By: Pete Porro Re: ORGONE.1 Excerpted from the Fall 1988 +quot;Skeptical Inquirer+quot; -

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By: Pete Porro Re: ORGONE.1 Excerpted from the Fall 1988 "Skeptical Inquirer" - the Journal of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) Vol.13, No.1 To subscribe, call toll free 1-800-634-1610 By Martin Gardner: NOTES OF A FRINGE-WATCHER - Reich the Rainmaker: The Orgone Obsession OF THE MANY fringe psychotherapies that flourished in the fifties, the two most bizarre were each founded by a paranoid egotist who had not the foggiest understanding of scientific method or even of the fields in which he claimed revolutionary discoveries. One was Scientology, the other was orgonomy. Orgone energy - an energy no physicist outside orgonomy circles has detected - was "discovered" by Wilhelm Reich (1897-1956), who began his tragic career an an Austrian associate of Freud. After being expelled from the German Communist Party, and later from the International Psychoanalytic Association, Reich eventually settled in the United States, where he established a "laboratory" at Rangeley, Maine. Reich first discovered orgone energy in living things, hence its name, but he soon became convinced that it was a primeval force responsible for the evolution of the universe, for gravity, for life, and for the energy released in sexual orgasms. He announced that he had created living cells from inorganic matter and that cancer cells are actually protozoa that "have a tail and move in the manner of fish." Orgone energy, he insisted, made the sky blue and caused stars to twinkle, as if physicists hadn't long understood such phenomena. Reich's main therapeutic tool was what he called an "orgone accumulator." It is a box about the size of a phone booth, its walls made of alternating layers of metal and organic material. (One is on display in St. Louis's National Museum of Quackery.) There are no electrical connections. You sit inside to soak up orgone energy that accumulates inside the box like heat in a greenhouse. The concentrated orgone is said to relieve symptoms of almost every illness from cancer to impotence. Smaller models, such as the shooter box, the orgone blanket, and the orgone funnel, apply orgone to ailing body parts. Thousands of intelligent people with only a dim knowledge of science - including writers, artists, actors, educators, even philosophers - sat inside orgone boxes and believed they were enormously benefitted. The comic Orson Bean sang the praises of orgonomy in his book "Me and the Orgone." "WR: Mysteries of the Organism" was a comic film about orgonomy by Yugoslav filmmaker Dusan Makavejev, who had earlier been enamoured of Reich's ability to stir together psychoanalysis and Marxism. Unable to get published in mainstream journals, Reich came more and more to resemble a movie version of the mad scientist. He likened himself to such martyrs as Socrates, Bruno, Galileo, and Jesus. Soon he was discovering that orgone had a destructive side he called "DOR," an acronym for Deadly Orgone Energy. To dispel the DOR that accumulated in the atmosphere, Reich invented what he called a "cloudbuster"(Note: See the now rare Donald Sutherland Video with that British Singer - Tom Mickus). It consisted of long parallel pipes, their empty interiors "grounded" by hollow cables to a source of flowing water. Like a lightening rod, the machine was supposed to draw DOR from the sky. To his amazement, Reich found that his machine would also condense clouds and produce rain. "One may create clouds in the cloud-free sky in a certain manner by disturbing the eveness in the distribution of the atmospheric orgone energy...The more clouds that are present and the heavier the clouds, the easier it is to induce growth of clouds and finally rain" (Selected Writings, p.444). This was topped by a still more sensational discovery. Reich observed that when his cloudburster was operating it attracted EA's. EA stood for Energy Alpha, Reich's term for a UFO. (Reich was fond of acronyms like HIG for Hoodlums in Government, EPPO for Emotional Plague Prevention Office, and dozens of others.) EA's are propelled by orgone motors that give off vast quantities of DOR. At first Reich thought this was an innocent by-product of spaceships, but soon became convinced that evil aliens were spying on him and intentionally damaging the area. Fortunately his cloudbuster drained the DOR from their motors, forcing the EA's to flee. In 1954, when Reich banished his first EA, he recorded the great event in his notebook: "Tonight for the first time in the history of man, the war waged for ages by living beings from outer space upon this earth...was reciprocated...with positive results." The battle took place in Arizona. Here is how Reich's son Peter described it in A Book of Dreams, a touching biography of his father: I was just about to go back downstairs when I saw it, hovering in the south. I watched it for a minute. It pulsated and glowed. Then I ran to get daddy. He was sitting in his work room at a long desk writing in one of his red ledger books. "Daddy, I spotted one. In the east. It looks pretty big." [Peter went to summon Reich's daughter, Eva, and her husband, Bill.] Bill pulled out his binoculars. "Boy, it sure is something," he said, handing the glasses to Eva. She looked for a while and said, "I knew it would come ." Daddy took off his hat and pushed his hand through his long silvery hair. "I wish I knew if this was an attack or if they were just observing the Earth." * * * I moved the cloudbuster slowly from one side of the EA to the other. I let it draw on the right side for a while and then dipped it slowly like a baby's cradle on a yo-yo and rubbed back and forth at the sky beneath it before coming back up to the other side. I let the cloudbuster orunize on either side... "Why its gone!" Bill said... Daddy said, "That was very good Peeps, very good. You are a real good little soldier because you have discovered a new way to disable EA's. I am very proud of you." Reich's last and craziest book, "Contact with Space", was published posthumously in a limited edition and is now extremely rare. It tells of his efforts to save the world from the CORE (Cosmic Orgone Energy) men, Reich's term for the aliens from space. "On March 20, 1956, 10 P.M." the book opens, "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?" What inspired this thought? It was seeing the science-fiction film "The Day the Earth Stood Still", about a spaceman who comes to Earth in a flying saucer to save us from self-destruction in a nuclear war. "All through the film," Reich says, "I had a distinct impression that it was a bit of "my story" which was depicted there, even the actor's expressions and looks reminded me and others of myself as I had appeared 15 to 20 years ago."

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