Bookstore

Books by Wilhelm Reich
Journals & Bulletins
Foreign Language Materials
German Manuscripts
Other Print Material
   Articles by Reich
   The Einstein Affair
   Laboratory Manual for
      Bion Experiments

   Legal Documents
   The Oranur Experiment
   Orgonomic Diagnosis of
      Cancer Biopathy

   Published Materials About
      the Orgone Energy
      Accumulator

   Other Print Material
Audio
Video
Photographs
Paintings by Reich
Other Gifts



To sign up, send your name
and email address to:
wreich@rangeley.org.

Access previous updates
by clicking Updates
at the top of the page.

Legal Documents

Wilhelm Reich's legal case against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a complex narrative spanning many years and comprising hundreds of pages of legal documents and correspondence. (The voluminous correspondence between Reich and his lawyers can be found in The Archives of the Orgone Institute at the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard University.)

We offer here some of the principal legal documents germane to Reich's case, followed by a succinct chronology of the FDA's investigation and legal proceedings.

In the summer of 1947, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began its investigation of Wilhelm Reich, M.D., believing that his use, rental and sale of orgone energy accumulators constituted fraudulent activities. The FDA's investigation was sparked by an article entitled "The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich" by Mildred Edie Brady which appeared in the May 26, 1947 edition of New Republic magazine.

Among Brady's numerous inaccurate and misleading statements was her claim that "Reich was building accumulators of orgone energy which are rented out to patients who presumably derive ‘orgastic potency' from it." Implying that Reich was a danger to the public, Brady challenged the medical authorities to take action against him.

Two months later, in July 1947, her article was brought to the attention of the FDA. Several weeks later, in August, an FDA agent visited Reich at his laboratory at Orgonon in Rangeley, Maine. Six and a half years later, in February 1954, the FDA persuaded the United States Attorney for the District of Maine to sign a Complaint for Injunction against The Wilhelm Reich Foundation, Wilhelm Reich and Ilse Ollendorff (Reich's wife).

This Complaint contained the following statement: "...the alleged orgone energy, as claimed to have been discovered and its existence proven by the said defendant Reich as stated in the labeling for said devices [orgone energy accumulators] is not a powerful energy, is non-existent..." The Complaint called for the defendants to be enjoined from the interstate shipment of orgone accumulators or any written materials promoting orgone accumulators.

This Complaint was signed by U.S. Attorney Peter Mills who, just three years earlier, had been the attorney for Wilhelm Reich and The Wilhelm Reich Foundation.

Reich was required to appear in the Federal Court in Portland, Maine, to respond to this Complaint for Injunction. After considerable thought and discussion of this matter, Reich responded with a lengthy letter to Judge John Clifford, explaining that he could not appear in Court, since doing so would allow a Court of law to judge basic scientific research.

He wrote: "Scientific matters can only be clarified by prolonged, faithful bona fide observations in friendly exchange of opinion, never by litigation...Man's right to know, to learn, to inquire, to make bona fide errors, to investigate human emotions must, by all means, be safe, if the word FREEDOM should ever be more than an empty political slogan."

Furthermore, Reich said if his painstakingly elaborated and published findings "over a period of 30 years could not convince this administration, or will not be able to convince any other administration of the true nature of the discovery of the Life Energy, no litigation in any court anywhere will ever help to do so. I, therefore, submit, in the name of truth and justice that I shall not appear in court as the 'defendant' against a plaintiff who by his mere complaint already has shown his ignorance in matters of natural science."

Judge Clifford did not accept Reich's letter as a valid legal response, and on March 19, 1954, a Decree of Injunction was issued on default as if Reich had never responded at all. But the Injunction itself was even more excessive than the initial Complaint:

  • it ordered orgone energy accumulators and their parts to be destroyed

  • it ordered all materials containing instructions for the use of the accumulator to be destroyed

  • it banned a list of Reich's books containing statements about orgone energy, until such time that all references to orgone energy were deleted

After the initial shock, Reich continued his research, traveling to Arizona to experiment with the cloudbuster in the dry desert environment. While he was there, and without his knowledge, one of his students--Michael Silvert, M.D.--moved a truckload of accumulators and books from Rangeley, Maine to New York City, a direct violation of the Injunction. As a result, the FDA charged Reich and Silvert with criminal contempt of court.

Following a jury trial, both men were found guilty on May 7, 1956. Reich was sentenced to two years in federal prison, Silvert was sentenced to a year and a day. The Wilhelm Reich Foundation--founded in Maine in 1949 by students and friends to preserve Reich's archives and to secure the future of his discovery of the Cosmic Life Energy--was fined $10,000 (which would be approximately $80,100 today).

While Reich appealed his sentence, the government carried out the destruction of orgone accumulators and literature. In Maine, several boxes of literature were burned, and accumulators and accumulator materials either destroyed or dismantled. In New York City, on August 23, 1956, the FDA supervised the burning of several tons of Reich's publications in one of the city's garbage incinerators, including titles that were only to have been banned. Among the materials burned were:

This destruction of literature constitutes one of the most heinous examples of censorship in United States history. On March 17, 1960, additional copies of these same materials were burned in New York City under FDA supervision. 






UNITED STATES OF AMERICA VS THE WILHELM REICH FOUNDATION, WILHELM REICH, AND MICHAEL SILVERT

The transcript of Reich's trial for criminal contempt Federal Courtroom Portland, Maine May 3-7, 1956

Booklet $38.50

 




Wilhelm Reich Biographical Material:

HISTORY OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE LIFE ENERGY
Materials prepared by Reich relevant to the Food and Drug Administration attack and injunction.

  • Documentary Supplement No. 1 Response to Ignorance

    Booklet: Individual $ 7.50

     
  • Documentary Supplement No. 2 The Red Thread of a Conspiracy

    Booklet: Individual $ 7.50

     
  • Documentary Supplement No. 3 Atoms for Peace vs. The HIG

    Booklet: Individual $ 7.50



  • Set of all three for $20.00

 




U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT

Wilhelm Reich, Et Al.,
v.
United States Of America

RECORD APPENDIX TO BRIEFS FOR APPELLANT
Records docketed by Clerk of Trial Court

Booklet $26.95

 




U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT

Wilhelm Reich, Et Al.,
v.
United States Of America

BRIEF AND REPLY BRIEF FOR WILHELM REICH, M.D.,
Chief Counsel For Discovery Of Cosmic Life Energy
Pro se

Booklet $26.95

 




U. S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT

Wilhelm Reich, Et Al.,
v.
United States Of America

BRIEF FOR MICHAEL SILVERT, M.D.,
Pro se

Booklet $16.95

 




U. S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT

The Wilhelm Reich Foundation, a Maine corporation, Wilhelm Reich, and Michael Silvert,
v.
United States Of America

BRIEF AND REPLY BRIEF FOR THE WILHELM REICH FOUNDATION
Charles Haydon
Attorney For Appellant

Booklet $16.95






SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
October Term, 1956

Wilhelm Reich, The Wilhelm Reich Foundation and Michael Silvert,
v.
United States of America

PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT & PETITIONERS REPLY BRIEF
Wilhelm Reich, M.D.
Counsel For The Discovery Of The Cosmic Life Energy
Pro se

Booklet $26.95



Help us maintain the legacy of Wilhelm Reich by making a tax-deductible donation.



Recommendations are grouped by subject area.

Take a look!


Copyright © 2004- Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust

Contact : 207.864.3443 | wreich@rangeley.org