January 2008 Update
The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust
& The Wilhelm Reich Museum
We thank you for your continual interest and support. For newcomers to our e-mail Update list, none of the names on this list--nor the names of any Museum visitors, conference attendees or bookstore customers--are shared with any other individuals or organizations. If at any time you wish to be removed from this list, please let us know.
All previous Updates, dating from March 2004, available online.
You can access them through the Updates option at the top of this page or via the Quick Links along the left side of the page. These Updates provide the best contemporaneous accounts of the Trust's ongoing activities over the past six years.
2008 Writing & Publishing Projects
2008 Film Projects
2008 Office Projects
Reich's Bion & Cancer Films
Planning Our Next Conference
We Have Speakers Available
Managing Access to the Archives of the Orgone Institute
Quantity of Material in the Archives
Reich's Unpublished Scientific Work
The Orgone Motor
Future Publishing from the Archives
Access to "Sensitive" Archival Materials
Become a Friend of the Wilhelm Reich Museum
Distortion & Slander at the Reich Exhibit in Vienna
2008 WRITING AND PUBLISHING PROJECTS
- Mary Higgins will be completing a manuscript for a sequel to
American Odyssey – Letters and Journals 1940-1947, which
will comprise Reich's letters and journals from 1948 to the 1950s.
- All remaining volumes of Reich's Orgone Energy Bulletin (from January 1950 to October 1953) will become available in Xerox-bound reprints in our bookstore. We had hoped to complete this project in 2007, but unfortunately didn't have enough time due to other activities.
- Bion Experiments on the Cancer Problem, Reich's 1939 publication, will become available in a Xerox-bound reprint in our bookstore. This 25-page little-known work--published in English while Reich was still in Oslo--is a succinct and compelling account of Reich's discovery of the T-bacilli and its significance in the development of cancer.
- Wilhelm Reich in America is the working title for a book that Kevin Hinchey is currently researching and outlining, which will focus on Reich's medical and natural scientific research in the United States.
- Unpublished materials in The Archives of the Orgone Institute will be studied and evaluated on an ongoing basis as potential manuscripts for future book and journal publications. More about this later in the Update.
2008 FILM PROJECTS
It's a frustrating reality of the film business that it commonly takes years to bring
movie projects to fruition. But the Trust is continuing its efforts to develop two
factual, intellectually honest films about Reich's life and work:
- A full-length documentary film about Wilhelm Reich
- Sparks of Life, our complete feature-length screenplay about Wilhelm Reich.
2008 OFFICE PROJECTS
- We'll be upgrading the Trust & Museum office (located in Orgonon's Conference Building, formerly Reich's "Students Laboratory") with an additional computer workstation and faster Internet access.
- In our office we have literally hundreds of photographs which document Reich's life and work, as well as activities at Orgonon since the 1960s. We'll be scanning these photographs onto a single computer database to provide easy access to these visual resources for future projects.
- The Wilhelm Reich Museum website, which averages 95 hits per day, will undergo some design changes to provide greater emphasis on The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust and its duties, responsibilities, and activities.
ENCOURAGING CURRENT RESEARCH: REICH'S BION & CANCER FILMS
The Trust maintains contact with many individuals involved in all kinds of scholarship
and research pertaining to current applications of Reich's work. To encourage and assist those involved in biology, microscopy, bion research, Reich Blood Tests, and orgonomic medicine, we are donating DVDs of Reich's microscopic time-lapse bion films and cancer films to numerous researchers.
While still photographs from these films appear in several of Reich's publications
(The Bion Experiments on the Origin of Life, Bion Experiments on the Cancer Problem, The Cancer Biopathy, among others) the time-lapse films themselves can only be viewed in The Wilhelm Reich Museum, at some of the summer conferences at Orgonon, and as excerpts in our 28-minute documentary DVD/video Man's Right to Know.
We are frequently asked if we plan to sell DVDs of these films in our Bookstore.
Unfortunately, Internet piracy of our Bookstore materials is rampant. For example,
Man's Right to Know is often posted illegally on Internet sites. Consequently, we have no plans to sell DVDs of Reich's bion and cancer films.
PLANNING OUR NEXT CONFERENCE:
June 2009 – New York City
No, neither the date nor the place is a misprint. For the first time since the late 1970s, the Wilhelm Reich Museum will not be holding its annual summer conference at Orgonon, which ordinarily would have been July 14 – 19, 2008. We have two reasons for this:
First, because of our inordinately busy schedule in 2007, we desperately need to catch up on all kinds of work pertaining to the Trust and Museum, while simultaneously taking on new projects and responsibilities. So, unfortunately, we simply don't have the time or resources this year to put together a formal summer conference at Orgonon.
Secondly, after the success of our 2007 International Conference on Orgonomy in Rangeley, Maine--with a total attendance of 120 people--we want to explore the possibility of organizing an even more ambitious International Conference in a major American city.
This conference will focus specifically on Orgonomic Medicine and Orgonomic Science, both during Reich's lifetime and currently. We hope that an easily accessible urban venue will attract even more people who might not be able or willing to make the
long trip to Rangeley, Maine.
WE HAVE SPEAKERS AVAILABLE
Are you planning an event or are you part of an organization where you'd like to hear
more about the life and legacy of Wilhelm Reich? Or more about The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust or The Wilhelm Reich Museum? The Trust has available speakers to address your group. For more details, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MANAGING THE ACCESS TO THE ARCHIVES OF THE ORGONE INSTITUTE
On October 29th, 2007 we posted the Index of the Archives of the Orgone Institute on our website, plus a History of the Archives and the Access Policies & Procedures.
With the posting of this information, The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust's Archive Committee began accepting applications from scholars and researchers wishing to study archival materials at the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard University. And since then,
numerous applications have been processed and people have visited the Countway Library
to study archival materials of interest.
The opening of Reich's Archives to scholars and researchers launches a new and significant responsibility for The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust, for which we need to constantly balance our interests with those of individuals who are involved in bonafide endeavors concerning Reich's legacy. And to effectively strike this intellectually honest balance, we need to
continually and transparently address relevant issues and concerns regarding the Archives.
For example, anyone with a genuine interest in Reich's legacy should have some basic understanding of the magnitude of The Archives of the Orgone Institute.
QUANTITY OF MATERIAL IN THE ARCHIVES
Most people, justifiably, lack any true sense of just how enormous this collection is.
To better appreciate the sheer volume of material in the Archives, we suggest this:
- First, consider the fact that Reich's Archives contain approximately
98 cubic-feet of material, making this one of the largest collections at the
Countway Library of Medicine. To better understand the actual size of
98 cubic-feet, imagine an ordinary box measuring one-foot by one-foot
by one-foot, filled with papers, notebooks, photographs, films, and other
materials. Then imagine 98 of these boxes filled with these materials.
- Next, devote some time to browsing the 141-page Index of the Archives of the Orgone Institute,
which lists the names of hundreds of files of material that are currently
housed in 282 archive boxes.
- Keeping in mind that the Archives contain hundreds of files of material,
consider the fact that each of these individual files contains anywhere
from one page or one item, to dozens of pages or dozens of items, to
hundreds of pages of materials. Then do the arithmetic.
- And as you browse the 141-page Index of the Archives of the Orgone Institute,
take note also of the wealth of handwritten material, i.e. manuscripts,
notebooks, laboratory protocols, etc.
Our point is simply this: The Archives of the Orgone Institute contain literally thousands and thousands of pages (both typed and handwritten), hundreds of slides and photographs, dozens of films and audio recordings, and other materials.
Which brings us, inevitably, to the next major issue: Who, if anyone, has actually read all of the thousands of pages in the Archives? Who, if anyone, has actually looked at all of the visual materials, and listened to all of the audio recordings?
With the presumable exception of Reich throughout the course of his life, no one has read, looked at, or listened to the entire 98 cubic-feet of archival materials. Indeed, how would such a thing be possible?
In other words, although the archival materials have been preserved, organized, and catalogued by Category, File, Document, and other designations, the specific contents
of much of these materials are unknown.
And among the materials whose specific contents are unknown are numerous files containing vast collections of Reich's unpublished scientific work.
REICH'S UNPUBLISHED SCIENTIFIC WORK
When we compare the indexes of other medical and scientific archives to that of Reich's, what is unusual and striking is the enormous amount of unpublished scientific work in
The Archives of the Orgone Institute. Which, for the sake of this discussion, includes Reich's equations, his Orgone Motor research, the Oranur Experiment, and cosmic
orgone engineering, i.e. DOR removal and cloudbusting.
And it is precisely these areas of Reich's research that, for decades, have been the focus
of continual curiosity and speculation. And it is precisely these areas of Reich's research that prompted our third reason for opting for more, rather than less restrictive access to
"To safeguard the factual truth, authorship, and future uses of what is a significant collection of unpublished scientific work."
While Reich's publications included significant information about equations, the Oranur Experiment, and cosmic orgone engineering, his Archives contain hundreds and hundreds of additional handwritten and typed pages, which document his work in these areas.
Conversely, Reich published very little about the Orgone Motor.
THE ORGONE MOTOR
On August 8, 1947, Reich discovered a potential motor force in orgone energy when
the impulse counter in a Geiger-Müller counter--which had been exposed to high
concentrations of atmospheric orgone energy--suddenly began to rotate at a rate of
almost 100 counts per second, i.e. almost 6000 counts per minute (CPM). Within
a year--on June 24, 1948--Reich had succeeded in propelling a small Western Electric KS-9154 motor by means of the Orgone Energy Motor Force.
Unfortunately this promising research was curtailed by the erratic and irresponsible conduct of a laboratory worker who suddenly left Orgonon in the Fall of 1948,
as well as by Reich's escalating problems with the Food and Drug Administration.
Consequently, Reich's published information about the Orgone Motor Force is limited:
- In The Cancer Biopathy (1948), Reich concludes Chapter Four,
"The Objective Demonstration of Orgone Radiation," with a
half-page about his discovery of a motor force in orgone energy.
- In the inaugural issue of the Orgone Energy Bulletin (Vol. 1, No. 1,
January 1949) is a five-page article entitled "A Motor Force in
Orgone Energy – Preliminary Communications," which includes
affidavits that Reich sent to the Atomic Energy Commission.
- In The Oranur Experiment – First Report 1947-1951 (1951) Reich
devotes two chapters (65 pages) to his research of a motor force in
orgone energy: Chapter 3 "The Geiger-Müller Effect of Cosmic
Orgone Energy (1947)" and Chapter 4 "The Orgone Energy Charged
Vacuum Tubes (VACOR) (1948)"
American Odyssey – Letters and Journals 1940-1947, published in 1999, includes
additional pages of Reich's contemporaneous accounts of his August 1947 discovery
of a motor force in orgone energy. And Reich's films, showing a demonstration of
the orgone motor itself, are among the exhibits at The Wilhelm Reich Museum, and
can also be seen in Man's Right to Know, our 28-minute documentary DVD/video.
The remainder of Reich's documentation of his orgone energy motor force resides in
his Archives: appropriately categorized, filed, and labeled...but unread and unevaluated.
These are among the most "sensitive" of the Archive's unpublished scientific materials
which the Trust needs to carefully manage in terms of our responsibility "to safeguard
the factual truth, authorship, and future uses of what is a significant collection of unpublished scientific work."
And among our "future uses" is publishing.
FUTURE PUBLISHING FROM THE ARCHIVES
In the past, The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust has drawn from the Archives for the following publications:
And the Trust will continue to read, study, and evaluate unpublished archival materials-- pertaining to all aspects of Reich's life and work--for possible publication as new books,
journals, and articles. For the Trust, publishing primary materials has been, and will continue to be, both an intellectual responsibility and a financial necessity.
ACCESS TO "SENSITIVE" ARCHIVAL MATERIALS
All archival issues discussed in this Update were given serious consideration over long
periods of time as we crafted Access Policies and Procedures that would balance the responsibilities and needs of The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust with those of bonafide scholars and researchers. Which culminated in Item 11 of our
BECOME A FRIEND OF THE WILHELM REICH MUSEUM
We are currently launching a Friends of the Wilhelm Reich Museum membership drive
to increase much-needed financial support from those who have been touched in some way by the efforts of The Wilhelm Reich Museum and The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust.
Perhaps you've been a Friend in the past, and your membership has lapsed. Or you've visited the museum. Maybe you ordered books from our bookstore. Or attended one of our summer conferences or some other event at Orgonon: a nature program, a lecture,
an Evening of Music, or another community-oriented activity.
Perhaps you visit our website occasionally or you enjoy receiving our Monthly Updates
to apprise yourself of new developments as the Museum and Trust move forward.
Or maybe you have simply found personal inspiration and sustenance in the life, work, and writings of Dr. Reich.
Whatever it is that touches and moves you about Reich--or about his home and property at Orgonon--we are asking you to translate that into a pledge of financial support. Please join Friends of the Wilhelm Reich Museum.
- Individual: $25
- Family: $35
- Business: $40
- Contributing: $50
- Sustaining: $125
- Donor: $250
- Patron: $500
- Life: $1000
For decades, people from all over the world have become Friends of the Wilhelm Reich
Museum, providing significant support for the Museum while benefiting from the
privileges of membership.
Members receive the Friends' annual Newsletter, free admission to the Orgone Energy Observatory during visiting hours, a 10% discount on all purchases in the Museum Bookstore at Orgonon, and advance notice of new publications. Patron and Life members also receive free passes to the Orgone Energy Observatory for persons accompanying them.
ON THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF REICH'S DEATH,
DISTORTION & SLANDER AT THE REICH EXHIBIT IN VIENNA
As we eagerly look forward to so many new projects, responsibilities, challenges, and
relationships in 2008, it saddens us to bring a sour note to this first Update of a new year.
Words scarcely express our disappointment and outrage over the Reich Exhibit at the
Jewish Museum Vienna which opened on November 15, 2007, an exhibit that the Trust
worked on and contributed to for over three years, with considerable expenditures of
time, money, knowledge, hope, and friendship. We honestly believed that this was
a valuable opportunity to present the truth about Reich's life and work to a wider
audience, which is consistent with the mission of The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust.
We devoted hundreds upon hundreds of hours to providing whatever assistance we could to the exhibit's curator, far more time and effort than we spent on our 2007 International Conference on Orgonomy here in Rangeley, and far more time and effort than we spent on our final preparations for access to The Archives of the Orgone Institute at the Countway Library of Medicine in Boston. In fact, The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust was
the single most generous contributor of "materials and objects" to the Vienna exhibit.
We donated nearly 100 carefully selected photographs from all periods of Reich's life,
requiring reproduction, scanning and e-mail services from two local vendors here in
Rangeley, Maine, as well as from the Countway Library staff.
We also donated 46 other "objects" to the exhibit, which were transported in two crates
from The Wilhelm Reich Museum and the Countway Library to the Jewish Museum Vienna in early November 2007, the week before the exhibit opening. A member
of the Trust accompanied the transport of these objects.
These objects included original German editions of Reich's early publications, various documents, original Orgone Institute Press editions of Reich's books, miscellaneous
books from Reich's private library at Orgonon, drawings by cartoonist William Steig
for Listen, Little Man!, one of Reich's Reichert microscopes, a Cine Kodak 16mm film camera (used to film the bion experiments in Oslo), an orgone accumulator for mice from the Oranur Experiment, two of Reich's oil paintings, Reich's Medical DOR-buster, and other items.
Equally significant are the many hours we spent from 2004 to 2007 in personal discussions and visits, phone calls, and e-mail communications with the curator about the specific "storyline" and content of the exhibit. From our first contact with the curator in 2004,
one of our many concerns was that the exhibit might distort, misrepresent, or give
short shrift to Reich's legacy of orgone energy research from the 1930s to the 1950s.
We made it clear that we would only participate in this exhibit if Reich's orgone energy research was portrayed as seriously and accurately as his earlier psychoanalytic and political work. We were assured early on that this was precisely the Exhibit's intent.
And over the subsequent years we were again and again reassured. Alarmingly, however, our continual input--providing key quotations and excerpts from Reich's writings, providing timelines, and consistently emphasizing the energy principle underlying all
of Reich's work and theories--seemed to have no effect on the emerging design and content of the exhibit.
By late 2006 it was obvious to us that among the exhibit organizers there was insufficient interest and knowledge about Reich's research in biology, medicine, and natural science from 1934 to 1957, research that comprised over one third of Reich's entire life and
over half of his professional career.
And in early 2007 we were shocked to discover that the exhibit catalog would be devoting only a minimal number of pages to Reich's research from 1934-1957, while dozens of pages would be given to articles by numerous scholars about Reich's early life and work.
In March 2007, in a long e-mail to the curator, we said that we were now undecided about what further contributions we wished to make to an exhibit that we did not feel
was adequately representing the truth and breadth of Reich's work. And with that,
we seriously considered severing all ties with the Vienna exhibit and refusing to send
any objects from The Wilhelm Reich Museum.
The curator immediately promised to devote more catalog pages to Reich's orgone
research. We were also assured, yet again, that Reich's own words would be used as much as possible as labeling in the exhibit, rather than someone else's "explanation"
or "interpretation"--something we'd been insisting on for years.
Although we had sadly lost our enthusiasm for the exhibit, after considerable discussion we decided to continue our participation for one reason: we honestly felt that our continued efforts might at least improve the exhibit's presentation of Reich's orgone energy research.
Among our continued efforts for the exhibit organizers was our painstaking compilation
of 50 pages of chronologically-arranged key excerpts from The Bioelectrical Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety, The Bion Experiments on the Origin of Life, Bion Experiments on the Cancer Problem, The Cancer Biopathy, The Oranur Experiment, The Orgone Energy Accumulator – Its Scientific and Medical Use, the C.O.R.E. bulletins, as well as journal entries from Beyond Psychology and American Odyssey--excerpts that clearly
and succinctly explained the entire development of Reich's biological, medical, and natural scientific work in his own words.
Unfortunately, when the Reich Exhibit finally opened on November 15, 2007, its presentation of Reich's orgone energy research was worse than we could have imagined:
- A piece of radioactive material had been included in the Exhibit
in close proximity to a full-sized 5-layer orgone accumulator,
Reich's Medical DOR-buster, and a mouse accumulator--an
unnecessary, reckless, dangerous decision by exhibit organizers
that showed either ignorance of Reich's scientific findings in
the Oranur Experiment, or complete contempt for his findings.
- The overall presentation of Reich's orgone research was incoherent
and had a slapdash quality about it, with years of Reich's research
completely ignored, some objects left unexplained, and occasionally
snide labeling with no use of Reich's own words.
- An exhibit catalog marred by inaccuracies, editorializing, and
snide innuendo, such as the reference on the outside back cover
to "...objects relevant to so-called orgone research."
Equally offensive was an "artist's exhibit" in a small room adjacent to the main exhibit.
From early on, we were told there would be an "artist's exhibit" on Reich, about which
we immediately expressed serious concern, based on previous experiences with artists. But the contents
were never revealed to us and were not yet installed when the Trust representative was
at the Jewish Museum Vienna on November 9, 2007 to oversee the unpacking of our
two crates of objects.
The "artist's exhibit" is entitled "A Journey with Mr. Reich and Oz Almog [the artist] Through the Gates of Hell," and includes the following statements: "Phenomena called ‘electrosmog' today led the eccentric scientist to believe in the existence of ‘orgone'." "Faith and inspiration, rather than strict methodology, led Reich into increasingly bizarre regions, culminating in an energy converter and weather machine called ‘cloud buster'."
"Reich's heirs today form a fanatic and often esoterically inspired fan community."
"Spirit researcher Reich..." "...creator of a pseudo-scientific Disneyland."
Had we been aware of the contents of this "artist's exhibit" at any time in the past few years, we would have refused to loan any materials or objects to the museum, and would not have cooperated in any way. Had this "artist's exhibit" been installed and viewed when our two crates of objects arrived in November 2007, we would not have allowed our objects to be unpacked and installed.
After explaining the dangers of this radioactive material to the exhibit organizers on
the day after the opening, we made numerous demands over several weeks to have the
material removed--including threats to remove our objects from the exhibit. Finally,
the material was reluctantly taken out, although the curator continued to insist it was completely safe to have this radioactive material near orgone accumulating devices.
We also wrote a four-page letter to the director of the museum, expressing our outrage and disappointment with the "artist's exhibit" and the fact that its contents seemed to have been purposely kept from us. The director repeatedly insisted that the Reich Exhibit
and the "artist's exhibit" on Reich are in no way connected, despite the fact that one needs to walk through the Reich Exhibit to get to the entry of the "artist's exhibit."
The museum director also shocked us by telling us something we had never been told before: that it was this same artist who had first approached the Jewish Museum Vienna many years ago with the idea of a Reich Exhibit, and that it was he who had recommended this curator for the exhibit. We wish we had known.
And now, let us move on to 2008.
UNTIL NEXT MONTH
Please share this Update with colleagues, friends, and family who may be interested in the life and legacy of Wilhelm Reich and the good works of The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust and The Wilhelm Reich Museum. Thank you again for your friendship and support.