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orgone energy

...unlike Sir Isaac Newton, Reich was not willing to stand upon the shoulders of giants. He stood only as high as his own experiences would allow, and from this low perch imagined himself to be a lone eagle soaring higher than any other man had ever reached. --Roger M. Wilcox

Orgone energy is an alleged type of "primordial cosmic energy" discovered by Dr. Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) in the late Wilhelm Reich1930s. Reich was an Austrian immigrant to the U.S. who had been trained as a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and Freudian psychoanalyst.

Reich claimed that orgone energy is omnipresent and accounts for such things as the color of the sky, gravity, galaxies, the failure of most political revolutions, and a good orgasm. In living beings, orgone is called bio-energy or Life Energy.  Reich believed that orgone energy is "demonstrable visually, thermically, electroscopically and by means of Geiger-Mueller counters."* However, only true believers in orgone energy (i.e., orgonomists practicing the science of orgonomy)  have been able to find success with the demonstrations.

Reich claimed to have created a new science (orgonomy) and to have discovered other entities, such as bions, which to this day only orgonomists can detect. Bions are alleged vesicles of orgone energy which are neither living nor non-living, but transitional beings.

Reich died on November 3, 1957, in the Federal Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where he was sent for criminal contempt. The criminal charge was levied because Reich refused to obey an injunction against selling quack medical devices such as the Orgone Accumulator and orgone "shooters," devices which allegedly could collect and distribute orgone energy, thereby making possible the cure for  just about any medical disorder except, perhaps, megalomania and self-delusion.

The Food and Drug Administration not only declared that there is no such thing as orgone energy, they had some of  Reich's books burned—a sure-fire way to ignite interest in somebody.

Despite having little status in the scientific community, Reich's ideas have been passed on by a number of devoted followers led by Elsworth F. Baker, M.D., founder of  The American College of Orgonomy, and Dr. James DeMeo of The Orgone Biophysical Research Laboratory, Inc., located in Ashland, Oregon. Baker's successors (he died in 1985) and DeMeo continue to defend both Reich the scientist and orgonomy. Reich saw himself as a persecuted genius and considered the critics who ridiculed him to be ignorant fools. 

See also Blondlot and N-rays, pathological science, pseudoscience, and Reichenbach's odic force.

reader comments

further reading

books and articles

Carlinsky, Joel "William Reich--Epigones of Orgonomy: The Incredible History of William Reich and his Followers," Skeptic, (April 1994) Vol.2, #3.

Gardner, Martin. Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science(New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1957), ch. 21.

Morrock, Richard. 1994. Pseudo-Psychotherapy: UFOs, Cloudbusters, Conspiracies, and Paranoia in Wilhelm Reich’s Pyschotherapy.Skeptic Magazine.


A Skeptical Scrutiny of the Works and Theories of WILHELM REICH By Roger M. Wilcox

Psychiatric Orgone Therapy (character-analytic vegetotherapy) By Roger M. Wilcox

How to Build an Orgone Blanket or Pillow

The American College of Orgonomy  

Wilhelm Reich and Orgone Energy

Wilhelm Reich & Orgone Biophysics by Juan Schoch


WHAT IS ORGONE ENERGY? by Charles R. Kelley, Ph.D.

FBI file on Reich (789 pages)


Mozambique: Saboteurs or New Age Fanatics? ("...Orgonise Africa is a band of dedicated followers of the Austrian psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich....The theory espoused by this group is that everything wrong with the planet is due to a lack of orgone. To set matters right, the [group's members] engage in 'orgone gifting'. This involves dumping 'gifts' of a substance called orgonite into the place - in this case, Cahora Bassa lake - that is to be cured of its orgone deficiency.")

Last updated 27-Nov-2015

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