The Mysterious Life and Death
of Dr. Wilhelm Reich

by Linda Moulton-Howe

©Linda Moulton-Howe 2001
Article #4 in our series
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The Mysterious Life and Death of Dr. Wilhelm Reich

One of the most maligned scientists of the 20th century was psychiatrist Dr. Wilhelm Reich. He was born on March 24th, 1897 in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, grew up on a farm, and then entered medical school. By the 1920s, Dr. Reich was being hailed as the heir apparent to Sigmund Freud because of his contributions to psychoanalysis.

By the 1930s, Dr. Reich's studies of biogenesis — the origin of life — were thought by some to be worthy of a Nobel Prize. Then in the 1940s in the United States, Dr. Reich claimed to discover a new form of energy that he said pervaded all space and life, including vacuums. He began to write about a new paradigm in physics, one in which energy — not matter — is primary. And Dr. Reich began to experiment with weather modification. Those experiments seemed to attract glowing lights of unknown origin and Reich speculated the lights were advanced machines operated by non-human intelligences. All of this apparently threatened people of power and financial influence in America and Europe.

The U. S. government bore down on him with a series of investigations that led to his incarceration. Dr. Wilhelm Reich died on November 3rd, 1957 in a U.S. Federal penitentiary where he had been sentenced for two years on a charge of violating interstate commerce laws connected to the transport of an invention Dr. Reich called Orgone Energy Accumulators. The year before his death, the Federal Food and Drug Administration had destroyed Dr. Reich's accumulators at his Rangeley, Maine lab on June 5th and July 23rd, 1956. The FDA also burned his scientific literature and books.

The amazing life and death of Dr. Wilhelm Reich is featured in a chapter of a recent book entitled Project Mindshift, The Re-Education of the American Public Concerning Extraterrestrial Life, 1947 to the Present, by Michael Mannion. Mr. Mannion is a professional medical and health writer who has also investigated the subject of other life in the cosmos and man's changing conception of his place in the universe.

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Mr. Mannion at his New York City home on April 20th, 1999:

INTERVIEW

Reich called the energy 'orgone' energy. And he did that because it came from his study of human sexual energy and the word also derived from the fact that it (orgone energy) charged organic material. If this energy were proven to be true, it would not only have implications for the use of fossil fuels or space travel or automotive travel or planes or that type of thing. It would also have health implications where the life energy could be used directly to prevent illness and promote health, instead of synthetic pharmaceuticals. So there were many applications of this energy that struck at the roots of very powerful economic institutions and society.

WHAT DID WILHELM REICH HIMSELF WRITE ABOUT OR SAY TO PEOPLE BEFORE HE DIED AS HIS UNDERSTANDING OF WHY HIS WORK THREATENED THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND THAT THE FDA WOULD ACTUALLY BE IN AN AGGRESSIVE POSTURE PERSECUTING HIM?

Well, he amplified what I just said. He felt that — well, my understanding of what he said is — you could look at three levels of it. The first one is the surface level of our social life. So the reality of the energy definitely threatened very powerful financial and social institutions in our society. For instance, if we had chosen to develop Reich's orgone energy technology instead of atomic technology, that would have affected all the moneyed people behind the nuclear industry. If we had developed an orgone medical approach instead of pharmaceutical approach, there's billions and billions involved in that.

CAN YOU GO BACK TO AND GIVE THE YEAR WHEN THE FEDERAL DRUG ADMINISTRATION ACTUALLY MOVED LEGALLY AGAINST WILHELM REICH THAT ENDED UP IN THE DESTRUCTION OF SOME OF HIS BOOKS?

Well, I think the first forthright action in terms of going to court I think was 1954. However, the actual FDA investigation of Reich began about 7 years before that in 1946-1947.

WHAT WAS HAPPENING AT THAT TIME IN 1946 TO 1947 THAT WOULD HAVE BROUGHT THE ATTENTION AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL TO THE POINT THAT THEY WOULD ACTUALLY BEGIN AN INVESTIGATION?

One of the things was an article by a freelance journalist, Mildred Eady Brady. She published an article in The New Republic (entitled) The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich. And in that article, she completely misrepresented Reich and did a hatchet job on him. And at the end of the article, she called for the state to intervene against this man as a health quack was her basic thing. That actually began the FDA campaign against Reich. And in most of that first 7 year period, they didn't acknowledge publicly that they were investigating him. But it was well known. People were being contacted and asked questions, harassed.

It was in 1954 that they (FDA) made the first injunction, a sweeping injunction forbidding anyone anywhere in America to write about orgone energy, communicate about orgone energy, practice the type of medicine that involved the use of the orgone devices Reich made. It was an amazing — it is one of the most amazing documents in U. S. legal history. And that was the first phase of it.

Over a 10 year period, the FDA spent 4-6% of its entire budget to get this man. That's an astounding amount of money to go after one physician scientist. And I think at the height of his career, I think 125 or 150 patients were working with him.

SO WAS WILHELM REICH ACTUALLY IN THE PROCESS OF ADMINISTERING VARIOUS OF KINDS OF HEALTH TREATMENTS THAT INVOLVED THOSE ORGONE ENERGIES IN APPARATUSES?

He created a device he called the Orgone Energy Accumulator. He felt that like right now in the room that you and I are speaking we're in an energy field and that by a certain arrangement of materials, alternating layers of organic and metallic materials — you could create an artificially higher level of energy within the enclosure than in the rest of the room. And you could measure this with an electroscope, you could measure temperature differences with a thermometer. I have now pictures taken with an infra red thermo-imaging camera in 1996 in a state of the art physics lab that demonstrates the existence of this energy. And he was working on an experimental basis with patients with this device. And there were a number of student physicians who were using orgone energy accumulators with their patients. At this period, Reich himself wasn't practicing medicine. He was engaged in his research. I think he was still doing some work as a therapist. And then there were patients who had rented or bought his orgone accumulators from the Reich foundation and using them on their own in their homes. And this is what the FDA objected to.

DID THE PATIENT ACTUALLY GET INTO THESE ORGONE BOXES? WAS IT A TOTAL BODY IMMERSION IN THIS ACCUMULATING ENERGY?

Yes. It was large enough for a person to sit in. And you would use it, depending, 20 or 30 minutes at a time, once or twice a day. And the way it would work is that your energy field would come into contact with the heightened level of energy that was within the enclosure. There would be excitation of the two energy fields. And in a general overall way specifically through energy charging of the red blood cells, you would become healthier and more able to resist illness and disease and things like that. It wasn't a specific targeted cure.

ONE COULD SAY THE SAME THING ABOUT GOING TO A CHURCH, OR INSIDE A SACRED SITE . . . THAT THERE IS SOME KIND OF AN ENERGY SHIFT INSIDE OF A BUILDING MADE OF STONE THAT WE WOULD CALL A CHURCH. WHY WOULD THE FEDERAL DRUG ADMINISTRATION FIND THERE WAS ANYTHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT IF ALL PEOPLE WERE DOING WERE SITTING INSIDE A CHAMBER? THERE WERE NO WIRES. THERE WAS NO APPARATUS. THERE WAS NOTHING ENTERING ANYBODY. HOW COULD THIS FOUND TO BE SO TROUBLESOME AT A LEGAL LEVEL?

It's a good question. If the FDA thought of Reich's work and the accumulator as you've just described, nothing they did makes any sense. However, if they knew that he had discovered the physical life energy that had only been postulated about either religiously in religious thought systems as God — or in scientific thought systems as prana or ether or various metaphysical concepts, that they understood that he really had discovered the physical life energy, then we go back to what we were discussing earlier — that the status quo of our society was really going to be rocked.

AND WHEN THIS LEGAL SANCTION AGAINST THE ORGONE BOX AND THE ORGONE ENERGY AND THAT IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL FOR ANYBODY TO BE USING THIS IN THE UNITED STATES, WHAT WAS WILHELM REICH'S REACTION TO THIS LEGAL STEP?

This is where it gets really interesting and there is a book for those who might want to get into the details of it — the author is Jerome Greenfield and the book is called The U.S.A. Versus Wilhelm Reich. I think it's out of print, but you can find it pretty easily. Published in 1974. What Reich did was that he didn't go to answer the subpoena. He didn't go into court and instead he wrote a letter of response to the judge in which he said that matters of basic science, of bona fide scientific research, cannot be judged in a court of law. That stunned them. And it temporarily brought a halt to the legal action. Reich was found to be in violation of the subpoena and found in contempt of court, but they didn't know what to do.

NOW, IF I UNDERSTAND CORRECTLY, THE FDA ACTUALLY CAUSED THE PHYSICAL BURNING OF REICH'S BOOKS ONE TIME, AND THEN UPON HIS DEATH. WHY WOULD THERE HAVE BEEN THIS DRAMATIC BURNING OF THE BOOKS?

You know, that's what really got me into it when I was a teenager. I couldn't believe they went so far as to burn the books. You can get everybody's books. We can go into a bookstore and buy Mein Kampf by Hitler. I wanted to know what could have been in these books that drove them to such an extreme action. And over the last 30 years, I have been studying this work and some of the things that we talked about — namely, a new science and a new technology and a new form of medicine that would completely undermine mechanistic drug-oriented medicine, that would completely undermine the fossil fuel-based economy that we have — that would have been a powerful alternative to the nuclear industry as it developed. I think all of these things were in there that lead to this drastic action. And also there was a connection to the covert government activities involving extraterrestrial activity and energy and extraterrestrial technology that may have been uncovered in incidents such as the Roswell Incident and others.

SO, THE UNITED STATES AT SOME LEVEL INSIDE MAY HAVE KNOWN THAT WE WERE DEALING WITH A NON-HUMAN INTELLIGENCE INTERACTING WITH THE PLANET AND THAT WE HAD RETRIEVED MACHINES AND TECHNOLOGY. AND THEY RECOGNIZED THAT THERE WAS SOMETHING IN REICH'S WORK THAT MAY HAVE TIED INTO WHAT THEY WERE WORKING ON A WHOLE OTHER LEVEL HAVING TO DO WITH THE PRESENCE OF WHAT THEY CALLED EXTRATERRESTRIAL BIOLOGICAL ENTITIES. AND SOMEONE IN THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WAS USING THE FEDERAL DRUG ADMINISTRATION AS THE PERSECUTION TOOL AGAINST WILHELM REICH. CERTAINLY THE FDA IN AND OF ITSELF WOULDN'T HAVE HAD ANY PROPRIETARY INTEREST IN THIS. AND THEY MANAGED TO GET HIM SENTENCED TO PRISON. WHAT WAS IT THAT REICH HIMSELF WAS SAYING AS HE KNEW WAS GOING TO PRISON IN THOSE LAST MONTHS?

In the beginning of Contact With Space — and you have to imagine — here is a man who knows he is going to prison. His reputation has been sullied. He is a man of great integrity and international renown. But he has been following his truth which is the pursuit of this energy principle he calls orgone energy. And he is going to follow that truth wherever it leads him, whatever it costs. And this is how he opens up Contact With Space.

On March 20th, 1956 at 10 PM, a thought of a very remote possibility entered my mind which I fear will never leave me again: Am I a spaceman? Do I belong to a new race on earth, bred by men from outer space in embraces with earth women? Are my children offspring of the first interplanetary race? Has the melting pot of interplanetary society already been created on our planet, as the melting pot of all earth nations was established in the U.S.A.190 years ago? Or, is this thought related to things to come in the future? I request my right and privilege to have such thoughts and to ask such questions without being threatened to be jailed by any administrative agency of society.

Why he thought that is that he had been engaged in a series of atmospheric research projects that brought him into direct visual contact and perhaps energetic contact through one of his devices with spaceships.

YOU MEAN SILVER DISCS IN THE SKY? OR DID HE DESCRIBE EXACTLY WHAT HE ENCOUNTERED?

He described exactly what he encountered. They weren't daylight discs. They were more lights in the night sky. The one that's very dramatic and relates here is when Reich was in Arizona about eight miles north of Tucson in the winter of 1954-1955. And he was doing atmospheric energy research. And they were regularly sighting over the six month period UFOs. And they were also regularly under observation by the American Air Force. So, what you have is this outsider scientist doing completely leading edge research under the observation of both the American Air Force and whoever these extraterrestrial entities are. And he did fabulous work applying the scientific method to the observation of the night sky that lead him to take some extremely interesting and significant photographs of things in the night sky that are definitely not stars and are some sort of space machines under some sort of intelligent operation.

WHY IS IT THAT WILHELM REICH'S NAME IS PROBABLY ASSOCIATED MORE WITH CLOUD BUSTERS THAN ANYTHING ELSE?

What Reich felt about the orgone energy was that there was an inter-relationship between water and energy and between metal and energy. The way a lightning rod just randomly attracts huge bursts of energy from the atmosphere, the cloud buster could attract smaller amounts of energy in a controlled fashion from the atmosphere. And so what you had were these telescoping tubes — they kind of stretched out and looked like a military thing like on a battleship in a way — the way cannons stretch out and telescope out. There were 12 or 16 of them and mounted on a structure. And then coming from the end of each tube was hollow metal cable. And then the cable would be run into running water or deep lake water or river or deep well because the water would attract the atmospheric energy as would the metal and the energy would be drawn that way. And also, Reich felt there was a negative form of natural orgone energy which he called deadly orgone energy in the air and that the water would absorb that. And this was involved in shifting the energy field around the planet locally. Reich felt it was the energy shifts that had to do with the creation of dissolution of clouds.

WHAT EXACTLY DID WILHELM REICH DO IN TUCSON WITH THESE MILITARY LOOKING THINGS THAT WERE GATHERING ENERGY FROM THE RUNNING WATER AIMED UP AT THE SKY? WHAT WAS HIS GOAL?

Well, his original goal going there was weather modification work which was actually quite successful. It was on television in Phoenix, I think.

WHAT WAS ON TELEVISION?

Well, one example they showed was that Reich went to one part of the desert where no grass had grown in the memory of the oldest person living there for 50 years or more. And over a period of months — people mistakenly think that making rain means that you create lightning and thunder and clouds and downpours. But what he did was through work with the cloud buster, he was able to gradually raise the relative humidity of the area around Tucson. Grass began to grow in areas where grass had never grown, knee high grass. That was one thing that was on television. Another thing was that the water table rose. Homes had been built along stream beds that had been dry for who knows how long? But the water table rose.

BUT WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH CLOUD BUSTING? THE IMPRESSION THAT THE GENERAL PUBLIC HAS IS THAT WHAT WILHELM REICH WAS DOING WAS FOCUSING AN ENERGY BEAM AT CLOUDS TO DISPERSE THEM, NOT CREATE THEM.

No, that's not what it is at all. You could withdraw energy from an area which would lead to the dissolution of clouds. Or you could draw more energy in, say from the east to the west, and a higher concentration of energy is an integral part of the creation of clouds. So, by shifting the energy field locally, you can assist nature in what it does naturally which is forming the dissolution or creation of clouds and rain. And prolong periods in which clouds are not able to form. Then you begin to get the process of desert development.

So Reich initially went down there to do that. But there is no energy beams going out or that kind of thing. It's the slow gradual shifting of the energy field in the atmosphere.

SO WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS THAT WILHELM REICH HAD THE GOAL OF USING THE ORGONE ENERGY, DRAWING IT FROM RUNNING WATER, AND AIMING IT AT WHAT HE CONSIDERED TO BE STAGNANT ENERGY AREAS — NOT SPECIFICALLY WHITE PUFFY CLOUDS?

Right. What he was trying to do was to move the energy.

DID HE EVER DEMONSTRATE THE CREATION OF RAIN IN A PLACE THAT WAS DRY?

Yes, he did, and he writes about it in the journal CORE. It might have been 1951 or 1952. There was a group of blueberry farmers in Maine. There was a drought the whole summer and they heard about this scientist doing rain making research. And they hired him. And it rained. And they paid him.

DID HE HAVE HIS ORGONE MAKING EQUIPMENT AT THESE BLUEBERRY FARMS?

Yes. He brought them from Rangeley which is in the mountains of west central Maine to the coast. And they did a number of rain-making operations which he describes and is written up in his reports. And they were satisfied. The weather report was not predicting anything remotely like rain. It wasn't going to be overcast in any way and had been that way most of the summer.

DO YOU THINK THE FACT THAT HE HAD POSITIVELY DEMONSTRATED THAT HE COULD EFFECT WEATHER WOULD HAVE BEEN THREATENING TO THE GOVERNMENT BECAUSE THEY WOULD HAVE WORRIED THAT IF ENEMIES GOT HOLD OF WHAT REICH WAS WORKING ON, THEY MIGHT USE WEATHER TO HURT US?

Yes, I think based on their mind set, they could see many things he was working on as potential weapons of war. I remember in the 1980s that Soviet Premiere Breshnev suddenly announced that the USSR renounced Weather War and called on President Reagan to do the same. And I remember thinking, WHAT weather war?! What are they talking about, weather war?

Even in 1941, Reich visited Einstein and he took one of his first orgone experiments to Einstein. This is detailed in a booklet that you can get from the Wilhelm Reich Museum called The Einstein Affair about their correspondence. And Einstein initially confirmed Reich's finding that there was this unusual energy phenomenon present. And he gave the experimental set up to an assistant who came up with an alternate explanation. And then Einstein dropped the whole thing.

But Einstein's comment when he saw there was an energy phenomenon heretofore unknown showing up in this experiment, he said to Reich: This would be a bomb in physics. Does he mean this would be so mind blowing? Or does he mean that we, the mechanistic scientists, would turn this into a bomb? Or both?

HOW DID WILHELM REICH DIE?

Well, he died on November 3rd, 1957 of a heart attack in his prison cell in the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary in Pennsylvania.

HE HAD BEEN THERE HOW LONG?

I think he had been there nine months. He had a trial in Portland, Maine. The jury deliberated 15 minutes and he was given the maximum sentence — 2 year sentence — and this is for an internationally renowned scientist of position. I often think people should compare the sentences of some of the organized crime figures who got off with a slap on the wrist at that time with what happened to him. His small institute was bankrupted. The FDA burned his books. They probably illegally burned them because they began the destruction of his literature before the appeals process was complete. They actually created a bon fire on his property in Maine. They chopped up the wooden parts of the orgone energy accumulators and threw books on them. And Reich was there and he said to one of the agents, They did this in Nazi Germany. I never thought they would do this here.

IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. AND WHAT WAS THE ACTUAL LITERAL CHARGE THAT PUT HIM IN PRISON FOR TWO YEARS?

The literal charge was - it had nothing to do with his work or science or medicine. It was a violation of the court injunction against shipping orgone energy accumulators and his books in interstate commerce. And what happened was, while Reich was in Arizona doing the weather modification work which also had the UFO aspect to it, Dr. Michael Silvert who was one of the officers of this small Wilhelm Reich Foundation, shipped his own accumulators and literature from Maine to himself in New York City. And that was a violation of the court order. So it didn't matter that Reich was 2800 miles away. And it didn't matter that this man did it completely on his own. It tripped the legal trap and then the legal machine just ground Reich to a pulp.

I often wonder if what's known as MJ-12 was part of what happened to Wilhelm Reich? The Air Force was watching him do his UFO things. He filed his own reports. Certainly, discovering in 1947 that space is not a vacuum and even saying that we were on the verge of developing the technology that is now used only by beings from outer space that would allow us to travel into outer space. What would that mean to those men back in 1947 who were so desperately trying to cover up everything about this phenomenon? And here was a man who was completely outside their control. He didn't belong to any of their organizations. Never worked for them. Stood forthrightly against all attempts to squelch human freedom and freedom of inquiry. Funded his own work. What could they do? They would have to go to extreme lengths to stop him.

More information about the work and publications of Dr. Wilhelm Reich is available from: The Wilhelm Reich Museum Rangeley, Maine PH: (207) 864-3443, M-F 9 am-2 pm EST

Linda Moulton-Howe
Copyright 2001 Linda Moulton Howe All Rights Reserved. Republication and redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without prior Earthfiles.com written consent.
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