My Cancer and the Orgone Box

Article by Editor

My Cancer and the Orgone Box

Article by David Silver

In August of 1962, Norman Shapiro was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. Ten years later, he wrote a book—a truly unique first person account of his experiences with both classical medicine and orgone therapy in the treatment of his illness.

Thanks to the generous donation of the manuscript to the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust by Ann Shapiro, daughter of Norman Shapiro, we hereby announce the publication of this fascinating, detailed, historical record of one man’s life and death struggle to navigate his way through the emotional and physical consequences of a cancer diagnosis in the year 1962 using all means available to him at the time.

Especially poignant, given that the story took place in the years just after Dr. Reich died in federal prison, where he found himself as a result of a legal morass initiated by the United States Food and Drug Administration’s accusation that his experiments with the orgone energy accumulator on patients constituted "peddling" of a fraudulent medical device.

Norman Shapiro was not a "Reichian" zealot. In fact, he was quite pessimistic about his fate and did not really believe that orgone therapy or the orgone energy accumulator would benefit him. Rather, he was urged by his wife to fight for his life by giving this form of treatment a chance after the harsh cobalt radiation treatment he received weakened him without producing any improvement in his condition.

Whether Shapiro’s recovery resulted, in fact, from his use of the orgone energy accumulator, or whether he was simply a "miracle case," as he was described by his cancer doctor, we can never know for certain. But it is not a matter of belief. Only conscientious and bona fide scientific research can provide answers relevant to this question.

Regardless of what one believes, this story is like a time capsule which serves the function of giving a human voice to critically important feelings and attitudes about cancer and its treatment which are as relevant today as they were a half-century ago.

Available for purchase via the Magcloud.

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- who has written 39 posts on The Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy.

One Response to “My Cancer and the Orgone Box”

  1. Gabriela says:

    Hi, please, could you be so kind to refer if the author Norman Shapiro is the mathematician Norman Shapiro?


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The Living Body: Wilhelm Reich’s Influence on Contemporary Psychotherapies


In pursuing the development of psychosomatic medicine and an energetic model of health which respected the importance of psyche and soma equally, Wilhelm Reich created the foundation for what ultimately came to be known as the fields of Body Psychotherapy, Somatic Psychology and others.

Building upon the conference we presented in the summer of 2021, Wilhelm Reich and Psychoanalysis, the goal of this conference is to map the field of body-centered therapy today. Speakers from the Americas, Europe and Australia, representing Reich’s Orgone Therapy as well as a variety of schools which are heirs to Reich such as Radix, Bioenergetics, Biodynamic Therapy, Biosynthesis, Gestalt, Navarro, Core Energetics and other modalities based in important ways on his approach, will present and describe their respective theories, training processes and therapeutic methods.

Historians will present an overview of Reich’s evolution from psychoanalysis to character analysis, to the more body-centered character analytic vegetotherapy, and beyond.

By exploring this field through the common denominator, the theories and techniques developed by Wilhelm Reich, we hope to generate interaction and exchanges and highlight the similarities, differences and relationships between traditions.

With so many schools of therapy represented, there are bound to be some differences of opinion about theory and practice. By bringing them together, we hope to give participants a comprehensive overview of the field and build bridges between individuals and groups who have much in common and might benefit from direct, respectful interaction with one another.

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Wilhelm Reich – Founder of Orgone Therapy

Annals of The Institute for Orgonomic Science (December, 2015)

Featured Book: My Cancer & the Orgone Box

Available for purchase via the Magcloud.

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