its possible favorable effects on the human organism.  He also admits that he gave up his study and experimentation because of lack of interest in the medical community, and because of lack of funding. 

But it makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

All that to say this:  theories and ideas are wonderments, but they must be validated by orthodox scientific methods.  To proceed otherwise is reckless, and is to enter the realm of faith healing, and to risk suspicion, persecution, incarceration.

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The video below is more than a little off-the-wall, but gives an indication of the strange things people believe, and partially explains where Reich was coming from.