Sep 20, 2020 I Nick Redfern

The Controversial Life of the Man Behind Orgone, Part 2

Now, in the second part of this  2-part article, we'll see what it was that led Wilhelm Reich into danger, disaster, and finally death. Dr. Paul Chambers, in his 1999 book Sex & the Paranormal, stated: "Sexual arousal, said Reich, was like a thunderstorm, with the orgasm being like a lightning strike, discharging all the built-up sexual energy from the body." There was far more to Reich’s work, too. As well as digging deep into the mysteries of Orgone, Reich also started focusing on yet another energy-based phenomenon. He called them"Bions." They were, Reich concluded, infinitely small sacs of energy that could morph into one-celled entities. Reich said there were two kinds of Bions: the "reds" and the "blues." Incredibly, Reich claimed to be able to see the two groups of Bions essentially "“fighting" each other, when placed under a microscope. This was yet another breakthrough for Reich, one which he came to believe further bolstered his belief that energy was poorly understood in the extreme – and Reich saw himself as the man who was going to find the truth.

Reich went on to assemble what he called an Orgone Energy Field Matter. He claimed it could measure Orgone levels in a person – and that he was able to determine the huge fluctuations between someone in a relaxed state and someone else in a highly sexual state. Next on the list was the unveiling of Reich’s Orgone-Energy Accumulator. It can best be described as a large, wooden box, in which his volunteers sat. The outside of the Orgone-Energy Accumulator would be coated with organic materials; the interior, however, was made of metal. Reich believed that Orgone would be attracted to the external side, and would then radiate within the box, thus bathing the person in Orgone and, thereby, increasing their energy levels. The more and more he dug into his Orgone-based research, the more and more Reich came to believe that Orgone had the potential ability to cure some of the most serious conditions on the planet – including cancer – as well as psychological conditions, such as sexual anxieties, neuroses and much more. Reich’s work attracted the attention of numerous famous people in the field of the arts, including Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and J.D. Salinger.

That Reich concluded Orgone had an attraction to, and an affinity for, water, led him to believe he could use targeted Orgone to manipulate the weather, too. In other words, complete weather-control. Powerful winds, storms, deluges, and thunder and lightning: Reich saw himself as the man who could just about command them all.  It was not destined to be, however. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a decidedly dim view of Reich’s work and his alternative theories, he certainly had a massive following – all of whom felt that the sexual energy known as Orgone was, essentially, the equivalent of a huge, powerful battery that could both energize and revitalize. Throughout the late-1940s and into the early-to-mid-1950s, Reich was someone who many listened to – and who listened very carefully. Between 1948 and up until the time of his death, just a little less than a decade later, Reich wrote many books, including, Ether, God, and Devil; Cosmic Superimposition; The Invasion of Compulsory Sex-Morality; and People in Trouble.

Eventually, for the FDA enough was most definitely enough. Reich’s real troubles began in February 1954, when the United States Attorney for the District of Maine sought an injunction to prevent Reich from selling his accumulators outside of his home-state. It worked; although Reich could not have cared less. He continued to sell them, and the government be damned. Then, in May 1956, Reich found himself in majorly hot water when an employee of the FDA posed as someone wanting an accumulator of their very own…and who conveniently wanted it shipped out of state. Reich was delighted to oblige – until, that is, the truth behind the FDA’s ruse hit him squarely in the face.  He was, in essence, busted. Most disturbing of all, a number of Reich’s books were quickly withdrawn from availability by the government. And, shortly afterwards, hundreds of copies of his titled were not just confiscated, but burned. To say that it was a definitive witch-hunt would not be far off the mark.

Wilhelm Reich in his mid twenties
Wilhelm Reich in his mid-twenties

One month later, the FDA descended on Reich’s labs and ordered that his accumulators be destroyed. There was very little that Reich could do to prevent such a thing from happening. Then, in August 1956, no less than six tons of Reich’s materials – his journals, the remaining copies of his books, and his mass of equipment and more - were ordered to be destroyed, in what turned out to be a blazing inferno. Following that, there was the not insignificant matter of a two-year prison term for what was perceived by the U.S. Government as Reich having sold bogus technologies. Reich didn’t last long, though: he was found dead, on November 3, 1957 in the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary, Pennsylvania. The verdict was heart failure. He was just sixty.

There are indications that even today the government has its uneasy concerns about Reich and his work. In 1999 the FBI placed into the public domain almost eight hundred pages of previously-classified files on Reich. The documents were soon uploaded to the FBI’s website. Eight years later, however, the documents were quietly removed. The file continues to remain absent from its original website – as well as from the FBI’s additional site, “The Vault,” which was created in 2011.  The file was removed as it was not seen as being historically valuable. Reich’s followers would certainly disagree with that conclusion. Fortunately, the FBI’s file on Reich can still be found online – at As we have seen, Reich concluded that Orgone was a form of sexual energy that acted – in near-identical fashion – as a battery. Orgone could be directed into a person and offer them a new life, one filled with vigor and absent of anxieties. More importantly, though, Orgone could be removed from the body: it was basically the equivalent of putting the accumulator in reverse. Who knows what else Reich would have achieved had he not died at an early age?

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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