151 Facts About Wilhelm Reich


Wilhelm Reich was an Austrian doctor of medicine and a psychoanalyst, a member of the second generation of analysts after Sigmund Freud.


Wilhelm Reich said he wanted to "attack the neurosis by its prevention rather than treatment".


Wilhelm Reich moved to New York in 1939, after having accepted a position as Assistant Professor at the New School of Social Research.


Wilhelm Reich claimed that his laboratory cancer mice had had remarkable positive effects from being kept in a Faraday cage, so he built human-size versions, where one could sit inside.


Wilhelm Reich died in prison of heart failure just over a year later.


Wilhelm Reich was born the first of two sons to Leon Wilhelm Reich, a farmer, and his wife Cacilie in Dobzau, Galicia, then part of Austria-Hungary, now in Ukraine.


Wilhelm Reich's parents were married by Rabbi Schmelkes on June 4,1895.


Wilhelm Reich was taught at home until he was 12, when his mother was discovered having an affair with his live-in tutor.


Wilhelm Reich wrote about the affair in 1920 in his first published paper, "Uber einen Fall von Durchbruch der Inzestschranke", presented in the third person as though about a patient.


Wilhelm Reich wrote that he would follow his mother when she went to the tutor's bedroom at night, feeling ashamed and jealous, and wondering if they would kill him if they found out that he knew.


Wilhelm Reich's father died of tuberculosis on May 3,1914, and because of rampant inflation the father's insurance was worthless, so no money was forthcoming for the brothers.


Wilhelm Reich managed the farm and continued with his studies, graduating in 1915 with Stimmeneinhelligkeit.


The Russians invaded Bukovina that summer and the Wilhelm Reich brothers fled, losing everything.


Wilhelm Reich joined the Austro-Hungarian Army during the First World War, serving from 1915 to 1918, for the last two years as a lieutenant at the Italian front with 40 men under his command.


Wilhelm Reich arrived with nothing in a city with little to offer; the overthrow of the Austria-Hungarian empire a few weeks earlier had left the newly formed Republic of German-Austria in the grip of famine.


Wilhelm Reich lived on soup, oats and dried fruit from the university canteen, and shared an unheated room with his brother and another undergraduate, wearing his coat and gloves indoors to stave off the cold.


Wilhelm Reich fell in love with another medical student, Lia Laszky, with whom he was dissecting a corpse, but it was largely unrequited.


Wilhelm Reich was accepted as a guest member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Association, becoming a regular member in October 1920, and began his own analysis with Isidor Sadger.


Two months after Kahn's death, Wilhelm Reich accepted her friend, Annie Pink, as an analysand.


Wilhelm Reich had an affair with her too, and married her in March 1922 at her father's insistence, with psychoanalysts Otto Fenichel and Edith Buxbaum as witnesses.


In 1922, Wilhelm Reich began working in Freud's psychoanalytic outpatient clinic, known as the Vienna Ambulatorium, which was opened on May 22 that year at Pelikangasse 18 by Eduard Hitschmann.


Wilhelm Reich became the assistant director under Hitschmann in 1924 and worked there until his move to Berlin in 1930.


Wilhelm Reich joined the faculty of the Psychoanalytic Institute in Vienna in 1924 and became its director of training.


Wilhelm Reich is not only eloquent, he keeps his listeners spellbound by his sparking personality.


Wilhelm Reich found the society dull and wrote that he behaved "like a shark in a pond of carps".


Wilhelm Reich came to be known as the "prophet of the better orgasm" and the "founder of a genital utopia".


Wilhelm Reich's brother died of tuberculosis in 1926, the same disease that had killed their father.


Wilhelm Reich himself contracted it in 1927 and spent several weeks in the winter of that year in a sanitorium in Davos, Switzerland, where TB patients went for rest cures and fresh air before antibiotics became widely available around 1945.


Turner writes that Wilhelm Reich underwent a political and existential crisis in Davos; he returned home in the spring angry and paranoid, according to Annie Wilhelm Reich.


Wilhelm Reich began to doubt everything, and in 1928 joined the Communist Party of Austria:.


Wilhelm Reich took to the streets in a mobile clinic, driving to parks and out to the suburbs with other psychoanalysts and physicians.


Wilhelm Reich would talk to the teenagers and men, while a gynaecologist fitted the women with contraceptive devices, and Lia Laszky, the woman Wilhelm Reich fell in love with at medical school, spoke to the children.


Wilhelm Reich published Die Funktion des Orgasmus in 1927, dedicating it to Freud.


Wilhelm Reich had presented a copy of the manuscript to Freud on the latter's 70th birthday on 6 May 1926.


Freud's view was that the matter was more complicated than Wilhelm Reich suggested, and that there was no single cause of neurosis.


Wilhelm Reich wrote in 1928 to another psychoanalyst, Dr Lou Andreas-Salome:.


Wilhelm Reich concluded that they were compatible if dialectical materialism was applied to psychology.


Wilhelm Reich published what Robert Corrington called his masterpiece, Charakteranalyse: Technik und Grundlagen fur studierende und praktizierende Analytiker, in 1933.


Les Greenberg and Jeremy Safran write that Wilhelm Reich proposed a functional identity between the character, emotional blocks, and tension in the body, or what he called character armour.


Wilhelm Reich proposed that muscular armour was a defence that contained the history of the patient's traumas.


Wilhelm Reich had several affairs during his marriage to Annie Wilhelm Reich, which ended in 1933 after he began a serious relationship in May 1932 with Elsa Lindenberg, a dancer and pupil of Elsa Gindler.


Wilhelm Reich was living with Lindenberg in Germany when Hitler became Chancellor in January 1933.


Wilhelm Reich tried to find support among psychoanalysts in the UK so that he could settle there, and was interviewed in London by Ernest Jones, Melanie Klein, Joan Riviere and James Strachey.


From 1930 onwards, Wilhelm Reich began to treat patients outside the limits of psychoanalysis's restrictions.


Wilhelm Reich had noticed that after a successful course of psychoanalysis his patients would hold their bodies differently, so he began to try to communicate with the body using touch.


Wilhelm Reich asked his male patients to undress down to their shorts, and sometimes entirely, and his female patients down to their underclothes, and began to massage them to loosen their body armour.


Wilhelm Reich would ask them to simulate physically the effects of certain emotions in the hope of triggering them.


Wilhelm Reich first presented the principles of what he called character-analytic vegetotherapy in August 1934, in a paper entitled "Psychischer Kontakt und vegetative Stromung" at the 13th International Congress of Psychoanalysis at Lucerne, Switzerland.


Wilhelm Reich argued that the psychoanalytic taboos reinforced the neurotic taboos of the patient, and that he wanted his patients to see him as human.


Wilhelm Reich wrote that the purpose of the massage was to retrieve the repressed memory of the childhood situation that had caused the repression.


Wilhelm Reich briefly considered calling it "orgasmotherapy", but thought better of it.


Just before the crucial August 1934 Lucerne conference, Wilhelm Reich was ignorant of the ground-swell of opinion against him.


Wilhelm Reich had protested to Anna Freud about the omission of his name from the list of German members of the Association, apparently on the spurious grounds that he was going to join the Scandinavian branch.


Ernest Jones was the President of the International Association and he had turned against Wilhelm Reich, combined with Paul Federn and Max Eitingon, who had all levelled personal attacks against Wilhelm Reich.


Wilhelm Reich arrived at the conference, relatively unconscious about his future treatment.


Wilhelm Reich presented a significant paper and was then informed that he was to be excluded.


Wilhelm Reich argued that conceiving of the orgasm as nothing but mechanical tension and relaxation could not explain why some experience pleasure and others do not.


Wilhelm Reich wanted to know what additional element had to be present for pleasure to be felt.


Wilhelm Reich was influenced by the work of the Austrian internist Friedrich Kraus, who argued in his paper Allgemeine und Spezielle Pathologie der Person that the biosystem was a relay-like switch mechanism of electrical charge and discharge.


In 1935, Wilhelm Reich bought an oscillograph and attached it to friends and students, who volunteered to touch and kiss each other while Wilhelm Reich read the tracings.


Wilhelm Reich took measurements from the patients of a psychiatric hospital near Oslo, including catatonic patients, with the permission of the hospital's director.


From 1934 to 1939, Wilhelm Reich conducted what he called the bion experiments, which he published as Die Bione: zur Entstehung des vegetativen Lebens in Oslo in February 1938.


Wilhelm Reich examined protozoa and grew cultured vesicles using grass, sand, iron and animal tissue, boiling them and adding potassium and gelatin.


Wilhelm Reich called them "bions" and believed they were a rudimentary form of life, halfway between life and non-life.


Wilhelm Reich wrote that when he poured the cooled mixture onto growth media, bacteria were born, dismissing the idea that the bacteria were already present in the air or on other materials.


In what Sharaf writes was the origins of the orgone theory, Wilhelm Reich said he could see two kinds of bions, the blue vesicles and smaller red ones shaped like lancets.


Wilhelm Reich called the former PA-bions and the latter T-bacilli, the T standing for Tod, German for death.


Wilhelm Reich wrote in his book The Cancer Biopathy that he had found T-bacilli in rotting cancerous tissue obtained from a local hospital, and when injected into mice they caused inflammation and cancer.


Wilhelm Reich concluded that, when orgone energy diminishes in cells through aging or injury, the cells undergo "bionous degeneration".


In 1937, Wilhelm Reich faced strong opposition from Norwegian scientists regarding his theories on bions, many deriding them as nonsense.


Kreyberg accused Wilhelm Reich of being ignorant of basic bacteriological and anatomical facts, while Wilhelm Reich accused Kreyberg of having failed to recognize living cancer cells under magnification.


Neill, founder of Summerhill, a progressive school in England, who argued that "the campaign against Wilhelm Reich seems largely ignorant and uncivilized, more like fascism than democracy".


When Wilhelm Reich requested a detailed control study, Kreyberg responded that his work did not merit it.


Wilhelm Reich was left humiliated, no longer comfortable in public, and seething with bitterness against the researchers who had denounced him.


When she became pregnant in 1935, they were initially overjoyed, buying clothes and furniture for the child, but doubts developed for Wilhelm Reich, who saw the future as too unsettled.


In 1937, Wilhelm Reich began an affair with a female patient, an actress who had been married to a colleague of his.


Around the same time, Wilhelm Reich had an affair with Gerd Bergersen, a 25-year-old Norwegian textile designer.


Wolfe offered to help Wilhelm Reich settle in the States, and managed to arrange an invitation from The New School in New York for Wilhelm Reich to teach a course on "Biological Aspects of Character Formation".


Wolfe and Walter Briehl, a former student of Wilhelm Reich's, put up $5,000 to guarantee his visa.


Wilhelm Reich received the visa in August 1939, and sailed out of Norway on August 19 on the SS Stavangerfjord, the last ship to leave for the United States before the war began on September 3.


Wilhelm Reich began teaching at The New School, where he remained until May 1941, living first at 7502 Kessel Street, Forest Hills, Queens, where he conducted experiments on mice with cancer, injecting them with bions.


Wilhelm Reich built a small Faraday cage to examine the vapors and lights he said the bions were producing.


Wilhelm Reich was still in love with Lindenberg, but Ollendorf started organizing his life for him, becoming his bookkeeper and laboratory assistant.


Wilhelm Reich was eight weeks pregnant, but according to Turner he insisted that she have an abortion.


Sharaf writes that Wilhelm Reich's personality changed after his experience in Oslo.


Wilhelm Reich became socially isolated and kept his distance even from old friends and his ex-wife.


Wilhelm Reich said he had seen orgone when he injected his mice with bions and in the sky at night through an "organoscope", a special telescope.


Wilhelm Reich argued that it is in the soil and air, is blue or blue-grey, and that humanity had divided its knowledge of it in two: aether for the physical aspect and God for the spiritual.


Wilhelm Reich argued that protozoa, red corpuscles, cancer cells and the chlorophyll of plants are charged with it.


In one case the test had to be stopped prematurely because the subject heard a rumour that Wilhelm Reich was insane; there were stories, which were false, that he had been hospitalized in the Utica State Mental Hospital.


Wilhelm Reich asked his supporters to stick with him through the criticism, believing that he had developed a grand unified theory of physical and mental health.


In December 1940, Wilhelm Reich wrote to Albert Einstein saying he had a scientific discovery he wanted to discuss, and, in January 1941, visited Einstein at his home in Princeton, where they talked for nearly five hours.


Wilhelm Reich told Einstein that he had discovered a "specific biologically effective energy which behaves in many respects differently to all that is known about electromagnetic energy".


Wilhelm Reich said it could be used against disease, and as a weapon "in the fight against the Fascist pestilence".


Wilhelm Reich was much encouraged by the meeting and hoped he would be invited to join Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study.


Wilhelm Reich observed an increase of temperature, which Reich argued was caused by orgone.


Wilhelm Reich responded with a 25-page letter in which he tried to change Einstein's mind.


Wilhelm Reich wrote that in all these circumstances the temperature difference remained, and was in fact more marked in the open air.


Wilhelm Reich believed that Einstein's change of heart was part of a conspiracy of some kind, perhaps related to the communists or prompted by the rumours that Wilhelm Reich was ill.


Wilhelm Reich published the correspondence in 1953 as The Einstein Affair.


Wilhelm Reich lost his position at the New School in May 1941, after writing to its director, Alvin Johnson, to say he had saved several lives in secret experiments with the accumulator.


Wilhelm Reich was evicted from Kessel Street after his neighbours complained about the animal experiments.


Wilhelm Reich's supporters, including Walter Briehl, gave him $14,000 to buy a house, and he settled into 9906 69th Avenue.


On 12 December 1941, five days after the attack on Pearl Harbor and a day after Germany declared it was at war with the United States, Wilhelm Reich was arrested in his home at 2 am by the FBI and taken to Ellis Island, where he was held for over three weeks.


Wilhelm Reich identified himself at the time as the Associate Professor of Medical Psychology, Director of the Orgone Institute.


Wilhelm Reich was at first left to sleep on the floor in a large hall, surrounded by members of the fascist German American Bund, who Reich feared might kill him, but when his psoriasis returned he was transferred to the hospital ward.


Wilhelm Reich was questioned about several books the FBI found when they searched his home, including Hitler's Mein Kampf, Trotsky's My Life, a biography of Lenin and a Russian alphabet book for children.


Turner writes that it seems Wilhelm Reich was the victim of mistaken identity; there was a William Wilhelm Reich who ran a bookstore in New Jersey, which was used to distribute Communist material.


In November 1942, Wilhelm Reich purchased an old farm for $4,000 on Dodge Pond, Maine, near Rangeley, with 280 acres of land.


Until 1947, Wilhelm Reich enjoyed largely uncritical attention from the press in the United States.


Brady argued that the "growing Wilhelm Reich cult" had to be dealt with.


On his copy of the New Republic article, Wilhelm Reich wrote "THE SMEAR".


Wilhelm Reich issued a press release, but no one published it.


The FDA assigned an investigator to the case, who learned that Wilhelm Reich had built 250 accumulators.


From that point on, Wilhelm Reich's work came increasingly to the attention of the authorities.


Wilhelm Reich established the Orgonomic Infant Research Center in 1950, with the aim of preventing muscular armouring in children from birth.


The therapist was arrested, but the case was dropped when Wilhelm Reich agreed to close the OIRC.


Wilhelm Reich continued working with him for another three years.


Wilhelm Reich wrote several documents denouncing her, while having an affair himself with Lois Wyvell, who ran the Orgone Institute Press.


In 1951, Wilhelm Reich said he had discovered another energy that he called deadly orgone radiation, accumulations of which played a role in desertification.


Wilhelm Reich designed a "cloudbuster", rows of 15-foot aluminium pipes mounted on a mobile platform, connected to cables that were inserted into water.


Wilhelm Reich believed that it could unblock orgone energy in the atmosphere and cause rain.


Wilhelm Reich conducted dozens of experiments with the cloudbuster, calling his research "Cosmic Orgone Engineering".


The crop survived, the farmers declared themselves satisfied, and Wilhelm Reich received his fee.


The attention of the FDA triggered belligerent responses from Wilhelm Reich, who called them "HiGS" and the tools of red fascists.


Wilhelm Reich developed a delusion that he had powerful friends in government, including President Eisenhower, who he believed would protect him, and that the US Air Force was flying over Orgonon to make sure that he was all right.


Sharaf writes that Wilhelm Reich detested unannounced visitors; he had once chased some people away with a gun just for looking at an adjacent property.


Wilhelm Reich told the inspectors they had to read his work before he would interact with them, and ordered them to leave.


Wilhelm Reich refused to appear in court, arguing that no court was in a position to evaluate his work.


Wilhelm Reich said he often saw them flying over Orgonon, shaped like thin cigars with windows, leaving streams of black Deadly Orgone Radiation in their wake, which he believed the aliens were scattering to destroy the Earth.


Armed with two cloudbusters, they fought what Wilhelm Reich called a "full-scale interplanetary battle" in Arizona, where he had rented a house as a base station.


In late 1954, Wilhelm Reich began an affair with Grethe Hoff, a former patient.


Silvert was sentenced to a year and a day, the Wilhelm Reich Foundation was fined $10,000, and the accumulators and associated literature were to be destroyed.


Once they were destroyed, Wilhelm Reich placed an American flag on top of them.


Wilhelm Reich appealed the lower court's decision in October 1956, but the Court of Appeals upheld it on 11 December.


Wilhelm Reich wrote several times to J Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, requesting a meeting, and appealed to the Supreme Court, which decided on 25 February 1957 not to review the case.


Peter visited him in jail several times, where one prisoner said Wilhelm Reich was known as the "flying saucer guy" and the "Sex Box man".


Wilhelm Reich told Peter that he cried a lot, and wanted Peter to let himself cry too, believing that tears are the "great softener".


Wilhelm Reich wrote that he and Peter had a date for a meal at the Howard Johnson restaurant near Peter's school.


Peter's mother Ilse, who was a Quaker, stated that Wilhelm Reich attended some Protestant services during his imprisonment and sent his son various prayers.


Wilhelm Reich failed to appear for roll call on 3 November 1957, and was found at 7 am in his bed.


Wilhelm Reich was buried in a vault at Orgonon that he had asked his caretaker to dig in 1955.


The psychoanalyst Richard Sterba wrote in 1982 that Wilhelm Reich had been a brilliant clinician and teacher in the 1920s; even the older analysts had wanted to attend his technical seminars in Vienna.


Wilhelm Reich's work was split into the pre-psychotic "good" and the post-psychotic "bad", the date of the illness's onset depending on which parts of his work a speaker disliked.


The Austrian-American philosopher Paul Edwards said that the FDA's pursuit of Wilhelm Reich had intensified Edwards' attachment to him.


Wilhelm Reich wrote in 1977 that for years he and his friends regarded Reich as "something akin to a messiah".


Wilhelm Reich is a character in the opera Marilyn by Italian composer Lorenzo Ferrero.


Four-beat Rhythm: The Writings of Wilhelm Reich is a compilation album on which Reich's writings are adapted to music.


In James Reich's novel Soft Invasions, a fictionalized Wilhelm Reich is treating a Hollywood mogul using an orgone accumulator.


Wilhelm Reich argues that the dominant narrative of Reich as a pseudoscientist is incorrect and that Reich's story is "much more complex and interesting".


Wilhelm Reich was a nineteenth-century mind who came crashing into twentieth-century America.