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2004 Summer Conference:
The Orgone Energy Accumulator:
It's Scientific and Medical Use
"The Orgone Energy Accumulator is an instrument assembled and materially arranged in such a manner that Life Energy, present in the atmosphere of our planet, can be collected, accumulated, and made usable for scientific, educational and medical purposes." With these words, Wilhelm Reich defined an essential tool of his research on the previously unknown energy he discovered and called "orgone."
The conference traced the historical development of this tool and demonstrated experiments in which it was used. Current experimental data on plants and humans were also presented. Attendants participated in laboratory activities, utilized the museum's orgone room for visual observations, and made small accumulators for specific needs, such as neck, breast, knee.
Instructors included Robert Dayton, artist-builder whose paintings and sculpture are exhibited frequently in Easthampton, NY; Joseph Heckman, Ph.D., plant biologist who has designed studies of the orgone accumulator charging of seeds and plants; Jorgos Kavouras, M.D., who maintains a general practice in Germany and Greece in which the accumulator has been his principal therapeutic tool for twenty-five years (his data on forty-five cases will be published soon in Germany); James Strick, Ph.D., science historian, specializing in the history of ideas about the origin of life. Dr. Strick is the author of Sparks of Life: Darwinism and the Victorian Debates Over Spontaneous Generation and co-author of The Living Universe: NASA and the Development of Astrobiology.
The following letter was received from an English participant in the conference:
"I decided to come to the Orgonon conference this year at the prompting of Jim Strick, whom I have gotten to know via e-mail and letter over a couple of years. I had already received the information about the conference, but it all seemed too expensive and too far away, until it became a lot closer after a friendly personal urging from Jim. Needless to say, like all serious students of orgonomy, I had long been intending to visit Orgonon, possibly next summer, when I shall be semi-retired and therefore have much more time for traveling. Holiday arrangements in the UK Health Service have to be made months, even years, in advance and I had no time off in July. A minor miracle occurred and I managed to get the time off at a short notice, booked my flights, and had been looking forward with great excitement to the great day. The journey was an ordeal, but I had expected it to be pretty uncomfortable, so that was no surprise. I do not enjoy sitting still for hours. However the second leg, to Portland, made up for it. To my surprise, it was in a small plane with propellers that flew within sight of the ground all the way, I was able to get some impression of the USA's interesting geography.
"Mary Henderson and her husband Pete picked me up from my overnight hotel in Portland and I was on my way. I could not wait to get there. The journey was interesting enough, but I was only interested in Orgonon. As for most people who have read a great deal by Reich and about him the appearance of the observatory was already familiar to me. The students' laboratory, now the Conference Centre, was quite new to me and to start with I took it for a new building, as it was so bright and obviously had only recently been renovated. I walked up the hill to the museum and the familiar building came into sight between the trees. It was exactly as I had imagined it, no surprises there. Visitors were looking round with guides and I simply walked up the stairs and started to look round. I have visited a great many museums in the UK and immediately recognized all the signs of an organization that is short of money and manpower. I was absolutely enthralled to see in reality so many things that I had only seen in photographs or read about. One of the guides was explaining how the ground floor used to be a laboratory but that some of the equipment had had to be sold to pay legal expenses and I winced at the thought of this and what it must have cost Reich emotionally to sell equipment to pay for costs of a fight inflicted on him by others, a fight not of his own choosing.
"I strolled up the stairs into the familiar study (familiar from the pictures in various biographies). It was very familiar, both physically, and in spirit. At last, though, I was here in reality, not looking at a photograph in a book, and there was so much more to it. Reich's vast library, vast for an individual, impressed me greatly. I know that he wrote many marginalia in his books from a picture in Reich Speaks of Freud and I wondered how much of his own history and the intellectual history of psychoanalysis and orgonomy was hidden away on the margins of those books. I was keen to see the observatory on the top floor, as I observe the atmospheric orgone a lot myself and was interested to see his equipment and what he could see from the roof. Somehow the informality of the top floor with his paintings and paints lying there as if he had stopped painting a few days ago spoke more that the rest of the building.
"The whole interior seemed very familiar, partly, I suppose, because I am familiar with Reich's life-work and partly because I am also familiar with many of the things in the building: orgone accumulators, microscopes, the To-T apparatus, the equipment for the bion cultures, as well as places Reich lived and worked--Berlin and Oslo. And yet, so much more was there, almost as if I could see his fingerprints on things. I have never known someone else's presence to be so palpable and close. It was a very moving experience and further visits during the week would add other reactions. The first evening I was full of a painful awareness of the great tragedy of Reich's situation, his persecution by the FDA, and the apparent snuffing out of his work. I overheard visitors asking in surprise about his persecution and wondering what had happened since his death. The museum seemed to give some people the impression that the persecutions had won and that the story was over.
"The conference got going and I made two further visits to the observatory, possibly three. I have forgotten the details. As the conference unfolded and we heard about work going on today in 2004, all of it real, positive, and hopeful, all of it building on and confirming many of Reich's own discoveries, I became aware of a quite different feeling about Orgonon. It is a triumphant place, a source of energy, a site where a great victory has been won against attempts to silence the voice of scientific work and the affirmation of life. I had a good look at the photo-montage in the conference centre. What a symbolic contrast; those on the left in black and white show the buildings boarded up, weeds growing round Reich's grave, and send a message of despair and neglect. The colour-pictures on the right, some possibly all taken at last year's conference, show the former students' laboratory being used for its original and continuing purpose - students pore over microscopes, speakers communicate with an enthusiastic audience, participants talk to each other in a way that surely Reich would have wanted and delighted in. The weeds and boards have gone and Orgonon is vibrant and alive. I know the Museum and the Trust have problems and are desperately short of money and manpower, but they are cetainly not dying. So many participants that I spoke to this year intend to return next year, as I do. So many fertile contacts have been made this year; there are so many off-shoots forming. Some will bear fruit, doubtless some will be non-starters. Some will struggle and falter, possibly fail, but interest in orgonomy is growing. New things are being discovered that confirm Reich's basic discoveries, and I have come away with a wonderful feeling that he and orgonomy have won, have survived, and are moving on again.
"I have a very strong sense of the symbolic and as I left the conference centre I noticed a very powerful symbol--the original blackboard of the students' laboratory covered in orgonomic symbols and terminology from Jorgos Kavouras's earlier talk that day on his clinical use of the accumulator and DOR-buster. In the evening, the room rocked with laughter as the 'pig-in-a-poke' auction went on. I can think of no stronger symbols of orgonomic life, the earlier work on the blackboard and the good humor of the evening. I felt very happy within myself and for orgonomy as I walked down the hill back to Tamarack cabin. The present vitalilty of Orgonon is a major achievement and I wish to ackowledge and thank all those whose hard work has contributed to it. The conference has been worth every minute of my uncomfortable transatlantic journey. I hope to see you all again next year."
Peter Jones, 2004
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