The following is a transcription of the lecture given by Dr Kevin Hinchey at the Institute for Orgonomic Science Conference on April 11, 2015 at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
When Harry called me couple months ago asked me to present I was a little reluctant, I am not a scientist, I am not a science historian Jim Strick is the science historian also it is customary for me when I do presentations to write them all out ahead of time, I am more comfortable doing that and I knew because of my busy schedule I would have no chance to do that but I also knew that in the last few years I spent 4 years researching, writing out the story line for the documentary film which I am now in the middle of production and so I thought what I would do I would extract selections from that body of research and storyline which is essentially my bible for moving ahead with the film project.
I spent 4 years researching, writing out the story line for the documentary film which I am now in the middle of production and so I thought what I would do I would extract selections from that body of research and storyline which is essentially my bible for moving ahead with the film project.
As I tell my 2 film classes in the first lecture I thought very fast I am going to do that today, I want to move through a huge amount of material but I want to go into more detail about four specific episode which I think is very significant in terms of Reich’s medicine and science and the implications of it and those are his interaction with Einstein, his initial experiments, with orgone treatment. Treatment of terminal cancer patients, a significant 47 day experiment that he did in the summer of 41 in Organon and finally a little known episode from the Fall of 1942 Reich’s efforts to bring his empirical and scientific research to the attention of the national research council on behalf of the war effort which is a little known episode that I am particularly fond of. So just very briefly we really have to talk about the beginnings of Reich’s scientific research. Let’s just go back very briefly to put it in context so you appreciate the chronology, the drama. The facts and the narrative go back to March 1933 in Berlin when Hitler consolidates his power and in the Nazi newspaper in an article condemning Reich’s book the sexual struggle of youth at which time Reich realizes he has to leave Germany and so that night he and his first wife, Annie, take a night train to the border and over the next few days they will cross over the border and each of them will eventually make the way back to Vienna, this is early March 1933. In Vienna it is a very hostile environment for Reich, it is a right wing government, the Dolfuss Regime, Freud is continuously trying to distance himself from Reich for psychoanalytic and political reasons and in fact when he gets there Reich learns that Freud has cancelled his contract to publish character analysis so it’s a very hostile environment and in this hostile climate a young Danish physicians, Tage Philipson, came to Reich for psychoanalytic training. He encouraged Reich to move the Copenhagen where others wanted to train with him. Reich secured a permit to work in Denmark for 6 months, on April 30, 1933, so he’s only been in Vienna for few weeks Reich left Vienna alone by train traveling north to Poland and then west across the Baltic City arriving in Copenhagen and on May 1st shortly afterwards his lover, Elsa Lindenburg would join him and this really signals the end of Reich and his wife living together and he later moved to Prague so he is with Elsa at this point.Now it’s in Denmark according to Reich there he first begins to formulate in writing a series of laboratory experiments he wish to conduct to determine if the libido was identical with bioelectrical charge and if orgasm was an electrical discharge and these experiments drew upon Reich’s 12 years of clinical findings
Now it’s in Denmark according to Reich there he first begins to formulate in writing a series of laboratory experiments he wish to conduct to determine if the libido was identical with bioelectrical charge and if orgasm was an electrical discharge and these experiments drew upon Reich’s 12 years of clinical findings
plus the publish research of and he lists well over dozen scientists in his publish works about this. It’s one of things I am really impressed about is the bibliography in the references to the science that has come before him. And these studies that he sites, these are studies about the autonomic nervous system, the effect of various stimuli on amebic movement, bioelectricity in living matter, and the effect of emotions on electrical potential of skin. These are crucial for Reich’s experiments which would start in 1935. So you see he’s drawing upon an existing body of work at this time. Now what happens when he’s living in Denmark, his 6 month visa is not renewed so he decides he is going to move to Malmo, Sweden and before he actually makes the move he embarks on a four weeks solo trip through a variety of cities what he’s really looking for is a permanent place to relocate at this period of time, at some point he ends up in London meets with Ernest Jones of the psychoanalytic association, but he also visits renown physiologist name Wright who has a research institute in university of London. I am a little unclear, I have to do more research as to which Wright this is but Reich discusses his experiments with this individual. He is 6 months in Malmo and then his visa will not be renewed so he ends up living illegally in Denmark in the spring of 1934. And that summer, a gentleman by the name of Harald Schjelderup, director of the psychological institute of university of Oslo and a colleague of Nic Hoel who is one of the students comes to one of Reich’s courses. He also wanted to learn the techniques of character analysis. Reich was more eager than ever to begin laboratory experiments to explore the possible electrical nature of the libido.
Reich was more eager than ever to begin laboratory experiments to explore the possible electrical nature of the libido.
Schjelderup, who also had a background in physics, planted the seeds for Reich possibly moving to Oslo where he could train psychoanalyst in character analysis, lecture at the university and had an access to a scientific laboratory. We know that few months later Reich is expelled from the international psychoanalytic association at their big meeting in Lucerne in August 1934 and by the invitation of the Norwegian psychoanalysts Reich will move to Oslo. Reich and Elsa drove north to France and from Lucerne back to Denmark at the end of October at the invitation of the Norwegian psychoanalysts they move to Oslo Norway. This is the 5th time that Reich has moved in 20 months. He has gone from Berlin to Vienna, Vienna to Copenhagen, Copenhagen to Malmo and illegally back to Denmark and now he is in Oslo. He also visited London and Paris. So now we are in the Fall of 1934 in Oslo and Reich writes in his journal after one and three quarters years of rowing a place to live again in Oslo 36 hours from the children, it is hard being away from the children and his reasons for moving was there in a very clear letter to his ex-wife, Annie, written shortly after his arrival, he said “I came to Oslo with some firm agreements to carry out my experiments”. So it’s very clear why he is in Oslo, he wants to go into the laboratory and this will be the first time he goes into a laboratory since medical school and these are Reich’s propose experiments about the possible electrical nature of sexuality. Now Reich had subsequently published two scientific papers in the first half of 34. All his papers he ultimately publishes are collected in this book. (Bion experiment and origin of life).
Now Reich had subsequently published two scientific papers in the first half of 34. All his papers he ultimately publishes are collected in this book. (Bion experiment and origin of life).
The first one was called The orgasm as an electrical physiological discharge, the second one was The basic antithesis of vegetative life functions and these two articles provide a theoretical framework for these laboratory experiments. In Reich’s two scientific papers in 34 again he draws upon 14 years of psychoanalytic and psychiatric clinical work plus his study of a leading biological and physiological research. In his first paper Reich identifies what he would come to call the four beat orgasm formula, mechanical tension, electrical charge, electrical discharge, mechanical relaxation and so in addition to the orgasms intimate and procreative aspects, Reich hypothesized that this four beat function was a fundamental biological function in all living matter
In his first paper Reich identifies what he would come to call the four beat orgasm formula, mechanical tension, electrical charge, electrical discharge, mechanical relaxation and so in addition to the orgasms intimate and procreative aspects, Reich hypothesized that this four beat function was a fundamental biological function in all living matter
“the orgastic function must be an integral part and a very elementary one at that of the world of nature, it contains in clear form the basic functions of all living substances; tension, relaxation, charge and discharge.” Reich also discussed in this article scientifically accepted facts about the human body as an electrolyte system that generates and conducts electricity. The fusion of two bodies in the sexual act is in itself an electrolyte system “the arrangement of membranes, boundary surfaces and fluids and joy in coituis points to the presence of a complete electrolyte system.” In his second scientific paper that year the basic antithesis vegetative life functions Reich said “In my opinion sexual excitation and anxiety are antithetical functions of all living substances in general and of the psychic apparatus in particular”. Reich also built upon prior
In his second scientific paper that year the basic antithesis vegetative life functions Reich said “In my opinion sexual excitation and anxiety are antithetical functions of all living substances in general and of the psychic apparatus in particular”
biological and physiological research to argue for an empirical fundamental link of the mind and the body body “we will try to prove that the known primary psychic and somatic functionings are absolutely identical with regard to basic life processes. It seems obvious that physiological and psychological research must meet in certain problem fields if they proceed correctly, the meeting ground is that of a vegetative nervous system with its relationship on the one hand to the basic biological functions and on the other to psychic mechanism”.
“we will try to prove that the known primary psychic and somatic functionings are absolutely identical with regard to basic life processes. It seems obvious that physiological and psychological research must meet in certain problem fields if they proceed correctly, the meeting ground is that of a vegetative nervous system with its relationship on the one hand to the basic biological functions and on the other to psychic mechanism”.
In this experiments Reich hoped to expand upon the experiments of those who had already previously verified and measured electrical potential of skin surfaces, pioneering 19th century physiologists Emil Dubois-Reymond Carl Ludwig, Ivan Tarchanoff, the neurologist Otto Veroguth, C.P. Richter, Hermann Rein in the early 20th century and the physiologist Victor and Rine of 1920’s, but their research of the skin’s electrical potential Reich said “fail to investigate how the specifically erogenous zone differ from the rest of the skin” so in another words Reich wanted to measure the skin surfaces of erogenous zone which had never been done in skin experiments before. So electrodes are placed on different skin surfaces of human subjects hooked up by wire leads to osilogram. The electrical charges of the skins resting potentials were recorded by osilogram light tracings onto a moving film strip. Significantly a few spikes stand out as having a much higher potential. Reich is referring to the genitals, nipples, lips, tongue and earlobes, “the sexual zone repeatedly showed deflections up to 20milivolts or one fifth of a volt” he says. So in other words the resting potentials of erogenous zones are already a little bit higher than just other skin surfaces. In subsequent experiments the pleasurable stroking and tickling of the subject’s tongue, lips, palm and nipple increase the electrical surface charge of the skin surfaces but unpleasurable pressure exerted upon these areas decrease their charge.” Reich also measured the electrical response to other sources of anxiety and pleasure. For example subjects who were purposely frightened by sudden noises shouts, popping bags or gongs showed a sudden drop in the electrical charge of the erogenous zone and experiments where salt was unexpectedly placed on the subject’s tongue causing unpleasure sense produced a decrease in the tongue’s electric charge, but the subjects’ pleasurable responses to sugar on the tongue are expressed by increases in electrical charge. Reich wrote “experimental investigation of skin potential and pleasure and anxiety have supported the hypothesis that the process of excitation gives rise to two opposite directions of flow a bioelectrical current toward the periphery and toward the center.
Reich wrote “experimental investigation of skin potential and pleasure and anxiety have supported the hypothesis that the process of excitation gives rise to two opposite directions of flow, a bioelectrical current toward the periphery and toward the center.
These two directions of current corresponds with his clinical observations of psychic and somatic movement toward the world during pleasure and away from the world during unpleasure, thus “the concept of libido as a measure of psychic energy no longer remains a metaphor but refers to measurable electro energetic phenomena”. Now as for the specific origin of this electrical energy Reich concluded in his paper that the ganglia of the autonomic nervous system together with bodies’ membrane electrolyte biosystem functions as the source of the electrical surface charge. Reich was looking ahead for further research, he hypothesized” assumed that the orgasm is a fundamental manifestation of living matter, the orgasm formula a tension, charge, discharge relaxation must represent the general formula of all biological functions” and Reich now starts to plan his next series of experiments to study this biological rhythm of tension, charge, discharge and relaxation in the most basic form of all, single cell protozoa, ameba. So those will all be called his bioelectrical experiments. In future experiments so I am not going to move on to these experiments with protozoa and ameba but he says “the psychological institute at the university of Oslo with the work had been started was not equipped for this kind of work”. He neglects to say that he has had a falling out with Harald Schjelderup at this time and I have been in touch with Harald Schjelderup’s son, Dr. Wilhem Schjelderup in Oslo, we will be filming in a few weeks and he was initially little reluctant even to be involved in the film. He seems more amiable now but I am not sure our schedule is going to allow. This is because as I understand it Reich and his father parted with some very bad feelings. So it is really left to Reich and his supporters to put together a private laboratory. Reich’s laboratory including lights microscopes capable of magnifications of up to 45 hundred times, higher than what most biologists were using at the time. This was essential not only because Reich wanted to observe the formation of protozoa but he wanted to observe the internal functions and this is what he writes, “The vegetative currents which I had encountered in the course of my character analytic work and in my bioelectrical experiments on sexuality, struck me as so important that I decided to study them microscopically in protozoa.” So he is drawing a link between his clinical work and the bioelectrical experiments in his proposed experiments. Other equipment included autoclaves, dry sterilizes, significantly time lapse filming apparatus fixed to the microscopes and other equipment. Now according to the accepted air germ theory, protozoa developing in water and hay infusions from air germs as spores are everywhere. But Reich’s observation recorded on time lapse films captured a biological process not found in any scientific literature. In Reich’s water and hay infusions pieces of the water swelled hay disintegrated into sacks or vesicles, there were lively and motile. These vesicles grew larger and eventually detached themselves from the hay as ameba, a type of protozoa. In further experiments Reich observed that other organic substances which were infusing in water such as plant or food stuff also swelled up and broke down into these same motile vesicles which gradually evolved into ameba.
Reich observed that other organic substances which were infusing in water such as plant or food stuff also swelled up and broke down into these same motile vesicles which gradually evolved into ameba.
Since no biological literature made any mention of these organisms developing from steril decayed matter and evolving into ameba, Reich was perplex as to whether these vesicles were in fact living matter “As I grew more familiar with these preparations, I became more and more convinced that they were probably living forms which were so to speak complete.” So he concluded that these vesicles, these sacks is microorganisms were preliminary stages of life i.e. transitional forms from the inorganic and non-motile to the organic and motile state. He also gave a name to these vesicles he says, “My own convenience I call them bions” and he derives the word bions after the Greek word for life.
So he concluded that these vesicles, these sacks is microorganisms were preliminary stages of life i.e. transitional forms from the inorganic and non-motile to the organic and motile state. He also gave a name to these vesicles he says, “My own convenience I call them bions” and he derives the word bions after the Greek word for life.
Now what Reich finds is some observations that some of these bions when they are in proximity to bacteria, staph, strep and cancer cells will immobilize or kill these cells. This is something that he discovers which leads him into an entirely other area of research, and so for Reich these observations open up new and promising possibilities in bion research. The fact that they had this immobilizing and sometimes destructive affect on bacteria and even cancer cells. So by these new possibilities Reich realized that he needed major financial support for bion research. Now I’ve concluded that he has been doing this research for about a year, he is spending a lot of his own money and realizes he needs some official research and with the help of his good friend Malinofsky, the anthropologist, he has put in touch with someone working for the Rockefeller institute over in Europe and so Reich applies for funding to the Rockefeller institute in March of 1937 and this is what he writes in his application, “I have succeeded in producing and culturing steril colloidal lifelike structures, there is every reason to believe therefore that this is a successful experiment that does not merely imitate living products but also actually produces them.”
Reich applies for funding to the Rockefeller institute in March of 1937 and this is what he writes in his application, “I have succeeded in producing and culturing steril colloidal lifelike structures, there is every reason to believe therefore that this is a successful experiment that does not merely imitate living products but also actually produces them.”
In his privately funded laboratory he said “up to now friends and I have invested about 30,000 crowner which is over $100,000 today with monthly expenses of 3 to 4 hundred dollars which is anywhere to 6,000 dollars today.” But the development of bion research, he writes in his application, is proceeding so quickly that it is no longer possible to manage with private funds. Reich also tells the Rockefeller foundation that initial experiments” with staph, strep and cancer cells seem to indicate that the bions are produced and cultured in a thorough and comprehensive manner some hopeful prospects are opened up. And he says these phenomena indicate that every effort should be made to determine what affects the bions have on pathogenic states. The work should be focused essentially in the first instance on cancer research. Reich’s application is turned down and Jim Strick discusses this in great detail in his new book “Wilhelm Reich Biologist”. Now we’re talking about late into 1937 still in Oslo, over the next few weeks Reich’s research took a major leap forward. In the bion disintegration of sterilized liver sarcoma which are tumors of the connective tissue Reich observed not only the usual bions but also the presence of smaller reddish rod shape microorganisms with a putrid ammonic like odor. Reich injected these tiny rod shape bions into healthy laboratory mice. Some mice, died within 24 hours, those had survived developed cancer tumors in approximately 10 days. Consequently Reich would call this second type of bion the t-bacilli after the German word “tod” for death and he speculated that they might be one of the cause of the of cancer. So we’re talking about two different kinds of bions, bions that seem to kill and immobilized bacteria and cancer cells and a smaller one that has in fact caused cancer in some mice.
In February of 1938, 2 years of his experiment, Reich publishes the bion clinical and experimental result and it’s this book here which is available in America, “Bion Experiments and the Origin of Life”, the original one was called “bion clinical and experimental report”. One of the things I find so fascinating about this book which I think sometimes gets overlooked, is it’s amazing bibliography, its scientific bibliography at the end in terms of all of the different materials that Reich has been researching, I think that’s sometimes forgotten by people who kind of diminish Reich’s scientific work. It is originally a 205 page book with 50 photographs all reprinted here, in it Reich presents basic experiments about the development and cultivability of these microorganisms called bions but he does not discuss his more recent research in canner and that was very customary of Reich to when he was getting into a new area of research to withhold the publication until he had more results, so there is no mention of the rather interesting results of interaction between bion and cancer cells in this particular book, this book galvanize Reich’s psychoanalytic scientific and political opponents in an effort to discredit his work and revoke his residency permit in Oslo. And so there are some articles in newspapers and all kinds of disparaging comments.
Now we are in March of 1938 and at this time Reich writes to two of his former American psychoanalytic students I guess you would call them who studied with him in Vienna, psychiatrist Walter Brellin in New York City and Spurgeon English in Philadelphia. He write the same letter to both of them. “You’re indoubtedly sufficiently informed about the situation in Europe to understand the following question,” he is talking about the eminence of war and what’s going on with the rise of Nazism and he asks both of them “what opportunities currently exist in New York or Philadelphia for me to carry out my work.” So this is the first record that we have of him making inquiries to two of his former students for the possible immigration to America. And Reich also writes “increasingly my work involves biological experiments not to mention my clinical activities” which they’re very well aware of and he wish to know under what condition “I can consider moving to America with my entire laboratory.” So this is March of 1938 and really within the next couple months a major press campaign breaks out against Reich,
So this is March of 1938 and really within the next couple months a major press campaign breaks out against Reich
dozens upon dozens of articles attacking Reich’s reputation, competence and sanity appeared in moderate leftist and fascist newspapers in Oslo. Article authors included Leiv Kreyberg, a cancer pathologist, geneticist Otto Mohr, bacteriologist Theodore Thjotta and many others. Some of the titles were inflammatory i.e. Genius Deletant or Psychopath, proof that Reich is a fraud”, another one saying “God Reich is Dr. Reich an honest scientist” and among the more shameful articles was one recommending that Reich be sent to a concentration camp and another that called Reich a Jewish pornographer. So this is some of the reactions to his work in the press. He also has a number of people also writing on his behalf and two of them are the anthropologists Malinofsky and A.S. Neil and this is what Malinasky writes in a publishes letter and the press, “I consider his sociological works to be a distinct and valuable contribution towards science.
He also has a number of people also writing on his behalf and two of them are the anthropologists Malinofsky and A.S. Neil and this is what Malinasky writes in a published letter in the press, “I consider his sociological works to be a distinct and valuable contribution towards science.”
It would be very great loss if Dr. Reich could be in any way prevented from obtaining a full opportunity to work out his ideas and scientific discoveries” and there is this threat here that he is going to have his visa revoked and from England we hear from A.S. Neil who met him few years ago. This is what Neil writes in a published letter.“To me the campaign against Reich seems largely ignorant and uncivilized more like fascism than democracy the question is, is Reich a useful person who is bringing new knowledge to the world? From my part I feel that he is.”
This is what Neil writes in a published letter.” To me the campaign against Reich seems largely ignorant and uncivilized more like fascism than democracy, the question is: is Reich a useful person who is bringing new knowledge to the world? From my part I feel that he is.”
So Reich is going to step up his efforts to leave Oslo and he writes again to his students he says “now I think the moment has become acute to transfer my work to the USA”. And again he is writing to Brill and Spurgeon English and he has a wonderful quote where when he is talking about the horrible political situation here in this letter, he says “prominent Norwegian authors, physicians etc. begin to prepare immigration, fascism is sitting here in the far edge of Europe under the nose of socialist government like a cat waiting for victims.” So by January 1939 Reich’s bion and cancer research had included experiments with hundreds of healthy laboratory mice over period of 2 years and what he sees in this healthy laboratory mice is close to 200 of them are subjected to bion injections test the effects of these bions and to test the effects of these smaller T-bacilli and his getting some very favorable results in terms of beneficial effects of these bions.
Now let’s talk about his actual discovery of orgone energy. A lot of people don’t realize that orgone energy was discovered in a microscopic culture and so we’re now in January 1939 for the first time Reich use sea sands to cultivate bions and that sterilized sea sands heated to incandescence put in a potassium chloride solution to promote swelling, and this solution was inoculated on agar and egg medium to form another growth that under the microscope showed large packets and he called them packet bions for the shape large packets of bions glimmering with an intense blue color, Reich called them SAPA bions, and packet bions. He observed that there were much bluer than these other bions and that they had even stronger biological effect than any previous bion cultures. The effect of sapa bions he writes “on rod bacteria, protozoa and the T-bacilli was more powerful than the other bions. Brought together with cancer cells they kill or paralyze the cells even at a distance of approximately 10 microns and Reich filmed all of these processes with time lapse movie photography. Soon Reich’s eyes began to hurt, he develops a conjunctivitis and starts to feel other effects and he begins to suspect he puts them in a dark room and they fog up the plate and all kinds of things from these subjective and objective observations over four weeks, Reich initially believed that this radiation was radioactive and this was not an unreasonable assumption given that radio activity had been discovered in other natural substances such as Uranium salts at the end of the 19th century and in pitchblend by the Curreies in 1898 so he initially feels that there is perhaps radioactivity coming from these sand packet bions. Reich was also exploring what he had first thought to be electromagnetic properties of this radiation. Here he was following the thread of his earlier bioelectrical experiments that I talked about sexuality which verified electrical properties in the bodies in the biological system and one of Reich principle tools for determining if these sapa bion radiation was electricity was the Faraday cage. Faraday cage was invented in 1836 by Michael Faraday and it is a metal lining closure it could be mesh it could be solid; it blocks electromagnetic energy from the outside to insure that the enclosure is free of electrical charge and in inside of the cage you can use electroscopes to confirm the absence of any influx of electricity. Reich used faradae cages of various sizes including one large enough to sit in in which he worked and observed things and to isolates sapa phenomena from any electrical energy,
Reich used faradae cages of various sizes including one large enough to sit in in which he worked and observed things and to isolates sapa phenomena from any electrical energy,
Reich placed test tubes in pittry dishes of the sapa bions cultures inside faradae cages from microscopic work in observation and he documented his observations in his laboratory notebooks in his journals and various letters at the time. But he said to a Dutch physicist who was sharing some of ideas with Reich in some of his letters even though there is this amazing phenomena he says, “I do not wish to abandon the true subject of my work, the canner experiments” so he’s been working on these cancer experiments but the discovery of this what could be a radiation is taking them off at least temporarily into a different direction. Investigating the properties of sapa radiation was already a major focus of Reich’s laboratory but he soon came to conclude that this radiation might be an entirely different form of radiation, that it’s not radioactive, it’s not electricity, it’s not electromagnetism and so he in a follow up letter to this physicist says “our mysteries, something does not appear to be ordinary electricity or ordinary magnetism but it influences matter in such a way that phenomena resembling magnetism and electricity manifests themselves with the electroscope and for example, metal such as copper and iron seem to attract the radiation and then to reflect it and the one experiment metal objects that in proximity to these SAPA bions such as scissors, pencils, needles they become highly magnetize. So something is going on here. Around this time Reich realized that sapa radiation was not electromagnetism. He gave this energy a name, and when we go into the archives and look at his letters, his diary entries and his entries from his laboratory notebooks, we can pinpoint the actual days when he first started using the term “orgone” and it was in March of 1939 and so he is calling this radiation orgone energy.
Around this time Reich realized that sapa radiation was not electromagnetism. He gave this energy a name, and when we go into the archives and look at his letters, his diary entries and his entries from his laboratory notebooks, we can pinpoint the actual days when he first started using the term “orgone” and it was in March of 1939 and so he is calling this radiation orgone energy.
He derives the word orgone from two words orgasm because its discovery from his study of the orgasm function tension, charge, discharge, relaxation and the word organic because this radiation seems to highly charge organic materials.
And now he is again stepping up his efforts to get to America, he is now in touch with a man named Theodore Wolf who has studied with him who is in America, a Swiss psychiatrist and is trying to also get Wolf helping him out to move to America.
And now he is again stepping up his efforts to get to America, he is now in touch with a man named Theodore Wolf who has studied with him who is in America, a Swiss psychiatrist and is trying to also get Wolf helping him out to move to America.
Now this letter I think is particularly important because it really shows you where Reich’s interests are, this is a letter that he writes to Wolf in May of 1939”, absolutely essential laboratory work swallows enormous sums of cash. I assume that by doing about 4 hours of vegeto-therapeutic work each day”, and that’s his therapy “by doing four hours of this work a day I will be able to earn enough to carry the cost of the laboratory. At the present time my aspirations are concerned solely on concluding the cancer research and the radiation work.” This is where Reich’s mind is in May of 1939 when he comes to America he wants to work a few hours a day doing the therapy so he can support the orgone research and the cancer research. Anyway he arrives in America on August 28, 1939, arrives just a few days before the Nazis march into Poland and it’s always interesting to speculate what would have happened if Reich hadn’t come over here. Here is a man who has spoken anti-fascist anti-Nazi very outspoken, he had been a member or very active with socialist and communist parties, he has a Jewish background although he is not practicing Jew and he has been a psychoanalysts. At that time psychoanalysts was considered by the Nazi’s to be a Jewish scientist so it seems pretty clear that Reich probably would not have survived the war. He gets his laboratory up and running very quickly in New York, he had transferred over before he’s ever even come and what he wants to do is he wants to continue his work with the sapa bions and to see what effects they have on mice. But he had never before actually experimented with cancer mice, he had experimented mice but he had never experimented with mice that actually had cancer, he had experimented with cancer cells and cancer tissues. So what he does gets here in August by December he has some cancer mice that have some tumors and he now starts to inject the sapa bions into cancer mice. His first injection is in December of 1939. Injects sapa bions into his first mouse with existing cancer to test the effects of orgone radiation, has a tumor there the size of a bean. Over the next few days Reich records in his laboratory notebook and journal that the mouse’s mammary tumor was now shrinking. Six days after the injection on December 22 he recorded that the tumor was 50% smaller, the size of a small pee and he writes “This was an enormous success but past experiences warn me not to be overly optimistic.” He will continue for the next few months to inject sapa bions into cancer mice with some rather interesting results. He continues to try to isolate orgone energy using faraday cages but he realizes that he needs to adapt the faradae cages because of variety observations that he has and so he concluded of course that the radiation is not electricity. He has already concluded that over there and so to help keep the radiation inside a small faraday cage, Reich replaced the mesh walls of a faraday cage with sheet metal and then he also starts to add organic material on the side of this faraday cages and we’re talking about this like one cubic foot accumulators and a faraday cages and so by adding these external organic layers to an existing faraday cage Reich has essentially transformed a traditional faraday cage into something new, into what really will become his most important research tool what he calls an orgone energy accumulator and he had actually first coined the term orgone energy accumulator back in April in Oslo, he wrote in a journal that one of his tasks was “the invention of an orgone energy accumulator”. So orgone energy accumulators first very small, evolved from an existing technology very acceptable one called faradae cages but what he finds out in these modified faradae cages and that’s what I call them, his orgone accumulators is that even without sapa bions in there he is seeing some radiation phenomenon, and even when he cleans all the walls in dismantles them and puts them together he still seeing the phenomenon of some radiation in there and this is when he starts to think, is this energy everywhere? Where does it come from? And I’m just going to kind of move ahead quickly, so that’s where he is, in June and July of 1940 he is speculating that orgone energy may be everywhere and now he is on a camping trip up to Maine with his wife, a trip he’s been wanting to make for months and he ends up in a cabin on the shores of Mooselookmeguntic Lake which is the largest of six rangely lakes in western Maine and it is here over the lake where he makes observations through tubes of flickering phenomenon in the atmosphere similar to what he saw in these modified faradae cages, his orgone accumulators and concludes in fact that this is an atmospheric phenomenon that this is where the energy comes from and so that is a discovery that he makes in July of 1940 up in the Rangeley lakes region. And so Reich’s conclusion that this biological energy which he had first discovered radiating from sapa bions was also a ubiquitous atmospheric energy and so these accumulators not only hold in the radiation from sapa bions but they can attract atmospheric orgone energy because of the alternating layers of metallic and organic material.
And so Reich’s conclusion that this biological energy which he had first discovered radiating from sapa bions was also a ubiquitous atmospheric energy and so these accumulators not only hold in the radiation from sapa bions but they can attract atmospheric orgone energy because of the alternating layers of metallic and organic material.
Reich’s discovery that orgone was an atmospheric energy together with his conclusion that orgone accumulators attracted and contained atmospheric energy lead him logically to his next inquiry; could orgone accumulators be effective as a way to treat cancer mice and so what he does instead of injecting sapa bions into cancer mice he starts to put mice into small orgone accumulators and sees that this has an even better affect in terms of a immobilizing cancer cells, immobilizing tumors reducing tumors than the sapa bions do. So that’s his first use of orgone accumulators for cancer research which was with mice. And then what he does is by November 1940 and this is just a few months after coming back from Maine and after doing these experiments, he has the first large orgone accumulator built. November 18 Reich writes in his diary “today the first orgone accumulator for human being arrive and works very strongly a 150 x 80 x 100 cm which is 5 by 2 ½ by 3 ¼ feet.” So now there is a large orgone accumulator and Reich had his first large accumulator built to study people’s subjective reactions inside the accumulator, he is also noticing these accumulators there is some sort of temperature differences above the accumulators and so he has concluded that this is a ubiquitous energy and so at the end of 1940 I picture him sitting alone at night some winter night it’s December 30, he writes a letter to Albert Einstein who is now in Princeton, he says “Dear Professor Einstein I would very much like to meet with you to discuss the difficult and urgent scientific matter.” Goes into little bit more detail and wants to meet with him. Now when I studied Reich’s life and work chronologically one of the thing is an unfolding narrative one of the things that really impresses me is all of the drama that can be infused in a single year and you can say that about many years but I find 1941 and 1942 infused with so much work so much drama so much progress forward. So for example 1941, he will begin 1941 with two meetings with Albert Einstein. He will end that year in about the 3rd week of his incarceration of Ellis Island as a possible enemy alien. So this is a quite a year for Wilhelm Reich. He meets with Einstein twice, I’m just going to kind of skip over some of these, he meets with him in January explains some of these things, returns brings him a small accumulator Einstein will eventually do some experiments with the accumulator. There is a temperature difference above the accumulator. Einstein will come up with a whole different explanation. Reich will send him a 26 page letter refuting these findings with all his experiments. I think it’s a mistake most people make when they think of Reich and Einstein they tend to focus on this issue of about the significant scientific temperature difference above the accumulator than in the surround air. There is much more going on here in terms of the subsequent correspondence. If you look at all of the correspondence that Reich sends to him he is trying to bring all of his research to the attention of Albert Einstein, telling them about the some of the beneficial effects. Einstein does not return his letters, and in March of that year Reich will begin his first experiments with terminal cancer patients. I just want to go into a little more detail about that because he has written 2 or 3 letters to Einstein talking about his bion research and the potential of it, Einstein hasn’t returned anything and then Reich now starts to see of variety of cancer patients. And when you look at his first terminal cancer patients it is significant as to what he is looking for what he is measuring and what some of the results are, so for example, his first experiment is with a woman who has been bed ridden she has a large tumor in her breast, she has several compressed vertebrae, her respiration is severely impaired, Reich uses all his psychiatric and psychoanalytic skills to draw an entire profile of this woman her emotional past, her health past, her sexual past everything to get a real feeling and this woman starts to sit daily in a large orgone accumulator for 30 minutes a day and these are some of the results that Reich will record from his first patient. One of the things he does with all of his patients before they start, he establishes a base line for their hemoglobin content, hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carry oxygen form the lungs to the tissues. In healthy woman the normal count is 12-15 grams of hemoglobin per deciliter which is a 10th of a liter. Hemoglobin tests are often used to test for anemia and significantly low counts are symptoms of more severe health problems and so these are some of the results that he will record here.” I began with sessions with 30 minutes”, he writes in one of the case histories.” During the first session the skin between her shoulder blades became red from the second session on the pain in the region of the 12th dorsal vertebrae which was I believe crushed, decrease during the treatment and this improvement usually lasted until the next session. After the second session her hemoglobin content rose from 35% normal before she ever gotten accumulator, after the second session it’s up to 40% normal. After 4 sessions it rises 51% normal after 7 sessions it’s at 55% normal, the tumor in the left breast was no longer palpable after the 8th orgone radiation and he would also take blood test that he had evolved to which could sort of gage the Vigor of the blood. After few weeks the woman who was bed ridden who had to be brought there by relatives is now taking a subway to his house. The second patient he takes on a few days later and again these are from people who had heard about his promising mice experiments. This is a 57 year old widow with numerous tumors localize mainly in the cranium, in the bones of the arms and her hemoglobin content was 33% normal, on the 3rd day was 41%, on the 6th day it was 55%, on the 8th day it’s 85% normal, so something is going on here and I always call attention to these results because I hear too many people talking about using accumulators, oh I felt warm inside I felt something. So what if I was in an enclosure I’d feel warm too but Reich is taking objective data here of hemoglobin content, the results of various blood test, of the palpability of tumors. So he has several indicators which you see are consistent with all of these terminal cancer patients and they are terminal and every single one you see that hemoglobin content rising with each use of the accumulator and tumors softening and sometimes dissolving. Reich never claims he has a cure for cancer and there are all signs and affidavits saying he doesn’t have a cure for cancer. Reich writes a letter to Einstein summarizing some of this and saying look how important this is, what I’ve been doing here and he says that things that have happened in the course of the past ten weeks “since my last report to you are of such importance that I feel I should let you know about them” and he is always caution that there is no way of telling how long these beneficial results are going to be but he’s trying to get the attention of Einstein and Einstein never responds to any of this.
I am just going to go another brief episode and if you have any questions then we’ll do in question and answer because this is significant. Here I think and someone should do a monograph about this I think it’s very important. So this is early 1941and the next brief episode from the summer of 1941 is when I find so impressive and instructive in that Reich is connecting his scientific research with its medical implications. So Reich left New York at the end of June by that time he was treating a total of 7 terminal cancer patients in New York, he left them all within the care of doctors who were working with them and he goes to Maine. He has a “make shift” laboratory in a cabin he’s bought on Mosselookmeguntic Lake. He hasn’t bought the farm yet that will become Orgonon but he is working. He writes a letter to each of his cancer patients from Maine, “I did not leave the city and you without good reason and not merely for pleasure purposes. In this year since September 1940 so many things which have tremendous importance that happened that I had to find several weeks of quietness to coordinate and to write down the results achieve thus far. I have learned so much from what you had experienced that I dare hope to be able to apply your contributions to scientific research upon other sick human beings.”
He writes a letter to each of his cancer patients from Maine, “I did not leave the city and you without good reason and not merely for pleasure purposes. In this year since September 1940 so many things which have tremendous importance that happened that I had to find several weeks of quietness to coordinate and to write down the results achieve thus far. I have learned so much from what you had experienced that I dare hope to be able to apply your contributions to scientific research upon other sick human beings.”
Now he had discovered that electroscopes discharge more slowly inside the accumulators than outside of them and this he considers significant evidence that there is some sort of radiation there. And he also is hypothesizing or seeing in some preliminary results a connection between the orgone tension in an orgone accumulator and atmospheric conditions and times of day so all these doctors in New York are taking care of seven terminal cancer patients of his, Reich is up in Maine in a make shift laboratory and he conducts a 47 day experiment. For 47 days from July 5 to August 20th from 8:00 AM until midnight Reich measured the speed of electroscopic discharges in the open air and inside a small accumulators and he’s brought several of these one cubic foot accumulators. The data confirmed Reich’s earlier findings that significant variations in electroscopic discharges occur during changes of weather indicating a higher orgone energy tension on sunny days, lower orgone tension during precipitation. These experiments in Maine also showed significant variations in electroscopic discharges at certain times of day indicating a generally high orgone tension from noon to 4pm and a lower orgone tension in an early morning and late evening and this is really a good example of all of Reich’s research orgone energy research its continual observations over long periods of time. While he is in Maine he writes letters also to the doctors tending to his terminal cancer patients back in New York and to one them he wrote “I have found some very important and significant features of the atmospheric orgone tension, it isolates very strongly between the morning hours and the evening hours with the high point at around 4 PM”. Reich was also realizing the importance of this Rangely lakes region to his work. “I do not regret spending so much time here; I am even more convinced now that this research work which can be done in quietness here is of the greatest importance for the effectuation of the radiation on sick people.” So what he is doing is his experiments up there in terms of the optimum times for orgone tension weather condition, times of a day, he is relaying back to the doctors there and he is telling them this has some sort of effect on how we will treat people with orgone radiation that there are certain weather conditions you need to do within, there are certain times of day to do within So I really like this link that he is making between the research he is doing up there and its implications. He passes all this information on to Einstein in yet another letter and of course gets nothing back. There are a couple more episodes I want to talk about but I am out of time I apologize for going so long. Thank you.