Wilhelm Reich and Orgone Energy

Wilhelm Reich Biographical.

Wilhelm Reich was born in 1897 on his fathers Austrian farm where as Reich himself put it " The natural functions of life were never hidden from view". He was taught at home until the age of 13 when his mother committed suicide after being found out having an affair with Wilhelms tutor. This early period of his life, and his observations of to the natural order of things would spark his interest in the natural world and the human beings place within it.

After serving in the Austrian army during the first world war the young Wilhelm became interested in the work of Sigmund Freud. Reich's own work came to the attention of Freud when Reich held a seminar on Sexology. Wilhelm Reich went on to become a member of the renowned Vienna Psychoanalytic Association and later still was able to open his own private practice as a psychoanalyst.

Orgone Energy.

Soon after setting up his practice, Wilhelm Reich met and married Annie Pink, and together they had two daughters. However Dr. Reich was unable to control his desire for other women and this led to an unhappy marriage and ultimately divorce. It was from his own life experience and his understanding of the nature of existence that Wilhelm Reich studied the science behind sexual attraction and the human orgasm.

He attempted to measure the male orgasm and noted four distinct phases during which a distinct electrical charge could be noted. This charge he believed to be an undiscovered form of energy that was
present in all life forms and he named it Orgone Energy.

T-bacilli - The Cause of Cancer.

In 1936, in Beyond Psychology, Dr. Reich wrote that:

  • Since everything is antithetically arranged, there must be two different types of single-celled organisms: (a) life-destroying organisms or organisms that form through organic decay, (b) life-promoting organisms that form from inorganic material that comes to life.

This idea led Dr. Reich to believe he had found the cause of cancer. He called the life-destroying organisms "T-Bacilli," with the T standing for Thanatos, Greek for death. He described in The Cancer Biopathy how he had found them in a culture of rotting cancerous tissue obtained from a local hospital. He wrote that T-bacilli were formed from the disintegration of protein. He claimed they were 0.2 to 0.5 micrometer in length, shaped like lancets, and when injected into mice, they caused inflammation and cancer. He concluded that when Orgone energy diminishes in cells, through aging or injury, the cells undergo "bionous degeneration" or death. At some point, the deadly T-bacilli start to form in the cells. Death from cancer, he believed, was caused by an overwhelming growth of the T-bacilli.

Orgone accumulators, Cloudbusters and UFOs.

In 1940 Reich built the first Orgone Accumulators, which were boxes that could concentrate Orgone energy in the atmosphere. Some of the accumulators were designed for small lab animals, others big enough for a human being to sit inside. He now believed the Orgone energy was a type of Primordial Cosmic Energy and was responsible for the weather, the color of the sky, gravity and the biological expressions of emotion and sexuality.

The Orgone Accumulators were constructed with layers of ferrous metals and insulators with a high-dielectrical constant. They had the appearance of large hollow capacitors. Dr. Reich believed that sitting inside the accumulator might provide a treatment for cancer and other illnesses. Unfortunately the boxes came to the attention of the press who's vivid imagination helped spread rumors that the accumulators were "Sex Boxes" which cause uncontrollable erections.

Dr. Reich's other famous device was the Cloudbuster which he said could manipulate streams of Orgone energy in the atmosphere to induce rain by forming clouds then dispersing them. During one drought relief expedition to Arizona he claimed to have observed UFOs and speculated that the Orgone might be used for the propulsion of UFOs.

The Einstein Affair.

In 1941 after having written to Albert Einstein and saying he had made a discovery he wanted to discuss, Dr. Reich visited the Professor in Princeton. They talked for five hours solid and Albert Einstein who's was intrigued by the idea of Orgone energy agreed to test an Orgone Accumulator.

Dr. Reich supplied an Orgone accumulator during his second visit and Einstein began testing it in his basement. A rise in the temperature within the box was noted with no source of heat present. This baffled Einstein and Reich claimed it was the Orgone Energy causing the change in temperature. In a published letter Einstein could offer no explanation as to how the temperature had changed. This letter along with Dr. Reich's belief seemed to be the first step in having Orgone Energy acknowledged by the scientific community.

However, one of Einstein's colleagues at Princeton, the Polish physicist Leopold Infeld, interpreted the phenomenon as resulting from thermal convection currents, though he failed to provide an experimental demonstration of his contention. Einstein concurred that the experiment could be explained by convection.

Over the next five years Dr. Reich and Einstein wrote to each other discussing and disagreeing on the interpretation of the experiment. What at first seemed to be a confirmation of the the existence of Orgone Energy turned out to be a depletion of Dr. Reach own energy.

Political Turmoil and the FBI

Wilhelm Reich's Ultraliberal politics met he was constantly in disfavor with the establishment. Whether it was the Nazis in Germany, The Socialist Parties throughout Europe and later the Religious Conservative influenced U.S. Government. This meant his theories which called for a radical change in both our governing bodies and within our own homes made him a threat to the system. This was at a time when his ideas were mainly theoretical, long before he conducted any experiments.

We can now see how Wilhelm Reich was targeted by the FBI Declassified documents from 1940 show that Director of the Orgone Institute was being investigated
as a communist sympathizer. However by 1947 the investigation concluded that neither Reich, nor anyone associated with the Orgone Project were Communists.

In 1954, and still seen as a threat to the established system of the time, the U.S attorney general filed a complaint seeking a permanent injunction that would stop the interstate transportation of devices and literature distributed by the Orgone Institute. That same year, Dr. Reich was arrested for a Contempt of Court for violation of the Attorney General's injunction.

The Imprisonment of the Father of Orgone Energy.

After being found in contempt of court Dr. Wilhelm Reich was brought in chains to the courthouse in Portland, Maine. Representing himself, he admitted to having violated the injunction and arranged for the judge to be sent copies of his books. He was sentenced to two years' imprisonment.

While in prison, the FDA (food drug administration) who had investigated Dr. Reich as being a "purveyor of a quack cure cancer" arrived at Dr. Reich's estate Orgonon. They ransacked the place destroying Orgone accumulators, and burning tons of literature relating to Orgone energy.

Reich died in his sleep due to heart failure on November 3, 1957 in the federal penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, one day before he was due to apply for parole. He was buried in Orgonon.
Not one of the Psychiatric publication carried an obituary for Dr. Reich. The Times magazine published the following:

Died. Wilhelm Reich, 60, once-famed psychoanalyst, associate, and follower of Sigmund Freud, founder of the Wilhelm Reich Foundation, lately better known for unorthodox sex and energy theories; of a heart attack in Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary, Pa; where he was serving a two-year term for distributing his invention, the "Orgone energy accumulator" (in violation of the Food and Drug Act), a telephone-booth-size device which supposedly gathered energy from the atmosphere, and could cure, while the patient sat inside, common colds, cancer and impotence.


Reich's life and work continue to influence popular culture, with references to Orgone and cloudbusting found in songs by Clutch, Hawkwind, Pop Will Eat Itself, Turbonegro and Patti Smith. Kate Bush's song, "Cloudbusting," describes Reich's arrest and incarceration through the eyes of Reich's son, Peter, who wrote his father's story in A Book of Dreams, published in 1973. Frank Zappa was also influenced by Reich's work..




Dr. Wilhelm Reich and Orgone Energy Resources.

Links to external websites:-

Orgonon - The Wilhelm Reich Museum.

PORE, Public Orgonomic Research Exchange.
Orgone Biophysical Research Laboratory.
The American College of Orgonomy.
Aetherometry - The Science of Massfree Energy.
Declassified FBI Files on Dr. Wilelm Reich.

English Books by Dr. Wilhelm Reich:-

American Odyssey:Letters and Journals 1940-1947
Beyond Psychology:Letters and Journals 1934-1939
The Bioelectrical Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety
The Bion Experiments: On the Origins of Life
Function of the Orgasm (Discovery of the Orgone, Vol.1)
The Cancer Biopathy (Discovery of the Orgone, Vol.2)
Character Analysis
Children of the Future: On the Prevention of Sexual Pathology
Contact With Space: Oranur Second Report
Cosmic Superimposition: Man's Orgonotic Roots in Nature
Early Writings
Ether, God and Devil
Genitality in the Theory and Therapy of Neuroses
The Invasion of Compulsory Sex-Morality
Listen, Little Man!
Mass Psychology of Fascism
The Murder of Christ (Emotional Plague of Mankind, Vol.2)
The Oranur Experiment
The Orgone Energy Accumulator, Its Scientific and Medical Use
Passion of Youth: An Autobiography, 1897-1922
People in Trouble: Emotional Plague of Mankind, Vol.1)
Record of a Friendship: The Correspondence of Wilhelm Reich and A.S. Neill (1936-1957)
Reich Speaks of Freud
Selected Writings: An Introduction to Orgonomy
The Sexual Revolution