Wilhelm Reich - 50 years ago today

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Very interesting anniversary. Medical explorer/visionary/quack Wilhelm Reich died in prison with the stipulation that his papers be kept secret for 50 years. His death was 50 years ago on this date. Medgaget has an overview:
Wilhelm Reich and Orgone Accumulators
One of the more controversial figures in medical science, psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich has become a sort of Che Guevara of the industry. Claiming to have discovered a force that permeates all life, Reich went on to build and promote orgone accumulators, devices he designed to capture the so called "orgone energy" (a weather machine followed, based on the same concepts).

Undoubtedly this drew protests and controversy from the medical community, while the 1950's FBI investigated him as a possible communist attempting to subvert American society. The FBI cleared him of suspicion, while the FDA turned its attention on the orgone accumulators as an unapproved medical device Reich was inappropriately advocating the use of. This led to court, which Reich decided not to visit, and that led him to receive a contempt charge and a prison sentence.

Reich died in prison 50 years ago to date while serving a two year sentence, requesting in his will that his private scientific writings and diaries be released only 50 years after his death. Now that the papers are coming out, some of the mystery surrounding the man may be revealed, perhaps even the motivation that guided his later life.
Whether visionary or crackpot he was an interesting character and a lot of people are still curious about his work. The Medgaget article also links to this page at Reason Magazine which has some links to further reading.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on November 5, 2007 7:09 PM.

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