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May 2009 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.

2009 Summer Conference
Recently Viewing Wilhelm Reich's Films
Status of Wilhelm Reich's Films
Appreciating the Filmmaking of Wilhelm Reich
Become a Friend of the Trust 


     Archival Materials – Current Projects & Research – Publishing

This year's conference will comprise presentations by scholars and researchers currently working with archival materials for their projects, plus audio and visual presentations of resources from Reich's archives: audio recordings, films, and unpublished documents. Most of these archival materials have never been publicly presented before.

In an effort to remain sensitive to everyone affected by the financial crisis, this will be a four-day conference (Monday – Thursday) instead of the usual five days, with a REGISTRATION FEE of $275 (more Registration details further in this Update).

On October 29, 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 began accepting applications from scholars and researchers wishing to study archival materials at the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard University. Since then, numerous applications have been processed and people have visited the Countway Library to study archival materials of interest.

And in July 2008-instead of our regular annual summer conference-we held a private Archive Workshop devoted to what we consider the most sensitive and proprietary unpublished resources in the Archives: Reich's orgone motor research, the Y factor, and orgonometric equations. To this Archive Workshop we invited scholars and researchers who had specifically requested these materials or had informed us that they planned to do so in the near future.

This summer many of these same archival resources will be presented publicly for the first time, in addition to other archival materials that researchers are discovering in their work at the Countway Library.



8:30 a.m. Full, homemade breakfast buffet

9:00 a.m. - From the Archives: New Narratives about Wilhelm Reich, M.D.

Kevin Hinchey – The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust & Museum

An overview of the importance of Reich's Archives in clarifying and correcting commonplace distortions and misunderstandings of Reich's life and legacy, and in creating new, factual, and accessible narratives.

9:45 a.m. - Historical Reactions to Pioneering Science: Darwin, Pasteur, Newton, Semmelweiss

James Strick, Ph.D. – Author, professor, and academic historian of science

The hostile reception of Reich's pioneering scientific work is given a proper historic context by exploring other examples of hostile reactions to new scientific discoveries.

11:00 a.m. - From the Archives: Reich's Unpublished Laboratory Notebooks and Correspondence

James Strick, Ph.D. – Author, professor, and academic historian of science

New discoveries and insights from Reich's laboratory notebooks and correspondence, and their significance for Strick's new book-in-progress about how Reich's bion experiments fit into the broader context of the history of science and medicine. Pages from Reich's laboratory notebooks and correspondence will be projected for participants to see.

12:00 Noon: Lunch on your own

2:00 p.m. - From the Archives: Reich's Bion & Cancer Films

James Strick, Ph.D. – Author, professor, and academic historian of science

As excerpts from Reich's time-lapse microscopic films are screened, Professor Strick will explain the scientific processes of bion development and cancer cell development that are being captured on film.

3:00 p.m. - Reich's Experimental Work in Biology: Technical Issues & Questions

(This presentation is currently being developed) A biologist will discuss specific aspects of Reich's experimental work in the context of subsequent efforts by others to replicate his experiments and further develop these research areas. Areas of ambiguity and unanswered questions will be identified and specific proposals made for further experimental work. Social obstacles to the further development of Reich's experimental work will also be identified and discussed.

5:30 p.m. - Reception at the Orgone Energy Observatory


8:30 a.m. - Full, homemade breakfast buffet

9:00 a.m. - From the Archives: Reich's Unpublished Work Democracy Papers

Philip W. Bennett, Ph.D. – Professor and long-time student of Reich's work

An examination of Reich's thoughts about social organization based on work, drawing upon unpublished English texts of The Natural Organization of Work in Work-Democracy (1939) and Further Problems of Work-Democracy (1941). Documents from Reich's archives will be projected for participants to see.

10:00 a.m. - From the Archives: Sex Education, Albert Crombie, and the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) Attempt to Remove Reich's Citizenship

Philip W. Bennett, Ph.D. – Professor and long-time student of Reich's work

The longest Government investigation of Reich was not by the FDA, but by the INS. It was prompted by the persistent agitation of a conservative Christian moralist. This case is examined by drawing upon archival materials from Reich, the INS, and the State Department. Documents from all of these archives will be projected for participants to see.

11:00 a.m. - From the Archives: Audio Recordings of Reich's Experiments with Geiger-Mόller Counters to Develop the Orgone Motor

Audio recordings from 1947 and 1948 will be played, documenting Reich's experiments at Orgonon and in Forest Hills, New York, to develop an orgone energy motor.

12:00 Noon: Lunch on your own

2:00 p.m. - Tour of the Orgone Energy Observatory

Mary Boyd Higgins – The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust & Museum

Conference participants have a free afternoon to explore Orgonon or enjoy the attractions of the beautiful Rangeley Lakes Region.

7:30 p.m. - From the Archives: New Book and Documentary Film Project

Mary Higgins & Kevin Hinchey – The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust

Professor Bennett will moderate a discussion with Ms. Higgins and Mr. Hinchey that highlights the importance of specific archival materials -documents, audio recordings, and films-to two of the Trust's most significant projects: a new manuscript and a documentary film.

(This presentation will also be open to the general public.)


8:30 a.m. - Full, homemade breakfast buffet

9:00 a.m. - From the Archives: Documents and Audio Recording Pertaining to Orgonometry and Equations

Excerpts from Reich's notebooks and other documents pertaining to Reich's development of orgonometric equations will be shown, followed by an audio recording of Reich explaining some of his equations.

10:00 a.m. - From the Archives: Personal Films of Wilhelm Reich

Reich's archives contain hours of films documenting his personal life and activities in Europe. Selections from these films will be shown.

11:00 a.m. - From the Archives: Audio Recording of Reich Founding the Orgonomic Infant Research Center (OIRC)

On December 16, 1949 Reich met with physicians, social workers, and educators at his home in Forest Hills, New York to discuss a new research project that came to be known as the Orgonomic Infant Research Center. This recording documents that discussion.

12:00 p.m. (optional) - Experiencing the Orgone Room

Professor Strick will sit with participants in the Orgone Room and discuss the room's orgone energy phenomena.

1:00 p.m.: Lunch on your own

2:30 p.m. (optional) - Hike up Bald Mountain

A moderate 2-3 hour hike provides stunning views of Mooselookmeguntic Lake where Reich first observed atmospheric orgone energy in the summer of 1940 and later described in The Cancer Biopathy.


8:30 a.m. - Full, homemade breakfast buffet

9:00 a.m. - A Controlled Double-blind Experiment Confirming the Effectiveness of the Orgone Energy Accumulator

Philip W. Bennett, Ph.D. and James Strick, Ph.D.

After an initial discussion of the "gold standard" of scientific protocol- the controlled double-blind experiment-noting its need but also its problems, a review will be presented of the Farabloc, a device built along the lines of the orgone energy accumulator.

10:00 a.m. - From the Archives: Audio Recording of Reich's 1950 Lecture entitled "Man's Roots in Nature"

Reich delivered this talk at the Second Orgonomic International Convention at Orgonon on August 26, 1950.

11:00 a.m. - Panel Discussion: Challenges and Initiatives for Breakthroughs and New Narratives

Conference presenters will discuss key challenges and possible solutions for disseminating Reich's life and legacy to wider audiences, and to the medical and scientific communities.

12:00 Noon: Lunch on your own

PLEASE NOTE: The conference may include an additional presentation from a scholar from Oslo, Norway, reporting on his archival research at the Countway Library, plus an additional screening of films from Reich's archives. We'll have more information on this in our May 2009 Update.

6:00 p.m. - Lobster or Steak Dinner & Cookout (optional for additional fee)

Reservations will be taken during conference week.


REGISTRATION FEE: $275.00. Includes tuition, information packet, daily homemade breakfast and refreshments. A 25% discount is available for full-time college students who can document their status.

MEETING PLACE: Conference Building at Orgonon (Wilhelm Reich Museum) located on Dodge Pond Road in Rangeley, Maine.

TAX DEDUCTION: IRS regulations permit an income tax deduction for educational expenses to maintain or improve professional skills.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, lakefront cottages and other rentals, and campgrounds are available in and around Rangeley. We encourage you to make reservations early as this is the busy season. For information, contact the Rangeley Chamber of Commerce: Tel. 1-800-685-2537. Or e-mail: mtlakes@rangeley.org.

TWO SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE: To apply for the Thomas E. Ross and Chester M. Raphael Scholarships, please contact us at: wreich@rangeley.org. All applications must be received by June 15, 2009.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call us at (207) 864-3443, or e-mail: wreich@rangeley.org.


We always set aside sufficient free time so that attendees can enjoy the Rangeley Lakes Region. We also encourage people to make a short vacation out of their visit, if possible, by arriving a few days before the Conference or staying the weekend after it ends.

Reich fell in love with this area when he first visited in the summer of 1940. And so will you. Rangeley has so much to offer. The numerous lakes-Rangeley, Cupsuptic, Mooselookmeguntic, Upper Richardson & Lower Richardson, Umbagog, Aziscoos, Parmachenee, Kennebago & Little Kennebago. Canoeing, kayaking, boating and fishing. Traditional campsites. And wilderness camping on the shores and islands of the Stephen Phillips Preserve. Hiking and backpacking-the Appalachian Trail is just a few miles from town, plus there are many shorter but equally rewarding trails.

Local accommodations include hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, and lakefront rentals. For individuals or groups looking to economize, think about sharing a rental. Even lakefront cottages are reasonable when you're splitting expenses.

We hope to see you this summer.  


On May 20th and 21st the Trust viewed the film collection of The Archives of the Orgone Institute at the facilities of Northeast Historic Film in Bucksport, Maine. This is the first time since the 1960s and early 1970s that the Trust has viewed the entire collection.

Northeast Historic Film, with whom we have worked before, has an excellent reputation as a premier film preservation organization and prides itself as "a regional moving image archive dedicated to collecting, preserving, and making accessible film and video related to northern New England."

In addition to being a major step forward in our documentary film project, viewing these materials-which date from the 1920s to the 1950s-has inspired us to add more film selections to our upcoming 2009 Summer Conference program.

Our goal is to have all of these materials transferred to broadcast-quality Beta SP video, as well as to DVD and VHS formats. Once these films are transferred and preserved onto these other formats, these visual resources can be safely screened time and time again without the worry of breaking or damaging the original films. 


Most of these films are 16mm. We also have sixteen small metal cartridges of Pathι Baby 9.5mm films, a format first introduced in Europe in 1922 and which is now extinct. These 9.5mm films are the oldest in our collection. Because Northeast Historic Film doesn't handle 9.5mm films, they referred us to the Color Lab Archives Division in Rockville, Maryland, a full-service film preservation laboratory that handles major archive work for government and private film archives in the Washington, D.C. area.

With one or two exceptions, the 16mm films are in excellent shape. There is no chemical deterioration that often occurs in vintage celluloid that has been stored in unregulated temperatures over long periods. One short reel of film has significant damage to its sprocket holes, while other reels have original splices and splicing tape that would never make it through the film gate of a 16mm projector. The natural shrinkage of film over time plus the inevitable brittleness of old film are two more reasons for not wanting to run any of these films through a projector.

Consequently we viewed Reich's films by carefully hand-cranking each film from its original reel, through a Zeiss Ikon Moviescop film editing viewer, to an empty take-up reel while watching the film images themselves in the Moviescop's 4"x 3" viewing port. This process allowed each frame to be viewed individually, if necessary. But more important, the hand-cranking from reel to reel allowed us to vary the speed of the moving images so that once a safe and comfortable rhythm was established, the moving images could always be viewed at an approximately normal speed. 


The combination of watching the film images in the Moviescop viewing port, plus the ability to see the physical condition of the films as they unspooled from the reels, plus the tactile experience of touching and manually examining the films and their splices, is to have a deeper appreciation of Reich's filmmaking techniques.

For example, some reels contain what is called "camera original" film, which is the actual film that ran through Reich's 16mm cameras. The films on these reels capture the uncut, raw images in the order in which they were filmed. And any splices on these reels (which are few) would be only for repairing any breaks in the film.

Other reels, however, contain dozens of individual segments culled from copies of camera original footage that were edited and assembled with splicing tape-by either Reich or someone presumably working under his direction-to create a film that coherently tells a specific story for a specific audience. Two notable examples of this are:

Reel 20-1 (black & white, from Box 4 in the 'Film' category of the Archives Index) with an early title that reads: Pictures from Bion Experiments on the Cancer Problem. In this film, Reich splices together footage of laboratory work, time-lapse microscopic footage of bion experiments, and easy-to-understand English titles throughout, to create a succinct documentation of this research.

Reel 21 (color, from Box 4 in the 'Film' category of the Archives Index) was filmed at Orgonon and bears the title: Experiment XX – Primary Biogenesis and the Cancer Cell. Here Reich splices together footage of Ilse Ollendorff performing laboratory work, time-lapse microscopic footage, and easy-to-understand English titles. 


Now it's easier than ever to become a Friend of The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust by making whatever donation you're comfortable with through PayPal.

In addition to our regular Membership Categories-

  • Individual - $25
  • Family - $35
  • Business - $40
  • Contributing - $50
  • Sustaining - $125
  • Donor - $250
  • Patron - $500
  • Life - $1000

-you can set up a recurring monthly donation of $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or $250 by clicking the appropriate PayPal button. And if you don't already have a PayPal account, we can handle that for you. For further information, e-mail us at wreich@rangeley.org or call us at (207) 864-3443.

Please become a Friend of the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust and help sustain the legacy of Wilhelm Reich by making a tax- deductible donation to the Trust. Join Friends from all over the world who contribute significantly and benefit from the privileges of membership:

  • Free admission to the Wilhelm Reich Museum during visiting hours.
  • Patron and Life members receive guest passes for persons accompanying them.
  • Ten percent discount on purchases from the museum bookstore.
  • The annual newsletter with original material by Reich and reports on Trust activities.
  • Advance notice of new publications by Reich.


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Copyright © 2004- Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust

Contact : 207.864.3443 | wreich@rangeley.org